Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Reading List

One of my goals for this year was to start reading more and I think I did fairly well on that. That was the reason I kept a list on my blog of all the books I read this year. I will take the whole list off and start a new one for 2010. I was able to read 45 books, granted 15 of those were audio books, but I still think that counts. I also wanted to read more classics...but that has such a broad meaning now. I would say about 7 of my books were classics, so I consider the year to be a success.

I just finished Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, which was pretty good. I like her books and while this one wasn't written in the same style as My Sisters Keeper or Handle With Care, it was still pretty good. EZ and I listened to a book called The Rule of Four on the drive up to NY, and it was pretty good too. This was like a DaVinci Code type book except with some college students and another ancient document. It kept our attention for the drive which was nice. Recently I listened to A New Earth, which had gotten rave reviews by Oprah. Maybe it wasn't my time for "awakening", but I found the book rather boring and dull, and the reading of it would practically put me to sleep. There were some good ideas in the book that I liked but the overall feeling for me was that I just couldn't get into it.

I just started Animal Vegetable Miracle, and it is good so far. In my attempt to eat more and more local, this should give me some more ideas.

Happy Reading!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas

It has been a fun and relaxing few days so far. EZ and I headed up to Buffalo starting last Wed and arrived in NY on Thursday around noon. We did plan a stop at the Original Pancake House for my Apple Pancake for my birthday on Thursday morning...but it was closed Christmas Eve! I was so disappointed. But we manage to go instead on Saturday morning in Buffalo so all was not lost.

We were able to spend some time with EZ's family and lots of Aunts and Uncles and cousins which was nice to see everyone. We played some cards and bananagrams and a very intense game of Monopoly. There was no snow on the ground which was strange and it rained for two days. I have been eating a lot of food and cookies and not doing a bit of exercise. But it is alright for a week or so to just pack on the calories right??? :)

I made it to my parents and am hanging out here for a couple days with Amelia, which is cuter than ever until EZ flys back up here for our second round of Christmas with my family. Fun fun fun. We will head back together to NC on Sunday.

Wishing you all wonderful times spent with family and friends!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


Oh how wonderful to be off for a couple weeks. This semester seemed to be a really tough one. I never seemed to have a break and worked a lot more on the weekends and evenings then I normally do. Not sure what was different but I am glad for the break. I needed it both mentally and physically.

We got some snow on Friday (about 2 inches) and it has stay nice and pretty and white. It wasn't warm enough yesterday to melt a lot of it, but I think in a couple days it will all be gone. Both EZ and I spent the entire day yesterday in or pajamas which was one of the nicest things possible. Having absolutely nothing that had to get done and we didn't need to leave the house.

I will probably spend the next few days cleaning and wrapping presents and stuff. We have a whole pile (meaning all) of gifts that we haven't wrapped yet and there is laundry to be done and packing and just errands to run, but no work!

I finally finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It was pretty good, and I like the way the book was written but it didn't really grab my attention all that well. I haven't decided what to read next but I might read Three Cups of Tea or Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, or The Lost Symbol. All of these I hope to read over my break.

For those on the east, hope the snow is as beautiful as it is here!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Changing the Way We Eat

I think I am pretty conscience about what we eat, what we buy at the store and stuff. I mean, I joined a CSA this summer and then this fall and am part of our Co-op in Burlington, so that when it opens (hopefully next fall) we will have a local store selling local foods close by. I even had started looking into joining a meat CSA too, so we could get all our veggies and meat from local farms.

After watching Food Inc last night, I think I finally have convinced Eric of a lot of my reasonings behind wanting to do all this. It is really quite amazing what goes on behind the scenes of the food industry and just where all our food comes from. If you have read The Omnivore's Dilemma then a lot of what Pollen talks about in the book is in the movie but there is a lot more. I was just in shock of the politics behind both the meat industry and the soybean industry. I even told EZ this morning that I might even want to give up my soymilk and see if I my digestive system can handle drinking locally produced regular milk. Even though I do drink "organic soymilk", the whole idea that my soybeans are most likely coming from genetically modified beans from a corporation that has a monopoly on the soybean industry makes me mad. I might have to look into my soymilk that I do drink to see if I can figure out where the beans are grown.

EZ told me he would stop by the local market in Carborro and start buying all our meat from Weaver Street so at least I know it is coming from local farms, and we will just have to start investigating a farm to buy all our meat from. The CSA I joined this summer wasn't the best, so I signed up for a different one for next year and hopefully that will go well. I am currently with a second CSA that is better than the first but still not exactly what I am looking for. I will find the right one eventually!

Go out and watch Food Inc (if you have netflix it is available to watch instantly!) and hopefully we can all start changing the way we view food.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Countdown many things to count down...

4 more finals to give (and grade)

5 days left of this semester

10 days until I have to start saying my age begins with a 3

12 days until Christmas and hopefully a a Dutch Apple Pancake from The Original Pancake house up in Buffalo (I think I have persuaded EZ to take me there for my bday gift)

14 days until I see my parents

17 days until I see my sister and E and my cute adorable little niece

19 days until 2010!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

EZ's Dreams

At 1 am last night...

EZ: "Laurie"

(me nothing)

EZ: "Laurie?!"

me: "What?" (as I sleepily wake up I notice he is propped up on his elbow in bed leaning over me)

EZ: "Oh, OK"

me: "What??? Why did you wake me up?"

EZ: "I thought you had dirt on your face"

me: "What are you talking about"

EZ: silence....

This morning when the alarm went off, I asked him if he remembered waking me up and what he said to me. He told me he kind of remembered waking me up but didn't have a clue what he had said to me. When I told him, we both started laughing.

What a fun way to start the morning! :)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

A Honest Student

For all of my classes I utilize a web application called blackboard. This basically allows me to post any information I want to the site for each of my classes. I use this to post notes from class, review sheets, homework, etc.

