Relocation

So you may have noticed I hinted at some big transition changes coming up in reviewing our touring time with my grandparents this month (for more on this see my posts: playing tourist with the grandparents). Well here are am to explain : we are relocating!

As some of you may know since moving to upstate New York I have struggled to find teaching positions in my field. (see my posts: a teacher without a classroom) But at the beginning of this month I interviewed for an ESL teaching position at a Community College in a suburb of Rochester. I was offered the job the same day!  The next two days Luke and I had to deliberate over whether to accept the position because it would require moving and hour North before September. After much consideration and prayer I took the job and will start teaching after Labor Day.

I am very excited to be headed back in the ESL field and to work with a population I care so much about. Plus I am looking forward to working and networking with other teachers who feel the same way. I am ready to being back to working in a larger city with more diversity and opportunities. I have already had a collaborative meeting  teachers of the  course I will instructing  in the fall and have a orientation meeting at the end of August.

But between then and now there is so much to do ! We have already met with a relator and banks to discuss buying a house somewhere in Dansville; a town about 45 minutes South from Rochester and 30 minutes North of Bath where Luke works.

This is a huge overwhelming step for me. There are few places to rent in Dansville and the housing market here is affordable.  We are hoping that living in a quiet town where we can go to local small-town events will be good for us. But we are excited to hopefully have that lifestyle balanced by being closer to the big-city shopping, events, and restaurants.

We had our first house-hunting adventure yesterday (more of an update I’m sure on that to come). Once we choose a place and get the ball rolling on that we’ll have to start looking into cars because we are still sharing one. For more on this see my post: living with one care: the tire story revisited.

On top of all of this we are trying to find time to enjoy summer festivals and activities. I am doing everything I  need to to prepare for the intensive night writing class I am teaching next month in addition to prep for the semester long ESL class I will start this next fall.

So as you can see we are in the middle of a very busy and exciting summer of transitions.

How has you summer been going?

A transition of Grace

As I mentioned in my Transition Update life has gone from 0-60mph very quickly. Since I started teaching on March 11 today is the first day I feel life is leveling out and beginning to settle.

Monday night the 10th I attended our second week of Choir practice for the Easter production. Then Luke the next morning left for a VA ethics conference, on his birthday, in Minneapolis MN.

That day (March 11) I re-read and looked over my lesson plan for my first night of teaching a new course. I was obviously nervous. It was my first time teaching a four hour night class and I was feeling a little out of practice. This had made it difficult for me sleep . So tired and an odd combination of anxious and excited I ate dinner alone and headed up the hill to the community college to teach.

The first hour was a little rocky adjusting to student interactions, managing time, and bouncing between activities and my notes. But after that first hour I remember what it was like to teach again and it all came back to me. I came home beyond exhausted but still shared everything with Luke on the phone.

The next day I totally crashed. My mind couldn’t focus and I was all muddled. We had freezing rain and snow and I decided I just wasn’t up to going to the Y for my bi-weekly Zumba class. The next day I began to regroup and had a girls outing to attend which helped distract me from the empty house. When I came home I caught up with Luke as we looked forward to seeing each other the next day.

Since then it has been difficult to make it to the Y. I am still keeping our dinners healthy but getting even a half hour to work out at home everyday let alone doing more has been hard.

In this crazy time of transition I have to remember and re-learn to show myself a lot of grace.  I am a person who thrived on routines; they help me keep the everyday problems and anxieties at bay. So when that routine gets shaken-up it always takes me awhile to adjust.

This is especially true when the new changes require more responsibilities and/or more socializing. In that time of adjusting I often expect myself to keep up with the normal routine items such as :cleaning, cooking, dieting/eating right, and exercise. But keeping up these routines while the whole of the schedule/pattern is shifting is sometimes just not feasible. Still my control-freak mindset likes to have temper tantrums about this.

I have to remind myself that when new stressful situations occur it’s ok to take a nap instead of exercise, or cuddle up with a good book instead of brave the snow to go to the Y, or to eat a little extra because my brain is working overtime and trying to adjust to new/old patterns of thinking.

