Monday, June 30, 2008

Heels, Pearls, and the Classic Girl

I made my annual trek to Alabama for Grand Assembly this weekend. For those of you who don't know, I was a member of the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls from the time I was 13 until I reached majority age. I served the Alabama Grand Assembly as Grand Worthy Advisor in 1999-2000 and currently serve as a Grand Executive and Chairman of the Ritual Competition. As always, there was much drama and many interesting moments over the weekend. I departed the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Thursday morning after an hour and a half delay and still made my connector in Dallas with 10 minutes to spare. I am just happy I didn't encounter the troubles traveling to Alabama that I did last year.

Thursday evening was the Informal Opening where the dignitaries from the other Masonic bodies are introduced and asked to speak. This is always a long affair with lots of introductions and boring speeches. I still win the award for the shortest Informal Opening ever coming in at just around an hour and a half. This year's lasted about two and a half hours. The best moment of the evening was when the Grand Worthy Advisor was introducing the Most Puissant Grand Master of the Scottish Rite. I could have sworn she said the Most Pubescent Grand Master. I was laughing so hard that I was crying because she had to repeat his title about 5 times during the course of the introduction.

Friday morning was the Formal Opening including the initiation and memorial service. The active girls did a pretty good job with the ritualistic work and we welcomed three new sister into the order. I missed a portion of the opening since I had to locate roses for the Rose Lecture that was to be performed after the initiation was complete. I also got fussed at for not being "Rainbow appropriate" because I wasn't wearing panty hose. Well, I didn't really care and no one important said anything to me. However, the person who choose to say something was still complaining about it to my mom two days later. After getting to spending some time with Ra and her girls, I had to head back to the hotel to judge ritual competition. Ritual work was my strong point when I was active which was proven by me winning the ritual competition 5 times so I was disappointed in the performance of the girls and the lack of competitors. Once that was done it was time to dress for Fun Night. This year's theme was A Night at the Movies so I pulled out my Marilyn Monroe wig along with the white dress Mom found for me. I was a hit! Since the DeMolays where having Conclave at the same time, they were invited to Fun Night. I noticed a guy shortly after getting there who I thought was one of the advisors but turned out to be the State Master Councilor (meaning he was 19). Later on in the evening, he came over to talk to me. I must say I was flattered that he not only thought I was one of the active girls but also a student at UT. It killed me to tell him I was 30 and I felt so bad because he was so embarrassed.

Saturday ending up being a shorter session than planned since we didn't have any babies for baby dedication or anyone for majority. I must say I was glad that the day wasn't any longer than necessary. Once the new grand officers for 2008-2009 were named, much drama ensued. There is always the girl who thinks she is going to get named Grand Worthy Associate Advisor and when that doesn't happen, not only does she get upset but then you have an upset mama to deal with. We also had some hurt feelings over who didn't get named State Mother Advisor. However, I was pleased with the decision since my mom was named State Mother Advisor. I was also given a new appointment as Chairman of the Ritual Competition in addition to being placed back on the Executive Committee. Southern Belle competition followed the morning session and then we attended the DeMolay Conclave installation that evening. This brought back many memories for me. My brother, Clay, is a Past State Master Councilor and I am a Past State Sweetheart. I haven't attended any DeMolay functions since my time as an active girl. Zach, the State Master Councilor, gave a very impressive presentation of the Flower Talk that had everyone in tears by the time he finished. They following the evening with a dance and I cut a rug with the best of them. It was great to see Chris who served as State Master Councilor during my year as Grand Worthy Advisor.

Sunday consisted of the Grand Cross investiture and the installation of officers. At Grand Cross, I served as Sister of Victory, a position I have held many times before. As usually, I knocked it out of the park. I received complements afterward since the people on the sidelines could actually hear me speak without the microphone. I was also the Installing Officer at the installation for Sister Lisa, our new Grand Worthy Advisor. Once the sessions were over with, I was able to relax a bit. Mom and I headed to dinner with the Lewallens and Nina.

Monday I finally got to sleep in a bit since all we had planned was lunch with Ra and Auntie Martha and then a trip to the airport. Lucky for me all my flights were on time and I arrived back in Austin about 7 PM. Jenny picked me up and we spotted for dinner on the way back to the house. While I was happy to be home, I didn't want to leave Alabama. This was the first time in the past year that I actually felt like I wanted to move home. Now I am trying to figure out how I can make plans to move back to Alabama in the next couple of years. I am definitely going to finish school first so I can sit for the CPA exam here. But, once I am done with that there is nothing to stop me or keep me in Texas.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Standing Still

There are days where I feel like I am stuck in limbo. Where it seems like the world is moving around me and I am simply standing still. About a week ago I found out that J has a girlfriend and I was much more devastated by this news than I ever expected to be. You would think that 4 months later I would be able to let go and move on. Apparently I have moved on as in dating again but the letting go seems to be the hard part. I don't really understand why I still care so much about a man who wants absolutely nothing to do with me. Dena and I have discussed this at great lengths and while my head seems to get it, my heart isn't catching on. One thing that she said to me is that it is really easy to get nostalgic when you are lonely and she is right. I don't think it helps that I have hit a bit of a dry spell in the dating department. It isn't that I can't get dates, it is that I am not really feeling an attraction or a connection to the guys I am meeting. I would almost rather not date than feel nothing. I am just at a very frustrating and confusing point right now and I just want to run away from it all. I am hoping that my trip to Alabama will give me a much needed break and time for reflection. However, I know this same trip home last year left me more confused than I was before I left. I am not expecting to have answers but a little clarity would be nice.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Murphy's Law

I woke up this morning with every intention of getting a lot accomplished around the house. I wanted to move the last of the boxes out of the garage into the house, bag up the packing trash in the garage, do laundry, break down boxes and add them to the pile in the garage, and of course unpack and sort my stuff. So I got to work first thing by sorting laundry and starting my first load. Now I haven't done laundry since I moved (yes...I have that many clothes) so I haven't had the opportunity to test the waters so to speak here at the new house. About half way through my second load, I noticed that the dryer had stopped but I didn't hear it go off. After fiddling with it, it wouldn't come back on. A little research determined that the breaker for the dryer had flipped. By this time I had already hung all my underwear around the guest bathroom to dry. However, I still had a load in the machine that would need drying so I determined to try to dry it even if it meant flipping the breaker every 5 minutes. Well, this worked for a little while until the dryer finally flipped the main breaker for the house. After 30 minutes trying to locate the correct person to call (gotta love Cooperative Energy), I finally got someone to come out and check my house. Once I got the power back on I decided to head to a laundromat to finish drying my clothes (and quickly realized that I never wanted to go there again!) By the time I got home, I was sufficiently exhausted and it was after 3:30. I did accomplish moving the last of the boxes into the house today and breaking down the ones that had already been unpacked. However, I still haven't gotten very far on my unpacking. Needless to say, it has been a frustrating day and I have an electrician coming tomorrow. On a totally separate side note, I overheard the funniest thing last night while in line at Starbucks. First I must ask if there is a single person in the United States that has never been to Starbucks. I mean we all know it is a coffee shop so obiviously they have coffee in various forms. I thought I was going to die when the girl ahead of me asked if they had lattes. I wanted to ask her if she realized where she was. I mean come on. That is like asking Barnes and Noble (which was the location of this Starbucks) if they have books. Seriously! Have you been living under a rock?!?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Julie C. Jackson, CPA

