Monday, March 28, 2011

The A to Z's of us

I found this little quiz on another blog.
Here's some fun information about me and Thomas. With occasional commentary by yours truly.

A. Age: Both of us are 22. 
Same birthday and everything.
That story is here.

B. Bed size: Queen... but want a King!

C. Chore you dislike:
[Thomas - folding laundry]
[Sarah - DISHES]

D. Dogs:
[Thomas - please no]
[Sarah - please YES]
= Problem

E. Essential start to your day:
[Thomas - shower]
[Sarah - 15 minutes more sleep]

F. Favorite color:
[Thomas - green]
[Sarah - turquoise]

G. Gold or silver:
[Thomas - wedding ring is white gold]
[Sarah - wedding ring is white gold... all other jewelery silver]

H. Height:
[Thomas - 6 ft]
[Sarah - 5 ft 4 in]

I. Instruments you play(ed):
[Thomas - took piano when he was little]
[Sarah - play the flute and sort-of play the piano]

J. Job title:
[Thomas - Mechanical engineer]
[Sarah - stay-at-home-wife... until a job turns up]

K. Kids: Nope, not yet.

L. Live: Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.

M. Mom’s name:
[Thomas - Nancy]
[Sarah - Janice]

N. Nicknames:
[Thomas - TAC (his initials), Tacky]
[Sarah - Sares, Patey]

O. Overnight hospital stays: Neither of us (knock on wood)

P. Pet peeves:
[Thomas - being late]
[Sarah - being rushed or hurried]
= Problem.

Q. Quote from a movie:
[Thomas - from the Gladiator - "Strength and honor!"] 
Such a guy.

[Sarah - from the Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers.
"Frodo: I can't do this, Sam. 
Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something. 
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam? 
Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for."] 
Could I pick a longer quote?

S. Siblings:
[Thomas - five brothers - one older, four younger]
[Sarah - two brothers, both younger]

T. Time you wake up:
[Thomas - 7:00am]
[Sarah - preferably not before 8:00am]

U. Underwear: Ummm... yes. We wear them.

V. Vegetables you don’t like:
[Thomas - eggplant] 
He can't even say the word without gagging.
[Sarah - okra] 
Slimy stuff.

W. What makes you run late:
[Thomas - Sarah]
[Sarah - everything]
True story.

X. X-rays you’ve had:
[Thomas - leg, back, neck, teeth]
[Sarah -  multiple times on leg & arm]
Radiation, anyone?

Y. Yummy food you make:
[Thomas - grilled chicken, grilled salmon]
[Sarah - chicken tikka curry, naan bread, tortilla soup, bruschetta, milk tart...]

Z. Zoo animal favorites:
[Thomas - leopards]
[Sarah - elephants]
Are those zoo animals? We weren't sure.


If you have a blog you should join in on the fun :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

I miss…

This place.

Mt. Longonot in the Great Rift Valley.

The view from Upper Field.

The sunset from my home on the hill.

The Indian ocean and the pristine East African coastline.

And these people.
The dear friends that I grew up with, went to school with, lived with, went on adventures with, shared hearts with, did life with.
A little trip down memory lane…


Graduation, July 2006.
Rift Valley Academy… Kijabe, Kenya.

Some of us were reunited for a much-too-brief time back in 2008.


Since then we have been separated by too many miles.

Such is the life of third-culture kids.

I miss you guys!

You know who you are.

And the beautiful, bright, vibrant continent of Africa.

I’m feeling a little nostalgic, can you tell?

At least I got stuck with this guy for life :)

Ah, how young we were.
I can totally say that at the ripe old age of twenty-two.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

wilderness getaway {part two}

Back at the ranch...

We got there on Friday evening, so on Saturday the adventuring began.

First up: a hike to find somewhere to fish.

Thomas caught what must have been the ONLY fish in the whole pond.

We unhooked it and put it back.

All I caught was this lousy branch.

Then we went down to a little creek.
I really wanted to play in the water (yes I am still a child), because it was quite warm out.
But Thomas pointed out that I probably didn't want to walk all the way back to the cabin dripping wet.

"I'm the king of the rock!"
[Mulan, anyone? My favorite childhood Disney movie.]

Photoshoot by the water.

 On our way back to the cabin we found and dug up some wild spring onions.

Sunset over the hill behind the cabin.

So what does one do for fun in the evenings after dinner when there are no computers/internet/TV?
Play cards and share a giant bowl of chocolate pudding, of course.

There was also a "supermoon" on Saturday night. Apparently the moon was the closest to the earth that it's been in 18 years. Being out in the country gave us a nice view of it.

The next morning I made bacon and eggs for brunch. I felt like that was an appropriate ranch meal.
Especially because most of our other meals over the weekend consisted of throwing a frozen pizza in the oven... very wilderness-y of us, I know.
We were going for easy. Minimal cooking & dishes to wash.

And then Thomas killed about 20 million wasps that somehow set up nest in the little entry way overnight.

After that, we went for another walk/hike around some of the ranch property.
But sadly, we had to pack up and leave shortly thereafter to get home. Since it was Sunday.
And Thomas had to go to work on Monday.
Back to real life.

We stopped at the big ranch house before we left and took a picture of these enormous stuffed elk heads. The antlers completely encircled me when I stood behind it.
Creepy. I think it's just sad that these majestic animals that were once so full of life are now stuffed. And kind of smelly.
I think those antlers on the floor used to belong to a moose.

Where was I?
Ah, yes. We had to leave because the weekend was over and Thomas had work on Monday.
It was great to breathe the fresh country air for the weekend, and not hear sirens/cars/trains and other city noises constantly. And my allergies didn't act up too much.
Although, I will admit that sleeping was kind of difficult out there because I could hear animals outside and insect noises all night.
And we all know how I loooooove bugs.
Thomas slept right through it all, of course.
I refrained from waking him, even when I was sure there was a bat in the bathroom, and when a raccoon was about to dig a hole right through the roof and fall on top of me.
... I'm rambling again.

In all seriousness, though, it was really good to get away.
We needed it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

wilderness getaway {part one}

Thomas has some wonderful friends who let us stay in a lovely little cabin on their ranch property this past weekend.
We took off from Dallas on Friday afternoon, and after driving for miles through very rural Oklahoma on dirt roads we were suddenly on a beautiful property... a stark contrast to the unkempt trailer homes along most of the way.

The big ranch house is at the top of a hill overlooking the 8000 acre ranch.

Here's the cabin we stayed in.

There's a swimming pool at the back... covered up right now because it's still a little cold to go swimming.

Another view from the back

The front porch.

The inside of the cabin, or the "hunting lodge" as it is aptly named. It was all one big room (except for the bathroom), with a sitting area & fireplace, dining table & chairs, huge bed, and kitchen (to the right of this picture).

Most of the furnishings were rustic and wooden... really cool looking, but the kitchen was very modern and had every appliance you could possibly ever need... I wished I could transport whole thing back home with me.

The bathroom, with the awesome tree trunk sink and stonewalled shower.

The ginormous bed which my 6-ft tall husband could stretch out sideways on.

Since this is a hunting lodge cabin, there were dead (preserved) animals all over the place.
It was a little weird... I'm not really into the whole stuffed animal/fur thing.

This guy was hanging out over the fire place. He was lot bigger than he looks in this picture.

This guy was hanging out on the back of the couch. We think it was some kind of wolf.

And Thomas is gonna kill me, but this picture just has to be shared. He liked to pick the animal furs up and attack me with them, because he knew I didn't like to touch them.

This stuffed fellow was on top of the fridge

These fox skins were hanging by the fireplace

And the bedspread was made out of some kind of animal furs that had tails...
I refused to touch it, and shoved it down to the end of the bed so I wouldn't be covered by dead animal skins during the night. That's just creepy.

I will admit that this deer antler chandelier was pretty awesome though.

Looking up from underneath it.

Despite all the dead animal paraphernalia, the cabin was still beautiful and very comfortable.
This is the view from the bed in the morning.

Deer grazing  in the early morning.

There was an airstrip on the ranch.

There were rivers & creeks,

... and meadows and woods.

