Monday, November 23, 2009

Winding Down and Winding Up

The school semester is winding down while the holiday season is winding up. I have a major project to finish this week for school and I am hoping to complete it by Thursday so I can enjoy Thanksgiving and then use the weekend for editing before turning it in on Monday. After that is complete there are still a couple of exams, but those are not as difficult as the project. The school semester will wind down in the first week of December, which is when the holiday season will begin winding up.

I've been invited to a few Christmas events throughout the month of December and I'm hoping to be able to go to at least two or three of them. I will be attending my friend's (PF) Ugly Christmas Sweater party for the first time since I couldn't make it last year. PF does it every year and everyone comes wearing their ugliest Christmas attire. It should be a blast. Plus, my friend is a little over 20 weeks pregnant and I haven't seen her in person since she announced the pregnancy so I'm looking forward to seeing her.

The other event I am going to try and make it to is my friend's (EL) cookie decorating party. She has people drop in for a four-hour time period to decorate and eat cookies, as well as visit with one another. I went a couple of years ago, but again didn't get a chance to go last year. EL and her husband adopted an adorable little boy who was born on Christmas Day in 2007. I haven't seen him for awhile so it will be nice to see how he's grown and changed.

We'll be spending Christmas with Dear Husband's family this year. We're spending Thanksgiving with my dad and his side of the family in San Antonio. So there's a little bit of traveling for the holidays, but I'm looking forward to it! I love to see my dad's family and catch up with them since I don't see them that often.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

School Spirit - Family Ties

When you go to a university, you become part of a family that goes back several generations. Past members of the family walked the same grounds you do, took the same classes, and lived in the same dorms. Present members do the same thing alongside you. Being a member of this family is something you can take pride in and those family ties are something that bind you to every past, current, and future member of the family.

I attended the University of Oregon, home of the Ducks. I have a great deal of pride in being an alumni of that school. I will always proudly wear the green and yellow. I will always cheer on my team, despite the fact that I haven't lived in Oregon for many years. I will always be excited when I see another person wearing an Oregon shirt or hat. It's a tie to my school, my family. The traditions, the mascot, the campus tie us all together and provide a common link and bond to an experience that can never be equaled or taken away from us.

This understanding of university family is what makes me pray tonight for the Texas A&M family. The Aggies are an interesting bunch. I am friends with several of them and they have more school spirit and pride than any other group I've ever known. Tonight, the Aggies mark 10 years since the collapse of the traditional bonfire that killed 12 students and injured many more.

Aggie bonfire had been a tradition at the school since 1909. You can learn more about bonfire by clicking this link: Suffice it to say that bonfire, like many other things at A&M, was steeped in a great deal of tradition and pride for the Aggies. Unfortunately, in addition to being a symbol of the strength of Aggie tradition, it also became a symbol of untold grief.

On November 18, 1999, at approximately 2:42 a.m., the 40-foot stack of 5000 logs that made up the bonfire collapsed, trapping and killing 12 students who had been working on the stack at the time. A day-long rescue effort ensued with the help of Aggies and several rescue teams from all over the state. University of Texas, the Aggies chief rival, joined in the effort to honor those who died in the construction of bonfire. Rivalries take second place to the human need to comfort those in mourning.

10 years have passed and the pain dims, but it will always remain. It is not something you get over, it is something you get used to. You continue to live your life, but always with the small hole in your heart honoring your family members who are no longer here to live their own lives. Tonight, I pray for the Aggie family as a whole and especially for those 12 who gave their lives doing something they loved - showing their pride in their school and their commitment to their University family.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Busy Bee

It's been a very busy weekend. Dear Husband was out of town from Friday afternoon to this evening. He was working in Dallas so it was just me and the doggers for the weekend. Friday night I had dinner with a friend and helped her sort out some work issues. Saturday, I went to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to buy a bridal shower gift and then I attended said bridal shower Saturday evening. That was fun because my friend, A, was there too. Her husband was working with my husband out of town so we had a chance to catch up and chat. Today found me at my book club meeting and tomorrow I will be at a meeting for a board I sit on. WHEW.

The rest of this week will be taken up with working on a paper for one of my classes. I'm looking forward to Christmas break, which should begin for me in the first week of December. I need the break. I will only be taking one class next semester since the other one I need is offered at the same time. After I take next semester's class, I can start my practicums (working in the field). I'm excited about that. Little by little, I am getting closer to having M.A. after my name.

In addition to getting my studying done, I've also been doing quite a bit of leisure reading. I just finished Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy. I LOVED IT! I could not put it down. At 596 pages, it's a long novel, but so worth it and the pages just fly by. I highly recommend it. Now, I've got to go find something else to read. I'm torn between a true crime book that I need to finish and another Maeve Binchy. Choices, choices.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cowboys and Cars

It's been awhile since I've blogged. I've been a bit distracted by car troubles and a long weekend. The latter was fantastic, the former not so much. Over Halloween weekend, I was in San Antonio having a wonderful time with my Dad. I drove up Thursday afternoon and we had a nice dinner at his house and watched some TV. Friday, he took my car to be tuned up at a local mechanic's shop and that evening, we headed out to Golden Corral for dinner and then the Majestic Theatre, where we saw Three Phantoms in Concert.

It was an amazing show! I loved it. Three men, all of whom have played the role of Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, sung a variety of songs from Broadway musicals. They were accompanied by the San Antonio Symphony. It was beautiful music in every way.

Saturday found us sleeping in then getting some dinner from WhataBurger. It was an early night for us because Sunday morning at 5 a.m. we were up and getting ready to head to the airport. We took a flight that morning to Dallas where we saw a Cowboys game up close and personal in the brand new Cowboys stadium. We had the BEST time cheering on our team. Dad and I have matching Cowboys jerseys with our birth year on it and our names on the back. We wore those of course and screamed for our team as they beat the Seattle Seahawks. GO COWBOYS!! We returned that night to San Antonio on the plane. I had to go home to Houston on Monday, which I didn't really want to do. I'd had such a great weekend with Dad and I didn't want it to end. The only positive is that I can look forward to our next get-together now.

After returning to Houston, my car decided to get temperamental on me. My car is 10 years old and has been very well taken care of. In August, I had to have the transmission fixed and then in early October, I had an oxygen sensor replaced. The tune up revealed an Idle Air Control issue so that was taken care of. Then...

Last Monday, I was taking a friend home from work around 9 p.m. and we stopped at a restaurant for her to get something to eat. We came out and my car wouldn't start. At all. It wouldn't even turn over and the Service Engine Soon light was on. Sigh. So my friend has Triple A and she called them to send out a tow truck. The tow truck driver was very nice and he actually got the car to start. He said it seemed to be an issue with the parking brake having been pulled up too high.

I drove my friend home and then returned home myself. The next day, I went to get in the car to pick up my friend for work and you guessed it - it wouldn't start or turn over. Same problem. So I had it towed to a Ford dealership where they found the problem - the Battery Ground Connection wasn't doing its job. It was an easy fix and not too expensive (THANK GOD) so I rescued my car from the dealership and it's driving just fine. However, the Service Engine Soon light is back on and Dear Husband has determined it is the Idle Air Control code that is showing.

This is the same problem that the tune up guys fixed by putting in a new hose and cleaning the IAC valve. Sigh again. Dear Husband cleared the car's computer for me and that should take care of that light. Since the car was recently checked by more than one mechanic, we suspect the Service Engine Light was showing because the computer needed to be cleared. Here's hoping.

P.S. - I just searched the Internet for a picture for the blog and found a site where people were talking about this very problem with their cars. Got a suggestion there that might work - a new gas cap. I'll let you know if it works.