Turning 24

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Oh hey, I also had one heck of a birthday last weekend. It started with house hunting with Amy in Jacksonville on Friday. We got a quick beautiful view of the beach and a tasty lunch in San Marco before heading back to Gainesville for the night. 
That night, we went to a Halloween party rocking some Dispicable Me themed costumes. It was a fun night with a great crowd. 

Had birthday breakfast with two of The Bests. Great start to the day. 
Finding convenience out of inconvenience, my mistake that Chelsea's babyshower was on Saturday when it was Sunday just allowed for more time with Charlyn. And me forgetting my wallet in Ocala worked out due to several "it's your birthday! I got you!"s. 

It was so good to see Charlyn after way too much time apart. We indulged in some serious over stuffing of our faces at Reggae Shack. Go there. Just do it! Right after turning down a delicious looking dessert because we were too stuffed... we finished off our fries. When the waiter came back around about dessert, we learned it's free on your birthday. So we had to get it. We may not have had to add the ice cream but Charlyn threw that on there too. Why not? Gotta get the full experience. We then finished our dessert plate. Charlyn couldn't even keep a straight face as she asked if I was gonna finish mine. 
Then a fly drowned in our sugary goodness. Would've been a happy death if we hadn't drowned it in water in our attempt to save it. Woops. 
One last bite!
We finished that day off with the crowd from the night before, dancing with randoms making presumed fox noises with/at them, and making ridiculous new jokes about lizards and key lime pie that have forever changed my views on these things. It was really fun hanging out with some old Ocala buds I never really had before. And gained some that live in/near Jax! 

Then ended the weekend on a baby shower for Chelsea, whom I hadn't seen in like two years! It was so great seeing my beautiful friend and sharing excitement about her growing family. 

And finally a birthday dinner with the parents and Mark and Denise (MAD), with delicious orange crunch cake thanks to Super Baker Julie. Then I was out by like 8. 

Last year I was celebrating with new friends in Switzerland and Denmark, this year I spent it with some of the best old friends. It was a good one. 

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Chompin at the bit

Where's Abby now?
Feeling ridiculously blessed sitting on my new front porch steps from the beach. Update time?! I was offered a job in my field that I'm super excited about. I'll be starting as a residential counselor at a great children's organization in Jacksonville next Tuesday. I finished all my paperwork on Wednesday so I've been extremely enjoying this free time before work starts. You might think "she's been unemployed for like four months, how much more free time does she need?" Not so. That was so stressful and just plain not fun. But patience pays off. Turning down job offers may have seemed like a bad idea, but I'm glad I kept trying for what I wanted. Sorry, Dad for prolonging that period! ;)

But I got the job, found a place to live, and am so excited about what's happening. I mean, this week I moved in with a roommate and his cuddly cat, Chomp (go Gators!), in a little apartment in Jax Beach. The place (plus the older man roommate found on Craigslist situation) didn't get immediate Mom Approval, but dude seems cool and they got me a lock for my door for the latter issue, and I'm putting my womanly, former maid touches on the place and it's coming along quite nicely. Plus it's right by the beach. Totally worth it. 

(More pictures of the place when it's all done!)

You could say I've been fully enjoying the beach life. Julia Hulia and I got to catch up the other day over a walk on the beach (super classy with some wine in budlight cups), tried a new restaurant, and got pumped about being together again... We had a lot of withdrawal this last year+. 

The other night, my feet and the beach were my mode of transportation to my friends' from which we biked to go out. You have no idea how happy I am to be back to walking and biking. 
Super sunset selfie  

I've been enjoying lots of front porch meals, had morning coffee on the beach before a run, and am super excited about having some sunrise coffee soon. 
Oh hey, Chomp. Thanks for the head rub. 

So things are lookin pretty good right now. 
Happy weekend, everyone! Come visit me! :)

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State of Mind

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Run River North: My new obsession right now. I mean listen to that voice!
So, I finally had a night of not only realistic, practical thinking, but I also finally got back to my dreams, values, and opinions. For a while there, I felt like I didn't have a strong preference to any option and lost sight of what I even wanted. I'm still not 100% set on one goal (which is not my way of thinking anyway, as I've learned that just makes disappointment so likely). But I do have a better idea of what I want, how to get it, and where to do it. 

For a while, I was so set on Colorado and wanting to make that happen as soon as possible. But with my economic and job situation right now it was simply not possible. So, I was thinking of just getting whatever job to save and move there ASAP. 

BUT, this monumental, practical, clear thinking set in the other night, and I realized that I need to just go ahead and get grounded here. I actually ruled out the NYC/Chicago nanny option (yep, that was a serious thought), and returned Colorado to my eventual destination but won't be focusing on it. 
  1. I'll work towards my career goals where I am right now instead of postponing them until getting to this more distant dream.
  2. I'll fully enjoy my friends and family that I missed so much while in Denmark and take advantage of this time I have with them. 
  3. I'll work on this whole saving money concept and being responsible.

