Friday, August 31, 2012

Remnants of Isaac

Thanks to Isaac, the St. Louis area is getting some much needed rain.  This dreary day has reminded me of one of my childhood dreams - to become a lighthouse keeper.  I have no idea how the idea got into my head (especially living in landlocked Iowa), but I felt that the most perfect job would be to be a lighthouse keeper.  I guess in the back of my head, it still seems pretty awesome! Maybe one day...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

No, I am not related

My last name is hyphenated.  One of those names is Koch.  I can not tell you how many times I have been asked if I am related to the Koch brothers.  This sort of kills me because, honestly, if I was related to them, do you think I would be living in North County Missouri?!?  If I was related to them, don't you think I would be using that money for good?!?!  (or, as they would say, my liberal agenda).  One of these days I am going to answer "yes" and see what the follow-up is.

My New Favorite Song

I and Love and You by the Avett Brothers.

I am determined to learn it on the piano.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Getting Back into the UU Groove

This past weekend I was at a board retreat for three of the UU districts.  We were discussing our future and how we see the future of UU in the Midwest.  It was very inspiring.  Sometimes I think we get too wrapped up in our own congregations and fail to see the bigger picture.  While the people at the retreat are visionaries, I struggle how to bring that home.  As congregationalists, it is easy to invest yourself in your community, but, on the flip side, to not see your place in the larger organization.  Or, for that matter, care about the larger organization.  I think we all know people who are DA/GA junkies, but the average layperson tends to not get wrapped up in institutional polity. It is a shame. I get tired of hearing how the UUA doesn't reflect what is going on in congregations.  It is up to you to be engaged.  Just like you can't complain if you don't vote, the same goes for UUA policies.  I am not sure where this is really going, but to encourage to you get more involved.  I want UU to flourish, but we need your help.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rough Week

Despite the good start to school - the rest of the week has been pretty sad.  We had grandma's funeral on Tuesday, a cousins funeral on Thursday and my mother-in-law fell and split/broke her shoulder bone on Saturday.  I am just not sure what to make of all this.  It has been a lot to process.  Seems like every time we turn around, something sad or dramatic happens.  I have to go out of town later this week for a few days.  I just hope nothing else happens while I am gone.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Back To School

I can not believe school has started!  I now have a 7th, 6th, and 3rd grader.  Where did the summer go?! It went by so fast.  The kids are ready.  They miss their friends and the structure.  I find myself feeling sad and a little lost. I have plenty to do, but where to begin? It is so quiet without the kids home. I need to set up a schedule for myself or nothing may get done.

My school doesn't start for a couple more weeks.  I am trying to figure out what class to take.  I only need one more elective, my capstone (which I will do next semester) and two one-credit classes.  I had thought about doing a one-credit course this fall (along with the 3-credit elective), but they are restructuring the program, so I am not sure that will be possible.  I am torn between two classes for this fall.  One is studying the sustainability of the built environment and the other is supply chain management.  My liberal arts side wants the former, but my business brain wants the latter.  Since I have a MSW with an emphasis in Social and Economic Development, I am not sure I will learn a lot more in the built environment class.  I am trying to use my money wisely and am thinking that I know very little about supply chain management.  If I want to work for a business - this is the area that sustainable planning can have a huge impact.  But, most of my school friends will be taking the built environment class and I get a lot out of their companionship.  Choices!!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Long Road Home

(Daughter in her great grandma's wedding dress - 1937)

We have just returned from a 2,900 mile road trip.  It was a roller-coaster of emotion.  The main goal was to visit my three surviving grandparents and then take in whatever sights we could fit in.  The trip went perfect, I couldn't have asked for a better experience.  It was just hard to see my grandparents and not know whether or not I will see them again.  My g-ma and g-pa H live in South Dakota.  He is about nine hours away and she (due to Alzheimer's) lives about 12 hours away.  My g-ma T lives in Wyoming.  It is approximately 14 hours away.  All of them are in frail health.  It was particularly poignant due to the recent passing of Husbands grandma.  It is so frustrating that they live so far away and that I can't be more part of their lives.  I hate how fast time is going.  I love my grandparents and wish I could have spent more time with them. I wish they could have known their great grandchildren better.

We also got a chance to catch up with my numerous aunts, uncles, both sets of parents, sister, cousins, nieces, nephews, step-brothers and step-sisters! It was a little crazy how much family time we packed into eight days.  And it was wonderful.  I felt sad every time we left a house.  I miss them all - a lot.

The trip also had some fun non-enormous-family side moments.  We visited the Badlands, Wall Drug, Mt. Rushmore and Devil's Tower.  We saw tons of cattle, buffalo, bikers headed to Sturgis, and lots of empty space.  It is truly amazing how much land is out there.  I have to say, I feel happiest when I am surrounded by my family with wide-open views.  I don't think I could ever be a real city girl.  My heart will always be on the plains.