Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Newsletter

I have been a little slow at getting my Christmas cards sent this year. Instead of sending my traditional update in my cards I decided to post my message to the world.

In reflection on the year past I have decided to look at it through a few themes--instead of the more traditional chronological recap.

Trips
  • As all of you know one of my favorite past times is to travel. This year took me to: Japan (April), Fort Collins, Colorado (June), Zion National Park (June), Virginia and Washington D.C. (July), Alaska (August), Yellowstone National Park (September) as well as a visit to every one of my brother's houses. Even with as many holidays and days off we get as teachers it still never feels like enough time to spend with those I love the most.
  • Japan was stunning. My brother Scott and I were there during the cherry blossom season which made it all more beautiful. The people are generous and thoughtful and the country is so clean. I highly recommend visiting--you won't be disappointed. Just a few of my favorite pictures...I managed to take around 900.


Golden Pavillion


Shinto shrine in Kyoto


We stumbled upon a couple getting married in all the traditional clothes.


Guard gate to the Imperial Palace in Tokyo


Some of the vibrant blossoms we saw.




More cherry blossoms.

Here are some pictures of the cruise to Alaska










Changes
  • I switched schools this fall and have been teaching at a magnate school in the Northwest part of Vegas. The school is really beautiful and the students are engaged and want to learn--all things that any teacher would be jealous of. I am however, still not entirely satisfied and I find myself going over the same questions that come up every year. Do I want to keep teaching? Would I be happier doing something else? I wish I knew what that something else is. The irony in all of this is--that as conflicted as I am with my career--I still am very ambitions and this fall I have been hired to work as a trainer for three different divisions with our district. I have been incredibly busy conducting trainings and workshops which I enjoy.
  • To save on commuting time, I also moved closer to my new school. I love the new place but miss living in the southwest part of town.
  • I also bought a new car. It gets amazing gas mileage and I don't mind cruising around town in it.

New Skills
  • In my never-ending quest to improve myself and to honor my New Year's resolutions I took a variety of classes to improve my skills. Two art classes - watercolor painting and acrylic painting as well as more cooking classes.
  • I am also working on an on-line degree in photography. As I complete my assignments I will start to post more pictures.
  • Next year I plan on taking classes in mosaics, voice-overs and perhaps some drawing classes.
Horizon
  • I honestly don't know what 2010 will bring. I am trying to keep all avenues of my life open to whatever new directions present themselves to me.
  • I am open to moving, changing jobs and the new adventures in traveling I am sure will come.
  • I am planning a trip to Rome for Spring Break and maybe traveling to China this summer. Keep coming back for all the updates.

I hope this Christmas will bring peace, love and all the blessings from our Heavenly Father your way. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rest of November

November sped by faster than I imagined it would. My book project got stuck behind all the other activities, meetings, trips and grading that took place this month. I must sadly report that I did not finish it. This means that I must set new goals as I continue to work on it.

The process of writing this blog has revealed to me that I am far more comfortable writing about myself than I am making up a story. The book that I started is a fictitious account of my journey with cancer and the subsequent recovery. My main character is similar to myself, but she is far more emotional and dramatic than I am. The details and facts about my sickness however are 99% accurate. It has been cathartic writing about the experience.

Highlights for the duration of November include:
  • Midnight showing of Twilight on opening day (November 19/20). I went with my good friend Julie and it was fun to be around all the hype. Even though I am not a big fan I did find the movie entertaining. The biggest surprise was how well I functioned on only two hours of sleep that day at school.
  • I finally managed to celebrate Thanksgiving for the first time in three years. The last two years I was working on school projects. This year I drove down to Tucson to visit my brother Steven and his family. The food was delicious and I had a fantastic time hanging out with them. I must say that my niece and nephews are adorable. I couldn't believe how excited they got over helping me grade homework. The only bad part to the weekend was the drive home. One mile from Hoover Dam the traffic backed up and it took me nearly two hours to drive two miles. Holiday traffic!
I am looking forward to only two more weeks of school until the holiday break. This year I will be heading to Dallas to visit my brother Garret and his family for the holidays. Can't wait for that trip. Now, I just need to finish getting the last couple of gifts and decorating the apartment and I will be ready for Christmas.