Friday, December 16, 2011

a fire alarm fiasco, and other unrelated updates

Our fire alarm malfunctioned yesterday, at 5 in the morning. Actually, I think maybe it just needed new batteries. Unfortunately, neither my roommate nor I had an extra 9 volt battery on hand, and the alarm continued to shriek at me even after I took the old battery out. After fiddling with the thing for a good 20 minutes AND calling the "emergency" maintenance number (they have a lightning-fast turn-around rate of about 24 hours...I guess if there's ever a "real" emergency we'll call 911), and just as I had grabbed my keys and mumbled, "Well, I guess I could go to the store and get a battery," my roommate decided she had had it. "Maybe I should just rip it off the wall!" she said, and before I knew it, she had done just that. I stood paralyzed for the next few seconds as she marched straight out the door and threw the still-chirping alarm off the balcony. Probably just as well--I'm pretty sure the thing was possessed.

School is ending for the semester. I finished classes and finals last week, and have spent this week trying to feel okay about leaving clients for 2 weeks so I can go home for Christmas. Today is my paperwork catch-up day. Hooray!! (Not.)

I am reading an awesome book about the Sabbath by Senator Joe Leiberman. It is so interesting. He is Jewish, and I'm learning a lot about their Sabbath rituals. I have found it to be very applicable as it's gotten me thinking about how I can enhance my own Sabbath observance.

I made the best smoothie yesterday, and again today. I bought frozen cherries (the sweet kind) at the store. I blended those, a banana, soy milk, some ground flax seed, and some ice and YUM! I am in LOVE!

Tuesday is the big day--travel day. I can't wait. Chad and I are both flying out on Tuesday (he'll leave from Louisville, and I'll leave from Atlanta). We'll meet up in Houston, where we have a 3 hour layover. The great part is, his sister lives in Houston, so I think we're gonna meet up with her. For once, I'm excited about having a longish layover! Ah, and then we fly to Grand Junction. I can't wait to be home for Christmas. I've been dreaming about it non-stop for the past oh...month. At least.

Oh, one more update. I went to visit my friend Lauren this last weekend in Decatur, AL. We had so much fun. I'm gonna post a link to my favorite song I heard at the concert we went to. Happy December, and hope your Christmas is wonderful, wherever you are.

Duet (feat. Ray LaMontagne) by Rachael Yamagata on Grooveshark

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A braggy post about my life.

So, sometimes a blog seems like a good place to brag about how great your life is. I mean, if people don't want to read it, they don't have to, right? (Whereas I could seriously annoy people if I did all my bragging face to face).

This weekend I went to Louisville, KY for a visit. Some of the highlights included:

playing lots and lots of tennis

seeing Blind Pilot and Brett Dennen in concert

experiencing bits of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky in the fall

and mostly, just being with one of my favorite people. This man makes me soooo happy.

Oh, and tickets from Birmingham to Louisville are only $29 each way on Southwest. Have you ever heard of such a thing? AND I met the lead singer of Blind Pilot. How is life so good?!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Triathlon 2011

It's hard to believe Triathlon 2011 is now over! There were definitely some ups and downs, but overall it was an incredible experience. I am the third of my friends to blog about it, so I worry it'll be hard to find a new angle. But here goes:

Last Friday Esperanza, Alisa and I set out for Sarasota, FL. It was an 8-hour-turned-9-hour-because-there-was-lots-of-crazy-jungle-rain drive. On the way there, we passed a town called Camilla, GA. Can you believe that?! Camilla! (I just looked it up, and apparently their annual Gnat Days festival is fantastic. You read that right...gnat days).

Anyway, due to some lack of planning and inability to leave on time (I know...weird!) we missed the pre-race clinic on Friday morning. But we got to take a glance at the course, and the beach was utterly breathtaking. Definitely the best beach I've ever seen outside of the Caribbean. (sigh...)

We stayed at an awesome hotel because my roommate, Alisa, knows a guy. Actually she works at a Hampton, so she gets a great deal. That was awesome.

