Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Another ReIntroduction - I need to stop waiting three years between posts

In early 2016, I started writing again. And I wanted to start writing again, but then some stuff happened. The kid in the previous post went home after a crazy spring in 2016. We sold our first house in 2016, and then went on a whirlwind trip with our student and his family in early June. After that, I sunk into a pretty deep depression for awhile. I didn't really realize that's what it was at the time, but after I came out of the cloud, I realized that was what had happened. We had spent 3 years thinking of almost nothing but our student, and then he was just...gone.

In Fall 2016 nothing notable happened, and in Spring 2017 I taught at a local high school, teaching dual credit. My students were amazing, and I really enjoyed it, but I also knew as a result that working in high school was probably not for me. But, my job search had stalled, so I decide to apply for a second Master's in School Counseling. I got in, and took my first classes in Summer 2017. As it would happen, the job I had wanted in 2016 opened again, and I got my first academic advising job during those first classes. With that, my journey toward a second Master's ended, at least temporarily.

I have been in my role for about 16 months now, and I know it is where I am supposed to be. This summer, because we have more money due to my now having an ACTUAL career, I started going to art classes with a good friend of mine. We have been making wood signs together, and that actually has resulted in me buying a Cricut, a heat press, and working on Christmas gifts for family. So, this blog might take a little bit of a turn towards crafting. I have found something that really relaxes me, and it is something I want to talk about.

I'll talk about more of what has happened in the last couple of years in future posts, and I am glad to get back into this!

Monday, January 4, 2016

A (re)introduction?

So, it has been a long time since I have posted in here. A VERY long time. However, with the new year, I have been reinvigorated to start blogging again. This is because of some work I am doing with a friend of mine with whom I am launching a project. You will find links to that at the bottom of this page, and it will direct you to what we hope will be some pretty cool stuff!

So what has happened in the last 2 years that I have been neglecting this thing? Let's see (and I will elaborate in other posts on some of the big things):

Spring 2014: I started teaching my main course I had taught in a new format, and started teaching 3 other new classes. To say that spring was crazy was an understatement. My husband and I also got massively taken advantage of by people who were renting our home. Spring/Summer 2014 was not the most fun time in our lives...we learned a lot. We learned about the state landlord code, and we learned not to always take people for their word. We had been pretty naive to say the least.

Summer 2014: We had 2 students from Catalonia come stay with us for 6 weeks, continued dealing with the rental, and I taught my first summer class! It was literally one of the craziest classes I have ever taught, to say the least. Also...keep an eye on the guy in white. He becomes important in a little bit.  (Ok, the guy in blue is important too).

Fall 2014: I had another set of classes that were similar to my spring classes. The best part of the fall, though? I finally got to go to Harry Potter world! My husband and I took my fall break from classes, drove to Florida, and spent 3 days in one of my paradises. It was truly magical, and just what we needed after a long summer.

Spring 2015: Nothing much changed for me, in regards to work. I did start thinking about what my end goals were and how I could reach them. But, the big news was preparing for that guy in white above. The first step in our preparations was to buy plane tickets to go to Catalonia to visit both of our boys, their families, and other friends we had!!!! It was to be my husband's first time to Europe and my 2nd.

Summer 2015: Started with kind of a bang. Well, more of a slosh. A week before our trip, a bad storm hit our city that left thousands without power. We were 1 of them, and our basement flooded, AGAIN. This time resulted in over a week of drying out, ripping out carpet, and replacing it with vinyl when we got home from Catalonia. And the trip to Catalonia itself was, again, nothing less than magical. That guy in white (his name is Aran, the guy in blue is Joel), his parents, and our friend Coma had a magnificent itinerary planned for us...which I had asked about over and over for 4 months. Coma and Aran thought that it needed to all be a surprise...so when we landed in Barcelona I had no idea what we were going to be doing. This is a problem for a control freak! I would have been perfectly happy sitting in Aran's hometown spending time with his family, Joel's family, and Coma. But, no. They had 16 days of non stop amazing planned for us, which I will talk more about in another post!

After coming home, we came back as a 3 person family for the year. Aran is staying with us for the entirety of the 2015-16 school year as an exchange student. His being with us has opened my eyes to a lot of things. We also went to see the MotoGP races in Indianapolis because Aran is a family friend of Marc Marquez, and while I wasn't sure what I would think about it, I really ended up loving it! We also went to Chicago for Labor Day weekend.

Fall 2015: Was the Fall of Aran in many ways. Aran participated in cross country at the high school he is doing exchange at, and we met some wonderful people during his time on the team. He also really enjoyed being on the team, and made some great friends. We also learned what it is like to be parents to a teenager...quite different than being just the 2 of us and some fur-babies. Aran isn't even a difficult child, quite frankly he is pretty much perfect, so I can't imagine what we would do with another.

So that bring me to today. There are obviously lots of things I mentioned above that I will expand on in future posts, and it's kind of amazing how you can boil 2 years down to so little. However, I felt that due to my absence I needed to write an extended reintroduction blog, and I hope to write more soon!

That project I mentioned above: Demonstrative Pocket. Check it out, in the coming weeks we will be launching the site and have some cool articles for people to read!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

It has been a long 9 months!!!

Wrangler at second meeting
It has been so long since I have updated this thing...mid year resolution is to get better about that. However...I do have a few...excuses, as to why this hasn't been happening as frequently as Id like.

Getting bigger

The first reason is this little guy...we purchased a new puppy at the beginning of March!! His name is Wrangler and he is a purebred Golden Retriever puppy. He is the very first dog I have ever had, so it has been quite an adventure for me to say the least!!  I have had cats my whole life, so having to train a puppy to go potty outside was a big change for me, since cats you can generally just show them their box and they get the picture.

