Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I lost the battle but won the prize

I was just going back through some of my previous posts... found one from March 31st, after my other Grandfather passed away:

I've been lying in bed thinking about grief. It's an odd thing, extremely painful and yet you can't touch it or even point it out. There's no miracle pill to get rid of the pain, no limb to chop off, there's nothing inside of you they can cut out. It's buried deep inside of you, somewhere around the heart-lungs-throat region. In my experience (17 years) it never goes away fully - it's like a chronic scab - it heals over partially, but if it gets bumped hard enough it flows again. An intangible wound. I don't know if that makes sense, but it's the best I can do at 1:20 am.

Yup. That pretty much sums it up.

In other news....
Dad and I had been going round and round about me and my vehicle. He wasn't happy with my Escort, even though I've had it for 8 years and 3 of those have been up north. He wanted something with more room for my long legs, something I didn't hit my head on, something big enough for me, something with 4 wheel-drive for the weather up there... He even threatened to sell my Escort (since it's in his name) before I got back and get me something of his choosing - eek! So I finally said we'd see when I got home... well anywho.. he won the arguement. But I must say, I won the pretty new car! /beam
It's a 2004 Honda Element... and it's ORANGE! hehehe
It's so purrrrrty.

If nothing else it has distracted me from other less desirable things.

Christmas wasn't as bad as I was thinking. Had Friday dinner with my Aunt and Uncle and on Saturday I had Christmas lunch with my Mom's family.
No tears. Just a little sadness in the air - on both sides.

It'll be 2005 in a couple of days. Strange to think. What happened to this year? So much has happened, yet I can't imagine it's over with.
Talk about life being a rollercoaster! This year has been so unpredictable - both good and bad.

Anywho, wishing you all a very Happy New Year.
For my Minnesotan friends - I'll be up there on or by the 8th of Jan. See ya then!


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Not Again

I arrived back in Texas on Sunday night to the news that my Grandaddy had passed away on Saturday night.
Rough re-introduction to the real world.
The service was on Monday afternoon. Short and sweet but rough none-the-less.

In other news...
It feels strange to be home, as I knew it would. Perhaps even more so because of the unexpected shock I received upon my arrival.

This is going to be a really rough Christmas. I've lost both of my Grandfathers this year and my two cousins and their families who have moved away aren't coming back to Texas for Christmas... so my family is shrinking. Anywhoooo.

Looking forward to going back to MN - heading out around Jan 5th or so. Still need to make travel plans.

Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Very strange indeed...

To be back in the States (or as my Mom says; 'State-side').
At first glance it was very strange to see people in the 'correct' drivers seat again :) And unfortunately I find American accents a bit abbrasive (for lack of a better descriptive word) after 4 1/2 months of the lovely lilting Kiwi accents and assorted English, Scottish, Irish and Aussie accents I've been around.

Left Wellington yesterday (today) at 4:30pm and flew to Auckland (1 hour)
Left Auckland yesterday (today) at 7:30pm and flew to L.A. (12 hours)
Saw the Holywood sign =0)
Waiting here in LAX for my flight, after much hub-a-loo through customs, luggage, and security, but they gotta do what they gotta do.
At this point I AM looking forward to getting home - getting over with all of the travelling and giving the parents big hugs!

Ugh, but am I really back?
Strannnnnnge feeling. Maybe it'll settle once I'm actually back home, in the house and town I grew up in, with my family and! my critters! I need some Jakey luvin! *grins at the thought of snuggling with her puppy tonight)!!! Not nearly enough dog luvin over the past 4 1/2 months, though Anne's kitty was a sweety.

I'll arrive in Texas just under 2 hours after I left Wellington - though I left yesterday... and yesterday is today... hehehe I'm a time traveller!

Sorry for random thought spillage - can you tell I'm bored? And quite happy to have internet access again, after over a week? /addicted
Oh! I decided last night - er Saturday afternoon to buy a lotto ticket, well a couple actually, since I hadn't bought any yet. Well I won $36 bucks! Hehehe what are the chances? I bought myself a 2 disc CD set of CHRISTMAS music, listening to it now, getting the MooooOoOooooood!

Annnnd! What are the chances of this?! I ran into a girl I know from school in MN! at the Auckland airport and we were even on the same flight. She had been just two hours north-east of where I was doing her student teaching. We talked for a bit before boarding about our experiences and exchanged email addys so we can talk more :)

This morning one of my students - who was also a neighbor - came to say goodbye. I had taken him to Te Papa - the national museum on Thursday and then to see the seals at Cape Palliser and the lighthouse there on Friday. He got a big kick out of me and my slight apprehension of being so high up... *cough* anywho... today he brought me a little fishey key chain he painted and a stuffed snowman because I'm going back to snow - something he hasn't seen much of in northern NZ. When you squeeze it's hand it plays It's A Small World - rather fitting I think.

Jer, if I don't call you on Monday, don't take it personally? Might spend it out with Mom - she needs an Aspen-fix :) And I could do with a Mom-fix ;) I'll try to call you Monday evening :) Glad to see you got a room on Aya's floor!

Ok think that's enough for now. Good waste of 35 mins in surfing net and typing!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 13, 2004


Denial (n) A refusal to accept or believe something.
That pretty much sums it up. I refuse to count my remaining days. I'm going to enjoy every second of my remaining time and I don't want to spend it frowning about having to leave. Besides! It's almost Christmas and I'll be with my family (well most of them) soon!

I finished my one-week-whirlwind-tour of the North Island. I rented a car and drove over to Napier and Cape Kidnappers and visited the Gannet Colony. Funny little birds! Their take-offs crack me up! They spread their wings, shake their tail feathers (literally), hop to or three times and then they're off. It's hilarious! As Cole put it: "They do the macarena."

I went through Taupo - saw the giant crater-lake, formed a long time ago when a volcano went *KABOOM* a long, long time ago. Big honkin lake with some islands and a backdrop of beautiful mountains and another volcano - Ruapehu. Drove around it and it was steaming on one side. Don't know how people can live near those things - they're creepy.

Spent a couple of days in Rotorua - well known for it's Maori culture and Geothermal activity. Their city park - in the middle of town - has mud pools and steaming ponds. Uhm yeah... seemed very strange to me, but they live with it everyday. Walked through the park and went to a couple of hotspots outside town, checked out some of the local lakes, took the gondola up one of the mountains, and went to a Maroi concert and hangi feast (where they cook the food in the ground) YUM!

Drove up north a bit to Whakatane and over to Tauranga and down to Matamata where I checked out Hobbiton. I hadn't done anything specifically related to LOTR and I've been here almost 4 1/2 months :) I figured I should do something LOTR-y before I left. It was kind of neat. New Line rented this section of farm land from 3 brothers and their father who are sheep ranchers. The studio promised to return the land to it's natural condition and after filming they started tearing down the set. Weather turned icky and they told the brothers they'd be back in 6 months to finish. During that time people started stopping by asking to see it and I guess the familiy saw dollar signs - contacted the studio - and made arrangements. So what you see isn't the full set, but the lake and the party tree and the field are there - MASSIVE old oak tree, probably 120 years old, and I have a picture of me hugging it so you can see how big it is. Bilbo/Frodo's home is still there and so is Sam's first house - along with several other hobbit holes. Was funny to see the sheepies running around Hobbiton - Hobbiton's newest inhabitants!

I drove over to the west coast and saw Mt. Taranaki - CRAZY mountain! Sharp peak - just zooms right out of the land. Hard to describe, but very cool.

Had fun, even if it was a quick trip :)

Monday, December 06, 2004


I did it, number 2 on my list-of-things-to-do-before-I-die!
I swam with dolphins!
Dusky dolphins here in Kaikoura.
Cold water - 12ft + swells - little sea sickness, but I did get in the water and swim with them :) And managed not to get sick *cough* thank goodness!
No pictures from being in the water with them - too murky - darn storms. Had opportunity to take pictures from the boat though. I'll try to find time to post some dolphin jumping pics - if any come out - so hard with the swell and they're so fast!
But I did it!
/bounces around for joy

Weather turned icky again - cold rainy windy.
Going back to watch the third LOTR - watched the first two - one each of the last two nights. It's such a different experience now - having seen some of the sites where they filmed and even seeing landscape so similar to those in the film. Looking at the movie through a new set of eyes.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

I'm sorry, try again...

I made it into the 8:30am swim today and then when I called they said they were cancelling all swims today because of the swells.
I was put back on the waiting list and I was just scheduled for a 12:30pm swim tomorrow... keeping my toes crossed.

I spent about 2 1/2 hours this morning posting pictures to My Photo Blog so I hope you enjoy those - there's lots of 'em.

Spent some time on the beach earlier, but there's a pretty cold wind coming off the ocean so I only stayed out about an hour. Also spent some time out at the seal colony - they had a baby too :) not as small as the one I saw at Cape Foulwind - but a baby still.

Mostly well finally....

Talked on the phone to a cousin yesterday =) and Mary K today =)

One and a half days left in Kaikoura... can you hear the clock? *Tick Tock Tick Tock*

Saturday, December 04, 2004

I'm Back!

Back in Kaikoura - love of my life! Well... you know :)

I missed out on Mt. Cook - opted for the West Coast route and saw the glaciers and pancake/blow hole rocks.

I saw both Fox and Franz Josef glaciers - kinda neat. Wasn't swooning over them or anything though.

Spent last night in Nelson and drove into Kaikoura today. Feels good to be back. Staying at same place as last time and guy remembered me and stuff :) Was nice.
I swear the rain is following me though - been nothing but rain, especially the last week - and here in Kaikoura I just got poored on. Hoping it lets up tomorrow - wanna hang out at the beach!
I'm on the waiting list for swimming with the dolphins - REALLY hope I get in on that. If not I could still do it up north.

Feeling much better, just a residual cough - slightly annoying.

Getting excited about Christmas with the family and going back to MN - seeing friends again. Can't beleive I'm leaving the South Island in 3 days - doesn't seem possible. And leaving NZ in two weeks... we won't even go there.

Hmmm.. thought I'd have more to say. Nothing too exciting has happened though - just lots of driving.
Oh! I finally got to see a KIWI! The feathered kind! I spent night before last in Hokitika and they have a little aquarium-zoo-type thing. It was dark, as they're nocturnal - but I did get to see not one, but two kiwis! Very exciting. Unfortunately, the tuatara was in hiding. Also a LOVELY view of the Tasman Sea - gorgeous - from a restraunt there.

LOL oh I stopped at Cape Foulwind - aptly named - Seal Colony there. Needless to say, somebody had a good sense of humor - cute furry critters, but you can smell 'em, that's for sure! And they had BABIES! One that was JUST born - you could tell - it was still wobbly and stuff and not much bigger than a sea gull.

LOADS of pictures to upload and I'm at this awesome internet place in Kaikoura - same place I uploaded whale and dolphin pics - so I'll try to get some more pictures posted in the next day or two - have to go check on my position on waiting list for swimming with the fishies!

/keeping my toes crossed

For my benefit!
Just in case!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Moving on UP

Yesterday I left Te Anau - stopping by the wildlife sanctuary just outside of town. It only has birds, but it has some very cool - very Kiwi - very rare birds. For example, the Takahe - there are only about 200 left in the world. They also had Kea and Kaka and other pretty - colourful birdies.

Drove up to Queenstown - very Aspen-like (Aspen, Colorado that is). It's a ski-town, located in the mountains. However, Queenstown has had quite a bit of room to spread - around a lake - a few differences from Aspen. But it was a very busy little town, good feeling, pretty scenery. Also, home to the Lord of the Rings Shop.

Never been skiing... odd? A girl with the same name as one of the most well-known ski resorts in the --- world... might have something to do with my extreme klutzyness and aversion to pain and broken limbs.

Uhm back on track... lessee...
Oh yes. Spent the night in QT and then headed up to Glenorchy - drove around into Asipring National Park - towards Paradise - yes it's a name of a place - and the woods were mossy and green and gorgeous - very elfy. As in Lothlorien elfy - where they filmed part of Lothlorien!
The mountains around there are in the opening shots of the first two movies.

I took my first jet-boat ride up the river. AWESOME! Twisty - Swirley - Coldy - Rainy - but FUN FUN FUN! Also saw where they set up and filmed Isengard - right next to the river.
Took a couple of short tramps through the woods - good to make you extra cold and wet, what with the mountain rains. But really, honestly LOTS of fun. Very glad I did it. Was lucky too - group of only 6 of us and the driver - not the usual 14.

In Wanaka, another pretty little town, nestled in the mountains, wrapped around a lake. Nice little drive, LOTS of photo-ops - which you KNOW I took advantage of.

Spending the night here and then heading up north... somewhere... wherever I feel like!

/likes being an independent woman who can change her mind whenever she darn well pleases!

I know I would like to see Mt. Cook - New Zealand's tallest mountain. And my final destination before flying back up north is Kaikoura - again ;)
But we'll see which way I take to get there :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Good News!

1. I have a job! I just found out I will be the new Open Borders Cultural Assistant. Sounds important, eh? Basically, Open Borders is a new program - just opened this year - where one floor of one hall is devoted to international students. The floor houses both international and American students - as room-mates. They learn about each other's cultures and countries. My position involves helping people to adjust to their new environment, a bit of programming (planning fun activities), and possibly a bit of web design. I'm REALLY EXCITED to be returning to my RA family!

2. I just received my grade in Standards of Effective Practice - the class where I've been writing papers related to what I've learne during my student teaching - and I got an A.

3. Dare I say it? I'm feeling a bit better today!

4. DOLPHINS! Bottle-nose to be exact, about 20 of them in Doubtful Sound. The trip was good, different from the Milford one. For Milford they drive you two hours, with a few sight-seeing stops, over a mountain pass to the boat and then you go for a cruise. The Doubtful Sound trip you start on a boat - get a tour as you cross Lake Manapouri. When you get to the other side they take you 2000 metres beneath a mountain for a look at the Manapouri Power Station. Then you go an hour over a mountain pass to another boat and this is the one which you cruise on through Doubtful Sounds. Doubtful Sounds is much bigger than Milford - so you can't see the entire thing - and it was really rainy and windy and the water was choppy so they didn't take us all the way out to the Tasman Sea this time - but we got to see it. We also saw some Fiordland Crested Penguins (same as I saw in Milford - the rarest penguins in the world) and my love of loves DOLPHINS! They were so much bigger than the Dusky one's I saw up in Kaikoura. The skipper started the boat and ran for about 30 seconds then stopped and the dolphins road the waves - jumping all around! AMAZING - I got one ok pic and one that could have been great if I had pointed the camera a bit to the left! DARN! I'm debating which is harder - taking pictures of bouncing kangaroos as you drift silently through the air in a hot air balloon - or - taking pictures of leaping dolphins as you bounce about the water in a boat.

Saturday, November 27, 2004


I really wish I was a poet or a great writer or something - so that I could wow you with words, to share with you the unbelievable beauty of Milford Sound.
I went on the Milford Wanderer, a sailing/motor ship (so I'm not big on boat types) but anyways - we're drifting through this river-like area - super clear water. On either side of us are towering mountains - climbing strait out of the water. We saw Fijordland Penguins and New Zealand fur seals.
So many waterfalls. On the drive up and in the sounds - More waterfalls than I've ever seen in my entire life.
Glaciers. I saw my first glacier! Hanging onto the side of a mountain for dear life - looks blue-ish - instead of white snow it's blue ice! Coooooooool!
The bus I went on - only 10 of us - a cozy group of people from England, India, Germany, one lady from NZ and myself. They all chatted with me and were very friendly. One group invited me to eat lunch with them :)

We were quite lucky - weather-wise - while it wasn't a bright sunshiney day it wasn't raining (until we were driving back). And it wasn't too windy or too cold either. Very lucky - smooth waters.

On the way back we saw a Kea. Hilarious. I totally get why they say, "Cheeky as a Kea." They love shiney things and aren't afraid of people. Hopped right onto the side mirror of a car and was checking the driver out through the window.

Still sniffling and sneezing and coughing - got almost no sleep last night. Gonna call it a day - early. Gotta shake this thing.

Glow Worms

Went up Lake Tanau yesterday - New Zealand's second largest lake. Out in the middle of nowhere we pulled into a little dock and headed down a trail to this very modern building. Inside we were educated about glow worms and the area. They took several small groups, mine was the last - least crowded ;) group to go. I was practically on my hands and knees to get in through the first part of the cave - felt a bit of panicy - claustrophobia for a second - especially when I thought about the size of the mountain that was on top of me at that exact moment... got over it with some deep breathing and trying to convince myself that even if another earthquake happened and even if I was under the mountain and even if it chose that exact moment to collapse - it'd be my time and at least I'd die in the most beautiful place on earth. All those if's helped ease my nerves :)

Anywho, glow worms. Icky slimey looking things from the video they showed us - in the light. But at night - or in the dark rather - awesome. You know you're in a boat, you know you're drifting up an underground river - but they look so much like little twinkly stars - sort of a blue hint - and you feel like it's the sky you're looking at and if you could just reach up you know you could touch the stars. An amazing feeling.
Also - waterfalls and the cave itself. And as the guide said, "Do you want to see my little Percy?" A tiny, 3 cm stalagtite :) Crazy old already - by human terms, but very young by earth terms.

Next up - Milford Sound.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Made it...

Finally made it to the mountains!
I'm in Te Anau atm - GORGEOUS little town - spread along the lake-front and surrounded by mountains.

Have quite a few pictures I'd like to upload, but can't upload them from this computer - will keep looking for a place where I can and I'll post here when I've added pics to My Photo Blog.

Thursday, November 25, 2004


So I just read Renee's Post and yum! Making me drool :)
This is the first time I've ever missed Thanksgiving entirely. Kinda suxors.
More so because I'm sick.
I delayed my trip into Doubtful Sounds for a few days and have decided to spend another night here in Invercargill. Trying to shake this nasty cold/flu/sore throat thing I picked up.
I want my mommy! I'm such a baby when I'm sick :P
Mostly just my throat hurting - especially when I cough. I'll survive though. It's almost 4pm and this is my first venture out of my room since yesterday evening.
Going ahead with the Glow Worm Caves tomorrow and then Milford Sound the next day - then picking up with DS.
No plans after that.
Except I absolutely HAVE to finish that paper for Standards of Effective Practice.
Bah gonna grab an early dinner/late lunch and crash out in my room.

Happy Thanksgiving - again :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Way down SOUTH

Writing to you from Stewart Island, New Zealand's third largest island and pretty much the furthest South I'm likely to ever go. Chilly and rainy here - coming straight from the Antartic :)

About to catch a ferry back to Bluff - spending the night in Invercargill and then up to Manipouri.
Feeling a bit sick atm - stuffy head, sore throat - BAH! Being sick and travelling - not my favourite combination.

Tomorrow I'm headed to Doubtful Sound for an over-night trip and then on to the Glow Worm caves in Te Anau and then to Milford Sound.

Looking forward to being in the mountains. I think I'll swing up by the glaciers - maybe a day or two - then head back east to Kaikoura. Really fell in love with that place.

Kind of looking forward to Christmas with the family - will still miss New Zealand and all my new friends here - love the family, don't get me wrong. It'll just be kind of bitter-sweet I guess. Hard to explain.

Uhm yum! Found some good stuff - Bundaberg Ginger Beer. It's a dry ginger ale type drink - it bites back, but it's super nummy :) Can really taste the ginger!
Sipping on one while I type and wait for the ferry.

