Sunday, May 19, 2013

New Job Update and A Few Other Things

I have finally found some time to sit down and collect a few thoughts to keep you all up to date on the goings-on of my life. I have (obviously) been much busier, but not in the same way as I was a couple of weeks ago, which is kind of a blessing. I don’t think I could’ve held on much longer if things kept on the way that they were. I am starting to get settled, in more ways than one!

Yesterday (Saturday) marked my first complete 40-hour workweek at the quilt shop. I can say with no hesitation that I absolutely LOVE it!!!!! My coworkers are very helpful and encouraging, my bosses are delightful to work for, and the customers are great, too! Okay, so my first day wasn’t quite all roses and sunshine, because it was the shop’s busy day (Second Saturday), when it has its bigger crowds. It was extremely hectic, and I felt a little helpless only because I couldn’t be much help to everyone else. (Thanks for stopping in Debra; that really did make a stressful day much better!!) However, I made it through the fire, and everyone was thrilled to know that I returned on Monday, unscathed.
This week has been much better, and I am now trained to take calls, although I usually have to hand them off to others who can better answer questions, cut fabric for customers as well as fat quarters for the shop, and ring up customers, which will probably cover the gamut of my expected duties during this summer. I am definitely okay with that, only because everyone else has much more experience and will work there longer than I will. I like that everyone pitches in to accomplish a task, and that our boss does a good job of seeing that everyone’s voice is heard. I like her managerial style, and she definitely exemplifies what a good boss should be!

Even better, or worse, if you’re looking at it from a financial standpoint, I have found at least three or four projects that I want to accomplish in the near future! This will be a test of my willpower to not buy excessive amounts of fabric, etc. with my 30% discount, but I think that I will be able to find a good balance, and slowly amass the materials I will need. Really though, the first thing I will buy is a pair of Gingher scissors, because they are the Cadillac of sewing scissors. My mom got hers about 30 years ago, and she says that they are still as sharp as the day she bought them…mostly due to the fact that we were threatened within an inch of our lives if they touched anything other than fabric or thread! (I will probably do the same when I get mine, just saying!) Among the first projects I am going to work on is a car pillow for Andy’s birthday (we just marked down some flannels that would be perfect!), an OSU-themed braided fabric headband, and the most costly of the three, a queen-sized quilt for my bed in my new trailer! And I should probably invest in my own cutting mat, ruler, and rotary cutter. Like I said, not the best for me financially, but I’ll figure it out, and probably live without an awesome quilt bedspread until maybe next year (:

Sadly, since I mentioned that I work a 40-hour week, and since it is the busy time on the farm, between swathing & baling hay, and prepping for harvest, other things have had to take a back seat in my life. Even more sadly, the biggest toll has been my running or an exercise program in general. I really do have a little bit of time at the end of the day to go run before dark, or could wake up early and go, but I have to stand for the better part of my workday and by the time I get home, my feet are tired and I am tired in general. I managed a run last week, but it was nothing too impressive. ( I know, anything’s better than nothing, but still.) Hopefully I won’t keel over at the 5K next week, but I’m not expecting any record-breaking times from myself. It’ll be okay. I’ll live. It’ll be a moral victory. (That’ll be my mantra for the day.) In due time, I’ll get it figured out. If anyone has any pointers on how to keep motivated to exercise in spite of a busy schedule, send them my way! I’d greatly appreciate it!

Oh yeah, yesterday I officially closed on my trailer and we moved it to our new lot. Sadly, the new lot isn’t as well-developed as the original one was, and has a HUGE drop-off. However, Dad and Jeremy have already started scheming up ideas for a deck, which is much needed for safety purposes. My parents and I slept in it last night, and we all enjoyed a peaceful night’s rest. Now we will begin the slow but steady process of bringing my/our stuff down there and getting it settled. On the upside, the clutter from my dorm is slowly diminishing!

