Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur…


Kudos to whomever figures out what TV show that lyric is from.

Well, it’s about time I introduce the new babies of the Super household. Drumroll, please…


Apollo and Starbuck!!

Kyle and I actually went back and forth on the names, going from those two to Ron and Hermione, but since we’re not sure yet about the gender of the gray cat, we figured Apollo was a better name than Ron.

These are outdoor cats, mainly for three reasons: 1. I hate litter boxes. 2. My sweet Voo would be ridiculously jealous (she’s already jealous of the outdoor pets). 3. My asthma (and my allergist) would not agree to indoor cats (that’s kind of the big one…).

My parents brought them over Aug. 20. At first, I didn’t think they were going to stay around. There’s a long story that involves a deep bite, a water hose, and Starbuck hopping the fence and running to freedom, but, as my dad would say, the cat came back. It was probably amusing for the neighbors to watch me gently chase (can you actually “gently” chase??) Starbuck back in the backyard in my short white skirt and heels on a Sunday morning.

But, really, they are such sweet cats. And they love me, mainly because I am the Provider of Food. And, somehow, even though they’ve lived outside their entire short lives, they can’t understand why they have to eat dry cat food in the morning (I mix dry with wet in the evenings). Spoiled things, and to think they live under our deck.

Speaking of that, I’m not happy about their current living arrangements. I have a pretty, warm cat house for them that they won’t go near. They prefer living under the deck. Now, if they don’t like the cat house, fine. But under the deck, where they get wet when it rains because it goes through the cracks?? Not a good idea!!

The previous house owner left a chiminea that’s a bit cracked, and, as we already have a fire pit, I figure I can transform the chiminea into somewhat of a cat house. It’s ON the deck. Shouldn’t that be enough? And they were playing in it a couple of days ago, so hopefully once I spruce it up and make it warm and tidy, they’ll start sleeping in there.

Maybe.

Oh, sweet kitties.

Even better, today was the first morning the Voo did NOT bark madly at them. I was so proud of her. I bragged on her until she pranced and gave her a treat. Maybe one day she and the cats will be friends.

You know, that day when pigs fly.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hodgepodge


I have a baking problem.

I had some friends over Sunday night for a small “anti-draft” party, as all of our husbands were fantasy football drafting that evening, and I baked forever. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to bake without sweating (and have a large kitchen to spread out!), so once I started…I didn’t stop.

One of the fun items I made was pumpkin cupcakes with salted caramel buttercream icing. Yeah, think about that deliciousness for a second.

Or just look.
Photo courtesy of www.madeinmelskitchen.com
I actually had my own pictures, but I left my camera at home and am impatient, so I’ll give credit where credit is due and show someone else’s.

These things are ridiculously good – and sweet. Talk about a sugar rush. Tara saw me lick the spoon (and the bowl) clean Sunday afternoon. Ridiculous.

Naturally, with most things I bake these days, I found the recipe through Pinterest, and click here to go directly to the recipe.

Make them. And love them.

Or you can share them with people who recently had too-sweet-for-me-to-do-anything-but-baby-talk babies.

Like this baby.

She can’t eat the cupcakes now, but her mama and daddy can.

I think I need another one now. Hmmm.

Also (told you this was a hodgepodge). I need new books to read. What’s out there that’s captivated you, makes you want to read all the time? With football season coming up and my sweet husband doing two radio shows a week, I need some fun reading material. So share away! =) 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Baby Watch


We are currently on Baby Watch for Misti. She's in the hospital, she's been induced...and now we're just waiting on Ella.

I lost the baby bet. My mom lost the baby bet. Kyle did, too. In fact, just about everyone BUT Misti lost the baby bet.

But she may still be wrong. We've got about 11 hours left in the day. Ella may want to have Aug. 27 as her birthday.

At any rate, I'm antsy. I'm ready to hold that sweet baby, and she is not being cooperative. Ella, as an adult, if you ever read this, please note that your Aunt Penny spent your birth day (or the day before your birth) wasting time at work wishing she were with your biological aunts, grandmother, and cousin at the hospital.