Saturday morning, due to more lack of planning and inability to leave on time (I know...weird!), we arrived so late we risked missing packet pickup (and thus, our race). I don't remember the last time I felt the urge to wet my pants so strongly. But...I didn't. And the triathlon worker people, who had just shut the registration table down, begrudgingly gave us our swim caps and told us to get our bikes in the transition station. My wave was supposed to begin at 7:08, in just a few minutes.

Because I was running around so frantically trying to pick up my packet late and set up my bike and not pee my pants (oh, and I ran down to the waterside with my paper number safety-pinned to my front before realizing I shouldn't swim with that on, and had to run BACK to the transition station and BACK to the starting line), I forgot my goggles up in the transition station (a little jog away from the starting point for the swim). And since I had just arrived breathless at the starting point, and there were only 1 or 2 minutes to go before race time, I decided I'd just have to suck it up and go without goggles. Which I did. And yes, it burned. Salt water. By the end of the 1 mile swim, I couldn't see much. But I did it! Yay.

Okay, but aside from my being a jumbled bunch of nerves and adrenaline and hyperventilation at the beginning, the race was WONDERFUL. The swim was great. The bike was great. The run was great. I loved the bike portion because it was totally flat and easy and I just flew. The run was hard-packed sand next to the ocean, and it was beautiful. It was just starting to get hot as I ran. I had a serious goal to run and not walk for the entire run portion. When it got hard, I remembered how I used to feel as a little kid forcing myself to run the entire Pioneer Day 5K in Grand Junction, and I decided I could keep going. And then when it got harder, I decided I would be everyone's personal cheerleader. So when I passed people going the other direction, I would tell them good job. (I don't know if I helped anyone, but I DO remember last year at the Scofield Tri when some family in a van decided to make me their little cheer project and they kept following me down the road and yelling at me to keep going--that was awesome, if a little weird).

Anyway, perhaps the best accomplishment of all is that I swiped a gargantuan 43 minutes off last year's time! I finished in 3 hrs 12 minutes. I swam my mile in 40:39, biked the 40k in 1 hr. 24 min, and ran the 10k in an hour and 17 seconds. I am really proud of how much I've improved, even if I'm still pretty slow compared to a lot of people.

The time spent with Alisa and Esperanza was really wonderful. We ate at an amazing Thai restaurant, lounged around and slept in the hotel, and were basically on top of the world after our feat. I'm so proud of both of them, too! It was their first tri and they both made their time goals. It's satisfying to get a couple more people hooked on one of the best sports ever.

It's kind of a let-down that the tri is over now. I so looked forward to it, and so enjoyed the training and race experience. Can't wait to do another one!

Friday, July 15, 2011

You too can style your hair at home!!

For a fraction of the price. But, you better have a friend/roommate like mine: she's a saint.

Fortunately, for her first time, Esperanza showed amazing skills taming the wild mane. Question: do I have some African heritage that I was never made aware of? Honestly. Where did this hair come from?

Thanks, Espy.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday afternoon craft.

Used: 1 old antique-y frame
3 plastic lemons
hot glue
a slab of cardboard I ripped out of a box (to paint)
blue and yellow acrylic paint
paper towel for making spongy yellow splotches
scrapbook marker for outlining letters

Fun! I used to always want a fruit house when I was younger (if you steal my idea, I'm gonna be soooo mad). Anyway, each room in my fruit house was gonna be themed around a different kind of fruit. I kind of envisioned a big stenciled "When life gives you lemons..." statement in the kitchen, and a yellow/lemon theme for the rest of the room. Another room would house all the Strawberry Shortcake collectibles I've amassed over the years. And so on. Anyway, this little project today was sort of like living a little piece of the dream. Happy Sunday! :)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I can't stop watching this.

I saw this video on a friend's blog a couple months ago and I haven't been able to stop watching it. First of all, I love Ingrid. Second of all, are these two not the cutest couple ever? And lastly, I think these lyrics are so sweet and simple and precious. In conclusion, you should watch the video.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Went on a special outing this morning with Shauna and Esperanza to pick blueberries. $5 for a gallon seemed like a steal I couldn't pass up. However, an hour and a half of picking in the hot sun gave new insight into why I generally pay $3 for a handful of blueberries at the store.