It is official. I miss my people, specifically Liz and Tonisha. I’m really not sure when I will see either of them again. Actually, I think I’ll see Tonisha & Mary this week before Toe moves to Wichita. I’m not ready for that, either. I know it is part of life and that we’ll keep in touch, but it makes me sad. Maybe Liz can come visit my trailer sometime!

After work last Thursday, my parents and I made a flying trip up to Burlington to see Jeremy’s daughter, Taylor, graduate high school. She graduated in a class of sixteen, and I prematurely assumed that it would be a short-lived ceremony. The ceremony ended up lasting nearly one-and-a-half hours, all thanks to their long-winded speaker. It wouldn’t have been so bad had there not already been one salutatorian and five valedictorians, but then this lady insisted on talking for upwards of fifteen minutes, and she lost EVERYONE by the end. Oh well. After graduation, Gina, Jeremy, and Taylor’s mom’s clan hosted a little reception for the family. It was much better than the ceremony on all fronts! It was a great celebration for Taylor… Congrats, missy, we’re all so proud of you!!!

While we were there, I happened to miss the airing of “The Office” finale. It’s a good thing I love Taylor, because I wouldn’t have missed the show for much. I’m joking…but really, I’ve waited for it for quite some time! Really though, it didn’t matter since I could just watch it online on Friday. If you haven’t watched it yet and don’t want it to be ruined for you, then you should stop reading now! Everything about it was perfect, from the Dwight/Angela wedding, to the peaceful conclusion of the Jim & Pam love story, to Erin’s reunion with her biological parents, to Michael Scott’s cameo appearance!!! I laughed and I cried, and I felt almost every other emotion possible in between. It was beautiful, and possibly the perfect ending to a great TV show.

I recently started reading Tina Fey’s book, “Bossypants”. Being a big fan of hers, I was excited to read the book, and haven’t been disappointed yet. Okay, so it has some coarse language, but if you are familiar with her, that shouldn’t be a shocker. She has some valid points on being a woman in modern society, and even some good leadership points. I haven’t finished it yet, but I don’t really see that it has some dramatic conclusion, since it is a memoir. I have literally laughed out loud more times than I can count, so that makes it all the better!

Oh yeah, and I passed my OGET with flying colors!!! Onward and upward to better places and things!

So, that’s what I’ve been up to over the last two weeks. I’d love to hear what everyone else is up to these days! Feel free to drop me a line! Have a great week!!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What I've Been Up to During the Last Two Weeks!

In my last post, I mentioned that I was in the midst of a busy time, what with my upcoming graduation and all. That was no exaggeration, because my life has finally slowed down enough for me to take a while and fill you in on what I have been doing during the last two weeks. So, so much has happened…where shall I begin?

One of the highlights before graduation was the scholars’ banquet. I was able to invite my parents to join me for the evening, and what a good night it was! I wasn't really aware that I would be receiving as many awards as I did, but that was the case. Out of a possible seven awards, I received five. I gained some momentary fame around campus as “that girl who won all those awards”. The best awards that I received from the evening were probably my recognition for having a 4.0 GPA and the Math & Engineering departmental award, because those were the two awards I worked the hardest to achieve!

Graduation was on Saturday of that week, and was a great day! By some finagling on our part, I managed to be able to sit between Liz and Tonisha during the ceremony, which totally made my day! I finally introduced Liz and Tonisha, and I am happy to say that they got along just as wonderfully as I had anticipated! (Not that I was really worried, but still..) Honestly, the ceremony was about as normal as any other graduation ceremony could have been, so no news there. After the ceremony, I was experiencing some serious sensory overload. I never realized how many people from campus I actually knew, because I honestly felt like I couldn't move two feet without talking to someone or taking a snapshot with them. Maybe I wouldn't have felt so overwhelmed had I actually had a camera or phone or something with me, which sounds odd, but is the truth. (Mental note: When I graduate from OSU, I am at least taking my camera so I can capture some pictures of my own!) After the ceremony, I was able to stop in at Tonisha’s house for her graduation party, which was mostly a family meal. Our other good friend from high school, Mary, was also there, so we had a good time! After stopping in there, I headed home with my parents to get my graduation party started. It was a small affair, as it was only my immediate family, Liz and her family, Gina’s in-laws, Mimi, Tonisha, and Mary. It is fair to say that everyone had a great time, with lots of laughs!

