A Year of Thanks

1 post a day for 365 days showing gratitude

wow. how did that happen? i have a week to catch up on. November 27, 2014

Filed under: family fun — courtsbrogno @ 9:01 am


I’ve been feeling the stress from students at the university–stress, it spreads to everyone  and can lower a classroom dynamic faster than anything else–so I decided to read out loud to my students my blog post from a few days ago, titled “Students.”

This was risky. I mean, I basically state that I hate teaching fall quarter because of them. But I also thought it might be nice for them to know how I felt as well.

I didn’t share the blog (obviously). Instead, I transferred what I wrote onto a word document and projected it to each class as I read it out loud and braced myself for what could be some terrible comments.

The students completely surprised me. Most of them commented on how much I seemed to understand freshmen and what they’re going through. But I also received comments like:

“Wow. I guess I never thought that professors get stressed too.”

“I never understood what a “C” meant in college and the difference from high school. I get it now.”

“Can you send this to my mom? She really doesn’t understand what I’m going through.”

“I really like the way you understand what we go through. But most of it is our faults.   We’re

adults. We need to spend more time on planning ahead and actually doing work.”

“You should publish this. All our parents and high school teachers should read this.”

Some of the more funny comments I heard:

“I think you need to add some transitions.”

“Why do you even like teaching?” –this led to a great conversation by the way.

I’m thankful I shared my feelings. I didn’t expect the student comments to be so understanding or profound. I’ve always felt that being more personal in the classroom is a good thing, and this just reinforced my belief.


I went on a blind date and IT WASN’T TERRIBLE. I’ve been on so many terrible first dates that having one be just “normal” (whatever that might mean) makes me thankful.

That is all. I have no expectations–nothing in me screamed out “I like this guy A LOT,” but nothing in me screamed out, “OMG. Get me out of here!.”

So we’ll see what happens.


The Mother Hips played and since they only play about twice a year now, I had to go.


It was a great show, but even I–a HUGE Hips fan–have to say that they have become more “jam band-y” as of late and I really, really don’t like it.

To make up for the parts of the show I didn’t like, though, was the great friends I was surrounded by:

rich(Terrible picture, but this is one of my favorite people, Rich, who teaches philosophy at the same university as me)

matt(And a complete SURPRISE visit from my old friend Matt, who has a wonderful girlfriend that just happens to live in town and so he’s moving back to town in May!!!!!)

I’m thankful for my night out, but even more thankful for the friends I have that make me feel so loved and appreciated.


I dropped Luke off at my parent’s house for a sleep-over. About once a month they take Luke and Cate for a night (and it’s a crazy night. Luke and Cate get along so well that it’s great, but the amount of talking they do can drive anyone crazy), which allows Maddie and I to have a date night.

This Saturday, we went to the movies and saw MockingJay, Part 1

imgresIt was a great film, but even better as being able to spend some quality time with Maddie and enjoy the fact that we did not fight:)



Luke swallowed a nickel.


Normally, this wouldn’t put me into a state of instant fear, but I remember back when Maddie was just a baby and we were visiting her grandparents in Irvine and her grandparents’s neighbor’s son had swallowed a penny and it WENT INTO HIS LUNGS AND HE ALMOST DIED. Actually, I don’t know if it’s true that he almost died, but that’s how my memory sees it.

So I got a little panicked and called the doctor.

The on-call nurse went through a list of symptoms, none of which Luke had, so the nickel didn’t go into his lungs and is making its way through his digestive system. THANK GOD.

Now I just have to spend the next week looking through his poop to make sure the nickel actually passes and doesn’t get stuck anywhere in his intestines. Lucky me.


I finally saw Minus the Bear play. This is a Seattle based band that’s  been around for over  decade, but the few times they’ve come to town to play, I’ve either been unable to go or the show sold out before I got tickets. Not this time though. And they were worth the wait. It was a great show and I’m thankful I had the chance to finally see them play.



OK, this might be a bit redundant, but I went on another blind date and it too wasn’t terrible. Of course, I don’t know what will come of this blind date, but once again, I was in no rush to get the hell out of there.

I’m beginning to see a pattern. The past two blind dates I’ve been on have been with men who are divorced and have kids. Normally, I would avoid such men because their baggage +  my baggage could only = a disaster. In truth, though, what I’ve noticed is that divorced me are SO DIFFERENT than men my age who have never been married (and I know this is a way too small sample for me to be making such broad claims, but I really don’t care). They are much more willing to be vulnerable. For example, both of these men made it clear that they are looking for something serious, because, as this one man said, “I want to go home with someone every night, and hold her hand, and look at her every morning.” Trust me. I have never heard this from a non-married man because saying something like that on a first date is bold, and terrifying, and brave.

So maybe divorced men are better. Who knows? But right now I’m just thankful this date went well and that I’m seeing, perhaps, a more honest side–or maybe just a different side– to men that I didn’t even know existed.


No work. No school.

The kids and I lounged around the house, cleaned, and I finally finished grading the last 10 or so essays that have been haunting me.

Then we went to my parents’ house for dinner.

I’m thankful for an easy day with the kids, a home-cooked meal I didn’t have to prepare, and finally finishing some work.


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