Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Photos

FYI: This is a long one

We've had a lot going on around here since returning from vacation. Some of it good, some of it bad, and I've been working tirelessly to get pictures ready to share with you. Yes, I care that much. You can thank me later. I'll start with some talking and end with the pictures.

Let's get The Bad out of the way first, eh?
  • Ok, well you know my internship for this fall is a big mess. But regardless of all that, there is a class that goes with the internship that you have to enroll in just like any of your other courses. Well if my internship wasn't enough of a hassle, something mysteriously went wrong with my student loan as well. I say "mysteriously" because no one ever contacts you to say there's a problem. I applied in February and by the end of May hadn't heard a word or seen a dollar. So I started making phone calls and found out that the lender was waiting for my school to approve the loan. I'll never understand why the school needs to approve a private loan. I don't owe it back to them, why do they care? Anyway, I called JHU and they said, oh, there's a slip you need to fill out and fax to us. So I did that on May 27th. Shortly before vacation, fall registration opens up. Well I can't register since I haven't paid my tuition yet because I still have no check. So I log onto the lender's website and check my account and it says the disbursement date for my check is the next day. Yay! So I won't get it before we leave for vacation, but it should be waiting for me when I get home. No. Waiting for me when I get home is a letter saying too much time has gone by, we need you to resign this perfectly good promissory note we have and mail it back to us before we'll send your check. In the meantime, an email goes out from JHU that says all interns must register by August 1st. So as we speak, the internship classes are rapidly filling up as everyone tries to register before August 1st. I'm certain I'll get stuck taking the class at the Southern MD campus in La Plata. I did email them to let them know I was still waiting on my student loan, and they just said to register when I get the chance, but by then it's hard to say what sections will be open. Yikes.
  • Also, Josh returns to work on Monday morning (as if that's not hard enough) and is greeted with the news that he's been placed on a contract. That is, he has a new job that he has not interviewed for or personally accepted. He had mentioned to his boss that he felt like he wasn't busy enough and was interested in seeing what other opportunities his contract held. So while he was on vacation, the girl who works with him (not his boss) finds him a new job on the contract and accepts it for him. He's being relocated to Ft. Meade to an office built in the '50s that has bugs and mice. After being warned not to put any food in his desk, he's asked to notify them if he develops any health problems. ?!?!?!? THEN, he gets back to his current office and everyone is there waiting for him with a cake, jumping up and down and clapping their hands with excitement and congratulations. WTF. He was totally shocked and caught off guard. The whole thing was so completely weird. The girl who was behind this job change (he has a friend who filled him in on how it all went down), really doesn't like him and as far as I'm concerned took the opportunity to basically get rid of him. The worst thing is that since he had said something to his boss about making a move he can't really go back now and say, thanks but no thanks without looking bad. I'm sure his boss agreed to the switch because she thought it was something he would have wanted. I don't know if any of them realized the condition of the office or how OCPD Josh really is. But what's done is done at this point and he's just gotta make the best of it.
Tired yet? Ok, let's talk about The Good, shall we?
  • On the internship front, there is actually a glimmer of hope. I wrote my letter of appeal to the Counseling Department chair and he requested that I come in to meet with him. At this meeting, we went over my concerns and the discussion came down to the fact that I don't have enough time outside of the school day to complete such a large number (400) of service hours. He cautiously suggested that maybe he would allow me to complete these hours at my own school if my principal were agreeable. I didn't point out to him that my principal had called and emailed him saying precisely that, but got no response. So that piece of the internship puzzle seems to be coming together. Thank God.
  • Also, there is an upside to Josh's new job. While it's not a position Josh would have chosen himself, it actually holds a lot of potential for what he'd eventually like to be doing. They're going to get him into some very specialized courses that will help him move in the direction he wants to go. If he can survive in the creepy office for a little while, I think this will ultimately be a good move. He also has friends in HR from his time working in that office who have connections and know people at different companies who could pass his resume around if he found that he really couldn't hack it at this job. So that whole part of our lives is kind of blank-slate right now and we'll just be waiting to see how it all turns out. I'm hopeful though. It happened for a reason, and it will eventually prove positive I'm sure.
That wasn't so bad, was it? Those were our major happenings over the weekend after returning home. But I know you're ready to see the pictures and read all about the actual vacation so I'll get on with it already. The pictures aren't totally in chronological order. They're from two different cameras and in chronological order on each. So the first set of pictures are ones we took with the Canon Rebel (which did not leave the ship). The second set are taken with my little Olympus point-and-shoot. I'll explain all the pictures though, don't worry ;] Kay, hold on tight.........

First Set - Canon Rebel (on the ship and San Juan only)

We started our vacation with a chopper ride... juuussssst kidding! This is the channel 11 news chopper that followed our ship all the way out to Ft. McHenry to bid us farewell.

We hung out around the front of the ship while we made our way out of the harbor and down the bay. The wind did a number on our hair. Here's Josh's. We couldn't decide if it was more Edward Cullen, or Wolverine.
What do you think?

More crazy hair as we approach the bay bridge!

A pretty shot of the bridge just before we passed under it

My hair was hopeless in this wind...

... so we pretended I was a supermodel, ha!

Our first formal night - Friday. Some lady offered to take our picture. She was some kind of semi-pro too, she went nuts with the camera.

Land Ho! Arriving in Puerto Rico

Cute cute cute San Juan... Loved it!

San Cristobal - a big fort with many beautiful views

The first thing we saw on our way up to the gate of San Cristobal - amazing!

One of the many dark dungeon hallways -- but, did Josh flash to skeleton in this picture?!?

Me and San Juan :]

Completely candid. All I said was "don't move!"

A rainbow over San Juan! (and my hair doing "The Kramer"!)

Love this pic :]

My favorite building in San Juan. They were all these pretty pastel colors, and then this one was bold and bright. It's the building I would want to live in if I lived in San Juan. I'm not positive what "Se Vende" means, but I'm guessing they have a room for rent?

Me and the Puerto Rican coastline

As we were making our way back to the ship, a storm was approaching. It looked so ominous against the stark whiteness of this church building. I thought it made a cool picture, although we totally got caught in the storm and looked like drown rats by the time we got back to the ship. Oh well.

View of St. Thomas from the ship - indescribably cute!

View of Dominican Republic from the ship. This port didn't have a dock, you took a smaller boat over to the land, that's why it's far away.

The morning we arrived in Haiti

Second Set - Olympus (all of our adventures at the pool and on the islands)

Sitting on the pool deck on Saturday morning

Arrival in St. Thomas

The harbor from some crazy steep mountain road - I have a lot of these pictures at extreme angles because we were on an open bus ride over to Magens Bay where we swam for the afternoon.

Magens Bay - my favorite place of the whole trip <3

Magens Bay

Ok.... send your small children out of the room for this one. This dude walked up and down the beach the whole time we were there - obviously exhibiting himself. People were camped out at the water's edge with their cameras waiting for him to come back by so they could take his picture. I tried to be discrete and took my pictures from the towel where we were sitting, but there was a guy there who had out his professional-quality telephoto lens snapping shots of him from half a mile down the beach. In the larger picture (which you can see on my Picasa page), you can see that he has on blue eyeshadow, lipstick and long pink fingernails. WOW, was all we could say.
And JUST IN CASE you didn't think the front was bad enough.....
Can you believe this?!?!?!? I had to take pictures. A verbal description would have never done him justice.

Back to the pretty stuff.....

Our driver, Gomez, pulled off on a few stops along the way back from the beach so we could take some scenic pictures. This is a view of Magens Bay from up high on the mountain.

Josh and I at another scenic overlook

On to the Dominican Republic! This was us on our boat ride over to Cayo Levantado - a separate island that had a nice beach. We read SCARY things about Samana, the actual port. So we decided a beach excursion was our best (and safest) bet!

Roger. Good choice!

Ahhhh, postcard?

Happy to be at a beautiful beach!!

The water at Cayo Levantado wasn't as clear as Magens Bay, but it was still gorgeous. It's slight cloudiness added to it's bright color in the pictures, too.

My favorite picture from this island

Reading on the pool deck one evening

One of the perils of taking up residence on a moving vessel - you could find your husband's bath towel hanging from your toothbrush. We don't know how.

One of my favorite pictures from the trip :]

Second formal night, and the only sunset we actually saw

Josh climbed the rock wall!

Our last night at dinner.
Me, Nitin our waiter, Josh, Michael and Crystal

This was one tenth of the photos from the trip. You can see all 400 if you go to my Picasa page. There are a ton more that are so pretty from the different islands. So check them out and wish you were me :] Just kidding, of course.

And thanks to everyone who offered ideas for baby shower games!