Mimi and I...Yes, she is out of her sling, back on the streets, and is LOVING it!!!

Sister picture!!!

Mary, Tonisha, Me, and Liz having a blast at my party!

Evan, Liz, and me shortly before they left...Good times!

What has really been occupying the bulk of my time is the fact that I have FINALLY secured living arrangements for next semester!!!!! Hallelujah!!! I decided to purchase a travel trailer and live at the lake. Okay, so that might sound a little bit backwoods, but I can assure you that it is a nice trailer that will suit me just fine! The lake is about ten minutes outside of town, which won’t be too bad of a daily commute. More than that, I welcome the peace that should come from living out there as opposed to in town. As a plus, Gina’s in-laws will live right down the road from me, and they know almost all of the people who will live near me, and are more than willing to help me out in case anything happens, which gives me some peace of mind. Here's a couple of snapshots of it, just so you can see! 
The outside of my trailer (disregard the deck, we have to move the trailer...)

I went back last week for my finals. I had four finals, with one final on each day. I didn't like that as well, but you play with the cards you are dealt, and move on. I only had one comprehensive final (Diff Eq), and the rest were just chapter tests, so not much stress there! I am proud to say that I passed each of the tests with flying colors, and kept my 4.0 for yet another semester!!! I am so thankful that I could keep it together and make it happen for at least one more semester! Woo hoo!!!

Some other highlights from finals week…
I went on an impromptu trip to Waukomis for gelato with my friend Haley!
I went on a 4-mile trail walk with Liz, and had a fantastic and much-needed conversation with her!
I had a Lit Club dinner with my fellow members, and found out that a girl I knew from there would also be in the Secondary Ed program at OSU next year!
I attended a music program for Kyle, Wyatt, and Cody that was absolutely delightful!

Oh yeah, I also moved out. I hate moving, especially when I know that I’m going to turn around and do it again in a few weeks. Did I mention that my married roommate STILL had all of her stuff there? Ugh. I managed to get everything packed up in a couple of days, thanks to some boxes from the grocery store. It went much smoother than last year, when my dad baled up my belongings into our vehicles and everything was totally unorganized. Not the case this year!!! I think the biggest source of success was the fact that I had Gina, Emily and my parents come up after the boys’ program and we loaded everything up into their vehicles. Quick and painless! Getting checked out was a bit of a pain, only because the dorm mom was MIA (like usual). I was also irritated with my roommate who STILL hadn't moved out at noon on move-out day…after I had sent her a polite reminder that she had until 3 PM that day to move her stuff. I just don’t get her sometimes. Thank heavens the dorm mom took things into her own hands and called her up, otherwise, she probably still wouldn't have moved out. Oh well…not my problem now!

Shortly after getting moved out, I began the next all-encompassing task: getting a loan for my trailer. I have never been in debt for anything, so this has been quite the experience for me. One of the biggest reasons I decided to buy instead of rent is that I will be building my credit and will have something to show for it in a matter of two years. It seems somewhat counterproductive, but I am okay with it. We’re still not completely set up yet, but are slowly getting there. In due time, I suppose.

This Sunday was a milestone in Cody’s life: he received his First Communion. We were able to celebrate it during our usual Sunday Mass, and it was a great celebration. Cody was excited about this development in his life, and said that it “changed his life”. I’m glad that he felt some impact from this sacrament, and wish him the best in his spiritual development!

