Sunday, December 27, 2009

Little pleasures...

Welcome back... I hope everyone has a good Christmas... You know I did! :o)

It's been so great being home, very relaxing and comfortable. Even with the dump of snow we got over the last couple of days. Sorry guys... I guess I wished a little too hard for a white Christmas. On Christmas day we had brunch at my parents with Blair, Janel and Janel's parents. Afterwards my Mom and I trekjked out to Blockbuster to rent movies. We played a little Wii and then watched Mamma Mia! (I can't believe neither one of us had seen it before!) Saturday we had out traditional brunch/lunch out with my Mom's side of the extended family. We get a little break today, and then Christmas Round II (sort of) starts later on today and tomorrow when my uncle and his family return from the Dominican and we spend some time with them. It will be nice... I can't remember the last time I saw them - probably last Christmas!

One of the best things about coming home was returning to my home church -- which I did officially on Christmas Eve. I was able to practice and since with my choir, and it felt fantastic. I know that a lot of my choirmates read this blog (HI!) and so do my pastors. Spending some time with them inbetween serivces on Thursday was great (yay for the minestrone!) and I can't wait till I can return for good in the future. I plan to take a peace light with me back to the church I've been hanging out in down south, and telling everyone what an awesome community I come from!

On Christmas Eve it's been tradition for the last few years for one of our ministers (Jeff) to tell a story about Reverend Julie Woodson and her church and congregation. Truly fictional with some real-life connections, I look forward to these stories every year and this last one was no exception. If you're looking for a glimpse through the eyes of Rev. Woodson, check out and find Jeff's stories! (The first one is easy to find... but the rest are there, too!)

In the coming dasys I'm looking forward to spending time with more family and friends, doing a little shopping at my favourite hometown stores and maybe even trying out the skating trails. I wonder if the river is open yet? I'll likely post more here and there, but until then... Continue to enjoy your holidays! I know I will!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The BEST gift of all...

Here we are on Christmas Eve! And so I give you the gift of a Christmas Eve post!

Got together with my best firends yesterday. It was great... even if they were all sniffling and high on Buckley's. I'm trying NOT to get sick while I'm here, but I suppose if I do, it'll be worth it. They took me for a ride around the swanky part of the city to see the Christmas lights... Some displays were impressive, and others were less so. We grabbed some Timmies while we were out... And I had more this morning too! Ahh.... that's a hometown staple that I missed!

I know that we'll all be out and about over the next few days, and some of you will read this sooner... others later. But whenever you come across this blog again, I wanted you to know that I wish nothing but the very best this Christmas for you and the people you love. Being home -- even if we're not doing anything super special -- is the best Christmas gift I could have gotten. The second best is knowing that all of you are where you want to be right now... wherever that may be!! :o)

So MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!! Have an awesome day today and tomorrow. Stay warm, stay safe, and be happy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

There`s no place like home...

Seriously, I have nary a care in the world right now. :o)

Monday I tried to be productive, and I did manage to get most of what I wanted done. I slipped out around 3. Stopped at the postoffice, Walmart (to pick up my new specs!) and home where I grabbed my suitcase, looked the place over once or twice and headed out. I was almost out of town when I realized I had left my iPod in my school bag. I guess I needent have turned back, because when I tried to use it the next day, I realized that it was dead! Bummer... but it really didn`t phase me much because I wad GOING HOME!!!

The traffic in the Raleigh area was a little crazy. I made a stop for some dinner and then got to my hotel. Signed myself up for A 3:30 wake up call and a 4:30 shuttle and I was done for the night. Had a rather restless sleep... I don`t know if I reached REM. So I was a little bleary-eyed when I arrived at the airport. The plane rides were quiet (well, except for the random crying children) and my fast connection in Minneapolis (one end of the terminal to the next) didn`t manage to cause much trouble. Got back at 10:45 AM local time.

It feels fantastic to be around family and friends. Being away really makes you appreciate what you`ve got back home. This is so true. I`m looking forward to a quiet, peaceful and content holiday. :o)

Hope you all are somewhere that makes you happy this week. I will post more in the days to come. Love to all!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Not long now....

I'm down to hours before my Christmas vacation officially starts, and by this time tomorrow, I'll be on my way home!!

It seems rather unfortunate that I have to put in a full day of work before I go. I'm wondering how I will keep from getting distracted. Already I've had a restless sleep! Luckily, the school will be quiet, and I can work at my own pace. I've got a few things that I want to do so that I don't have to obsess about them (and I would!) while I'm away.

During my holidays, I'm hoping to put the stresses of the job and the distance behind me and just focus on what matters most - spending time with the people I love and care about so much and just being thankful for their presence and support in my life. These last few months have really put many things into perspective for me, not the least of which is to appreciate the small things that make me happy and relaxed.

This will likely be the last post before I'm back in Winterpeg!! Hope everyone has a good start to their holiday week! :o)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Making a list, checking it twice...