Well my two Calculus 1 classes got on different schedules due to a power outage one day. So one of my classes took a test on Friday and one of them will be taking their test tomorrow. I had written my test and saved in on my computer in a folder where I saved the review sheet, calling one CalcTest3 and one CalcTest3Review. Who would have thought that Friday afternoon when I went to upload my Review sheet for my second class, I uploaded the actual test!

I just received an email from a student telling me that I had posted the test online and not the review sheet. I have absolutely no idea how many of my students have seen it, but it looks like I will be writing another test for tomorrow and I am extremely grateful that the student was honest and told me in the first place!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The $1 Book Store

Have I mentioned this used book store nearby that sells $1 books. Every book in the store is $1. I know you are super excited about this if you like to read. So for me, I get all giddy when I head to the store. Sometimes I can't find anything and other times I find all sorts of stuff.

I recently went last Wed on the way to meet EZ before we headed on to the beach. I keep a list of books I want to read on my iphone, so I bring it up while I am there and start searching. I found a few other books that seem interesting plus 6 of my books on my list! How excited I was. I am on a mission to read a bunch of "classics" and I found some. I was super excited they had Midnights Children as I have wanted to read that book for a while but hadn't gone out to buy it yet. I now have created quite a collection of books in my house that I haven't read, but it is just too good to pass up $1 books! Eventually, my library of books will get read. And of course you can also bring in used books for 50cents credit.

If you live nearby, the store is in Mebane. Although it is not nearly as big as Edward Mckay's used book store, you can't beat the $1/book price tag! Just take the exit towards downtown Mebane and when you cross the railroad tracks, go past one more light and the store in in a building on the right had side of the road.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Beach

EZ and I headed to Myrtle Beach for Thanksgiving this year. Mostly because EZ wanted to just get away from the house. He was sick of all the things he had to do around the house and so we packed up and drove to the beach Wed afternoon. It was quite different being somewhere for Thanksgiving. We celebrated by going to Medieval Times, which was a unique experience.

We spent our time doing some shopping and putt-putt and go kart racing, along with some nice walking on the beach and the marsh walk and lot of food and football. Too bad Arkansas didn't pull out the win last night against LSU. I am really excited about our team for next year as we have a very young football team.

It was quite chilly at the beach and to our surprise today when we got home it was beautiful and warm and sunny! EZ was able to finish up a few of the outdoorsy stuff that still needed to be done. Maybe next weekend we will go out and buy our tree and do some decorating.

I did manage to finish reading The Picture of Dorian Gray and I really liked it. Very interesting story and it was extremely captivating. I also listened to Marley and Me in the car which was a nice fluffy book that made me cry, but even though I am not a dog lover, I would still recommend the book to anyone who has pets. Alright, off to finish some work.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


We finally bought some trees and got them planted in the yard this weekend. I say "we", where really, I helped pick them out and EZ dug the holes and planted them. Oh and I helped decide where they would go. Our neighborhood (for those of you that don't know) is one of those new neighborhoods, where they clear out everything and then build the houses. So for two years now we have been living here with a beautiful view of a lot of of neighbors yards and houses. We also have a lot of just empty yard space which looks odd. So we bought a few trees to beautify our yard.

We planted a purple leaf plum and a flowering cherry tree in the front yard space (one on each side) and then a red maple in the bad for some shade and privacy when we will be on the deck and then a holly tree on the other side where we hope it will provide some type of screen when we sit on the patio. Right now the trees are maybe 10ft tall but no leaves no since it is almost winter, but we are hoping that they stay in and take root and will begin to bloom next year. I meant to take pictures today but it started to rain so i wasn't able to get outside to do it.

Only two days of work and then of to the beach for a nice mini vacation!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Beautiful Weather

We have had some great weather over the past two weekends. Of course we did have 3+ days of cold rain and wind in between from Hurricane Ida, but it was well worth it to have the weekends free of rain and to have the beautiful sun shining.

Not much has been going on around here. EZ's parents were in town last weekend and we did a little trip to WFU and the gardens and a trip to one of the wineries near they which was beautiful. And this weekend entailed some relaxing, football, UNC basketball game and some time outdoors. EZ finally finished putting up all the siding on the house and now the deck/house looks complete. We picked out trees to get delivered to plant in our yard next week and slowly but surely it is all getting done. The house/deck looks great and we still need to find furniture for it, but that can wait.

The patio will have to wait until spring which is fine and we'll see how EZ is feeling by then. He has worked so hard on the deck/house that he is quite exhausted of having his weekend/evening tied up and will debate putting the patio in himself. I told him no rush, we won't use it over the winter anyway, so he can relax for a few months before he decides.

I haven't been reading too much, just have been way to busy. I finally finished a book I have been reading for over a month called Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, which I really enjoyed. It is the story of two girls in rural China and become lifelong friends and it follows the story between them and their growing up, through foot binding, marriage, ect.

I am currently reading two books, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society that Monica let me borrow and then The Picture of Dorian Gray (on my Iphone which I downloaded for free from the app Stanza). I read that whenever I am sitting around waiting for something like in a doctors office or I have been reading it when I got up to the gym and ride the bike. Both books are good so far and I am about halfway through each one.

Alright, off to do some work and teach some calculus.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Neverending Semester

I thought my fall break would revitalize me and it did for that week and a few days and now it has all come piling back up again. Last weekend I took home papers to grade that were a total of 3 inches thick. I managed to spend a lot of my weekend grading papers to then on Monday give three more tests and continue my pile.

I don't know which is the worst part...the fact that I bring my work home at night and on the weekends or just the fact of grading papers.

Work is just getting the best of me this semester and I am once again looking forward to the end in just 6 more weeks....ahhhhhhhh. Then I can get some good sleep.

Did I mention that this morning I tripped over my computer laptop cord in my office which pulled my laptop crashing down to the floor... :) I have a huge crack in it now and broke a piece off...a couple buttons now are broken. One of my colleges has volunteered to bring it home with him to try and repair everything. Hopefully come Monday, it will be healed.

On the positive side of things, it is Friday and EZ and I are taking a mini vacation down to Myrtle Beach over Thanksgiving. Just us, to get away and relax at the beach, should be a fun time!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Michigan Vaca

I had a nice fall break last week. Nice to get away and have a mini vacation. It started with my great friend Matt coming to visit. We went to a not so great US laser show at UNC followed by a lot of drinking, a great Arkansas vs Florida game, an extrmemely fun corn maze in the dark and then a drive up to Michigan through the beautiful fall changing colors. Then we spent a couple days fishing, a trip to Hell and then into Ann Arbor to try the fragels (deep fried bagels).

After that EZ flew up and we had some family time and then a trip to the Big House to watch UM lose to Penn State. We had great seats and it was fun to go tailgate and to see a game in the stadium but too bad that they lost, it was a bummer.

I had lots of fun and now it is back to work. Here are a few pics from the week:

EZ and I about to enter the corn maze

Matt and I inside the maze

What the maze actually looked like (we looked at it later)

Matt caught a fish!

Fishing away in the sunshine

A stop in Hell!

Yummy Fragels!

Before the game.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What HPU is up to

In case you wondered about where I is what they were up to yesterday afternoon.

NYSE-Closing Bell

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Me Time

When life just gets so busy, doesn't everyone need "me time". I have felt like my world is on fast forward and I can't keep up. For the past two weeks or so I have been going and going and going nonstop, not really having any time for myself. I have gotten behind in grading in lesson planning on running, on everything.

Most days I don't even know what day it is. For example, yesterday (Monday right) I told my class I would see them Friday, to which they responded "we don't have class Wed?" This is my world right now is what I keep telling myself. I was planning on going to a conference at NCSU this weekend but I think I might forgo that to some much needed downtime. Any suggestions on what I should do if I find some time for myself?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Tired and Sore

Every inch of me hurts and is tired. I spent literally all weekend shoveling dirt and planting plants. I seriously mean almost 9 hours on Saturday with a break for lunch and another 6 hours yesterday.

EZ rented a sod cutter Sat morning and dug up strips of sod on the one side of our house, I helped him roll it up and then he wheelbarrowed it over to the back part where he had jackhammered out the rock. So now we have grass back there. While he was doing that I dug up all the sod he couldn't get out with the sod cutter, the part right up against the house and all around our air conditioning units. He also cut up some strips in the back where the patio is going to be. After lunch I started far, 2 rhododendron, 3 azaleas, 1 camellia and 4 hostas on the one side from the air conditioners to the front corner that was a lot of digging holes and filling in with dirt!

Yesterday I dug up spots back around the edge of the deck and transplanted back the daylillies and all the gladiolas around the deck and started my garden. I planted 2 thornless blackberry bushes and 2 raspberry plants, I had 1 eggplant, 1 tomato and 5 yellow squash plants so I put all those in too. Another long day of shoveling A LOT of clay dirt out, since I used all garden soil and a good top 3 inches of soil as well.

Tonight will be planting one more rhododendron, 3 more hostas and 2 emerald green thuja trees (like a cypress on the one side of the house) and one more skinny pencil holly at the corner of the deck by the stairs and then the planting is practically done!!! Did I then mention that all the mulch gets delivered tomorrow so tomorrow night will be more shoveling?? :)

I'll post some pictures after it is finished in a few days.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Recent Readings

I have been on a books on CD kick lately driving back and forth to work and then have read quite a few books recently. Not sure the last time I posted what books I have read but I don't know if I mentioned the Time Traveler's Wife which was our last months book club pick. I really liked the book a lot but about half of the group didn't like it at all saying it was to unrealistic. Hmmmm....seems like most books (as well as movies) are pretty unrealistic. It is about imagination right!!

Then someone passed along a couple girly books: Girls in Trucks which was a highly amusing story about a debutant in Charleston and being brought up as a girl in a high society kind of family but does a little rebellion of her own. Then I read the Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing which was another story about a girl and growing up and her struggles with life and learning about different aspect of life. Both were entertaining and I enjoyed them, not in any way "deep".

On the CD front in my quest to "read" more classics I listened to The Great Gatsby, The Five People you Meet in Heaven, and Hamlet. I don't think I ever read the Great Gatsby but I actually enjoyed it and the interesting characteristics of Gatsby himself and was glad that I listened to it. The 5 people you meet in heaven I really enjoyed and found Mitch Album's writing style soothing. I enjoyed the interwoven stories throughout the book and how the 5 people he met were not necessarily people he knew. Last up I listened to Hamlet. First of all, I don't think listening to a play is a good idea, let alone a Shakespeare play. The wording alone is someone confusing and not being able to see the words made it difficult as well as knowing who was talking. The reader did a decent job explaining who was saying what but not always. I have never read Hamlet but I thought it was a great story plot and think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it.

Currently I am reading Hunting Eichmann, a true story about the search/capture of Adolf Eichmann, one of the top ranking German SS Officers from WW2 who eluded capture for 15 years. It is a little slow but I am really enjoying learning about what was going on and just the details of his life and how he and others thought. I am also listening to Something Borrowed Something Blue...another fluffy book, which I felt I needed after Gatsby and Hamlet.

Happy Readings!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Deck Progress

The deck is coming along. Still not quite finished but extremely close. EZ is finishing the railing right now but the trim on the outside of the deck still needs to go up and he has to cut the posts down and put the caps on. After that the deck is done and then he will have to worry about fixing up the house where our old deck was. We ordered more siding and trim for the house from where we ripped out the old deck and EZ also has to build some fake fireplace framing on the outside since our deck sits about 6 inches lower then the framing for our current fireplace. But we will definitely be able to enjoy the deck next weekend (if the weather holds). Now I just need to go patio furniture shopping! Enjoy the updated pictures!

