Saturday, November 24, 2007

Moving Day Now and In the Future?

For those of you who wondered if the adultescents were ever moving out of the house, the answer is "Yes!"

After 5 fantastic months of hospitality and intergenerational living at the McNeeses, the Arnold's will be moving this weekend to an apartment about 10 minutes away. Knowing that Mom and I both post on this blog doesn't influence the following statement: the past months have been such a blessing. To be able to transition from our community life in California into this one hasn't been easy. But having both of our extended families SO close (others might say too close) helped us transition so much better than I imagined.

So, Mom and I have been logging a lot of time on Craig's List, looking for furniture, and next weekend, we'll be plenty busy moving the stuff from storage into our new place.

On future moves, Michael finished the last of his internship applications and mailed it off on Friday! Yahoo! Now we wait to see where he gets interview offers. This means that in the summer we could be moving back to LA, staying in Texas (San Antonio, Denton, DFW, and Temple), crossing the Red River into Oklahoma, or moving to the east coast to either North or South Carolina. Nothing like options, right? I feel like my prayers regarding internship sites are like a handful of seeds scattered out on the ground...we'll see what sprouts up.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Future Cheuk

For all my Camp Deer Run friends, you know it's never too early to start the "indoctrination". That being said, I've been singing the Cheuk* night devo song to Owen since he was born, and tonight, he finally sang it with me. He does most of the last words in a line and the whole chorus. I bolded his words. For those of you who do not know the wonder of singing a night devo song in the piney woods of East Texas, I feel for you. When I need a "safe place" that I go to in my mind, it's always CDR.

So Owen and Mommy sing:

At night as I lay on my pillow,
I think of my Father above,
And I know that he cares for me all through the night,
For I am a child of His love.

I think of the mercies of heaven,
The stars as they twinkle and shine,
Of the beautiful showers and all the green flowers,
Yes, all of these blessings are mine. <-----doesn't every 2 year old know "mine"?

God is love,
God is love,
God is love.

Repeat until your child says "Goodnight, Mommy".

That being said, now I can add another "safe place"...singing with Owen at night. What a gift, what a gift!

*Cheuks are the names of the youngest campers who spend the night at Camp Deer Run. I was a camper and counselor there, as was Owen's Opa Greg, Uncle Lee, and so many other dear friends...and hopefully, one future camper named Owen.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Tagged By Wendy

In response to Wendy's tag, Natalie says:

1o years ago I: I was a freshman at Harding University, adjusting to living 7 hours from home. My friendship with my new roommate Crystina was just beginning, and Michael and I were "just friends".

5 years ago I: had just moved to Pasadena with Michael, for him to start his graduate school at Fuller. We had just celebrated our 2 year anniversary. Also, I had been teaching at Hoover for a couple of months and I was having some major culture shock, since we had been in Arkansas for the past 5 years before this. So many elements: Southern Californian culture, Armenian culture at school, the seminary's a good thing that I had the Fuller wives group to help me get adjusted!

3 years ago I: started my 3rd year teaching in California. I think this was the first year that I really felt like I was settled in Pasadena, making friends, having a good church family. I had also just found out that I was pregnant with Owen, due in the Spring.

1 year ago I: was helping Michael prepare for the internship application process for his psych. degree. This was a tough year. Still can't say much about it without a lot of strong emotions coming to the surface. I'm working on 'em though. Thanks to RaeEtta for helping me survive!

Yesterday I: slept in (Owen spent the night at the other grandparents), helped clean house, and prepared
for Suzie's Supper Club ladies. They get together every 6 weeks or so, and one person plans the
whole menu. Then each of the ladies takes one of the recipes. So last night, it was bacon-wrapped pork loin, arugula salad with roasted grapes and pears with a roasted shallot
vinaigrette, sliced potatoes au gratin with marscapone cheese and porcini mushrooms,
roasted green beans with almonds, and pumpkin tiramisu. WOW! It was an amazing meal,
so thanks to Star, Carol, Theresa, Karen, Lisa, Donna, and Suzie for including me in a fantastic

Today I: am staying upstairs for a bit while Owen goes down for a nap. Church care group is down stairs watching football, and later on, I'll top my exciting day off with grading some unit notebooks for my algebra classes.

5 snacks I enjoy: from this week...chili-cheese fritos, peanut M&M's, Dr. Pepper, Ritter Sport bar with whole hazelnuts, and Jello

5 things I would do with $1 million: roll around in it, smell it, read my bank statement every 5 minutes, catch flies with my open mouth, and wake up from the dream....and then maybe pay off graduate school, pay for Agape Church to move into their new building, go on a trip with Michael, then the family, and then eat at The Lobster in Santa Monica

5 places I would love to run away to: Sunland, CA (Hi Rae!), Washington, DC (dream nerd trip), Morocco (our neighbors left today and I'm jealous), Ritz-Carlton (spa day?), Camp Deer Run

5 TV Shows I like: The Office (UK and US), Survivor, Grey's Anatomy, So You Think You Can Dance, old Law and Order episodes

5 things I hate doing: filling up the car with gas, mopping, blow drying my hair, clipping a toddler's toenails, putting new sheets on the bed (I love the results, dislike the process)

5 biggest joys of the moment: Having Michael in town, listening to Owen talk, riding with my mom to work, eating dinner as a family, and eating fried green tomatoes at the state fair

Monday, October 15, 2007

Epicurean Memories - Coming Full Circle

As Natalie reminiscences about the differences between California and Texas, I remember that I had that same culture shock 34 years ago when I left La Jolla, California for Abilene, Texas. Talk about culture shock!

Yesterday when we went to the fair, I thought about the first time my college roommate, Vicki Ward, brought me to The State Fair of Texas in 1973. Believe it or not, I was introduced to my first Fletcher's Corny Dog. She had already introduced me to the great epicurean treats of Texas that I had never consummed while growing up on the West Coast: Dr. Pepper, chicken fried steak from the Town Crier, chicken fried pork chops, she home made, Whataburger hamburgers and last, but not least, The DQ Dude from Dairy Queen!

In an effort to pay homage to that fall semester at ACC in 1973, I drove through Dairy Queen the other day when I was in Mineral Wells. I ordered a DQ Dude and a Dr. Pepper. Imagine my surprise, when I heard these words for the first time EVER..."I'm sorry, mam. We are out of Dr. Pepper and we won't have any until the next truck comes." That is heresy! A DQ Dude w/out a DP isn't the same.

Getting acclimated to a new place or an old place over again, is never an easy process. Fortunately, there are new and old friends and family just waiting to help make the process easier...even if sometimes your new friend is a Route 44 with extra ice. - Suzie

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Reminders that I'm not in California Anymore

From Natalie:
Since moving back to Texas, there have been several moments when it is confirmed that I am not in California any more:

1.  Students named Austin, Travis, Boone, and any other Texan historical figure.
2.  The jingle/jangle of homecoming mums down a high school hallway.
3.  A parent punishing a student for their 3rd tardy by not letting the young man show his goat at the State Fair.
4.  The Chicken Express sides menu:  fried, fried, and more fried.  
5.  A memo/reminder from school administration not to schedule things on Wednesday nights (church night).
6.  Doughnuts and kolaches at every morning meeting.
7.  In one conversation with a student, I was "yes ma'am"-ed 7 times.

Sometimes, these Texas moments bring a sense of peace...the familiar can be so soothing.  And other times, they make me feel like an outsider looking in.  I struggle integrating the experiences I have had living outside this community into my daily life here.  Discussions with Dad about recycling or with Mom about my experiences with teaching elsewhere are not always easy, but I feel that, while being considerate of other people's experiences, I cannot hold back so much of myself that people never know the whole of who I am.

Moving on:  Being a little "home-sick", Michael, Owen, and I went to Carrollton's ArmeniaFest last night.  No, I did not know that there was an Armenian community in the DFW area, and I was there less than 5 minutes before I met the neice of one of my teacher friends (Aida) from Glendale.  The food, the music, the language, the dancing, the family atmosphere...I never realized that I would miss so much about the Armenian community.  It was a great night.

Next stop:  State Fair tomorrow.  Speaking of fried food....

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What Makes a Great Day?

When you sit down at the end of the day and reflect, what actually makes it a good day? Is it the weather, whether you are surrounded by friends and family who love you or did everything just go your way? Sometimes you think you have a great day because you got so much done, or maybe your favorite song played on the radio on your way to and from work. Perhaps you had a great day because you saw someone so down on their luck and other times you felt such a closeness to God that it couldn't help be a great day.

I seldom have a bad day. How about you?

Monday, October 8, 2007

It's About Time!

I figured it was about time that I have blog of my/our own. I have been a "blog lurker" or "blog stalker" for the past few years (that sounds so seedy!). However, it has been fun to keep up with so many friend's lives and I figure I need to go ahead and dive in.

So many of you have made blogging look so easy and fun. I hope I can keep up with your standards. That being it goes with my trivial ramblings!

Life is good! How much better can it be than to have Natalie to watch Dancing with the Stars with me, while the men are upstairs watching the Cowboys and some other team play football?

Well, that was deep! And to think that I am at a loss for words now. I chalk it up to performance anxiety. Better luck next time. How do you decide what you are going to write about?