Here is a quick (or not so quick) update:
In mid-October Mango and I moved into a condo with my friend Laurie who works on the North Slope half-time, loves Mango, and is dating one of my best guy-friends around so life on the home-front is pretty sweet.
Y'all know about the belly dance performance in November 'cause I wrote about that in the last post. Over Thanksgiving I house-sat for a family in town with a big hairy dog named Bandit. For some reason I have not been able to say "no" when they ask me regardless of my schedule or sanity breaking point. I'm a softy and yes, Bandit and I are again spending Christmas and New Years together. This time, he's going to get a chance to meet Mango. He's an obnoxious very friendly dog, and she's a curious cat who plays fetch. Sounds like a match made in Heaven to me.
This is the last week of finals for UAA, though I was done last week, and I found out that I got an A in Psychology and a B in Human Services. Next semester I will not be enrolled at UAA as I will be focusing on my certificate program through New York Institute of Photography. I need to finish that before I do anything else.
I donated money to the AWAIC (Abused Women And Infants in Crisis) shelter through a United Way fundraiser at work last month and was entered into a drawing to win a round-trip ticket anywhere Alaska Airlines flies. Let me tell you how often I win things: I won a large teddy bear from a drawing at Walmart that I don't remember entering when I was 17. I won an electric toothbrush at the health fair at work in October (and gave it to Laurie because I had just bought myself a Sonicare system). And then a few weeks ago I hear this over the intercom at work:
"And the winner of the drawing for the round-trip ticket is... Joanna Dickerson!"
First I was in shock, then I casually made fun of our receptionist for mispronouncing Dickson.
Everyone has been inquiring as to what I'm going to do with the ticket. Well people, I think I have made up my mind. I need to speak with our HR department first, but if I can, I will be flying to New York City and back with the free ticket. While in New York City I will visit an old roommate and her husband and son, see at least one Broadway show with a friend from Maryland who said he will come see me from Boston where he is now living, perhaps see my cousin Andy if I can cajole him into a visit from Upstate, and then hop a plane for Ukraine.
Yes, you read that correctly, I'm going back to Ukraine. It has been 8 years since I visited the first time and it's high time I go back. Misha and Nataliya are in Kiev so I plan on being there most of the time. I do hope to hop a train and go to Marganets and visit the school I was at, Misha's mom, the unofficial school for kids with disabilities, and my old host family too.
This trip will knock out a at least two items from my running list of things to do before I die (published on the bottom of my blog). How fantastic is that? Even better, the traveling and things I will be around (especially in Ukraine) will work to my advantage in regards to the NYIP program.
Trips, list of things to do... oh yes, and in March I will be traveling to Nome with a friend to see the end of the Iditarod, another thing on my list of things to do before I die.
Also, tomorrow (or perhaps it's today 'cause it's past Midnight) after work I am joining my friend, co-worker, and fellow belly-dancing sister in celebrating Hanukkah (or Chanukah). Yes, I am skipping my church Christmas party to learn about the traditions of people whose beliefs are quite similar to my own LDS ones. And no, she is not Jewish. The best description I have for my friend and those who worship like her is... Messianic Believer. They heavily study the Torah and adhere to the old ways and at the same time utilize the whole Bible and believe in Christ as their Savior. A few Fridays ago she came and spoke at a regular Friday luncheon we hold at the LDS Institute of Religion. It was fantastic, she was great, and the Spirit was strong in that room and for the rest of the day. Friday evenings (as able) for me are spent with my friend and her husband enjoying Hebraic dancing before settling down for Torah study followed by Nosh (to eat a snack). See, Mormons aren't the only ones with food at their gatherings.
On the flip-side of all this glee:
1. Two months back my old cell phone sat in rush-hour traffic for about 40 minutes being run-over and survived, then crapped out a couple weeks ago.
2. I've had 1 (ONE) official date in the last year and a half.
3. I accidentally dropped my new phone on the floor at work sending the back, the base, and the battery in separate directions. Right after that moment my boss walked into the cubicle and I looked at him with an "Oh-boy-I-hope-he-doesn't-see-the-disaster-I-just-created" look on my face while attempting to stifle laughter. He knows my faces well and called me on it so I pointed to the floor. In a questioning manner, he called me a luddite. Look it up.
Wait, one more thing!!! (Where's my OFF button?)
Speaking of work, this month right about now marks my one-year since changing positions at work from Job Coach to Service Plan Writer. In February 2010 I will have been working for Assets, Inc. for 2 years. Where has the time gone? And for everyone's bit of useless Joanna Trivia, before now the longest I stayed in one employment situation was 11 months. Yes, that was my official record. That's not bad compared to my nomadic moving habits. I haven't lived anywhere longer than 8 months after leaving home in early June 2003 (except the 10 months I lived at home again upon my return to Alaska in '07).
Ok people, that's it today.