So, if you read this, just say a prayer for Misti, Ella, and her family and the doctors so she has an easy and safe delivery. And quickly. We're getting impatient around here. ;)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

No, really, I AM studying for comps…


Christopher Voegler, a mass media scholar, has defined 12 parts of a hero’s journey, something that many of Hollywood films work to develop. There are common patterns a hero goes through, and, as part of one of my comps questions, I have to name and explain all 12 stages. As I feel knowledge is best learned through examples, here’s my own hero’s journey of selling/buying a house:

1. Ordinary World
Here I am, in my sweet little home where my husband, my dog, and I have lived for the past five years. We’re happy here, a little snug, but for our two person plus one dog family, it’s fine.

2. Off to adventure
Oh, snap, here’s a beautiful house! For sale! In a good price range! With everything we want! We weren’t looking for this adventure, but here it is, in our lap! So we decide we want to take this adventure to a new house.

3. Refusal of the call
We panicked at first. Can we afford a higher mortgage? What about with kids in the future? Can we sell our own house? What do we do?

4. Mentor
We hire a super awesome real estate agent!!

5. First threshold.
We sign a purchase contract and put our house on the market and begin to panic. But we courageously battle on! (Note: End of Act 1)

6. Test allies and enemies.
Prospective people come looking at our house. Will they buy, or are they just lookie-loos?

7. Approach to the inmost cave.
We find a buyer. Will he actually be The Buyer?

8. Supreme Ordeal.
We haggle, we argue, and we agree to a selling price. Closing date is set.

9. Reward.
We get a huge check made out to US at the selling date (which, btw, was YESTERDAY!!). (Note: End of Act 2)

10. The road back.
We plan to close on our new house.

11. Resurrection.
We face one last struggle – trying to flipping close on the new house!

12. Return with elixir.
As we have not reached this stage yet, all I can give you is my notes: Hero returns with the elixir or prize that will heal the wounded land. (Note: End of Act 3)

Closing on our new house is turning out to be quite a hassle, about as stressful as selling!! While we’re legally homeless, I suppose, we actually are in the new house right now, which I’m very grateful for. I’m glad we’re not holed up in some hotel or having to find an apartment, I’m ready to officially own our new home! So keep us in your prayers – and Misti, too! That baby is coming this week! =D

Friday, August 19, 2011

Da Truf


I enjoyed this morning with a cup of coffee in one hand, my Bible in the other, and a sweet puppy resting on my lap. All outside on my deck under shade and squirrels scurrying from tree to tree.

Yeah, it was a good morning.

Our Bible study recently completed studying Ruth, and someone had mentioned how she loved the book of James, so I thought until we get our new study, I’d delve deeper into it for the time being. I’ve read Chapter 1 two days in a row now, and apparently it takes a second reading to get things to sink in.  And there were SEVERAL verses that jumped out at me – feeling as if they were specifically written for me at this time in my life:

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him (1:12).

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows (1:17).

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you (1:19-21).

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless (1:26).

Believe it or not, too, these all went together with how this year has gone. Life has been ridiculously chaotic. I feel like my life is in constant upheaval, and all I really want is “normal.” But, frankly, what was normal for me last year will never be normal again.

My husband will always be a Type 1 diabetic.
My aunt will always have to fear cancer’s return.
And (finally, something good), it’s very doubtful we will return to our old house.

I have not always handled transition or opposition well. I’ve not consistently showed God’s love through trials. I’ve tried to get better at that. I had an epiphany, I suppose, in January and realized that my reactions to bad news (and in January, there was a BUNCH of bad news) cannot stay the same. So I’ve tried to work on it. Not always succeeded, but I do see how far I’ve come in a mere eight months (and am trying not to be prideful about it, lol).

