Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Latest Book Recap

I know Monica, it's been awhile since I updated on the book list so here you go.

Kabul Beauty School: An American Woman Goes Behind the Veil by Deborah Rodriguez. I read this a few months ago out our trip to Costa Rica. It was selected by one of my book clubs, but it is the memoir of a woman from Michigan who moved to Afghanistan to start a beauty school to help the women there. I found it extremely interesting to read about different rituals and the culture of life there and especially how women are treated, but then to read about how different the author was treated. It was a quick read and definitely interesting.

The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck. This was my other book clubs selection for November and for those of you that read a lot have probably heard or maybe even read this book. Wow is all I can say. This is a book that goes far beyond the meaning of life and being thankful and grateful for what you have. Extremely moving and touching and as soon as I finished the book I bought a copy for my dad for Christmas. This is also a very quick read.

The Broker by John Grisham. I actually haven't read one of his books in a while but while in Costa Rica a women from CA finished reading it in a 2 hour van ride with us and she gave the book to me. It is a typical Grisham book, constantly keeping you on your toes and trying to figure out what is going to happen next, plus it took place mainly in Italy which was fun to read about.

Blue by Joyce Moyer Hostetter. This is the book clubs selection for December. It is actually a local author who will be in Burlington and was selected by the county for the book selection. It is about a family in NC in the 1940's who deal with war and the polio epidemic. It is classified as a young adult book and has won awards in that category, so it was very easy and quick to read, but it definitely captivated me and it was interesting to read about life during the polio epidemic.

The Pleasure Was Mine by Tommy Hays. Another book club selection, but was also the book for the city of Greensboro a couple months ago and also a local author from Ashville. I picked this book up two days ago and basically didn't put it down. It is the story of a husband's loss of his wife to Alzheimer's and the grief he goes through putting his wife in a nursing home and visiting her everyday with the added story life of his son who lost his wife in a car accident and the grandson and how they all help each other heal one summer. It was a wonderful book.

All in all, 5 great books (4 of them from my 2 book clubs). Still sitting next to my bed is The Omnivore's Dilemma which I am only about a quarter of the way through and my sister just brought me the first few books in the Twilight series. Plus, I want to read Marley and Me before seeing it in the theaters! Not to mention all the books I still have on my list here on my blog to read and more I haven't even added!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A day to Relax

After saying goodbye to Krista, E, Amelia and my mom this morning, Eric and I had the house to ourselves again for the first time in a week. We spent the day doing absolutely nothing. Watched some football, took a nap, played some wii, read a little, finished off some leftovers...stayed in my pj's until maybe 2 when I decided to take and shower and then get back into sweats! It was great!!!

The week got hectic with 16 people in the house-5 of them being little ones, but is was nice to have the whole family here. I haven't seen my parents and grandparents since last xmas! It was a little busy and stressful, but not too bad. Everyone got fed enough cookies to last a few months and we still have enough ham to eat for another week.

EZ came down with some sort of cold/flu type thing which has meant unbelievable snoring the past couple nights, which then means not much sleeping for me, and with every room in the house full, I had no where to go to sleep but next to the snoring husband.

I am off for another week until I head up to DC for a math conference and then back to school again. Hopefully I will get back into it, but for now...relaxation (oh and probably a nice massage to be scheduled by way of my birthday present from EZ!)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

Well my sister, Ethan and little Amelia arrived on Friday. I finished up my grading and everything Saturday. Eric did not finish the molding in the kitchen but did finish in the family room so it is all back together and ready for the rest of the family to get here.

We went out last night and got a tree. Yes, we are a little late, but with the painting and molding and grading, there wasn't time or any place for the tree. But you know what, we got a great 8 foot fraiser fir for $40, since the guy was trying to unload the trees so he could go home! With the topper on, it almost touches the ceiling. It is way awesome!

Little Amelia is full of fun things to say and do...she is in love with all things Santa and Snowman. Loves playing with her peeps (fisher price people) and loves to "dance" (which means run around in circles). All fun times here in warm NC!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Busy Bee

T minus 5 days until the family starts arriving. Will we have our Christmas decorations up? Nope. Will we have the Christmas tree? Nope. Will the crown molding be finished? Maybe. Will I be done grading? Probably Not.

Final exams started yesterday, so I spent my afternoon watching my helpless calculus students struggle through a exam. I got a little done while they worked, but not enough. My last exam is Thursday morning, with two on Tuesday and one on Wednesday as well. My goal is to be almost done with grading by the time my sister and E and little Amelia arrive on Friday.

The painting of the downstairs went well last weekend and Eric has spent the entire week and weekend putting up the double crown molding. He still isn't done and thinks he might be done nailing it up tomorrow. Then that leave a day for sanding, a day for caulking and a day for painting. With no hope of having the living room furniture back in the living room by the time Friday comes around. So of course that means no decorations and no tree. But since they are graciously arriving early to hang out, they can assist me in doing these things so that by the time the rest of the family comes on the 23rd all will be well in the Zack household. :)

I found very little time this past week to do any exercising. Although that was probably good news for my knee. I made it Thursday to the gym and did 20 min of running with 10 min on the elliptical before and 10 more after. Then back again yesterday for the same but with 25 min of running. The knee feels alright so I am hoping to head out this afternoon for a 30 min run outside before the HPU Christmas Dinner.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

I hope you have a wonderful day! Can't wait to see you in a couple short weeks!!

Love, me

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Hilly Chilly Run to Victory

I picked out this half marathon (Run to Victory) for a few reasons-it was relatively close to the house and it benefited Victory Junction Gang-a camp for kids with medical problems. Kyle and Richard Petty were there to start everyone off-kind of cool!

I had a goal of breaking 1:50 and thought for sure I could do it. I had no idea what was in store for me though. And I know I can do this at some point, but today was not my day. It was a bit chilly in the low 30's but windy, so it felt like mid 20's. And it was HILLY. Like STEEP hills. I was not expecting hills like this. And never ending, it was either up or down, never that long of any stretches of flat.

I managed ok through 8 miles and then I think the hills finally caught up to me. I was totally only pace through 8 miles just plugging along around 1:47 pace and then I just crashed. By mile 10 my knee hurt so bad, I ended up shuffling the last few miles around 10 min pace. I was so mad-and have decided that maybe a full marathon is just not in store for me. I had knee issues then and today was the first time in a long time that it got that bad again. Oh well. I ended up running 1:52. Technically this is the fastest half I have run, so that should make me happy but I ran 1:53 for the first half of my full marathon 2 years ago.

Oh well. Whats done is done and we (actually more EZ) spent the rest of the weekend painting the downstairs-family room, kitchen and eating area. Now EZ wants to get the crown molding up before everyone comes for xmas-he's got 2 weeks!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Tis the Season...