It was kind of tedious, but definitely satisfying. Now I have tons and tons of blueberries!

I can't wait to figure out what to do with them. I'm thinking I'll freeze a bunch for smoothies and pancakes and stuff, and maybe try and can some?

I've been dreaming of making a blueberry/lemon pie, but I don't really know if such a thing exists. We'll see. Any other ideas? Please share.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Life is so good.

Just wanted to share that I am really, really happy right now. Sometimes really great things happen to me and I think, "Wow, I really wasn't expecting that to happen." After all the good things that have happened in my life, I should really just be expecting it by now. I think that's part of what faith is--believing that something good will happen. I'm just really grateful, that's all. :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Progress towards tri goals.

Yay! Only a month to go til the triathlon. I had a super duper training day today.

Biked 26.some miles in app. 1 hr. 22 minutes
Ran app. 5.78 miles in app. 58 min.

I think I'm going to adjust my goal slightly--I believe I said I wanted to get under 3 hours. Right now, with my fastest 1 mile swim time at app. 40 min plus the run/bike times above, AND leaving a few minutes for transitions, I think I will settle for a goal of 3 hrs. 15 min. I'll still be slicing a ridiculous chunk off last year's time. YAY!! (Oh, and my transition time today between bike and run was about 4 minutes.)

To take a line from Rebecca what's-her-name Friday-lover lady, "We we we so excited."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fixin' up the ol' bedroom

I revamped my room today and I'm really likin' it.

These boxes got covered in paper and hung from the ceiling to store headbands/hairclips/bobbypins/deoderant/whatever other random junk was littering my vanity.

Trinkets! I filled the vase and pottery with old tissue paper.

Vintage Valentines got mini-clothes-pinned up above my closet doors.

Precious, right?

I hung my Aruba license plate over my favorite Aruba painting.

A smattering of my favorite island pictures (which I took, btw) got stuck on the little window shutters. I think I might paint the window shutters a different color sometime.

And finally, these little salt and pepper shakers were too cute for me to pass up at the antique place. Not really normal bedroom decor, but whatever.

Hope you're having a lovely weekend.

Monday, June 6, 2011

News Flash: I love the post office

No, there is not a trace of sarcasm in that title. I really do, if for just a day, LOVE the post office.

Normally, I hate the post office. I feel like the employees are often slothful and apathetic, as if deliberately trying to drive me mad. (It doesn't help any that I don't generally designate adequate time to get in and get out. Generally, I manage to forget the slothful and apathetic way in which my visit will undoubtedly be received, and then, inevitably, I am forced to painfully remember as I wait there in line for who-knows-what to get done so I can hand over my package and some money and be done with it.)

Today was different. Let me be clear--the employees seemed lethargic as usual, a state likely aggrandized by the fact that closing time was only a few ticks away. However, once to the counter, I had a much better experience than I had anticipated.

Allow me to backtrack: I was coming from the apartment manager's office, where I had been patronized by a woman in a twangy, condescending tone, "Don't you remember, sweetie? When you were here to sign the lease we told y'all that you'd have to go pick it up from the post office." (Actually, the same woman had instructed us to come back on Monday to get it from her, which is precisely what I was trying to do. Another roommate, also present for the original exchange, had tried to do the same thing but 20 minutes before, unbeknown to me.)

Allow me to backtrack even further: We misplaced our mail key last week. I called and left a message at our apartment manager's office on Memorial Day, asking what we would need to do if we lost our mail key (uh, hypothetically, of course). Our lovely management promptly called the post office and ordered a new mail key and informed us it would cost $15, although in the interim between my leaving a message and speaking with the management again, we had found the original mail key. But, too late. They'd ordered a new one, and it was too late to cancel, as they discovered in calling the post office.

