Sunday, February 28, 2010

Let's Talk About Love

I am in a relationship, a fairly serious one. It's not the wild and crazy and passionate (well, okay, it is sometimes) relationships from high school and college. But I love the relationship I am in. It's serious, and equal, and brutally honest. We've known each other for about 9 years (since high school), and have been dating solidly for the past 3 years. Our anniversary is today was this past Friday! It's actually a great story, but he gets embarrassed when I tell it, so I'll condense (or try to).

I liked him in high school, but he "didn't get it." So he dated someone else. I'll be nice and just say that no one liked her. They broke up in freshmen year of college, but I was already in a different relationship by then. We lost touch for a bit, but randomly reconnected in my senior year of college. (He was taking a break from school.) Sure, we were both single, but I didn't expect it to turn into anything. So why the heck was I visiting him at work? And why was he constantly texting me? And why were we making out in his car? Odd.

The official start of our relationship was February 26th, 2007, even though our friendship began so much earlier and even though we both must have known we'd end up together from the very first kiss (which I remember very clearly; it was awesome). The date is just something nice for us, a good excuse to eat somewhere expensive, until we have a different date to celebrate.

Yes, we've talked about marriage. Alot. It's just not right for us yet. I'm crazy busy with classes, we're both still living at home, and weddings are so unnecessarily expensive. But we've I've already started planning certain details. It's my unplanned wedding.

So, I had typed this post up 2 days prior to our anniversary and had planned on posting it on Friday. But this freak blizzard hit the northeast and we lost power. It still isn't back on at my house; luckily, it's on at his house.

We didn't get to do our special dinner; we ate at my house with my family, but there WAS candelight!

And we've been crazy busy hanging out with his brother and SIL (Melissa from The Zookeeper's Diary) and their 3 midgets. Jon is godfather to his nephew, which he's really proud of, so I'm extremely appreciative of their efforts to include us during their time up here.

All in all, it's not the special weekend full of quality alone time that we had wanted, but it's still been fun, despite my lack of proof. There has been absolutely no option for picture-taking this weekend - my camera is back at the dorm, my dad's camera battery is dead, and the family camera is a POS. No big deal, memories are more important anyway.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Black and White Wednesday - Matt's hands

I hope no one minds that I reused a photo for today's b&w. When I was editing this photo of Matt's hands for the i♥faces challenge 2 days ago, I tried it in black and white. It looks amazing! I couldn't just ignore how awesome it looks, so I kept it in color for the challenge, and saved the b&w version for today.

the long road

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

My first blog awards!

These were totally unexpected, so that makes them doubly as exciting!

Melissa over at The Zookeeper's Diary is one of those super-females that rocks at life in general, and it's entirely her fault that I have this blog. She's also Jon's SIL, so practically family at this point.

She passed on the Sunshine Award and Beautiful Blogger Award. These awards have rules that go with them, something about giving them to 98645 other bloggers, posting 236 deep dark secrets, juggling newborn babies while doing jumping jacks, and translating the Battle Hymn of the Republic into Arabic (a la Alice).

Not happening. I'm going to be extremely selective and pass each award onto one blog that I read, and then I'll consider posting some unknown facts about myself.

So the first award goes to Cammy at Classroom Confessions. She's a 20-something teacher, and she's so down-to-earth. And she's an amazing photographer. Her posts and her photos are refreshing and sunny (partially because she lives in FL, I think); thus, the Sunshine Award.

The other award, the Beautiful Blogger Award, goes to Lena at This devil wears Dior... sometimes. Another amazing photographer, and her son is adorable. Besides her family/photography blog, she recently started up a book club blog, which I am hoping to be able to take part in when I can get grad school under control (aka, when I graduate).

