Friday, December 31, 2010

Bear

(This is P holding him in the picture, not me)
Meet Bear, our the newest four legged friend to our clan. Bear is an off spring of our dog, and our bff's dog. ( I know you can't tell from these pictures, but he has the coolest ice blue eyes)
We have a border collie and love him. He has the greatest disposition, and is extremely smart, and when we had the chance to take one of the 4 puppies of the litter, we chose him.
It is possible P's mom and dad might take him, but if not, then we are going to keep him.
Its been a hilarious week with this new puppy in our crib.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Recap


Cake.Pie. Cookies. Gumbo. Grandma. Presents.Laughter.Fried Chicken. Spin Class. New puppy.long drives.movies. Church at midnight.hugs.arguments.more laughter.too much food. feeling full on food and love.
Ate too much food. At too much bad food. Will someone please pass me a carrot?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Resting

There are some perks to being a teacher--not many, I grant you, but there are some. To be specific, the schedule. I get more than 3 months off every single year, and I get paid for it, in my book that equals AWESOME!
The last day of school was Thursday, and I have spent the last few days just hanging out. I have been on a bit of an Internet hiatus, and it was great. I have not checked email, facebook, blogs or anything since Thursday afternoon. I have spent the weekend with family--eating an insane amount of good food, going on a spectacular hike, and reading good books. I have read 2 books in the last 2 days, and it was totally refreshing to have the t.v. off, Internet off, radio off, and just sit in the sunshine and read. Fabulous.

I was not reading anything particularly, lets say---mentally stimulating--just good funny, sweet, "beach reads." These were the perfect books for me to read and just relax.

First up we have My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster,

This book is sarcastic, snarky, a bit inappropriate, and completely hilarious. So, its right up my alley. If you have never read Jen Lancaster, go out and buy any of her books, any one, and you will laugh so hard, you might pee in your pants. My favorite of all the books she has written is Bitter is the New Black. This girl is fully of spunk, sass, and and a must read.


Then I went the sappy route and read Safe Haven. His books are predictable, yes, but they are such good reads. I have read all of his books, and I always know whats going to happen at the end, but he just writes really great love stories.

Now off to get some errands done before heading out of town.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Get Ready



I know that it is a bit early for New Year resolutions, but it is not to early for reflection. The past few weeks I have spent a lot of time evaluating the past 300+ days, and they have been full of changes, changes, changes. As someone who hates change, you would have thought I hated this year. P lost his job, we moved, we bought a new car, we moved again, were homeless for over a month (spent several weeks home hopping this summer, and 10 days in a "hotel", a few days with family, and then into yet another hotel), my best friend moved 3 hours away, I was promoted and changed positions at work. Its been a crazy year.

Coming out of it, I feel stronger. Did I like all of this change? No. But this year has really tested me, tested my marriage, and coming out on the other side feels good. To know that not only am I stronger, but P and I are stronger than ever is awesome. Now it feels like its time to rest, and enjoy where we are.

Except, there are more changes coming. It was almost a year ago that P's company announced they were closing their doors. He stayed on for a time to help close things out, and help tie up some loose ends. He subbed at my school for 9 weeks at a P.E. teacher, we both took seasonal jobs as cooks for 3 months this summer, and then he found work driving tractors for some farmers. He had a couple of job leads here and there, and a few phone calls, and interviews, but nothing panned out.

Then about a month ago P had 2 interviews, and 2 job offers! After months of nothing, 2 offers! We prayed about what to do, and then made the decision on which job for P to take. He was so excited about one of the job offers, and it is a position that will suit him perfectly; its almost like this job was created just for him.

Here's where the changes start. We will be moving again. On the bright side, we will be moving to a city we love, and have talked about moving to for some time now, Austin!! But in order to get there, P had the option to start in Austin right away building this branch of the company from the ground up, or he could go to training for 6 months to a year and be taught by the company president how to do the job. P and I decided it would be best to do training. However, he has to train in Dallas, which is 4.5 hours away.
In January P will be moving in with his parents who live in Fort Worth during the training. And I will be here. Finishing out the school year. In a month exactly I will be on my own for at least 6 months. Plus, there will be be move to Austin. We are not sure when the move will happen.
So a year of changes, ends up being combined with another year of changes.
I assure you that I will be posting more about this in the upcoming months, but that is the state of things right now.
I am spending my time enjoying P and really trying to soak in the moments we have together, before January.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Slow Sunday

Sunday afternoons are turning into my favorite day of the week. I love how P and I lay on the couch and watch football. The days go by slow and it is the perfect time to lay around and take cat naps. I tend to piddle around in the kitchen, clean up a little, and just rest. It is the perfect afternoon.
This year, I have been trying really hard not to do school work on the weekends. If I have to, it seems like it ruins the day. I have made a point to stay late during the week so that my weekends are free from work. It feels so great to know that I don't have any work to do, and that I can spend the weekend doing what I want to do.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Number 2

Marathon number 2, done.
I never thought I would do a marathon, much less 2. Now, a full week later, it feels like I ran a year ago. My first marathon, I clocked 4:52. Last week I ran in 4:24.
I made a major improvement, and I am proud of my time, but, I felt like I could have done even better. I honestly felt like I could have done it in under 4 hours.
I have to admit when I crossed the finish line and saw my time I was somewhat dissapointed. I know that I have no reason to feel bad about my time, at all, but somehow, I don't feel proud of it either. I don't know if it is just my competitive side coming out, or if I am truly disappointed. I don't know.
Will I do another one? Perhaps. I have not run for a week, and it feels good to rest. I have walked a ton, and lifted weights, but I have not run yet. Maybe today I will go out for a run.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Silencing the Doubt Monster

Last night after work I went to the marathon expo to pick up my packet. Being there did not help with the butterflies. I am nervous. I really am. As I walked around the expo center trying different foods, (a yogurt---uhh it was horrible, a beer--it was yummy!) I stopped and looked around and realized, that exactly one year ago, I was in the exact same spot. Wow, life has changed in a year, big time. And, when I think about the future, there will be even more big changes within the next year. (I have a ton to fill yall in on, which includes yet another move in a few months)But, as I slowly walked the isles, I realized that I could smile because I really am not the same person I was 365 days ago, which is a good thing. But, one thing that stayed the same was, my nerves.
I am battling the doubt monster right now. I have been nervous all week. My stomach has been in knots all week. Uhhh. I don't know why I am doubting right now. I have to trust the training. Yes, my training has been a bit different this year as opposed to last year. I cut 2 weeks out of training, simply due to when I started. I have even skipped a few runs, something I would never have done last year, at all. This year, the difference is that I am listening to my body more, and trying to adapt the program to fit my life. If I got home, and my body was just exhausted from the run before, rather than trying to white knuckle my way through it, I would rest, and run the next day. Or, I would run, walk, run, in the early stages to find my rhythm. And the funny thing is, my running has been better. My times have been way faster than last year. My p.r. so far is 20 miles in 3:03. That's the best I have ever done. Plus, I have done 20 miles 3 different times this training season. I have gone for quality miles over quantity miles.
I just keep telling myself, I can do this, I can do this. I am trying to silence that doubt monster once and for all.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

T-3 Days

Sunday, just three full days from now, marathon number 2.
I am nervous. I think its because I know how hard it is. I know the pain that I am about to subject myself to.
But, I know I can do it. For the past 16 weeks, I have run late at night, or early in the morning. I have sacrificed sleep and down time to hit the pavement. I know I can do this, but I am just nervous.

Monday, October 25, 2010

No Regrets

This weekend I had some time to just think. It may have been during my 15 mile training run, but.....I realized how much I disliked the last 2 weeks. I totalled the hours in my head, and I worked almost 70 hours each week. So not worth it, so not worth it.
In college I was pre-law and for a time, I really wanted to go into law, then seg-way into governmental work. I wanted to work in a high rise, I wanted to wear power suits, and I wanted to have power.
Under the tutelage of a great history professor, he really impressed upon me the importance of writing, and it was under his direction that I changed my major from pre-law to history. What can one do with a history degree? You don't see ads in the paper for history majors very often. I didn't know what job I would end up landing, and didn't really care. I loved getting to learn, research, and write. I then went to grad school and continued my studies. History is an amazingly fabulous subject, because it ultimately is the study of people, the study of humanity.
I say all of this, because during that run, I realized God lead me in the right direction. I am not made to work my life away. As a lawyer, I would make soooooo much more money. As a lawyer, I would have soooooo much more power. At what cost? I hated that I woke up early for work, stayed a work late into the night, neglected everything else in life other than work. I neglected my home, my husband, my friends, my sanity. I was in full out survival mode. I don't want to be in survival mode, I want to be in thrive mode. Working all day, and feeling like I can't make any head way. Working all day, and doing things less than my best because I don't have the time to spend on the task. Talking to people and never really hearing what they are saying because my to do list is running through my head all day long. I hated it.
Life is so much more than work. I realized that this weekend, and I am thankful for the path I am on.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

M.I.A.

Breath. Stop. Relax. It is OK. You can relax now. You can stop and smell the roses. You can spend more than an hour with your husband. You can hang out with friends. You are done. It is over.

Alright, that is my mantra right now. Sorry I have been M.I.A. lately. These past 2 weeks have been the most insane weeks of my entire life. I have had 12 or more hour days at work every single day for 2 full weeks. I am tired. Mentally, physically, emotionally, I am exhausted. I had two sports seasons end this week, which was fun, yet sad. We won first place in our district for my soccer team, and we won 3rd place in my district for my cross country team!! I really enjoy coaching sports, it has just been time consuming.
Then the work side. I leave for work about 6:45, and I am going non stop until well after 6:30 almost every day. There is so much going on right now that I just can't get everything done. But it is over, the hectic week, the crazyness, the insanity is over. I hate getting home at 7:45, changing clothes, then heading out the door to run. Getting done with my run, coming inside showering, then going to bed. I have had no life, no life at all.
P has been great through the whole thing. He knows how busy I have been and how frustrated I have been and he has been extremely patient with me. He keeps asking me if he can do anything for me, or help me in any way. I know its been hard having these opposite schedules, but he was so supportive this past few weeks. He is pretty awesome like that.

Confession time now. Thursday night, again, I got home really really late. P and a friend had tickets to a basketball game so he was not home. I ran in, changed clothes, and got ready to run. After my run, I came in, played with our dog, and poured myself the largest glass of wine known to man. And, I proceeded to drink it all. It took me about 45 minutes to finish this monster of a glass. It was huge. This is where it gets a bit crazy. I decided to take a long hot bath. I grabbed a Bon Appetite magazine, my wine, and started soaking in the tub. After I while I started to relax, a lot. I put the magazine down, and looked around the bathroom, and everything seemed to be moving slowly. And then an old feeling came back to me, a feeling from my college days, (which is another confession for another time) I realized I was drunk, which was why I was so relaxed. I managed to stumble out of the tub, and into bed. As I was getting my p.j.'s brushing my teeth, I stumbled all around the house. I was tipsy. When I finally landed in bed, everything started spinning. OOOOO it was bad. It was bad. I slept it off and managed to wake up fine, just felt a little heavy yesterday. So there you have it. My confession--I got drunk Thursday night. That is not a feeling I like, nor do I ever want to feel that way again.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

20

Marthon training.
Ran 20 miles. 3:11 was my time.
Now I want to chop my legs off.
Laying on the couch for the rest of the day.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

I think I will go for it.

I made the flyers months ago. I created an email account. I have a mission statement. I think I am going to do it. I think I am going to set out a few feelers and see what I can get. I am talking about an organizing company. I don't know why, but I am so passionate about organizizing. Organizing paper work, home stuff, work stuff, life stuff. I want to make peoples lives more efficient. Less time wasted, more time doing. I have no idea how it is going to go. I am slowing going to start hanging flyers on community bulletin boards, cragislist, and a few other places. So we will see how it goes.
I am going to cut myself some slack for the next few weeks. Work is completly crazy, and I just need to survive the next few weeks. I have had meetings at 7 am, 3:45 pm, games, practice, bible study, and everything else in between. This past week, I was home before 6pm only once. Every other day, I was home much later, and for a homebody like me, it has been pretty hard not being home.
Ok, deep breath, here goes.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cravings

The past few weeks I have had some major cravings for a book. Just a really good, sink your teeth into, you don't have to think, just lose yourself in the moment, great beach read book. Normally, I alwasy have at least 3 books in my book basket waiting to be picked up. However, the last 2 months, I have hardly read at all, which is not like me. One of my favorite things to do is lay on the couch after everything in done, curled up with my big blanket, and spend my remaining waking moments in a book. Or it is to fill the tub with steaming hot water, sit back, soak, and read until the water turns cold. I have been known to stay in the tub for hours with a good book in my hand, unwilling to put it down. When a book is good, I usually finish it in a day, maybe two, depending upon my schedule. Finally, last week I made it to the library and pickedup a ton of books. Books that I will be reading simply for pleasure, nothing more.
I am almost finished with, o gosh, here I go, I am kind of embarrassed to tell you the author---ahh Daniel Steel's book, Family Ties. It is a simple read, full of twists and turns, basically it is a soap opera in about 400 pages.
It is trash. I know this. It is pure indulgence. I know this, but sometimes, trash feels good!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rain

Rain rain go away,
come again another day,
we want to go out and play
come again some other day.
It wont stop raining. It has been raining for days and days. We had a game today and it got cancelled. Because of the rain. Stop raining. Please.
I would never make it in the Pacific Northwest or some other rainy climate. This is Texas. I miss the heat and the sun. I am starting to get depressed. I miss the sun shine.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Giving up my citizenship

I almost did it yesterday, I almost gave up my American citizenship. Why?? Because I went to Walmart, a ghetto Walmart.

Now, like me, I am sure most people have a pretty strong opinion about Walmart, love it, hate it, or indifferent. Me, I really like Walmart. Where else can I go and go and get goods at rock bottom prices? Where else can I find Kashi cereal, buy a flat screen t.v., a pair of socks, and new curtains all at the same time??? Nowhere I tell you, nowhere else. So, yea I am on the Walmart time!!! Way to go guys.

But yesterday, I almost gave up my citizenship while there. What is it about Wally world that caters to the lowest demographic of our society? Uhhh. While going up and down the isles, I heard the most crude, and ignorant junk coming out of peoples mouthes. I saw so many people with their shorts hanging down around their ankles, and their wife beaters (undershirts, around here we call them wife beaters) wrapped around their protruding bellies. And teenage girls walking around with "clothes" so scandalous, I almost grabbed a trench coat from the clothing section and threw it on them. And, what is the deal with people walking 5 deep, traveling approximately 1/2 a mile per hour, in an isle and not letting a sister through? Not even bothering to respond to my polite "excuses me" or the polite throat clears. At one point, I almost shouted at the top of my lungs mooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvveeeeee. But, I didn't feel like getting shot yesterday, seeing as we had people coming over within the hour, and Walmart being the closest store to my crib, hence, my appearance at the store.

So being there, seeing what we are producing in this country made me want to give up my citizenship. Saying that is a lot for me, because I love this country. I am extremely patriotic, and I would pit my love for America against anyone. I mean, I think the only other person who loves this country more than I do is Glenn Beck, and the only reason I am bestowing the title upon him is because he cries all the time. Me, I am not really a crier, if I was, that might put me over the edge, but since I am not, I will give it to him.

