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29 September 2009

Ready? Set? GO!

Well, almost. Spain is a short 46 (!!!) days away, and I am ready to go! The next month plus is going to kill me, but it's all worth it. The other day I hit Burlington Coat Factory and found this awesome red suitcase that is HUGE. I paid $8.00 for it. I had a $40 gift card, and I asked for a little discount because there was something minor wrong on the inside. The manager told me that he would give me 15% off but actually took off $25 instead! So my $80 suitcase cost me $8 out of pocket!! I was pretty stoked about that. I needed a larger suitcase on wheels for this trip (I'm still overwhelmed on how to pack for two weeks!!), and this one was perfect.

In other good news, the passport came over the weekend, so that pressure has eased. Tonight I finished my paper/presentation, so there's even more pressure eased. Tomorrow I will register and submit my paper for publication, and that will mark the end of all my task-related deadlines. After tomorrow, I will be able to focus on teaching and writing the diss/prospectus until Espana.

I was thinking about life and where I am in it today while I was walking The Beast today, and I came to some interesting revelations. If I were still married and living in NY, I wouldn't be heading to Spain (almost free of charge!!) for Thanksgiving. I wouldn't be working in an amazing school with amazing students. I wouldn't be living in the Triangle and making great professional and social connections. And, most importantly, I wouldn't be this happy. So, while the divorce was taxing and stressful, it was definitely worth it. I am in such a better place now with so many blessings. I actually wonder if I would be in this same situation if I had never gotten married in the first place ... But, the important thing is, here I am!!

24 September 2009

Two tickets to paradise!

Or, one ticket to ESPANA!! The school purchased my tickets today (YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and, in related news, my passport is en route!!!


Three cheers for good days!!!

20 September 2009

Life Update

Life is chugging along as usual, full of ups and downs. Let's look at the list:

I'll be in SPAIN!!!! in 54 days! (A big part of this UP is that the school is paying!)
I pretty much LOVE my job.
I've finished all of my mid-trimester grades and comments (due tomorrow at 8am).
My passport has been accepted, and I'm not waiting for it to arrive.

My leg still looks like hell. The clot hasn't healed.
I've been highly emotional lately, overwhelmed with stuff to do.
I haven't written my Spain paper yet. It's due October 1.
While I love my job, it is taking a toll on my life. I'm exhausted all the time!!!

It's pretty well balanced. Despite the pressures on me, I'm really enjoying where I am in life right now. My mom keeps telling me that I need to relax because I "have the world by the ass." (Don't you love Mom's ability to turn a phrase?!?) She's right, but I've been hardwired this way. It's in my nature to stress and be anxious. But it all works out for the best.

And if it doesn't, I'll still be in Spain in 52 days!!!

How do you like that optimism!?!?

14 September 2009

Just my luck!

So my little trip down the stairs has gone from not-so-bad to requiring medical attention. After much pressure from Mom and The Boy, I went to the doctor today. Turns out, my little bruise morhphed into a painful blood clot surrounded by a massive bruise. So now I'm elevating it with an ACE bandage wrapped around it and swallowing fistfuls of Advil. The doctor thinks that it should be gone in a couple of weeks. Yeah.

11 September 2009

September 11, 2009

Eight years ago today, I was student teaching in an Upstate New York middle school classroom. I was working with 8th graders, and it was early in the morning. One of my students approached me at the start of second period and asked if I had heard about the bombings in NYC. I looked at him incredulously because he had already established himself as a “story teller” ever though we had only been in school for a week or so. Out of concern, my supervising teacher had me go to the back of the room to the classroom computer and investigate what he was talking about. As soon as I powered on the computer and logged onto the internet, I realized that the world as I knew it had changed.

I stared at a screen that was filled with horrible images of burning American icons and headlines screaming “Attack on America!” As the towers fell, my heart followed. I grew up in a very patriotic home. My father is a Vietnam veteran. My brother is a Gulf War veteran. Various grandfathers and uncles have served in the military and in various wars. All served proudly and voluntarily. For the daughter of such patriotism, these scenes burned into my memory and are still vivid today. This was my home state and my home soil. I knew then that everything that our nation held sacred had been torn apart. But, despite all of this, I knew that I was a teacher (well, almost) and must remain professional and level. My supervising teacher lost her cool after she heard the news (I tend to remain much more stable and cool under pressure), and it fell upon my shoulders to discuss the terrorist attacks with my students.

After lunch, I read to my students the school-issued statement that was supposed to reassure and calm them. I remember feeling angry and frustrated with my 8th graders because they didn’t really seem to care about what had happened. When I told them what had happened, they didn’t really seem to “get it.” Looking back, I realize now that they really were too young to fully comprehend and “get” what had happened. They were too young to realize that the world in which they lived in safety and security had completely changed at that exact moment. Gone were the days of ID-free plane rides and willy-nilly airline ticket swapping. Gone were the days of never jumping to senseless racial stereotypes and irrational hasty assumptions about people based on their heritage and culture. But, these kids had never really experienced those things to begin with. After all, they were barely teenagers. They lived in safe little cocoons in their small Upstate NY town where they never had to worry about anything. I envied them.