These reminders require showing myself grace. Because in the end, after the adjustment period has ended, I will come out of survival mode and be able to take on the new responsibilities and stressors and still maintain those important routines. I’ve done it before and I will do it again. It helps to look back and recognize I am still more balanced and overall my life is healthier than it was before even last year.

The hardest part is convincing myself that one or two weeks without the normal diet, exercise, sleep, or cleaning patterns will not be the end of me or the end of the world-just apart of a necessary adjustment while in transition.

How about you? In what areas of your life or times do you struggle to show yourself Grace?

A transition update

Yes I know it has been more than three weeks since I last posted. No I have not abandoned my blog or my audience. Yes I missed you too.

Now that that’s out of the way here’s why I haven’t been writing: I have been very busy.

I know it’s THAT excuse again. But I am being honest. We are in a major transition here and it is a positive one but it requires adjusting priorities and time. This means enjoyable hobbies such as blogging tend to go on a temporary invisible shelf until necessary adjustments have been made.

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So now that adjustments are underway let me take the blog off the shelf and start filling you in on the big stuff:

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1. Teaching: Yes! Starting tomorrow I will finally be back in the classroom geared up with my post it notes, paper clips, whiteboard pens, and binder full of handouts. Yesterday I pulled my teaching messenger bag out of its dark forgotten crumpled corner and filled it with books, binders, folders, and teaching supplies- you have no idea how good that felt.

I will be teaching a college level writing course on Tuesday nights through March and April with a local college. The classes are four hours long (eek! I think I will join most of my students in drinking copious amounts of coffee) once a week. I’m looking forward to be able to teach critical thinking and practical writing skills to students who will use them not only in their course work but also hopefully in their careers.  I’m excited by this new opportunity and challenge but of course nervous as well. But it will feel good to be back in the classroom (even if it is for a once a week night class).

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2. Freelance editing: Another big Yes!! If you didn’t know, for the past several years I have been editing my mother-in-law’s books and materials. Now after a few years of experience under my belt I am  branching out to do freelance editing for other clients.

Now let’s be clear I never anticipated going into business for myself even part-time let alone in editing-but as with most people’s careers things gradually change and editing  has become something I enjoy . . . a lot . . . and no it’s not all about the grammar.

I look forward to helping writers express their thoughts and intentions to their audience and that has more to do with word choice, phrasing, and writing structures then making sure the writing is spelled correctly or in the right verb tense (although I do that too). I started working with my first clients at the end of last month and so far it’s been great to read, interpret, and expound on their thoughts, and ideas in a way that will help them immerse their readers into their story.

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3. Social activities: After the holidays last year we put our couples small group on hold until we could re-evaluate it’s direction and focus. After several months of talk, we decided to join up with a new small group hosted by a couple who had previously attended our group in the fall. We are meeting on Sunday nights right now enjoying coffee, baked goodies, and open discussion on how to get beyond the positives/negatives of the label “Christian”.

Also we have just begun preparing for Easter. At our church that means a large production for the community that will be available to see five time the weekend of Easter! This year  I am excited to get back into music  performance by participating in a  Easter production choir. Luke will also be participating as part of the cast. This means practices every Monday night and as we get closer to Easter some Tuesday and weekend dress rehearsals as well. It’s hard to give up one more night of the week (a night previously reserved for exercise) but it’s temporary and gives us the opportunity to get to know more people in our community and be creative.

So those are the big reasons why I haven’t been writing. Yes you will be hearing more on these topics. Yes I will be getting back to sharing about festivals, celebrations, baking, cooking and all of those other “normal” topics . . . in time.

So how about you? Any major changes headed your way?

Are you in a transition as we move towards spring?

Anything you have had to put on the shelf temporarily?

6 months =100 posts

 Hard to believe I started blogging A.Greene’s Adventures 6 months ago. 100 posts later, I have shared with you the ways I have transformed, transitioned, and transcended, into married life in Corning NY.