And, again, this week: opposition. And while I did threaten to slice someone’s tires (come on, who doesn’t? LOL), I’ve come through okay. Able to look back and say, “That’s fine. I’m not pleased with the outcome, but it will be all right.”

I’ve been digressing this entire time, I feel, but the background needed to be given. Earlier this week, though, I found out something that really brought up the Green Monster in me. Someone else’s house sold. In quicker time. And while we’re on schedule to close THIS MONDAY (woo hoo!!!!), it still brought a quick tinge of jealousy in me because his house sold quicker than ours. Even though our buyer wanted to close today, but we were unable to do so. Even though we’re on schedule to close Monday. Even though we’ve been blessed by being able to move in early.

So I tried to see some positives.

1. This individual who sold his place will move FAR, FAR away to a place I probably will never go to. WOO HOO. Lol!!! (Can you tell I’m not this person’s biggest fan? Ha!)

2. Again, we’re scheduled to close MONDAY. Can’t I be happy for someone else?

3. Good for him, good for the economy. Hooray for someone who was able to buy his house. It’s a beautiful house.

4. Okay, I’m done with positives. It’s not my house; I’m not getting any $$ from it, so I feel three is enough. ;)

Anyway, so that’s been my morning. Very eye-opening, very humbling, very happy.

***BTW, we are currently on Baby Watch for Misti. Feel free to jump in the baby pool and give your time/date when the baby will be born (no prizes other than the feeling of knowing you rock in guessing). Her due date is next Friday, but I've guessed Monday in the afternoon. Kyle's guessed tomorrow morning.****

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The pump


I always love it when my husband gets on my blog and says, “Where’s something new? I want to read something new.” =) He’s a sweet man and the topic of today’s blog, lol.

So Kyle got the pump. Happy birthday to him, as it was his birthday present. He actually was thrilled. It’s sat in a box for the past two weeks, though, until we headed to the doctor yesterday to learn how to use the thing.

Surprising how such a little device could come in such a big box that we had to lug all around yesterday (Ha! I say “we,” but we all know he carried it, lol). The nurse was really sweet and helpful and answered all of our questions. Kyle was a bit nervous the first time he inserted the pump, but he was quite surprised at how painless it was (for him, at least – if it had been me, I would have passed out on the floor. I’m a bit of a pansy when it comes to needles!).

I was nervous that the pump would be invasive and troublesome, but, aside from one issue (which I’ll discuss momentarily), it’s really not. In fact, once he injects himself, he pulls the needle out. There’s a small white covering over the tiny tubing that was inserted inside him, and, after three days, he changes out the insulin and covering and reinserts. So, instead of taking five shots a day, he takes one every three days. Yeah, that’s what we call a win.

He does have the pager-looking device hooked up to the wires, which lead to the white covering on his stomach, but it can easily be hidden in his pocket or under his shirt (or, if he wants, he can wear it like a beeper). He had it on yesterday, and I didn’t even notice.

However, we did have an issue last night that will have to be resolved before he actually gets insulin put in on the 30th. The nurse gave him saline so he can get used to working with the pump, but that crazy thing kept shooting off random alerts about every 30 minutes, buzzing loudly to get our attention. So, in frustration, Kyle jerked the pump off about 9 p.m. because there’s no way we could have slept with it buzzing all night. He’s going to call his nurse and figure out what’s going on.  

At any rate, even though Day 1 of the pump wasn’t a success, it is good to have an idea of what’s going on and be able to fix any little problem before the insulin goes in. The 30th is going to be a big day for us!! In fact, there are a lot of big days in August coming up, and I’m looking forward to all of them!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Bittersweet memories

I’m packing up my life, it feels. My food…my clothes…my bath products…So many things are scattered between two houses. All of my books (minus the three or four that I have to have with me at all times) are at the new house. My winter clothes are at the new house. My pantry food (some of it) is packed in grocery bags and set along the kitchen counter in the old house. Vicki keeps sniffing the marshmallows.

