I’ve previously written about the goals I have for this year, or rather my ‘intentions’, and although it’s only mid March I feel like i’ve already accomplished so much. Maybe having traveled so much has something to do with that! Without further ado here’s a look at all the things i’ve done since the last time I was truly active on here!
I got this year started off right if I do say so myself! Most obviously I took a pretty huge step as far as my physical appearance goes. I finally took the plunge and got my most visible tattoo to date and in the tradition of my tattooing motto I went big instead of going home yet again. I’d been wanting to get this mermaid based off of a Stoney St. Clare reference for about 5 or so years now but I wasn’t ready to get such a visible piece yet. I’ve got 4 other fairly large tattoos but two are on my torso and the other two are on my thigh so they’re all super easy to hide if I don’t want to be looked at. But this lady right here peeks out of everything! It was never a matter of work clothes for me though because I wear cardigans about 95% of the time anyway so I wasn’t concerned about my work wear but I am generally concerned about being in public like at the grocery store and running into students. Your private life and public life have very thin lines between them when you’re in education so these types of things must always be entered into with the right amount of forethought but it was just time for me to make this jump. I’d wanted it for a very long time and i’d finally found an artist that I wanted to hand this dream over to so I went for it!
Raymond “Flawless” Wallace at Sideshow Tattoo in Austin is a CHAMPION. I gave him the original and told him a few things that I wanted specifically but other than that he just ran with it which is definitely what I look for in an artist. I’ve only gone in with a very specific image once (my first tattoo which was an image from an AFI CD) and since then i’ve always just chosen artists whose work and style I loved and i’ve never gone wrong. I got tattooed at the Star of Texas Tattoo Convention (for the second time) and it was a great experience. The first time I was tattooed at the convention it was for my thigh and that was about 4 hours worth of laying across 3 folding chairs with a paper towel roll pillow, this time I got to sit in a real chair! I love the atmosphere of the convention and I love people watching to pass the time. You always meet so many cool people at these things and you have the chance to meet so many amazing artists.
When Ray showed me the line drawing I was floored, the drawing wasn’t anything like I thought it would be and it was PERFECT. I love everything he does and the south/east asian influence he has in his work that is unlike anything else i’m seeing put out there today. I’m getting her colored in next month and I can’t wait!
In addition to getting tattooed and eating delicious Indian food on my Austin trip we also started fostering again in the month of January. Mae was our first foster dog in over a year which is super hard to believe and we found her a home in less than a week too! We started fostering through Texas Cattle Dog Rescue now that we’re a fully converted blue heeler family (and by that I mean i’m fully converted). They’re an amazing organization and they’re super supportive of their foster families, they sent Mae’s perfect adopter our way and before we knew it she was riding off to her new life on acreage with horses and a pig brother.
We went to Boston! During a blizzard!
Yep you heard me right we went to Boston during blizzard #3 this year! It was the Harvard Debate Tournament and we were invited to attend the trip as chaperones for the high school debate team that Mando has been helping to coach. I was excited for so many reasons but the snow was chief among them.
I moved from Michigan to Texas when I was five years old and my family and I would go back up north to visit for Thanksgiving and Christmas for a few years after that but I haven’t seen real actual snow since I was about eleven years old. I was more than happy to tough out the blizzard conditions while we were there and quickly found out that I am a boss at layering. I definitely don’t think I could live there but I am very excited about the prospect of visiting again now that Mando just got the Debate Coach position at the high school we work at! Fun times ahead!
Aside from the glorious snow I just loved exploring the city. There were so many fun shops and historical places to visit that i’m definitely very excited about the prospect of visiting again now that Mando just got the Debate Coach position at the high school we work at! We lost one day of the trip due to the aforementioned blizzard but even that was a blast! We walked a half mile and back to a store for food, the kids had a rap battle, and I got to watch so much HGTV while I watched snow cover the city it was great!
By the time we got back February wasn’t even halfway over either! The next weekend my good friend Paulomi came to visit me and we got to explore Houston. We went to coffee shops and museums and paper goods stores! We painted the dang town red! Not to mention, once again, we ate the BEST Indian food. I’ve been reluctant to try out any restaurants here in my hometown because I know nothing will ever hold a candle to my beloved Star of India but oh my goodness have I been missing out. I’m so thankful we went because now I have a new go to place in town that isn’t Thai food. We also went to go see Jupiter Ascending which was hilariously awful/awesome. I will say that at least I was consistently entertained.
Not only did Paulomi come bearing her amazing self but she also brought our newest foster pup Sly with her from Austin. She was pretty much in love with him by the time she got here and i’m still surprised he stayed with us when she went back home to Austin but he found a great family pretty quickly (in only 2 weeks!) and it was awesome having him. We also picked up another pup Zoe from a friend of ours who was moving to Denver only to find out he couldn’t bring his precious pit mix baby with him because of breed specific legislation (better known as just BSL). It’s a heartbreaking situation but we’re glad we could help her out and she really is the sweetest girl, she’s not even one yet!
In the final weekend of February we celbrated Mando’s 25th birthday! His parents came into town and spent the weekend with us and it was awesome! I really lucked out with in-laws let me tell you.
We decided to check out the aquarium downtown and it was a cute place. I will say though that the Houston Aquarium doesn’t even hold a candle to the Dallas Aquarium, it was a fun little trip nonetheless. We also knocked two movies out that weekend, American Sniper and The Kingsmen. I LOVED The Kingsmen, I think we all did. If you haven’t seen it yet it’s worth a shot. I have mixed feelings about A.S. but overall I enjoyed the experience and am just happy I didn’t have to be the weirdo who hadn’t seen it yet.
And with that we launch head first into…
So I spent three of my four weekends in February going non stop and I wasn’t about to change that just because a new month had rolled around. NOPE. I just kept on going.
The first two weekends of March also just so happened to be the two weekends of Spring Break and I had to use that to the fullest advantage. First on the list was a trip to Dallas to see the love of my life Julia. Julia and I were college roommates but she’s forever the roommate of my heart. She literally lives in there.
We had tons of fun shopping and going to the zoo as you can tell. I was a little skeptical of how awesome the Fort Worth Zoo would be given that the Houston Zoo is quite obviously the best zoo in Texas, however I was pretty impressed with what Ft. Worth had to offer especially when it came to aquatic animals and reptile house, oh excuse me, The Museum of Living Art. We got eaten by some crocodiles, I got pooped on by a common grackle in the raptor bird center, and we spotted a cat in an alligator enclosure where it most definitely was not supposed to be. I also saw a baby elephant pee so overall it was a pretty great trip. I was sad to leave but on that trip I discovered my love of podcasts outside of Serial (it’s a five hour trip both ways) and I got to deliver Sly to his new family in a town just outside Dallas (told you he found a home quickly!)
Once I got back in we spent exactly one day at home before heading back out again. This time we went to Laredo to see Mando’s family and watch the short play his dad wrote. As always we had tons of fun and I even got to babysit my niece who is the best baby ever. Like I said, I lucked out with the in-laws.
Once we got back there was no slowing us down! That Saturday we were scheduled to proctor an SAT but it ended up getting cancelled at quite literally the last minute which left us with an entirely free morning. This turned out to be one of the most productive mornings i’ve ever had and was a revelation about the possibilities that weekends hold when you don’t schedule every single waking moment of your life. Among many things we got the supplies needed to frame and hang the print of St. George done by Rachel Himes that I got Mando for his birthday this year. It looks great and is one of the many things that now makes my living room feel like people actually use it.
After we were done running errands it was Rodeo Houston time! The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a pretty big deal around here. No matter who you are or what walk of life you’re from, if you live around Houston chances are you’re going to the rodeo. It never occurred to me that it was an unusual thing until Julia (light of my life) looked at me like I had two heads when I told her that I was looking for a rodeo outfit while we were out shopping.
This year however it wasn’t just the rodeo that we were going to. When I was a senior in High School I received a $15,000 scholarship from the HLSR and it is the primary reason I was able to go to the University of Texas right off the bat like I did. I am forever grateful for that scholarship and I got an email inviting us to a special event they were kicking off this year for scholarship alumni! We get our own night at the rodeo now, Scholar’s Night, and a fancy party in the Chairman’s Suite where you can watch the show and take advantage of the all you can eat buffet. Anything with a buffet is the best thing in my book.