The Deck with the base boards down:

View from the door on the house: (you can kind of see the angled corners of the deck)

EZ's detailed stairs out of the house to the deck:

Part of the railing: (We have little detailed baskets every few balusters):

Stairs leading off the deck to the side of the house:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Who's Excited

Season Premiere of The Office! Tonight 9:00pm!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spoke too Soon

Got an email today stating that HPU has now had several cases of the H1N1 flu. Hopefully I don't get sick. I keep thinking I am doing a good job, washing my hands lots of times, using hand sanitizer, etc... hope it all works!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Head Cold and Candy Corn

Seems inevitable that the beginning of the school year bring upon a bout of sickness. Luckily there hasn't been any H1N1 flu yet here on our campus, which I am super grateful for. Wake Forest had a huge outbreak, so I guess I can't complain if what is going around is just some cold type thing. I managed to catch something last week and am just now getting over it. Still coughing up some stuff but my sinus headache is finally gone and I can breath again. I was able to go for a run this morning and not feel sick so I am coming along.

To make myself feel better I baked my all time favorite funfetti cake the other day. I sometimes just crave cake and this batch has turned out extremely moist! I have one more nights worth of cake for EZ and I but I don't need to despair because it is Halloween time in the stores which means I move on to eating candy corn like there is no tomorrow.

The deck is coming along, the stairs (out of the house to the deck) and flooring of the deck is done. EZ poured the concrete for the last post that will be in the ground for the stairs coming off the deck and he still has to put up those stairs and then the railing and some trim. It looks really good. I bet he will be done with everything after this weekend, pictures up next time.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A few things

I can't seem to get into a groove this semester. Half way through the third week now and I just can't get it together. I think part of the problem is I teach a late afternoon class on Tues/Thur and I have always taught in the morning. So I sit around (trying to do work) in the mornings now and have to be functioning at 4:00pm to teach a class...we'll see if my Geometry students learn anything this semester.

I went to Yoga Monday night (which was Labor day) and only one other person was there. Kind of funny we has like our own private class. Surprisingly, the instructor told me that I am looking SOOOOOO much better, so I guess it is helping! I do feel like it calms me down which is nice and that is it helping with some flexibility issues. I don't know if I will ever be able to touch my toes, but we'll keep at it.

EZ claimed he could build the deck in a weekend. It is not built. :) We don't even have boards up. The framing is all done and he built the stairs (which took him forever) and most of the posts for the railing are in and now he is working on the trim since he wants to have that up before he lays the deck boards down. I think it will be mostly done after this weekend. It looks rather big which is strange looking out on the framing but I am sure it won't be huge once we put furniture on it. Either way, I know it is going to look really nice when he is done and I am extremely grateful for a wonderful husband who can do this kind of stuff!

I have started training...for what, I am not sure and ONLY running. I am running 5 days a week now and about 25 miles a week which is a lot for me. EZ has me doing workouts 3 days a week-a mile repeat set, a hill workout and a last 1/2 mile fast run. I don't know if it is working but I will run a 5K in a few weeks and test out my fitness. I am debating on running a half marathon again this fall/winter (Nov-Dec). We'll see.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


As I speak, EZ is almost done with the joists and then he will be laying down deck. Here are some before and demolition stages, including the big hold EZ jackhammered.

Our Old deck (10ftx12ft our new deck will be 15ftx16ft):

The hole EZ dug and the pile of rock he jackhammered out:

The sod on the side of the house I dug up and then the new plants (really the old plants that were around the deck just got transplanted to the side of the house):

The back of the house after EZ demolished the old deck:

Next up will be the deck as it goes up hopefully soon!

Monday, August 31, 2009

The 99 cent bookstore

A new used bookstore opened up in Mebane not too long ago and I went to check it out the other week. Every book in the store is 99 cents! And you can sell your books back there for credit as well. I left the store with only 5 books, but how can you beat the price. After my trip to the other huge bookstore earlier this summer when I bought 7 used books (not 99cents though) and I ordered a few more the other week, I am at a all time high of books I have but have not read yet!

I read a few books lately, Nature Girl, Rich Dad Poor Dad, and The Red Tent. Nature girl was really not that good, I learn a decent amount from Rich Dad Poor Dad and The Red Tent was pretty interesting. Currently I am reading The Time Traveler's Wife which I am thoroughly enjoying (and is our book club book this week)! I should finish that this week and then I will have to decide what to pick up next.

Oh and demolition of the deck occurred on Saturday, now our back yard is completely empty! EZ is hoping the permit from the city is approved this week so he can get building this upcoming weekend.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Day of School

It always comes up fast don't you think? I was finishing my syllabus for my 12:30pm class today at 11:00 this morning. No I am not a procrastinator, just got busy with other stuff. And once I get going on one of my classes I keep going when I should stop and work on something else. So for my two Calc classes I am already prepped through the first 4 weeks or so!

The big hole in the back yard is done, EZ jack-hammered out the rock and filled it in with the sod I dug up from the side of the house. EZ had to help me transplant all the plants from the around the old deck to the side since they were too heavy for me but it is getting there. The old deck will be ripped out this weekend. All of this labor has made both EZ and I so sore we could barely move Sunday afternoon!! I have some pics but will post them when there is some more progress.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Incoming Freshman Class

Check out this article from the USA Today that was brought to my attention at our faculty meeting yesterday and I found it rather interesting, or maybe more alarming:

Most alarming are these main comments about the incoming freshman into collage:
40% of students were not able to use the correct adverb or adjective form in a sentence, use the correct preposition in a phrase or make sure that the subject and verb agree in a sentence.

•30% were unable to evaluate the contribution that significant details make to a text as a whole.

•Nearly 40% could not solve multi-step problems involving fractions and percentages.

•40% could not predict the results of an additional trial of a scientific experiment.

Oh the future of America...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fun Filled Weekend

We had a busy and fun filled weekend. Saturday was a great day to catch up with friends we haven't seen in a while. It started with a great run of 5 miles and then some homemade quiche for a brunch we were having. Two of my grad school friends/old office mates met up here with their families for a few hours of catching up and good food. It was great to see them again!

After a little down time in the afternoon we headed to Durham for a Durham Bulls baseball game with some triathlon friends from the triangle area. Game food is always so good and it was nice to finally meet Keri! The fireworks after the game were pretty good too!

