Friday, December 30, 2011

five minute friday

The word of the week is: open.

I'm joining up at the gypsy mama, where you can find a collection of posts on the same word.

Open. Open to grace, and to others.

Open. And closed.

I was talking with my good friend, Roommate, last night, and I think that she finally found me to be as open as she needed me to be. Open, accepting, full of friendship, like I used to be with her.

About two months ago Roommate told me that she had started dating a girl, was being really quiet about it, not telling many people because it is the first time she has dated a girl, and also because of all the people who judge, and that she was unsure whether she wanted to open herself up to that kind of judgment. She said that she would answer any questions I had, and was very open with me. I was closed -- I made some sort of vaguely accepting comment, and proceeded to steer the conversation away from her news.

Over the past couple of months, I have become more open, more accepting of this change in my good friend. I firmly believe that God has created each and every human to be different from every other, and that when two women love each other, that God has created that relationship, just as God creates relationships between a man and a woman or between two men. The news was simply hard for me to hear because I had given Roommate the encouragement a couple of years before to start dating her last boyfriend. Not just any boyfriend, but a serious boyfriend; they discussed marriage several times, and their relationship fell apart when he began to date other women behind Roommate's back. It was hard for me to think that I had so strongly encouraged a relationship that was not at all my good friend's desire. It was hard for me to think that she had been hiding a part of herself from me. These thoughts were working to close our relationship.

But last night, it opened back up. Opening. Widening, growing in acceptance and understanding. Over the course of the past two months, I have seen roommate a few more times and had the opportunity to listen and observe and think and put pieces together. Through a conversation she had with another friend while in my kitchen, I learned that she really did appreciate her relationship with the previous boy, that she had truly loved him, and that I had no reason to be concerned about my role in the two of them starting that relationship. I have heard her say to others that she is concerned that her friends might treat her differently. She's right -- it is something different and new, but when we open up to it, it's really not that different, or that new, or anything that should change my own friendship with her.

I enjoy spending time with Roommate, whether she is dating a boy or dating a girl or single.

I enjoy talking with Roommate.

I enjoy going out and doing stuff with Roommate.

I enjoy the occasional walk.

I enjoy movie nights.

I enjoy cooking dinner.

I enjoy having a good friend who has known me well for many years, who is easy to talk to, who is trustworthy and dependable. Just because she is dating a woman instead of a man, none of those qualities have changed.

And so last night, I finally opened up a little bit more, and became more of the friend she has known for so long. I asked her about how they started dating, just like I would have done if she was dating a man. I asked her how she felt about the relationship, just like I would have if it were a new man in her life.

When I opened up, she was finally able to share with me the joy of being in a caring relationship, the excitement of first dates and holidays, the true concern about not being able to hold hands in public.

I opened my heart, and she opened hers, and now we are both assured that our friendship? It doesn't change because of who she dates.

(Um, I got started and didn't stop when the 5 minutes were over. I think that was 10).

Monday, December 26, 2011

the day after

We spent the day painting the bedroom. And sitting on the couch. And eating chex mix, minus the onion powder, plus a lot of worcestershire sauce. And poor sweet hubby bought three different blu-ray players, returning the first two for two different reasons....the first may not have worked correctly, while I may have complained that the second one was too complicated for me to figure out how to watch tv. Even though I tried to take back my tantrum, it was too late. Sweet hubby had already made up his mind to return it and find something less advanced. I'm pretty sure he actually told the people at the store when he returned it that there was nothing wrong with it, that it was simply too advanced for his wife.

The bedroom is now peach. I love it. There will be pictures soon-ish -- once the room is straightened back out and curtains re-hung and things like that.

We are going to have to wait on a trip to Chile. We both REALLY want to go, but neither of us finds the idea of always being limited in what we are able to do each day (within reason, of course) by the seemingly unreachable goal of saving up $6000 to blow on a three week trip over the summer. The plane tickets alone are close to $3000, and then, of course, there are the gifts to buy, and expenses while traveling, and when it is all said and done, we always go over whatever budget we manage to amass before the traveling takes place.

So we are still working towards that goal, but trying to back off of the urgency of the trip -- we will be there when we are there, and until then, we are here. And we might as well enjoy being here, since it's where we are.

Sweet hubby gave me a pretty necklace for Christmas, and after I woke up on Christmas morning earlier than planned from a nightmare, sweet hubby kept me company while I chopped vegetables, got ready for the day, and so on. We were only 20 minutes late to breakfast, partly because I had forgotten that we would need to move the presents from our house to my mama's house....Fortunately, we remembered at the last minute and loaded them into the car.

Mama's gift made her cry. I was glad to know that she really, truly, liked her gift -- rather than a simple "smile, nod, thank you" she kept looking at it over and over. I got her an Erin Condren calendar/notebook with pictures of the family on it. I have one that lists my favorite things, and it makes me happy to use it. I had been waiting to give her that present since November -- it was worth the wait.

Our little house looks like a storm has blown through -- between sweet kitty getting her head stuck in the handle of a grocery bag (and thinking the bag was attacking her) and running wild through the house, Christmas baking, veggie prep, painting the bedroom, and Christmas gifts arriving, every single surface is covered. Putting the house back in order will be quite the task -- much better to leave it for tomorrow.

So it is the day after, and the day of was a great day. We ate cinnamon rolls, breakfast casserole, grits, ambrosia....We opened stockings and Santa presents, we passed out gifts from under the tree, we cooked and baked all the while, and we made it (a few minutes late) to church. After church, we cooked and baked some more, cleaned up a little bit in the living room, then loaded up the cars and headed upstate to visit the rest of the family. We ate and ate and ate and ate, then played the pineapple game, then ate and ate and ate some more, then headed home late. Spending the holidays with my mama's family is always lots of fun, good company, and excellent food.

And all throughout the night before and the morning of, and even late at night after coming home, each time I picked up sweet kitty, I would hand her to sweet hubby, and tell him, "Merry Christmas! I got you this cat for Christmas!" and sweet hubby would smile and say "Thank you! I love it!". We celebrate sweet kitty's "birthday" (the day she arrived at our house, not the day she was born) on Christmas.

I hope that your Christmas was as lovely and family-and-friend filled as mine was.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

crafty-sneaky-time

It's time to get creative for sweet hubby's Christmas gift.

Officially, we told each other we are not exchanging gifts this year.

But I have a record to keep up -- there is always some sort of surprise for sweet hubby under the tree at my Mama's house. Last year, I painted him a picture, and we hung it in our dining room until a friend gave us a much bigger, better picture for my birthday.

The year before, I think I snuck a new camera under the tree.

And the year before that, I think, was the year I snuck the kitty into our lives....(And he thought he was getting a fishing pole, from the wrapping job I did!).

I can't remember everything, but there has always been something under the tree for him, when he is expecting either nothing (because we've agreed to do nothing for each other since in general there are so many gifts going on), or a specific item we've already talked about...And since I'm pretty sure there won't be plane tickets to
Chile materializing out of thin air within the next three days, I'm going to have to implement crafty-sneaky-time while he is at work today.

I've begun -- using found objects -- to create what I hope will become a great looking photo frame.

A few years ago, I found some discarded windows in the neighborhood (and yes, I did pick them up off a trash pile and take them home. Don't judge). They have sat, collecting dust, in our storage shed for a long time now, and sweet hubby has been after me to get rid of them.

In the same storage shed, we also have the leftover paint from our living room.

I found some scrub brushes, sponges, windex, and went at that frame -- it looks a little better now. I need to mix the paint back up, find a brush, and get started. While it dries, the plan is to get some of these great pictures printed, find some pretty paper for a matte, and somehow rig this thing to hang in our bedroom.

So for now, I leave you with pictures of myself and sweet hubby. Enjoy!




Tuesday, December 20, 2011

money money money

Must be funny....In the Rich Man's world.

(Just thinking of Abba).

No, really, I was just thinking how nice it would be to have any kind of surplus right now, to get some plane tickets for sweet hubby to see his family this summer. A few months ago I posted that I was going to be trying to get my finances back in order, so I thought perhaps a little update was over due.

I stink at getting my finances in order.

Some of the things I listed last time ARE helping, but some areas have not improved all that much.
For example, having a lower house payment is definitely helping.
We haven't gotten any better about cooking at home, and especially not about cooking meals that use same ingredients to use them up before they go bad. Does anyone want to volunteer to be my personal chef? I can't pay you, but I can tell everyone I know how amazing you are?

