Monday, October 31, 2016

When your day starts off precariously balanced on a chair in the front of the room...

Is your day sucking a little bit? Sam, I'm thinking about you. :0 Let's commiserate! Here is how my day started:

4:30 am - Wake up. Someone (*delicately clears throat*) set the alarm in our guest room without Mike or I noticing. Mike goes down to turn it off, but it woke both of us. We unhappily fall back to sleep.

5:30 am - Anne wakes us up when her and Oreo the penguin make a pilgrimage to the potty.

6:30 am - I blearily wake up and stumble out of bed. Long before anyone should be expected to employ coherent thought, I am pressed into service assembling Halloween costumes, pinning various things, and shoving not-nearly-stretchy-enough headpieces onto (apparently) heads that are far too large for aforementioned headpieces. This has always been a problem with my kids. Apparently, Mike and I make very tall, large headed children.

7:30 am - Mike takes the kids to school, and I unhappily head to work with my gigantic travel mug full of coffee.

8:15 am - Given the last minute nature of what we decided to do for our lesson this week, I am scrambling to finish up a few things before my class at 9.

8:50 am - I head to class, planner, notes, and coffee mug in hand.

8:55 am - I arrive at class. I greet students. I realize that I forgot my flash drive which contains an important MLA citation example exercise we will spend half the class time going over.

8:56 am - *$%#@^&$@!

8:56 am and 30 seconds - I race back to the library to fetch my flash drive, accumulating lots of extra steps on my Fitbit, but many, many unhappy thoughts aswirl in Tiffany's head.

9:01 am - I arrive back at the classroom, extremely proud of self, flash drive in hand. I re-greet students, pop flash drive in, and attempt to fire up the monitor on the instructor workstation. Aforementioned monitor fails to respond.

9:02 am - &^%$#@%*(!

9:03 am - I troubleshoot with the monitor, which translates to handling it roughly, shoving plugs in and out of holes, and moving the screen around in random directions. To the surprise of absolutely no one, nothing happens.

9:04 am - I resign myself to a non-working monitor and test out the projector. It works fine, despite the monitor not responding. I resolve to work bravely along with a crink in my neck as I lean painfully back and to the left to navigate with my mouse. Whatevs.

9:05 am - I turn to the projector screen to pull it down. The cord is wrapped around the rolled up screen several times, meaning that I cannot pull it down from ground level like usual.

9:05 am and 30 seconds - *&^%$$^&*&@!

9:06 am - With nothing but glazed over expressions greeting my every movement, I quickly dismiss the idea of asking a tall person to assist me, roll over the instructor chair, and carefully balance on it to unwrap the cord. VERY UNSTEADILY. Not the smartest idea I'd ever had, but hey, I was desperate. Somehow, it works.

9:07 am - We finally start class, me frantically opening browser windows and typing in URLs while wrenched to the side so that I can see the projector screen.

9:46 am - I finish class successfully, much relief in my heart. As the students file out, I call classroom services to let them know about the monitor:

"Hi! I'm in room 114, and the monitor isn't responding in here."

*delicate pause*

"Oh yes, we get calls about this all the time. Is the monitor powered on? The button is very tiny and hard to see, so people often don't realize that it is off. It's in the back, lower right side."

*Tiffany examines alleged button*

"Oh. There is indeed something there, let me press...Ah ha. Yes, that was it. It's fine now."

*Tiffany breathes sigh of relief that she did not identify herself at the outset of the call*

"A lot of people don't see it, no worries."

I had never seen the instructor workstation monitors powered down in the classrooms, they're always just sleeping and spring to life when you log in, so the thought didn't even occur to me. And the "button" is practically non-existent. So I'm trying to defend myself here, but I think I can sum it up by saying: I AM AN IDIOT IN NEED OF MORE COFFEE. PERHAPS WITH A SHOT OF BAILEY'S IRISH CREAM.


I now have to look forward to: Another class. Cooking for the kids and re-stuffing into Halloween costumes solo since Mike has to teach. Solo trick-or-treating, which will almost certainly include a "coffee mug" as was alluded to above. All before any of the other things I wanted to get done today. Bet you can't wait for tomorrow's post.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

No official Tea Time this week on account of my voice. But let's kibitz in writing!

Hi all! Whatever upper respiratory thing I have going on has weakened my voice to a hoarse whisper, so no audio/video Tea Time this week. I figured I'd spare your poor ears the raspiness that is my current lot in life. I should be back in good vocal form next week!

So for the time being, we can just converse in the written form. Grab your beverage:

I was still a bit hopeful last night that when I woke up my voice may be somewhat better. When I woke this morning, I still felt completely exhausted and run down, and I could hear Mike go into Anne's room to get her up and ready for school:


Isn't that what every living being thinks upon wake up, adult and child alike? Unless you're a baby. Babies never want to sleep. :0

So I got up as well, and as soon as I tried to talk I knew it was no use. Thank goodness this is a non-teaching week.

All things considered though, I'm in really good spirits, and not feeling terrible physically, it's just this pesky voice issue. And here's a highlight: as Mike was taking the kids to school, I blearily perused my email. I am on the hunt for holiday gifts right now, I always start early in the fall and gradually pick things up so that it isn't a shock to the budget come December. And I had an email from a company I've been hankering to order from for some time, which is Tiny Hands Food Jewelry.

She makes the most adorable, scented (you know I have a weakness for scented things :0) food charms that you wear as a necklace. I've been wanting to get Anne one for months, and have also eyed several for myself. The email this morning let me know that she started a Necklace of the Month Club, and you can participate for however long you like, simply canceling when you want. It's perfect timing for Christmas gifts, so I signed up. :0

And you can too, if you like, right here. Right now it's $15 for the first 50 people to sign up (plus $4 shipping) each month, until you cancel. After the first 50 spaces are used up, it'll go to $19.99, still very reasonable as the necklaces retail singly for $23-$28 apiece. They are handmade, tiny and absolutely precious. The first month's necklace should ship within the next 2 weeks, and will be a cupcake necklace. Perfect for Anne! It will be one of four possible color schemes. The second month will be a cookie, one of four possible flavors. :0 She has the entire year laid out at the link, if you want to check it out. I am STOKED. The cupcake will definitely be one of Anne's Christmas gifts!

So that brightened my morning. Along with the new fox warmer I have warming Coconut Lemon Chiffon scented wax in my office:

Check out those perky ears!
Isn't he the cutest?!


He's my new officemate. ;-) He's my friend and I LOVE HIM.

So I'm in a great mood. How are you doing this rainy October day, dear reader?

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Autumn Prayer Journal Curators, volume 5...

Hello all! I think that it is official: Anne has passed some form of the illness she had on to me, and I have passed it on to Mike.


We're not faring nearly so poorly as she did, though. We both have scratchy (but not sore) throats, and are losing our voices, but otherwise feel fine. I'm actually not sure if I'll be able to record Tea Time tomorrow if I don't improve, given the sad state of my voice at present. So we'll see! I'm just grateful to be in a really good place emotionally this week, and you all are a big part of that! Let's get to our INSPIRE for today!

Inspiration - This week, I am inspired by my husband. I am more in love with him than ever, and my appreciation for how much he does to hold down the fort at home has grown by leaps and bounds. He teaches multiple classes, takes care of household cleaning and grocery shopping, and also takes on quite a bit of running the kids around/homework duty. And he does it all good naturedly. I need to emulate him more.

Nourish - I'm back with Mother Angelica in the Raymond Arroyo book! I had taken a break to read a little nonfiction of the legal/true crime variety. I'm over halfway done, and as ever, finding lots of inspiration in her for love of my faith.

Spread Joy - I've been smiling more. I've been thinking about making eye contact with people I pass fleetingly to pass on the happiness I feel this week.

Projects - I'm working on a new winter hat for Mike! It's a lovely dark green merino tencel yarn, the colorway is called "New York at Night." It has a large ribbed band for folding/custom fit around the ears, and a cabled top. Perfect for men!

Involve - I'm starting to think about Advent, and the devotions I would like to practice both personally and with my kids. My November piece for Catholic Mom is about this very topic!

Reflect - Lord, I feel you with me throughout my days this week. I pray that I may always carry this feeling with me, even during weeks that are more challenging to navigate. Our Lady Star of the Sea, pray for us!

End Goals - I go back to in-classroom teaching next week for a three week stretch. My goal is to carry forward my progress from this week off into those weeks.

Do you have an INSPIRE list this week? Let's see it in the comments!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

What goes on in my house at midnight?

You're hoping this is going to be a post bearing some level of interesting material, right? ;-) Party time?! After all, it *was* a play performance weekend for my adorable Mike.

*fans self*


Be that as it may, unless we have a newborn in the bassinet next to our bed, at midnight we are sleeping 1,000% of the time. Because we are old.

Except this week.

*long suffering sigh*

We are still old, ;-) but our 5 year old has suddenly been having the overnight demands of a new baby. Anne has been very sick with an upper respiratory infection, and while I'm certainly sympathetic, the loss of sleep has definitely been taking a toll on all of us. Mid-week last week, the wakings were because she was feverish and had a terrible sore throat. That lasted into the weekend, and now we've transitioned into the frenetic coughing segment of our current nightmare. Again, I'm very sympathetic, but I do think she has developed a bit of waking habit over the course of the past week, and now just wants company when she is up. Exhibit A:


I stumble in blearily, given that it's 2 am, and the third time I've been up with her that night. The other two consisted of the need for water and more Vicks VapoRub.

"What do you need, Honey?"

"I really like the cupcake leggings you're wearing right now, Mommy. If you find them in my size, would you buy them for me?"

Really? This is the conversation we need to be having right now?

"I guess, yes, Honey. Please go back to sleep, OK?"

"OK Mommy."

*5 minutes elapse*

*door loudly clicks open* *tip toe sounds out in the hallway*

"Anne?! What's wrong?"

"I have to go to the bathroom. So does Oreo."

"Your stuffed penguin?! All right."


Last night we had one legitimate wake up, and then another around 3:30 which Mike tried to field:


Flattering? I think she just knows I'm the softer touch.

"Mommy, you just said something to me in my dream. What did you say?!"

Because mind reading is something I excel at in the middle of the night too, apparently.

At any rate, we're all very tired, but we're making it. I have a week off from teaching (which is VERY badly needed), Anne is improving, and I'm looking forward to an INSPIRE post tomorrow! How are YOU doing this late October week, dear reader?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #71 - Sore throats & finding the good amongst the bad...

It's another sick day edition of:

Today we talk about little bunnies being under the weather, exhaustion, midlife job crises, and the uplifting nature of novenas during stressful times. Join me!

**To subscribe to the audio version of Tea Time with Tiffany, just search for it in iTunes or use this link to subscribe via Feedburner in your podcatcher of choice. Intro music is "Tea Ceremony" from

Items mentioned in this episode:
Let's kibitz. What's going on with you today?!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

5 things I'm grateful for today...

Let's do a little exercise together, shall we? ;-) 5 things that we're grateful for right here and now. I'll start!

Fall Activities

Autumn is my favorite season of the entire year. All year I look forward to crunching in fallen leaves, putting mulling spices into warm cider, buying Pumpkin Spice Lattes out the wazoo, and going to things like corn mazes. We took the kids to one this past weekend, and we all reveled in the fall glory. And our foliage in WNY is pretty spectacular right now.

Cute Kids

My kids can sometimes make me dream about Calgon taking me away, but they are both such sweet and goodhearted children. They're also tremendously cute and oftentimes fun to be around. ;-)

Friends and Fellowship

This weekend I also attended a Partylite (candles and home decor) party, as a friend from my dance troupe sells it. I won the adorable pumpkin votive holders you see above, about which I am just tickled. It makes me happy to see them flickering alongside Mary up on our mantle. When I look at them, I think about getting together with friends (whether it be in person or online), and enjoying their company. I have that in abundance in my life, and for that I cannot fully ever express my gratitude. 

Beautiful Things

I take a picture of this same sugar maple tree near my house every single year. This is the third year running. It is currently at peak foliage. I love when it is bright orange on the top, but the bottom still has leaves that are transitioning from green into orange, and individual leaves display both colors. Stunning. 

My Marriage

Today I waxed poetic about fragrance in my Scentsy group on Facebook, asking them what fragrance meant to them, and why they love it. I posed it as a "philosophical question," and my philosopher husband reported in to say that the question we should be asking ourselves is whether the fragrance is a property of the wax itself, or whether it's something we create in our own minds.


Is it any wonder that I love him so much? He makes me laugh every single day.

All right dear readers. Have your own list of 5? Go for it! In the comments. :)

Monday, October 17, 2016

We're all entitled to one existential crisis every 20 years or so, right?

Even when a gal is doing her utmost to make the best of a difficult situation and to keep her spirits up, sometimes one still can't help but wallow in self-pity. When things are CRAP, that is. :0 It's normal, but it's like you feel like even more of a failure that once again, you managed to fall off of your fledgling pedestal of self-imposed comfort. Not a good feeling, to be sure.

And so on Friday afternoon, I was here in my office questioning my decision to ever get involved in teaching. Why? Let me count the ways...

 It does not come naturally to me. I have had to work for YEARS AND YEARS to become comfortable up in front of a group of people and able to speak. And by years and years, I mean DECADES. Even after all this time, I still get incredibly nervous, such that I am compelled to take specific secretive actions to mask that anxiety for every class that I teach. I am a sensitive person, and very apt to have my feelings hurt via thoughtless words and actions by others, and this is also not a good combination with teaching 18 year olds. I do think that I do a good job making the material understandable and (to the extent it is possible :0) interesting, so there's that. I'm also naturally a kind and empathetic person who can set others at ease. I suppose that is a good quality in a teacher, but it also means that you set yourself up to be taken advantage of.

So...that's where I'm at right now. Meaning:

Current emotional state: Longing To Be Cataloger Who Hides In Basement With Stack Of Books. Toss Cup Of Coffee Down Occasionally To Assure That Aforementioned Cataloger Still Breathes.

Circling back to Friday... I had one outstanding class that afternoon, but my last one of the day tested every iota of strength I had in my body to keep it together. I couldn't help but think:

"Is this really what I should be doing with my life? Would something else be better?"

The grass is always greener on the other side, yes? I know that. But I also know that I'm miserably unhappy at work right now, and that the toll on my emotional and physical health is very real this semester. This isn't good for me. But should I stick it out to see if it gets better? Yes and no.

Yes, in that I made a commitment, and my team needs me for the spring. So, yes, I'll do that. But long term? I'll be honest, I don't know. Maybe something else would be a better fit. I didn't think it would get to this point, but it officially has. I'm keeping my eye out for clues as to what I should do. That's not a quick process, and that's fine. The 54 day rosary novena is going to come at an excellent time for me.

I wish I could be more uplifting this Monday, but I always keep it real here. I did have an outstanding weekend at home, taking the kids to a pumpkin patch and watching my honey in his latest play. You all know how I feel about THAT scintillating part of my husband's creative life. *simpers with happiness* I am tremendously grateful for that part of my life. Tomorrow we can talk about things we are grateful for this fall, how does that sound? It might be an early INSPIRE kind of week. :0

Friday, October 14, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #70 - Worries & 54 day rosary novenas...

Wow. We're on episode *70*. That's hard to believe, yes?!

I don't even know how that happened! I've been at this (at least in video form) for well over a year now. I remember when I started and I was so paranoid and particular about EVERYTHING. Now I'm just happy if I remember to turn on the camera before I start talking. :0 At any rate, it's *fabulous* to be here with you, as always, and today I'm waxing nostalgic about my baby, worries for her kindergarten adjustment, and the upcoming 54 day rosary novena that starts on the feast of All Saints! Join us!

**To subscribe to the audio version of Tea Time with Tiffany, just search for it in iTunes or use this link to subscribe via Feedburner in your podcatcher of choice. Intro music is "Tea Ceremony" from

Items mentioned in this episode:
Will you be joining in the novena? Do you find it troubling to watch your kids struggle to adjust to new things? I would love to hear from you. *heart*

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Autumn Prayer Journal Curators, volume 4...

It's going to be a quick one today, friends, because it's another crazy day. :-\ But we're being positive and uplifting right?!?!


I'm trying, I'm really trying. :0 Let's have at it for this week!

Inspiration - This week I am inspired by my knitting friends. This is a wonderful, creative, talented group of women that I knit with over lunch several days per week. Their ability to always patiently listen and offer solace and wisdom is just unparalleled in my life. I'm so grateful for them.

Nourish - I had gotten out of the habit of praying a rosary in the car in the mornings, and I've been doing my best to get my spirits back into that devotion. Rather than try and squeeze in a full rosary, I pray a decade. I always feel better afterward.

Spread Joy - This is a tough one this week. :0 This has been a long week in terms of teaching, and I'm not enjoying the lesson plan we're using. I'm hiding that fact as best I can ;-) and endeavoring to always stay patient.

Projects - The socks are finished! *hallelujah chorus strikes up*

Going to start some other holiday projects now, and it feels so good!

Involve - I posted about starting a 54 day rosary novena on the Feast of All Saints this year, and as I mentioned, I put up a page with all of the necessary dates and details here. I'm really looking forward to this, and would love it you would join me!

Reflect - Help me Lord, to always be patient, and to see the opportunities in every situation for me to make somebody happy each day, rather than always assume the worst about why they are approaching me.

End Goals - To see the positive in all the simple and happy things in life that I treasure.

Have an INSPIRE list? Pop it into the comments!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

"Wait, what day is it?!" Publicly losing one's mind, but hey, 54 day rosary novena to look forward to!

Hi all! I meant to blog yesterday. I really did. But the day away from me. I had two classes (the first of which was incredibly awkward owing to the fact that the majority of the class appeared half dead. I had to *physically wake up* 2 of them before the lecture even started, that's what we were working with here :0), plus Pilates at lunchtime, plus a bunch of student emails to answer and send out, and before I knew it, I was home frantically pouring a glass of wine to unwind and I realized that I hadn't blogged. Though I had meant to. D'oh.

Want to know what else that I forgot? That I had a piece come out with Catholic Mom yesterday. :0 I'm telling you, things are a BLUR for me right now, it's quite epic. That's not necessarily a good thing, but it is what it is. I'm taking one day at a time, and it's been going much better.

In the meantime, click on the graphic below to follow me over to Catholic Mom to discuss...54 day rosary novenas!


After a long day of teaching yesterday, I was super pleased to see that someone tweeted about my Catholic Mom piece. That's what reminded me that it existed. ;-) Then I had someone write to me that they were thinking of praying a 54 day rosary novena, and that my article pushed her over the prayer edge to do it. This made my whole evening.

SOOOOO, if you'd like to pray along, we're starting November 1st, the feast of All Saints! This means that we'll finish up on  Christmas. I mean, how PERFECT, right?!

I'll bookmark a page at the top of the blog with all of the details when I get a chance, but let's do this thing!! Who's in for a 54 day rosary novena?!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Tea Time with Tiffany #69 - Loose teeth & banishing stress!

TGIF everyone, and welcome to this week's perkier edition of:

Today I talk about my nostalgia over loose teeth, how the Fall 2016 Managing Stress is going, and how remembering dance choreographies is a point of creative pride for me (mostly because I cannot remember anything else :0). Join me!

**To subscribe to the audio version of Tea Time with Tiffany, just search for it in iTunes or use this link to subscribe via Feedburner in your podcatcher of choice. Intro music is "Tea Ceremony" from

Items mentioned in this episode:
How is your October faring, dear listener? Do you struggle with loose teeth in kids the same way I do? How is your stress management going? Do write in!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Autumn Prayer Journal Curators, volume 3...

Hello my loves, and welcome to our third week of Autumn Prayer Journal Curators! I think it's going well, don't you? I really feel like it's helping me be aware of things during the week in a new and spiritual way. I'm liking it, and I hope those of you who are participating do too. If you haven't participated before, do feel free to jump in anytime! It's not like there's a prerequisite, or that you have to participate every week. It's whatever you would like it to be. *hug*

Let's get started for this week, yes?

Inspiration - This week, I am inspired by my little Anne. She has been SO tired every night from her long days at school. I really feel badly watch her make this transition to full time school, like I should be protecting her from it. :-\ But as saucy as she can be in the mornings, she never complains about going to school. She's going through a lot of changes right now (school, loose teeth, growth spurts), yet she always does what needs to be done. I need to emulate her resilience more.

Nourish - Speaking of Anne, she and I have developed a new habit of praying a decade of the rosary together each night before she goes to bed. We've been consistent at it, and it really lifts my spirits each evening. *heart*

Spread Joy - Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I had a good day at work. All three of my classes went exceedingly well, and it made me recall WHY I love teaching. Thus, I was in an excellent mood when I left my office and was walking out to the parking lot to fetch my car. As I was walking, someone started following me. This sounds all ominous, but it's actually just because parking is hard to come by here, and they wanted my space. :0 Instead of being irritated like has been my usual reaction to everything of late, I gestured to her where my car was and that I was definitely leaving, so that she could zoom over and put her blinker on to claim the spot. After I got in my car and set my podcast listening set up, I speedily pulled out, and she waved to me as I drove away. I waved back, and thought to myself: "That is SO much more enjoyable than being cranky and irritable all the time!"

Projects - Still with the 70's socks! BUT, I am on the foot of sock #2, and I am projecting that I will have the finished pair photographed and able to show you next week at this time. *high five!*

Involve - I've been reading along in my Mother Angelica book, and learning so much about her steadfast faith and trust in the Lord. I have SO MUCH to learn from her.

Reflect - Lord, there are a lot of ups and downs to our days. Help me to navigate this sea of life with grace and humility. Our Lady Star of the Sea, pray for us.

End Goals - Continue to compartmentalize my work life. Work anxieties stay at work, and are not to be brought home to disturb my family life. This turned out beautifully this week.

Do you have an INSPIRE for the week? I'd love to see it below!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Common conversations currently in my work inbox...

*drum roll*

My emphases in paren.

*clears throat for dramatic effect*


Dear Professor (bonus points for this. *unladylike snort*)

I am confused about the assignment to pick a topic. (chances that they were in class last week, PLUS paying attention = pretty low).

You mentioned something about not picking something that is too broad? But I'm not sure what that means? Is this topic OK to use:

The Sun

If this topic is not OK to use, could I meet with you so that you could explain things to me again? (I taught the same lesson 15 times already last week, KILL ME).

Thank you very much for your time! (sweet and polite, indeed. Good souls, it's just that pesky listening and following directions thing).



 It has already been decided that next semester we need short, FAQ videos that we can link students to for these sorts of questions. Because otherwise... we may all lose our minds.

And how are YOU today, dear reader?! Do you have your INSPIRE ready?! That's what's on tap for tomorrow. Already looking forward, and I hope you are too. *heart!*

Monday, October 3, 2016

Cafeteria ladies & tears...

This morning, when Mike came back from dropping the kids off at school, he walked in with Anne's water bottle for snack time, as it had unknowingly fallen out of her backpack during the drive. Want to know what I did?

I started to cry. Because it's just that kind of day.

I feel overwhelmed at work. I don't like the lesson I'm teaching (it's standardized), I don't feel confident with it because I barely had time to look it over in the midst of last week's teaching fray, and some of the students are being super lazy and teeing me off. As in: if you're going to come into the room, immediately put your head down on the desk, and then sleep for all of class, DON'T BOTHER COMING!!


All this, on top of my baby bean not having her Frozen water bottle for snack time? Too much. Over the edge, here I come!

And it's only Monday. *weak nostril flare*

Then I thought back to the weekend. Mike and I were talking while we were making dinner, and we segued into something having to do with the kids. I happened to mention to Mike that I've been noticing more and more how much our kids look alike. They really do. Their little faces hold such a family resemblance. And from behind me, bursts out:

"THAT'S what the cafeteria lady said!! She said I look JUST LIKE HENRY, and Mom, I don't think that's true! Henry's a BOY! And I have long hair!" *flips aforementioned hair saucily over shoulder*

Yep. That's my daughter, for you. It made me smile to think back on it. And on a day like today, I really needed that.

I'm also freshly back from my second class of the day, and nobody fell asleep. I was planning to physically jar them awake if they did, SO DISAPPOINTING. Ah well. I'm calling this a win and heading home for wine. Who's coming with me?!