Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013

This was me 10 days ago. This was the first day of winter break and I spent it in Urgent Care getting some treatment for my fresh case of pneumonia.  Good Times. I'm nowhere near back to normal yet, but 10 days makes a big difference when you are talking about the ability to breathe.  Ending my year like this makes me forget all the great things that happened this year. I keep catching myself in a negative mindset from frustration. This post is to help me remember all the good that happened in 2013.

My biggest achievement of the year, honestly my biggest achievement of my life was finishing my master's degree. So much work, so much stress and so thankful that it is done. However, it's all mine and no one can ever take it away.

This year I also got a PR at the Corvallis Half Marathon. I think we finished in 2:16 ish, which was about 8 minutes faster than the previous year. With my ongoing foot issues I'm not sure if I'll be half-marathon worthy again, so I'm sure proud of that accomplishment.

Tiny and Tab!
This year we got really, really smart and we sold the monstrosity toy hauler trailer and the big diesel truck. They netted us a really nice profit which we used to pay off some old debt. We additionally sold my car and consolidated down to the Honda Pilot (Tiny) and a Tab teardrop trailer. Hands down this is the best move we have ever made. We have already had countless adventures and have camped more in the past 6 months than we have in the past 20 years. We look forward to many more adventures in this little piece of heaven in 2014.

Friends and Family! These crazy folks! I count my blessings every single day that all of these people are close enough to see on a daily basis if I want to.

And finally, the best part of 2013. I am lucky enough to continue to be a member of the Ross pack. There is nothing I would rather be and while we certainly have our moments where we could throttle each other, isn't that what living passionately really is all about?

2013- It really was a good year. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cabin Fever

Fast forward 5 days from the "Snow Day" and you arrive at Day 4 of school canceled due to this fantastic weather. Yes, that's right, 4 days of no school due to the 9 inches of snow we received last Friday. No, we haven't received one additional flake since then. Instead we have received 5 days in a row of sub freezing temperatures resulting in no melting snow. Apparently we have no infrastructure capable of handling this and thus this town has given up any sort of fight to restore our lives to normalcy. It will rain soon. That is their snow removal plan as near as I can tell. Great. I'd like to know what the "restore my summer" plan is because while I'm sitting here watching every Christmas movie ever created on all networks, my summer slowly is tick, tick, ticking away to snow make up days.

On a more positive note, I've got the house nice and clean as well as completely decorated for the holidays. I resorted to cleaning my closet today. I may even tackle the spare room before the day is over. It's funny, I'm so excited for winter break, but this is different. Winter break is when we are all off together and can spend fun free time with friends and family. This however is a time where I'm trapped in the house with no car and nothing to do but chores. I'm ready to go back to work and earn my winter break.

I never thought I'd say this, but come on Oregon winter rain. We need you.

Friday, December 6, 2013


This is what it looked like outside my house at about 7:15 this morning. What a fantastic treat for a Friday morning with two weeks still to go before Winter Break officially starts. It didn't let up and soon my front yard looked like this.
OSU made the brilliant call to remain open so Sean scraped off Tiny and headed in to work. They quickly realized their mistake and closed and sent everyone home at noon.  This give us the unexpected opportunity for a mid day family walk.

What a beautiful day! It is supposed to be down to the single digits tonight so I expect we will have this 8 inches of beautiful scenery around for a few days to come.  Fine with me. I've got no where to be until Monday morning.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Thanksgiving morning. I'm reflecting on the past year as I wait for the spectacle that is the Macy's Parade. I'm a sucker for traditions.  The past several years have been spent running the Turkey Trot this morning, however this year, injury has kept me from the starting line. I'm going to do a walk, trot to the park and back when Sean gets up. I'm hoping to convince him to swing through Safeway for a cinnamon roll on the way back home since I forgot to buy our traditional Pillsbury cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I've been out of it the last few days working way too much. Time got away from me and I lost track of what is important. This is the post to remind me.

Last night we had happy hour with friends. It had been months since we saw them. That was ridiculous. Good friends should not go for months without seeing each other. We will remedy that one and already have a December date for a meet up. Friendships are one thing I'm very thankful for. Melinda and I finally got back on the meeting up for the Sunday coffee run. I'm so thankful for that!
Family. They make you insane. They pick you up and carry you when you have nothing left to give.They get your dumb jokes, they give you crap and call you on your bullshit. I couldn't ask for a better group to call my clan and I love them more than they will ever truly know.

OREGON. The most beautiful state of them all. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. Seriously. Enough said.

Finally, the thing I am most thankful for in the world. LOVE. This man is the first and last thought I have every day. He gives me strength when I need it and space when I don't. We have an ideal mix of opposite and aligned tastes and I can't imagine navigating this life of mine without him.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. Count your blessings, eat your pie and pour a second glass of wine. This really is a wonderful life. (Sorry George Bailey, your season starts tomorrow!)