For Christmas lights.
Holiday Music.
Giving.
Family.
Friends.
Cold mornings and maybe snow if we are lucky.
Smell of a Christmas Tree.
My Birthday.
Lots of food.
Eggnog? Hmmm....Mulled Wine.
Peppermint Mochas. Peppermint anything.
Gingerbread cookies.
Shopping for the perfect present.
Mini break from work.
But before that-grading and grading and grading.
December 19th can not come any sooner.

Monday, December 01, 2008

TSO and DC

I tried to surprise EZ the other weekend for a date night out by sending him an evite and everything. I got tickets to see Trans-Siberian-Orchestra in Greensboro. Basically this is like Pink Floyd meets Christmas music. I brought the camera and when I pulled it out, the battery was dead so no pictures. It was still a fun evening and it was a crazy light show at the concert and the music was pretty cool too!

Then off to DC and some touring of the sights. We headed to a few museums, monuments, saw the IMAX 3D movie-Deep Blue Sea, which was really cool. Saw some amazing photos of nature in an exhibit in the natural history museum. Stopped by the zoo and the national cemetery. And of course a stop in DC cannot be without a quick visit to M street and the Lush Store!

Here are some cool red pandas (or is that EZ in the zoo!):


The national monument isn't big at all:



Killer must be getting upset at all of the time we have been spending away (sorry the lighting is a bit off), and yes that is good ole nascar on the tv:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Trot to DC

We made it up to DC with a short stop in Cary for the 8K (5 mile) turkey trot. I did the one at Inside Out because I also needed to buy a new pair of running shoes-so it was a multipurpose trip!

I didn't really have a goal but would be happy breaking 40:00, and I did-38:27, just over 7:40 pace. I wasn't running really hard until the last mile, just a bit faster than comfortable. It was a somewhat hilly course-lots of short hills until the last mile, which seemed all up hill! But I think the half marathon will go alright next weekend.

I was pretty happy with the race until about half way through when Rebecca passed me pushing her baby jogger. I did keep her in sight though the whole rest of the race-but who knows how far behind me she started! Still, makes me feel like running is just not ever going to happen for me.

After the race, we kept on driving up north and now we are chillin in the Hyatt until the in-laws arrive and we head out for some Thanksgiving dinner prepared by some restaurant!

Happy Turkey Day!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's About Time!

One more class to go and then the luxury of being a teacher pays off! Off tomorrow with nothing but grading to do (yeah) and maybe put the bathroom back together. We managed to paint the last bathroom in the house (what we call the kitty bathroom). Eric picked a darker blue than I had originally picked and it looks very Carolina Blue (maybe that was goal all along). I think if we put the right accessories in their, all will be calm in the Tarheel bathroom.

The dining room molding has also been painted, now we have to touch up the red paint that we had put up before the molding! :) The goal is still the have the downstairs painted by Christmas, which means Eric will be busy putting up more molding the next couple weeks too.

We leave Thursday morning for DC, but first stop will be Cary for a 8K Turkey Trot. I am not looking for much-but the half marathon is next weekend (Dec 7), so I am hoping that I can run a little faster than my secret half marathon pace for the 8K.

We also have decided to order the matching loveseat and another chair for our bedroom. We finally agreed on a coffee table too, which will arrive in a couple weeks. There are lots of odds and ends we still have to do, but we did get our Christmas cards ordered and they will be in next week.

Alright, it is time to get a little work done before the last class of the week!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Blog Tag

I have been "tagged" by miss Corey, and I am suppose to come up with a list of interesting/unknown facts. Corey's list was interesting, so I will try my best to come up with some things that most of you (like there are a lot of you reading this) don't know...

1. I use to have a huge shoe fetish. But over the past more than few years, my lifestyle has slowly change to be more frugal (I thank EZ for this-if this is really a good thing). I now only buy maybe 1 or two new pairs of shoes every year or so (of course this does not include running shoes).

2. I have always loved math. Always. When people use to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said math teacher. Although, I use to want to be a high school math teacher until the summer before I graduated from Arkansas. I did an internship teaching math at a boarding school and hated it. I didn't know what I was going to do with myself that last year at school. So I decided I would go ahead on to grad school in math and teach in college. One of the best decisions I ever made.

3. I was the senior class president of my high school (of 3000 students-more than are at High Point U). But my running mate (VP) didn't get elected, so it was not as fun of a year as I would have liked. And no one told me that part of the job of the prez was to plan reunions. I kind of bailed on this one as I got an email from someone (who I didn't even know from HS-there is no way I could know all 800 people in my class, right) who wanted to pretty much plan it.

4. I moved around (semi) a lot growing up-Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, then California, before going to Arkansas for college. People always asked if my dad was in the military. No, he wasn't. Even now, when people ask where I am from, sometimes I don't know what to answer. Most of the time I say California-even though I lived there for only 5 years before going to college.

5. By the time I went to college, I despised swimming. I would have quit had it not been paying for my education. But most of my best friends I have met through swimming-so it did have some good benefits. Oh and did I mention that it is probably the reason I met EZ...just so happened that the swim team hung out with the men's track team at Arkansas. :)

6. I wish I traveled more out of the country in the past 10 years. Because of swimming, or course I never went anywhere, and then Eric and I were poor grad students. Now that we have been to Peru and Costa Rica, I find that I am missing a whole aspect of real world culture in my life. This or course means we are planning a few more trips before we ever have kids.

Alright, Krista and Becka K, you're it. And happy birthday to the little one!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Almost Thanksgiving...

Just a few odds and ends things going on. Work has been busy, who would of thought that teaching this extra class this semester was going to get to me. Why again did I choose to change how I was teaching...assigning more work, more projects, more hands on activities to grade...what was I thinking! Oh I can't wait till our mini break for Thanksgiving next week.

We have been working away at random stuff in the house. I say "we" like I have been doing things. :) EZ has put up crown moulding and then taken part of it down then yelled some more at how not straight our walls and ceilings are, and put the molding back up. Last night was putty to fill in nail holes, tonight will be sanding, tomorrow will be caulking and by the weekend I will finally contribute and paint it. :) Such a wonderful handyman.

I want to paint our downstairs next, but we need a free weekend and just don't have one. My goal though is to get it done before everyone comes for Christmas. We'll see.

We had a dinner party last weekend and then went furniture shopping for odds and ends. Didn't buy anything but maybe settled on buying a loveseat (that matches the couch we bought back in March). This weekend is a fun date with the husband and another dinner party. Then off to DC and Baltimore next Thursday for Thanksgiving.

Oh and did I mention I am still trying to do a 1/2 marathon...that would be the weekend after Thanksgiving but the weekend before final exams start and the HPU Christmas dinner which is the weekend before the Scott family arrives for Christmas....

