Friday, December 18, 2009

Long story, but Jeremy and I switch which side of the bed we sleep on based on what season it is. Currently I am on the right side of the bed, but for some reason my default side is the left side. While we were house sitting for a week I slept on the left side, which means that when my alarm went off in the morning, I had to turn to my left side to turn it off. Wednesday night was our first night back in our house. I went back to sleeping on the right side of the bed. When my alarm went off in the morning, I got confused and turned to my left to turn it off. I ended up hitting Jeremy on the head before remembering that I was back home and sleeping on the other side of the bed. I quickly turned to my right and hit my alarm, but not before Jeremy said "Did you just try to snooze me?"

Yes, yes I did.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Christmas...

We got robbed this past weekend. We were house sitting for the past week, went home Saturday morning to pick up some stuff only to find our backdoor kicked in. At first we thought the robbers took only the wii, xbox, video games, and dvds, but last night we looked around more and realized they also took Jeremy's camera bag, some other electronic gadgets he has, and my backpack. Not cool. Luckily I didn't have much in my backpack (although I really liked it!!) but Jeremy's camera bag had at least two cameras in it, a bunch of lenses, and other camera equipment. He also had that bag since he was 14 or 15. I think we were more upset last night when we found out what else they took than when we thought it was only the video game stuff and dvds.

Jeremy talked with our neighbor yesterday and found out that at least two other houses in the neighborhood have been broken into since ours was. At one they didn't get anything at least, I'm not sure about the other house. If they're going to keep hitting our area, maybe they'll get caught. I sure hope so. We gave the police the serial numbers for the wii and xbox so if they try to pawn those they might be able to track the thieves.

Today is our last day house sitting so it will be the first night back in our house since the robbery. It was kind of nice not having to sleep and stay there right after it happened - we got some time away to process and relax (some). Jeremy is setting up a camera so in case this ever happens again, we'll at least have footage of the people. Sometimes it's nice to be married to a geek who can do all that!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Oh Christmas Tree

Saturday Jeremy and I helped hang up the greens at church. Well, Jeremy helped hang them, I stayed on the ground and arranged poinsettias and "fluffed" the greens. I'm not sure I did a very good job - I kept telling them they had the wrong person for the job. My decorating skills are lacking. Anyways, this helped to motivate us to pull out our own decorations and get a tree. Slowly but surely we're building up an ornament collection.

It's a little scraggly in places, but hey, we didn't want to pay $15 more for a tree that wasn't! We bought it from a tree lot not far from our house. It was a local place, I don't even think it was affiliated with any business, just a tree lot in the middle of a parking lot. They were really nice and helpful - the guy even tied it to the car for us - something that didn't happen last year when we bought the tree at Lowe's.

In other Christmas news I've been in a dessert making frenzy. Between the Advent potluck at church Wednesday, our work party Friday afternoon, and No Room at the Inn at church on Friday night it's been a busy week. The hardest part, though, is not eating all the cookies!

Friday, December 04, 2009

The Clinton 12

Last night we hosted a movie night for our volunteers, aka, CASAs at the Green McAdoo Cultural Center. We thought it would be a good way for them to meet one another and also it could count for continuing ed hours for them. We watched The Clinton 12, which is a documentary about the first high school in the south to integrate its students. It happened in Clinton, TN - the town I work in. For some reason, many people in the area do not know about this historical event. Many others didn't hear about it until this documentary came out a couple years ago. One of our CASAs lived next door to one of the Clinton 12 for years but only ever heard him talk about it once.

The desegregation in Clinton in 1956 was a pretty big deal. Media came from all over, as did white supremacists. The high school was even bombed two years after the integration. It's so weird that this little town in East Tennessee was home to such historical events, but so many have no idea. Some of the Clinton 12 are still in the area, or their families are. The director of the Green McAdoo Cultural Center it is the younger sister of one of the students. She didn't even know about all the events until much later in life. One of our CASAs, who integrated her elementary school in Kentucky in the 1950s likened it to a war - like many veterans won't talk about their experiences, its the same for these students who integrated. They don't want to remember all of the horrible things that happened.

