Friday, February 29, 2008

a bad case of the grumblies

I’m in a bit of a grumble, and so while I should be curling up in my comfy bed to sleep until the most irritating of inventions – the alarm clock – shrilly wakes me up tomorrow morning…preferably well rested…I instead sit here with my lap top trying to write the grumbles out of me so I’m not a bear to my husband or a beast to anyone else!

So, why the grumbles? Good question. Multiple answers.

Work is in a weird spot for me right now. I’m currently training my replacement and will soon be starting my job, but I hate in-betweeness where you don’t belong one place or another. And while the training is going fine, it’s also very tiring (especially when combined with the fact that I’m trying to learn my own new job as well!) and frustrating at times....So, having said all that, I’ll be glad when the transitions are over and life is settling back to normal again.

Another grumbly is that I’ve had to deal with the disappointment of learning of a new facet of an acquaintances’ character that greatly mars the picture I had hitherto developed of her. Please understand, I’m not saying she needs to be perfect or that I even saw her as perfect, but her behavior of late has really been so, well, disappointing, that the positive perspective I had of her before this point has been tarnished. And that is always hard to deal with. Idealism out the window, I guess!

Additional grumblies…
- I keep praying for 26 hours in the day, and it’s still at 24.

- My garage door is still broken, but we can’t fix it because we need to save up money to
get our roof repaired (too many crazy storms this winter).

- I recently received news on Myrte, whom I hadn’t heard about in a few months, and she sounds like she is throwing herself deeper and deeper into this crazy lifestyle of hers – depressing. Yes, I’m at peace with the role I have played in all that, but it’s still sad to watch someone throw their life away because they don’t possess the self-respect or even belief to do otherwise. You know it’s bad when drinking buddies are giving up on her because she’s too wild for them!

- I keep trying to stick to my workout routine in the mornings, and I’ve been so tired (I think from the craziness at work), I’ve barely been able to drag myself out of bed for work never mind several hours earlier than that!

- I want either WINTER (as in pretty snow and scenes to look at) or SPRING. I hate this drab nothingness around here. Or else if someone could transport, say, the Lake District here – at least I’d have mountains to look at. Or an ocean. I’d definitely take an ocean. But this time of year it’s all so drab and bleagh and ugly…and I miss tropical weather where at least everything stays green all year!

- My car needs it’s oil changed, but my gas/car budget is giving me the willies because the gas prices keep slipping up and up and up…a few cents at time. When to stop? Who knows.

- My birthday is in two weeks, and I’m trying to figure out what – if anything – I want to do for it. Last year was the pits (long story there), and I was hoping to do something that evening with my brother and sister and sister-in-law and of course, my husband, but I found out my sister will be gone for that whole week on orchestra tour. And, petty as it may be, I’m disappointed. And of course my self-analytical side kicks in going, “why are you disappointed?” And truth be told, I don’t know! I guess because it’s been eight years since either of us have been able to celebrate a birthday with each other. And I was looking forward to the novelty? I don’t think that’s really the whole of it – but I’m not up for digging any deeper to figure out why! But the disappointed part is there. And I’ll deal with it. Birthday suggestions anyone?

- My puppies need a bath, so I don’t like to cuddle them because “dirty dog” is one of my least favorite smells in the world. But then I feel guilty for not giving them enough cuddles! And, I’m sick to death of them tracking in mud over my just cleaned floors! GAH, so annoying!

Shall I add any more?

No.

I look at a lot of my grumbliness and can go – you’re being silly. Or, perhaps more accurately, you’re overly tired because it really has been several weeks of high stress and you need to just let some stuff go for a little while. But the grumblies still remain.

So, on to positives in defiance of the grumblies:

- It’s supposed to be beautiful weather this weekend, so maybe I can go play outside. Disc golf has been severely lacking from my life the last few months.

- We were treated to a movie and dinner and dessert by a good friend of ours this past week, none of which we would have been able to do on our own budget currently, and it was nice to be appreciated by him.

- A dear friend of mine has gotten a new job and life is going to be so much better for him, his wife – my best friend, plus all his friends because of it!

