Friday, July 1, 2011

Honeymoon Part 1

Hey all,

So J.P. and I got married last Saturday, and had the best wedding ever (in my un-biased opinion). We had a really nice ceremony at St. Mary's, a delicious dinner at my mom's house, a surprise dance routine, followed by dancing to my brother's band. The best.

We hung out for a couple of days after the wedding in Michigan, and on Tuesday night we left for Scotland by way of London. At the airport we told the people at the counter we were on our honeymoon, and they bumped us up to the most amazing first class seats ever. It was an overnight flight that had a three course dinner, seats that reclined to 180 degrees, and breakfast. Again, the best. JP and I could barely sleep we were so excited about the plane ride.

When we got into London we went into this weird "Yotel" in the airport, which was basically a ship cabin, to use the wireless and figure out how to get to our hotel. It turns out our hotel was on the opposite side of London. It was so far that it wasn't on any of our London maps in the guidebook. We took the subway up and got off at the stop the hotel's website described as being a "10 minute walk from the hotel". An hour later we were still dragging our suitcases around the neighborhood completely lost. Finally we found a bus map which was close enough that it had the streets we needed, and we schlepped our way up to the hotel. At this point we were totally exhausted, and as soon as we got into the room we fell asleep for 3 hours.

When we woke up we took the subway over to Islington, where Lucy used to live, and we happened to walk by her old apartment. We also had a beer in a pub I had been to before. Basically we went to all of the places in London I had already seen, but they were just as nice the second time around.

The next morning we took a train into Edinburgh from King's Cross Station. Obviously, being JP and I, we were really excited because we wanted to take pictures of us running through Platform 9 3/4 (from Harry Potter- if you don't know that I am surprised you read my blog). Unfortunately there was "construction", although we suspected the construction was a clever rouse to keep idiots from running into the walls of the platform. Apparently there is a fake platform outside, and JP took a picture of a random fellow-idiot running into the platform. On the way back we will be getting pictures of our own. Unfortunately King's Cross doesn't provide owls; I guess it's a BYOO type of tourist attraction.

When we got into Edinburgh we were amazed. London is nice, but Edinburgh is amazing. It is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. We wandered around for a long time and ate steak pie and fish and chips. We had specifically booked a hotel near the bus station after the ordeal in London, and ended up staying in a super nice place right in the middle of town. We went on a ghost walk tour, which takes you into underground vaults and a graveyard, and that was shockingly fun (pun). This morning we wandered around again and had a Scottish breakfast- haggis included, and then got on the train again and came to Pitlochry, where we will be staying for the next 4 days. Our tour starts here. We were on the train and I looked out the window and elbowed JP to look at the beautiful scenery and buildings and over the speaker the conductor said, "We are now stopping in Pitlochry." Best. It is gorgeous. I will take lots of photos and upload them when I can. Anyway, this evening our tour starts and tomorrow we will do our first day on the tandem. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Morning Internet Cruise and Engaged Encounter

Hey all,

As the title suggests I am doing my morning internet cruise, and I realized that I have severely neglected my blog, depriving readers of my great writing talent. Okay, maybe that's a little much, but I thought I should update you all on my goings-on.

Lately I have been working, tutoring, exercising, and wedding planning. Work is going really well, we have seven weeks left of school (but who's counting?), and the kids are little Spanish-speaking parrots of yours truly. Scary. I have been tutoring a few days a week, which is awesome, and I joined a triathlon team with Colleen, J.P's friend from work. I have been doing workouts with them a couple times a week. The workouts are great, but ridiculously early in the morning. For example there is a swim tomorrow morning at 5:15, but it is almost a half-hour away, so I will be up dark and early at 4:30. It's fun though, and I have met a lot of people already through the team.

We are ramping up again with the wedding planning, and getting the last details worked out. It is now less than 8 weeks away! I can't wait to see everyone, and to marry J.P! We are super excited about our honeymoon as well. We are going on a tandem bike tour of Scotland, which means that J.P. is going to pedal me around Scotland. I am going to encourage him to think of me as a drag suit a la Michael Phelps. Isn't that romantic? Not to worry, I will help with the pedaling on the downhills.