I’ve gotten weepy twice this morning (thanks, Misti), and it’s just now 8:03 a.m. It’s bittersweet, packing up all our belongings from our first house. Our first house. And this morning I finally figured out why I have the weepies.

This has been my first home since high school.

Okay, not that I’ve been homeless by any means. I always had some place to stay, even if it was a friend’s couch (and, for a summer month, that was home). But in college, I was a suitcase kid. I stayed in the dorms, in houses, or wherever during the weekdays and headed home most weekends. I lived out of a suitcase.  The first four months after graduation, I moved five to six times (depending on how you view one particular situation, but that’s a long story). That’s crazy!!

Even when we finally got our first home, it was an apartment we stayed in for nine months. I was used to moving every nine months. I didn’t get really attached to the apartment. It was fun, it was cute, and then we moved.

To this house. The house where my husband actually lived in college. The house where we shared our first kiss. The house where he asked me to date him. The house we bought. The house where I announced I was getting my dream job. The house where we celebrated birthdays. Had parties. The house where we started nighttime Easter egg hunts.

Tina's first time to dye Easter eggs
Hiding eggs for the somewhat annual nighttime Easter egg hunt
When Vicki "ran away"
Her "dognappers" brought her back soon ;)
Christmas -- our first Christmas tree
Newer Christmas trees
The dog, dressed up in her Christmas present from her Aunt Jayne 
Stocking stuffer
A rare snow day!

Our sweet home
Tina, saying good-bye to Vicki before her northern move 
The Super family
Christmas party
Summer party
But then, while I was reading Misti’s blog this morning, I thought of all of the memories that are to be made in our new home. Such as reading with Misti’s (currently unborn) daughter in our house. Taking Vicki to the city park behind our backyard. Finding new running routes. Making s’mores on the deck out back. Celebrating Christmas with my family and Kyle’s. Having lots of parties!!

And the others, the hopes for this house. Bringing home our child to his or her new home. Coming home after I become Dr. Penny. Having all the rooms finally painted, lol.

All we have to do now is sign the papers.

Friday, August 5, 2011

And boom goes the dynamite

So when is the Super family moving?

Um…soon?

Our closing date will be between Aug. 22-26, but Kyle and I really want to get everything moved in beforehand so the last couple of days, we can get the power and cable switched to the new house and aren’t having to throw things frantically into boxes on closing day…whenever that is.

Therefore, and because the Time of Comps began Aug. 1, we decided to start getting one room a week ready. This week…Spare Bedroom No. 1 and Master Bedroom.

This master bedroom currently is a forest green color that isn’t necessarily a bad color…it’s just not what I want. However, Spare Bedroom No. 1….the d├ęcor MUST go.

What’s really funny is that the guy we’re buying the house from thought that this particular room would help the house sell faster. And, while some people might like this particular room, we did not.

It’s an LSU room.

Wait.

It’s MORE than an LSU room. It’s the purple and gold with a HUGE tiger eye painted on one of the walls. Granted, the tiger eye is very well done…but I do not want it.

And for those of y’all who are wondering, “Now, wait…don’t they live in Louisiana?” Why, yes, yes, we do. But not only are we not LSU fans (we attended a different university), but I do not want my bedrooms decorated in ANY sports colors (The man cave downstairs is another matter, and, yes, it will be decorated in Saints colors…but the walls will not be black nor gold.). If we have a little boy and he wants his room decorated with his favorite team colors, that’s just fine. But we have no children right now, so the house will be decorated according to my tastes (and, to some extent, Kyle’s tastes, lol!).

At any rate, today, we paint! I frantically searched for the perfect master bedroom color, and I found it. I found EXACTLY what I wanted.

Hello, aged teak!


And, for the LSU room, I’m hoping it will eventually turn out something like this:




I’m 100 percent in love with grays and yellows paired with blues or greens. I chose to go green for the spare room because a) I like green and b) the living and dining areas are painted a dark blue, so I wanted something a little different.

