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!