We're all heading to Chicago tomorrow to do a quick 3-day academic conference to present some research.  This conference could not be any more inconvenient, as it falls smack-dab in the middle of finals weeks.  Papers, projects, presentations, tigers lions and bears, oh my!

But, we should have some fun.  We have a favorite authentic Greek restaurant that we always visit and it pure goodness.  So tasty!

I'm taking  my camera and I hope to have some good shots to share upon my return!


Can't wait to have some time to go out hiking.  It's the semester crunch time for the next two weeks.  For now, though, I'll continue to reminisce from past hiking trips.


Last night, Joel and I went to a popular sports bar and grill and chose to sit on the patio to get away from the noise and visual assault of all the surrounding t.v. screens.  Our hostess showed us to a table next to a sprawling hulk of a table with about 12 college students lounging around it.  They had taken all the seats from our table, so the hostess had to go inside to retrieve two chairs for us.  We stood awkwardly next to our table, waiting. 

After we were seated, we began to look at our menus, but became distracted very quickly by the table beside us.  Most of the patrons were clearly buzzed, and not in a way that says, “I’m high on life and isn’t life great?” but in a way that said, “I was drunk last night, I’ve had a house party at my house all day today, I’ve been drinking beer and carrying on, throwing horseshoes, tumbling into bushes after losing my balance playing beer funnel, and oh, man, am I HUNGRY and need some WINGS!  GIVE ME SOME WINGS!   WORLD, DO YOU HEAR ME, I SAID I’M HUNGRY AND NEED SOME WINGS!!”

That kind of buzzed.
They continued to holler as loud as they could, with fuck being the operative word.  In fact, if they were not allowed to use ‘fuck’ as part as their vocabulary, I’m not sure if they would have been able to communicate.  The well-groomed girls sat interspersed throughout, giggling at the boys’ loud voices.  I have some tolerance for being loud; it’s a Saturday, the weather is awesome, and life is good.   But.  There is a limit to how much I can tolerate – and I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m getting older, that I was never one to hang out in large obnoxious buzzed groups, or if it’s the knowledge that any one of them could be my students (given their age). 

If you are offended at explicit language, turn away now.  Go look at the puppy pictures.

“Aw, fuck man, geez, fuck.  I mean, that was fuckin’ awesome, okay dude, I mean really fuckin’ awesome.”  “Shit dude, that’s so fuckin’ awesome.”  “Yeah, dude, I know, right?  I was like, fuck.”  At this point the loudest one raised his chin to the sky, pounded on his chest and said something like, “OH MAN DUDE, I WAS LIKE FUCK, I’M GOING TO SHIT IN YOUR MOUTH ASSHOLE!  Tracy, wasn’t I like that?!  Yeah, it was awesome!”  His girl turns and giggles and says, “Shhh…!!  Hehehe!!”  He continues, “Oh, yeah man, fuck.  I was like, FUCK, I am going to SHIT in your MOUTH, FUCKER!  LITTLE MOTHER FUCKING FUCKER!!” 

Joel and I stared at each other during this whole exchange, as we  had given up on audibly talking to one another.  We had lost track of our waitress, but we caught another waiter and told him we were moving to an empty table across the patio.  We took our menus and walked over purposefully to the empty table.  The loud table started cackling and cooing, the girls giggling, and the guys whooping and hollering even louder.  They turned to look at us once more, and then drunkenly carried on.

We had just been served our drinks when all of a sudden, my eardrums started bleeding and fell onto the pavement.  No, I’m kidding.  The loud table had caught wind of the outside speakers’  broadcast of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.”  Here, let me reenact it for you.

“She’s a GOOD GIRLLLLLL, loves her MAMA!!!!!!! Loav;lksjdfl;sdkfj asdf AND AMERICA TOOOOO!!!!........long drunk pause….AND her boyfriend too!!!  FUCK!!.....shit dude, be quiet, no SERIOUSLY BE QUIET!!  Hahaha…..oool…. FREE ….FREE FALLINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN….yeah I’m FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, free FALLINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN.”

They grew tired of themselves after about 2 choruses, thankfully.  I learned two things:  don’t go to that grill on a Saturday night, and two, I will never be able to think of that song the same way without picturing the polo shirt wearing, highlighted hair, aviation glasses donning undergrad with some very loud vocal chords, leaning back into his chair, and SCREAMING his love of this song to the world. 

