Sunday, November 1, 2009

Beer Ride Pictures

For those of you who are not yet on Facebook, here is a link to the photos I just uploaded of yesterday's Beer Ride in Columbus, Indiana:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2719744&id=6807128&l=0dc2ca7f4a

Can't Believe It's November!



Had to post this cute picture of Bailey hanging out on the John Deere pillow at Mom and Dad's house today. What a cutie pie! A cutie pie who desperately needs a haircut, but nonetheless a cutie pie. I was glad the puppies and Gearry and I got to see Mom and Dad a bit, but sad that instead of hanging out with them and watching the Colts this afternoon, I spent most of the day working on an assignment for my master's class that is due tomorrow. Only three weeks of class left, however, and then I'll have ample hanging-out-on-the-weekends time, since substituting will mean pretty much no lesson-planning, unless I get a long-term sub job. Working on an assignment or not, it was nice just to see the parents and let Zoey run around their land off leash, since she doesn't get to do that often up here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lunching, Shopping, and Chocolate Pancakes :)

Finally, finally, the long-awaited fall break arrived yesterday. I was super pumped to enjoy a Thursday and Friday off, mainly because it involved sleeping in! Have I mentioned that I LOVE to sleep? Well, I do. Unfortunately, the puppies had a different idea. Gearry spent the night at the resort on Wednesday evening due to an early Thursday morning meeting, so it was just me and dear little Bailey and Zoey woke me up to go to the bathroom at 2:30 a.m., again at 6:30 a.m., and were a bit restless until I finally relented and got up around 9:30 a.m. Sleep wasn't much better last night and this morning, as for some reason Bailey was convinced the best place to sleep was in between my legs and could not be convinced otherwise despite multiple attempts to move him, Gearry was a snoring MACHINE (worse than usual), and I'm pretty sure I tossed and turned more than I actually slept. However, I still probably got more sleep than usual and I can't really complain about that! The funny thing is that even though I'm grateful for the much-needed days off, I miss my kids! I look forward to seeing them again Monday, even though I am NOT looking forward to the planning for my reading, lit group, and Pridetime (math intervention) lessons that needs to happen before then. I could definitely be doing it now, instead of updating the blog and watching Ghost Adventures Live, but that would be far too logical and would not create enough stress for me on Sunday night ;)

Gearry is working, of course, so even though I had yesterday and today off it didn't mean getting to see him any more than usual, which bummed me out. He is a busy, busy boy, but his restaurant continues to do very well and get great reviews, so at least the hard work is paying off. There are some prices to pay for being the man in charge. Unfortunately, most of it involves precious time. I realize that I have friends and family with spouses overseas whom they must sometimes go months without seeing, and so I try to be optimistic and thankful that I do get to see my husband at least a couple times a week. I need to make sure I am taking full advantage of those moments.

Yesterday, I pretty much hung around the house all day, minus a trip to the dentist for a much-needed cleaning & check-up (3 cavities -- whoops -- means another trip to the dentist in December, darn it). Today I definitely needed to get out of the house a bit, so I was glad that I had made plans to have lunch with a few friends. Emily, Catherine, Karen, and a first-grade teacher friend of Emily and Catherine's (I'm horrible, I can't remember her name!) and I had lunch at Lennie's/Bloomington Brewing Company and then decided to head over to Columbus/Edinburgh to do some shopping. Catherine needed a nice dress for a couple upcoming weddings and the rest of us just like to shop :) I ended up doing mostly looking but came away with a couple new pairs of earrings, which is something I needed since my favorite stand-by, a pair of little pearls, broke recently. Given the weather -- windy, dreary, rainy -- shopping was a great plan for the day.

While everyone else is planning on some Halloween party fun tonight, I'm chilling here at home in anticipation of an early wake-up call and a trip right back to Columbus tomorrow morning for a 50-mile charity ride! Stebby is driving up from Louisville to meet me (she is in Louisville for a few weeks for clinicals) for what I really, really hope will be a dry and not too windy ride (the forecast keeps changing!). It is called Beer Ride, as it begins at the Power House Brewing Company in Columbus, and is a fundraiser for the Clifford Volunteer Fire Dept. After the ride, you can swap your wristband for a frosty drink :) It is a lot like the Hope Ride that we did back in September, as it is a fully-supported ride (technical assistance along the way, multiple stops with snacks, drinks, & entertainment), and I am pumped, despite the fact that I have ridden maybe, at most, 60 miles this entire month!!

Hopefully, if it is not raining, I will get some good pictures and be able to post those on here or on Facebook, with a link on here, later this weekend. Tomorrow evening, after the ride, I am heading down to Mitchell to spend the night with Mom & Dad and watch the Colts game with them on Sunday. I think they are more excited about the puppies coming to visit than me! Haha...

Oh yes, just remembered I put chocolate pancakes in the title of this post and, therefore, I should probably mention why. I made them tonight as sort of part of my dinner, sort of dessert, sort of an I-just-really-need-some-chocolate thing, and they were AWESOME. The taste of dark chocolate cake but not as sweet with the consistency of a pancake. The recipe ended up making about 8 small pancakes and I only ate two, so I put the rest in the fridge for tomorrow morning, as part of my pre-ride breakfast. Given that I burn about 600-700 calories an hour on the bike, a huge-mongous breakfast is a must! The recipe is super simple, so if you are interested let me know!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Quiet Saturday

With both my master's degree work and my student teaching beginning to wind down (both will be complete on Tuesday, November 24), the work that must be done before then is stacking up. I spent most of last weekend and most of today trying to catch up and/or stay ahead, depending on how you look at it, and it all feels much more manageable now. I didn't cross everything off my list, by any means, but I got a lot done, including some readings and assignments for class, updating my resume, and applying to substitute for MCCSC. I think it is safe to say I have been productive, although I always manage to finally give in to the temptation to leave a few things until Sunday night (and then usually kick myself for it). I am guessing that tomorrow night at this time I will be frantically trying to finish up those last few things, including writing a cover letter that is due for class and reviewing my lessons for the upcoming week. It is crazy to think that in a month from now I will no longer be a student and that I'll be out there trying to make my mark in the teaching world.

Other than working, I enjoyed breakfast with Gearry, went for a run, listened to the IU game (pitiful ending) on the radio, and made time for a nap (of course) with my favorite girl, Zoey:



My friend Katie (also student teaching) came over last night to make dinner (rice & bean tacos... yum!) and watch a movie (Hocus Pocus, an absolute MUST this time of the year). We were both a little pooped from long weeks at school, so it was nice to just spend Friday evening relaxing and laughing and not thinking about much. Even though teaching often leaves my brain and body feeling taxed, I do have to say that student teaching is going very well, it is certainly one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, and that I feel a little more comfortable and assured with myself in my role as a teacher every day. It's all worth it.

Gearry and I finally get to spend some time together tomorrow! We're planning on lunching and watching the Colts game at Scotty's Brewhouse and then going to the theater to see "Couples Retreat."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A New Look...

Randomly decided to change the look of our blog tonight. I like it... it reminds me of summer. How I love green.

Now I just have to get myself to actually update it from time to time.

But not at the moment, as the thought of the 22 second graders who need me to be on my toes tomorrow is chasing me towards bed! Goodnight!

UPDATE: OK, on second thought, I don't really like it that much. It will probably change again tomorrow ;) Maybe even with a real accompanying post? You never know.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Appreciate.

My farmers' market bounty from this morning looked so pretty sitting on the kitchen counter, I just had to take a picture! Maple syrup from Burton Farms in Medora, clover honey from Hunter's Farm in Martinsville, Capriole Farms herbed goat cheese from Greenville, and "good corn" from Daviess County. If you are a frequent visitor to the Bloomington Farmers' Market, you quickly learn that although there are many stands selling corn, there is one and only stand that sells the "good corn." I'm not sure what makes it taste so much better, but waiting in the line is worth it. Sometimes the line will wrap all the way through the market, 50 people long. I am definitely thinking grilled veggie burgers and corn for dinner tomorrow :)
Rode my bike to the market this morning. A little over 11 miles, so a nice 22ish mile ride with a pit stop at the market. Bought my goods and relaxed for a bit with a cup of coffee and the newspaper near a local bluegrass band. The morning was a little chilly and very overcast, but great for riding. At about mile 20, just a couple miles from home, the sun finally started to push the clouds away, revealing the most beautiful blue behind all that gray. It was one of those beautiful, awe-inspiring, "I'm so happy to be alive" moments and what I would qualify as a fantastic morning, even though I am desperately missing Gearry. He has been staying at the resort all week because of a huge event this weekend he's been helping prepare for, so I haven't seen him since Tuesday. I cannot even put into words how great it will be to finally see him tonight and to spend all day tomorrow with him.
Alright, the shower calls... Despite the coolness, it was very humid this morning and I am disgusting! Heading back into town (this time via car... haha) to watch the IU vs. Michigan game at Brian's with Catherine, Emily, Brian, and the gang, then back here to devote myself to lesson-planning. I AM going to get it all done today so that I can enjoy tomorrow with Gearry!
Look for an entry coming soon about last week's Hope Ride... 50 miles of awesomeness!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Last Weekend

