Monthly Archives: May 2008

I Did It!

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Here’s a little post to toot my own horn (not literally, as I have not yet bought one for my bike…but it is my intention to do so):

I rode my beautiful bike (I’m leaning towards ‘Mellow Yellow’, Becky) to work today! Granted, I only live five miles from work and it took me 35 minutes, but I did it nonetheless!

Things I overestimated:
-My biking ability (although it turned out just fine in the end)

Things I underestimated:
-The size of the two hills on the way to work (really not substantial at all, but painful at the time)
-How hot it was going to be whilst working out (a co-worker recommended that I not clean up and have the kids go through what we go through everyday)
-The value of mapping out my route beforehand (I got lost in a neighborhood which probably added a half mile to my trip)
-The size and tenacity of Metro buses; they are frightening!
-The envy I would feel towards people on the Metro!
-The sense of accomplishment I would feel upon arriving to work and having a standing ovation in the front office!

So, here’s to more bike riding!! (I need a nap.)

 

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These Are a Few of My Favorite Things!

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Hallelujah!!! Testing is offically done with. I use the term ‘officially’ with trepidation here…as I realized today I forgot to turn in five forms I was supposed to (they are letting me fax it tomorrow) and I am certain they will be calling within the week to inform me of something that I’ve done wrong (thankfully, it’s usually fixable!) So, tomorrow it’s back to the classroom after FOUR WEEKS out!! I really, really miss my students (although many of them have been swinging by periodically to wish me well and remind me of what a bad decision I made).

Anyways, after I went to turn in the materials at 11am, I decided to make it an “All About Me” kinda day! So, I called up to the massage college and set up an appointment. First, I went home to organize my life a little and got to see Risa & Co. (the four recent high school grads who are staying with me) before they headed out to Hollywood (I am thoroughly enjoying the Tillman invasion…and look forward to another Tillman visit in June!)

I then proceeded to jump in my car (after watching them fully utilize team work to back out of my carport without damaging the car…those of you have been here know what a challenge that proves to be!). A lot of productivity quickly ensued. I went to Sports Authority and bought some cycling get up, went tanning (I know, I know), got some Jamba Juice, and headed to my massage appointment at my alma mater Massage School where I enjoyed a fabulous massage. My massage therapist’s name was Paul and we just had a ball (no rhyme intended here initially). We had a wonderful conversation about life: education, exploring options, following your passion, approaching 30, etc. He moved out here a few years ago from Chicago to pursue his writing and spoken word career. Which led me to tell him about Rosalyn, the little girl I mentor who is absolutely captivating when it comes to public speaking, and in particular, spoken word. So, at the end of my hour and a half massage session (it was supposed to be an hour, but we got lost in conversation and he lost track of time which is a-ok by me because, being 6’3”, I feel an hour massage doesn’t fully get all of my body thoroughly), he ran out to his car to give me a DVD and brochures to give to Rosalyn. I haven’t checked it all out yet, but you sure can here.

Upon leaving the fabulous massage, I went on a half hour run on the beach in preparation for this triathlon I have in less than three weeks! I stopped by at Trader Joe’s to get some necessities and came upon Dark Chocolate covered Joe-Joe’s. Really not okay because they are so amazing! Consider this your warning: do not try these cookies. I also got my car washed, which is always so gratifying when you can see out the windows even with the sun shining in because the dirt is not reflecting it making you blind.

I came back home to jump on my bike and head to the P.O. and bank with my recently purchased helmet. I am slightly unconfident (real word?) in my biking skills. I feel a little threatened by the big cars and don’t want to be annoying to them when I’m in the lane…but know that I am not supposed to dominate the sidewalks either. I’m sure I’ll grow more confident as the practice continues. But, let me tell you…after all of about a 1.2 mile round trip, I am definitely in need of some suggestions for a good bike seat. I mean, seriously. As soon as possible. Preferrably with some padding.

All in all, today turned out to be a pretty fabulous day! The only sad part is that our neighbors are moving…and although I’ve never had an actual conversation with them (language barrier and I’m also ‘unconfident’ in my Spanish speaking abilities which is annoying) and even though it sometimes resembles a playground with all the kids running around and random fiestas they have, they really are a sweet family with two beautiful children! Best wishes to my neighbors! (I always have a weird thing about when people leave me…I’m used to doing the leaving!)

It’s About That Time…

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So, I’m going to whip up a little list here recapping my Memorial Day weekend:

5 Things I am Happy About:
-Running into KD at the airport Saturday morning and sharing some Starbucks
-Getting to celebrate my grandma’s 90th birthday with her in Detroit (along with many other family members I hadn’t even met or haven’t seen in years)
-Surviving a canoe trip/fishing excursion (both terms used very lightly) with my cousin and true city-girl sister
-Staying up until 2:30am with my fabulous sister, cousin, her husband, and my 90 year-old Grandma leading the way (with her “hot chocolate” aka White Russian on hand)
-Finally getting home after a VERY long day of travel (although it was somewhat enjoyable with my sister right beside me)

2 Things I Could Have Done Without:
-Losing the keys to the rental car somewhere between the car and the party site. I mean, really.
-Having Testing Coordinator commitments consume my downtime thoughts yet again (this is over Wednesday, folks!)