Knock on wood, but my car hasn't had major trouble for almost a month. (Last major trouble: brake lights quit working, meaning the driver is unable to shift gears since the car won't let one drive without brake lights). Unfortunately, sweet hubby's car is due for some serious maintenance last month, and we had to postpone that to let the finances build up a tiny bit.

Christmas is not helping, either. I did trim the gift list and came up with a great plan -- I made a huge batch of cookies, and as I need gifts for people, I'm sticking some in a bag and going with it. Not free, but not hugely expensive, either, and homemade, so....better than nothing. And they taste good.

The other thing that is not helping? We've lived in our house for many years (almost 5!) and we still haven't painted our bedroom. I'm determined that now is the time. I'm ridiculous. We lived with white walls for almost 5 years, and somehow I can't handle white walls any longer? We bought paint samples a few days ago, and I'm almost convinced of the color we want....we keep going back and forth between two of them. The problem is, though, that I can't just leave it at painting. We paint, and then I want new curtains (oh wait, I made them over Thanksgiving weekend!), new blinds (we didn't have blinds before), new lamps (grown up lamps, please!), a new chest of drawers (not bright blue this time?), to print and frame some pictures, and on and on and on. I want, I want, I want, and I'm already sick of thinking about it. But it is like a sickness.

And the big problem with buying Christmas presents and stuff to fix up the house?

Every dollar I spend is one more dollar I didn't save to use to send Sweet Hubby home this summer.

I am constantly torn between what will make our life nicer day-to-day, here, together, for our future, and what will make life bearable for the man who chose to leave his family so far away to be my family.

Just how long is too long to ask him to be away from his family? I think a year might be the limit. And we are quickly approaching two years (earliest projected visit is over the summer, and that's only if I can stop spending long enough to save up a ticket for him within the next month or so....).

If only tickets to Chile weren't $1,500 per person on the cheapest of flights available.....And that's only if you catch it on a good day....

Saturday, December 17, 2011

estoy...

despierta muy temprano, siendo que es mi primer día de vacaciones.

mirando un árbol bonito, adornado con cosas que me hacen recordar tiempos y personas bonitos.

pensando en todas las cosas que necesito hacer antes que se acaben las vacaciones.

preparandome para escribir un millón de tarjetas de gracias a mis estudiantes.

escribiendo un proyecto nuevo en donorschoose, porque me gustaría mucho criar huevos de gallina y tener pollitos en mi sala en la primavera.

sorprendida que la Navidad se celebra en solamente una semana más. ¿Dónde voló el tiempo?

esperando un poco más antes de comer más de las confecciones adictivas que son panecillos de canela.

calentita, con la gatita encima de mis piernas.

feliz que hay tiempo ahora para arreglar mi pieza, pintar, coser, y hacer proyectos de la casa en general.

ansiosa que no he comprado un regalo de Navidad para mi hermana, ni para esposito lindo.

triste que pasajes a Chile cuestan TANTO que no los podemos comprar, y que ya son 2 años que mi esposo no ha visto a su mamá y papá, y esposito lindo encontró el precio más barato que hemos visto en meses ayer....siempre con la esperanza que mágicamente tendremos dinero para un viaje.

ahorrando el dinero un poquito mejor, pero todavía nos faltan fondos de emergencia (los usamos recien para arreglar mi auto otra vez).

celebrando las luces del zoologico, y cena, y tiempo pasado junto con esposito lindo.

lista para empezar a correr 3 veces a la semana, otra vez, con la intención de correr 5K en enero y 10K en marzo.

pensando en tantas cosas diversas que es difícil saber dónde empezar.

Friday, December 16, 2011

five minute friday

Joining in for five minutes on the word "connected" at thegypsymama.com.

I am connected to people I don't know. I am connected to people I do know. I am connected, and yet, sometimes, many times, I feel so disconnected, too.

I was thinking about this the other day...yesterday...when I saw an acquaintance at a meeting after school. I met her through sweet hubby. He used to work with her (she changed jobs), and we occasionally saw each other at their work functions, or went to get tacos from the taco traila together.

The last time I saw her was in May, or June....And now here it is, December, and a totally unrelated event, that makes us re-connect....

