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23 December 2009

Bailey kinda likes the snow ...

Welcome home to CNY

After a long drive north, we made it to CNY. And we were greeted by freezing cold temperatures and blowing snow.

The "Blizzard 2009" prevented us from driving north on our originally scheduled day. Because Virginia and Maryland got such bad weather, we forced to drive on Sunday morning. It was only a day lost, so it wasn't horrible. We felt confident that leaving mid morning on Sunday would guarantee decent weather, dry roads, and manageable traffic. We were absolutely correct until about twenty miles north of Richmond. We expected some heavier traffic driving up 95, but we were shocked by what we ran into. The traffic was backed up for 80 miles outside of DC!! It was an absolute parking lot from Richmond to DC. We went 6 miles in two hours. There was no way that we were going to be able to do that. We decided to turn around and head back to Richmond. From there we cut across the state on 64 to take 81 north. We thought that it was a brilliant idea.

Not so much. The entire length of 64 - all 80 miles of it - was only plowed in one lane!! The other lane was a sheet of three-inch-thick ice. Both The Boy and I were dumbfounded. The storm had passed almost 24 hours before, but the roads were still horrible and cars were still abandoned on the side of the road. As we drove we saw that the "snow plows" being used were actually farm equipment fitted with plows. Having grown up in CNY, I was totally amazed at the inability to handle the storm. I knew that the south was ill-equipped, but I had no idea how ill-equipped. Happily we made it to 81 safely (two hours later!!) and the north-bound lanes were clear with hardly any traffic! Thankfully we were headed north because the south-bound lanes looked like 95 outside of Richmond.

Out normal 9-hour drive north actually took us 12 and a half hours. We made it to Mom and Dad's safely and without major incident. Mom and Dad had our room all set up, and we immediately crashed. It had been a loooooooong day. The next morning we were greeted by this ...

I love my family and am thrilled to see them, but the bleak and barren landscape in CNY's winters can take a lot out of a girl!

17 December 2009

I heart Happy Christmas Surprises!

Today I received the surprise of my life. Our last day of school before holiday break is tomorrow, so, of course, the festivities begin today! The 6th grade parents' group organized a Hot Cocoa service for all of the 6th graders, and they also distributed the gifts to the 6th grade teachers. I've received gifts from students before -- hoemade cookies, Barnes and Noble gift cards, lotions ...-- so I was expecting the usual (despite my colleagues advising me otherwise). When I heard that the 6th grade parents were doing a group gift for each teacher rather than individual gifts, I figured it would be a gift certificate or something of the like. When the parents came by my room to hand me my card and wish me happy holidays, I figured that my suspicions were correct. I opened the card to display it with my other cards and out fell $300 CASH in hundred dollar bills!!! I almost passed out! Every 6th grade teacher got the same! That's a TON OF CASH! I NEVER want to leave this job! :)

Of course, the money went directly to the mechanic because I needed some minor work done on the wheels before the trip north (although this stupid looming winter storm may throw a wrench in my plans!). But, because the money was TOTALLY unexpected, it was almost like the car repairs were free!! Not really, but kinda ...

Happy Christmas!

16 December 2009

(One of) My Favorite Christmas Hymns

I discovered today that one of my favorite Christmas hymns was originally a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Of course I will share.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth,
good-will to men!

And thought how,
as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth,
good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The Carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!’

13 December 2009

My Kick-A** Boyfriend

The Boy came over this week from Wednesday thru Sunday to have a little break before his finals. He had two exams last week - Monday and Tuesday - and he has two exams next week on Monday and Wednesday. We haven't spent all that much time together since we got back form Spain since we both have been crazy busy, but the little time we had together this week was pretty great.

When I got home from work on Wednesday, he had a cocktail waiting for me at the door and a fire started in the fireplace. We had a little picnic on the floor in front of the fire, eating awesome cheese and drinking wine. He made some gnocchi from scratch (yum!!) and watched some the oldest and newest Terminator movies.

Friday night was even better! After a quick trip to Target (I hate shopping during this time of year!!!), I came home and The Boy had drawn me a bath!!!! I haven't taken a bath in FOREVER! (Obviously I have showered often!), and it was so sweet. He made me a cocktail, had loaded the bath with tons of bubbles, and let me relax after a long day at work for a while before dinner. When I was done with my bath (Ahhhhhhh ...), he had started another fire and dinner was ready. It was fantastic!

He can be so sweet and wonderful sometimes! I'm pretty lucky. I won't lie. :)

08 December 2009

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Today, December 8th, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in the Catholic Church. Today is the day when we give honor and praise to Mary, the Blessed Virgin, who was born without sin and lived a sinless life in preparation to become the mother of God. It is an important holiday for us Catholics, especially given that it comes during the Advent season.

Advent is all about preparation. We are preparing for the coming of Christ; we are preparing for our salvation; we are preparing for a new liturgical year when we can renew our conviction and faith as Catholics. Mary's Immaculate Conception reminds us that God has a greater plan. We may never see that plan unfold in its entirety, but He does indeed have a plan.

His plan for our salvation required that Mary be born sinless. This special priviledge was granted to her and has never been granted to another before or since. Mary lived a life devoted to God, following His will even when it brought her close to banishment and death. It could not have been easy for such a young, meek girl to willingly submit to this seemingly crazy plan (I mean, really, angels told her that she was to have a son without ever having laid with a man?! You'd be crazy to believe it!) knowing that the penalty for adultery was stoning and worse. But she knew in her heart that God knew what He was doing and He would be beside her throughout it all. And she did it. Despite the sideways looks and not so subtle rumors about her and her illegitmate child, she did as she was asked. She willingly took on that burden because God had willed it.

How many of us - Catholic, Christian, or Jew - would do the same if the situation presented itself? I would like to think that I would, but I'm pretty sure that I wouldn't have strength to do so (aside from the whole "I-wasn't-born-without-sin" thing). I don't know if I would have the strength to face the disappointment (albeit short-term) on the faces of my loved ones and betrothed nor could I readily face the disdain and persecution that she was exposed to. I like to think that my faith is strong, but I'm not sure I would have the conviction in such circumstances. I mean, I have enough trouble listening to God's will in an everyday settings, so I'm pretty sure that I'd drop the ball if any real requests were ever made of me.

And that is why honoring Mary is so important. She did as she was instructed without questioning or hesitation. She believed in her God and had a strength of faith that allowed her to readily follow His command. I wonder if there is anyone in this world who has that much strength of conviction and faith about anything let alone God.

06 December 2009

What Christmas means/does to me

Christmas has always been a difficult time of year for me. It is filled with such joy and promise, but that joy is bittersweet because along with that joy comes sad memories. Every year, for as far back as I can remember, I am filled with sentimental and melancholy feelings that creep up out of nowhere and leave me sobbing in my car as I listen to Christmas carols.

Happily, Christmas is mainly joyous. It is a time of expectation and joy and promise of renewal and salvation. While so much of the world has diminished Christmas to be little more than a commercial holiday about who can give/get the most/biggest/most expensive presents, this time of year really is about love and devotion and joy. Despite the rumors that the holiday is a secular one, it is actually a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Christmas celebrates the promise of our eternal salvation and is cause for joy. While Christmas does have a long-standing tradition of gift-giving, our retail-focused society has turned that outward sign of love and affection into an opportunity to make a quick buck. But watching a young child tear open a much-awaited present and seeing their face fill with joy and elation is a wonderful sight. When you’ve searched high and low for the perfect gift for the ones you love and, as they open it, you know how happy and surprised they will be … that is a wonderful feeling. This time of year is so much more about giving than getting, but we too often lose sight of that.

While this is a happy time, for me, it is a not so gentle reminder of my sin and need for salvation. Being reminded on the amazing sacrifice that was made for unworthy soul is humbling. Knowing that someone loved me so much that He was willing to send his Son to Earth and than sacrifice him makes me feel all the more unworthy and emotional. This usually starts the tears.

Christmas also brings sometimes overwhelming feelings of melancholia. It is so hard to explain these feelings to anyone who has never had them. It’s a mix of mourning, reminiscing, and something else I can’t quite put my finger on. The mourning is easiest to describe. Christmas is a reminder of all those who failed to make it to this point in the year. It can be loved ones who have passed in the last twelve months or it could be those who have passed many years past. The most difficult for me is the memory of Sarah and Jenn and knowing that they should be here today, celebrating Christmas with their families … especially their own children. But, because they were taken too early, they will never have families of their own or celebrate Christmas by seeing the joy on their children’s faces. The guilt of being able to celebrate year after year while others cannot is sometimes too hard to bear.

