Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Kera's Wedding Part 1

Blog- Kera’s Wedding
This weekend I went to Colorado to my friend, Kera’s wedding. Kera was one of the girls I led to on our team to Bangladesh in 2006. Her wedding was on a Friday so I had to ask off work for that Thursday and Friday- not an easy task but I was permitted to miss school. I flew out early on Thursday morning towards Denver. The weather report said it would be cold but I really wasn’t prepared for frigid conditions. When the plane landed, the man next to me opened his window to reveal a snow-covered landscape. I opened my mouth in shock. I had no idea there would be snow at the end of March. Isn’t that supposed to be springtime?

It turns out that the worst blizzard they had seen all year was developing as I sat on that plane. Due to the severe weather conditions, Kera and her fiancĂ©, Steve, were a bit late picking me up. Conditions just seemed to worsen as we drove towards Kera’s apartment. Also as it was the day before their wedding, Kera and Steve received a phone call just about every three minutes on that drive home.

The rehearsal and rehearsal dinner scheduled for that night were canceled due to the fact that many of their friends did not own four wheel drive cars and could not make it to the church. Instead of a rehearsal dinner, there was a small family gathering at Kera’s parents’ house to which me and my other Bangladesh teammates/wedding guests, Rachel and Drea, went. It was cool to see where Kera had grown up and meet her family.

After the party the four of us went back to Kera’s apartment to get some rest before the big day. The snow was scheduled to stop falling so we assumed the following day would be somewhat uneventful after the snow-filled day we’d just had. We were wrong.
In the morning, Kera was whisked off to perform her pre-wedding tasks. Drea, Rachel and I drove Kera’s car to perform our own pre-wedding tasks. As we were driving through the still-snowy conditions, a man started gesturing towards our car. We had no idea what he wanted but finally decided to stop at a nearby gas station to inspect the car for problems. Immediately we discovered that we had a flat tire on the rear passenger side. So, here we are, three out of town guests driving the bride’s car through the snow when we get a flat tire. Great! Rachel was ready to try to change it when a good Samaritan/flooring contractor named Kevin, came by. He offered his assistance to us. He helped us fill up the spare tire and put it on the car. He even had kneepads for Rachel to wear while she was assisting him. After we got the tire on, we headed to the church where we were supposed to be helping to set things up. We figured someone there could direct us to a tire place where we could get the tire patched.

On the way, like sign from above, we spotted a place called Tires Plus. We dropped the tire off there to get patched and continued on to the church. We helped move some things around in the church for a bit. Then Rachel showed us her leg. There was a swollen red bump above her ankle that did not look good. Kera’s sister is a nurse so we had her look at Rachel’s leg. She was alarmed and told us we needed to see a doctor and get it looked at quickly. It seemed to be some sort of infection. Rachel lives in Maui, where staph infections are prevalent so we were worried that this might be one. We heard about a little clinic inside of Walgreens and headed there to get Rachel’s leg inspected. While we were there, the tire place called and said the tire was irreparable. We needed to go back and get a new tire put on. Of course! The doctor at Walgreen’s prescribed some antibiotics to heal Rachel’s infection and then we headed back to Tires Plus. We dropped the car off and hung out at Einstein’s Bagels until the new tire had been put on. Then we headed back to Walgreen’s to pick up Rachel’s prescriptions.

After all this, we headed back to Kera’s place to rest a bit and pick up our dresses for the wedding that we had inadvertently left there. We ran into Kera, who we updated on the day’s events. Then we headed to the church to do the flowers. Somewhere along the way, we had become florists. Kera had intended to do the flowers herself but realized that might not be a good way to keep her stress level down.
When we got to the church, the flowers were not there yet so we just hung out. When they did arrive, we got to work trying to make Kera’s vision of her wedding day flowers come alive. Luckily her idea did not take much time or skill and we finished with plenty of time to get ready for the wedding. The flowers looked really nice and the important thing was that Kera thought so too.

After we finished the flowers, Kera asked Drea, Rachel and I to help take pictures for the photo guest book that Kera wanted to compile. I felt like some sort of weirdo given the way people looked at me when I asked to take their picture. Oh well, anything for Kera. We tried to get as many pictures as we could as well as made sure everyone signed the actual guest book until some older lady told us to “shut it down” so we could start the wedding.
To be continued…

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The rest of my Spring Break

Here's part two of my Spring Break:

After our New York adventure, Jocelyn and I headed to Pennsylvania to check out an outlet mall I found on the internet. We used her Garmin GPS aka "Richard Garmin", aka "Garmie" to navigate the unfamiliar roads. Almost immediately we got stuck in traffic on a bizarrely narrow and winding road. I think Texas definitely beats Pennsylvania on the road battle. Garmie told us to take this random road past some old farm houses and said the outlet mall was not far. It didn't seem to make any sense. Then we saw the hand-printed sign that said "outlets" affixed to a stop sign. Weird but the outlets were indeed just past that sign. They were also right next to a freeway that Garmie, for some strange reason, did not tell us to take. We had fun hanging out and shopping a bit.

The next day we went into Philadelphia and saw the liberty bell and Independence Hall. The bell was a bit smaller than I expected but I was happy that it was free to go see it. After the history sightseeing, we went to this cool market-type thing with lots of shops and little stores. Then we went to a slightly ghetto mall. It had some great shoes and a lot of eighties colored clothes.

The next day Jocelyn was nice enough to drive me to Lancaster, PA to visit some of my YWAM friends. We drove on this weird tollway. It was nothing like our Texas toll roads. You got a ticket when you got on and then there were no exits for about 20 miles. Then when you exit, you pay based on where you exit. I don't know how you would get off if you got on there accidentally.

Lancaster was a cute town with some interesting old architecture. We met at Carrie and Corey's house and Jocelyn headed to a coffee shop to do some of her law school work. I hung out with Rachelle, Carrie and Alicia at a coffee shop and at Carrie's house. It was fun to catch up and really felt like no time had passed. I love friends like that!

Then on Friday, we hung out in the fancier shopping area of Philly. It was kind of like a mini-New York. I liked it. Then we headed to the airport to fly home. I had a good time but I was looking forward to returning to sunny skies and warm weather. The cold weather and gray skies were starting to get to me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

new website

I am trying my hand at a new website. Here's the link right now. I am hoping to simplify the web address in the future but you can see what I have so far.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring Break Thus Far

I am in the middle of my Spring Break and thought it might be a good idea to start chronicling my activities; otherwise I may end up with a ten page blog entry at the end.

My Spring Break started with a bang. I went out with some of my favorite teacher friends after school. We left school and went straight to eat wings, then we went bowling and then saw a movie. It was quite the day! I hadn't even packed despite the fact my flight was leaving early the next morning.

In the morning I left for New Jersey by way of Philadelphia. It had been a long time since I've traveled so it was nice to get on a plane again. I purposely stayed up super late the night before so I could sleep on the plane. I succeeded at sleeping for about 2 and a half hours of the three hour flight. The thirty minute interruption was due to the evil man sitting next to me who had to get up to go to the bathroom. Who goes to the bathroom during a three hour flight? There was a long line and I knew he would have to wake me up again when he came back to his seat. I had to pretend to read the SkyMall catalog until he returned. Ugh. I just wanted to sleep. I tried not to give ole' tiny bladder a dirty look as he sat down.

I arrived in Philadelphia and my friends/hosts, Jocelyn and Jason took me directly to get cheese steaks. When in Philly, right? It was pretty good but soooo greasy! Jocelyn spilled grease pretty much all over her clothes. I only managed to get a large splotch on my jeans. We tried to wash our clothes but those stains were stubborn. I guess I will look at that grease spot in the future and fondly remember my first official cheese steak.

On Sunday, Jocelyn and I headed to New York City. This was my second visit to the big apple. The first time, my best friend, Sarah and I went in college to visit our roommate, Lucy. Lucy grew up in New York and gave us the insider's tour. We really didn't see many of the tourist attractions. It was more like a Lucy reality tour. We saw her school, awesome brownstone townhouse, the Brooklyn bridge, her dad's art show, her friends' places and a few touristy things like the 911 sight and Times Square. We also went to the tapings of several TV shows: The Caroline Rhea Show, Donahue and Ricki Lake. That was so fun!

This time, I knew I was only going to be there for a day so I couldn't do everything. Our friend, Katy lives right by Central Park. She was out of town but she let me and Jocelyn stay at her place. We go to meet up with three of my YWAM friends, Esther, Sue and Sam. We also went to the Natural History Museum and Times Square. Today we had breakfast at the coffee shop the gang always hung out at on the best TV show in history, Seinfeld. Then we went to the Guggenheim museum. It was really cool, though some of the art was a bit hard to understand. We hung out at a coffee shop for a bit and then made the trek home to New Jersey. By the end of the day I was super tired of public transit. We spent about 4 hours plus on public transit during each of the days we were there. We also walked until our legs almost fell off. I've never seen that many types of dogs and babies in my life. Wow! I also heard a ton of languages.

