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28 March 2010


I have it. Bad. I am bored with being in one place, and I'm needing a change. Thankfully, I'm getting a short dose of remedy this week when I am in San Diego.

It's sad that I feel so restless. I have an amazing job that makes me completely happy. I like living in NC, and I have a pretty sweet life. I'm just feeling stir crazy. I've even put out feelers at other private schools in other states! What is wrong with me!?!? I think it is my mind and spirit's way of preventing me from laying down roots and really growing up. I think that, since I have a big birthday coming up in a few short months, I am doing everything possible to avoid being "old" and a real "adult." Maybe I'm just having my midlife crisis a few decades early. Or maybe I'm only going to live till I'm 60 and then a midlife crisis would be right on time.

Any way, San Diego this week should be just the ticket to cure my wanderlust. Even if it is only a short term fix ...

26 March 2010

Contemplations on Mary

Yesterday was the Feast of the Annunciation. For those who don't know what that means, it is the celebration of the day that the angel came to Mary and told her what was to come. She was to become the Mother of God, full of grace and blessed amongst women. This feast day always makes me think about my faith journey, so I thought I would share.

Growing up Protestant, Mary was no big deal. In fact, no one ever really talked about her or even thought of her except around Christmastime. Even then, she was a very minor player in a much bigger play: The Birth of Jesus. In fact, on of the reasons that the Catholic Church split oh-so-long ago was because of Mary. Some Catholics felt that Mary was being praised and honored to the level of her Son and they felt that this was idolatry. Hence the schism and the creation of Protestantism. They were "protesting" the tenets of the Catholic Church. I understand this and never really questioned it. In all honesty, I never actually really thought about Mary all that much ... even despite that fact that she is who I am named after.

Three years ago this Easter, I officially converted to Catholicism after a long year of faith formation classes and experiences. During that formation, I became much better acquainted with Mary and her importance in the Church. The emphasis that Catholics place on Mary makes so much more sense to me that the neglect of the Protestants. Mary is important for so many reasons.

Mary is not only the Mother of God, but she is also the Mother of the Church. If Christ is the Church, and Mary is His mother, the logic is clear. Upon His crucifixion, Christ said to his disciple standing next to His mother at the foot of the cross, "Behold, your Mother." Mary is OUR mother just as much as she was Christ's. And, as the Ten Commandments require, we must honor our mother.

Mary is also what we should all strive to be as Christians. She is obedient, loyal, self-sacrificing, and faithful without questioning the rewards or purpose. When she was told that she was going to be the mother of Christ, she accepted her role without any real argument. She questioned the methods but only because she had no carnal knowledge of men and wasn't sure what was to happen. She willingly accepted her gift and responsibility, knowing that she could possibly be stoned to death because of her condition. She never wavered or hesitated. She accepted God's call willingly and with a joyful heart. We all, as Christians, should be this way. We should learn to not question God's plan and to accept His Word. I'm not saying that we should all be drones that cannot think on their own, but we must be more willing to live in Mary's image. We must also learn to be faithful all the time and not just when it suits us or when it's easy. After all, if Mary had decided that God's plan didn't really fit with her own, where would we be now?

I attended a mission talk at church last night that addressed the Annunciation, and it was a really nice experience. I did have a moment of guilt during the service though. When I got married, I changed my name to MaryBeth, combining my first and middle name. I never really like my given name because I always thought it was plain and boring. Last night, I felt some major guilt about those feelings. After all, if it was a good enough name for Christ's mother, it should be good enough for me, right?

I also learned last night at church that the Feast of the Annunciation was specifically placed on March 25th because the Church believes that the original Good Friday was on March 25th. (Who knows how they figure these things out, but I'm sure it is with all kinds of fancy charts and calendars and things). The Church placed this feast day on the original Good Friday to draw a nice parallel between the start of the sacrifice and the ultimate end. A nice move on the Church's part, if you ask me.

23 March 2010

When mail makes you laugh at loud

Today was a good day at work. My kids were "on" and my surprise observation went very well. I went home tired but satisfied. As soon as I got home and opened my mail, an instant perma-smile hit me. Nothing is better than mail from your little niece who is learning how to read and write. And it came with a picture!

The letter is really cute. Especially since she asks about Bailey. Aww ...

I love the picture that she drew, although it hurts my feelings that I have a GIANT head. :) If you can't read it, it says "Kyra got her tonsels out she's getting better!" Awww ...

It's these moments that make me homesick and completely in love with my family. I may have to take these to work with me and keep them on my desk.

21 March 2010

Is it bad that food makes me happy?

This weekend has been low key and relaxing. The best kind and the best way to get ready to start back to work tomorrow.

Today I woke without the alarm (yeah!) and went to mass at 10:30. I chatted with Father Dan for a few minutes and hen headed off to the grocery store. While there, I picked up a nice bone-in pork chop (free range and organic, of course!) and a bottle of vinho verde. The two don't go together perfectly, but I love them and that is all that matters. After a lazy afternoon hanging around the house, I cooked up my chop in some nice peach BBQ sauce and made some forbidden rice to go with it. All laid out on a bed of fresh baby spinach, it made a nice dinner. Add a few glasses of wine, and we are all set! The most impressive thing is that I cooked it all by myself. I guess those rumors about me being catered to by The Boy and inept in the kitchen may be false ... we'll have to wait and see.

See my handy work? It doesn't look as yummy as it tasted, but I was pretty impressed with my handy work!

18 March 2010

Why don't I live in Savannah?

My trip to Savannah this week only confirmed the fact that I need to find a way to live there. I LOVED it. I love the food, the people, the sights, the river ... everything.