Yes, I'm a full weekend behind when it comes to posting, as it is Sunday evening and thus the end of this weekend and yet I am posting about LAST weekend. But, I was sick this entire weekend, and grumpy about it, so you wouldn't want to hear about it anyway. And if I wasn't behind on posting that would just be out of character and thoroughly confusing ;)

I wanted to share a few pictures from last weekend's fun with Hillary and Chris in Ohio. After school on Friday, I headed to home to shower, pack some easy-to-eat-while-driving dinner and jumped in the car to head to Columbus for the weekend. I was excited to get to see Hillary and Chris's new place, right on High Street in the Short North (Columbus's arts district with lots of great restaurants, bars, art galleries, and shops). I was understandably exhausted Friday evening after a long week at school and a four-hour drive, so we just chilled at the apartment with some tasty snacks and a movie. We hit the sack pretty early since we had a big day planned for Saturday!


Saturday morning, I slept in (if you count 8:30 as sleeping in) while Hillary and Chris got up early and went running. They're training for the Columbus Half-Marathon on October 18th. After they returned, we walked down the street to the Columbus Farmer's Market, stopping at Starbucks on the way to get a wake-me-up cup.

I was struck by all the beautiful colors and textures at the market. There is something about this time of the season, end of summer/beginning of fall, that just makes the market look like a big, delicious rainbow. Hill and Chris bought most of their veggies for the week... I just bought some tasty looking aged gouda since Gearry was at the farmer's market in Bloomington at that exact same time buying our veggies and such.







Hill and Chris also picked out some pretty flowers, which they are drying and making into an arangement for their place. That's Hill and Chris in the foregroud, and some guy in the background taking a picture of me taking a picture. Creepy. I just noticed that.

After the market we returned to the apartment for some breakfast and showers, and then headed to campus to tailgate the OSU vs. Navy game. The scene was quite different from an IU tailgate, as OSU takes its football very, very seriously.



Though not so much a fan, I decided the safest bet was to do as the locals do (isn't it always?) and dress appropriately for the game, hence the buckeyes and OSU beads. My dear Michigan friends, do not fear... I maintain my bipartisanship. I would gladly don the maize & blue if I was visiting your school on game day :)
Later in the evening we met up with Hillary's dad at a cute Italian place for "small plates" (like Italian tapas) and wine and conversation. I don't get to see Hillary very often, so I see her parents even less and it was good to catch up. We spent the rest of the evening trolling the many art galleries on High Street during the 25th Anniversary Gallery Hop, eventually wandering into North Star (one of my favorite restaurants ever and a place I always go when I am in town) for a late dinner around 9:30. Hill and I decided we are getting old because instead of heading out to party after dinner as usual, we gallery hopped for a bit more and then decided to return to the apartment for a nightcap, some chill time, and a reasonable bedtime.
I made it back to Bloomington on Sunday afternoon, making a quick trip south to pick up the dogs from Mom and Dad. The rest of Sunday was pleasantly uneventful, and Monday (Labor Day) was spent laying by the lake with Gearry.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I passed the Praxis II!

Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just got my scores. Did very well on the Curriculum & Assessment test and semi-crappy on the Reading Specialist test (only needed a 30% to pass). Passed both and I can rest a little easier now.

I Want Every One of Them to Be Like This

I need some sit-and-do-nothing time but I really, really wanted to post on here, so I'm giving myself 15 minutes and then I'm off the computer... A quick but happy post!

Teaching:

Much more to say about this later, but I wrote the "Fantastic Weekend" section before this and so now I am ready to be done writing ;) I am loving my kids a little more each day and finally getting settled into a very different schedule than the one I had this summer (which was, essentially, no schedule). Lakeview is great (along with the 2-minute commute) and my supervising teacher, Kari, is awesome (we were both college athletes, still really into sports & fitness, like a lot of the same things, so that's nice) and so are the other second grade teachers (we do a lot of team teaching). The first few days were pretty rough because I was so tired that I wanted to crawl into bed the moment I stepped foot inside the door, but as I get a little bit more used to the workload (busy, busy, busy), the hours, and the non-stop movement (don't ever let anyone tell you teaching is easy, because they clearly have no clue what they are talking about) I am starting to feel a little more like myself at the end of the day (rather than believing someone was lacing my food with horse tranquilizers, as I did the first few days). It is going to be a long but hopefully successful and rewarding semester, and I'm just holding on tight!

A Fantastic Weekend:

This past weekend was one of the BEST all summer. I think part of it was that I had such a hard, long, exhausting week at school, so by the time Friday rolled around I was thanking my lucky stars. It's hard to truly appreciate the weekend without a butt-kicking week before it.

On Friday evening, completely and utterly pooped from the long week of second grade, I dragged myself to Emily's apartment to take our FINAL EXAM for that HORRIBLE online class I have been griping about all summer to anyone who would listen. Neither of us were at all happy to have to tackle such a task after a very trying week, but we knew we needed to just take it head on and that 3 months of crappiness would be over within 60 minutes. We were both so tired that we were slap happy and spent most of the exam yelling obscenities at the computer, but 60 minutes later we were done, the class was done, and I could have cried I was so happy.

To celebrate the death of our class and the end of our first week of teaching, Emily, Catherine, and I enjoyed dinner and drinks in the beautifully mild August evening outside at Scotty's Brewhouse. We ate lots of tasty, bad-for-you food and shared the biggest dessert ever (Cookie Monster... 5 warm chocolate chip cookies, 5 scoops of ice cream, and whipped cream), only making it through about half, and had a great time digesting our experiences in the classroom that week. Even though we were all ready to head home and hop in bed by about 9:00, it was a great way to unwind.

On Saturday, after a tasty breakfast of lemon cottage cheese pancakes on the back porch with Gearry, I took my last "shake the legs out" ride before Tri Indy on Sunday. I only rode for about 30 minutes, cruising nice and easy down Strain Ridge Rd. I was getting a little nervous about the tri since I haven't had much time to train over the past couple weeks because of school, but I knew that I have biked enough this summer that I would be able to grind out the 25 miles at a decent pace, so I just tried to psyche myself up for this event that I had been looking forward to all summer. In the afternoon, I ran a few errands and picked up some fun stuff for my bike, including a new water bottle rack & water bottle, as well as a sweet new wireless speedometer. (Which I installed myself... Which is good for me since we all know I am mechanically inept.) Then I headed over to my triathlon teammate Allison's (swim) house to make a healthy pre-race dinner with her and Anne (run), our other teammate. Grilled vegetarian "chicken," corn on the cob, green beans, and spinach salad, along with all our excitement about the next day's events, made for a great dinner.

Sunday -- Race Day!! I so wish I had remembered to take the camera, but as usual, I forgot. Gearry and I hit the road bright and early at 5:00 a.m. so that we could make it to Indy, pick up my registration packet, set up transition, and breathe for a few minutes before our 7:30 start time. Anne and Allison met us there and we talked some strategy quickly before Allison had to hightail it up to the swim start. It is crazy when you spend so long planning and training for an event that seems like it will never get here and then BAM, it's here and it is time to rock it!

I could go on and on about the race, but I'm approaching my self-appointed 15 minute time limit, so I'll sum it up in two words: FUN and HOT. It was a blast! But holy poop, it was hot as balls! It was at least 90 degrees, crazy bright sun, and humid. That added it's own challenges, along with the fact that it was a pretty windy bike ride (some of the roads felt like wind tunnels). I didn't make my goal of maintaining an average of 20 mph (I finished at 17.8 and should have been faster) but I thought I did a pretty decent job of handling the 25 mile course given the circumstances and my lack of recent training (I've barely ridden 100 miles in the past few weeks). Allison and Anne both had a really fun time AND... We won third place in the all-female team division! Since we just kind of threw our team together this summer, that was pretty exciting. Now I have another little Tri Indy trophy to go with my one from last year. I'm on a roll... I think next year if I don't get a trophy I might be a little disappointed ;)

Finally, even though I was tired and sore, after getting back to Bloomington around 1:00, Josh and Gearry and I spent a little time in the afternoon at the pool and tiki bar, and then met up with Mom and Dad at the dam for some boating/tubing/kayaking action. Even though it was originally only Gearry and I who were brave enough to tube, we convinced Mom and Josh to have a go at it, which made for an extremely entertaining evening. We had so much fun! It was just a fantastic evening with the whole Young clan.

And, even though it was not technically the weekend, the goodness continued into Monday. After a good day at school, Mom, Dad, & Josh joined Gearry and I for Mexican Monday at the Eagle Pointe Clubouse... Taco bar & Coronas :) Fabulous. Afterward all of us took the puppies on a walk down to the water and let Zoey swim while we watched the sunset. Love it. Some pictures below for your viewing pleasure.




Friday, July 31, 2009

Puppy Photo Shoot!

The puppies are ALWAYS cute, in my opinion, but there was something about them today that just made them extra cute, and they were being excellent models, so one photo turned into two which turned into three and then suddenly I had a puppy photo shoot on my hands! For those of you who are not on Facebook, I thought I'd post some of the pictures. Hope they bring a smile to your face!


























The Chase

video

Last day of July. In honor, I took this video while laying out by the lake today. I read my entire new issue of the Vegetarian Times, got some sun, and went for a dip. It was so beautiful, I couldn't resist capturing a bit of it, although my cell phone camcorder is a bit fuzzy.