Connections begin in funny ways, end in funny ways, and re-occur in unexpected ways, too. It is the connecting and the reconnecting that are happiest for me. The disconnecting? That is not so fun.

I have been struggling lately with a feeling of disconnect from a particular gorup of teachers at my school. I get along great and consider myself good friends with several of the teachers at my school who either teach or taught my grade level, or who currently teach on my hallway. I consider myself struggling to connect with the other teachers throughout the school who started teaching the same year that I did -- the other "young" teachers -- the ones in my age range. I have many friends who are older than me, but few who are younger. And it feels sad to me because they were friends before, easy to talk to, and all of that, and somehow, that simply slipped away. Disconnect.

Outside of school, disconnect, too, with the university church that used to be such a big part of my life (this was a chosen disconnect, but still hard to adjust to in real life).

Disconnect from friends whose lives are moving in a different direction than mine.

Disconnect from friends who are having babies before I am.

Disconnect from friends who are moving away, on to new places and jobs and things like that.

And through it all, connection, too. Connection that grows deeper and deeper with my sweet hubby. Connection that grows deeper and deeper to my family. Connection that grows deeper and deeper to the ones who are true friends, the ones who stick, regardless of the changes. Connection growing deeper and deeper to the ones who refuse to disconnect.

Monday, December 12, 2011

it feels like Christmas

I just received a notification that the first donation has been made to my new project....

It feels like Christmas!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

sooOoo Proud

Just a quick line to let you know that this handsome man?



He just found out he passed all of his classes this semester!



I am extremely proud of him for his hard work.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

i am...

feeling overwhelmed with the prospect of christmas shopping on my nonexistent budget and limited free time.

snuggling with the kitty and drinking a glass of wine.

full of yummy chicken putt-putt (pot pie, for those native english speakers who were never confused by the all too similar sounds of pot-pie and putt-putt in southern dialect to a native spanish speaker learning english).

tired after making yummy chicken putt-putt.

ready to have a sub in my classroom tomorrow while i work on translating skill-rating scales with the fourth and fifth grade immersion teachers.

not ready to have a sub in my classroom on tuesday and thursday next week.

ready for friday of next week -- movie and party day!

not so excited about monday and wednesday and trying to be productive and finish this plant adaptation unit, for the love of all things good, before the break....

so excited to be close to a big break, so that i can enjoy my job and be more focused again....

happy that the "december list" is being put into play by sweet hubby, too, and not just myself -- he grabbed the guitar and sat with me in the kitchen for a while (i was working on the putt-putt) and then we played the amazing labyrinth. Greatest game ever (ok, maybe not, but it does make one think). It's a family favorite.

feeling sore in my sides, from a good yoga class last night, with my mama.

staying up past my bedtime since i have a sub tomorrow.

dreading the drive back to ikea to return the blinds that i estimated incorrectly to be the appropriate size for the bedroom windows.

wishing money grew on trees. i'd plant that kind in my backyard and baby it like no other.

sort of sad that we haven't decorated for christmas yet. Sunday is the day. after church, the family will head to the farmer's market to load up on trees, wreaths,and garlands. Then the kitty will start sleeping under the tree, next to the nativity.

trying to remember if we've had the kitty for four years this christmas, or just three. I'm leaning towards four. We don't know her real birthday (at least I don't. Sweet hubby might.) so we just celebrate that she came to live at our house on Christmas day.

thankful for the kitty. She's pretty warm when she sleeps on me (like now).

looking for some motivation. for all that decorating. And sub-plan writing. And house-cleaning. And present-finding/buying/wrapping.

wishing I could just go to the beach.

ecstatic that sweet hubby offered to clean the kitchen. putt-putt involves so many more pots and dishes that i ever remember.

hoping someone, anyone, will donate to my classroom project.

content. i have just enough of what i need, and not too much of what i don't. it's quite the blessing.

madly in love with sweet hubby.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

it might not look like much yet....

But this looks like it will be a kid-favorite activity for the year....

Hopefully I'll remember to take pictures of our "chia" heads once they start to grow hair! (And hopefully that will be before Christmas break....otherwise, they'll take them home before they grow.



Monday, December 5, 2011

Wanna help me out?

If you make a donation to my project at donorschoose.org, it can be doubled through a matching grant! All you have to do is use the code SPARK.

Please help my students!