Thursday, December 31, 2009

Snowy New Year's Eve

Woke up to snow this morning, which was somewhat of a surprise. They'd been forecasting flurries and such, but there's about 3 or 4 inches on the ground right now.

The holidays were nice, but, as always, went by too fast. Spent some time with the family and the husband, and that's really what the holidays are about for me, not the gifts. Life is a gift. Family is a gift.

I'm a bit melancholy today, as I always am on New Year's Eve. I've been reflecting on the past year, and how much, as always, things have changed. A year ago, I was not a happy person. Life wasn't horrible, but I wasn't able to appreciate what I had. Now, I'm happy and able to see how incredibly lucky I am. I have a husband whom I love with all my heart, and who is just...such a good man. I have a family whom I adore, and love to spend time with. I have a great career, good friends, my cats. What more could I ask for?

I'm still working on my resolutions, so I'll post them later. For now, I'm going to enjoy the snow day and read until I have to pick up the husband from work (his car is horrible in the snow).

Today would have been John Denver's 66th birthday. He was Emerson's favorite singer. Yes, that makes me sound like a crazy cat lady, but it's true. When I played John Denver's songs, Emerson would purr like crazy. I can't believe he's been gone almost a year. I miss him very much. I like to think that he's hanging out with John Denver wherever he is.

Monday, December 21, 2009


After having most of last week "off" from school (still had grading to do, but didn't have finals to administer), I'm giving finals today and tomorrow. It's easy enough -- I just sit here with my laptop and poke around the internet (no Facebook, though, as it's blocked) -- but I'd rather be home. I wasn't nearly productive enough last week, and have a lot to do before the holiday.

I haven't sent out Christmas cards yet, and may just do it after the holiday. I wanted to write notes to everyone, and I'll have time to do that after Friday. The next couple of days will be filled with finals, grading, baking, and sleep.

My sleep schedule has been screwy the past few weeks. No matter what time I go to bed (typically 10-11pm), I'm awake at 3am. It's either due to hip pain (I can only sleep on my side), the urge to pee (seriously annoying), or just general insomnia. Sometimes I can fall back asleep, but most of the time I can't. So I just get up and watch tv. I'm too sleepy to do anything that requires focus, so it's not like I use the extra time to get things done. Oh well.

I'm on campus until 2ish, then I have to go home and bake. I'm giving baskets of baked goodies to my colleagues tomorrow. So far, I've finished (all homemade): strawberry jam, grape jelly, molasses spice cookies, and snickerdoodles. Tonight, I'm making homemade caramel corn with peanuts, chocolate covered oreos, and maybe homemade bread. Everything needs to be finished tonight so that I can deliver the goods tomorrow. I wanted to do more, but I just didn't have the time. There's always next year, right?

I'd better get back to work...

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I've been off from school since Monday, but have to go back on the 21st & 22nd for finals. I thought I'd spend my week baking and getting ready for the holidays, but that hasn't happened. I've been reading, napping, shopping a little...really not productive at all.

My mom came over today, and we made a batch of grape jelly (from juice, not fruit). It's setting (I hope) on the counter right now. If it turns out yummy, I'll post the recipe. I'm going to make strawberry jam, and maybe blueberry jam tonight. Tomorrow will be spent (really) baking cookies. I want to have everything finished so that I can deliver stuff on Monday.

I have an OB appointment that I need to get ready for. I don't feel like venturing outside, though. Very cold today.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Just not into it...

Today is the last day for my Tuesday/Thursday classes. I should be excited. I should go in there and wow them one last time before the final exam. But I just don't have the energy. It could be that I haven't been sleeping well (leg cramps, the constant need to pee, kicking baby), but I'm beginning to suspect that I'm just tired of teaching. That's something I thought I'd never say. And I hope it's not true.

Slowly but steadily, the desire to own my own farm has been creeping to the forefront. I want to be more self-sufficient. Instead of teaching today, I'd much rather stay home today and bake some bread from scratch. I'm not great at it, but I want to perfect it. I want to start going through my seed catalogs and plan next year's garden. But I'll go in and learn 'em.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Food, Inc.