Reminiscing about Christmases past is both happy and sad. It makes me happy to think of all of the wonderful Christmases that I have shared with those I love. Every Christmas that I get to spend with my loved ones is precious and special. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful people in my life. I have loved watching my nieces and nephews grow and develop, and I look forward to being with my brothers and sister every year. But with those happy memories comes the foreboding knowledge that these magical Christmases are numbered. Every year that passes is one less that I will have with my mother and father, two people who have been such strong and loving influences in my life. I know that it is morbid, but the feelings come and I have no control over them.

There’s also something else that I can’t put my finger on. I don’t know what it is, but it hits me every year just after Thanksgiving and lingers until after the New Year. During this time, every song on the radio and every Christmas movie makes me want to cry. Maybe it is the parts of the whole coming together, or maybe it is something all of its own; I’m not sure. But, whatever it is, it makes Christmas both the happiest and the hardest time of year for me.

19 November 2009

Espana: Day Five

It's official. I am moving here. Well, to Segovia. I like Madrid. But I LOVE Segovia. It's a perfect quaint authentic and charming Old European town. It even has its own castle!!! What's not to love! It's also official that I take too many pictures. So I'm uploading a Picasa slideshow. It covers the whole trip and has well over 300 pics. :D Enjoy!

I got up bright and early this morning and took the "slow" train into Segovia. Surprisingly, the "slow" train moves at about 210km/hour. That's like 130 miles per hour. I'd hate to know what the "fast" trains do! I was in Segovia by 9:30, and I took a cab with a really cool cabbie who was pointing things out to me. He dropped me off directly in front of Alcazar, the 16th century castle that overlooks the entire city and valley (which is more like a plain, but semantics ...). I toured the castle and climbed up the 152' tower. I was more than a bit tired at the top, but it was well worth it. The view was breathtaking and surreal. I stood on the top of this castle thinking "Am I really in Spain? On top of a medieval castle? What world do I live in?!?!" It was pretty fantastic.

After Alcazar, I wandered through the city until I happened upon the Cathedral. Wow. I thought the cathedral yesterday was impressive. Compared to today's cathedral, that one was just a pile of bricks. I can't even begin to describe how beautiful this space was, and my pictures don't even begin to do it justice. The architecture was absolutely overwhelming and the knowledge that goes along with it -- it being such a profession of faith and adoration to God -- makes me weak. I don't think I could ever get used to a space like that.

Once I had wandered around the cathedral for the better part of an hour, I continued to explore the city. They were having el mercado in the city square, and it was like I had stepped into a time warp. Other than the clothing that they were selling, it was just like a medieval market. There was all varieties of produce and meats and candies and sweets and handmade goods. It was wonderful. I wandered around for a while, soaking in the environment.

As I walked down the cobblestone streets, the aqueduct rose up in front of me. Holy moly. Talk about wow. It was 95' high and old. Like 1st or 2nd century old. That means single digits, people!!! It was absolutely amazing. I have never been so close to something so old (that was man-made, of course!). It was at that point that I decided that I would live in Segovia someday. Not sure when, most likely after B passes away, but it will happen. I love everything about that city -- the people, the food, the atmosphere, the treasures of antiquity. It's exactly what I imagine when I imagine Old Europe. I need to be there. So, now I need to REALLY work on my Spanish. I mean, I survive with the little know, but I'd want more than just surviving if I lived there. :)

After a sleepy train ride home, I'm back in the hotel and ready to go get some grub downstairs. The Boy arrives tomorrow (YEAH!!), and I have to meet him at the metro around 11. That means I get to sleep in. I really hope he isn't too tired from the flight and is ready to explore. But I'll understand if he is. We do, after all, have all next week!

Enjoy the pics, peeps!

18 November 2009

Espana: Day Four

Today's adventures ran the gamut of emotion. At times I found myself in tears from awe and beauty and then raging and ready to murder. Happily, it all ended okay, but it took a while! Let me explain ...

My day started on the conference sponsored tour of the city. I wasn't excited about that, but a lot of my new friends were going and I figured I'd be a good sport. I much prefer exploring and seeing things on my own, going my own pace and feeling free to explore things that interest me. Once the bus tour stopped and the walking tour started, I said my goodbyes and headed out on my own. All was wonderful ... for a while. But we'll get there. Happy things first.

The trees in Plaza de Espana are all twisted and gnarled. Beautiful ugly.

The front of the monument in Plaza de Espana.

Santa Maria la Real de la Almundena Cathedral was A-MAZING! It took my breath away. It's an old style cathedral and is overwhelming.

The Sanctuary.

The Blessed Mother Chapel.

