Sweet Silver Lining

just watching the clouds…

Sweet summer May 23, 2012

Filed under: family,my travels — dragonfly180 @ 3:10 pm
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I have been putting off updating my blog for nearly two months, primarily bc I don’t particularly feel like writing about my miscarriage. So I won’t, at least for now. I have one half day left of school this year, and I’ll be off work for two glorious months! Jamie and I are taking trips right now. We’ve discussed going to the beach, the mountains, the east coast, and on a cruise. The cruise is looking like the best option. It’s really the most affordable. Whatever we do, I’m just ready for a fun adventure.

 

Just a little update November 13, 2011


It’s hard to believe how little I’ve blogged here lately. The weeks have been passing by so quickly. In a way, that’s great, because that gets me closer to Jamie’s demobilization. But I’ve made myself so busy that I feel like life is passing me by sometimes. I haven’t run in about 2 weeks. I haven’t had time. I want to do so many hobby things (paint, play my violin, write, watch movies), but I just can’t seem to find the time. As I sit here typing, my mind keeps wandering to the comfort of my welcoming bed. I’ve made myself too busy, I guess. I kind of hope that my EMCC Spring night class doesn’t make. Although the money would be nice for our addition on our house and maybe for baby stuff if we get pregnant when Jamie comes home, rest and relaxation would be nice, also. I am definitely not agreeing to summer classes!

The Yellow Ribbon event will be in Natchez in March this year, so Jamie and I are looking at plantations and B&B’s to see where we need to reserve. There are some really nice places to stay, and I know we’ll have a great time antiquing while down there. Although I really don’t look forward to sitting in Army meetings, it will be a nice little weekend getaway for us.

We had planned on going somewhere when I got in, maybe within the first month of him being home. I had researched cruises and tried to find us something low on the map (that’d be warm enough for snorkeling in the winter/early spring). I had found some that were very reasonably priced, but I have pretty much talked myself out of it. I’d have to ask off work from EMCC to two days, and when you have an intensive class that meets for 2 ½ hours a night, that’s like missing four days instead of two.  I don’t know if we’ll end up going somewhere then or just waiting  until summertime or later. We’ll see. I’m just so ready for something fun and new. I’m sick of looking at these walls all the time and hearing about everyone else’s adventures. If nothing else, maybe he and I can go somewhere over my Spring Break for a few days, maybe to Orlando or Antonio.

 

October is Over October 31, 2011


wow, it is hard to believe that tomorrow brings November and one more month closer to Jamie’s return home from deployment! YAY! right about now, i’d usually be beginning to panic about getting my Christmas shopping done, but i’ve already got most of it done :) woot, woot! i am trying to be less of a procrastinator these days. it’s one of my biggest personality faults, so i’m working on it.

what are you doing tonight for halloween? i am staying in, popping some popcorn, and watching a good scary movie. i wonder if i’ll have any trick or treaters this year. i have a big bowl of some good candy waiting. i finally made it out to the May’s Corn Maze a few weekends ago with my mom. we bought some pumpkins, ate a hamburger, and loaded up on the hay ride down to the maze. we got through it pretty quickly. the maze was cut out as the shape of mississippi, and there were road signs for cities and major highways so you’d know which part of the state you were in. the moon was so bright we only needed our flashlights when someone would come around a corner and shine theirs in our face, messing up our night-vision. it was so much fun. we giggled so much, especially when we’d hit a dead-end or wind up in alabama. *lol* after the hay ride back to the barn, we ate s’mores around a roaring fire. the next day, my mom and i traveled to montogmery, alabama, to see Dracula at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. it was such an AWESOME production! it far exceeded my expectations. it was so worth the ticket price and 4 hour drive over. this has definitely been one of the most fun october’s i’ve had in a long time.

 

starting to see that sweet silver lining August 2, 2011


i love my life and am truly blessed, but i do feel that a few things are missing. it’s no secret that i have been unhappy with my career. i have worked for about the past 6 months to find other employment. i had recently resigned myself to teaching another year of high school. classes start back next monday, so i am preparing myself mentally for going back there. yet, i still have held out hope that something better would open up for me.

things have changed dramatically for me over the past week as far as my career goes. i was contacted by a local gym to begin teaching zumba classes. i signed up for a certification workshop which i’ll complete the weekend after my hubby leaves to go back overseas. i will get half of what i charge for the classes, so it could pay pretty decently. also, i would already work out on those days anyway, so why not have some fun and make money doing it?

on the first day of our trip to New Orleans last week, i was contacted by two colleges to teach English classes part-time. one was offering classes that were scheduled for day, so i had to turn them down. i was really bummed about that, but the second college, East Mississippi Community College, offered me a few night classes. i am really excited about this, because as the English department head explained to me, those that they would consider for a full-time position usually have to start out in an adjunct position. it helps them see if you are right for the position and college, and it helps you as an instructor get your feet wet and learn the ropes. with teaching high school full-time and two part-time gigs, i am going to be crazy busy this semester. i hope i can handle it all. i am also still trying to build my team beachbody business, but that doesn’t really take up a lot of my time.

