Friday, April 29, 2011

If I knew I could....

If I knew I could come home whenever anything big happened, I would be a missionary.

Maybe I'm too connected to my family. Maybe I'm too old to rely so heavily on my parents, especially since I'm already married.

Maybe not.

Before we got married, sweet hubby and I talked about one day becoming missionaries.

I think it will still happen one day.

I also think there is a lot to be said for serving where you are, when you are.

But I've done the missionary thing before, and I liked it, and I think that one day I'll be back in it again.

If only I could be there for family whenever anything big happens.

The hardest times to be away are holidays and celebrations. And celebrations include the recognition of the sad stuff, too.

When I was a missionary before, I made it home for one wedding and Easter. They were the same weekend.

I missed several other weddings, the death of a close friend's mother, Christmas, Thanksgiving, weekends at the beach, and a whole host of other things too.

What I did as a missionary was important to me (and I wouldn't have met my husband if I hadn't done it).

Right now, being close to family is more important.

If I could have both, I'd be a missionary right now.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

it's only wednesday?


Why does the week after vacation seem to take so long to go by, when the week of vacation flies by so quickly?

My kids....have been ok. Not great. But not as bad as the beginning of the year. The one who throws things, hasn't thrown things yet (there is always tomorrow...). The one with the crazy mama....he's been bouncing off the walls. The super hyperactive kid....we think his medicine might have been changed, and not in a good way. My lowest kid who was trying hard before break....He's not trying at all now.

But some of the other kids are stepping up their game. My most socially awkward kid, she got a bucket-filler for helping another student all throughout PE class today. One of my high students was invited to teach some math lessons to the second graders. 5 kids admitted that they needed help with multiplication and mixed numbers, and then 5 other kids willingly paired up to help them figure it out.

There are 27 days of school left. I think I will survive.

But I am still counting.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pink things!

I love me some pink....

For my birthday, my sweet Aunty sent me this fun bag.

And my friend, roommate, gave me these fun socks and this bucket of goodies.

And the Easter Bunny brought me this scrub-brush.

And the house has been full of these fun flowers. They are my favorites.

Useful, fun, pink things....what could be better?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

the hard love

Five minute Friday at the gypsy mama....

The hardest one to love right now is me.

I thought about it for a while (it is Saturday as I'm writing), and only now in my five minutes does the truth come out.

The hardest one to love right now is me.

My friend who was recently in the hospital for mental issues would like to get together, and I keep turning her away.

Another person I know committed suicide 8 days ago. During his funeral, the only thing that kept echoing through my brain was....When my good friend wanted to do the same, we told her no, that it wasn't worth it, that we loved her and cared for her and wanted to support her. But I was lying.

I was lying, and now that she didn't, and is moving forward, I am not supporting her. I am no where near involved in her life anymore. Just as the suicide of the young man removed him completely from the day to day interactions of all of his friends, apparently in my own life my reaction to my friend is the same as if she were already gone.

I need to change this, to change this hard to love heart of mine into a more loving heart. A more forgiving heart.

I need to love others in a way that will allow me to love myself again. I need to show the love of Christ that I profess to know in the way I treat my friend, the one that I haven't called and haven't visited and haven't gone out for coffee with.

The hardest love....That's me, apparently.

I would appreciate prayers for courage, compassion, friendship, selflessness, and so much more.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

more birthday fun

In my family, there is always a private, just for family, celebration. It is one of my favorite traditions.

Last night, we celebrated my birthday.

Mama made shrimp creole, green beans, salad, pineapple, and biscuits. YUM.

We ate and laughed and talked and laughed some more.

When we finished, out came a cake!

I blew out the candles.

And then we laughed some more.

What could be better?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

bits and pieces

Lots of interesting (or not so interesting) things going on around here lately.

It is spring break, after all.

I met with my dad and a financial adviser this morning. While we were walking through my dad's office, he introduced me to some of the people he works with (it has been years since I've been at his office). One of them, upon hearing that I'm on spring break, asked me, in all seriousness, what school I go to. Ha! I turned thirty on Saturday! And he thought I attended school, rather than teach it!

Meeting with financial advisers makes my eyes glaze over. I maintained eye contact, but I'm not sure if my brain really followed much that was said. He kept asking if I had any questions. Um, yes, but I can't think of them when you are talking so fast about things I really don't understand. Can't you just tell me what the best path to take is? Isn't that why you are called an "adviser"?

Sweet hubby helped me do some more yard work yesterday afternoon. We are tackling the vine situation. We have invasive brambles on the left side of the yard, along the fence, all the way back. We have honeysuckle all over the place on the right. And at the back, and on some of the trees, we have ivy. And they have taken over. It is quite satisfying to give a mighty tug and have thirty feet or so of vines shake loose from the top of a tree. It is scary to see gigantic newt-lizard-creatures moving about underneath and wonder whether snakes are living in my backyard.

At a (university) church leadership meeting last night, we finally had the opportunity to voice the concern that students are overextended, over-committed, and overwhelmed when they are asked to step up into leadership roles. I think the pastor might have actually heard what we were saying, and might be willing to work on his organizational skills and do more follow-up of ideas, rather than leaving all the follow-up to students. I hope it happens, because the ministry could turn into something much bigger with a little bit more follow-up.

The flowers from my birthday party make me smile every time I see them. We'll be eating leftovers for weeks. I'm taking leftovers to Easter dinner.

I'm not supposed to run for another week. I'm actually feeling ready to start exercising again, and like my clothes are getting tight. I miss spending time with my running buddy, too.

Roommate (even though she moved back out already) is leaving for Korea at the end of the month. I'm gonna miss her. Summer is hard for me, since so many of my close friends are in school. I don't like to be far away from my friends for long. Unless I'm the one doing the leaving. Then it is ok. I'm obviously very fair.

And this part is sad, not joking.

A kid from my (morning) church committed suicide last week. He was reported missing on Thursday, and found on Friday. I didn't know him very well, but I've been really upset about the whole situation. I think it has gotten me stirred up because of the recent situation with my friends, one who was threatening suicide, committing self harm, and threatening harm to others. This time, I am on the outside, looking in, and wondering about all of the what-ifs. What if someone had known the depths of his pain? What if someone had called the cops on him? What if his dad hadn't been in India when it happened? What if? What it? What if?

What it keeps coming back to, for me, is the question....What if it had been my friend? What if I was in the middle of grieving the loss of my close friend, who I had watched struggle with her own personal history, struggle with opening up in counseling, struggle with the decision to take antidepressants, struggle with the side effects of those medications?

As I was not a close friend of the family, what I feel comfortable doing for them is praying. I pray that they feel God's presence, that they continue to grow in their faith, that they feel lifted up by the friends and family who surround them, that they are given the strength to put one foot in front of the other each day, that their basic needs be met during the worst of their grief, and on and on and on. And I remember them often throughout the day, and the pain they must be experiencing, and I selfishly praise the Good Lord that my friend was able to find some help here on earth. And that's where I am today.

Monday, April 18, 2011

the festivities

Turning 30 required a celebration the likes of which I have never organized. My mama, however, has organized many, many successful celebrations, so I took some cues from her.

I started early in the week with some lists....What to clean, what to buy, what food to make, what sweet hubby needed to do. Writing it down definitely helps it to get done.

Sweet hubby went with me on an epic shopping trip to Sam's and Walmart, where he let me splurge on a few flower pots I didn't need. And then he let me splurge on plants to go in them, and the good dirt so that hopefully the plants will keep growing, even when I start to neglect them.

Sweet hubby fixed up the yard at the beginning of the week, then touched it up the night before since rain was forecast the morning of the party. That was very nice of him -- he displayed an element of forethought and time management that he has not always displayed in the past.

Two sweet neighbors (roommate and running buddy) came over to help me with food preparation. We spent a couple of hours putting together some recipes in the early afternoon, then arranged some flowers, and had a break.

My mama needed help hiding Easter eggs for the hunt at her house, scheduled to start about 45 minutes after the rain finally cleared up. I took my helpers and sweet hubby with me, and we hid the last of the golden eggs as the egg-hunters arrived.

Then sweet hubby and I went to a work party and ate delicious food while watching Barcelona beat Real Madrid. Or maybe they tied. We skipped out early to do final preparations for the party.

My helpers came back and we got some food in the oven, some more flowers in vases, everything arranged all pretty on the table, and then the first guests started to arrive.

Would you believe that with all that preparation, I forgot to ask anyone to take pictures?

There are exactly two pictures from the party:

Me with sweet hubby, holding the delicious cake my amazing sister made with fresh strawberries.

Me with my good friend Christopher, who walked in carrying the amazing painting you see below, which we immediately hung above the piano. I'll displace ok art I made myself for incredible art a friend makes just about any day.

By the time I realized that there weren't any pictures of the party, it was the day after. And roommate had cleaned up everything the night before, so there wasn't even any destruction to take pictures of. Just this one little bowl of candles...