This post has taken up an outrageous chunk of my time, and I have a paper to write. So I'll leave you with these little tidbits about me:

+ I love pickles. I eat them out of the jar. I prefer sweet, juicy ones. (Get your mind out of the gutter!)
- I hate tomato sauce, even though I am Italian. I prefer alfredo and vodka sauce. I also don't like sausage, even though I am Polish.
+ I love reading. Anything, anywhere, anytime. I am currently rereading City of Ashes from the Mortal Instruments trilogy. (I am meeting the author in 1 week!)
- I hate two-faced people. I don't care if you hate me; don't pretend to love me so you can go bitch about me 5 minutes later. Just tell me.
+ I love back rubs. I am always begging Jon to give me a back rub. If spas were cheaper, I would go every other day.
- I hate feet (except baby feet). They are smelly, hairy, ugly, sweaty. Even though I prefer to go barefoot, I can't stand to look at or touch feet.
+ I love me! ♥

Monday, February 22, 2010

i heart faces Challenge - Hands

Today's challenge for i♥faces is HANDS!! I was so excited when I saw this because I LURVVVEEE taking pictures of hands. For the most part, I focus on the hands of Matt, my younger brother. He has issues with fine motor skills, as well as some gross motor tasks. A lack of muscular development in his hands has made them very loose and fluid, and thus very graceful.

For the challenge, I chose a picture of his hands that fills the entire image. One hand is holding a chocolate milk bottle, and the other hand was tapping his fingers. (He does a lot of self-stimulation, including tapping his fingers together and rubbing his fingers and knuckles.) I just love how I caught the one hand mid-tap, and it looks almost posed, but it really wasn't!

I played around with the light and color curves, which I am finding so much easier as I continue to play with levels. I also learned how to do rounded corners, although somehow they got filled in with white. Odd.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Writing Poll

One of my creative hobbies is writing. I do alot of it, but not much of it I do for myself. Most of it, right now, is for school. Since I was an English major in undergrad, I could mix in my own writing with class assignments, but not anymore.

At some point in my life, I found a website called HPANA. I believe it was sometime in junior year of college. This website had a very active forum that included a special place for fanfictions. In there, I made so many good friends. I've been able to keep in touch with several through fb, even though I'm sadly not active in the forums anymore. I keep hoping I can be active again after graduation. (So much of my life is on hold until after graduation.)

One of my friends from the forums is Tami, aka Tart. Her blog is a fun and insightful read for anyone who is looking to better their writing, and she blogs about other things as well. She put up a poll and is looking for ANYBODY to answer the following questions:

1)How old were you when you had your first fantasy of writing novels?
2)How old were you when you began writing FOR FUN? (rather than assignments)
3)When did you start writing SERIOUSLY (like trying to be published)?
4)Where are you in your career? (HAVE you published? How many books have you written?)

So, if you are a writer, please either follow the link and comment on her blog, or put your answers in a comment on my post and I'll pass them on to her. Thanks!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday night

I've long since outgrown the phase of "I can't be stuck home on a Saturday night, that's just not cool!" I could care less. Sure, there are plenty of people my age who are out partying right now, or getting ready to party, but I'm so done with that. That stage of my life was relatively short and sweet, and I enjoyed it, but I am SO glad it's over.

What's bugging me now is that I had planned to write a paper today. It's a very easy paper: 2-3 pages of a literacy lesson observation. I could write it in my sleep. However, apparently my immune system decided it would be fun to let some germies take up residence in my sinuses. This is not the worst I've felt lately, as another sinus infection right before Christmas incapacitated me for 2 days. I'm well enough to totter around my house, build a fire in the fireplace, and curl up in an armchair with a good book. (Quick side-note: I get to meet Cassandra Clare in a week and a half.) But I am nowhere near well enough to concentrate on sitting down and writing a coherent, well thought out, organized paper. I already know this blog post isn't coherent, so this is proof enough right here.