I'd recommend the documentary to everyone. I don't think you can get it on Netflix so that's an issue. PBS did show a shortened version recently so it might be available through their website.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some Letters

Dear rabbit digging under our house all night,

Please stop. I recognized that you're a hard worker and that it's probably warm under our house, but please, please stop. If you could do your digging during the day, or not at all, we'd be much happier, and more well rested.

The Residents of the House

Dear Landlords,

Remember when you said you found a rabbit hole near our house and you were going to do something about it? We'd appreciate it if you did. I might just lose my sanity if this night time digging doesn't stop soon, making it harder for us to pay rent.

Your Renters

Dear Nephews,

Please come visit soon and bring your dad and his guns. We are willing to let you shoot the rabbits living under and near our house. You can even keep the meat and the furs, to match the one you already have. And while we are in the city limits, we are willing to break a law or two to allow you to hunt these rabbits. I've heard two late night gun shots in our neighborhood recently so what's the big deal about shooting pesky rabbits?

Your Aunt and Uncle

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Women's Basketball (Go Lady Bears!)

A month or so ago Jeremy and I finally got around to visiting the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame here in Knoxville. We got some free tickets through freecycle, but it took us a while to have a free Saturday. The museum was interesting, but I don't know if I'd necessarily go if we hadn't gotten the free passes. Although it was nice to see stuff about the Baylor Lady Bears in the museum. Their coach (Kim Mulkey) was inducted sometime in recent years and there were pictures of the 2005 national championship team (my junior year). I did think that there was too much stuff devoted to Tennessee's team, in my opinion.

The Lady Bears and Lady Vols are playing next Sunday here in Knoxville and Jeremy and I bought tickets to the game. I'm very excited! It should be a pretty good game since both teams are ranked high and it's the season opener for both teams. I'm a little disappointed, however, because there isn't a section for the away team's fan. I was hoping to get to sit with other Baylor fans. Oh well. It was funny though, because one day at work I was telling my coworker that I would NEVER go to a Lady Vols game and then two hours later I got an email from Baylor about the game here in Knoxville. Oops, guess I WILL see a Lady Vols game after all.

Here are some pictures from our trip to the Hall of Fame:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Baylor Homecoming 2009

Jeremy and I went to Waco this past weekend for Baylor's Homecoming. It was the first one we've been to since graduating, and also the 100th anniversary of Homecoming there so we figured it was time to go. It was a blast. I'm so glad we went. As a student I always saw the alumni walking around campus Friday afternoon of Homecoming, reminiscing, and now WE got to be the alumni doing that.

This was the first time Jeremy has been back to Baylor since graduation. I went about a year and a half ago, but it wasn't the same. It was a weekend and campus was dead. This time was so much better with all the hustle and bustle of Homecoming activities. We toured some of our old buildings, bought a ton of Baylor merchandise, saw a couple of people Jeremy worked with at the library, and made the all the obligatory remarks about "how much campus has changed."

We also got to see many of our old friends from Baylor, which was awesome. It was actually kind of a whirlwind of a weekend, trying to spend time with everyone we wanted to see. It was great though. I even got to see and talk with a couple of my favorite professors! We also saw the parade, me for the first time ever. I never saw it as a student because it was just so darn early. I said every year that it was for the alumni who come back for Homecoming, so when I come back, I'll go then.

Here are some pictures from the trip:

Yes, Samuel Brooks, we will!

My old dorm! My window is covered by the tree (3rd floor up, window just to the right of the last column).

Fireworks over Pat Neff. What recession?

Us with Chris and Meredith at the bonfire. We're so sad they moved back to Houston.

Me with Anali and Claire. We used to get in some good trouble together back in the day. Viva la revolucion!

Roommates and an apartment friend at the football game! I miss these girls.

We're hoping to be able to make it back for Homecoming more often in the future. As we walked around campus, we both kept commenting that we were so glad we went to Baylor. It's so different from the University of Tennessee, and in good ways. The people are so nice and friendly. I had forgotten all about that. Plus campus is beautiful and professors geniunely care about their students. Now it does have its faults, for sure, but I am so happy I went there and made the friendships and connections I did. Sic 'em bears!

Friday, October 02, 2009

I love Fall

It's officially fall here. A cold front came through at the beginning of the week and the weather has been "delightful" as my weatherbug says. It's been cool enough in the morning for me to wear a jacket to work. Unfortunately my office is cold enough for me to have to keep wearing the jacket most of the day.

My favorite part of fall is eating fall foods, especially pumpkin. I made my favorite pumpkin soup this week. I first saw the recipe in the food section of our paper two years ago and had to make it for dinner that day. I later found out it's a Racheal Ray recipe. Nevertheless, it has become one of my favorite fall dishes. I make it with vegetable stock instead of chicken. Also, this time I used 2% milk instead of heavy cream in an effort to be healthier. Neither Jeremy nor I could taste the difference.

I also made homemade rolls to go with the soup. I used my new favorite roll recipe, compliments of Tasty Kitchen. They are divine. And, I actually used the bread basket we got for our wedding as an actual bread basket! Usually I put fruit in it since we don't have a fruit bowl. It works better for bread though. Shocking, I know.

Next pumpkin food to make: Pumpkin bread, or pumpkin pancakes. I can't decide.

Friday, September 11, 2009

It's been a rather busy past week and a half. Last week we went up to Detroit for Allie's wedding. It was a lot of fun, but also exhausting. I'm glad I'll never have to plan a wedding again - so much work! It was great to see family and meet Cory's family though. They were really nice and welcoming. They even took us on their boat!

I told Jeremy when we got home that I needed a vacation from our vacation. Lucky Allie and Cory - they get to relax for a week while the rest of us have to go back to the real world. At least Monday was Labor Day though, that way we got a day to unwind before regular life resumed.

And in my case regular life didn't resume, I started a new job on Tuesday! I am now a program coordinator for CASA. I'm working there part time and at UT part time. So far it's been good and I'm really enjoying it. I've been getting a feel for the job this week - going to court a lot, learning how to use the databases, reading files, etc. I'm still trying to figure out my schedule so I can be there and at UT for the time I need to be each week. I'm really at the mercy of the court's schedule though.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Another Cupcake Taste Test

Back in January, I did a review of the three cupcake shops in town. Since then, I was told that I should try the cupcakes at Cafe 4, a newish trendy restaurant/bakery in Market Square. I finally got around to it yesterday. Yesterday was August 31, the day that all the coupons expire in the school coupon book. I was flipping through it and saw a coupon I had never noticed before - one free cupcake from Cafe 4, no purchase required. I couldn't pass that up so Jeremy and I headed down after dinner for some dessert. I first noticed that the selection wasn't that great. They had standard chocolate or white cake topped with different choices of frosting. I got the chocolate peanut butter and Jeremy got the raspberry truffle.

I was greatly disappointed. The chocolate cake, which was the same on both of ours, was dry, crumbly, and tasted like it came out of a box. Nothing like the light and fluffy cake of Cities Cupcake or like the dense and moist cake of Cupcakery or Magpies. My peanut butter frosting was good, a touch on the sweet side for me, but good. I didn't care for Jeremy's raspberry frosting at all. He thought there wasn't enough of a raspberry flavor, I just thought it tasted bad and artificial.

The cupcakes were a good size for the price, but if I'm going to buy a cupcake, I won't go out of my way to buy one from Cafe 4.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

That Good Ol' Baylor Line...

Classes started here at UT last Wednesday so all last week the campus was busy with people moving in, students buying books, freshman trying to figure out their way around campus. Friday night they (who "they is, I'm not sure) had free pool, bowling, table tennis, etc, at the University Center. I'm guessing it was to entice all the new students to spend Friday nights there in the future when it wasn't free.

Anyways, Jeremy and I went and enjoyed some free pool and people watched the freshmen and other students. Watching the freshmen reminded me how much I hated my first semester at Baylor, especially those first few weeks. I was so far from home, so far from my friends, I knew no one. And on top of that, there was this immense culture shock of being in Texas with all those Baptists and it was so hot. Those first few weekends were awkward. You'd hang out with people you met, people on your floor of the dorm, but you didn't really know them so you were forced to meet all these people, kind of picking and choosing who you thought you'd mesh with. Also, a lot of people went home those first few weekends, leaving me and other out-of-staters alone in our rooms.