Saturday, November 23, 2013

Random Thoughts

It's been a long week. It's parent teacher conferences again and while I love the opportunity to meet the families and share my experiences thus far in the year, it's always a little like preparing for the unexpected. So far, they have gone well. There are two more days to go so we will see how it all pans out.

I've been over worked and over stressed and let my toxic attitude seep out of my pores this week. I feel ashamed for that. I had a sharp tongue and let thoughts that should have been filtered and stay in my head escape my lips. I hope I have not damaged friendships. It was a very long week, but time does not excuse bad behavior. I will not let that happen again.

Last week I tried jogging for the first time in three months. It was only for a block or two and only a couple of times during my walk, but you would have thought I just completed my first big race. The amount of joy I felt at the end of that exercise session was ridiculous. It could have something to do with the fact that I was also reunited with the most amazing exercise buddy I know, but honestly the running, how ever slow and how ever little, felt like coming home. I sure hope that my foot finally heals up or I decide to go for the surgery so I can feel alive every day again.

Last night I went to an after work crafting party. I didn't want to go. I'm not crafty. I grabbed my knitting bag and went anyway. It was the best decision I've made in a long time. It ended up that there were only three of us and what was supposed to be crafting turned into three hours of snacking and deep, thoughful conversation among friends. It was one of those perfect storm moments where had we tried to plan something like that it would have never happend. Souls were bared, stories were told, advice was given and taken and at the end of it all I felt more whole than I've felt in a long time.  I hope I have the good fortune to experience that again some day.

The weather has been beautiful this week. Cold, bone chilling cold for the valley, and clear. I love this kind of weather. This weekend will be spent in the yard finally cleaning up the death of summer. I'm ready to let it all go. There are many parts of my life, house and yard that need cleaning out and letting go. I'll start with the yard and go from there.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Writing is Hard

Today we started the first of three district writing assessments. It was painful. The same kids who pour out pages of stories in their journals cry, stomp and flat out refuse to write when required to do so. Why is that? I think it is because writing is such a personal endeavor that even kids know it's no fun to put something out there with the sole purpose of being judged proficient or not.

It is ironic to me that the rules that we work so hard to drill into students' heads, go out the window when one becomes a successful writer. I spend weeks each year teaching my students not to start sentences with "and" or "because", yet their choice library books have counteless examples of such rules being disregarded. We practice over and over writing complete sentences, only to read fragments and run on sentences on websites, in brochures and again, in chapter books. "Artistic liberty" I tell them as I explain that once you know and understand the rules that you may choose to break them. They look confused as I become one of those adults that I didn't trust when I was their age. Do as I teach, not as I do. Oh, if they were ever to read this blog, what would they think of my careless disregard for the hard and fast rules of my middle school language arts teacher? What was her name anyway?

I fear writing is becoming a lost art form. I miss the days when letters were written and received. Even my presence here in post form is becoming few and far between. Posts get pushed to the side as I respond to texts and e-mails and close the computer before pounding out the thoughts in my head onto my keyboard. I should try to get back to writing more. I love to do it. I only hope that some of my students can overcome their insecurity and put themselves out there. Not for me to judge, but to be heard, for through the writing process, some of the best insights are found.

Write on friends, write on.

Sunday, October 27, 2013


Yesterday I remembered what it felt like to breathe again. It came in the form of a bicycle ride through freshly fallen leaves. The cool and crisp weather brought dry leaves which made that wonderful crunching sound as we rolled over them. The ride was to the farmer's market. I was in search of my favorite treat of this season. Liberty Apples. I wait all year for them. I should just break down and plant a tree of my own. But then again, I'd just miss out on my fun fall ride.

It's been a rough few weeks. The beginning of the school year is always stressful and this year there are some major changes going on with the change to common core and the new teacher evaluations tied to test scores. I don't believe in it at all and I'm not sure how I'm going to survive this phase of the education system. I'm going to continue doing what I know is right and what I know is best for kids. When that stops being acceptable, I'll walk away and move onto my next chapter.

I've also been pretty much sick for the past 3 weeks. I'm sure this stemmed from the nature of the job and the huge increase in stress associated with said job. Couple that with my nagging foot injury which has kept me from running for going on two months and it's a recipe for weight gain and cloudy head. Not a good combination. Yesterday's ride got me thinking about getting back in the game again.

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks. I'm looking at switching to biking as my thing. While my dr. continues to bring up that nasty "swimming" word, I'm much happier on two wheels. When the weather gets worse and the sky get darker earlier I'm thinking of switching to spinning. I always loved that.

Ok, time to go think about getting some additional crunch time under my tires.


