Sunday, June 28, 2009

Charlie is 6 months old

Thought I'd share a photo of my nephew from last week. He is 6 1/2 months old (already!?) He is very generous with his cute smile when he's around people he knows, but cries sometimes when faced with a room full of unfamiliar faces. (Don't worry, little guy, I sometimes feel like that, too!)

This one was taken while he was hanging out in the ExerS*ucer - bet you can't tell he just LOVES that!!

Charlie ~ June 20, 2009
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

The longest day of the year

Monday was the first day of summer and the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Yesterday, the sun went behind the hills a few minutes before 8:00 pm here in San Diego. As I looked out the window and enjoyed the view for a moment, I was remember the longest day of the year during a summer that I think was 10 years ago. Maybe 11.*

I lived in Michigan then, and it was my second summer there. I still consider it a great injustice that I survived five very cold, snowy and long Winters followed by five still-cold, mushy, gray Springs in Michigan before I experienced my first glorious, green, amazing Summer there. Ah, summer. But back to the real story.

One of the glorious things about summer is that daylight just lasts forever. Seriously. Sunsets around 9:30 pm were something I had never before experienced, and it was just awesome. I guess it's a perk received as you go farther north, that one gets more daylight hours in summer in trade for a shorter warm season. Did I mention the five long, cold winters?

So that summer, I decided that the only suitable way to mark the official start of summer and the longest day of the year was to drive out to the beach, put my toes in the sand and watch the sunset. With friends. And wine. Really, it was wonderful. So wonderful that I imagined I would make it a tradition and do it every year.

Somehow, it did not become a tradition. If I did it again once or twice, I don't at all remember it. I live about the same distance from a beach now as I did then, and I haven't done this once since relocating to California six years ago. Maybe the magic is lessened by six years of nearly perpetual summer and no snow, but I think it's just forgetfulness because I still think that sunsets are the greatest show on earth.

So magical, that I often fail to notice them, despite the view from the beautiful place I call home. Here's a little piece of magic from tonight.

* Correction: the official scrapbook has been checked, and this was actually only 8 years ago, in 2001.
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Frequent Flyer

Recently I realized that it's been more than a year since I've been on an airplane. This is rather unusual for me. I love traveling and usually find myself compelled to get out of town at least a couple times a year. I guess I've been sort of distracted by a little thing called grad school.

However, that being the case, I have some flexibility this summer and I blocked out two full weeks for a vacation in August. In January, I plan to be back to work full-time, so for at least a short while after that, I will have less flexibility (read: vacation time) and I therefore decided there's no time like the present.

So I bought plane tickets.

And then I panicked.

What on earth am I doing spending hundreds of dollars on plane tickets on my budget? Am I crazy?

In a conversation with a friend, I told her I was having buyer's remorse over my non-refundable purchase. Being the good friend she is, she talked me out of it. The regret, that is. I had already explained to her that my plans included traveling to three states to visit family and good friends. She pointed out that by choosing to spend my money to invest in people and relationships, I was investing in something good.

With that... a weight lifted, and the vacation planning fun begins. :)
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Monday, June 8, 2009

A Quick Update: Grad School

A lot of people have been asking how things are going with school, or maybe it's that I've been talking to a lot of people I don't see very often. :)

Either way, I thought I'd just write a short update on what's happening with school. I finished the Spring semester just before the Memorial Day weekend. I had exactly 6 scheduled days off before I was due to begin my summer class and a part-time intership for the summer. I enjoyed seeing my cousin Ashley and her husband Mike that weekend, doing some shopping and catching up (if only briefly) with friends Kim, Andrea & Randy up in Temecula (I don't get up that way very often anymore) and a day at D*sneyland, which probably surprises no one.

Highlights of the day at D*sney included spending most of the day dripping wet after a careless decision to get on the Grizzly River Run "because I didn't get that wet last time," ruining the attraction photo of the people sitting behind me on Hollywood's Tower of Terror because I kept my hands up and therefore in front of their faces the whole time (Who really wants to spend $14.95 on a 5x7 of you screaming and with bad hair, anyway?) and riding in the front of the Monorail. Yes, where the driver sits and you have a 180-degree view of the entire ride. Very cool, I highly recommend it!

I am taking a summer class for two reasons. I registered initially because I didn't want to overload on units in the fall, and in the process earn my degree at the expense of my sanity. After registration the fall schedule was published and as it turns out, taking a summer class become necessary because I couldn't have taken enough credits in the fall semester to graduate because certain classes overlapped. So, two nights a week for six weeks I'm studying Real Estate Appraisal. Actually, I should be studying right this minute because I have a test tomorrow, but well, obviously I decided that could wait a few minutes.

After my class ends this fall, I will continue working 3 days a week at my internship job, then I am taking 2 weeks off at the end of the summer before the fall semester begins. I'm also still doing some part time work from home for 5-10 hours a week. The first three days of the August vacation are going to be meeting up with some girlfriends in Chicago, the rest is still undecided. I have to say I'm looking forward to visiting the midwest in the summer... which I haven't done since 2004 for Beth's wedding.

The fall semester will be my last semester - already! I can't believe it, with two semesters done, and only a total of three, it feels like this has gone really fast. Probably because it has gone really fast. :) Then... the plan after that is to go back to work full-time in the financial planning field, study to take my CFP (Certified Financial Planner) exam in February, move to San Diego to be closer to where the jobs are... and dive in to a new chapter in life. Life is busy, but good, and I'm excited for the future!

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