So we're done backtracking. There I was, at the post office today, 5 minutes before closing time, there to pick up a key I didn't really want but desperately needed because our mail lock had been changed. And I was gonna have to pay for it. The man went to look for the mail key. He brought not one, but three mail keys, which means one key for each of my roommates and myself, instead of one clumsily-passed baton that gets dropped and/or forgotten to be hung on the hook in our kitchen. When he brought out the keys, he said, "Has this already been paid for?"

"Uh, no. I don't know. Does it look like it has been?" I said.

"Uh...not really. Yeah. Uh...I'm just gonna give these to you."

I signed off on the deal, and he asked to verify my ID. "Have you ever watched CSI Miami?" he asked, alternately studying my face and then the picture gleaming up from my license. "You look exactly like that girl, Poppi Monroe. The girl on that show." I hadn't seen the show, and I didn't know who she was, but I figured it was flattering to have someone think you look like a movie star. I came home and googled her and decided it was, indeed, a compliment.

So, in summary, I walked away with three times the amount of product for infinitely less price than I expected, and I looked like a movie star while doing it. Boo-yeah.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Birthday weekend.

It was my birthday on Friday. The branch went kayaking at Coosa River in Wetumpka, AL. Here's right before I jumped off a cliff into the river...

My roommates and friends from school and church came over and we made pizzas. Becca Z (from church) made the dough and Esperanza (roommie) got the toppings. Oh, and we also had awesome cake that Esperanza made. Sweet, sweet friends.


I tried to make a cat pizza, because back in 3rd grade when we made individual pizzas for my birthday party, I remember I tried to make a cat. Mine's the one in the middle. Looks like I still got it...

Here's me sporting the birthday bow Emma sent me. :)

Would've been fun to spend time with my momma, since we share our birthday. But I had a good one, just the same.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

How to Have a Crawfish Boil

1. Put the crawfish in a big pot of boiling water. The water must be boiling first, and the crawfish must be live until they hit the water. (This is important, I am told). Throw some cajun seasoning, potatoes, onion, sausage, and corn in there, too.

2. Throw down all the food onto a spread of newspaper. Assemble your friends and family. This is a social event--a conversation set to the soundtrack of slurping and shell-cracking. Choose your first delicacy. Hold up the crawdad with your fingers. Twist off the tail, as shown.

3. You can suck the juice out of the front half (the head--yummmm) if you've got the stomach for that sort of thing. Otherwise, peel back some of the shell surrounding the tail.

4. Pull the tail meat out of the rest of the shell.

You will have some guests who pretend not to enjoy the crawfish. Don't worry--this is normal. When they've got a mound of discarded shells the size of their head, it is safe to say they like the crawfish.


Appetizing, no?

The second batch was a lot redder than the first. I guess that happens when your propane burner is working better and your water gets hotter and the crawfish get cooked better.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Huge Math Victory Leads to Free Frozen Yogurt

That's right, folks. Today's big story is one of triumph: it's about a girl who thought she was really bad at math her whole life just to find out, in one high-stakes, telling moment, that she's actually pretty stinkin' awesome at it.

Our heroine was out for a night on the town to celebrate the brightening light at the end of the tunnel known as "a semester of graduate school." She entered her favorite frozen yogurt joint, prepared to blissfully surrender 45 cents per ounce of the glorious substance. A sign caught her eye, which read, "Smoothies: Fill a cup 2/3 full with yogurt of your choice, and we will add juice of your choice and blend." Intrigued, she queried a roaming employee as to available flavors of said juice, who promptly went to see what sorts were available.

Upon returning, the lass regretfully informed our heroine that there was no more juice; she added, smilingly, that our heroine could receive her yogurt for but half of the asking price. Our heroine protested, as she had already determined to buy yogurt instead of a smoothie, anyway. However, the young yogurt peddler insisted, and our heroine was happy to relent.

There are so many flavors in a yogurt establishment such as this one: peanut butter, oreo, thin mint, cheesecake, fruit sorbets and at least 10 varieties besides. However, Thin Mint was quickly settled upon and our heroine advanced to the counter to pay, after securing a most generous portion of the Thin Mint cream.

