Thursday, December 24, 2015

Back at the Ranch

Sunday morning at 4am Kelly, one of my dearest friends came over and drove me to the airport. My CT mom, Pat said if I didn't see her the night before to wake her up so she could say goodbye.  I told her how I didn't want her to have to wake up that early.  She said, EXCUSE me?  It was funny!  Thankfully they stayed up much later than usual so I was able to say my goodbyes then.  It was sad to leave.  

Everyone told me to get to the airport early.  I heard its a small airport so didn't think I would have much problem.  People told me every is trying to get out of the north this time of year.  There was a very long line to go through TSA and I made it to my gate right on time!  I saw these guys that were dressed in all black and some had instruments.  One of the guys came up to me almost in a panic and asked what boarding group I was in when we began to line up.  He wasn't in my boarding group.  Then, as I was boarding the plane I saw an instrument with a piece of tape that said "Senses Fail".  I thought maybe that is there band name so I looked them up.  The night before I changed my seat.  I could touch the seat I was seating at but changed just one seat up.  I found my new seat sitting next to two guys.  As I put my suitcase up the man next to me came and rearranged this long skinny item.  He said he wanted to be extra careful with it.  I asked the guy next to me if he was from Hartford or Dallas.  He said neither, LA.  I asked what brought him to Hartford.  He said he had just played a show and hadn't gotten any sleep.  I told him how I went to Burbank for a summer.  He lived in Pasadena.  We were talking about LA then the guy next to him started adding in.  He is from LA too.  I asked what brought him to Hartford and he said he plays baseball for UCONN.  I chatted briefly with them and I was able to ask about what he is trying to keep safe.  He said it was a poster from a show in Philadelphia.  He went onto say how he will frame it and he has so mnay framed he has to switch them out.  He also told me they had been touring for a month and a half!  We were all tired so we slept most of the ride.

As soon as I landed my mom and I went straight to church.  I was able to take nap.  Later than evening Steffan and I went back to our Cheesecake Factory routine.

It has been interesting to be back.  It is nice to see people!  It is interesting but I guess I shouldn't be surprised by how many UT and A&M shirts, and bumper stickers I see compared to up north.  People here aren't any nicer than in the Northeast.  I am looking forward to seeing what is in store for me back at the ranch!  

Moving Week

Sunday I worked 12 hours at Hop Meadow.  We had breakfast with Santa brunch.  The food was amazing!  A few members said they will miss me but wished me luck and thought it would be beneficial to move back.  The d.j. who I have only seen a few times told me he was sad I was leaving because I was one of the nicest ones there.  He also said I would have no problem getting a job in Texas.

Monday at Starbucks I forgot my card at home so didn't have a way to pay for anything.  Alex came in and offered to buy me a drink.  I was very gladly surprised!  It was the perfect day for him to ask!  He also bought me a snowman cookie.

Tuesday I got up extra early to pick up my friend Emily in the next town over.  She offered to help me pack but her car was going to be worked on.  I gave her a ride to my house while her car was getting a make over. She helped me pack from 7:30-12.  Emily packed my things carefully land with care ike they were her things.  She also thought of putting paper and bubble wrap and things that would help.   I appreciated that!  I was going down stairs and back up to get zip log baggies and various supplies. Eventually Pat said just take the whole container up!  Good idea, Pat!  Some things were heavy and we tag teamed getting them down the stairs.  Then, the challenge was getting 11 boxes in my Jeep Compass.  Good thing I had a bigger car than my Civic.  It was like a puzzle but we got the boxes to fit...well, kind of.  We drove super slowly with the trunk open.  We had a hill to go up that made me nervous.  We passed a police car on our 3 minute drive to the post office.  Thankfully he kept going.  We got to the post office where Renee, who worked  there held the door open for us and helped carry boxes in.  I would tell her this one was heavy but she was able to do some heavy ones alone.  Renee said she is used to it.   I am so thankful for everything Emily did.  My friend Jeff at Starbucks said true friends are the ones that will help you move.

Wednesday morning I meet my dear friend Rachel at Starbucks at 7.  I am so thankful she woke up early so we could get together.  We always have good chats.  I asked Tim, one of my Starbucks friends to take our picture.  Tim is a professional photographer.  He took a great picture!
Later that morning, I meet Mike at Starbucks.  It was good to see him one last time.  Again, Tim took a great picture.  He said he would mail me the invoice.

Mark, the church youth pastor came into Pak Mail today so it was fun to see him!

I go back to Starbucks in between Pak Mail and babysitting.  I talked to Alex for a bit.  He always tells me about which Hallmark movie he watched the night before but he said last night he watched the Republican debate.  I asked which side he was on.  Alex said I'm as far from being a republican as you are from being a mass murder.  I said I think that's pretty far (or at least I hoped people didn't  view of me being similar to a mass murder.)  Alex said he is very much a democrat.  We talked about different political issues for a little while.
I got a green tea today.  I just about always get a trienta but it was in a ventie.  The lady calling out the drinks noticed and offered to make me my usual size.  She said it was no trouble so I took her up on the offer.  Then, another girl brought the drink to me.  I do love my Starbucks!  I never thought I could call another Starbucks than mine back home my Starbucks but this is a good one!
Recently, every time I come in workers will ask about when I'm moving and want to make sure this isn't the last time they will see me.  I reassure them that I will probably be back in again the same day.  The other day Caitlin made a super great tea combination drink for me.  I said I need to write this down so I can get it at my Starbucks at home.  Caitlin said save the room on your phone and just stay here.  SO sweet!