Monday, October 21, 2013

End of an Era

Sometimes stereotypes fit. You know what they say about red heads right? Well, Bailey lived up to it. She started out life as an abandoned barn cat, left to die, by a mother who knew better. Unfortunately, my mother with her heart of gold, rescued the two orphan sisters and hand fed them until they were old enough to go to their own homes. Bailey joined our family when she was just 6 weeks old. That was nearly 18 years ago.  Today, the angry ginger left our world. She will be the last cat we ever have. In ways both good and bad, no other feline could ever live up to her legacy anyway.

Bailey was the most cantankerous cat ever. She loved small children, big black and white stray dogs, canned tuna and trickery. Her best friend ever was Marley dog. I think she gave up a little when we lost him a few years ago. She took her grief out on all border collies who entered our home from that day forward. Bailey was the reason that we couldn't keep a pet sitter for more than one weekend for years.  She made grown men scream like little girls, and was known to chase said men clear across the house. My favorite cornering involved a house guest of Sean's becoming trapped in the bathroom by the 8 pound cat.  We awoke in the middle of the night to  "Sean, come get your fucking cat."  That story still makes me chuckle. Who needs a guard dog when you have an 8 pound, hand raised kitty.

She had the tease down to an art form. We would give all house guests the typical disclaimer warning "no matter how cute the cat is, don't pet her, it's a trick."  Inevitably, they would somehow think they were the cat whisperer, who could conquer her. She'd spot them a mile away.  It always started the same, weaving between their legs like a perfect figure 8. "Look how cute I am" she'd beckon. Then she'd pull out the big guns and flip over on her back. We'd repeat our warnings, but no one would ever listen the first time. As they reached down to pet her she'd seal the deal, a small glistening bit of drool would begin to form in the corner of her mouth as she let them scratch under her neck. Then, quick as lightening it would happen. She would simultaneously wrap all four paws around their arm while pulling it to her mouth for the bite. Perhaps she had some vampire blood in that twisted gene pool of hers.  Sean and I could do nothing but exchange the "told you so" glance while going for the anti-bacterial soap and band aides.  I once had a co-worker who now wears a permanent scar from falling for this not once, but twice.

I don't want you to get the wrong idea. While she was a nightmare, I loved her. Even things that annoy us are worthy of our love. The house isn't going to be quite the same without her. She was my perfect training tool for Annie's "leave it" and "stay".  She wouldn't get within 5 feet of Bay. She knew better. I will miss her peeking underneath doors to see what we are doing. I'll miss her random swipes at the dog and my feet as we passed by.  Mostly, I will miss her spirit, because unlike the rest of us, Bailey never did one damn thing she didn't want to do. She also was never afraid to give you her honest opinion about anything. We could all stand to learn to live our lives a little more like she did.

Finally, I'll leave you with an early picture. She could be a sweet kitty when she wanted to, usually for an extremely short period of time. Like just long enough to snap a picture. You can see in her eyes, she was about ready to serve me up some ginger attitude.  RIP Miss Bailey Ross. Thanks for a great long run.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


I'm typing this on my brand new MacBook. Can you tell? It's fabulous. I'm so excited but a little guilty too. My previous MacBook got me through my entire grad school career. I was sure she was going to crap out on my last year as I was studying for my comprehensive exams, but she didn't she stayed with me. I had that computer for 7 years and technically, she still works. Hence the guilt. I'm not trashing her though. She is just retired. Perhaps I'll use her to play my music in the other room. She will live in my house until the end, that is for certain. I owe her that much.

The school year is settling in and I'm back to loving my job. Not sure actually that I ever loved it before, so this is pretty new. I have a great group of kids and no other job but being a teacher. I love it. I'm so much better without all the side work. I hope the year continues to go like this.

The only down side of life for me right now is I'm injured again. Perhaps still is more appropriate. My second toe joint is all messed up and has completely affected my ability to run. My foot dr. is in the process of organizing some custom insoles which will hopefully manage to stabilize the joint through some pressure relief and allow me to avoid surgery.  I'm not interested in being out that much time (several months), although I've been out most of the summer, so perhaps I'm suffering from that at this stage anyway. Luckily we built a home gym this summer so I'm keeping myself entertained in the exercise department for now.  There isn't any substitute for running though that really gets the same results either mind or body. However, I'm at a stage in life where I take what I can and try not to complain much about it. There is always someone who has it worse so I need to appreciate what I can do, not what I can't.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Back to Reality

Tomorrow I return to work. What? How can that be? This summer has completely flown by. The last three weeks have been my favorite. I got to spend some amazing quality time camping with Sean and then we came home and dove into the house projects that I had been muddling through the rest of the summer. Boy, Team Ross can really accomplish things when we work together. We completely transformed the old office into a home gym. I'm excited to start loading the things back into it this week. It puts all local gyms to shame. I will post pictures when it's done. Needless to say, it's beautiful.

While I'm never ready to go back to work, I'm excited to only have teaching on my plate this year. With that pesky Master's Degree a fading memory in the review mirror of life, I should have time this year to better focus on my main objective. Teaching. Yay. Let's see how I am at this job without all the distractions this year.

I'm also committing to a life outside the classroom this year. This beautiful home gym should help with that. I've also got running to do and a niece, nephew and loads of family more than willing to spend time with me.

It's going to be a great year. On that particular note, I better get myself to bed before it's double digits. Getting up at dawn's butt crack makes me cranky all by itself, let alone when I didn't get enough zzzzz's.


Friday, August 9, 2013


Better late than never. I am the proud owner of the next 11 days of time with my husband.  Yahoo. We are going to rack up and entire summer's worth of fun in the next 11 days. Bring on the partay!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Zoom Zoom

That is the sound of summer flying by. I'm not really sure where it is going. I sure don't have much to show for it. My massive to do list remains undone. Little progress has been made. I've had lots of lunches out, many walks ending at a coffee shop and three great camping trips. There was the anniversary weekend at the coast full of fun memories, the sale of my beloved Subaru and the purchase of our new Honda Pilot (named Tiny). I've eaten lots of blueberries and generally had some good times.

Barrel to Keg was a blast this year. Unfortunately, my foot did not feel the same so I've spent the past 3 weeks in physical therapy and off running. So far, it feels much better and I was even allowed on the treadmill for 3 whole minutes of running this morning. I act like it was a piece of cake, and for my foot it was. But my cardio, well...that's an entirely different story. Why is it one can run multiple times a week, compete in a 69 mile relay less than 3 weeks ago, and after only 17 days of not running, I can barely maintain a jog for 3 minutes without falling off the treadmill dead? Aging, man it's a bitch!

This weekend is another in the Epic running life of Sean and Stafford. They will be competing in the 216 mile Cascade Lakes Relay. As if 216 miles isn't challenging enough with a team of 12 people, they are on an ultra team this year meaning there are only 6 of them. Crazy as shit. I just don't get it. I guess that is what separates me from the rest of my family. I like to run for fun. I don't like to run if it is too much work and I don't care if I'm running a 9:45 or a 10:15 min mile. If it feels good I'm happy. If it doesn't, I don't want to do it. Sometimes I wonder if I was just born into the wrong family and I sometimes get tired of all the running talk. I don't ever feel good enough to be part of it and it just generally irritates me. Running or exercising in general is something that should make you feel better about yourself, not worse.  That's why I love my running partners Annie and Melinda. I never feel like I'm anything less than good enough when I run with them. Plus it usually ends in coffee. Win win!

One thing I have perfected this summer is procrastination. I'm supposed to be working in the office. Well, the soon to be former office that is. After completely dismantling my grad school work space, I decided I want to turn the no longer necessary office into a home gym. We have lots of fun workout stuff but no good space to do it. I'm super excited. My work in there is pretty much done, the problem now is Sean's collection of things in there. Think, every computer part he's ever had. That boy can't part with electronics. I have my own vices mind you, so we won't talk about the other rooms in this house, I just need that room cleaned so I can finish up the transformation. I'm sure it's going to be so inspiring that I'll be a candidate for the hot tamale train in no time.

I guess, that space isn't going to finish itself. Believe me, I've given it multiple opportunities to do so all summer so I better go kick it in it's ass and get it going. I've got some fat to burn!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Maiden Voyage

After a bumpy start to summer (I spent my first week on the couch with a nasty case of bronchitis), we decided to hit the road for our first camping trip.

Isn't she adorable? We are hoping to downsize the monster truck sometime soon, but for now, it works great.  I'm pretty sure we could haul the baby trailer right in the truck bed. With me being sick this week, it was all up to Sean to decide where we would be going and to make the arrangements. He did not disappoint. Perhaps I should put him in charge of the anniversary trip this year? No?

We landed at Cold Water Cove campground. It's up on the Mackenzie River Trail at Clear Lake. Wow, I'm in love. Sean wanted to show me the place from his 50k last year. I'm so glad he did. It was perfect. Very quiet, no motor boats (I'm feeling the need for kayaks!) and a perfect little spot for us. Friday was the first day of summer, and mother nature did it up right for us to celebrate.
The next day we got up, drank some french pressed coffee (so fancy us campers!) and I decided to give my lungs a try on the trail. Sean wanted to hike to some falls he had seen on the race course, but didn't have much of a chance to stop and admire. No worries there, we took plenty of time admiring them. It was a fantastic trail with so much beauty. No wonder he is a trail runner. I may have to convert myself.
I sure never get a view like this from any of the miles I ever log. Seriously. After the 6 mile hike, I was about done, so we headed back to the campsite to chill for the rest of the evening.
While we were hanging around the campfire, two of Sean's ultra buddies showed up after having run a 50k "training run" in the snow around the South Sister. Seriously? Where do these people come from? It was really fun to have guests pop in though and I could see that both Sean and Annie appreciated some extra folks around the campfire.

