Weekend Coffee Share: A New Semester


If we were having coffee,

I’d tell you that I can’t spend as much time as usual because I still have a few things to finish up for the start-up of my classes this week. I’m teaching Intro to Criminal Justice again (two sections) and a combination online/in-person (hybrid) Intro to Sociology course. This is my first hybrid course, and I just completed the training for it about ten days before Christmas. I’m looking forward to classes, but as always, I wouldn’t mind having a little more time before things started up. But I guess that’s always the way. But I’m going to head to a near-by coffee shop (3 1/2 miles away)  😉 to gather my focus.

If we were having coffee,

I’d tell you that I got my sewing machine set up this morning. Dave was so great about packing it up securely so that I could bring it back with me and not have to wait until he arrives in February. I’d also tell you that I think I’ve practiced the basic machine quilting enough while I was in Iowa that I can move onto the actual quilt, hopefully tomorrow.

Dave in Iowa 229

If we were having coffee,

I’d tell you that I finished all the revisions and the report to the reviewers for the co-authored article only to find out that my co-author confused the deadline with one of his other deadlines. We have effectively missed the deadline. He thought it was tomorrow, but it was actually last Tuesday. If we’ve lost the chance to get it published with them, I will start targeting other journals to submit it to, but it was a big disappointment.

Still, I’m still feeling very good about the direction life has been taking over the past few days, and I’m looking forward to the coming weeks.

 If you’d like to join in and have coffee or tea and see what everyone else has been up to this week, you can head over to Diana’s page for the details and the Linky to lots of people who are making the weekly coffee share part of their weekends.


This post is also part of JusJoJan, Day 10. Another great place to connect with other bloggers.


Weekend Coffee Share: Welcome 2016

weekendcoffeeshareIt’s Sunday, time to gather with family and friends and catch up on the week’s happenings. Check it out at Diane’s page.

If we were having coffee,

I’d tell you that I only have four more days left in Iowa before heading back to Michigan to start up the new semester.  It’s been wonderful to be here with David and his sister, even if one of her dogs can’t decide whether to play with me or bark at me.

If we were having coffee,

I’d tell you that I’ve made good use of my time here. The revisions of my co-authored paper are moving into the final phase, and the editing job I’m doing for an accreditation site visit are moving along.

If we were having coffee,

I’d tell you that I’m finalizing my plans for my two sections of Introduction to Criminal Justice and a hybrid section of Introduction to Sociology. This hybrid course features five in-person sessions at the beginning of the semester and another five (including the final exam) at the end. All the stuff in the middle is done online. I’m enjoying the chance to create something that will get students excited about sociology while having the freedom to try new things.

If we were having coffee,

I’d tell you that in addition to the work I need to do for my own projects, I’ve been helping Dave with the sorting of papers and belongings, arranging for furniture pick up, and making the place a little more cozy, so his sister can really call it her own, now that Mom has been gone nearly two years. If Cathy’s tests at the end of January go well and the cancer doesn’t require any major surgery or treatment, Dave will be back in Michigan in February. Fingers crossed for all of us.

If we were having coffee,

I’d tell you that I finally got my sewing machine figured out and I have machine quilted nearly half of my practice quilt. I’ll be able to start the actual quilting on Jack’s quilt very soon — maybe even tomorrow!

I’d also tell you that My Weekend Coffee Share is going to double as a JusJoJan post. Head over and check it out.  🙂


Weekend Coffee Share: Weather Wonder Week

weekendcoffeeshareIf we were having coffee, I’m sure we’d have to give some mention to the awesome weather of the week. After missing autumn for the past six years while I was in Taiwan, I couldn’t have asked for a  better fall in general, but this last week in particular was beyond amazing. Here’s Logan from slightly before this week, but it’s just a glorious time of year.

19921_10156230937600037_4224726436927740609_nI’d tell you that I did make it to Lowe’s to pick up the paint chips I needed to get to work on my fabric selection for the mystery quilt that begins at the end of the month. I also picked up some quilt basting spray so that I can get Jack’s quilt layered and ready for quilting. I’ve never used quilting spray before, but I thought this would be a good time to try it. With my new “quilting project” schedule, it makes sense to streamline some aspects of it. Just because I learned how to do this before some of these aids came along doesn’t mean I have to keep doing it that way. In the meantime, here is a pic from my last mystery quilt challenge. It’s a little blurry, but it gives you an idea of how it’s working out. This is #3 in the quilting finish schedule I posted on Tuesday. This mystery quilt challenge was hosted by Aby, and you can check out her blog here.

quiltlyout (2)I’d tell you that my move to the house has been delayed, and I am staying at my parents’ house for another week or two. At the same time, I’m really here almost less than at any other time because of all the hours I’m out tutoring. Still, I’m chomping at the bit because I’d like to have some sense of being settled. Things at my parents’ house are becoming less organized, largely because I know the move is coming, and I work toward the move rather than toward creating more stability.

I’d tell you that my mother and I had an outing today after my Saturday morning tutoring session. We went to a church craft bazaar where she bought a few gifts for her great-grandchildren and a couple of lovely things for herself. Then we went off to Macy’s. I called Dad to see if he wanted to join us for dinner, and he preferred to take care of himself (and watch football). So my mother and I went to TGI Friday’s because she had always been curious about it, and it isn’t the kind of place my father would particularly be interested in. He takes my mother out quite often, but just not to some place like Fridays. I report the news, I don’t make sense of it.  🙂


Image courtesy of 89studio / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of 89studio / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I’d tell you that I found two new job openings in Iowa, so I’ll be sending out applications this week. Although things are picking up for me here in Michigan, it still ultimately looks like it would be good for Dave and me to reunite in Iowa rather than in Michigan, at least for a while. So we’ll see what happens.

I’d tell you that there are lots of odds and ends for me to deal with, and that I’ve made a list of them, so I can begin to schedule them in some kind of systematic way.

I’d tell you that with all these things going on, I’m going to have another cup. Then I need to get to it.  🙂

library coffee shop 004Why don’t you join us in a cup of coffee or other favorite beverage. You can find the link up at Diana’s blog, http://parttimemonster.com/2015/11/07/weekendcoffeeshare-in-which-allison-wins/

Have a good week!

If We Were Having Coffee: Wedding Anniversary Edition

weekendcoffeeshareIf we were having coffee, I would tell you that today Dave and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary. And you’d get stuck looking at some of the photos from our last four years in Taiwan. Because . . . .  well, that’s just what I’d be doing.

11781604_10152974692328199_3536905508622619567_nIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’d love to be having coffee with my husband today (even though he’d be drinking tea or hot cocoa or some other hot beverage), but we are about ten hours apart by car. The good news is that it is now only sixty days until we can spend three weeks together.

10344783_10204041981792703_4415912532330656022_nIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that we’re well past the half-way point of our separation now. I left Taiwan on July 27, so it’s been about 83 days since we’ve seen each other — not that I’m counting. 😉

10454327_10152988090771483_5489195152920142603_nIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that the nightly calls are what keep us going. Dave doesn’t have Internet at the house, so we haven’t actually “seen” each other during the last 83 days. So we’re really really really really looking forward to December 16.


I’d tell you that this isn’t bad compared to the first two years that I was in Taiwan. During that time, Dave stayed in the US, since we thought Taiwan was going to be a relatively short-term (as in one to two years) stint for me. So the first year I went to teach, we went from late August to late June the following year. Then we had two months together, before doing another ten months apart. For sanity’s sake, we had decided that if it went more than two years, he would join me. So he was there for the last four of my six years there.

10403367_4214970670146_467659163702280358_nI’d tell you that Dave is one of the sweetest guys around. I am so lucky to have him. While I was planning this post for our anniversary, he had ideas of his own about a surprise for me. But he couldn’t totally surprise me because he needed “help” from one of my parents. So he ended up telling me what his plan was so that it could be executed. Even so, finding out on the phone was such a lovely surprise.11745541_1139276412754388_8470773472276917277_n

I’d tell you that Dave used to walk me to a coffee shop in Taiwan (seen below) almost every day for the last year of our time there. I would kill three birds with one stone. It gave me a walk (actually one there, and then another on the way home), I got great coffee, and I got quite a bit of work done there.

11261103_892022420836239_1626546465_nSo when Dave asked me a couple of weeks ago if I had found any good coffee shops to hang out in, I told him that I was mostly having coffee at home. That I occasionally had coffee out, but I was trying to save money. And then last week, he brought up our anniversary. (I hadn’t because I wanted this post to be a surprise, so I was acting nonchalant.) Then he started talking about me not having a local bank account and his starter checks, and I wasn’t really connecting. But he was asking me if it would be a good idea to just write a check to one of my parents, because . . . .

11707551_974605962560652_494162610926881268_n. . . . he’s sending me a check to be used for “coffee money.” How sweet is that?  ❤

11698532_10152951464903199_5626672040888147900_nIf we were having coffee, I’d tell you that next week will be amazing. The eldest son marries a wonderful woman, and there will be lots to share.

Have a great week! (and lots of coffee!)


If We Were Having Coffee: Embracing October

weekendcoffeeshareSuch a fun way to recap the week with friends. Sometimes, when things get busy and I can’t find time to post, this medium is absolutely perfect for getting reconnected. Thanks to Diana at Part-Time Monster for hosting.

If we were having coffee,

GeniusI’d tell you that Jack (my new grandson) is now a month old! It seems like only yesterday that I was holding the day-old angel. It’s so cliche to talk about how time flies, but I swear this little guy will be in school before I know it.

Which is why I’d also tell you that last night I did some work on the quilt I’m making for Jack, and I plan to do more on it tonight. I’d love to show you pictures of what’s going on with it, but I gave Jack’s mother the option, and she prefers to be surprised, so I’ll post pictures AFTER it’s completed. Have no fear: I’m taking photos along the way.

I’d also tell you (or remind you) that Jack’s mother, Megan has an awesome blog featuring recipes, restaurant reviews, and lots of other amazing things at MegGoesNomNom. 

And finally (when it comes to Jack), I’d tell you that I need to get back to see that guy again!

If we were having coffee,

loganhatdayI’d tell you that I did see my other grandson, Logan, on Friday. He is four and a half and  is enjoying preschool, especially the bus ride on the way there. He even learned his bus driver’s name before his teacher’s name. He goes four days a week, so Friday was a good day to go visiting.

Logan likes wearing the days of the week socks that his paternal grandfather got for him. Not that Kate needs help keeping up to date on laundry, but Logan now has a vested interest since he wants to make sure that the socks are reading for the rotation when Monday morning rolls around.

I’d tell you how much fun Logan had with spirit week at school. On Monday, it was Sports Day, and Tuesday was Beach Day. The picture here is from Wednesday or Hat Day. On Thursday, it was Mismatch Day. Kate, who blogs at Sincerely Kate, took pictures each day before he caught the bus.

If we were having coffee,

enggment_photoI’d tell you that three weeks from today, I’ll be returning from Orlando and my eldest son’s wedding. He and Jessica are so happy. Doug waited a long time for this moment, and I’m glad he found someone who brings joy to his life. I think she’s pretty happy with him, too.  🙂

I’d also mention that it will be the first time in ten years that all four of my children will be in the same place at the same time. The last time was when we celebrated my 50th birthday (and my college graduation and acceptance to grad school). For the wedding in October, Jack and his mother won’t make the trip, but Jack’s father (son #3) will come down for a couple days, as he and his brother are both standing in the wedding. So family pictures are definitely in the plans during all these festivities.

I’d tell you that Jessica, my daughter-in-law to be, has worked at Disney for several years, and that after the ceremony at church, we will celebrate the reception at Disney. It will be my first visit to Disney.

Although my parents would like to go to the wedding, the trip from Michigan to Florida is just too much right now, so they will cheer from the sidelines, and we will make sure to bring lots of pictures back for them.

If we were having coffee,

I’d tell you that I spent some time yesterday with my mother going through the loose recipes she has. We started organizing them into categories and selected a few that looked especially inviting for the near future. I also did a lot of cooking yesterday: a pasta salad that will last a few days, a spaghetti squash, a tomato spaghetti sauce to go along with said squash, and some apple crisp. It’s actually kind of fun. It’s been so long since I’ve done much cooking that I enjoy it. I don’t think my parents mind either. I do take requests.  🙂 And I’m already thinking about what I’ll make next time.

If we were having coffee,

I’d wish you a great week and tell you how much I look forward to catching up again next week.

Join in the fun at: http://parttimemonster.com/2015/10/03/weekendcoffeeshare-first-week-of-october-edition/

If We Were Having Coffee: Semester Break Ahead

If we were having coffee, . .

enggment_photoI’d tell you that I got a lovely gift from my son, Doug, and my future daughter-in-law, Jessica. A photo album with a collection of their engagement photos. The photos are lovely, and I just keep smiling as I look at them. Their wedding will be in Florida in October of this year. And I’m so happy that I will be in the US not only to attend their wedding, but to be more connected with their lives (as with the lives of my other three children, their spouses, and my grandson, Mr. Logan). Thanks, Doug and Jessica, for the lovely gift, and for sharing your joy with us. Best wishes for continued love and joy throughout your marriage.

I’m also eager to spend time with my parents. While our Skype time is great, it will be wonderful to be in the same room again with all of them. I haven’t even been in the same country now in over 17 months.

7Speaking of Mr. Logan, I’d tell you that he will turn 4 years old on Friday. At the right, you can see him (with his father, Gabe) on the day he was born. The cliche is true: I can’t believe how fast it’s gone, but I think that it feels even faster because of  the limited time I’ve spent with him over the years. Taiwan is a long way away, and I’m happy that I will have the opportunity to live closer to him and to be more involved in his life once summer comes.

 I’d tell you that I’m in the process of grading mid-term exams as my last formal responsibility for the semester. The other project I need to complete this week is for the beginning of next semester. I need to finish reviewing and revising the teaching materials that I will use for the Japanese students who will visit from Tottori University in March.

japanese students 1Even though this is the third year that I’ve taught all of the writing classes for this program, I adjust my teaching materials each year depending on student response.I’d tell you that I had a new idea about how to present the writing process in a more visual way. So even though this is my third year of teaching the writing component of this intensive English program, I’m redesigning some of my teaching materials for the 28 hours of classes for this year’s visit from the Japanese students from Tottori University. Teaching 28 additional hours over a three week period is a bit overwhelming, but it goes so fast that I don’t have much time to think about it. I’m sure I’ll be giving you updates in future coffee gatherings.

Japanese students 2

I’d tell you that Dave and I had such an amazing breakfast date on Friday. When we got to our usual (not very often, but consistently chosen), the only available tables were on the “patio” in front. Normally, at this time of year, this would not be a prime spot. However, it was unseasonably warm that day. We initially took the outdoor table, hoping that maybe an indoor one would clear by the time our food was ready. But amazingly, besides being sunny, it was also warm enough to be very comfortable. Here is my yummy coffee.


A lot of these family-owned eateries are like this: closed in on three sides, with the fourth side open to the outside. Getting take-out food is common (as evidenced by the number of my students who arrive at early morning classes with their breakfasts). From where I’m sitting in front of my coffee, I can turn 90 degrees and get a picture of the kitchen area.

frijankitchAnd half-way between that angle and sitting directly in front of my cup, is this lovely scene. I should mention this is just around the other side of the block from our apartment.


 AND I would tell you that an article that I co-authored was published this week in the Journal of Studies in International Education. It came out at a perfect time, since it will look great on my CV while I apply for jobs in the US.


Finally, I’d tell you that it’s 120 days until 60 AND ~159 days until I land in the US!

THANKS to Diana for gathering everyone together this week.  🙂