What I’m Loving Wednesday

I’ve decided to add a weekly feature to my blogging, “What I’m Loving Wednesday”, where I’ll round up a few things that are making me happy this week, with photos. It’s a pretty common thing in blogger land to do this kind of thing, and I’ve always enjoyed those simple posts, plus it’s a chance to round up a few things that aren’t worthy of a whole post on their own, but brightened my week or day a bit.


I'm clearly not the only one loving my brand new dining room table. It now has placemats, one of which the cats won't allow to remain on the table.

I’m clearly not the only one loving my brand new dining room table. It now has placemats, one of which the cats won’t allow to remain on the table.


My re-organized and streamlined tupperware cabinet. SO much better.

My re-organized and streamlined tupperware cabinet. SO much better.


95% biodegradable K-cups for when I'm not using my re-usable K-cup filter. Discovered these thanks to my little brother and love feeling a little less guilty when I want a quick cup.

95% biodegradable K-cups for when I’m not using my re-usable K-cup filter. Discovered these thanks to my little brother and love feeling a little less guilty when I want a quick cup.


Finding a delicious craft beer that I never thought I'd find again, and it just happens to be the perfect flavor for this cold snap we're having.

Finding a delicious craft beer that I never thought I’d find again, and it just happens to be the perfect flavor for this cold snap we’re having.


The strangeness of cat behavior. Always.

The strangeness of cat behavior. Always.

Visiting Virginia Family

We took the short-ish trip to the DC area to visit my sister-in-law and family this weekend. I got to see firsthand what being a mother of two kids under 4 looks like, and it basically looks like every wants and needs you all at once, most of the time. It’s a lot, especially when you figure that’s her time “off”, but she seems to juggle it all so well. I don’t know if I’d be as good at doing it all as she is, I would guess not. I mean she kind of does everything, works, sews, cooks, is mommy, is wife, works out on top of it all, and ya know keeps house, gardens, has a second job most of the time… I mean ?! It’s a good thing I’m not trying to measure up to all of that. Also, the kids are sweet and absolutely gorgeous.

I wasn’t surprised at how much kids need, and it in no way made me think twice about trying. The kids are so so precious and beautiful and their personalities are so distinct and freaking cute, I can’t wait to go back for Christmas. Anyway, that was most of my weekend. Other than that we bought and hauled up a new couch, an actual furniture-store couch for grown-ups before we headed up there. When we got hme, I ran out to buy some placemats for the table and some nice plaid flannel pj pants (Calvin Klein, even) for the husband since he’s heading to Michigan again and maybe Canada. Since I got my first real paycheck that was in the triple digits, I figured I’d make those little purchases. My SIL was nice enough to give me several tops and pants that are too big for her as well as a dress, so I don’t have to shop much more for nice things to wear to work. And since she’s short like me, they need no hemming, which never happens, even with petite lengths. So, that was awesome, and the clothes are chic, yet kindergarten-appropriate. When I go for Christmas, I’ll have to bring her the things in my closet that are a little small for me and the clothing swap will be complete.

Friday Nights Home Alone

Sometimes I question my decisions to repeatedly leave behind everyone I know, my hard-won friends and move to a new place for no reason in particular. Not that I questio it for no reason in particular, but I do it for no reason in particular. I am still friendless in Virginia, but that doesn’t seem weird to me since it took me years, plural years for real, to make good friends in Louisiana. It’s odd, having a group of friends in Louisiana, a single solid friend left in Maine, one in New York… I guess the thing is that people started moving on from Louisiana and those who were left I saw about once a month and it was great, but once a month is not enough to make the other days spent in a place that had never quite grown on me bearable. I could grin and bear it but I felt I’d done enough of that. I still feel like moving was the right decision and it has made visiting with my friends and family in Maine and New York much easier. Or, it did before I started working days a week, which by the way, I’m still waiting on HR to decide if it’s permanent.

As the weather cools off there are less things to keep me occupied in my off-time, not that I am ever that great about actually leaving the house and doing things. I was hitting the beach a couple of times a week for a run and going to the patio of Park Lane Tavern about once a week, but now it’s kind of cold for both of those, The tavern will probably not be an option anytimme soon, but I should bundle up and get to the beach again soon. i say bundle up and it’s like 50, so I’m a baby, but that’s four years of Deep South for ya.

Anyway, C. is finally coming home for a few days next week and even though I’m working we’ll have the weekend.It will be nice to have someone to do things with for a change. End ramble post.

I’m Either Rich or Grateful

C. and I have had a long-standing debate about whether or not we are rich. Spoiler alert: we are definitely not even close to being rich. The debate comes from my continuously saying that we are rich. Because I feel freaking rich, people. And this is not some sappy post about how our love makes us rich or blah blah. What I mean is that our (lower) middle class life feels like being rich to me.

I didn’t grow up poor, though we were technically. The real version of poor came when I moved out at 17. I had a grocery budget of $11-15 per week and I rarely ate out (if I did it was fast food dollar menu). I could, and needed to, make a dollar packet of noodles last for a couple of meals and when the need arose to buy toilet paper, that stressed my budget. Basically, every single purchase that I made affected every other needed or un-needed purchase. I never had my own apartment, always found some room in a shared house or apartment on craigslist, I bought used cars with cash that I saved by being extremely frugal. I struggled to pay rent and utilities, and worried when I had to drive out of my way because I hadn’t budgeted for the extra gas money. This is still how I lived when I met C., though I was making more ($1200/mo) and had sold my car and walked to school and work in an effort to put $300/mo into savings. Speaking of school, I paid for school up until that time by taking a minimum amount of loans and then putting the rest on a payment plan which would take another 300 from my monthly income. It was a lifestyle that I was used to, but was absolutely stressful. Any minor thing, illness that required a doctor, maintenance needed on the car, shit, an oil change, could set me back despite my trying so hard to save.

This is why I am convinced that we are rich. Since we’ve combined our finances in certain ways (cars, groceries, apartment) I never have to worry about running out of food or buying toilet paper one roll at a time. I told him yesterday how happy it made me when I ran out of tp to realize that there were 16 more rolls in the closet. I remain very aware and grateful of how fortunate I am. I drive a new car that doesn’t need much, but gas or an oil change never means I have to sacrifice something else and we have paper towels and I can afford the $6 package of 50 face wipes I like, the nice razor blades and body wash, pants for work when I need them. I can buy all of these things AT THE SAME TIME AND STILL EAT. It’s all just so much to me, I really do feel rich. My version of rich, I guess, is having everything you need. And I have even more than what I need, so yup, I will continue to feel rich.

We don’t own a house, but we have somewhere nice and safe to live. Rich. I’m not shopping at whole foods, but I can make myself nutritious meals. Rich. I don’t drive a lexus, but I drive very dependable and cute little car that has a great warranty, Rich. There is a lot that we don’t have and can’t afford, but the reason that I feel rich is because that list of things we don’t have and can’t afford is full of things that we don’t NEED. In that way, and in a lot ways, I want for nothing. This life is very comfortable and that means we’re plenty rich enough for me. Having enough to take care of whatever we really need and whatever may come up is something I’m so thankful for and it doesn’t hurt to remember how many people, my former self included, would love to be in our position, “rich” or not.

