Wednesday, December 16, 2009

They didn't study...

This document is pretty funny... people who didn't study for their tests. Page 1 reminds me of a lot of tests I graded this semester (a lot of words for the sake of words, communicating nothing). Page 7 very much reminds me of homeworks that I handed in for the class that I just took. Page 8 (the one about cats) made me laugh until I had tears in my eyes. Is that bad? (you can click Fullscreen to see it a little better, or click the little zoom buttons)

They didn't study

Friday, December 11, 2009

Merry Christmas... I'm Yours!

Thanks mama...




Someone please scratch his poor little nose for him!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hallelujah!!!

Iiiiiiit's official!! The semester is OVER and I can see those memories coming back of a healthy, balanced Erin who did things like work out and clean her house. And what is the best thing about Christmas break?? CHRISTMAS! And I can now embrace it.

Let me back up a bit before I get to the wonderfulness, and review previous events. It was just a pretty jam-packed semester. I'm sure I had rough semesters in undergrad, but that was back in the days when I lived on campus, so I just walked out my door to get to class or to go to the gym, I had luxuries such as the dining hall and a dorm room, so no cooking or cleaning, and I certainly didn't have bills or many responsibilities. So all I really had to do was school. But now, having a rough semester is only compounded by the general responsibilities that come with the "adult" world, or really, just the constant nagging feeling that I'm neglecting them all. Anyway, back to the rough semester. I can't say I handled it with grace... but I "handled" it. And now it's done. I pulled more all-nighters this semester than I can remember ever pulling. And the recent feat of amazingness that my body survived was the survival of 2 consecutive all-nighters. Not planned, but here's what happened. I stayed up all Monday night to get the ridiculous 20-page Senior Design technical reports graded, with some sort of meaningful comments. At some point during that evening, I realized that my Probabilistic Models final exam that I thought was on Thursday was in fact on Wednesday at 8am. Hence the second all-nighter. But don't worry, I slept 13 hours on Wednesday night, and was officially a sloth all day today. And am soaking in the feelings of a well-earned break.

SO on to the Christmas cheer. And Lee and I have a date to go see "A Christmas Carol" with Jim Carrey on Saturday night. I'm pretty excited. And in honor of my month of working from home, I ordered a bunch of "lounging" clothes online today. Some super comfy looking fleece pants and some hoodies, etc. I can't wait for my month of cozyness. But don't worry, I also plan to resume some sort of working out regimen, so no need to plan an intervention.

I watched So You Think You Can Dance on my DVR today, and it was a tragic loss... Legacy was eliminated :( It was painful. I don't want to talk about it. Also, same episode, Mollee got eliminated. And that was pretty painful as well. She wasn't necessarily one of my favorites, but she looked more sad than anyone I think I've ever seen. You know how when little kids get themselves into a sobbing cry and they cry until they're exhausted (she didn't do that), and then once they're tired they just look tragic and every once in a while they do a couple of quick little inhales because they're not quite done crying? That's what she kept doing, those little breaths of her world being crushed. And her face looked pi-ti-ful. So she made me very sad. Anyway, next week is the finale, so I will be sure to report who the winner is. At this point I really think they are all amazing. There are 6 left, but I would be really happy if it were Kathryn (one of my original favorites), Russell, or Jakob. Russell just seems so precious, like he is probably one of the nicest people on the planet. And Jakob might honestly be the best dancer I've ever seen. He's amazing. Here is a broadway dance he did with Mollee this week:




And also, while I'm on the topic, here is a video of another group of dancers called "The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers" that they had on the show I think last week. You need to watch it, they are amazing, I promise it's worth 3 minutes of your time!




You think if I showed up in a beginner's dance class I would get kicked out?
Have a great weekend!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I see my friend Friday approaching!

Here are my observations for the day...

First, people who go to Georgia Tech are freaks of nature. What the heck am I doing there? GT has the #1 Industrial Engineering Program in the country, so ya know, I know it's no joke. But this class that I'm taking is seriously kicking my butt. I didn't go to bed last night. My last homework assignment took 15 hours. And the handout has 4 problems. And these other crazy people in the class are like at the playground. The most shocking thing... they seem to think this class is normal. I swear I was intelligent once. I know I didn't dream these memories of catching on and understanding things quickly. But this is serious work. I mean hard work. And just to pull a grade that is slightly below the class average. So the only obvious conclusion is that my classmates are from another planet. On the same topic... people at Tech joke about "the ratio" (girls:boys) and I know most academic institutions have above-average amounts of foreigners. I have been taking a count recently. In a class of ~75 students, here are the statistics. 3 Caucasian Females. One of which is confirmed from Germany. 1 Black Female, ~5 Indian/Mid-Eastern Females, and ~5 Asian Females. The rest are all males, the majority of which come from the Eastern half of the world. Today the professor (Sigrun Andradottir, who is herself from Iceland) was handing out tests by calling each person's name one by one. Her accent combined with the names from all ends of the earth made me giggle. And then there was "Jonathan" and "David"... and Erin.

Second, I really enjoy the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. It makes me laugh out loud. It's very silly. I was getting my oil changed today and was having a good old time in the waiting room with the Banks.



Third, every time I get my oil changed, on the drive home I convince myself that my car is on fire. I have this internal talk with myself concerning whether I should pull over or not. The smell is not comforting. Do you think they wash the outside of the motor in oil too?

Fourth, I got my hair cut on Tuesday and I love the girl who cuts my hair. I love that I can walk in and sit in her chair and just go "I don't know, I'm bored... do something new and interesting" and she just goes "ok" and I love it every time. No stress, no decisions, I just know my hair is in good hands. And I appreciate that. Her name is Krista and she works at Urban Body Salon on Ponce de Leon Place if you want to go have her give you a new do. And have you seen my sister Stephanie's hair? I covet it on a regular basis. It's a Krista masterpiece.

And last but not least, I love Travis Wall, one of the choreographers on So You Think You Can Dance (he was a contestant a few years ago!). His dances are so good. The dance he did this week for Ryan and Ellenore was a story of a long-lost couple who ran into each other in the park... it was really good, gave me chills.




That's it for now. My final observation is that I need a nap!


Another good addition to this post... A funny video that Ashley sent me:

video

Particularly funny is the "utter social ineptitude" ... Does anyone want to take a field trip to Tech? I'm making it seem so awesome huh? Haha, no really, in all honesty, I love Georgia Tech, it holds a dear special place in my heart and there are some fantastically amazing people there. I married one of them :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Forever Young

I purchased my first bottle of "age defying" lotion. It's never too early, right? I hope I look like a 17 year old in 4 weeks. But really, I just really hope I don't get a saggy neck.

The GT football team pulled through again this weekend and beat Wake Forest. I wish I was a professional athlete. I always feel so excited for the team when they're running off the field after they win and there are so many people cheering them out, particularly when they run by the student section and hit their hands as they go by. I always think what an amazing feeling that must be, to have so many people desperately stretching out to touch you, especially when you're just an 18-20 year old kid. Wouldn't that be amazing? I wish people would come cheer and jump around while I do research and write papers. I can picture them, desperately climbing over my cubicle wall, just to get a glimpse of the action and maybe touch my hair.

Here's a picture Lee took in the stadium. I like it because you can see Tech Tower in the background...
Football season has been really fun this year so far. Only 2 more home games left... hopefully the streak continues.

Welp, it's Sunday night. Lee and I went for about a 5 mile walk, which lasted almost 2 hrs. I love looking at all the houses and making my list of what I do and don't want in our future dream house. And the weather is perfect right now. Then we went and ate wings. Had to refill the calorie bank. Mmmm what a good finish to the weekend. And tomorrow the week starts allllll over again. It's gonna be a productive one, I can feel it.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Shambo's mullet

I am taking a vote. Will Shambo still have her mullet on the Survivor reunion show? I think she'll still have it. When you've rocked it this long, you're committed. And I also am betting on Jeff Probst bringing the mullet up for discussion. What do you think???

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Growing Pains

I guess a part of maturing is just a matter of accumulating experiences. For me, first-time experiences generally aren't a complete success, but over time, lessons are learned and added to the knowledge and skill bank. Growing pains come in for example when lessons are learned the hard way, or when they aren't learned the first time, leaving me confused with what's going wrong.

After some time of thinking and processing the past few weeks, I have decided that I am and have been experiencing this semester a good healthy dose of growing pains. I am right smack in the middle of a lot of new roles and experiences, most of which are a good bit outside of my comfort zone (side-note: I willingly chose these things, and don't regret them for a second... just wish I could hit the pause button for a minute). It's not just the new experiences, but the fact that I'm not getting things quite right yet, and have gotten a couple of them quite wrong actually. I generally enjoy new challenges, but the accumulation of so many roles that I'm still figuring out all at once has been making a big mess all over my plate. And the mess of doing so many things "not quite right" in such a short period gets to me every once in a while. It tends to take a toll on the self-esteem. So that is my explanation for my previous, oh-so-dramatic reference to hating life. But after the dust settles, I have to remember that I'm just doing the best I can in situations that I've never been in before.

And the good news is that I am learning so many lessons! I will be so wise. You can just call me Solomon. The top lesson for this week (after coming the all of these realizations) is that I need to not be so hard on myself. And now I will share that lesson with you. Let's all not be so hard on ourselves. We're just doing the best we can with what we know, and when we know better we'll do better. Whew, what a relief.

On another topic, So You Think You Can Dance is BACK! And I've already picked my favorite couple ... [drumroll] ... Legacy and Kathryn. I love them already. Watch for them, you'll see, they're great. This week they had to tell the best thing and the worst thing about their partner (they always do a cheesy intro to their dances), and Legacy's favorite thing about Kathryn was that she's emotional. And the reason he likes this is because he's emotional and it makes him more comfortable that she is too. How precious is that? And I have to admit, Legacy's crying and emotions were part of what won me over, as suuuper-cheesy as that is. But it's not really dramatic or weak or feminine, as you might be picturing. He's definitely male, and he's a breakdancer. It just seems like he can't hold it back. And I find that endearing. So there is my pick. Let's hope my horse wins.

And now I hope you have the theme song to Growing Pains in your head for the rest of the day.
"Show me that smile again (Oooh show me that smile!)... Don't waste another minute on your crying..."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hello November :)

I feel the need to not have that post at the top any more... Hating life no more. I try not to dwell in my self-pitty for TOO long. So I'll share with you our lovely jack-o-lantern from last night.I love him and I'm sad that he serves no more purpose after last night. We got to see my nieces and nephew in their costumes over Skype last night and they were prrrrecious. They were a skeleton bride, a buccaneer, and Captain Jack Sparrow. And they looked awesome. My sister did an awesome job on their makeup. I got to see them at the beginning of the night, and then at the end of the night. There was quite a difference. When they got back, there was no wig on the skeleton bride, no hat on the buccaneer, and the captain's once awesome beard and eyeliner were a mess of black smear. But as cute as ever of course. It's amazing how such a ragtag bunch of kids can make you wish you were there to squeeeeeeeeeeze them.
Edit: My sister posted pictures of the kids in their costumes on her blog, so you should go look at how cute they are. And her blog is good in general. She's cute and funny and her family is cute.