August... dreaded. For many, it is a gateway to fall and a last warm-weather hoorah, but for me it simply means back to school, days shortening minute by minute, the beginning of harried schedules, a day-planner so chocked full there is no where else to write, and COLD months approaching too quickly (Have I mentioned on here 2, 3, 4,000 times that I hate the cold?). Yes, that is pessimistic, but that's how I feel. And the great thing about blogs is you get to say how you feel ;) My mood tends to dip starting about this time, not to pick back up until next May. I am OK in August, somewhat pleasant in September, can be dealt with in October & November, survive December due to the pleasantness of the holidays, become a royal witch in January & February, start to come out of things in March, lighten up more in April, and finally return to my old self for May, June, & July. 3 months a year is no way to live... I definitely need to relocate somewhere with year-round warmth. Until then, I will TRY to be optimistic. Fall has beautiful colors, I love wearing jeans and hoodies and cute scarves and pea coats, I am obsessed with football, it is cool enough to run during the middle of the day, the holidays mean time with family I don't get to see often enough, and the first snow fall of the year really is pretty. See, I'm not entirely a cool/cold-months party pooper!

I meet with my supervising teacher for student teaching next Wednesday to help set up the classroom, meet some people, etc., and then my first real day is Monday, August 10th (two days of meetings... Students' first day is August 12th). Even though I am NOT excited about the two classes I have to take on Monday evenings on campus (a practicum seminar and a research seminar), I AM excited -- although extremely nervous -- to start student teaching and to hopefully learn a ton from my supervising teacher and my experiences this fall. I will student teach full-time from August 10th through Thanksgiving break and then... I'm DONE. If I passed the Praxis II and don't completely screw up my student teaching, I will have my teaching license in December and be officially unemployed ;) No worries, though. I am fully committed to substitute teaching & networking for however long it takes. Most in my program who want to teach in the Monroe County area end up substitute teaching for about a year and a half (some longer, some shorter... the graduate program has a really good reputation, but so much is about who you know and being in the right place at the right time). That is a LONG time as a sub, but I know it is the best way to make contacts, get more experience, and make some much-needed cash after spending the last year and a half paying so much to IU.

OK, Bailey just woke himself up barking in his sleep. Too cute. I wonder what puppy dreams are like? I mean, how complicated could they be? They would either have to involve playing, eating, or sleeping. On that deep, philosophical note (ha!), I'm going to go get some work done for my class -- or, more likely, take a nap -- and rest up for whatever the evening may hold. Mom and Dad may be coming up to grill out for dinner and go listen to the band at the clubhouse/tiki bar tonight. No workout today... need to give my legs a day off. Had a great 24 mile ride yesterday on Hwy. 446. Minus the part where I got CHASED by a deer. I startled it and instead of running away from me, it ran toward me, chasing me down the highway for all of maybe 5 terrifying seconds. Luckily, a car approached and it got spooked and ran away. How in the world would I have explained getting tackled on my bike by a deer? Anyway, legs are resting; another ride tomorrow. Getting pumped for Tri Indy 2009!
UPDATE: Dad wimped out on the band & tiki bar... boo! But Mom is on her way up to grill out on the back deck and hit up the clubhouse later! Yay, Mom!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Where the heck did summer go??

