Friday, December 30, 2011

December 30th, 2011

An update!!! =)
In the few days since returning Stateside, things have been so chaotic that I have not had a chance to sit down for evern ONE LITTLE BABY MINUTE on my computer. =) Today is my first day off of work, thanks to my coworker switching me shifts, and I decided to hang out at Chick-fil-A, where my sister works, and use the free wifi to update my blog. =) Unfortunately, all of my photos are on my camera, and I did not bring the cord with me. Oops. =) But I promise I will update with photos, soon!!
It is lovely to be back in the USA. I am still awed by the the cleanliness and perfection of this country. Everything is so orderly, pristine, and comfortable. People smile and wave. Cars move smoothly down accurately-painted streets. The sky of Oklahoma is huge and the sunsets breathtaking. In fact, the sunset out the window right now is really nice. =) Yellow and gold are touching the rooftops across the parking lot and feathery white clouds are turning grey in the coming shadow of nightfall.
I miss my family back home, of course, so very much. Every moment I wish they were around, so I could share with them everything that I am experiencing. Oh, well. Praise God for Facebook and Skype. =D
Being with my sister, Katrina, again after 6 months apart is absolutely wonderful! I missed her very much, and true to the saying, absence has definitely made our hearts grow fonder. =)) She and Jonathan, her boyfriend, have made my return very warm and welcomed me back with outings every night. It's been a blast! We went to see the Christmas lights on the mansions in Nichols Hills as well as in the public park in Yukon. I also discovered Jonathan has a penchant for really freaky scary movies =)) haha! We were able to celebrate Christmas together and I am looking forward to seeing my Heartland/Southwest friends on Sunday night when we plan to go to Bricktown to celebrate the New Years!! =)
Panera. What I can say. I love my job. =) My managers were ecstatic about my return and quickly issued me 40 hours for my first week, introduced me to the new foods we now offer, and swooped me back out onto register. The customers haven't changed. The routine hasn't changed. The atmosphere of the neighborhood hasn't changed. A lot of my coworkers have changed (transfering out to the new, snobby Panera with a drivethru lol) but I am enjoying the chance to make new friends. Praise God for saving this job for me. I am very grateful for His provision.
Today..... I got to hang out with some of my very best friends. My adopted brother Justin is back from his sunny vacation in Arizona (hoorah!) and the friend who saved my beloved computer from a sad demise, Levi, is back from the snowy mountains of Washington. We shared Ihop and Starbucks and Walmart shopping. I walked out with Cheez-Its, sharp cheddar spray cheese, a jug of eggnog,and a case of glass bottled Stuart's creme soda. =D Oohhhhh so much fun. =) Hello, New Years. Harry, my childhood friend from New Mexico, came by work to see me last night before he heads off for New Years. I was touched by the kindness I've been shown.
Well, I need to wrap this up. Thanks to everyone for the prayers during my travels. God kept his hand on every flight and there were no delays or problems.
Oh yes. Paris, by the way, was indescribably lovely. =)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

December 24th, 2011

Some memories are just too special to write about. Sometimes it's not that the occasion was perfect or the plan went unhindered or that the weather was ideal and the timing flawless. Sometimes it's just the simple fact of dreams and planning coming together in one beautiful moment. And those are the memories that we carry forever.
Steven is back home!! And we went skating. =)
I fell. Twice. And he whizzed circles around me, fearless and dynamic and amazing. He is a much better skater than I could ever be! But I loved the look on his face when I did backwards crossovers. Haha. WIN! =D
I am so thankful to be home with my family for Christmas holidays. The only down is not having Katrina here! But I will be seeing her soon... I leave tomorrow! It has been insanely busy trying to pack in as much time with my family as well as clothes into my suitcases at the same time!
Please pray for safe travels to the US. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a special time with thier loved ones. Take the days we have and make the most of them. =)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 20th, 2011

