Eulogy Postponed

And the miracle of today

Coming Home!

April 2016

Squirrel!

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In case the lack of notes and updates being sent to you wasn’t indicator enough, this semester has been a bit overwhelming. I was tempted to hop on one of the Tesla ships that they are testing 20 minutes away in McGregor, TX. No, I’ve been chasing squirrels through the wildflowers instead. It’s bluebonnet season ya’know. That means lunatics pulling over along the highway wherever they see a good batch of color to take photos and go lie out in them. I don’t know anyone who would ever do anything like that! As evidenced by the lack of photos included here, obviously. Here’s a link for you, mom: http://www.texaswildflowerphotos.com. I wonder if the cameraman was standing in a ditch along the highway to get those longhorn photos?

So I’ve got 30 hours left at internship, three group presentations- one on the Death Penalty, one on the results of our study of the effects of Mindfulness Meditation, and one presentation on the organizational structure of a local agency (World Hunger Relief Inc.). We have one school wide event at the middle school for parents to learn about how to reduce their childrens’ vulnerability to human trafficking. One big paper to complete about what I’ve done at internship this year, two 6-10 page internship logs, one book report on The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team and one over Last Child in the Woods, and one Research to Practice paper to submit discussing ways to help guide youth identity development through Motivational Interviewing. Good thing I have three weeks left to work on this stuff!

And all I can think about is the fact that I have a plane ticket home! I will be home for almost the whole month of May. Although the thought of staying in Texas all summer and suffocating in humidity was really tempting, I am so homesick for Oregon, I can’t even tell you about it! Anyone want to go camping?

But I will only be home for a few weeks before flying back east. Mexico isn’t happening. I have an all expense paid internship through the Shepherd Higher Education on Poverty Consortium to look forward to instead! I will be in Chester, PA working at the Boys and Girls Club in their Face Forward 2 program for youth coming out of the juvenile justice system and with their Summer Camp.

Can’t wait to see y’all!!!! Ok, I’ll be honest. I might be more excited about getting to eat with y’all :)

But seriously, let’s go camping, y’all.

The effects of Graduate education are severe and often irreversible.

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Community. Policy. Research.

January 2016

Picture36HAPPY NEW YEAR’S DAY!

That is my life for the next semester. One week down and fifteen to go. Three required courses- Professional Practice with Communities and Organizations, Social Policy for Social Work Practice, and Research for Social Work Practice. Oh yeah, and I’ve got another 240 hours of internship to complete. And I’m taking an Independent Study on Applied Positive Youth Development. And working at least 10 hours per week. And might take an elective later this semester. Disaster and Crisis Intervention- because at that point in the semester, I may need an intervention :)

Thank you to everyone for the Christmas cards! I still have them up in my room and it’s nearly the closest thing to snow I’ve seen all winter. No, wait, there was one morning where everything was frosty white. I hear there’s snow in Oregon…. You can share!

I did get to have some fun over Christmas break (not that family time wasn’t fun). Spent a bunch of time outside and it was awesome even if it did just make me wishful that that snow I’m dreaming of was on some awesome trails that aren’t here. Just enough to drown out the perpetual sound of traffic, please! Ok, I did go on some “hikes” in Cameron Park which really is great for a city park. Except for that “city” part… So, the month in pictures follows. I planted a bit of a hedgerow, got to spend lots of time with the horses and dogs, hiked a bit more, got to spend some quality time with some awesome people, made some new friends, actually had time to cook, found where I want to spend my summer (finally), investigated some internship options for next year and actually had some leftover time and VOLUNTEERED!! You’re surprised, aren’t you?

BEFORE. What a dump!

AFTER. Funny the way you can never see just how hard the dirt is in photos.

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Ready for the dog and pony show?

These dogs… There is so much play and silliness in this place, it’s wild!Picture41

 

Yes, he is in fact trying to play with the horses. It’s just a bigger dog. Right? For those of you that don’t know, that’s called a play bow and an invitation to join the fun and games. The dog’s doing the play bow, the horse is not.Picture43

 

Ok, the horses really just want to play, too.

Picture44I don’t know for sure, but I don’t think these monkeys returned the play bow, either…

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Cameron Park Picture46

Central Park of Texas” At least they have turtles, although surely Central Park requires better seating arrangements

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My life for the nest semester:

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The books, not the toilet. Well… They may have to take a trip to Cameron Park with me. Not because I need a better place to sit and read. But in 15 weeks, if the disaster intervention fails, that is definitely where I will want to put them.

Hope y’all had a great holiday season! If you don’t hear from me before May, I am in Mexico.

Carlos is waiting!

Tis the Season for Tornados

December 2015

Picture33Spectacular sunset at Lake Waco

Howdy! Did you know it is the longest day of the year? So, here in Texas, the sun is setting at 5::30pm and rising at 7:30am. Short days and long nights… Sounds like the perfect weather for drinking eggnog and hot chocolate while sitting around a fire waiting for the snow to start falling. The other fun fact about December here in Texas- I have seen frosty mornings twice (not because I sleep in so late it’s thawed out before I get out of bed). This past week while my family was visiting, it was Mr. Bauer weather- sunny and seventy degrees! Hard to believe this is what they call “Winter” here in the south.

