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Adopting in Ashburn

What began in France moved to Washington, DC and then the suburbs. Let the adventures in Ashburn continue.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Change Up

I am working on this new part of my life - a part I've never actually made a conscious effort in before. I'm working on finding happiness.

I am differentiating this from other phases of my life as previous experiments of this nature have always had secondary objectives, as opposed to an overall goal. I am looking to find happiness. End goal: be happy.

This is not, in any way whatsoever, to imply that I am not currently happy. I am. I just think there is more happiness out there I am not participating in.

I love my friends (and my readers!) for example. Only, I don't spend as much time with them as I would like. This may be a withdrawl factor from leaving school - you don't see your friends in class everyday in addition to your social times. Another factor in this is the widespread nature of my friends. I do not think there is anything to do here except to look for more opportunities to make friends and to engage my current friends in activities we find mutually beneficial and fun.

This means less venting sessions and more active sessions where we "do" something. Venting is important, but when your relationship is built upon the other person being your support system, you run the risk of things going into disrepair. So, improving the foundations of friendship is one thing I think will help me find happiness.

Another thing I need to do is actually get some things off of my to-do list and finish them. This week I made a master to-do list in an effort to expedite this process. Although I have not gotten through everything yet, I think that finishing this set of items and then adding items that I know will make me happy (as opposed to the regular obligations of being an adult) will be productive.

For example, there are many things on my to-do list having to do with my house. If I can get those sorts of things out of the way I can start doing other things on my "house front" like painting, knitting, inviting people over, and reading the shelves of books I have accumulated. To start this process, I am taking advantage of the lack of interesting summer television to incorporate more reading into my life. The current bedside novel: The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie. Mind you, I'm fairly certain I already know "who-dunit" but I needed an easy read to get me loving my time curled up with literature again.

A huge key to my happiness is being physically myself. This means getting enough rest and eating properly so my body can be ready to do whatever whim it thinks of at a moments notice. I've started making my bedtime a bit earlier, which was a big first step definitely brought on by the onslaught of illness lately. Produce prices notwithstanding, my food has been just fine (though I need to whip in a bit more variety). But, I'm making a dentist appointment and I may even start looking for a stylist to cut my hair. Little things can make big change.

I guess the truth is, I'm not looking for an overhaul. I'm just tired of feeling blah. I'm sad that I hardly ever share happy adventures even though I have them all the time (which is the product of my venting nature). There are so many parts of life to absolutely love and adore and I want to be enjoying more of them.

I've started finding affordable ways to do things I've never done or am sure I like to do. Like this past weekend picnicking with friends at Wolf Trap National Park while watching Gilbert & Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore. What a splendid time we all had with wine and pasta salad and chocolate brownies and "He is an Englishman!"

Next weekend, I'm having a get together for HOBY staff here at the house and on Sunday night I'm going to see RENT with friends (love me some musical theater). So, all things that are fun, affordable, and with friends. But, they aren't so time consuming that I can't do other things that need to get done (like the grocery shopping). It seems so silly to make sure I have time for those things, but it is stressful to go without milk in the fridge for a few days. (Much of this is the fact that I hardly drive because I can walk almost everywhere. I don't pass the grocery much so I have to make a concerted effort to go to one.)

Tonight then, I am going to go to the store with Rachel and get all our shopping done. I am going to talk in a funny, maniacal way about the current object of my daydreams. Tomorrow I am going for a run - even if it does rain - and then I am going to get my computer fixed so I don't have to borrow Rachel's (which she is kind enough to lend me).

I will bake those bananas into a breakfast treat, finish my book and set out on another, give my car a bath (to go with the recent oil change), make all necessary medical appointments, and otherwise set out well prepared to find happiness. I know it is lurking about here somewhere, I've just been content to fumble around in the dark trying to find it. I love being lucky sometimes, but if I can straighten out the easy things, then the happy will be just sitting there for me to enjoy.

And that's something to be excited about.

Love always, ~Heather

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

A Tale of Two Butterflies

So the other day I had a chance encounter with a caterpillar. We were just hum-drumming along and eating leaves when we found ourselves on the same live oak.

We had a few things in common, being caterpillars and all.

The next time I saw him, he was all bundled up in his chrysalis, and we "hung out".

Now, I'm a bit sad, because he is breaking out of his haven and is moving on. Bright and shining and ready for a new life. I am also changed, but not moving yet. I'm content here for a bit longer.

I wish we had met sooner, since we would really have had fun together, looking for leaves and eating leaves, and talking about eating leaves.

Perhaps I will break out in just enough time so we can go flying about the garden, sucking sweet nectar from the splendiforous local flowers for a bit.

He'll be flying away soon. So should I rush out to spend a bit of magical time or stay and rest, knowing we'll be meeting again in other gardens and spend happy time then?

It's hard to tell, since we might be different on this side of the chrysalis.

Then again, life is fleeting.

But, as a recent Mutts comic said - "I've never seen a butterfly in a hurry."

Decisions, decisions. And I'm so bad at making them. Don't even get me started on what colors I want to make my wings!

I'm leaning on faith and hoping that the Good Lord leads me with understandable signs.

Love always, A Caterpillar

P.S. The quote of the day is "Every man is the architect of his own fortune." by Sallust I first read it as "Every man is the architect of his own future." Well, if that's true, at least I'm trying to draw blueprints ...