We started Sunday with some work in the yard...and I was spent after like 1 1/2 hours of digging up sod, while EZ has been digging a hug hole in the back and breaking up a rock so that we can actually grow grass back there. Our approval came on Friday for our new deck and patio so the next who knows how many weekends will be spent working on that. My job so far is the digging up the sod and moving all the plants from the back, and tearing down the deck. But it will all be worth it in the end!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Someone Might Think You're Training

I was out for a bike ride with EZ and our friend Ben and it dawned on me that I rode my bike 3 times last week. Then I go off and do a 5 mile run, the longest in at least 6 months and then do a 22.5 mile bike ride (5 longer than my longest ride in at like 10 months). Hmmmm...did I mentioned I swam 750meters the other day. EZ actually tells me I better watch out, someone might think I am training!

Don't worry, it won't last long. Once school starts back up in another week or so, I won't be at home every day thinking I need to go out and workout. And trust me, I don't consider this training, but a little more than just exercise perhaps.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Camping in Ohio

The other weekend we decided to drive up to Ohio and meet my sister and family for a weekend of camping. Why Ohio??? It just so happens this is halfway between my sister and I (about 7 hours each). We left early Friday morning and drove up to right outside Akron and met them for lunch. Then off to the campground to set up camp, do a little playground action with Amelia and then dinner and smores around the campfire. You can never go wrong with true smores around a campfire!

We spent Saturday at Cuyahoga National Park doing a little hiking and seeing some waterfalls and a little more playground fun for Amelia followed by a stop at a local ice cream place. Then of course more yummy smores at night. Sunday our plans were to head to a beach there but it started raining over night so we found a local diner for breakfast then packed up our stuff, did a little more driving around the park and seeing some waterfalls and then headed home.

Here are a few pictures:
Amelia really wanted the blue ice cream:

The last day on a short little walk to see a small waterfall:

My sister has a really cute one of Amelia and I on the first night, but she won't be posting her pics for a while since they are a little behind on their blog!

EZ and I managed to listen to The Kite Runner on the trip and it was an excellent book. Even EZ really liked it. It was a great story and interesting insights on the Muslim world. I also read a short novel called Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress. It is the story of two teenage boys who have to be re-educated during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. So they are sent off to a mountain village for their re-education and the story is about their time there and some secret books they read and a Chinese Seamstress they fall in love with. It was really easy to read and very good story and novel about that time period. The author is Chinese who also went through the re-education period during the cultural revolution.

Still running and yoga and a day or two cycling every now and then, nothing earth shattering. We are talking 4-5 miles of running a few days a week and 15-20 miles on the bike when I manage to get out on that thing. Yoga is going alright, it is much more difficult than I imagined and I can't begin to explain how tight my hamstrings and my pec/shoulder area is. I am trying to stretch more during the week now to see if that will help.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another Trip to Buffalo

We made a quick trip back up to Buffalo last weekend as EZ's gma passed away. She would have turned 98 yesterday. It was wonderful that we made a trip up there last month and got to see her and the funeral was beautiful. We know she is in a happy place now and will rest in peace. It was good to see family again, and we saw some of EZ's family we haven't seen in a while.

I finished reading my 60 papers which is nice not to have that looming. But I was smart enough to volunteer to read math abstracts for an undergraduate research conference...I have 100 of those to read by next Wednesday. The more stuff I do, the more valuable I am right!

As for books, I read Flatland, which was interesting enough but not something I would call a page turner. I did enjoy the mathematical aspects to the books and the idea of what life would be like in these different dimensions. I also read Catcher in The Rye which was rather depressing and I am not sure I liked the ending but it is what it is.

God Bless You Grandma Zack.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Last Day of Summer School

Tomorrow is final exam day! Yeah!! Made it through another "semester." My class this summer started out good and slowly digressed to high school antics, but oh well, it is practically over now and I can be done with it. I have been making a dent into all the reading of freshman papers I had volunteered for, hopefully after tomorrow I will be through 45 of the 60 I have to read so I will only have 15 left.

I have taken a hiatus on the reading schedule, this happens when you are teaching summer school in the month that the Tour de France is going on. There is just no time to read when your evenings are spent watching the best cyclists in the world race up the steepest climbs possible. It has been an exciting tour all around, so it has been fun to watch. I am in the middle of reading this "math" book called Prime Obsession about the life of a mathematician Riemann. Then I just started The Code Book (another dorky math book) about the history of cryptography. It actually has started with Julius Ceasar and his famous code called the Ceasar shift and then Mary Queen of Scotts secret language. Quite interesting. Although I am reading this because I am creating a course at HPU that will use this book so I have to read it eventually.

My friend took me to this enormously large used book store and I walked out with maybe 8 new (used) books at a few dollars a piece. I have more books that I haven't read then I know what do to with. On top of the two mathy books I am reading I started a third mathy book called Flatland by Edwin Abbott. It is extremely short (less than 100 pages) and actually was not written by a mathematician but by a literary man. It was written in the late 1800's and it has all sorts of undertones about society and classes and religion but in the form of geometry. I am also reading this book because I will be assigning it in my class this fall. I have read 1/3 of it before but just never finished.

Hopefully I can finish some of these books so I can start something a little more for my pleasure than just for knowledge. I picked up a few classics that I have been wanting to read (or reread actually): The Catcher and the Rye, East of Eden, and The Jungle.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lots of Exercise

I haven't been exercising too much lately, perhaps doing something almost every day, but nothing really hard or long. I am maxing out at 30 min of running/elliptical and I did an hour last weekend on the bike. But I had a crazy spurt of 24 hours from yesterday morning to today.

I woke up yesterday morning for a nice run, which actually wasn't too bad. The first time in a couple weeks I was able not to stop and walk for part of it. Then last night EZ and I played 45 min of tennis (we are getting much better) and then I walked for an hour with my neighbors who are trying to lose weight. Top that off with an early wake up call this morning to run to the gym and do the elliptical and that makes 4 workouts in 24 hours.