Speaking of a lack of focus, I've been noticing a shift in my attention to tasks. I've always been able to multitask among larger scale tasks, such as class, work, cheerleading, etc. Heck, I had 5 part-time jobs in my senior year of college, I cheered on an Open team, I did my student teaching, and I made Dean's List. Even during my first 2 years of grad school, I haven't had any issues whatsoever with juggling classes, full-time job, and boyfriend. Suddenly, this semester, my LAST one, I'm really finding it hard to be able to do everything at once. When I'm at the office, I'm pressured and distracted by lessons and planning for my practicum. When I'm tutoring for my practicum, I'm pressured and distracted by my work tasks. This is an unusual feeling for me, so I'm having difficulties dealing. I long for graduation to come so I will be able to concentrate fully on my job, since I will never be able to just go to school without working, like I did freshman year of college. Oh, such a care-free life.

No picture today, I'm sorry, but I just don't have the energy to do any editing, or even to sort through all my folders to find something cute/meaningful/inspiring/etc. Here's to Nyquil and a box of tissues!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Today is Black and White Wednesday, run by Lisa over at The Long Road to China. I have been pretty faithful (since the start of my blog) about taking part of this, but I won't be able to today. I was entirely too busy during the first half of my day, and then I had tutoring. I suppose I could have done some editing after tutoring, but I decided to go to a prayer service instead.

I have been a Roman Catholic for my whole life; I've only ever attended Catholic schools (except for kindergarten). But I prefer to keep my spirituality private. I will probably never blog about it. But I felt it deserved mentioning.

I found a mommyblog through another one, and it's also worth mentioning. It's called Enjoying the Small Things and it's written by Kelle. Not only is she gorgeous and blessed enough to have 2 equally gorgeous little girls, but she is also an amazing writer and an amazing photographer. You should go read her thoughts.

Monday, February 15, 2010

i heart faces Challenge - Dancing

I had the perfect picture for this Challenge, so I am really excited to enter!

This is Jon's dad, Kevin, and his friend, Sarah, at her wedding. Jon and Kevin wore matching kilts; it was so cute! I had Anthony's camera the whole night, but this shot taken during the Dollar Dance is easily one of the best from the entire event.

I hate the flash from the photographer's camera, so I darkened it alot. But I guess it's my own fault for sitting right across from him. Other than that, I darkened out the background and tried to brighten up the green of the kilt.

Such a fun photo.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

2-hour delay

My plans for today were fairly simple: observations at an elementary school for 2 hours, then work at 1pm. However, Mother Nature wanted to get back at me for calling her weather-confused. It snowed all day yesterday, which I did not mind. I needed the snow day off from work and tutoring to do some planning and creating. So, it continued snowing into the night and then the temperature dropped to about 16 degrees. That makes ice, which in turn leads to dangerous roads, and the buses really shouldn't be driving on icy, dangerous roads. The result? 2-hour delay. So I couldn't do my observations today.

Lack of activities led me to call Jon and ask his advice on how to spend my morning. his first suggestion: "Blog." Seriously! He seems to enjoy this new hobby of mine, I'm not quite sure why.

But I can't just blog about nothing. I need a topic, something to blab about. Lack of topic led me to surf the web. Upon finding a pse tutorial, I decided to do some photo editing. This is the result:

These are some fake flowers that I photographed back in the fall. There was an abundance of natural light coming through the window, but I had been doing some experimenting with shadows. So, in pse, I played with the light a bit. I was trying to brighten up the flowers, but I actually like the background being brighter instead.

Okay, I'm off to some other creative activities now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Black and White Wednesday - Friends

Welcome to Black and White Wednesday! Do your own and join in at The Long Road to China.

This is myself (on the right) with my friends, same 2 friends from the cute dress-up picture below. We are all grown-up now, obviously, but we still love to play around with each other.

This emphasizes my point from my last post about not wanting to move out of state. I love my family and friends so much that I would be utterly lost without them. I've been friends with these 2 girlies since we were in the womb. Our moms were in each other's weddings. These girlies will be my bridesmaids, no questions asked. (Speaking of which, I've got 6 bridesmaids, including the MOH, planned for my unplanned wedding. Is that too many??)

