Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Look Back Could Be A Look Forward

While savoring my first cup of coffee this morning, my mind has been wandering through all sorts of things especially the things that have happened in the last year. It makes me wonder about all the things that will happen in the coming year--what I hope will happen and what I expect to happen. Just in the last year so much has changed.

This time last year I was packing up my little apartment and heading back to Texas. I still miss that gorgeous home and all it's character.

This time last year I was finished with my first year of teaching in higher ed under two different contracts with two different schools. I learned quite a bit even though I carried the title of Professor.

This time last year I was gearing up for the big wedding, shooting bridal portraits, taking marriage classes, finalizing decorations and details, and counting down to the big day.

It was a pretty wonderful summer and even after the last of the lightening bugs went out for fall, our year continued to roll along like a runaway train. I truly think January was when my life hit a reset button and started to slow some extent. It feels like I've been going, going, going even since I started school and a new change or experience has happen one right after the other. So many moments of "what's happening next for me?" If I could write a Reader's Digest version, it'd go something like this:

Go to school, change majors, catch up by taking summer school every. single. summer. Then start grad school a week after graduation. Keep going non stop until your thesis. Breath for a half a second. Get engaged to a wonderful man. Start life. 

Search and audition for jobs--bills are rolling in. Life twists and now you're five years ahead of your perfectly laid out life plan (Funny how Life seems to do that to you.). Finally you land a job with a real paycheck and possibilities. You're able to safely set a wedding date and then a miracle happens: you get the dream job offer you've always wanted. 

Move back to the OKC, start job, and learn a. lot. Continue the three year long distance relationship and planning the upcoming nuptials. Savor the last few months of independent living and dream of sharing space with your soon to be husband. Blink and you're standing at the altar. Take a flight to paradise, enjoy the Hawaiian lifestyle, come home and begin packing to move again. 

Start teaching year #2 with a whole lot of changes and new responsibilities under the job title. Welcome a niece and celebrate the coming of a second nephew. The biggest part of 2012, learning about married life--it's wonderful, special, irritating, hard, loving, don't-want-to-miss-a-moment, this-is-really-tough, absolutely infuriatingly fantastic. They say the first year is rough--it's a completely new experience to learn and grow in together.

Finally I'm at a point where I think there will  be some consistency to my life. It feels great to be able to know what's coming down the pike, but at the same time...I'm weirdly missing that roller coaster ride of   wondering, "what's next?" Sometimes I think I must be a masochist for even thinking about possibly wanting to be thrown into the unknown again.

While I find comfort and familiarity in having a stable life, I am concerned about my satisfaction in my future. I'm still in my twenties--there is so much time to accomplish more in my life! But what? I don't want to waste away years just plodding along at this same point in my life. Once you hit a new level, you keep playing until it's game over.

I've hit a level in life earlier than I planned, that's great. In being so busy getting settled, I haven't even thought of my what my next step is. That's OK to be settled and float along for a bit, but I'm feeling antsy now. I've no idea what my next goal for life is. As much as I hear people say, "Just let it happen," I can't. I'm a planner and this planner is in need of a plan. So what now? How to do I make a plan without a plan?

You start dreaming again.

That's exactly what I've started doing, too. Thanks to a friendly push from the universe, I've stopped wet blanketing ideas that have been quietly floating in my head, little sparks of chance. I've started to explore possibilities of making some plans towards a long term goal/s and it feels exhilarating. It's exciting, nerve wracking, and just what the doctor ordered. I only hope that I can keep this feeling fueling my fire.

So what exactly is my goal? Can't say yet, but it's in the works and I'm pretty excited about it. As soon as it's ready, I'll be shouting it out to the whole world so stay tuned!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Girls Weekend In

This weekend was a girls weekend in for me and the kitties. We happily frolicked, chased mice, and ate kibble to our--ahem--their heart's delight.
Honey brought me a mouse last night. Thank
goodness we don't have real mice or this
gesture would cease to be  cute. 
It wasn't all fun and games though.  Friday was chalk full of end-of-the-year activities. It was the last day of class, last day for leveling (placing new students in their proper technique classes), and the end of the year banquet, Tribute to the Stars. 

Yesterday I watched precious young dancers perform their end of the year pieces in the Community Dance Center's Showcase. They were adorable, the crowd loved them, and my dancer teacher heart was warmed. Last night I cuddled up with Miss Honey & Layla and tucked into bed at a decent hour. Lame or sheer brilliance? 

This morning I woke up, went for a run (It's my new summer routine), and whipped up a batch of strawberry and blueberry pancakes. Last Sunday I did the same thing and I thought I'd gone to pancake heaven. They were just what I wanted for a weekend meal, I just had to make them again. I truly don't know what's better than cake like pancakes with fresh fruit in them. Well, today I had a slight problem, no syrup. Easily fixed though! 

I love Pinterest. It's simply marvelous. If you're looking for something, anything, simply search and there will be some pin with what you need. So I searched for a few recipes, found the basics for making syrup and made a few personal adjustments. 
Homemade Syrup

1 cups of sugar
1 cup of water
1/2 tsp of vanilla
1/4 tsp of butter flavoring

Drop sugar in a sauce pan, add water, but do not stir. Bring to a boil. Take off the heat and stir in vanilla and butter flavoring. Serve over pancakes. After cooled, store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 

Bam. You've been served. Served up delicious pancakes that is! Be aware it definitely does not taste like what you find in a traditional syrup. It's thinner, lighter colored, and sweeter (I think). I'm betting adding an orange flavoring to the sugar base would be equally excellent.  Hmm, must try later. 

The day continued with laundry, play time with the kitties (an absolute must on their agenda), a Wally World run, and a few other household chores. Lucky for me, I had some time to catch up with some of my favorite ladies tonight. I called my sister to fill in on the haps and heard her precious daughter squealing in the background as she played with pea pods. It's the simple things in life, really. Then I got to talk to my college roomie and dear best friend, Karley, who has been traveling the world with Disney Live. It's always a joy to hear about her many adventures, life changes, and dream about once again living in the same city. 

Multitasking like I sometimes/always do, I whipped up a mouth watering dinner dish while catching up with my girls. Although not a Mexican dish in celebration of Cinco de Mayo, it still hit the spot in my opinion. Once again, I found a dish on Pinterest that peaked my interest, Chicken Piccata. The one thing I couldn't find at the store were Italian bread crumbs so I was left to make my own. 
Bread Crumbs

4 pieces of bread
1 tsp of fresh rosemary
1 tsp of fresh oregano 
1 tsp of basil
1 tsp of thyme

Break bread pieces into hunks and add seasonings for an Italian flavor. Drop into blender and blend until well diced and mixed. 

If you would like to add a little toasted flavor to the bread crumbs, add 1/4-1/2 stick of butter to a pan. Melt completely on med/med high. Add bread crumbs and stir until lightly toasted. I did this tonight, but I probably wouldn't do it again so as not to over do the crust on my chicken. 
If you like capers, you'll like this dish. If you like flavorful dishes, you'll like this. If you like a angel hair pasta with a butter and parsley (and perhaps a dash of salt), then you'll like this dish. Of course, the meal was made complete without a glass of white wine. 

 After a full day, and a second glass of wine, it is time for me to crawl into bed and dream of the coming summer season. Happy Sunday to all and to all a good, sweet, night! 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Almost There

School year is coming to a close, next week are finals! I can't even believe that this year is already coming to an end. Technically it's the end of my second year teaching in higher ed, but truly my first full year at this particular university. It's been a full one for sure.

But as the end draws near and the students summer fever grows ever more intense, I find myself longing for some much needed down time. My mind wanders into pockets of summer day dreams filled with sweet tea, summertime reading lists, and a chance to catch up with myself. That sounds so funny and yet it's so true! Everything about this semester has kept me running and my backside is so far behind, I need to give a chance to catch up!

I could list every hopeful summertime accomplishment I have for myself (And yes, I've already started a long list of goals and "to-do's" for the coming months.), but I think I'll keep it short:

Bake. More.

Yes, I know, I tend to bake quite a bit right now, but not nearly as much as I'd like. Plus I have a so many mouthwatering recipes on my Pinterest boards, I can't resist using down time to try a few out. Of course that goes against my plan to get super fit this summer, but it's all about balance really...

In any case, I started my summer baking off with a squeeze. See when I think of summer, I think of sunshine. When I think of sunshine, I think of beaches. When I think beaches, I think of Florida. When I think of Florida, I think of oranges and that means that summer is really all about oranges. See how that works?

I found this recipe for an Orange Zest cookie that I had to whip up. It was easy, simple, and the perfect answer to a sweet tooth.

        Eat with caution--they are pretty sweet! 

Tonight I tried another recipe (even though my tired self tried so hard to convince my brain to just order Hideaway Pizza, aka the best pizza on the face of the planet!). "Better Than Take Out" Chicken Fried Rice proved to be a delicious and certainly less greasy option.

I added red bell pepper and broccoli to mine. I like the extra veggies. Go figure. 

And although I really enjoy this blog and I appreciate the sweet people that take time to read it, I am beyond exhausted now and cannot possible keep my eye lids open another moment. That being said, click on the links for these delicious recipes! 

Happy May to you all! 

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