Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gratitude's my attitude

Although this post may come a couple days late, better now than never, I think. I'm finally done with summer session - Ciao alle lezioni d'Italiano e Marco, il mio professore migliore - and I've been spending my downtime setting up my new digs --post to come soon with pictures-- and reading Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife, which I highly recommend even though I'm only halfway through it. Nevertheless, I fully intend on finishing it in the next couple of days. I'm falling in love with Henry, despite the fact that I'm struggling with the philosophical aspect of his time traveling and relating to Clare's emotional struggles with his disappearances as well.

My mom's birthday was on Sunday, and I was worried that she wouldn't receive her birthday card on time. Due to dealing with the move all week, I had even written it down on my planner to drop the card down the mail chute, but it didn't dawn upon me until Thursday afternoon, when everything had settled. Of course, I still had boxes to unpack and numerous objects to label and organize in their respective drawers and shelves, but it wasn't an option to put it off any longer. I owed my mom a great big thank you for everything she's done for me throughout the years, and such a feat would end up in a tearful bout if I even attempted to express myself verbally, so I picked out a beautiful card and wrote a genuine message for her to enjoy on her special day.

Which brings me to my biggest point: what happened to correspondence? There's so much intimacy and heartfelt emotion, time, effort, and thought behind the written word that is now cheapened by the immediacy of e-mails and text messages. While these mediums are completely capable of transporting heartfelt messages of appreciation or gratitude, they aren't being used as such. Perky Girl and I were talking about the romance behind it all, someone talking the time to sit down with his pen and paper and a message fueled by his love for another chronicled for the receiver's enjoyment to serve as a constant reminder of that moment in time combined with those particular emotions. Which explains partly why I don't skimp when it comes to birthday cards or thank you notes and have an entire box filled with stationery for this purpose.

Nevertheless, I sent her card out in hopes that she wouldn't receive it too late, and she called me on Sunday to thank me for the texts, phone calls, and card all for the purpose of her day - yes, I used all mediums of modern communication - and we had an in-depth conversation about the contents of my message. Of course, I started to get teary-eyed once she told me that my card made her cry, but I meant every word. I find it easier to express myself on paper than verbally, and I'm always glad to hear that people who receive my messages appreciate them as intended.

But my mom's birthday card kind of had the message that a mother helps you take your first steps and picks you up when you fall, goes through all your firsts with you, basically chronicling the parts of life that are important to share with your mother and through it all, she's there to experience it with you, and in my message I wrote to her that I'm proud and grateful to have her in my life to share my life with, and with graduation and the beginning of my adult life approaching, I wrote that I was excited and anticipating sharing the future with her. It makes me happy and sad to think that work, marriage, and kids are in the future for me because I know that marriage will mean the start of mine and my husband's life together and the snippet-action of my dependence to my parents. Yes, I think it's bittersweet --I always cry at a particular part of weddings, when the father gives away the bride to the groom, because I imagine how hard it will be for me to accept that I am letting go of my parents and allowing the simultaneous occurrence of our familial separation and my marital unity with my husband. Call me attached, but it's hard to cut the cord! I absolutely love my parents and try to talk with my dad at least every other day. He knows that I get busy with school and teaching and living 300 miles away from them, and my mom works practically nonstop to provide for us, so it's nice to have them as my outlet for sounding off when I can't find anyone else to relate to. Not that that's a problem at all, my girls are always here for me and I usually go to them when I've got a problem. But there are times when you've got to turn to your parents for their guidance because you know it's backed by an experienced opinion.

All in all, I'd just like to state how much I love my life - my family, my friends, all the experiences that come from school, teaching, and everyone that I happen to run into in this crazy world - bring it on, I tell the Big Man Upstairs. There's nothing He doesn't give us that he knows we can't handle, and I am a firm believer that everything, everything happens for a reason. And if it isn't happening now, it may happen tomorrow, it may never happen - just know that it'll only happen when it's meant to.

Which begs the question: have you thanked someone for being a part of your life today?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Who says you can't go home?

This is who greeted me at the door when I walked into my house today, along with my dad. :) Peyton is just a ball of fun, and I was really excited to see my puppy nephew because I missed him so much! He's gotten so much bigger, but I still see the baby in him. I'm glad he's come to the age where he can recognize people -- his relatives -- and greet them like he hasn't seen them in forever. Whenever my mom comes home from work at 8 in the morning, he'll act like he hasn't seen in her ages, when really it'd only been a couple of hours. He's such a great dog. He's even got his own photo frame on our mantle, at the request of our Mom. Mind you, Abby and I don't have individual photo frames -- we share them while the family dog is center and on his own. Make of it what you will.

I laughed to myself when my dad saw me walk in the door and said, "You're alone?" because my family was expecting Perky Girl to come along. It was interesting to see the house virtually spotless -- our house is pretty homey, and with everyone's busy schedules, it's usually got the appearance of being lived in. You know, mail piling somewhat on the kitchen table, backpacks and jackets strewn on chairs, etc. But with the expectation of a guest's arrival, Mom was quick to pick up and tidy the house.

It's great to have a long weekend to recharge for the big move to 413 and the last week of Summer II. Buon weekend, tutti!

Run-in with Jesus feet

I've come under the belief that when life deals out an awkward situation, what better way than to post it on Cheryl's new blog?

Here's what happened to me this morning:

I make my way to my study hours at the Life Science Library, which is hidden inside the UT Tower, and it's a daily routine for me. Wake up at around 8.30a, get dressed, have breakfast, get to campus, run through last minute Italian exercises before class at 11.30a. It's usually as simple as that, and I never have any run-ins with anyone since campus is so scarce during Summer sessions.

Well, this morning I had heard The Proclaimers' "(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles" on the radio, which is a perfect wake-up morning song, right? So I'm in a pretty peppy mood, and I was ready to take care of business.

With my newspaper, Slim Fast, and a couple things I picked up from the Campus Computer Store in hand, I make my way up the marbled stairs a little more briskly this morning, but I still maintain my firm eye contact with their ascension. Stairs are pretty tricky and will get you if the mood strikes them right, e.g. when you're having a great start to a new day.

I finally make it up the two, long flights to the entrance of the Life Science Library, head still down, simultaneously glancing at today's headlines and admiring my new purchases when I see a pair of Jesus-sandaled feet - except they were really in a simple pair of Rainbow flip flops. Nevertheless, they were men's shoes.

Threshold situations are always difficult for me. Yes, there are several openings that these metal detectors provide for access in and out of the premises, but there's usually a particular one human nature tends to use. More or less, to the left if entering (female); to the right if exiting (male).

Because I am a courteous being and do not wholeheartedly enforce chivalry, (with the exception of door-opening/holding, which I oftentimes reciprocate) I inched my feet towards the other entrance as the pair of Jesus feet seemed to do the same. When I saw his hesitation, I thought, Oh, well I guess I can go through my original threshold.


So there we stood, nonverbally miscommunicating our intentions with our feet, and finally I followed through on my second choice threshold as he couldn't help but chuckle to himself as he watched me shuffle back and forth. An awkward tango, if you will. I uncomfortably squealed in a hushed tone (because this is a library) "Sorry!" and scurried off in embarrassment.

Mind you, it's already 100+ degrees out, I'm not fully dressed, I'm practically melting, I'm puffy from last night's happy hour shenanigans -- and I look up to see quite an attractive face to match those Jesus feet and that charming chuckle of his.

Needless to say, it didn't hurt that the combination of Jesus feet + face + and hearty, genuine, endearing chuckle crossed my path today. But it was definitely awkward.

"What? I'm like a lollipop..."

Thursday nights with these concotions help to alleviate the stress of the week that's passed and sets up a much-needed and well-deserved start to the weekend.

What better than to sip your cares away with a 32 oz. margarita?
Good company, strong drinks, and great atmosphere equate to a fun night.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Who's with me?

I was surfing the web and was thinking about how volunteering enriched my high school years, and I wondered why I hadn't been keeping up with it. Well, it got to me, so I signed up for not one, but two volunteer memberships at Hands on North Texas and Hands on Central Texas.

I clicked on few links, filled in couple of blanks here and there, and found myself searching for volunteering opportunities for this upcoming semester. Yes, I know I'll have a full load with a 15-hour term and 45+ field hours of teaching at the high school level, but I want to spend a couple of my weekends giving my time to those who are really in need. I'm really interested in getting involved with 1 hour for kids and the United Way's Fall Day of Caring.

So, who's with me?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009