4 months?

We also put Wrangler through his first round of puppy school from early July through August. I also never knew there was so much in training a puppy properly, and how hard it is to train a dog to do what you want them to do. It makes me really respect and stand in awe of what people can do with their dogs, because I sometimes wonder if we will ever get there!

8 months
Another thing I never really had gotten to experience was what I will call "dog culture". There is an amazing subculture within my city of people who just love dogs! Since I have been a cat person since birth, I never really understood what it was about, but since getting a dog, I have tried to immerse myself in the subculture and it is awesome!

In addition to all this fun stuff with our little guy, we are also going to train him to do something very serious...we are going to train him to be a therapy dog. Therapy dogs differ from service animals, in that we won't have to give Wrangler up to someone else once he is fully trained. He will stay with us, and I (or my husband) will take him to hospitals, nursing homes, group care facilities, basically wherever we are needed, and Wrangler will get to provide therapy to those in need. This is why his training, and our training too, is so critical. Wrangler needs to learn to do more than the average family pet, or rather, what NOT to do. He can't go into a nursing home and jump on all of the residents, for example, so we have to train these behaviors out of him. This means he should, and will, go through more classes until we take the Canine Good Citizen test. They recommend waiting to take this test until after a year, so I think that is probably what we will do.

Related to Wrangler is my work with a non profit organization in my hometown called a Pet Food Pantry. Basically, we provide food to people who cannot afford to feed their pets, thereby keeping their pets at home with them and out of shelters in our area. I started working with them in May, and I absolutely love the work they are doing.

Second is that we finally moved into our new home early June! The first two weeks of possession the home was under construction, and then we moved in, and the home continued to be under construction :). The initial, planned construction included new flooring on our second floor, moving lighting from our old home and putting up some new lighting, and finally paint. Then came round one of our unplanned construction. We had to replace an ejection pit in our basement, basically its a pump that is used in basements to remove waste water when the basement is below the sewer line. That was..well..a big unexpected expense. In addition to that, we had yet another (minor) flood on June 1, when our city had 5 inches of rain water within a fairly minimal period of time. The entire carpet in our basement was flooded, and we had JUST moved furniture down there a couple of days before. It was almost 3 months before we were able to use our couch/entertainment center again, between the move and flood. Next, we had to replace our garage door and door opener...the door opener was a fiasco I won't really get into, but let's just say it took us almost 3 weeks to get a door opener that was supposed to be next day install. The door purchase and installation went much more smoothly :). The final unexpected project of the summer was converting our home from well to city water! When we bought the home, we had no idea that city water was available, until we got a letter. Needless to say, I am ECSTATIC to have my city water back!!! Also, I am happy to say that what I thought might be a nightmare home is turning back into our dream, slowly but surely.

Finally, this semester I am ecstatic to be back in the classroom once again, teaching 3 classes! This is the largest group I have ever had, and they are just as phenomenal as those who have come before them. I am loving having 78 students, and I am happy to say that I am as excited to be in the classroom as I was when I received the position in 2011.

I think this is enough of a catch up, for now. Also, if you are as obsessed with animals as I am, look at see if your city has a Pet Food Pantry to volunteer with. I am sure they could use your help!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Its been too long

I cannot believe how long it has been since I have posted on my blog. 10 months? Thats insane! So, as I write to you tonight, it is the "eve" of the "end of the world", at least in the Eastern time zone. It has actually BEEN the 21st for almost 12 hours in other parts of the world, so I am going to go out on a limb here and way we're ok. I still could be wrong, but I doubt it.

Earlier this year, which is only two posts ago, I wrote about my New Years Resolution. Eventually, based on my resolution to, "re find my passions, my hobbies, and be willing to try new ones." Around February, this resolution led me to label this year the "year of fears", and to try to overcome some of those fears. This fell into the "be willing to try new things" aspect of my resolution, and led to some amazing things.

First, a recap of the year, and some reasoning for why I didn't blog much. January through May, I was busy with my last semester of graduate school. I was working on my final paper, writing a paper with a professor of mine and some colleagues, teaching two classes and taking a class. Basically, I was very busy. I did get to take part in a conference at Bowling Green in Ohio, and it was an amazing experience. In addition, the paper I wrote with my professor has been accepted to the Western States Communication Association conference. Exciting stuff.

In March, I took to the sky and road for my first ever solo trip to visit my Grandma in Florida, meaning that I had to drive myself from the Tampa airport to her home. I also did most of the driving while I was visiting her. This was a HUGE step for me, in that up until that point, I had been terrified of driving any highway except for the one closest to my hometown. Overcoming this fear made me feel like I could do anything! Also, I got to drive a Mustang for the duration of my time visiting her, which was just way too fun. 

I graduated in May, and embarked upon a literary journey for about a month. I read several series that had been on the back burner for a long time, and had a blast doing it. This was also in the essence of the resolution, to re find my passions. My husband and I also committed to watching Battlestar Galactica, a show that affected me so deeply that I cannot even find words to mark my feelings. I also started doing Zumba on a weekly basis. I never saw myself being able to commit to any kind of exercise with that kind of regularity, but now I can't miss a week.

In July I took on one of my greatest foes-the crowd. I don't do well with crowds, and in March we had decided to go to the San Diego Comic Con. I had no idea that the trip would be so incredibly life changing. My husband and I used primarily public transportation while in San Diego, something that doesnt happen often in this area of the Midwest. We stood in lines that would typically drive me crazy, but during the whole thing I felt a strange peace. I also was in one of the most anticipated panels of Comic Con 2012...the Firefly panel. Seeing some of my favorite people in the same room as me made me feel something I cannot even describe. Later that afternoon, after my husband and I had moved almost all the way to the front, Joss Whedon, my icon, had a Q and A panel. I was 5 rows away from him, and I made the decision, after much back and forth in my head, to sit in the line to ask a question. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, as I am sure if I had actually made it to the microphone I wouldve passed out or been unable to utter anything comprehensible, I did not get to ask Joss Whedon my question. However, for me, it was a big deal to even go sit in that line to *maybe* get to ask him anything.