Monday, July 27, 2009

We're Baaaaaaack :]

We're finally back home from our beautiful cruise! It was a wonderful time! We got back into port around 7am on Saturday and were back in our cozy home somewhere around 10. We spent the day unpacking and trying to relax a little bit. We had to make a trip to Eldersburg to pick up Shep and his sister Zoe (since Amberly left for vacation that morning). Once we got them settled back at our house we decided a nap was in order since we had gotten up so early in the morning. We accidentally slept an extra hour longer than we'd planned, but who cares. We decided on Chipotle for dinner and then drove out to White Marsh to warm Ben and Jenna's new home for them. We didn't get back home until about 1 am making Saturday a rather long and busy day.

Sunday Josh stayed home and caught up on some laundry and another nap. I left right after breakfast to go see my dad and take him to the store. That was around 11:30, I finally got back home at 4:15. Another long day for me. At that point Josh and I basically parked on the couch for the rest of the night and snuggled and cuddled and watched some old episodes of Chuck.

Today it's back to work for Josh and a decent sized to-do list for myself. As you can see I'm dutifully completing my to-do list by writing a blog post.... not. I'll get on it, don't worry. It's just that I knew you were all sitting here waiting for the blog post to come up so you could hear about our vacation. Sorry this post doesn't tell you a whole lot about it, I figured I'd save the details for when my pictures are uploaded so you could get the visual to go along with the story. There are of course tons and tons of pictures. I got all the ones from one camera loaded onto the computer last night, and hopefully will get the other camera loaded today. That doesn't include the time it takes to downsize the pictures so that they don't take eternity to upload into Blogger. For all the technology in the world today, I can't believe that process isn't any simpler. I seriously avoid it because it's such a chore. I'll do my best though. Our once wide-open week is starting to fill up. I have a meeting at noon today with the counseling department chair at JHU to discuss the catastrophe that is my internship. Then I am also attempting to schedule a get-together with two other friends. So again, I'll do what I can with the pictures, unfortunately there seems to be much else that is more pressing waiting around for me to do.

Hopefully you had a lovely week while I was away and you didn't miss me too much! I had a lot of fun reading up on everyone else's blogs, so I'm all caught up on what I missed in your lives :] Before I go... it just occurred to me that you may be able to help me out with one of my to-do list items. I am in charge of researching GOOD baby shower games for a very close friend's baby shower that is coming up in September. I'm not talking about collecting safety pins for saying the word "baby." I mean not cheesy, not boring, cute stuff to do at a baby shower. It doesn't even necessarily have to be a competition, but just a fun activity. So if you've been to any good baby showers or had fun activities at yours, please feel free to share. I'd love to hear some ideas!!! Thanks, friends :]

Pictures to come soon.....

Sunday, July 12, 2009

<-- Do You See That?!

Yes, that counter over there! Do you see how much time is left before we depart on our cruise to paradise!?!? I am SOOO excited! Today we shopped for all of our travel-sized things we need and a few other things like new swim trunks for Josh. Tomorrow I plan to physically start to pack clothes and things that I won't be needing before departure. I'm almost finished loading all of our cds onto my computer (the ones I want anyway), so I'll be able to put that music onto the new ipod for the trip! This is going to be a busy week anyway, aside from preparing for 9 days away. You may not see back here before we leave, so here's a quick rundown of what I'll be doing:

  • Monday- Errands, nail appointment, load the ipod, charge camera batteries, clear memory cards, pack what can be packed
  • Tuesday- Lunch with Mary Beth, more packing/errands if needed, happy hour with Amy & Leighanne
  • Wednesday- Visit my dad, drop Sheppie off at my sister's house, last minute packing
  • Thursday- get up and get ready, be at the port by 12-1:00pm, depart at 4pm! Hooray!

Hopefully I'll be back on, but if not you are officially informed :] Also, I've decided that I will make a good attempt to finish New Moon before we leave (I'm just past 1/2-way through) and then wait on Eclipse until we get back. I really prefer to own it in paperback and that doesn't come out until August. Plus I have a ton of magazines that I need to catch up on literally from the entire spring and summer so far. Ones that are still in their plastic wrap! It's sad, I just didn't have time to read magazines during the school year. So that's my plan.

I hope everyone enjoys the rest of July. We'll be home on the 25th! :]

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Drumroll Please.....