jamie and i have been spending as much time together as possible. we went to New Orleans for a few days to shop and eat good creole food. we stayed in the Royal St. Charles and really liked the hotel. we did so much walking! even eating beignets and tons of salty, spicy rice dishes, i still lost weight last week. we also stopped in a few other cities in Louisiana, including Baton Rouge, for some shopping. Sunday was the baby dedication ceremony at our church, and several of our friends’ children were recognized. then, we had a big fifth Sunday dinner in the activity building, and i’m so glad jamie was here for that. he really misses church while being away. we spent the day today antiquing, and tomorrow, we plan on lounging by the pool and taking it easy.

 

Family Reunion 2011 June 11, 2011

Filed under: family,food,my travels — dragonfly180 @ 9:27 pm
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We hold our family reunion every year at Enid Lake. Several years back, an aunt of mine died that I had never met. After going to Varina’s funeral and spending the day with my dad’s side of the family, I realized that I was missing something by not knowing or spending time with these people. So I started our family reunions back up. The last Stone family reunion had been in 1984, when I was just four years old. I had very vague memories of a few of those reunions, playing with certain cousins and such. Those memories were as vague as old dreams.

This year’s reunion went pretty well. We had a pretty good turnout and lots of food. I made a ton of food. I always make too much! I cooked pot roast and corn casserole and made an Oreo pie and raspberry bars for dessert. And with cooking too much always inevitably comes eating too much. I still feel stuffed hours later. Okay, okay, so I did get into the leftover raspberry bars after I got home. I’m guilty.

Those few family members who usually get on my nerves didn’t irritate me today for some reason. I actually enjoyed talking to them and everyone else. I think it’s because I had such a yucky, bleak, and difficult week that spending time with anyone was a welcome comfort from sitting here alone and depressed. The most touching part of the day came at the end when several of the older folks gave me money to help pay for next year’s reunion. They were so appreciative of me taking the initiative every year and organizing the reunion. I could see the happiness in their eyes from having spent the day with loved ones they hardly ever get to see. It was so touching. It made all the time spent on the phone with the state park people (there had been rumors that with the plunging economy that Cossar State Park was going to shut down) and all the envelope licking and reunion notice folding worth it to see their smiles and get their hugs.

Family is so important. I think younger generations are losing that realization and undervaluing how important family unity is. We’re missing so much from not being around our elders regularly. But that’s a soapbox for another post one day.

I appreciate my family members, and that’s why I make sure we have our family reunions each summer.

 

Great Smoky Mountains trip November 24, 2010


Jamie and I had a great time traveling to the Great Smoky Mountains this week. I loved going through Chattanooga and could definitely see myself living there. It is such a beautiful city. We made it to Pigeon Forge Saturday evening, got our hotel, and ate at Johnny Carino’s Italian. It was really delicious. Sunday, we went over to Gatlinburg, got into another hotel there where we could be close to all the walking type stuff, shopped for a while, and even found some Greek gyros for lunch. We went through Ripley’s Aquarium, which was pretty fun. They even offered us a 90% discount to all of the Ripley’s attractions for being military. Then, we hit the Tanger Outlets in Pigeon Forge and shopped ‘til we dropped. We went to the movie theatre in Sevierville to watch the new Harry Potter movie, because I have been dying to see it. Then, we stopped for ice cream before going back to our hotel. On Monday, we shopped around Gatlinburg some more before driving up the mountain to see Ober Gatlinburg (no ski lift for us! That is one deep and high ascent!). The view from the top was great, but since it wasn’t cold enough for the snow machines, there wasn’t a lot going on up there. Kids were ice skating on the inside rink. Jamie and I are old enough and wise enough not to try that as adults. We know where we’d have ended up! We did a little more outlet shopping in Pigeon Forge and ended up at Max Legends in Gatlinburg for an early dinner. Then, we went into the Ripley’s Mirror Maze, which was really crazy with 3D glasses on. We were running into dead ends and kept thinking we were seeing other people only to realize that it was usually our own reflections. It was a lot of fun. Before going back to our hotel, we decided to do the Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, which I found to be pretty frightening but fun, as well. The actors were really creepy, and it was so dark. At one point, this guy throws guts up against this cage, and water flies out of a sponge and all over you, making you think you’ve been hit with blood. These compressors made loud noises that were about as startling as a chainsaw, which did come out at the end but wasn‘t very scary. And my very favorite part of it was this tunnel where the lights all around you spun to the left, so as you’re trying to walk this small plank pathway, you feel like you’re going to fall because it messes up your vision and equilibrium so much. Tuesday morning, we woke up to a cloudy, angry sky, so we ate a late breakfast at the Log Cabin Pancake House and headed home. Jamie and I had fun, but we don’t like to stay on vacation for too long. We love our comfortable bed, our computers, and our pets too much to stay away for too long.