Well, it is officially November and I won't lie, I can not wait for the holidays. When I hear people talking about how much they are so disgusted by the Christmas stuff already being out in October, inside I'm thinking really?? what's your problem? just close your eyes then. I will admit that I see their point, because the stores might be getting a little out of hand in trying to fully take advantage of the money making business of Christmas. And I do enjoy really taking full advantage of each holiday for its wonderfulness (for example, I'm having a little difficulty letting go of Halloween). But I have to admit that when I see those Christmas trees in October, I try to come up with some excuse to walk through that section and get excited. But don't worry, I don't get the Christmas decorations out til the day after Thanksgiving... I wouldn't want to overshadow. But I can secretly appreciate the crazy stores.

Aaah that extra hour from daylight savings is so wonderful. It gave me time for a blog post while enjoying my morning coffee and listening to our new speaker system (Lee's early birthday present... football is a good enough excuse to get it early). I have to run and get ready for church, which I love that I can not wait to get there. Our church is great (cheesy, I know, but I get excited that I am so excited to get there). And then my parents are coming to have venison chili with us. What a great Sunday!

Have a good week :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Well Hello...

I kind of hate life right now. I may or may not update the blog world on this once I am thinking more clearly on what is or isn't appropriate to throw out into the void of the world wide web. But for now, just rest assured this is a temporary situation, nothing to panic about. Just kinda ... blah... But. I was wondering what in the world Pandora's Box is. Does anyone know this? Well here you go...

According to Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. Apparently, Prometheus stole fire from Zeus and gave it to man (apparently a story itself). Zeus was angry and had this woman created to bring punishment. Each god helped create her by giving her unique gifts. Zeus gave her this box (really a jar) filled with all types of misfortune, evils, illness, etc. He instructed her not to open it (but also gave her the gift of curiosity). He then sent her to Epimetheus (Prometheus's brother), who then married her (against Prometheus's warnings to not accept gifts from Zues). Once she was in, she got too curious and opened the box. When she opened it, all of the evils, ills, diseases, and burdensome labor that mankind had not known previously, escaped from the jar. She tried to close it quickly, but it was too late. The only thing that did not escape was Hope.

So there it is... that's the story behind the phrase about "opening Pandora's Box." And the Aerosmith album. You learn something new every day. Or maybe you already knew, my wise audience.

I think I'm gonna go for a walk... A nice mood booster. Have a lovely evening.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"I believe in equal rights for all ... unless you're religious or conservative..."

"In that case... I'll be sure to tell you why you're wrong and why you need to change. But don't you dare try to express your opinion to me... religious, conservative people are so closed minded and judgmental."

I am SOOOO tired of having this encounter!!! Obviously paraphrased. But pretty much the meat of the conversation. I had a mild one today. And I try to stay calm and express my opinions logically and with kindness (heaven forbid I come off as closed minded or judgmental!) ... But the more I think about it, I get more and more angry. I am so tired of the double standard. The funny thing is that I did not pursue this conversation. I was passive in the whole thing. I merely answered questions I was asked. I very much believe that no one enjoys unsolicited advice or irrationally strong opinions. So yeah, I innocently answer questions, and then my judgment is questioned and I am made to feel like I am judgmental and heartless (which I would just like to say by the way are two things that I constantly strive NOT to be). But here's the kicker. In the same breath, this person was discussing how horrible religious people can be sometimes and he/she concluded with "I am who I am, I'm not gonna change, just let me be." ... And I'm left thinking... ummmm, my thoughts exactly. Who's the one here who is giving the other the right to have their own opinion?

It is truly baffling. And for the record, I TOO believe in equal rights for all. Very much so. I also believe in a benevolent & kind view of humanity. VERY much so. And not to sound arrogant here, but I'm gonna venture out on a limb here and say that consistency is a valuable component when referring to "ALL."




Edit... some follow-up thoughts...

I was stiiiillll thinking about this. Does anyone remember this scene from "You've Got Mail" (one of my favorites) :
Joe Fox: Do you ever feel you've become the worst version of yourself? That a Pandora's box of all the secret, hateful parts - your arrogance, your spite, your condescension - has sprung open? Someone upsets you and instead of smiling and walking away, you zing them? "Hello, it's Mr Nasty." I'm sure you have no idea what I'm talking about.

Kathleen Kelly
: No, I know exactly what you mean, and I'm completely jealous. What happens to me when I'm provoked is that I get tongue-tied and my mind goes blank. Then I spend all night tossing and turning trying to figure out what I should have said. What should I have said, for example, to a bottom dweller who recently belittled my existence?
[stops and thinks]
Kathleen Kelly: Nothing. Even now, days later, I can't figure it out.

Joe Fox
: Wouldn't it be wonderful if I could pass all my zingers to you? And then I would never behave badly and you could behave badly all the time, and we'd both be happy. But then, on the other hand, I must warn you that when you finally have the pleasure of saying the thing you mean to say at the moment you mean to say it, remorse inevitably follows.
Well I'm on the Kathleen Kelly side, being completely jealous sometimes. Please, Joe Fox, send me your zingers. I would love to experience this. But on the other hand, thank you, Joe Fox, for letting me know that remorse inevitably follows... And for reminding me to appreciate the fact that my arrogance, spite, and condescension has not sprung open. It is a refreshing perspective to realize that I am not weak... I am merely someone who doesn't carry my arrogance and condescension on my sleeves, ready to pounce at any moment. I am rejuvenated. Thank you Tom Hanks.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dear Kanye West, We get it... you hate white people. You can go away now.