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Can you believe it?

This spring chicken is thirty today!

(And now I'll go finish straightening up the house, running errands, arranging flowers, and cooking for the party that will happen tonight.)

Friday, April 15, 2011

so far away

Linking up to the Gypsy Mama's five minute Friday....

Chile is so far away. My husband's homeland, the place where he most wants to be. His mama is there, his daddy is there, his brothers and cousins and grandmas and the people who mattered most to him for so so so long are there, and we are here.

Here in the very different US, with values thrown at us everyday that seem to say that his childhood was inferior and that returning to a life like that would be the most unwise choice. Here, where the only way to get from one place to another is by car. Here, where without a college degree a "real job" is impossible to come by. Here, where being a legal resident costs thousands of dollars, time, and ridiculous interviews where people question whether you are actually married.

Distance is what happens when it is time for the holidays, time to remember family traditions, and the people who are still celebrating them, even though he is far away, thrust into the midst of my own family's holiday celebrations. Distance between his family and him, my family and his family, and somehow, distance between the two of us, as I try to draw him closer than ever to sooth the ache of being so far away, and he wants nothing to do with my sympathy.

Distance can start off between one place and another, and end up being between one person and another. Time can put them back together again.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

it's almost spring break

And I am soooooooooooo ready for it.

I would love for it to have been this week -- I could have rested my foot, still sore from the run, and potentially broken (although I won't know until next Monday), I could have spent the days cleaning my house for the party this weekend, I could have done some sewing and made a pretty bunting, or I could have planted some veggies in pots in my backyard....

But instead, I'm having a wacky week at school.

Oh, kids, why?

Why did one of you decide to make sexually inappropriate gestures just before MAP testing?

Why did one of you decide to say threatening things after you got moved to silent lunch for putting food down the back of another kid's shirt and then get upset that you had to go to the office during math class?

Why did two of you get involved in an eight person fight at recess?

Really, kids? Four of you to the office in one day? Is this what I have to look forward to for the rest of the week?

Because if it is, I'm not interested.

Not interested in trying to start the soil experiments, not interested in you finally mastering multi-digit multiplication, not interested in taking you on a field trip this Friday.

I am interested in, however, a few things like this:
1. My foot to stop swelling in the soft spot below my ankle, on the top of my foot towards the outside.
2. Getting a math test made, copied, given and graded before the end of the day on Thursday.
3. The house getting cleaned and organized by Friday.
4. An epic grocery shopping trip in which nothing from the party food list gets left behind, although I imagine this will be impossible.
5. More people confirming attendance at my 30th birthday bash, happening on Saturday.
6. The cat not biting anyone else, especially while she's on quarantine from DHEC since she bit the roommate so hard it got infected.
7. The laundry magically jumping itself, clean, back into the closet.
8. Going on a run, but I can't, at least not until I'm not wearing the special "you might have broken your foot" shoe. Boo.
9. Having a non-eventful school day tomorrow. And by non-eventful, I mean not needing to send anyone to the office, not having to fight to get half a lesson into their heads, and not forgetting anything important throughout the day.
10. Surviving the next three days of school. After these three days, there are six weeks left until summer, and the promise of kids with fewer behavioral problems has me looking forward to next school year already.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

if you met me...

Linking up at the Gypsy Mama.

If you met me....
I'd be happy to chat for a little while, unless I was watching the clock and trying to manage my time. Sometimes I try, sometimes I don't.

If you met me at school, I'd only speak to you in Spanish. For real. Unless there were no kids around, in which case I could speak to you in English.

If you met me at the beach, I'd be running around in my pjs or a bikini. All the time. I think I even forgot to pack shorts for the current beach trip. Who needs shorts when there are bikinis and sunshine?

If you met me, you might think I'm ridiculous about how much I love my husband and our cat. And please don't ask me, after you hear that we've been married for five years, if we have any kids. If I didn't mention any, I probably don't have any. And if I didn't mention on my own that I one day want to have kids, don't ask me when I'm planning to. I think it is rude, and personal, and you never know when people have their reasons or heartaches about when they are going to have kids or whether they can have them at all.

If you met me, you might think I was rude, but usually it is because I am shy and have to get to know people and trust them pretty well before I'll go beyond surface conversation. I won't talk about politics or religion or anything personal until I know you are someone who will respect my beliefs and where they come from.

If you met me, you would know there are a lot of things I want to do, and that one by one, I'm trying to get them done.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday off?

It has been a strange day for me.