If you have the time, here are 300 or so pics from my trip. :)

(While I was in Savannah, B was at the kennel. I picked her up tonight at 6, and she's been sleeping in her chair ever since. She's currently snoring. It's really cute.)

15 March 2010

Math skills are important

In preparation for my pending trip to the Land of the Open Container Laws (i.e. Savannah), I have been putzing around the house doing laundry and balancing my checkbook. The laundry has gone well. The checkbook balancing ... not so well. Actually, it turned out well but served to illustrate my ineptness at math.

For some reason, my online account stated that I had about $200 more than my checkbook, and the only things that hadn't processed through did not add up to the difference. I also saw that a recent deposit hadn't cleared or even showed as pending. I called the bank, and they discovered the error. They adjusted the account, and now I had over $400 more in my online statement than in my checkbook register! WTF?? I'm never one to complain about free money, but I also like to know every detail of my account so I know how much I have to spend.

So the discrepancy meant that I had to go WAAAAAY back into the register and try to figure out where the error was. Happily, I found it. Way back in the start of February, when my checkbook register went from one page to the other, I kinda transposed some numbers and knocked off $400 from my balance. Oops.

The nice thing is that I actually am making enough money that it wasn't a huge deal. It is still a few weeks until the end of the month, and my incorrect balance would have gotten me there. But I'm more than ecstatic that the error was discovered. After all, I'm heading to Savannah and San Diego in the next three weeks! I know that this sounds totally pompous and braggy, but, after so many years of making crap money as a teacher in NY and then being poverty stricken as a grad student, making real money is a wonderful thing. And to make that money while doing something that I love and find rewarding is even better. It's a huge relief in my life to not have to panic about money after all the bills are paid. Buffers are a good thing. Money buffers are a great thing.

So, today's life lesson is: Always double check your math when balancing your checkbook. It can save you headaches in the end!

14 March 2010

My favorite new toy

The Boy and I bought a super-de-duper camera last week (also known as "Candice the Canon"), and I've spent the last few days playing with it and figuring out what it is capable of. I really enjoying photography and wish that I had more time to do it. But, alas, I must work and make a real wage. Well, at least now I have a really fun toy to play with when my photographic urges strike.

The first signs of spring were popping up this weekend at The Boy's house. I love daffodils.

The trees were in bud as well. Candice has a great macro and super-macro setting that allows me to get super close to some things and allow the background to blur out a bit. I'm a big fan. I expect that I'll be using this setting A LOT.

Another favorite setting: Color Accent. I can set Candice to highlight only a certain color or color family while making the rest of the picture black and white. I chose to go with green here, and it turned out okay. I love this beat up old bench in The Boy's backyard.

This picture shows off the Color Accent feature a bit better. I obviously highlighted blue while letting everything else fade to black and white. I love the little hints of blue sky that appear and the bright white of the sunny clouds.

A bird family regularly makes its home in this hose hanger. It normally dive bombs me every time I walk near it (which is hard to avoid since the nest is all of one foot away from the front door!), but the nest was empty today. The glare in the top left annoys me, but the rest of the composition pleases me.
More play with color accent. The burgundy of the wine was highlighted, but I adjusted the limits to allow more of the red color family into the photo. The pale pink in the matting of the painting came through when I increased the limits. I like the results.
I head to Savannah on Tuesday for some good St. Patty's Day fun, and I plan to visit Bonaventure Cemetery again to get some great pics. I took a ton during my last trip to Savannah, but, as I looked back through the blog, I never actually posted any of them! How much do I suck? Well, I'll be sure to post plenty when I get back this time. And, hopefully, they will be even better than the pictures that you never got to see because I'm taking them with Candice.

11 March 2010

I'm a Biggest Loser!

The school weight loss competition that I started nine weeks ago is over, and, happily, I won first place! Seriously. I did not rig it! I swear! In fact, we had the school nurse in charge of the weigh ins and record keeping just so there would be no conflict of interest. So, as I said goodbye to 6% of my body weight, I said HELLO! to $300! Nothing like winning some cash to make your waistline feel even smaller. And now I can take it to Savannah and spend it on my St. Patty's day revelry.

I'm really happy about winning the money, but I most happy about how my clothes are fitting better. I feel thinner and lighter and more comfortable in my own skin. and, I guess, that is what the whole weight-loss/getting-healthy thing is about, right?

04 March 2010

Days that make it all worth it

Today, despite a good bit of chaos added for spice, was a good day. A very good day.

It started with a weigh-in. A weigh-in that found me 3.5 pounds lighter! That means I've lost 16.5 pounds since I started this fiasco ... I mean adventure. There is no better way to start a day than that! To celebrate my thinner waist, I wore a grey sheath dress and my black long military jacket with some hot red pumps. I looked pretty cute! Not to brag or anything!

The chaos at school started shortly, and I spent all day chasing down the resolutions. Ugh. The drawbacks of working with 11-year-olds.

The school day ended with the Science Showcase. The kids have been working on Independent Science Projects all trimester and have some wonderful things to share. They all were in charge of thinking of a research topic, developing an experiment plan, and pursuing their conclusions. Their final products were amazing. Every student was responsible for writing a paper about their topic and experiments and then they had to create a poster presentation and a short 2-minute schpiel. At 2:30, all of the parents, some faculty, and some older students came down to the showcase to see what the 6th graders have done. They all did such amazing work. I am really proud of them. It is days like today -- watching my kids be awesome and grown up and responsible -- that remind me why I became a teacher.


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