Bittersweet …

This week I may have graded my last group of papers and turned in my last set of grades.  You see as of next semester I have 1 class to teach.  Yes, one.  The spring class I’ve been teaching at one university was reassigned to a full-time professor.  At the other school, two classes were cancelled for lack of enrollment – and my other class could still be cancelled yet.  I have seen the writing on the wall that despite”paying my dues” for five years as an adjunct there is not future in teaching at the collegiate level for me.

I have seen the writing on the wall and despite”paying my dues” for five years as an adjunct there is not future in teaching at the collegiate level for me. Without the PhD (that still would not guarantee me a position) there are not many options that I have found.  I have been looking for alternative employment, but nothing has come to light yet.

I have been looking for alternative employment, but nothing has come to light yet. And it is so frustrating.  I know am qualified to do SOMETHING. But alas, at present, no one is lining up to pay me to do SOMETHING.

So in the midst of my pity party, I had two wonderful notes from students that make me feel like it was all worth it. So thank you to my students who have taught me so much about myself and what it means to help you on your path to success.



Because I’m a Vampire …

Mindy says so anyway. Apparently sleeping on your back with your arms crossed across your chest makes you a vampire.  So why did Mindy know how a I happened to be sleeping Thursday night? Because we found ourselves sharing a room in Mesquite, Nevada – the home of my Dad and his wife Marilyn.

IMG_7211Dad has decided to sell the house in Pine Valley – about an hour-ish north of St. George, Utah.  (And if I’ve messed up the compass directions – don’t tell me, I’m lucky to have any idea what direction my house might be, and I mess that up with great frequency.)

Anyway with Pine Valley going on the market Mindy and I went out to do a final sort of what was left of our childhoods.  No, we did not grow up there, but anything Dad did not want to deal with when he sold the house in Park City went into plastic bins and to storage in Pine Valley. That left boxes a of photos, shells, rocks and the bits that had no other home. Fortunately I had already dealt with a majority of the photos after Mom died when I had all of the negatives I could find scanned (somewhere around 25,000 images – dad is a bit of photo bug.) Thus unless the shots were unique into the recycling they went – which is not easy to do.  Am I the only one who feels weird about dumping my childhood into the circular file? But I did it without crying.

And I still remain a vampire because Mindy and I are are still basic opposites -I’m the dark to her chemically enhanced light. She is the sun baby and the sun just taunts me with freckles and sunburn (in Mindy’s vampire mythology vampires burn to a crisp). But the differences are more than skin deep.

IMG_7242My sister and my dad are loud.  They talk loud, laugh loud and live loud.  If they aren’t making the noise they are turning up the volume on the stereo or the TV, or both. I forget these nuances of personality during our time apart. Dad turns on the TV as soon as he walks into a room and then it stays on as a constant companion.

They both ooze personality, making friends everywhere. Mindy knows the names and hobbies of everyone – even her grocery store bagger – he loves rivers by the way. In contrast I seem nearly silent. It’s because I’m listening and maybe because it can be too much effort to make myself heard about trivial minutia . Not that I can’t or won’t take a stand, I can throw down with the best and meet them toe-to-toe. Then watch out.

So, why is Pine Valley going on the market? The party line is that it is better to sell before a major election (so says the trends in the real estate market). My take on it? Dad is overwhelmed and is looking for something he can control as he watches Marilyn battle cancer.

She received the diagnosis on New Year’s Eve (a historically awful-ish day for my Dad). Since then she has been undergoing chemo.  With the help of my Dad and her family and friends she has been conquering the trials with grace and amazing strength. She has her last chemo treatment next Friday. Then it is a case of hurry up and wait. In June they will see if they will be headed to Salt Lake for 3 weeks for a bone marrow transplant.  It only takes one evil cell to start the whole process again.

She has been amazing through all of it. She looked great (we only had about an hour to visit before she departed for an appointment with yet another medical purpose and our departure to Pine Valley).

The Pine Valley property allows Dad to escape and allow his inner perfectionist to get the better of him. His to do list includes cleaning the inside of the glass on the fireplace and making sure the closet pulls align just so. (And I’m sure he will adjust his laser like focus on their Mesquite house next.) Thus, if you are looking for a mountain retreat that has been meticulously maintained I have the place for you.

So now I am on the way back to St. Louis with a suitcase packed with a Featherweight Singer Sewing Machine, a rock and shell collection and the flotsam and jetsam that I could not bear to recycle or give away. I’ve told Matt he’s going to need to come in and help me out of the airport. He’s not excited. Oh well. He doesn’t know there is more coming in the mail, yet.  It’s a good thing he loves me so much and I am lucky to have him.

Must Be Too Much Perfection ….

Lately I’ve been having really vivid dreams.  Last night I spent hours (or at least it seemed like hours in dreamland) trying to perfect a Pinterest worthy layered watermelon jello salad.  I must have go through several versions.  One was too red, the other not watermelon enough.  Then I agonized over how to make the seeds.  Black licorice would bleed and taste funny.  Chocolate chips would dissolve.

And the weirdest thing – I hate watermelon.

So does that mean I spend way too much time trying to perfect things I don’t even care about?


2015 … According to the Boys

Just found this lost on the desktop … 2015

  Morgan Tyler
January We went to Springfield Illinois. There we meet the Kasten’s. We went bowling and other fun stuff. We also went to a wedding. I wrestled, and my cats tore up toilet paper. I laughed at first but then I realized I’d have to clean it up. I also had my last Pine Wood Derby. It was sad that we had no more Pine Wood Derby.


Electronics camp out

It was very cold because the lake froze but it was warm in the cabins. I also got a pop gun it’s really cool. I got to play many games.

February I wrestled. I got my arrow of light. I crossed over to Boy Scouts also. I was overjoyed to have crossed over. Cross over

My brother just joined my Boy Scout troop. Now he is part of Troop 72. It was not a bad cross over they brought in an escape artist, he had many handcuffs.

March I got to wrestle at state. It was a lot of fun. Sadly I did not place. I also got to help the referees at State. We also froze at that Boy Scout camp out.



Coldest camp trip ever water even froze if left outside.

April My birthday!!! Birthday party at Brunswick Zone! Awesome, so much fun, yay! Easter was fun got all kinds of goodies. We made a sun Flower cake out of Chocolate Chips and Yellow Peeps. Trivia Night yay. Went on a ropes course at boy Scouts.


Morgan’s birthday

For Morgan’s birthday, we played laser tag. He mostly got Nerf guns and a wobble bubble ball.

May My band concert. I did great. Mom’s birthday was fun. Got an award for being good at math. Tried to go to Texas, but it got flooded. So we went to the Great Wolf Lodge instead.


Texas fail

Are original plan was to go to Texas but on are third day floods hit. Since we could not go to Texas, we went to Great wolf lodge and played magi quest.

June Went to wrestling camp. Went on canoe trip with Boy Scouts. My brother and I were one of two canoes that did not sink or flip. We caught crawdads and tadpoles. Went to D.C. so much fun. We went swimming with our cousins. Saw art museum. Visited Monuments. Went to Air and Space museum, American History museum, Spy museum, Coal mine, Falling Water, Churchill Downs, Air plane museum, Children’s museum, and more. Cone camping/Washington

Coning is fun when you are not flipping like everyone else. In addition, it is fun when you discover a black spot and it is made of tadpoles. Washington tip was fun exploring different museums with your cousins.

July Had a garage sale And lemonade stand with Gage. Lots of cool fireworks so much fun. Went to 4th of July parade and got lots of candy. Went to summer camp. I caught a turtle, lots of toads, and one frog. Mom got surgery. Went stem camp also. Scout camps

This summer we went to scout camp and stem camp. Stem was hot but it had a pool. Scout camp had storms and leaky tents but had animals to catch. Therefore, it was not so bad.

August Grew one watermelon. Made my rock box with Grandpa. Bryon came over went to zoo, Ball game, and 6 flags. I had so much fun. I was sad when he left. I made a giant meatball with noodles inside. Started school, my Teachers are Ms. Stubits, Ms. Clauser, and Ms. Vaughn. 8th grade

Our cousin Byron came and we went to six flags with us.


September I joined running club. You have to run a mile and a ½ my best time was 12mins. and 31 secs.




October I was a cereal killer for Halloween. I went trick or treating with my dad in Edwardsville, and with my friends all over the place. I got A LOT of candy. The best candy was a 100 Grand Bar.


Morgan joined a run club and had some races but he did not win. I joined a pottery club it is really fun..


November We did scouting for food and collected just under 2 million food items [in the St. Louis area]. I also made it to 2nd class in boy scouts.