You asked for it (maybe you didn't), and here it is. Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to present to you the gigantic blog post of pictures that I have promised over and over and over and over and over and over and over... you get it. So maybe it's because today is 7-8-9, or maybe I just got tired of things hanging over my head, or I just really wanted to spend some quality time with my new Macbook (or just prove that I'm not a Mactard!). I can't say for sure why today, but here it is. This is the last eh, two months or so of my life in pictures. I hope you're comfortable ;]

~Ben & Jenna's Rehearsal Dinner and Wedding Day~

Josh and I at rehearsal dinner

Lacy - probably laughing about something Josh said, it's how they roll

Bride, Groom, Mom :]

Our sister Annie, haha

Amberly gave a cute toast

Leo asking for change to put in a train 'piggy bank' that Ben and Jenna gave him

Jenna and bridesmaid/childhood friend, Alecia

Ben and groomsman/work buddy, Joe

Annie... are you seeing why we LOVE her??

Delicious banana-something dessert!

My beautiful champagne glass... it just looked pretty sitting there

Thanking everyone for being part of their BIG day

Typical sillyness with these two... ;]

Jenna's perfect dress!!

Simply stunning - that baby was made for Jenna, and I picked it out ;]

Awww, little Jenna all ready to get married!

Seeing each other for the first time before pictures

Beautiful ballroom! (half of it anyway)

Our flowers

Leo the Ringbearer, reporting for duty


Second cutest couple of the evening... we were actually told several times that night how "in love" we looked! Hooray for perfect matches :]
For the first time.... Mr. & Mrs. Ben Bonner

First dance to "Dig" by Incubus

The cake that would be both my midnight snack AND breakfast in the morning!

Josh performed "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds for them

Dancing the night away!

Josh & Connor... wait- what?!

Connor & Kelly (that's more like it)

I love me some Kelly Schraf :]

- Babysitting Josh's Cousin, Taryn -

My favorite Taryn face ever - huge eyes!

Taryn LOVES Sheppie and wanted me to take so many pictures of her hugging him :] who could resist these two cuties?

Chillin out on the deck in our shades

...or MY shades

Wearing my flip-flops and carrying my camera case as her purse. Basically how she spent most of the day.

- A Night Out With the Becks! -

Josh's Aunt & Uncle, Tara & Darren, trying DuClaw beers for the first time... a Beck family milestone :]

Four handsome Beck boys sitting at a bar

me and MY Beck boy

Michael & Jennie!

Erin & Nathan

Jennie & Me

Connor & Kel

Tara & Darren, apparently this is what Beck boys like to do when they see a camera, my husband does it aaalllllll the time

-Babysitting Ben & Jenna's New Kittens! -

Hi, my name is Lewis (as in Ray Lewis #52)

Two kitties sleeping in the sunlight

Lewis sleeping in a cardboard box -- and he's not even homeless

Hi, I'm Eddie (as in Ed Reed, #20) and I'm the cutest little kitten in the world!

-Fourth of July in Fells Point -

Being cute in Fells Point after dinner at Brick Oven Pizza and a quick walk up and down Broadway

Michael & Jennie making Fells look a little cuter

Kelly & Connor, just being naturally cute

It WAS a girls picture, but Michael jumped in at the last minute - now it's just funny :]

"Hello Domino Sugar plant, where's the best place to sit for fireworks?"

Being cute while we waited for fireworks to start

Awwwww, who needs fireworks with all these sparks flying??

Kelly & Connor


Absolutely atrocious traffic (this is in the MIDDLE of an intersection where we waited for 30 minutes to get through the light) on the way home.

Wow, so are you happy now? Satisfied? Seen enough of me and my pictures to last you a lifetime? Probably not, I understand. There will be more. But I'll be sure to never make the mistake of waiting so long to upload again. It was mostly because I was waiting for a new computer, so hopefully I won't find myself in that predicament again any time soon. But now that I've taken the better part of my day resizing and uploading and blogging all these pictures, I expect comments GALORE! Hahaha :]

In some brief other news... I finished Twilight and have moved on to New Moon. I felt committed enough to buy this one, so it must be serious. Haha, I did really like Twilight though I don't quite get the obsession thing still. The end of the first book was good, though a little predictable, I felt. There seemed to be an obvious solution to the whole crisis with that other guy (I'm trying not to give anything away since my sister is reading it now). And although it didn't happen in that book, I saw something somewhere that leads me to believe it happens at some point. So I'm kind of interested in that. I'm feeling like it might be in this book I'm reading now. I guess I'll have to see! This one will likely be going on vacation with me when we leave next week.

Can you believe our cruise leaves next week?!? I am beyond excited (except the billions of pictures I'll then have to upload, resize and blog about all over again! Haha. I'm gonna wrap this up and go run some errands before settling down with my book for the rest of the afternoon until I leave for class (last night! yay!). Actually, my presentation is done, I might just bring the book with me for something to do! I am brilliant.