I should mention - when editing this photo, I played around with some different filter textures in the background. How does it look?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Thoughts on a cold February night.

Another entry, because Jon reminded me that I haven't updated since Sunday, and because I feel like writing. Also, today is Tuesday, which is Challenge Day over at i♥faces. This week's challenge is Kisses. I have 3 pictures that involve kisses - 2 of them are me and Jon, and the other one is me with 2 close friends. I really really REALLY wanted to use the one of me and my friends, but I didn't take it. And I couldn't decide what to do with the ones of me and Jon. So, no entry from me this week.

I should probably clarify my thoughts from my last entry. I had mentioned that I want to send my unborn babies to a coop preschool. I didn't even explain WHY or WHAT a coop preschool is. It's based on the theory that children learn from their community, including adults and children. Parents who send their children must commit to volunteering in the school once a week, and attend regular meetings with other parents to discuss anything going on in the school. Not only does this provide the parents with extra support (parenting advice, recipe sharing, play dates, etc), but it also lets parents have more direct involvement in their children's development and learning process. This is so important to a child's development in all areas, on all levels. Many children enter school lacking critical skills (both academic and psychological) because their parents don't have time or just don't care enough to spend time with them. It does a great disservice to a child to plop him/her in front of a television (for extended periods of time) or to avoid taking part of any part of the learning process (aka "let the teachers do it").

In order to avoid getting into a rant about people who don't deserve to have children, I should change the subject now. Graduation is 14 weeks away, and I cannot be more excited to be done with school. I've spent the past 19 years of my life being educated and I'm ready to educate other people, whether it's educating teachers as a literacy coach, educating students as a teacher, or educating my unborn babies as a mother. (I'm hoping more for the latter.)

My issue now is EXACTLY what to do after graduation. At this point, my options are pretty fuzzy - no specific offers, but lots of potential for several specific options. One of my major upcoming decisions is whether I stay in New York or move out of state. The weather up here is aggravating me - I spend most of winter defrosting myself, watching for the sun, and listening for robins. Summers seem to get shorter and shorter every year because I truly love warm weather and sunshine. But if I move, I'm leaving behind my family and friends - the most important things in my life. I couldn't possibly go months, or even weeks, without seeing them; as it is right now, I can hardly go a few days without going home. I want to get married here; I want my unborn babies to see my family as often as possible. But there are jobs out west. So I'm torn.

I should probably get ready for bed now. The forecast for tomorrow says snow, which is the complete opposite of what I want. But I need to be ready for it, so I need to get my books together, and clothes in case I end up going home. Spring, please come back! I miss you!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

A Blogging Teacher

I've been slacking in the blogging area. My apologies to my 2 followers. And 2 non-blogging followers. Erm... I need more friends.

I wanted to chat a bit about a blog that I've been following. It's Teacher Tom. I found him from someone else's blog when she had commented on on of my posts. (Yes, I read every single comment I get and then comment on each person's blog.) He works at a co-op preschool, and so he has some great strategies and techniques for dealing with little ones under the age of 5. I love his Little World idea, not to mention all the creativity and hands-on activities that he does with the toddlers.

I'm in the stage right now that every little tip and idea that I MIGHT use in the future, I make note of. I've got a notebook filled with wedding planning ideas and bookmarked websites that cover everything from moving cross-country to baby names and from dolling websites to job openings. So, while reading Teacher Tom's blog, I've decided: I'm sending my unborn babies to co-op preschool. Obviously, I plan on beginning their language and literacy development early on, but I know very little about social and emotional development before grade 1. (My undergrad fieldwork didn't include preK or K, so my only experience is babysitting and one summer working at a preschool.)

Now I just have to get married and have babies.

I wish it was that easy! I have no money.

Gosh, I'm good at digressing. I should just end this now, before I go horribly off-topic and put my 4 followers to sleep. I'll end with a picture, because I read somewhere that blog posts without pictures are boring.