Man am I glad those days are over and that I never have to be a freshman in college again.

However, the more I thought about new school years, the more I realized how much I loved the beginning of my sophomore-senior years of college. I loved going back to Baylor and seeing all my friends and roommates I hadn't seen in a few months. By this time I had good friends, I knew my way around campus, I had a major I was thoroughly enjoying, and I had adapted (somewhat) to the Texas heat. Life was great.

Jeremy and I are going to Baylor for Homecoming this year and I am really excited. I have only been back to Baylor once since graduating and Jeremy hasn't at all. I know at least two of my roommates are going to be there, along with other friends I haven't seen in a while.

However bad that first semester was, I'm glad I stuck it out. Although, I never thought about transferring closer to home. Now, after experiencing a different university, I am so happy I went to Baylor. It is such a great community and school. I can't imagine what my life would be like had I gone elsewhere.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ode to My Recipe Box

I got this recipe box on a whim last year. We were at a craft store for something else and saw these on clearance by the check out lanes. They were super cheap so I had to get one, and a couple of extra packets of recipe cards.

I can't tell you how much I love having this. So many of the recipes I make I get from online. But I hate having my computer in the kitchen so I generally put it on the table in the dining room, but I also hate having to go back and forth to the table. Sometimes I will print the recipes, but then I don't have anywhere neat to put all the sheets of paper. I could just put them in a folder, but that's not as much fun. Now I generally make the recipe once, while looking at it online, and if I like it enough, I will write the recipe on a card so in the future I can just bring the card into the kitchen. I'm kind of a messy cook so it works out much better this way. Who cares if the card gets messy, but a computer on the other hand...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Jeremy and I were able to cross two things off our "Knoxville Bucket List" this past week. Jeremy has a fellowship this year and for it they've had to go to a conference and workshop the past two weeks. They also have "social events" in which they are allowed to invite spouses. The first social event was a dinner cruise on one of the riverboats in town. The fellowship paid for him so we only had to pay for me. We ended up being glad we didn't have to pay for both of us because it wasn't as much fun as expected. The ride was only an hour and a half and the food was a taco bar. Not very exciting at all and not worth the price if you're paying for both people. They have other tours with different food, but it still wasn't as great as we hoped for.

The second "social event" was a minor league baseball game yesterday. I've been wanting to go to one for a while so this was a good reason to. Plus, we ended up not having to pay for my ticket since some people didn't show up. It was fun, even though our team, the Tennessee Smokies, lost pretty badly. Turns out we're the AA team for the Chicago Cubs. I never knew that before. They also have buy-one-ticket-get-one-free deals for Tuesday and Thursday games so we might go back. Also, on the back of every ticket was a coupon for a free hotdog at Pilot stations and when we walked in, everyone got a scratch off ticket for something from Pilot. Jeremy was very excited today to redeem his free hotdog and mayfield ice cream coupons for his lunch.

We still have a lot more things we want to do before we potentially move in a year. Maybe we should make an actual list sometime.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

I noticed the other day that I'm pretty much only eating foods in the white to orange section of the color wheel. I first realized this on Thursday when I ate an English muffin with a fried egg, a banana, and orange juice for breakfast and then for lunch had an English muffin with laughing cow cheese, carrots, and cantaloupe. To make it worse, here is my dinner from last night:

That's oven "fried" squash and yellow sweet rice. For dessert, we had cantaloupe cream pie. All yellow and orange again. My favorite part, however, is that the squash and cantaloupe came from people at church. I love summer because everyone brings in their extra food for whomever wants it. We've also gotten tomatoes and cucumbers this way.

Anyways, to break up the monotony of our food, I bought some green beans from the cutest vendors at the Farmer's Market today. We try to buy as much as possible from a family farm that sends who I'm guessing are their sons to sell the produce. They are two awkward teenage boys who very well may be home schooled. And they always wear long sleeve button down shirts with their name and farm name embroidered on them and wranglers. They're way cuter than all the hippy/trendy looking vendors. Plus today, the better salesmen of the two gave us a free potato to cook with our green beans and free samples of their red clover blossom tea. Which then led us to buy a small bag of the tea. He's good.

Monday, July 20, 2009

This past weekend, Jeremy and I went on a little backpacking trip. We originally planned on doing a really short, easy trail in Cumberland Mountain State park. Jeremy called them on Thursday to ask some questions and said we were planning on doing the trail that weekend. When we got there Friday morning the lady at the office told us the overnight trail was closed. We were a little upset that no one told Jeremy that on Thursday, but got in the car to figure out a new plan. Another state park, Fall Creek Falls, wasn't too far away, so we drove down there. When we got there the Nature Center, where you fill out the back country permits, was closed for an hour for lunch. We waited. And waited. During that time we at least found out that they had two different overnight trails, 12 miles and 13 miles. We decided on the 13 mile trail since it was easier. The nature center finally opened, we filled out a permit, and were on our way, only about 2.5 hours later than we planned on hitting the trail.

We ended up doing more hiking than we planned on, but it was still fun. We had the campsite to ourselves and never even saw anyone else on the trail. We did, however, see a lot of mushrooms. Not many flowers or wildlife, but man were there mushrooms! Here are some pictures:

We also, unfortunately, saw a lot of ticks, mostly deer ticks. Jeremy pulled out 14 in him and I had 3. That doesn't count the countless other ticks that were just on us and our clothes, not actually embedded in us. I have never seen ticks that bad! For your viewing pleasure, here is Jeremy, burning a wood tick out of his leg:

Monday, July 06, 2009

I had a sad realization this weekend - I may never be in Gladstone for the Fourth of July again. No where does the Fourth like Gladstone. That being said, Jeremy and I had a pretty laid back Fourth this weekend. We got up, watched Serena and Venus in the Wimbledon finals, ate pancakes, and lounged around. In the afternoon we played disc golf in a park nearby. Usually there are a good number of others out playing, but since it was the Fourth, we ran into hardly anyone else so it was nice. We came back, grilled some salmon for dinner, and headed to the World's Fair Park downtown to watch the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra and the fireworks. The fireworks show was pretty disappointing - it only lasted 15 minutes. Knoxville has a huge fireworks show over Labor Day weekend so that might be why they don't go all out for the Fourth.

We also found out this weekend that we have a bunch of cardinals, of varying age, living somewhere around our house. When we came home from disc golf on Saturday, we saw one adult cardinal and an adolescent looking cardinal chasing each other around our roof and the nearby trees.

When we went to go inside, we saw a little bird sitting on our steps. It didn't move as we walked past to get inside so I thought it might be hurt. I came inside, and then went back out with my camera to take a picture but by the time I got back outside it was gone. Fast forward to Sunday afternoon - I was sitting on the couch when all of a sudden I heard something at the window. I looked over and it was the same little bird from the day before! I got all the way to the window and it didn't fly off. Here's a picture:

We think it's a baby cardinal, and obviously it has a lot to learn since it is in no way afraid of us.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The local Kroger recently rearranged some of its aisles, meaning that Jeremy and I, and some other lady, could not for the life of us find the mac and cheese. It was in the bulk food section, of course. We should have thought to look there... Anyways, the next time we went to the store we ran across this in the "foreign food" section:

Turns out our neighborhood Kroger now has a British food section, complete with Coffee Crisps and Aero bars! I may or may not have freaked out in the grocery store over the Coffee Crisps.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Funny story (kind of ) - Last week I decided I was going to make pizza for dinner. I also decided that instead of making the normal white crust we usually have, I'd make a whole wheat crust. I got out the whole wheat flour, made the crust, and we ate the pizza. Jeremy kept saying how good the crust was, and I agreed. A few days later Jeremy decides to make some whole wheat bread while I'm at work. I get home and he asks me why the rye flour is out. The rye flour and whole wheat flour have the same color bag. Turns out I made a rye pizza crust on accident! I made the whole wheat crust for real this past Friday, turns out we like the rye crust better.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I planted some tomatoes, peppers, and herbs in my front yard and last Wednesday, my first two little tomatoes appeared! This is a picture taken of them the next day - they grow up so fast!

As of this morning I counted 5 beefsteak tomatoes, and I think 6 roma tomatoes. Also, my cilantro and dill look almost ready to eat!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Contrary to what my classmates in undergrad believed, I don't hate little kids. I just don't love them. I'm really pretty neutral about small children. I can take them or leave them. Now I like kids that I know and kids that I'm related to. I'm just talking about children I don't know here. That being said, for some reason small children I don't know seem to love me. I don't know why. I never thought I put off any "Hey, little kids! Come to me and play!" vibes. But apparently I do.

When I was in Kenya 4 years ago (has it really been that long!?), we went to some orphanages and for some reason the small children loved me. More than once a child would run up to me and then not leave my side. I didn't mind, but I didn't get it either. This past weekend we were at a cookout at Jeremy's boss's house and one of his coworkers was there with his wife and 18ish month old daughter. For some reason the daughter really liked me and kept wanting me to play with her. The parents even asked (half jokingly, I think) if I was available for babysitting.

This all just struck me as interesting because I have friends who just LOVE kids - they would and could spend all their time playing with kids. I'm not like that. So why do small children like me so much?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Twice in the past week now a cashier has tried to convince me that I should buy more of whatever it is I was buying because it was on sale. Both times I've had to explain that I don't want or need more, and I don't need to pay more for something I don't need or what. I think both times the cashier has been confused as to why I haven't wanted to take advantage of this great deal.

Example 1 - Last week Jeremy and I went to Kohl's to buy him a shirt and tie for my graduation. His only nice dress shirt is black so it's not very practical to wear in the spring and summer. He's actually needed to wear a nice shirt on a couple of occasions recently so we decided it was time for him to get another nice dress shirt. The shirts were buy one get one half off. He only really needed one so we only got one. The teenage cashier boy kept telling us we could get another for half the price and didn't we want to go pick out another one? We kept saying "no" and finally I said "that's $20, we don't want to spend another $20!" We had no reason to spend the extra money for a shirt Jeremy didn't need. He doesn't wear nice shirts enough to justify the extra money. And we're poor grad/post grad students.

Example 2 - Today I went to the gas station down the road to buy some skor bars for a cake I'm making. I took three to the cash register and the lady told me to get another because they were 2 for however much. I told her I only needed 3 but she insisted I should get a fourth because I'd be paying almost the same price for 1 as I would for 2. I told her I didn't need a fourth and I wouldn't eat it so there was no point in getting it. She just kind of said "okay..." like I was an idiot and rang me up. I didn't think it was practical to pay the extra $0.25 or however much it was to get a candy bar I didn't need. If it was fruit or something somewhat nutritious, I would have thought about it. But for a candy bar, no.

I think sales try to trick people. It's like "oh! This is on sale! I must get it!" It doesn't matter if you need it or not. I've started clipping coupons recently and I've been trying really hard to only use the ones that our for products we actually use or for new things that we might want to try. There is no point saving a dollar off of something that we won't eat/use or don't need to eat/use.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

More Travels

Jeremy and I made a little trip up north this past weekend. We flew into Minneapolis Thursday, had dinner with some family, and then rode with my dad up to his place in Duluth that night. Friday we made the trip to Houghton, MI to see my sister graduate from Michigan Tech. I had never been to Houghton before, but it was pretty much like I expected it to be - cold, depressed looking, full of nerdy Tech students. Campus had a different feel to it than Baylor, or Tennessee for that matter.

Baylor = sorta big, liberal arts school, fairly conservative campus, private Baptist school
Tennessee = large, public school, party school, fairly conservative campus
Michigan Tech = small, public school, mainly engineering, socially acceptable to be an alcoholic

Sometimes I like to play the game "what if X had (or hadn't) happened in my life." I was playing that this weekend when I was at Tech. Had I gone there, I wouldn't have gone into social work. I probably would have ended up staying in something scienc-y/math-y. My life would have been completely different. And I don't think I would have enjoyed my college experience as much. Don't get me wrong, Tech is a great school, just not for me. I really liked my time at Baylor. There was such a family/community feel to it. That is also lacking here at UT. Which is why I'm also glad I didn't go here (or any other large state school) for undergrad.

One thing Tech does have going for it (and UT for that matter) is there is a lot of outdoorsy stuff to do - hiking, skiing, camping, etc. Central Texas was lacking in that a bit. Although I did appreciate being able to go camping nearly year round in Texas without freezing.

I did enjoy my weekend. It was great to see (some) of my family and see Allie psuedo graduate. And now I finally can picture Houghton and Tech in my head after hearing so much about it for years. Although I didn't get to see it in all it's glory. It's not quite spring there yet so everything was still brown and gray. I'd like to go up again in the summer or fall so I can truly appreciate the area better.

Here's a picture I took from our hotel:

Yes, that is snow on the ski hill. It was cold.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

It's springtime! Jeremy and I spent a good part of the day today working outside. I weeded the gardens and got them planted (mostly). Jeremy built a fence around the garden in the backyard to keep out the rabbits. Here are some pictures from today:

My herb/tomato/bell pepper garden in the front yard.

This is the backyard garden, before Jeremy built the gate.

A flowering tree in the backyard. Spring in Tennessee is rather beautiful.

A close up of the flowers

Jeremy locked us out of the house. Luckily, he was able to get us back in via an unlocked window.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Our mini vacation

Jeremy and I were on spring break last week, however, we did not get much of a break. Jeremy had a conference at UT Monday through Wednesday and then I had to go to Chattanooga Thursday for my internship. Jeremy also had a conference at a nearby state park Friday through Sunday so we decided to make it into a mini vacation. Jeremy came with me Thursday to Chattanooga and we stayed the night at Bed and Breakfast. We walked around the art district and downtown some and then drove around the city. This is the B&B we stayed at:

And this is the view from our room:

Friday morning we left for Fall Creek Falls. On the way, we stopped at one of the counties I used to work in and visited the Scopes Trial Museum. It's Rhea county's claim to fame.

Here are some pictures from the conference. We did a short hike to the falls on Saturday during Jeremy's afternoon break.

And here is Jeremy with his poster! He also did a short talk.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My life lately:

* Been fighting off a cold for the past week, I think I won (I hope)
* Comps - 10 essays due by March 13th, I must pass all in order to graduate.
* That's pretty much it.

The weather was really nice last week, but I didn't get to enjoy it because of schoolwork. Post-March 13th should be better. I hope. From talking with other people in my program, I seem to be further along comps-wise than most. I hope to be done by Feb. 27th. Well, have them written. I'll still need to go back and do some editing.

Jeremy and I went out to eat at an Egyptian restaurant called King Tut's Grill for Valentine's Day. We had been there once before but were wanting to go back. It's pretty much a hole in the wall - you'd miss it if you didn't know it was there. Mo (the owner) suggested to pretty much every couple there the same thing - a Greek salad and Egyptian sampler to split - so that's what we got. Seriously, the best Greek salad in Knoxville. Oh, and the place is bring your own wine!

Our electricity went out for 5+ hours Sunday evening/night because power pole fell down the road. That meant no Internet (no homework) and no heat. It wasn't much fun, but luckily we were gone most of the time and it came back on before I went to bed.

Monday, February 02, 2009

It's Snowed!

The "winter mix" predicted for today turned into snow by mid-morning, meaning that all the K-12 schools were released by noon. It stayed right above freezing most of the day so only about 1-2 inches stuck around where we are. Here are some pictures I took:

My boss kept catching me standing at the window watching the snow. What can I say, it was distracting.

Our house:

When we got home, we decided to make a snowman.

Here we are with our snowman. I think this is the first snowman I ever made with an actual carrot nose and charcoal eyes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Currently, there are three cupcake stores in Knoxville - The Cupcakery, Cities Cupcake, and Magpies. As far as I know, Magpies has been around the longest while the other two only recently opened. Both The Cupcakery and Cities are just down the road from us, Magpies is across town. The Cupcakery is a chain, but I think the other two are local shops. Why am I writing about all this? Well, Jeremy and I recently decided to taste test all three stores to see which one we like the best. Previously, we had only been eating at Cities, since it's close by, but after hearing about the others from friends, we decided to try all and report.

This wasn't a very good study - there were only two of us, the tastings weren't blind, and it was done over a period of time. But it was a lot of fun. Here are the results:

Cities Cupcake - a variety of flavors, both for cakes and frostings. All the cupcakes have a city theme - the Charleston cupcake is coconut flavor, New Orleans is red velvet, etc. Cute idea. The cake there is light, fluffy, and has good flavor. The frosting is not overly sweet, but compliments the cake well. Also, once a week they sell "salty" cupcakes. We have sampled two - the Milwaukee, which had a beer batter "cake" with a cream cheese "frosting" and the Santa Fe, with jalepeno cornbread and ranch-spiced cream cheese. Both were very good.

The Cupcakery - there were less choices here, I felt. Basically only a few cakes and a few frostings and then they mixed and matched. The store had a very trendy vibe to it - they had shirts and baby onesies for sale. The cake was dense and moist, much heavier than that of cities. The frosting was pretty good, although I felt that the cream cheese frosting on Jeremy's cupcake was a little sweet. He liked it.

Magpies - we got there a half hour before they closed so they didn't have much of a selection out so I'm not sure what all they sell. They are a trendy place to go here - located where all the hipsters live. They also sell boxes of mini cupcakes. We bought a dozen mixed - 4 key lime, 4 chocolate peanut butter, and 4 chocolate with cream cheese frosting. The cake here is also very dense and moist. I felt the frosting was too sweet but since we were eating mini cupcakes it wasn't too bad. Had I bought a full sized cupcake it would have been too sweet for me to finish.

Overall, all three were good. It's pretty much just a personal preference if you like dense moist cake or light and fluffy cake. We're probably going to keep going to Cities for most of our cupcakes needs as it is closest, a local place, and we both like their light and fluffy cake.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wise No More

I am now back to having only 28 teeth. My wisdom teeth came in while I was in college but I never had any problems until the past couple of months. Recently they have begun moving my other teeth some so I figured it was time to get them removed. Plus, I still have good dental insurance right now so I wanted to do this before that is gone. They put me under using a whole host of drugs so I really remember nothing at all. My last memory was multiplying 14x13. Then, all of a sudden I was in the car with Jeremy and he was asking me questions. He tells me that we had a conversation at the oral surgeon's office, but I don't remember any of it. All I remember is doing sign language, but I thought that was a dream. It wasn't. I really don't remember putting my fleece back on, or my coat, or my scarf. But I guess I did.

Here is a video Jeremy took when we were stopped at a red light on the way to CVS to get my drugs:

I really don't remember much of that conversation at all. I was still a little woozy.

And here is a picture of the flowers he bought me. He's doing a good job taking care of me. Right now he's making me some pumpkin soup for dinner!

Here he is slaving over a hot stove:

So far I feel fine. I've stopped bleeding for the most part. I'm just a bit groggy because of the hydrocodone they put me on. The doctor said I'd probably feel okay the first couple of days but the third and fourth will be worse so not to over do it early. Tomorrow I'm allowed to begin eating normally.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

School starts tomorrow. I have mixed feelings about that. I'm not ready to get back to the grind and have to wake up early. I rather enjoyed being lazy for a couple of weeks. I am, however, excited about my classes this semester. I'm taking Advanced Policy, Program Evaluation, a seminar in Public Health, and an independent study on community gardening/community supported agriculture. These interest me a great deal more than my classes last semester did. And of course I have field three days a week still. Tomorrow, my first day back, we're going to Chattanooga all day. We have something like four meetings. Oh how I love meetings.

Since I graduate in May, I also need to be looking for a full time job. Unfortunately, these are hard to come by in Knoxville for my concentration. Joy. I'd like to do something with program evaluation but all the job postings I see require a minimum of three years of experience. Not cool. How am I supposed to get experience if no one will let me?