So do you think I will paint the downstairs by then? :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

South Carolina

Last weekend, EZ and I headed down to Columbia, SC for the Arkansas vs USC football game. We were suppose to meet our friends from college who now live in Atlanta, but they ended up not being able to go.

Friday night we stayed with some friends in Charlotte, where EZ was able to break all of Nick's records on wii fit and guitar hero before we left and Saturday morning after some awesome french toast, we drove down to Columbia.

We were in the second to last row up in the clouds, but since it was their homecoming they had a fly over by some fighter jets, who happen to fly right over our heads.

Here they are (even though they still look far away):


Here is the view of the stadium from our seats:


And for some reason, Michael Phelphs was there...why, I have no idea. He doesn't have ties to South Carolina, I don't think...I think this is a great picture from our seats-He is in the white shirt, hat on backwards with his arms crossed on the sideline (my camera's got great zooming capabilities!):


On the way back, we stopped and got gas for the car and I couldn't believe what I saw (this was in SC, not NC):


After the terrible loss, we drove home and stopped to eat at Stamey's BBQ in Greensboro. I have been told about this place by my NCSU office mates and we finally ate some damn good NC BBQ and homemade strawberry cobbler!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Costa Rica-Part 3-Manuel Antonio

Here it is...the last part of of our trip!

We made the four hour van ride to Manuel Antonio with one forty minute stop when we found ourselves at a rather long line of parked vehicles. This was apparently the main dirt thoroughfare and only way across the river we had been following. When our driver put it in park we all got out and marched forward interested to see what lie at the end of the line. A half mile of windy dirt road later and I started to hear some moaning that sounded to me like some unhappy cow or large pig that must be causing the hold up. I had visions of some horrific accident ahead, but was quite pleased to find out that it was a bunch of howler monkeys in the trees above the river. As I rounded the last corner where monkeys were I saw that there was a road crew working on regrading the road on the other side of the bridge. Someone said there had been a landslide.

Manuel Antonio is the name of the small "town" adjacent to the National Park with the same name. En route to one of our adventures, one of our guides pointed out a town and then explained that there were four essentials which make up a town; a church, school, bar, and a futbol field. Manuel Antonio consists of a short strip of road along the beach with a couple small restaurants and shops and a ton of small hotels. There was a bar and I guess the beach served as the futbol field since we saw a group of guys playing there every low tide, but we never saw the church or school.

The main beach outside the part (low tide):


We had three hours to kill so we explored the "town" and walked the entire length of beach that we could access between the giant rocks and spent two and a half hours relaxing in our room. We ate in that night since it happened to be dinner and a movie night at our hotel. They put on a great spread for a good price. They had a massive selection of bootlegged movies, but chose Beverly Hills Chihuahua as the feature of the evening. It was probably for the better since no one was really interested and we got to chat with the three other young couples there. Two american couples on their honeymoon and an Israeli couple. It was the third Israeli couple we had encountered. They said Israel is such a small place that they have no choice but to travel outside the country.

The next day we spent in the park. It wasn't a very big place so we covered every foot of trail in the morning and spent the afternoon at the beach within the park. We saw a few three toed sloths and a bunch of white faced monkeys, among other things.

Mama and baby Bambi (they didn't have tails):


Three toed Sloth hanging out in the tree:


Iguana sunbathing:


Lime Green Frog chillin on a palm leaf:


My ultimate favorite-the Monkeys:

The raccoons may have stolen the show that day as they stole part of our lunch. At one point in the morning we stopped at a picnic table to retrieve the water bottle from our bag. Eric pulled out the bag of food and set it on the table so he could get to the water in the bottom of our backpack. A moment later this raccoon started towards us. He instinctively turned the camera on to get a picture of the little guy. Before he could get a picture off, the raccoon was right up to our feet. Realizing he may be after our food, Eric started yelling at him. I swear I heard him laughing as he snatched the bag of food. Fortunately, Eric was able to get hold of the other handle to the plastic grocery bag and ran behind him as he tried to escape with our food for the day. Eric tried to pull the bag back causing it to tear in two, spilling its contents. The little guy could only carry one of our pastries so he left the rest. The raccoon sat in the woods, fifteen feet away, staring at us as he chomped down every bit of that tasty treat.

Raccoon running away on the beach:


The beach inside the park:


At one of the viewpoints inside the park:


I thought the Israeli guy was exaggerating when he said he had a five minute tug-of-war with a raccoon insistent upon taking his sandwich right out of his hands. We had lunch on the beach and settled in for a relaxing afternoon enjoying the picturesque surroundings. After what I considered to be a draw at best with that ONE raccoon in the morning, I thought I was done for when I turned around to see four of them coming at me on the beach. I managed to chase them all off empty handed, but my pride felt like it was a loss since it took running around screaming like a little girl to get them to retreat. We spent the rest of the afternoon watching the raccoons going from towel to towel terrorizing the tourists.

For the first time on our trip it didn't rain at the end of the day so we found a nice place to have dinner and watch the sun set.



The rain really hadn't been too much of a burden on our trip. It rained late in the afternoon everyday, but we were usually done with our activities for the day so it wasn't a problem. On our last day we decided to take advantage of the rainy season and go white water rafting. The rapids were pretty rough at some points, but of the ten people in our two boats, I was the only one to fall out. But according to Eric, I shouldn't be ashamed though as he got thrown across our boat twice and would have flown out the other side if the guy across from him hadn't gotten in the way.

We were back at our hotel in time to have them make us a great pizza and watch a little college football. Seriously, they had a pizza oven at this little hotel in Costa Rica, who knew. We spent the rest of the day at the beach. Eric enjoyed the surf while I read her book and we took advantage of the second rain free day and watched the sun set from the beach.

Sunset: (through Eric's orange sunglasses):


Sunset: what we actually were seeing :)


Last but not least: Here we are having fun at the beach:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Costa Rica-Part 2-Monte Verde

Although not all that far as the crow flies, Monte Verde is a four hour drive around Arenal Lake from La Fortuna. We opted for the alternative transport via taxi-boat-horse-taxi. The last taxi segment proved to be the most exciting as we bounced around the back of the van with no seat belts through two hours of dirt roads. We only had to take one detour around an impassable section of road that looked to be a foot deep in mud.

On the lake:


On the horse on the way to Monte Verde:



We arrived in Santa Elena which is the town that everyone refers to as Monte Verde because that is the name of the biological reserve and the mountain itself. The locals are apparently a little miffed about that though. We checked into our hotel where we think we were the only guests. It was a small place with only seven rooms, all of which were off the main lobby/sitting/dining/kitchen area. Through the front door you were greeted by a proper reception desk with a hundred tourist brochures to the right. To the left was the TV with a couple rockers where the 13 year old son of the manager (so we presume) spent much of his free time watching futbol. Behind that were couple tables and then a kitchen area which was a cross between a typical american kitchen and something we might have rigged up under the canopy outside the camper. It appeared to be a one woman operation. She spoke the least english of anyone we encountered, but she was very nice and helped with our bus arrangements and cooked breakfast to order every morning when we emerged from our room.