We did lots of exploring and adventuring,
 but I'll save that for the next post as this one is already quite long.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

One down.

We're going away this weekend, to a ranch up in Oklahoma. It was supposed to be the "yay, I'm done with my classes" trip. 
I did get to take one of my final exams today - they finally arrived. I was going to take the other one tomorrow before we left, but my proctor told me today that she would not be available then. 
So I have to take it next week. Ah well.
C'est la vie.
This weekend will be super fun whatever the case.
Hiking, wilderness, no computers or internet.
Oh yes.
*grits teeth* It. will. be. fun.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mardi Gras & a Fiasco of note

Tuesday, as you all know, was Mardi Gras... also know as Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday, or Pancake Day [as it was called in my house growing up].

In keeping with the tradition of Pancake Day, I made crepes.

I grew up eating them with some lemon juice squeezed over them and sprinkled with sugar.
Thomas put syrup on them. [Boring].
I suppose the fiasco sort of began while cooking the crepes. I somehow managed to grab the frying pan by the hot metal part and burned all the fingertips on my left hand. I was already not feeling great that day, so that was just icing on the cake. Now I had to type out the study guide for my exams with one hand, because all the fingertips on the other hand were blistered and painful.

But Thomas went out to get a few things at the grocery store, and came back with these pretty flowers for me.

So that made the day better.

But the next day was a completely different story.

{Fair warning: one long rant coming right up}

The fiasco:
You see, my final exams for my online classes had been mailed last week and were supposed to reach my proctor at the library by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest. I had to take them by March 10th (Thursday... TODAY), or my classes would expire.
I called my proctor at the library every day this week, checking to see if the exams had arrived. When they still had not arrived yesterday I began to panic. 
I called FedEx, and they said they had tried to deliver the exams three times, but the library had been closed each time. [You'd think they'd check the library hours that are posted on the entrance, jeez.]
Apparently, after three delivery attempts, FedEx stops delivering and the package has to be picked up at a FedEx location.
Well, the exams are addressed to my proctor c/o the library. And the library wasn't about to go across town to pick my exams up. And FedEx would not allow anyone else to pick them up.
At this point I've already spent about an hour on the phone with the library and FedEx, and I figured I'd better call the university that I'm taking the classes through (LSU).
So I call LSU, and I get some poor incompetent fellow who has no idea what to do with me, so he makes me leave a message on his supervisor's voicemail and promises me that she will get back to me. Great. I'm thinking to myself: "Does anybody understand that if I am not able to take these exams by TOMORROW, my classes will EXPIRE, and all this work will have been for NOTHING, and I WON'T GET MY DEGREE!!!"
Meanwhile, I made another call to the library and FedEx to see if they can authorize someone else to pick up the exams, and I got a big resounding NO, that is not allowed.
I called LSU back with a different number and FINALLY talked to the first helpful & nice person I'd talked to all day. I explained my predicament, and she went straight to the supervisor and they said they would extend my expiration date to April 1st and send another set of exams via regular mail.
But I still wanted to see if I could get FedEx to redeliver the exams so I could just take them and get it done with. So I got back on the phone with them, and they agreed to try and deliver the exams again, this time in the afternoon when the library was actually OPEN.
So today is the day I was supposed to take my exams and be completely done with my classes. But I'm still waiting to see if they will be delivered today by FedEx, and if not I have to wait another week or two on the exams in the regular mail. *Sigh*
I know there are worse things, but when you've been battling these silly classes for a year, you just really want to be DONE.
Yesterday wouldn't have been so bad if  the exam proctor at the library was a nice person. She happens to be extremely unhelpful to the point of being mean, and I had to call her about six different times. The FedEx people were generally unhelpful and did not care that my exams were stuck at their establishment and no one could pick them up.
Thank goodness for the kind lady at LSU who saved the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

When this calamitous day was finally over [good riddance], I did what I do best when I'm stressed out.
I cooked.
Salmon steaks, with quinoa, asparagus, and sliced avocados.
And now, I study and wait for those troublesome exams. Who would have thought a few pieces of paper could cause so much grief.


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