Here’s a few pics from our trip. We didn’t take a whole bunch; we were having too much fun!

 

When the thrill is gone… June 30, 2010

Filed under: my travels — dragonfly180 @ 12:21 pm
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We just got back from our 8 day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. We visited San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua, Tortola (and Virgin Gorda while we were there), and Nassau. I think about the islands daily. I crave the delicious food we ate and the fun we had. Ever gone on vacation and felt that icky feeling afterward that all the fun is over and you have to now put your nose back to the grindstone? I sometimes get downright depressed after a great vacation. I remember once going to Florida for Spring Break, and when I got back, I was moody and irritable for days! Why? My daily life seems so boring in contrast to what I experience on vacation.

Vacation makes me realize what a waste of time most of the rest of my life is. On vacation, you try to live every second to the fullest because you know you have a limited amount of time. You try out things you probably wouldn’t have otherwise. You barely sit down to eat and then you’re off on another adventure. Sure, there are moments of relaxation while on vacation, but I bet most of us “relax” more at home than on a journey to some other place. I sit in front of my computer or the t.v. or a book for sometimes hours on end at home. That’s relaxation. It may not be lying on a beach listening to waves crash in, but it’s still rest. The appeal of lying on the beach is resting in a place that you don’t normally do it, of seeing and hearing things you don’t normally while you lay down. And while resting at home, I’m certainly not taking some new road, seeing some new sight, tasting some new food, or trying some new activity. I go about my same old routine day in and day out, occasionally throwing in a movie or dinner with friends or a shopping trip to add in some vitality to my otherwise mundane daily existence. Because of the nature of work, I realize that I can’t go off on a daily adventure, and I certainly wouldn’t have the money to try new things if I didn’t hit the 9 to 5. I get that some routine is necessary in life. But I think that too much of the thrill is gone.

Some people say that they need a vacation from vacation and that they’re worn out by the time it’s over. But maybe it’s just that they’ve become so accustomed to NOT living to the fullest and getting lazy in their daily lives that a vacation becomes tedious to them. What if we took just some of that vitality we find on vacation and move it back into our home lives? What would our lives look like then?

Perhaps the nature of our lives (work, eat, sleep) denies the possibility of carpe diem. Maybe we can’t seize the day because it already has such a hold on us. I sound like I despise my life, but that’s not it. I guess I wonder what I can do at home to make it more like vacation. Here are some ideas that I might try:
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Play – This is something we do on vacation but rarely do at home. The guys have a better approach to this than the girls, I think. Jamie has his four-wheeler, his hunting accouterments and buddies,  his favorite computer games (which, by the way, can become vitality suckers if not careful), his fishing stuff. What play things do I have? I paint. I occasionally get to go camping, which I love to do. I have a bike that I ride (on a predetermined course that never changes). I run (almost always on a predetermined course that never changes and usually with health rather than play in mind). I guess that’s about it. Hmmm…Definitely room for improvement.

snorkeling at Paradise Beach in Nassau

Cook new dishes –  Once or twice a week, make something that doesn’t seem like work. Make something you want to try that you’ve never had or that you’ve never made yourself. This includes trying out new ingredients. Give coconut oil a try or couscous or veal or just some herbs you’ve never used to flavor something you usually eat.

sampling a spice cake we ordered for dessert

Get dressed up – Maybe to eat those new dishes from above. This is where the girls have a better handle than the guys. Girls love to dress up, but I don’t think we do it often enough. Of course, I guess if we did it too much, it’d lose its appeal.

first formal night on the Carnival Freedom

Spend less time on the Vitality-Suckers – The vitality-suckers are those things that take up most of your non-working time but don’t give you much positive gains, like online social networking, television, computer games, etc. How can you tell that something has slipped from quality entertainment into the vitality-sucking realm? First, there’s that feeling of VS#1 (which stands for vitality-sucker #1) becoming so time-consuming that you begin to feel a slave to it. You know that icky feeling in the pit of your stomach, right? Second, VS#1 becomes so important that the necessary stuff in our daily lives (getting enough sleep, spending time with our loved ones, exercise, learning, housework, etc.) gets pushed to the side because we are a slave to VS#1.

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Will these things make you feel like you’re in paradise on a Tuesday after a hard day at work? Probably not. Nothing is perfect. Even vacation has its ugly moments. But adding some of the fun vacation moments into my daily life can’t be a bad idea. What do you think? Are there other ways to make your daily routine seem more exciting and fulfilling?