Monday, December 22, 2008

Introducing my horse (sorta)

As of today, I am officially leasing a horse! He is a beautiful 12-year-old mustang named Apache. His coloring is cremello but most people would probably call him white, so don't worry about the fancy terms. Most cremello's, unlike whites, have blue eyes. He is a heartthrob -- reminds me of Paul Newman :)
I am leasing him from a girl who is getting ready to go to college. I'll be riding him a couple times a week, more hopefully when I start teaching. He lives at a beautiful 40-acre barn out in the country, with an indoor ring, outdoor dressage ring, and a 4-acre jump course. I can't wait to start retraining myself on Apache. This is going to be a great outlet for me to escape, be outdoors, and be with horses. I am so excited!






(Doesn't he look like a unicorn in this last one??? :))

Friday, December 19, 2008

Updates

1) The trip to Cali was awesome in every way possible! I will post pictures, probably next week.

2) Graduation is tomorrow, I am indeed walking and the ceremony is at 10am. No one else besides me and Jess (which means the other 6 graduates from ourt program -- you wouldn't believe how many people didn't make it through!), but we are proud of our accomplishments and my family has never been able to all make it to a graduation so this is really special to me. We're all going out to lunch and then my friends and I are going to dinner to celebrate tomorrow night. What a day!

3) On Sunday I am volunteering with Metropolitan Ministries to feed 1,000 homeless, then I will be babysitting for a new family on into the evening. They seem really nice and have a 9-year-old boy so it should be a fun time.

4) I work Monday and Tuesday (both bosses will be already on vacation though) and then I have off from Wednesday through January 5th! I am so excited! Christmas with my family is sure to be as wonderful as always. I can't wait :)

5) On the 27th, I head to NC with GABBY (I love road trips with her, unfortunately Ava will have to stay with Grandma). We will be spending MUCH-needed time with Kene and Duht, two of my BFF's that happened to get married! I will be there through the 2nd at least, if not longer. I will also take a day trip from Charlotte to Winston-Salem to see my grandparents and extended family. This is another long-overdue visit and I can't wait to spend time with my Granddad especially. He is so special and super-cute. Picture an 80-year-old cowboy with a heart of gold. That's my granddad. He thinks this idea of a visit is fine AND dandy!

6) I am keeping an eye out for teaching jobs, but nothing has shown itself yet. I am praying a LOT about this!

7) I am getting back into horseback riding, and am juggling a few options right now. I have been trying to do this for a while. The problem is, I ride English saddle and most barns around here only offer Western. Plus, everything is SO far out in the country. But now that school is over, I am willing to make a drive for the right barn. More on that to come.

This is probably the longest post in a while, and I'm sure there is a lot more going on that I haven't mentioned, but I'll leave it at this. I am doing really well, moving forward and pursuing the things that make me truly happy.

I hope anyone reading this has a fantastic holiday!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Greetings from beautiful Yosemite!

Right now I am writing from our lodge on the edge of Yosemite National Park. It's 9am and we're drinking hot chocolate while waiting for one of our friends to finish a conference call. Then it's exploration exploration exploration!!!

Pictures to come..

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

giving thanks - the short list

[in alphabetical order so as not to confuse the issue]

alternative teaching programs
blogs (only those I read/write)
books that linger on my mind
broken pieces of ceramic in my yard
bubble tea
children's choirs
ever-inspiring rewards of teaching
faith
feel-good music
giggles
girlfriends who are always by my side even when they're not
hard life lessons learned
health insurance
hope
ireland
a menial job that makes dreams come true
my church
my comforting brov
my considerate godmother
my country
my cozy bungalow
my cuddly ava
my devoted gabby
my encouraging sees
my faithful mom
my relaxing fish
my reliable dad
opportunities to serve others
perspective my neighborhood gives me
prayer
purified water
sacrifice
snooze buttons
tinwhistles
tears
tofu
yankee candles

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

a friday in photos














.fin.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Theme for the Season (and life in general)


2 Corinthians 9:10-11 ~ “Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”

2 Corinthians 8:7, 13-14 ~ “But just as you excel in everything — in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love — see that you also excel in this grace of giving ... At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. Then there will be equality.”

Acts 20:35 ~ “The Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

Monday, November 24, 2008

Weekend Treasures

"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." ~ Thornton Wilder

(bubble tea)

(best friend/phone twin)

Dogs

Ok, the pug is cute here! But I am still not otherwise crazy about it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

From my journal: 12/16/2002



"Life takes its toll on romantics. I won't have any part of that."


FOUR DAYS.

Friday, November 14, 2008

WOOHOO!!!

I had my last observation EVER today and I rocked it!! I gave a lesson comparing and contrasting Lincoln and Kennedy with the group of girls that are much further below grade level. I had some big behavior problems (probably because there was a sub there today) that I didn't know totally how to deal with, but I wasn't afraid to get angry and threatening after several (5-6) "Quiet please, Jane"'s. And it worked! As my supervisor pointed out, it's hard to come into a class that already has behavior plans set up by another teacher and be able to immediately take over without knowing those rules, expectations, and consequences. So I may have done the best for what I was dealing with.

Anyway, I got great scores and I got my overall scores for the entire Practicum, which were really shockingly high. She said I'm ready. I can't believe it. I am ready.


Next comes this:



Then this:



And finally, a cross between this:



And this:

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sneaky!

This post features Kuzco, formerly Angus (also lovingly nicknamed Hamburger by my old roomie), one of my prized kittens. He is now my roommate's cat, but I would secretly love for her to abandon him when she moves out someday because he is the BEST. CAT. EVER. Ok, Fish is by default, but you only have to meet this kitten to understand how fabulous he is.

One thing he does that is so adorable but also drives me crazy is stealing my hair ties. I had bought a ton of hair ties that break too easily, so I saved them all for him. I would put one on my counter while I took a shower. He would come get it and continue to bat it around until it disappeared underneath the piano. Well they are now all gone and I think it will be hilarious when I move the piano someday and find at least 50 hair ties under there.

So now that he doesn't have any freebies, he always tries to steal the two I actually use! I am a freak about my hair ties: I always have two on my wrist and they are precious possessions of mine until they ultimately break and I pick new favorites. So I began hiding my hair ties in a little open box I have sitting on my counter. I keep my toothbrush and all other tooth accessories in this box so I would put the hair ties underneath all this stuff. Well it certainly didn't take the kitten long to find them under there. They were no longer safe here.

I have switched to keeping them in a little round box with a lid. This also sits on my counter and I keep my Q-Tips in it. Lo and behold, the cat is a genius. Observe:






The best part about the last photo is that he accidentally picked up a Q-Tip with the hair tie and it is dangling from his mouth too, but you can’t see it. That white box in the background is my aforementioned tooth-paraphernalia box.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Things I'm Grateful for (even though I'm sick) Today

My oh-so-green back door.

Fall weather so beautiful that the door stays open.
All day long.


Puppies sunning themselves in a DIY sandbox.


REAL honest-to-goodness oatmeal.

To warm my throat, belly, and heart.

Friday, November 7, 2008

"Ava update" and "Why I teach"

1) I took Ava to the vet yesterday afternoon because her eye was bleeding! I took Fish with us because he needed his yearly stuff anyway. My vet is my favorite in the world (after Abby Huggins, who is the vet dreams are made of, but abandoned us in Baltimore to move to Atlanta and I almost followed her there). ANYWAY, he said it looks like the eye is healing and the blood is just a new blood vessel trying to form. So she isn't blind, she is going to be fine, and the only BAD news is that a) I have to put antibiotic ointment ON HER EYE three times a day (I have major issues with touching eyes, etc.), and b) Fish gained a pound while on his diet/exercise regime. The vet said I should throw in the towel and just let him live a fat but happy life.

2) I walked into the classroom this morning to a wall of hugs and "Hi Miss Pancake"'s. The a little girl, Emily, said to me, "I'm going to call you Miss Sunshine because you're always happy." I thought, wow, if I come across as always happy, especially in the last 3 weeks, this must be absolutely the right place for me. Being with them is certainly the highlight of my week, and I'm glad it shows and that I have sweet little people to remind me of it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"Time is clearly not our natural dimension. Thus it is that we are never really at home in time. Alternately, we find ourselves wishing to hasten the passage of time or to hold back the dawn. We can do neither, of course, but whereas the fish is at home in the water, we are clearly not at home in time--because we belong to eternity. Time, as much as any one thing, whispers to us that we are strangers here." ~ Neil A. Maxwell

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Fare thee well.

Yesterday was a sad day. So I cleaned my entire house and yard while the roomie and her stinky pug are out of town. Totally therapeutic for me. I was listening to ITunes on shuffle, and as I was about to step in the shower I heard the faint traces of a favorite song in the background. It was amazing because I have loved this song since I first heard it eight years ago. The lyrics were so beautiful, but I never understood them. I tried to, even journaled about it, but could never quite get there. As I showered, the lyrics came flooding back to me in their entirety. I sang them, and it was so perfectly sad, or sadly perfect, how clearly I understand now. Like it was written for me, for now. And then I cried. Wept, in fact.

Fare Thee Well
Indigo Girls

Fare thee well my bright star
I watched your tail lights blaze into nothingness
But you were long gone before I ever got to you
Before you blazed past this address
And now I think of having loved and having lost
You'll never know what it's like to never love
And who can say what's better and my heart's become the cost
A mere token of a brighter jewel sent from above.

Fare thee well my bright star
The vanity of youth, the color of your eyes
And maybe if I'd fanned the blazing fire of your day-to-day
Or if I'd been older, I'd been wise
Too thick the heat of those long summer evenings
For a cool evening I began to yearn
But you could only feed upon the things which feed a fire
Waiting to see if I would burn.

Fare thee well my bright star
It was a brief, brilliant miracle dive
And that which I looked up to and I clung to for dear life
Had to burn itself up just to make itself alive
And I caught you then in your moment of glory
Your last dramatic scene against a night sky stage
With a memory so clear that it's as if you're still before me
My once in a lifetime star of an age.

Fare thee well my bright star
Last night the tongues of fire circled me around
And this strange season of pain will come to pass
When the healing hands of autumn cool me down.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Poor Baby Ava

I am sad to admit that this is the second post with this title. The poor thing is always in some sort of trouble that isn't really her fault! Last time, she had her leg torn open by a giant thorn while playing in her yard. This time, my roommate's dog is to blame. I didn't see it happen, but both my roomie and I are pretty sure Lilo did it because a) she is entirely too hyper and rough when playing with my much larger but socially acceptable dogs; and b) now, whenever Ava sees Lilo, her eyes flinch. I'm not even kidding.

In case my roommate reads this, my disclaimer is that I love the roomie very much! She is wonderful! But I may have referred to her dog as "Satan's Spawn In Pug Form" in a couple of emails. Oops!

SSIPF:


So basically, the pug scratched Ava's eye (with what? A tooth? A nail? No idea). She could hardly open it last night and it looked so gross when pried open -- super red, swollen, cloudy. This morning it was crusted shut and she wouldn't even leave my bed for her morning romp with the pups. But by the time I left, she was at least opening it again, so I think it will be fine without me rushing to the vet. There is one noticeable thing: where the cloudiness was, there is now a pronounced hole/dent in her eye. She can still see out of it, though, I'm pretty sure.

Sympathy Photos
Last night

This morning

Other photos for photos' sake
My beautiful ladies, Gabby and Ava

Ava being embarrassed by her nasty-eye (she put her head like this in 6 pictures in a row)
The boys -- note that the 7 month old Angus kitten (now named Kuzco) is catching up in size to Fat Fish.

My 3 bundles of fur/joy