Santa Elena seemed to be more of a city since it had some two and maybe three story buildings, but it was only a few blocks in total. Just a bunch of small hotels and restaurants to serve the crowds of tourists which appear every dry season to walk through the rain forest. There was a cool hotel/restaurant called the Tree House Hotel which had a giant tree going through the main entry-it is kind of hard to see in the pic, but we were sitting up on the second level and the tree hangs over you and the tables (that looked like trees):


We had nothing planned for that day so we looked through the brochures and thought the night walk through the jungle might be interesting. By the way, the sun set early there and it was DARK at 5:30. We joined a group of 5 other people and met our guide Javier who took us into the darkness. Not a minute into the forest did we come across a group of racoon type critters (I forget the name) who were not at all afraid of humans armed with flashlights and cameras. We also saw a tarantula and a couple frogs and small critters. It was a very interesting experience and perhaps our favorite of the trip.

Some popular animal that started with a Q that we came across on the night walk:


Here is a trantula we saw on the night tour:


The next day we did a canopy tour which wasn't much of a tour, but a heck of a good time traversing the forest by zip-line. That afternoon, we returned to the biological reserve to explore the cloud forest in the daylight. I was a little disappointed when we met our guide Ricardo, a white guy who spoke perfect american english. I felt better once I learned that he was the son of one of the 11 quaker families that settled in the Monte Verde area in 1951 to flea the war hungry states. His father just published the book that I saw on the shelf in the gift shop on the way in. They claim to be responsible for establishing the biological reserve (after they chopped down most of the trees to make room for their cheese farms).

Here is Eric and I on the zip lines:


Here is a video of me and the crazy tarzan swing we did as part of the zip-line tour-we got to do it twice since we were the only two in the tour. The second time we did it the had us go backwards where we just fell back off the platform: (the video starts off sideways)


Hiking in the forest (it was so green!):


Then the clouds rolled in (well it is the cloud forest):


We made it all the way to the Continental Divide and then it started to rain (the only day that we got soaking wet). We were maybe 45min to and hour back to the entrance to the park, but you know we had to see the great view from the continental divide:


Alright, give me a few more days and I will post our last stop...the beautiful beach!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Costa Rica-Part 1

Alrighty, this might be long for those of you who are not family...but this is what Eric sent his family (and then I forward to mine) about our trip. The pictures might be a little different and I will hopefully upload some videos... I decided to post our trip in three parts, according to our three places we went.

First stop: La Fortuna, Costa Rica (aka Arenal Volcano)


Our flight to San Jose was delayed a little bit for no apparent reason, but we still made it to the Green Turtle souvenir shop a half hour before our bus was scheduled to depart. Our bus turned out to be a little bit more than a mini van where we would spend the next three hours with one other passenger (a woman from California beginning her week long Yoga retreat) as we weaved our way from San Jose to La Fortuna, our home for the next three nights.

La Fortuna is the small town that sits in the shadow of Arenal Volcano. Its a small place which only extends a few blocks in each direction away from the lovely park in the center of town. There is really nothing to see there except for fair number of restaurants that obviously cater to tourist. Our hotel was about a mile down the road towards the Volcano.

On our first full day in La Fortuna, we hiked to the local waterfall and played in the water for a while. In the afternoon we enjoyed our first adventure (not counting the van ride) as we trekked through a canyon in the rain forest, repelling down the cliffs and waterfalls. (sorry the video is sideways, I couldn't figure out how to turn it the right way).







The next day, we checked out the active side of the volcano. You couldn't see the lava flowing during the day, but every minute or so a couple rocks would tumble down the side throwing up poofs of dust or smoke as they bounced down the volcano. We climbed around the old lava flow (1992) for a while and watched the rocks tumble down. At night you can see red/orange lava and the rocks that tumble down are red hot as well. We didn't learn this until the second day there and the next two nights were very cloudy so we chose not to take the rather expensive taxi ride to the active side of the volcano when it was unlikely that we would be able to see anything through the low clouds.





Here is a video of some crazy bugs we came across-they were moving across our path by crawling on top of each other (the one from the back just crawled on top to the front...)



Here is a picture of our "porch" at our hotel and then the view of the volcano from the hotel pool:





Alright, next stop: MonteVerde....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Up and Running Again

Well we are back from the land of sun and rain and trees and volcanoes and beautiful beaches and cloud forests and monkeys and all sorts of animals!

It was a great trip, not too much rain, lots of fun activities, hardly ANY people, extremely beautiful and great pineapple! Other than ridiculously expensive taxis taking advantage of tourists it was a wonderful trip.

Back to things, we have been super busy since coming home and haven't even had time to go through the pictures (and videos) we took, but will post soon.

Yeah for Halloween and CANDY CORN!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Peace Out

Well, I still don't even feel like we are going to Costa Rica tomorrow. I think because we built up our Peru trip for so long, having it booked 5 months in advance and this one was kind of spur of the moment.

Still need to pack this evening and just chill...maybe head to the pumpkin patch and pick up a couple pumpkins so our front porch looks more "halloweenish". :) I am going to try and squeeze in a 9 mile run this afternoon...we'll see how that goes.

We have a few things planned for our trip but that is it, we are spending the first few days in Arenal/La Fortuna where there is an active volcano. We have a canyoning adventure planned for Sunday-that would be some hiking/and rappelling trip down waterfalls. Then we head over to Monteverde which is the rainforest area. We have scheduled our trip over there to be by boat across a lake and then horseback. While we are there we have a canopy tour, which is a zipline tour through the tree tops and there is some massive "tarzan swing" thing too. Then we head down to Manuel Antonio/Queopos (the beach), and we hope to do some snorkeling and sea kayaking as well as just hiking. Apparently thats where the monkeys and sloths are.

Thats seems like a lot to fit in! I saw today on the weather channel there is some tropical depression right over Costa Rica! Should be fun in the rain!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Busy Busy

I spent Friday evening babysitting for a couple that was kind enough to let me live with them for 6 weeks last Fall while our house was being built. It was a fun time, watching The Princess Diaries 2 and then Extreme Makeover:Home Edition that they had dvr'd but hadn't watched yet.