Also in July, my husband and I wanted to refinance our home. Rates were low, and it seemed like a good time. This went into the next big leap I/We took this year. After our home assessed for far less than we felt it was worth, this lit a fire under us to go look at other homes. I had been resistant to a move, and my husband asked what house would make me move. I drove him to a home, thinking that there was no way this house would be for sale anytime in the near future. I had babysat there as a teenager, and loved the place. 5 days later, it went up on the market. 14 days after that, we put a contract in on the home, and at the beginning of October we closed on the home. We now have two mortgages, and cannot wait to move into our dream home. We are currently renting it back to the original owners (another leap of faith) until their move.

Without my resolution and dubbing this year the "year of fear", I don't know that I would have been willing to do some of the things that I did this year. However, if I have learned anything this year, its that fears are there for a reason; to be conquered.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Accepted in disbelief

In September, I submitted to my first Communication conference. I decided to submit the day it was due, and got rejected as I expected would happen.

However...I submitted to my 2nd Communication conference last week. Knew I would find out in a week if I had been accepted. Fully expected to get rejected again.

Tonight I got on the computer to do my usual 11:30 PM email check (which I need to stop) and saw an email from the conference organizers. Heart started beating fast...became hard to breathe...and I opened it. And it said "Congratulations"

What? Congratulations? Seriously? That made my heart beat faster and made it even HARDER to breathe

But next month, I will be presenting my (currently needs work) synthesis paper (written as a graduation requirement) at the Ray Browne Popular Culture conference in Bowling Green, Ohio. And I imagine I will be in disbelief until the minute I step down from that podium.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

We are 5 days into this new year, and with that comes the requisite conversations about resolutions. This isn't a big practice amongst my closest friends, but I have definitely seen some discussion of this on Facebook. A good friend of mine in my Master's program wrote a blog on this very same thing early today(http://moms.fortwayne.com/?q=blogs%2Fpost%2Fpeace-mind-way-better-piece), and that inspired me to write my own.

I have A LOT of things I could make resolutions about. To lose X amount of weight by X date, to get my synthesis paper turned in two weeks early, to grade my students more harshly, to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, to stay two weeks ahead on my classroom planning and my own homework, to blog everyday. Frankly, I think while all of these would be EXCELLENT resolutions to make...I won't. I would love to think that I could lose 40 pounds by March 5, when spring break starts...but I also realize that as a student who is under certain stressors that probably wouldn't happen.

So this is my resolution, to myself. I want to re find my passions, my hobbies, and be willing to try new ones. In early December, I photographed my first wedding, something I had wanted to do for years. It was an amazing feeling. I also, as previously mentioned, submitted an application to The Amazing Race with my husband. These two acts made me realize that I am so much more than a student, and that since in a few months I will no longer be a student (for a couple of years anyway), I need to find things that define me outside of wife and student. So that is my resolution, to not be afraid to try new things, not be afraid to ask other people questions, and to rekindle love of things that I haven't done in awhile but loved to do when I did them. Hopefully, some of these new things will lead to my losing weight, being a better college instructor, and a more frequent blogger...but if they don't, that is ok too. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Poor, neglected blog

So, if you are a first time reader, welcome. If you are someone who has been following me, you can obviously tell it has been a LONG time since I have written an entry. Since my last entry, Ozzy did NOT win Survivor, Ethan Zohn's cancer has come back (news which I was very sad to hear), and Mr. Danley did not win The Biggest Loser. However, I did survive my first semester of teaching, and my second to last semester of graduate school. My husband and I also applied to The Amazing Race, I took up Zumba, and I have changed my hair color to brunette.

My first semester of teaching was, to put it mildly, fantastic. I had an excellent group of about 50 students, most of whom were receptive to what I had to say and willing to take on the challenges I put in front of them, including writing one of their first (for many) college papers about Inception. I also participated in an excellent class where we put out a full on health campaign, and presented it to a few of the higher ups at my university. Finally, I had my last class (EVER :( ) with my mentor and one of the best men I know.

I hope to keep up with this blog better during this television season, as well as the new year. This is the year I will graduate with my Master's degree, at the age of 25. I am stoked for what this year may or may not have to offer, and I hope to by the end of the year have even more followers reading me.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Amazing Race Week 2-My heroes leave TAR

So, just in case you didn't figure out from my last post...I love Jenna Morasca and Ethan Zohn. I have for YEARS. They are both so involved in charity work, Ethan gave a good chunk of his Survivor: Africa winnings to his charity Grassroots Soccer. Last year, AS he was going through cancer treatments, he participated and helped fuel the Survivor team for Stand Up to Cancer. Jenna has been right through his side through everything. I was so excited to see them run the Race this season that I was probably pretty obnoxious about it to those around me.

Well...tonight...my heroes fell victim to the classic Race fault...that is...not reading a sign in its entirety. This isn't the first time this has happened...nor were they the first team on tonight's episode to fall victim to this. They just happened to be the team who fell victim at the absolute worst moment.

We started tonight's episode in Taiwan, with Ernie and Cindy leaving at 9:30 (approx) PM. The teams were all gathered to travel to Jakarta, Indonesia and then move on to their final destination in Indonesia. From here, they went to the roadblock, which was a cave in no-mans-land Indonesia...but was actually a quite beautiful no-mans-land. For the roadblock, one team member got to spelunk down into a very deep cave, then run into the middle of the cave and find a sword and a creepy looking mask. After finding these items, the team member had to run back to the front of the cave, and climb a very shifty looking bamboo ladder. The rungs on the ladder were not, as Cindy discovered, conducive to those of us who are short...but man did it look fun.

The detour (welcome back!) took place in the heart of the city where our teams had arrived, and had to choose between "money maker" and "ticket taker". Money Maker's had to perform a tradition dance in the street while the locals were stopped at red lights, and then gather money from them just before it turned green. They had to gather 30000 Rupa. The other teams had to park (I believe) 15 scooters, and also raised 30000 Rupa doing so. They then had to take their earnings to an orphanage where they would receive the next clue.

There was something very key about this part of the leg. Teams had to give up, not only their earnings, but any money they had remaining from the first leg of the race. Of the 11 teams (since one was not eliminated last week), 3 read the provided sign and did so. 8 teams did not read the sign, and therefore had to go back to the orphanage to give them the rest of their money.

This is where things fell apart for, well basically everyone, but most especially Ethan and Jenna. Somehow, they fell way behind at the detour, putting them 4th to last at the orphanage and pit stop the first time. As they were running back to the orphanage, Kaylani and Lisa (who were behind them) checked in and HAD followed the rules. Then Jennifer and Jason returned from the orphanage for the second time, leaving one place left. It came down to a race between Marcus/Amani, and Jenna/Ethan. In the end, it either was not as close as the producers would lead us to believe, or Marcus and Amani truly rallied and beat Ethan and Jenna.

Ron and Bill also were eliminated tonight, but that was not as much of a surprise since they were trailing other teams since the roadblock.

All in all, tonight was a very sad night for me on the Amazing Race. Ethan, I think I speak for everyone when I say, please get on a morning or evening show and propose to that girl!!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Biggest Loser Week 2

What do you get when you tempt a bunch of people attempting to lose weight with donuts and the prize is to determine when people exercise? A competition, thats what, and that is exactly what this episode began with this week.

Each contestant was invited in, 3 at a time (one from each team) and a plate of mini donuts were set in front of them. They were told that, this week, the gym would only be open at 3 times of the day for use; two hours in the early morning, at noon, and 2 hours at night. And teams could only pick one slot in which to exercise. The winner of the temptation would get to pick the exercise time for all 3 teams, and could only confer with their team about the order.

In the first group was "Coach", also known to me as Mr. Danley. I watched in horror as he ate 11 donuts, so that his team of blue could win the right to exercise at their optimal time. However, Coach would not win the game today. Many of the players, in lieu of actually participating, chose to instead make it SOUND like they were participating, which was actually quite hilarious as it really just made it sound like they were dying or making lots of noise. John, from the black team, was the one who actually clinched the win, after eating 37 donuts (this was in 3 minutes). The black team took the morning slot, gave the noon slot to the blue team, and the unattractive evening slot to the red, young team.

The actual challenge this week looked like a lot of fun, to be honest. Teams were put on a floating maze in the middle of a pool, and had to move a ball from one end of the maze to another. The team to get this done in the fastest time would get a 2 pound advantage (black) and the team to do it the second fastest a 1 pound advantage (red). Blue team struggled, but in the end they were able to finish the maze, which is always important on this show. 

This episode had some drama, especially in regards to the meet and greets with Dr. H. This is always an interesting, yet sad part of the show, because contestants realize just how sick they are in many cases. One such instance was with Ramon, who is 27 years old with an inner age of 50. It is so upsetting to see these contestants, especially so close to me in age, with these issues, because it should be hitting home that this can happen at any age.

The best part of this episode, for me anyway, came when Mr. Danley was talking about his family and most especially, his wife. Mrs. Danley was my science teacher in elementary school, and it was just amazing to see someone I knew on that television screen. The show did a special tribute to the two of them for their 38th anniversary, and it was so touching.

Overall, despite this being week 2, the contestants did ok as far as their numbers. In the end, Johnny from the blue team was sent home, and he looks absolutely amazing.

"Red and yellow seem to be the national colors here!"

So, this Sunday marked the start of my all time favorite show, The Amazing Race. I can honestly say that there have been a few seasons that haven't rocked my boat, but for the most part I love it, and the Emmys seem to agree with me!!

I love Amazing Race for a number of reasons. The first, and foremost, is that it gives me the chance to travel throughout the world vicariously, and also relive places that I have already visited. Not to mention, it has been a driving force in my adding a few (or more than) locations to the list of places I want to go. The second is that they seem to try to really get REAL people, unlike other "reality" shows, although it is always exciting to see returning faces or faces from other shows (I'm lookin at you, Jenna and Ethan!). Finally, I love the challenges because I think about doing the things that happen on the show...but I don't know if I would ever do them.

This season is super exciting because two of my all time favorite "reality" stars are racing. They are Jenna Morasca and Ethan Zohn. I love them. I have loved them since Survivor All Stars, when I first caught wind of their relationship. When Ethan gave that hug to Jenna as she left the show to be with her mom...UGH! It gets to me every time. They had started their relationship at that point, but kept it a secret while on the show. Since then, and especially since Ethan had Hodgkin's, I have followed their every cyber move, and jumped for joy when they were announced to be on TAR.

Ok. Enough hero worship. The rest of the teams are nothing short of amazing also, and other than Ethan and Jenna, I definitely have a few I want to see go through to the end.