Oh yeah! Happy Thanksgiving to you all.
Enjoy the turkey for me too!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Rushing through the country-side

I wondered around Dunedin.
Checked out a real-life Castle before I left.

Headed South today - went to Slope Point - the Southern-most point of the South Island.
I'm in Invercargill at the moment. Getting up bright-n-early to catch the ferry from Bluff to Stewart Island. New Zealand's third main Island. Then I'll have visited all three main Islands! I'm hoping to go to a bird sanctuary down there - maybe even catch a glimpse of a Kiwi! Then spending the night and coming back to Bluff on Thursday afternoon. Spending another night somewhere around here - then heading up for an overnight trip to Doubtful Sounds - the Glow Worm caves in Te Aunau and then over for a day in Milford Sound. Then the glaciers....
I really should find some links for these - but I'm a bit rushed at the moment.

If I have time at the end of the two weeks I'm going to head back up to Kaikoura - LOVED Kaikoura - in case you couldn't tell :)

Gotta run, they're going to kick me out of here, closing time ;)

Saturday, November 20, 2004


Was hard saying goodbye to all the kids - and the teachers, though I know I'll see them one more time. I've been invited back for the big barby on the last day of school.

Flew to Christchurch yesterday and drove down through Ashburton - stopped at the Ashford Homestead - saw lotsa fiber and lotsa wheels, drooled a bit. Lovely little building - great feel to it and a small room filled with all sorts of old Ashford wheels. They had an old steam train blowing away as I drove out of town - thought of Grandaddy JB.
Went on to Oamaru - GORGEOUS little old town. Spent the night there - saw a penguin colony - only one penguin. Tons of old buildings to see and a good-feeling town.

I still need to do that one last paper, but I'll manage.

Drove down to Dunedin today.
Spent the morning in the Otago museum - amazing place.
I saw their Everest exhibit - Did you know the guy who was the first one to climb Everest, Sir Edmund Hilary - is a Kiwi!? If you did you were one step ahead of me, I just learned that today. They had loads of exhibits and I spent about 3 hours strolling around there.
Oh and just outside, as I was going in - I met the biggest freaking dog I've ever seen - a St. Bernard named Avalanche - because he goes straight through things, not around them - and he weighs 85 kilos... BIGGEST freaking dog! Was so lovable, absolutely gorgeous! Let's put it this way - he came up to my belly button and I could just barely reach my arms around his chest. BIG! A leaner too! Like to have knocked me over :)

Strolled around Dunedin this afternoon - drove a bit too.
Just posting and checking emails while guy is making bookings for my tour of the sounds and Stewart Island - Nz's "Third Island" - and the glaciers... maybe - if I have time.

Dunedin has an old Scottish culture - lots of great buildings, including a castle which I'll go see tomorrow.

At this point I'm just hoping I can see everything I want to - without rushing myself too much.
I was going to go unplanned - hey I made it to the second day without planning.... :) But you know me /shrug

Less than a month and I'll be back home... not sure how I feel about that. Happy to see family and friends, sad to leave NZ and friends....
Anywho, I've got another few weeks before I have to think too hard on that one.

Hope all's well with you guys.
See you at the holidays!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

I made it!

I actually made it.
It's still sinking in, but I really made it.
I turned in all but one sheet of my paperwork to my advisor in NZ and I have one paper to finish up and send back to MN and I'll be done.
Well as soon as I take the third part of the Praxis II and get my license.


And I had a great birthday to boot!
Got a card from the parents and one from an aunt.
Got beautiful paua earrings from Anne and Kevin.
Lovely dinner with Anne, Kevin, and John.
Amazing handmade rimu box from Cole - he is so talented & a kiwi-pewter-key ring he also made.

Totally surprising.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Happy Birthday to Me

Lots of birthday wishes - 27 kids singing happy birthday to me - a surprise shared-lunch from the kids - my birthday and age posted on the staff message board :)

Good times.

Monday, November 15, 2004


Loads of fun at the school gala this past Saturday - got lots of sun, fun, a painting, and dunked by a bunch of kids.

Planning my South Island expedition and trying to finish up all my paperwork to turn in on Friday and my last two papers.

Getting ready to say goodbye to people here in Plimmerton - HARD. Really going to miss everyone. I am glad I'll be able to come back one more time before I go back to the states. I've been invited to the end-of-the-year barby and I'm planning on being here for that - to say goodbye to everyone.

Uhmmm.... looked into tickets for the folks - they're going to ride up with me to MN and then fly back home.

7am 10am 3pm 6pm Which one's best?
Just click on the Comments thing just below here and you can tell me... or wait until I call... or email... Choices!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Did you hear it?

The squeal of delight?

I received an email last night from my Dad informing me of my acceptance to grad school!
MN here I come :)
You just THOUGHT you were rid of me ;)

I'm so happy!
Lots of stuff to plan now. Luckily I've already made a few plans :)


1 week and 1 day of student teaching left
4 weeks of travelling around New Zealand
2 weeks at home for the Holidays
And then...
Back to school!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

You'll not be rid of me yet NZ!

I've managed to extend my stay in New Zealand until the 19th of December. I had decided early on that two weeks would not be enough time to see everything I wanted to, so I gave Hawaii the boot and will be spending the rest of my vacation time here! How cool is that?
I'll have two weeks and some change to check out the South Island and my tickets for down there and back are flexible. Whenever I'm done down there I will come back to the North Island and check out things up north - I still haven't seen hardly anything of the North Island.

I went to the Guy Forks fireworks display in Wellington on Friday night. 15 minutes to spend $90,000! They began with a helicopter circling around the harbour with a ring of fireworks going off below it - pretty fancy :)

I spent the majority of Saturday and Sunday working on my papers for my Standards of Effective Practice class. I only have two papers left! My mommy must be so proud :)

Oddly enough, that's all the news I have...
Hope all is well with ya'll!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Reaching out...

I was out at two different schools this week; one of the schools I checked out was of a different decile - economic class. I saw their new entrants and year 1 classes, ages 5-6 years old. They were cute but a little more needy than I'm used to - as they are at that age. At the other school I saw a year 7/8, a year 5/6, and a year 3/4. I've also been into a year 3/4 classroom at my school. I am working on going to see some other teachers rooms as well at this school. It's time for me to go outside my little 7/8 world - my 'comfort zone.' Tis a great way to get new ideas and a feel for kids at other ages and what they need. So far it has only confirmed my desire to teach in the year 3 - 6 or grade 3 - 5 (maybe 6). They're a bit more independent than the young ones, but not as 'attitudinal' as the older kids.
I only have two weeks of student teaching left! Eeeeep! and then two weeks to travel around NZ > I've just bought my tickets to fly down to Christchurch and then I'll rent a car and drive around down there for the majority of the two weeks.

Wow, I just realized how many numbers are in this post :)

I'm still waiting to hear about my acceptance to grad school.
I'm also waiting to hear if it is possible to stay here a bit longer - I contacted my travel agent in MN and asked him to look into it.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Thank goodness that's over with!
I was just observed by my NZ University Supervisor. She said the school is very happy with me, she liked what she saw, and I won't have to be observed again!
That's a WAHOOOOOO moment!

I am so happy. That's one huge weight off my shoulders.
And thanks to the kids who were so well behaved!

I've been celebrating birthdays, 3 of them; the lady I live with, her boyfriend, and his son.
I went to a photography club meeting the other night with Cole - There was a presenter from the lcoal museum. He showed us an hour and 15 minute slide show from his trip to Burma /grin Alan = I've got lots of questions for you now!

Two weeks of student teaching left.
Four weeks in NZ.

Saturday, October 23, 2004


After a very tiring day on Thursday - tramping from 10:30am - 3:20pm with only a 30 minute break, through the mountains/hills around Winuiomata - I caught the ferry down to Picton. I spent the night at a lovely hostel and then picked up a rental car on Friday morning and drove the 2 hours to Kaikoura. What an awesome drive! I was winding through the hills and thinking to myself "Ah pretty scenery - a bit different from the Wellington area - not bad." Then I came around a curve and up a little hill when *BOOM* there's the most magestic mountain I've ever seen - still snow-capped and glowing in a sunny days radiance. 'Hello Aspen' it says to me and it literally took my breath away. I was so surprised and happy to see it peeking out through the hilles. I've always felt at home in the mountains - that's why I've always seen myself living in Colorado, Wyoming, or Montana. As I drove along further the rest of the range revealed itself. I was enjoying them until they went back behind some hills. I came over a quite steep hill and there - sandwiched between to green hills *BAM* the ocean. Blue and bluey-green, smiling and sparkling. Down the hill and I can see them both - mountains and ocean - both amazingly beautiful - both nature at her finest. Which to look at? Which do I feel pulling me more? Eventually the mountains won out - but the ocean gave it a run for it's money. I still feel a sense of awe and new-ness when I look at the ocean. It's so different from anything I've ever lived by. Even in Wellington the house faces the bay - not the open ocean.

If there is such a place as heaven on earth - I have found it. 'Kaikoura, where the mountains meet the ocean.' And they do.
The scenery is beautiful in itself - but if that wasn't enough to stun my senses, it is also an amazing place to see cetaceans (whales and dolphins). Friday noon I went out on a whale watching boat and we saw an amazing number of sperm whales - usually you only see one or two, but we saw a dozen or so. The coast here always has whales and dolphins and seals. It has something to do with the southern currents and the northern currents meeting, not too far off shore, and the deepest cavern (underwater) closest to the shore. The sperm whales can dive deeper than any other whale and they feed off giant squid, until recently thought to be only a myth. The squid live down in the cavern. The sperm whale is also the largest toothed whale.
See - it was a learning experience as well!

I also took a drive through the country-side where, on a dirt road, I had to stop suddenly as I rounded a curve for a flock of sheep, 5 sheepdogs, and a man on a motorbike to clear the road. They weren't just crossing the street - they were actually running down it. He was a nice guy and I chatted with he and his wife for a bit - saw a baby lamb, only two weeks old - and a litter of kittens who were only a week old!

I went down to Christchurch - though the drive wasn't as spectacular as the one from Picton to Kaikoura.

This morning, Sunday, I went on a dolphin watching boat and there were about 50 Dusky Dolpins out. They were jumping and looking up at us and riding in front of the boat. It was SO cool! This afternoon I took a helicopter ride out and saw two more sperm whales - from the sky you can see their entire bodies, but from the boat you only see about 2/3 rds of their bodies - they dive down for 45 mins or so and are only on the surface for about 7-8 minutes. Before they dive they hunch their backs and then you see the infamous tail shot. Often they leave behind their 'footprints' a smooth circular patch of water - where the air and the water are calm for just a bit.

I have to head back up to Picton tomorrow, but I might find something to do tomorrow morning, and then take my time going back up. I catch the 9:30 pm ferry back to Wellington - get there at 12:30 am and have to drive back to where I'm staying - oh and school on Tuesday morning. I'll be really tired, but it has definitely been worth it!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Update 3.1

I survived my first two weeks of official sole charge. I've completed that portion of my requirements. I'm doing an additional three days this week - one down two to go.

I am SO excited about this weekend. I'm going down to Kaikoura on a whale watching boat - I realllllly hope I get to see some whales. This is something I've wanted to do since I can remember - see a whale and/or dolphin in its natural habitat. How awesome it must be!
I'll take the ferry down Thursday night, a 3 hour trip through the Marlborough Sounds down to the South Island. Haven't been to the South Island yet. That'll be another first!

We're taking the year 7's and 8's (7 and 8 grade) over to a local mountain range for a big tramp - hike. 4 teachers, 1 student teacher, a handfull of parents, and over a 100 kids - It should be interesting.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Cool and teacher, in the same sentence?

"You listen to cool music Miss Easterling."
hehe had to chuckle at that one :)
My kids caught me listening to The Darkness.

Today is my last day of official 'sole charge' that I am required to do. Which means after I brush up the planning for the last two weeks "she'll be mint" (Kiwi saying). In any case I won't be spending hours every night writing extremely detailed lesson plans. Maybe now I can even finish up those 6 papers I have due by the end of the term *cough*

Uhm hope Alan is feeling better, poor guy!

Uhm yeah... that's pretty much it. Just had 5 minutes to kill before class started.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

I'm not a walking curse... I swear...

Since I arrived in New Zealand the following illnesses have befallen those closest to me:
- My first week of student teaching was done with a sub because my cooperating teacher fell ill with tonsillitis.
- Five weeks into my stay the lady I am living with became violently ill and has since had her gallbladder removed. She is now going in about a lump in her thyroid.
- Today, my cooperating teacher was out with a concussion.

I mean honestly people…

I missed three days of class because I was very sick as well… but that was foreign bugs ya know?

I feel horrible about everyone getting sick, but surely it’s not because of me? Hehe yeesh I bring bad vibes or something :(

I’m almost done with my second week of sole charge, and today I was totally by myself! They didn’t call in a reliever because I was here! I didn’t know they could do that!

The planning is a pain, I spend two-three hours a night just typing up lesson plans. They have to be very detailed for my University supervisor – to prove I know how to do them.

Uhm… gotta run, meeting time!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Not so bad...

I made it through my first week of sole charge.
After a very serious lecture on respect on Wednesday afternoon my students chilled a bit. I was exhausted by the end of the week, but an early night on Friday and a late morning on Saturday proved just what I needed.
The kids were well behaved today and I'm actually feeling pretty good about the next week and a half.

So never mind my whining - I was just tired and a bit grumpy :)

I've made plans to go down to Kaikoura - taking a 4 day weekend - from October 22-25th. Whale watching! Wahoo! Working out the details now, but hopefully on Friday I'll be saying 'Thar she blows!'

Went Sunday to an animal sanctuary, will post some pictures soon.

Uhm... that's about it.
*poke Aya* Be home next time I call, would ya?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Would you like some cheese with that whine?

I remember being a pre-teen.
I hated being a pre-teen.
Early teens weren't any better than being a pre-teen.
I never wanted to relive my days as a pre-teen.
I'm in a class with 27 pre-teens.
Because I have to.


I don't wanna!

Sassy and self-centered. That pretty much describes them on a bad day.
Wonderful, funny, smart, hard-working. That describes them on a good day.

Why can't every day be a good day?

I'm finding the load of paperwork involved in being a teacher quite stressful. And I'm not even in charge of ALL the paperwork - there are still some things my supervising teacher must do herself - I'm just in charge of all the planning and teaching for the next two and a half weeks.

It was going to be just two but I bargained to take three extra days of sole charge so I could have a 4-day weekend to go whale-watching on the South Island.

Nevermind me. It's not so bad really, I'm just exhausted and slightly annoyed at having to give 11 - 13 year olds a lecture on respecting me, their teacher - temporary or not. They have so much potential, can be funny, and very well behaved - but they've been pushing me every second for the past three days and quite frankly I'm sick of it. And after today they know it. Hopefully my lecture will have made a difference... if not... I don't know what I'll do.

It's now 5:30pm
I've been here since 8:00am
I need to go make some copies for tomorrow, find a ride home, sit down and do another 2 hours of planning for tomorrow - then probably pass out - wake up at 6:00am ready to go again.

Anyone else in favor of an international mandate for 4-day weekends?

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Good Old New Zealand

It's good to be back. I wish I could say home... I would make New Zealand my home, if I could. Maybe one day it will be... you never know!

I enjoyed my night at the Opera! Was awesome! I understood maybe 10 words of the entire thing of course, but the music was beautiful and made me think of the movie Oscar - The Barber of Seville is where the Figaro song came from.

Thursday flew by really, then I was up early on Friday to catch my plane. It boarded 20 minutes late, we sat on the tarmac for an hour and a half before we took off, and then three very bumpy hours later we landed - an hour through customs and I was free!

Saturday I slept in and then got to work on planning for this week at school - my first week of sole charge. Saturday night I went down to Wellington with a few girls and we went club-hopping - another new adventure. I slept in Johnsonville at a friend’s house and was picked up Sunday morning for another new adventure. I went to Ngawi to see the seals! SO INCREDIBLY CUTE! And they're RIGHT THERE > I got within 10 feet of them. You don't want to go right up next to them because they're pretty territorial, but they let you get that close before they start barking at you. Took lots of pictures, which I will post as soon as possible. Had an awesome day – picnic by the beach. It was gorgeous and I loved seeing the seals – LONG drive though.

Today was my first day of sole charge. Just me and 27 kids… It wasn't easy, but it wasn't horrible. I'm glad to have the first day over and done with and I'm looking forward to seeing the kids reactions as they realise that I'm it. I'm what they get.
Their regular teacher is out and about doing other things all day, leaving just me in the classroom. She is wonderful in helping me plan though! I'd be lost without her :) But when it comes to teaching, I'm the one who is in charge - for the next two weeks.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

More than I expected

Yesterday I hopped on a bus to Circular Quay and took a ferry around the harbour - it was a little cloudy, so the pictures aren't the best, but it was very interesting and quite enjoyable. I then walked over to the aquarium, where I took lots of pictures - to be found on My Photo Blog. After the aquarium I wandered around the harbour area and then walked up to the Sydney Tower where I did the Sky Tour - an amusement park - like ride that tells you all about Australia - and then I took the ride up to the top (almost) of the tower. Awesome view of Sydney. I then had dinner in the restraunt which goes around and around and around... that was a new one - dinner in the clouds. Literally.
Today I walked around a bit, did a few errands, then headed down to the Opera House. I got tickets for Twelfth Night, which I just got back from. Loved it. They had the actors in modern clothing - with a few other modern changes, but it was pretty true to Shakespeare. And! I didn't know this but Jonathan Hardy, the voice of Rygel from Farscape - mom and I had JUST had a discussion about Farscape! Irony! Was an awesome play - and then... I wound up hopping a bus with one of the lead actors. Uhm who knew actors took buses? *boggle* I kept it on the dl though ;) But it was cool to have a brush with stardom :)
I also have tickets for an opera tomorrow night - The Barber of Seville, an Italian Opera - and I got front row seats!
And now... to bed and to rest - for another days adventures - before I return to New Zealand.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Faking it

I've gotten really good at faking it.
I've adapted the "Don't mess with me kid" - teacher look I've been working on for the classroom – for roaming the streets of Sydney. It seems to work pretty well. Nobody has bothered me yet - except for the Red Cross guy wanting me to donate blood.
I've spent the last couple of days walking around down-town Sydney - amaaaazing the things you see. For example, there is a fettish shop right around the corner from my hotel and next to that is the gay-male strip club. These are things you wouldn't necessarily find in my home town... at least I don't think you would. I’ve certainly never seen them. You need to go into Dallas or Ft. Worth I think.
Sydney is probably a very typical Big City. Though I must admit my encounters with BIG Cities has been limited – much by choice. I was in New York for a week, but I was with my high school, so everywhere we went we were somewhat sheltered.
But yeah, see lots of interesting things here. Keeps me entertained, that’s for sure.

On Sunday evening I saw The Lion King and it was awesome! I love the way they made the puppets become part of the actors. Truly amazing. And the music... /happy sigh
Even had a guy from the new Star Wars movies; JAY LAGA'AIA (Captain Typho) who plays Mufasa. Who knew he could sing? :)

I had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe today.

Other than that I’ve been taking it easy, sleeping in, enjoying not having to do anything. Being able to decide what to do as I go – VERY unlike me. I must admit.... I broke down today and made a list.
/hangs head in shame
I had to do it! I had absolutely no drive to do anything and there are several things here I’d like to do; Aquarium, Opera House, Tower (like Space Needle), Harbour Cruise – Day and Night. That’s the extent of my list... and I have three and a half days to do it in.... soooo... Time to get busy again!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Did you say Pictures?

I've just posted 20 pictures from the past week.
To see the site go to My Photo Blog
Hope you enjoy!

PS I'm in Sydney now. I slept almost 11 hours last night/this morning. Trying to catch up from a wild and crazy week in Cairns. I really don't have any plans for the next week - except for going to see the matinee of The Lion King tomorrow! Otherwise I'm going to go with the flow. I know I want to see the Aquarium and maybe take a tour of the Sydney Opera House. Oh and they have cruises around the harbour. I think after the past couple of weeks I deserve a nice break. So I maybe I'll head down to Bondi Beach, sit around and do absolutely nothing!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

I did it!

/pats self on back!
I did it Aya! I went Parasailing over the Great Barrier Reef yesterday! I caught a boat out to Green Island and went snorkling and then Parasailing. The view was amazing - water, island, reef, mountains!
This morning I went up in a hot air balloon, my favorite activity yet... well tied with helicopter... no better than helicopter. I'd say Balloon, Helicopter, Scuba... yeah... It's hard to rate them though, they've all been amazing. But on the balloon I saw Kangaroo hopping about in the wild - which was just awesome.
I met a guy from Switzerland this morning, Andre and a guy from South Africa, Johan. Both worked for the Hot Air Balloon place, both very nice guys. I had a talk with Andre about living so far from home... *cough* for future reference ;)
I've taken loads of pictures this week, but haven't had a way to upload them yet. I'll do it asap.
I have a few hours to kill now before I catch a plane back to Sydney, time to hit the tourist shops downtown and maybe go for one last drive. I still can't believe I've learned to drive on the left side of the road - scaaaary!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Trains, Buses, Koalas, and Kangaroos - Oh My!

Yesterday I took a train ride up a mountain to the town of Kuranda - very touristy place. I went to an aviary and then hopped on a bus which took me to a rainforest area. I petted a Kangaroo, CUTENESS! Through a Boomerang. Had an introduction into Aboriginal culture; didgeredoo, spear throwing, dance, etc. Took a sky-rail back down the mountain. Had dinner at an Indian restraunt where I met a guy from Wyoming and his Aussie wife & their adorable 2 1/2 year old son.

Found out this morning I have a new baby cousin! Marshall Thomas! Woot woot! Can't wait to see pictures!

Today I'm going to hang out at the beach. Tomorrow is another reef cruise to Green Island - they have sea turtles! Really hope I see some :) Friday morning I have a hot-air balloon ride and then I fly back to Sydney on Friday evening.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Traveling a Land Down Under...

Starting my 4th day in Australia, or Oz as the Kiwi's say.
I spent one day walking around Sydney and then flew up to Cairns. Yesterday I was a major tourist - I went on a bus ride up to Port Douglas, then a boat ride out to the reef, out on the ocean they have this floaty thing with stuff to do. I did a helicopter ride for 15 mins over the reef - front seat! - and then into a semi-submersable submarine, then scuba for an hour! Was far out! My fave would have to be the heli, followed closely by scuba.
Today I'm off to see the rainforest, with a train ride and a sky tram thingy.
Gotta run!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

So much to blog, so little time

Almost 6 full weeks in New Zealand, with almost 5 full weeks of Student Teaching under my belt.

What an experience. All sorts of things have been happening; good, bad, and in between. I was sick last week and missed three days of class, Tues-Thurs.
Our school is doing a production this week, well half the school, with over 230 kids involved. I'm working backstage, doing microphones and trying to keep the kids in order, on stage at the right time, and whatnot. It's a lot of fun, excellent experience, but so incredibly tiring. I am always at school around 8 am and home by 6 ish, but with production I have to go back at 6:50 and am not home until after 9:30pm. Makes for a very long day. But! Really and truely, a good experience. I am enjoying it.

The lady I am staying with, Anne, went into the hospital on Sunday morning. She'd been sick all night and was having terrible tummy pains. Turns out she had gallstones and an infection in her galbladder. She's been in the hospital since, it's Weds afternoon here. They may let her out tomorrow night/evening.

I've had several more firsts... Don't think I'll tell about all of them *cough* most have been good though. I've been hanging out with Andrew a lot, but he's going back down to the South Island next Saturday, and I will only see him for two more days.
I leave Saturday morning to go to Sydney for a night - then fly to Cairns for a week, then back to Sydney for the rest of my holiday. I fly back to New Zealand on Friday, October 1st. I'm looking forward to a one-day cruise of the Great Barrier Reef, a rainforest walk, and who knows what else!
I'm sad he's going. We keep each other entertained :) It will be quiet when I get back from my trip. But! I do have several short trips planned around New Zealand. John is taking me to Taupo, a crater lake north of here, to go camping. He also took me out fishing again, last Saturday, on the rocks. A new experience, lots of standing and dodging the spray, but good. I saw dive-bombing seagulls! It's cool to watch them go under, you think they'd need to come up for air soon, but they keep after their prey until the emerge with a juicy fish of some sort.

So many incredible experiences, in such a seemingly short time. All the people, the place, the entire feeling of the last six weeks - and I'm sure the next nine. I don't want to leave. I won't want to leave. I must find a way to come back.
I'm hoping that after I have my masters, in two years (please?), I will be back in New Zealand, teaching. A lot can happen between now and then, and who knows if I will ever return. But honestly, I can't imagine not coming back. I could really see myself living here. And I've only been around Wellington. Wait til I hit the South Island, Whales, Penguins, Dolphins, Mountains, Fiordland... /sigh... I wanna go now!

Hope everyone at home is doing well. I managed to sneak a peek at Aya's blog just now. Sounds like all is going well for her! Makes me happy :) I need to talk to you chicky... I'll try to find time to call you during my Aussie trip.
Renee, good to hear from you :) will try to sneak a peek at your blog soon.
Thanks for the bagpipe link too Aya.
Gotta run. Need to eat lunch before the bell!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Week 3

Its crazy being so far from home - so out of touch with the world as you know it.
New Zealand is such a small country, and it seems so very far from home at times. Yet it has an admirable quality about it. It seems younger and more innocent than America. I'm living in a suburb of Wellington and everyone here is so laid back. Many of the daily stressors which affect us in the states simply do not exist here.

How many states are there in America/The United States?
I challenge you to ask this question of every person in every foreign country (outside Canada and Mexico) and see what they say. Every person, except one, has answered 52. Craaaaaaaaaazy!

I've been doing quite a bit of teaching. Some of it has been my own planning and some has been just gradually taking the lead when my cooperating teacher has been tied up with something else. I have just completed my third week of student teaching and I can see an enormous change in the way the students relate to me. I have gone from being the cool foreigner to the cool foreigner who is respected by the students. I love that I have been developing my own teaching style. I am INCREDIBLY lucky that the structure, set in place by my cooperating teacher, fits me so well. She is very strict/stern with the kids, expects respectful behavior at all times, and likes a quiet classroom. She's done all the hard work, in setting the standard of what is expected. All I had to do was come in and learn her cues. The kids have decided that I am someone to be reckoned with! But they also can have fun with me and often ask me about America. Their favorite question is "Do you know (insert name of someone famous)?" Not "Have you heard of __?" but do I know them... they crack me up!

In short, I'm really enjoying my time here. I've started researching what it would take for me to get a job here. It's looking like a real possibility.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Week 2 is Over

Yes! I've made it through my second week of student teaching.

I had my first evaluation, by my cooperating/supervising teacher, and it went quite well. She pointed out a lot of positive things I did and gave me some very helpful recommendations for things I can work on in the future. She's been SO incredibly supportive and because of her I haven't been nervous about teaching or lesson planning. I'm learning a great deal from her.

I'm going to a party tonight. The Deputy Principal of the school is throwing a shin-dig at her new home and she's invited all the staff. I'm excited about that, it should be a blast.

You'd think I'd have loads to write about. Maybe my poor brain is just tired of processing information. I can't think of anything terribly exciting to tell you.

I can say that I'm having the time of my life. I'm usually tired by the end of the school day, but it is a good tired. I think the constant energy of the kids and having to always look around and see & hear all, is the main drain on my energy. But! The kids are good and the other teachers are good. I've had lots of invitations to see other classrooms, though I've only made it to one other so far. There has also been a recommendation that I go see some of the other schools in the area.

I might go fishing again tomorrow night, depending on the weather. I'm definitely going over to J's place to watch a movie - Star Wars Return of the Jedi is on.

The most excitement I have outside of school is a guy I'm living with. Let me rephrase - I'm boarding in the same place as him - the one who loves to give me a hard time. We keep each other entertained.

I finally had time to read Aya's blog. WOOT Metallica & WOOT sleep-overs on the farm :) Sounds like you're having all sorts of fun. Hopefully you find time to sleep during training - as I recall that was a bit difficult last year.

Hope all my American friends & family are doing well. I miss you guys.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Greetings from New Zealand

The last two weeks have FLOWN by and I've been drowning in new experiences.

I spent the first week getting settled in and accustomed to the time difference. i explored the area a bit and learned the train system - since it's my only means of independent travel. I've finally adjusted to driving on the left side of the road... that took longer to get used to than I expected. I bought a New Zealand Oxford Dictionary so I could learn the slang words - there's hundreds of them. I told the lady I'm living with I appreciated her patience in answering my questions... they seemed endless there for a while. There's also another teacher from the school living their and a younger (21) guy who's sole purpose in life since I arrived is to give me a hard time. I think I'm finally getting the idea of what it must be like to have a little brother! His favorite thing is to turn the light off when I'm in the shower - the light switch is just outside the bathroom door. /sigh... He's a boy.

I've posted some pictures of my surroundings on My Photo Blog so feel free to have a good look.

The people have been very welcoming and I've made myself at home.

My first week of student teaching proved to be a bit more adventuresome than I had counted on. My cooperating teacher was out sick Monday - Thursday, leaving me with a sub. At one point, on Thursday morning, I was left alone with the kids for 45 minutes. THAT was interesting! The kids were a bit rowdy, as kids are when their teacher is away... but that's alright. I think they're really a good bunch and I'm looking forward to the next 11 weeks.

Today we're off for a field trip to a local "college," which is like their high school. The kids are getting their first look at a science laboratory. Speaking of, I need to get ready for the day.

I hope all of you are well, enjoy your day!

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Today is the day...

Ten hours to go...

To all my friends and family I won't be in contact with for the next four months, farewell! You can always reach me by email.

Take care & enjoy your concerts and what-not ;)

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Sleepless in Texas

Ugh! I'm so excited about my trip I can hardly sleep... literally!

Three days left and I'm averaging 4 hours of sleep a night. Not quite the 8-9 my body desires. I have a feeling I'll sleep on the plane and then for a day when I get there.

I called the Graduate Studies office to ask if they received my application online and the lady said they had. She also told me I should be receiving something in a day or two... does that mean by mail or internet? I should have asked but I was shocked to hear her say I would find out so soon. So I might actually know whether I'm accepted in the next day or so... before I leave! Woot!

I just finished a book by Hilari Bell called Flame. It is the first in a new series she is writing called The Book of Sorahb and I rather enjoyed it. It starts out kind of slow but midway through the book it gets going and then she leaves you hanging - big time at the end. I can't wait for the next one to come out! I checked Amazon and they say the next one, Wheel, doesn't come out until next May and apparently it's a trilogy. I'm still waiting for the 6th book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince which they have not set a release date for. Series books are evil! They get you wrapped in and then keep you waiting for the next installment! Hmmm... evil but soooo good!

Check out my About Aspen page for updates :)

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Movies, Movies, Movies

I just got back from an advanced screening of the movie Without A Paddle and it was freaking hilarious. Best part was it was free!

I also saw The Village the other day and it was really good also.

Bought Hidalgo but haven't watched it yet, on account of the free movie thing.

4 days left.

Pssst Aya... there are signs all around...

Monday, August 02, 2004

5 days and 1 til Hidalgo

5 days left til I leave.

A list of things to do before I go, though the list is dwindling.

Hidalgo comes out tomorrow and I will definitely be buying that one! Loved it.

Getting nervous about the trip and beginning my student teaching. I think everything will work out but it's a big-important-step, the last in getting my bachelors degree.

Nothing else to report. Just wanted to update the countdown :)

Friday, July 30, 2004

8 days left & The Blue Moon's A Rising>

That's right, just 8 days left until I fly down under.

I also made a huge decision the other day. I had been debating back and forth whether to go straight back to grad school or to go teach for a couple of years and get some real-life experience first. I finally decided to go back to grad school now, while I'm still in the student-mind-set. I have applied for the grad program back in MN at my soon-to-be alma mater.
As soon as I made the decision I was happy - instant weight off my chest. Of course that lasted about two minutes - then I started thinking of all the paper work involved and all the other things I needed to do to move back up north - and I realized I had less than a week and a half to do it in. I'm doing pretty good though - checking things off the lists and such. It will get done.

Now I'm off to see The Village with a friend.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

13 Days

The countdodwn continues.

Puppy land is less crazy - Kodi has taken to me and I have been working on potty training still. He's doing pretty well :)

I am down to the last-minute preparations and there are still quite a few of those. My parents are helping because they've agreed to help with the mail and what-not that comes in after I leave.

I'm starting to get nervous. I was laying there trying to go to sleep and I kept thinking of "What if this and that?"

I spent three days visiting my Grandmother in East Texas. She's holding up pretty well, though she still gets sad from time to time. We shared memories of my grandfather which led to chuckles and a few tears.

I have lunch plans in a bit to see some friends and I have lunch plans on Monday and Wednesday to see different friends. Plus a Saturday lunch date with my aunt. I still need to go by and see my friends from the City.

Yeesh! But! I'm glad I'm loved.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

22 Days

Less than one month.... EEEEEP!
I've got so much to do before I leave and I'm getting nervous about student teaching and going overseas by myself.

Kodi (puppy) is SO cute and SO lovable but he is SUCH a handful. He's not house-broken/potty trained and ugh is that a mess. It's been over 15 years since we've had a puppy and I had completely forgotten what a mess they are. Like right now - it's horribly hot outside and he just came in from going potty (hopefully) and he's panting away but he insists on laying on my foot and leaning against me - and I'm warm. hehehe Silly puppy.

I've been tearing up the house... not quite literally... trying to get rid of a bunch of stuff - purging is healthy - in an attempt to give us a guest room again. It had turned into this massive storage room with piles of boxes almost as tall as me. Since Aya IS coming to stay this Dec. *nudge* I need to be sure there is room for her - and I won't have the time (nor the energey) when I get back from my big adventure. See what I do for my friends *grin*

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Busy Beaver

I made it back to Texas with my mom. We left Friday morning and got home Sunday at noon. There were lots of stops along the way - including the Birthplace of John Wayne. Did you know he weighed 13 lbs at birth?! I told my mom she just THOUGHT she had it bad with me at 10 lbs 10 oz! He wound up being 6'4" too... I stopped at 6' 1"
We also stopped at this huge barn full of dried flowers and saw one of the bridges of Madison County. Who knew they were in Iowa?

With less than a month to go before NZ I'm making the rounds already. When you live in a place for 23 years you make a lot of friends and have a lot of family to say hello and goodbye to. I'm thinking the rest of my summer is going to fly by.

Thanks to Aya and her cousin for helping me come up with more useless facts about myself for my About Me page.

Monday, June 28, 2004

About me

I'm working on a list, like the one Aya has added to her blog under her About Me section. The list is going well, though the linking is creating some problems :/

Friends, Lists & Changes

Our English writer friend went back home last Friday - it was a good week, though both she and Aya were exhausted by the end.

Saturday afternoon I received a call from two of my friendly ra fellows who were here for a visit. Had lunch and dinner with them and they stayed over for fireworks, smores, and fun. Love those two :) I already miss them so much.

Danger... New Hobby!
For graduation Aya bought me a scrapbooking kit... uh huh... addiction! I started on it yesterday and OMG it is so much fun. I love organizing and making things pretty - add to it the fact that I get to do both these things with stuff that means a lot to me and DING DING DING! We have a winner. I could really get into this. You can bet there will be multiple scrapbooks after my Fall 2004 adventures!

I have less than two weeks left in beautiful MN. Beautiful MN... there's something I would never have said five years ago, prior to my first visit here. I love everything up here, the trees, the lake, the weather, the people, the school... For the first time in my life I fit in... in every aspect; school, work, friends... I've had one or two of these at a time, but never all three. Now I'm spoiled. I want this to continue in my life and of course there are no guarantees of this. I hope that makes sense... Basically I've enjoyed my three years here immensely and I'm very sad to be leaving.

Happily I have much to look forward to in the near future - hopefully that will ease my separation anxiety!

PS: trying something new with the link/title options... hope it works!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Meet the Puppy & Ode to Paperwork

Meet Kodiak, aka Kodi. (SEE LINK OF THE DAY)
He's a three month old Belguim Groenendael Shepard, aka Belgium Sheepdog. Isn't he adorable!!!
/loves puppies
I can't wait to go home and meet him!

I just need to keep reminding myself that I am excited about my trip. It seems like every piece of paper I turn in results in another one or two.. hehe they're multiplying! I really shouldn't complain though because people who are going to Australia for their student teaching have a lot more work than I do! Speaking of... I need to see exactly what it takes for me to get a visitors visa/pass thingy to get into Australia since I'm going there for two weeks. Hmmmm.

Our guest is still with us, she's staying all this week as Aya participates in this writer's conference at school. I've been doing paperwork, reading, sorting through my stuff, cooking and cleaning, taking the dogs for walks, etc... trying to keep myself entertained all week while they are gone. I've been doing a pretty good job of staying busy :)
I had this HUGE list of things to do and I'm slowly, but surely weeding it down to nonexistence!
Mwahahaha no list is safe with me :)

And this weekend I have a couple of friends coming up from the cities, very exciting. It's the last chance I'll have to see them until next January or so... when I come back to MN to finish the Praxis II test... Speaking of... ish... I don't want to know the scores of my tests I took a couple of weeks ago /sigh

Oooooh! Some more exciting news. I have it on good authority that I am pretty much guaranteed a job when I go home. If nothing else I can find a substitute or possibly interum position. It's just too bad that MN doesn't need teachers as badly as TX, because I would MUCH rather live up here in MN!

Saturday, June 19, 2004

The countdown has begun...

I'm testing a few changes I made to my blog, adding a title and link part to my blog - the link is to Aya's new Master's thesis blog.

I received my new laptop yesterday! Woohooo! It's what I'm using now and it's a nice-a computer!

I've decided to start the countdown to New Zealand today! I leave in 1 month and 3 weeks, give or take a few days. In any event, that's less than TWO months! I can hardly control my excitement.
On the downside that leaves me only 1 and 1/2 weeks left til my dear mommy comes to bring me back to Texas. Those mixed feelings are overwhelming sometimes. I'm excited but nervous, happy but sad, etc. It'll be an adventure though!

Hope your summer is treating you well.

Blog ya later!

Friday, June 11, 2004

Dude! I'm getting a Dell.
I ordered a laptop for my big trip! Weeeeeee!

Oh, and OUCH ! ! !
1 hour outside on a cloudy day + neon-white chicky = BIG sunburn.
I know better than that :(
Thank God for Aloe Vera!