The cathedral has access to the dome, so patrons can walking up the million stairs (or take an elevator) to the top of the dome to look out over all of Madrid.

I hiked to the top, and this is what I saw.

By the time I got into the cathedral proper, I was close to tears. The experience was so awe-inspiring and moving. I stopped to pray in the cathedral and thanked God for the blessings that fill my life. It's hard not to be humbled when surrounded by hundreds of years of iron-clad faith.

Here, also, is where my day turned for the worst. I am normally a total misanthrope when traveling. As the Boy says, we wear "city face" and remain like stone. However, after leaving the cathedral, I was inspired and elated. I walked out of the cathedral, and, before I was even out out the gate, a woman approached me with a red carnation. She was speaking rapid Spanish and told me to go see the flamenco dancing tonight. I said, "Sure" and started to walk away. She stopped me and asked for a penny. I didn't have one, but I offered her a Euro ($1.50). She protested and wanted an American penny for good luck. (At this point, "normal" me would have just left, but "happy and kind" me had taken over and snatched my good sense!) I was still holding my wallet open when she reached across me to take back the carnation. I left and all was fine. Four hours later when I tried to pay for something, I realized that she had somehow snagged about 70 Euro ($125) out of my wallet. I have NO IDEA how she did it. My hands were on my wallet at all times and it was right in front of my eyes!! Talk about slight of hand. I was really pist at myself, but I did a good job of talking myself out of it. The Boy told me to write it off as a contribution to the church. It still makes me mad, but I still have my license and credit cards. I was still fuming though!

I wanted to visit the inside of Palacia Real, but the lines for tickets and entrance were RIDICULOUSLY long. Instead, I settled for some good exterior shots.

Changing of the guard.

Plaza de toros - The bull fighting arena

I also got to tour Estadio Bernabeu (where Real Madrid plays). I'm not a huge football fan, but this was pretty cool. I got to go through the trophy room, walk around on the pitch, check out the locker rooms (unfortunately no hot footballers were changing!), and sit in the stands. It was very cool. One of my students is CRAZY of Real Madrid, and I'm eager to share my pics with him.

After touring el estadio, I returned home to nap. I didn't get much sleep last night, and I as dragging. After a two-hour nap, I got up and ventured downtown to see La Reina Sofia -- the contemporary art museum. I'm not big on contemporary art (I'm looking much more forward to El Prado on Friday), but I did want to see Guernica. Wow. That was impressive.

On my back to the hotel, I picked up some snacks in una tienda poquita. When I got to the hotel, they were able to upgrade my room to a bigger room (because I'm staying for more than four nights). They couldn't do it before because the hotel was booked, but my new room was worth waiting for. I'm quite pleased.

Tomorrow I am taking the high-speed train to Segovia for 16th Century castles and Roman aqueducts. VERY excited about that!

Espana: Day Three

Two of the four tallest towers in Madrid. They live in Plaza de Castilla and are only a few blocks from my hotel.

A street in Centro Cuidad.

The streetview from my new pals' apartment.

I've been delinquent in posting. I've been having too much fun!!! Lo siento!

Day Three was another amazing day. I slept in until 9am (!!!) and decided to blow off the "professional development" part of the day and headed directly to the Museo de Americas.

This museum is focused on the indigenous peoples of the Americas as well as the waves of immigrants that initially shaped the culture. We're not talking Irish and Slavic; we're talking slaves. The artifacts and exhibits were very amazing although it was a bit difficult trying to understand everything when I only know conversational Spanish (and even that is a stretch!). But I was able to figure things out, and I took a ton of pictures of the Mayan artifacts which then allows me to write off the cost of admission (I'm here doing "curriculum work" as well! I love my job!)

After el museo, I returned to the hotel for free lunch. There I met up with my new homeboys from NCA&T and we ventured back out. We went to Retiro first because Brian and I wanted to see it in the daylight. So spectacular. I could totally see myself living in a city like this and "retiring" to that park after a long day of work or on a Sunday afternoon.

After Retiro, we all headed to Centro Cuidad for drinks and snacks. We happened upon a Correos (post office) and I ran in to get post card stamps.
El Correos

I was actually able to ask in Spanish for what I wanted and actually had a conversation with the mail lady!! I am so impressed with me. What I am not impressed with was the cost of each stamp: .78 Euro!!! That's like $1.50 USD!! Everything here is sooooo expensive. But very well worth it.

We returned to the hotel for the Honor Wine. This is basically the closing ceremony where we all gather and socialize. To me that is the most important part on any conference. Making connections with people from around the world who have similar interests. I met a nice professor from England, a prof from Limerick, and PhD student from Australia, and some more ladies from the U.S. We all ended up paling around for the night and headed downtown to find a nice place to eat.

We found one quickly!!! The food was amazing!!! I LOVED it. We all had sangria and great food and wonderful conversation. It was a wonderful evening. After we were all sated, we broke up into two groups: the group returning to the hotel and the group going out to look for fun. Can you guess which group I was in? :)

After some bar-hopping in Old Madrid, we returned home at 2:00am. It was a good time.

I love this city!

16 November 2009

Espana: Day Two

Day Two in Madrid has been pretty kick ass.

I met some people to hang out with ... all of whom are form North Carolina. Who knew I'd have to fly to the other side of the Atlantic to make some new friends?!?!? After our registration period and our coffee break, I headed back to my room to practice for my talk. I was more than a little nervous. But, happily, I friggin' rocked it!! People really responded to my position and topic and even approached me afterward to talk to me about my topic and my ideas. It was pretty fabulous.

Lunch as pretty amazing. We had wine and yummy food with dessert and amazingness. Yum!! After lunch, one of my new chums and I hit the streets and explored Madrid. We walked for quite a few blocks to see things, and then took the metro to Retiro park. By the time we got there it was dark and, since my camera sucks, the photos turned out sub-par. Oh well. We'll be heading back tomorrow for more exploring. After the park, we walked around downtown for a while before finding somewhere for dinner. It was expensive, but yummy! Especially when coupled with wine. Everything is better with wine.

After wine, we walked down the calle to a pub where we sat at tables on the street and people watched. It was a very good time.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow when I get the WHOLE day to explore and not just a few hours. I love it here though. It is pretty fabulous.

15 November 2009

Espana - Day One

I should really call this "Espana - Day Half" because I spent most of today either in a plane or catching up on lost sleep. :)

The trip was fairly easy. I left yesterday (Saturday) afternoon around 5pm after having to take things out of my suitcase that was already overweight by 5 pounds! I only had three books and clothes in the suitcase?!?!?! How can it weigh 55 pounds?!?!?! The Boy hadn't left the airport yet, so I was able to offload some of my overweight items without too much stress. After I finally was able to check in and get through security, things went a bit better. The flight from RDU to Philly went well, but the flight from Philly to Madrid was PACKED. There were absolutely no open seats, and it was rather tight in there!

I had originally planned to sleep the entire flight from Philly to Madrid, but the cabin lights weren't dimmed for over three hours!!!! We got an amazing meal of lukewarm tortellini, salad (loosely defined as such), a cold roll, and some chocolate cake. I had brought along my own cocktail fixings, so that helped, but it was extremely difficult to sleep when the cabin was a bright as midday. I ended up watching Julie and Julia, and, when the lights finally went out, I got a few hours of restless sleep. Of course, as soon as I got a teensy bit of shut eye, it was dawn. I guess that is what happens when you are flying into a time zone 6 hours ahead. But the rest I got was enough to recharge me until I got to my new "home" in Madrid.

Passing through immigration was neat, and I was expecting to be stopped at Customs. But, nope. I just walked right out of the airport, and my bag was never even checked nor was I asked any questions about my visit. I love that. I'm sure when I return home, I'll be questioned and harassed by the good old US Customs people.

Getting from the airport to the hotel was extremely easy, especially sine the metro opens right up into the airport, very much like Logan and other US airports. A few stops and one transfer later, I emerged into Plaza de las Castillas. I found my way the four or five blocks to my hotel and checked in with ease. After unpacking my stuff, I napped. And napped. It was only a few hours, but it was very much needed!

After my nap, I ventured out in search of food. Sadly, everything was closed. It's Sunday night, and I'm staying in a Catholic country so that makes sense. Since school pays 50 Euros a day for food, I figured I'd just get room service and chill out, preparing for my presentation in the morning. The room service was surprisingly yummy, especially coupled with the half bottle of wine that I ordered. The desert I ordered (a brownie with vanilla ice cream) was super good!

I look forward to tomorrow when I get my conference stuff over with and can venture out into the city to see the museums and the city. And, let's be serious, I'm excited about eating and drinking! You know me!!

13 November 2009

In case you weren't keeping track ...

I'll be leaving for Espana in 24 hours!!!!!

I will do my best to blog with pics during my week in Madrid, but I probably won't be blogging all that much (although I will try!) during the second week when we are at the Med.

