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.


Tech Week

This is tech week. I am at the theatre a lot. And when I'm home, I'm trying to chill, and I'm baking.

On tap for baking this week: soft gingersnaps, oatmeal-butterscotch, peanut butter, soft sugar cookies

See you when I resurface.


Fun With Friends

Adrienne really put it very well. So much fun hanging with them throughout their visit.


Mountains Beat the Sea

I have not seen anything that looks like this.

This is the first glimpse I got of the Rockies on this trip. The view hasn't improved much since then.
Periodically throughout the past 36 hours, ever since I arrived in Denver, my eyes are drawn to the West, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Rocky Mountains.

This time of year, many of my friends are posting pictures of their feet and a view of the ocean. Toes in the sand, blue skies, surf ... that sort of thing.

And, while I love a good Shore day, I've always been able to do without sand. I love the Boardwalk, the fries, the ocean breeze, the fresh air. But, my idea of the perfect Shore day doesn't involve any time actually in the ocean, and doesn't necessarily have to include actually touching the sand. It's not because I grew up sans beach. On the contrary, I was raised mere minutes from miles of pretty decent beach at Lake Erie.

Nope, for me, it's the mountains. I love a view across valleys. I love the crisp air at altitude. I love the clear, dry skies and the scent of pine. I love windy mountain roads, sledding, hiking.

Spending Christmas in the Poconos is far closer to my idea of bliss than spending 4th of July at the Shore (though I really, really miss our weeks of cramming a jillion Dugans into a shore house for the week of the 4th).

Sand is annoying. Mountains make me feel at home.


Stuff to Do

And not much time to do it ...

Today I have to
  1. buy a window air-conditioner for our spare room.
  2. meet Joe for lunch
  3. work on my Rowan University syllabus
  4. work on my Cumberland County College syllabus
  5. update the program book for Spamalot
  6. go for a run
  7. get the kids to do chores
  8. update the Cumberland Players website
  9. shower (see #6)
  10. check-in online for my flight tomorrow*
  11. pack for my trip
  12. go to bed early (I have to leave my house at 4:30 a.m.)
* I'm a state delegate, representing Cumberland County, of the National Education Association Representative Assembly in Denver. I'll be back on the morning of July 8.


Vacation Daydreams

As I wait out the last few teacher-days of school (we have to work through Friday, but our last student day was Monday), I find myself daydreaming about summer vacation trips.

Next year I have a trip in July to Orlando, so maybe we visit Mickey and Harry Potter and then venture down to the Everglades and Key West? I'm also researching costs and ideas for a dream vacation touring France.

But we have a dream vacation planned for this August, already. I'm terribly excited about it while also feeling like it's this unreal, amorphous thing that's out there on the horizon, never to actually be achieved. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here you go: