Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year!

Oh, man. Over two weeks since my last post? I have been a slacker!

A brief run-down on what I've been doing:

1. Took the speech kids to Cheyenne, WY for a inter-state meet.

It was an enormous pain-in-the-tuckus to make that trip happen, and I didn't particularly want to do it in the first place. Still, it was a good meet to attend, and the whole trip went smoothly, without incident. Aside from leaving a kid at the Carls, Jr. we stopped at for lunch, that is. No worries, though. We spotted him sprinting through the parking lot towards the bus in time.

2. Wrapped up the semester.

MTHS' schedule is set up so that the students get a year's worth of credit within a semester. Which means when I go back next Wednesday, I'll have all new classes. It also means I'm done teaching English for the year (yay!).

Thanks to some good advance prep on my part, plus the way the finals schedule worked out, I actually graded all my English class' finals with half an hour to spare by the end of the last school day (drama and speech were performance-based, so I graded those on the spot). That meant I had grades posted by the time I walked out of there for the break. Yay for that!

3. Home-made Christmas.

I learned how to make marshmallows for my colleagues-gifts this year. I tried it on my own first, and called my sister when the first batch turned out poorly. She gave me a few hints over the phone and reassured me that it would all be fine. Not so. The second batch was an identical failure. Rachel then very kindly offered to come over the next night and let me observe her process. By batch #5, I was a fluffy-mint-marbled-colored-marshmallow pro!

Once I got to Grand Junction, I kicked into crafty mode and made the rest of my gifts this year. Rachel and I collaborated on a gift to our dad - we bought him an Eddie Bauer jacket and made and attached patches of the various companies he uses. I think the idea came from this New Yorker cartoon.

I also designed and sewed two couch arm-rest craft organizers for my mom and Rachel (adapted from this idea)and embroided a set of handwarmers for Jenn based on two pictures from the Tracy Aviary website (she works there).

Really, why I decided to make most of my gifts this busy year, I don't know. But they all turned out well, and I'm glad.

4. A Late Christmas

We celebrated on the 26th this year so we could all be together. On Christmas Day, my parents hosted their annual Christmas Board Game Extravaganza where I discovered I know far more about the Simpsons than I thought.

I got many lovely gifts for Christmas, including a new suitcase, a nook, a Cricut machine, and a spinning wheel to share with Rachel. Travel, reading, and craftiness - perfect!

5. To Utah for a Birthday Party and New Year's.

After Christmas, we all drove up to Layton for a party for my grandmother's 80th birthday. The day after that, the various relatives, my parents, and I headed for a winter camp up above Sundance. We spent two nights there, including New Year's Eve. I went sledding, worked on some school projects, played a lot of games with my cousins, and even went snowshoeing for the first time. In the light of a blue moon. On New Year's Eve. That was a good first.

In the end, we were all rather tired, so we celebrated the new year an hour early with horns and confetti poppers provided by my grandmother, then spent 20 minutes cleaning up the confetti, then played Quiddler while the real new year rolled in.

6. Car Shopping.

After 11 years, my car is starting to be more trouble than it's worth. I took it in to get a free oil change right before driving down to Junction, and walked out with a list of $700 worth of repairs recommended by the car shop. I didn't get any done at the time, since I was rushing out of town first thing the next morning to try to beat a snowstorm. When I got to Junction, some green liquid was dripping from it. My mom declared it unfit to drive and suggested we go car shopping "just to see what they have".

With Rachel knitting in the car and my mom, Ben (a hidden treasure-trove of car information), and Ben's mom (a safety expert who nicely offered her opinion) in tow, we visited a salesman my parents know and trust. I looked at some new models, but balked at the prices (Africa! I want to go to Africa! I don't need working brakes, right? I'd rather travel!). Upon Ben's recommendations, I was particularly interested in Vibes/Matrices. Lo, they had a used one. I test drove it, and it's actually in great shape. 2007, only one owner, 26,860 miles on it, and it's got almost everything I was looking for.

So, tomorrow I'm most likely buying a car. I don't have the title to my current one with me (since this was an unexpected purchase), so I don't know if I'll be able to trade it in. If it does go through, I'll post a picture tomorrow!

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