We watched Food, Inc. last night. For those of you who haven't seen it, whether you care about where your food comes from or not (though, you really should care), see it ASAP. It's out on DVD after a limited release in theaters.

The movie, with contributors like Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser and Joel Salatin, examines the US food system, and how we've moved so far away from the agrarian society we were when the US came into existence. Only a few companies control the thousands of products we find on supermarket shelves. The animals we eat are treated horribly, bred to fatten up so quickly that they can't move or stand up, and are fed things that go against their nature. Seed companies like Monsanto forbid farmers from doing what they've done forever -- save seeds. Farmers today are not free to farm. Laws, supported by the large corporations like Monsanto, forbid them from growing certain things, or selling certain things, etc.

I went to bed feeling guilty last night, knowing that even though I have a desire to grow/raise my own food, I'm a slacker. It's much easier to go to the grocery store, buy what's in sale, ignore the seasonality of produce, and be on my merry way. It's cheaper to buy the factory farmed meat than it is to buy local organic, humanely raised meat. Though, when I've tried to source local organic meat in the past, it's been difficult, even though I live in the Garden State. Even the farmer's markets and stands around here sell non-local produce year-round.

I need to do better. Make the effort, and stop contributing to the factory farm system.

More later...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mid-November? Really? What's up with that?

Well, so much for writing here on a regular basis. I honestly don't know where the time has gone.

I'm currently 23 weeks pregnant, so over halfway through. I can feel the baby moving a lot now. Not from the outside yet, but certainly internally. He's moving around right now, as a matter of fact. We haven't decided on any names yet. Well, I have, but the husband doesn't like the name I've chosen, and is supposed to come up with suggestions of his own...which he hasn't done yet. I'm totally going to win this battle.

Being pregnant is weird. I mean, yes, I'm happy and all that, but it's still odd to experience. I had a relatively easy first trimester -- no real morning sickness, just really, really tired. I'm still tired. My hips constantly hurt, but that was the case when I wasn't pregnant. Emotionally, I'm happy and terrified. We haven't done much to prepare for the baby, largely because the nursery is going to be in my office...and I have a difficult time getting rid of my stuff. There are times when I feel like I'm the only one who has to deal with major changes because of the baby -- changes in my body, getting rid of tons of books to make room for the nursery, changing my work schedule. So much responsibility, and I'm scared I won't be a good mom. This is all normal, right?

I'm proctoring an exam right now, and all I want to do is sleep. I could be catching up on my grading, but instead I'm blogging and thinking about Christmas. For financial reasons, Christmas has to be low-key this year, and I'm trying to think of homemade gifts that people won't hate. I'm not crafty, so it will have to be something related to food. We'll see.

I'm going to go hover over students right now. Good times!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wicked Tired

Sorry, folks, for not posting in 6 months. I'm not quite sure where the time went. Plenty has happened since March, and I'm not quite sure why I've been avoiding blogging. It could be that I'm wicked tired all of the time, and typing is just too much of an effort.

The biggest news is that I'm pregnant! I'm 14 weeks along, and due March 14th. It came as a (very happy) surprise back in July, and I'm very excited. I've been very lucky, not having had much morning sickness. But I've been so, so tired that I just want to sleep every second of the day. Which was (almost) fine over the summer when I was only working 20 hours a week with a very flexible schedule. Now that I'm back to teaching, well...there's not much time for napping.

Speaking of teaching, I have class in 55 minutes. Which means some last minute prepping and copying for me.

I promise, though, that I'll keep up with this blog for the two of you who read it.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tuesday Afternoon Ramblings

I'm on Spring Break this week. Well, sort of. I have to tutor tomorrow and Thursday, and I'm attending a conference on Friday.

I haven't done anything productive the past few days. I had grand visions of de-cluttering and donating books to the library. Instead, I've been reading, napping, and researching homesteading. I've been sick (cold/flu) for the past few weeks and haven't had the energy to do anything.