Ok, so what happened these past few months… It feels like I need someone else to tell me! My nose was against the grindstone pretty hard those last several weeks. Finals mostly consisted of projects and papers with only one really big test. Oh, and to pass Baylor classes, grades must be over 70%. Fortunately, as one of my upper classman told me, they didn’t admit us to graduate school to flunk us out! And what hiring agency will care that I only got a 90.03% in class. I say, 90.03 is just as much of an A and without half the stress that might come with a 99.03!

Picture34Just another day at work. Sic ‘em Bears!

I’m not planning to find out what else it takes, I had enough to think about when I had to find someone to interview for a paper while worrying about what to make for Thanksgiving! (For anyone who might be wondering: Madeline’s Refrigerator Rolls, Pom-Feta-Spinach Salad with Walnuts and Zesty Balsamic, and I ended up making gravy since no one knew what to do when the giblets didn’t come with directions on the package)

I hope no one was worried about what I might do for Thanksgiving! My class celebrated the week before. Everyone brought something and Texans love pie, so there were half again as many desserts as main dishes. That’s what I like to see! Chocolate pie, Chocolate Molten Bundt Cake thing that was AMAZING, Derby pie (Pecan pie+ Chocolate), Ice Cream sandwich cake, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin pie. Mmmmm! It felt like a Lackner potluck! Of course, this was after a table overflowing with the usual candidates. I have a pretty great class!

The next weekend was Thanksgiving proper. You know, because the first one was just a warm up… Thanksgiving proper started with a Church potluck to put the Lackners to shame on Wednesday, Thursday I spent at the home of an amazing couple who are hospitable beyond words. Amazing food, cupcake decorating contest, great conversation, and Christmas music after dinner. Love them! Friday was “Friends-giving” with another turkey baked. Saturday was a second church Thanksgiving with the leftovers lasting through the rest of the week. Then I sat down to start writing papers and didn’t get up again until my last final December 10!

Cuz grad school is all about living a low-stress lifestyle, eating healthy meals and exercising regularly, right?

Most of you know Leonard and my parents came to visit. Leonard arrived on the 12th and the adventures began immediately! We visited every nursery within driving distance, went to a Christmas concert, the caBEARet show, and he helped me shift my brain out of overdrive into “relax” mode. I probably drove him crazy with not being able to sit still (except in a moving car) and talking his ear off about my search for the perfect internship for this summer (I never did get to see his photos from Madagascar, so maybe I should just go collect some of my own, eh?) and next year and how I haven’t found Carl, but there are lots of really nice guys on a university campus! How’s a girl supposed to find time to hang out with them between work and internship and study?!?! First world problems.

Mom and dad flew I a few days later and we all piled into my little two door Carolla and started a whirlwind trip across Central Texas. The trail of debris can probably still be seen by satellite. We stayed in some really nice places- Fredericksberg has such fun, cute little homes. San Antonio has the gorgeous Missions established in the 1700s by Franciscan missionaries. You know about them. Remember the Alamo? I love how history is the stuff our lives are growing in. We do what we do without a second thought to everything before. But there was SO MUCH! So cool. But never fun in History class. Sorry, teacher friends :)

Anywho, Hurricane Carolla set out on a culinary expedition. Tex-Mex. What makes it more or less than Mex? Seems it is a mystery that does not involve lard. Learned that Texas follows the national requirements for minimum wage. ($7.25 and $2.13 for servers. Living wages, y’all.) Yes, Sweet Potato ice cream is a thing and Yes, it is delicious. Almost as delicious as the Goat/honey/thyme. Or the Beet-lime. But butter and pecan pairs so much better with Salty Chocolate Olive Oil! Sorry Blue Bell, no one is impressed. If there is more to do than simply observe the finest of America at Buc-ee’s, we missed it. But since it seems no one told Texans that the Republic of Texas joined the rest of the United States, they can be proud of their HFCS desserts and gas stations.

The trip ended too soon and with too few hugs and not enough laughter. Most of the damage has been sustained in my wardrobe considering my pants no longer fit. My favorite part was when we just sat around playing cards. It was a standard Tornado Time Warp. Where so much happened in such a short amount of time that it’s hard to believe everything we did in that week but also hard to believe it was only a week! Such good times. I love those kids! Makes me hope they will come visit me next Christmas at destination Internship!! So I’m off to research that ideal program somewhere they’d be willing to come play cards again!

Picture35First day of winter in wacky Waco, 74 degrees with the low for the week dropping to a frigid 50!

I miss them already. And each one of you! I’m going to miss getting to see y’all over the holidays, but I trust you will survive without me. I trust you’re wiser than I and will wear your elastic pants to make your way through the pie trough and into the New Year. I’m off to enjoy these next few hours of sunlight and pray I will find a paid summer internship somewhere exotically delicious with Carlos!

Oh course that’s not how I’m going to start searching Google… It will be something more realistic like paid summer internship with delicious exotic Carlos ;)

Now I’m going to try to endure the weather this week and plant a hedgerow of Texas lilac and Crepe Mertle for the bees. Don’t worry about me over Christmas, I’ll be spending Christmas with a big group of lovely folks and have plenty of cooking to do. Hopefully they don’t need me to make the gravy again, but I will be more than happy to help with any pumpkin pie leftovers :) I’m real excited!

Love y’all and big ole’ Texas sized hugs were sent home for each of you in the arms of those who visited! Wishing you a joy-filled season!

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