My Crazy, Busy but Blessed Life

I got home from Mexico on June 3rd. That was 25 days ago. But it feels like months. Since that day, IĀ have kept quite busy and thought that I would share snip-its of what I’ve been up to with a list and some pictures. So far in the month of June I have:

– attended birthday parties for two friends (both with amazingly delicious, home-cooked meat!)

IMG_2157– played in a pick-up kickball game and organized our team for this season

– driven through LA to Turlock, CA to spend time with my boyfriend’s family and explore the town where he grew up

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– gone on walks, seen movies, or grabbed meals with some of my favorite people

– taken care of a pair of adorable cats for a week

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– attended my first four Spanish classes (and take my first test!)

– gone on several incredibly fun local dates with Sean

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– flown to VA/NC for my friend Paige’s bachelorette weekend

DSCN1209The list could go on and on, but I don’t want to bore y’all. I think you get the point by now that I have been loving life… even if it’s been a bit crazy šŸ™‚ On top of all of this fun stuff, I have been working 25-30 hours a week at Halstrom Academy. For those of you that don’t remember, it’s the same company I taught and wrote curriculum for before I moved. I’m loving my group of students this semester and am really enjoying being back in the classroom.

Going forward, I will try to update some more but I will be honest with y’all… I am going to be all over the United States this summer with another trip to NC/VA, a long weekendĀ in CO, a drive up to SF, and a flight to Iowa. All before Labor Day. But you know I love it and I wouldn’t change my wanderer lifestyle for the world, especially since all of those trips involved celebrating special people doing incredible and wonderful things (race and weddings)! For now, I’m going to stretch my legs before boarding a flight from RDU to ORD on my way home from an amazing weekend at Wrightsville Beach… more on that soon!

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East to West: STAT

My last update was posted from Virginia, where I was spending the week after moving out of North Carolina. I told y’all that I sold my car, Funshine, with no major issues. But that was last Friday morning, so what have I been up to since then? Maybe it’s better to ask what I haven’t been up to, lol. I’ll try to give you the quick overview below… but you’ll have to hustle to keep up šŸ˜‰

Friday after delivering Funshine to Carmax, Mom and I worked on a few projects at her house before she drove me to Dulles Airport to pick up my rental car. I took advantage of the (free) airport lanes on the toll road to cruise into Arlington to see my east coast girls. We met up at MexiCali Blue… in Clarendon?… to grab dinner and drinks. I absolutely love the three girls that met me (shown below: Katie, Katie, and Claire). We spent a few hours talking about life, work, boys, family, etc. It was very relaxing and fun, in spite of the cold weather and snow everywhere. Then I spent the night with little sister Katie in Arlington before heading down to Richmond on Saturday.

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Why was I drivingĀ to Richmond on Saturday (leaving at 8am)? Because the fourth of my lovely east coast girlfriends, Paige, is getting married this summer and has asked me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding! I feel so honored and excited, but Saturday was the day she’d picked (after learning that I was moving again) to have all of us bridesmaids get together to go dress shopping. We had a great time and settled on both a color and a style of dress fairly quickly before enjoying a nice lunch with the two mothers. I won’t post pictures from that group as I don’t want to leak any wedding details šŸ˜‰ After lunch I drove myself to Richmond Airport, returned my rental car and started my journey west!

So Saturday night at 6pm EST I boarded a plane to Dallas, TX. After a 1.5 hour layover (barely enough time to find my gate and grab a quick dinner), I left there at 10pm Central time to fly into San Diego. I landed at SAN about 11:30pm Pacific time, which was the equivalent of 2:30am EST except that it was also daylight savings time so really like 3:30am. Woof. Luckily both of my flights were on schedule and I avoided any weather concerns. Sean picked me up and helped me lug my 100+ pounds of luggage to his car… don’t judge me, it’s the only stuff I have access toĀ for the next 2-3 weeks.

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Sunday morningĀ started with a walkĀ to a cafe for breakfast burritos before getting in a 5.5 mile run. It was definitely warmer than I’ve been used to, but it felt great to see the ocean and not have to wear a hat and gloves! Then I headed up to Carlsbad for the first week of our spring kickball season šŸ™‚ I’m on a new team this year, because our old team decided to disperse. Although most of us are still playing in the league which means I have friends on all the teams. I was a bit nervous on Sunday because I hadn’t played since the last season ended in… September? I had also been asked to help line ref the game before ours. Luckily it was week one and everyone was still learning the rules and working out the kinks. I pitched half of the innings in our game and didn’t allow any runs to score, so I felt good about that!