Yesterday the local telephone/internet/cable provider put on a big to-do; free dinner, door prizes, guest gifts, entertainment. There was a band, bagpipers, cello group, balloon animals, hair beading, face-painting, magician, Clifford the big red dog, and Mr. McFeely from Mr. Rogers Neighborhood! I got his autograph and my picture taken with him :) I remember watching that show as a child - one of my favorties.

The dreaded test is tomorrow morning and UGH! is all I can say about that.

Aya's mom and grandparents left on a trip to see the Rockies this morning, leaving Aya and I to take care of the house and assorted pets. I'm looking forward to next week, it should be nice and quiet around here. Maybe I'll steal the dogs away to the state park!

Time to go take some pain medicine and pack on the Aloe :/

Have a good weekend all!

Monday, June 07, 2004

In, Out, Up, Down, All Around...

I've been a bit busy lately:

*Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban

*The Day After Tomorrow

(Both well worth my $4.50 :)

*More cleaning and rearranging - going through my things and deciding what goes to storage and what goes with me.

*Enjoying the outdoors, sunning myself and wishing I could move back up here instead of Texas.

*Hanging out with friends and thinking about how I'll miss them and wishing I could move back up here instead of Texas.

*Playing some PS2.

*READING! Finally finishing two books I had started this Spring semester and starting on a few others I've been wanting to read for a while now.

*Studying for the dreaded Praxis II tests which are THIS Saturday - trying not to have a panic attack about them.

*Pricing my trip to Australia, New Zealand, & Hawaii. There is absolutely no way I could do this without the money I received from the accident in which my grandmother was killed. I've known for years that it was coming but never knew what I'd do with it. Now, I have no doubt that my grandmother would have wanted me to use it for this trip. She loved to travel herself and of all the things to use it on, finishing my degree and enjoying an amazing trip have got to be worth it. Though I know this, it still makes me a little sad.

The vet had to do exploratory surgery on Lux to find out what exactly was going on with him. Apparently he got into something toxic or ate a pill off the ground... something. His liver is all icky and they're having to force-feed him and praying it stays down. If he makes it through this and they can get his liver settled down he'll be ok... but he has a 50/50 chance of making it through this.... Poor baby :( /sigh

This 8am - 6pm shift with no break is turning out to suck more than I thought. The first six hours flew by as I kept busy cleaning and such. But even I can only spend a few hours staring a a computer screen before I start seeing dots. Add to that the fact that this room, with 40+ running computres, on the 4th floor, doesn't seem to have a working air conditioner.

Yup... all updated now.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Ups and Downs

I've said it before and I'll say it again; Life is a rollercoaster.

I'm so excited about New Zealand, I really don't have words to express how happy I am and how much I am looking forward to this amazing opportunity. I received an email today from my principal and I'll be in a class of 4th-5th graders (by American standards). He gave me an email address for my cooperating teacher so I can beging talking with her and he also provided information about housing.

While talking to my parents yesterday they told me that one of our kitty cats, Luxor, is very sick so that's a big downer. There are other things, but I won't bring it all up now. I'm going to focus on the happy stuff so the other things don't bring me down.

Here is a picture of Lux :)

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Bought my plane tickets yesterday and I was floating on cloud nine the rest of the day... until 2am!

I'm going to New Zealand - then Australia for a two-week break - back to New Zealand - then stopping in Hawaii for a week before coming back home.


Friday, May 28, 2004

I don't think the life of relaxation agrees with me. I've been much too bored.
Aya and I have been cleaning house, fixing up a few things around the house, running errands, and playing Scrabble (that was me last night *sigh*). But most and Champions of Norrath on PS2... hours and hours... yes... we've been THAT bored.
Luckily school starts back next week; she has a class and I have a job.
In other news, my mother is flying up here in July so she can drive back with me. She just couldn't stand the thought of her baby driving all the way back to TX by herself :)
I'm excited to show her around - since she didn't see ANYTHING when she was here for graduation :( Being sick suxors.
Ten weeks. 10 weeks... and I will be in New Zealand! It seems very unrealistic. Surely something will happen - I don't have my plane tickets yet - going today to do that. Perhaps they will decide they don't want me... Ugh I hate voicing/writing my fears. It makes them seem that much more likely to come true.
No. Deep inside I know this WILL happen, because it was meant to be. I have worked hard to get to this point in my life and many different choices I have made have led to this possibility. So it WILL happen. And I will have the time of my life and learn everything I can about teaching in those 14 weeks.

Yes! I am going to New Zealand!


Now, I'm off to talk to a travel agent about plane tickets!

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

I made it.
I walked across the stage without tripping and I shook the proper hands... I have officially "walked" in a college graduation ceremony. Now all that's left to get my diploma is to complete my student teaching - in NEW ZEALAND!
Woot! Woot!
I am settling into Aya's mom's house and enjoying the beautiful MN Spring. It sure beats TX!
I think my parents enjoyed their trip up north, except for mom getting so so sick :( She's decided to come back up in July though to help me move home. I'll get to show her all sorts of good stuff then!
I already miss my friends. The reality of leaving is settling in and bringing with it a pang of sadness. I know now why I focussed so much on having my parents come up. That gave me something to think about other than leaving so many people I care for. I made it through dorm check-outs, graduation, sick mother, graduation party, moving, and all sorts of other stresses and now... now I have nothing to do. I don't start work for another two weeks. I'm mostly settled into my new place (for only a month and a half) and I really don't have anything pressing. It's odd, but I long for something to do. It would keep my mind off of people and changing situations.
Don't get me wrong, I'm INCREDIBLY excited about going to NZ, it just seems a ways off and I'm so nervous about it. Anxious and nervous. Sad and happy. Yeesh. Throw almost every emotion possible into a pot and I've experienced it at some point during the past week.
Lots of changes in store.
Ok now I'm just rambling. I'm going to go clean house or take a walk or something. Enjoy this BEAUTIFUL Tuesday!

Friday, May 14, 2004

I'm graduating.

I need to go buy groceries for tomorrow.

I'm walking accross a stage in front of more than a thousand people.

I need to check someone out at 9:30am.

I'm graduating.

Don't forget to fill out the room inventory sheet for next year.

It is finally sinking in.

I hope mom can make it through the graduation.

Don't trip.

I hope it doesn't rain, or we won't get to do the traditional "walk."

Please don't have a boring speaker who drones on for hours.

Don't fall asleep.

I wonder who all I will see, who will I walk with?

Don't catch what mom caught.

I'm graduating.

Yep. These are my thoughts. I can't seem to put more than a few sentences together of the same topic. My poor mind is racing like crazy.


Thursday, May 13, 2004

Life, THE Emotional Roller Coaster...

My parents arrived yesterday, much to my delight. I have wanted them to see where I've been living for the past three years and finally they have. They flew in at 11:30 yesterday morning and I took them out to lunch, showed them around town, and then we had dinner at a friends home. My mom was tired so they left early, but all in all it was an excellent day.

Cut to: This morning my dad calls me to say we need to take mom to the Dr. and three hours later we come out of the office with the diagnosis of a virus. A very nasty virus. She was scaring us all, especially when she passed out for a bit. She's back at their hotel now resting. However, unless she makes a remarkable recovery I'm not sure she'll make it to my graduation tomorrow afternoon - their reason for coming up here.

Now that I've done all I can to help her I need to continue packing and checking out my residents.


Monday, May 10, 2004

Eeep! That's a frightening site... Logging into something COMPLETELY different from what you're used to. Interesting new look Blogger has chosen.

In two days my parents will be here, in four days I will walk across a stage signifying the completion of my education, and in five days... In five days I will say goodbye to some of the most awesome people I have ever met. Without a doubt, this will be the hardest part of my week. (that and not tripping in front of hundreds of people) I am trying to look to the future, to New Zealand and the wonderful adventures which await me, but I must also reconcile with my time here. I must say goodbye to this wonderful chapter in my life and close a scrapbook in my mind and heart, reserved for all the great memories which have been made.

I'm excited, sad, glad, anxious, anticipatory, happy, angry, nervous, and even relieved to be graduating. There was a time in my life when I had some doubts, I always swore I would continue until I graduated, but after being put on academic suspension at my first University I wasn't sure I'd be able to. Coming here gave me a new outlook and a new drive. This place, the people in it, and my family and friends are the reason I have succeeded. My supportive family and friends who were there for me all the way, who wanted nothing but my happiness, they are my support structure and I love them and appreciate them more than they know.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Thanks to my TX friend for calling me tonight :) I'm sorry I missed your phone call and I'll call you back this weekend. I'm doing ok, it's just a nasty cold with fever and sore throat. Not fun, but I will survive!

Four days until my parents arrive and SIX until graduation!

Friday, May 07, 2004

Perhaps I swallowed a gallon of acid?

Ugh, throat hurts, tired... Very fitful sleep last night, even with the Nyquil. Was running a fever most of the night. I really hope I can beat this thing before next Wednesday when my parents get here, and certainly before Friday which is graduation.

I'm very glad to have almost everything done. I just have one final left, on Tuesday afternoon. I need to finish packing and check out all of my residents. Also, I need to find time to clean Aya's mom's house in preparation for the party next Saturday.

That's not too much to do... Thank you God.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

I finally did it... I got sick.
I haven't been sick all year - which I attribute largely to my nasal sniffing flu thing my parents insisted I get & my Flinstones vitamins.
Therefore, I must blame my illness on stress and lack of rest.

I really didn't want to get sick now, not during finals, not for the RA banquet today which I am helping to set-up for, not for when my parents are up here, and certainly not for graduation.

On the up-side, I'm almost done.
I need to finish packing this weekend.
I have a final next Tuesday afternoon.
Parents come next Wednesday around 11:30ish.
Taking them around town & to the State Park.
Friday is Graduation.
Saturday I finish checking people out and then I have a party at Aya's mom's house for my graduation.