It may sound kind of silly but as I get older (yes I know i’m a whole 25 years old) i’m starting to actually appreciate things like alumni associations and rodeo scholarship committees. While we were at the event it kind of struck me just how much I wanted to be actively involved in this organization that meant so much to my future and my college career. Things like committees and associations always used to seem like things that old people use to fill their time but now here I am wanting to be a part of them and I really don’t know how to feel about that to be quite honest! Growing up manifests itself in strange ways.
The day after the rodeo was my birthday which meant I was officially old. Too old to pretend like i’m not an adult. I have a mortgage now, there is no going back. This is actually the first year that I didn’t reopen my Neopets account as a coping mechanism for the anxiety I felt about aging. What has become of me?
We went to eat lunch at one of our favorite greek places in Montrose and after that it was off to the Hobby Center to see Once! I was so excited that I got to see what has been one of my favorite films and soundtracks for years now. Mando saw the original broadway production when he was in New York a few years ago visiting his brother but I hadn’t seen the show yet. I was blown away with the translation from film to stage. The music was gorgeous, the stage set up was gorgeous, the choreography of the actors was gorgeous. I loved the whole thing and it was definitely a great way to spend my quarter century anniversary.
After that it was back to work and back to my real life. I wrote about this previous weekend already so i’ll omit that, but the productivity definitely didn’t stop. I’m looking forward to another productive weekend ahead.
Overall this year has been exceedingly kind to me. I’ve done so much in such a short amount of time that I can’t help but be flabbergasted when I reflect on it. This is by far the most fun i’ve had with my life in a few years and I finally feel like i’m conquering that awkward gap between college and adulthood. I have a steady job that I love, a house, an amazing boyfriend, and some seriously cute dogs. I’m finding the balance between all of these aspects of my life and i’m learning how to fit all the pieces of me into this life. You would think that at 25 I would be done with the whole “finding myself” thing but i’m not. I think that’s another lesson i’ve learned, you’re never done becoming who you are.
That should be obvious to someone who is so obsessed with the idea of becoming like I am but I think i’m only just now finally starting to realize that there is no destination. One of my main focuses for this year is living more intentionally. Living in this moment. I need to stop focusing on these huge goals and remember to take care of myself in the interim because if I don’t i’m miserable. I think i’ve finally taken that message to heart and i’m focusing much more on the here and now than I ever have before.
I think i’m crushing my goals for relationships. My friendships are stronger, I communicate more openly, and I try harder to be the one to establish connection. I think a huge hurdle for me has always been the fact that I feel that I feel like an imposition even to my best friends and i’m working so hard on getting over that. I’m working so hard on getting over myself and concocting scenarios and i’m focusing on trying to be the one to take the first step instead of being hurt when too much time passes without a word from a friend. Friendship is a two way street y’all! Run down that street!
This is one that I haven’t done too much work on but i’m okay with that because i’ve at least taken one huge step by even starting on this planner I want to create. So i’m going to count myself as doing pretty okay with this one. I also got a bundle of really cute fabric from Whimsy Quilts and i’m excited to make an actual quilt with a pattern instead of just haphazardly sewing squares together.
Well i’ve read three books this year which already puts me at three books behind schedule if I want to make my 30 book goal. I’m not too concerned just yet seeing as how many books that i’m dying to read have already come out and are coming out.
I’m most excited about the fact that I got my hands on an ARC of Shadowscale by Rachel Hartman and it was AMAZING. It took me much longer to read than I wanted because of how freaking busy I was but I finally got to finish it over the break and I loved it. Even though I haven’t been reading a lot I have been listening to tons of podcasts that cover all different subjects so even when i’m driving or doing tedious chores at least i’m getting a brain workout from that!
I also saw Once which is a musical, which is on my list of things to do so hey, i’m making progress! ALSO i’m doing some pretty cool stuff with podcasts and TED talks with my college writing class right now and working on fun new ideas for the senior English class I teach so my brain is being put to the use.
With ALL of that being said: it’s been a good year so far. I’m happy, i’m productive, i’m making positive steps towards goals i’ve made and i’m living more intentionally. I can only hope the rest of the year follows suit. I’ll be sure to talk about that in more manageable doses than this.
Until next time,