March 13, 2012

a drive down memory lane

I judged at a district speech meet in Ansley, Nebraska, today. Ansley is about 90 miles northwest (more west than north) of here, and it's definitely in the Sandhills! On my drive this morning, I noticed a sign for Homeward Trail Bible Camp. Homeward Trail was the first sleepover camp I ever attended, and seeing the sign brought back a flood of memories.

Climbing the hill to the cross.
Getting nettles during a "find the counselor" hide-and-seek game.
Peeling potatoes as part of my morning work assignment.
Going into Ansley to swim at the town pool.
Learning "Singin' in the Rain"—not the movie version. (Here's the closest one I could find on YouTube ... apparently everyone does it differently!)
Being too chicken to try the zip line. (This I've regretted ever since!)

On my way home, I decided to drive by the camp, since it was only about five miles out of my way. It was kind of surreal to see the place again—it's definitely smaller that it seemed when I was eight! I would have loved to wander around, but the gate was locked, and since I'm a rule follower, trespassing didn't even cross my mind. I did snap a picture of the sign, though.

When I got home, I searched through my pictures for some from my camp days. Unfortunately, I could only find one ... and it's not too flattering. It does give you a good idea of how horrible my hair was in my upper elementary days, thanks to my mom.
My cousin Kate and me during our last week at Homeward Trail.
I think our cabin was Elm?
I'm really glad I drove by—what a fun trip down memory lane!

March 3, 2012

goals for 2012: february update

Remember how high I was at the end of January? How well I was doing with all of my goals? Well, February was crash-and-burn month for me. I could blame my trip to Indiana, the cold/cough/ear infection (did you know adults get ear infections? I didn't ... until that's what my doctor told me I had) that has hung on for 10 days, or speech (my favorite whipping boy this time of the year) ... but really, the blame lies with me. My laziness. My complacency. Things are turning around, though, so I hope my March report will be much happier!
  1. Read through the Bible. At the end of January, I was a little behind. At the end of February, I'm super behind! I'm still on track to finish well before the end of the year, but I need to keep focused. Sadly, this is the first thing to go when I'm feeling rushed or stressed or tired.
  2. Exercise four times per week. I'm probably averaging three, and I really dropped off in the J-La-Sta 10,000 Steps Walking Challenge (I averaged 4,355 steps per day). I did exercise the last three days of February, though, thanks to my new diet. Since I'm committed to it through March 24 and it calls for exercise six days per week, I think my March stats will be better!
  3. Lose 30 pounds. I ended February exactly where I began February ... which means I've been in a holding pattern for two months, as I also began and ended January in the same place. I have high hopes for this diet, though—I even bought myself an "I'm going on a diet" gift, the first two seasons of Monarch of the Glen (you may recall that I do love me some Monarch!), which I won't allow myself to watch until I've dropped the first 10 pounds. My first official weigh-in on the diet comes tomorrow morning ...
  4. Travel somewhere new. I did go to Chicago and Indiana in February, but I'd been there before. Still thinking about where I want to travel this summer! (And I'm open to suggestions ...)
  5. Complete one crafting project a month. Done! It wasn't a craft in the traditional sense of the word, but I'm pretty proud of my birdseed cakes
  6. Learn to say "no." I actually didn't have much opportunity to do so in February. I passed on a couple reviewing opportunities, but those were ones I would have passed on even before this challenge.
How are your goals progressing two months into the new year? What has proven most difficult when it comes to meeting your goals?

March 2, 2012

i love aloe juice!

Yes, the title of my post is a lie. Let me explain ...

In my ESL class, we have a "question of the day" nearly every class period. Sometimes I choose the question, and sometimes a student chooses the question. Either way, we all take turns answering. A couple weeks ago, I asked: "What is the strangest food you've ever eaten?" I learned something that day: pig blood is considered a delicacy in Vietnam. They mix it with flour, cook it, slice it up, and eat it. But that's not the point of this post ... When it was my turn to answer, I couldn't think of anything. I mean, I've eaten my share of strange foods, but on the spot, I couldn't come up with anything. Except ... aloe juice.

A few years ago, one of my students gave me a bottle of aloe juice. Before that point, I didn't even know you could drink aloe ... my experience with it extended to my mom's aloe plant—she would use the pulp from it on burns. Well, aloe juice itself isn't bad—it has kind of a nondescript sweet flavor—but it contains that same pulp. Lots of it. I'm a girl who buys the pulp-free orange juice. So pulp-loaded aloe juice is not my cup of tea!

When I went to class on Tuesday, one of my students presented me with a bottle of aloe juice, amid much laughter. Then he asked me to post on facebook that I love aloe juice. I thought I'd do him one better ... Kyle, this post is for you!
See the lighter stuff in the bottle? That's the pulp.

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