So yes, I love America. She is in my top 3 loves. God, Family, America. I love her. But, come on, we need to start producing off spring better than this. Please, America.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Home Again

We have a home. Ahhh...peace...... I never realized how much not having a home would affect me. That place to look forward to at the end of the day. Surrounded by things that make you smile, make you laugh, and bring you comfort. A place to call your own. Your environment. It is important. So here we are at home, all but a temporary one at that. We are living in our small one bedroom apartment. It is odd really, going from a home in the country to an apartment in the city. We did a complete 180 from where we were before. A small home, 30 acres, a garden, a slow meandering street with the occasional car going by. To now, a small one bedroom apartment, no yard, just a small porch, right at the intersection of the busiest highway in Texas.
Talk about different. But, it is ok. Because I know, or at least I hope, that we wont be here forever. This is just a temporary pause, a ditch, a resting place. A time and a place to stop, regroup, figure out life, make some decisions, find our direction, our path, and then forge ahead.
That is how I see our life here.
It is funny really, because I gripped, and excuse my french, bitched about our old house. I was pissed off, again please pardon the language, every time I had to get out of my car to open and close the gate. I was frustrated about the single pane windows. I was irritated by the fact that it took me a good 20 minutes just to get to the nearest store. I was annoyed that I used so much extra gas just getting home from work everyday. But, somewhere along the way, I fell in love with that life. I fell in love with that charming, quirky, messy, old house. I fell in love with the sound of the screen door banging shut. I fell in love with the sound of the kaddy bugs chirping so loud every night that it was almost deafening. I fell in love with that old worn down road in front of my house. I didn't realize it, until the day we moved out. I had a major sob fest, and I set on my front porch, legs on P's lap, and took one final picture of us at that house.
When we walked away, I realized something else, it is not the structure that makes a house a home, it is the people, and the life they create for themselves that makes it a home.
Here we are, in the big city, in the exact spot I dreamed about for years. The life I dreamed about, the urban metropolis, full of glitz and glamour, and to be frank, I am not sure I want it any more. But, again were here. Here is home. And, I am realizing more and more, that home for me is wherever P is. It is funny to me to think about when we got married, and I loved him so much, and I could never imagine loving him more than I did that day. Now, looking back, I have grown to love him even more than I did that day. Home is where he is, and where he goes, I will follow. House, apartment, trailer, or a extended stay hotel room, where he is, there my heart is.
This is where God has us for now, and I am learning to be content no matter the circumstance,-- well, I am praying that I am, and I am a work in progress, and I hope I am getting there every a little more everyday.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's Over

Finally, this month is over. Finally. Am I the only one or does August see like it lasted for ever? I don't know if it is because we have been displaced for so long, or what, but seriously, this month went on forever. I am so glad that it is finally September. So far, in this month of displacement,
I have rested my head in 5 different places. 5. It is almost over. In less than a week we will be in our new place surrounded by our own things. Our own bed, our own sheets, it will be lovely.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Reality

Back to life, back to reality
Back to life, back to reality
Back to life, back to reality
Back to life, back to reality
-En Vogue

Yall remember them right? En Voge--what what, can I get a boo yeah for the early 90's!!!
So here goes. Yesterday I was dreaming, today I am back to reality.

And here she is, this is reality. We move into our new place on September 8th. That day could not get here fast enough. We ended up house sitting for some friends for a week while they were on vacay, and so now, here we are. At Value Place, an extended stay "hotel." For 200 bucks, this bad boy is all ours. Yep, less than 300 square feet and a small full bed, that is home sweet home. A sterile white room, that P has taken to referring to as the box. This is our reality. O how the mighty have fallen. We went from a cute country home on 30 acres, to a small lake front duplex on 160 acres (a temporary home), to a beautiful 1 acre house on a pristine river view, to a house on 1/2 an acre, to this. AHHHH. Seriously, it is so funny. P and I have laughed and laughed about our circumstances. Sometimes while we are in here, I will ask P a questions, and he wont answer me because he says we need to be in the same room to talk, so he will take a half step into the "living area" so that we can resume our conversation. As I said, if it were not so funny, it would be sad. I am also pretty sure that I have smelled weed in the lobby on several occasions. And the other night, (please stop reading here if you are a prude), P was woken up by the sounds of people being "intimate" at about 2 am. Again, if it were not so comical, it would be sad.
Now, let me get to the ammenites. There is no weight room, no pool, no continental breakfast. But for 30 bucks, we can buy a set of dishes to use, and then keep. Or we can buy a coffee pot to use for the week.
We cannot bake, there is no oven, but there are 2 burners that we can use, but again, we did not pay for the dish set, so there is not much cooking going on. Nay, we are dining on cheap mickey mouse paper plates and plastic utensils.
Coming home from work is so sweet. The sounds of latino music coming through the doors, the sounds of people yelling at one another, getting a little high on the "smoke" billowing in the entry way. Yes, home sweet home. But the best part of the whole deal--the encouragement P got upon checking us in reminding us not to keep any valuables in our cars.
If it were not so funny, it would be sad.
Yes, this is reality.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Itch


I have an itch. I have an itch. I have an itch.......TRAVEL. Must travel now. Must travel soon. I want out of the ordinary and I want the EXTRAORDINARY.....NOW.


I don't know what has gotten into me these last few weeks, but I am dreaming of Europe. I am dreaming of going back to Paris. Of hoping on a train and frittering my life and time away in some old, romantic place. I want to eat good food and see beautiful buildings. I want to travel.

This desire is kind of new for me. Before P and I were married I didn't really ever have the desire to travel. I thought it was fun, but I really enjoyed staying home. I enjoyed being in one place, in my comfort zone. But P has changed that. He has shown me how exciting travel can be. He has shown me how enlightening travel can be. And now I am hooked.
I need to get out of Texas. I need to get away from the everyday. I need to experience something different.
Ok, slow down and breath. Just breath for a minute. It is ok. It is not in the cards right now for us. Back to reality. Back to reality. Whoops, sorry, I was typing out my come back home mantra that I have to say to myself every time I start dreaming my life away.
Reality is a different story right now for us. Travel is not going to happen right now. P is looking for a job, and I just started school.
Reality is different for us right now. Stay tuned for an update...It is almost comical...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I had a good reason

I took my first day off in 3 years last Thursday. I hate taking days off for several reasons. First, when it is time to work, it is time to work. Plus I enjoy work, I really do. Second, I get a ton of days off as a teacher so there is always a vacation right around the corner. Third, at my school, my days dont roll over each year, so if you don't take the days off, you get paid for them. Which is awesome.
Well, like I said, last Thursday I took my first day off. It was really weird. I felt super guilty too. I mean, people were at work, kids were in their desks, yet I was not. So crazy.
But my day off had a purpose, I had a reason.... I had an interview!!!
I have been applying for different jobs for a while now. I really like working in education and I want to stay in this industry. I have been applying for jobs at some universities and not getting any responses. So I started off smaller, I began to apply at some jr. colleges, one to be exact. And I got a call, and an interview. It was my first interview in over 3 years now. I was so nervous it was crazy. The job would be an entry level position, but it would give me a chance to get my foot in the door. I would be working in an office as an assistant. It would combine my love of organizing, and task work, plus it would be in the field of education.
The interview went well I thought, but I have not heard anything yet. I think that means that I was not selected for the job. But, it still makes me excited and gives me hope. I stepped out and began to look. I began to think about making a change, and I went for it. I am going to email the lady I interviewed with and see what the status is.
But it is a first step.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Break Down Here

"I'd sure hate to break down here
theres nothin up ahead or in the rear view mirror,
Out in the middle of nowhere known
I'm in trouble if these wheels stop rollin'
God help me to keep movin some how."
Julie Roberts, singer
That is an old country song that has been stuck in my head for a while. I have had my break down, several of them in fact in the last few weeks. Currently, we are living a nomadic existence waiting for a home. See, we found a place, a new apartment complex closer to my work, so good bye hour+ commute every day, hello 25-30 minutes. I am excited about that. It is just getting into the apartment that is proving to be difficult. We cannot move in until September 8th. So for the past few weeks we have been living out of bags and suitcases at friends houses, and it has been hard for me. One, not having a home, two, it has been hard being on the receiving end of generosity from others, and three, there is so much uncertainty in our lives right now.
P does not have a job right now, and we are living off my salary alone. I got a raise, and so we are covering all of our bills and rent, with a bit left over. At times, the move, the job situation, being separated from P for 2 weeks, it was all just so much. Last week during teacher in service, I just sat in my classroom and sobbed. I mean I cried these big ol' alligator tears. Then the 2nd day P got back, we were sitting there just talking, and again, I just started sobbing. We sat outside in some plastic chairs by the river and he let me cry. He got me a beer, and we just sat and I cried and he listened. He held me, and just listened. He was so kind, patient, and tender, and I think I fell a little more in love with him that afternoon. Being separated from him for 2 weeks was hard on me. I didn't realize how much comfort he brings me. I didn't realize that I needed him as much as I do. I didn't realize that I love him and his presence so much. Just knowing he is in the next room, just sitting next to him on the couch, his presence means so much to me. I didn't realize how much I loved him.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Its over

Summer is officially over--boo.
Now it is off to life and the real world. Well, the real world actually started on Tuesday, but I never got around to posting. Yesterday was the first day of school. It is teacher in-service this week and then classes start next Tuesday. Where did my summer go?
It went to the kitchen. Cooking for 16 hours a day. Insane heat, insane pressure, insane hours, insane work load....you get the picture--but the reality of it is--I loved it. I did. I loved every second of it.
I loved getting to work along side my husband all day. I loved getting to talk, socialize, and spend time with other adults all day long. I loved that my commute to work was 2 minutes and that it didn't even require 4 wheels, just mut and jeff (my feet). I loved the pressure to preform day in and day out. I loved getting the opportunity to serve people. I loved getting to watch 300+ people eat the food that I made for them. I loved the the rush of trying to get the dishes cleaned and put up as fast as possible. I loved it all. And I will miss it.
Could it lead to a career change?? Maybe? One day?
There is a ton of stuff that I could see myself doing. I think it would be great to work in a university. To work on the admin side, would be a dream. I would also really like to work as a financial advisor. I am so passionate about finances (thanks Dave), and it gets me so excited when people ask me about finances. I really like walking through the process with them and laying out the baby steps for them. I could see myself doing so many things besides teaching.
I like teaching, for the most part. There are times when I think that I would rather do something else. I am so task oriented, and teaching is not task oriented. I like sitting at a desk, making a list of things to do, and then just start checking them off. I like casual chatting throughout the day, (to adults that is).
There is a lot to teaching that I enjoy, and there is a lot to teaching that is really difficult for me. There are things that are simply ridiculous, that I feel like teachers should not have to do, nor should they have to put up with.
For now, I am going to continue to pray about my attitude and my class for the year.
Time to get into teacher mode.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Braggage

It is time for a little bit of braggage. Bragging on my parents.
First, they are so stinkin cool and I just love them, and I love who they are.
Second, they are so close to paying off their house early---it is awesome.
After P and I discovered Dave Ramsey, I told my parents about him and his plan, and they started to look into it. Then earlier this year they went to one of his seminars when he was in Houston, and they got fired up about getting out of debt. The only debt they have is their home, and ever since the seminar, they have been fired up about getting the house paid off. The goal is to get it paid off by December of this year. They are working the snowball like mad men and working so hard to pay off their home.
They are so pumped up about it. My mom keeps saying that they are going to have a major party once the house has been paid off, and they are going to burn the mortgage papers!
It is so cool seeing them going down the right track and getting it together. WOW!
So awesome!!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Be sure to go in straight lines

Sorry that I have been MIA for a while. I have not been blogging or even reading blogs for a while, so I have some catch up reading to do.
So here is our situation---I am done with work for this summer, and now I have a week off and I have come home to my parents house for a week for some r&r. It has been great getting to sleep in and just spend my days being lazy, it has been great. I love getting to come home and spend time with my mom and dad. They really are wonderful.
And because they are so wonderful I decided to help out around the house today. I cleaned up the kitchen, did some laundry, and picked up around the house. Then I looked outside and saw that the grass needed to be mowed. I called my mom and let her know what I was going to be doing for my dad. My parents are pretty meticulous about the yard, and it always looks good. So when I called my mom to tell her she got quiet for a minute, and then she said, "well, ok, but be sure to go in straight lines." AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Here is the back story, when I was maybe 13 or 14 I decided to be "helpful" and surprise my parents by mowing the lawn. As I mentioned earlier, my parents are pretty particular about the yard, I however am not. I decided that I wanted to mow shapes into the grass. Circles, triangles, squares, and diagonals, and it was AWESOME BABY!!! Well, my parents didnt think so. That afternoon, my dad saw what I did, then got the mower back out and went over my art. I thought it was hilarious. So today I realized that it must have been a pretty tramautic experience for my parents, because they are still holding on to it more than a decade later.
Yes I mowed the grass today, yes it was in straight lines, and yes it is plain and boring, and yes I had to put my desires asside and leave the shapes off the lawn---boring!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

That just how I roll

A conversation between my husband and I



P: You look really nice today

Me: Thanks

P: Ok we need to get you a nice watch

Me: I like my watch

P: You have on a dress, Tiffany ear rings, and an Ironman digital watch

Me: Thats just how I roll

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Dream Jar


The picture is not much, I know that, but it is what is inside the jar that counts. We are still working out way through the Dave Ramsey baby step process, currently we are working on step number 3, the fully funded emergency fund. We had this step completed, but then had to tap into it in order to purchase our car, and not go back into debt. So the last few months have been filled with us trying to save up in order to get our E-fund back up to 100%. We are close, very close in fact, just one or two more months from having it fully funded.
Now, let me go back to the jar, the Dream Jar. This is the beginning of our home fund. We have decided that we want to pay cash for a house. 100% cash, no down payment, no mortgage, nothing. So the small amount you see in the jar, is the beginning of this fund. Obviously, we have a long way to go, and we are just getting started, be we have already saved over 100 bucks just in change, and rolling over our monthly cash budget at the end of the month. Once our e-fund is knocked out, then we will begin to save for the house more aggressively. But for now, each time I look at the dream jar I get excited. We managed to take a step, all but a small one, to our dream without really even trying. We have talked about paying cash for a house for a while now, and honestly, in the back of my mind it always seemed kind of like a pipe dream, something we wanted to do, but I didn't really think it would/could ever happen. It just seemed to crazy, to big, to out there.
Then recently Crystal, over at MoneySavingMom, did a series of blogs about her families quest to pay cash for a house. They saved for years, and they just bought their first home with cash!! How awesome is that?????? Cash for a house!!! Her story totally inspired me, and made me realize that we can do this too. It will be a hard and long process, and it will try our patience, but in the end, it will totally be worth it. I believe that. I was listening to one of Dave's podcast the other day and he said "100 % of homes paid in full never get repossessed." Then he laughed and in his sarcastic funny way he talked about how he had done some extensive research to get the facts on that statistic. So yes, it is a dream and it is a pretty big dream, but that is the point of dreams right? Dream big, dream really big, reach higher than you think you can, aim to go further than you think possible.
So here goes!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Star Gaze

Last night by the lake there was a slight breeze that was refreshing after a day of 100+ temps. As the cool breeze brushed along my skin, I sat in silence and listened to the crickets chirp, and I lay down and stared at the stars. The black sky and the bright stars were so beautiful. It has been a long time since I layed on my back and stared at the sky. It was expansive and beautiful.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy 4th

I love this holiday. It is one of my favorites.
I love this country. This country offers so many hope. She offers so many a place of refuge. She can be a haven to many, while being a burden to some, and despite that, I love her.
I love that this country offers promises. I love that you really can go out and be what you want to be in America. I love to hear stories about people growing up in poverty and rising through to become huge successes.
I love that my two parents never went to college, but I had the chance to go to school, on a full ride, and be the first in my family to graduate.
I love that there are so many people of so many nationalities all living here together.
I love my country.

I am also thankful for my country. I am thankful that those stars and stripes still billow in the breeze. I am so thankful for the many men and women who died so that I can sit here and type out my beliefs and thoughts freely. I am so thankful that my dad, grandfather, brother-in-law, uncles, and cousins have defended this land, and many of those were able to come home safe and sound. I am thankful that tonight, a solider is standing guard in a far away land, alienated from his home by thousands of miles, fighting for me, someone he has never met.

Despite all of our differences this country works, and she works for good. Yes we have our ups and downs, but I think more than anything she has done more good than harm for the world.
I hope that this country continues to try and attain an unattainable goal, a goal of perfection. No, we wont ever reach that goal, but we can keep trying.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

iDesires

There is some major ilusting going on for some major i's.
Here is the first one: The Iphone
At first I didn't want one, but now I do. I want one and I want one badly. But, I don't want the payment every month. Booooo...so for now I will continue to use my regualr cell phone that works perfectly well and is more than enough for me.



Number 2: The Mac Laptop
Isn't she beautiful? The image is so clear and she works so fast. I want her, and I want her now. But, once again, I have a perfectly good computer that is hardly a year old. But, still I want her.


As P likes to say "If wishes and wants are candy and nuts, we would all have a wonderful Christmas."

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Oh Jill


So I have been shredding with Jillian for the past several weeks I have been working out with Jillian. And the verdict--it is awesome. I seriously love, and yes I am using the word love, this work out. It is short and hard!!! Seriously, it is amazing. You warm up, do 3 sets of 6 minute circuits which consist of 3 minutes strength, 2 minutes cardio, and 1 minute of abs. It is a hard, strenuous work out, but it works. I have been doing it for over a month now and I have seen some major toning in my arms, shoulders, backs, and legs. I get done and I feel amazing! It is so cool. 4 of my friends went out and bought the dvd, and I have about 5 friends doing with me on a daily basis. It is so hard core. I only use 5 pound weights, and at times those feel too heavy for me, but I just have to keep pushing through. I am able to keep pushing because I tell myself that it is a 20 minute work out and I can do anything for 20 minutes. There are 3 levels, and personally I think that level 2 is the hardest. I think that it has the best combo of cardio and strength training of all the levels. It is so great for someone who is busy but still wants a workout. And, best of all, it only cost 9.00 at Target! Score.
Have you tried shredding?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

This and that

No real direction today. No big blogger insite, just a few random tid bits---
I have the best friends ever. They are so amazing, and I am thankful for them. While we are out of town this summer, one of my friends has been sending me cards and notes every week, and it is that small act that gives me the pick up that I need.

I realized earlier this week at about 2:30 in the afternoon that I had been sweating since 6:30 in the morning when I got up to run. Its hot hot hot here.

I wish that I had developed a love for cooking earlier in life.

I love my husband and he is amazing.

The WORLD CUP is in session, and I am missing so many games it hurts my heart. I want to watch them all.

I hope that you ladies are having a fab week this summer.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It was like I was meditating

Week one in review= a great success. We made it through one week. 3 meals a day and a snack, for 300+, and we did it. P and I are in the kitchen with 3 other girls, and the high school work crew, again all girls, (so that is a lot of emotion and estrogen comin' at P, but if anyone could handle us, it is P), and we are having fun and working hard.
Earlier this week we made brownies in huge trays, and after they cooled I started to spread the icing. It was hot in the kitchen, (its a huge great room with an open kitchen and 1/2 walls, 1/2 screens, combine that with the heat from the stove and ovens and it is blazing.) Anyways, I was standing there icing the brownies listening to this old school song, and I just lost myself in it. For about 5 minutes time just seemed to stop and I was not thinking, I was just doing, and I felt strangely satisfied, I felt as if I could stand there and spread the frosting on the brownies for hours. I know it may seem over dramatic, but I really did lose myself, and forget about everything around me. I was just there. And, I was actually sad when all the trays were iced and done. Then, I had a huge feeling of satisfaction when I realized that the food I was making was going to be for peoples enjoyment and pleasure, and that gave me so much pleasure. I think that is why I like to bake because my favorite part of the meal is desert. It is what I look forward to every time and I tend to think others do as well, and I love when people delight in what I made for them.
It was so weird those few minutes, and I have tried to duplicate the feeling but somehow could not. But if it takes music and icing to get me back to that place, I am running there fast.

Monday, May 31, 2010

It has begun

So were here, we have entered into the opening lines of our new adventure. Currently we are living in a tiny one room "bungalow" don't let the description fool you, this is no life of luxury. We are at camp and this is the first time today that I am not sweating buckets. P and I have come back to his old job for the summer to cook 3 meals a day for 300+ people for 3 months. And we moved out of our house on Saturday. So, as of right now, this "bungalow" is our home, 98% of our worldly belongings are locked up in a storage unit, and here we are. 2 days in, 8 weeks to go. We are doing this for several reasons. First, we felt like God was calling us back here to serve for some reason. At times I am not sure what the reason is, but I trust that he will reveal that to us at some point. Secondly, we are here, all but homeless in order to save some money. P has subbed at my school for a few months, and we purchased a car with cash, so our e-fund took a big hit. By getting rid of the house, and living as cheap as possible for the next 8 weeks, our e-fund should be fully funded by the end of the summer.
So once again, here we are. 3 meals in and its been fun, but it is a lot of work. Last night we made lasagna, green beans, bread, and cake for dinner. This morning, eggs, biscuits, and sausage. Lunch, tacos, queso, salad. Tonight, pineapple chicken and sweet rice.
I am resting for a few more minutes then it is back to the brutal Texas heat. And, its not even June yet. Yikes.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Throw it Out

Do you ever desire to throw out every single thing you own and start over? I do. P and I live pretty simple lives and we don't collect knick-nacks, and we usually do a great job of weeding stuff out. But sometimes I just want to throw out everything. Even my clothes, and I am a clothes girl. I want to get rid of everything. If I acted on these whims that I get every now and then, P and I would have approximatly 2 plates and a fridge. We would eat off the floor, and share 1 towel.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Paris Dreaming

For some reason the last few weeks I have been dreaming of going to Paris. Not the Paris of today, but Paris in the 1950's. Paris after the war, when a surge of relief was sweeping through Europe. When life was hard, but still full of possibilities. Paris that was full of expat writers sitting at the small cafe's drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes hour after hour. I can just imagine hob-knobing with the struggling writers, meandering through the streets, in and out of the shops looking for everything, yet buying nothing. Living on the cheap in the greatest city in the world.
I have not been many places, yet I have been to Paris, once. It was amazing. Walking the streets, seeing the majestic buildings, the cobble stone walk ways, strolling along the Seine, crossing bridge over bridge, it was magic. There was magic there. The best part was touring the city at night, with the lights ablaze from the apartments, seeing people eat dinner, and entertain guests, it gave me a slight glimpse into their lives. The only souvenir I have from Paris is a scarf I bought from a street vendor. I wear it all the time, and each time I wrap it around my neck, I am transported, even for a second back to Paris.
I think I just have the travel bug. I ache to travel right now. I want to hop a plane and jet set around Europe. Or stroll through Central Park. I want to go. I long to go. I hunger to go. But, alas we can't. Not this summer. Be have prior commitments and a commitment to our financial situation. So I will continually dream the Paris dream. I will get my fill by watching old movies, reading books, and dreaming of old Paris.

Check out My Loaves

Yep I made these bad boys from scratch! I did it!! We have made bread many many times in our house, but P is the one who makes it. Last weekend, I set out to make homeade bread and this is the final result. Well, to be honest there is a loaf not shown because I consumed half of it in less than 30 minutes. Yea, so no comments needed. I made these cinnamon and sugar with honey. I gave them all away to friends and they were a huge sucess. I was so excited about it, because these are not from a bread machine. These loaves are made by my hands. It took about 6 1/2 hours to do, but in the end, it was totally worth it.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dinner


This was my dinner yesterday. I decided to start "eating" at 4:20. It was just that kind of day, no, week.

Monday, May 17, 2010

All the Single Ladies, Put Your Hands Up

Yes those would be the lyrics to the Beyonce song. No I am not truly single. Yes, I am living on my own for the next 2 weeks. P has packed up his stuff and moved out to our summer location. He left yesterday around noon. As most of you know, I really love my alone time. I like to putter around the house, think, write, organize, and spend time with just me. However, I found out yesterday that I enjoy that more when I know that P will be home soon. Our house seems so empty when he is not there. It seems so cold and sterile when he is gone. Plus, I don't sleep well. Every little sound wakes me up, and in a house as old as ours, there are a lot of those little sounds. I have some comfort with our dog there, I like to tell myself that he would protect me from an invader, but in all honesty, he would probably bring the intruder a ball and lick the man's face. So for the next two weeks it will be only me, and the dog.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Saucy

I have a confession to make. I hesitate to type this because there is a very serious possibility that I might offend one of you. I am talking about offending your foodie side. I don't have the most refined pallet in the world, even though I try really hard to eat well. I really like chocolate, but I tend to like the cheap stuf like snickers, and nestle crunch, to the expensive nice stuff. I kind of like cheap thrills, and hey those seem to be the best kind right?? So Denise, I am talking to you. After you read this you might have a different opinion of me, but I am going to risk it. (Totally kidding!!)

So here goes.....I like Ragu. It tends to be my pasta sauce of choice. I like it on pasta, I like it on chicken, beef, turkey, pretty much anything. I will take string cheese and dip it in Ragu for a snack. It is pretty much my favorite. So there you have it. Tonight for dinner, I made some really nice orzo pasta, topped with Ragu!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pudgy

This blog post is looooong over due.

Soo here we go..... I feel pudgy. In other words, a tad bit hefty, yucky. I hate when I put on excess weight. I work out almost every single day, which is great, the problem is that my eating has been OUTOFCONTROL. I have put so much junk into my mouth, in such great quantities, it is ridiculous. I have been eating candy, fries, candy bars, ice cream, you name it, I have eaten it. When I eat bad, my energy level just pelmets. So I am jumping back on the wagon. (The health food wagon that is.)

And..... just in the nick of time, Dmoms swoops in and offers up a challenge. And, I like challenges. It gives me something to work towards, a goal, and with my personality I will jump on that challenge, and meet it, and take it a step forward.


She has a daily workout and I am following her work out plans that she posts on Monday's. I did last week's and I was sore, and felt great, so I will keep it up.


In addition to the workout challenge, she has done some other things to challenge us to live healthier lives. One challenge is to drink more water. I drink a ton every day, but I have been trying to drink even more. Every morning, I fill this cup up to the brim, and chug it before I leave for the day.This big cup of water keeps me full until I get to finally eat around 9:00.
So Denise, thanks for the challenge, and I will keep you updated!

Friday, April 23, 2010

City Life

I awoke this morning to a city view. Looking out the window, I have been watching people rush to work, cabs being hailed, and vacationers unloading bags for a long weekend. P and I have the day off work, due to Battle of Flowers!! (What prey tell, is that, I will tell you later.) This will be the last time that P and I will be able to get away and relax until the end of August, so we decided to book a room downtown and stay the night. I love city life, I do. The rush, excitement, grit, smog, power, the dichotomy of it all never ceases to thrill me. How can the poor and homeless coexist on the same streets as the wealthy investment bankers? How can the artists and poets scratch out and existence seeking inspiration in the midst of an urban jungle, when surrounded by brief cases and suits? I woke up early, and as I lay in bed I watched the early morning routines of food deliveries, and laundry services make their rounds. Shortly there after I laced up my shoes and hit the pavement. Despite the heat and humidity due to the rain yesterday the run was awesome. I ran downtown near the capital then I hit up town lake.

I ran the dirt path and contemplated my competing desires. I have grown to enjoy the quietness of country life. The past 3 years, I have gripped about it, but somewhere along the lines I realized how nice it is to come home and be away from everything. But, at times, I often feel the calling, the urge of city life. Can I have both? Can I have the slow quite of the country, and the excitement of the city? I don't know. Will I ever live in a downtown loft on the 27th floor? I don't think so, especially not as a teacher.

For now, I will just have to keep enjoying my jaunts into the urban jungle.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Haiti, so cool!

The Haiti national soccer team is staying 5 minutes from my house!! For the last several days and for about one more week the Haitian National Soccer team is staying at the camp that P used to work for. He has gotten to see them practice, play a game, and meet some of the team and coaches. When the earthquake hit, the team was at practice, and the building next to the field which held their offices, and workout rooms was destroyed with team members in it. Their soccer field became a tent city, so they had no where to practice. They lost so much during the earthquake. They lost friends, family, teammates, clothing, shoes, and so much more. We had the opportunity to give to the team, and as a group, were able to provide shoes for them.

I know that in the big scheme of things, after the tragedy, sports seem pretty minimal, pretty unimportant. But, if sport can help the people forget what they are living through, even for an hour, if it can bring relief, something to cheer for, something to spur them on, that is awesome!!

I am going to watch them practice today or tomorrow, so I will defiantly be posting some pics.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I feel like I can breathe again

Life has been kind of crazy lately. Busy. Lots going on. Busy. Lots of changes.
I really prefer to have a few things going on and do them really really well, rather than have a ton going on, and just be ok at it all. I like to focus my energies and get tasks accomplished.
I have forgotten a few things these last few weeks and I think it is simply because I am so busy and have not been able to get organized. So tonight I am playing hookie to bible study. After work I went to the gym and had an awesome work out. I ran a really quick 3 miles and lifted, and I just took my time. I plugged in my ipod and just zoned out. Because I have been so busy recently my workout have been rushed and not great. Tonight I got to take my time, I really pushed myself to lift more than normal, and I took my time, and enjoyed getting my sweat on. While I was sitting there between sets, I took a deep breath and realized that all my stress was gone. My shoulders were not tight, I felt more relaxed than I have in weeks. I sat there and kept breathing in and realized that it was like I everything that had been weighting me down was gone. Working out is like a drug. And I admit that I am addicted. Tonight, like I said I am skipping bible study, P went over to a friends house and I have a few glorious hours all to myself at home to organize my thoughts and get some things done!!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Ch-ch-ch-Changes, part 1

Ch-ch-ch-ch changes
Turn and face the strain
ch-ch changes
--By David Bowie
I have been holding off writing this for a while now. I think because once I get it written, through pen and paper in my journal, or on my blog here, it will become real to me. Lets start and the beginning shall we.
In January, P got word that the organization he worked for, (a non profit) would be shutting its doors. It was a long time coming and in the end due to several reasons, the company closed. P stayed with the company part time until the end of February, beginning of March, closing things down, and trying to help sell the property. While he was working part time he signed up to sub at my school. Eventually, there was not enough work any more, so he received his last severance check, and signed on to be a long term sub at my school. The p.e. teacher went on maternity leave, so P has taken her place this past month, and he will continue to do so until mid May.
After leaving his former company, P and I had a few house keeping issues that we had to work through. Our income was going down, and then our expenses were going way up. First, his company provided him with a vehicle, cell phone, and Internet card. For the past year we have not had to pay for any of those things, which was very nice. His boss offered to sell us the vehicle, and a very good price. We decided to buy the car, and we worked out a payment plan. After mulling it over for 2 weeks, I realized that we were in debt, a place that we never ever wanted to be in again. P and I talked and we kept going back to "The borrower is slave to the lender" Proverbs, 7:10. We don't want to be any ones slave every again. We dipped into our efund and took out a major portion to pay full price for the car. No debt, smaller efund that needs to be replenished, and a temporary job for P. But we are now the owners of a 2008 dodge durango, that has been fully paid for. As of a week ago that is where we stood.
Let me back track now. About 3 weeks ago P and I drove to Colorado for a networking opportunity. P had a phone interview that went extremely well, however he was not offered the position due to timing, and the organization decided to hire in house. One of the directors invited P and I to Colorado for a little face time and to meet with some of the other directors. We met with all of them, and then we left. No job came about as a result of the trip. We had not been holding our breaths or hoping for an offer. On the drive home, a former colleague of P's called and asked us a question, which leads us to where we are now.
P used to work for a Christian Sports Camp.(That is where we met. I was working as a councilor during the summer while in college, and P was on full time staff) He was the director of the off season program which operates from August-May, offering retreats on the camp property. The camp has 2 locations, one for younger kids, and a second more secluded property high school students. Our 2nd summer we were stationed out at the high school camp where I ran the camp store, and P was the kitchen director. Basically he prepared 3 meals a day for 300+ people for 3 months. The camp is pretty remote (about an hour and 15 minutes from our house), and they have some housing for married couples that come out to help run camp, so we packed up some clothes and lived out there for 3 months. Later that year P ended up leaving the camp and taking a job with a new organization.
The phone call that we received was from a man, M, asking if P and I would like to come out and cook for the summer again. Initially our answer was No. No.No, but thanks. P and I have been talking what to do about his job situation, about the summer with only 1 income, and we were kind of at a stand still. Finally last Monday, we came to the conclusion that we would be going back out to camp. We decided to go back for several reasons, and one of the big reasons is that if we went out to camp, we would move out of our house in order to save money on rent and bills. Plus, we would both be making additional income, and both of those factors will help us get our efund fully funded by August. And here is where the changes start:
- we are moving out of our house
- we have to have everything packed up and moved out in 6 weeks time
- we don't know where we will be living come August
- we don't know what P will be doing come August
So there you go. Thats the story. More to come soon.

Friday, April 2, 2010

What I learned from an 11 hour track meet

Track season is here. That means the last 2 weeks have been filled with practices, late nights, and more responsibility. We had our first track meet yesterday and we did very well. We loaded up our runners and got to the track at about 1. When all was said and done, all the events finished, we ended up leaving after midnight. After we got the vans back to school, unloaded everything, and got home, it was right about 2 A.M. I have not seen the 2 A.M. hour in quite some time, and I must say that it is a dreadful hour to be on the road. I am much more of a morning glory kind of a gal than a night owl and I don't enjoy being up that late. Even more, I don't enjoy feeling groggy the next day, as I do now.
The meet was not run well, and people were getting frustrated by the inefficiency. Teams packed up and left. Parents, coaches, and administrators were griping and complaining and venting their frustrations, and I must agree, as much as I wish I wasn't part of that group, I was.
But I learned something last night in the midst of all the frustrations, and the fatigue, I learned that griping wont do anything to make the situation better. Sometimes, you just have to grin and bear it, and try to make the best of the situation. Plus, a little laughter always seems to help in these situations. (As does a spontaneous cheer, learned from my 8th grade cheer leading stint. Yelling, hand motions and all tend to make people smile and get past the frustrations a bit. " When I say love, you say track, Love--Track---Love---Track!!)
Another thing I learned that, no matter how slow you are, everyone deserves a cheer when they cross the finish line. Even if you walk, or slow down for a while, you must keep moving forward, and you must work past the pain.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Meatless? Me???

I have been looking more and more at what I eat. I am learning so much, and I have really realized that you are what you eat. You will get out of your body what you put in. I keep hearing so much about how many hormones are injected in our meat and all they junk that is in it. Honestly, P and I cannot afford to eat all organic. But, I have realized that I can eat less meat. Being a true Southerner, I have eat meat at almost every single meal most of my life. Growing up, we had meat, a starch, and a vegetable at every single dinner. We could not afford to eat out, but my mom made sure we had some well balanced meals. A few weeks ago I spoke with a friend who has been doing some research and she was telling me that in countries that don't consume much meat, and have a diet higher in veggies and grains have a much lower rate of cancer and obesity. After talking with my friend, I started going meatless on Mondays, which is not something that I had ever done. I have been so used to having meat so much that if there was no meat on the plate, it just seemed like a snack to me. But I have been feeling great, so I have decided to go meatless on Monday's and Friday's. Plus, I have been much more discerning about the meat that I do it.
I know that going meatless is not the answer to all the food questions I have, but I feel like this a major step in the right direction for me.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Reminiscing (Warning: Long Post Ahead)

My mom called me on Thursday night to let me know that my great aunt passed away. The funeral service is on Sunday evening. Around lunch time today I hopped in the car and drove about 2 hours to where she was living to be with my family. So here I am, laying in bed with going over the days events. Here is the back story--
My grandmother had 9 brothers and sisters, 5 boys, 5 girls. The boys all passed away when I was young. Now, there are 3 of the 5 girls left. The first of the girls to pass away was my precious grandmother, who died when I was in middle school. We lost her to lung cancer, a terribly nasty disease that sucks the life out of its victims, and leads to much pain and suffering in the final months. My aunt E that passed away on Thursday was the youngest of the 5. She has been living for the last 4 years with her sister, my other great aunt H, who is an angel without wings. See my great aunt H, is one of the kindest souls you will ever meet. Her husband passed away 2 decades ago and she has been living on her own ever since. When my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, my aunt H packed up a suitcase, locked up her house and moved in with my grandmother and took care of her for 2 years while she was sick. For 2 years, she put her life on pause to take care of her big sister. My aunt H provided so much comfort to my grandmother while she was sick. Then, 4 years ago my aunt E took a terrible fall and got sick. So my aunt H asked her if she wanted to come and live with her, and she said yes. For the last 4 years my aunt played sister, comforter, nurse, mother, doctor, and therapist to a physically and in the end mentally ill woman. She fed her, bathed her, stayed up nights with her, and even changed her diapers in the final weeks of her life. Aunt H did all of this, without asking for anything in return.
After my grandmother passed away I started spending the summers with my great aunt H. She lives in this quaint town with 1 small grocery store, and no police station. I spent my summers running up and down the main roads with my cousins. I stayed up late and watched scary movies with her, and then when I was too frightened to go to bed, she let me sleep with her. In a way she became my surrogate grandmother. So many memories of my childhood are wrapped up in her. Being here in her house, in her town, its like a damn has broken and hundreds of memories are filling my mind. Some good, some bad, some in between.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I had big plans last night. Plans to rest. Crazy week at school, track starting, so long days and late nights. I got home last night around 6:20, took the dog for a walk. My plan was to make dinner and veg out. P was laying on the couch with aches and a fever. I made dinner then decided to get dinner ready for tonight, just to make it easier. Yes, done. Everything was done. The house was clean, my bags were packed, all I needed to do and all I wanted to do was take a steaming hot shower, grab my book and lay in bed. (If you are an animal rights activist, you might want to stop reading now.)
Life had other plans that involved a shot gun, a skunk, my sick husband walking in the field with said shot gun, and a very stinky dog.
Yep, our dog got sprayed. It was cold and rainy so I had to take the dog inside to give him a bath. A bath that lasted almost 45 minutes and used ALL of the hot water. Here is the bathing cycle, dog shampoo, rinse, vanilla, rinse, bath and body works products, rinse, more dog shampoo, rinse. For a dog that loves water, this dog hates a bath. By the time we were done, my shirt and shorts were soaked, I used about 5 beach towels, and there was about an inch of water on the floor. While I was bathing our dog, P was in the pasture looking for the culprit, and was unable to find him. I ended up coming in taking a cold shower, put on my p.j.'s and collapsed into bed.
When I got up this morning the yard still smelled like skunk.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

15 hours

We woke up this morning to the alarm going off at 3:30 A.M. Quickly we got up and brushed our teeth, washed our faces, and jumped in the car. 15 hours later, we have reached our destination stop 1. We are in Colorado for 3 days. A little bit of whirl wind tour of the state if you will. I am on spring break this week and P had an opportunity come up in Colorado, a chance to network with some people he has been keen to meet. So here we are. And I must say I was not thrilled with the prospect of spending 30+ hours in the car on my week off. You see, I hate to drive, I really do. My commute to work is right at 100 miles round trip every single day. My carpool friends and I figured out that we spend upwards of more than 24+ days a school year commuting to work. Thus, my disdain for being in the car. Anyways, when this opportunity came up, I was ready to kiss P on the cheek, say adios, and spend a luxurious week doing nothing. Just sleeping in, cleaning my house, playing with my dog, and reading by the river in the balmy 80 degree weather we are currently experiencing here in TX. But, I told P if he asked me to go, that I would go. Well, he asked and I said yes. And I have spent the last two weeks ticked off about how I would spend my spring break. Trust me, I can hold a grudge like no one else. But I gave P my word, and so I stuck to it, I have just not had a happy heart in the process. Due to the drive, we have had plenty of time to talk and I felt convicted so I asked P for forgiveness for my bad attitude and for being angry with him for asking. He graciously forgave me, and has spent the last 15 hours doing his best to entertain me and keep me occupied. This day has been long, but P stayed super positive, and even appeased me while I was being a pouty brat, because he knows how hard this is for me. So tomorrow we hop in the car again, drive another few hours, spend some time with some folks until Tuesday, hop in the car again on Weds and drive to another location. Spend a few hours there, then hit the road home.
Now I plan on working out and remaining on my feet until bed time.
AHHH

And thanks P for your patience with me.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hectic

It is March 8th. Holy stinkin cow. This has been a crazy few weeks. I feel like I have not had a minute to sit down and think. It started with our retreat at school. We take our kids on an overnight retreat which is a blast, just jam packed. After our retreat our school had our re accredition, which added a major level of stress to our already packed schedule at school. We are a private school, and we are accredited by the state, as well as an international private agency. They came for 2 days, interviewed parents, teachers, students, and faculty. They observed our classes, looked at our financials, analyzed our admin, teach staff and techniques, curriculum, and a ton of other stuff. The full report comes out in June, but we had a meeting with the accreditation team after school one day and the preliminary report they gave before leaving was amazing. Basically, at the end of the accreditation, the team explains 2 things, one is things the school does well, the other are major areas in the school that need improvement. Our results--nothing! In the past 60 years that this organization has been around, they have never gone to a school and left with no major recommendations for improvement. WOW! All of our hard work has paid off. It is an amazing acclaim for our school.
Then we have been at a conference the past 3 days. No rest or weekend for the weary I guess. The conference has been great. I have learned a ton and feel re energized, but now I am tired. 3 days of non stop packed days have left me spent. Plus, my bff had her baby last night! She called me when she went into labor and and I ran out of the conference to go to the hospital and got to be there for her labor (just the part before the pushing) and then to see a healthy baby boy!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Done, Done, and Doner

We did it. About 365 days ago, P and I were in debt. We started our marriage with debt, CC and student loan debt. The first 2 years, we spent making small payments on all of our debt. Then through the blog world, I discovered Dave Ramsey and did some research. I liked his simple straight forward, sound, advice. P and I looked into him even more, then we went to one of his seminars when he came to town last year. We spent 5 hours listening to him, and to be honest it felt like 5 minutes. While there we purchased one of his packages with all the books, dvds, and cd's. We came home, sat on our couch, took the credit cards from our wallets and cut them up. Honestly, I will admit that when we cut them up and called to cancel our cards, I got a little nervous. I never realized that I saw our credit cards as our safety net, our emergency fund. It is sad to me, but I learned, and moved on. We vowed right then to never use credit again. And we have not. We busted our butts and got out of debt a few months later! It was an awesome feeling. But, we didn't stop. We kept busting our back sides. We started saving aggressively for our emergency fund. I took on a second job as a house keeper at a hotel in the summer, which was one of the hardest and most exhausting jobs I have ever done. But, it helped us reach our goal even sooner. And during that time as we were saving Murphy moved in. The car needed repairs, the fridge broke, the washing machine went on the fritz, but we worked it out.
On Monday, P and I wrote a check and it cleared on Friday, our emergency fund is completely funded! It represents 7 months of living expenses for us. Baby step 3 is done. WOW. This feels even better than getting the debt paid off, because this represents something that we worked for for us, for our future. What I like about Dave's Total Money Makeover is that it is not a get rich quick scheme. It is not about how much money you can horde. It is about having a healthy financial life. It is about giving. It is about balance. It is about saying, I am not going to be a slave to anyone. When we were at Dave's class and he quoted Proverbs 22:7 over and over, " The borrower is slave to the lender." I don't want to be a slave. I don't want to work hard just to sign my money over to some company to pay my bills. I don't want to have to stay in a toxic work environment simply because I need the pay check to pay my bills.
So now, we get to start baby step 4, building wealth. I already have a IRA and a 403 B, so we need to do just a little work there, converting my traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, but that wont be hard. Plus, we need to set up a Roth IRA for P as well.
We also have a short term goal we want to meet. P and I are going to start saving to buy a new (read: new to us, aka used) car for P. Then we get to really have fun and start saving for a house. I honestly cannot stomach debt any more. I had a taste of it, and it was foul. I want no part of that any more. The thought of taking on debt makes me sick. I joke and like to say that I am now allergic to debt. It will take a long time to reach some of these goals, but that is ok. We are patient.
Now its on to bigger and better things!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Weather...What???

Sunday it was in the high 70's. Yesterday it was in the 50's and 60's. Today it is 39 with a threat of snow. Thursday and Friday it will get back into the 60's. WHAT?
Texas weather, unpredictably random.

With a threat of "snow" which is nothing like the rest of the country is getting, our school cancelled every extra curricular activity after school that we offer.

We South Texans tend to panic when it is anything other than heat and sunshine.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Cajun Birthday

My name on P's caller id is Bayou Queen-- because my family is Cajun French, and we come from Louisiana.

My grandma, this sweet little old lady-- speaks broken English in her Cajun accent. Her brother, my great uncle only speaks Cajun. He still lives on the farm in the same house that he grew up in, a small farming community outside of Lafayette, LA. It is so funny to hear my grandma talk to her baby brother in French. They just rattle on and on. I love hearing that sound, and I will miss it when she is gone.
Anywho--I am getting off topic. Yesterday I turned 28--yikes. And P spoiled me on my birthday with a Cajun inspired day. I got a ton of cards, phone calls, and texts, and facebook messages from my friends who are dispersed all over the country. I have been wanting a Who Dat shirt for quite some time, and P got me one! It is awesome--but it does not fit--so we are exchanging it for another one. Then P got me this Jazz Festival painting. There were only 10,000 made that year and P found my favorite one and had it framed for me.

The best part was the small surprise get together that P planned for me. I like parties, but not for me. I feel awkward when I am the center of attention. At 3:30 my bff picked me up and took me to the movies--saw Dear John--it was awesome (book is better by the way) then when we finished I got into the car, and she blind folded me, drove like a maniac all over town to throw me off the track, then took me to my favorite place. She parked opened the door and led me into my house where the Who Dat song was blaring on the speakers, homade hot shrimp and chicken gumbo was simmering on the stove, and the poster was hanging on my wall. Plus, P had a king cake delivered from Louisiana, so we munched on that for desert and it was delish! Then some of my favorite people in the world popped out of hiding and I was surrounded by the people that I love the most. It was so much fun. I felt so special, so loved, and my tank was totally over flowing. The gumbo tasted just like my grandma's, and the scent was still lingering in the air when I woke this morning. It was such a great day, and I am so blessed to have a husband who spoiles me so much. Thank you P for all you did. I love you. Such wonderful memories.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Why Blog?

I really enjoy writing this blog. It is a place for me to process, share, vent, and laugh. It is my own personal place to sometimes just think out loud. Just as much as I enjoy writing this blog, I really enjoy reading blogs. Daily I visit so many different blogs and I can't wait to see who has posted when I open up the Internet in the mornings. I like to know what people are thinking and what is going on in their world. I love getting to find out what people are thinking and feeling. Your thoughts make me look at things in a different light. Your words inspire me, change me, and can transform me. It gives me a small glimpse into your world.
When I lived in town one of my favorite things was to run through neighborhoods around dinner time. I loved getting to run by the houses where the window shades were still open and I could see people having dinner inside, or see someone firing up the bbq pit to grill some steaks. It gave me a small 2 second glimpse into the decor of their house and into their lives. That is how I feel about blogs. It gives me a small glimpse into your life....so thanks for sharing your life with me!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cedar Pollen, You Win

Allergy season you have defeated me. You win. You have brought me to my knees. Almost literally. No amount of meds can fight against you--evil cedar pollen. My eyes are swollen and blood shot. They are dry at one instant yet watery at the next. My nose is stuffed. My head aches. My throat is dry and itchy.
You come around every year and there is nothing I can do to allude the terror and pain you strike to so many.
Allergy season--- you need to end.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wars (Part 2): Toaster Edition


Round number two, here we go. We have had fan wars, there is most defiantly cover wars (blog to come), and now it is onto toaster wars. P and I just got a toaster from my parents for Christmas. Yes, we went over 2 years without a toaster, and we were just fine. P had been wanting one for a while, but we don't eat a ton of bread, so I always asked what is the point? Anyways, we got one, set it in our kitchen and it works great. It is nice to have a warm piece of toast with eggs in the morning.

However, P and I like our toast differently. He likes his mega toasted, too toasted in my opinion. Toasted to the point that it is dry, flaky, and scrapes the top of your mouth. It is akin to something like a charred, black brick that leaves crumbs every where. I on the other hand, like it lightly toasted with just a minimal amount of crunch. I like food with a softer texture, rather than take a bit out of something and have all moisture suddenly depleted from my mouth. I like to think of this type of toast as an A bomb that explodes in my mouth. It explodes, destroys everything in sight, then leaves the area as a dry, uninhabitable wasteland, that can never return to its former post traumatic, apocalyptic, state.

Anywho, the dial on our toaster gets quite a workout. You have no idea how disturbing it is wake up, pop in a piece of toast, then go about my morning only to smell the putrid scent dying grains coming from my kitchen. So just as the fans continue to go off and on several times a day, the toaster dial continues to run the gauntlet from one extreme to another.