Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye and Good Riddance, 2009

Usually at the end of the year, I take stock of what the last 365 days brought me.  And I suppose this year will be no different.  I am not sorry to see this year go.  The first half of it wasn't easy for me, and it feels like it's taken me most of the second half to right it.  The good news is I have.  There have been many heartbreaks, false starts, angry words.  Some of them I would like to have a "do-over" for.  But not all of them.  If I hadn't gotten angry, I might not have ever gotten better.  I know that's an odd way to look at it, but it's true.  Just goes to prove that there is purpose even in the hard things.

There have been happy moments.  My brother got engaged to Melissa, who couldn't be a better match for him.  Chell and Kelly got married in April.  Way back in January, my friend Sarah had this guy...



who is easily one of the cutest ever.  Speaking of, Chell  (and Kelly) had Kamryn in October.  And Tiffany and Josh added Drake to their family a couple weeks after that.  Babies are so much fun, especially when I can hand them back to someone when they are hungry, fussy, or smelly.  I vacationed in the STL with Amber, and we had a really good week as far as vacations with no beach go.  And in November, I got to cram in some beach time in Alabama with the family.

I have to say that I am really excited about 2010.  Amber and I are getting a house on the Gulf Coast for Spring Break in April for our third installment of our "girl-only vacation," even though we might let her Steven be our driver for a while this time.  And my little brother is getting married in June.  Who knows what else this year my hold?  I, for one, can't wait to get started...

Old Friends...

Today was a day to celebrate the most cherished kind of friend in my book, old ones.  I'm not talking age, but those friends with whom no matter how long it's been, you just pick right up where you left off. 

I had lunch with two friends from high school today.  I hadn't seen Sara in two years, even though she lives in the same town as me, and hadn't seen Shemaiah in at least eight years.  We had a nice time catching up and filling Maiah in on the small town life.  So many things change, but then again, so many don't. 

After that, I headed to Crystal's to meet up and head to DM's house.  I was a little early, Sheena was right on time, and Crys was running late (thanks to a call from a friend headed to town this weekend).  Once we got on the road, Michael called and changed up the plans because his roommate is under the weather.  And yet somehow, we ended up singing for his Wednesday night service.  It was so nice to sing with my girls again.  One of the best parts of my holiday, in fact.  And Michael's church people were so gracious and sweet, especially Phyllis, who is exactly what Crys will be like in 50 years, if not sooner.

I've told Michael this before, but everytime I see him function as a "grown up" pastor, I think how lucky we are to know such a man of God.  We all met 10 years ago, and it wasn't necessarily love at first sight.  He was the first guy I knew who really challenged my way of thinking about God and worship, and at times that really bugged me.  But, as years passed, and we matured (some of us faster than others), I learned to love that about him.  He can play a guitar (but we remember the days of three songs on repeat) and he teaches his congregation about God, not just preaches.  It's obvious that they love him.  Michael's had a hard way to go in the last few years, and I find that unfair because good people aren't supposed to have awful things happen to them.  (I know that's not how it works, but a girl can dream, right?)  If I didn't have such an abiding love and respect for him before, I certainly do now.  And I truly believe that things are going to be alright, because even Job got a happy ending eventually.  As much crap as we give him about the way he dresses (holey jeans with plaid pj pants underneath, really??), or a million other things (mostly because we can), I felt like it was time to put some love out in the atmosphere for him.  DM, I don't know what us girls would do without you.  After all, every comedianne needs a straight man or the jokes just aren't as funny.  Nothing but love for you...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Break Week 2 Recap

Other than write the last two posts, I haven't done all that much the last couple of days.  And please don't think that's a problem for me.  I love not doing a darn thing, mostly because I felt like all I did was run for the last couple of months (and I know that January and February are not going to slow down). 

Monday was my little sister's 19th birthday.  This meant that we got to go eat Mexican, and were threatened that if we so much as whispered birthday we would die.  When we got back, we watched 500 Days of Summer.  I had not seen this movie yet, but had heard raves about how wonderful it was.  One friend swears it changed his life.  While I don't know about all that, I do agree that it was a great movie, definitely one that I want to add to my collection soon. 

Other than, I have pretty much been spending my iTunes gift cards (I got over $100 worth) and plotting the rest of my week.  Today, things are going to be picking up.  In a fun turn of events, I have two meetings with friends today.  Some of the girls from high school are getting together at a local joint for lunch today.  One of the girls, Maiah, I haven't seen in years and I've never met another's little girl (despite the fact she lives in town and the baby will be one tomorrow).  So, I'm pretty excited about that!  Then, the girls and I are heading out to the O.Z. to visit our friend, Michael, for the evening.  It's always a good time when we get together, singing and photography options have been discussed (as well as eating, of course). 

The rest of my week is going to include my family's birthday/New Year's party, vegging out on New Year's Day, and a Chrysalis meeting on Saturday.  Who knows what else I will cram in there before I go back to work?  I promise to keep you updated!

What I Did For Christmas Part 2

Christmas Day is a different game all together.  The kids all get up and go to Mass with my mother.  I complain about this (8:15 Mass comes early when you don't get to bed until midnight), but I don't think it would feel like Christmas if I missed it. 

When we get home, my mom starts cooking, because we do late lunch at our house with my dad's side of the family.  Among my mama's specialities are:



Christmas candies



Homemade rolls (I could totally eat my weight in these

My dad's side of the family is much smaller than my mom's.  But there were still plenty of people there.  We ate till we were stuffed, and then it was time to open presents.  That meant this kid got an awesome gift...


                                                    

Once all the presents have been opened and the family had gone, it was time for me to head to my 3rd Christmas with the Mays/Partridge clan.  I have done presents with Crystal's family for several years (which also includes Sheena), and it's always one of the most entertaining parts of my holidays.  We opened presents, ate some more, and watched Elf.  It was perfect!

 
Let the record show that Crystal looks fabulous, and her hubby does not normally look like Jabba the Hut.

All in all, it was a great Christmas.  Even Shredder approved.  Well, as much as Shredder approves of anything!

                                       

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What I Did For Christmas Part 1

My family is not really one of those families that has a million little traditions.  But rest assured that what few traditions we have, my sister will point at and remind us all that we must do it because it's tradition and that's how tradition works.  So here's what I did for Christmas...

On Christmas Eve, we go to my mom's side of the family.  This means that we go to Grandma MJ's (the farm house that has been in our family for 100+ years) to have dinner and open presents.  And drink homemade wine.  (One of the other things our family has been doing for a long time)  This is the BIG side of my family.  We were missing some members and still came in close to 30.  And that's just my aunts & uncles plus first cousins and kids.  It was a good time.  Most of the cousins are now in their twenties or thirties, so there are always lots of people to talk to.  This year, Aunt Beth brought poppers and paper crowns.  No, we don't really know why, but look how awesomely festive we were...


Thumbs up to the Christmas crowns!



My sis, sister-in-law, and practically cousin-in-law (I hope!  Just love her!)



My brother and sis-in-law.  Save the date cards, anyone?

When Christmas at Grandma's is over, I go back to my parents' to stay the night.  This is one of the insisted upon traditions.  i have to admit Christmas wouldn't be the same if I did get up to go see what Santa brought ("Those who don't believe don't get presents," my mother says.) while eating some kinds of confection (this year it was cinnamon rolls from Pietie), and then going to Mass.  Tune in later for "What I Did For Christmas" Part 2.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Doing What's Right...

This will be short because I don't really have a lot of words at the moment.  But, what I have been thinking about these days is how hard doing the right thing is.  Even when you know beyond a shadow of a doubt you are making the right decision, sometimes it just sucks.  Because that other thing, that thing that's not right for you at this time, can be so tempting that you find yourself asking why you have to say "no" when "yes" would be so very easy (and maybe even fun) for the moment.  I know that I'm doing the right thing.  I know exactly what God is trying to show me.  And I believe that He will deliver on His promises to me, even got a little extra confirmation on that.  But to be perfectly honest, that's not quieting the little bit of sadness I am feeling right now.  And we all know how I love to be honest....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Apparently, I'm a little boring...

So, I promised to do a better job with the blogging, right?  Problem is that you have to do something to blog about.  Early break has been kind of boring.  Here's a quick review:

Sunday:  Christmas cantata at church.  Lunch at Sandy's.  Tim, Megan and I brought the wine, declaring ourselves the new Three Kings. 

Monday:  Had a panic attack over my lost purse.  Turns out it was in Tim's car, so I got to run by Woody Hall @ my alma mater to pick it up.  Then, Lib and I Christmas shopped and ate copious amounts of Mexican @ Tequila's. Came home and worked last basketball game of the year.

Tuesday:  Planned to clean my house.  Ended up nursing a very painful pulled muscle in my leg/foot and watching Season 1 of Bones.  Slept (a lot).

Today:  Watched more Bones.  Am eventually going to my parents for supper.

I promise things will pick up.  Next week is looking almost busy even, so I'll be in touch!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

On the first night of Christmas break, my friends gave to me...

Yesterday was not a great day.  It should have been.  It was the end of school for 2009, and it has been a very long semester.  But it wasn't.  Luckily, last night it took a fabulous turn.  I got an invite to sing karaoke with a bunch of super fun people to celebrate the end of the semester.  People like this guy...


Timmy believes himself to be a karaoke rock star.  It's also of note that while incredibly spirited, Tim has a few tonal issues.  He got addicted while he was in the Air Force, and turns out it's kind of contagious.  He's become a bit of a regular at this particular dive and so has many of our crew.  Last night included all the usual suspects and several surprise guests.  Like this guy...



...the normally very quiet Jake.  He swung for the fences with the Marvin Gaye classic, "Let's Get It On."  It may very well be the highlight of my year!  He rocked, and while I promised I would not post these pics on Facebook, a performance like that deserves to be documented!  Way to go, Jake!

Here are a few other AWESOME people/performances...



Picking out the perfect song is half the battle.



Crystal singing a little number to Jake.  He just kept getting redder and redder, making this funnier and funnier...


Ronnie singing a crowd favorite.  Well, most of the crowd loved it anyway.



Eventually, even Timmy came around.



There was even time for a little dancing!

Somehow, there ended up being no picture of me, but I feel it's important to note here that I may very well become a karaoke junkie.  For my debut, I chose "Sin Wagon" by the Dixie Chicks and "Fancy" by Reba McEntire.  I had a blast!  It was just what I needed to get past the crappier parts of my day and kick off break in a big way.  Thanks for the invite, Crys!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

An Alphabet Survey (Because I Am All About Avoidance)

A

Available:  For weddings, wakes, and bar mitzvahs

Age: 28

Annoyance:  Pushy sales people.

Animals?  Delilah, who it turns out is not nearly as weird as my brother and sis-in-laws cat, Nala.


B

Best feeling in the world: Being with the people I love, especially my "nieces" or old friends

Best weather: Sunny, with low humidity.  Or snowy, with no ice.

Been in love:  I have thought that I was, but I don't think I even have a clue what real love is like

Been on stage: I did community theater from the time I was 7 until I was 19.  So, yes.

Boys:  are sometimes more trouble than they are worth.  But I guess we girls can be that way too.


C

Candy: Milk Duds.  Or those sugar-covered Orange Slices. (But only after they have sat out and gotten a little stale.  I'm weird, I know.)

Chinese / Mexican food:  Either sounds really good right about now.

Cake or pie:  I love cake.  I'm a little picky when it comes pies.

Continent to visit: Any of them would be fun.  Well, I take that back.  I don't want to go to Antarctica.


D

Dancing in the rain: Sure.  Why not?  As long as it's warm.  Cold rain = no fun

Drop things: All the time.  I'm a little bit of a clutz.

Dog: My first was named Hambone.  Yes, I named him.  I was 4.  I have no clue why I picked that.

Diamonds: are truly beautiful.


E

Eyes: Brown

Everyone’s got:  a song to sing


F

First thought when you wake up: "Was that the alarm?  Crap.  How many more minutes can I sleep and not be late for work?"

Food:  Homemade lasagna or Sherry Houseman's funeral potatoes  (I still need the recipe for this, Crys!)


G

Greatest fear:  Being in another bad wreck

Gum: I keep it everywhere!  Purse, desk, car....


H


Hair color: A chemically enhanced brown.

Happy:  is just an emotion

Holiday: Christmas.  (Lots of tradition)


I

Ice cream: is a food group

Instrument: my voice is the only one worth hearing me use/play



J

Jewelry: Is a lot of fun.  But I haven't been wearing much lately.

Job: I love teaching middle school.  I don't know that there are any other grades I would like as much.


K

Keep a journal? My blog would be the closest thing.  I have one on my computer in Word and prayer journals that I write in on and off.

Kissing: is fun with the right person.



L

Laughed so hard you cried:   Last night.  My sister was on a bit of roll.

Last time slept: Lately, I have been sleeping really hard.  I fall asleep and the next thing I know it's morning.


M

Movies: Last one I bought was Night At The Museum 2, for my kids at school

Motion sickness: Only if I try to read in the car or I can't see out the front window


N

Not ready for: Christmas!  I don't have all my gifts bought or presents wrapped!

Name: I have this thing about names.  I like to play around with spellings and which ones sound good together.  I actually helped name a friend's daughter (who is now almost 11!  I can't believe it's been that long!)


O

One wish: To be able to live on a beach for as long as I wanted


P

Perfect pizza: Lots of veggies amd cheese.  I used to love the double decker from Palace Pizzeria

Pets: Just Delilah, though once in a while I think about getting her a friend


Q

Quote you’re loving: Whatever you are, be a good one.  - Abrahan Lincoln



R

Reality TV:  is kind of over.  I like So You Think You Can Dance a lot though.


S

Song of the moment: "Close Your Eyes and Wander" by Ernie Halter (any song by him is just fine) or anything from either of the Glee soundtracks

Salad Dressing: Italian, Honey Mustard, or Three-Cheese Ranch

Strawberries: Awesome!  Especially with homemade pie crust



T

Thunderstorms: love them, as long as they don't get too violent. 

Trust: is something you have to prove you are worthy of


U

Unpredictable: my hair


V

Vacation spot: BEACH!  Can't get enough of it and can't wait to go back in April!


W

Weakness: Sad eyes

Worst feeling: Sunday night, knowing you have school in the morning


X

X-rays: aren't fun, but you get over it


Y

Yellow: is the color of my front room.


Z

Zoo animal: Giraffe, of course

Just Two More Days...

In just two days, I will officially be on Christmas break.  It's been a very hectic month, and I am more than thankful to have a job that allows me time off for the holidays.  I don't have to go back to work until January 3, so expect a lot of blogging while I am off, not that there aren't a million things going during break too.  The good news is that they are all the things I LOVE to do rather than loathe.  (Imagine, 15 evenings where I won't have to go home smelling like concession stand food!)  Things things include but are not limited to:  the NYI Christmas party, Chrysalis team meeting, Christmas cantata at church, Mays' family Christmas, Reichert family Christmas Eve, Miller family Christmas Day, my sister's bday, my brother's bday/New Year's Eve.

And to get there, all I have to do is survive today and tomorrow with 60 plus middle schoolers.  Awesome~

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Yeah, I'm a bit of blog failure...

A good blogger would be busy writing all of her important events down and taking lots of pictures.  But, I'm not that girl.  Instead, while putting off writing a talk that I am supposed to preview next weekend, I am finally updating my neglected blog. 

Thanksgiving was great.  Took zero pictures, but I had a great time visiting with the portion of the family that came to the farmhouse.  I avoided Black Friday shopping because I think of shopping as recreation and not an endurance sport.  On Saturday, I hung out with my dad's side of the family. Sunday was a busy day.  I attended two really great church services, watched a kick-butt hour about what my first crush ever (Chris Jackson) has been up to in NYC, filmed some segments for Rick, who is video taping our church services, and griped for a while about how I can't hear harmony.

Back to work for me on Monday, and started living the next three weeks before we go to break.  These weeks are jammed packed with all sorts of things school and holiday related.  I found out that a seminar I am taking next semester is going to earn me a free Netbook and a ton of continuing eduation hours so that was great news.  On Wednesday, I fixed dinner for the awesome family who I adore for taking me in as a stray in college and loving me ever since.  Debbie was pleasantly surprised when I called Tuesday night to ask if it would be okay for me to take care of dinner, but not nearly pleased as I was on Wednesday night when it all actually worked out.  (I have a somewhat questionable cooking history.)  The rest of the week flew by with me doing things like trying to fit $500 of concessions in my car.  (Wish I really wish I did have a picture of that one!) 

Friday was a rough day at work because of a situation that I really dislike, yet am totally unsure how to really help. It left me feeling really sad, so I hung around the house and went to bed early. Today, I have been pretty useless, other than getting one Christmas present purchased and buying this:


                                   
 
Of course, as Sheena will gladly testify, it took me a couple of passes to acutally decide to get it, but it was too cute to resist!  Barring a sudden burst of energy that has me working into the night, I would say with absolute certainty that hanging this up was the only productive thing I did this weekend.  Oh well! 
 
This week is jammed packed.  I promise to get a ton of pictures from the Pink Out benefit on Tuesday!