Today, eight years later, was so different. I am now a CA teacher and work with an amazing group of 6th graders. We spent our day learning to trust each other and work together as a team. We all leapt off a tall tower to speed down a zip line over a lake. We built shelters in the woods to provide us a dry place to sleep should it rain (although the skies were absolutely beautiful today … much like that fateful morning 8 years ago). The experience today held no hint of those terrifying and life-changing moments almost a decade ago. I sadly realized that all of these students that I enjoy so much have never lived in a pre-9/11 world. Their world has always involved war and terrorist alert levels and racial anxiety (save the three or four years when they were just wee toddlers). Despite this, they’ve maintained innocence and wonder. They laugh and find joy in everything. They don’t miss the “old” days because they never really knew them. To me, that is sad. But, I guess that you don’t miss what you’ve never had. And that’s better than the alternative.

So, on this somber anniversary, I take a moment to remember. Remember the innocents who lost their lives all those years ago. Remember the brave heroes who selflessly rushed into collapsing infernos to save whatever lives they could. Remember all of the soldiers who have volunteered and who have lost their lives and limbs since the wars began. Remember those who still mourn. Remember those who keep the memory alive.

07 September 2009

Here's what happens when you fall down the stairs and bust your ass ...

I fell down the stairs about five minutes before I left Mom and Dad's house for Rae and Marty's wedding. It looked REALLY bad last night right when it happened, but the bruising and abrasions have faded considerably since last night. My lower legs still hurt like an S.O.B. (and my thighs are KILLING me from all the dancing last night!), but, happily, the "mobster-took-a-billy-club-to-my-kneecaps-to-reconcile-a-debt" look is fading!

Let's count the bruises ... one on the right knee cap, one right below the left knee, one on my right mid-shin, one on my left ankle, and one on the top of my right foot. That would be 5.

(And yes, that is a cocktail next to my left ankle. It helps to ease the pain!)

When I do it, I do it well!

A Toast to the new bride and groom.

Marty and Rae got married this weekend. The ceremony was beautiful and the reception rocked.

Some pics to share ...

The new Mr. and Mrs. Merriweather!

A beautiful ceremony by the lake shore.

Will did an AMAZING job officiating the wedding. What he wrote brought tears to all of our eyes and was SOOOOOO perfect for the couple.

The men, waiting anxiously.

The beautiful bride walking down the "aisle."

A beautiful place to get married.

Damn, I love my home!

A stately setting.

The weather was amazing (which was a TOTAL blessing considering it was Upstate NY in September!), and the ceremony was perfect for who Marty and Rae are as people. And then all the dancing at the reception. My legs STILL hurt from all that groovin'!

03 September 2009

The List

Since I was accepted to the conference in Spain, I have a growing list of things to do and not too much time to do them in.

- obtain a passport (Paperwork has been completed. Now I wait.)
- write a paper to present to and publish at the conference by October 1 (which means the prospectus is tabled ... yet again.)
- create a large visual to accompany my presentation
- coordinate travel arrangements with CA
- coordinate travel arrangements for The Boy
- figure out something to do with B for two weeks over Thanksgiving
- save money for spending and enjoying myself

It doesn't seem like a lot, but it is a bit overwhelming. All for Spain!!!!!!!!!!

01 September 2009

Phenomonal luck and an amazing day

If you didn't read my previous blog, I'll have to share my news again.

I'm going to Spain!!!

I'm sooooooooooo excited. I am totally floating on cloud nine right now. I was really starting to think that my paper wasn't going to be accepted. Today was the deadline for notifications, and, since the conference is in Spain, I figured that I would hear early in the morning. But, I had no word by noon. So, I checked the website and, YEAH!, I was on the list of approved presenters!! I was actually trembling with excitement.

The amazing thing is that CA pays for it all. My flight there, my hotel, and a stipend for food. Plus they will give me an advance to cover some day-to-day expenses. I'll be there for a week - 7 WHOLE DAYS!!!! - before Thanksgiving.

The exceptionally awesome thing is that I'll probably be staying an additional week. The Boy turns 40 right before Thanksgiving, and I figured we'd stay on in Europe for an extra week to celebrate. I've even got a student that has a house on the coast of Spain (yes, I teach those kinds of students!), so I'm hoping to work some magic and "borrow" the house for a few days ... or a week. We'll see how that goes. Even if I have to pay for the extra week out of pocket, it's SPAIN!!! In November!!!!


Viva Espana!!

I'm going to Spain!!!

I'm going to Spain!!!

I'm going to Spain!!!

I'm going to Spain!!!

I'm going to Spain!!!

I'm going to Spain!!!


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