I'm glad all but one of my finals came early. Less stress for the sickly person.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Friday night camp-out was fun, but didn't get much sleep. We played games, had smores, talked and then six of us piled into Aya's tent to "sleep." It was in the 20's so we were packed in there trying to stay warm.
I gave up at 6am and came home for an hour of sleep and then I was off to try my hand at paintball. I'd never been before and they were scaring me with tales of bruises, welts, etc. I had so much fun though. It was sunny, breezy, and the perfect day for some outdoor fun. There were twelve of us running around shooting at each other. I was only out four out of 7 games and my team won 4 out of seven. I would definitely like to try it again.
I have been running errands today and now I'm off to see Pump Boys & Dinettes to support a friend and have some fun!

Friday, April 30, 2004

pssst... Aya... my archive page is acting screwy...
/puppy eyes errr /kitty eyes
Can you help me please?

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Twelve Days!

Yes, I've started the Aspen's-Parents-Coming-To-MN - Countdown!
After three years of living up here my parents are finally coming to see where their little girl has been, and they're going to see their baby GRADUATE! WOOT! College... walking across the stage... even though I won't officially graduate until who-knows-when now, /sigh.
I have calmed down a bit after a HUGE class discussion last night and a talk with my dad. I have a rough plan etched out to include the new test:
Spend 1/2 summer in MN, take the two parts of the test I can in June.
Leave my stuff up here in storage, spend second 1/2 summer in TX seeing friends and family.
Go to NZ in August - end of Nov.
Maybe come home - maybe go straight to Italy.
Come back to Texas after travels and wait for a test date to be offered.
Come back up to MN to see friends, take stupid third part, enjoy my last days of pre-job freedom ;)
Bring stuff back to TX... unless I find a job up here /ponder.
Go back home and search for a job.

Really I'm pretty lucky because I only have one specialty. Some people have two or maybe even three specialty areas and they have to take a test for each one.
I find it interesting that they give us less than six months notice that we will have to take this test and yet the don't have any: a) test dates b) test made up c) information on the test
I feel more betterer. I just needed a plan!

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

I should post about last weekend, now that I have calmed down and have time.

I went with Aya to Fargo to watch her present and I must say the topic was terribly interesting; Blogs in the Educational Environment. Renee also spoke along with another girl and their professor. The open discussion at the end also interested me greatly.
We spent the weekend with Aya's brother and sister-in-law and shopped around, played games, ate good food... it was a good weekend, though very tiring.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Warning: /rant on


Insightful eh? How about this: Life SUCKS sometimes. Tests SUCK. People who say we need to TEST, TEST, TEST! suck!


Today I found something out that has added to my stress factor.

I have to pass (and still need to take) a two-part test in order to be licensed to teach in MN. And even though I don't plan on teaching in this state it would be wise for me to get a license here because it may let me get a job under probation until I can get licensed in whatever state I wind up in. Plus the school has already told me I won't be able to officially graduate until I have completed my license requirements. In class today I found out they have just added a third part to the test. Add this to the fact that I already have to take the first two parts on the same day and I'm pretty sure I won't be able to take the third on the same day... which is the last time it's offered before I go to NZ.... thus I won't be able to complete my licensure requirements until December or sometime next year = no diploma & no license = no job. THUS my frustration.

ok /rant off

Ok... I feel a little better. I know it will all work out, it's just that with all the other stuff I have been stressing about I really didn't need another complication, but then that's life.

Things to do:

- find out when I can take the p2 part 3
- write paper for ya lit
- present in health (tues)
- film imovie (weds)
- edit imovie
- get grad announcements and send (when/if store ever gets more in)
- return stuff to prof
- check mail/pay bills
- call bank to find out what that stupid fee is all about
- rent car for parents
- get addresses for party invites from Aya's mom & send those out
- note to arhd
- ask for days off from hd
- pe test (thurs)
- pe teach (fri)
- pack
- get storage place
- clean room/do dishes

My brain hurts, I know there's more but I'll have to think of it later.

Friday, April 23, 2004

Aya's presenting at a speech in Fargo today so we're about to head out.
Renee's speaking too, woot woot ;)

Aya's mom, Aya, and I will be staying with her brother and sister-in-law over the weekend. I'm excited to see them speak and I am excited to get out of town for a weekend.

Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Bah stupid insomnia bug has bit again.

My floor finished our mural in the lounge today. I'm quite happy with the way it turned out.

Played with some photographs I took recently, updated photo blog, surfed for a bit... gonna try to go to sleep...

Have a good Thursday.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

If you have yet to check out WWDN then you should at least see his Photo Blog, which is filled with some rather amusing pictures. This is where I found out about photo blogs, a free service available here.

Also, has anyone else had this problem when posting - after clicking on preview your post I find I need to change something so I go back, change it and then post. The result is two or more posts on my blog... Maybe I'm hitting the back button on my browser instead of "re-edit" /ponder
I experienced a wonderful honor last night as Henry Oertelt, a man who survived five concentration camps during the Holocaust. He is a charming man and spoke for three hours of his experiences growing up in Berlin. I bought his book, An Unbroken Chain and he autographed it to me. I also got one for my parents. I am very glad I got to meet him and listen to him speak. He is a remarkable man.
Psst Renee... this is my baby :)

Monday, April 19, 2004

So I was woken up this morning at 6:50am by an extremely loud, very rude, buzzing... yes the fire alarm was going off, and it was one of my residents! As soon as I opened my door I could smell burnt bacon and I heard a series of curses coming from the kitchen, she was extremely upset at herself. The RA's did their thing and as we were wrapping up with the paperwork I felt a searing pain starting behind my left eye. It got worse and by the time I got back to my room I took two pain killers and grabbed an ice pack, praying for sleep. It hurt SO bad. It was sort of like a sinus headache, but worse. The entire left part of my head, face, throat, neck was throbbing :( No fun. I slept until 10am and by then it was gone, but my eyes are still blurry. Strange.

I find myself with many options for this summer. I am torn between wanting to stay in beautiful Minnesota, needing to earn!��5{�������� spend time with my family, debating on whether or not to take summer class(es). I'm not really complaining mind you, I am very happy to have choices, and so many of them at that. I realize I am very blessed. However, it is putting a bit of strain on me, as I always struggle to make the right decisions, fearing failure, knowing I only get one chance. I feel somewhat confident that whatever I choose will work out...

I've pretty much chosen, but a massive problem still awaits it's solution - how do I get all my stuff back to Texas?

How about this choice?

Sunday, April 18, 2004

It works, now I can post my own pictures!
Testing... 1...2...3...

Oh yes and D and I introduced ARHD friend to YATTA!!!
I had an awesome day!

I woke up around 10, sleeping in was quite nice. Read some of Lirael. Went shopping for a bit with my bestest bud. Came back home and read some more of Lirael. Found out through WWDN that I can have my very own PHOTO BLOG for free! Set that up and it's AWESOME! Went to Feast of Nations put on by our International Student Office - great dancing, music, comedy, food, & fun! On the way back home an ARHD friend asked me what I was doing tonight... I told her reading (Lirael) and she invited me to come play games with her and a fellow RA. So we went to his room and chatted, played Phase 10 (remarkably similar to Aya's family's Shanghai) and silly stringed each other. I also got my very own secret handshake with the D-man! Good times. Now I have to unwind and go sleepy-sleep. Shouldn't have drunk four cups of coffee at the FON.

Friday, April 16, 2004

Finished Sabriel last night and was not disappointed.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Went out to Applebee's tonight to celebrate a friend's 23rd birthday. Had fun, there were seven of us neatly packed into a booth. Yummy food, good company.

I'm almost done with Sabriel and OMG! It's really, really, REALLY good. I can't put it down. It's killing me that I have about 10 pages left, as soon as I'm done here I'm going to finish it up and then this weekend I'm going in search of the sequels, of which there are two, Lirael and Abhorsen. I'm really excited about Lirael as there is a DOGGIE in it and you should know by now I'm obsessed with puppies! And apparently Abhorsen brings the previous two together... honestly I only scanned the short synopsis for the books on Garth's website. I want to be surprised. I bet I'll like them since I love the way he blends the real-world of old with his fantasy realm. Yep... definitely need to make a stop at the book store this weekend.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

New Angel tonight... one of the final six :( It's a sad thing, but I guess each great show finds it's end :( I'm happy to see they are bringing back several of the major characters from the show's history: Connor, Darla, Lindsey, etc.

I'm sitting in class listening to someone present how to do iMovie, which I know pretty well, I've done several and I've even taught it and helped many other people edit their movies. Needless to say I'm a lil bit bored, but it's ok, I have been throwing my two cents in every once in a while ;)

On the plus side, I found a place to search for jobs in Colorado.
Word of the Day: Recalcitrant

Discovered this word in Sabriel by Garth Nix. I'm reading it for my YA Lit. class and since it's a series I have the feeling I'll be reading the rest soon... I'm really enjoying this world he has created.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Friday, April 09, 2004

Welp, I got up early and baked some bisquits for a couple of guys who were headed home over this Easter weekend. I then worked at the front desk for two hours. Afterwards I had my one-on-one with the hall director and for our meeting we went out to the Humane Society where he searched for a cat (or possibly dog) to surprise his family with. Unfortunately, the cat he chose was being spayed next Monday, so he can't bring it home until Tuesday.

I was wearing purple bunny ears this morning - in celebration of the holiday of course!
He told me where he would like for us to go... then hesitantly asked if the bunny ears would be going LOL I asked him if he was embarassed to be seen with me in public while wearing them ;) I got to tease him about it, since when he saw me he asked if my Playboy auditions were today :P
(seriously disturbing... I just looked up the word elves under Google's image search...)

BTW the ears are back on.