This picture is how I want to remember summer (Mom took this when I wasn't paying attention and sent it to me today... I'm pretty sure I felt as relaxed as I looked). Because even though it is still only July, it is almost over for me! I will be back in the classroom the first week of August in preparation for the upcoming school year and I begin full-time student teaching at Lakeview on August 10th! I cannot believe May, June, and most of July flew by so quickly. I got to experience and enjoy a lot of awesome/fun/crazy/interesting/new things, but I feel like I need at least another month or so. But too bad... Because fall is closing in.
I have no excuse for not posting regularly since I'm only a part-time student this summer (although I'm a pretty awesome full-time housewife). And to sum up all of the things I have done since my last post would be difficult. But I'll share some snippets of the fun.
Fourth of July - Perhaps the worst EVER. It rained (poured) the entire day and Gearry had to work, of course. Other than grilling out with my friends Allison and Carly on our back porch for a couple hours in the afternoon, it was a pretty disappointed snoozefest. Especially compared to last year, which was the best 4th of July EVER at Stebby's parents' lakehouse in Michigan. *Sigh* Stebby was in Wisconsin for her PT clinicals this holiday, so it didn't work out. Perhaps next year... I need some Stebbins family craziness!
Auditions - Mom and I decided, on a whim, to audition to be extras in an indie film that is filming this summer in Austin, Texas and Bloomington. I did a lot of first things this summer -- first triathlon, first international vacation, to name a couple -- so I thought, why not "act" in my first movie? Of course, as an extra not much acting is involved. And, even though we had to "audition," that really isn't the correct word for it since it only involved getting our body shot and head shot taken, and filling out some contact information. Mom got called to be in a scene that filmed in Lawrence County this past Monday. I got called to be in a scene that is filming in Bloomington this coming Saturday. I don't know a lot of details about the film except that it is about a girl who tries to "escape" the holds of a fundamentalist Christian cult and finds her own definition of faith in the process. Mom had a good time during her shoot Monday, although she said it was long and sometimes a bit dull. But she thought the process was really interesting and was glad she did it, so I'm looking forward to Saturday.
That Other Thing on Saturday - Oh yeah, there's another little thing I have to attend to on Saturday: The Praxis II Exam. From 7:30 am to 1:00 pm, I will be torturing myself in a classroom at the IU Kelly School of Business as I take this exam that will allow me to get my teaching license. I've heard that it is really difficult from some and really easy from others, but everyone I know that has taken it has passed it, so I'm not too worried. Although I should probably do a bit of studying between now and then to make myself feel a little better about it. I have to pass it, or I won't be able to get my license until next year and I would really like to have it in December in case a random second semester job opens up.
Chicago - When your friends are scattered around the midwest (and the country for that matter!) you get to do fun things in order to hang out with them... like meet for a crazy weekend in Chicago! To celebrate our birthdays (Stebby's is July 22nd, mine July 23rd), my friends and I decided to organize a girls' weekend to Chicago this past weekend. Hillary's husband was in Indy for the weekend teaching at a conference, so it worked out perfectly. Hillary and I drove up to East Chicago together and then took the train into the city, where the two of us enjoyed Friday evening with a LOT of walking (we got lost on the way to our hotel), some Chicago pizza, and lots of tasty drinks at a neighborhood sports bar, where we watched everyone else watch the White Sox game (we don't really do baseball). On Saturday, Stebby's train arrived from Wisconsin and we enjoyed lunch and drinks at Navy Pier, some shopping on Michigan Avenue, and, again, LOTS of walking. Our friends Carly and Alli were supposed to take the train in from Crown Point on Saturday, but some issues with Alli's dog resulted in spending the day at the vet and missing the last train in, and they were both too tired to drive. So, Stebby, Hillary, and I met up with our friends and former roommates, Raechelle and Richelle, for birthday dinner at an amazing vegan restaurant, Karyn's Cooked. They use no animals products and no refined sugars, and the food was AWESOME. Stebby and I were like kids on Christmas because we could order ANYTHING from the menu instead of having to pick from one of the couple vegetarian options restaurants usually have (typically pasta and salad). Stebby ordered "ribs" and I had spaghetti and "meat" balls. Great food and great to see the twins again, and their apartent. The pic below was taken on the balcony of their sweet apartment downtown.


By the time we finished dinner and checking out the apartment, it was close to 11:00 and time to party! We ended up in some other part of Chicago (I'm not even sure what part!) at Spin, a super fun club where we danced like crazy until around 2:00 a.m. I was ready to keep going, but we had an early train to catch in the morning, so I was glad Hillary acted as our voice of reason and convinced Stebby and I that we did want some sleep. Getting to spend a fun weekend with Colleen and Stebby in D.C. in June and then Hillary and Stebby in Chicago in July was one of the highlights of the summer. It is hard when your college friends become scattered, but I love that we are all committed to making the distance work and take turns traveling here and there for some girl time.

Birthday - 25 is a scary birthday for some reason. In response to my "fear," I decided to do what most girls do every year and spend an entire week celebrating my birthday. I mean, one day is really too little to celebrate the fabulousness that is me, right? ;) Starting with Chicago, my b-day celebration also includes dinner at my parents' tomorrow; pizza & a movie with friends on Friday; Upstairs Pub with friends on Saturday night; and, since Gearry has to work on my actual birthday, dinner at The Melting Pot in Indy and shopping on Sunday. OK, so that's actually a week and 2 days, but who is really counting?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Vacation Pics

Getting ready to walk down to the lake to lay out/swim/hang out with my friend Allison, so not much time to write about the fabulousness that is Mexico, but I promise more details later. In the meantime, here is a link to our photo album from the trip... enjoy!

