A Year of Thanks

1 post a day for 365 days showing gratitude

how to make a literature professor mad January 14, 2012

Filed under: books and reading — courtsbrogno @ 12:05 pm

Yesterday I was sitting in my office with my office mate, Leslie, working. Our office door was open, and in walked an English professor. Abruptly interrupting our work with an angry soliloquy on students today, specifically students in his class.

First, this professor is a highly esteemed, older gentleman known to be a really “cool” instructor. His specialty lies in Modern Literature, and he has a perchance for the Beat writers. He sits on the table cross-legged while he lectures.  Despite his age, he relates well to students, and in return, students adore him. I had him as an instructor years ago and can attest that he is funny, captivating, and brilliant. I loved him.

So this professor, before he came storming into my office, had been teaching an upper-division Modern Literature class. As he explained–disheveled and distraught–he was introducing the novel the class was about to begin reading: To The Lighthouse. To his utter dismay not one student in his 30 person class had ever heard of Virginia Woolf. He asked if they had seen (at this point he assumed that they probably had not read) The Hours. “You know,” he said, “the movie with Nicole Kidman? She won an Oscar for her performance.”

Blank stares. He asked if anyone had heard of the play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Blank stares.

He was besides himself. How could not one of these students not even know who Virginia Woolf was, surely one of the greatest female writers of all time? He blamed Katy Perry. He stomped around my office. Then he blamed Gwen Stefani.

Leslie and I sympathized with him. We too grew upset over the state of our school system. Why aren’t kids reading Woolf in school? But mostly, we just let him vent.

I said, “Well, think of the power you have now. Now you get to introduced them to the greatest woman writer ever. You can change their whole lives!”

He looked at me. Turned around and walked out of my office. As he left, he said, “Bye. I’m going to go kill myself now.”

And that is how you piss off a literature professor.

But, his anger is warranted. These days–and I see it with my own kids–reading is replaced with video games, TV, phones, computers. How sad.

So, as a reminder of the beauty of books, I found this video (it’s gone viral so it’s not like I actually *found* it):




why I love andy January 13, 2012

Filed under: friends — courtsbrogno @ 10:29 am

Because  comes over to my house and cooks dinner for me and my kids:


Because he buys himself an expensive, fancy shower head and when it’s too big for his shower, he doesn’t return it, but instead comes and installs it in mine:

Because when I ask to borrow his ax to cut my Christmas tree, he doesn’t just lend it to me, but comes over and cuts the tree for me:


Because when I got rid of my TV a few months ago and decided I wanted my living room to be more suited for conversation than just static entertainment, I asked Andy to help me redecorate. But then the holidays came and decorations went up. But once the decorations came down, I stared at my living room and thought “blah.” I started moving furniture around and purchased a new chair and a lamp, but then I got stuck. Fortunately, Andy came over and with his creative eye, he got straight to work: moving paintings, candles, books. Voila: I now have an amazingly comfy living room, which I’m now calling the “parlor.”



I love Andy for many more reasons that the kindness he bestows on my family. His ease of conversation, his constant comfort, his keen advice always: he’s a treasured friend. I’m so thankful for him.

And I won’t share him. Sorry.


vacation’s over January 10, 2012

Filed under: family fun,friends,kids — courtsbrogno @ 5:27 pm

I’ve officially been back to work for a week now, and surprisingly, I’m feeling really good about this quarter. I felt ready, really ready, to get back to work.  Though, the day before school actually started, as I was sitting in my office prepping, a sense of dread did come over me.

Thankfully, it passed. And before school started, I had a fantastic break with the kids.

Maddie won our local AYSO U14 final game, coming in first place and then came in 3rd place in regionals.

She had such an amazing team of girls. They all got along so well.

Her coach, Coach K, was amazing: by far the best coach we’ve ever had. In any sport. Hands down.

Maddie played so well this season. Her coach guided her to become more aggressive, skilled, and overall, gave her the shot of confidence she needed.

I’m thankful that my best friend Jill, her husband Greg, and her son Gavin made the drive to see Maddie’s game. That’s true friendship.

My sister and her family also came. I’m thankful for how supportive they ALWAYS  are.

The kids and I also went to see my nephew Braden’s soft ball game. It was really cute. And some of these boys are so talented!

Maddie and I went to see my niece Cate’s very first ballet recital. It was so damn cute, I wanted to capture the moment forever. All of us cheered her on.


On a sunny yet chilly day, I took the kids down to the beach with Baily, our dog, to walk along the pier and play in the sand.

Then we went to the barn to buy some fresh produce and walked among the sunflowers.

Luke and I had a date and went apple picking. Even though the season is over and were few apples left, we still enjoyed the experience.



I spent hours making flower bobby pins and magnets for Maddie’s school to sell for their annual Christmas Boutique.

Luke and I had one of many coffee dates while Maddie was out busy with her friends.

The Luke got sick and even though I hate to see him ill, I love how cuddly and loving he is.

As a treat for our family, Milo, our cat, brought home a mouse.

That was still alive! I tried my best to save it (him? her?), but alas, Milo had the final say and the mouse died.

In many ways our vacation seemed too brief, but then it also seemed incredibly long at the same time, which is probably why I was ready to get back to work. But I’m thankful for the quality time I had with my kids.

I’m also thankful that I had a fun New Year’s Eve without the kids. I was with my sister and a bunch of friends at a local restaurant, and I had so much fun, I didn’t even take pictures, except for this one which a friend sent me (and it’s not even that good, but at least it kind of shows how much fun everyone is having).


I really believe 2012 is going to be a GREAT year with much to look forward to.

My only New Year’s resolution is to be more conscious of what I’m thankful for. I think not writing everyday has made me less conscious, which I don’t like. I also resolved to tell people–in person–that I’m thankful for them. Even if they hear it multiple times from me, I’m going to be much more vocal this year.

Finally, on New Year’s Eve my friend Devin, who had recently broken up with her boyfriend of 4 years, introduced me to her new boyfriend. He was so handsome and nice and I told Devin this. She responded by saying:

“That’s because I’m great and I deserve great things, and so look: I got someone GREAT!”

I love it. Devin is a humble person–no ego at all. But she knows she’s great and she has a wonderful and healthy confidence.

So I’m also stealing Devin’s saying and making it my own for 2012:

“I’m great and I deserve GREAT things”