2011: stealth deliverer of good things

Before I write anything, I would like to share that “ninja spanker” was my top search this week. Where do people come up with these things? And also, how did my space become relevant to ninja spankers? (As I type this, I recall mentioning Spanker Banker after Krewe du Vieux sometime in 2008, and also dressing up as a ninja for Halloween that year and fighting pirates on Jackson Square. The internet don’t forget, y’all).

That said, it’s been two years since I did a year in review, two years since I wrote some resolutions, and consequently, two years since I resolved some resolutions. In the two year gap, I got engaged, got married, moved to a new city, bought a house, started 3 new jobs, graduated, became licensed, acquired a couple more nieces- you know: Almost all of the most important things that can happen to a person besides being born. Now that I sit down to review last year, it seems like nothing happened.  But alas. It did.

January  Co-piloted a tiny plane from Belize City to PG. Swam in a blue creek. Climbed into a cave. Met some fun UWisc Physical Therapy peeps. Watched the Rose Bowl on a rigged up TV, under a thatch roof outside, sitting on benches removed from a mini-van. Spent nights in tiny cabins above water. Ate seafood caught on a kayak with a spear. Took a 6 hour bus to Cayo. Shed tears over this discussion with my former supervisor: “Your work is being used here, Brooke. Every day.” Discovered God doesn’t need a person to use a person. Understood that sometimes we don’t even know we’ve been used. Said goodbye to the BZ. Again.

More pics: here

February  Worked a 16-hour shift during Snowpocolypse 2011 and felt like a Lamb in a Bow Tie. Discovered, via Jeff, that cross-country skiing on the Monon during an ice storm is possible, and acceptable. Went to New Orleans and spent time with my good ole friends and co-workers. Got my Haydels King Cake. Got my Abita. Got my Steins, my Surreys, my house party with a nice brownie spread, my 2 days of 65/sunny, got my washboard band, got my Kim, got my Mandy. Could not have been happier until Tator Tachos appeared. Realized (besides the availability of junk food & supportive social worker friends) why the NOLA feels like home: it’s where I fell in love! J and my’s entire do-I-like-you-do-I-love-you-I-totally-love-you-let’s-get-a-daiquiri-let’s-get-married happened here. Sigh :)

March Went to Cuba Belize Mexico Belize Cuba Belize. Cuba with some good friends. (If you’re an immigration officer, I would like to state for the record I oppose the embargo.)  Had many rooftop mojitos. I neither confirm nor deny the Cuban cigar or the night dancing in Old Havana. Listened to old men argue about baseball in the center of the park. Watched a Cuban baseball game. Became entranced by and forever drawn to Cuba and its music. Thanks friends!

More pics: here

April  Unveiled Brooke 3.0 to the public. Not so bad, 30. Received breakfast in bed from a dude I thank God for by the minute, and a tent. Promptly camped in the backyard. Celebrated Lil’s 3rd birthday (where does time go?) Took down the Christmas tree… and put it in the Monon. Can you find it? Spent Easter with the Hartmans in WI, and got the Easter flu, which everyone mistook for morning sickness. If that had been the case, I’d be 9 months pregnant today. Told you guys.

May Started a new job! Waved goodbye to the hospital (although I still pick up ER shifts here and there when they need help) and joined a private practice in Carmel. Hosted the Kaminski Fam for Memorial Day and ran around Lucas Oil. Celebrated J’s birthday. He continues to be in his 30s. That’s all he would want you to know, I think.

June Celebrated our first anniversary with a romantic evening alone the Hartmans, Kaminiskis, Sellers, Sharon, Pat and 2500 others for the 18th annual Indy Nite Ride. Jeff and I enjoyed a burger at Bub’s after everyone left. The event has facilitated use of the following statement all year to justify anything we’ve wanted ever since: Well, this can be our anniversary meal/gift/trip since we didn’t really have one? Celebrated Maycie’s 2nd Birthday. Love her.

July Breckenridge! This was our anniversary trip, since we didn’t really have one. Also, it was truly the anniversary and location of our honeymoon! Hiked some hikes. Snapped some pics. Ate some good food. Drank with friends. Hot-tubbed with family. Surfed on snowfields. Biked down Vail pass. Garden of the Gods. Pike’s Peak. Celebrated a Hartman (the original Hartman- well, not the original original, but the Ron & Kathy Hartman ) Anniversary. This one gets 2 rows of pics, because I’m the boss of this space, and it’s what I want to do.

  More pics: here

August Hosted the Sellers/Wilsons for Labor Day. Shucked some corn. Grilled some food. Played with some noopy nieces. Dad’s family reunion in Brown County. Spent some time in Nashville and a good night at a Brewery. Hosted Elaine & Doug, also Sprinky. Cut into a sex cake. Found out E&D are having a boy! Can’t wait to meet brand new Baby Luke.

    More pics: here

September visited some good (fun!) friends in NYC. This was our anniversary trip, since we didn’t really have one. These friends appreciate my knowledge of pop culture, which is sometimes a foreign language to J (although he is the one who first informed me of the Kim/Chris split and insisted I see Bridesmaids. He heard both on sports radio). Observed 9/11. Held the Statue of Liberty in our palms. Went to the Catskills. Ate some good food. Played with an adorable baby. Participated in the first bonfire of Fall. Played in a kickball tournament, concussed myself on the pavement. Celebrated Callie’s first birthday. Love her. Joined a small group at church. Made some friends.