At the counter, there was another sign which caught her eye. This one read, "Guess your yogurt's weight within .10 ounce and it's free!" Our heroine (who, remember, was never very sure of her aptitude for mathematics) creased her brow, tapped her foot, and felt the pressure of a growing line of customers waiting to pay for their yogurt. "Think, think, think!" she told herself. She knew that her yogurt generally cost somewhere around $5, and she knew the cost was .45 per ounce. The math seemed simple enough, but the growing line of customers made her feel flustered and frantic. And then, in a sudden burst of division skills, she knew the answer--or at least, a pretty good one. "9.5 ounces!" she wagered, expectantly.

The attendant's eyebrows raised as she weighed the yogurt and then said, "9.32 ounces. Not bad! I was gonna give it to you for half-off anyway, so I'm gonna give it to you for free."

Dun-duh-duh-DUN!! Triumph! Thank you, GRE prep class. Not only did you help me get into graduate school, you helped me get free yogurt. And for that, I will be forever grateful.

Note: Sorry for the weird writing style. As I mentioned, it is near the end of the semester, and taking longish breaks to use and write ridiculous blog posts seems way more appealing than working on my final Stats memo.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Book Reviews.

A few of the books I've read recently:

Freakonomics, by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.

This book reminded me out Outliers, although I didn't love it quite as much. Lots of interesting stats and stuff, with an econ twist. Why do real estate agents sell their own homes for significantly more than their clients' homes? How corrupt is the professional sumo wrestling industry in Japan (because it is, you know)? Does the negligible number of lives saved by car seats each year warrant the millions of dollars pumped into the baby car seat industry? What's in a name--how do parents in different socio-economic groups differ in their baby naming tendencies? Hmmmm?

Stick Figure: A Diary of My Former Self, by Lori Gottlieb.

I really enjoyed this book. The author found her actual diary documenting her anorexic, eleven-year-old self, and published it. I loved the voice--it was authentically pre-teen, yet astonishingly observant and intelligent. The story, from the girl's vantage point, wasn't a battle with anorexia--it was a battle with her family for her freedom to control her own weight through dieting. Kinda scary. But the tone is light and humorous, sort of like a real-life Ramona the Pest.

Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell.

Another great one by Malcolm G. The book is about the human mind's ability to "thin-slice" situations--take in various bits of information about a situation in just a few seconds, much of it sub-consciously, and make a decision. Lots of people have mastered the art of this practice: for example, Vic Braden is a pro tennis coach who can predict with stunning accuracy when a player is going to double fault. Something about the way the serve is executed tips him off--but the crazy thing is, he can't identify precisely what about the serve tells him it will be a fault. John Gottman, a marriage researcher (who I actually heard speak at the AAMFT Conference last September!!) can predict with like, 95% accuracy whether a couple is going to divorce, just by listening to them interact for a few minutes. There are also examples of times when people jumped to very wrong conclusions in split-second decisions, either by over-analyzing and sort of dismissing misgivings they had, or by losing the ability to reason well in a high-adrenaline situations. I really liked this one.

I started reading Eat, Pray, Love yesterday but I don't know if I can stand it. I might give it another chance, though. Any other suggestions?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Surprise

I had quite a lovely surprise yesterday for Easter, while taking a nice walk through town to wind down from the huge Easter feast my roommates and I hosted for several friends. I was just a little homesick/lonely, when one of my best friends from high school texted me and asked if I lived in Auburn. Apparently, she and her family were in the middle of moving from Houston to Virginia, and they were stopping here for the night! I could not have been more pleasantly surprised. I got to meet her husband and their adorable little boy, and it was so great to catch up with her after about 5 years!

Some people will just always be friends, no matter how long I go without seeing them. Of course, Heidi and I were attached at the hip for several years. We did EVERYTHING together. Some of my favorite memories include leaving notes in a secret mailbox by the church (we were in different wards), stealing cake from the teacher's lounge when we were at school for marching band practice (we were so bad!), and trying to connive our parents into taking us to the mall every Saturday. Good times.

