My last solo day in Madison…

… started early — like, 4 am early  — Hil needed a trip to the bathroom… after that excitement, I went back to sleep for a while, only to have a dream that we (Mom, myself, Emily and Shirley) were caring for my Grandpa Charlie and had somehow disconnected his catheter bag… and were fighting about it — the four of us never fight… I’m thinking  it may be time for me to go home… I’m glad mom will be here later…  I’m a philosopher, not a nurse…

Pro-tip of the day… prune juice, don’t forget it… because Hil won’t ask for it.. On a related note… the walker doesn’t fit into Hil’s bathroom — but, she can make it by using the sink and the washer/dryer… we figured out that it’s easier to get her pj pants up if she faces the dryer and you work from the side.. trust me on this one…

I’ve taken to hanging out in the living room when Hil says she wants to nap — the neighbors are kind of interesting — don’t be surprised to see Rochelle deliver the mail :)…

Also, Hil’s wifi has a secret password that isn’t on the document on her laptop — or, any variations of her name, or anything else… I don’t know  how to fix it.  Her ipad and computer work fine, but unless you get Lindsey to help you sort it out, your new computer can’t access her network… Brian and Linda’s works in the den… ask them for the password.


Hil update 2 (aunt, not Clinton..)

We had a big day yesterday… a trip to the bathroom, fresh PJs and the decision that the couch is hard to get off of, so for the time being it’s the big red leather chair for Hil..

Also — that election thing… we had the girls from across the street over for dinner and election results — so, good company, good food and great news all around.

Mom booked her ticket to Madison — turns out there is a huge price difference between flying in on Sunday and flying in on Friday… so she chose Friday — which works for me :).  She’ll be in on Friday late afternoon, Andy will be down in the evening and I’ll go back to Minnesota with him on Sunday, so Mom can have her car here..

We also decided that I would take care of the house and Mom would spend Thanksgiving in Madison… good news all around, I think.

Today the OT person should come in, at some point… the social worker was a no-show yesterday… grrr… the girls from across the street will come hang out with Hil after lunch so I can go wander around Madison for a couple of hours without being concerned about Hil –she could stay alone, but I wouldn’t leave her just so I could get a break — and Hil enjoys their company.. so it’s all good.

In food news– here are the pro tips…

1) coffee.. if it’s normal coffee to you and I, it’s too strong for Hil, so some hot water in the cup first — then coffee will make her happy.

2) toast — watch it… the toaster oven works well, but start with the “light” setting and add time…

3) the eggs… I always start them first, put the eggs in the small cast iron pan, cover with water and turn on high… let them go for at least 25 minutes, then put the eggs in a bowl of ice/very cold water for just a little bit (a minute or two at most), they’ll be easy to peel this way… then, mash them up with some butter..

Put it all on a tray — in the cupboard by the fridge — she’ll send you back to the kitchen if you don’t have a tray :)…

Generally, she’s had an apple for lunch and a decent dinner… you’ll keep her happy if she has ice water, almonds and a Hershey bar with almonds by her side at night..

It took me a while to figure all of this out — there’s no reason you should have to sort it out on your own..

Pile it on, why don’t you?











Like every other academic blogger in the pergatory between Thanksgiving and Winter break, I’m feeling a bit overloaded..

I have two online courses to finish by Wednesday — for Spring.

I have a pile of grading waiting for me, with more in the forecast.

I have a meeting with someone about some kind of college initiative thing I haven’t had time to think about.

I have a meeting with the department to figure out schedules for a semester I hope to be on sabbatical.

I’ll have a schedule to get rotated and chased down before winter break.

I have two meetings to attend with my super-dean before she goes on leave —

The administration has some kind of project for us to do — concerning student achievement or something…

Plus, there’s finals and calculating grades…

A few bright spots — I’ll turn 43 on Thursday — and I’m taking the evening off, and perhaps most of the next day.