I have been saying since I graduated from Judson that I was going to complete the courses needed to sit for the CPA exam. When I started grad school, I opted for the MBA route instead of limiting myself to the MAcc Program. My thought was that I would be more marketable in the future since I would have knowledge in a variety of areas instead of just focusing on accounting. That has been true for me since my employers since then have not only been impressed that I completed my MBA but that I also did it with honors while working full time. So I finally took the necessary steps to complete this goal that has been nearly 10 years in the making. After researching various schools in the Austin area, I discovered that Austin Community College offered a Professional Accountant Certificate for those with bachelor's degrees who want to qualify to sit for the CPA exam. This sounded like it was right up my alley. So with transcripts in hand, I met with my advisor earlier this week to set my course schedule for the next year. At first she only reviewed my Judson transcripts and concluded that I only had 18 hours of upper level business courses. I quickly informed her that I did indeed have a masters degree from a program that required 40 hours of upper level business courses. After reviewing the rest of my transcripts and listening to my work experience, she determined that I would only need to take 6 classes in order to qualify to sit for the exam. So, I will be wrapping up the program around this time next year. I am truly excited about finally doing what it takes to complete a goal I set for myself years ago. While I don't ever plan on practicing in the public accounting arena again, I know that having those 3 initials past my name will mean a great deal for my career in the future.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

How You Know You Have Too Many Clothes

So my plan for the weekend was to hit the boxes hard so I could get closer to being unpacked and organized. Saturday morning I worked on moving boxes from the garage to the house so I could sort through them without sweating my rear end off. After that I headed to the Toyota dealership to have Lo Jack installed in my car. Apparently there was some confusion between the dealership and Lo Jack and they tried to tell me that I didn't have an appointment. As a matter of fact they said, "We don't know why you are here." Frankly I was annoyed and aggravated. Eventually they worked it out so my 20 minute drive wasn't in vain. My friend, Brad, came over after that and helped me with some of the items on my to do list such as hooking up the washer and dryer and ice maker while I worked on unpacking. After picking my car back up, I returned home and hit the boxes again and put together the console table for my living room. This morning I headed to church and then Cafe Java for lunch and back to the house motivated to work in my bedroom. I spent the afternoon hanging the last of my clothes and putting together my shoe rack. Once I got done I started on the boxes that I had moved into my bedroom. About that time I heard a crack. When I turned around, I could see that the rod in my closet was separating from the wall. I ran into the closet to pull out some of the clothes just in time for the entire thing to come crashing down. I would say that is a pretty good sign that I own too many clothes and need to down size a bit. I now have dreams of my own custom closet although I know it won't be as grand as the one Big built for Carrie.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Weekend

For once I was actually really busy this weekend. It all started with a girls' night to see the Sex and the City movie. I must say that I thought it was really great and ended exactly how I wanted it to. However, there were parts of the movie that really hit home. If I was one to cry at movies, I would have. The best line of the evening came from one of the three guys I saw leaving the theater after being dragged to it by his girlfriend. Walking out of the show he said, "Man, that was the worst Indian Jones I have ever seen!" Classic! I true blogger form I promised to blog that statement and there it is. Saturday I volunteered to work at the Cattle Baron's Ball which is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. All in all I think the event was a success but I was severely annoyed by the seeming lack of organization. I am still not buying the whole cowboy boots with a dress thing but several ladies were working it last night. It is growing on me a bit but it still isn't a fashion statement I am ready to make. This morning I woke to get ready for church after getting home really late from the Cattle Baron's Ball. When I checked my email, I realized that eHarmony had matched me with one of my co-workers. I am still debating what to do about this. I don't know if I should try to start communication with him or wait and see if he will. The thing is I actually have a bit of a crush on this particular co-worker so I would be interested in dating him. I am just not sure if he would be interested as well. So how do I handle this without making it an awkward situation for either one of us? On another note, I finally have my living room, kitchen, and dining room organized. The house is really starting to feel like mine. However, I am still short a chair in the dining room. First Pottery Barn only sent me 3 chairs when I ordered 6 so I had to call them and have 3 more delivered. I just got those this week. When I opened the boxes today, I discovered that one of the chairs had a large chip on the leg. So I have to call Pottery Barn again and ask for them to send me a replacement chair and take the defective one. One day my house will be finished and all the boxes will be gone (or at least I can dream!)