Poor Annie is going to take some practice to get the camping thing down. She was horrified at the tiny new house, the different food dish and the no familiar faces. She has fit in with our family so well since the day she joined us last summer, that we sometimes forget she is a rescue dog. Change is very hard for her. She spent most of the weekend pacing or wanting to be right next to us. Luckily the next trip scheduled is with Sarah and family including Porter dog so hopefully she will see that camping is fun and not permanent.

All in all it was a perfect first trip. I'm so excited to start planning the next 10 or 12! I forgot how much I love camping in this beautiful corner of the world we call Oregon.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Decisions Decisions

Our entire family went their separate ways this weekend. Sean and I are headed over to his Dad's tomorrow, but tonight we had a lovely date night of happy hour, a little shopping and froyo. It was perfect!

While I was out I decided to get started selecting my summer reading list since I have free choice for my summer reading for the first time in 5 years. I still have a couple of books I got for Christmas on my bedside table and I picked up these three gems at the used store today.

Five fantastic reading options, a cute little trailer and a new pair of Teva Mush flip flops.  Sounds to me like this girl is ready for summer!

2 1/2 more kid days until the wrap up. None too soon. As my teaching partner stated after the particularly rough day today was "Friday arrived just in the nick of time this week".  Yup. The fact that everyone, kids and adults survived this week is a miracle in itself.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Home Stretch

It's almost the end of the school year. It can't come soon enough for me this year.  It's been a long, long, long, long year. Did I mention it's been a long year?

Oh, and I have this to look forward to......

Enough said.  4 1/2 more days with kids and 6 more days total and I'm a free girl! Bring it on!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pinch Me

With Distinction. Not only did I pass my exams, but I passed them with distinction.  There are no words. I can exhale now. I am speechless. I am thankful, I am exhausted.

I am done. Tracie has a Master's Degree. I wish my Grandmother's were still alive for this. They would be so proud. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Afraid to breathe

Tomorrow is the big day. Somehow between 1 and 5 I'm supposed to muster enough courage to call the graduate office and listen to them tell me whether or not I passed my comp exams. I can hardly breathe just thinking about it.

Pass. Four little letters that will change my world. Oh please, please let me hear those four little letters.

I have no interest in hearing the other four letters. Fail.

Breathe, breathe, breathe. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pushing the Limit

Today was a really bad day. The kids are done and I'm exhausted. It's a recipe for disaster in a classroom. To make it through it's going to take all my clown college skills. It's going to be the longest 16.5 days of my life.

All day long I was planning my run. I was going to go at it alone. I thought I had a charged Ipod and was ready to go. Not so much.  I'm the only person on the planet that has 3 dead Ipods. In my attempt to salvage it I was headed out the door when Sean came home.  He offered to run with me and I figured sure, why not. 

I planned on doing my normal 3 mile route and if I felt good enough I was going to tag on the hill at the end. However, Sean had a different idea. He made me do speed work. Initially I was really pissed, this was my run. What you don't know about me is that I'm exceptionally motivated by being annoyed. So, I did the speed work. Then I did the hill too. After we turned around from the hill Sean announced we were going to finish with speed work. Oh hell, why not.

It turned out great and I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone. Turns out I did ok. Sometimes you have to be willing to go with the flow and step out of your own way.

I hope it works with my mad skills from clown college routine tomorrow.

Friday, May 10, 2013

12 Days....

Did you know that 7 hours can pass by in an instant? Who knew?

It's done. I took the 2 days of exams. I wrote pages and pages and pages. I fought through brain freeze, printer freeze and the panic. Here is the recap.

I over looked a few things in my panic of the high stakes testing at its best. First, I forgot a theory. I forgot a date or two and I think I screwed up a name. I wrote longer on one question than intended and short changed the last one on the second day. I worked hard on my APA citing but totally spaced my APA line spacing and wrote my entire 19 pages single space. Shit, I hope that's not an automatic fail.

Now I wait. I have 12 days until I make the phone call that determines whether I'm really and truly done with this or if I have more hoops to complete. 12 days. That's 2 days short of 2 weeks. My strategy?

Let it go. No more worries. There is nothing I can do about what has been done. I'm hoping for the best but for the next 12 days I'm letting it go.

Exams? What exams?

See, it's working already.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

4 days

That is the amount of time I have left until I will drive myself, a large coffee, a water bottle, seven packs of sugarless gum and perhaps one small snack size bag of gummy bears to the library at WOU where I will be locked away in a tiny room to begin the first of 8.5 long and painful hours of comprehensive exams.

It's been four years in process to get to this stage and while I've theoretically completed all the coursework necessary to pass these things, with each passing day and ticking down of the minutes I feel less and less prepared for this. I've had the questions for a couple months and have been studying for weeks now, but I don't know where it has all gone. I dream of it every night. Perhaps it flitters out of my mind somewhere in the great abyss.

I hope once they shut the door, confiscate all my electronics and leave me with nothing but my brain food of coffee and sugar, that it all becomes a Zen like moment of clarity and the words just flow from my fingers complete with properly cited theorists, and specific examples.