3 Things I Am Excited About:
-Raleigh’s sister, Risa, and three girlfriends (all recent high school graduates) come by tomorrow on their post-graduation road trip for a quick LA rendezvous (you better believe they’re going to be tortured with looking through my similar roadtrip’s scrapbook)
-Continuing to read and enjoy the book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver
-An upcoming FCA weekend in San Diego

 

A New Addition

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So, there you have it!  My new addition….a 1972 Vintage Schwinn 10 Speed Road Bike.  And it’s clearly yellow.  Gotta love it!  (And Craigslist, of course)

If you are interested in seeing it in action, feel free to come to the Disneyland Triathlon I’ll be competin in on Sunday, June 15th (thanks, Bethany!).  And 6am!  Haha…you probably won’t be there, so I’ll just have to post some pictures.

In the pictures, please note the following:

  • The color-coded books in the back on the shelf
  • The Nintendo set up by the TV
  • The length of my hair which will be chopped in a few weeks!

Please ignore the following:

  • The laundry in the bedroom that has yet to put away itself
  • The disorganization of my TV stand stuff
  • The other random messes…it’s been a few crazy weeks!

So, I’d love to know:

  • Do you have any suggestions for this beauty’s name?
  • What have you done with your “Economic Stimulus” Check?

All the Beautiful People

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I really love people. It’s kind of an obsession actually. I just love talking to people, and listening to people, and meeting people, and learning from people. Seeing people smile and hearing them laugh just brings me such joy. I can think of several incidences in the last day that have brought me such joy:

  • A teacher yesterday staying afterschool to thank me for all I have done with the testing and making it run so smoothly.  She was so deliberate in pointing out how beautiful I was and that it meant so much to her that I was always positive.  (Thank you, Jesus!)
  • The employees at In ‘N Out Yesterday were so incredibly helpful and friendly.  I’m not kidding when I say they ran to assist me when I brought back in my cheeseburger because it was supposed to be a grilled cheese (I think I accidentally ordered a grilled cheeseburger…oops!)
  • This lady just knocked on my door this morning to get me to vote for some Supervisor of the City.  We had such a lovely conversation about education, inequality, human rights, etc.  Granted, I know she’s out politicking (sp?), but it still felt like a genuine conversation

 
Having these kind of brief, and rather shallow-I admit, interactions reminds me of the good in people. So much of life is tainted by the bad and it gets discouraging and disheartening. I can think of one such incident that completely breaks my heart (please note, this is obviously not going to be an uplifting story, so don’t feel pressure to continue reading if you don’t want to):

  • I was looking forward to this morning.  It was going to be the first time since April 29th (yes, I consulted my planner for this tidbit) I was able to sleep in without an alarm.  Of course, at 6:17 I awoke in a state of panic thinking I was late to work where I am so desperately needed to disseminate testing material.  It took several attempts to remind myself it was Saturday before falling back to sleep.  Forty minutes later, I was awakened by a man screaming at a woman.  It included the “f word” approximately every other word, an average of four to six times per sentence.  So much so, I couldn’t even understand what he was attempting to communicate because it was so dominated by his other choice word.  For those of you who haven’t been to my apartment, I wasn’t just being completely nosey here…there really is no avoiding hearing parts of other people’s elevated conversations because of the close proximity.   After screaming out my window, “Everyone can hear you.  Shut up!” and hearing the reply, “Shut the f&%* up, b$%&*”, I realized I was a little out of my league here.  This being said, I really am not even afraid at my house because I know if anything happens, I’ll be able to scream and have approximately 271 people hear.  Which is what the woman involved in this verbal altercation was driven to do when the man got violent.  It was horrible.  I did call the police.  I was glad when I heard from the dispatcher that someone else had also reported it.  I was definitely shaking because I was so rattled by this.  And I just sat and prayed for them until I heard the police arrive.  Isn’t that a lovely way to wake up?

I am saddened for the woman involved in this because I am not naive enough to believe this was the first time this had happened.  It just breaks my heart this stuff goes on around us all of the time, and oftentimes is avoided or covered up.  It makes me grateful for the positive interactions I do have and prayerful for the ones that aren’t so positive.

 

Perspective

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Today, on my flight home, I was once again reminded of God’s sovereignty and beautiful promises and faithfulness. I had fallen asleep before the plane even took off while we were idling in the runway. About an hour later, I woke up just in time to see my favorite view (similar to one I’ve shared on here before) of the clouds and how beautiful they are when you look down upon them. They really just remind me of the heaven I picture (although I know it might not be realistic…you all know what I’m talking about!). I fell back asleep smiling since I felt God had nudged me awake just to allow me see that wondrous view. A few minutes (seconds?) later I woke up again and peered out the window to see myself in the midst of those clouds I had just admired. And it was kinda ugly. Gray and blurry and really not much to write home about. And it made the ride bumpy for a short while. This reminded me of the importance of perspective. Moments before, I had admired God’s beautiful layout and intricate design of the clouds. However, now in the midst of those clouds, I was not as amused.

This reminded me of my life right now. While a little bit removed (like I was this weekend while at home for Lindsay’s wedding), I can think about all I have to do and feel okay, satisfied, and even encouraged and calm at times. But, while in the midst of things (Tuesday night comes to mind, Jamie and Bekah), I get distraught, disheartened, overwhelmed, etc. So, while flying through the clouds, I was reminded it’s all about a shift of perspective. Things this week with Testing might suck a little bit. Hey, maybe even a lot. But, once I’m a little removed from the situation, I’ll be able to relax and breathe, and even remember that God’s beauty and grace and goodness were reflected even in the worst of times. And really, it’s not even the worst of times. It just seems so from that perspective.

American Heritage Dictionary
per·spec·tive (pər-spěk’tĭv)
n.

1. A view or vista.
2. A mental view or outlook: “It is useful occasionally to look at the past to gain a perspective on the present” (Fabian Linden).
3. The relationship of aspects of a subject to each other and to a whole: a perspective of history; a need to view the problem in the proper perspective.