I have a lot of friends who really want to live in New York. Personally I just like to visit New York. It is just such a different lifestyle than I am used to. I can't imagine living there full-time. Public transit is nice but I prefer to be able to drive my own car wherever I want. My car also doesn't have the bizarre mix of smells found on the NYC buses, trains and subways. I find it to be a bit grimy and dreary at times. I think this has something to do with the times of year I've been here.

I think I need to come to New York in the Summer some time. Last time I was here was in the winter and right now it's pretty cold and gray too. I need to see this place green and warm. Given my hatred of cold weather, I am sure I would enjoy it even more in warmer weather. As it stands now with the people I already know living here and all the people I know who aspire to live here, I won't have a problem finding a place to stay next time I come.

Monday, March 09, 2009

A Pretty Good Day

Today was a decent day so I might as well commemorate it on my blog. School has been pretty fun lately since I have been hanging out with a couple of my co-workers a lot. We are becoming pretty close friends, which makes everything more fun. This weekend we went out to eat, to a carnival, to a movie and the next night we went to a comedy club.

The day began in an amusing way. I forgot that today was picture day. This was our second picture day but it was the one with the whole class. Normally I dress up on Mondays but today I wore a really random outfit. This weekend I was determined to buy some fancy Nikes. I felt like I was car shopping as I quickly got sticker shock. Eventually I just bit the bullet and bought the ones I wanted. I decided to wear them today even though we can't wear jeans on Mondays. I compromised by wearing gray dress pants, a black and white top and my new fancy black and white Nikes. Classy, huh? And of course, this was the full body picture day. My students can look back at their class picture and see their teacher's spankin' new Nikes.

It's optional for the teacher to take an individual photo during the Spring since we already took one in the Fall. I decided to go for it today since I was in a goofy mood. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this picture involved a cheesy woodland background and me kneeling at a wooden fake desk. That's going to be a great picture! I joked to my kids that they could buy copies for $1 and some seemed genuinely interested. Being an elementary teacher really is a lot like being a celebrity.

School is a lot more fun post-Reading TAKS test. We've been doing poetry and the kids and I have enjoyed this break from standardized testing. On Mondays I have Young Life Bible study at 7pm. I rely on naps to help me differentiate between the two phases of my day as well as to give me a much needed energy boost. Today was an unusual Monday. After tutorials, I talked with some friends in the parking lot for a bit and then I talked to a friend on the phone all the way home from school. Then another friend called just as I was hanging up and we talked for thirty minutes. Just as I was hanging up with that person, another friend called and we talked for a while. Then just as I was hanging up, one of my Young Life kids called needing a ride. I think that's the record for most back-to-back calls I've ever received. It was a bit intense. This basically eliminated any time I had for a nap and I had to just quickly eat my Lean Cuisine and leave for Bible Study. It was a little hectic but I felt pretty popular.

Bible study was good but now I need to go to sleep. That daylight savings time is catching up with me for sure.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Somethings Just Can't Be Washed

I did something really stupid the other day. I wanted to keep it a secret at first for pride reasons but now I've decided to share it with the internet world.

On Thursday I was really proud of myself. After school, I rode my bike 10 miles. I've been trying to ride my bike a lot on the weekends.The last two weekends I have ridden 36 miles and 44 miles, respectively. I haven't been able to squeeze in a lot of mileage on the weekdays though due to lack of sunlight and overall fatigue from the day. So, as I said, I was feeling pretty good about myself after my ten mile weekday ride.

I had put my cell phone in the bag under my bike seat during my ride. I took it out and then lost track of it. I decided to do some laundry. I loaded all my clothes into the washer and then chilled for a bit. When it was time to transfer the load from washing machine to dryer, I pulled the items out piece by piece. When, I got to the bottom of the washer, I was shocked and appalled by what I saw. There was my cell phone at the bottom of the washer. In case you were womdering, going through the wash and spin cycle is not good for cell phones. I was so mad! I am still not sure how it got in there. I know it was not in the pocket of any of the clothes I was washing. Needless to say, I was pissed.

Luckily, my parents have a family plan for that phone. That means there are five phones that could be upgraded. My grandparents' phone was due for an update so I was able to get the same phone I had for only $15! Not a bad ending to this misfortune at all!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Ruminations during TAKS

I spent 7 hours watching my kids take the big TAKS test today. I make a point of not looking too closely at their answers during the test. If they choose stupid answers, it's hard for me to not punch them in the back of the head. And I think that would get me fired. It was pretty boring so I had plenty of time to think. That's where this pensive blog comes in:

So, I've learned a few things from my dating experiences this year. I don't think a public blog like this is a good forum for specific relationship talk. That's pretty trashy. That's why I haven't mentioned my dating life on this blog. I still agree with the "no kiss and tell" policy. With all that being said, I want to write about some of the things I have learned in the past year from the guys I've dated. I'm purposefully choosing to not be specific about individual guys.