Last weekend J.P. and I went to our "Catholic Engaged Encounter" weekend about 45 minutes away. We stayed in dorms (separated male/female obviously), and went to presentations during the day. I had kind of low expectations going in, and I wasn't sure how much time we were going to spend together and how much time we were going to spend making small talk with the people in our dorms, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was a really great weekend. We ended up staying in "cubicles" so it was not the bunk-bed situation I was picturing, and the presentations were around 15 minutes of listening to the presenter couple talk about their marriage, and then we had 20 minutes to write about what we thought about the topic, and then 20 minutes to discuss it together. It ended up being much more stimulating and interesting than I thought.

We got to hear a lot about the presenter couples' marriages, which was interesting because I am nosy, and helpful because they gave really specific examples of problems they had faced and how they worked through them. In preparing to get married I have found it very difficult to get any real information from married couples about the type of "hard work" and "communication" we will need to be successful, so I really appreciated the specificity of the presentations. One couple had been married for 48 years, and they seemed extremely happy together, but some of their stories were about years at a time when they thought there was no way their marriage would work. The emphasis of the weekend was that the goal of marriage is unity, and not happiness, which I had never heard put that way before. J.P. and I got a chance to talk about a lot of our plans for the future, and how much we love each other for 3 days, which, of course, we enjoyed.

The biggest drawback to the weekend was sleep deprivation. Friday night we went into the dorms at 11, and were given a very generous hour to settle in to sleep. By given an hour I mean the overhead lights were left on for an hour. I don't know about you all, but when I am living out of a suitcase and staying in a cubicle "settling in" takes me all of about 30 seconds. Luckily I brought my science fiction book to pass the time. The next day the overhead lights were turned on a 6:10, giving up an hour and twenty minutes to get ready for the day... again, excessive. We got to sleep that night around midnight again, and got up at 6:45. Worst. I need my beauty sleep, don't ya know.

Anyway, I can't wait to come home and see everyone! Miss you guys!

Trivia, Wedding Planning, and a Jewelry Party (This post was written 2/4 and never published)

Hey everybody,

So J.P. and I have been hitting the greater Calabasas trivia circuit pretty hard in the last few weeks, and it turns out that we are not too bad at trivia (we aren't too good either, but I don't see how that is relevant). In our most recent trivia game we won a pitcher of beer, which we were pretty excited about, for least incorrectly guessing the length of a balance beam. I would have phoned a friend (Lauren, obviously) if that were allowed but it isn't. We have also been playing Trivial Pursuit and a new game called BezzerWizzer at home to hone our skills. I'm not sure that it is really working, but they are fun either way. We spent all of last weekend circled around our dining room table with Becky and Mike playing those two games. It was awesome.

We realized after our first trivia game that we competed against each other in the 6th grade quiz bowl finals. Guess who won? That's right, I did! Oh wait, were you all thinking J.P? Well for once he did not beat me in trivia, and my team went to another school to compete in a quiz bowl tournament (where we were promptly beat out of the bracket, but again, I don't see how that's relevant).

In terms of wedding planning we are getting down to the detail section of it all which, shockingly, I am enjoying. I was pretty sure I would hate it, but I forgot that I love crafts, so the more of it I can do myself (and when I say myself I mean with J.P. and Becky) the more I will like it I think.

Also, my friend Sarah from the D.R. has started selling jewelry. Many of you may remember her from my post, "Guess who's pregnant?" (Sorry about that one, Mary Lou) She has a website with some good stuff, so check it out. She and her husband Sean moved back to the states when J.P. and I did because in January of last year they realized that Sarah was pregnant. That pregnancy resulted in a really cute baby named Sullivan, and they are living in northern Florida now. See Sullivan below:

What a cheap trick showing you a cute baby to get you to go to her website and buy jewelry.

Go to her website and buy jewelry. 

In case you missed all those hyperlinks above, her website it 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thanksgiving Break

Hey All,

Tonight, after a 3.5 hour credential-related class, I will be flying to Michigan! I am so excited about Thanksgiving I could just throw-up in anticipation. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and as many of you know we couldn't make it back last year because the Spaniards who came to the Dominican Republic didn't sit down with the Native Americans and share their harvest, they just killed them all off with weapons and disease. What I'm trying to say is that we didn't have Thanksgiving break last year. Anyway, not only do I have it this year but I have A WHOLE WEEK OFF! And I accidentally extended this vacation by booking my ticket at 1:10am on Friday morning, thinking that it was Saturday morning. So I will be missing school tomorrow, and watching my sister dive in her State meet in Holland instead. I already have everything packed and ready to go. Just to make things that much better, Monica now lives in Ann Arbor, AND Betsy will be home from Africa the day after I get there! I am bursting with excitement. Considering, however, that my body has been intolerant to the California cold I think I will probably be in for a rude awakening getting of the plane in Michigan. The body is really a traitorous thing. You think that your years of Michigan winters would somehow make you permanently impervious to baby-cold, and then you miss one winter and you are worse off than ever. I mean, come on.

ANYWAY, I will see you all VERY SOON!

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Hey all,

So I spent the last week in Yosemite with 143 8th graders chaperoning a field trip. It was amazing! We stayed in tent cabins (with heat) and hiked around each day with an instructor from the Yosemite Institute. They do students tours and teach the kids all about the park. It was ridiculous. I couldn't believe I was at work. The kids were perfectly behaved, and I got to piggyback on their tour and see a lot of the park. We went on a hike up to Glacier Point where we could see the whole valley, we went into some caves where it was completely dark and the person in front of you had to tell you how to get through, we saw some rocks where the American Indians ground up acorns with grinding holes that had been used for 500 years, and we counted macro-invertebrates in the river to calculate the water quality. I think I might have enjoyed the instruction more than the kids. It was awesome. It is a beautiful place. Now I am getting organized for next week, and setting things up until Thanksgiving. Back to the school, BTSA, wedding planning for me!

Love and miss you all!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sinners in the Hand of an Angry God

JP and I are going to our first meeting with the priest at the church we go to out here. He's super nice, but still I am a little nervous. I wonder if people of other faiths are a little afraid of their leaders? Somehow I doubt it...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wedding Planning (Part 1 of Probably Many)

Hey all,

So since J.P. and I got engaged last month we have started baby-stepping our wedding planning. So far we are thinking that we will have the wedding ceremony at St. Mary's in Chelsea, with the reception at my mom's house. It should be a pretty fun and low-key affair, hopefully with tacos and music. We have been scheming about how to pay for it and what to do, and so far things have been going reasonably smoothly. I have about 85 (see: 1) excel spreadsheets with a million (see: 3) tabs each of all of the different things to keep track of. Yuck. I am turning into an excel monster. I have my budget on there too and I am literally inputting every dollar I make or spend. It is turning me into a major miser, but I feel very organized.  I feel like there are a lot of decisions to be made right now with the wedding and life in general, and they are all hard to make because we have incomplete information. It drives me crazy. For example, we have no idea what our jobs will have in store for us next year so we can't even plan whether or not we will be living here. If we do stay here we can't plan where to live for the same reasons, and if we don't then there is no plan at all. I don't think this bothers JP, but it drives me crazy. It makes planning the wedding difficult for unexpected reasons as well. Like, if we continue to live in this house should we even register for anything, since we won't need any of it yet? Or, if we both have good jobs should we move into a smaller, crappier place for twice as much money so that we can live alone (probably not, especially considering that Mike and Becky are the best). I feel a little bit like I'm spinning my wheels with all of this, and I just need to be more relaxed and see what happens... easier said than done.

On a non-rampaging note, both JP and I love our jobs. I have great kids in my classes, and they are catching on really quickly. The class has been entirely in Spanish so far, and the kids are doing really well with it in general, although grammar gets tricky that way. I have been listening to Harry Potter on tape (well, CD, do you guys still say on tape? It feels weird to say anything else), and reading Anna Karenina, both of which are excellent. That Harry Potter on tape (there it is again) is excellent is no surprise because I have listened to it at least 3 times already, but I was a little intimidated by Anna Karenina and am pleasantly surprised by how readable it is.

In other news I am chaperoning an 8th grade field trip to Yosemite next week which is 6 days long, and should be awesome! I can't wait! I was told that I am in a "hiking group", and I don't really know what was meant by that but I like the sound of it. Anyway, I miss you guys!