Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Odds and Ends

Myra is a sucker - meaning that she must have been weaned too early from her mama. But she has adopted a stuffed hippo to replace that part of her life. Sounds silly, but it's one of the only times she actually purrs. She's been getting lots of snuggle times with me since I've been sick and in bed almost all the time the past 4 days. What a sweetheart.
Bright light!

I decided to recover our tv tables. They were pretty disgusting looking.

And I also recovered the mat on our dining room table. It has really taken a beating over the years. Plus, I almost never put a table cloth on because they get so dirty so quick and it's also better this way for crafting.

Here's Teri and I after our test on Saturday, and right before I got really sick. I hope she didn't get it! She was leaving the next morning at 4:30am to start her drive out west.
I'll miss her, she's a sweet gal and a good friend.
And finally, it's been snowing! I'm so glad, although I am a little concerned about our cars driving in the snow. Scions are cute, little and great on gas, but they are light and don't have a ton of power. Hopefully they'll see us through the winter safely.

Here I Go Again

So....I have switched jobs again! I guess it was about 3 weeks ago, I stopped into my old work at the parks and visited with my bosses. I also picked up some study guides for a civil service test that was coming up for an Environmental Educator position. Well, the next day, my old immediate supervisor put in her two weeks notice and then her boss called me and asked me to come back. I knew this gal was planning to leave at some point, but I didn't think it would be the next day! After I heard what they were going to offer me, basically year round and full-time with benefits, I couldn't turn it down. The only thing holding me back was the school. Even though I had only worked there for 2 months, I had really grown close with the kids and especially my teacher. We got along so well, I truly hated cutting out on them like that. These kids have enough of a hard time at home, I didn't want to continue in the chain of bad examples, but I just had no choice. This was what I went to school for, plus it was going to pay over twice as much as the school. So there you have it.
For the last two weeks, I continued going to school but would stop by at the parks afterwards for an hour or so to try and absorb as much information as possible from Natalie who was leaving. My first whole day was Monday and things have been going pretty good so far. We have actually been moving our offices, so I've just been trying to organize things and trying to prioritize projects that need to get done. This is going to be a good challenge for me. I will be supervising and in charge of hiring for the summer interpretors. I'm nervous since I have never been a direct supervisor before, but at least I have about 2 months to prep before people start coming in.
I also took the civil service test last Saturday. Teri and I both went. She had actually been out west for over a month just traveling around and also lining up an internship at a wildlife safari facility. She is going to be working with their cheetas! How exciting! But she had flown back to take this test before heading out to OR for the internship. I tell you, the state (NY) is a little difficult at times. I had spent hours prepping my application for the test, send it in and Tuesday (the test is on Sat.), when I get home from work, I get a letter saying that I wasn't approved! SO on Wednesday morning I had to call this lady and figure out why, she gave me a whole list of reasons which did not make sense at all and told me to send her some other information and she could at least give it a second look. So I spend about 3 more hours that night highlighting how I was very qualified to take this test and fax it to her Thurs morning. Never heard back from her, left her 2 more messages, and then FINALLY on Friday around 3pm (they close at 4), she calls me and tells me I can take the test the next day. Her reason for not getting back to me is that she tried calling but couldn't get through. She didn't realize she had the wrong area code! I couldn't believe it - ALL the documents, papers, application and phone messages I left her had my full phone number on them. It's just sad, sad to think that if I hadn't been persistant, I wouldn't have found out, I wouldn't have even tried harder to get approved. As we came to find out, in our room of about 15 people for the test, about half of them did not get approved right away and had similar experiences. Hmmm.
SO, after all of that, and ending and changing jobs, I got home from the test on Saturday afternoon and came down with a horrible cold which turned into a sinus infection, right when my insurance ran out. BUT, today I finally woke up and could breathe out of my nose! So things are on the up!
Crazy - I just had to vent I guess.
ANYWAY, I wanted to share some photos from my last days at school. This first one is from the 3rd and 4th graders Choir Concert they put on last week. It was so cute. (sorry for the fuzzy cell phone pic)
And as a going away present from the kids, my teacher sewed on the words to this canvas wall hanging and thought it would be fun to put crafts in. She's a crafty one too! See, all the kids traced their hands and signed it. It was so special.
She also makes these purses out of old jeans. The strap is made out of an old bow tie. She's so clever!I made her this papercutting. Her and her husband love walking with their two little dogs, especially in the state parks.
And then for all the kids, I made Duck Tape pouches/wallets that they decorated with foam stickers.
Inside each one I made a name card with words describing them for each letter of their name. That ended up being a lot harder than expected!

I miss them already, but I think I will be back soon to visit.


Over Thanksgiving break, Mike and I got to see some old friends in State College. We got to have lunch with these gals - Emily & Jodi - friends from high school, actually Emily and I met in Jr. high. And Emily's family came too. We had never met them so it was fun to finally see them in person after seeing just pictures over the years.

Simeon, Ida, Evan & Emily
(Evan was born either on the same day or day before or after our nephew Evan! How crazy!)

And then we went to Mike's 10 year reunion. It was actually pretty fun, a little weird, but there were lots of people that we had been friends with and hadn't kept in touch with. I was surprised with how many people I recognized even though it was the grade below me. The "after party" was at Cafe 210, and we got to see even more people that we hadn't seen in years. A good time!
Here's Mike with Joe - he's now a comedian in NYC - he's so goofy!
Here's Chris - he and I were in the same grade but he came out too - he just got engaged!
Mike, Lauren, Eli
Me and my Tine (aka Justine)
Emily and me
I never thought that I would want to go to my high school reunion, but after going to Mike's, I was actually a little sad that we missed mine last year. Oh well - maybe we'll catch it the next time around.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Gobble Gobble

Mike and I headed home to PA for Thanksgiving. We actually had 4 whole days there, it was a nice treat. All in the families were there except Betsy :( We missed her but heard she had a nice time in OR. My family went over to Mike's parent's house for the big meal. It was a beautiful feast as always - everyone pitched in and made it a special time.

Chef Ryan

Crazy Uncle Mike with Spikaroni

Sistas :)

I wanted to show this cool effect that our camera has. It's the fisheye! Love it!

Looks like we have two monkeys in the family

Silly boys - we miss you!

Finger Lakes National Forest

A few weeks back, after school, I decided to go and check out some of the Finger Lakes National Forest. It was so beautiful. There was this beautiful lake, trails, campsites, and of course it helped that it was a perfect afternoon.

As I was walking around the lake, I saw this huge pile of sticks, packed down with mud. I didn't really stop at first, but then I thought, that's kind of strange. Once I had a closer look, it was a beaver lodge! How exciting! I might have seen a beaver in the wild before, but I just can't remember, so I am bound and determined to see one. I'm always where they are, but they never show their faces. Feels like one of those "world against me" kind of deals - do they really exist? I'm still hoping, but this day didn't deliver. Anyway, I did see some really neat SIGNS of ACTIVE beavers - so it was still pretty cool.