It's amazing what stress does to the immune system. Over-scheduling ... worry ... poor sleep ... germs ... worry ... BAM ... bronchitis and sinusitis and a perforated eardrum.

I guess it's the body's way of saying, "Chill out, man, go back to bed ... relax about all that stuff." But, I would rather not, thanks. Not if this is how it has to happen.

A hammock by a mountain stream with some knitting and/or a good book (and good broadband service) is more my idea of relaxing.



I'm a busy person. I have stress about money, work, family ... all the "normal" things.

My schedule changes this Friday, for the new marking period at school. The classes I'm getting are some of the most challenging groups in the building, and I lose one of the precious free periods of my day, as well. I am directing a show, about to stage manage a show, and my son is a lead in a third show. I teach classes at night in addition to my day job, and I co-lead an after-school club. I do the traditional "mom" stuff at home and act as major domo/cruise director for our family's extracurricular activities, schedule and socializing.

None of this is meant to sound boastful. I like busy. I thrive on it, really.

It's just meant to be an explanation and even apology of sorts to my friends, family, self ... if (when!) I neglect to count my blessings and choose instead to dwell on stressors and negativity, please forgive me.

A friend of mine is currently going through one of the toughest times anyone should never have to face. Family members (myself included) are grieving and working through the unpleasant family politics of bereavement and inheritance. Other friends struggle with health issues and un/underemployment.

My immediate family is well and safe and generally happy. I must remember to feel grateful for all I have and all I am rather than focusing on what I don't have/wish were different/regret I've done.


Well, That's Awfully Nice to Hear...

Sometimes you're having a perfectly mediocre day and then your student evaluations make you feel as though maybe, just maybe, you're really meant to be an educator. Now if only someone in higher ed would hire me ...

  • Professor Dugan is one of the best teachers I've ever had. She is an excellent teacher and a wonderful person. She is fair with her assignments and the work load isn't all that bad. The class was one of my favorites this past semester because of the classroom environment. On top of this, the class itself is really interesting, and the literature is really good for the most part.
  • The instructor was amazing and will help you want to learn the material as well as just be in the classroom. Moreover, the content and books that are read are short and interesting enough that I would recommend this class to anyone, even those that do not like to read.
  • The material was very clear cut and easy to understand. The professor was very relatable, friendly, and helpful.
  • She is a very good professor and she made the class very enjoyable. I liked talking about all of the stories we've read in class and she made them more understandable and clear as well. I would definitely recommend taking the class
  • Highly recommended to take this course with this professor. She is very understanding and really strives for her students to comprehend the material in her lessons. She was my favorite professor this year and I can't wait to have her again next semester
  • Great professor. I took this class as a biology major senior so for me it was a nice relief class. I appreciate the worldliness it gave me. I feel I am more well rounded, and can participate in conversations about American Literature.
  • AMAZING class! Professor Dugan is the best professor I've had. She's exteemely personable and I would most definitely take any class she's teaching.
  • Professor Dugan is one of the best teachers I have ever had. I expected to not like the course at all because I am usually not a literature person, but Professor Dugan always makes the class extremely interesting and fun and it ended up being my favorite class. I learned a ton and I have a newfound love for literature because of this course.
  • Professor Dugan is an okay professor, her feedback on my assignments seemed kind of harsh and did not really do anything except make me feel down on myself. I also do not like the fact that the only grades you have for the class are test/quizzes a final paper and a final exam. 


Blogging is Less Convenient

I have had an item on my to-do list since late September ... blog post. I keep forwarding it week by week in my to-do list app.

Due to recent changes in our school district security, I can no longer access Blogspot while at work. I use to blog during my lunch break. Now, apparently, I have to fund time at home to actually sit down at my computer and post something. You can see that this hasn't happened.

Until today.

Emily and her mellophone
Today I don't have school. Joe and the kids have theirs, but my district is closed in recognition of Veteran's Day (which is tomorrow). So ... a catch-up day all to myself! BLISS!

(I may or may not still be in my pajamas at nearly noon.)

Most folks who read this blog are also my Facebook friends and are therefore aware of Dugan goings-on via status and photo posts there. So, it's not as though I've been entirely incommunicado.

It's just been awkward to blog.