Also, my roommate and I prepared an Easter feast--we made ham, and homemade rolls, and steamed green beans, and cheesy potatoes. We were very proud of the meal. It was so fun having some of our friends from the branch over, too.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Here's a nice, soothing, melancholy song.

flashvars="" allowScriptAccess="always" wmode="window" />

Here's the link, if you're a non Google Chrome user.

Monday, April 11, 2011

2011 Triathlon Goals

I came across my time from last year's triathlon. I came in at 3 hours, 55 minutes, and 49 seconds. I was actually pretty slow--the average female time was around 3:15, and I only beat a handful of people. In my sprint triathlon the year before, I came in at 2:02.

An olympic triathlon is twice the length of a sprint triathlon, so comparing my swim/bike/run times from the last two years is actually pretty helpful in identifying trends (year 1 was a sprint, year 2 was an olympic).

Year 1 Swim: 26:39
Year 2 Swim: 44:25

Year 1 Bike: 1:00:43
Year 2 Bike: 1:43:20

Year 1 Run: 29:37 (that's a 9:33 mile)
Year 2 Run: 1:16:41 (12:22 mile)

So clearly, I improved in swimming and biking from year one to year two. Most of the improvement in my bike time is probably due to the fact that I raced on a road bike the second year instead of my mountain bike. Evidently, I got a little better at swimming, too. The run, though--awful. I still remember what an awful run that was. I didn't adequately train last year, so once I finished swimming and biking, I was dead.

This year, I should be able to shave a good bit of time off. I would really love to come in under 3 hours. I know it's kind of crazy--who takes 55 minutes off their time? But I've definitely completed a 10k in around 50 minutes before, so there's 25 minutes. If I can manage to take 20 minutes off my bike and 10 minutes off my swim, I'm there. I need to train a lot crazier than I did last year, though.

Here is how I plan to reach my goals:
-I'm probably gonna have to bite the bullet and do a lot more front stroke than I do now (I've gotten by with a lot of breaststroke and only a little front stroke, but I know I'll go way faster if I can just build up the strength and endurance to front stroke). If I could freestyle the whole mile, I'm pretty sure I could take off those 10 minutes.
-I need to bike at least a couple times a week, and put in some loooong rides. Last year I neglected this aspect a little.
-I need to run more. I guess I neglected that aspect a little, too.
-I'm planning on doing a mini-tri every single week as part of my training. I did my first one on Friday. (12k bike, 1 mile run, 600 m swim)

Oh, and check out the AWESOME triathlon I get to participate in this year! July 23, 2011. I can't wait!! My roommates are both planning on doing the sprint tri and I'm so excited for them to experience their first tri. I'm so excited to swim in the ocean and bike/run on the beach. :)

Friday, April 1, 2011


I wasn't really eavesdropping, because the guy was yelling pretty loud. I was sitting and watching the Auburn baseball team get slaughtered by Vanderbilt's team. A guy a few rows down was yelling some pretty piercing insults to players from the other team, in a desperate attempt to console himself over our team's hopeless condition (example: "20 hits, and you couldn't even get one!!" He screamed that to one of Vandy's players after he struck out, citing Vandy's 20 hits up to that point. The irony is that Auburn had only gotten 2 hits at that point).

But my favorite insult was this one, which seemed to come right before our team hit rock bottom, and after a string of other nasty cuts from this heckler guy. Either he was really scraping the bottom of the barrel, or he was saving his best ammunition for last: "Your football team is so bad, y'all haven't been to a bowl game in 30 years!!!"

Wow. That's how I knew I was in the South. (Well, and also because I just remembered I was.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Civil Wars

What could be cooler than sitting outside under a starry sky in Alabama?

Maybe a starry sky in Colorado.

But still, Alabama's pretty good.

'Specially when you got good friends and great live music.

flashvars="" allowScriptAccess="always" wmode="window" />


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...