Until then, I'll keep cramming, hoping and learning.  After all, when all is completed, I can finally fulfill my life long dream of being a teacher.......hey wait a minute.....

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I am a Runner.

Last Sunday was the Corvallis Half Marathon. I ran it for the second time and beat my previous time by nearly 13 minutes. It was an amazing day. I have never felt so proud of myself. I had every intention of writing about it on Monday after work.

However, rather than writing about my running story, I spent the evening glued to the TV as the Boston story unraveled. Boston. The town is already my second favorite city in America. I fell in love with it on a trip 18 years ago and would have gladly moved there had I ever been asked to. The Boston Marathon is the holy grail of all Marathons. Even those of us who never have a chance of ever running in it know the BQ for our age group. Just qualifying is amazing. Melinda and I refer to any hill in our runs as "heartbreak hill." It is legendary for good reason.  Every year I look forward to watching the amazing athletes. This year was no different.

Running is such a pure sport. It is one runner against another, but ultimately it is a race against oneself. Friends, family and the community came out for the Corvallis half. My favorite part of the day was watching Stafford and the kids show up on bikes at undisclosed locations to cheer us along the way. Madeleine with her big smile and two thumbs up every time I saw her gave me inspiration to push through when I didn't think I could. She was no different than those spectators at the finish line in Boston cheering their runners along too. The idea that she could have been in harms way cheering us on rocks me to my core.

As the news coverage came in, what struck me more than anything was the selfless acts of the community, the families, the runners who thought not of themselves but rather of each other as they rushed towards danger to help their fellow man. In the days following the attack, stories of heroes continue to dominate as the information available is sifted through and the pieces of the puzzle are put back together. Our nation mourns for those lost, injured and forever changed. The running community is a strong bunch by nature. We endure and we will continue to endure, standing together united in a love of a sport and the power of good to triumph over evil.

It is with this in mind that I honor Boston by proudly declaring, I am a runner. I celebrate what that means and believing that like a long and difficult run, we will all get through this together too. 

Monday, March 25, 2013


It's official. My coursework for my graduate program is completely done. I submitted everything last Thursday and today received grades for both final projects. I'm pleased with how it all turned out. However, I feel rather strange. It's almost surreal. I'm not totally done with everything because I still have to take my comprehensive exams in May so there is about 6 more weeks of this hoop jumping. I'm really nervous about getting those started, but I'm giving myself the entire spring break off from all things work and school. Still though, it feels weird today.

Yesterday I ran 12 miles. That was a pretty good start to spring break. I was really sore last night, but feel good today. I think I'm going to be ready for the Corvallis half which is just 3 weeks away. That time went by so fast, but then again, the past 12 weeks have been a blur of a life I was not in control of. It feels good to be holding the steering wheel again.

Today I should start my house projects. This poor dwelling has been painfully neglected for the last 3 months. We decided to go to the coast for a few days with my sister at the end of the week so I don't have as much time to drag my chores out like I usually do over a school break. I'm sure I'll feel much better when it is all done.

I guess I'll start with taking a shower. After all, it is after noon. Yikes.

Happy Spring Break!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Move over Rudolph

Want to sweep your wife off her feet after nearly 24 years of marriage boys? Call her skinny. I haven't heard that word in since high school. The self esteem booster is insane.

I'm flying higher than Rudolph when Clarice called him cute.  Bring on the day.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

10 Good Things!

I've been so negative lately I've decided to take a brief reprieve from my school work to make a list of the great thing in my life right now.

1. Spring term ends in 4 days. They will be 4 insane, mad rush days but then it is OVER!

2. Family-My in-laws are here to visit. I was stressed about it, but it's really nice!

3. 6! Size 6 that is. As in two new skirts I picked up today are size 6. Woohoo!

4.  27- As in the waist size of my new jeans I found at the second hand store. They are my favorite brand ever "Paige" which I can't possibly afford new, but there they were and they fit.  $35 for $172 jeans. Boom goes the dynamite! Perhaps this stress has been good for my clothing size!

5. The 5th grade writing assessment is DONE and turned in to the principal. Back to teaching again!

6. Did I mention Spring Term ends on Wednesday???

7. Annie. She makes me smile every day!

8. Spring- It starts this week and I can't wait. Track season and more family time!

9.  Art- Gale is almost done with the "Rogue" print and I am beyond excited. I can't wait to have that boy back in our house again in beautiful form.

10. Spirit Week starts this week. I love dressing up with the kids. So fun!

OK, Technically that was only 9 but the fact that Spring Term ends on Wednesday counts for like 1 million good things.

Until Wednesday I'm out.  See you on the other side!

Monday, March 4, 2013

I get by with a little help...