Although I did see the importance of enjoying this stage and my family while I can, and I even talked about being present here, now I've just realized that it's just not entirely possible with my head in Colorado. Or NY. Or Chicago. Or Denmark. Or wherever else I thought I'd rather be. I'll get there when I get there. 

I'll just be here for now. 
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baseball commentary of an impartial fan

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Thanks to a new friend, Charlie, I got to go to the Tampa Bay Rays' playoff game last night! I thought it was my first pro game but apparently the Jacksonville Suns count. I, of course, had to partake in the traditional baseball festivities, indulging in Cracker Jacks, nachos, AND a hotdog. Yeah. Kinda cancelled out my paleo breakfast and lunch.
                                                       Favorite things about the night?
                            1. Getting the best mahi mahi sandwich ever and drinks before the game 
            2. The crazy fans we had surrounding us, making it even more entertaining, a little risque, and quite                                                                                   humorous.
                3. The sarcastic, mixed sports chants like "Blue forty-two!" "Slam dunk!" "Carry!" and singing the                                      soccer song. This, for some reason really amused me.
    4. The crazy Spanish chants and cheers for the Hispanic, and even more humorously, the non-Hispanic                                                                             players up at bat. 
                             5. White girl twerking and motor boating herself at a Rays game. 
             6. The fans dancing on the big screen, especially the Duck Dynasty looking man and the really             enthusiastic guy that kept popping up on there, always with new moves. I tried really hard to find these on                                                                           youtube but no luck. :(
                      7. Singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame felt all nostalgic and American... in a good way.

It's a shame they didn't win, but I still had excitement for the Red Sox getting into the ALDS. And yes, I did just have to Google that acronym to make sure I got it right, and yes, I also had to Google the Rays before the game to check their colors to dress accordingly. 

I got the same phony feeling at the game that I usually have at sporting events. I've never been too much of a "yelling, chanting, shake my pom pom, and beat on chairs" kinda girl. I tried. But I don't think I made it through a whole session of these "intimidating" gestures while the players were up at bat/pitching/whatever. I almost always relieved my pom pom shaking hand soon after I started. Don't get me wrong though, these things don't annoy me in any way and I actually enjoy this part of sporting events. I just struggle with the notions myself. 

I've also never understood how no matter what's going on in a game or who's doing what, the fans' actions are generally the same: Make a ton of noise. I don't think the players could distinguish between our "distracting" or "encouraging" chants. Plus, if it's supposed to distract one player, why wouldn't it be distracting to the one on your own team? Or the same question for if it's amping up the other. I guess it's just all solely for fun, this crazy noise making is. Which it was. And I think I did improve a little by the end of the game. 

So there you have it; the highlights, thoughts, and opinions on a baseball game from a girl who picks her favorite teams by her dream home locations, uniforms, and memorabilia, and her favorite players (basically) on their looks... 
                                                        until I get to know them of course. 

                                               Ah, who are my new favorite teams, you ask?
College football: University of Colorado Buffaloes 
MLB: Chicago Cubs
NFL: San Francisco 49ers
NHL: Vancouver Canucks
Then, of course, Federer will probably always be my favorite athlete in the only sport I actually care about.
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Ms. Ross

Sunday, October 6, 2013

This week back home could be described as tiring, trying, and eye opening. It was my first week as a substitute teacher and it went pretty well! I taught science to 6th-8th graders... the grades I always said I would never want to teach. Heck, I've always said that during those ages, I hope to send my own kids off to my brothers until they're out of that awkward stage. But I survived, they were surprisingly better than I expected, and I enjoyed a lot about teaching this older group. I do think I'll stick with the little ones, though.

Blessing number 1: getting to work with some of the sweetest women that actually used to be my teachers. It was an interesting and cool experience having lunch with my former teachers as coworkers now. It made me feel like such an adult! (And them "so old!") It really was a great working environment though being surrounded by such kind, helpful people.

Blessing 2: waking up for coffee with Mom before school. So, maybe a couple of those days I may have fallen asleep during this time together, but it was still nice waking up for time with Mama.

Blessing 3: hearing such encouraging, kind words from my students and coworkers. Several students kept asking if I could just be their permanent teacher, thought I was really good (even though I didn't know some paralyzed scientist that I should definitely know as a science teacher), and left "Ms. Ross is awesome" notes on the board they weren't supposed to write on... how can I get onto them for that though?!

Blessing 4: the laughs and cuteness of the 6th grade girls' giddiness over the 8th grade boys. Those sly boys spent their lunchtime one day, sitting with their starry-eyed admirers, knowing exactly what they were doing. That provided some entertainment and smiles... especially among those girls!

Blessing 5: lastly, the amazing sunrises I got to see on the way to school everyday. They were phenomenal, really. This big open field I passed was always an awesome sight. Sadly, my pictures don't do it justice. I need to dedicate a morning just to the sunrise and get some good pictures of it.

After this week, I'm still not sure if teaching is something I would want to do long term, but it's definitely an option. I at least got confidence that I can do it, and more reassurance that I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy it.  



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