Wednesday evening at life groups we hung out outside by the fire for a bit.  Some people made smores.  That is always fun!  Mark came to our life group and he asked everyone to gather around.  He said a lot of nice words about me and how I was a blessing to the group.  He got me a U Conn shirt which was something I really wanted.  He also gave me a shirt that many people had written on nice encouraging good byes on.  Great gifts!  Then, I stood in the middle and a couple of people prayed for me.  It was so sweet!  I requested we take a group picture.  After that Blair helped the girls make a movie.  The girls liked it.  It was a wonderfully sad day!

Thursday morning as I went into Starbucks Geoff and Cindy wrote a sweet message on my drink about how they will miss me.  It was very kind!  I love it when people write on my cups.  When I was in College Station and days I would have a test people would write good luck messages on my cups.

Alex one of my Starbucks friends gave me a nice card and a Starbucks gift card.  He keeps saying I will move back to CT. soon.

That evening was my last day with the sweet girls I babysit.  We went to Chili's for dinner and the girls really liked that!  It will be sad to no longer see them everyday.

When I went back to Starbucks and Nicole added a message to my cup.  I love the messages!

Friday I meet Alex at Starbucks and he got me a "travel pack".  He got me 2 packs of pens because I would always be looking for my pens in my purse.  Alex travels to Europe about once a year and takes great pictures.  At Starbucks he edits all of his pictures.  One time I saw a picture from Paris and I said thats a really great picture.  Alex framed that picture for me and put it in my "travel pack."  It was a great gift!  We asked Tim to take another picture of us.  Alex wanted the picture in front of Starbucks.  Tim took a great picture!
At Starbucks I also had to say goodbye to a few more workers and friends.  Caitlyn, one of the sweet girls said now its her turn to write on my cup.  She also said I have made more of a difference in my 4 months here than most people do in years.  That was very sweet!  I am surprised.  I don't know peoples life stories.  I know names and would care about how people are.  I guess thats all it takes.

Friday evening Pat was working and Todd and I were home.  I left Todd a note saying I'm taking a nap what are your plans.  He responded to the note bike ride and... When Todd came home he said we could go out for dinner.  I told him to pick this time since I picked last time when we went out.  He said okay, I want to go to a pizza place in the town next over but its a really complicated name.  I asked what the name of the place was. Todd said ABC pizza.  So funny!  Todd and I split a lasagna pizza and a Greek salad.  Todd was telling me how a real greek salad doesn't have lettuce.  This pizza place is a family owned by a family from Ecuador.  They had two Ecuadorian dishes on the menu.  Todd said they aren't from Greece they are from Ecuador that is probably why the Greek salad has lettuce.  The pizza was good but did't really taste like lasagna.  I offered to split the meal with Todd. He said sure we can split it you can have this mint and I'll have this one.  He said next weekend you can pay.  It was funny since we both knew I won't be here next weekend.

Saturday I finished my packing.  I saw my sister Erin at the gas station out of all places!  I am turning in my rental car and some friends are having a birthday party this evening.  Erin said she would give me a ride! So kind!
I went to drop off my rental car.  Originally Todd said he would pick me up.  Gabe and I were going to see Star Wars and he said he could pick me up instead.

Later that day Erin and Amy, my sisters came over! Pat had made meatballs that were great!  She also made peanut butter blossom cookies.  They were wonderful!

Erin drove me to my friend Blairs house.  Blair drove me to a pizza place in West Hartford where our friend Phil was having his birthday party.   After that we went to Phil's house for cake.  Kara, Phil's finance and David, Phils roommate made a homemade cake.  Kara bought Haggen Dazs ice-cream and good beverages. This girl, Brigette I had seen the whole night came over and talked to me.  She went to school in San Diego.  She was there the same time I was in Los Angeles.  It was perfect timing to meet her!  She shared a lot of encouraging verses with me.  She knows what it is like to move.  She is going through a move now too.  Brigette was pretty open with me about her life considering we just meet which I was thankful for!  I shared some of my struggles in the move with her too.  She was very helpful!  We were talking in the living room where everyone was.  She said lets move to a quieter place so we moved to another room then other people came in.  Then, we moved up stairs and no one came up there.  I'm so thankful I meet her!  Later that evening we watched some funny You Tube videos.  Then, Alex brought me home it was a group effort to get me around!  So thankful for people doing that!  

I am amazed by how much ones life can change in only 4 months.  I am surprised by how I can start a completely new life with friends, jobs, church, a place to serve, and a great Starbucks community within such a limited amount of time.