Looking back, since January we:

Survived our first NY winter

our little home covered in snow

our little home covered in snow

(See: A lesson in Independence2300 degreesmy new hometown)

Settled into our home, state, and name change

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(See: I miss my old lifeBecoming Mrs. ________________Passport to new beginningsThe Game Chest, The front porch project

Celebrated first married holidays just the two of  us

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A very Irish dinner complete with Luke's Irish red ale (I had hard cider).

A very Irish dinner complete with Luke’s Irish red ale (I had hard cider).

(See: Valentines Pie a new traditionHappy St. Patrick’s Day!A (new) Easter traditionHappy Mother’s DayHappy Memorial DayHappy Father’s Day4th of July funfetti cookies,)

Discovered the job market and applied to teaching positions (me).

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(See: The future ispatience: giving myself timeSummer projects, the waiting gameContentment is)

Enjoyed spring and summer festivals:

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(See: Strawberry FestivalStars hollow, fireworks, and minionsTwo festivals,

Learned from each other what our married life looks like:

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(See: Dispelling Marriage MythsMarriage myth busting round 2Sleep after Marriage isn’t always a Dream come TrueHappily Ever After is only the Beginning

Explored the area on drives, hikes, and kayaking

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(See: kayaking and BBqAn Ithaca Birthday Adventure,)

Checked out the best local events and food

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(See:  Sorge’s: local food and wineCabin feverGlassfest, )

Brewed our first homemade barley-free beer

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(See: Why I am barley free part oneA chemistry lesson for a B-day PresentThe home-brewing has begunBottling our first homemade brew,

Created and experimented with many new dinners

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(See: A Vegetarian Mediterranean meal,   A good Spring QuicheGreene’s Tilapia fish tacos

and dessert recipes and found our favorites:

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(See: key lime chocolate cupcakescookies n’ cream pudding popsMocha cupcake oreo brownies)

Reflected back on our wedding as we celebrated each new month of marriage

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(See: Who to choose for your bridal partyWow it’s been 6 monthsThe DressA pictures worthTo the Brides to be . . .)

Spent quality time with family and friends in Oregon

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(See: Our first VacationVacation highlights: Date Days,

Shared in the excitement of my brother’s graduation and engagement

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(See: Wedding Season has BegunFamily Time Vacation Highlights)

Celebrated our birthdays

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(See: Cinnamon Roll Bunt B-day Cake25 is Goldenbirthday in picture review)

Paid off all credit card debt and learned ways to save money after completing a budget class at church

Learned how to maintain and live with one car and no dishwasher

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(See: I’m a New Yorker?!Living without a dishwasherLiving with one car,)

Made new friends

Went to Washington to celebrate my brother’s wedding

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(See: Pre-wedding Jitterscongrats matt and stina! and I promise pictures and details from the wedding are coming soon)

And so much more. Thank you everyone for your encouragement, your comments (here or on facebook), and most of all for sharing in Luke and my lives through reading about our adventures.

If this is your first time exploring my blog, first of all welcome! Also to learn more about my last 6 months  click on the links above, check out the calendar archive ,or look into the categories on the right of my page.

Looking forward to sharing many more adventures,

-A. Greene

Pre-wedding Jitters

I’ve got pre-wedding jitters, only it’s not my wedding and they are jitters of excitement and anticipation. Today I am flying out to Washington. I’m coming into town a week before my little brother’s wedding so I can help with the last minute planning and participate in pre-wedding events. My pre-wedding itinerary includes: a bridal shower, moms and daughter(s) manicure date, pottery decorating class, bachlorette party, and of course the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner and the big wedding day: August 3rd.

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In the midst of all of this, I plan on making up for my lack of involvement as the future sister-in-law and as a bridesmaid. I expect to be running back and forth to the craft store, helping the moms with last minute details and most importantly helping in anyway possible to keep the bride-to-be Stina calm.

