Monday, December 31, 2007

So...2007 is almost over. Here's the obligatory year ending post. What to say about the year? Well, it turned out not so badly I supposed. I mean, it was no 2005 or even a 2002, but it had it's perks. Better than 2006 at least. I think.

Plans for tonight: not ringing in the year with the comrades. That hasn't happened since 1998-1999. Weird. Instead, I'm in Knoxville and am about to head over to some friends' house in a little bit. It should be fun, but different.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

This is the first year I haven't gone anywhere for Christmas in a very long time. It's also the first time I haven't spent it with family in, well, ever. Jeremy and I are staying in Knoxville this year. Here's a picture of our tree. We have exponentially more ornaments than last year, but it's still pretty sparse. We have decided to each buy an ornament each year and eventually, we will have a lot.


Tonight we went for a drive to look at Christmas lights, Knoxville is a little bit disappointing for lights, but we did manage to find a couple decent neighborhoods. My favorite houses were the ones that were entirely overdone with lights in the yard, all over every bush, covering the entire roof. They made me laugh, but in a good way.


Also, here is a picture of the flowers Jeremy bought me a couple weeks ago, for no reason except that he's sweet.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

You know you're in east Tennessee when...

This is a picture of me from the Tennessee Valley Fair this past fall:


Yes, that's me standing by the FFA tobacco exhibit. I'm pretty sure I'm morally against teenagers growing tobacco.

Today, I was readying yesterday's paper (hey, I was busy yesterday!) and came across this article about how Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris International are giving all this money to the University of Tennessee to establish the Center for Tobacco Grower Research withing UT's Institute of Agriculture. It is supposed to benefit tobacco growers, policy making, the tobacco industry and those with public health interests. Oddly enough, they didn't specify how public health interests will be benefited, or at least I didn't notice it in the article.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Last night as I was going to bed, at approximately 1:09am, I heard three very loud bangs in a row. Kinda like a gun being fired. It kind of freaked me out, but surely this is some logical explanation for it, right?

After living in Waco for four years, I felt much safer when I moved to Knoxville. I'm not sure why, but it just seemed less dangerous here. Although now I'm not sure. These past few months there have been quite a few muggings, assaults, and carjackings around UT's campus. It seems like they're sending out a campus wide safety notice to all faculty, staff, and students on almost a weekly basis. I never got one before this semester. Kinda scary. Which is why yesterday night when Jeremy and I went up to campus to play pool and saw an old lady with a little girl walking around campus, obviously lost, we gave them a ride to their car in a parking garage on the other side of campus. They weren't from Knoxville so they didn't know about the muggings and all that, I figured it was best not to tell them and freak them out.

Speaking of crime in Knoxville, almost a year ago there was a double murder of a young couple here. They were about my age and were carjacked, raped, tortured, and killed. The first of the four suspects is about to begin his trial. I'm against the death penalty, but it is really hard in this case to not want that kind of justice (or injustice), even though I didn't know either of the victims. I guess it hits too close to home because they were my age, and they were just randomly picked as targets. Just reading the account of what happened is enough to make your stomach church. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There was an article in the paper yesterday about the case.

Ever since this happened I have been someone more frightened to drive around shadier places at night, especially by myself. It used to be no big deal, but really, there was a logical explanation for the noises last night, right?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Engagement Pictures

Golda's sisters and mom came in for Thanksgiving/Wedding dress shopping. Craziness ensued. Melissa was nice enough to take some engagement pictures for us, and I think they turned out pretty well:

Engagement Pic 1
Engagement Pic 2
Engagement Pic 3
Engagement Pic 4

(posted by Jeremy)

Monday, October 29, 2007

They DO exist

The other day I was quite bored and messing around on the internet. I, somehow, stumbled across this flower site. It sells, Golda Roses! I never knew such a thing existed! How very exciting. Or, at least it is for someone named Golda Rose.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I'm taking the GRE tomorrow morning, but it's been entirely too long since I have been asked to properly use the left side of my brain, which leaves me a little worried about the quantitative section. I took calculus 1 my freshman year at Baylor (fall '02) and then switched my major to social work, at which time that half of my brain promptly shut down. Also, I'm not too good at all this vocab stuff so the verbal section isn't looking too great either. I'm a little bitter because MOST graduate social work programs do not require the GRE for admittance into the program. Why must UT require it then? Argh, not fair! The sad thing is, I suspect my score really will not matter a whole lot anyways. I will most likely get in no matter what I get. So why do I feel like I need to study and do well? Pride I guess. Stinkin' pride. I wish I could just be one of those people who says "It doesn't even matter what I get so I don't care how well I do!" and then just go in, blindly, and take it. But, alas, I cannot. I just want to do well enough that I'm not completely horrified by my score because once upon a time, back in my test-taking prime (high school), I was a rather good standardized test-taker, but then again, it mattered back then. To an extent. Now, not so much so I don't care as much. But I do. But I don't. I'm just looking forward to it being over and done with I guess.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

If I lived in South Carolina, I would so vote for Stephen Colbert for president. He officially announced his candidacy for president last night on his show, but he is only running in his home state. For now.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Lutherock!

Jeremy and I went to Lutherock, a Lutheran camp, this past weekend for their annual Apple Festival. I must say, I good time was had by all. A friend from our church invited us - she goes every year. We met up with some of her friends from back in grad school and some of their friends. I swear, not only did everyone there have a PhD, but everyone had a PhD in a math or science field and either is a professor or doing post-doc work. Jeremy is working on his PhD and doing research so he fit right in. I, on the other hand, was like "hi, um, I'm a social worker..." However, since I'm working on a research project at UT, I felt a little more included. Another lady there was also a social worker - she works part time at a university's counseling center. I counted that in just the small group of people I talked with, we worked at six different universities in the Kentucky/Tennessee/North and South Carolina area.

The weekend was a lot of fun. The camp is up in the mountains in North Carolina and the leaves were all beginning to change so it was absolutely beautiful. We went for a short hike Saturday to the top of a mountain, but unfortunately I didn't have my camera. One of my new friends is supposed to be sending me some of the pictures she took from the hike though. Besides the hike, we pretty much just relaxed, went on a hayless hayride, ate s'mores, and played board games at night. Never knew Lutherans were such board game people! The lobby area in the lodge at night was full of groups and families playing games. We got addicted to Blokus. Seriously, it's so much fun. And intense. And a perfect game for a group of brainy PhD people + Golda. Actually, I was quite relieved that I was enough of a nerd to hang with all of them and think things like math jokes are hilarious. Because come on, they are.

"You know you're at a nerdy get together when, on a hayless hay ride, a ten year old starts rattling off values of sines and cosines and then we asked him if he knew values of tangents and he didn't so we explained tangent to him. He got very excited about dividing by zero and how it's undefined." - one of my new friends

Here are some pictures from the weekend:

The actual "Lutherock" and Cross Rock, where we hiked

The view from the lodge we stayed at the second night.
Us on the back deck of the cabin we stayed at the first night.


Sitting in the rocking chairs on the back deck at the lodge.

The view from the cabin.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Plans

Okay, so we're not doing that much as far as "planning" goes, but we DO have the place (our church - Peace Lutheran), the pastor, and now the reception site (the Elk's Lodge)! We're still trying to find a caterer, baby steps. I figure we have the "big things" taken care of so I'm not really stressed or worried about the rest. Over Thanksgiving weekend when my sisters come to visit I'll hopefully find my dress and the bridesmaids' dresses. Speaking of the wedding party, here it is:

Bridesmaids:

Allie, (my sister- maid of honor)

Cecilia (high school friend/comrade)

Erin (high school friend/comrade)

Groomsmen:

Chris (college friend/roommate - best man)

Jon (Jeremy's brother)

Mike (college friend/roomate)

Little people:

Logan (my nephew)

Brielle (Jeremy's cousin's daughter)
I can't believe I didn't know about this until just now. HAPPY BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN DAY!!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Every month Knoxville has this thing called "First Friday" on, well, the first Friday of each month. Basically, a bunch of art galleries in the downtown area are free to the public that evening. They also have food, wine, and punch for free or for a small donation, depending on the gallery. Jeremy and I usually try to go, but don't make it each month. Yesterday we went and one of the galleries was having a silent auction! We ended up winning two pieces:






We have also bought two other pieces from another gallery in the past few months. A vase and a penguin sculpture:




The vase's colors aren't quite that bright in real life. Funny what a flash does.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

My new addiction


That's a spinach, blueberry, and walnut salad with Newman's Own Light Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette salad dressing. So so good. Besides being oh-so-delicious, it's probably the prettiest salad I've ever made too.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I've been watching a lot of the US Open the past week or so. Actually, I've been watching a lot of tennis for about the past month. August is the best month for tennis. All this watching has gotten me wanting to play, but unfortunately I do not have a tennis partner here to play with. So I did the next best thing today - I went for a run. I haven't ran in about a year. I miss it. I always forget how much I enjoy it. Well, I don't really ENJOY running, it's the after-the-running that I enjoy. I like feeling like I did something, it's sort of an feeling of accomplishment I guess. Maybe it's the endorphins. I didn't run very far today - I am kinda out of shape. By kinda I mean a lot. Even with hiking and backpacking this summer I am in no where near where I used to be. Hard to believe I used to be able to run 10 miles easily. Okay, maybe not so "easily." Sure I felt like I was going to die after those 10 miles and I ran at a ridiculously slow pace, but hey, I still ran 10 miles. I wish I could do that still.

I think I need a running accountability partner.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Jeremy made a site for us so that we can put up stuff about the wedding and all that. It's at http://www.jeremyandgolda.com We're still working on it and will be adding to it as things happen!

We're engaged!

It happened August 11th, 2007. It started with breakfast in bed, Belgian waffles and orange juice. After that, I gave her a sheet of paper with the first puzzle on it and told her to get dressed and ready for the day. While she was changing, I left. Solving the first puzzle led her to a park near our apartment where we go walking fairly regularly, where I had hidden the second puzzle in a fence. She solved it quickly, but was so excited that she couldn't figure out how to read it to know where to go next (I had written it from bottom to top so she wouldn't be able to guess it easily). After calling me for a hint, she was off to another park for the next clue. As she walked up to the tree I had hidden the film canister at, she saw someone pick something up from it and pull the puzzle out. She asked him nicely if he had gotten it from the tree, and said that she was coming for it so he gave it to her (those dang muggles). This puzzle was a sudoku, with some boxes highlighted in different colors, which when read in order, gave the GPS coordinates to where I was.

Engagement Ring

After plugging in my lattitude and longitude, she came right to the park I was waiting at and I proposed. The ring is a 7mm Pearl with 3 small diamonds on each side. (Golda told me she didn't want a diamond long before the movie Blood Diamond ever came out.)

So that's the story. At the moment, we're planning on having the wedding May 17th here in Knoxville. Soon enough we'll have more details about whats going on and more specifics on the wedding itself.

(posted by Jeremy)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Engagement!

Okay, here is a picture of the ring! It's a pearl because I didn't want a diamond. Don't get me started on that one.


And here is a picture of the two of us before we went out to dinner to celebrate.


Finally, here are the puzzles he made for me for the scavenger hunt around town.



Saturday, August 11, 2007

Jeremy proposed today. I said yes. More details and pictures to come later. :)

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Jeremy and I spent the past few days in Texas for Meredith and Chris' wedding. It was a lot of fun and it was great to see family and old friends. I definitely do not miss Texan summers, that's for sure. Nor do I regret not living in a big city. I think Knoxville is just about the perfect size for me - it's big enough for there to be lots to do, but not so big it takes an hour to get across town, nor is there the traffic and all that. Plus, it's not in Texas...

The wedding itself was really pretty. They had it and the reception at a vineyard in Grapevine. Inside though, so we didn't have to worry about getting rained out or it being 100 degrees out. Jeremy was the best man so he had lots of duties such as showing up, wearing a tux, and holding the ring. I swear guys have it so much easier than bridesmaids do.

Here's a picture since it's not every day we get all dressed up...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

Backpacking

Jeremy and I went backpacking in the Smokies this weekend. It was fun, kinda. Actually it was a lot of work and very tiring, but it may have been worth it. We had a map of different loops in the Smokies and each was labeled either moderate, hard, or strenuous. We picked the shortest "moderate" trail, which was about 13 miles. Long story short, we did part of another trail and half of that trail and ended up hiking about 14 miles, 8 the first day about about 6 the second. Most of the first day was uphill, er, up mountain. It was rough. The second day was better since it was mostly downhill.

There weren't too many other people out; we saw two other groups of backpackers and a few groups of people on horses. No one else was at our campsite though. It was pretty peaceful, but I was so hot, sweaty, and tired to really appreciate the fact that we were in the mountains and all the beauty that was there. Next time, next time.

Pictures are here, but not in any type of order. They are also on facebook for those of you cool enough for facebook.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

There is a fairly new country music radio station in Knoxville; I think it began airing about a year ago maybe. It plays a wide range of country music, lots of old stuff and even some bluegrass every once in a while. However, they also play some questionable "country" music. Like the Eagles. I'm not sure if that is really country. But the kicker is that they keep playing Bruce Springsteen. I have heard him on the station at least four times and at least two different songs. Since when is The Boss considered country?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

D.C. II

I got back from our trip to D.C. last night. The conference ran through Monday and then we had a lobby day on Tuesday. I enjoyed the conference, it was great to see people I knew and also to meet new people and find out what they are doing in their areas in terms of hunger and poverty work.

Lobby day was enjoyable too, for the most part. We were lobbying for broad reforms for the Farm Bill which is up for renewal this year. Basically, there are four goals that we would like to see happen with it: 1) Food Stamp . That is, expand food stamps, change the way the deductibles are done, and make it easier for people to actually get them when they are eligible. 2) Rural development- make funds available for rural development and assist low income people who are trying to start small businesses in rural areas. 3) Change the way subsidies and commodities are given. Right now it is mainly the big agribusinesses who receive money, not the small farmers who they were originally supposed to help. Also, the five big crops- wheat, corn, cotton, soybeans, and rice are the crops that receive all the money right now. That needs to be diversified. and 4) Help farmers in developing countries. Right now we're overproducing the big 5 crops and then dumping our excess on other counties which drives down the market prices and causes the farmers there not to be able to sell their own produce.

Okay, so that was it in a nutshell. We met with legislative assistants in our two Senators' offices and it went pretty good. Sen. Alexander's assistants seemed really receptive and told us that the Senator had already received a letter from a colleague about reforming food stamps and they were planning on encouraging him to do all this! We're not too sure what Sen. Corker's assistant thought. He's a new senator and is still kinda riding the fence on a lot of stuff. The assistant was hard to read.

We actually met with our representative, Rep. Duncan. For this meeting it was just me, Jeremy, and Duncan since no one else from our district was at the conference. What can I say about Duncan? Well, he's a first class jerk, that's for sure. If you don't agree with something fine, but there is no need to be rude and insulting. My favorite parts of the meeting where when he said it was obvious we both came from "liberal left wing backgrounds." (Umm, not really true, at all). Also, he said that he "knows more poor people" than we do. Umm, I'm a social worker. Everyone I know is poor!! Sure I'm young, but pretty much all the families in the study I'm working with are poor, as was everyone at the homeless shelter/walk-in center I interned at in Waco. What a jerk, assuming he knows all this about us. Also, when Jeremy was making a connection about how health care costs are going to go up in the future because of people's diets now- the rise of obesity and juvenile diabetes, etc - which is closely tied to food stamps because the average person on food stamps gets $1 a meal and fatty, non-nutritional foods are much cheaper than fruits and vegetables, Duncan said, "That is the dumbest idea i have ever heard in all my years in the congress." Actually though, studies have shown this to be true. We will see a rise in health care costs.

Seriously, how does this man keep getting re-elected? I'm definitely planning on volunteering for who ever runs against him in 2008.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

D.C.

Jeremy and I are both in D.C. for the next few days as we attending a conference for Bread for the World. It started this evening and will run through Tuesday which is lobby day. This year Bread's focus is on the Farm Bill which is up for renewal this year. More on that later.

So far it's been fun. There are a few Baylor people here so it's been good to talk with them and catch up.

Today, before the conference started, we played tourist some and saw some of the D.C. sights. I'm not slightly sunburned and really tired so it's off to bed as it will be a full day tomorrow.

Monday, June 04, 2007

My life is dull. There is nothing to say. I wish there was.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

For my mom and all Colbert Report fans

Librarians are hiding something? According to Wikipedia they are, and if it's on Wikipedia it MUST be true - or so says the definition of Wikiality.



Two minutes later...


I guess they're done hiding stuff now. Either that or someone at Wikipedia is suppressing information. Hmm, what do THEY have to hide??

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

East Tennessee Dialect

I have now lived in Knoxville for a year. Crazy, I know. It really doesn't seem like it's been that long. Anyways, since living here and working in rural counties, I have noticed some interesting things in regards to how people talk around here:

1. The use of the word "the"
ex. "She had the head lice so I couldn't send her to school."

2. Around here you don't "skip" school or work, but instead, "lay out."
ex. "They were caught laying out of school last Thursday."

3. The use of the word "done"
ex. "I done caught them laying out of school last Thursday."

4. The use of the term "the law" instead of "police" or "cops"
ex. "We done come down the mountain and were at their house just talking in the yard and the law showed up!"

All of these are pretty prevalent and I don't think I've noticed them anywhere else I've lived except for around here. I'm sure there are more, but I can't remember them right now or they aren't used as much.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Yesterday I was getting measured for a backpack at a little store up the road and the worker guy commented on my short torso. Now where have I heard that before? Oh right, High School Bowl. My torso was so short that when I was sitting all you could see of me on TV was my head above the table, which only happened once. After that I sat on cushions to avoid looking like a floating head and Mr. Trombly could no longer make fun of me at school for it. Now, in a weird turn of events he is the High School Bowl coach for Gladstone and the team just won their third championship in four years! If you read the article, it says they won in 2004, 2005, and 2007. Also, they made it to the semi finals but lost in 2006. However, it does NOT say that the team placed second in 2002, the year I was on the team. We may have lost to Gwinn in the finals that year, but our team was by far cooler than those boys. In fact, our coach even commented once while at a tournament that our team was by far the most "normal looking" of all the teams. This was with BJ having bright blue spiked hair and Cecilia wearing her zebra print cowboy hat. Yes, our team was smart and hot, er, "normal looking."

In other nerdy quiz bowl related news, Baylor is playing in the national College Bowl tournament this weekend. It is their third appearance at nationals in four years. The first year they went I was on the team. Good times. This year they were undefeated at regionals so hopefully they'll do well at nationals!

All of a sudden I feel like my alma maters are very nerdy, but really they aren't. Just a coincidence, I swear...

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Living in east Tennessee has its perks if you enjoy being outside. I have to say, it has its advantages over both Michigan and Texas. While in Texas it is hot enough pretty much year round to do stuff, there is no scenery worth looking at. At least not in central Texas where it is flat and boring. Michigan on the other hand is beautiful, at least da U.P. is, but it's so freakin' cold and snow covered most of the year. Tennessee, however, barely has a winter so it's nice enough by April to appreciate all the natural beauty it has to offer.

Three of the four weekends in April Jeremy and I either hiked or camped. The fourth weekend he was out of town for a conference and it stormed the entire time. Both hiking trips were with people from church and took place actually just over the border into Kentucky. The first hike was on Good Friday and it was kind of cold, but manageable. It probably hovered around 40 most of the day, but we layered so it wasn't really too bad. The second hike was this past weekend and the weather was much better, although it did rain the entire way up to Kentucky. Luckily it stopped before we started hiking and the trail wasn't really all that muddy. Both hikes were around 7 miles but the second one was a little bit more rigorous as there was a pretty steep incline for a ways at the end of the trail. We made it though...

On the first hike, no ticks were found. On the second, however, I had one that was somewhat attached to me that I found during the hike, Jeremy had one crawling on his arm during the hike, and I found one in my clothes once I got home.

The camping trip was a lot of fun. We camped at a TVA campground not too far from Knoxville. It was right on the Tennessee river, and yes, there was a TVA dam there also. We spent Thursday through Saturday camping. That's the great thing about my job, since I work from home, I can also work from a campsite! In fact, I was actually closer to the counties I work in while at the campsite so it was very convenient. Friday morning I had to get up pretty early to drive down for the weekly docket review for one of my courts and when I opened up the tent door it was breathtaking. Our campsite was right on the bank of the river, the sun had just come up, the water was all steamy and there were mountains in the background. So beautiful, but unfortunately I did not have a camera to take a picture. Saturday we spent most of the day on the motorcycle exploring the area, also a lot of fun even though we both got a little sunburned.

We're becoming very outdoorsy with all this hiking and camping so we decided that next thing to tackle should be backpacking. I mean, we live so close to the mountains, it would be wrong NOT to!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Last night I spent two hours watching American Idol. Yes, that's right, I actually watched that show for two hours. I got an email a couple days prior from the ONE Campaign saying that Bono would be on a special episode of Idol talking about the Campaign. I ended up with nothing to do last night, was flipping through the channels, and saw that the show was coming on so I decided to watch it. I have never really watched the show before; I think one season I semi-watched, but that was mostly because my roommates were also watching it so it was on and I was in the room. Anyways, so I was told Bono would be on it but really he was only on in the very last five minutes. The other hour and 55 minutes was basically a telethon raising money for relief efforts in Africa and the United States. And of course they had a "suspenseful" part where they would tell the contestants if they were safe or not (spoiler: they were ALL safe! wow! Great! I'm so happy! that was sarcastic, btw).

Here's the article about Idol Gives Back, they raised $60 million for relief efforts so that's pretty cool. And they got 70,000 more people to sign the ONE declaration, also cool. I guess Idol is all right sometimes. It's a good way to reach a lot of people I suppose, people who may not be exposed to things like the ONE Campaign or the relief organizations they are giving the money to. I mean, all those people vote for people every week, if they're willing to use their time watching the show religiously and making phone calls, why not make a call to donate a little bit of cash to a good cause?

However, while I'm happy that Idol did this and brought such awareness to issues of poverty in the United States and abroad, I can't say that I'm going to start watching the show any time soon.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

This weekend I:

a) won 22 straight games of Freecell
b) went out to eat by myself
c) slept from 10:30pm Friday night to 12:30pm Saturday
d) realized I need a life
e) all of the above

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Springtime in Knoxville

Here are some pictures of Knoxville that Jeremy took the other day. All the trees and flowers are blooming and it's pretty dang pretty around here. These pictures were taken in a neighborhood with a walking trail through it. We have recently started walking the trail, or part of the trail, a few times a week. The trail is a little under three miles long one way and winds through a pretty ritzy neighborhood. Also, it goes along the Tennessee River part of the way. Basically, it's a really nice area, especially for walking, especially during this time of the year.




Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Jeremy fixed his motorcycle up this past Saturday so we spent a good part of the day riding. The weather has been beautiful for about the past week and I was so wanting to go for a ride. Badly. And I kept seeing all these other people out on their bikes and I was jealous. I may have been pestering Jeremy a little bit about finally fixing his bike so we could go... I guess it worked finally worked. Anyways, it was a lot of fun - East Tennessee is great for motorcycles rides - mountains, winding country roads, rivers. Spring here is wonderful. MUCH better than in Texas, that's for sure.

Also, I FINALLY got to wear my new helmet! I was really excited about that. Pictures to come soon. Maybe.

I also was a mechanic on Saturday. I changed my air filter! All by myself! Yes, I know, it's impressive...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I'm pretty sure that I have eaten more baked beans in these past three months or so than I have in the rest of my life before that combined. For some reason I have been craving baked beans and potato chips. And I usually don't even like potato chips. I think my body is telling me I need more protein but that it is smart enough not to crave meat. I appreciate the fact that it knows not to crave meat anymore. Good job body.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Things I have noticed when driving in Knoxville/Tennessee:

1. When stopped and waiting to turn, many people do not turn on their turn signal until just before they actually turn. That is, if you're three cars back at a light, waiting to turn left, you won't actually turn on your left turn signal until you are just about pulling through the intersection. I have never seen this anywhere else but Knoxville and I have to admit, I find myself doing it too every now and then.

2. Slowing down to go through a green light. It's so annoying! On more than one occasion I have missed a green light because the cars in front of me insist on slowing down to BELOW the speed limit before going through the light. What's the deal? Once again, I have only seen this done by so many people in Knoxville.

3. Walking out in front of moving cars. Now I have seen this other places, but here it seems a lot worse. Mainly because people do not seem to be in a hurry at all while crossing streets at a place that is not a crosswalk. They do not care if there is a lot of traffic, they just stroll on out. People also do this at night. While wearing dark clothing. In poorly lit areas. Do they WANT to be hit by a car??

4. Now for something I WISH they'd do in Tennessee, but do not. In Texas, when you're driving on a country two lane road with wide shoulders and you know the person behind you wants to pass you but cannot because there is opposing traffic or it's a no passing zone, you pull off onto the shoulder and let them pass. This is something that seems unique to Texas as I have never experienced it elsewhere. I really think Tennessee drivers need to pick up on this because I greatly dislike driving behind people going under the speed limit on many of the roads I have to drive on for work. It's very frustrating not being able to pass them because the roads are so twisty-turning and full of hills.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Upon further research I have discovered that Tennessee offers "more than 90 specialty license plates for Tennessee motorists to display on their registered motor vehicles." One of these is the "Sons of the Confederate Veterans" plate which is what I saw the other day on the truck.

Once again, the South is weird.

I can't decide if I want a weird artsy fish plate or a small mouth bass plate. It's a tough call.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Yesterday while driving I noticed a peculiar license plate on the truck in front of me. Instead of the normal Tennessee plate, a "Friend of the Smokies" plate, an "I love kids"-type plate, or any of the other license plates you can get for your car here, I saw a Tennessee plate with a confederate flag on it. For real.

The South is weird.

Friday, March 02, 2007

I generally don't like it when people post lyrics to a song on their blog or other webpage.

That being said.


{VERSE}
You say you wander your own land
But when I think about it
I don't see how you can

You're aching, you're breaking
And I can see the pain in your eyes
Says everybody's changing
And I don't know why

{CHORUS}
So little time
Try to understand that I'm
Trying to make a move just to stay in the game
I try to stay awake and remember my name
But everybody's changing and I don't feel the same

(instrumental)

{VERSE}
You're gone from here
Soon you will disappear
Fading into beautiful light
'cos everybody's changing
And I don't feel right

{CHORUS}
So little time
Try to understand that I'm
Trying to make a move just to stay in the game
I try to stay awake and remember my name
But everybody's changing and I don't feel the same


So little time
Try to understand that I'm
Trying to make a move just to stay in the game
I try to stay awake and remember my name
But everybody's changing and I don't feel the same

Monday, February 26, 2007

Another Year Older

So....I turned 23 yesterday. And I must say it was a pretty darn good day too. The festivities started Saturday when Jeremy made me a surprise pineapple-upside-down cake! It was really good. Then we went to the mall and he let me pick out my birthday present.

Sunday we started with dinner in Pigeon Forge, which is a tourist trap city about 30 minutes away. It's where Dollywood is if that tells you anything about the area. Pretty much everything there is very tourist-y and incredibly cheesy. It's great. We went to dinner at the first super cheesy restaurant we came upon, which happened to be called the Alabama Grill. This restaurant is not a tribute to the great state of Alabama, like we first thought, but instead to the BAND Alabama! It was pretty funny. Think Hard Rock Cafe, but Alabama/country music themed. There was even an old Alabama tour bus and really old (80's era) limo out front. Now if I was a big Alabama fan I would have been in heaven...

Since everything on the menu except for the fried fish was meat, i opted for the veggie plate. That was 3 veggie sides and a cup of soup. I got mashed potatoes, baked beans, green beans, and a cup of the potato soup. Three of those four items ended up having bacon in them!! There was no mention of bacon ANYWHERE on the menu for these items!! The soup had an entire description under it but NO MENTION of bacon! The south is weird.

After dinner we headed for Gatlinburg which is near Pigeon Forge and is ALSO a tourist trap, but somewhat better and not quite as cheesy. Jeremy wouldn't tell me where we were going all day because he wanted it to be a surprise and it was. We went to the aquarium!! I love aquariums! And he had never been to one! It was a pretty good one too, although there were no penguins. It was a lot of fun and we got to pet sting rays which was cool.

We walked around Gatlinburg a little after the aquarium and bought a whole bunch of fudge which we then ate. Well, we didn't eat all of it, we probably would have gotten sick if we had done that. We ate SOME of it and then headed back to Knoxville.

It was a great day.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Interesting news tidbit of the day - one of the counties that I have been working in for the past three months was home to the Scopes Trial. In fact, the court house that I go to every week was where the trial took place! It has recently been restored to how it was in 1925, there is a museum in the basement devoted to the trial, and locals reenact it every summer.

How did I just find out about this tonight?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Saturday Jeremy and I were driving around to different grocery stores to eat free samples as we sometimes do when we saw a motorcycle shop with sales signs all over. Since moving to Tennessee, which has a helmet law, I've been wearing one of Jeremy's old helmets. I mean, er, I also wore it in Texas every time I rode on his bike with him.... Anyways, since his head is slightly (a lot) bigger than mine, the helmet doesn't fit me. It's waaaay too big and hurts my neck and blows back all the time and is basically a pain. Since this motorcycle shop was having a sale, I thought I should take advantage of it and finally buy my own helmet that actually fits. So I did. And it's really cute. Well, as cute as a helmet can be. I was going to go with the black shiny helmet with pink flames, but then realized that that wasn't really me. Instead I got a black non-shiny helmet with no flames of any color. Now if only the weather was warm enough and Jeremy's tires weren't bald so I could use it. I've been breaking it in by wearing it around the apartment, but it's just not the same.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I have found something new to do in regards to all the time I spend in my car. No, it doesn't have to do with books on tape either. It's NPR! I forgot that I like listening to it - I used to all the time in Waco, but forgot about it once I moved here since I didn't know what station it was. I finally found out because one of the guys at my church actually works for the local NPR station. So now I listen to it on parts of my drive (it depends what time of day it is and if I'm actually in the mood to listen to classical music if it's on).

Part of the reason I listen to it is because it makes me feel smart. I like being able to say "so earlier on NPR they were talking about...." Kinda like when I was taking a 4000 level psychology class last year and I was the only non-psychology major. All the rest of the class could tie in things they learned in other classes to what we were learning. They were constantly staying things like "in such and such class we learned about this or that and that ties in because...." and they sounded smart. I couldn't do that. Instead, I'd relate things in to articles I read in the Washington Post that morning before the 10am class. It made me feel really smart to say "this morning there was an article in the Washington Post about....(something we're learning about)." If I couldn't tie stuff to previous psychology classes, at least I could tie it to something. It made me feel better about being the only non-psychology major.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Last night I watched The Boys of Baraka. It's a documentary about a school that takes at-risk 7th and 8th grade boys from Baltimore and brings them to a school in rural Kenya. There they stay for two years and attend school in the middle of the bush. The purpose is to get to the boys before they turn to a life of violence and drugs, as so many of their peers will do. Unfortunately, the school closed in 2003 because of bombings and violence in East Africa. Also, the school had only been opened for a few years before that so not too many boys went through the program. From what I've read on the internet, there seems to be a positive correlation between the boys who went to the school and high school graduation rates. Which is great because somewhere around 70% of African-American boys in Balitmore do not earn their diplomas. It is still too early to really see if this program was successful and it since it wasn't around for that long that hinders the research too. I really do want to read more about this though and see more follow-up done on the boys who attended the school. The entire thing fascinates me.

I've also been on this kick lately of wanting to go back to Kenya. I don't know what it is, maybe I've been watching too much TV/too many movies about Africa. Or maybe it's the fact that I know a few people on the continent right now. Or maybe it's because when we were out to eat last week I overheard a lady talking about her time in South Africa. Whatever it is, I REALLY want to go back. Soon. And for longer than two weeks. I miss it.

Monday, January 29, 2007

He's Back!

After being out of the tennis loop for a while (I mean, I barely even watched any of the Australian Open! What's that about?), I stumbled across this article on Yahoo! News today. It got me very excited, because what's the tennis world without him? Empty, that's what. Who needs Roger Whats-his-name anyway? Not me.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I feel like I should update, but I don't really have anything worthwhile to say.

Life is life.

Or is it?

Monday, January 08, 2007

The other "in between" phase of life

There is this new trend in calling kids about 9-12 "tweens" because they're not quite teens yet, but not still kids. Just as that is one of the in between stages of life, I have decided that 22 also falls into an "in between" phase. At least, when trying to buy pants.

I got a gift card to Macy's for Christmas from Jeremy's parents and as there is not one in Knoxville I decided it would be best if I used it while I was in KC. I am in desperate of pants since all my jeans now have holes in them so I decided to try to buy a pair of jeans. Key word - try. When I got to Macy's I couldn't decide if I was to shop in the "women's" section or in the "junior's" section. At what age are you no longer a junior but instead a women? All the jeans in the women's section were mom jeans. But all the jeans in the junior's section appeared to be made for 15 year olds and were part spandex and had glitter, sparkles, embroidery and/or pre-made holes. Two thumbs way down.

I was a little annoyed at the jean situation, needless to say. I didn't know what to do so I bought a jacket instead.