Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Year is Ending....

Only 9 days left of teaching before this school year is over! It seems amazing that I've almost made it through this monumentous first year happy and still loving teaching :) I really will miss my class, though I am excited for next year and a new opportunity to try again and get more things right! It is sounding hopeful that I will teach 4th grade next year, but we'll see if that actually comes to pass. It would make life much happier, but so long as I have a job, I'll try to be content. I thought I would share some pictures of my classroom from open house, so you can see what my work environment looks like :)

Hope you are all having a lovely start to your June!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Fun at the Falls

(Our Future Wedding Site)

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves - this is what Ed and I did on the first day of our Engagement :) After Ed and I looked at our wedding site we went for a run/hike to go visit Cataract Falls. It was great! We even ran into Mike Palmer, who was out running around the mountain, which was really run, since he's the one who introduced me to Mt. Tam :)

In other good news- my layoff notice got rescinded (though with the Propositions 1A and 1B not passing..I might still have something to worry about) but it at least looks somewhat promising :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Full Story

This is a long one, so be prepared. This is partially for me too, so that I have this all recorded for years to come :)

Ed promised me a romantic weekend of camping, amidst a very busy May. He refused to tell me where we were going, but promised it would be a new experience. I spent that Thursday making chili and shopping for the trip, and packed a duffel full of sweatpants, hiking clothes, scarves, and gloves. Ed would be picking me up straight from work and I was excited to go. I had a small hope that maybe this weekend would be *the* weekend, but didn't want to get my hopes up.

Ed has taken me to surprise locations before, and always tries to surprise me a little by faking me out at crucial driving junctions. This trip was no different, but once we got near San Francisco, I had hopes that maybe we were going to my favorite place - Mt. Tamalpais. As we crossed through the tunnel before the bridge, I held my breath and made a wish - that Ed would propose this weekend. We crossed over the beautiful Golden Gate and I began to get excited. As we went through a second, smaller tunnel, I held my breath and amended my first wish- that no matter what, I would enjoy the amazing weekend I knew I would have with Ed.

We turned off for Mt. Tam, and I began to get excited - I had a very good feeling about this. I joked with Ed that it would be so funny if he was taking me to the Inn after all, and he laughed. About 5 minutes later, he pulled into the Inn parking lot - Surprise!

As we checked in, I was certain that he was going to propose, but tried to contain my excitement. He suggested a hike before dinner, so after getting changed, we drove off to Pan Toll, parked the car, and took off down the coastal trail. This is one of the most beautiful trails ever, and we deeply enjoyed walking under the shade of the redwoods with the needles cushioning my feet. "Did you happen to bring a light?" I asked Ed, as it was already after 6. "No," said Ed. Hmm.....

Soon enough, we got to the Matt Davis trail junction. Ed looked somewhat concerned and took out the map. He showed me where we were supposed to be and, according to the map, we had definitely passed it. He wanted to believe that we weren't quite that far down the trail, but finally acknowledged that we had missed our turn. We backtracked about half a mile, and found the somewhat overgrown, uphill turn off. Up we went, with grass up to our waists. After 7 or so minutes of uphill climbing we came to a junction. The trail to the left looked more used than the one in front of us, so over we went.

However, 10 minutes on this and it seemed that perhaps this wasn't right either. The trail became relatively flat and was just meandering across the hills (with a fairly spectacular drop off). It was also only about a foot wide. Eventually, Ed decided to run ahead to see if the trail had any potential at all. He came back and said we had to turn around.

At this point I was getting worried- what if he thought that this was a bad omen and decided not to propose! We headed back and decided to head up the very steep overgrown trail and hope for the best. We saw some people above, and hoped we were on the right track. The trail was very difficult to climb at times, and I was just hoping to make it to the top!

We got there and saw a group of teens smoking on a rock! Ack...we couldn't get engaged in front of them! I saw another trail and a cluster of trees up a little higher and suggested that we head there. Off we went, and when we got there, we discovered that this was the place we had meant to get to all along, O'Rourke's Bench. I, of course, needed to catch my breath, so I drank some water and took in the amazing views. Meanwhile, Ed put on the sweater that I had gotten him for Christmas.

He came over to where I was standing and took my hand in his and put them around his neck, telling me how much he loved me. Then, he reached into his pocket, knelt down, and asked me to marry him. The image of him kneeling there with the ring, and the whole bay area behind him is an image that I won't soon forget.

Of course I said yes and even got a little teary. We kissed and enjoyed spending a little while at our bench, soaking in this transformative moment.

The story, however, doesn't quite end there. By this point, the sun was setting, and we were still a good 3 trail miles from the car! The road was down to our left, so we decided to hike back on the road instead. We picked another 'shortcut' trail, but this one was very tricky, especially going downhill! Luckily, neither of us fell, even though I almost did numerous times. Just to make things more difficult, Ed got bitten by a tick on the way down! We had to stop and thankfully were able to get it off before it did any damage.

We finally got down to the road (after, of course, a few wrong turns on the trails) and started heading back, realizing that there was a parking lost a near four tenths of a mile from the bench! Ed was a little frustrated to hear that, but we decided that the hike made the proposal all the better.

However, we soon realized that we were going to be walking for a good half an hour, and would miss dinner at the Inn. So, for the first time in either of our lives, we decided to hitchhike. We got a ride from the first car we tried, full of locals who had just been hiking at the falls. I was glowing with excitement and of course told them that we had just gotten engaged.
Soon, we were back at the car, and then back at the Inn, officially an engaged couple.

My tunnel wish came true :)

(part 2 of the weekend still to come)

First Engagement Gift

The long post is still coming, but I wanted to share that I got my first engagement gift.

One of my students brought me a red rose to congratulate me on my happy news :D

I love 4th graders!

Saturday, May 09, 2009


This obviously deserves a long and well detailed post, but for now, let me just say that I am engaged, and ridiculously happy :) Ed told me we were going camping, but then surprised me by taking me to Mountain Home Inn. He took me on a hike to O'Rouke's Bench (by way of about 3 wrong trails...) and then told me he loved me and got down on one knee with a gorgeous ring. I definitely think this rivals best proposal locations you could ever imagine.

Anyways, more to follow, with, of course, lots of photos.

I am so happy :D

View from the proposal spot

looking back up at the hill where Ed proposed

The happy couple the next morning

My beautiful ring

Sunday, May 03, 2009

A New Leaf

I've been holding off on this post until I was sure that my new efforts we're going to stick, but I think it's safe to go ahead and share my recent efforts.

My first big announcement of sorts is that I've finally decided to do something about the effects of not running and not healthy eating. Much as I haven't wanted to admit it, my sleek runner's figure has turned into something that I'm not incredibly proud of. Almost 30 extra pounds of something to not be proud of. I didn't realize it was quite that much until I decided to face the music at my friendly neighborhood weight watchers meeting.

WW and I have a history together. I first went on it when I was 16 and lost an impressive 32 lbs, but was not healthy by the end of it, eating odd diet foods and not enough of it. I also got down to what was probably an unhealthy weight for me (about 20 lbs below what I weighed when running). I went off to college and got to what I consider my healthy running weight, dabbling with weight loss off and on in college. My whole family has done weight watchers at one point or another (and in fact two of my family members are currently slimming down with it).

So, once I was ready to admit that I wasn't going to get motivated on my own, it seemed natural to go back. It's very different doing this as an adult with an understanding and appreciation for healthy foods. I've been enjoying trying out new healthy recipes, and have so far made a delicious spinach manicotti and a very tasty chicken pot pie. I really don't feel like I've changed my eating too much, except that I'm just being consistent in being healthy. So far, the efforts have been going well! I lost 5.4 lbs my first week, and am feeling hopeful about this coming weigh in, as my clothes are continuing to fit better. *fingers crossed* I think my goal is to lose that 30 lbs, but we'll see how it goes. At this point, I'm aiming for 5%, which I will hopefully reach in the next week or two, and then 10%, and then go from there.

To aid me in these efforts, I have a second announcement. This one I post with some trepidation, because I have made so many of these "announcements" before. Despite not really noticing much of a change with the steroid shot, I have decided to start running again. If my leg always hurts, and stays pretty constant in the level of pain regardless of anything, than running isn't necessarily detrimental to it. Even when it hurt in the beginning, I was still running sometimes 10 miles at a time. Since my doctor has now officially given up on finding out what is wrong, I don't really have a good idea of where to turn next, so I'm just going to try to be active and see where that gets me. I ran twice last week and twice this week, and it's been nice. Of course, I am horribly out of shape, and am finding myself limited by that, as well as by my leg, so that's frustrating, but I know I'll get more in shape soon. I've also been using the elliptical twice a week, which will hopefully get me stronger.

Ed and I went on a fun(ny) run yesterday that was beautiful, but had ridiculously sticky mud! As we ran, our feet got heavier and heavier as thick layers of mud caked to the shoe. The mud would cake on until it was about 3 inches thick (and incredibly heavy) and then would come off, making us appreciate how light a foot naturally is. We were reduced to walking after not too long, which was workout enough. We did find another trail that was a bit less muddy and were able to do some running on that, and overall we did appreciate the time outside.

It is nice to feel like I'm getting back into shape, and maybe regaining some of that healthy athletic image that I had so enjoyed. I don't know if this is the road back to real running, but it's at least a road to a healthier, better me :)