Saturday morning I decided to run a 5K that started right down the street from our house. Even running through part of our neighborhood on part of my usual running route. If you have been following my blog I was hoping to break 22min. I did not. :( Running 22:33. It was a somewhat hilly course, which I think plays a role, but then EZ told me it doesn't...for every up there is a down so it will all balance out. On the flip side, I was 3rd (extremely small race) so I won prize money-$75! That never happens for non runner people to win money!

I dragged ez to the store to buy paint after the race. And then started painting the bedroom. He got frustrated after 10 minutes and left me, so I spent Sat afternoon painting while listening to football and then Sunday morning painting some more (this time with ez's help). I ran another 9 miles yesterday which could explain why I am sore...combine a race with a long run and painting doesn't help.

Then last evening we headed to a local lake for a kayak trip around the lake and a BBQ dinner with a few friends. Man, kayaking is so much harder than a canoe!

T-minus 5 days until we are on an airplane to Costa Rica!

Friday, October 10, 2008

An Ethics Seminar

This is in response to The Office last night and their ethics seminar...

What does it mean to be ethical??

Is it Meredith getting a discount on supplies in exchange for sex???

Is it the AIG corporate people who are part of the financial disaster taking the taxpayers/governments money to go on a spa getaway after getting bailed out? Then getting more money and then proceeding to say they are going on another spa getaway.

What about the guy at the gas station last week that forced the person in front of me (and me too) to move and get gas before us....

I must explain this one, because I have never been so enraged and actually start yelling at some random person at a gas station. :)

If you don't live in the south, perhaps you don't know about the gas shortage here. Gas stations have been running out and typically there have been long lines at stations that do have gas (especially cheap gas) in the past few weeks. I live in a cheap area of the state. In fact, in just my 30 mile commute, gas goes up roughly 40 cents a gallon from where I live to where I work. So yes, I choose to get gas at the cheap stations where I live along with every other person it seems.

Last week (on a Friday) I stopped on my way to work (it is roughly 7:30am). The gas station is a mess and I happen to have one of maybe the 10% of cars that has their gas tank on the right side of the vehicle.

The way this gas station sits, the building is directly behind the 10 or so pumps so it is practically impossible to pull in from the back side of the pumps, since there just isn't room. So I pull in to the gas station and it seems that every line I can pull into has cars facing the rear direction except one. I see a car waiting in line going the way I need to go, granted the car at the pump is pulled in from the other side. I think to myself, yes, I will pull in here and now we can change the way the line moves.

Ok, so the guy finished pumping his gas and needs to leave, so the guy in front of me and myself both back up so he can get out. As we do this a truck pulling a trailer from the other side pulls in.

The guy in front of me gets out of his car and starts yelling at the man in the truck but it is too late, the guy in the truck is at the pump and is saying he was there first and begins pumping his gas. So the car that was in front of me is so mad, he drives off. So it is not me left facing the truck while he pumps his gas.

When he is done he motions for me to back up and I won't move. He gets out of his car and tells me to back up and I refuse. I tell him he can back up since I am not about to let someone else pull into the pump. He tells me that he can't since he has a trailer, which I then proceed to tell him that if he knows how to pull a trailer and since he pulled in, he can just turn his wheel and back himself right out.

We argue a little and he tells me he isn't backing up and I tell him I am not. So we sit. Facing eachother at the gas station. After about 5 min, I get out of my car to go into the travel center to get a coffee and we start yelling at eachother again. A few curse words thrown around, me telling him he has pulled in the wrong way, he then yelling that I don't own the gas station so there is no right or wrong way.

Anyway, I get back in my car and a few minutes later a man from behind the truck pulls up and asks him to move (he wants to pump his gas from the wrong way too instead of waiting in line). Of course the man in the truck tells him I won't move my car and the man behind him explains that if I back up he won't take my space but let me pull. So I agree.

It takes a third person to settle our argument. Not one of my finer moments, but I was not letting this guy in the truck just take advantage of more people. So there.

The funny thing is, I drove by again on Monday and every day since then (since it is on my way to and from work) and now the gas station has ropes and signs and directions saying you can only pull in from the one side! Praise the gas station manager!!!! He has settled the ethics debate.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

My Friends....

How many times did John McCain say "My friends" of "My friend" last night during the debate. I got so annoyed that by the end I couldn't even listen to it.

For those of you who don't know I really haven't decided who I am going to vote for. I am a registered independent and never really like anyone in the debate. But I do believe that every American should vote. It is what our country is about-democracy right.

So I have slowly been researching the candidates trying to figure out who favors the sames things I do and it is a mixed bag. So EZ sent me to some website that asks you questions about what you would favor and how high/low you favor them and it spits out a comprehensive list of all the candidates that were running during the primaries and everything.

We'll thrown out who came up #2 since they didn't win the nomination for their party but #1 was Obama and #3 was Ralph Nader and they were with 5% of each other. So since my computer wasn't allowing me to select my level of priority for some reason. I might consider them the same. (McCain by the way was like #13)

What does all this mean...well I need to do more research right??? Oh but wait, Nader isn't even on the ballot in NC. Now that is what makes me mad about the system, not to mention how the independent candidates don't get to debate because there isn't enough support-but only because most people out decide that the only way their vote will really count is if they vote for one of the two major parties-McBama (as Jay is referring to them).

But I will look into both candidates more and really decide in case Nader does show up on the ballot here in 27 days.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Carpooling

So, since we live in the middle of our commutes (35ish minutes in opposite directions for each of us) we have had a hard time finding people we could possibly carpool with. There are actually a lot of people that work at UNC but EZ's office is off campus and most people live on campus and have much different schedules. I on the other hand had found no one who works at HPU...until now.

So apparently someone who lives right down the street works in the criminal justice department here. So we met up for lunch the other week and have arranged things so we can carpool 2x per week. So one less day of driving for each of us per week= approximately $10 in gas per week = a good $400-$500 a year if it all works out (oh and aren't we doing our part to save the environment!)

Then a couple days ago, received an email from a new faculty member who is moving into our neighborhood at the end of the month who is in the Exercise Science department. So now there will be three of us. Hmmmm...we could possible work in 1 more day per week and that would be some more good carpooling.

Now we are talking a possible $800-$1000 in savings-there is almost our trip to Costa Rica-without doing anything! :)

Pictures will come soon of the hair cut...I still don't really like it, but oh well, what's done is done.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Nuculer vs Nuclear

Now, I don't spend much time using the word "nuclear", but EZ sure does. And in the past however many years, he has complained numerously how George Dubbya says nucUler instead of nuclear.

In the past hour that we have been watching the veep debate, every now and then EZ pipes up at how now the governor says the word... also nucUler.

I of course don't really notice it (and really could care less), it is such a small difference. EZ on the other hand uses the word a hundred times a day and it really bothers him. But after the question got asked on nuclear weapons, ahhhh yes, Mrs. Palin does indeed say nucUler, and Mr. Biden uses the correct nuclear.