Colby, Fr. Joe, and Cody

The whole family, minus Mimi

Monday was probably the most eventful day for me. I set out with the goal of finding a summer job, although I was not expecting to accomplish that task in a day. I also promised Tonisha that I would let her use me as a test dummy for her phlebotomy certification. If that isn't the measure of a best friend, then I don’t know what is! Okay, not really, but I had full faith in her abilities, so I had no qualms about agreeing to let her draw some blood. I’m happy to report that all went well, and she did a great job! I digress… I decided to test my luck at finding a job. I really wasn't excited about this because I find it to be terribly stressful. I started out at my bank, because they always need summer help of some sort. They had a few positions posted, but I later found out that they were full-time positions only, not summer jobs. The HR lady still had me fill out an application in case a teller job opened up. I had a few other ideas of places to try, but I just didn't feel like going to those places…and it was almost noon, which would be pretty pointless since no one is usually in their office at noon. There was still one place that I wanted to check out, though. You see, last Saturday, my parents and I had gone to Hennessey for supper, and on our way back, my mom just so happened to notice a Help Wanted sign in the front window of the quilt shop. She excitedly showed me, and I was pretty excited about it, because I've always wanted to work in a place like that. So, back to Monday, I decided to trek on down to Hennessey to apply.

I was feeling a bit disconcerted, so I stopped in at the Shrine at church on my way there. Maybe it was hokey for me to stop, but I figured that it couldn't hurt anything! I did feel better after leaving, so I fulfilled my purpose. I got to the store just a little bit before 1 PM, and the girl downstairs gladly gave me an application to fill out. It was by far the easiest application I had filled out, and I started feeling better once I read the last question on the application, “Would you be willing to take a math test?” By golly, of course I would LOVE to take a math test! After seeing that, I was sure to make mention of my math background. Before I left, another girl came in to apply, which somewhat diminished the excitement I started feeling moments before. Oh well, I turned in my application and headed home.

When I got home, I ate some lunch and talked with my mom and Andy, who was spending the day with us. I just so happened to be in the kitchen, when I noticed that my phone was ringing. (It was on vibrate mode, since I had been out and about all day.) It was a Hennessey number… It was the lady from the quilt shop, asking when I could possibly come in to talk with her! (It was about 2 PM at that point.) I told her that I would be back in by 3 PM. After being guided by Andy to watch out for snakes on my drive back (yes, he really said that!), I hopped back in my pickup and beat the trail back to town! I was greeted by the same ladies who gave me my application a mere hour earlier, and headed up for my meeting. The first thing she told me was that she called my cousin, who teaches classes up there and shares a last name with me, and she apparently gave me glowing reviews and commented on my high mathematical aptitude! She exempted me from the math test, and basically proceeded to hire me!!!!!!!!! Oh, happy day!!!!!!  It was truly a blessing to have gotten a job within one day of searching, but I really owe it all to my mom! Mom said that it was just something that was supposed to happen, because she wouldn't have seen the sign had it not been for the traffic light that turned yellow and reflected onto that sign. I think it was meant to happen that way (:  So, now I am employed, and I start working on Saturday! I was told that that is the busy day for the shop, but I figure that if I can’t handle it on the busiest day, then I’m just not cut out for the job. (Pardon the pun, if you happened to catch it!)

So, now it is evident why I haven’t been on the blogosphere much as of late! If those things aren't enough to keep a girl busy, then I’m not sure what is!!!

BUT WAIT!!! There’s more!!!

Okay, so this part really hasn’t kept me busy, but it is a pretty big part of my life now. I’m busting at the seams to tell everyone, but I think that I’ll let Gina’s kiddos, Taylor, Wyatt, and Andy, show you for full effect! 
(I personally love Andy's duck face and hand on is very much a reflection of him right now!)

If you couldn't guess, Gina is expecting another child to be born at the end of October!!!!!! We are all very excited for this addition, and the boys are looking forward to being big brothers! What a blessing for our family!

On that note, I’ll end it, and go prepare for the imminent storm that they say is headed our way…The weathermen have already began their continuous coverage, so it must be serious. Be safe, and have a great day!