Also, I seem to get stuck researching things instead of just doing them. For example, I want to start making more of my own bread. I've been researching sourdough starters for about a week now, and am stuck trying to decide if I want to make my own starter or buy an established one. I'll think myself in circles for days, weeks, until I become obsessed with something else.

I want to live a simple life. I want to grow my own food, make my own clothes, etc. I think about it all the time, but I never do anything about it. I'm so frustrated with myself.

I need to set some definite goals and work toward them. I can't afford to be stuck anymore.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Saying Goodbye

I've been staring at the screen for almost 10 minutes, trying to figure out a way to write about this without crying. It's not possible.

Emerson passed away the evening of January 24th.

When I woke up that morning, I knew that he wasn't going to make it to the next day. His eyes were different...spacey, not very aware. I brought him into the living room with me, and cuddled with him for a little while. At one point, he got up and jumped off the the chair. He wasn't able to walk, and ended up flopping down on the floor, in a space where the sun was shining.

He spent most of the day lying on the floor in the bathroom, staring into space. He did come out to the kitchen a few times to try and eat a little, and each time I found myself hoping I'd have one more day with him. I stayed in the bathroom with him, lying down on the floor next to him. I covered us up with a blanket, and just talked to him. Even though he didn't seem too aware, he did purr, and occasionally put his paw on my hand or arm.

Chad and I were supposed to go to a Burns Supper that night, but I decided to stay home with Emerson. Soon after Chad left, I decided to take a bubble bath and read. That way, I could keep an eye on Emerson but still give him some space. Around 9pm, I noticed that he was gasping for air. I got out of the tub, not even bothering to dry off, and sat by him. He continued to gasp for air, and his whiskers and legs began to twitch. A few minutes later, he took his last breath.

I've known for months that the end was coming. I'd spent the past several weeks spending as much time with him as possible, saying goodbye to him every night in case he died during the night. Emerson knew that he was loved, and I know that he loved me. Knowing all of that, though, didn't make the end any easier. It breaks my heart that the last thing he heard was his mother sobbing.

I'd decided long ago to have him cremated, and since he passed away on a weekend, I had to keep his body cold until I could take him to the vet's office. Putting him a box and petting him one final time was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. I couldn't bring myself to close the box. I realize that what was left was just a shell of a body. But that body, that fur, those eyes, had brought such joy and comfort to me. How could I say goodbye? I had to force myself to close the box, tape it up, and put it in the garage.

I have to keep busy, otherwise I think about him and just cry. Even though I have three other cats to love, and who love me, it's not the same. He was such an integral part of my life, that almost everything I do reminds me of him, or reminds me that he's gone.

I miss him.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


On May 1, 1998, I was wandering around Stockertown, PA, looking for a yard sale. I was on a back road, lost, when I came around a corner to find a car stopped in the middle of the road. A woman was standing by the open passenger side door, looking distressed. I stopped, and got out of the car to see if I could help. She told me that a cat was stuck under her car. I bent down, and saw a white cat, crouched underneath the car. I called him, and he came right to me. When I picked him up, he put his arms around me as if he were hugging me. The woman got in her car, and left.

The cat was pure white, wasn't dirty, so I didn't think he was a stray. Otherwise, he would have been dirty and thin. To this day, I believe that he belonged to that woman, and she was getting rid of her cat. He was friendly, so I put him in the backseat of my car, took him home, and named him Emerson Stuart Bacon. He quickly became the love of my life.

Emerson is dying. I found out in October that he has lymphoma. Because of his age (estimated to be 14 or 15 years old), I decided not to go through with surgery to remove the tumor in his spleen, and not to go through with radiation treatments. The vet said that he may not have survived the surgery, and the trips for the radiation treatment may have stressed him out too much. So, I decided to just enjoy whatever time I had left with him.

For the past several months, he's steadily lost weight, and spends most of his time sleeping. But he still had a good appetite, purred, still loved to cuddle, and seemed ok. The past few days, though, he's been having diarrhea. Yesterday, he had it in the dining room.

I know that soon, I'll have to make a very difficult decision. I don't want him to suffer. But I honestly don't know how I'm going to be able to say goodbye. It absolutely breaks my heart. I don't think I can do it.