Maybe this is the underlying reason why EZ is voting for Obama-Biden...No More NucUler!


On a side note...I chopped my hair off today. Super short. I don't know why, but not sure if I like it...oh well, it is just hair, it grows back.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Running with the Buffaloes

So I haven't read this book, but I am sure I will someday. Apparently, EZ makes an appearance in the book! He told me even though he has read (skimmed) it, he never knew it untill a friend of his called him up one day and told him.

Anyway, I wanted to run a 5K before we head to Costa Rica, so I check out the running schedule and find a few races. I almost jumped into a 5K today but I tore up my heel last week in the triathlon and the first half of this week I only ever made is 20-25 min running and was in tons of pain, just ripping open the heel some more. So I took a couple days off.

The running coach has decided I need to start running faster, and since I am not too mentally tough, we decided the best option would be for me to run with the infamous buffalo (EZ). He has been on a run 3-3.5 mile plan lately but running easy (for him), which means down to 7:30 pace. So I head out for 20 min first and then come back to the house and we head out. I manage to make it all but the last hill up to the house with him before I stop and tell him I am going to puke. :) I took my heartrate and I was 180+. :) Yeah, working hard right!

So today I head out again, the heel feels better and I think I can make it for 8 miles. I head out and run 40 min first and come back and pick him up and we head out again. I again make it all the way back to the hill with him before I just tell him to run up it without me. But today, I actually ran up it (slowly), versus walking yesterday. All in all 8 miles in 1:05. Not too bad.

I found another 5K I wanted to do next weekend, but I have to go to work next Saturday and won't be able to run it. So I start searching again...and I have found a 5K on October 11th. Yes, still 2 weeks away, but that gives me two more weeks to get in better run shape before I bust out the sub 22 min 5K right!

So goes running with the not buffalo, but RAZORBACK!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

So Excited!!

The Return of the best show on TV...

One of my absolute favorite clips to get you pumped up for tonight!! (it is slightly edited)

Monday, September 22, 2008

5K PR

I am not one to post this frequently, but I looked up my previous results today in an hour break I had between classes. I know, I know, I should be doing work. But for me, it is extremely hard to get anything going in just an hour.

My 5K on Saturday of 22:09 is the fastest I have run at the end of a triathlon! Yeah. And it is almost my PR 5K of 22:08!

I find that super encouraging for all the running I have been doing this summer. I have settled on doing one of two 5K's I have found next weekend. And tomorrow afternoon, EZ is on a mission to run with me and change up one more thing about my stride, not that I have my hips straight.

Who knows, my secret goal of eventually breaking 21 minutes might be in my near future!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Good Morning America

I went to lunch last week in the cafeteria and there were tons of cameras. In addition, the president Dr. Qubein was there telling us that Good Morning America would be doing a story featuring High Point University this weekend. The story aired yesterday morning, and of course I wasn't able to see it, so I looked it up online.

Those of you that have never heard of HPU...or heard me talk about it...this article/video sums up what it is like on campus. Or rather the life at a fancy hotel/country club. :)

GMA Video

Last Tri of the Season

Heading down to Wilmington Friday night I really didn't want to race. We stopped and had dinner in Raleigh at one of my favorite restaurants and got to Wilmington about 10:15pm, and went to sleep.

As I went to bed, I had turned on the weather channel and notice that it the forecast for Saturday morning was cold and windy. Yikes. I hadn't prepared for that.

It was cold (maybe upper 50's to low 60's) and windy (15-20mph winds) when we got to the race in the morning. And really, I know that upper 50's to low 60's isn't cold normally, bue it is when you are use to 90. I warmed up and didn't feel great and headed over to the swim start to get in and warm up in the water. I tried swimming but I was freezing and even just waiting for the start, I was shivering.

The swim was terrible. I don't know what happened but I ended up not with the lead pack, or at least not where I should have been. I typically swim with Kate and she beat me out of the water by a minute. I came out of the water 3rd female but there is an approximately 2 min run to transition in which Amie and Brooke passed me and so by the time we all crossed the mat I was 5th female (in our wave).

I made up 10-15 sec in T1 and as Bri passed me running to our bikes I thought this is going to be a terrible race. I pushed the bike super hard. Somehow I caught Alysia about mile 3 and Bri who I had put like 30 sec on in T1 didn't even pass me until mile 8 or 9. I must say, this might have been my best bike I have ever had.

When I look at the results, I have the 15th fastest swim (this is horrible for me), but I have the 11th fastest bike...I have never been know to have a better bike split than a swim split! I actually made up ground on the bike. How strange. But Alysia and I were about the same speed so when I caught her (I have NEVER caught anyone on the bike), we worked together (not drafting) to push eachother, it was the most fun I have had on the bike since I started triathlons.

I had decided to run so fast that I shouldn't be able to have a conversation. Of course, I still chatted it up a couple times, but not nearly like I usually do. And to my amazement I ran 22:09! Eric thinks this is an accurate 5K, so I am super happy if that is the case.

I ended up 10th overall, in the largest sprint tri on the east coast. I am really happy with the bike and run and for the race in general. This was the first time where I felt like I could actually be part of the open wave/race without getting blown away (even though I was still last open female.).

Alright, now it is time to work on my off season running. I am going to do a 5K here in the next couple weeks to really see if I am all that fast and start training for the half marathon in Dec.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wilmington

So doesn't the beach sound nice right now??? :) It would except this is what is about to unfold...

Tomorrow night we will drive to the beach and arrive around 10pm. I will get my crap together and go to sleep, wake up at 4:30am the next morning and head to the beach for the last triathlon this season.

The race starts at 7...I will be done by 8:15...if we hang around a little we will be there until 9:30 or 10:00 then drive ourselves back home.

Driving time: 6 hours
Time in Wilmington: 12 hours (half of which are sleeping hours)
Time at the beach: 0 hours

At least it is the last triathlon for the year. And maybe no more traveling for awhile, oh but wait...there is the weekend in SC for the Arkansas game and Eric just decided to go up to Maryland to visit some friends another weekend, oh and the two weekends we will be gone in Costa Rica, then comes Thanksgiving (DC maybe???), and next thing you know it will be xmas and the whole family will be here. :)

But we will be back in time to crash and watch football all day! Yeah for fall football Saturdays!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

She Roxs

This past weekend, we headed down to Charlotte, as I had volunteered to be a mentor for an all womens triathlon called SheROX. It was the exact same course as Latta which was my first race this year, so I was looking forward to seeing if I was any fitter than I was back in June.

We stayed with Nick and Jen and basically played Rock Band all day Saturday. Must say the drums and even the singing is pretty fun, but the guitars suck compared to the guitars in Guitar Hero. So we might pass on buying Rock Band.