   More pics: here

October Destin! I know I’ve said this before, but this was our anniversary trip, since we didn’t really have one. Plus it was the location of our other honeymoon, between the ceremony and actual honeymoon in Breck. Spent some time with the Grampies. Spent some time at the Blossfolly (ceremony beachouse) beach, for nostalgia’s sake. Ate dinner at Henderson Park Inn, where God gave us the most amazing anniversary sunset ever imagined.

More pics: here and here

November Hosted the fam(s) for Thanksgiving: Hartmans, Sellers, the Grampies, Wilsons, Kaminskis, Sharon, & Grams. Got rear ended. Saw THREE rainbows in one day. Spent a noopy weekend with Callie.

December Watched the Badgers win the Big Ten Championships. For reasons unexplained, my nieces started calling me Uncle Brooklyn. Dressed up in snowflake placemats & battery operated lights for a party. Celebrated our engageaversary in Chicago on the 96th floor. Celebrated Christmas in Iowa, Wisconsin, Indy, and Sprinky (not a place, but a BFF). Celebrated the last moments of 2011 with good old friends and good new friends.

          More pics: here

The End! Cheers to all for such a great year, and thanks for the friends who hosted us.

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Week Seven

I know 6 days is, like, a year in Brooke blog time, but its been a busy week.Also, my “chesty cough” turned into bronchitis thanks to dry season and dusty roads.I never used to understand why all the kids walked around with little rags until I got sick of hacking up a lung every day to and from San Marcos and got the bright idea to hold a washcloth over my mouth whenever I saw a dust cloud on the road.The next morning at school, when I showed up with my own rag in hand, it all came together for me.

I’ll give a quick run down of the rest of the week (and by quick, I mean long)

Monday

We did normal programming in the morning for the Standard 2-6 classes, but in the afternoon, Nelly (David’s wife) was sick, so I taught the Infant and Standard 1 classes. Unfortunately, this is the only picture I have of Monday- and yes, my shorts are totally hiked.

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Tuesday

Mexico!Antonia needed to go to Chetumal to buy decorations for Confirmation, which is this Monday (its cheaper to buy from Mexico or Guatemala).We got up at TWO-THIRTY in the morning to catch the 4am bus from San Ignacio to Belize City to Chetumal—a SIX hour trip, arrived in Chetumal at about 10, then caught the 3pm bus back to Belize City. We got back to San Ignacio at about 9:30.It was a long day, but really fun.Antonia managed to cross and re-cross the border with an old passport, crossed back into Belize with 6 bags of decorations and talked her way out of the tax.I paid $37.50 plus $40 in transportation and bought nothing.

Before we left, I met two Americans from Portland at the 4am bus stop in San Ignacio. They were also headed to Chetumal to backpack their way through Mexico.They were the first Americans I’d seen since January 4th and I almost jumped into their arms when they left. I told them they might make the blog.

Antonia at 3am waiting for the bus

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Portlanders and me

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Best moment of the day: hitting sunrise and sunset with the Caribbean out my window and Michael Jackson’s Number one Hits on the ipod.It was really great to be able to see the northern part of the country—Orange Walk and Corozol Town.

Wednesday

Prepared for San Marcos’s annual soccer tournament.The boys and teachers went into the bush to gather sticks and palm leaves to make the goals and shelters.I taught the girls and the Standard 2 & 3 classes (an by taught, I mean we played hangman and jacks all day).

Making the shelter

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Lining the field

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Washing dishes- well, they’re washing. I’m like, what is this so-called “cooking utensil” ?

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Teaching (before I knew they had the camera)

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After I realized they had the camera

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After they’d had enough “teaching” from me

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Wednesday night, we had a total Lunar eclipse, and I stood on the porch singing “Total Eclipse of the Heart” to Inez and Bryon.

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Thursday

Soccer tournament!10 boys teams and 9 girls teams came.They played from 8:30 in the morning until about 6:30 in the evening.The winners were Duck Run 2 and La Gracia.My job was tournamenteer (I made that up—it means to create and fill in the brackets throughout the day…)

Behind the scenes- taco prep

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Your favorite tournamenteer and mine

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The sequence of finding out I had blue streaks all over my face after the marker burst

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Santa Familila team

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And victory dance after first round

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Santa Familia teachers (they tried to get me to switch sides)

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Duck Run II cheering squad (check out the kid in blue tights)

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Coach David

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Cute Infant 2 student with her aforementioned rag

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Nelly (David’s wife) and Imanuel (David & Antonia’s brother)

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Rousing game of Jacks

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Winning teams and trophies

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Sunset (after an hour of picking up trash…)

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Friday

Half day, spent mostly in church going through the Stations of the Cross.Its really interesting and meaningful for me to go through the Lenten period with everyone here.And it helps to be doing it with kids, since I am learning and things are slow and simplified to teach them.The rest of the morning, I did Math with the Standard 1 class.

Whew! I think I’m caught up. I’ll try to stay in touch this week. Don’t forget about me, please?