So keep praying that everything still goes smoothly and we don’t have any hiccups before the nebulous closing date. We’re excited, though, and we’re ready to get in our new home!!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

So it begins

Aug. 1 began comps studying. I take written comps for my Ph.D. program in early October and verbal comps a couple of weeks after that, so it’s time to start studying. I have five intense days of testing, and I am NOT looking forward to it. I received 4/5 questions so far from my professors and have answered one this week so far. Sounds lazy, right? It’s not. The answer to that one question ended up being 14 single-spaced typed pages. Comps are located in Dante’s seventh circle of hell. At any rate, as the classes I teach are winding up for the month (yet I’m still working 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.), here’s an example of what my work day looks like.

Summer schedule
7:30 a.m. – arrive at work and write a list of what needs to be accomplished; read the news online
8 a.m. – grade papers, edit pages, and/or write stories
8:30 a.m. – study for comps
9 a.m. – eat breakfast; GP, EP and/or WS
9:30 a.m. – study for comps
10 a.m. – wonder when I should leave for lunch; browse the Internet
10:30 a.m. – bang my head against the desk as I study for comps
11 a.m. – cannot wait another moment for a break; head to lunch for happiness
11:45 a.m. – wonder why summer lunches can only be 45 minutes long
Noon – study for flipping comps
12:30 – check to see if Discovery Channel has any Shark Week videos posted; work on website stuff
1 p.m. – get a diet coke and pull up stupid comps stuff again
1:15 p.m. – get distracted
1:20 p.m. – decide that I can’t study for ^%$# comps any more today
1:25 p.m. – feel guilty and return to studying for comps
1:30 p.m. – take break; finish up any work that hasn’t been done
2 p.m. – wonder if I can wait til 3 to get a snow cone; e-mail everyone I know
2:30 p.m. – open the comps document and quickly close it back; wonder why it’s only 2:30 and not 4:30
2:35 – aimlessly meander around campus and/or the Internet
3 p.m. – go get snow cone
4 p.m. – thank God that it’s only an hour left
4:30 p.m. – start winding down
4:55 p.m. – and out the door

The sad thing is that while I try to get two good hours in now, in two weeks, I plan on moving it up to three hours and then four hours a day in September. *tear*

BTW, when I do get my Ph.D., we’re having the biggest party EVER. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Waves

I've always been a fan of all things sunny and watery. Lakes, ponds, rivers, oceans -- I love them all. Probably has something to do with my dad working on the river and me partially growing up on a boat, but it could just be because I don't get to go to the beach but about once a year.

One particular Scripture, a piece of a favorite chapter of mine, kept coming to my head during this trip, probably because of the beauty of the ocean and because of the strong waves that crashed on the shore.

"But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The Lord of hosts is his name." -- Isaiah 51:15






Standing out in the ocean on that first day and continually getting knocked over by the waves, I suddenly realized how powerful the waves are. When waves crash on the shore during hurricanes and floods, how scary that actually is. A wall of water that is about to crash over you is a bit unnerving, even when you're feet from the shore and you know you're safe.


Our God is a powerful God. He divided the sea, and the waves roared out His name.






I also took a run on the beach Sunday morning for the sake of running on the beach. Cross that off my bucket list, I guess. The first 1.5 miles, I ran by the beach on pavement, and then, just for fun, took off my shoes and carried them as I ran on the edge of the water, dodging sandcastles and seashells along the way. Because I was right on the edge of the water, the sand wasn't really an issue -- making sure broken seashells did not jack up my foot was. 


But I would wake up again at 6:20 a.m. to do it again. It was peaceful, warm, and wonderful -- and different. Especially the smells. Runners know the smells on their route, whether it be nasty ones like from a truck's exhaust or a dumpster or pleasant ones, like passing a restaurant or laundry drying. The air was salty, and, because some families were already playing in the sand, I could smell sunscreen, too. No chlorine, which is what I've been used to this summer. Salt, sea wind, and sunscreen. 


What a great vacation.