The rumors are true. I've been a terrible blogger for quite a while now. Approximately 8 weeks to be exact, going on nine. The good news is, the light has been turned back on at the end of my tunnel. Well, the end of this term's tunnel that is. There still is the whole comprehensive exams light which will be out of commission until at least May. 

I'm not going to sugar coat it either. It's been hell so far. I'm cranky, I'm grouchy and I'm even kind of mean. Nothing pretty here at all. Which is why things like this....

surprise the heck out of me when I get home from work.  At first I thought the Easter bunny was lost and had already hopped through my neighborhood. Nope, my bad, it was in fact a Triple Bunnie that did it. Melinda hopped her way over and left a care package at my door to greet me before I jumped right from the life of teacher to the life of student. A sweet gesture both literally and figuratively. Run Club (don't ask...first rule of Run Club is..don't talk about Run Club) has become my lifeline over the past 9 weeks.

As if one lovely gesture isn't enough for one week, last night as I was spending yet another Sunday on the sofa with my online class I got a text from my trainer/friend that she wondered if her husband could drop something off for me. A month ago on my birthday she said she had found the perfect gift for me and it was on it's way. Well, delivered by hand (how cool is that) right to the same door step was this.....
I am in love with this T-shirt. Seriously! Ever since she started training me I have joked that she gives me "dinosaur arms." When I used to teach 3rd grade PE I always threatened that after our workouts I'd make the kids play T-Rex dodge ball. It sort of stuck and she has been sending me wonderful T-Rex cartoons whenever she comes across them. This shirt is the PERFECT b-day gift for me and I love it.

Finally, I owe the fact that I haven't flunked out this term almost entirely to my amazing husband. Just when I'm about in tears trying to decipher a programing assignment, he says "I know how to do that, we can do it no problem."  Not only does he help me with my work, but he also cooks and picks up the slack around the house. Seriously, I'm a lucky girl. And as if that was not enough.....

He brings me home a bottle of one of my favorites just because I was working on homework and couldn't join him at the tasting.

This posting doesn't even touch on the meals cooked for me by my sister and the constant support of my teaching partner this term. I consider myself to be one lucky girl.

Thanks everyone. I promise to be back to my old self just as soon as possible.

Friday, February 15, 2013


I've lost the battle with this nagging baby cold.  It turned into a full fledged, down right mean ass real cold socked solidly in the middle of my face. I almost fell over twice in front of the kids today it had my equilibrium off so much.  Good times! I'm actually cancelling my plans to run in the Super Hero run tomorrow. I wasn't super excited about that one, but I am sad to miss one of these great cause events. Plus, it takes Annie out of the running for dog mascot, I would bet. Bummer!

I hope it doesn't last too long. I've got more homework for Sean to do that needs getting to.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Gift of Time

Today I was summoned for Jury Duty. I was so excited about this prospect because I'm one of those dorks who looks forward to this opportunity. Unfortunately today was not the day it was going to happen for me. Luckily, because I already had a sub, I took advantage of the time and worked all day on my grad school classes.

I made a big list of items I wanted to get done. Um, yeah right. I crossed off about three of them. But then that's three more than if I would have gone to work or sat on a jury all day, so I'll take it. Plus, I got to help my sister out by picking Madeleine up after her after school club because Sarah has a nasty case of the creeping crud. Poor girl. I'm glad I was able to help out. It's one of those advantages to them moving back here.

Now Sean is home from work and I'm going to start my weekly ritual of batting my long eye lashes, flashing my cute smile and showing my dance moves to get him to help me with my last assignment for the week. Of course by "help me" I mean do it for me. Come on kids, uses your resources. It's a life skill.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Burning the Candle

True confession time. When I signed up for my last two grad school classes I knew it would be a challenge.  Sean even predicted that it would be all consuming. I thought for certain I could swing it. I knew I'd be busy, but I've been busy before. I've taken two grad classes before. It was in the summer and was a short term so it was crazy too.  I thought this was going to be no big deal.

I was wrong. This is by far the hardest I have ever worked in my entire grad school experience. My Geospacial Tech. class is so far out of my comfort zone and my design class is work, work, work. Luckily I'm married to a genius who is helping me like crazy but still. Between battling my first year in a new job and my final coursework in this degree, I barely have time to breathe. Throw in a bunch of kids who are growing some lovely attitudes these days and everyday I don't throttle someone is a miracle.

Four words: breath hard and run far. I must keep this in mind to maintain my sanity for the remaining 6 weeks this term.

I apologize in advance to my friends and family whom are seeing the less than attractive side of my personality. I promise I will take Summer (not spring, that's study for comprehensive exams hell time) to make it up to you. Just remember you love me in the meantime when I'm less than lovable.

Monday, January 28, 2013

True Love

Oh yes, I've found it.

This is just a lazy screen shot. I actually already own them and it was not only love at first sight, it was destiny at first run.

I hope we spend many, many happy miles together.  Oh beautiful Mizuno Inspire 9s, how do I love thee... let me count the ways!

