Monday, May 25, 2009

Getaway to Ocean City.

Everyone looks tired except Sarah! Took 3 hours to get there and almost 6 to get back! Traffic was awful - must have been the holiday. Had a great time though - anything would have been better than spending another night on campus. Been working hard lately and the students finally left Saturday. Now we are gearing up for some peace and quiet, but still have lots of stuff to do before Spring Semester is officially closed out. Sarah had a great time trying to throw all the sand back in the water, while watching her play and giggle took my mind far away from work. Good times.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

See? He's lookin' right atcha!

The week before last I loaded the family into the Jetta for a trip down to GA. I had some work to do in the ER (babies were born and there were holes in the schedule) and Sarah had a date with her Papa for some playing time. We left on a Thursday when I got off work up here and we started the long drive down through 5 states. Somewhere around 12:30 AM we got off at a North Carolina exit in the not too populated area and pulled into a gas station. Hal of course assumes the role of man and starts pumping the gas while all I can think of is how good a cold Diet Dr. Pepper would taste. The kid needs to stretch her legs so I take her in the litte Shell store with me. As soon as we walk in I notice a scrawny little man behind the counter wearing a light blue Shell button up shirt and a ball cap. I ask him if he has ice and he points me to his right. I find the cups and ice and press the lever and then I hear and see a MOUSE fall off a food rack and down the wall! I'm so damn tired from working and driving that I don't even flinch but rather a slow look of suprise spreads across my face. I feel my eyes open a little more. I take a moment to ponder whether or not that mouse had any chance at all of being inside the ice machine crawling all over the ice that was now inside my ugly styrofoam cup. I decide no, fill up two more cups with ice, and head to the front counter. Now, all this time, I can hear the scrawny cashier man talking to Sarah but somehow I know she's safe, even if he's weird. He is weird. I walk up to the counter and see that he's out from behind the register and in the middle of the store staring right at a large cardboard cut-out of a man selling some sort of product. Maybe oil? Don't know and I can't remember, but this cardboard man is pretty much life size and one dimensional. But this scrawny cashier guy is seriously staring at the cardboard man. He looks back and forth between me, Sarah, and the cardboard man. "See," he blurts, "he's looking right at us." He moves over to the other side of the store, close to his register. "And now, look! He's still looking at you! And he's looking right at me too!" Out from behind the counter he comes again as Sarah gives me an uncertain smile. He scuttles her over where he was standing and says to me, "young lady, go over there by the door." I follow his instructions perhaps because I was sleepy and a bit out of it. I go stand by the door and look back at the cardboard man. "Ah ha! See, now he's looking right at you! See his eyes!" Sarah usually talks all the time. Day after day, hour after hour. Unless she is asleep, she is talking. But during this gas station exchange, she is quiet with a silly grin on her face. She looks at him, she looks at me. I look at him. He mostly just looks at the cardboard man. Finally I walk up to the counter and ask him how much for the cups and ice. He looks confused for a minute, shakes his head back and forth and says to me, "how do they make somethin' like that? I mean it don't matter where you standin'! He's lookin' right atcha."
I pay 90 cents for my three cups of ice, look down and see Sarah with a silly and now michevious grin on her face. I ask her what she's done and she shows me a piece of candy in her hand. I ask the man how much. He says a dime, but she can have it. I give him the dime he's just given me and head out the store. Hal asks us as we walk back to the car what took us so long. I tell him there was a startled mouse by the ice machine and a cardboard man staring at everyone and then Sarah tried to swipe a piece of candy. He gets in the car next to me and starts to laugh.
Moral of the story? You really should be awake for late night stops for gas in the South.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


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Writing Contest!

Here it is folks! Your chance to get your fingers nimbled up on the keyboard again! Write, write, write! This is the first writing contest I have EVER entered. I read about it in Real Simple magazine a few days ago. Answer the question, "When did you realize that you had become a grown up?" in 1500 words or less! The contest runs from May 1st until September 7th and the grand prize is very cool! Read all about it at
I emailed my entry in this morning. I'd let you read it but I can't "publish it in any medium" for it to be a valid contest entry. In January they announce the winners so I'll let you read my entry then! Now, go type!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Already missin' the sweet, sunny South

Just got back from a 4 day trip to Georgia. Went down to do some work in the ER at Athens Regional, and while most people might think I'm seriously crazy for driving 1300 miles round trip to work all weekend, I do not. It's true what they say: home is where the heart is. Now, I'm not saying I made a mistake moving to Maryland, or even that I'm not happy here. It's just that home is home. There is something about the place you came from, some cosmic connection that is hard to put aside. As I was driving through some of the city streets in Athens, even out in the countryside, I couldn't help but think about my childhood as different memories ran through my mind mile after mile. Sometimes I wish I could turn back the clock for a moment and climb the steps to my grandmother's house smelling her freshly fried potatoes and chicken on the table. Or maybe I could run through the woods with my cousins and play our little version of house - designated by the trees and the boundaries between them. We could giggle together and get into some trouble together. Much of childhood is mundane: get up, go to school, do your homework, do chores, go to sleep and do it all over again - but some moments, some smells, some thoughts and feelings stick out like a deer in a cornfield when I ride down those country roads. Athens is where I finished my childhood and found myself. It's a great town with a lot of great opportunities lurking wherever you seek to find them. Today I drove to the campus bookstore and bought some Georgia stuff. Somehow I needed to remind myself that I still loved the place I came from, that I still felt a deep connection not only to the place, but to the people, to my family and friends, and even to the streets and buildings that I so frequently passed by not so long ago. If you read anything about the paranormal, you'll come across this: places have a "memory." I have many memories of Georgia. I wonder what Georgia remembers about me?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tough decision!

In my earnest efforts to be green, I've been looking at the new Honda Insight. It gets 45 miles per gallon and is very cool! I test drove it and filled out the application for credit. BUT, is it "greener" to just keep my VW Jetta that gets about 29-30 miles per gallon and is over half paid for? I don't know! I'm wavering! In the greenest sense it probably makes sense to get all the use out of my VW than to buy something new. But also, it would be good to have 45 miles per gallon on those long trips to Georgia and back. Any comments or suggestions are appreciated.