Peace out, peeps!


03 November 2009

The new addition to my blog

I've recently been introduced to the following internet software:

Weird name, but awesome stuff people! You can see some of my examples on the sidebar of my blog. I've been using the education side of this program with my kids to create virtual posters (being green and techie all at once!), but I've also been playing with it on my own for fun.

It is incredibly easy to create "glogs" which are visually-based blogs. There are a ton of animated and still graphics that you can add to your glog to spice it up. You can upload pictures and video as well as text. They are pretty fun. I've used them to post favorite poems, picture collages, and I have a glog-in-progress about my trip to Spain. You should definitely check it out. They are a lot of fun to make and so easy to learn!

I love good days!

And good weeks are even better! (Granted, it is only Tuesday, but I am moving forward with positive outlook!)

I started out the week with Kiki and Soybeans and Kiki's mom too!!!! They came into town on Sunday evening and stayed over into Monday morning. We had a low key night, laughing at Sawyer being adorable and at Bailey as she continualy leapt over Sawyer's little body. They became friends and had a good time. Although, Sawyer tried to cuddle up with her a few times, but Bailey, not being used to "cuddling," kept moving. It was very frustrating for Sawyer and very amusing for us! Kiki looks as radiant and great as ever, even with her adorable 6-month-along baby bump. We said good bye on Monday morning, and they drove down to Atlanta. It was sad to see them go, especially after such a short visit, but I'm looking forward to a Houston visit in the spring after Oliphant Baby 2.0 shows up!

I got observed on Monday morning by my department chair, and I feel pretty confident that I did well. I wasn't nervous or anxious. I just did what I do. We explored the Monomyth (of course we call it the Hero Journey) and did a cool, interactive activity that required them to use their blogs and "journey" through the novel. The kids had fun because they got to use the technology that they love. We'll see what the department chair thinks in another week or so when we have our post-observation conference.

My classes today were pretty great as well. My kids have been really great about self-motivation and staying on task. I've really enjoyed working with them these past few weeks ... even more so than the earlier part of the semester.

And ...

I LEAVE FOR SPAIN IN 11 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Actually, at this late hour, 10 DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Damn, I wish I were there now!

29 October 2009

Some people call me a bad person ...

Some call me the gangster of love ...

Okay. That was random, but that is what you love about me.

I called in sick to work today. It was planned. I made the decision last week. I've been needing some dedicated dissertation time, so I called in. My kids have a solid period of silent reading, so I knew that we wouldn't "lose" a day of instruction through a sub.

I slept in until 9:30 (!!) which felt awesome. I got up, ate breakfast, and jumped into my work. I worked for a solid 6 hours today. It was amazing to be so productive. I took a short break for lunch but that was it.

Of course, because karma loves me, I spent the entire morning sneezing and blowing my nose while dealing with ear pain. I guess when you call in "sick," life tries to teach you a lesson. My ear still hurts, but it is far more manageable. I guess it was worth the sacrifice.

By the way ...

Espana en 16 dias!!!

28 October 2009

I love NC weather!

Over the weekend, it was cold as hell! Today, it was 75 and sunny.


After work today, The Beast and I went to Lake Crabtree for a walk. The walk was lackluster (too many off-road bicyclists!), but the weather and the scenery was gorgeous.

The "lake." (I use the term loosely given how small it is compared to the lakes I'm used to!)

A cool fungus that I found. Oddly, the picture makes it look like I took this at night. It was 5pm.

The launch dock and some fall colors.

The trail.

While the weather here is A-MAZING, it's no NY fall. Now that is what I truly miss.

20 October 2009

A Walk in the Woods

On Sunday, the coldest day so far this year, The Boy decided that it was "Family Hike Day." We packed on our cold weather gear, saddled up Bailey, and headed out into the woods. It was COLD!! Even for a New Yorker!! It got a little warmer as we walked, but I think that was mainly due to the hiking up and down the trails. It was a nice walk, but I was happy to get home and take a hot shower. It was kinda nice that I got to finally wear my hats and gloves though!

The COOOOOLD woods ...

I liked all the trees with holes!!!

A peaceful bridge.

We found this random tree limb that made for good posing.

Yeah for hats and gloves!!
I just wish they worked better with warm weather.

Aren't we the happiest couple ever?

I hope it doesn't get any colder, but I'm pretty sure it will.

Hopefully, the next pictures that I share will be from Spain!!!!!


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