After spending a few hours catching up with friends at the bar (Erica, Christy and Sean are pictured above), I called it a day. Monday I rented a car in Encinitas and drove out to Temecula to look at Subaru Foresters. I had found from my internet searching that they had the model and accessories that I wanted, and the price was the cheapest. After less than two hours, I had test-driven the SUV, gotten insurance, processed the paperwork, returned my rental car out there, and was driving away in my brand new vehicle! It was a whirlwind, but I knew what I wanted so I went for it. So far I LOVE it, but the first real test will be this weekend when I take four adults with our stuff on a mini-roadtrip. I’ll keep you posted how it holds up but I’m also taking any suggestions for names of this vehicle… even though I probably won’t get vanity plates since they are so expensive in Cali.

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On another note, I do also have a job lined up (yay!)… really two. I’ll be teaching at Halstrom Academy again, but only teaching this time around, not working with corporate as a lead teacher. And I will dominantly be teaching math (Algebra/Geometry) instead of social studies, although I already know I’ll have some ACT/SAT test prep courses and an AP World History. Since it is mid-semester, my hours will build as the weeks go on which will give me time to move into a place when I find it and just adjust to living in SoCal again. I’m really excited to get back to working with kids and helping them in an area where so many seem to struggle.

My second job will start in April and is working with Pearson Learning, Inc. who publishes a ton of textbooks across content in the USA. I will be acting as an online test scorer for their end-of-course Geometry testing this spring. The project lasts April-June and I am allowed to log as few as 20 or as many as 40 hours a week grading test. This will help fill my time until summer semester starts at Halstrom and I have full hours there. It’s completely flexible as far as when I grade in a day, which will be perfect for my Halstrom schedule, and it will give me more experience in the testing/grading world.

Other things I’ve done this week include: getting a TB test, completing a LiveScan fingerprinting test, run with my good friend Dahlia, toured 3-5 potential apartments, gotten groceries, gone to a farmer’s market, and just enjoyed being back in SoCal! For now, my biggest focus is finding a place to live and enjoying being back in the place I truly feel I belong. Thanks for reading and I’ll talk to y’all soon!

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Borrego Springs #30before30 Adventure

This tripĀ was an adventure for sure, and one that is technically still going on right now. My fellow adventurer, Xavier, met at my house and we hit the road about 9am. Ish? Our first stop was for coffee and donuts! The last time we hit up a donut place was Peterson’s in Escondido and we had high hopes for this second shop after that overwhelming success. Unfortunately, I don’t think that Danny’s Donuts in Vista quite lived up to the hype. Well, I guess that isn’t entirely true. Danny’s made my 30 Before 30 list because of their blueberry cake donut. Ā It was ranked #6 in blueberry cake donuts in the country! So obviously, I had to true it out since those are my favorite donut. I also got a sugar-raised twist, which is my other go-to. We got our donuts (and coffee for X) to go and hit the road east. While driving (safely!) I had the sugar-raised twist first. It was okay, not spectacular. I thought it was a tad dry. But not too bad!

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I was really, really excited for the blueberry cake and it did not disappoint. It was SO delicious! Xavier immediately regretted not getting one himself. He got… two other donuts… maple? apple? I don’t know, I was driving and focused on the amazing flavor in my mouth… BLUEBERRIES!! The donut to jammed full of them and it had a nice glaze with a hint of maple or caramel or something amazing. I wish I’d just gotten two of those and not wasted time with the twist. So I guess I recommend Danny’s Donuts in Vista, but only for their signature blueberry cake!

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With our bellies full of sugar and sweets, we continued east towards Borrego Springs, CA. This is an inland town in the desert about two hours from the coast. Why was I choosing to go to the hot desert? To see the sky art! What the heck is that? It’s a collection of 129 larger-than-life statues scattered throughout this town. Dennis Avery and Ricardo Breceda partnered to bring these exciting works of art to this sleepy town. They were installed in waves from 2008 to 2012 and span a five mile area along the main corridors leading into and out of town. We didn’t know much more than that going in, but we luckily stopped at Gringo’s Gas Stop for fuel and drinks on our way into town. An extremely helpful gentleman pumped our gas and gave us a visitor’s guide that included a map and brief description of the sculptures. He also recommended the best route to see them all and we were off!

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One of the first statues we found along the side of the road was this duo of ground sloths. Look at the texture and detail! At this point, I was REALLY excited to continue the journey. We wandered throughout Galleta Meadows Estate and were pleasantly surprised at every corner. Most statues were right off the road and we could follow the hard-packed sand trails of our fellow adventures. For this section of the post, I’m going to let the pictures do the talking… So enjoy the photoĀ tour below of some of our favorite statues!

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046The T-rex shown above was a little further off the paved road, so we had to do some off-roading along the sand trails. Unfortunately, on the way back from this guy we kicked up some rocks under Funshine. After a quick pause to check for damage (photo below), we were on our way. Little did we know that the damage was already done… I insisted on driving in to see the wholly mammoth statue as our last one of the day. Isn’t that always how it goes? The last one? Anyone, on the way to see the wholly mammoth we hit a patch of deeper sand. And got stuck. So we got out, scooped out, and spun out… but we were making progress! Unfortunately, we noticed that the sand was wet… and smelled like oil. Uh-oh. After a few park rangers helped tow us as far as they could before spinning themselves, we gave in and called AAA.

052This is when the real adventure began… I was going to let it all out in my description, but I think I’ve expressed enough concern through supervisors, surveys, and Yelp reviews at this point. I’ll give you all the short version here, lol. After my call at 1:20pm, the first help came in 40 minutes and winched us out of the sand and back on the side of the road (truck shown below). Unfortunately, this shop’s flatbed tow truck was out of commission, which they hadn’t told AAA. So we were abandoned on the roadside. And back on the phone with AAA around 2:20pm. By 2:40 they had found another tow truck that could come in 60-90 minutes. Woof. We were in the middle of nowhere, but still! We settled in for the long wait after confirming that there were no other options in Borrego Springs. Ugh. Thank goodness for Xavier at this point because misery loves company.

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067Around 4pm we heard from the second tow truck that he was still 45 minutes out. Meaning just over two hours from our second call. I was NOT happy. I’d already called AAA several times about the first mix-up and was now back on the phone with a second supervisor. Our concern at this point was the new ETA of 4:45pm. That is dangerously close to closing time in small towns, but we knew Mac’s Desert Auto Center (attached to Gringo’s) was open until 6pm and they had been expecting us… for three hours. When our second tow truck arrived, we quickly hooked it up and hustled into town knowing at this point it would take a small miracle for us to get home last night. Luckily, Xavier had already planted the seed in our best friend, Sean, that we might be needing his rescue efforts. Ugh.

069After looking at our poor Funshine, it was determined that the rocks we ran over after T-rex had scraped open a hole in the oil pan. That’s not good. Then we were informed that the part would have to be ordered, which would take three days to get to tiny Borrego Springs. Perfect! Xavier launched Operation Rescue with Sean, who graciously got in his car and started heading our way. While he was doing that, I was talking to the mechanic about any possible temporary fixes that could be done to get us home. He finally agreed to try welding aluminum bars (which he had to get from home) onto our aluminum oil pan. I gave my permission and we watched the gas station while he ran home right quick. Fortunately, after a minor fire problem… and some sparks… and then a topping ofĀ silicon, we were good to go! The gushing oil leak was now a slow, slow drip and with a few extra quarts of oil for good measure, we were cleared to drive home. We stuck to major-ish roads and booked it as safely as we could. It was 6pm when we rolled out of Borrego Springs, CA and after a quick stop in El Cajon for Taco Bell (X’s choice, for his good attitude all day) we got back to Encinitas around 8:30pm.

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See that sand in the undercarriage on the left? Or the dark spot on the scraped oil pan? That was the issue… But I managed to add oil this morning to get Funshine to an auto repair shop in Encinitas and hopefully they can replace the oil pan. Then Funshine will be as good as new! Just like the first time I ventured into the desert, that time for a Megaslide, Funshine came back slightly bruised and broken, but not down for the count. Anyway, thanks to my best friends Xavier and Sean for helping get Funshine and I through this exciting day! And thanks to Borrego Springs for having amazing sculptures for us to visit!

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