Saturday, November 30, 2013

November 30: Adios Los Cabos

No, we didn't plan our matching stripes...but we look cute nonetheless.  It's a sad day when you have to say goodbye to good friends and 84 degree weather in exchange for 30 degrees.  It was also so sunny that we had to close our eyes and open before I snapped the picture.  Adios, or hasta luego los cabos.

Friday, November 29, 2013

November 29: Last Day in Los Cabos

Every morning I would wake up, by 6am and be wide awake.  Around 7:30am I would head to Megan's parents suite.  Why?  Well, I LOVE coffee and since Megan was still sleeping, I'd go over and join her dad for coffee in the morning.  We'd sit on the porch, drink coffee, and DeAnne would join when she awoke.  I really enjoyed getting to chat with her parents in the mornings…and who doesn't love doing that over a cup of coffee with a beautiful view?
Friday was our last full day in Los Cabos, so that evening one of the guys working at the resort took us out for 'authentic' Mexican food.  It was yuuuummmmmy.  The homemade tortillas were the BEST!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

November 28: Thanksgiving

Megan and I made a wonderful brunch on Thanksgiving.  That evening the eight of us went into town to have a nice dinner.  We ate at a great seafood place.  I have much to be thankful for this year (and always).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

November 27: Excursion

The excursion may have been my favorite part of the trip to Cabo this year.  Megan and I got up early Wednesday morning to watch the sunrise.  Yes, I got Megan out of bed before 8am ;)  It was absolutely breathtaking.  As much as I love a good sunset, there is something about a sunrise as it breaks through the darkness bringing newness and new promises AND you have to be intentional to see them.
The first part of the excursion was a city tour.  Our tour guide (for just the four of us) included a glass blowing tour, shopping, lunch, glass bottom boat ride, kayaking, and snorkeling (which was my favorite).

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

November 26: Cabo Wabo

Today we went to the ocean.  Megan's cousin Lauren and her husband RJ joined us.  The water was a bit cold, but I got used to it.  The weather was perfect today, 82 and sunny.  After spending the late morning and early afternoon in town, we meet up with Megan's parents and her aunt and uncle to shop and hang out.  If you are ever in Cabo, you must visit Cabo Wabo.  The party at night is fun with a live band and dancing, but it's also fun in the day when you take in the ambiance and a good 2 for 1 drink special.

Ohhh, we also went to Senior Sweets (well, Megan & I did but that's another story).  Last time when I was in Cabo we had the crepes.  Unfortunately, we didn't see those on the menu, so I got coffee flavored gelato instead.  Yumm.

Monday, November 25, 2013

November 25: Amuse-Bouche

One of the greatest things about this location in Los Cabos is that you can watch the sun rise and set over the Sea of Cortez.  Monday we went into town for some shopping at Wal-Mart.  Yep, Mexico has a Wal-Mart.  We decided to cook a few dinners in the room as it is a great way to save some money.  The first dinner was cooked by Megan's parents, David and DeAnne.  Megan then decided she wanted to make an amuse-bouche which is kind of like a one bite appetizer.  She did a good job considering her resources and that her vision didn't come together like she had hoped.  She's fancy like that in the kitchen…me, not so much.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

November 24: Poolside

Infinity pools are so neat, especially when they look like they run into the ocean (or in this case the Sea of Cortez).  It looks as though the bird is walking on water.  This is how I spent most of Sunday, listening to an audible book and watching the water.  Thank you God for a vacation that involves warm days and water!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

November 23: Cabo Arrival

While Megan and I were talking this summer she asked what my plans were for Thanksgiving. Knowing that thanksgiving is so close to Christmas and that I'd be out in Portland for Christmas, I figured I probably wasn't going home for the break. So Megan invited me to go to Cabo with her family for Thanksgiving!  This is my 2nd time in Cabo with her family...however, Sarah & Karen aren't here this time (it's not the same without them).  However, we're having fun and the view is amazing.  Sunday is a pool/hang around the resort day. I'm looking forward to sleep, rest, and some fun times with a great friend!

Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22: Coffee Hour

Today was the last coffee hour of the semester and hosted by our office.  We offered students the opportunity to fill shoe boxes for operation Christmas child and students responded!  We filled 71 boxes and students were extremely creative in writing and designing cards.  We had about 275 people show up, despite being the Friday before a week off for Thanksgiving.  It was a wonderful way to end the semester and coffee hours for 2013.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

November 21: Thanksgiving Dinner #2

The Arch Society (a student group) hosts a Thanksgiving dinner for various faculty and staff who partner with the student group throughout the year.  The food was delicious and the company & conversations were even better.  It was such a nice gesture for students to thank administrators for their contributions.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

November 20: Change

The weather outside is getting colder and the leaves are falling.  We've had an absolutely beautiful fall and I'll be sad to see it go.  However, change is part of life and with each new season brings anticipation and newness.  Additionally, as a random aside, I've also decided to stop following some people's blogs.  For me, I get all my blogs delivered to feedly which is a great way to read and follow a host of people quickly and I had been following the guy I was sort of seeing.  Well, since he's now seeing someone else, it was time for me to stop following his blog.  Why add insult to injury.  But just as the seasons change, life moves on and sometimes it brings with it a beauty that is yet unseen. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 19: President Morehead

November 19th marked the investiture of the 22nd president of The University of Georgia, Jere Morehead.  They held a very formal ceremony to honor and induct him as president.  Faculty, staff, and students spoke about their support for him.  The governor, Nathan Deal, and Hank Huckaby were also in attendance.  I think Jere Morehead will do good things for UGA including increasing fundraising and research opportunities.  Although he has many priorities, students are at the heart of what he does.  His very first item as acting president was a breakfast with students.  I think that speaks volumes for his commitment to seeing UGA continue to provide quality education and enhance the academic mission for students.  I was glad I was able to attend the ceremony.

Monday, November 18, 2013

November 18: TJs Pumpkin Stuff

I love Trader Joe's (TJs) pumpkin items. About a month ago it looked like TJs had thrown up pumpkin everywhere. Well two weeks ago when I went back to get more pumpkin stuff it was gone; yep, they were out of everything pumpkin.  I almost cried, and who wouldn't.  After calling my mom and having her check stores in Portland, I thought I was out of luck with the pumpkin stuff (note to self, buy more next year). 

Moreover, I had bought a few boxes of pumpkin bars for my friend Kristin, but with the shortage, she was only going to get one of the three I had originally intended for her.

Anyway, before I left for the conference I got a text message from my mom asking if I had checked my mail.  I hadn't in awhile.  Upon checking my mail I found this package!  Apparently, my mom had called around to various stores, even some in California where Dan was visiting.  Between the two of them they found three pumpkin bar boxes, a pumpkin muffin mix, AND a pumping pancake mix.  So on Monday morning I gleefully enjoyed a pumpkin bar.  I will, however, be savoring these and rationing them.  Next November is a loooong time to wait for more pumpkin items.

Thank you mom & Dan for going to extraordinary lengths to find and mail me pumpkin stuff!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

November 17: Traveling

Sunday I traveled back to Athens from St. Louis.  The weather is St. Louis was kind of crazy…high winds, rain, and perfect conditions for a tornado.  Luckily for us, it only delayed our flight.  Unfortunately, other parts of the midwest were hit pretty badly.  Right as we were getting ready to take off, this panel above the overhead compartments fell down.  The flight attendant walked right past and did nothing about it.  It looked like the panel just came undone, but others in the cabin weren't as convinced as I about the insignificance of this panel.  When I awoke from my nap on the plane, the panel was back in place … clearly I was right about it's insignificance in regard to the airplanes ability to fly. Ha. I'm glad I'm not afraid of flying…because these minor things cause some people panic.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

November 16: ASHE dash & City Tour

The weather on Saturday was suppose to be in the 30s and raining.  Fortunatley, it was absolutely beautiful weather for a 5k run.  The route took us around downtown St. Louis to many of the historic views including the arch, the courthouse, and Busch stadium.  The run was cut a cit short because another run with over 3,000 women scheduled.  Anyway, it was fun to get out and see some of the city.  Moreover, it was a great chance to run with people I didn't know, talk about my research, and meet new people.  I spent most of the time talking/running with a woman, Megan, from a small college nearby.  As you know, I don't particularly love running, but the ASHE dash (or walk) is a wonderful opportunity to connect with people I probably wouldn't have otherwise met at the conference.
That afternoon I went to my second most favorite session and heard the most fantastic discussant.  Dr. Dafina Lazarus Stewart…oh I was so so so impressed by her feedback for both the audience and the authors.  

Later that afternoon Kristin and I explored parts of St. Louis.

We also went on the Anheuser-Busch brewery tour.

That night a group of us went out to dinner and then Kristin, Dallin, and I went to the City Museum.  It was incredible.  It's a museum made out of recycled stuff and has TONS of slides … for adults.  It's like a giant jungle gym for big kids.  Below is the best picture I could get of one, yes ONE of the play areas.  I climbed up the silver spiral piping on the left, through the whale, and came out on the 2nd story.  It was fun and if I'm ever back in St. Louis, I'd like to explore it more (when it's not raining outside…because they have a ton of slides and things to climb on out there too!).

That's a 10 story slide that goes from the roof to the caves below! So fun!

Friday, November 15, 2013

November 15: ASHE & Sweetie Pie's

I went to a couple really good presentations today and got to see my good friend Dr. Joseph N. Cooper present his research.  I feel like I've been telling Joey for years (the last three) that he'd like this conference.  His research is around Black male athletes but his degree is in sports management, which is why he wasn't as familiar with this conference.  Anyway…he did a wonderful job AND kept his talking time to 12 minutes (out of the 15 allotted).  Which, if you know Joey, is an accomplishment!

That night a group of us headed to Sweetie Pie's (soul food) for dinner.  The food was…delicious, and I brought a whole meal back to the room (they gave you half a chicken & two sides).  

Both Thursday & Friday nights were filled with university receptions.  I went to Denver's reception (where Kristin is), APU (yep, they even had one…I was surprised too), NC State (where Tiffany is), and Michigan State (where Christa Porter is).  These receptions are a good time to network…especially if you are job searching.  Christa introduced me (and Ginny who is also job searching) around to various people as MSU has a two-year teaching appointment (which would be amazing).  They also have some stellar faculty there.

Anyway, the night was filled with socializing and networking and I was tiiiiiiired when I got back to the room.  ASHE is filled with early mornings and late nights, but it is also such an invigorating conference and I come away grateful to connect with colleagues.  I'm also a nerd, so the learning part is also exhilarating. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November 14: ASHE Conference

The Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) holds its annual conference in November (usually closer to Thanksgiving).  Two years ago, the conference was in Charlotte, NC and Kristin came home with me for Thanksgiving.  Last year, the conference was in Vegas, so I stopped over in Denver for Thanksgiving with Kristin.  This year, since the conference was so early, we won't be spending Thanksgiving together, nor doing our traditional crafts.

Getting to the conference in St. Louis was a feat.  I had only had three hours of sleep (why am I ALWAYS up late before a trip?!), got up at 3am to leave for my flight, and when I got to the airport I realized I had left my credit card at home.  Yep.  Fun times.  This is problematic because I use my credit card as a debit card.  Meaning, I pay off my bill monthly and the money left over (if there is any) goes into savings.  Therefore, my bank account was looking pretty slim and I needed to pay for gas, transportation, food, and the hotel.  

Things worked out…I have gracious parents and friends who all offered to help cover me until Monday when the funds could be transferred back to my checking account.  

This conference is 'paper' conference.  In other words, three people present papers about current research and then a discussant gets up and provides feedback for each paper.  I presented last year and found it both terrifying and encouraging.  One of the first sessions was my favorite because every paper dealt with my dissertation topic.  I learned a lot, but was also confirmed that I'm doing good work that will contribute to the field.

I also got to hang out with a bunch of Baylor people for dinner on Thursday night.  Unfortunatley, I forgot to get a picture of all of us.  But Tiffani (who is at UCLA), JT (who is at Indiana University), Matt (who is a pastor in St. Louis), and the Bullards (who recently moved back to Oklahoma from Cambridge) were all there.  It was a fun time to catch up, meet the babies, and talk about life.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November 13: IEW Dessert Reception

We held a dessert reception on Wednesday night honoring those students who completed our global leadership certificate, and who doesn't love desserts from around the world.  We purchased many of the  items and our students also contributed many of the selections you see in front of you.  I tried a bunch of them!  The plantain chips were maybe my favorite.  Yumm.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 12: IRB Approval

I got an email today that surprised me…it was my IRB approval for my dissertation research.  About a month ago, I submitted this application (to which your advisor has to go in and actually hit 'submit').  A week later, they sent me some minor revisions.  There were things like, uncheck this box, check this one instead.  The final change I needed to make was to attach a letter of support from Georgia Tech.  Anyway, the woman reviewing it said, "I saw you addressed the changes needed, you just need to make sure your advisor hits submit again."  Apparently in the new system your advisor has to hit submit after everything!  Dr. Cooper and I chatted and she said she wasn't going to hit submit until I got the letter from Georgia Tech (I was totally on board).  Then last week, they emailed me and said…hey your advisor still hasn't submitted.  AND I guess they emailed her too…and so she just went in and submitted it (contrary to what I thought was going to happen).  Fast forward to today…I got an email with the approval for my research.  YAY! But it also came as a bit of a surprise.  The email said, we're approving your study…when you get the letter from Georgia Tech, just email it and we will attach it for you.  

All that to say, I'm excited to be able to begin data collection soon!  WOOHOO!  Also…this is the form they sent showing my approval.  All that wait for this one page, non-descriptive approval form (there's not even a signature, ha!).

Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11: IEW Thanksgiving Feast

International Education Week (IEW) is an event that happens all of the U.S. For us, we partner with the office of international education to host a variety of events and lectures throughout the week.  Monday was the kick-off and we (in partnership with some a church and some other groups) held the 14th annual Thanksgiving feast.  There was food, a skit, a voluntary prayer…and I even said a few words of thanks.  The food was delicious and we have over 200 people in attendance (these pictures were taken before the event started).  The evening was a success and a wonderful kick-off to this crazy long week.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

November 10: Boybutante Brunch

Today I attended the Boybutante brunch as a fundraiser for Aids Athens.  It's a lovely lunch at The National and a drag show.  The brunch was a-ma-zing and I laughed a lot during the 'show'.  The drag queens and kings lip-synced and danced…and some did so in 6 inch heels (that's impressive).

Saturday, November 9, 2013

November 9: Game Night

Ginny and I hung out Saturday night.  After a day of cleaning and trying to be productive, it was nice to grab dinner, ice cream, and play games with a dear friend.  We played two rounds of Ticket to Ride, or what I often refer to as, trains.  I won the first game!  And the second...take a good look, we tied at 110pts.  I'm not sure that's ever happened to me in this game...maybe it just means I need to play more often.

Friday, November 8, 2013

November 8: Protest March

Earlier this week someone posted racial and derogatory slurs on various student groups Facebook walls.  If you want the story, you can read it here.  Essentially, this individual was posting was telling students they don't belong at UGA, and that UGA should be for White Christians. Side note & soap box…it makes me angry and sad to see people who claim to be Christians and Jesus followers writing such hateful things. I think most things Christians agree on is that Jesus was clear on two things: love him and love others.  I could go on, but this post isn't necessarily about that.

In just a few days, these student groups who were targeted organized a peaceful march to bring awareness to the racism, homophobia, and other social issues on this campus.  

I was so proud of our students; this is activism.  They sought to bring awareness to issues they face on this campus, and I was glad to see so many students, faculty, and administrators show up in support.  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November 7: Red Cups

I love when the holiday cups arrive at Starbucks.  It makes working on my dissertation and writing cover letters so much more enjoyable!  It's happiness in a cup.  Happy almost-holidays!  

It's the most wonderful time of the year
When people spend big bucks
To get Starbucks red cups cause
they bring such cheer
it's the most wonderful time of the year.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

November 6: Crappy Car Wash

A clean car (or home) always makes me feel better.  Life feels more manageable when things are orderly.  So I decided after work to run my car through the car wash.  Only, when I got out to vacuum my car, I noticed the remnant of tree droppings.  Boo.  Apparently, these tree droppings are as stubborn as I can be ;)  The thing that made me most upset about this, was that I paid for an upgrade.  Grrr.  I guess this means I'll have to clean it by hand, which I usually enjoy doing, but it's hard to find a 'place' AND it's getting colder…and that's no fun.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November 5: The Ugly Cry

Yesterday I had a couple good cries.  The first was after I got off Skype.  The second came hours later when a pizza I ordered had yet to be delivered.  After following up, they said they were slammed and that mine was next to be made.  What?! It shouldn't take 2.5 hours to make & deliver a pizza.  Again, I cried; and it was the ugly cry.  The kind where your face is blotchy, your nose runs, your eyes puff, and you sob almost uncontrollably.  Yep, that kind of cry.  Clearly my anger and hurt were only partly misdirected at the pizza people.

Fast forward to today.  It was again one of those days where I felt like I could ugly cry at about anything.  Target didn't have my hair gel (almost ugly cried).  In the women's bathroom (felt the tears coming).  Trader Joe's is out of pumpkin stuff (now, that is seriously reason to cry).  

Anyway, when I left work, I realized the reason why the great parking spot was still available.  Apparently, the tree poops.  My car was covered in tree dropping.  If you look close, you may even be able to see leaves and branches.  Again, it could have spurred an ugly cry, instead I just laughed. 
On the way home from grocery shopping, I popped into Kohls just to browse.  While in the dressing room, I heard a woman ask a stranger what she thought of the dress she was wearing.  The woman proceeded to tell the stranger that she was looking for a dress to wear to her mothers funeral.  

My heart broke...and I cried.  I felt for this woman both because her mother had passed away and because she didn't have anyone to go shopping with her for a dress for the service.  In that moment, I also got hit with a 2x4 of perspective.  Yes, I feel like I could ugly cry at any moment because I'm angry and hurt.  And yes, it's okay to feel these emotions.  And in the same breath, there are others in a lot more pain and hurt.

Monday, November 4, 2013

200th Post

Well, I just realized my last post was my 200th post.  I also realize that this year I'll about double that since I'm doing a picture/post a day.

I'm excited to see all the things God is going to do in my life and through me this year!  And I'm glad I'll have a year of pictures to look back on.

November 4: Rejection Sucks

Rejection is never easy, whether it's not getting a job or the loss of a relationship.  When I realized I was going to be in Athens for another year, I decided to give online dating a try.  For the last five months I had been getting to know this guy.  A little over a month ago we met up in Nashville.  We had a nice time and some great conversations but were unsure if/where things were headed.  The last few weeks had felt really promising as we had some great conversations and I felt like we were making an even deeper connection. Until I got an email yesterday that said he knew we weren't going to be more than friends.

I was shocked, especially given the last few weeks of conversation.

I also wasn't satisfied with the email and asked if we could Skype.  As difficult as it was, I was able to tell him my frustration and hurt and the impact his decisions had on me.  He apologized and I genuinely believe he meant it (& I believe he heard me), but it still doesn't mean and anger and hurt just go away.  Moreover, I was proud of myself.

Rejection sucks.  But sharing some wine with good friends and being able to process helps.