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2651528&id=6807128&l=e4a653daa4

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hola from Puerto Vallarta!

hey, all! typing this on a keyboard with mostly spanish keys, so forgive me if i dont use capitals or punctuation correctly! at an internet cafe in downtown puerto vallarta, sunday afternoon. just finished lunch by the ocean and decided to check our emails and facebook and send you guys a hello before we go do some more exploring.
everything is going well. i am sure i will talk your ear off about it when we get home. actually not that hot here (upper 80s, lower 90s) but very humid, so you walk down the street for two minutes and you are sweaty, sweaty, sweaty. some big storms in the evenings or at night, lots of beautiful lightning over the ocean, but so far it has not stormed or rained during the morning or afternoon, though it looks like it could any minute and we forgot our umbrella at the condo... whoops! yesterday was beautifully sunny and very hot, today very overcast and not as hot, but still quite humid.
we really love our condo... it is a very scary (the road is like the pacific highway, right by the ocean with big cliffs and the drivers drive very very fast... pretty much no traffic rules here!) 10 minute bus ride from downtown, but that also means it is very quiet and very beautiful. view is amazing. the water at the beaches in town is almost brown from the runoff from the rivers and mountains, but the water at playa gemeles, where we are staying, is like carribbean water, very clear blue, so you can see down for many feet. very glad we decided to stay just outside of town. makes coming into town an adventure, and then you feel very relaxed when you go home in the evening.
i dont know what we would do without gearry being essentially fluent in spanish, though. i cant imagine being here just by myself, only speaking english and just a few basic spanish phrases. his spanish has helped us out a ton. he had a 10 minute coversation in only spanish with the cab driver on the way from the airport... good way to make friends. i just sat there stupidly, understanding about every 20th word. haha. the only other bad thing about it here is the many, many, many vendors trying to sell you things on the beach and the streets and getting you to come into their stores and restaurants. that is how it is in many foreign countries that cater to tourists, however, not just mexico. it is the low season, plus the economy is hurting badly from the medias horrible coverage of the drug wars and the swine flu, so people are desperate for money. you have to say no gracias, no gracias, continually. they are usually not pushy though. if you say no gracias, they leave you alone. some of the time. some are a bit aggressive, but again, it helps that gearry is pretty fluent. they are just hurting for money. it is nothing like the media portrays as far as violence and such though. no swine flu, no drug violence. police are everywhere, along with security, and everyone has been nice so far. if you want trouble, you can find it. but that is just like anywhere.
were going to go do some shopping and then have dinner at an awesome vegetarian restaurant and probably hang out at one of the beach bars this evening before head back south to the condo for the night. we spent the afternoon in town yesterday, but today will be our first evening in the city. tomorrow is our anniversary and we are going on a canopy tour in the a.m. in the mountains (zip lining and then swimming in one of the mountain rivers) and then going out for a nice oceanside dinner in the evening. we dont have any plans for tues., wed., thrs., or fri. weve been good about not making too many plans. our favorite thing to do here so far is just be lazy and lay on the beach and play in the waves!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

They're baaaaaack...

Remember the post last year when Gearry and I had planted our new lilies and were SO EXCITED for them and then they died like a week later and we were like, "Oh?" Well, just to show you how we are completely NOT aware of how flowers work, we were pleasantly surprised a couple of weeks ago when buds appeared on them once again, and especially a couple days ago when, BAM! Flowers appeared. Apparently they are a briefly lived once-a-year treat. I'll get another picture soon in the short time frame between when all the buds bloom out and they die!

I'm finishing up the last of my packing for my D.C. girls' weekend. My flight leaves Indy tomorrow at 1:45 pm, so I plan to have breakfast with Gearry in the morning and then head up to the airport around 10:30 am. I land at 3:20 pm for three days of fun and mayhem!

And just because it is cute and because I took a picture of Zoey napping in almost the exact same place last week and I am an equal opportunity puppy parent, here is a picture I took this afternoon of Bailey catching some Z's on the guest room bed while I worked on my e-portfolio for P540 (which I spent the afternoon doing TWICE since when I went to hit the "submit" button it erased my entire portfolio. Yeah, a lot of cursing ensued.)


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

If I was a nudist, there would be much less to pack... hmm...

I HATE unpacking. Just ask Gearry. After every rowing road trip this spring, I would throw my suitcase on the floor in the bedroom and there it would stay until the next weekend, when it was time to pack it up and leave again (if I was really lucky, I could just leave most of the clean stuff in it and never really had to unpack it at all!). So, it should not be surprising that before I can pack for my Washington, D.C., trip this weekend, I must first UNPACK the suitcase from when I went camping with my parents a few weekends ago (which is lying on the floor of our bedroom, of course). It's even more fun thinking that when I get back from D.C. on Monday evening, I'll have to pretty much unpack right away so that I can start packing for Puerto Vallarta! I should just start storing all of my clothes in suitcases 24/7. It would be more efficient. I need to hire a personal assistant to do the few obligatory things in life I do not look forward to: unpacking/packing; folding laundry; dusting; taking recyclables to the recycling center; and taking the dogs out to potty when it's raining/cold/snowy.