This is me at age 3ish with 2 friends. So cute, I can't even take it. I'm rocking a crown, Kate is wearing a hoochie outfit, and Lori has a tutu on her head.

One of my unborn babies better be a girl.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Senses, Part I - Smell

I have sensitive senses. I tend to miss the big picture and instead focus in on the tiny details. This past Tuesday, I had an oddly heightened sense of smell. I smelled so many intriguing odors in just one day, that I just had to write them all down.

  • cinnamon oatmeal, as I ate breakfast.
  • Love Spell perfume, as I got dressed.
  • mistletoe car gel, as I drove to the middle school.
  • pen ink, as I took notes during my observation.
  • hash browns, as I ate lunch.
  • hot chocolate, as I read in the library.
  • oranges, as I sat in class and we all had our snacks.
  • coffee, as I meandered around Barnes&Noble.
  • Dove soap, as I showered.
  • toothpaste, as I brushed my teeth.

The best scent of the day, by far, was not one that can be named. I came back to the dorm after a long day of running around, threw myself on my bed, and buried my face in my pillow. It smelled so delicious - a mixture of my own scent, detergent, leftover Jon scent, sugar cookies, green tea, and cucumber.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Black and White Wednesday - Back in the Day

For today's B&W, I knew I wanted a picture from my past. This is actually one of the oldest pictures on my laptop - it's from August 2007. Everything from before that is on a different laptop. I need to buy an external hard drive to store all my stuff.

That little turtle is Shampoo. Jon bought him for me at our first trip to SeaWorld. He may be a stuffed turtle, but he means alot to me.

Now, I've been trying to practice gradients because everyone seems to be using them, and my dad already mastered the skill. So I did another picture. I didn't take the picture, I'm only about 3 years old. But it's just so darn cute!

This is me and my brother when we were in my cousin Chris's wedding in 1988. I was apparently miserable throughout the entire ceremony and all though pictures, so the photog caught Dave trying to cheer me up. Valiant effort on his part. And, to this day, he is pretty much the only person who can make me laugh when I'm at my lowest.

Black and white wednesday was started by Lisa over at The Long Road to China.

Monday, February 01, 2010

i heart faces Challenge - Places I Love

Places I love to go, where I can love and be loved, and be happy.

The first one is the beach. I've already emphasized my love for the beach, but you might as well get used to it. I take entirely too many pictures at the beach, so I have plenty to share. I love being there because of the sounds (waves, wind, happy people, nature), the sights (waves, happy people, nature, the horizon), the smells (salt water, fresh air), and the textures (waves, wind, salt water, sand). This is Jon and I in Daytona during our last Florida trip - August 2008.
Now, because this challenge isn't being judged, the next 2 pictures don't have faces. But they are places I love, for sure! So, we have NYC. Being only an hour away from "the city" means I go as often as I can, but not as often as I should. Last time, Jon and I went to MOMA for the Tim Burton exhibit. It was amazing. We've also gone to several Broadway shows (when we can find tickets for reasonable prices) and we've stayed in high-class hotels (when Jon can get a discount). I love that the opportunities for people-watching are endless. The stores are extravagant. The views of the sky in between the skyscrapers are gorgeous.

The next one without a face is a place I miss - DisneyWorld. I went when I was kid, and I barely remember it. When Jon brought me there again, I truly felt like I was 4 years old again. It's definitely the one place that anyone can act like a kid, and won't look like a idiot. I grew up with the Princesses (Ariel is my fave), so every Disney trip requires photos with Cinderella, Belle, Ariel, and anyone else who interests me. I also love the food at all of the parks - so many choices, so much variety, and it usually tastes pretty good, too. But my favorite part is below - seeing Cinderella's castle (I want to go IN it), and seeing the fireworks.

So, since Jon has been an integral part of the places I love,
I decided this:
Anywhere I go, as long as I'm with him, I'm happy.