- I’m seeing my sister tomorrow, having missed her for a few weeks, and that will be nice.

- My birthday IS in two weeks, and regardless of other stuff, it’s something to enjoy.

- I have a best friend who leaves me silly messages on my white-board at home, and these are fun to watch for and bring a smile to my face most days.

- My darlingest is looking into plans for the future, and he’s excited about these plans, and that is great to see.

- My Mummy sent me several interesting articles today. A good fact both for the fact that they were highly relevant/interesting but also that she knows me so well she can send me highly relevant/interesting articles!

- The people I have talked to about the work stressors going on right now are so positive and encouraging of me. They all say the same thing – without having talked to each other – that I’m more than capable of handling and succeeding with all of this. It’s somewhat daunting at times to know the expectations of that many people for me, but it’s encouraging as well. If they all think I’m going to do great, surely they can’t all be wrong and my anxious side be right?!

OK, done pouting now. I’ll be good and go to sleep like I know I desperately need to. And, hey, it’s jeans day at work tomorrow! So, in defiance of grumblies…I’m going to enjoy it! So there J

Friday, February 15, 2008

My valentines teddy bear

When I woke up Thursday morning and stumbled out into the kitchen to get something to drink before I dragged my weary self off for my morning workout, I was greeted by a cute, fluffy red and black teddy bear sitting on the dining room table. (see picture above) Wrapped around said teddy bear’s neck was a beautiful heart-shaped, rose necklace. Valentine’s Day had come!

I receive a bear every Valentine’s day, and this is one of my most treasured gifts every year. Now, I really don’t collect bears or bear stuff anymore. I used to, but people change and evolve over time, and it’s been quite a few years since I’ve wanted bears for the sake of bears.

So why the importance of the V-Day bear?

That is actually quite a big part of my life.

I grew up collecting bears. I loved them. My baby panda bear from when I was first born, Honey Bear given to me by a random pastor, my Care-Bear made my Mum...all of them had stories.

When I was 18, I went through one of the toughest times of my life. My whole life had been spent moving. I counted it once, and I have moved 21 times in 26 years. That's actually very little compared to my brother who went to boarding school. But, regardless, moving has always been a regular activity. I found myself driving around neighbourhoods the other day looking at all the For Sale signs and scouring the internet for local houses for sale. Then I realized what I was doing and was trying to figure out why. The answer hit me in a rather duh moment. We have now lived in our current house for a little over three years. That's the longest I have lived in any one place in my entire life (give or take a few months). No wonder the traveling part of my brain is screaming at me to me move!

Any ways, back to being 18. This move was one of the hardest I was going to make. I moved to Thailand when I was three, and for all intents and purposes, Thailand is my home. It's the country of my childhood, and I love it. However, I was graduating high school. I had to go get a college degree, I had to move back to America. And I didn't know for how long. In the past, when we had come back to America every four or five years for furlough, it was for one year, and then we went home again. Never had I come to live for an unspecified amount of time in this country. I was having to sort through my stuff knowing that this time I couldn't just pack stuff away in boxes and come back and find it in a year. This time, if it got left behind, it was permenant.

Then came the bear fight. Like I said, I had a bear collection - each one loved with a name and history all of it's own. I was trying to put stuff into boxes, and my dearest of mothers came into my room and told me that I didn't need to take all my bears. They were just taking up unnecessary room in the shipment. I really should just pick out a few and leave the rest behind, give them away, whatever. I never had a lot of fights, per say, with my parents. This was one of those times when I lost my head, screamed at them, and flung myself into my room in tears. I couldn't possibly leave my bears behind. What was she thinking?!

Several years later, I understand completely what she was thinking. However, fortunately, I have great parents, and she understands (and actually explained to me) what I was thinking! I'm a TCK - Third culture kid. A person who has been born in one culture, raised in a second culture, and has come up with my own third culture as a combination of all of the above. Technically, I'm an FTK - born to parents of two distinct cultures, raised in a third culture, and thus developing m own Fourth culture. Stability in my immediate family, oh yes, I always had that. Stability in my life? No. Like I said, I've moved my whole life. Friends have come and gone. Schools have come and gone. Change is the middle name of most TCKs.