Trying to De-Bachelor our Pad

I think I’ve mentioned before that our apartment tends to look like a dark, cheaply furnished bachelor pad. I’ve been trying to work on this since we moved, buying and filling a beautiful china hutch, replacing our brown comforter with a white down-alternative (hasn’t been photographed but has really brightened up the bedroom) and my project this week has been to paint the cheap black particle board bookshelves that flank the pretty hutch, dragging it down with their drabness. I also ordered a new dining room table as we no longer have one and we’ll be picking that up next week.
I found a rug for 20$ to put under the table that I rather like despite its being yet another Big Lots piece. The table is real, actual furniture and I will be showing it off soon! In the meantime, here’s my bookshelf makeover. While I love the end result, it took a long time and a lot of coats and is highly prone to chipping, probably because particle board furniture is not meant to be painted. Is this why contact paper is a thing? Anyway, by the time I was finished with this bookcase I did not, and do not, at all want to go through the hassle of painting the other one, but I must! It kind of reminds me of the time I drove from Louisiana to Maine (32 grueling hours) and never ever wanted to make that trip again, but of course I had to. I had my car with me in Maine, and the both of us needed to get back to Louisiana, so I just had to suck it up and do the whole damn trip all over again. so, yeah I have to do this painting thing again. And buy a new roller and tray since I had no idea how to clean/store them and so I didn’t. Gooogle probably could have helped me with this, but instead I asked C. when we talked last night and apparently by then I’d missed my deadline to salvage both since it had been 10 hours.

before, but with the new rug.

before, but with the new rug.


The after picture makes me sigh with relief.

The after picture makes me sigh with relief.

Sh;t Five Year Olds Said This Week

Me: it sure would stink if you got your candy taken away (a threat, to child A)
Child B, looking genuinely confused: it doesn’t stink when you lose your candy… Miss G, do you stink when someone takes your candy?

“You look like fiona”
“Who is fiona?”
“Princess fiona”
Me,not asking whether she means in ogre or human form, “thank you “

“Why is your face pink ?” (Asked again)
” I think thats just what color my face is”
“You’re supposed to be white.”
Oh, okay then, my bad.

I come back from my lunch break with my hair in a ponytail instead of down
“who did your hair?”

They don’t actually say as many crazy things as one might expect, when they’re being crazy at this age it seems to be mostly physical movement and nonsense sounds. There is one kid who consistently cracks me up because he’s just this little guy but he has this very deep voice.he has a tendency of being very quiet but when he walks by me or the teacher sometimes he just says “hey” with a wave and the casual, deep-voiced hey out of this baby is just so weird and cute. You probably have to be there, but whatever. The teacher was imitating it to me at recess today and it was so funny because it was on-point and also she noticed too, I’m not alone in finding it so hilarious.

I Accidentally Found My Calling

Okay, that’s a little dramatic, but I’m all hopped up on three days of working as an instructional assistant for a kindergarten class and it’s really strange because it was supposed to be over tomorrow and instead of feeling relief about the coming weekend after four days straight with five year olds I was sad. Sad… Like, what? Anyway, I made it known that I would love to stay on, so they extended my assignment through next week and asked me to apply for the actual job (which it seems hasn’t been posted yet, so I got a head start).

I was supposed to be in Michigan visiting C this week, but we had a pet sitter snafu and that didn’t happen, so I picked up this 4-day sub position. Seems kind of like the michigan thing not working out was the best thing that could have happened because I could have missed this opportunity entirely. I’m not an everything happens for a reason person, but in this case…

They recently bumped it down to a part time position with no benefits and its 5 hours, 5days a week. This might help me because the teacher wants me to get the job and most people want benefits and a live able wage. The job wouldn’t pay much at all, especially because it pays zero for vacations and summers, no sick days, etc. It’s not a cushy position at all, but it would work for me since it is more money than I make now, I don’t need to make much and I have benefits through C. So, yeah I’m applying and hoping I get it and it all looks good. I guess the only problem would come once we finally have a child of our own if daycare cost more than I would make. But that’s a bridge I’ll cross when I come to it. In the meantime, I’m super excited, I want this and I could pay off my student loans in half the time, so wish me luck!

Snippets From Turning Stone Resort and Casino

Because I’m totally baller (according to my somewhat facetious brother) I was offered two free nights at the hotel at Turning Stone in Verona, New York. I had no plans for my birthday and don’t know anyone around here (still!) so it seemed like the perfect week to cash in those free nights. My brother managed to get a couple days off and we went to live it up for a couple of days. I drove two long days round trip (9hours one way, 12 on the return- DC/Northern VA traffic is the worst) and it didn’t even seem like too long of a drive for such a short trip because we packed so much in that it felt like 4 days, not 2. I barely slept but it’s not like I have to go straight back to work after vacations so it doesn’t matter, though the drive home was rough.

I thought id share five pictures that captured the experience well, though there may be another one coming with food, which was delicious.

The ceiling at Upstate Tavern

The ceiling at Upstate Tavern

A sight i haven't seen in a long while, fresh pine cones.

A sight i haven’t seen in a long while, fresh pine cones.

The  gorgeous foliage

The gorgeous foliage

I tried a flight at Upstate Tavern

I tried a flight at Upstate Tavern

A crowd just beginning to form at Lava (it was 18+ night and I was dressed as a 29-year-old librarian and didn't dance)

A crowd just beginning to form at Lava (it was 18+ night and I was dressed as a 29-year-old librarian and didn’t dance)

Noland Trail and a Meet-up Mishap

Saturday morning I went to What was supposed to be a meetup at Noland Trail in Newport News. Unfortunately, the organizer decided not to show up or update the event to reflect that fact which was a real dick move. She answered her phone and told me as much and that she was stuck in Williamsburg with no internet. As if she wasn’t talking to me on a smartphone, not unlike the one I had just used to go to the website and get her number. People.
Anyway, I was there, it had taken me twenty minutes to get there and I was dressed to hike or run so I just went out on my own and did both for a little over 3 miles. Turns out the organizer also didn’t research at all and there was a breast cancer walk at that very time, the after party for which let out just as I attempted to leave an hour after arriving. So, that sucked, but it sucked a lot less than breast cancer so I tried not to be too annoyed as it took me over half an hour to get out of the parking lot and onto the main road.
It was a really nice trail with a lot of hills and it was all along a big lake and the James River so I’ll likely be back. And I took pictures since I was taking it slow for two of the three miles.





PreK is My Jam

So, I’ve been an active substitute teacher for two weeks now and have worked four days- one as a reading interventionist with 1st and 2nd graders, one hellacious half day as a first grade teacher, a day as a preK teacher and a  half day as a preK paraprofessional. The only bad day was doing first grade because the kids completely changed as soon as their teacher left and there was no getting everyone to be quiet and focus at the same time, or to stay on task, so it was chaotic and I couldn’t really get them to complete anything.

Working as a reading interventionist went well because the largest group I had was six kids so it was easy to keep them on task and engaged. PreK has been amazing because there are two adults (a teacher and a para) for each class of 18 kids. This generally means that there is a familiar adult in the room even when there is a sub, so the kids don’t act out like they tend to when there is a sub. All of the kids, the first graders who handed me my ass included, are so freaking cute, but I think the kids can sense that I’m really pretty nice and also don’t know every classroom rule and so they definitely tested limits and I always had a group of kids harassing other students while another handful were asking me for snacks or the bathroom or complaining about kids taking things from them, etc. I just had to realize that I might not be the best at wrangling a classroom full of unfamiliar six year olds by myself.

Basically, I’m thinking of sticking with preK and I’ve already gotten to know two teachers who would like for me to come back next time they’re out, so I think the plan could work. I was actually supposed to teach high school English today, but the school I was going to be at has been on lockdown once this week (yesterday!) for gun threats and has been in the news three times this week for the same reason, threats of a shooting. I felt like based on that, this probably wouldn’t be an environment I’d be comfortable in, especially as I was already nervous about working with older kids because I’ve heard of teachers getting harassed and threatened and I don’t know if I’d be able to keep them from acting out. So, yeah, I threw that job back into the pool and I’m sticking to the little kids that I have loved working with. With the h.s. thing, even if the rumors hadn’t come to anything yet, I figure where there’s that much smoke, there’s going to be fire. Scary.