Time to pack!!!
This is a whimsical post because I'm determined to not think about leaving my parents and brothers and church friends in just FIVE days.
Poor Chester (my couch) has become the catwalk for a mountain of clothing and accessories as I waded through my wardrobe this last week. Packing always presents a problem for me. I like to have everything with me, whether in the States or here at home, and it is hard to leave a single item behind. I'm not sure why. I do not think it is normal to have separation withdrawals from a pair of suede pumps or a Calliope tee-shirt. But I cannot escape the sad feeling when I pull something from the "approved" pile and place it neatly folded into the "staying behind" pile. Very sad. =(
Clothes were the first hurdle but not the hardest by any stretch of imagination. Where do all the little things come from that compile mysteriously out of the blue over six months of living some place? A big part of home is familiarity - like the giant words scrawled on my mirror "Faith, Courage, Love," - or the little platter of Italian porcelain that catches all my loose change and yesterday's pair of earrings. These things can't go with me.
Maybe I'm just wildly sentimental? I have a box of every card sent to me. Well, several boxes now. Every time I relocate, I start a new box so that I can keep a tangible memory of the friends I've left behind and that they haven't forgotten me. Now what am I supposed to do with these boxes?? Someday, I imagine, I will make the world's most awesome scrapbook with all the notes and squares of wrinkled paper that represent the people in my life who send me cards. I doubt it will ever be a museum collector item, but it means a lot to ME. =)
Then there are my coffee cups. Oh so funny, this is a story in itself! But I won't digress. The happy little feeling I get from pulling a new mug off the rack and filling it with hot aromatic coffee is tampered by the admission I have a trail of coffee cups from my bedroom all over the house. It's just a tick. I can't stand using the same cup twice and am comfortably accustomed to making a round at night and finding where they all ended up, dumping them in the sink to wash so they are ready to go in the morning. I suppose... I can't take all fifteen mugs with me.... and I will miss them all, I know. I have 3 mugs at school and they hardly fit in my crowded cupboard next to the GrapeNuts box and cans of Spaghettio's. I had a fourth but there is some suspicion in my mind someone stole it to stop the collection from growing out of control. Haha. =)
While I'm sorting through odds and ends and wondering how I manage to get so attached to such silly material things, I come across my Bible with its pretty red cover and gold-tipped pages. Now THAT is something I will be taking with me, in my carryon in fact. People change, and time shifts everything around, and clothes go out of fashion and coffee cups crack (sad face). But the most unmovable part of my life is that knowledge that God lives within me, and loves me, and He's never going to let me go off without him. If the earth were to blow up, and I was being evacuated to Mars, all I'd need was my Bible.
(and my passport, of course)
(and my black leather boots)
(and a picture of my turtles and puppy)
(and that heavenly-soft pearl white blouse)

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 5th, 2011

A small update!
I really haven't been in a writing mood the last few days....
But I wanted to update about my skating lessons... because they have improved =) And that is a very nice feeling! The crossovers are going quite smoothly. She's added a bunch of new moves and there are a lot of details to the techniques to remember! Today, we moved from gliding a combined Christmas tree-crossover, to something truly difficult: the enchanted waltz!! It is soooo pretty when my trainer executes the moves! She is so fluid and graceful and completely at ease, so fearless.
Luckily, I managed to get it down the very first day! Which, seems to a bit of a miracle to my trainer. The waltz is a spinning, dancing glide in a large loop. There are three technical points to it - the Troika, the spin, and the landing.
Spinning was something we've been working on. It was actually one of the very few things I knew I wanted to learn when I started my lessons. I could NEVER figure out how to go from skating one direction (forward) to flipping around and skating backwards, while never losing my forward momentum! Well, after a lot of trials and errors, I finally conquered the science of spinning backwards, then forwards, on two feet tightly tucked together. Last lesson, we worked on spinning around on one foot - but that is really difficult!!
The enchanted waltz is a beautiful procession out of a crossover, spinning around to skate backwards, and pushing off on one foot into a "landing" position to glide outstretched, then turning to face forward and start it all over again!
The initial move, the Troika (Russian for "three") comes from the blades cutting the number 3 in the ice with thier movement. The rest of me, however, has to work on swinging my arms and shoulders in the correct degree to propell my single skate to turn, swirling 180 degrees, while the other leg is outstretched in the swallow's stance. For some reason, I have a hard time not shoving off and about whacking my trainer with my outstretched skate when I make the spin. "More relaxed, more fluid, and much slower!!" she coaches, inching away to safety from my karate-speed kick.
After I complete the troika and come out of the spin dizzy-headed, the wonderful "landing" takes over, skating backwards, arms outstretched and one leg, too. Toe pointed like a ballerina, it is one smooth transition to leap backwards and be facing forward again, ready for another waltzing round!
The lovely thing is the landing, it is so much fun and I passed on my very first try!!! =) Yeah!!! Svetlana, my trainer, informed me that the landing is essential for all the rest of figure skating, especially the jumps, because the landing helps them transition from spinning through the air to on to whatever other move comes next. Yay!!
The bad news..... I caused my first accident on the rink today. =(( I felt awful. =((
Some Speedy Gonzalos thought he'd whip around behind me - while I was coming out of my spin into the landing, and didn't know that I was about to thrust out my leg behind me. Haha! What a shock when my boot and very sharp blade was suddenly in his face!!
I never saw him... I was coming out of the spin going backwards, but I heard Svetlana gasp, "Oi!" and then she grabbed me and propelled me forward. The kid, luckily, swerved abruptly but lost control of his skates. He went flying into two girls innocently skating along the loop, and the three of them went crashing. =(
He hurt his arm and the girls were very shook up. I felt really bad. But Svetlana made sure they were okay- just bruises - and warned him about going to fast without calculating distance between him and other skaters.
Sigh. =(
I have a lesson on Wednesday and Friday... only 14 days left till John Steven will be here!!! =) I am so excited!!! I hope that he is soooo surprised.... definitely not expecting his little baby sister to be able to spin through an enchanting waltz! =D Soooo happy!!
Please pray that I do not fall and break my neck or arm before he comes. That would totally ruin this!!! =)