There were many places I still wish I could have gone to name a few: the Cape, D.C., Canada, Niagra Falls, and Hershey's, There were relationships that I wish could have gone further while I was here.   I just started to have more of a friendship with my Starbucks friends, and Mikes mom, I would have liked to spend more time with her,  Lon from Starbucks, and my Connecticut parents!

I am so thankful for the things that I did get to experience!  Everyone says I have seen a lot!  I am thankful for multiple trips to New York including seeing the Rockets, I am glad I was able to go to the Culinary Institute of America, and go to Boston.  I am thankful to have gotten to meet and get to know some of my family members better.  I am so thankful that I added a family with my Connecticut family I lived with.

I spent 2 months in France, 3 months in California, 4 months in Connecticut, maybe the next time I go somewhere I will go for 5 months.

I think the saying is true: you can take a girl out of Texas but you can't take Texas out of a girl.  Connecticut, you've been wonderful!  See you soon!  And that's a wrap! 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Moving back to the Ranch

What an exciting week with unexpected twists!  

Sunday Danielle and I went to Stowbridge Village.  The village is in Massachusetts about 45 minutes from Danielle's house.  I love Danielle!  She is so kind!  Danielle had just been there recently so she knew a lot about it and had a lot of good information.  Sturbridge Village is a recreated old town from my Uncle Pauls childhood in the 1700s.  

This week started off very normal.  Nothing exciting.  Wednesday we finally had a house to meet in so that was nice!  The girls made cookies for the Hartford City Mission.  There was one girl that could be a professional decorator!  She was wonderful!  She ran out of Christmas ideas and I gave her more complicated Christmas ideas and she was able to do it!  Mark, the high school pastor has been so helpful!  He paired me with such a great friend, and getting me my Connecticut parents.   I told him my parents were upset I didn’t have a better job.  Mark said he would sent out an email to 90 people for me - all of the high school and middle school leaders.   Mark is so helpful!  

Thursday I was getting a hair cut and texting some folks to ask them to pray that it would be clear if I should go home or stay here. My parents had really been pushing for a while for me to come home.   After I texted them and people responded saying they are praying Geico called and said my car is totaled.  That was my clear answer.  

On Thursday I got to spend the whole day with Ally, one of the girls I babysit for.  We went shopping to get Christmas presents from her.  We went to the mall to get gifts.  It was fun!  I got a Godiva shake!  They put truffles inside of the shake.  It was rich but good!  
We meet her sister at home.  They wanted to do something fun so I took the girls to see the Peanuts movie in 3D.  The girls loved it!  

Friday morning I meet with a nice lady that goes to another church but used to go to my church.  She worked with the girls I am currently working with.  She has a lot of good advice about these girls since she has worked with them and she has a freshman daughter.  

Later that day, I got to hang out with Ally again.  We went to J.Crew and got a great outfit for 
her mom.  

That evening I meet some of my favorite people from the Young Adult Ministry, Kara and Phil at Phil’s house in West Hartford.  We meet Phil’s roommate, David, from YAM at an Indian restaurant right next to their house.  Kara and Phil are regulars there - the owners gave us a complimentary appetizer and Phil asked them to get our food out faster and they were able to accommodate that.  Brad from YAM meet us there. We all went to church to see the Gift.  I have heard so much about this musical.  Everyone was asking if I had tickets and was warning me to get tickets because it sells out quickly!  We got there 20 minutes early and there was barely any room left in the balcony.  We were meeting other people there and our large group of 8 had to split up.  The musical was incredible!  Several of our high school students were in the drama.  There were several live animals including a donkey, bunny, and goose.  I told a few girls Thursday I was moving so it was sad to say good bye to them.  One girl and I hugged for a long time.  She was very hard to say good bye to.  
After the musical we went back to Phil and Davids house.  Phil showed me his fish tank.  It is just like Spongebob Squarepants.  He has Spongebob's home and Squidwards home!  Phil has a snail in the tank whose name is Gary.  David made me and Phil hot chocolate and he warmed the milk on the stove.  I appreciate that!  Kara and David had tea.  We chatted for about an hour.  It was lovely!  

Saturday I meet Emily and Steve for breakfast at Popovers in Simsbury.  I got a popover with eggs, onions, sausage, and cheese in it.  It was very good!  It was great to see them!  Phil showed up towards the end of our meal.  They offered to help me pack which I really appreciate.  

After breakfast went to work and after work I went home and baked cookie with my family.  We made 10 types!  They started before I did so I just got to come in and eat delicious cookies and help make a few.  They did all of the hard work.   The cookies were wonderful!  

Saturday evening Todd and Pat took me to this great Italian restaurant in Avon, Di Capo.  Great food!  When the check came I got out my purse to chip in and they said are you looking for your mints, what are you doing.  That was nice!  

Pat had a great idea of watching It’s a Wonderful Life when we came in.  We all changed into comfy clothes and watched the movie.  I was falling asleep about an hour into it so I went to bed early.  I love that movie!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Boring week and a Car Accident

Well, this was a very boring week.  Nothing exciting.

Last week all of the college students were home for Thanksgiving. They were at Starbucks studying.  It reminded me of my college days.  I would ask them what they were studying and where they went to school.  Then they asked me the same question!  Then, I got to tell them I have already graduated from the greatest university.  

I started working at Pak Mail.  We ship for USPS, FedEx, and UPS.  Pat got me that job.  She has friends from church that own Pak Mail.

I am babysitting the girls I am babysit more often now because their mom works retail.  The other day I was at the indoor soccer field with the girls and their mom meet us there to pick the girls up.  We had to get the girls bags out of my car and the girls started to get in.  The mom and I were like no, you're going home with your mom.  They almost seemed upset.  I asked the girls what I can do to be a better babysitter.  The youngest girl that is 7 said, wear better earnings. In my opinion they are very cute Kate Spade bow earrings.

This week at church was out Christmas party. That was fun!  I was going to go to the Rockefeller tree lighting.  It was kind of rainy and I would be out there for a while so I decided not to go.  The church party was great!

Friday a sophomore from church and I went to a good hibachi restaurant.  Then, we went to acoustic night at the local high school.  There were a lot of talented people.  Then, Gabe and I saw the movie Brooklyn. It was a good kind of weighty movie.  We saw the movie at AMC.  That is definitely my favorite theater.  I try to stick with AMC.

Saturday I was doing my normal routine and going to Starbucks.  I hit the car in front of me.  My car started smoking.  An officer had to come and he said my car is undrivable.  He called a tow truck.  My accident was in Canton.  Cantons policy is that they don't call AAA.  They call a local towing company and AAA will reimburse you.  They don't like to wait for AAA.   If I got into the accident just a few minutes down the road in Avon I could have used AAA.  That is just Cantons policy.  Kind of interesting.  My parents didn't like that.  When the officer was handing me off to the tow company he told them to take good care of me.  I appreciated that!  Pat, my CT mom came to pick me up.  She got there just as the tow company was leaving.  She told me where they should take my car.  Everyone says the place where its going is a good place.
Unfortunately, my Connecticut sister was just in an accident so they looked into places to get a rental car and knew the best rates.  Pat drove me to Enterprise.  A guy from church works there.  We worked with a nice man at Enterprise.  As he was walking us out to my new car he said heres your mini van pointing to the mini van out front.  At first I was worried until he said just kidding.  I have a Jeep Compass.  It smells new.  I was only an hour late for work!

Saturday night we had our big gala at Hop Meadow.  It was a fun event.  I like the people I work with.  They were doing Micky Mouse accents which made the evening fun! 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Family, Turkey, and Macy's

Sunday at Sur La Table we had a 8 year old girls birthday party.  She had 9 friends at the party.  For the birthday party they had nice red Sur La Table aprons.  It was an all chocolate class!  Chocolate chip cookies, chocolate bark, chocolate covered strawberries, and chocolate soufflĂ©.  The soufflĂ© was wonderful!  It was a fun class!

Sunday evening I was talking to my friend Lon at Starbucks.  He was wearing a cowboy hat and never does so we talked about that.  He called me a Cowgirl then Lon was afraid it was an insult.  I explained that it is not an insult in Texas.

Tuesday, was the Thanksgiving service at Valley.  I had never been to a Thanksgiving service.  There were several baptisms.  Afterwards we had pie.  I was able to see some friends and had some good chats with folks.  Pat, my Connecticut mom, saw her friend Susan and Susan said they need help at their shipping store during the holidays.

Tuesday evening I stayed up late with Pat while she made pumpkin bread.  We chatted while she baked.  Pat gives very good advice.

Wednesday, I babysat for the family that has 3 kids.  Todd, my Connecticut dad got me that job.  I took the two younger kids - 4 and 2 to the park.  There older sister was at school.  Their mom is awesome.  She just left me the car keys and said feel free to take them somewhere.  The kids are very obedient to.  They are a great family!

Later Wednesday I went over to Mikes parents house to help them rake leaves.  I ended up just talking to Mikes mom, Marcia, the whole time.  She is awesome!  Very nice lady.  She showed me the woods in their back yard.  Marcia told me how she likes to go on hikes in the back their while its snowing.  Marcia made me tea.  It was wonderful!  She is very good at making tea.  Marcia knows a lot about tea!
Mike and I went for a walk around this reservoir.  We went at sunset.  It was very pretty!  Mike said there are a ton of places like that.

That evening I talked with Todd and helped him make apple sauce.  He got fresh apples from the orchard.

Thursday I woke up at 3:45 I meet Stephen and Gave in West Hartford.  The bus left at 5 to go into New York to see the parade.  We got to the city a little before 7.  The bus dropped us off at the Plaza. We looked for a good spot and decided to stay.
We saw many police!  Probably the most I have seen!  Gave and I said we aren't sure if this makes us feel more or less safe.  There were helicopters flying around.  We also saw police on top of buildings.  There were many many police everywhere you looked.
I meet some people that had a daughter about to graduate from NYU and had another daughter going to the University of Cincinnati.  They are from Cincinnati.
Stephen picked me up some hot chocolate from Starbucks.  He said it was a long line.  About an hour later he came back.
I walked around a little bit and tried to find a place to use the restroom.  No hotel would let you use the restroom.  Even most shops wouldn't let you in.  I found a bike store.  Don't know why they were open on Thanksgiving.  I asked if they had a restroom.  The man said maybe.  I asked if I could use it and he said yes.  It wasn't nice but it worked!
I was trying to get back to Stephen and Gabe.  The police began to barricade more and more things.  We couldn't walk on the street.  There was one section that was jam packed. The people didn't leave an aisle open.  One person trying to go the opposite way I was said you won't get through.  We have been trying to get through for an hour.  One little boy was crying.  Then, some more aggressive ladies came by.  One lady said she has to get to her yoga studio. Another lady said some people live here and we need to get home.  So there was about a group of 4 of us that stuck together trying to get our of this section.  We were slowly able to get past one crowd of people.  We got to the next crowd and were stuck again.  The aggressive lady was trying to get through.  These people wouldn't let her pass.  I asked her what our plan was.  She said these people won't let me through.  You try.  I tried and it didn't work.  The people said to get cozy.  This is a good place to watch the parade.  I was afraid we would be stuck there!  Then another lady came by and she said I have a pass.  She said we will show them the pass and they will have to let us through.  They didn't let us through.  They made fun of her for being a rich white lady.  They thought it was fun trying to see us get through.  We decided to go a different route.  One man let us through.  Everyone was mad at that man.  He said sorry, I guess I feel for it.  But, we were barricaded in.  It is impossible to get out!  We realized we couldn't get anywhere there so we went back.  The police forced these people to open up the walk way.  Then, we were barricaded in again.  This lady showed her pass to the police.  He said you will have to go around.  She explained how it was impossible.  She said I have a pass!  He said okay, how many people are with you?  She said yum, its just like me and my three kids.  So we got through!  It was funny because she was only about 10 years older than me.  One other lady with us was probably older than she was.  Another man there was counting and he counted 8 of us.  But, we got through!  We all thanked each other for the help.  I was able to get back to Stephen and Gabe.
The parade came to us around 9:30.  First there was a few black police cars that drove by.  Then, there was a large police van.   They had police men on every side of the van with these huge guns.  Then, the parade began!  It is much different to see the parade in person than on tv.  Some of the floats looked like they could be inflated more.  Many of the floats with celebrities were taking pictures of the crowds.  The circus de soleil float had a small ambulance behind it.  Those people were doing some crazy things on a moving float.  Later in the parade some older folks in the parade needed to rest I guess so they stopped.  One person with the parade picked them up on a golf cart.  The other two people hopped in a truck of another float.  I meet some people from New Orleans.  I was able to give the some advice about their trip here!  Who would have thought, the little Aggie giving New York tourists advice!

Once the parade was over thankfully walking back to the Plaza wasn't to difficult.  They still had everything barricaded so we had to go the long way.  Gabe and I grabbed something quick from the Plaza food court.
I went to the restroom.  Of course, the women's line was huge.

We meet the bus and had an easy ride home.  I was able to sleep for about an hour of the two hour ride.  It's hard not knowing towns well.  I wasn't really able to tell how close we were to being back.

After we got back I went straight to Uncle Paul's.  I played with Grace and Will in the backyard and talked to Danielle.  The kids remembered me and ran up and give me a big hug.  Grace had a very pretty dress on.  The table was set very nicely.  We had assigned seating at dinner and I switched my seat with Kara's so I could sit by her dad, Uncle Paul.  Later I said I hope that was okay if we switched she said well, I didn't think that was an option.  We had a great dinner.
I hung out with Uncle Paul and watched him edit pictures.  Paul and I watched a little of the Cowboys game.  Michael and Kara watched all of it.  The half time show is my favorite part.  That is the part Mike doesn't watch.  I brought some whipping cream.  Michael made it.  I was impressed by how well he made it. It was nice of him to make the whip cream I could watch the show.  We had apple, pumpkin, and I brought a chocolate pecan pie.  All of the pies were good.

I got home around 8:30.  There were still about 6 people over.  I got a few left overs and chatted with everyone for a bit.  I was helping clean up and Megan, my older sister said to sit down.  I went to bed kind of early because I was exhausted!

Friday I went to Starbucks, like usual.  I saw Jeff at Starbucks.  He used to live outside of Manhattan and went to NYU.  He has a lot of good information about the city and was giving me some good tips.

I came home to have Thanksgiving leftovers with the fam.
Todd, Pat, Amy and I went to pick out our tree.  They go to the same spot every year.  It's about 20 minutes away from our house.
When we arrived a man directed us and said there is a spot right in the front for y'all.  Todd jokingly said since we're regulars we get the good spot.
We saw Erin, my CT sister and her roommate there.  They had finished getting their tree.
At the tree farm they have several nice wreaths for sale and inside a small inside area you pay for your tree and they have orntaments for sale.  I bought an orntament that was cut from a tree and had a truck driving a Christmas tree.
We walked around to pick out the perfect tree.  Todd saw one right away that he liked.  We decided to keep walking.
There are trees with and without blue tags.  The trees with blue tags are a little cheaper.  The game is to find a good tree with a blue tag.  The Kenneys said at some tree farms you can go earlier in the year and put a tag on the tree and claim your tree.  When we went it was a perfect day!  The Kenneys said the weather is never that good.  They said usually you run in get the first good one you see and leave.  Since it was such a nice day many people were lingering longer than they would have if it wasn't a nice day.
We crossed a bridge to more trees.  We saw some people going back without a tree.  Pat asked them why they didn't get a tree.  The Kenneys said if you go out that far you are determined to get a tree.  In that area there were mostly bruce spruce trees that are spikey.  The Kenneys were explaining how it is hard to decorate because it is so spike and hurts.  We saw a bruce spruce tree we liked but no one would want to decorate it so we decided not to get it.
In that back area we finally found a good tree.  I wanted to cut it down since it was my first time.  I tried a little then Todd gave me some suggestions.  He said you have to sing a sad song while you cut.  He began singing "Nobody knows the Trouble I've Seen".  Then, I went back to cutting.   I sang "Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go."  It got harder to cut so I gave the saw back to Todd.  He said it's almost to the end and offered to let me cut it.  I cut it down and the tree fell.  Todd yelled "timber" and made sure the tree didn't fall on me.
Todd brought gloves for he and I.  We carried the tree back.  It was a long walk since we went over the bridge.  They do have carts you can wheel the tree on but I wanted the full experience.
At the tree farm they had a machine that would wrap the tree.  The Kenneys said they haven't always had that and it is helpful.
Pat got a wreath, Amy and I got hot chocolate.  The tree farm had supplies for free hot chocolate.  They also had marshmallows and candy canes too.  Todd tied the tree on top of the car.
Once we got home Todd sawed the tree a little since it wasn't a perfect line.  He also had to cut off a few branches so it would fit in the tree base.

Erin, and I meet Todd, Pat, and Amy at the AMC to watch Creed.  Todd got us reserved seats and we had perfect seats.  We got popcorn to all share.  Everyone in the theater was really into the movie.  People were cheering during the fight scenes.

After the movie Erin, Todd, Pat and I went to P.F. Chang at the mall.  Todd and I rode together and Pat and Erin rode together.  Todd and I made a reservation on the way there and Erin and Pat made a reservation on there way there too!  We thought it would be packed since it was at the mall on Black Friday.  The mall parking lot was full but not impossible to get into.  Thankfully P.F. Chang didn't have any wait so our reservation was unnecessary.  I don't know why they didn't have a wait since it is Black Friday at P.F. Chang is at the mall.  We got 3 appetizers and 3 entrees.  You've got to love P.F. Chang!  So good!

We came home and Pats sister sent us some baked goods.  That was a nice treat!

Saturday I spent most of the day at Starbucks.  I went to see the Good Dinosaur with Mikes mom and 8 year old nephew Hayden.  Hayden and I went to Starbucks to play cards while his Grandma, got a hair cut.  We played one round of War.  He won.  I taught Hayden how to play 21.  We played 3 rounds and he won all 3.

Later that evening I went to babysit.  I babysat the two girls I usually babysit and their two friends who I have babysat before.  I like it when we are all together.  It is more fun.  We had Thanksgiving left overs, watched Elf, Home Alone and had peppermint ice-cream.  The kids also made lots of jokes. It was a fun evening!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

I think I'll go to Boston

Well, this week was kind of a let down after a great week in New York.

Kelly and I hung out Monday.  We went to this popular new restaurant in town.  They had good tea.  It is so hard to find good tea around here.  I wanted the brisket for lunch.   Our waitress said we have everything but the brisket!  So, I got pulled pork.
Kelly and I lead our freshman girls together and on Wednesday we were having a Thanksgiving party for the girls.  We got some supplies to make a craft.  We went to Michaels to get some fall leaves and all we saw was Christmas things.  I felt confident they would have fall leaves since Thanksgiving hadn't passed.  We asked and they said the fall things were long gone.

I began working at Sur La Table this week.  I am a kitchen assistant.  I do what I did at Central Market in the cooking classes.  It is fun and nice to be back in that routine.  

I am at Starbucks a lot and I usually sit next to Alex, a retired art teacher.  He is very funny!

Wednesday was our thanksgiving party with the girls.  We had apple and pumpkin pie, the girls wrote a thank you note to someone, and we made candles with mason jars and fall colored tissue paper.  The girls really enjoyed it!

Thursday, I had lunch with my Connecticut sister Megan.  We went to George's and got Bacon Cheeseburger pizza.  It was good!  We both liked the Taco pizza from last time better and we are planning on getting baked ziti pizza next time.

Friday I didn't have anything until I was babysitting in the evening.  I had the whole day and I wanted to go to Harvard before it got to cold so I decided to go.  I was going to try to go to the Boston Science Museum while I was so close so I left the house by 7.
I wanted a tea from Starbucks before the road trip.  I wasn't able to do a mobile order but I called and they got me my tea ready ahead of time.  They said they don't usually do that!  I get a hot tea iced so it takes longer to make it. I have such a good Starbucks!  They will even walk my drinks to me when I'm sitting down.  I'm so thankful for my Starbucks!
It took about 2.5 hours to get to Cambridge where Harvard is.  I was trying to figure out where to park they said to park in Harvard Square.  I thought Harvard Square was going to be like Southlake Town Square.  It wasn't as nice and it wasn't a square.  There were a few homeless people there.  It was probably a .5 mile walk to campus.
I went to the Harvard Museum of Natural History first.  It was nice.  They had a neat Latin American section.  They also had a large collection of animals.
Then, I headed to the Harvard Art Museum.  It was 3 stories.  They had a few modern paintings and including a Monet, and another famous painters painting.
Then, I went to the Curious George store.  It was small and had many kids drawing on coloring pages.
I saw a Shake Shack and Kimberly and I saw one in New York and she said they were good.  I got a burger and fries.  The burger wasn't much better than McDonald's in my opinion.  The fries taste like Braums fries which isn't that great either.  They had a few holiday shake flavors.  I got a Christmas Cookie shake.  Oh my goodness, it was good!

I had enough time to go to the Boston Science Museum.  It was about a 15 minute drive along the river.  They had a parking garage right there so it was easy.  They had a Pixar exhibit that I went to.  There were times of when you could enter.  The museum wasn't to crowded which was nice.  It was a good educational museum.

Then, I realized I had more time before I needed to head back so I went to the Massachusetts State House.  I parked about .5 miles from the museum.  I walked through a pretty park to get there.  The capitol has a gold dome on it.  It stands out.  I was going to go on a guided tour but the next one was in 45 minutes.  So I went on my own tour.  Someone told me the legislators meet twice a week!  Can you believe that?!  The house of representatives didn't have very large desks.   I don't know how they do anything on those tiny desks. In Massachusetts and Connecticut the Senate desks were in a circle.  In Texas we couldn't make a circle with all of our desks.

I still had more time and passed Cheers on my way there.  I went inside and that was a tourist trap!  They had two bars one where the show was that still had lighting up and another one.  They had two gift shops.  Many people were taking pictures outside and getting taxis to and from there.  It is on a nice kind of rocky brick street.

I headed to this nice street close by where there are lots of shops.  Last time I was there I saw a good cupcake shop but it was early in the morning so I didn't need a cupcake.   This time I got the cupcake.  It was a very good fresh cupcake.  I waked back through the pretty park to my car.

Todd told me to allow 30 extra minutes to get home with traffic.  I'm glad I did.  I should have had 45 minutes to spare before babysitting but I had 5 minutes.

Instead of babysitting for the two girls I usually do I was babysitting for their friends too so I had 4 kids.  I like having more kids.  It makes things more fun and interesting.

Saturday I meet with two freshman.  One at Starbucks and one at Tuffles, my favorite lunch spots.  The freshman was telling me how they had homecoming the night before.  I asked if they won.  She said what? I said you went to the homecoming football game.  Right?  She said no, it was a homecoming dance! So many differences between Texas and the North East.

Pat, my Connecticut mom who I'm living with and I have had a couple of good late night or early morning conversations.  I really like talking to her and she gives good advice.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Big Apple

Sunday at church there are a couple of guys who like Johnny Manziel.  A few of them are in my class.  I showed them a picture of Manziel at A&M recently.  I'm so thankful I have people here that love my school. 
At church we have been talking about the Old Testament for about the past 5 weeks.  Jenn asked someone to explain the story she has been explaining.  We have a couple of boys that goof off a lot and one of them told the story and did a great job!  It was almost like he was doing a rap with his hand movements.  I was so proud!

We were planning our Christmas party after church.  We had sandwiches, not grinders this time, sandwiches and planned.  I think it will be a great party! 

Kelly and I took our freshman girls to see the Peanuts movie.   I thought it was a good movie but kind of slow at times.  We went on opening weekend so the theater was filled with kids. 

I went to Target for the first time in 3 months!  It is about 20 minutes away.  I never pass it.  I have to go out of my way to get there.  I think that is the longest I have been without going to Target.  My dad wanted me to get a good snow scraper.  The other day when I was with Meghan I thought I saw a good snow shovel to keep in my car but she said it wasn't good and it would break easily.  So, I asked a guy about my age at Target which shovel to get.  He gave me some good recommendations.  He warned me that the winter will be bad. 

Later that evening I meet Mike at J. Timothy's.  They have the nations second best wings and Connecticut's best.  They were good wings.  I cut the meat off of the bone.  I should have done that all along.  I think that comes from my political background. 

After dinner we saw Spectre at AMC.  I had never been to this AMC before.  They had a huge lobby. The movie was pretty good.  We saw it in IMAX. 

Pat had a party for one of her co workers.  It reminds me of when my mom has parties.  It was nice to come home and have the left overs.  That is always the best part of a party, I think. 

Kelly and I meet Monday morning at Starbucks.  We have a great game plan for our freshman girls.  There are a lot of exciting things coming up at church.

Grandma tells me that wherever she has her candle sticks that is home.  I was thinking about what makes a place home for me.  I think it is knowing people at Starbucks.  That takes time and effort.  I now know several workers and many regulars. 

Monday evening I had tentative plans but fell through so I texted Uncle Paul to see what he was doing.  That man is crazy!  He does so much!  He told me he was going shopping and so I asked if I could join him. 
I meet him at his house. 
We went to this nice outdoor shopping area about 15 minutes away from his house.  Paul said he is starting over with his wardrobe.  I helped him pick out a few things. 
We went into Anthropologie.  I'm thankful he waited with me while I made a return. 
In the shopping are they had a L.L. Bean store.  I had never seen a L.L. Bean store before! 
After shopping we went to Ted Montana's for dinner.  Paul is on a strict diet so he had a salmon salad.  I had a bison cheeseburger.  It was lovely to have dinner with my favorite uncle. 
I love seeing Paul interact with people.  His friendliness reminds me of my College Station dad. 
We got to Pauls house around 10.  We chatted with Laurie for about 2 hours.  They are helping me solve all of my problems.  We had a good talk!  I am thankful for those two. 

Tuesday, I had lunch with my wonderful older sister, Megan.  We went to George's.  George's is very close to Megan's doctor office where she works so she goes their often.  We got a Mexican Taco pizza. It was so good! 

Thursday morning was the day we had been planning for a long time!  Thursday was the day I was meeting Kimberly and the Harpers in the big apple!  Todd and Pat went out of town to Williamsburg so it worked out well that I left that weekend too.  I got up at 6, left at 7, and got into the city at 10.  It took longer than expected with morning traffic.  I arrived at the London NYC and left my bags.  It was a very nice hotel.  The Harpers stay there ever time.  

I asked the concierge what the best way to get to the Natural American History Museum was.  He said the subway.  The concierge gave me clear directions and it was so simple even a Texas Aggie could do it!  The subway was about a block from the hotel.  Easy walk!  While I was waiting for the subway I saw a homeless man with a very torn up jacket and looking through the trash!  So sad!  Living in America with so much wealth there is still so much poverty.  The subway led me to a back entrance of the American History Museum.  The security guard there was very careful that nobody got past and everyone got in line.  The Harpers got us the New York City pass.  That was perfect!  We got into just about everything free.  The Harpers shipped me the pass so I could began using it.  The Natural History Museum was great to see.  That was where they filmed the movie Night at the Museum. It was a huge museum.  It looked very old.  They should probably remodel.  It was very confusing to walk around.  I don’t think it was designed very well.  I think it should be designed more like Disney World in a circle.  Not in all of these crazy sections.  They had sections from all around the world which I loved.  Neat music to match each section.  The gift shop had some international things which was fun.  They had a Hawian section which reminded me of the gift shop at the  Polynesian hotel at Disney World.  The museum had several gift shops and cafes.  

After leaving the National History Museum it was raining and I walked through Central Park to get to the Metropolitian Museum.  I asked a lady at a hot dog stand how to get there and she was very helpful.  The Metropolitian was a nice museum.  Upon arriving I went to the cafe with a large glass window over looking Central Park to get a Coke and to rest.  The museum also had several restaurants for members only.  The Metropolitian had a lot. I think museums with room displays are more popular here than in Texas.  Maybe it is larger museums.  I’m not sure.  I was exhausted from walking both museums so I walked quickly through the Metropolitian.  

I took a taxi to Time Square.  I went to M&M world.  They had two floors like the one in Vegas.  I was kind of hungry so was excited that Hershey’s was across the street and I was going to get a cupcake.  I was so excited until I walked inside and it was very small.  Smaller than the one in Chicago and NO cupcakes!  No baked goods.  It was very disappointing.  I collect mugs and was going to get a mug but all of the mugs had candy in them and I don’t need any candy.  I went to the Disney store.  It was two stories.  They said have a magical day.  It was nice to hear since the last time I heard that was at Disneyland.  

From Time Square I walked quickly back to the hotel, faster than a New Yorker.  The only bad thing is that there is always lights so you walk so quickly then get stopped by a light and the slow people catch up with me.  It was great to see Kimberly, Clint, her brother was there and his friend Matt.  We dropped our stuff of in the boys room because our room wasn’t ready.  They have us their key so we could get in after our room was ready.  Kimberly and I walked around Time Square.  Our hotel is in a great spot!  About 7 minutes from Time Square, 7 minutes from Rockefeller Center, and 7 minutes from Central Park!  So perfect!  We came back to the hotel got our stuff from the guys room and went to our room.  Our room was the same as the boys.  Large area with a desk, and comfy couch.  Two swinging doors that lead into the bedroom. The room had a very large very nice bathroom .  The bathroom had a shower with the water coming from directly above and a tub.  The tile was a nice white which I liked. It looked very clean.