Monday, November 30, 2009

Dilemma: Sudden Influx of Feathers in My Nest

From dog- and house-sitting gigs, a generous insurance settlement, substitute teaching, and a soon-to-begin full-time job, I am faced with an increase in my available funds.

This is great, and a relief. I am very thankful.

However, I am scared to spend it. My budget seems sort of up-in-the-air, as there are one-time sources of income, and possibly one-time, or long-term, expenses.
  • Do I need to get internet for my apartment? Yes. But which data speed? Should I spring for the zippy one, or even bundle it with cable? (I maintain that I don't have cable to keep my TV viewing to a minimum, but it might be nice to watch some of the shows I hear so much about...)
  • What about Christmas gifts? The combination of having funds and the approaching holiday makes me want to shower my loved ones in presents! I want to be generous and charitable with that which I now have, but, remembering how little I recently had makes me cautious.
  • I am in the mood to indulge myself in things, from the essential (new undies) to the frivolous (manicure and pedicure). Where do I draw the line?
  • How much of it should I save? I was saving for a trip to Europe when I got laid off last December. I was able to make it last a surprisingly long time.
I can hear my parents' individual financial philosophies at odds in my mind. My mom: no luxuries! Modify your budget, and stick to it! My dad: Don't go crazy, but enjoy what you have! I guess I will pray for wisdom.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nest #6: Cradle

I finished the nest just before I caught this cold. It's funny, I look at it now, blowing my nose and sipping tea, and I wish I really had a nest like this to curl up in! To me, it looks so sweet and comfy. It's made from the packaging from a birthday present I received, along with 2 pieces of blue-green ceramic art made by Candy Austin. (They were attached to a bookmark that was free at this year's Fort Worth Arts Goggle.)

Here's one side:

Here it is from the top:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Deep-Tissue Voodoo

Yesterday afternoon, I went for a lovely birthday massage at a local spa/salon. While the massage therapist worked on my feet, she asked, "Have you been having any problems with allergies or congestion lately?" I told her I hadn't, and didn't give it any more thought. When I was getting dressed afterwards, I noticed that I was sniffling a little bit. Last night's sleep was punctuated with having to get up and blow my nose. And, as I write this tonight, I am unable to breathe through my nose at all. I can't help wondering: what did she know, or, what did she do?

Friday, November 20, 2009

A sigh of relief, 11 months in the making


I did it.

11 months since being laid off from my job, I finally secured full-time employment yesterday afternoon.

I will be a science tutor at a middle school where I have been subbing and observing. My heart is filled with a lovely mixture of thankfulness, excitement, and just plain-ol' relief! I start 2 weeks after Thanksgiving. I'll get to be in the classroom with the same teacher every day. This will enable me to get to know the kids, their learning styles, etc.

At the department chair's recommendation, I met with the principal yesterday. In a matter of minutes, he hired me and had the district begin my paperwork. He then introduced me to the vice principal who oversees the science department specifically. She was nice, had a good handshake, and- like me- was wearing pearls! I chose to take that as a good sign. As I walked away from them, it was hard to keep myself from breaking into a skip. I made it to my car just in time, bursting out a prayer of, "ThankyouGodthankyouthankyouthankyou!" as I clutched the steering wheel.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Birfday Bloggin'

Wow. I am 27 today! I would say the typical, "I don't feel like I'm X number of years," but I don't know what 27 is allegedly supposed to feel like.

A birthday, to me, has always seemed a good occasion to get a little retrospective, and also take a look at the future.

So what have the past 27 years brought me? So much learning, so many experiences. I have learned that...
  • I am stronger than I once thought, especially when I lean on God to get through.
  • People everywhere have a lot more in common than they like to think that they do.
  • "Good" people are capable of "bad" things, and vice versa.
  • Tucked within the folds of a hardship are blessings.
  • The more I know, the more I want to know.
  • Doing things that might be outside of my comfort zone have much more potential for growing me as a person.
  • Just when I think my little heart can't take any more breaking, it tumbles into the most caring of hands.
  • And, within the last year, I have finally, fully learned what it means to need the grace of Christ, and to joyfully surrender to it. (This last bit, the surrendering part, is a work in progress.)