“I’m FREE!!!!!!!  FREE FALLIN!!!!!!”


Look how happy they were to see each other after we picked them up from the vet's office a few weeks ago.  Well, I mean, Trooper appears happy to see Cosette.  It may not be the other way around.  In fact, she looks annoyed.   Yeah, never mind on that whole missing thing.
They had been kept in separate cages since Trooper is a puppy.


Trooper, about 10 weeks old here.  LOOK AT THOSE EARS!!


We are lying down, relishing the lazy Sunday morning.  LG volunteered to massage my back, so he asks me to lift my tank top up towards my shoulders.  He gives a few quick strokes and then starts paddling a plastic sword against my back.  He grows bored and holds still.  "You're hot," he observes.  "I am?"

"Yes," he says, and wiggles out of his shirt off and folds himself against my back.  "I like laying against people who are warm."  I grin at Joel and say, "Well, me too."  He flips over on his back and says, "Now we are laying back to back.  I want to lay belly to belly."  He lifts his 5-year-old self off of me and tries to move my shoulders.  "Turn over!  I want to put my belly on yours."  I grin but oblige, and flip over onto my back.  I pull my tank top up a little so my belly is exposed.  He lifts my tank top up higher and tries to lift it off of me.  "No, I want to keep my shirt on."  He frowns and says, "But I want to lay boobies to boobies."

I start laughing and say, "But you don't have boobies!"  He points to his little nipples and says, "I have little ones!  But you have big ones."  Surprised at his recent fascination with breasts, I try to change the subject and pull my shirt down tight.  He instead just lays down on me, resting his belly against my clothed belly and putting his head on my chest.  "I like it here," he says, lazily closing his eyes. 

I look over at Joel and he mouths, "I like it there, too."


I think that the County Courthouse Commission in charge of Jury Duty is just so darn cute. Adorable! I want to give them a big hug and tell them how much I love them.

I received my jury duty notice a few weeks ago.  In other states I have lived in, you can ask that you be 'excused' due to personal or business reasons.  Here in this state, and in many I suppose, we have a bit of a problem with people 'excusing' themselves often.  There was a little section that was available to write in to the court explaining why you feel you would be unsuited to serve as a juror.  I not only wrote in the 3 lines provided, I also drew an arrow to the back and wrote a paragraph.  I wish I would have remembered exactly what I wrote, but it went along the lines of something like this:

I feel I am unsuitable to serve as a jury member for the following reasons:  I have an M.S. in Industrial Organizational Psychology and I am working on a Ph.D.  I have explicit and specific knowledge in the field of social dynamics, group influence, leadership, and power.  In fact, I'm an instructor and I teach a class on these very topics in organizations.  Individuals who are in my field are not allowed to serve as jury members, simply because of the ability to successfully wield social influence in group settings.  Additionally, I teach during the weeks specified, and I have no one to cover my classes.

It was longer and a bit more detailed, but that was the general message.  I received a notice in the mail today that my duty had been postponed until 6/22, as a provision of the Jury Commission Act allowing jurors to temporarily delay service.  Additionally, "If you are aware of a conflic with the newly assigned date, please contact our office immediately.  Waiting until the new summons date to make a request is unaccepatble and will be denied."

I didn't want my actions to be unacceptable, so I immediately called and explained my summer teaching situation.  I will be teaching an intensive four-week summer session class right around the postponed time, so I asked for an extension at the very least.  I succesfully postponed until July 20, 2009. 

I don't really mind being asked to serve.  I don't even really mind doing it.  But willfully ignoring my explanations about my experiences in groups, and teaching people how to function in organizational groups, makes me scratch my head.  Seems they are counting on an ethical populace that would not stand for one person swaying a decision one way or another. 

Well, I'm ethical.  Sign me up.  But darn, it's going to be very hard not to want to screw with people, just because I could.  Why don't you have me serve in a way that would be mutually beneficial?  I can do data analysis!  Look, numbers!


Relishing memories of all that good food...gumbo, po boys, jambalaya, rice-n-beans, mmmmmmmmm food coma.


Tuesday, April 7, 2009.  The day we began our first-ever batches of wine.


Total dog-attention-capturer.  I fill up a Kong-like toy with a special formula of dog treat and it entertains them for quite some time.  They each pick alternate ends and go to town; and of course one of them will pick it up and carry it elsewhere, making the other trail after in hot pursuit.  In short, I think I'm more entertained than they are.