Amani and Marcus-A married couple, Marcus is a former NFL player. They are, so far, so humble and really seem to love one another. I really like seeing that on the Race

Andy and Tommy-The "Hippies" of a new generation of racers. They are so fun, and are former Olympic athletes. It will be interesting to see their seriousness come out as the series progresses

Bill and Cathi-A couple married 41 years. I can only hope to make it that long with my husband.They were barely saved by the skin of their teeth this week too!!

Ernie and Cindy-I love Cindy. So smart, and so willing to do new things. Ernie is hilarious, and so far they seem to be strong front runners.

Jeremy and Sandy-Didn't get to know them very well in the first episode...it will be interesting to see how their season goes since they came in 2nd on this first leg!

Justin and Jennifer-Siblings who seem to both be spitfires. I really hope the Race brings them closer to one another...they seem close now, but it looks like some fireworks start happening next week!

Kaylani and Lisa-Oh, Kaylani and Lisa, Vegas Showgirls. They seem so likeable, but made so many mistakes this first episode. After leaving the first challenge last, and thereby getting an extra challenge once they reached their destination, Kaylani lost her passport. Well, not so much lost as it fell out of their car...but this should be a lesson to all future racers-PROTECT YOUR PASSPORT! I have seen so many passport mishaps happen on the show that it generally drives me crazy. However, Kaylani's race (and potentially life, considering how mad Lisa was) was saved by Twitter. The young man who found it tweeted about it, and was told to race the passport to LAX, and HE DID! Kaylani...I hope you got that boy's contact info, because he is a total sweetheart!

They also got to participate in a pretty cool, but something I probably wouldn't do, hazard challenge where one of them (Kaylani) had to bungee jump in a mall in Taiwan. I dont think I would be bothered by bungee jumping near a body of water...but in a mall with a concrete floor at the bottom...that would freak me out. Kaylani did it successfully, and they were able to save themselves from what, at the beginning of the episode, looked like would be the end for them.

Laurence and Zac-Zac was the first person to ever sail around the world. At age 16. Wow. I imagine this team to be a bit of a dark horse, considering their first leg. They made it in at a respectable 6th place out of 11...but I would watch out for them during water challenges for sure.

Liz and Marie-Recently graduated from college, twins, and racers close to my age. They certainly seemed like they were going to implode during this leg, especially during the "Confucius" challenge. Hopefully they can pick it back up, because like they said, twins communicate differently than normal people :)

Finally, Ron and Bill-Domestic partners who fly for a living. Again, like Jeremy and Sandy, they weren't really featured much in this episode.

The episode began with a "needle in a haystack" type challenge, where each contestant had to find a parasol that read "tai" on it. They then had to figure out that their destination was Taipei, Taiwan, and head to LAX. They had to choose from 2 flights, 8 teams on one, and 3 on the other. Upon arriving in Taipei, they had to find a flashing board with yellow and red balloons on it, and determine that the clue was located there. None of the teams found this board on the first pass, and it took some longer, some much much longer, to find the clue. The clue was in Chinese, so they had to ask a local for help.

The clue sent them to the Confucius temple in Taipei, where they had their first Roadblock. One team member had to listen to a Confucius saying, then repeat it back to a monk verbatim. I think this is something we would all like to think we could easily accomplish, but when I think back to my flight over to Japan, and how I felt afterwards, I can only imagine what these contestants brains' feel like. And mine was just for a vacation!

After correctly stating the phrase, they had to move to a dragon racing boat area, and race a boat around the river. The contestants ended in the following order:

Ernie and Cindy-who won the Express pass
Jeremy and Sandy
Justin and Jennifer
Ethan and Jenna
Amani and Marcus
Laurence and Zac
Andy and Tommy
Ron and Bill
Kaylani and Lisa
Liz and Marie
and finally, Bill and Cathi. They will return to us in next weeks episode, in which there will be a double elimination

I cannot wait for this AMAZING season!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Survivor Week 2-Whiny Pansy Hantz is not greater than jerk Hantz

 Survivor this week was so full of different things that it’s difficult to know where to start. We come into the episode with the recently voted out Semhar reciting what I assume were poems to herself. Then there were the obligatory check ins at camp, with the most notable being Ozzy searching for the immunity idol. It was so exciting watching him monkeying around in trees again J. At the other tribe, Christine chose to search for the clue to the idol, and found the one that she missed last week.

The real excitement, though, came in this week’s sole reward/immunity challenge. I have to say, I truly miss having a reward and an immunity challenge, rather than having duels, but I digress. The challenge this week started with 4 contestants from each tribe having to dance around a pole and unravel ribbons, and then 4 other members figure out a puzzle. Between the two parts, the contestants doing the puzzle had to be “unlocked” from a corral of sorts, using the keys from the pole. At the end of the puzzle, the tribe had to move the biggest part to a platform.

Upolu came into this challenge strong. They finished the part with the ribbons very, very quickly, and then moved on to the puzzle. However, they got cocky during the puzzle, and decided they could just take their time. However, once the Savaii contestants were unlocked, they (under Ozzy’s leadership) jumped right in, and I am pretty sure they were breaking physics and literally flying around the puzzle. They made up a significant amount of time, and Savaii ending up taking home the idol for the next 3 days.

Not surprisingly, Christine became the main target of Coach for tribal council. However, Brandon, with that good ole Hantz blood, couldn’t resist attempting to sway the votes in another direction, towards Mikayla. However, unlike his uncle, this seemed like a decision completely separated from logic and strategy, and more about his being tempted by her as a “married man”. Quit your whining about it and grow up kid, you HAD to know that there were going to be women on this show wearing bikinis or lingerie (since I don’t think they have been given their suits yet), so if this was going to be a problem you never should have applied. Its sad but…I think I prefer his uncle to him (and I really did not want to).

At tribal, there was the usual bickering that happened, and then Brandon spilled his beans about Mikayla. Seriously, dude, this just makes you seem like a whiny pansy. Cut it out. In the end, though, Christine was targeted by the majority of the tribe, and has been sent to Redemption Island.

They're back!!

So this week was the "official" start of the 2011-2012 television season, with most of my (our) favorites returning to us from hiatus. This was the 2nd week for Survivor, and the first for Biggest Loser, Big Bang Theory, and Fringe. Amazing Race (YAY!) will start this evening. 

Let’s start with a brief recap of Biggest Loser. This season is especially exciting, because there is a cast member from my neck of the woods on the show. In fact, he was my sister's teacher at her high school! He is a great guy who has spent the majority of his life working with teenagers, and running a lawn care business on the side. Mike Danley, we are all rooting for you here!

This season, for the time being, Biggest Loser has placed the cast members into teams by age. They are the "under 30" team, the "under 50" team, and the 50 and up team. There are also two new trainers, including the esteemed tennis player Anna Kournikova! She is the trainer for Mr. Danley's team, which makes her addition all the more exciting. We are also getting to know Dolvett Quince, and the ever popular Bob Harper is returning to us for his 12th season. 

It’s important to note here that it is the first time in a very long time that we are not starting out the season with teams of two wearing several different colors. Many times, these teams of two were comprised of people in a previous relationship. This adds an interesting dynamic back into the show that I cannot wait to see play out. 

Now, moving on to Big Bang Theory (I'll go back to Survivor later). At the end of last season on Big Bang, we discovered that Penny and Raj, two of the main characters, had slept together. Or, was it "slept together"? This opening dealt a lot with this question, as well as the fall out associated with it. The second episode went back to the wacky and zany approach that we so love about Big Bang, putting the characters into silly situations. We also saw mostly separate scenes between the girls and the guys' groups. 

One of the biggest revelations on Big Bang this week involved Raj finally being outed for his crush on Bernadette, Howard's girlfriend. This led to us seeing Bernadette angry for one of the first times ever, and losing it on the unsuspecting Raj. While this was one of her only scenes in Thursday’s episodes, it was definitely one for the books. I was disappointed not to see more Bernadette though!

On Fringe this week, the main characters are dealing with a world that no longer includes Peter, but at the same time both universes are still aware of one another’s’ existence and are working together, to a point. For this episode, while the show runners went back to the “Monster of the week” format we so love about Fringe, there were definite references to Peter’s character, or lack thereof, and the fallout associated with that. I very much missed Joshua Jackson in this episode, but was excited to see that Agent Lee, who was important in the alternate universe, is now taking a place in our Fringe division. It will definitely be interesting to see him grow into his position there.

I also found it interesting that we have, yet again, been introduced to another color during the credits and throughout the episode. They are using amber this season, very much the same color as the actual amber used to stop events in the alternate universe. I cannot wait to find out what this really means as the season progresses. 

Thats all about these shows for this week, I hope to keep up with each of them a little better than I did this week, and give them all their own recaps!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Survivor South Pacific Week 1-Ozzy, Coach and the new Cesternino?!

Today marked the beginning of the fall 2011 television season. While other shows may have started already, one of the biggest shows on CBS started this evening, officially marking the beginning of the season in my mind. This was Survivor: South Pacific, the second iteration of the Redemption Island series of Survivor.

The episode began very much like others have...with the two tribe rowing in, Sir Jeff Probst already on the beach, and our "secret players" coming in my helicopter. I have to admit, I really miss the epic entrances and exits at the beginning and end of this show...but this helped to whet my appetite. I also found it interesting that on both tribes, the players were wearing similar colors to their team flag. The blue team, Upolu, had a team of people who arrived wearing fairly cool colors...blues, purples, etc; whereas the red team Savaii had players in warm colors...reds and yellows. Don't know if this was mere accident or planned by the producers..but it would certainly be interesting to find out.

Next, Ozzy and Coach had to be put into their tribes. I really loved the way this was done this year, that is, giving them eggs that they had to break. I liked this because it was very difficult for Coach or Ozzy to pick a tribe on purpose, whereas when players had to choose a buff, there was more room for error. I also think it will be interesting to see how things play out on Coach's tribe, since their is obviously one person (Christine) who really has no use for the former players...but at the same time Coach has already begun to cultivate a bond with the other members of his tribe.

The first challenge was our first "duel" of the season of sorts...Coach and Ozzy were pitted against one another to get reward for their tribes. I loved how both the tribes pitched in during the pyramid puzzle (called a Towers of Hanoi challenge by my husband the engineer), and this one on one challenge ultimately turned into a team challenge. While I love the competition once it gets to an individual game, I always love how the teams come together early on. Ultimately, Ozzy won the challenge for his team.

Here would probably be a good place to mention the other members of each tribe

Coach, Albert, Brandon, Christine, Edna, Mikayla, Rick, Sophie, and Stacey

Brandon is Russell's nephew (just in case you didn't hear it the 50 times it was stated on the show today)...it will be interesting to see how long he can keep that information under wraps. Although...I do prefer the younger Hantz to the elder thus far.

Ozzy, Dawn, Elyse, Jim, John (Cochran), Keith, Mark, Semhar, and Whitney

After the reward challenge, the Survivors went to their respective beaches and started to get to know one another...the only really important thing that occurred during this time was that Christine decided to start searching for the immunity idol early on..it will definitely be interesting to see how that play affects the rest of her game.

Fast forwarding past the typical first episode stuff, we come to the immunity challenge. This is an actual team challenge, with several of our favorite obstacles to over come. My personal favorite part of this whole episode was when they showed the teams strategizing..I am not convinced they have ever shown that before!

My second favorite part was, after showing the strategizing and Semhar boldly stating that she would be fine to throw coconuts, her fairly foreshadowed breakdown when it actually came time to do so. In a rare Survivor moment, you weren't allowed to switch out your members, so she was stuck trying to make coconut baskets despite her pleading. An important Survivor lesson can be learned here...keep your mouth shut especially if there are others on your team who can perform the tasks as well as you can!

At Tribal, it came down to between Semhar and Cochran. Thankfully (just because I love Cochran so far...), Semhar was sent to Redemption Island.

My early favorites to win are:
Cochran-He IS the new Cesternino. He, like me, has obviously studied the show for academic reasons, and personal reasons too. If he can get past his feelings of weakness and show that growth to the tribe, I think he could be a serious sleeper, especially if he lays off on the "I know everything Survivor" talk.

Ozzy-I just love Ozzy. I have since he stepped on the beach in the Cook Islands.
Coach-I think Coach was much more polarizing in Tocantins, and therefore that led to people not taking him as seriously (or being annoyed with him) and kicking him out. I think he definitely feels like he was mis-labeled in Heroes vs Villains, so he probably wants redemption for that if nothing else.

Sophie (I definitely think, if nothing else, she will help keep Coach under control!)-She's smart. She told people she majored in Russian Economics, and she is listed as a medical student. Plus she was able to converse in Russian at the drop of a hat. Keep an eye on this one!

Edna-She's an anesthesiologist, which has to mean something. At least one anesthesiologist has done well in the past on Survivor (Mick from Samoa), and I just have a feeling about her...

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The start of a new season/semester

In my last entry, I talked about how I finally received my dream(?) job. I started teaching last week, and I am loving it! I have 2 great groups of students, totally approximately 52 students. I think we are going to have an excellent semester.

I am also taking my final two classes in my Master's program. One of these is health communication, in which we are actually putting on a health campaign. Not a simulated experience like most things that happen in graduate school, an actual campaign that we will present to the university at the end of the semester. Its a totally exciting, new experience that I am so glad to be a part of.

I am also taking a different version of a course I previously took, intro to cultural studies. I consider myself a cultural studies scholar, and love learning about it. Between those two classes, I am going to have a great semester.

It is almost time, also, for a new season of TV. I didnt end up getting to recap as many shows this summer as I would have liked, so I am starting fresh here. I plan on recapping:

Amazing Race
The Biggest Loser
Big Bang Theory

I may also select a few other shows once I establish what all we will be watching this season.

Something truly exciting about this fall's TV season lies with Biggest Loser. On this show, with the cast just announced, there is a gentleman from right here in North East Indiana. His name is Mike Danley. He is actually married to my elementary school science teacher, and was my sister's DECA sponser when she was in high school. He is awesome, and I regret never getting to meet him when my sister was in school, but he is the only one I am rooting for this season!

On Survivor this season, we have the returning cast members of Coach and Ozzy. Ozzy has been one of my favorites since he was first on Survivor, in the Cook Islands. I cannot wait to see what this season brings on Survivor, the last couple have been absolutely crazy.

Finally, the Amazing Race, which we are still waiting on the cast list for. I will edit with my thoughts when that comes out!

In all, I am glad that the semester has started, and I can not wait for the fall 2011 TV season to launch. I also am glad to have anyone who is reading join me in discussion and analysis of these shows!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Officially over the moon...

All of have that one thing that, if we were to get it, it would make us whole. Or at least give us the illusion of feeling whole. For some its having children, others it is playing a sport with a particular team, or even just getting to spend time with an old friend that one has not seen in a long time. There are so many other things I could mention, but that is for another blog at a different time.

In my very first blog, I mentioned that I was a graduate (Master's) student at a university where I live, studying Communication. What I did not mention, however, was that I was in my last year as a Master's student, most people get done with the program in 2 years, I took 3. Anyway, what I have tried to do for the previous two years was to obtain a teaching assistantship in the Communication department, teaching two classes of our basic course. I was rejected both times. This spring, I applied again, figuring it to be a bit of a long shot because I have so little time left. At that time, I was again told no, for the reasons I assumed.

However last Wednesday, I received a phone call from the person who does the hiring for the basic courses at my university. He asked if I was still interested in teaching, to which I replied "YES" and tried not to squeal until AFTER I got off of the phone with him. This is the thing that I have been waiting for, for so long, and the thing that I feel makes me feel whole.

This is one of those things that supports my reasoning of a higher power. The last two years, if I would have gotten hired, there would have been significant roadblocks put in front of me during the semester. My first semester, my husband was still healing from a back surgery that he had over the summer (at age 22!). In spring 2010, my second semester, my father was in the hospital for a month. In fall 2010, my father had just passed away (at age 51, 10 days from his 52nd birthday), and I was an absolute wreck. It was difficult for me to muster up the energy to rise from my bed and go to classes and my assistantship that I had received, working in an office related to the college campus.

If I had received the teaching assistantship position anytime before now, I would not have been able to perform. I would not have been a good instructor for my students, because of all of my personal things going on during my first 4 semesters of graduate school. I had even given up hope for this semester, and resigned myself to just teaching after I completed my degree. I am so glad to finally get this opportunity.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The best and the worst

The best part about this flood? Finding all the stuff we forgot we had, or hadn't been able to find, and also reorganizing the house completely. The flood forced us to reconsider how we were doing things with items, as well as reconsider if we actually need certain pieces of furniture.

The worst part about this flood? Finding all the stuff we forgot we had, or hadn't been able to find, and also reorganizing the house completely.

Yeah, the best and the worst part are the same thing. It has taken a lot of work to decide exactly how we want to put everything together post flood, especially since I basically deemed our collection of books ineligible to be close to the floor in case of another flood. This led to the biggest part of our reorganization, as the vast majority of our books were in our basement. We are still waiting on furniture for my office, which was upstairs, so that I can put my portion of the books upstairs. We have also reorganized a large part of our kitchen and bathroom as a result of the flood, because some items from downstairs have moved upstairs. Overall, its coming together much more quickly than I anticipated. This makes me happy.

Earlier this summer I posted a recap of a True Blood episode. Since then, I have kept watching True Blood, which is quite interesting this season. I have also been watching Food Network Star, Switched at Birth, and my first season ever of the Bachelorette.

Switched at Birth is one of my absolute favorite new shows. I hope ABC Family doesn't do to this show what it did to Kyle XY, which ended on the worst cliffhanger I have ever seen. For those who haven't seen it, Switched at Birth is a show about two teenagers in Kansas City, KS who were switched in the hospital as young children. One became deaf at a very young age and lived with a single mother. The other lived a life of luxury, and was the one who discovered the families' secrets.

Since the first episode, the mother of the deaf daughter lost her job, and subsequently moved into the guest home (which is situated above what looks to be a 5 car garage, I think) of the family of daughter who discovered that they had been switched. Since the show started, both of the teenage girls have fallen in love from boys of the "opposite world" at least once, they have discussed issues of addiction to both alcohol and gambling, as well as enlightening the viewer to the deaf community in general.

I studied ASL in college, so this show is especially close to my heart. I spent a year immersing myself into the language of ASL and the deaf community, and therefore when deaf are portrayed on television, I take note in how the language is handled. I am happy to say that this show remains very true to deaf culture, at least in my mind as hearing citizen, and does an excellent job interweaving this into the plot that leaves the viewer not even questioning if it is being done well.

The only downfall is that this show likely won't appeal to large audiences, because most of the plot lines are based in general teenage issues. This is probably meant mostly for the teenager, someone in college, or someone interested in learning more about the deaf community or just how to communicate with those who are different than you. I love it!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Why I shouldn't be allowed on Tanga

Dan sent me a link to a super secret thing on Tanga I can't talk about because it *might* be a Christmas gift for some people. But, anyway, at the bottom of the page was a listing for these


And this is what happened
Me-I try to avoid Tanga. Cause then I want to buy stuff.
Dan-I just get the email.
Me-Yeah I can't do that either. Cause I'd still get tempted
*scrolls to bottom of super secret page, finds laser pointers*
Me-These were on Tanga last time we looked. Can we get one for the cats?
Me-This is why you shouldn't let me on Tanga. Cause I find stuff to buy. And last time we looked at Tanga we decided to get one of these for the cats.
Dan-The cats are fine. And I really shouldn't let you get on Tanga.
Me-Cmon! You lost their other really nice one!
Dan-*walks away*

Zee Flood

 I have been promising this for a little while, so here goes. At the end of May, we had a flood. Now, we have only owned our 40 year old house for two years, it is nowhere near any of the city's 3 rivers, and so we never really saw this coming. We had a small flood at the end of April that affected some of our basement, but we were able to get all of the water out through some suction and dehumidifiers.

After the first flood, we had a plumber and our foundation guy look at the systems in the house. The plumber (growl) found nothing wrong with the plumbing system (more on that later) and said it was a foundation issue. We then called our foundation guy, who came and looked at our foundation and didnt see an issue. He said putting in a trench could help, so we did that and the next several rain storms everything was fine.

We then went on a cruise at the end of May for our 2nd anniversary. We watched the news a bit while on the cruise, so we knew the Midwest had gotten slammed with storms, especially Joplin. I was actually considering having my husband drop me in Joplin so I could help, but then I got sick on the cruise. When we got to the mouth of the Mississippi River on May 25th, at around 10, I texted the girl watching our house and my mom to find out how the weather at been. At that point, everything was fine in our home.

The next morning we decided, instead of staying in New Orleans for an additional night as we had planned, that since I was miserable I needed to get home. About 4 hours into the drive, we got a call from home, saying that our house was flooded. We kind of thought (and hoped) it was just a small flood like we had in April. Not.So.Much.

 The above 3 pictures were the first pictures I got from my mom in the immediate aftermath. Its kind of hard to see how deep the water was at this point... (We were 9 hours away from home at this point. and I had a fever already.)

Taken by my husband's mom.

You can see my father in law's foot is basically covered by the water here. Yes, it was apparently this bad.

So, the short story here is, we had a group of wonderful family and friends that came and got all of our stuff out of the basement, and put into various other places in our home. My poor cat (He is the black, white and brown one in the pic at the top) got moated by the flood as well. And then we got to stew over whether our homeowner's insurance was going to pay. They did, by the way. This is because (remember that plumber) our flood ended up being classified as a E3 water loss. This basically means it was a sewer backup. In our flood in April, I was convinced something was wrong with our sewer system. But since the drains were all dry, I was ignored. Well, in this flood, water continued to come in for 2 days. This is because the insurance told us they wouldnt send anyone out until the water started coming in, but they also didnt advise us to use a plumber of any kind. After 2 days, I was like fine, lets just call a plumber. They fixed the water coming in problem in about 25 minutes, and it turned out it was due to roots in our sewer system. This is a common problem in older homes.

So, whats the moral here? IF YOU HAVE A HOME THAT IS OLDER THAN (WHO KNOWS) GET YOUR SEWER SYSTEM CHECKED! We seriously ran into several friends that had this same problem after determining what our problem was, and it was homes mostly older than 10 years with trees that were getting up in age on the property. So thats my little bit of advise for today. Get your sewer system checked. I even have a fantastic sewer specialist whose number I can give to you if you are in the Fort Wayne area.