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.
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: