Sunday, December 28, 2008

Recycling Crazy Fools

So, I think people think we are officially crazy fools. We got back into town late last night and had no food in the house. We scrounged up some oatmeal this morning, as we had no milk for cereal. For lunch, we decided to eat out and get some groceries. Todd wanted some fast Mexican, so we went to Bajio on the West side. At Bajio, they make up the food in aluminum pie pan "plates" and give out plastic cups for water. All of this is recyclable, but they have no place in the store to recycle anything. So, we typically carry out our trash to bring home and recycle. Today was the first time I really noticed anyone looking at us like we were crazy. I scooped out all of the leftovers we didn't want into the garbage, but kept the "plate" and cup. I really wanted to say something to them for staring, but did just kept walking and put the recyclables on the floor of the car. This is not the ideal way to recycle, but in my opinion every little bit helps. I wish more fast food restaurants used methods to reduce the trash, like at Panera where they have a recycling area by the trash bin or Noodles where they use real plates and silverware. It would do us all good in the long run if restaurants were a little more environmentally friendly.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Pups!

The dogs sitting pretty for a photo. Murphy just looks big for being 6-months old and Lucy is kind of grey for being just 3.5 years old.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Pain in the Back

I have been a little out of it this week. It all started Tuesday morning. This is probably too much information, but I was shaving in the morning before work and felt a twinge in my back. No big deal, I was leaning over in the shower and shaving my legs anticipating a visit to the gym in the evening. When I was done, I stood back up and about fell out of the shower. I don't know what I did, but I must have pulled a muscle or pinched a nerve in my back. The whole day was horrible - I couldn't sit, stand, or walk. I almost got stuck in the parking garage because I couldn't get into my car. I went home and laid flat on my back the whole night. I felt like I was 90 years old trying to get around the house. I did feel better the next day. I was little looser and could actually move a little better, but was still in a lot of pain. Thursday and Friday were okay. I was able to sit and stand with less pain, but it was still hard to put on socks and pants each morning. Even now, it is still very sore and I have been trying to take it easy. Today was the first day I could flip my hair over and dry it.

Because of the injury, I have done nothing, literally nothing all week. I have not worked out at all and have not been able to go out and run the errands I planned on doing. Things at work have also been very busy and a little stressful. I usually work off the stress by going for a run or going to the gym, but I haven't been able to do that. Instead, because of the stress and different holiday events we have been invited to, I have been eating...a lot. I have gained several pounds and the scale seems to confirm that (and so do my really tight pants). I am just hoping to get back to normal so I can go for a run, go to the gym, or even bend over to get my hair dryer out from under the sink without so much pain. Being injured is a pain in the back!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Why I am annoyed!

I am so not happy! When I was wrapping gifts tonight, I discovered that the Target cashier printed the wrong gift receipts for my purchase. Instead of printing the gift receipt for my gift items, I have a gift receipts for the light bulbs and shampoo I bought. Ugh! This means another trip back to Target to get the right gift receipts. I know I should be more forgiving as this is a busy time of year and they probably hired 50 new people to man the checkouts who are still learning things. However, I went on a random Monday night at like 7:30, so there was no one in the store!! Also, I grouped all the items that I needed gift receipts for together and at the end of all my purchases. So, how can you mess that up? Lesson learned: check your gift receipts before you leave the store to avoid a trip back for corrections!

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Saturday Adventure at Lucas Oil


Last Saturday we had tickets to see the IU game against Gonzaga at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The game was a less than interesting. IU kept it close the first half, but the second half was rather boring. We watched the end of the game, but I was more interested in checking out the new Colts stadium and the activities on the field opposite where they set up the basketball court. I wasn't expecting that would have all sorts of stuff going on besides the game. We walked in the field, which was was pretty cool. While walking around on the field, we ran into Jared the Subway guy. We were forced into a photo with him, which Todd was not happy about but I thought was cool! He is actually an IU grad and the Subway he frequented during his weight loss is right on campus. We didn't really talk to him much, but we did say he would pose for a picture with other IU fans. I guess if we weren't IU fans he would have refused the photo? We also saw some other things, including a basketball signed by Calvin Coolidge. It was very cool, but a totally old school basketball. We also saw Shaq's size 22 shoes on display! Those shoes were massive as you can tell from the picture. Tristan - this totally beats out your size 15! I can't even imagine shopping for shoes that size, but I guess if you are Shaq people are probably lined up to make custom shoes free of charge. Thankfully, the weather held out enough that we were able to stop and do some shopping in Greenwood on the way home. I can never get Todd to a mall, so the hour we spent there probably the only hour Todd has been in a mall in two years!

Weight Check

Murphy has turned into our 6-month old, 55-lb lug of a dog! He now eats about 8 cups of food per day and is never satisfied! I swear we are going to have to have dog food delivered by the truckload to keep him fed. But, he is still a baby with more growing to do!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Happy Thanksgiving

We had a good Thanksgiving! We went to Iowa to spend the holiday with Todd's family and pretty much ate the entire time we were there! The only disappointing part of the weekend was that Todd's brother Ryan could not come up from Texas as originally planned. We haven't seen them since last March, which is just crazy! When they lived in Iowa, we saw them all the time. But, we did set up a video chat and talked online which was way cool! We used Microsoft Live Messenger and it worked out well (minus the crappy built-in speakers on my laptop). We are hoping to video chat more often. As you can see from the picture above, Ben was really into chatting with his Texas cousins.
I did get in a little running while there, about 12 miles over 3 days. But, I still gained a few pounds. Like I said, we ate a lot!! On Thanksgiving Day, Todd's mom cooked a 26-lb turkey. She also made sweet potatoes (from the garden), mashed potatoes (from the garden), homemade rolls, corn (from a relative's farm), and gooseberry pie (homemade crust with fruit from a relative) among all the other traditional holiday dishes she prepared! It was a feast! Of course we had leftovers for days. I am done with turkey until next year. Seriously, I am okay with not seeing another turkey dish until next year. We also made our traditional trip to Geno's pizza.
I didn't really do any shopping, as there is no much close to his parent's house. But I did sleep a lot and look through hundreds of recipe books his mom has collected over the years. The problem is that we do not need to eat more, and I now have lots of new dessert recipes I would love to try out sooner than later! I definitely need to find a way to get to the gym sooner than later!
We did sme little white-knuckle driving on the way home, but made it safely. The roads were slick and the snow was coming down in Northern Illinois. We saw lots of cars off the road and at one point, a car in front of off fishtailed off the road, but was able to get out of a shallow ditch with no damage. There were tow trucks and police all along the way. Todd went slow and took his time. Once we got past Bloomington, IL the roads were clear and the snow was not a problem.
It was great to hear from family and friends that also had a good holiday! Hopefully the spirit will continue on into December.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Murphy update

Murphy 5 months old and getting big. He is doing really well at learning some basic commands and will go to obedience class in January. He loves to go out hunting with Todd. He is a retriever and will go forever if he isn't distracted. Of course, the biggest of all distractions is Lucy. They are either snuggled up next to each other, are wrestling over some toy, or fighting for attention. Neither has a clue how spoiled they are. Here are some classic Murphy shots.

He is hiding behind the couch cushion from the vacuum. Both he and Lucy are scared of the Dyson!

He is waiting for Lucy to finish her meal. He waits patiently right next to her (sometimes almost on top of her) until she is finished so he can gobble up whatever is leftover. The good news is that we have made huge progress in this area! He used to just eat her food if we tried to set it out. Now he waits even if she doesn't eat right away and cleans up after the fact. What a goofball!

Mexican...a tradition

Although we have been married for almost 5 years, Todd and I don't really have any of our own family traditions. I think it is because we are always gone on the weekends and traveling over most major holidays. We haven't had time to really create our own traditions like I remember from childhood. I remember my mom ordering Little Caesars pizza every Friday night. My brother and I each got to have a pop - the one pop we were allowed each week. I remember on Christmas Eve eating the same foods each year. We watched the Albert Finney and George C. Scott versions of Scrooge. Then each person got to open one gift, usually the one from an aunt or uncle.

But, we do have one sort-of tradition that I have decided to carry on for years to come. It seems that we always go out to eat Mexican two days before Thanksgiving and two days before Christmas. I am not sure why, but it has turned out that way for years. It seems like a cool thing to do and I am happy to eat Mexican for any reason. We both love Mexican and can pretty much eat it everyday. Lots of life decisions have been made or rationalized over dinner at the local Mexican restaurant - a marriage proposal (a story for another time), purchasing our first house, and buying a car, just to name a few. It seems we do our best talking over chips and salsa. Apparently, we like to eat Mexican around major holidays, too. So, even if we don't get a Christmas tree this year, we'll at least be able to look forward to our traditional Mexican dinner out!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

An interesting sign

While waiting at a stoplight in town yesterday, I saw an interesting sign. The background was a string of Christmas lights and it read "We'll hang your lights" with a phone number listed at the bottom. I had two thoughts at the same moment:

  1. That is about the dumbest thing I have ever heard of.
  2. That is a great idea; I wonder how much they charge and if people really pay for that.

I almost wrote down the number out of sheer curiosity.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A gift...for me?!?

So, is it bad that I bought something for myself when shopping online for Christmas gifts today? I actually bought myself two different things. I just couldn't resist. But, I did get some shopping for others done. Does it help that what I bought was on sale? It totally seemed rational to me since they were a great deal!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

One of those days

Have you ever had one of those days when you try to go running or workout and it just doesn't turn out? Like when:
  • You lack all motivation - you are tired, cold, and just don't feel like doing anything, but you decide to go out anyway.
  • The batteries in your mp3 player die part way into your run and you have to finish out several miles in silence. (Even though you checked and seemed to have enough battery power before taking off.)
  • You can't run on the sidewalk easily because it is covered in leaves, brush, and tree branches people have dragged out for the street department to pick up. Good thing the street department hasn't come by in over 4 weeks to get it. Instead you run in the street with people driving by too fast for a residential area.
  • You get chased for a good quarter mile by some idiot's little dog barking and nipping at your heels the whole way. They owners have a fence, but apparently not for use by the dogs. You go by the house on a second loop around the neighborhood and the same thing happens. Thankfully some people a few houses down sense your distress and help chase the dog the opposite direction you are heading. I love animals, but not this one. I honestly was hoping it would get hit by a car.
  • You dress for the weather, only it is hard to know that as you are running West into the cold wind, you shiver the entire time. Then, as you turn the corner and head East, the wind is at your back and you begin to sweat and take off your gloves, etc. Only to turn into the wind again causing chills from the sweat that has developed. You frantically dash to put your sweat-soaked gloves back on.
  • You have a bad haircut and you are trying to grow it back out, but the wind whipping around you causes hair to fly in your face even though it is being held back by your headphones and ear band.
  • You felt like you were running in slow motion because you lack motivation and have no music (see points one and two above).
  • Cut your run short, because you just aren't enjoying the run like normal.

Yeah, all of this happened this morning. Just 3-miles into an 8-mile run, which was quickly cut down to 6-miles. This ranks at the top of one of my worst runs ever. Nice.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake

I made this awesome Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake last night. It is so good it is almost gone! The problem with sweets is that my husband can't help himself (although I am no saint, either). Anyway, this cheesecake is so easy and I made it lighter using a reduced fat graham cracker crust, reduced fat cream cheese, and egg substitute. I also doubled the spices - I love the cinnamon and cloves flavor coming through. This is a definite keeper!

Friday, November 14, 2008

I found this humorous and thought I would post for fun. Of course, Todd says it doesn't take a cold snap for me to snap. I didn't find his comment too amusing...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Tuesday in the Life of Murphy and Lucy

Murphy and Lucy were curled up before I left for work in the morning, but I made them go outside as usual. I did give them each a rawhide to chew on and keep them busy.
By the time I got home to feed Murphy at lunch, it was raining. The dogs were curled up under the tree trying to stay dry and warm. I felt like horrible and let them stay inside for the afternoon.

But...
The damage had already been done. The dogs let us know they were mad about being left outside in the cold and rain. As usual, when they want to make a statement, it is a big one!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Post-election Reflection

I have many observations from the election, but decided to post just one. I think voters this year were smart and didn't focus on one issue, but looked at the issues globally to pick the best candidate. Take Indiana for example. This is the first time in a very long time the state went for the democratic candidate. It has historically been a red state to the point candidates didn't spend any money or visit the state because there was never a reason. Yet, voters that cast their ballots for Obama overwhelmingly re-elected a republican governor. Even if they may not have agreed on every issue, it is hard to argue the positive changes that occurred during the governor's first term. People didn't look at the party affiliation, but voted for who they thought was the best leader. The only thing that upsets me is some of the post-election negatism towards Obama. It seems he hasn't even gotten a chance and some aren't even giving him a chance. Whatever happens, we need leaders to help us get through some tough times ahead with the economy, war, global warming, and international relations, just to name a few. Republican, Democrat, Independent, or otherwise, I hope those elected from the local to state to federal level will work hard to make positive changes for our country.

I want our car back!

We have had a rental car for over a week now and it is so annoying! I want our car back! Some idiot wasn't paying attention and rear-ended Todd on his way to work. Well, he was stopped in at a light and the force of the accident pushed him into the car in front of him and that car hit the car at the front of the line. So, it was a mini four car pile-up all because one person was not paying attention. Our car has about $6500 in damage and is not drivable. We were able to get it out to the Honda dealer to be fixed without a tow, but the front-end is smashed in and the rear is a mess, too. We hope to get it back at the end of this week (crossing fingers). It took some time to get all the parts in and to make all the repairs - there are three pages of parts they had to order. Great! Thankfully they are only using new Honda parts and not after-market parts to fix the car. From previous experience, I am not a fan of after-market parts. But, the accident cased a lot of hassle and readjustment in our lives. Among other things, we had to haul the dogs to Iowa in my car, which left little room to pack anything. Good thing we also had to haul a bunch of stuff for my grandma's 90th birthday party, too. It all worked out in the end, but the guy didn't even have his license or proof of insurance with him at the scene of the accident. I understand accidents happen and are caused for many reasons, but this guy clearly was going a little too fast and not paying attention. Now, we have to deal with the aftermath of his mistake. But, complaining aside, I have to say that no one was injured, so that is good news.

Yummy...

I have been tired of eating cereal for breakfast everyday. So, Todd made us some chocolate chip pancakes today. They were yummy! Sometimes I wish we had more time for a hot breakfast (although I am sure the waistline would grow a little)!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Writer's Block

I am announcing The Writer's Block, a new blog started by my friend Mandy. It is a blog by anyone, for everyone, and about anything. Whether it's on politics, entertainment, pop culture, or the economy, The Writer's Block is a forum for free expression. It just went live today, so check it out!! Feel free to read the posts and/or comment back to the many contributors.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A little "slice" of heaven

This blog is dedicated to my friend April. Todd and I enjoyed a little slice of heaven on Monday night in honor of you! Yep. We had some Papa Dell's pizza. Oh, it is so good. I ate so much I couldn't move, but it is amazing and totally worth the calories! Papa Dell's sells half-baked frozen pizza's and we got it via Champaign two weeks ago. All we had to do was bake it for 1 hour to enjoy the best deep dish pizza ever! Not only is this this best pizza on earth, it is a reminder of the good old days! I miss C-U! Good friends, good times, and obviously good food. I'd take back the days in the palace anytime.

(April, you totally deserve some Papa Dell's! Next time you are in Illinois and are close to C-U, it is on us!!)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Shots, shots, and more shots

No, this is not a reference to alcohol! Rather, the crazy amount of shots Murphy got this past week for his last puppy checkup! It was unreal! He is officially 4-months old so we were able to get his rabies shot and his final DHLPP shot. This is good because he can now go to doggie daycare and I will feel safer about him romping around outside and hunting with Todd. He also got a lyme shot. We do flea and tick treatments year-round, but that does not prevent lyme disease, so we got this optional shot just in case.

Here is Murphy at 4-months old. He hardly looks like a puppy anymore he is so big! It is hard to tell from this picture, but his paws are HUGE! He is tall and lanky and weighs 35 lbs already!! He goes through food like crazy and I am worried we will have to take out stock in Purina to continue feeding him.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The (Nearly) Naked Mile

On Monday night, I ran The (Nearly) Naked Mile with Mandy. The race was part of IU's Homecoming week and this was the first year for the race. The nearly naked reference is that it is an opportunity to donate new or gently used clothing to local charities instead of paying an entry fee. Let's just say the race was not at all what I expected, but it was hilarious!

The check-in and start were total chaos. I almost left it was so chaotic. Thankfully, Mandy was in a different check-in line and got me checked in when she got to the front of the line. I was still way at the back. There were no instructions on where to go or what to do. All of the suddent the crowd started moving, so we followed. The next thing we knew, people all around us took off running. There was no official start and no one knew the route. We just took off! I thought I was going to die at several points during the race! It was so dark (the race started at 10pm) and there were so many people running around like crazy, jumping in front of me. At one point, I tripped over a curb, only because some idiot jumped in front of me as I was stepping up. But, we finished and got some good pictures in the process. I'll only post a few as some are a little R-rated for this blog. Some of the people took the (nearly) naked part literally. The best was a guy who ran in only a G-string. I wasn't sure if I should laugh or puke in some cases.

Mandy and I pre-race (clearly not nearly naked)

Random people before the race (the PG ones anyway)

My Bachelorette Weekend

Long time, no post! It seems like some weeks I am great and posting and some weeks I am just behind. This is my busy time of year at work, so that doesn't help at all! The past weekend was a fun one! Todd decided to go hunting in Iowa with Lucy. So, I was left to take care of Murphy and make my own weekend plans. Everything was up in the air until the last minute, but it all came together in the end!

Friday night, I went with Lana and some others to IU Midnight Madness. It was definitely interesting. I had to constantly use the program they handed out to look up the players. There is only one returning player from last year, so most of the players are unknown to the fans. There are a couple of players that are really good, especially one freshman guy that I think will turn out to be really good in the next few years. Of course, the Illini are still my #1 team, but IU does pay the bills, so to speak, so I am a fan unless they are playing Illinois. Plus, I really like Coach Crean. I think he is going to do a lot for IU basketball. I hated Sampson and had bad vibes about him from day one (although I would never say I told you so)!

Saturday morning, I decided to run the Jill Behrman 5k, a local race that benefits Jill's House. I ran with my friend Mandy and we rocked the race! I finished in 25:17 and Mandy in 25:27. I think that is my fastest 5k ever! I was shocked to have finished in that time. I'd like to think I could improve up on that time, but who knows. I am running less and less these days, plus the weather was ideal that morning, which always helps.

I was working on some plans for Saturday afternoon, when my brother called to say they had an extra ticket for the Illini football game in Champaign. So, Murphy and I loaded up the car and headed to C-U. We tailgated and I say my old college roommate Jamie for a few minutes. The game was awesome. We creamed IU. It was my first time back in the stadium since all the renovations were completed. The place is amazing - it is huge and so much nicer than when I was a student. My ticket was with my parents, brother, and his friends. Murphy was a trooper, although after three hours of being on a leash he was getting a little grumpy. He stayed in the car during the game.

On Sunday, we headed home from Illinois, but stopped to see Jamie again and Murphy played with Daisy, her golden retriever. They had a blast. Murphy will wrestle with anyone who is willing and Daisy was happy to oblige.

Unfortunately, I have zero pictures from the weekend! I am so bummed! Todd took my camera when he left to go hunting Friday afternoon. But, I do have a picture of he and Lucy after getting some ducks. They had a good weekend and got lots of ducks (this is always a tough situation for me - I want them to be successful and have a good hunt, but I am not really into eating duck). Lucy ended up with limber tail again, but is back to normal today.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Vote 2008

I voted. It was a little weird to vote early, but I decided to stop at one of the early voting locations Friday night on my way home from work. I had been passing it for days and was trying decide what to do. Election day falls during my busy time of the year at work, so it makes it hard to stop and vote. I also have issues with our voting location as they have two precincts in one location. It gets a little crowded in there and the poll workers can be annoying. So, I went for it and I think it is about the best decision I have ever made!

I did not wait in line and after filling out a some paperwork to have my absentee ballot count, I voted. It took all of five minutes and it was awesome! It was so easy! I think I may do this every election day from now on. I am hopeful that someday we can all vote online. I don't know if it will ever be possible or allowed, but if we can file our taxes electronically, we should be able to vote electronically from our home computer.

There actually wasn't a whole lot on the ballot. I went through and made all my selections - definitely a mix of republican and democrat candidates. I am a strong believer in choosing the best candidate for the job despite party affiliation. I hope everyone else out there does the same. Look at all different issues facing us on a national and local level. Vote for the candidate who will be the most effective in office. Don't focus on one issue and vote for someone because of their belief or previous voting record on that one issue. Most importantly, do your research and make an informed decision, especially for candidates on the local level you may not know much about.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Halloween is going to suck this year!

Just a little economic humor for the day! :)

How the economy is affecting me

CNN: What this economy means for you

This is a good article on what the economy means for us on an individual level. This is one of the better ones out there, in my opinion, after researching this topic a little. In general, for me personally, it means we probably won't be upgrading houses anytime soon. I'd like to, but am not sure we could sell ours with the current market. Otherwise, we can all sit around and wait for the tax increase to pay for the bail out. Fun times!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

There's always next year!

My mantra again this season is that there is always next year. The Cubs blew it again in the post season and my two theories of why the Cubs always fail held true:
  1. The Cubs are a fair weather team - they don't play well in the cold. This is why they are no good in April or October.
  2. The Cubs are no good under pressure. Zambrano (my favorite player, whose jersey I own) threw a no-hitter against Huston on a random night at a game played on neutral turf in Milwaukee, but he got lit-up in his post season start.

I was really, really hoping for something better. Can you imagine the storyline of the Cubs going to the World Series after a 100 year drought?!? I think even the in sports media is upset. They are still talking about the Cubs collapse on ESPN today!

But, I probably even more sad that the general 2008 baseball season is over me. No more planning evenings and weekends around the start of a Cubs game or eating out a Yogi's or Scotty's to catch the games on the stations we don't get at home. I also have no quick distraction from work to check on day game scores. And, I am bummed one of the guys at work I always give a hard time is from the LA area and a huge Dodgers fan. I heard it from him this week!

So, here's to next year. Maybe we can have a dream season in my lifetime. If not, I'll still pull out my Cubs jersey for Opening Day each year.

A sigh of relief...

After a month, a very long month, we are finally able to breathe a sigh of relief. As many of you know, my mom had lung cancer several years ago. She is very fortunate to be alive, as the survival rates are typically 37% an the five year survival rate is about 15%. After some initial tests were showing some questionable spots back in early September, the full body pet scan yesterday came back with great results. There was no cancer and everything looks as it should (well, as close to normal as possible after surviving cancer, among other things).

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Election 2008

I wrote a very, very long post about the election, but I have decided not to post it because I don't want to offend anyone. I have friends on both sides of the party line and I know the discussion can be heated. But, the short version of my post is this:

I do not like Sarah Palin at all. I do not believe she is qualified to participate in national politics at such a high level, I believe she is not what she says she is, and her voice grates on my nerves, like fingernails on a chalkboard.

Walk for the Animals 2008

Today we took the dogs to the Monroe County Humane Association for the annual Walk for the Animals. The event is a fundraiser for the Humane Association and has different events for dogs, vendors with pet items, and a walk around Karst Farm Park. Each year we go to support the Humane Association, but Lucy loves to do all the events, especially the water play area and the Recall Relay competition. This year she took 1st place again! She is now the reigning champ for the last three years. Last year she won out of over 60 dogs. This year was a smaller group, but she took the championship anyway. Several people commented on how good she was, too!

Lucy on her winning sprint in the Recall Relay.

Lucy and Murphy play with others in the water area!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mudball Murphy

This was the sight from this morning. Murphy was whining to come in, so I went to check and discovered a total mudball. I became just as muddy trying to clean him up. For some reason, he attracts all kids of dirt and you can really see it on his coat.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Murphy fits in

Murphy loves his big sister. He cries when he can't find her and loves to snuggle on her when they are done playing. She puts up with him for the most part and actually loves playing with him, too. We just make sure she gets some personal space from time to time as a way of keeping the peace.

He also loves his daddy, who is teaching him to swim and retreive. He loves to snuggle up to us and prefers to sleep with us, although we don't really allow this. I don't know he wants to be near us, rather I think he prefers a soft bed to his crate with a towel. I know I would!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

100th post and going green

Yea - the 100th post of our little family blog. I could barely believe it when I logged in to post this while taking a short break for lunch. I was never really sure if I could keep up with the blogging and while I don't post as often as I would like, it has turned out pretty well. Since my husband says I have no hobbies (sorry, I am not creative, so scrapbooking, quilting, etc. is not fun to me), I am considering blogging one of my new hobbies. Here's to 100 more...

Now on to more important things, like our environment. As everyone knows, Todd is an environmental scientist, so we are very aware of environmental issues. I've also never made it a secret that one of the reasons I am nervous about having kids is the future of our environment and world. I don't want to subject them potential resource shortages all because our current population did not treat the environment properly. That said, we are always looking for little ways to be more green - we recycle, we use environmentally-friendly cleaning products when possible, we try to buy products that are renewable like our bamboo flooring, etc.

That said, there are lots of ways we can be better about things. One area is transportation. While our cars get fairly good gas mileage, it could be better. Also, since we both work at IU, we could car pool. The problem is that on most days we have such different schedules and get to or leave work at different times. So, we are going to try to work on coordinating better or carpooling with friends whenever possible. This past weekend we went and looked at some hybrid cars. We would like to get one as we feel we are the perfect people to have one. We do a lot of city driving because of where we live. We are pretty set on a Toyota Pirus or Honda Civic Hybrid. There are other hybrids out there, but the gas mileage isn't as good as these two cars and the safety ratings aren't as strong as these two cars. Also, the reliablity ratings for the Pirus and Civic Hybrid have been steady since 2005. For the most part, these two cars come in head to head in Consumer Reports. We also decided that we would rather buy new because the technology for hybrids has changed so much in the last three to four years that it would be best to get a new model car. Below is what we found out about buying a hybrid (in our naivety):

  • Both Toyota and Honda hybrid car prices are not negotiable. There is such a high demand for these (even used models) that they will not negotiate and they tell you that up front. You pay the sticker price. Period.
  • There is a wait-list for most hybrids because the demand is so high.
  • If you want to get a hybrid, you have to put a down payment on the car while you wait for it to arrive.
  • The value in these cars does hold well. We looked at a used 2005 Pirus that had all the bells and whistles for that year and it was still $22,395. Most 2008 models for the Pirus and Civic Hybrid run between $25k and $30k depending on what you add to the car. That isn't a bad return since cars typically depreciate more than that in three years time.
  • Finally, if you want to buy a Honda hybrid in Bloomington, IN, they have none on the lot to test drive. But, you can give them a non-refundable $500 deposit to put you on the call list to test drive when they do get one in (maybe within 3 months) and you get first bid at purchasing the car. I am not sure if the same is true for Toyotas, but apparently people do this all the time. (I was a little shocked when the sales guy said this, but he did not waiver when I asked a second and third time if he was joking.)