I went to school this morning, but just for about an hour. We interviewed the person who will become fifth grade immersion for next year at 7:10. At 8:00, my students skyped with China for about half an hour.

I left after that.

I walked around target for a while, and bought this dress, which my sister apparently already bought in pink. I think I can make the black work for more seasons than the pink, so I'm planning to keep it anyway. We'll just add it to the list of clothes that we have to ask about if we are planning to wear them to a function we might both attend. Like, say, church every week.

After target, I went to the doctor. Apparently I hurt myself running the 10k on Saturday. Boo. So I toughed it out for enough days to decide that it wasn't really getting better on its own. Then I begged for a next day appointment and booked a sub.

(I know, I know. If I am having trouble with my foot, why did I walk around in Target? To make sure that my foot was good and sore so that I could really describe well what is going on to the doctor. It's hard to know what hurts first thing in the morning, when the problem is occurring after walking around for a few minutes....Or all day in the classroom.)

I think my sub was happy that it was only a half day with my group of kids. I know I was happy I only had to take a half day off of work, since it was collaborative planning.

I have a funny little booty to wear for the next couple of weeks, since apparently I either have tendonitis or a stress fracture. Neither would be a big deal if I had an office job and could sit down all day. The doctor specifically asked if I had to stand up to do things like bus duty, and could I get out of it? Um, maybe out of parts of it, but teaching really does require me to be in a lot of places all at once, and I can count zero of those places that are sitting in a chair with my foot up. I have counted and it will be exactly seven school days with the booty on. One of them is our field trip. That will be lots of fun....Hopefully by then my foot will already be feeling much, much better, and I will have moved past the booty, and canceled the follow-up appointment.....

Let me wishful think. It is good for me. I promise.

Ok, maybe it's not good for me. But I talked it through with the kind doctor, and he helped me make the smart decision. Which is to wear the booty, even though it will be awkward for the next two weeks. I'm going for smart, rather than fashionable.

So I went to Lenten Lunch at my church, ate some sandwiches and soup, saw my mama and my sister (where I found out about the dress) and then came home to watch romantic comedies. Except that the second one turned out to just be sad. I cried. By myself. With the cat. It was pitiful.

And tomorrow I'll be back to school, with hyped up kids, since I snuck out today, and a booty on my foot. We'll see if they even notice.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Pink things!

Pink things are lovely.

When they are my pink things, they are even lovelier.


These pink shoes....well, they are school shoes.

They are not the cheapest shoes.

They may be pink, but they are going to get worn lots and lots of days in a row.

I was looking for brown shoes. Brown sandals. For school. You know, to wear with skirts and capris and stuff like that.

I didn't find brown shoes that I liked very much by jambu, which is easily my favorite brand of school shoes. They are so, so, so comfortable. (After 8 hours on my feet, my feet don't hurt, usually.) So I went with pink instead. I figure it is almost as useful, if not more. I mean, I can wear pink with browns and with blacks. I'm thinking I can wear it with everything except for red, right?

(Don't tell me otherwise. I'm going to do it anyway. Looking down at pink shoes makes me smile, and my kids are tough enough that pink shoes are worth the fashion disaster that I may or may not be.)

(And P.S. -- the people at Jambu have no idea who I am. I've just forked out the hard earned money for four different pairs of their shoes over the past couple years, and will most likely continue to do so in the future, unless they would like to send a few free pairs my way....I'm not holding my breath, though.)


Sunday, April 3, 2011


I ran a 10k this weekend!

And it was easier than I thought!

Ok, not EASY, easy, but it was not too bad, either. My friend and I ran together, weaving back and forth in front of a bunch of people, and even did a 9 minute (and something) mile on the l-o-n-g uphill. We finished in 62 minutes. That means that overall, we ran 10 minute miles. For 6.2 miles. Which is far.

I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from working hard to reach a goal, training and making decisions leading up to the big day, the anticipation of the big event, and then the celebration that the event in and of itself turns into.

We ran, then went out to eat, and bought ourselves the biggest pieces of chocolate-peanut-butter-cup cake that you can imagine. I sat down to eat mine three separate times. Yum.

We are making plans to run a 5 mile race near home, at the end of the month. It helps so much to have someone setting goals alongside me, calling to make sure I go running in the evenings, and to chat with me while we push ourselves to do the hilly route instead of the flat one. Being able to share the accomplishment just makes it that much sweeter! (I don't have a picture from the run, but here's one from after the lunch -- that's the bridge we ran over in the background.)