I hope I didn't lose you after that vague disclaimer. I've just learned a lot about what I want and don't want in a guy from my experiences.

Traditional male/female roles:
Traditional male and female roles are important to me. I like it when the guy plans the date. It is also a plus when they are good at thinking of creative things beyond just dinner and a movie, though that is fun too from time to time. I've been on some pretty interesting dates to a carnival, museums, disc golf, festivals, ice sculpture competition and more.
I like it when the guy opens doors for me, though the car door is a little over the top. I also like when the guy pays, though that doesn't mean he has to pay for everything. I think it's about showing that he can take care of me since being a provider is a guy's natural role.

Witty Banter:
This is something I have only recently pinpointed as something that is important to me. Most people who know me well know that I like to joke around and make people laugh. This doesn't mean I can't be serious when the situation calls for it, but I prefer to make light of most situations for my own amusement. I need a guy that I can just joke around and laugh with; a guy who I can have fun with just by talking to. I want a partner in life that will help me to have fun in boring, sad or difficult situations. It's also a plus if he knows a lot about Seinfeld and The Simpsons.

I need a guy who is at least moderately out-going. I want a guy who would be remembered by people at a party. I'm not interested in a guy who is too quiet and I would feel like I need to ease into social situations. I especially appreciate guys who can get up and make fools of themselves in front of a crowd of kids. Maybe that's why I always get a mini-crush on the guys who perform the skits at Young Life camp.

Smarter than Me:
This might sound strange but I really need to be with someone who's smarter than me- in most areas. I'm no genius (despite what my mom thinks) but I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent. The fact that a guy is smarter than me is more important than his age. He can be younger as long as he seems smarter. Grammar is also important to me. I'm sure this sounds snooty but I can't help but base my opinion of some one's intelligence on the way they write. Misspellings, misuse of homophones and bad punctuation all negatively affect my image of a person's intelligence. I know it isn't really fair but I can't seem to help myself.

There are plenty of other things I know I want in a mate ie; hard-core Christian and interested in sports but the aforementioned qualities are some that I have more recently realized the importance of. The dating I've done, both good and bad, has definitely been helpful in clarifying what I am looking for. Now if I could only find an intelligent, sports-loving, chivalrous, christian, outgoing, witty conversationalist who likes me back, I'd be in good shape.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Love with a giant furry bear

Today we had a TAKS pep rally to get the students pumped up about conquering the dreaded test tomorrow. Our principal got the Houston Rockets basketball team mascot, Clutch- a giant furry bear, to come do a little demonstration for the kids. It was actually pretty entertaining with a lot of audience participation. I was forced to participate a little bit too much. Clutch came over and kissed my hand and then pretended to make out with me. It was definitely my first time making out with a mascot. It was a little awkward.

Afterwards, the kids kept asking me about my new "boyfriend." I told them that he was really cool and he got me free Rockets tickets.

Tonight I watched part of the season finale of The Bachelor. I used to get really into that show but I really prefer reality shows with a trashier edge to them. Think Temptation Island, Love Cruise, and more recently, Momma's Boys and G's to Gents. Anyway, I like reality shows that I can watch to make fun of the participants. The Bachelor doesn't have a lot of that though it does have a fair amount of cheesiness. "This is the most dramatic rose ceremony ever!" Today's was simply painful. Jason, who was the runner-up on the last season's Bachelorette had to choose between two girls whom he said he was in love with. After he dumped the first girl, he cried like a little girl for several minutes. Very unattractive. I do not like a guy who is weepy and emotional. Then, he proposes to the other girl and it looks like they will live happily ever after (even though none of the couples made on The Bachelor have lasted.)

After the show, they had a special about what was happening to the couple now. They made it sound like someone had died with lots of dramatic music and disclaimers. When Jason came out, he looked like someone had died. It turns out that he had just decided that he no longer wanted to date the girl he had initially chosen and now wanted a redo with the runner-up. Unfortunately he had not told the girl he was dating this yet. He made a statement about not wanting to hurt her and then proceeds to dump her on national television. I am not sure what could be more hurtful than that! She doesn't see it coming and awesomely calls him a bastard.

Then the runner-up comes on and Jason tells her he wants a second chance. She can't even speak because she is so shocked. She stupidly agrees to try things out with him again even though it seems very likely that those two will break up on national television in the near future. So, basically Jason sucks. I would rather have Clutch any day!
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