And, a common reaction for a lot of TCKS is to cling to something as an object of stability in their lives. For me, that was my bears. They had always been with me. At least one of them went on every trip I took. Even when we moved from one country to the other and some had been left behind, I was always able to go back to them. So my mother asking me to leave them more or less permenantly, give them away, was - to my crazy 18 year old mind - her taking away my pillars of stability in my life. And I couldn't handle that.

I still have my pile of bears. However, as I said earlier, I don't collect them any more. Except for my Valentine bear. Chris gave me a bear our very first Valentine together. And he has given me one every year since then, even though he knows I don't really collect "bear stuff" any more. But that Valentine bear is the sweetest symbol of stability for me. Not that the bears themselves form a stable pillar for me, but my husband does. He didn't know the history behind the bears until a few years into our marriage. But I think I've just transferred my picture of what those bears mean to me into the ones he gives me every year.

And truthfully, eight years later after my move to the USA (bleagh, have I really lived here that long?!), I'm starting to look at some of my old bears (not my Valentine's bears), and thinking maybe it's time to put some of them away. I haven't been able to bring myself to do it yet, and I don't know if I ever will. But the thought has lingered occasionally. I suppose that's a sign of growing up and finding my own life in a new country.

But for now, I will look forward to my yearly Valentine's bear and all it means to me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

And we have more ice

Having lived in the great mid-west for eight years now, the first six years deluded me into thinking that winters are actually mild and moderate around here. HA! The last two years have taught me better. Once again, we have an ice-storm. Not quite as bad as last year's storm, but still quite a storm!

Chris got Monday and Tuesday off of work (well, technically, he went to work on Monday and it was cancelled after about 45 minutes and he went to work today and realized that they had emailed and cancelled work the night before!). I got off work Monday and had a late start today. Fortunately, we have not lost our power, so that is a great blessing - especially considering several thousand people here in town have yet again lost power.
We haven't rescued anybody this time; however, we did put out extra seed for the birds and have become very popular with them!

Our leaning bush which I hope will one day stand up-right again.










One of our feathery little friends.










Note the ice cycles on the fence.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Politics are depressing

Romney has dropped out. Not that I'm particularly fond of him (at all), but it means that of the candidates who had a higher chance of getting the nomination - McCain is the one left. And him, I despise.

What to do when you don't want to vote yet you feel it is the responsibility of every citizen to make an informed choice when it comes to elections/politics?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Enculturating my sister and other random thoughts

So, it has been horrifically long since I have written on my blog. Much has happened...


Superbowl

So, currently I am sitting on the floor of my living room with Tom Petty singing at half-time in the middle of the superbowl. My sister and I have determined we are the only actual football fans in the room because the boys are playing Halo during half-time and we were the only ones sitting to watch the show!
I am comfortably stuffed with wings (made my yours truly with Buffalo Wild Wings sauce), pizza, chips, tons of fruit (with chocolate dipping sauce!), chocolate covered strawberries (although I suppose technically they fall under the category of fruit), and tasty chocolate, cranberry, and almond stuffed pastries (made by my Amber truly).

*Amber is sitting reading this over my shoulder and correcting my spelling as I type. Excuse me while I take a break to bite her!

We are trying to enculturate my sister into the American experience of Superbowl. I do try to be a good influence on enculturating her :) Of course, I'm really not the best person to be doing that because I don't get half the cultural stuff myself! I don't think she's convinced yet on the value of American football. But then again, neither am I.


Snow-Storm

We finally had a decent snow. However, it snowed most of Thursday afternooon and night and by the time I got out of work on Friday the majority of it was melted. So sad. Snow and no time to play in it. Last year we went and played disc-golf in the snow; not exactly the most successful of outings but a lot of fun regardless.















I did get to take some pretty pictures. Actually, I was entertaining myself. I left early for work on Friday because I didn't know what the state of the roads would be. All in all, they weren't bad. So, as I had time to kill, I drove around the neighbourhood near my work (a beautiful neighbourhood), and took pictures!





























I want this house!















Jobs

I have a new job. Well, I will have a new job in a few weeks once my current position is filled and I have trained that individual. I'm still working at Global, but I will now be a part of the Institutional Advancement team. Basically, I will be working with the team of individuals who set up scholarships, raise money, work with alumni, set up meetings, and a variety of other tasks. While I am sad to leave my current co-workers who is this really fun woman from Chechoslavakia. We "get" each other very well - something about that whole international perspective thing. However, Helena aside, I'm thrilled.



Side-note: What is up with the creepy super-bowl commercials this year? Everyone's getting burned, sucked into airplane engines, etc! OK, back to other things.

The "In-Law" issue

This issue seems to be going, well, nowhere. There is only one person who we have even heard from in the last few months; everyone else has basically seemed to decide to ignore our existance. The individual we have heard from has consistantly not been helping the situation by either trying to ignore the fact that there's a problem and pretending like we're all a happy family or else writing emails insulting, telling Chris what's wrong with him and how he needs to be a better individual, belittling points of view expressed by Chris, or informing my darling husband that he obviously has a bad attitude and they can't talk until he straightens out his attitude (this was written after Chris invited this individual to get together and discuss all this mess).

All in all, we truly don't know what to do other than to continue trying to live our own lives as we feel led by God. On the up-side, our life is actually settling into a new, happier pattern. Despite the fact that this stress is here, we know we are doing our best with the situation that we can, and, more importantly, that we are doing the best we can with our own lives, attitudes, behaviors, and even thought patterns. We have undergone some serious changes in our viewpoints and our own behaviors the last few months. God has done some heavy-duty work in our lives - emotional, spiritual, and mental - and while it has been painful in parts, it also has been good. We have learned a lot, changed in many ways, grown up a lot, and hopefully are becoming better people despite - or rather because of - all of this.

I feel sorry for people who believe that God is sitting up in heaven passively looking down into our lives with no real concern or care about what occurs. How they get through stressful times is puzzling. And to live a life believing that He truly doesn't really care what happens to us...how sad.


Back to the Superbowl: We have just seen the best commercial (well, that and the fights between the football robot and the terminator!) for this Superbowl. The coke commercial with the giant blow-up cartoon characters. The etrade commercials with the talking baby are pretty funny as well.


Anniversary Celebration

A few weekends ago, we went to St Louis for a (month-late) anniversary celebration. Despite having lived in Missiouri for eight years, I really haven't spent much time in St Louis. I truly do love big cities, so we finally decided to go and explore.

We drove up Thursday night and stayed in a B&B in the Lafayette square, historical area of town. It was about two miles from the Arch and various other fun places to go visit. The B&B was one of the prettiest ones we have ever stayed in but severely lacking things like hot-tubs, fireplaces, or jacuzzis! However, for our exploring purposes, it was great.

Friday, we went on the tour at the Anhueser-Bush Factory. It was fun and very interesting. Of course my favorite part was the Dalmations and the horses!







Look at the size of the dog compared to the horse's hoof!



Pretty puppy!



























Following that, we had lunch at the Union Station - which I've always heard a lot about and was severely disappointed in! Just another shopping center. Cool design, but still! There was a cool wall which had a painting of Platform 9 and 3/4 from Harry Potter. The funny part though was that someone had apparently tried to get onto the platform by running into the wall!

Following that, we went to the Cathedral Basilica. Beautiful building. It was interesting to compare a cathedral built in the early 1900s with the ones I'm used to built hundreds and hundreds of years ago. The decorating style was distinctly different. Beautiful pictures. A little gaudy in points but very pretty.
















Saturday, we went to the Arch. Although I've been told I've been to the Arch before in my life, I really have no memory of it at all. So, it was fun to go see it. It really is such a cool structure!




Did I mention it was freezing cold?






Back to the Superbowl: The Giants win!! Amber and Chris are devestated. My sister, Donald (Amber's husband), and I were all rooting for the Giants (none of us are football fans), so we're happy. Of course, the real devestation for the two actual football fans is the fact that football is now over for the next few months. Hee, hee...:) OK, I try to be more supportive than that!

On that note...I end my random thoughts for the day.