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Neurons Neutralized

In my last post I was waiting for my neurons to start firing again. Today I found out why they haven't yet. My immune system has gone crazy with the cold that led to the second, impromptu surgery and the barely sleeping during HOBY (which began mere hours after the stitches were put in again), followed by 9 hours of sleep and then work for four days straight and then the weekend. I knew I had to relax this weekend.

So after Friday night, I rested all weekend. This was perfect timing as the temperature was incredibly high this past weekend and going outdoors would have been ridiculous. I watched movies and cleaned up a few things around the house and started feeling sick.

This is a thing that happens to me every once in awhile where I am running on high speed and then I take the time to relax and my body says - oh look, it's a great time to get sick! This was happening right before HOBY, but the after-surgery antibiotics kept my little cold in check. So the combination of relaxing all weekend and finishing my meds left me super susceptible to internal ickiness.

To summarize, my throat represents an excellent palette of red colors and I have an uncontrollable urge to sleep all the time. After resting all weekend, I got up, went to work on Monday for about 2 hours came home to take a nap for lunch and woke up at 4pm. Then proceeded to go to bed early and sleep through the night.

The surgeon I met with this morning won't take out my stitches, because in this haywire state, my immune system hasn't finished healing my neck. But he also gave me a milder antibiotic (since this probably isn't MRSA as it seems a bunch like the common cold) to help my poor immune system right itself again.

That being said, I'm yawning like a crazy person and beg that you will understand this sleepy predicament as I now proceed to crawl into bed a full hour before my bedtime as I am exhausted from being awake for less than 16 hours. Awesome.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

(Abbreviated) Late Night Rambling

Like the good (or at least long winded days) of years past, I am up late and in the mood to share.

I had a fun time out with Kate and Dana tonight - latin dancing at Cafe Salsa. I wore the new crazy heels and actually danced in them. I need to practice finding my center when I'm up that high, but the fact that I spun in them is pretty amazing.

We had total girl talk and it was nice to just dish that way. But the girl talk got me thinking.

(A half hour of typing and - ultimately - deleting.)

I had a bunch of ideas about this, but nothing is coming out coherently. Hopefully sleep will get my neurons firing again for tomorrow.

Hugs, ~Heather

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

New Jersey Photoblog

We took a recent family trip to New Jersey for my uncle's wedding. Afterwards, we hung out with the other side of the family at my paternal Grandmother's house. I just want to say that the Jersey shore is one of the best places ever. And now, since it was such a hit and because it is much easier than trying to write about four action packed days, I give you another round of photo blogging.

At the "second reception" in my Uncle's backyard. The family, with newly added aunt and cousins take first group shot.
There is something about making ridiculous faces that appeals to all the siblings in my family...
Dunes on the beach - before summer storms and inconsiderate tourists...
Cousins with Grandfather on his bench near the shore. He's always with us - especially at the beach. Also, on a comedic note - we are all wearing long sleeves or hoodies and flip flops. Cool fun in the early northern summertime.
Travis and Katie (his girlfriend) walking down towards the water.
Lorien and Jeremy (her boyfriend) laughing in the sand.
Clark just after he made friends with Tonka (the truck).
The tide was out while we were there and our beach is known for some pretty fabulous tidal pools. This is more like a little inlet though.
Risking tetanus, the cousins take a flying leap off of a drainage pipe. In a more close up shot you can see that I have basically just jumped straight out and Travis is many feet in the air.
The young folk in the [lifeguard] stand - a classic shot - before heading back to the house by the bay.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

A new hat

<--- Getting everyone's attention at VA HOBY 2008

This year at HOBY, I was the Director of Programs. That basically means that everything that I was responsible for everything the 230+ ambassadors did from 1pm on Friday until 3pm on Sunday.

We had panels and workshops and service project planning. There was an ice cream social/birthday party (HOBY's 50th! VA HOBY's 30th!), spirit breaks, and a dance. They had a picnic lunch and watched a movie, spent time reflecting on issues, marketing objects, and building towers out of spaghetti and marshmallows. They learned from volunteer representatives and an Oxfam Hunger Dinner.

They had a weekend chock full of friends, fun and leadership training.

I say I was wearing a new hat, because long time readers will remember that I have previously served as a facilitator at HOBY (2006 & 2007) and was an ambassador in 1999. Having this new level of responsibility took me farther away from the students I love to interact with, but gave me a chance to make an impact by creating a program that touched all of them, not just my individual team of 10 or 15.

It was rewarding to wear this new hat, but like all new clothing items it took a bit to break in. And, as anyone who has seen my hair is aware, hats are especially difficult for me to fit into.

I'm still deliberating about whether or not I want to continue in the position I was in this year for next year's conference - I guess, as Malise put it, I'll never really have more time to think about it than this week, since we are a year away from the next seminar.

I know I did the best job I could possibly do when I was working on HOBY this year - but I know it is not the most I am capable of. I didn't realize I was going to have to house hunt, move, have surgery, or have a number of major events at work immediately preceding the conference. I didn't know what my job responsibilities were, no one had any transition information for me, and the person leading me was in a similar position. So, there was stress. But in the end, it was worth it. I can't wait to put out an evaluation to see how I can improve things for next year.

My new hat is beginning to fit a bit better, but I plan to take my time deciding whether or not to go back to my old one and return the new one, or try the hat on again. Maybe with the new light of experience, it'll look and fit more comfortably.

HOBY hugs to all,


P.S. - Could not be a more appropriate quote for this passage ... not admiring a mistake is a bigger mistake. ~ Robert Half

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