I had no clue how fit I was, I feel like since school started up again and since Eric has decided to stop training, my training has gone downhill. I was in the first wave with 5 other women, which was way cool to be in such a small wave. I took the swim out hard and Melissa stayed on my feet. I really pushed the pace and felt like I should have dropped Melissa, but she stayed with me. After the race, she told me how she tried to pull around and take the lead but she couldn't, I was going to fast for her and she barely stayed on.

We came out of the swim first, although the results don't have our splits. I asked Beth if she knew how far down she was and her husband had told her 40 seconds. So guessing the swim was 12:00 which I could believe.

I had an awesome transition (at least I think I did). I came out of the water with Melissa and probably put 30 seconds on her just there. But you know, she hasn't raced in over a year, so that could be it to!

They weren't ready for any of us leaders, and as I rolled out they were setting up the cones for the beginning of the bike course. I went out what I thought was pretty hard, Melissa passed me about 2 miles in and then Beth followed maybe right behind, maybe mile 3. Then it was pretty lonely. I hammered away on the bike alone for the remaining 14 miles. The hills zapped all of my energy, but I managed to go a minute faster then I did in June so hey, pretty good job.

I had a great T2, even my time was like 30 sec faster! I started out on the run and had a cramp-like one you sometimes get when running and can't breath. As I made my way out onto the run I had to go much slower than I should have just to try and let the cramp subside. It finally went away around mile 2 but by then I was tired and just fell into my "Laurie pace". The run was much harder than it was in June. Already the footing in terrible with the loose rocks and such, but this time the ground/sand was soft. So it was like running in quicksand with rocks all over. Oh well, what can you do.

My run was a little slower, but overall I was 2 1/2 min faster than I was in June and ended up 3rd overall. This was my second all womens race, and I must say they are tons of fun. Much less pressure and so encouraging to see all these women doing their first triathlon. I had a great group of mentees and they all did awesome and the SheRox people put on an outstanding race. They already have races in Philly, and Tempe this year, and next year are adding Miami and I think Boston and Seattle. I highly encourage anyone who wants a unique stress-free triathlon experience to try one of these out!!

I am so happy to finally have met Melissa, Beth, and Katie. Beth who came all the way from PA won the race by like 6 min, congrats to her for an outstanding race! And wow, Katie just raced Ironman Wisconsin last weekend and came out to have fun!

I decided that I will most likely race again this weekend in Wilmington. I think that the longer swim, shorter flatter bike, and flat road run will suit me just fine!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The book list

Well, I have been on a roll lately...I have started spending my evening reading a lot instead of doing work and it has been enjoyable.

I read The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes, and I must say this was an amazing book! Loved it. Takes place in Chapel Hill and at VA Tech area and was extremely captivating. Recommended it for anyone just wanting a easy enthralling read.

I also read The Art of Racing in the Rain. Written from the perspective of a dog about living life and what is going on around him. It was pretty good. A lot of people in my book club absolutely loved it and I thought it was a little slow in parts, but pretty interesting to think about whether or not dogs and cats or our pets can actually speak to us and understand us.

I have been listening in my car to Son of a Witch and just finished today. I couldn't get through Wicked, and this book took 2 weeks of listening to back and forth to work to get through and it really wasn't that great. I think if I were reading it, I would have put it down just like I did Wicked.

I have also started two new books-The Omnivores Dilemma and A Short History of Nearly Everything. Both are somewhat long and my take me a little while. I have also been reading through books on Costa Rica to help figure out what we are going to do. This afternoon, I am headed to the library to pick out another book on CD for my commute. I have missed NPR a little, so I think I will have to break it up a bit and pick a book that isn't quite as long too.

Alright, it's off to Charlotte to try and put together a respectable triathlon this weekend. I swam for the 2nd time this week, this morning. OMG, what was I thinking! With the race on Sunday, this would make 3 swims this week! For probably a total of 6000yds...how pathetic.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Back on Track

Antibiotics are amazing. They worked quick and my leg is feeling great. Still a little swelling and itching but really no pain. I managed to do a 7 mile run yesterday and it only started to hurt after I was done (while I was mowing the lawn). The big spot is still slightly purplish red, but much less than before.

I have been thinking about what to do after my race next weekend, and today while I did a whopping 2500 I thought that maybe I won't even race next weekend. I don't know. We are headed to Charlotte this weekend for a race-an all women's race in which I had volunteered to be a mentor for way back 8 months ago. Should be fun and my running has definitely gotten better, thanks to all the running ez has been making me do. :) Right now I think I have settled on a half marathon in December to benefit Victory Junction Gang (NASCAR style)!

We think we have settled on an itinerary for Costa Rica-a couple days at Arenal Volcano National Park, a couple days at Monteverde Cloudforest, and a couple days at Manuel Antonio National Park (apparently the best beach). So that's the plan, with a stop somewhere maybe to go white water rafting and we are definitely touring a coffee plantation.

How terrible is Arkansas football right now, maybe we shouldn't have bought tix for the South Carolina game in Nov-it might just be a waste.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The Evils of the Sting

I ended up going to the doctor this afternoon. It looked worse today and I could barely walk last night it hurt so bad. The doctor said it wasn't an allergic reaction but rather I now have an infection. Yeah. Got some antibiotics and hopefully in a couple days the leg swelling/itching/burning pain will settle down and I can try and run or bike again before my race next weekend.

Here is the best pic I took of myself, it doesn't look that swollen but imagine that my actual ankle bone sticks out on the good one and on this leg I can hardly see the bone. I got stung at the top of the red blotch thing (towards my knee) which is actually more purplely.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Bee Sting

I killed a bee with my leg yesterday while out doing an easy 20 mile ride. It HURT like hell. I made EZ pull over and I pulled the stinger out, ouch. I rode the rest of the way home in some stinging pain but not too bad.

Today however is a different story. As the day went on, where the bee killed himself (or did I kill him), my leg decided to turn red and swell up. The spot is maybe 4 inches above my ankle, and my ankle and foot is also swollen. Is that normal. It also hurts to walk, like I sprained my ankle.

Dr. Kattie, if you are reading this, should I go to see a doctor? :)

BYW-So excited Corey started a blog!!! I feel so honored!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Costa Rica

We are going to Costa Rica in October! :)

We were going to go on a cruise but flights were expensive down to Miami. We had looked into the UK and Ireland and Costa Rica and all sorts of things. Ultimately we decided we would just keep checking tickets for all over and if a good deal came up we would go wherever the deal was.

Well, today we found direct flights from Charlotte to Costa Rica for $288. I don't think we will ever find them cheaper than that. So it is done.

Anyone want to join us? :)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Yeah for College Football!!