Well, it felt more like I was getting up for work this morning at the usual time... A little cruel for a Saturday. But the 5K came and went... pretty well, actually. The rain stopped around 7:15 AM as we were driving out to Fayetteville, but the air was still brisk and damp, which made it feel pretty chilly. I dressed in layers though, so I was good for the most part. The run/walk was good. Lots of runners... lots of walkers. It was half uphill, which was a challenge... my knee started to protest partway into the climb, and it's still bugging me now. I suppose I'll live though.

Did a bit of shopping on the way home... Not much left to get, but I still think I'm missing someone! A couple of stops in Raleigh on Monday evening and I should be done. My suitcase is 2/3rds full of gifts already... and I'm still packing! I don't prefer to pack early, because that's when I usually bring more than I need and regret it later.

Well, I'm going to (try) to chill out and relax this evening. Maybe watch a movie or something. I've got some school-work that I brought home, but it likely won't get touched today. Yeah, a real shame. ;o)

Only three sleeps until I'm on my way home!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

T'was the week before Christmas....

I've been rather lax (again) on my posts as of late... and I apologize (again) for leaving you all hanging!!

The last few days of school before the holidays are winding down. We're all dismissed as of 1 pm tomorrow afternoon. Perfectly fine by me, as we're all about as sick of each other as we can be, and I'm afraid of what would happen if we tried to drag this out any farther!

Still been hard to get into the Christmas spirit, for mainly the same reasons as I mentioned before. I am managing to live vicariously through others as they carry out their old traditions. It makes me think of home even more, and wish that I'd booked a Monday night flight instead of a Tuesday flight!! I'm anticipating a restless weekend - it could feel like a really long time - as I mess about here getting things done so that I can actually jet off and not have to worry about unfinished business.

I baked cookies on the weekend to give to a few (okay, several) coworkers that I've worked closely with. I also sent out a full staff email thanking everyone for their support and warmth during my first few months. Apparently the gestures were a hit! The staff is very friendly and fun... which has made the transition easier. And knowing that they value my contribution is motivating. I suppose I'll just have to come back in January. ;o)

This weekend we're supposed to get a mix of rain/sleet/snow, which could be fun and frustrating at the same time. I'm told that we're likely not going to get much white stuff... too far southeast for that. Saturday I'm going with another teacher to do a 5K walk/run in Fayetteville. We're actually driving out tomorrow to check out the route, and then back on Saturday morning (early!) to actually participate. I've also got dinner with Alvin, his family and Ibeth tomorrow night as a little holiday gathering, I guess. And besides catching up on work, packing and attending church on Sunday... I suppose that makes for a full-enough weekend. It'll be nice not having classes on Monday, and I can take the whole day by myself to get prepared for exams in January.

Tuesday can't come fast enough. I think I'm looking forward to Christmas this year more than I have in a long time... if ever! Sure, the holidays are always special, but since I've been away from home it feels a little extra so. The countdown is on!! Look out everyone, I'm headed your way!!!

Love to all!! Hope you're staying warm!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fa la la la... la?

So we lost the Brain Game. But we didn't do half bad... The team started off strong with the Pop Culture round, and then weakened a bit in the middle with some names and dates. We had a really strong Science round, and it was anybody's game until the last two rounds (Globetrotting and Across America) when the other two teams blew ahead. The kids were disappointed, but we were proud of them anyways! The game will air in January on a local station.

I'm fighting off a bit of a headcold. It's not too bad... just congestion and grogginess. It's the first time I've been sick since I got here, so I suppose I was due for it. Better now than in two weeks...

The weekend was cold. Saturday was rainy, and Sunday was just chilly. Mind you, this isn't saying much when we compare it to Winterpeg temperatures. ;o) There was a threat of snow for late Saturday, but it didn't happen in this area of the state. Oh well. Maybe next month.

The lack of snow is one of the reasons why I can't seem to get much into the holiday spirit, despite all the holiday related shows and movies on TV, and all the holiday music on the radio and in the stores. (There's even a station that plays all holiday music...) There are lights around town, decorations that people put out in their yards, but it's falling flat for this northerner. I just don't buy it when there are still leaves! Santa and his sleigh look silly riding across the grass...

I haven't even been able to Christmas shop the way I've wanted to. I'm doing some of it online, and shipping it home. Some stuff I'm bringing with me. I'm afraid to forget someone in the mix! Can't wrap the presents that have to go through customs, and I only just started my Christmas card list. I haven't had much time, energy or motivation to do any Christmas baking, either.

Do I sound like a Humbug? I really don't mean too, honest!! I actually want to be in the Christmas spirit, but I'm having a hard time finding it. I know it'll all come surging towards me as the 22nd gets closer and I finally pack for the visit home. I can't wait for that. Only two weeks! In the meantime, I'll keep surrounding myself with merriment and the like!

Love to everyone!

Friday, December 4, 2009

It's the Brain Game...

I'm pinch hitting for another teacher tomorrow and accompanying a team of students up to Raleigh for the taping of an episode of "Brain Game". It's a local quiz-show game for teens, where they can earn points and win the chance to get some prize for their school. I have no idea how well we will do... But wish us luck!