I have a feeling I'm going to start stock piling these puppies while I can.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

TuTu Fun!

Note the brutal fog starting to engulf us!

Today was the first charity run of the year from Fitness by Emily who put on the "Ugly Sweater Run" last month. Clearly the theme this time was "Run your TuTu off."  We took this very seriously and donned our own version of the "TuTu".  Mine, Annie and Sarah's were courtesy of my birthday gift from Melinda who made them all by herself. Sarah pillaged some of her TuTu material to create one for Maddie. Stafford stuffed Grocery Outlet bags and tied them together. He should have won most creative prize hands down, and Zach used his collection of bandannas. Sean was the closest thing to a party pooper choosing not to don a skirt but rather fashioned two "2"s which he pinned on his shirt. Chicken!

Today's race benefited "Benton County Furniture Share" which is a fantastic cause. I'm still hoping to donate a couple of chairs or more to them in the not to distant future. I just have to drag them out of the house when Sean isn't looking!

Here is the shot of the Bunnies. It's highly unlikely that an event will take place in this town that we don't run together.
Why didn't I wear my bunny hat??
What's that you say? Have I been hitting the beer a bit to hard? No, that's my inhaler and my other glove in my pocket. I love the way it looks like a gut is hanging over my tutu. By the way, both Melinda and I have been working out like fiends since the new year and we both look pretty hot!  Apparently a tutu adds like 30 pounds. So does this mean real ballerinas actually only weigh 57 pounds since they look like they weigh 87 pounds? Oh and yes, I am wearing my hat backwards. Thanks for noticing. Note to self, don't ever wear a hat that looks the same from both sides!

Did I mention that it was freezing this morning? It hasn't gotten above freezing nor has the sun been seen in these parts in days, maybe weeks, or perhaps even months at this stage. I'm lost in the fog literally so it's hard to tell.

Next months race is set for the 16th of February. The theme is not yet known but we were told to think "hearts".  Hmmm. Gale, if you're reading this, I expect to see you there. You are so ready for a 5k!

I'll leave you with the little Ross family shot. In spite of how stupid I look in this tutu, I had a blast and am looking forward to the next one. It's amazing what a little community outreach can do for the soul!

Annie and Sean both took "run your Tutu off" to the extreme.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Double 4s

Three days ago I turned 44. While I'm still trying to wrap my brain around how I can possibly be that old. However the number itself is one of my favorites and I've looked forward to having it represent me for an entire year.

Any time you have a double number it is fun, but 44 is extra special because of the significance in our family. One of the best things that has ever happened in my life was the birth of my nephew. Zach is one of the lights of my life. He was born on April 4 at 444 in the afternoon.  That's a bunch of 4s and ever since that day we have always loved the number 4!

The birthday itself was fantastic. I spent the evening with those I love, eating tacos and laughing. I got some very thoughtful presents and enjoyed myself. It was one of the best birthdays I've had.

I think 44 is going to be a very good year.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Most Hated Agency...A title well earned!

Dear DMV,

I learned today for the second time in less than a week why you hold the title of "Most Hated Government Agency."  I appreciate the notice you sent me detailing the exceptional number of hoops one now has to jump through to renew a driver's license. I followed your instructions as per the letter I received in the mail. Upon my first trip to the DMV I was told my passport was not acceptable because it had expired. No where in the letter did it state that I had to have a current passport, only an official US government issued passport. For your information my expired passport is all I need to renew and get a new passport which gives me a lot more freedom than your stupid driver's license, however, that wasn't good enough for you. After lecturing me about the importance of reading a letter prior to showing up, you then threatened to keep my license when I asked you to show me where it said anything about the date of the passport. You informed me that you could invalidate my current license and issue a temporary while I requested records if I was sure I didn't have a copy at home. Annoyed and unsure, I left to search for my documentation at home.

I didn't find it, so I returned to the DMV office by my work  only to be told the same story with additional misinformation. I was told this time that not only could I not use the passport (again, asked to be shown where it said that and again was ignored and treated like an idiot), but that I "couldn't" be issued a temporary license either because I needed the proof of identity to get my birth certificate. I asked what I was supposed to do since my license will expire in 2 days and was told, get a temporary license while you wait for your birth certificate. I said, fine, I'll do that now. She said, no I can't do that, you must order your documents first.

I went home and ordered it online and wait for it...... no license necessary. Now, thanks to repeated misinformation and general power tripping I have to return again tomorrow to pay $40 to get a temporary license until my birth certificate arrives next week sometime (which cost me $40), whereupon I can get my licence renewed for another $40.  All so I can prove I'm an American citizen and thus fit to drive an automobile.

No matter that I have all sorts of documentation to that affect already. No matter that being an American citizen has nothing to do with driving a fucking car.

So fuck you DMV. You suck and I hate you. I hope you and your power tripping employees have an exceptionally crappy day.