So what do I see for myself in the future? If the last 4 weeks of substitute teaching have shown me anything, it is that the classroom is the place for me. It's not just that I am starting to develop a knack for "making the kids be good," but I am someone they listen to, and that they feel like they can talk to. This gives me hope that, when I get a class of my own, their little minds will willingly open, and I'll be able to saturate them with knowledge, and they'll be eager for more! The future may keep me here in my beloved Funkytown, or it may take me somewhere else. And for the first time in nearly a decade, that possibility doesn't petrify me. I hope for a job, and eventually, home ownership. I hope for travel, and serving others, and love.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Nest #5:Lemon-Berry, Choco-Perches

I recently finished another nest, of construction paper and cardboard scavenged from various desk drawers of part-time jobs. The title is flavor-related because I think the color combination just looks delicious together. The pink (berry) and yellow (lemon) pieces were straight and linear, and so lent themselves easily to a rectangular shape. After I assembled them, I thought that the nest needed some organic shape to it, something more soft and comfortable. Hence the brown (chocolate) "perches" in one corner. This was the trickiest part of the nest, as the cardboard was pretty hefty and hard to curl, even when wet. But, I took it little by little, and am very pleased with the result.

Here is the nest with a close view of the perches:
A peek underneath the nest:
And the nest from above:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nest #4: Escape Hatches

I finished another nest this morning. I was just playing around with it, and it started to take shape. It ended up being sort of cornucopia-shaped... just in time for Thanksgiving! I titled it Escape Hatches because of the row of open spaces along the length of the nest. Then, being the punny girl that I am, I realized that the word "hatch" has many meanings when paired with "escape":

  • Hatching from an egg can be a sort of escape
  • A plot could be hatched to make an escape
  • An escape could be made through a hatch

Here are 2 views of the nest, which is made from the dry-cleaner twist ties that were scattered on the floor of my dad's closet.


I am amazed at how decrepit I feel, only a week away from my 27th birthday. My hips ache, my ankle is tender, my shoulders are tired... It's like my body has a rock in its shoe that it can't shake out. All this considered, I am taking the week off from working out. No, not totally, but I will trade in my runs, spin class, and weights for walking and yoga.

This is somewhat frustrating to me, as I love exercise that makes me feel productive, grow stronger, and work up a good sweat. I love doing push-ups. I love intensity that flushes my cheeks pink and makes me gasp for breath. I love the end of a run or class, when I am happily exhausted, knowing I've given it my all.

However, I know that this time is important. I'll be able to heal and rejuvenate. I'll be able to start running again next week, just in time to kick butt in the Turkey Trot.

What makes you feel old? What is something beneficial that you don't quite enjoy?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Banana Weave

Oh yeah, and I took this photo this weekend.

Anudder Nest

Hey friends! Well my series of nests is progressing along nicely. I finished another late last week. This one is made from card-stock graph paper I "found" in the sunday school class I taught last summer, and cut into strips, and the lovely blue twist-ties I collected from my dry cleaner. I also finished a sketch/study/mock-up for the otherwise-unnamed "mixed media" project idea I had in a dream. It is pretty cool and I am almost done with another variation on it. As soon as I take photos of those they'll be up for your viewing pleasure as well. Without further dudes, here are 2 views of the aforementioned nest. Ta-da!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

You don't know what you got 'til it's gone!

My downstairs neighbor has moved to Oregon... and has taken her internet with her.  (Apparently it was hers that I've been using all this time!)  I lost my connection last night. Yes, I realize that my, as a friend said, "doin' a drive-by on her wi-fi," has moral and/or legal issues.  However, I am more interested in just how much I'd taken it for granted.  

Numerous email checks, peeks at the TV listings or my bank balance, inspections of the weather forecast, and making the rounds of school district websites to find job openings... I used the internet for everything!  All the time!

Have you had a similar realization recently, with the internet or anything/anyone else?  I can't wait to read your responses... from my local Borders.

PS: Thank you to Jesse, on whose computer I wrote this. ;)