November 21, 2017

Said around our house + Thanksgiving Food

I am far too lazy (is lazy the word?) to type up a separate Thanksgiving post this year because we're not cooking a big dinner with just the two of us...Scott has had class all week so going home, though we normally don't, wasn't in the cards. Plus, we weren't sure what state we'd be in for Thanksgiving (I think we'll be in Colorado). But here's some posts from years past!

And now, some conversations that have happened around here lately....

Scott ordered this cart that is meant to haul duck decoys from the truck to the body of water and back again. It's supposed to really lighten the workload aspect of duck and goose hunting. The person who patented it is some sort of creative genius because he named it the Honker Hauler.

Last year, the Honker Hauler showed up on the porch via UPS, in pieces. Scott went to assemble the cart weeks later and there were some connecting pieces (screws and such) missing. He thinks he lost them somewhere along the line.
So for the last year, I've made fun of the Honker Hauler that doesn't actually haul anything, but just sits next to our shed. Every tome Scott loads his bag of hundreds of duck decoys into the bed of the truck I say, "Wow, too bad you don't have a cart-like device to move those things around for you." He doesn't find this amusing.

The other day, Scott said the breaker in the circuit box tripped in Laramie at the house. I asked how and he said...I was in the garage welding the goose cart together...
Me: You mean the Honker Hauler?
Him: Yes.
Me: You were welding it together because there's no screws?
Him: Yes.
Me: So the breaker tripped...
Him: Yes..
Me: Another problem caused by the Honker Hauler.
Him: ...yes.
Me: Another goose season without the Honker Hauler is coming.

I really think that, at this point, he's sorry he bought the Honker Hauler. I noticed that he still has the welding equipment sitting out because he's still planning to put this thing together for this winter.

(Click on the link up there if you want more information about the Honker Hauler. I can't look at their logo without laughing.)


Me, trying to figure out what the letters are in the internet password at the house in Laramie:
Hey, what are these? Is that a "q"? I've tried this 3 times and it's not working.

Scott: They're all the letter a.

Those are NOT all the letter a


Yesterday, I had to ride a bus to get somewehre for the first time ever. Our house in Laramie is next to one of the university bus stops. I grew up in a town without buses. I had a car in college. I never lived downtown-anywhere. Scott apparently takes the bus every day because it's free and is about a mile ride and then he doesn't have to look for parking twice a day. It makes a lot of sense unless you're country folk like me.

Him, coaching me: You walk to the bus stop. There will probably be other people waiting too. You get on the bus. It only goes to one place. You get off the bus when it stops.
Me: How much does it cost?
Him: It's free.
Me: Oh hmmm... you want me to show you how to get to the bus stop? (note: you can see it from our house)
Me: No, I think I'll be okay.

20 minutes later:
Him: So are you going to do this? I'm leaving now.
Me: Yeah, okay.

I felt a lot like Sheila leaving her house on Shameless, just because I never go anywhere like this. I drive places. Period.

November 20, 2017

CO Springs -> Laramie

Scout has actually been sleeping on his dog bed, which is startling and fantastic news because this is the first time in four years that he's been willing to sleep on a dog bed. Maybe some day we'll try a kennel. Just kidding. He's a person, not a dog.

On Friday, I went out after work with some teachers I used to work with. Old Chicago wasn't incredibly impressive but the company was good.

I don't wear a Steelers jersey for fun in a Broncos' town, but it was "team" day at school, so that's what I just happened to have on. 

Saturday morning, I packed my bag and headed to Wyoming. We walked the dogs on a great looped trail, went to Walmart, and made dinner.

Sunday, I cleaned and settled in (when I move up here, I'm bringing my own lighting #nooverheadlights), while Scott did schoolwork. Then we went out for lunch with a friend of Scott's and walked the dogs again (so that picture up there x2).

I read a bit...making more progress than pictured here.

Then I made dinner and watched reruns while Scott studied for a test. 

I bought these boots last year, wore them once or twice, and decided I'd start actually wearing them this year. In meaningless news, I had taken the popsocket off my phone last summer because it was starting to drive me insane. I thought maybe I'd try putting it back on and I couldn't get it to work. So I just threw the dumb thing away. I initially took it off because I couldn't stand the way my phone wouldn't lay flat with it on. 

I won't say it was an exciting weekend but I did no schoolwork and I have nowhere to be today or tomorrow or...until next Monday.  I successfully checked my work email not at all, and I won't (I won't) until next week.

If you do have to work today, here's some motivation:

Linking up with Biana

November 17, 2017

Friday Gratefulness and Favorites #3

1. I'm heading up to Wyoming tomorrow to spend a few days. Scott still has class for most of next week and I would rather be with him than here alone, but also, he's busy and, as I well know, the dogs are a timesuck. Anyway, we'll be back in Colorado for Thanksgiving. I suppose I'm just grateful, in this case, of my full week off and the fact that I can reflect on what I've done this year and what I'll do in 2018. Also, I plan on painting the hideously yellow living room, as long as I can dig the painting supplies out of the shed.

2. I'm having dinner with some former coworkers tonight. I can't believe that I lucked into such great coworkers in Colorado. I always had friendly and caring coworkers, but the ones in Colorado are legitimate friends that I really miss when I don't see them every day. In the past, my friends at each base were army wives, not people I met through work. Here, it's the exact opposite.

3. The Steelers won last night. Did I watch? The first half and then I went to bed. But they won and I'm grateful it's been a good season (though they barely pulled it off last weekend). I need this (uh, we need this) after the downward spiral that's happened to Penn State. They went from 6 to 4 to 2 to FOURTEEN to 10 in the rankings, so far this season. I don't understand it. And they're still 8-2, so I really don't get it. But the Steelers won and are also 8-2.

New Steelers gear is on my Christmas list. 

4. Sometimes a motivational quote hits you at the right time. I really liked Brene Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection when I listened to it sometime last year or the year before. I saw this the other day and it brought back all the valuable lessons I learned from that book.

5. And, finally, I'm genuinely grateful that all of those things Scott worked so hard to fix over the last few weeks (the furnace...the RAV4...etc) are still working. It's been a season here.


Finally. Friday.

Linking up with Rebecca!

November 16, 2017

1 year back

A year ago, Scott came back from deployment #3 to Afghanistan, and deployment #4 out of 5 total over the last 8 years. I came across this quote ^ on Pinterest a few weeks ago and it is the truest group of words I've seen, as much quotes/words can relate to deployment. While deployments these days aren't always a year or more the way they once were, it's still a journey and at the beginning you always wonder HOW you will make it to the end. You know WHY, you know you will, you know the WHEN, but wondering HOW you will get there is daunting.

While I don't want to rehash all those months (he was gone for 9 months that time), the dates of departures and returns always stick in my mind. In fact, so much has happened since last November that I don't even want to think back that far. It was like I was another person. I think, honestly, with each year we've been in the military (because it IS a joint effort), I've transformed into someone new. I was different before Alaska, I was different after each deployment in Alaska, I was different after a year in Missouri, I was different after all three deployments that have occurred in get the idea. My point is: deployments are hard and life-changing, even if you think things pick right up where they left off.

This graphic up there is actually more poignant when you think about the beginning of a deployment versus the end of a deployment. However, you never know where you'll be a year later either. For example, for me and for us, the two biggest things were: Where would we be living and what fertility treatments would we pursue after that deployment was over? A year ago, I had no idea what the answers to those questions would be and it's pretty laughable and quite ironic to think about how we still don't have actual answers.
For all we knew, we could've PCSed to Ft. Bragg or Ft. Drum or Ft. something-or-other...we could've had a baby. We could've gone overseas or back to Alaska...we could've not done IVF. We could've gotten out of the army. We also had no idea he'd have to deploy back to Europe just a few months after this (linked above) deployment was over.

As the chips fell, we ended up taking an option for Scott to get another masters, but we still have these two houses we're back and forth between. We went for IVF and it didn't work. Nothing ever *quite* turns out the way you assume, right? Sometimes it's for the better and sometimes it's not. Regardless, you can never predict how things will go during a deployment and that time afterward can be just as odd and life-changing.

I'm sure there's more deployments in our future but, until then, I think I'll just remember how the past ones helped me grow as a person, and enjoy this non-deployable time for the next few years.

*For some 'fun' and slightly depressive reading, here's a bunch of my deployment posts.*

November 14, 2017


I told myself I was going to read when we went home to Pennsylvania. I told myself I'd read on the airplanes. I told myself I'd read at the airports.

I did none of that. In fact, I remembered very quickly that I get horribly airsick. Also, I don't read to relax. I have to be relaxed in order to read. Airports are the opposite of relaxing for me.

So I didn't make much progress in October.

I did finish When We Were Worthy by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen. It was okay. I'd rate it a B-. I liked it well enough as there was a little mystery to it, but it was sad.

I also read Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. I'd give it a C. I read it in one week and that was a raging success because it was a library book and I refuse to let the system of ebook-borrowing beat me.

It was okay. I actually really liked the first 1/4 or so and then I started losing interest. I liked Out of the Easy much better. This one, with all the points of view (and I am a FAN of short chapters), didn't have a character depth that I could appreciate.


I will call that an absolute failure in one sense, but it also opens up the chance for me to share my favorite fall read-aloud books for 4th graders.

The Headless Ghost by R.L. Stine
This is my second favorite Goosebumps book. I always liked it as a kid and started reading it to fourth-graders back in 2010...I've read it every year since. If you look on Netflix, there is a corresponding episode of the Goosebumps TV show for it. The show is a complete 180 from the book, so it makes for a nice lesson in comparing and contrasting. Any excuse to pull out a Venn Diagram, right?

Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe
I didn't read this until I was substituting in a 4th grade classroom back in 2008. I read it to my class in 2011 and it's been a permanent fixture ever since. Some years I read the sequels, but usually I just tell kids about them so they're aware. It's likely my favorite children's book of all time.

No Talking by Andrew Clements
I can't remember when I first read this. All of Andrew Clements' books are amusing and real and just fun to read. I love a good school story. I may have read them all over the last 5 years. This one inspires a bit of introspection on the part of the students and gives me a chance to pose some interesting questions (i.e. why do we talk so much?). I read this in November because it takes place in November.

Mayflower Treasure Hunt by Ron Roy
I found this in 2012, which was a year after we visited The Mayflower II in Plymouth. The book corresponds so well with the real setting of Plymouth and the actual history, with a little bit of fiction thrown in to make it extra interesting. The A to Z Mystery books are generally for 2nd-4th grade students, and I've read this to 2nd and read it to 4th and they both like it. With 4th, I go more in-depth, teaching about the real first Thanksgiving and showing them what Plymouth actually looks like and how my experience there compares to this book.

Sadly, I don't think I'm going to get to Mayflower Treasure Hunt this year. My group isn't overly mature, but they did refer to Goosebumps as "cringey", making me think that they may not appreciate the works of Ron Roy. Oh well. We only have four more school days until Thanksgiving (!!!) so I'll just finish Bunnicula and move onto No Talking.

So that's October. I would say I have high hopes for November but you know how that can go...I'm always looking for a good recommendation though!

Linking up with Jana and Steph!

November 13, 2017

Currently 11/13: The vet and Shameless, mostly

Hating...the vet.

On Saturday morning, I took Jett to the vet. We suspected a UTI of sorts but I called to make an appointment and all. Our appointment was at 10am and I got there at 9:50. We got back into the exam room around 10:45. We had one or two interactions with techs and the vet and waited in the room until noon. That's over two hours. Finally, at 12:10, I was like, We're gonna go...and they assured me the urinalysis results would be ready soon. I paid ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN DOLLARS and we left. The whole angry-tears thing was happening and I was so irritated.

They called 5 minutes later to tell me they had an antibiotic ready for him if I wanted to come back and get it. That was another FIFTY-TWO DOLLARS. He also got cranberry pills.

I told them that I couldn't remember the last time I'd had a good experience at their office. They seem to have swapped out there staff completely in the last few months and I recognized no one, aside from the vet. In fact, I brought up the fact that, last time when I went to pick up heartworm medicine, they tried to give me the kind for 50-100 pound dogs because they had Jett's weight on the chart as EIGHTY POUNDS. Jett weighs 47 pounds. When I said this, they asked if I was sure.

Thinking...that the most interesting people I know are the ones who watch Shameless. We started the new season this weekend, because I wasn't going to start last week without Scott. But we also rewatched just about all of last season he because hadn't remembered seeing it.

Watching...Scott likes the show Vice Principals so I recorded a few episodes. I haven't laughed that hard in awhile. I was also reminded that I never finished the last few seasons of Justified.

Reading...tomorrow is the Show Us Your Books link-up and I'll share my piddly excuses for reading during the month of October. But, right now, I'm actually enjoying The Bookshop on the Corner more than I thought I would so that's what I've been reading at night these days.

Baking...I got it in my head that I wanted to make these pumpkin cookies. I don't do pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake or anything like that...but I ate half the bowl of frosting before these cookies were even baked.

Wondering...why I hate this dry, late fall season in Colorado so much? With the temperatures in the high 60s this week, I blamed part of my meltdown at the vet on the fact that it's so "hot" out.

Also, wondering why we made the terrible decision to do nothing yesterday except watch Shameless...I did walk the dogs a few times and Scott went duck hunting and I stopped at the store...but that was not the way to set myself up for success for the week. It was actually a really terrible idea.

Thank goodness it's only 5 more days until Thanksgiving break.

Hope you made decisions that would set up with success for the week! (unlike me)

Linking up with Biana...

November 10, 2017

Friday Gratefulness and Favorites

1. Even though we didn't get a brand new car last weekend, our RAV4 runs better than it did when it was brand-new and it's just as clean...we cleaned it in anticipation of a trade-in and, since that didn't happen, I get to enjoy it now. And now that it's super clean, Scott agreed that the dogs should stay out of it. I love them more than anything but you know how dog hair goes.  I honestly feel like my life is back together, after feeling very unorganized since August, with all our random vehicle hiccups and swapping back and forth.

2. Can I say how grateful I am that Scott fixed everything on my car himself? He's always fixed everything on every car by himself. This RAV4 actually required a new wiring harness and he sat and rewired pieces and matched up connectors and stripped down the entire engine (literally everything under the hood was on the ground) to get this thing fixed. Even ordering and installing a new computer for the RAV4...he did all of that. We now have two extra wiring harnesses and one extra computer lying around...was this a cheap fix? No. But the dealership wanted close to $4,000 when they quoted us 3 years ago. He did it for a quarter of that. It didn't even take him that long, once he knew he had the right parts. The dealership needed two days just to diagnose it (and they did that part incorrectly). Scott replaced everything in a few hours.

Wiring harness

He's also fixed the Nissan (I don't even know what was wrong with it, but it's a 1999 so there's always something that could be improved upon...he rebuilt the exhaust a few years ago), and he's getting ready to pull the transmission out of the diesel truck, so as to replace it.

It's been a long season for us these last six months or so.

But I would be remiss if I didn't offer him the biggest compliments for being so self-sufficient. I only wish people understood WHY we are so busy every weekend. We're busy with stuff like this. No one else does stuff like this with their days off (and sometimes days on). If you do know of someone, please send me their number. Scott could use a like-minded friend. (I'm only kind of kidding.)

3. Winter is here and I like it.

4. My new planner showed up this week. It took me forever to decide on a pattern. They don't have plaid anymore, so I went with houndstooth. This was a splurge. But, as I realized this past year, I'll use it.

5. No students today, as we are doing "professional development". Honestly, we rarely have full 5-day weeks in my district and I get too used to that and then when we do have a 5-day week, it throws me off and the kids are miserable too. But it's always oddly relaxing to go to work and not have students. Like, this is what most of the working population must feel like, right? Getting to go to the bathroom whenever you want and all.

Happy weekend!

November 9, 2017

Unpopular Opinions

This post was inspired by Rachel, because I do like seeing the inner-workings of how people think.

The biggest unpopular opinion I've had lately is probably that I really don't like Halloween. I find dressing up to be exhausting, mentally.

Here's more:

I don't like baseball.

Watching movies is one of my least preferred activities. I even thought about ways I could change this, but haven't figured it out yet. I think the last movie I watched all the way through was back in March. Sometimes Scott will say Let's go to the movies and I really have to psych myself up for it.

Tacos are just okay.

I think I was more impressed with Alaska being "Alaska" and Missouri being "Missouri" than I am with Colorado living up to the hype. I won't say I wanted to live in either place forever (because I didn't) but they were what I expected.

Chocolate is okay. Vanilla or caramel are better flavors.

Chai tea is gross. So are PSLs.

I don't vote. I used to, but I don't anymore. I can't vote in Colorado because I'm not a resident even though the issues here affect me more than the issues in Alaska do. I could send in absentee ballots but I don't know anything about local politics in Alaska now. Voting uninformed isn't ideal.

Spirit week/spirit days are my nightmare.

I cannot stand 80s music.

I don't buy magazines. I think they're a huge waste of money.

I don't like To Kill a Mockingbird. I understand why it's an important part of history because of how it was written but I don't like it as literature. I didn't love it in 11th grade and I don't care for it now.

I like turning back the clocks in the fall. As I told someone yesterday, all those years (you know, all four of them) in Alaska did something me. I find the dusk comforting.

What are your unpopular opinions?

November 7, 2017

Pumpkin Swap Link-Up!

Today is the day to link-up the goodies you shared with your Pumpkin Swap partner!

Because my partner and I are international, I haven't received my box yet, and she hasn't gotten hers. Fun fact: we were also partners back in 2013.

Regardless, I'll come back and edit this post as soon as I get it!

Please link-up your blog post, link to your Instagram, link to a tweet, etc. You can also share on social media with the hashtag #GreatPumpkinSwap!

Thanks to everyone for joining in, and thanks to Becky for co-hosting with me!

November 6, 2017

Diwali and Stranger Things

On Friday, I headed up to Laramie for the weekend. We had one goal in mind: attempt to trade in the RAV4 for a different SUV. We even sat in one for awhile.

Unfortunately, Toyota of Laramie wasn't will to come down in price from the MSRP (not by much anyway) and we walked away. Oh well. We're exploring different options now. I wanted a new car, yes. But we know our worth and a dealership doesn't get to decide what we're willing to pay. They actually told us that there was no military rebate available, which isn't true. The salesperson was very nice and helpful but the sales manager didn't even want to try so whatever. We'll go somewhere else.

We went for lunch at a sushi place and the UW student next to us was bemoaning the fact that now there will be no final season of House of Cards.

My internal reply was People still watch House of Cards? This is no great loss to entertainment.

Later that afternoon, we headed to the UW campus for the annual Diwali Night.

There are many students from India and surrounding countries at UW working on masters degrees and PhDs. The university gives them money for their research. Most of these are chemistry and engineering students, so most of Scott's friends are from the other side of the world. A few were participating in Diwali night so we were invited.

I was not anticipating the dancing, or the fact that I'd actually have to participate. 

The food was good.

And it was nice and snowy on the way out. 

Sunday morning, we both drove back to Colorado Springs because Scott needed to pick some things up to take back with him. Highlights of this included him telling me I drive too slow, my bluetooth cutting out repeatedly when our vehicles were too close to each other (because my phone is hooked up to both the car and the truck), and then me actually starting to cry in Panera because they put my latte in a ceramic mug (is this 1995????) instead of a to-go cup. In my defense, they let it sit on the counter until our food was ready and it was cold by the time I was buzzed to go get it. Scott asked them to heat it up in a to-go cup and they made me another one. I can't remember the last time I got so upset about something meaningless, which is a fun look into the layers of my subconscious, I guess. 

Sunday afternoon, we watched 6 episodes of Stranger Things, finishing season 2, because that was the best use of our time. I'm okay with that.

No spoilers from me...

What did you think? I like the way it ended. Steve is wonderful. I can't wait for season 3, which seems imminent. 

Two more weeks until Thanksgiving break....

Linking up with Biana!