So, we are going to do some thinking about this before making a final decision. We do want to get one, but we want to know what we are getting first. I think we may also head to Indianapolis or some larger city where we hope to find a dealer with one on the lot we can at least test drive.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Murphy learns to swim

Murphy is a natural in the water! This is good news since he will be hunting a lot of ducks in his future. He is a little scared of water at first, but is great once he gets in. He also does really well retreiving ducks even though he can barely fit his little mouth around the duck. Unfortunately, Lucy "dunked" him twice and he was a little shaken up by that. So, we have to watch her when they are in the water together as she tries to play a little too hard for a pup just learning to stay afloat. Here he is showing off his new-found skills:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pearly Whites Drama

My annual visit to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned Wednesday turned into a major ordeal. Let me preface the rest of this post by saying that I hate the dentist. I hate that they always tell me I don't floss enough, I hate that they make me hold my mouth open for so long, and I hate that I get a different hygienist every time I go. That aside, I know it is important to have my teeth cleaned, so I go every 6-months to have it done.

Prior to moving to Bloomington, I have always had a simple visit to the dentist to have my teeth cleaned. However, since moving to Bloomington a little over three years ago, it has been nothing but trouble. I experienced my first cavity ever two years ago! It was a horrible experience getting it filled with me balling in the dental chair. Then, they kept telling me the grooves in my teeth are very deep and I was getting a lot of decay. So, I had sealants put on last May. Well, when I went in to get my teeth cleaned this week, it turns out part of my sealant on tooth 30 had fallen out. Super.

It had to be fixed - they could already see a little decay (no cavity thankfully) and needed to get out the other part of the sealant to re-do everything on that one tooth. So, my options from the dentist were:
  1. Receive Novocaine shot to fix one tooth. This would mean I would have to endure the shot and be numb for 5-6 hours.
  2. Let her drill out the spot without any drugs, which she assured would be done very quickly and that some people don't even feel any pain.

So, knowing I had to go back to work and deal with meetings and conference calls, I chose option 2. I couldn't have a half-numb mouth all day. Boy, was that a bad idea!! She drilled and I jumped out of the chair at least once. It was the most painful thing ever. She kept hitting the nerve and apologizing. She also said that it appears I have sensitive teeth based on how I react to them poking in my mouth. Really?!? (I wanted to say check my chart lady and see that I use Sensodyne and the reason I didn't even feel the problem with the sealant is that hot and cold is always painful on my teeth, but I have learned to live with it. Also, this is the driving force behind why I don't have a problem with room temperature pop.) Anyway, I made it through and they fixed my sealant. Of course, I wasn't charged for the repair since it should have lasted longer than 4 months. Gee, thanks.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Playful Dogs

Murphy loves to play and he loves Lucy. He cries when he can't find her or if she gets to do something he can't do. He and Lucy play for hours, which is good for us because we don't have to do much to wear him out! Murphy is slowing getting used to his crate and cries less each time we put him in there. He also hasn't had an accident in doors for a few days (crossing fingers it stays this way). The bad news is that Todd pulled three ticks off Murphy tonight, so we are going to have to start him on some flea and tick prevention. He is a little young, although I have read you can start them at 8 weeks. We'll talk to the vet and see what he thinks.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Account Status: Paid In Full

Who-hoo! My student loan is paid in full. I have been making the minimum monthly payments for years, but I got close to having it paid down and decided just to pay it off this month. I love the fact that it says Paid in Full when I look it up online! So, we are officially done with school loans as we paid Todd's off earlier this year. Of course, this means I should probably consider going back to actually finish the master's I started (or start over, which is what I fear is going to happen).

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Murphy tackles the stairs

Murphy has some trouble with the stairs - both up and down. I need to keep my camera ready, because this is not at all the funniest time he went down. But, I do love the fall at the bottom.

Officially Registered...and tired!


After a hard day of playing, Murphy is officially tired! He is also officially registered as "Royer's Mighty Riverman Murphy" (aka Murphy for short).

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

New Puppy Announcement!

Well, I have lots to catch up on as usual! Work has me way behind on lots of things, not just blogging. It doesn't help that we left for the weekend with one dog and came home with two! That's right, we are now a family of four as Murphy has been added as a new "kid."



It has been an interesting weekend as we are trying to get Murphy used to his crate and learning how to potty outside. I'll have lots of stories in the coming weeks, but let's just say that Lucy is more than a little jealous. Yet, there are moments when they play together and sleep cuddled up. So, I am sure they will be best friends in the long run. Now, if he sleeps a little more at night, I'll be happy!

Murphy is 9 weeks old. He is a light deadgrass color Chesapeake Bay Retriever (Chessies). There are a variety of Chessie colors. Murphy's color is perfect for pheasant hunting because he will blend in with picked corn and hay fields during the fall. He has already been in water and he can retrieve a toy duck that has been thrown just a few feet. So, hopefully he will be ready to hunt next year. The vet said he is surprising very social with us and others, which is not always the case with Chessies. Some can be very territorial and without proper socialization they can be a assertive and reserved around strangers. But, Lucy is over-socialized in some respects, so I don't think we will have a problem with Murphy.

More pictures of Murphy can be found online at our Picasa site. More stories to come (he and Lucy have some seriously funny interactions).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A need for barrettes?

So, what is the deal with all the barrettes these gymnasts wear in the Olympics? It isn't so much the United States, but as I have been watching I noticed all the girls from teams like China and Romania have like a thousand barrettes in their hair. Seriously, do they need that many to hold back a few hairs?

Late (Olympic) Nights

I think I am going to try to go to bed at a decent time tonight without watching the Olympics. I doubt I can do it, but I have stayed up way too late watching them every night and I am tired! The problem is that I start watching just for a few minutes when I get into bed and then get totally sucked in. I was so upset last night when Nastia Liukin did not win gold on the uneven bars. She stuck her landing and had a great routine - definitely better than the girl from China who won the gold (and barely looked a day over 12). Anyway, since I have been up past midnight watching, I have noticed my caffeine and candy intake has gone way up in the last 1.5 weeks. I need extra sugar to keep me awake during the day and going for the next late night. But, the summer games are my favorite, they only come around every 4 years, and my favorite events are swimming and gymnastics, so it has been worth it. I just hope that someday I get to actually go to the Olympics. My friend April (who is also the biggest fan of the Olympics I know) is thinking about London in 2012. I might have to join her...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Domestic Diva

This past weekend was spent in the kitchen! With the summer semester over, I now have some time back to do a few of the things that I enjoy. One of these semi-hobbies is trying new recipes. I am not a great cook by any means. In fact, a fair share of what I have attempted to make has ended up in the garbage. However, our garden is overflowing with vegetables and since I hate to waste anything, I figured I would try a few new recipes. Heck, it cost next to nothing for most of the ingredients, so time was the only potential loss.

Most of what I did turned out great. I am now dubbing myself a Domestic Diva. Not only did I make all of the recipes below using mostly ingredients from our garden, I also did four loads of laundry, tons of errands, and went running. We also had neighbors over Saturday night. Outside of catching up on personal email and blogging (which I am still working on), I did a heck of a lot of stuff in two days!

On Saturday, I used up all of our old frozen bananas to make three loaves of Banana Chocolate Chip Bread. I highly recommend this recipe. It was so good! I think Todd liked it, too, since we ate 1.5 loaves in three days!


I also boiled, peeled, and cut up about four dozen tomatoes. We have so many in our garden and I wanted to be able to use them. So, I decided to make homemade marinara sauce. I looked around for a recipe I liked, but didn't find just the right one. So, I combined two different recipes to come up with my own creation. It was pretty good. Todd loved it because it was sort of a spicy marinara.



Christan's Spicy Marinara

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper powder or chilli flakes
  • ~2 pounds ripe tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoons dried basil

In a large pot, bring 2-3 L of water to boil. Place the washed tomatoes with cross slits in the water. Bring to a boil. After 5 minutes, switch off the gas. Remove tomatoes from water and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel of the tomatoes and quarter them.

In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and saute the chopped garlic for a few seconds. Do not brown. Put the chilli flakes/powder in the oil and immediately put in the quartered tomatoes. Season with remaining ingredients. Stir around the contents of the pan until the moisture has evaporated and continue to cook until the tomatoes make a nice thick sauce. If it is too runny, you can add tomato paste. This recipe doubles well. You can add other ingredients to taste if you like. Examples might be mushrooms, onions, meat, etc.

And then I made even more stuff...


Sunday night for dinner, I made Stuffed Green Peppers using more vegetables from our garden. Todd wanted them without meat, so filled them with chopped mushrooms and tomatoes instead of meat. The turned out okay, but not great. If we make this as part of a meal again, I would definitely try a different recipe. Below is a mixture of the stuffed pepper before they were baked. I added the marinara and some cheese just before putting them in the oven.

On Sunday night, I boiled, peeled, and cut up even more tomatoes to make salsa. I wasn't sure how this would turn out, but it is freaking awesome. I feel like I could sell this stuff to the local Mexican restaurants. We made tacos for dinner this past Monday and had chips and salsa, too. Between the two of us, we ate almost 3 cups of salsa. I highly recommend the recipe for D's Famous Salsa and if you don't want to use fresh tomatoes, you can even buy the canned kind to make this.

Another Iowa Visit

One of the posts I have been meaning to catch up on is when we visited Todd's family in Iowa the weekend of July 26th. Todd actually took time off from work and went to Iowa early to visit his grandma. I was not able to do the same, so headed out after work on Friday. It was a busy weekend! We spent time with family Friday night and got up early on Saturday for me to run the Bix. It is a crazy 7-mile run near where Todd's family lives. I have done this race for several years. I did fairly well, finishing in 67-mins despite the crowded streets and humidity. Around 15,000 people run this race and it goes through local neighborhood, so it is hard to navigate, but fun to run along and watch all the people and crowds lining the streets. After that, we hung out with more family, went swiming, grilled out, and made smores around the firepit. It had been a long week for me, so I was happy to relax and take nap in the lounger by the pool. We had to drive back on Sunday, each in separate cars, which was hard for me since I was so tired. It was a short weekend, but it was also fun to see everyone.

Todd with his Grandma (she turned 102 in June!!)

Me nearing the finish line at the Bix (and not looking very pretty after 7-miles)

Ben playing in the pool (Todd was having fun throwing the kids)

Running (slowly)

Lately I haven't been running as much as normal. It seems so different from last spring when most of my spare time was spent training for the two half marathons I ran in. The summer has been different. Work has taken up a lot of my time and long days translate into short evenings. So, my runs have been non-existent or very short in duration. It also seems like when I do run, I am running in slow motion. Many days I feel as though I have weights strapped to my legs. I am not sure why, but it has taken longer to run the same distances I used to run. Maybe this means I need to take a break or I need to train more. Either way, I have definitely cut out some of my distance and I am looking forward to the shorter 5k and 10k runs I typically do in the fall.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It's that time again...

...time for my favorite candy on earth!! My beloved candy corn has arrived in stores!! I saw it out of the corner of my eye while at the grocery store today. In fact, I was so surprised to see it, I thought my eyes might be deceiving me. So, I sprinted from the meat counter over to the seasonal aisle and left Todd to pick out our Sunday dinner. Although it seems a little early (after all Halloween is still 82 days away), it's all here - candy corn, mellowcreme pumpkins, indian corn, and autumn mix. I am so in heaven!


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Review: Spaah

I have lots of posts to catch up on! The past few weeks have been busy - mostly work, but we also fit in a little fun. Or, at least we tried to.

On Sunday July 20th, we decided to get a couples massage. Todd had gotten a gift certificate for me to one of the local spas back in February. He didn't get me anything for my birthday (not even a card), so he decided to try to find something cool for Valentine's Day. I had been wanting to try Spaah and he decided he wanted to try it, too. Anyway, we called and made an appointment for the afternoon. After my experience at the French Lick Spa with Lana, I had high expectations. Apparently too high, because I give Spaah two thumbs down!!

At French Lick, we were given fluffy robes and relaxed in chaise lounges with water and fruit before getting a massage. The person who gave me my massage was awesome and brought me water when the time was over. After that, we sat in the sauna before taking showers back in the women's locker room area. Everything was provided - shampoo, soap, deodorant, hairdryers, etc. It was very relaxing and serene. Spaah, however, was a bad experience for me. There were no locker rooms, at least any we were allowed to use. So, we had to hang all of our clothes on two small hooks in the massage room. Todd had no where to put his glasses, so we stuck them in my purse hoping they wouldn't get scratched. I requested they do my shoulders and neck, but she spent 3/4 of the time on my lower back!?! She did not really even do a hard massage, so nothing felt "worked-out" when she was done. There were lots of things that made this a less than memorable experience, but the two most annoying things were that we did not have a way to shower off after they were done. We were covered in massage oil and had to put our clothes on to leave. The final straw for me is that the building sits on a busy corner, so we listened to cars speed by and motorcycles rev up at the stoplight. Not relaxing at all.

So, to my Bloomington friends: I recommend trying to find another spa in town. Or better yet, make the drive to French Lick. It costs a little more, but it is totally worth it for a true spa experience.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Vacation Pictures

I finally got our vacation pictures uploaded, among the other things I accomplished today. Hmmm...really I think I am finding other things to do besides grade final exams. They are due by midnight tonight, but four have already been turned in. I should be working on these, but instead, you can find our vacation pictures here! :)

(Note: Our parasailing pictures did not turn out at all. We should have asked someone to take pictures of us on our camera, but we bought them from the boat instead. Big mistake - they were all half black. I don't think they loaded the film right and the lens they sold us on less than stellar since all the far away pics are really blurry. Lesson learned. I croped a few of the better ones.)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Heat, Humidity, and Work

While I have much to catch up on, things have been busy. Eventually I blog about out last few weeks (although most of it has been spent working). But, I needed to get in a quick rant. I think I am good for at least one per month. :)

The A/C is not functioning in our building at work. I walked in this morning and was hit by a wave of hot air. As I sat in my windowless office, the air got hotter and hotter throughout the day. I literally had to peel my clothes off when I got home. The really bad news is that the A/C won't be fixed until Monday because it needs a new motor. I have many questions surrounding this, like can the part be shipped overnight and installed sooner than over the weekend or why did they not replace the motor a long time ago as we seem to have A/C problems every summer? The list goes on, but my biggest issue is that working and actually concentrating on work is near unbearable with the heat. I am literally sitting in my own pool of sweat while trying to type and have conference calls. I had to apologize up and down to some people that came to my office to talk to me today. It is just so hot in there! IU does have an Adverse Working Conditions policy. I'm not sure how it works, how often it is used, or if it can be used in this case. I was really hoping that would kick into effect because I cannot function well in this kind of heat! However, no such luck. I can already tell tomorrow is going to be a long day...

Friday, July 18, 2008

You are what you eat...

I wish I had my camera at work. I would definitely have to snap a picture of the garbage can under my desk. Our garbage is emptied on Tuesday and Friday nights. This week, you can tell the kind of week it's been by looking at what is in my garbage! Lots of candy wrappers - mini candy bars, tootsie rolls, caramels, banana laffy taffy, etc. Yikes. I do spot one apple core down at the very bottom...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Home

Well, we made it home safely. We left the Outer Banks around 11am on Friday and drove for about 11 hours before stopping to get a hotel room. We drove the rest of the way this morning and picked the dog up from the kennel on the way home. Todd gets extra points for driving the whole time.

I think Lucy had a good time. She is sleeping as a thunderstorm is raging outside. Usually she is pacing back and forth and jumping at the sound of thunder. But, she is laid out on the floor sound asleep tonight!

We forgot to mention one of the cool things about the trip. On Monday we saw a ton of dolphins! We were out on the beach and they were swimming very close to the shore! Todd was out swimming close to them and they didn't seem to mind at all. We watched them for a good half hour come as close as 30-yards to the shore. We saw more on Tuesday, but they were out much further. Unfortunately, we didn't see any others the rest of the week.

One of the bad things about the trips were the mosquitoes. Not only do I have mosquito bites on my legs, but they have swollen up to huge welts! They also itch and burn like crazy. If we go back next year, we'll take some stronger bug spray.

Reality sets back in on Monday. Unfortunately, I have not been able to taken as much time off this summer as I had originally planned for several different reasons. I am hoping to steal a few more days here and there before the semester starts again on Sept. 3rd.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Vaca: Day 5

Our final and last day here! :(

We spent most of the day on the beach. The morning was perfect - sunny and warm, minus a rainstorm midday. I went for a run on the beach first thing this morning. All of the other times I ran along the sidewalks and trail system here. Today, I decided to go on the beach barefoot. It was a lot of fun, but next time I will remember to put sunblock on the tops of my feet! I will say that after a disappointing few days of shell collecting, I hit the mother load this morning! While out running, I ran across a ton of cool shells including two sand dollars that are in near perfect condition. Todd was very jealous I found more cool stuff than him. Of course, I had to run back with my hands full of shells for 1.5 miles, but it was worth it!

Todd spent most of the day using the body board he bought yesterday. He had several great rides in on the waves. I was going to try, but the waves were huge and it was high tide, so I chickened out. Maybe before we leave tomorrow.

We ended up the night eating out at Aqua S and sitting outside to watch the sunset. It was great until the mosquitoes started eating away at my legs. We moved inside to have dessert after the sun went down. It was an awesome sunset.


Overall, it has been a great trip! I am definitely not looking forward to the drive home, which begins tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Vaca: Day 4

Unlike yesterday, today was cloudy, cold, and rainy. I got in a run this morning only to get to the beach and feel the rain drops 5 mins later. Bummer! So, we decided to go into town for lunch and tour around the area. We ate at the Red Sky Cafe again for lunch (they have a really great lunch menu and much cheaper than dinner). Then, we tried to check out some different shopping areas and parts of the OBX. However, because of the rain, so was everyone else. The traffic and parking was a disaster. Traffic on the highway was literally moving at like 5mph and there was no where to park anywhere we tried to go. So, we gave up on that and came back to the hotel for Todd to take a nap and for me to check up on work email (yeah for me - less than 1 hour per day on work email!). Once the rain cleared out, we headed back to the beach and took a long walk. It was still very cold and cloudy, but more people were out since the rain had stopped. I definitely had on long sleeves due to the wind! We are hoping tomorrow will be nice again since it is our last day here!

Since we really didn't do much today, I don't have any fun pictures to post. In fact, I was telling Todd that we haven't taken many pictures at all and have yet to get one with both of us (minus any parasailing pics that turn out). So, we will try to work on that tomorrow. We ate dinner at Mike & Dianna's Grill Room tonight. I would say it is okay. Both of us have had better. So far, Red Sky Cafe is the clear winner. They did have some awesome artichoke dip with their bread. But, I am ready for some home-cooked food! I am definitely reaching the point of not wanting to eat out anymore!

Vaca: Day 3

Tuesday was hot! The sun was out and the temps were hot and humid. I tried to go for a longer run, but decided to cut it short and head back to the hotel. I could tell I was getting dehydrated. So, only 3.5 miles today, but still decent. (I am trying to say up on mileage for a 7-mile race I am doing with my brother-in-law when we visit them later this month.) We spent some time on the beach before heading out to try parasailing. Parasailing was a lot of fun! I must admit I was freaked out the entire time and screaming as we took off, but once we got up in the sky, it was pretty amazing. We did the 900-ft double option. So, Todd and I went up together and once we got to our height it was actually pretty quiet. The wind on the group was whipping around and the boat was very loud, but up in the air, you couldn't hear any of that. Todd and I had a normal conversation and looked around at the ocean and sound for miles. As we came back down to the boat, we got dipped in the water a few times before we were pulled back up in the air to land on the boat in a standing position. Overall, it was a lot of fun and I would probably do it again. We had some pictures taken, but they are on 35-mm film by the boat crew, so I have to have them developed. I'll post them when we get them back!

I also had my first ever pedicure in the afternoon, along with a manicure. I am not a fan of feet - my own or others. And it was a little weird to have some random person rubbing my feet and giving them a mask treatment, but it did feel pretty relaxing! I got an awesome color on my toes, too! Overall, I probably would not do it again, mainly because it takes more time and money than I am willing to spend on my feet and fingernails. But, here are my toes for now:

Other than those activities, the day included several trips to the beach. We didn't eat at any restaurants of note. In fact, we were disappointed in the restaurants we ate at today. At least they were not super expensive ones. Things around the Outer Banks are very overpriced (in my opinion). So, we have definitely been spending more on meals that I anticipated.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Vaca: Day 2

The great thing about being at a resort is that you get what you want when you need it - clean beach towels, sheets, and rooms, for instance. The bad thing is that you have to eat out every meal. I am already tired of that (although I don't think Todd is every upset about eating out). I started out the morning with a 5-mile run (needed to counteract the 5,000 calories I ate today). It was hot and there was no water along the way, but it was nice to jog along and check out the massive vacation homes. After that we hung out on the beach for a few hours and got totally sunburnt. We both had on tons of sunscreen, too! So, we decided to avoid direct sun in the afternoon. We toured the area a bit and checked out some of the shopping areas, beach shops and walked through a nature preserve area. We tried to go parasailing, but it was too windy. We'll try again tomorrow. I did schedule a manicure at the resort spa for tomorrow afternoon. I've never had one before! We went back to the beach in the early evening when the sun was going down and it was not as hot. I think we both agree this is the best time of the day.

When we were out and about, we stopped and got some breakfast items to eat in our room, thus avoiding at least one meal out and saving a little money. For lunch, we checked out a resaurant at the resort and for dinner we went to the Red Sky Cafe in Duck, NC. I thought it was just okay, but Todd raved about the crab cakes at Red Sky.

No pictures today! I took a few, but didn't haul my camera to the beach or shopping. I am worried about it getting covered with sand. Maybe tomorrow!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Vaca: Day 1

Well, we have arrived at the beach!! We spent Saturday driving 9.5 hours (about 9.5 hours too long for me) and stopped in Charlottesville, VA for dinner. The downtown area is so cool! It is a long brick road lined with different restaurants and shops. It is completely blocked off to traffic, which is so nice to just stroll around. One end also has a concert stage where they bring in some really big names. It is a lot like the Verizon Wireless Music Center in Indy, but this is right downtown. On Sunday morning we checked out the UVa campus (partially in search of good coffee for Todd) and decided to tour Thomas Jefferson's home at Monticello. He was an amazing architect and created a mountaintop home that was completely self-sustaining. It is really amazing to see the different things he designed that were advanced for the period in which he built the home. The mountain was foggy and it was a bit rainy, so we didn't see to see all the amazing views, but we toured the grounds and home. We also stopped to see the family cemetery on his property, as well as the vineyards, which exist at one end of the 5,000 acres he farmed. After that, we stopped for lunch at Mitche Tavern. It has been open and operating since the 1765. It was pretty cool. We ate with camping-like plates and cups to keep to the period.

After that, we drove the final 3.5 hours to our destination at the Outer Banks - The Sanderling Resort. We checked in and took our first walk on the beach. Then, we checked out the The Blue Point for dinner. Of course, we have already eaten way too much, but so far it has been fun. We are hoping that Tropical Storm Bertha stays away!

Todd found his Starbucks on the UVa campus! It is a very cool area of town like Green Street (Illinois) or Kirkwood (Indiana).

Me at Monticello. The grassy area actually used to be a goat farm (sticking with Jefferson's plan to have a self-sustaining plantation), so it actually wasn't as nice back then.

We saw so many crabs when we were walking the beach. Todd is looking forward to the fish this week (Swordfish tonight...Tuna tomorrow night).

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Scaredy Dog

No scaredy cats at our house, but there is one scaredy dog! Lucy is petrified of fireworks and thunderstorms. She freaks out by pacing, panting heavily, and sticking close, or even laying on top of us to feel safe. We haven't really figured this out since she is a hunting dog and has no problem with gun shots. The best I can figure is when she is hunting she knows what is going on and what sound to expect. She also knows that the gun shot sound might bring her a duck to retrieve, her favorite activity of all time. Whatever the problem, it is rather annoying. We don't have kids, but with the fireworks and stormy weather this time of year, it sure feels like it. Our scaredy dog=lots of sleepless of nights!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Crazy Name

So far today I have been addressed as:

Roger
Dr. Royer
Michelle

All by people who had my full name and email address prior to sending me an email. Nice.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Random Updates

Long time, no post. I have been trying to do at least one post per week, but I haven't been good at keeping up with that this month. This is probably due to a lot of reasons, but mainly we haven't had much going on lately. That is, unless you consider working extra hours fun. I don't, especially when the weather has been so nice out. Also, I start teaching Summer II tomorrow, so I have been prepping for that. I am able to re-use some of my materials from the Spring semester, but not all. I've also been trying to arrange/help my grandma move into assisted living. It is not going as smoothly as hoped. So, needless to say, there hasn't been much to post about.

Todd did go to St. John's, Newfoundland for a work conference. I stayed behind for work and to take care of the dog. I am glad I don't live in Canada. He said it never really got above 50-degrees the whole time and it was usually very gray out or raining. I would go crazy. It reminds me a bit of the winters we experienced when we lived up by Cleveland. Below is a picture of Todd while out exploring the island. He saw lots of icebergs and ate a lot a fish.

Also, I am happy to report our garden did survive the flooding. We weren't sure it would since it was under about 2-feet of water. But, we cleaned it out after the water subsided and staked everything back up. So, that seemed to work. In fact, things seem to be growing well as evidenced by our broccoli below. We also have already have peppers on Todd's jalapeno plant. Crazy!

We didn't have a big celebration, but Lucy turned 3 last week. She hasn't calmed down much (when do labs ever become calm?), but she has started turning a little gray on her chin. Despite the gray, we still get asked if she is a puppy since he is so petite and high energy!

Rhubarb Pie

We still have rhubarb coming out of our ears. In fact, I got even more from my grandmother's yard last weekend. So, I took my first attempt at rhubarb pie this weekend. I made my own version of a good recipe I found online. The difference was that instead of using a pie crust on the top, I used my favorite crumb topping for pies. It turned out pretty well! The rhubarb is really tart, but the crumble on the top is very sweet, so it balances out for a good flavor. I will definitely try this one again, although I still prefer apple pie as my fruit pie of choice!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Flooding and Severe Weather

We awoke this morning to power surges, tornado sirens, and flooding. Not quite the Saturday morning I envisioned where we would sleep in and be lazy. But, thankfully we have no damage to our house or property and there are many who were not as lucky. After the tornado siren stopped, we went out to view the damage. You can see me standing in the middle of the street in front of house. Basically, a river was flowing through our side yard. There are three streets in our neighborhood and it slopes downward from the first to third street. We are on the middle street, so our house was high enough not to get any water, however several neighbors in the street at the bottom of the slope were not so lucky. But, the water was rushing right through our side yard and was at least a foot or more deep. Below is a picture of the water coming through - most of the water in the neighborhood drained this direction. You can see our washed out garden, too. Other pictures are posted here.

Other parts of the state were not as lucky. Several areas just north of us by 20 miles are devastated. We got upwards of 7 inches of rain over night and other areas around us got a lot more. All of the major highways out of Bloomington were closed and some of them even have sections washed out. Many local lakes had dams that were breached and thousands of people have evacuated their homes. It has been a week of weather as we had another day of flooding earlier this week and severe weather with tornadoes around us several different nights. Hopefully, the coming week will be a little more peaceful.