Something is seriously wrong with me. What am I training for...absolutely nothing!

On the flip side, I tried out a new recipe, some chocolate pb puppy chow mix, which is pretty good!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Strength and Flexibility

I had been talking with EZ about how I wanted to start yoga back up again. I did it for one semester back in grad school and I felt like I was regressing on flexability issues. So I had plans to start back after Europe and then the day I was going to go was the first day I got sick, so here I am finally feeling like I have the strength to make it through class.

A brand new studio opened up a couple months ago by a women in our neighborhood so I headed up there Monday night for their "basic yoga" class. I told the guy leading the class that I was extremely inflexible and he handed me the block and the strap. I didn't do too terribly except for the countless times we had to go from downward dog into the plank (think slow push up for those of you out there that don't do yoga)...and after a couple times I had no arm/shoulder strength to get me through.

Well I am way worse than I thought on the flexibility issue. Countless years of biking and running with not enough stretching has not been good to me and I couldn't do half of the yoga poses properly without a block or strap! The only thing I can do is sit on my feet thanks to year of swimming and having flexible ankles! But I know it is good for me, so I will keep going back hopefully 2x per week, first I need to at least wait for my shoulders to not hurt anymore!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


This funny piece of mail came for me yesterday:

I have never been an All American (been honorable mention 3 times), but it seems so far away that I was training for triathlons. It has been almost 10 months since my last tri but seems much further than that. I looked up the rankings online and I was pretty far down the list, not even close to the AA status (I was one spot away a few years ago). And I would never think of myself as an AA anyway. I think that comes from my years of swimming and what it took to be an AA then, and I only once in high school was name AA for the 500 yd free, and I was a much better swimmer than triathlete. Or maybe not!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Nice Long Weekend

We had a relaxing long weekend, full of errands and a small get together and a little working out, oh and some good ole bocci ball! I have run a couple times and went on a easy 10 mile bike ride and it is nice to do a little bit of exercise again. My first week of summer school flew by and it is already exciting to think there is less than 3 weeks left!

I managed to volunteer for some reading papers for HPU this summer. Turns out I need to read 60 freshman papers in the next month and rate them. Doesn't that sound like a fun way to spend some of my remaining summer afternoons!

I went on a reading spree of some easy summer reading. I read Itty Bitty Lies by Mary Kay Andrews. It was a very entertaining funny story that had great characters. I would recommend this book and her other one (Hissy Fit) if you want a brainless fun read. I then read Chasing Harry Winston (author is same as Devil Wears Prada) and it was just an alright book. Not as exciting or captivating as Itty Bitty Lies, but a decent easy book to read about three best friends who make a pact to change their lives. Next up was a book called How I live Now. I think it is a "young adult" book and it won some awards. But the story follows this girl who goes to the UK to live with her cousin and a war breaks out there and basically she is left with her cousins to figure out a way to live and survive. It was a decent book, but nothing I would say was wonderful. Lastly, I read the 4th Twilight book, Breaking was by far the best one and it was really quick and easy to read. The novels really got pretty good on three and four, so if you can get through the first two, the last two were worth reading.

I feel like I should read something more serious, so I just started a book called Prime Obsession, which is the story of a famous mathematician and the Riemann Hypothesis. The book alternates chapters between math stuff and then history stuff. And no, I didn't pick this book up, a friend who actually read it (the nonmath chapters) read it and gave it to me saying it was pretty good.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Joys of Summer School

It is that time of year again to make a little extra money. I started up teaching summer school on Monday. It isn't bad though, 4 weeks, 2 hours a day, with a class I taught last summer. I do all my notes on my tablet, part pre done and then write on them as I go and so there is absolutely no prep for me. It is great. It is a simple class, for people who are majoring in something that only requires a basic math for the core curriculum, and I only have 10 students. I also do all my homework online, so no grading for me either. This boils down to just about a little as work possible in a short time for a decent amount of money. Money that will be spent renovating our back yard/deck area.

I am finally over the stomach bug, thank goodness. And feel so much better. I am back to eating just about what I was eating before and can handle regular foods now too, so I am going to try and do a little cardio this evening or tomorrow morning. I am getting close to finishing the last of the Twilight series. I had my doubts after the first two novels, but gave the third one a try which turned out to be good, and the 4th one is great. It is lots of teenage drama and I skim through some parts, but overall, the story is finally very entertaining and captivating. Should be done with this one in a few days.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Power of the Stomach Virus

I am finally able to eat after 3 days of just trying to survive. I ended up going to the doctor yesterday who said there was nothing they could do, that these types of things can last up to 7-10 days. At that point, I might not have been able to move. I did fairly well drinking fluids but food was another story. I am down 7 pounds now in 4 days to a weight I haven't seen since I was in college, swimming. Not the way to lose weight though, I do not recommend it! The only good thing is that I don't start teaching summer school until Monday so I should be able to manage.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


We headed up to Buffalo last weekend to see EZ's family. We got in late Friday night and went straight to bed. Saturday entailed lunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant-this tiny little chinese place that makes the best lo mein EVER! Got to see one of EZ's long time friends and his wife and their baby. Then we had a big family dinner with EZ's parents and brother and his family followed by a couple rounds of Opashaw.

Father's day I joined in with EZ's brother and dad and ran a 5K in the local park that I always run in when I am there. I had no goals or plans since I haven't been working out and was gone for those few weeks in Europe but I manage to run a respectable 24:40 which I thought wasn't bad for so little training. What was most impressive was the spread after the race. Chicken, BBQ sandwiches, goat cheese pasta salad and my ultimate fav-strawberry shortcake with whipped cream! Yum yum!!!

We hung out with the family the rest of the weekend, saw EZ's grandma and walked around the neighborhoods with the big homes and beautiful yards. Quite nice. I have come down with some stomach virus though, so not pleasant. But at least I am not working right now, so I can stay in the comfort of my own home while sick and hopefully it will not last for too much longer!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I have finished a few books since being back from Europe. Obviously I already mentioned Pillars of the Earth, which I really enjoyed. A very interesting book with a little too much sexual violence at times, but the overall story was captivating.