Did anyone watch the MTV VMA's last night?? Well... I didn't. But I did wake up to radio/tv discussions of Kanye West being his usual ridiculous self. And really, who gives a flying flip about anything Kanye West ever has to say? He's responsible for such jewels as suggesting that he's such an inspiration that he should be in the Bible. I mean, really. Who has time to acknowledge he's speaking? But this time he went too far... WHO except a heartless, ridiculous person could do this to Taylor Swift?? In case you didn't see it:

I think it speaks for itself. I don't think there are words strong enough to express what a ridiculous human being he is.

Anyway, here's the clip of Beyonce totally recovering the whole situation. I love her. Did this bring a tear to anyone else's eye or am I ridiculous?

Gosh I just really appreciate kindness. That Beyonce is a classy lady.

On another note, Lady GaGa never ceases to amaze me. My neighbor has a nice wreath on her door that I think would look particularly nice wrapped around my face. Thank you Lady GaGa for opening my eyes to the fashion potential of door decor.

But here is one gem resulting from the whole debacle...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Do you have my perfect sunscreen???


I'm taking a survey... I need some input on a good sunscreen. I need one. ASAP. And I have some specific qualities that I desire in this sunscreen (won't I be sad if it ends up being just me and the crickets here... I have faith in you). Here is what I'm looking for:
  1. I need this sunscreen for daily wear. I would enjoy input for the body or for just the face. But am particularly baffled on the options for the body at this point.
  2. I would love 45+ spf, but 30 will do. There's lots of lotions with 15 out there, but I want something a little more heavy duty, which is surprisingly hard to find (other than sporty or beachy options... which all seem to violate the next item on my list).
  3. My TOP priority request (which seems non-existent from what I can tell) is non-greasy. The key here is to satisfy this in combination with #2. And not just for the bottle to say non-greasy, but for the sunscreen to actually be non-greasy. I have long hair and I am particularly bothered by the ends of my hair becoming greasy from rubbing on my greasy shoulders all day. I feel dirty and look dirty. Gross. So this is a must.
  4. My next preference is for easy application, which in my mind right now is the spray bottle kind. I would really enjoy a spray bottle. But maybe there are other sunscreen technologies out there that I don't know about. This one is negotiable, I'd be willing to put in the extra application effort if the sunscreen is particularly wonderful and non-greasy. And actually -- side note -- the thing I love about the spray bottle is that it doesn't get my hands all greasy. But I don't mind regular lotion on my hands... so really this requirement has the potential to be satisfied through requirement #3: non-greasy.
  5. And last, I'd like for it to not cost a bajillion dollars. I'd prefer not to have to make a special place in the budget for my sunscreen. But, ya know, again, this one could slide a little if it's worth the money.
This is important, so I need to find a solution! Any thoughts?? Please tell me you have the magical answer!! I will drop everything I'm doing and get it that second.

If you don't have the solution to my endless search... I'd still love to hear what sunscreen you use and why you use it. Maybe you've seen some light that I haven't seen yet.

And if you don't wear sunscreen, you can confess that too. It will make me feel better about my years of bad judgment. And maybe I'll question your judgment and tell you to wear sunscreen.

Ready... GO!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Um, hi.


Weelllll... I hate to assume that there's anyone still out there that might check back for anything new at this point... but juuuust in case... here I am :)

Things got a little hectic and well, something had to give for a little bit. So. I'm gonna attempt to do a quick summary of the last couple months since my last post mid-June. Here goes!

JUNE: We went to Kentucky for Lee's cousin Sarah's wedding, had a great time with his family, then I did the Iron Girl triathlon which was fantastic... JULY: Lee and I ran the Peachtree Roadrace (10K) with his Uncle Allen, lots of fun... I moved my office at school, now am located in an open cube area which stinks a little... We went to a cabin up in North Georgia with my whole family, had an awesome weekend with them... Went on a weekend beach trip with my sisters to Tybee Island, had such a good time being all sistery... Finalized the class that I TAed for the summer at the end of the month... worked so hard organizing and revamping the projects that I got asked to continue on doing a "Design Fellowship" working with the Sophomore level design class (the one that I TAed) and Senior Design as the Head TA for both classes... so YAY my hard work was appreciated... AUGUST: Lee's Mom and sister, Mallory, brought their cheery little selves down to hang out with us for a weekend, such a good visit... My advisor moved to Penn State to be the head of the Industrial Engineering Department there... now we have a long-distance relationship, I talk to him on the phone or Skype every Thursday... Started working with the new Design classes for this semester, going good so far... Also started my LAST class, called "Probabilistic Models" and officially feel like a responsible human being because I'm really enjoying it so far... Found out I had skin cancer (melanoma)... Went a little bit crazy for a few days... Got my skin cancer cut out, was assured that I have every reason to believe it's all gone... Now I have a nice gash on my back that Lee does an excellent job of doctoring (as long as I don't ask TOO many questions about what he's doing, which is against all that I stand for, so really he does a good job while we bicker a little bit)... Celebrated my Mom's birthday... Went to Calloway Gardens last weekend for a Leadership Development Program retreat, met tons of awesome people in my department and hope to keep up those relationships so that their over-acheiverness rubs off on me, luckily the program involves getting together every month for 7 more months... And that officially brings us up to date. If any elaboration is needed, you just let me know.

This weekend Lee's cousin Kate is getting married in Louisville, so we're traveling up for the weekend to hang out with his family and enjoy the celebration. He actually has to work in Tennessee tomorrow, so I'm riding up with him and will do work somewhere (hopefully some lovely cafe with free internet) while he works, then we'll head on to KY. It should be a great time, I'm looking forward to it... just have to figure out what the heck to wear.

SOOOO I hope this officially means I'm back! Have a great week and enjoy your Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

So I'm pretty sure maybe I could dance...

