Sunday, August 24, 2008

A bouquet of newly sharpened pencils.....ahhhhhh

It's been a while since my last post.  Since that time, three major events have happened.  The most recent event was going to LA with my boss for work doing a Parent Support Group.  He had me along for fun and entertainment, which didn't bother me since I got an all expense paid mini vacation from my work (wow, what a contrast to how I felt about my work in the last blog) besides having to do the support group on Saturday morning.  I had an entire room to myself in a Marriott (very, very nice, especially since I have I never travelled for business before).  Below is a picture from my little patio on the 14th floor.

Friday we checked in, went across the street for some dinner at the PF Changs at the mall, sat by the pool and read and relaxed (and I fell asleep, classic me) and then Larry and I split to our rooms across from each other and enjoyed the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in the privacy of our own rooms.  

The next morning, we woke up, ate a sweet continental breakfast, and then did our support group.  I had the participants play Tangoes, and then discussed with them what they experienced, how they felt, and how it was an example of what I do with their kids.  After Larry gave his lengthy, but very informative, schpeel about why the kids we work with do what they do, we then headed off to the Santa Monica beach on a mountain highway, ate at Gladstones (which has some awesome ceviche and fresh seafood, and is the very first picture on the blog), and then drove back to our hotel via the major freeway system that goes through LA, and ended up passing by the LA temple.  We filled out all our paperwork, and then went to the mall to window shop, get milkshakes, eat french fries, and philosophize, talk, and just people watch.  

Sunday we left, flew back home, and Larry gave me a pep talk about how I can be the main presenter at the next LA Parent Support Group I go to..........right (in a Kronk-like voice).
One weekend before that, my family had a sweet reunion up in Idaho for the Johns.  Love those people.  We have entirely WAY too much fun.  You can the pictures for those at my brother's blog, which is: 

The other momentous occasion was our family's hike up to Lake Mary and Catherine in the Wasatch Mountains for our celebration of Pioneer Day.  Enjoy the pictures of snow, moose, wildflowers, and of course, a family portrait. 

Even with the forecast of 99 degrees tomorrow, fall is coming.  Football is in the air, kids are starting school, and the days are starting to get a wee bit shorter.  I love Indian Summer.....kudos to Mom and Dad for working it out so I was born this time of year.

As Meg Ryan exclaims in the movie, You've Got Mail, the smell of a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils brings to the mind the happy occasion of fall and the beginning of school.  For me, I have always associated it with rededicating oneself to past goals, committing to new ones, and prepping for the challenges that might lie ahead.  Since my one-year anniversary for work will be on October 8, I feel it is appropriate to reflect and continue this tradition, as a "new year" is approaching.

So, some things that I think I will work on for this coming year:
  1. Work: compile all my plans and information from my activities this year into one binder, make a basic outline for the year, and come up with some pretty set-ready-to-go therapy plans for my groups that cover social skills.
  2. Talents: practice the piano at least once a week, cultivate some plants for family and friends (and my enjoyment, too), find some tennis buddies, and join another ultimate Frisbee team to get even better.  Also, after watching Michael Phelps and realizing the need for a lifeguard at work, I really want to take some swim lessons to learn how to swim the RIGHT way (yes, I can swim, thank you very much, just not the way you're supposed to).  A more lofty goal would be to try for the 2012 Olympics in London.....I figure I have the best chance at speed walking.  We'll see if I can't make it.  If not, maybe I'll just plan to go there for a vacation :)
  3. Personal: finish reading the three books I'm currently in the middle of, and then see if I can't get a pretty sweet bookshelf for all my books that are all over the place in my apartment, at Mom and Dad's house, and at my work.  A paper shredder and a more intense filing system is also on order here.  I got a hiking book, and I need to go on at least two new hikes in there.  And, possibly most important, apply for the RMYL Grad program at BYU for Fall 2009.
  4. Financial: set up a savings account completely dedicated to vacations/travel.  Part of my intense filing system would also include some sweet and intense financial files that have my information at your fingertips for lightening fast checks of my net value.  I may be dreaming, but hey, what can I all began with a dream for Martin Luther King.
  5. Service: keep working at the Temple, but maybe check out a few other service opportunities at the BYU service center.  And keep my eyes and ears open for opportunities for my kids to work on service opportunities.
  6. Gospel: consistently work at least once a week on the Family History assignment from my mother, do an in-depth study of the Pearl of Great Price, and have 100% Visiting Teaching for the year (I've come close, but not quite, and there's no excuse for that--this is a totally attainable goal).
  7. Family: figure out how to go on some one-on-one outings with my family members, maybe twice a year with each of them.  They are some pretty cool people, and it sure is nice to spend some tete-a-tete time with them (that's French).
If you have any suggestions or comments on my goals, all are appreciated.  Look for the cool spreadsheet of them in coming attractions.....

Friday, August 1, 2008

I Passed!

A while ago I posted a blog about the Jazz and the GRE, and the tough time I was having studying.  While I never studied quite as diligently as I was hoping I would discipline myself to do, I did go on ahead and take the GRE on Saturday, July 19.  

To throw some other distractions into the mix, just a week earlier the CEO of Provo Canyon School, my employer, decided to make a bunch of cutbacks and layoffs in order to please upper level corporate and save his little toosh.  As my mother can attest, I've never been so distracted or upset about job was secure (for now, until he decides that recreation therapy isn't something we need and costs too much), but I was so disappointed and frustrated that the cutbacks weren't fair to the employees that I knew, weren't fair to the kids who needed the help and guidance of some of these people, nor was it fair that layoffs affected those of us who were still working and would thus be pulled in more directions to try and cover everything, and thus the kids were going to suffer as well.  Needless to say, I was very upset.  And I wasn't sure if I should take my test on Saturday with such distraught emotions.  I tried to change it, but I was past the deadline, and so decided I might as well take a shot at the test.

All I can say is that there was a lot of divine intervention in my behalf.  I was totally calm the day of the test, went in with some confidence, and was able to endure the 4 hour test with mind clarity and focus--that's a lot of help, I know.  I haven't received the scores for my written essays, but for the rest of the test I passed with scores that even surprised me--I scored 150 points more than I had ever scored on a practice test.  Talk about rising to the occasion!

Now, all I have to do is get into grad school to make these scores worth it....... :)