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Such a beautiful state 🙂

I would love to make this into a vacation and re-aquaint myself with the state of my college years and potentially visit with some friends, but I doubt I will get out of town that much considering I am not renting a car.  Although Luke and I have grown accustomed to sharing one car, I am still used to having a much more significant amount of time to myself: my schedule, my space, my quiet introverted world.

say goodbye to the car for a week

say goodbye to the car for a week

But this trip, from tomorrow until next Thursday, I will be staying with my parents and sharing a car with them. This is the first time since I moved out and got married that we will get this much quality time and in each other’s space time (aka sharing the same room/bathroom). It will require us all to have a little patience and show each other grace.

The Halvorsons

In a few days we’ll take the same picture but this time I won’t be the one in white

Also this is the first time Luke and I will be away from each other since we got married. There were a few nights the first two weeks of marriage Luke worked nightshift but since last October we have seen each other everyday.  So we will be making quite a jump from never being apart to being apart for a whole week. It will be challenging probably in ways I don’t understand yet. But I’m interested to discover how often we will want to text or call each other while we are apart. Let’s just say I am glad I will be busy and distracted. By the time Luke comes into town and checks us into our own room at the hotel the wedding events will be in full swing: family and wedding party arriving from out of town for the rehearsal the next day.

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I’m looking forward to spending time with my family and friends and to sharing these moments will all of you. But you will have to be patient since I expect to be away from computer a lot in the next week. Until then I’d appreciate any prayers or good wishing vibes you want to send for safe travels and a successful and calm (as can be possible) pre-wedding week for everyone involved.

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What are you looking forward to this weekend/next week?

Summer projects, the waiting game, and being content

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Well summer has officially started as of today. This calls to my mind what this season might bring for me.

Since vacation in May (see Vacation Highlights part 1 and Vacation Highlights part 2) I have felt pressure to work hard at my job: the job of finding a job. It is hard living in a place where you know no one because with jobs these days it really is all about who you know. And who do I know here? A handful of people by name and even then not well at all.

a card my brother game me after graduating from college

a card my brother game me after graduating from college

So then what do I do?  Gather all the needed materials, send it to any job in my field of experience then hope, pray, and wait. Last week I sent off a job application for several positions teaching at the local community college.  Every time I think about that application  many “what ifs” come to mind. You know the game: what if . . . they didn’t get it, it’s buried in paperwork, they are already done interviewing for the positions I was looking at etc. Then I remember the “what if” game gets me absolutely nowhere but very stressed and frustrated. It is out of my hands, in theirs and I need to choose to hope for the best instead of wondering.

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What do I do while I wait? Good question. This has been the longest I have been without a job, school, or some combination of both ever. My life and calendar=very open. So again-what do I do with my time? Well you are reading part of it. (Just in case you wondered why I post so often). Other than blogging I do some editing work for my mother-in-law’s who is an author , weekly catch up with family and friends from out West. Past that? My life consists of a  pretty mundane routine of  dishes, getting groceries, laundry, cleaning the house, prepping dinner, exercise, reading, and watching netflix shows. For some people this limited level of responsibilities would be bliss. For those busy women out there with several jobs and/or possibly several children I know you must envy my spare time. But for me it is torture.

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I am a very active person who enjoys deeply, fully investing in a cause I know I can make a difference in. I am ambitious, hard working, diligent, detail oriented. (I know I sound like I’m rehearsing for an interview or rattling off one of my more recent intent letters for job applications). But I promise this is just me being transparent with my readers about my personality. I told Luke the other night “How do you think you would do with having 8 months of no work, no school, and not having your own car?” He thought about it and realized “not too well”. I’ve been trying, really, to not be “not doing too well” with what I’ve been given.

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I  try a lot of new recipes, and gratefully appreciate time with Luke.  But mostly I do a lot of thinking about what my purpose is here in NY? What am I supposed to be doing while I am here?

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So now I come to the topic of summer projects. I don’t currently have any. I am a creative person and could apply myself to several new tasks or old hobbies and enjoy them. But I am also very purpose driven, so if I don’t have a practical reason to do these projects then I have a hard time starting them. Luke has mentioned trying to find me an electric piano because I haven’t played since we moved. I could finish a painting I’ve left undone for almost a year, start making or learning to make more jewelry (or sign up for a crafting class) but none of these would be investing in others or serving for a deep or greater purpose then taking up my time.