I am way overdue for a new post, I know, I know. And I just realized that my last post was about So You Think You Can Dance (last week). BUT... it's just that time of the week again. I LOOOOVVVEEEDDD this dance. Janette and Brandon did amazing last night. Both of their dances were unbelievable, but I picked the more crazy one. I had to watch it multiple times. They look like cartoon characters. Just watch. You'll love it. You should probably watch it full screen. And with the music fully audible. They're thieves... All I want is to be the third thief...



So who's gonna be my partner and learn this dance with me?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In English please...

Does anyone watch So You Think You Can Dance? I will do a post one day about my love for that show. I love it. I was just watching last week's show and all I have to say is...

Dear Lil' C,
What???? Please speak in English. No one understands what you say. Not because your depth surpasses our understanding, but because you make no sense. So from now on, a simple critique in English will do.
Sincerely,
Erin Hamilton

This week is REdic. I will post better soon.

(Update: Apparently I'm unoriginal. I watched the results show and they did a whole montage of people's faces while Lil' C was talking. Everyone's face was either confused or amused. Which is exactly how I felt. But let the record show that I have thought this about Lil' C for several seasons. He's wacko. I just happened to put it in writing during the same episode that the producers did.)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I run to you (or maybe bike?)

Have you heard "I run to you" by Lady Antebellum? I love it right now. I first heard it last Fall-ish when they opened for Josh Turner and liked it then. Then when we were up in Kentucky over Memorial Day it was all over the radio up there and I decided I loved it. Then we come back to Atlanta and... nothing. Nowhere to be heard. But finally, 3 weeks later... I heard it last night, and twice already today! So I think it's finally made its way down to Atlanta radio. So here are some theories I've come to when it comes to music and geography. It seems that Kentucky gets the good new country first (or at least before Atlanta). Atlanta seems to catch on to the good hip-hop/rap first (or among the first). And Florida gets everything last. Ha! That last one may not be true, I can only base it on my limited time in Tampa. Maybe they get something first that I haven't experienced yet. Thoughts on those theories?

This morning I went for my first bike ride on my new bike that my precious little Lee got for me. And I must say that I love it. And him. So a new discovery: Smyrna is HILLY! The Silver Comet Trail is 3.5 miles from our house, so no problem, I'll just include that in the bike ride. Well getting to and from the trail was quite an undertaking, and it definitely introduced me to the magic of proper gear shifting. The SC Trail itself is just absolutely wonderful. I love it. It's perfect for running and biking, nice level of slightly difficult but not too difficult, and beautiful scenery. And if you get there early enough, you will definitely see bunnies, which always makes my heart a little bit warmer. This was my first time biking on the trail and I got to see a lot more of it than when I've run it. And I wasn't disappointed. So my bike ride's total distance was 20 miles, which I was really glad I was able to do since I'm supposed to do 18 miles as part of the mini-triathlon I signed up for, so I feel some reassurance.

Here's a couple pictures of my bike, one straight out of the box, and one of it fully assembled.


Lee and I did go to Boston 2 weekends ago and had a fabulous time, and I will post about that soon. It just takes more time when I want to add more that 1 or 2 pictures. So it will come, as soon as I get some good quality time in the blogging world.

Have a great Wednesday!! Pretty much the weekend, right?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Things that I was amazed by today

Number 1: The winter/cool months are just long enough for me to forget how stinky the Georgia Tech Trolley can be. The university setting brings lots of different nationalities, backgrounds, and cultural norms. One that I will go ahead and say that I can't really appreciate is the lack of deoderant, especially combined with what I can only assume is a lack of showering. And I forget this during the winter when there isn't as much sweatiness and there are lots of clothing layers to restrict the flow of odor. But I can always count on GT's university transportation (cleverly called the Stinger (go jackets!) and the Trolley) to bring this fact back to full conscious memory. Today I sat on the trolley and was just continually met with wave after wave of stench. Every stop prompted movement that introduced me to a new aromatic-experience. And the funny thing is that each time it happened, I was equally shocked. There's no desensetizing. But here's the thing, before you think I'm mean. I honestly can put up with a little B.O. On a hot, sticky summer day, moments of unfreshness happen to the best of us. But these are honestly like punches in the face. Someone might as well smother me with a pillow (although that might be more pleasant), I literally can't breath. I hate to admit this because I am not one for public displays of drama, but I have put my face in my bag before. But it was literally for survival. A girl needs oxygen. So here is my question. In cultures where this is normal, are they able to breathe? Do you get used to that? Or do they get bothered by the extreme cases as well?

Number 2: It took me over an HOUR to get home today. It is normally a 15-20 minute drive. It was POURING. The reasonable results of rain are obviously that people are slower and more cautious, and also slightly worse drivers because of the visibility restrictions. This I understand. What I am amazed by is that when it's raining it seems like there are at least 2 to 3 times the normal amount of cars on the road. Where do they all come from?? I never see as many cars on the road as I do when it's raining. Does rain give people the urge to drive? Or maybe cars are like gremlins and they multiply in water.

Number 3: People are strange. Everyone has their oddities, particularly in social settings, but there is a lady at work that I am confused/baffled by on a regular basis. When I walk by her and give the obligatory smile/nod/hi, she laughs. And I am always wondering what's funny. It's in the place of where normal people would smile. She giggles. I've never understood. I know this lady is odd just from being in meetings and seminars and watching her function, so I always have my little curiosity of what is going on in her head, but generally just blow it off and smile. Well today I walked into the bathroom and she was standing in there by herself looking at what I assumed was the wall, and laughing. As if someone just told her a funny story. So I smiled, definitely thinking it was odd, but didn't want to make her feel judged, so acted like she was normal and proceeded to a stall. So she goes "I'm laughing at this hand sanitizer." I was dumbstruck. I had nothing. How do you respond to that? So I smiled and finally said "hmmm new technology huh?" and went into a stall.

Number 4: I witnessed two grown people get into a screaming fight today at the Costco gas pump. Apparently one almost hit the other when they were pulling in, but usually people just honk and drive away. Well these people honked and got all hot and bothered, and then had to park next to each other and get out of their cars to pump gas. Which turned into two normal looking grown people screaming at each other until another man came over and asked them to stop because his kids were there.

Number 5: I am amazed at how differently two people's brains can work. I am a Teacher's Assistant for a class that is about engineering design (for medical devices). It's a Biomedical Engineering course, but there is a guy from the Industrial Design department working with the class to really give them the full perspective on the "design" side. And I'm the representative for the "engineering" side. Which makes sense since they're both really important for the course and it's good to get the different perspectives/backgrounds. But it is also the perfect environment to realize some major differences. He's a super nice guy by the way, it is just a situation that has me constantly thinking "Really??" He and I have meetings to discuss the content and assignments, how we're gonna run the class, how we're gonna communicate the concepts, etc. And I honestly have never felt more like I might as well be speaking Spanish. Our brains work in SUCH different ways that I think I could communicate just as well with him by barking or chirping at him. We would get the same results. I will explain a thought to him. Then he will respond with something that to me has NOTHING to do with what I just said. Or in fact might be the exact opposite of what I said. And I am left wondering did you not listen? Or did you really totally misinterpret what I just said? Or am I misunderstanding what you're saying back to me? Or did I just get transplanted here and am joining a completely different conversation already in progress? Total confusion. And I feel certain he probably has the same experience on his end. The more I interact with him, the more I realize that we both have great intentions, but it's our thought processes. He's all creative, free-flowing, "oh this would be really coooool and beautiful"; while I like to keep a goal in mind and keep some practicality (a.k.a. don't waste my time). When he is talking, sometimes his flow of thought is SO different from mine that I literally MUST stop listening and processing what he is saying or my brain might explode. It's amazing. I would LOVE to see a brain scan of both of our brains during our conversations just to see the difference in the activity areas. I guarantee it would be complete opposites. But like I said, he's a super nice guy, it is just a genuinely baffling situation.


And those are my reflections for the day. Thoughts?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Is there such a thing as Gambling Rehab?

Lee and I went up to Kentucky for the long weekend to see his family. We had a really great time and of course it flew by! And tragically I forgot to take my camera. It was great to see his family, we always enjoy being with them. I even had my first experience at the horse track (Churchill Downs). I can definitely see how someone could let the momentum of the betting get the best of them! I was doing $2 bets all day (and actually won a few!), but did end up in the hole. But for some reason I was still convinced if I analyzed long enough that I could figure the whole thing out... the stat books are pretty ridiculous. But my trouble sensor kicked in and I stayed within the bounds of "fun". Lee on the other hand wasn't doing too hot at first, but then hit a random 10 cent bet that was such a ridiculous combination of like 4 or 5 different horses with such slim odds that he turned the 10 cents into $38.50! He was really excited and proud of himself. I was proud of course, but mostly glad he left on the plus side to make up for my losing. But I am now a seasoned veteran (and fully prepared for the second annual Derby Party).

School's been non-stop, so it's been consuming most of my time, but Lee and I are heading to Boston this weekend to celebrate our 1st Anniversary (it was Sunday the 24th). We leave on Thursday evening and I will head back on Monday morning (Lee has to go somewhere else to work). Lee has rented a boat for the two of us to take out in the Harbor on Saturday, which I'm slightly nervous about but mostly really excited. The other two days are up in the air at the moment, but I'm sure we'll come up with some fantastic things to see and do while we're there.

A new goal of mine is to increase my vocabulary. If anyone has any good tips, send them my way. Otherwise, be prepared for me to pull out my dictionary at any moment.

Have a happy Wednesday!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

An attempt at a mid-week update!

Welp, it's been a whirlwind of a week so far, but I'm feeling the weekend near. This picture is in honor of the fact that I wore workout clothes to school today (I do actually work in a somewhat officey atmosphere), no shower, no makeup and my hair in a messy ponytail... and never actually worked out. I didn't have time. But I was hoping no one saw me multiple times so they could just assume I was on my way or returning from the gym. Whatever, students don't have to impress anyone.

I have an issue with coming up with blog content when I haven't been doing anything exciting, particularly something where I would take pictures (I enjoy pictures). To me the past few days have been exciting, but you know enjoying your job kind of exciting, not the kind of thing that would keep a reader's attention for very long.

So since I need an update... my topic of choice... Since I did take a little vegging time in front of the TV last night... I will give you my opinion on The Biggest Loser finale. ***If you haven't watched it and plan to and don't want the end ruined, stop reading!! ... but please come back later.*** Ok, I wasn't real excited. Don't get me wrong, I love a good before and after shot of weight loss stories. It was definitely exciting to see everyone's progress. But as far as the final result... ehhh. I really like to be happy for people and get all excited for them and feel the emotion with them especially when they've worked so hard. But I just don't really like Helen. Or maybe it's that I just have zero respect for her. She definitely missed the maturity/wisdom boat, and honestly acts like a child. Two specific examples: A) she let her daughter go home so she could stay (every parent on that show ALWAYS goes home so their child can stay), and B) she was ridiculous the night they had their "freedom" and did all their wild-oat-sewing. She was the oldest (48) and acted the most like a kid let loose in a candy store (and then was clearly so proud of herself about how absolutely cooool she was). So on the finale... I don't even know what to say, I've started typing several times and had to erase because I don't even know how to summarize. I'll just say if there had been 3 Helens competing (not only for the $250,000 but for camera time, speaking time, center of attention time), there would definitely have been some hair pulling and probably literal backstabbing. And let's keep in mind this woman is 48 years old. I just feel really sad for her daughter. Anyway, Helen won. I wish Tara had, she was definitely the superstar in the challenges. But oh well. And side note, I hate to go back to poor Helen, but I thought she looked unhealthy. And I'm not just saying that because I don't like her, or cause I might not mind looking unhealthily skinny for a day (juuuust kiddiiiing), but really she looked great the day she left campus and I was a little startled when she came out on stage. She's 5'6" and got down to 117. She didn't look like she needed to be checked into a clinic or anything, but I just thought she was nicer looking with a little meat to hold up that skin. Ok I'm afraid to post this now, I seriously try to judge sparingly in my general life. But it just really bothers me when adults seem to have learned nothing from the years they've lived. It's one of those things I find disturbing. The end.

I have zero plans for the weekend at the moment except to relax. I was just chatting with my friend Jen about trying Flip Burger Boutique (Ashley, I will give you my full review and maybe even send you a picture) which is apparently started by a guy from Hell's Kitchen or Top Chef, or maybe another reality cooking show (I'm a failure at remembering these things). Anyway, Ashley (my sister-in-law) told me about it and I've been wanting to go ever since. Lee has had an equally crazy week so we'll probably do a whole lot of non-crazy stuff. And I'm pretty excited about it. We have to rest up for our big travels next weekend to the old KY :)

One more note... in 11 days Lee and I will have been married for 1 year :) I love him.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Atlanta Zoo!

We took a trip to the Atlanta Zoo thanks to my Dad and IBM. It was a friends and family type thing, so all the family came and we had a really great time. I mean my family's my family and all but I have to say they are just wonderful. Here's Evan as a panda:

And Drew and Alli with their snow cones:

And Alli on a gorilla:


And of course someone had to tip off the paparazzi... we can't go anywhere:


And me and my sisses:


Here's me and Drew... she broke her wrist at school. She can't play softball any more so it's a sore subject, don't try to talk to her about it.


Here's me with my Mommy and Daddy:


Here's Lee who was particularly happy with his popcorn:


Here's a picture of us on the train.


And Carrie and Alli at the front:


And here's me and Alli on the carousel. She rode a panda. And Drew rode some type of bird. And Dad and Evan rode a panda too I'm pretty sure. And I was just the weird aunt taking pictures.


Andy ended up not being able to come because he was on call for work, so we missed him. But other than that it was a super fun day at the zoo. Until... dun dun dun... There was an announcement over the park that there was a tornado warning in Fulton County and that all outdoor activities were canceled. So in a matter of MAYBE 2 minutes here were the next events: Mayhem with the entire population of the zoo trying to get to the exits... I zipped Drew's broken arm into my purse and hung it on her shoulder... JUST as the bottom dropped out of the clouds. And we swam out of the park in the midst crazy sounding winds (I won't lie I was scared, and Evan, who I was carrying while I ran, kept whispering he was scared, so I played super calm and said it's just rain, no big deal)... we made it to our cars completely soaked, and had to forgo dinner together for the sake of getting dry.

But other than the dramatic ending to the day, I had a blast! And for the animal highlights... these were my favorites:

The meerkat with excellent posture:

The otters:


And this guy:

A last minute Derby Party!


Saturday was the Kentucky Derby, and well on Friday night we were out with friends (as seen in the previous post) and were discussing that a Derby party would be particularly fun. I started thinking about it and the fact that Lee is from Louisville, and I think I've spent enough time there at this point to pull something decent off... so we got more and more into the idea and made it happen. We did sleep in on Saturday, but then ended up throwing together a particularly wonderful Derby Party.

I pulled out anything we had relating to Kentucky and here is the starting center piece. (I didn't have time to iron my tablecloth, so don't look too close).


And here are our appetizers. The key Kentucky ingredients were the Mint Juleps and we even made Benedictine.

Lee was our house bookie and we did our own version of betting on the races, he even kept us up on the current odds. Our game was complete with prizes (a girl prize AND a boy prize since the genders had very different methods of bet placing). I picked "Mr. Hot Stuff" and "Chocolate Candy" based purely on the names. My favorites. And they let me down. I should have known. Here's the cutest bookie in Smyrna:

Here's some more pictures, Stephanie getting really into the horse racing with her horse whip, and Jen and Jaime in their fabulous hats:

And then dinner of course. Lee grilled out. We got so into our classiness that we pulled out the fine china and silverware and monogrammed linen napkins for the occasion:

And of course Derby Pie for dessert, that Jaime did an excellent job on. And also in this picture (for Lee's Mom!) is our inaugural use of the utter creamer that I am in love with:

And in conclusion, we all decided that this will be an annual event. It was too much fun to not do again. We thought of so many ideas for next year. But of course we have to actually go to Kentucky one year soon for the ultimate experience. I'll close with the picture we made the boys take with their Derby Hats. Left to right, Scott (Jaime's friend from NC), Matt (Lee's friend) and little Lee.

YACHT rock!

As I mentioned earlier, on Friday night we went to see a band called Yacht Rock Revue. I had caught the end of their show one time when Lee had gone with some friends and I had met up with them. But this was my first full experience and it was FANtastic. SO much fun. They cover all music from late 70's, early 80's, which I probably only know thanks to my super cool parents. But the band is totally in character, 70's suits, shaggy hair, sunglasses, and the dance moves to go with the whole look. And they pull it off fabulously and the crowd LOVES them. We didn't really get pictures that show off the band, but I think the happiness on our faces shows how much fun it was:

Here's a picture of me and Jen where we happened to get the band in the background!


And just a cute picture of me and Lee.

The highlight of the evening for me was when they played Toto's "Africa" or "Rains down in Africa" or whatever it's called. I loved that song already, and apparently so does everyone else. The crowd went crazy. It was really a great time. If anyone is ever in town when they are playing, I'm pretty sure Lee and I could easily be talked into going.

The REST of Nashville!

After our amazing half-marathon, we headed back to our temporary home and got showered and then headed right back out to an all you can eat craw fish boil that was so much fun. We were able to just sit and eat all we wanted and recover for a bit. It was a pretty perfect way to recover, outside on a patio, learning to rip a craw fish open (it was my first time!). The one sad thing is that now when I'm away from Lee and doing something really fun, I do tend to have my moments of "Lee would love this, I wish he was here" ... so it would have been nice if he could have joined in the loveliness of the care-free afternoon. But maybe next year! We ended up sharing a table with a couple who were experienced craw fish eaters and they gave me a full tutorial on the proper way to rip off the head, etc. Here's her demonstration:


Here are Jen and Kate before the mass murdering of craw fish


And Jaime with her craw fish


Also, we had happened to make friends with the restaurant manager the night before at a different restaurant (long story, apparently he manages multiple restaurants, they had messed up Jen's dinner the night before, so he came to our table to apologize, and we're pretty chatty, then he ended up being at this restaurant the next day) and he ended up providing us with a large amount of desserts (one the night of the dinner mis-hap, and 3! the day of the craw fish boil). It was fabulous to just eat without a care since we had worked oh-so-hard that morning! And here's a picture of full-and-happy me and Jaime.


And here are all the girls at the table


And a random craw fish race type thing? They had numbers on them and people were betting on which one would make it to the outside of the circle first. #1 won. Duh.


This is all the people staying in the house that weekend. The two guys in the back were Matt's friends in town for a Dave Matthews concert (and a girlfriend that's not in this picture, she's in the middle in the picture of all the girls at the table), so it was a packed house! Kate and Matt (the homeowners) are in the front to the right of me.

Then that night we went to the Billy Currington concert that was included in our race registration. It was lots of fun, but there were lots of tired, limping people there who had just run a marathon or half-marathon that day, so it wasn't the liveliest of crowds. Here is a picture of the three of us before heading in to the concert:

We had a really good time before heading home at a very respectable near midnight. We had a LONG day and I lasted much longer than I expected! We got up the next morning and had a lovely brunch before heading back home to Atlanta. It was a packed trip that's for sure, a fabulous weekend with fabulous friends and I wouldn't change a bit of it!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Nashville's Country Music Half-Marathon!!

So the big event came and it was definitely a fabulous weekend. I wish I could put up all of our pictures, it's so hard to choose. So here is how the events unfolded: Me, Jaime, and Jen headed out of town after lunch on Friday and got into Nashville in time to get to the expo and get our race bibs/chips/t-shirts/free stuff. Here's a pic at the expo:


There were TONS of people there so lots of hustle and bustle all around. I had only done 5Ks and 10Ks, so I was super impressed by the people picking up numbers for the marathon. Or maybe I was just in "please-intimidate-me" mode. But we were all pretty darn excited. So then we were staying with a couple that were Jen's friends from high school/college, who turned out to be really amazing hosts. They had done the race a few times themselves so they knew all the efficient secrets to making it a good day. They just got married last month so didn't have time to train for this year. We got to their house around dinner time and then headed out and had some dinner, then came back for a good night's sleep! Thank goodness I was able to sleep, I still can't sleep on Christmas Eve or before anything that involves anticipation. We got up super early and Matt (the husband half of the hosts) was already up with coffee made in to-go cups for us and ready to take us to where we needed to be. It was great. Here's Matt and Jen happy to be awake!


His office was super-conveniently only a block or two from the starting line so we were able to go there to park, drink some water, use the bathroom, etc. It's funny how the more I run, the more bathroom issues become a common topic of discussion with no shame, it just is what it is, you gotta make sure you're free and clear before you set out, and even then you're still not guaranteed a potty-free race (foreshadowing my fate). We just met this guy and he was making our pit-stop plans. And we were grateful.

Then a bit of stretching...


And here we are heading off to find our "corral". There were 30,000 people registered so they had to start the race in waves of about 1,000 each. We were in wave 9 so that wasn't too bad. Jen (the seasoned marathon runner) was in 6, but she hung back with us so we could start together.


So a little side note... at the moment I'm totally optimistic about my next race. I can't wait. But I think it might be a similar phenomenon to post-childbirth, when women just went through this horrid process of pain and endurance, but after they have the finished product they are totally willing to do it again. Maybe not a perfect metaphor, but maybe similar? So while I'm totally optimistic now, I have to admit there were moments in the race when I was thinking "WHAT did I get myself into?!". But I did it. I finished. And want to do it again. To summarize my first half-marathon experience I would say it was challenging. I'm so glad I did it, but I was NOT prepared for the hills or the heat. It just happened to be around 80 degrees in Nashville that morning and very sunny... and Nashville is really hilly! My goal was to average under 10 min miles, but I ended up finishing in 2:23, which is just under 11 min miles. But considering the conditions and the fact that I really pushed myself (AND I had to stop TWICE in the port-a-potties!! there's a few minutes right there, right??), I was pretty satisfied with my performance. And I have a medal to show for it :) The picture I started this post with is after the finish with our medals.

The race itself and the crowd and the energy was all super fun, I really liked Nashville. The day certainly didn't stop there, but I need to do non-blogging things for the rest of the day. I will have "the rest of Nashville" up tomorrow I hope!!

Tonight we're going to see Yacht Rock Revue at Andrews Upstairs with a lot of friends. We're gonna do some type of patio/outdoor eating before, and I won't lie, I'm pretty pumped about it! I'll close with a picture of Lee from the last time he went to see this band. People dress up. Have an awesome Friday!!!