A Year of Thanks

1 post a day for 365 days showing gratitude

letting go April 7, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — courtsbrogno @ 3:57 pm

For the first time ever, I think, I have Thursdays off this quarter. I’m not quite sure how much I’ll like this considering it was a little difficult to motivate myself for one day of teaching before the weekend, but as far as yesterday goes, I got so much done.

I cleaned my house, did all the laundry, made dinner, finished writing thank you notes and sealing and sending out student letters from last quarter. I mean I felt so accomplished.


Look at that beautiful stack of work I finished.

I also finished this excellent book:


And I finally did the one thing I’ve been meaning to do for five years now–I transferred my old, beat down address book into a new, updated one (that I’ve had for years). But a strange thing happened as I was doing this. I couldn’t NOT write down the addresses of my grandma and my biological dad and his mom (also my grandmother) who are long deceased. I felt like if I didn’t transfer their addresses then somehow it made their death more permanent, which is silly because their deaths ARE permanent. There’s no logic in me transferring their addresses except that it felt right.

Then today (actually the whole weekend) it’s Open House at the university. There’s an estimated 12,000 more people in town and mulling around campus, and Maddie asked if she could miss school and go to the orientation today, and of course I said yes. But then she called me and asked me to go on the tour with her. I was already on campus, and at first I really didn’t want to do it because I have work to do and it’s raining and I’ve been on this campus for 20 years. Actually, Maddie grew up on this campus so I wasn’t even sure why she wanted to go.

But I said yes, and met her and we toured the campus together with her best friend and her parents and we both met some nice girls in her major and listened to–in my opinion–ridiculous speeches about how easy it will be for students to get classes (it’s not), how fun the quarter system is (it’s not)…and a whole bunch of other salesmen-like pitches. But in the end, Maddie and I had fun, and it made me sad to have to leave the tour a bit early to teach. It also made me sad to realize that in just a few short months, Maddie will be in college, living on her own. However, she’ll be 5 minutes away from me and can visit me on campus any day and that makes me happy.

I guess today was a day of me not wanting to let go, but I’m OK with that right now.


(I actually got a free lunch out of the tour. I never get anything free so that was cool.)


that feels good, too April 5, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — courtsbrogno @ 1:05 pm

Two posts in one day! My God. What is happening to me?

But I just received this text from a student, and it kinda made my day–especially since I spent the morning looking at my student evaluation from last quarter, which weren’t bad, but also weren’t great (if I read “Too much work for a G.E. class” one more time, I’m going to throw my computer out the window. The window I don’t have in my office. So I’m actually not going to do that, but you get the point).



that feels good

Filed under: Uncategorized — courtsbrogno @ 9:47 am

So my new classes so far have been very quiet, and I hate quiet classes. It’s only been a few days, so of course I’ll give it time, but it does worry me: am I not getting through? Not funny? Not interesting?

I’ve been worrying about this a lot.

But then I got this email and it cheered me up:


It’s short and sweet and the student has obviously graduated, but I wish I knew when he was my student. His name sounded familiar, but I cant quite place him.

Still, it’s always good to know that someone remembered something from my class, especially when I’m fearing this will be a dry quarter.


unbelievable April 4, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — courtsbrogno @ 12:01 pm

Last night, Maddie did her chores: she vacuumed the living room and kitchen and did the dishes.

Granted, it was all half-ass, but I had been asking her to do it for more than 3 days.

So, I’m pretty grateful she finally lifted a finger.

But then she decided to make cookies, which made a huge mess in the kitchen, and she forgot about them in the oven and almost started a fire.

When I woke up this morning, she hadn’t cleaned her mess up.



and this is why my writing has been so terrible lately April 3, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — courtsbrogno @ 8:56 am

Because to be a good writer, one needs to practice, and I am so out of practice. Even keeping up with this blog has been difficult–partly because I’ve been busy, but also because I am so uninspired.

So, there wasn’t much to be thankful the past week as it’s crunch time at the university because the quarter was ending. And then I got ONE FULL day off before I had to start prepping for spring quarter.

At least, I’m prepped and ready to go today and I am thankful that this is the last quarter before summer break. Thank God!!!

But I’m also thankful for:

My good friend, Natalia, had a pizza party for adults and kids and it was so much fun. Luke had a blast and I also had a great time:

I also made my Aunt Linda’s fried chicken for the fourth time, and it came out somewhat better than before. I don’t think I’ll ever master it.

fried chicken


Finally, I got to see STRFKR in town and it was a great time.



They’re not the kind of band that I would listen to in my office, but they are so much fun to see live. Here’s a little sample:


The only bummer from this video is that the lead singer isn’t dressed in drag–as he usually is:)


So, yeah, I’ve been pretty busy March 23, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — courtsbrogno @ 9:21 am

It’s the end of the university quarter and my work has been piling up. I wish I could say that I was on some exotic vacation or had been seeing lots of live music, but sadly, most of my time has been devoted to grading and parenting.

So, once again, instead of knocking out my gratitude day by day, I’m just going to do categories.

  1. Maddie turned 18

I don’t even know how this happened. Everything went so fast. I remember thinking when she was maybe 3 or 4 that I couldn’t wait until she’d be able to take care of herself, and MY GOD, that’s happened in the blink of an eye.Just for giggles, I found some old pictures of me and Maddie when she was younger as I was looking for photos for her senior yearbook, and I just have to share, because how was I ever that young and how was Maddie ever that tiny?.

The first picture is with my best friend’s daughter Corinne who is now 25 years old! That’s just crazy. Looking at these old pictures made me so nostalgic for those simpler days–one kid, young and hopeful, happy with starting my career. Not to say that I’m old and hateful now, just a tad bit less hopeful and yes, older.

But anyway, Maddie has made it to 18 without getting pregnant, running away, being hooked on heroin, or being sent to jail. She’s even going to a top college in the fall. I feel like my work is done.

maddie bday

Newborn to 18 year old

Ha! If only that were true because it seems the real hard work starts now. Parenting takes on a whole new definition now. I have to let Maddie go and find her own ways through life and stay far, far back on the sidelines, watching–not even really coaching anymore. And that’s kind of tough for me. I want to jump in everyday and say things like “too much make-up!” or “find a new boyfriend!” or “did you seriously get your belly button pierced???” But I don’t. I hold my tongue, stand in the corner, and cheer her on despite any reservations I might have. Of course she still needs me, but it’s definitely on a more limited basis. And that’s okay. She’s a great young adult and I’m excited to see her future unfold.

For her birthday, we went to our usual sushi restaurant (our 18th year there for Maddie’s birthday) and then went back to my parent’s house for cake. Her present from me was supposed to be a weekend in Big Sur with her friends (and me), but Big Sur is blocked off from the north and south due to the storms we’ve had, so that is on the back burner. And let me tell you: never have I needed/wanted to go to Big Sur so badly as I do lately and I can’t get there. It’s horrible.

2. I turned 41. Ugh. I decided to do something low key for my birthday, so I just invited some friends to go on a hike with me (we hiked the 41 in honor of turning 41) and Maddie and her friends came and Luke was there too, and it was easily a 5 mile hike and none of the kids complained. And when we got to the top, we had wine, and cheese, and bread, and lots of goodies. It was a great birthday!

My favorite gift came from my mom (no big surprise, I told her I wanted this) and it is THE BEST coffee table, pick-up-at-any-time-and-turn-to-a-page book ever:


3. Maddie’s dumb dog is finally getting trained. Every Thursday night, Maddie takes Oliver to dog training classes and it seems to be helping. I swear to God though that this dog is a crazed puppy and if he weren’t so damn cute, I’d have sent him packing months ago.

dog training

4. Luke had his very first play date with a friend–his best friend Violet–at our house and I was happier than I think he was. Because Luke has ADHD, it’s been really difficult for him to make friends, but this year, he’s blossomed and has a best friend! And Violet is great. I loved having her at the house and watching Luke and her play.

5. What’s the one thing I do not need more of, but will always buy? That’s right. Books. And the friends of the library were having a book sale and I went and got all these books for $9 (they literally measure your stack and it’s $1 per inch):


6. I had my book club and that was super fun.

book club

7. I got to take a few hours to myself and go see my lovely friend Leslie read some poems and then watch other talented poets and end the evening with a book reading (yes, I bought the book).


8. On a more serious note, I participated in a Day without Women, which was a tough decision for me to make, but I’m glad I did.

day without women

What I wrote to all my students:

day without women

Well, I think that about wraps it up for what I’ve been grateful for. I’m going to try to get back to writing once a day as it’s so much easier than letting everything pile up (kind of like laundry), but I will not stop! I will continue to be grateful for everything I have, including the 75 essays I’m about to go grade. Just kidding. I’m not thankful for those at all.


a small miracle happened today March 1, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — courtsbrogno @ 11:57 am

As I think I wrote previously, I was reviewed this year at the university I work for, and I truly did not give much thought to it. I hastily put together my binder and decided that since the university wouldn’t fire me nor was I going to be promoted for any reason (we can’t actually even get promoted), I was going to give zero fucks about this review.

And surprisingly, I got a raving review from the tenured professor who watched my class and went through my binder, and even more miraculously, I got a raving review from my boss, who has NEVER given me a raving review before in 12 years of teaching.

Something must be wrong with the universe because this is not how things usually go, but for today, I’ll take it and be incredibly grateful.