How excited are you that college football is back?

Thursday's night game of NCSU vs SC was interesting. The first half was a great game but then SC turned it on and down went NCSU (which I was expecting).

Then so far today-VT loses to ECU (crazy) and I just watched the Maize lose to Utah (WTF). Now I begin watching Arkansas play online until the Clemson vs Alabama game starts, which I think will be amazing-Roll Tide.

I do root for all SEC schools mainly, so Monica, I will be rooting for you on Monday night!!

YEAH FOR COLLEGE FOOTBALL!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The First Day of School and the Rain Cometh

School started back up again, not too bad today. I teach 3 Monday/Wed/Fri classes, one at 9, one at 11 and one at 1. I am not a fan of having a one hour break in between my classes though. It just isn't really enough time for me to get focused and get stuff done. Today was Abstract Algebra and two sections of Calc 1. Tomorrow I have an 8am (yikes...how early am I have to wake up if I want to work out before class) and at 12:30, both sections are Math for Elementary Ed Majors.

I have been waiting for the sister to post about my visit and see the pictures from my taffy-marshmallow experiment, but she is slacking over there. I also want to see the video of Amelia at the lake taking her first underwater experience!!

We haven't had much rain, as usual here, but yesterday it started and it hasn't stopped yet. I think we are up to 4 or 5 inches and I saw Greensboro has had 7 inches already. Just crazy leftover remnants of Hurricane Fay. But we desperately need it, so bring it on. Oh and as I write this and watch the news there is a tornado about 10 miles from the house. Don't worry mom, it is going away from here and I will stay watching the news in case another one pops up.

Training hasn't been going the greatest...I haven't swam since last Tuesday but have tried the last couple days, this stupid rain/thunder is not helping any, so I have managed to run in what is really 100% humidity with a hat on expecting rain and not once has it actually rained with I was running. Tonight will be a trainer ride and maybe tomorrow I can make it to the pool. I only have two more races since I think Pinehurst isn't going to happen. Looks like I have to be on campus for Parent's weekend. Yes even in college, I have to meet parents like you do in elementary school. :)

I leave you with the Scott family and a huge congrats to the winner (men's) and runner-up (women's) of the Moomer's Mile run-how fast can you eat a pint of ice cream and run a mile-and no the winner of the women's race is not little Amelia!!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Schools a coming

It's that time of year again and here we go with meetings galore. I spent last weekend up in Michigan with Scott family. :) Little Amelia is so big and talking up a storm. She didn't like me all that much, on my short walk with her she starting screaming for mama after 30 minutes and I had to carry her a good quarter mile back to Krista's office while pushing the 20lb stroller.

The best part of the weekend: In three nights we hit up Moomers twice (our second night, we actually counted it as our dinner :) ). Yum Yum Yum, I had double scoops each night and my selections were: Cupcake, Black Raspberry, Oatmeal Cookie, Raspberry Truffle. Raspberry Truffle was definitely my favorite. Oh and I sampled the Peach Riesling. If you ever head up to Traverse City, MI make sure you go to Moomers and experience the best ice cream in America (even Good Morning America says so too)!!

I also read The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes in a matter of days and it was extremely good. A mystery/drama type novel that takes place partly in Chapel Hill. I highly recommend this book for just a fluffy good read.

Alright, back to lesson planning...the story of my life.

Oh...I also got some ice cream (creamsicle) today at the HPU ice cream truck!! Yeah for new students moving in and everything on campus has to be at its best!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Work?

I have manage to get some reading done lately. It has been great, although I really need to be doing a little more work. Here is a little update:

At First Sight, by Nicholas Sparks.
He is perhaps my favorite author and this is the sequel to True Believer. It was a typical book from him, romance with a twist and I liked it and it made me cry.

Atonement, by Ian McEwan.
I still haven't seen the movie yet, but I just finished this book the other day. I thought it was ok. Pretty good the first half and then it kind of slowed for a while and there was an interesting twist at the end. But it was just a little slow.

The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch
I finished this book the day before he passed away. This is a short, inspirational book. I watched the lecture on the internet before I read the book and then watched the Diane Sawyer special after he passed away. This book is great for everyone and really only takes a few days to read and there are some great motivational chapters.

Next up:
The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein (our book club book for next month) and The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain. I will hopefully get around to Atlas Shrugged soon too.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Hills are Alive

Somehow I picked up a respiratory bug last week and have been a little sick for about 4 days now. I am starting to feel better, but this sickness didn't time itself well with our trip up to the mountains with the Franks for some cycling on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

We stayed in a little cabin out in the woods that was extremely isolated but really peaceful. Here are a couple pictures of the house and its great view.





We chilled on Friday night grilling and chatting and Saturday after we had some interesting pancakes to which Nick basically burned a pancake scramble to the pan we headed to the Parkway. Nick and Eric did there own thing while Jen and I rode out about 17 miles before I told her we should turn around. I was already having issues breathing and coughing and the dry air was making my throat hurt. Jen climbed up the hills much faster than I but she is scared on the downhills so I would then catch back up. It was a fun ride. Here is Jen way up the mountain and then me (this pic was really hard to take while riding), and then a view of the mountains at one of the overlooks.







Back at the house the boys were tired and Nick was all up for some Guitar Hero so Eric and Nick hammered away while Jen took 20 min trying to clean the pancake scramble Nick had left in the pan. I relaxed and read. :)





We slept in again and try for round 2 of Nick's famous Chocolate chip pancakes and they were great on Sunday. We headed out towards Blowing Rock to Moses Cone Park (which is beautiful). Jen needed to do a long run, I did not. So I opted to ride south on the parkway to Grandfather Mountain while the boys did their own ride. Jen did 16 loops around the lake there (it is 1 mile around) then did 2 more with me when I got back (such a stud). We then packed it up and headed home. Here are some pics from my journey on the parkway.







All in all it was a great weekend. I had to nap today (3 hours-remember I am sick) and the cats joined me. After wards I got up and did a few things and went back up. The cats were still in the bed hanging out (yes I was in the middle and I didn't make the bed). This is why we perhaps needed to get a king:

Monday, August 04, 2008

Oh Canada....

The wedding was awesome! I can't say enough great things about seeing all my swimming friends from Arkansas. I miss them all and love seeing everyone, and it is even better that we all come together for a big party at a wedding.

Congrats to Susie Q and Mark, you guys rock and threw a great party. Here are a few pictures from the trip and the wedding!!


Port Dehlusie before the wedding


Chillin before the dancing


Mo, Lisa and Tyler before the drinking began


Genny having a great time on the dance floor


The beautiful bride and groom


All us Arkansas girls (and Grant)

Sunday night Eric and I went down to the Harbor in Buffalo and took a few pictures: