It’s almost NOVEMBER?!

23 10 2016


Oh, right, it’s just time, flying by at warp speed. Did it speed up? Am I just going crazy?

Wait, my sanity has taken quite a hit lately! Regardless, I guess I’m just busier than I have been in a while. Or, like ever.

Good news, though: I’ve been teaching 5th grade for a month and a half, and no one has died! Or even been majorly injured! (Except my sanity.) I gotta say, though – teaching is HARD, ya’ll. Not so much the act of teaching content, life skills, and social skills to 31 individuals all at different levels and with different learning styles and abilities – no, that part I feel like I have down. If only that was all my job was about. But then you throw in the other things…the bus duty, and cafeteria duty, and changing schedules, and parent communication, and tracking/documenting every little thing. Don’t forget to collect evidence for the yearly teacher evaluation, and remember your month for birthday snacks, and didn’t you know everyone wears blue on Fridays?? Well they do. And that kid that won’t get on the bus needs consoling so he’ll board and everyone can go home. Staff meetings every Tuesday, new teacher meetings on Mondays, grade-level collaboration on Wednesdays, weekly catch-up on Fridays, and someone is sure to stop by on Thursdays. Don’t worry, the adventures of being across a parking lot from the main building in portables only adds to the everyday excitement! It’s just a little rain kids, we won’t melt!

So yeah, time has left me behind. Thankfully, I have the greatest group of 5th graders on the planet, and the most amazing coworkers to pull me through on a daily basis. The struggles some of these 10-year-olds are forced to face would rip your heart to pieces, but they still push on. I require all my students to write in a journal, and turn it in once a week. Some write beautiful poetry, some create incredible works of fiction, some regale me with tales of their weekend adventures. When the threat of a bad grade is removed, and they aren’t focused on spelling or grammar, they start writing all kinds of things. And man do they love science! And history! We currently have jugs of mini compost habitats for red worms on the bookshelf, and our butterfly larvae just built their cocoons! We researched butterfly facts all one afternoon, after spending the morning lost in the rainforests of Central America searching for Maya ruins. It’s been a lot of fun. If they learn anything at all in my classroom, I hope it’s to use their imaginations to problem solve, and that finding information isn’t nearly as important as figuring out what to do with it.

And I even managed to sneak off one weekend and tie the knot with that handsome JBoo of mine. Our families flew in from all over, several friends drove in from Bend, and we had an epic weekend overflowing with love. It was pure magic. We all gathered at a big beach house on the Oregon coast and just relaxed together. The weather mostly cooperated and two families became one. Since we had all weekend, everyone got to spend time together, and we bonded over ax throwing, ultimate frisbee, long walks down the beach, rowdy games, and lots of amazing food. The collaborative spirit of our friends helped us pull the whole thing off, and the whole group contributed to make the weekend go without a hitch. Despite the incredible weather we were blessed with, it turned windy, cold, and foggy Saturday afternoon for the ceremony. Thankfully, it was a pretty short and sweet affair, though we didn’t quite get all the pictures I wanted. It was too cold to stand out there! But our awesome photographer, Jon, snapped quickly and captured some fantastic pictures. He was able to shoot all during the weekend and documented the candid fun beyond just the formal ceremony. So good.

married on the coast, Rockaway Beach OR 2016

Happily ever after.

Yep, I’ve been a little on the busy side. We’re settling into a routine, and life is chugging along. We just booked our honeymoon over winter break, so we have something big to look forward. My class size was reduced to 27, from 31, which has made a big difference in my classroom. I’m figuring things out and finding my way around my school, while trying to find a work/life balance. The next time I get a chance to blog, it might be Thanksgiving…or New Year’s…but that’s ok. I have found where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m meant to be doing, and I’m happy.

Life is good. 🙂


Weddings, Love, Torture and All That Fun Stuff

12 08 2012

Two down, one more to go. Let’s face it people, we’re elbows-deep in wedding season.  At some point, all my friends will be married and there will be no more nuptials to attend…right?

Ok, so I do actually like attending these special occasions, mostly because I really do like my friends. They’re good people. And celebrating is always a good time. But this last wedding was a bit different. I was a bit more invested.  And let’s face it, after two weeks, I still feel like I’m recovering. Now that is the sign of a roaring good time.

On July 29th, my best friend said the magic words and swapped jewelry with a man she now shares a last name with (and who happens to be her best friend – I hear this is a good thing). It was magical. And there is not one ounce of sarcasm in that statement. So magical I bawled like an infant and was holding her bouquet along with mine, so all the tissue I shoved into the front of my dress did me NO GOOD. (Ok, maybe a little good in that it helped me fill out the dress….)

Being in my late 20’s, going to weddings seems to be as common as going to the bar (ok, not quite, but then I might be a lush). But this wedding, this particular one, was captivating. The simplicity, the uniqueness, the atmosphere…even as I type this all I can think is that there are no words to describe it. I”ll try anyway.

Simple – yes, yet elegant. We bridesmaids were barefoot, and the bride wore Toms! But her dress was incredible, accentuating her tall, lithe figure, everyone’s hair looked gorgeous, our sunflowers popped against our green dresses. We stood in the grass next to an adorable pond and squinted into the sun. But the atmosphere, the air around us – this is what perplexes me the most. Who ordered the shimmer? How did they get those little twinkle stars stuck in their eyes like that? And how on earth did they manage to electrify the air with emotion, anticipation and *gasp!* so much LOVE?!

You may or may not have met my best friend or her new husband, but it’s completely obvious even to strangers what a match these two are. Their self-written vows about sent me straight to sob-ville. Watching them on a normal day you can tell they’re just crazy for each other. Watching them on their wedding day was like looking up “Match Made In Heaven” in the dictionary and seeing a picture of them instead of a text definition. The ceremony was the kind of thing that could make even a bitter, cynical old grouch believe in love again. It seeped from them, covering everyone and everything, making the whole place sparkle.

outdoor summer wedding kiss Bend OR

The Big Kiss – can’t you see the MAGIC?!?!

Had enough of the sappy part yet? Too bad. Just kidding, I’ll move on to How We Tortured the Texans.

The Bride and I are pals from college, back in Texas. So her nuptials were also like a huge family reunion. We share a lot of friends, so her saying “All my friends from Texas are coming!!” meant that all my friends from Texas were coming! (A lot of these friends don’t actually even live in Texas any more, but we’re all from Texas, so we classified the whole bunch as Texas regardless of current residence.) They started trickling in the Wednesday before the wedding, and the shananigans just got crazier every time more arrived!

The first thing you need to know about Texans: they don’t walk. We could be headed to the 7-11 on the corner of our  block for a slurpee and we would jump in somebody’s truck to get us there. In Bend, Oregon, people walk or bike absolutely everywhere. Texas was not pleased when they discovered our evening bar hopping consisted of walking from bar to bar. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if we were starting in downtown, but we started at 10 Barrel brewery, which is a good 5 or 6 blocks from downtown. At least none of the girls wore stilettos! And the Bride kept consoling them with “Don’t worry, it’s only about 2 blocks.” Texas now thinks everything in Bend is two blocks apart. The Groom figured out that he could just clap as we walked and Texas would follow the sound. It’s now the running joke that you just need to clap and Texas will get up and follow you….

Possibly as revenge, we also managed to get kicked out of 3 bars over the course of their visit. Well, kicked out of 2, and we pissed off the bartender at another so that she would no longer serve us, so we removed ourselves. These were not fancy bars that we weren’t properly dressed for and were asked to leave because the boys wouldn’t tuck in their shirts – no, these were the low-class, seedy dives where we didn’t even know it was possible to get kicked out of. We’re that good. (One of the guys commented after that they were trying to get the Bride kicked out of Bend so she would be forced to return to Texas. That’s what awesome friends we have! 🙂 )

Texas is also not the most outdoorsy bunch. “Outdoorsy” to them is floating the calm, warm waters of the Comal River with a cooler and tube shoots, or laying on a boat on Town Lake. So we introduced them to Oregon “outdoorsy”. First up: whitewater rafting. Don’t worry, no one died. The faces were priceless, though, the first time they felt the frigid temperatures of the Deschutes River. The guide told us we were in a deep, calm spot so we were welcome to jump out for a swim. The Groom (and Oregon native) immediately did a nice little hop off the back of the boat. One nice, big Texan squealed like a little girl when he was splashed and refused to so much as touch the water. Then the Bride pushed her brother overboard and others finally took the plunge, even the Bride. However, when the Bride needed assistance back into the boat, her darling brother picked her up by the back straps of her life jacket and the back of her shorts and hauled her back in the boat. Not humiliating at all…

white water rafting Big Eddy Deschutes Bend OR

Texas in a BOAT (*No Texans were injured in the making of this photo.)

The next day, we headed back to the river to try out stand-up paddle-boarding. This is huge in Bend right now. You basically stand on a big surfboard-looking contraption and paddle around. How hard could that be? Pretty frikin’ hard when you’re going upstream against a pretty mean current, not to mention just finding your balance to stay on while paddling at the same time. But we soon got the hang of it and had a pretty great time.

paddle boarding Deschutes Bend OR

A little unsure as the dudes explained what to do…

stand-up paddle boarding Descutes Bend OR


We floated on the high of our accomplishment to another brewery for food and beer to revive ourselves, then jumped on our afternoon activity – CyclePub! Texas had never seen such a contraption (it’s basically a cart of sorts with 12 seats where each person has to pedal. Spin class with booze) and the novelty of it had everyone initially stoked. The hills, however, soon had us huffing and puffing and accusing the Bride of trying to make us all lose weight for the wedding. But the blaring tunes and hot bartender kept us going, even after we accidentally broke a chain and then required the assistance of the driver on a set of pedals to get us up a gnarly hill. Go Texas, go!!

CyclePub Bend OR

We did it guys! Let’s go nap.

After such an exhausting day, we really needed a nap. But there was no time for such nonsense! Back to the bars! We did make this night fairly uneventful and turned in early – we were too sleepy to get into any fun. Saturday, we had tentative plans for more exploring, but Texas had had enough. Everyone lounged, relaxed, did their own thing. I wandered over to the house where the Bride’s family was staying and kidnapped her brother, cousin, and niece for a nice walk. Before long, the day was almost gone and it was time to get gussied up for the rehearsal dinner. The Groom’s parents planned a great event in the beautiful Mountain Room at the top of the Deschutes Brewery. (This is Bend, people, of course everything is at a brewery!!) Amazing food along with these amazing people, lovely views accompanied by lovely music – it was a spectacular evening. Several of us girls used to all work at Best Buy together in college, where we not only started amazing friendships, but turned those friendships into family-ships. A photo-op was totally called for…and in true old school Best Buy style….

Mountain Room Deschutes Brewery rehearsal dinner

Always inappropriate, always misbehaving, always fabulous

Of course, we couldn’t call it a day after that lovely dinner, so we took our hawt selves downtown once again for more raging. We played pooled, we danced, we got asked to please get off the table, we got separated, we got escorted “politely” out the door. So fantastic. Texas really knows how to throw down, and this night was no exception. Thankfully, all us ladies still managed to make it to our brunch Sunday morning where we were getting ready. The Officiant, a close friend of the Bride and Groom’s, opened her house to us and laid out all sorts of fantastic food and beverages. Spoiled us rotten. Slowly, we transformed from a haggard, hungover, cranky group of hot messes into a beautiful, excited, fancy group of giddy girls crying over the Bride in her dress and laughing at the antics of the little flower girls. We headed to the park for some pictures then loaded into a limo for a calm cruise around town before the wedding. So amazing.

The fun was not over after the incredible ceremony. Oh, no, the real fun had not yet even begun! We boozed it up while chatting and waiting for dinner, then stuffed our faces with more delicious food. Then came the music. We all cried when the Bride danced with her Daddy and laughed when the couple pulled out some awesome moves for their own first dance. Then we hit the floor to cut a rug alongside the newlyweds to some rockin’ Texas country, booty music, and line dancing. Many Orgonians looked utterly confused by the foreign dancing, but we soon pulled many of them out there with us and melded our styles into one big party. I don’t know that I’ve ever had that much fun dancing – and I love to dance!

Monday was a sad day, as friends started drifting back home. Our crazy reunion was over, a new group forged to include spouses and new friends. We were so full of the wonderfulness of having us all together that we would just sit and grin at the remaining faces, spontaneously hugging to make sure it was real. We always know our friends are out there – we talk and text and facebook-stalk all the time. But that physical togetherness just doesn’t happen often enough. I know everyone thinks they have pretty great friends – you wouldn’t be friends with them if they weren’t pretty great, right? – but I can’t help but feel deep down that my friends are just, well, way better than yours.


Seventh Inn rafting Deschutes River Bend OR

Little pieces of my heart are scattered across the US with these amazing people

I’m Melting…!

20 06 2011

Its a La Nina year, so the weather has been outrageous.  In Washington, our mountains are slow to lose their snow, and its been cool and rainy.  Meanwhile, my friends and family in Texas suffered triple-digit temperatures in April and have been setting heat records all week.  So off to Texas I went!

No, I’m not just a glutton for pain and punishment.  One of my best friends from college married her high school sweetheart and I was honored to be a bridesmaid.  And although big fancy weddings aren’t my style, it was hers.  The pre-wedding festivities were tons of fun, the ceremony was tear-jerking, and the reception was wild.  Plus, I got a 3 day reunion with some of my best friends on the planet.  Just wonderful.

It amazes me how events such as weddings bring people together.  I hadn’t seen most of my pals in about two years or more, since moving from Texas.  So much laughing, reminiscing, and catching up.  A lot has happened in the recent past.  More unexpected awesomeness came from the new friends I gained.  I knew or had at least met most of the other bridesmaids (there were nine of us!) but the shared weekend in support of our mutual friend brought us a new bond of companionship.  And there are many whom I had never met but am now privileged enough to call friends – groomsmen, friend’s girlfriends, family of the bride and groom.  What a blast!

I stayed two days after the wedding to see my Momma.  My aunt and God-mother were along as well.  We sat around and ate/drank the two days away!  What could be better?!  My Dad, cousin, and another college pal joined us for dinner one night.  Oh the merriment we made.

So with all this wonderfulness, what could possibly exist for me to whine about?  You guessed it – back to the beginning about heat.  I lived in Texas up until high school, and then for 5 years after high school.  I love summer, and hot weather, and wearing shorts and tank tops with a bathing suit underneath just in case.

Then again, I hadn’t been in Texas during the summer for three years.  I have adapted to the Pacific Northwest and the cold weather that comes along with it.  And when I stepped through the doors of DFW airport, I felt like I melted into the sidewalk.  I sweated for all 5 days I was there – even at night.  I don’t remember Texas being such an inferno!

Now I can see why Texans don’t participate in outdoor activities quite like northwesterners do – they would die of a heat stroke.  Physical activity in 100+ degree heat is just not smart.  And people talk about “oh its humid” or “oh its dry” – listen people, hot is hot, no matter how you look at it.  If you can’t be in or on the water, you might as well sit in front of your AC.

I highly commend those who do still live in Texas – or anywhere in the south, for that matter.  You learn to improvise: keep towels in the car to lay over your leather seats so you don’t melt the skin off the backs of your thighs; carry a bathing suit in your purse at all times; keep bottles of water handy for emergencies – drinking or otherwise;  stash deodorant in your bag/car/whatever since you literally sweat 24/7; and when parking, at least crack your windows and invest in a sunshade.

I think the retired people who live the hot months in the north and the cold months in the south are the smartest of us all!  So friends, family, please – come visit me this summer before you burst into flames!

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