I then read Jodi Picoults book Handle With Care. The story of a family with a daughter who has OI (brittle bone disease) and the mother sues her doctor, who is her best friend, for wrongful birth. Basically she has to say that if she had known about the disease she who have had an abortion. The story is extremely interesting and the hardships of the family and what the lawsuit does to the family dynamics. I have read My Sisters Keeper by her and loved it, and this book does not disappoint either. Written in the same style, where each chapter is told from the perspective of a different character in the book.

I then read the third Twilight series book, Eclipse. It was actually really good. Much better than the second novel and I really can't wait now to read the final 4th novel. Her novels are very easy to read, like the Harry Potter books. Sometimes there is too much teenage drama but overall the book was good and once my neighbor finishes reading the last novel she will let me borrow it.

Now I am stuck with what to read next. I have a pile of books in my room of books I have ordered or gotten from people that I haven't read yet. But none of them were jumping out at me. We'll see what I decide in the next couple days.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Blueberry Pancakes

Early this year I convinced another friend of mine to go in halvesies with EZ and I on a CSA (Communitry Supported Agriculture). We live in an area with no local farmers market, and while they are in the process of getting a coop, it won't be here till next year at the earliest. My sister told me about these CSA's. I had no clue what they were so had to do some research. Basically, in case you are just like me and didn't know what they are, is a local farm that grows their own produce and you buy a share. Each week we then get a basket or whatever of fresh, local produce.

Each CSA was different, some were all organic, some had meat and eggs in addition to veggies, some had only veggies and no fruit. I found a great website (local harvest) and researched all the local CSA's near me. Turns out there was one pretty close to us (actually on EZ's and mines usual 25 mile bike route) and it was most local. It was also one that didn't seem as organized. But whatever, we signed up for 4 months of fresh, organic produce from the most local farm there was.

Last week was suppose to be our first pick up. But the farm was flooded from the oodles of rain we have had and the ground hadn't been dry enough to really get too much stuff, but yesterday we headed over to pick up our first share. The farm is pretty isolated but the guy running it could not be any nicer and I am super excited that I am supporting the most local farmer that I can. After splitting all the stuff, I have 4 grocery bags full of all sorts of great goodness-blueberries, blackberries, zucchini, squash, green beans, snap peas, some other kind of pea, green onions, beets, kale, mustard greens, lettuce and basil. And he said this was a slow week since everything is just coming up! I can't wait for all the things he says he has coming, watermelon, sweet potatoes, pumpkins...

So this morning, we decided to make blueberry pancakes with a blueberry syrup. I made my own concoction of a blueberry syrup which turned out great and the blueberries were so great in the pancakes. This might have been one of the best breakfasts we have created in a while, soooo good!

The CSA was a great idea, and am glad my sister mentioned it to me...and if you want to do something about buying local, find a CSA to join and hopefully yours will be as good as the one here in Whitsett!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Working Out

I have started to do a little bit of exercise and it has not been pretty. I manage to run 20 minutes yesterday before I thought I would die. I have started walking with my neighbors which has been fun and I am going to start yoga next week. I did not make it to the driving range yet, but EZ and I went up to the clubhouse to play (attempt to play) tennis last night.

We are heading up to NY next weekend to visit EZ's family. We haven't seen his brother and kids for almost a year and a half so it was time to go up there. Just so happens, since it is fathers day, his dad and brother are running a local 5K and maybe have talked both EZ and I into running it. It sure won't be pretty but if I keep adding a few minutes to my runs, by next weekend I should be able to make it, just rather slow!

A few other randome thoughts about Italy that I forgot. Sometimes they answer the phone with "Pronto" which means ready. Also, to say goodbye, many of them use Ciao. But they don't say it once, but like 5 or 6 times. It is rather funny.

Ciao, Ciao, Ciao, Ciao, Ciao.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Vacation after Vacation

It has been nice coming home from our vaca in Europe. Basically I am on vacation now from work since it is summer. I am teaching summer school in July, but for the next couple weeks I can just relax and I am super excited about it. I have been dreaming about these days where I can hang out at the pool and read and get what have I done since we got back...

The first couple days it poured rain, I got my hair cut and got my nails done since I had forgot to cut them before we left and then tack on 3 more weeks without cutting your nails produces some serious issues. I cleaned and did laundry, got groceries and all that. But I did manage to get to the pool on Sunday since it was sunny and hot. I only was there for about 2 hours until a kid pooped in the pool and they had to shut it down. No worries, in those two hours, I finished Pillars of the Earth, a great novel that was rather long but wonderful and I was thoroughly captivated (is the sequel World Without End just as good?), and I managed to already get a good sunburn, which means no pool for a few days, what a bummer! I am on to reading Handle with Care, Jodi Picoult's newest book, which so far is really good.

But it is nice being on vacation when you get back from vacation! I am slowly exercising, I ran for 15 min yesterday and I rode my bike for an hour last Sat. It was slow and rather relaxing, which was nice and even EZ came which is a first for him in quite a while. I am taking it easy as I would rather not be focused on anything, I think I might go to the driving range today and perhaps convince EZ to go to the clubhouse and play tennis tomorrow.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

I learned...

Some of the things I found interesting in Ireland/Italy.

In Ireland-
1. It does rain as much as they say and that means it really is as green as you can imagine.
2. I was more scared being a passenger on the other side of the car than when I attempted driving on the other side of the car.
3. There are a lot of sheep.
4. The ketchup they use tastes funny.
5. Sometimes there was a harder language barrier here than in Italy.
6. I loved seeing all the signs in Gaelic.