Pandygraw comes right at the end of finals week, exactly when I need it most.

A good pal and hopefully sabbatical buddy is having a holiday party… YEA!  Last year involved a white elephant gift exchange, some wine and roller girls… seriously, how could it have been better?

In all of this fun, we need to go shopping at a truck stop for an appropriate contribution to the exchange… oh yea!

Like riding a bicycle…








… except, on thin blades, and slippery ice…

Max had his first experience on the ice today… yep, he’s 10, lives in Minnesota and has never been skating before.

It was fascinating to teach him… since I don’t remember learning to skate.  I grew up on a lake, we skated not long after we could walk.  When I started taking skating lessons, I already knew how to skate and moved pretty quickly to jumps and spins… and falling on my ass.

I’m really proud of Max — he followed my advice, for the most part, he fell and got up again.  He made it around the rink twice — the second time around he was getting the hang of it.

There are two aspects to learning to skate that I just couldn’t teach or show him — one, falling doesn’t hurt all that bad (especially when you’re 10), and the feel of the blad on the ice.  So, today was about falling and getting back up again and feeling the ice with your blades.

At the end, Max was eager to do it again — which is fantastic for him, since he’s usually so good at things he tries and sometimes gets discouraged easily when he isn’t instantly a whiz.  I’m proud of him that he laughed and smiled the whole way around.  Every time he fell, we talked about why he fell the direction he did and how to avoid it the next time.

I really enjoyed it because it was something I could help Max with… it made me feel like a good “Patty”.

At the end of the 30 minutes we spent on the ice, I felt like I’d remembered how to skate — kind of — and Max was excited by the prospect of going again. Not a bad way to spend the afternoon.


Not to brag, but….

… once again, I’m “Normal”… according to my PET/CT scan.

No indication of cancer.. YEA!

Andy came with me — we had a good talk with Dr. W — and, in the words of the amazing Dr. W, “short reports are good”… “no indication of cancer”.

YEA!  Three years ago this month I finished chemo.  So far, so good!

When’s the last time you…

When’s the last time you:
  • Saw old friends and made new connections?
  • Saw your best friend ever?
  • Stayed up all night with someone, just because you didn’t want to go to sleep?
  • Saw the set and then rise (same question as above)?
  • Told someone you loved them?
  • Had someone wake you up to tell you that they love you?
  • Laughed until coffee came out your nose?
  • Cried in someone’s arms?
  • Talked to someone who really gets you?
  • Got a high five?
  • Watched a bunch of episodes of a great show?
  • Risked irritating the neighbors with your music?
  • Told someone that they are kind, compassionate and smart?
  • Were told that you’re a nice person and brilliant?
  • Gave someone permission to forgive themselves for their past?
  • Offered to get someone in crisis the help they need?
  • Told someone that “they’re the one who is off, not you”?
  • Fell asleep in someone’s arms?
  • Woke up in someone’s arms?
  • Had a nice, sweet lump of cat snooze on you?
  • Were told that you’re good at your job?
  • Were congratulated about something?
  • Sat around a bonfire with an old friend and a new friend?

I may not have a lot of money.

I may not have an academic job with any kind of prestige.

I may live in an apartment and drive a car with over 100,000 miles on it — but, I’ve done all of the above recently, which makes for a pretty happy life.


This was a good weekend for teamwork and family…

Yesterday was Andy’s mom’s birthday — The people who love her most came together to celebrate a wonderful, loving, gracious and kind woman.  We had dinner at a local establishment and then there was a short period when those of us who love her got to say a few words.

This morning Max won the Super Bowl for 2nd -4th grade flag football in his town.  The kids and coaches were a fantastic team all year — supporting one another, learning a lot about both football and leadership.  The parents faced an unusual challenge from another set of fans — and everyone banded together to say that kind of behavior wasn’t ok..

This afternoon and evening Andy, Max and I cooperated on a great video commemorating their victory — with all the joys and challenges of idvd…