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I promise this post is not a  group invite to a personal pity party or written to pull your heart strings to elicit sympathetic replies. It is instead a realistic view of where I am at. I am trying to be grateful for the many details I can take for granted and continue to exercise the disciples of being patient and content. Two very difficult and necessary virtues.

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As for what I am enjoying about the summer season? The weather of course for one. This past winter left a pretty deep imprint on my mind. Secondly there is a new activity almost every weekend in the area. It is as if each little town, village, or city has it’s own weekend (or several) for summer festivals. And that is not including the county fairs, state fair, and farmers markets. Of course  there are also so many outdoor activities and places to explore : kayaking, hiking, camping, swimming at the many lakes, waterfalls, and wooded hills and mountains surrounding us. And last of all of course I’m looking forward to my brother’s wedding in August!!

Invite came in the mail this week!!

Invite came in the mail this week!!

I know I will enjoy this summer and that I should be  content with the limited responsibilities and activities I have. But I also know I would embrace the time even more if I knew that it was limited and had an idea of when it will end, knowing I am progressing towards some purposeful activities here in New York.

So answering my earlier question I believe this Summer season will bring me: sunshine, a great time celebrating with family at my brother’s wedding, and hopefully a job come fall.

How about you? What are your summer plans?

The home-brewing has begun

As I explained last month, one of the first things people think about when they hear I’m allergic to barley is that I cannot drink beer. But my husband Luke has chosen to turn this into a fun challenge. He is finally starting a hobby he has been wanting to do for awhile: home brewing his own beer (as mentioned in wait barley free means not beer right?). As I promised I would keep you posted and I’m excited to say the home-brewing process has begun!

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After reading up on the chemical process and visiting the home-brewing store several times to ask questions, Luke decided he was ready to begin.

So this past weekend I counted up how much of Luke b-day money was left and with that number in mind we went to the home-brewing store. The first step was picking up the one-time purchase supplies which included: glass carboy, primary fermenter, bottling bucket and spigot, no-rinse cleanser, triple scale hydrometer, siphon hose and shut off clamp, liquid crystal thermometer, 20 quart brew pot, drilled carboy bung, carboy brush, lid with grommet, airlock , auto-siphon, bottle filler, twin level capper, bottle brush, brew paddle, lab thermometer, 10 star sanitizer, and 10″test jar.

That is a long list! For all of  this, Luke decided it was cheapest if he bought a kit. And the only reason I know all that was included is because it’s printed on the box.With this kit we can make 5 gallons which amounts to about 53-21 oz. glasses of beer. If this experiment works, we won’t be buying beer for a long time, and have plenty to share 🙂

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Then it was time to pick out which ingredients to include in the beer. Luke knew what he needed: yeast, hops, a grain, and syrup but of those: what flavor? what variety? how much?

Home-brewing has become a big hobby especially among the gluten-free community. So supplies such as sorghum (which replaces the barley as the sugar /syrup component) are not difficult to find. There is a large variety of recipes online and in beer making magazines. The number of which are gluten-free is limited but available. These recipes use replace barley and wheat with corn or rice.

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But the market for barley-free recipes and supplies is even smaller. See what makes our chemical concoction possibilities different is that I can have wheat, rye, or any other grain that is not a malt aka barley. What we have found though is that most wheat beer recipes are actually 50/50 wheat and barley. So Luke doesn’t have a specific recipe to work off of.  As with any food/drink making there is a science to it, but also a lot of guess work.

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So after checking out the options and asking me what I thought we ended up with: a larger yeast, cascade and UK challenger hops, midnight wheat, and sorghum syrup. This is our first try and we have no idea how it will go. With excitement (and a little hesitation) Luke gave me the look of “here we go” and we took everything to the register.

This weekend we will start putting these ingredients to work. I don’t know as much about the process as Luke, but as his designated “beer-making helper” I’m sure I’ll learn. And as before I’ll fill you in on how it goes.

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Any of you trying a new challenging hobby?

Do you like to experiment with new recipes?