Monday, March 28, 2011


While I was in North Carolina this weekend, I learned that my cousin Abby died unexpectedly from complications from a surgery she'd had back in January. 

Abby is a year younger than me.

We were close growing up.

I hadn't seen her in several years, but was planning(?) to visit her and her husband Jeremy in Arizona "one of these days."

Abby stands out as a sweet woman, with many qualities I wish I had...

Abby had some terrible struggles. She dealt with them openly and with vulnerability. Her strength and courage were hard-won and beautiful on her.

I spent tonight looking for glimpses of her through old photo albums. None of my pictures came close to capturing what she is like, what she meant to me.

I know my grief is tiny compared with that of Jeremy and her siblings and parents - but oh, Abby, how I will miss you.

raleigh - biltmore

This past weekend I made a trip to Raleigh! Tom was having a reunion of sorts with his dad's brother & family so I came down to catch a bit of the fun. And fun it was! In spite of some travel crazy-ness (including a mad-cap bus ride to Milwaukee in a blizzard, reaching the gate there just in time [they had to unlock it for me], and - unbeknownst to me at the time - leaving my driver's license on the plane) I made it in one piece, just in time to join a family picnic!
Having fun with Tom's sister Mary and her daughter
Elise. See sister Kalina "jumping" with her Aunt Nancy
& Grandpa in the background?!
We had a really nice time hanging out and catching up.
Thursday was wander around Raleigh day - we took in the UNC basketball stadium and the book store, then headed over to Matt & Mary's place for more visiting. The evening wound up at Tom Sr.'s where we feasted on Mary's homemade chili and Nancy's oatmeal chocolate chip bars. *sigh*. I got to help Kalina make corn bread muffins and I think we made a pretty good team - and apparently no one dared argue! Tom and I took off eventually to watch the Badgers lose to Butler... a very depressing game. Now I'm hoping Butler wins the whole shebang... it might justify the loss a teeny bit...
Friday was help Tom clean his condo day! After his 9-week stint in Wisconsin, the poor place was needing some attention and he'd had zero chance to deal with it. We actually had a lot of fun and - while I don't know that the place looks all that different - I think he feels better about it! Friday night we were back at Mary & Matt's, hanging out and eating pizza and trying not to laugh at Tom Sr.'s outrageous puns. I'm afraid to report even Nancy might have let one slip in there. Matt Z, a friend of Tom's, joined us a bit later, and the three of us then took off for Asheville. We wanted to have as much of Saturday as possible to see Biltmore - the home of George and Edith Vanderbilt and their descendants.

Our friends Becky and Ray visited Biltmore with Tom a while back, and I'm thinking Matt and I were every bit as enamored with the place as they were! We weren't allowed to take pictures in the house, but the tour really was delightful. The grounds, too, were just starting to green out and blossoms were everywhere. I kept trying to figure out which blossoms were making everything smell so nice... hooray for spring!

Saturday night we were having a relaxed meal at the Laughing Bean - definitely a restaurant to check out the next time you're in Asheville - when I was notified of some crushing news. We opted for less outgoing plans that we'd had originally, and Sunday ended up doing a hike by some lovely waterfalls, rather than staying around Asheville any longer.

Sunday evening, Tom's friend Michael invited us over for pork tenderloin, green beans and salad - yum! We had a lovely evening, catching up (we'd been backpacking together in October), and listening to Michael's new super audio CD setup. That was a-MAZ-ing.

This morning, I was supposed to be at the airport at 4:00 AM so I'd have plenty of time to explain my ID-less state and still make my 6:00 AM flight... which, thankfully, I did. Now I'm back in Wisconsin and ready to catch up on sleep, work, and homework - here's hoping it happens!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

magical thinking

What was I thinking? For some reason, I thought now would be a good time to take one of the two classes I need to take this year toward my degree. Ok, so maybe I wasn't crazy:

  • I was all set and enrolled in a class last fall, and with the holidays, travel, and a completely nuts work schedule, I deferred it.
  • The class I needed was offered again this term, and I thought it would be good to get it out of the way - no time is perfect, right?
  • There was a tiny little thought in the back of my head that while it would cut down on time with Tom while he's here a bit, perhaps, I could still study with him around (less possible over distance) and that having it to do after he's gone would help me adjust a bit better.
But I was wrong. Very, very much so. 
My coworker John tells me I engage in magical thinking. I think I can get a lot more done in the time allotted than I actually can. I often run late to meetings (not something I'm proud of), but it's generally due to the fact that I think I can get one more thing done in the time that I have before the start of the next thing.
So - work has NOT slacked off... if anything it's gotten more intense as I try to juggle two projects that could each be full time, and supervisey stuff. The one that was supposed to have eased off by now has not, but the other is now in full swing. Oof!
And I hate that because of homework I've had to cancel small group with some high schoolers from my church, and move game night to someone else's so my Tuesdays are free. And still I'm not keeping up with the darn stuff.
And.... enough ranting! If/when I ever get this degree, remind me to go back and read this post so I can be truly thankful for the accomplishment. I really am doing well and am SO enjoying having Tom around. There has been great x-c skiing snow this winter, and I have a new niece, and great friends.What more, really, could I ask for?
Back to the books...