In Italy-
1. There are Gelatarria's on every corner like there are Starbuck's here in the US.
2. It is amazing how cheap you can get getlato, good sized scoops for 1-2 euros.
3. Don't order a coke/soda in a restaurant. We paid 4 euros for a bottle of coke, that is close $5.50 for a single bottle.
4. Order the house wine instead-we could get 1/2 Liter, which is enough for us non wine connoisseurs for 3-4 euros.
5. The Italians smoke A LOT. It was unreal how many people smoke there. We even saw in the airport someone had bought a huge carton of cigarettes and the huge warning label on the carton said Warning: Cigarettes may raise blood pressure and cause impotence. Funny that they don't mention cancer.
6. Most people speak english there and their english is way better than my Italian, or occasional slip up of speaking spanish, which they understood as well.
7. The lemons there are huge, the size of wonder I loved lemon gelato.
8. I wasn't a fan of how the set up their menu. Getting a first plate of pasta and then a second plat of just meat was strange. We got veal meatballs at one place, wich were good, but strange to just be given a plate of 6 meatballs. So instead, we stuck mainly to ordering an antipasta and then a first pasta dish.
9. We had a conversation with our host in Rome who explained she thought it was strange that in the US we can't drink outside. This is coming from the same country where the is no age limit for purchasing beer.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Back Home

We made it back last night after a last couple days in Italy. I must say it was a great finish to the trip. The Amalfi Coast was incredible, it was like the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland with the Cinque Terre in Italy but on steroids! It was a wonderful adventure.

Our last day in Italy was jammed packed. We arrived early in Milan (6:50am) took the metro to the downtown square to see the famous cathedral there then took it back and headed up to Lake Como. This might have been one of my favorite places. I was done with cities (as I am not really a city person) and we stopped in Varenna on the lake
and just chilled there in a cute small town. Took the ferry across the lake to hang out in Bellagio with all the rich peeps and then came back. We then headed to Bergamo where we were flying out of and it was actually a pretty cool city too. It was a great last two days of our trip.

We had a great time and would totally go back to Italy and chill in a few places. It was a very busy trip which made it somewhat exhausting but it was worth it. Here are a few pictures of our last few days.

The Vatican:

St. Peter's and the Vatican in Rome:

Mt. Vesuvius:

Pompei and Vesuvius:

Lemon Groves in Sorrento:

Amalfi Coast:


Lake Como:



Monday, June 01, 2009

Almost Done

This trip has been long to me. I think 3 weeks is just a little too much, but it could be that we really don't have much stops and rests. Yesterday we headed to Pompei and the up Mt Vesuvius and today we are heading down what is suppose to be the breath taking Amalfi Coast. Then we take the night train to Milan and tomorrow we changed our plans and are going to spend the day at Lake Como before our flight out back to Dublin. Then we come back to the US.

The trip has been great so far and I am so glad we came to see most of Italy! I doubt I will be back on the internet until we get back, but I will post more pics then.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Rome is busy and bustling and for the first time it hasn't been excruciatingly hot! Little did we know the Champions Festival (or something like that) was going on last night. This would be the final soccer championship between Manchester United and Barcelona, in which the Spaniards won. We happend to be at the Spanish Steps last night after if was over and it was fun seeing all the crowds singing songs and what not. Our B&B here is really cute and a great host!

Today we saw the town gearing up for the finish of the Giro here in Rome in a few days (although we will be in Naples that day so we won't see them).

A few more photos of Rome:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

7 Years

We spent our 7th wedding anniversary in Cinque Terre which was beautiful! We just got to Rome and are off to see some stuff... Here are a few pictures from around Italy!



My 8th Gelato in 4 days (I love it here!)-


Driving the Vespa-

Happy Anniversary-

Cinque Terre-

Saturday, May 23, 2009


We rented a Vespa yesterday and "drove" around the countryside...we did not make it back in time to see the Giro but saw the Barloworld team cars leaving the city as we were making our way back. Oh well. Either way, it was really beautiful to just drive out in the countryside and see all the vineyards and olive tree groves.

We arrived in Siena today and it is the color of Burnt Siena. We head for our vacation within a vacation tomorrow as we go to the Italina Riviera and the towns of Cinque Terre. Each place we have been seems to be great and different in its own unique way and we are really glad we came.

Here are some pictures of our last stops in Ireland and some from Italy:
The Burren:

Cliffs of Moher:

Right Before we got stuck on the beach:


The Basillica:

Thursday, May 21, 2009


We finally made it out of Ireland and the cold and the rain! The last few days of Ireland were fun and very picturesque! We decided to drive onto the beach one day (we saw other cars do it) and ended up getting stuck in the sand. Eric spent 30 min digging us out while I kept trying to drive us was quite an interesting experience. We drove a lot around the Burren and saw the Cliffs of Moher (in the rain), but our last day in Ireland we saw lots of sun and we got out and did a little hike!

Italy is HOT and crowded! Venice was way cool and we have walked around everywhere! Today we are in Florence and the Giro comes by tomorrow so that will be cool to see to! We saw Michelangeos David today which was way bigger than we had imagined, and so far our trip in the cities of Italy has been fun.

No pictures today! Maybe next time! Caio!

And for my family-
Happy 2nd Birthday Amelia! and Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! Love you all!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


We spent the day driving...driving the Ring of Kerry, Driving the Dingle Pennisula. We have found some great B&B's to stay each night. I have tried the fresh fish and chips, but most often it doesn't have any that what fresh fish is suppose to taste like?

It is beautiful here, no doubt about it, but it has been rushed so far. A few more days here and there would make our trip a little more relaxing. But there is just only so many days! We are spending the night in Dingle, the Pennisula is one of the few places left thats first language is Irish (Galeik), so we thought it would be a nice stop. Another driving day tomorrow up through the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren and on to Galway. Before our last day back across the country to Dublin and on to Italy.

Oh, the sun made an appearence today in between the rain!

Here are a few pictures from our trip:

Pet Cemetary, Powerscourt:

Guiness Storehouse:

St Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

Trinity College, Dublin:

Driving on the Ring of Kerry:

Muckross House, Killarney:

Us at Rock of Cashel:

Celtic Cross at Glendalaugh:

Eric doing a great job driving on the right side of the car, left side of the road: