Tuesday, February 28, 2006

From Mardi Gras to Lent

I wore my customary Mardi Gras beads along with a set of matching Mardi Gras mask earrings and pendant to school/work today. When my friend saw me this morning she said that when she remembered that it was Mardi Gras, she knew that I would be wearing my beads. I guess I am predictable. If there’s an opportunity to sparkle and shine a little I take it. Who am I kidding? I tackle it and run!

Tomorrow is the start of Lent, and I have been thinking about what to give up. I know that many people think it is just a Catholic thing, but many Christians do it. It’s a way to focus on God and remember the price that Chris paid for us. I’ve really been feeling the need to get closer to God lately. Every year I usually give up three things for Lent. I don’t think that I want to post what I’m actually giving up; I don’t want to draw attention to myself in that way. I just thought that I’d mention that it is starting tomorrow in case anyone wanted to know or wanted to join me in this endeavor.

Sometimes I wonder just how transparent I should be in this blog. I’m just not sure how much I want to share and how much people really want to know. Yesterday I was thinking about how people perceive me compared to how I think they do along with how I actually see myself. I really don’t think that those three line up very well. I can be somewhat arrogant in my belief that I am right, and I wonder if what I see as reality matches up with the actual truth. I think that I want to see things are they truly are, but then I also sometimes enjoy living in imagination, possibility, and fairy tales. Is there a place for both of these to coexist in harmony?

I’ve been extremely tired today, so I plan to get ready for bed soon. I won’t go to sleep. I’ll probably read for a while, but at least I will be resting.

Monday, February 27, 2006

A bump in the road....

This has been an interesting day, or at least the afternoon was. After a long and yet productive day at work, I decided to take the long way home. This was partly due to the fact that traffic going towards my home was too congested, and I liked the idea of the possibility of driving through the park to get home. I took a little detour down a narrow road tightly flanked by rows of tall, thin trees. It was peaceful and beautiful, and then BLAM! I felt a jolt and heard a loud noise. Apparently there was something in or close to the road that I ran over, and I ended up blowing out my tire! It actually had a big hole in it, and I bent the rim!

Chris was on a call and couldn’t come to help me, so I called my dad. He loaded tools, a hydraulic jack, and my mom into the van and came to bail me out. It usually takes me eight minutes to get home from work, but today it took me two hours. But it was a lovely day, and I didn’t mind sitting beside the park and waiting to be rescued.

The really weird part of all of this is that it was around the same time last year that I had a car wreck. A new driver pulled out in front of me forcing me to t-bone his car. The impact left me with a bruised collarbone, an injury that I shared with Steve McNair. Of course he got his playing football, so they are really aren’t the same. Oh, well.

So, did you watch the Bachelor finale tonight? Though I am thrilled that Nashville won out in the end and that there wasn’t a proposal, I was a little disappointed with the way Sarah was told that she was picked. Travis was much more poetic with Moana in telling her that he wasn’t choosing her. Perhaps he was just too nervous to be eloquent in his speech.

For an update on the health front, I have an appointment at the allergy clinic this Thursday, and they have set me up with the headache clinic in March. Hopefully, I can get some answers very soon. I have not had a headache in three days! For me this is amazing and probably one of the reasons that I was so happy today and didn’t really get upset about my little mishap this afternoon.

I’m hoping the rest of the week sees me feeling as well I as I did today.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Guess what I did?

Victory is mine! On Friday afternoon, I made it up the hill TWICE! I am so proud of myself and can’t wait to do it again. Bella even did it better this time. On the way back down the first time, two little dogs Bella had made friends with a couple days before ran out to greet her and ran across the road in really busy traffic. It was really scary and unnerving, imagining any of the dogs being hit by a car. I almost didn’t start up the second time, but I was determined to not let anything stop me. Oh, and talk about the endorphins! I was feeling especially good! I know this might not seem like an especially difficult task to some, but you should see the hill.

Tonight my sister Eva and her husband Matt came over to have dinner and watch a movie with Chris and me. It was taco night. I find it interesting how everyone does their tacos a little bit differently. Chris likes meat and nothing else. Give him meat in a shell or just meat alone, and the man is happy. Personally, I go for the taco salad approach. I think it’s the whole tilting of the head to eat a whole taco and the fact that it’s going to make a mess anyway that drives me to go ahead and pile everything into a taco mountain. Matt put the fixings on first and then the meat, and then Eva did it, I think, the most normal way, meat and then fixings. I guess I just love that life can have such variety with such simple things.

When I invited Eva and Matt over, I imagined the four of us sitting down to enjoy some high energy, blood pumping action flick. To my surprise, once again things happened a little differently than I expected. We snuggled into the couches with our TV trays in front of us and watched Home on the Range, a silly, little, animated Disney flick. To top off our little movie night we indulged in brownies and vanilla ice cream lightly covered with chocolate syrup. We were four adults acting like children and loving every moment of it.

The only other interesting thing that happened today is that I went to get my eyes checked. The doctor wanted me to do it so that we could see if it was a causing or somehow affecting the migraines, which I believe we ruled out today. The best part about being there was the presence of these two little adorable girls, eight year old twins. They had the sweetest little faces, and I just loved looking at them. By the way, I really think (and hope) that Chris and I will have twins someday (not anytime soon). It’s on both sides of our families, so we actually have a good chance of it. I’ve been talking to God about it just to make sure that He knows we’d like to have fraternal twins with a boy and a girl. I guess we’ll see what He decides somewhere down the road!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Maybe tomorrow....

I suffer from migraines. I started to say “really bad migraines,” but anyone who has them or knows me already knows how bad they are. Yesterday and today have been migraine days. I went to the doctor yesterday to try to get some answers but ended up with more questions and two prescriptions, one for pain pills and the other for nausea. I was told to go home, take them, and go to bed, advice which I am glad that I followed. I was totally knocked out. Thus, I made no post and certainly did not conquer The Hill. (I believe I referred to the hill in my last post.)

Today, however, the migraine abated by mid-afternoon, so I was able to climb, but only once. Man, that thing kicks my butt! So, by my title, of “maybe tomorrow” I mean that I will try once again to climb it twice tomorrow. I will try, but if I don’t make it, I will not give up. It shall be done. And then, once I’ve successfully conquered it twice a number of times, I’m just crazy enough to up my goal to three times! Ha! Take that!

Chris and I spent the evening at his parents’ house celebrating his brother’s wife’s birthday, which was actually a few weeks ago. Chris’s mom always makes a huge feast, which is wonderfully delicious but does not at all fit into my diet; I’m doing the 3 Hour Diet. And yes, I do indulge myself on these occasions. Mmmm, biscuits and gravy…. One of the greatest things is that Chris and I actually get along with each other’s relatives. There are no terrible in-law problems. Of course, we regularly thank God for this as we certainly have our share of other troubles.

I have another special day at work tomorrow. In my English class, we’re having our coffee house day.. I call it the Stoplight CafĂ© and put a little flashing stoplight just outside my door. In order to create a cozy atmosphere, I move all the tables and chairs and decorate the room with bean bags, other lounge-type furniture, twinkle lights, and lava lamps. The students read the poetry they’ve written and well as poetry from famous poets. To show their support of each other, the kids snap their fingers, instead of clapping their hands, in appreciation. It’s a groovy scene, and the kids always seem to have a good time. In addition to being fun for the kids, I greatly enjoy the day as it’s out of the ordinary, and I don’t have to teach anything new! A little break for Kay!

What a long day and even week it’s been! I’m exhausted and need to get my little nightly routine going, so I can enjoy one of the greatest pleasures life has to offer… sleep!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A doggie afternoon

We're dog people. Most of the people in Chris's and my immediate families have dogs, and Chris and I have the beautiful Bella, a Great Pyrenees/Lab mix. It just seems to me that a great deal of our family and personal time is entangled with these wonderful creatures.

My sister, Eva came by my work today to visit me, and she brought her Beagle, Ellie. The kids were crazy about that little dog, and Ellie seemed overwhelmed and excited by all the activity. In true Beagle fashion, Ellie is insatiably curious about everything and tends to lick people… a lot. Eva and her husband also have a precious pit bull named Drake; he’s rock solid and so gentle. Ellie and Drake are the best of friends.

After my visit with Eva and Ellie, I came home to my own crazy canine. I decided that I would take Bella for a walk. Usually we just latch the leash to her collar, but for long walks we use the harness. When Chris and I go together, he puts the harness on her. I really am an intelligent person, but it’s ridiculous how long it took me to figure out how to get that thing on her.

When we put the harness on, Bella knows that we’re going for a long walk, so she won’t do her business in the complex. I guess she’s just too excited. The problem is that she then wants to go in people’s yards, and I hate that. I’m always afraid that someone is going to fly out of their house yelling at me and waving heavy objects meant to injure me. So, today, when she tried to go in someone’s yard, it just kept pulling on her. I’m sure that my energy was doubly zapped in my walk because I was yelling “NO” and tugging her muscular, 82 pound body toward the field that was half way up the hill that I was climbing. She seemed thoroughly confused, but I just couldn’t bear the embarrassment of standing there while she desecrated a stranger’s pretty little lawn.

Anyway, I wanted to twice conquer that hill which, by the way, is extremely steep and a half a mile to the top. Walking the hill a few times a day used to be my primary mode of exercise, and I had gotten in pretty good shape that way. However, since the arrival of the treadmill, I haven’t done it in a while, so I was only able to do it once today. But by the end of the week, I plan to claim my victory. At least with my treadmill walk this morning, I got three miles in today.

The one thing that gives me comfort is that Bella seemed to be beat by the hill as well. By the time we made it up the hill, she was desperate to get back home and ended up drinking about a half gallon of water when we returned. Now she’s curled up behind me on the floor looking unusually calm and comfortable, Hmmm, a nap sounds very good at this moment. I just don’t want to mess up my chances of a full night’s sleep later. Maybe I’ll get to turn in a little early tonight. I can only hope….

Monday, February 20, 2006

Four miles to glory....

Today I walked on the treadmill twice, two miles at 5 this morning and two when I came home from work this afternoon. I really want to continue to work out twice a day. I was doing that before I became so busy with preparations for the Renaissance Festival, but I had to cut it down to just my morning workout. However, now that’s over I plan to start back up with the two-a-days. I know most people think that I’m crazy for working out so early in the morning, but it’s the one time that there are no distractions. Even if I miss that afternoon session, I still get the morning one in. Sometimes I do other stuff like Tae Bo, the Firm, and Pilates; but I just love the treadmill so much. Plus, there’s the fact that I get to watch movies while I walk. To me, that just sweetens the deal. I get to watch those girly movies that I hardly get to watch anymore, because I generally try to pick a movie for both Chris and myself when watching in the evening.

I love cold weather. I love getting all bundled up in sweaters and seeing my breath and the possibilities of snow. But I still can’t wait for warmer weather. You see, when it’s warm outside, Chris and I go for walks outside almost every night. I have come to treasure that time so much, but we just can’t handle the frozen fingers, toes, and noses we have to endure when it’s so frigid out. Our relationship as friends started with going for long walks or drives. We talk a lot, and I really think it’s been really healthy for us. Cold weather and high gas prices have kept us from those activities, so I’m looking forward to spring.

Speaking of spring, I bought a couple things for Chris for Easter the other day. I know; it’s not until April 16. But I was in the isle at Wal-Mart that has all the holiday stuff, and I just couldn’t pass it up, I was worried that if I didn’t buy it right away, it would be gone when I returned. I can’t help but always go down those seasonal isles when I go to department stores like that. It’s like they call to me. I can’t hang out in stores the way that my Mom and sister can. They are true marathon shoppers, but I sure can waste some time in Wal-Mart or Target. Also, when I’m in other cities and I start to feel homesick, I feel better if I go to a Wal-Mart or Walgreen’s. I know that sounds strange, but the layout is generally the same in those stores, so it feels like home.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Good Intentions

We honestly tried to make it to church today, but it just didn't happen. Just a mile away from the house, Chris’s car was running hot, so we had to turn around. Then the anti-freeze at the house was actually frozen. I didn't think that was supposed to happen. So, we removed all the ice from my car and fired it up to go get some anti-freeze. Of course after all of this, we were too late to go to church. We did, however, make it to lunch with the in-laws, which was very pleasant.

Ever have one of those days that just seem a little off kilter? It hasn’t been just one day but the whole weekend for me. Nothing has really gone wrong, but it just seems that every little task I put my hand to has a snag in it. I keep forgetting things, but by the time I remember them I find that they weren’t too important to begin with. Oh, well.

Despite my hopes as of yesterday, it looks like we won’t be getting any more snow before tomorrow. But I guess it really doesn’t matter; tomorrow is an in-service day for the teachers at my school. I don’t have to have anything prepared since the students won’t be there. For me, however, a day of meetings is much worse. I’m used to talking all day and being in front of an audience, even if it’s not always a captive one. Sitting for so long makes me sleepy.

Chris and I talked about starting up the house hunting process again today. We desperately want to get out of this little apartment. Bella really needs a big yard to play in. She’s a Great Pyrenees/Lab mix; there’s only so much running up and down our hallway she can do. In addition, Chris and I are desperate for more room of our own. So much of our stuff is in storage, and we’d love to be making use of those things. Hopefully, we’ll find something in the next couple of months. Our lease is up in April, and we’d like to leave by then.

I guess I can only procrastinate for so long. Laundry and papers to grade are calling my name. I better get to it.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A job well done....

Being that this is my first post, I have not yet figured this whole thing out. I apologize for the lack of pictures. I play to remedy that soon, I hope.

As I am typing, I can see the light falling on the snow across the parking lot from my apartment building. I am actually glad that the snow came last night instead of Thursday night. I would usually be ecstatic with possibility of not going to work due to hazardous road conditions. However, yesterday would have been a terrible day for that.

Each year at this time, we have a Renaissance Festival for the students I teach and their parents. It’s a chance to connect all of their subjects and let the parents see the “fruit of their labors.” I am the person in charge of the event, and I spend weeks preparing for this one day. It’s very much like preparing for a wedding. Everyone has special clothes, and there’s a big production with a reception.

We spend hours decorating the school gym on Thursday night and Friday morning. Finally, the parents arrive, and the feast begins. They enter the gym by a drawbridge that one of the students and his family built. A few girls created a moat with alligators out of paper to but around the base of the drawbridge. Another student even dressed as a hunchback and begged for “alms” at the entrance. However, I fear that the only one to take pity of him and give his some money was his own mother!

In addition to some special music, the students performed a scene from Romeo and Juliet and a short version of The Sleeping Beauty both of which I directed. I must say that I couldn’t have been happier with the students or with the event as a whole. Everyone seemed pleased and ready with compliments.

However, I am extremely happy that this is now behind me for another year. It’s quite time consuming and exhausting. And now, I can look forward to the promise of more snow tomorrow night. I know that it’s foolish to get my hopes up about this, being that I have so often been disappointed in the past. And yet still I will creep out of bed Monday morning to peek out the window eagerly anticipating the sight of a world covered in snow and icy streets!