Matthew and his sousaphone
We're currently in prep-for-holidays mode around here. We have all the Christmas lights and decor down from the attic and have been triaging things and making plans for where everything will go in the new house. An artificial tree has been purchased for the front window and various accoutrements for the planned 12-foot real tree in the family room (or, as it will be known for the weeks between Thanksgiving and Twelfth Night ... the tree room). The spare room is being reorganized and cleaned for guests. Meals are being planned and grocery sales taken advantage of in advance. Christmas cards have been orders, though not yet written. Most gifts have been purchased.

All this on top of working three jobs, four nights a week of marching band, cooking, cleaning, and trying to do odds-and-ends to improve and repair the house.

It's been quite a blur.

Still, this is day five off from work (in a row!) and I feel relatively rested and ready to resume. Marching band has all-but wrapped up for the season. It's just about time to settle in. For the first time since 2007, we will be spending Christmas day in our own house, just the four of us. I cannot even tell you how terrific that sounds after this fall we're having.

Busy is nice, but I'm ready for some not-busy for a little while.



Today's to-do list had twelve items on it.

One of which is writing a blog post.

I've checked off four items, but added six new ones.

Today and tomorrow, we get paid. Once I pay bills, we have maybe $100 to last until the next payday.*

My bursitis seems to be alleviated, but I still have no idea what caused it.

Joe turns 44 on Wednesday. That is an age that once would've seemed very old to me. When I look at him, he seems very nearly the same Joe I met in 1989.

 I miss being onstage. Like a sickness.

My brain is rushing ahead to the future (planning for Thanksgiving, Christmas, next summer), rather than focusing on the present. This leaves me feeling both rushed to complete all the tasks (though many have deadlines weeks or more away), as well as feeling like life is passing me by (though it's my own fault my focus is so misplaced).

If anyone wants to give me some mums for my front porch, I'd be most appreciative.

Next up on the house projects: spackling, sanding and painting the finished basement.

*I really need to plan ahead better for my four missed paychecks in the summer. Otherwise, September and October are just always a fiscal nightmare.


Hello, Fall!

Fall is my favorite season of the year. I think it always has been. I love the changing leaves, the crisp, cool nights, the layers of clothes, marching band and football games, Halloween, Thanksgiving. I really love all of it.

However, for the past few days ... a week, maybe ... I've been in a funk. I don't know if it's a lack of exposure to sunlight, a lack of quality sleep, back-to-school stress, fall allergies (of which I have a few), the financial pressure this time of year* or a nasty combination of all-of-the-above. In any case, I've been feeling blue. Inadequate to the task (teaching, parenting, wifing, selfing ... pick one). Lackluster.

I don't know if it's my obedience to my digital overlords (mobile device addict, here), fatigue, or it's my malaise coloring my perspective of my life (or, again, all-of-the-above) ... but I just don't feel truly present in my life. I feel as though I do many things, but that I'm not sure who I am.

And then I feel the angsty guilt over feeling this way. Part of me (I think it's my mom's voice inside my head) tells me to suck it up, count my blessings and move on. And I feel guilty for not doing just that.

I think I'll try to eliminate variables and focus on getting a good night's sleep each night this week. And, I'll try to get some sunshiny outdoors time, too. The dog could use some walks around the block, after all.

I'll let you know how it goes.

*I don't get paid for July and August, which is always hard to plan for, plus ... we're coming into Christmas spending....

P.S. Apparently the "fall blues" is totally a thing.



My last blog post was back in July. I said I'd post again when I came up for air. I guess that took longer than I'd thought it would. Let's see ... what has happened since then?

Spamalot was an outrageous hit. Joe couldn't have made me prouder in the lead role. The entire cast was stellar and friendly and hilarious. Several performances sold out. We hosted an epic cast party (or two) at our house. All-in-all, a spectacular success.

We made an epic road-trip excursion Out West. My Facebook and Instagram friends followed our progress driving across Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and back. We visited numerous national parks and monuments, saw more wildlife than ever before, and experienced the wonders of man-made and natural wonders across our country. I also wound up in the ER following a two-hour ambulance ride and struggled with keeping up with responsibilities back home via the ever-sketchy-at-best cell service.

School restarted. Joe returned to his college math classes, Emily began tenth grade (now at the senior high) and Matthew started eighth grade (his final year at the middle school), and I returned to my K-8 computer classes. I've also started teaching two college classes, which keeps me busy four nights a week. The kids are in marching band this time of year, too. So, that's two night rehearsals per week, plus a football game and competition every weekend.

So ... maybe I'm not quite above water yet. Talk to me more about that during Christmas break.