So, I'm off to unpack and then re-pack. Even though I don't leave until Friday morning. I'm procrastinating from working on this transcribing assignment and my horrid P540 Learning & Cognition class.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Love.

Yesterday was a fantastic Sunday. I was still feeling the delayed effects of Saturday's race (i.e. I woke up feeling like I got hit by truck), but that was OK since Gearry and I decided our mission for the day was to relax. Gearry doesn't typically get Sundays off, but since his promotion he's worked out a schedule where he alternates Sunday-Monday off one week, Tuesday-Wednesday off the next week, Sunday-Monday, Tuesday-Wednesday, etc. We slept in, enjoyed some banana-chocolate chip pancakes and coffee on the back porch, and then Gearry tackled his long-neglected and self-appointed duty of grooming the dogs. This is a messy project in which our kitchen becomes pretty much useless for cooking for a day, but it results in some cute, clean little puppies without a trip to the groomer.

After we cleaned up from the grooming mess, we met up with Mom and Dad over at the dam and spent the day with them on their boat. It was a gorgeous day, not too hot. The water was a bit chilly, but not enough to keep us from hanging out in it! (This picture is of pale Gearry BEFORE he turned into a lobster... Despite my many, many -- probably annoying -- reminders to keep putting on sunscreen.) We went for a ride, spent most of the day anchored by the dam swimming & hanging out, and then ended the day with another spin around the lake.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Hoosierman Experience: A Photo Essay

The goal: To Finish.

Don't I just look ridiculously excited to be getting ready to subject myself to 1 hr., 47 min., and 52 sec. of grueling exercise? I was.

Can I say that my biggest disappointment with this race was that they made me wear a hot pink swim cap, which completely clashed with my cream & crimson uni? It was. It also somehow adds to the effect that I am a giant next to Gearry. But a fit-looking giant.

Beautiful day for a triathlon! Air upper 60s, low 70s, water 69 degrees officially, but I actually think the water felt much warmer than that. There were 187 participants in this inaugural event. We won't mentioned where I placed out of those 187, but I must mention that probably at least 4/5 of the field was men and perhaps 1/5 women.

If you know me at all, or read my last post, you know this is one of the main things I was terrified of: The Dreaded Swim.

That's me, front left. So, yes, I survived the swim. And, honestly, it wasn't bad. I was slooooooow... Really sloooooow. But I made it out!

You're tired from the swim, you're soaking wet, and you have to somehow have enough coordination to dry your feet, slip on your socks and shoes, and then hop on the bike for 16 miles of hilly fun. It's a sport for people who think it's fun to hurt.

What I am thinking in this picture: "The hardest part is over! Maybe an hour and 30 minutes left..."

Zoooooom! The bike is the only thing I am remotely fast on. I was one of the last of my wave out of the water on the swim, so I knew I had to gain some ground in the bike, because I'm also a semi-slow runner. But, again, it was about finishing. But I'm still competitive.

The winner, I believe, or someone close to the front of the pack. He probably had time to take a shower, get some lunch, and take a nap before I crossed the finish line. Literally.

The post-race debriefing with Gearry right after I crossed the finish line. I was in way better shape and way better fueled (I had Heed and Gatorade during the bike & run and a packet of Hammer Gel during the bike, plus a smart pre-race breakfast) than Tri Indy last year, when I thought I was going to pass out crossing the finish line. Today I felt pretty good (other than my stupid bum knee -- illiotibial band issues), thankfully not at all like I had just worked out for almost two hours.

There is probably much more to be said about the day, but I'll let the pictures say the rest, other than I had a ton of fun, I am proud of myself for finishing, and I am happy Mom, Dad, and Gearry were there to support me. When I was heading up the first hill in the run, I heard Mom say, "I've never been more proud of you" and -- even though I was doing it for me and not anyone else -- that pretty much made it all worth it.

Next up: Indy Sprint Series @ Eagle Creek on July 18th (pending knee issues) and Tri Indy Olympic Distance on August 16th (Team Event - I'm biking & running, my friend is doing the swimming).

Friday, June 5, 2009

That Sick Feeling in the Pit of Your Stomach...

Yeah, that's what I'm feeling right now: nauseous. T minus 18 hours til race start time and I kind of feel like I want to puke. I haven't worked out much the last few days, so I have a ton of energy, yet I'm lethargic at the same time (a typical trait of tapering). My IT band in my right knee is kind of randomly flared up, so I'm nervous about what is probably going to be a painful run tomorrow. I popped the chain on my bike during my ride this morning on a climb and that got me to thinking about the possibility of it happening during the race. I'm still not confident in the swim; my game plan is to alternate freestyle and breast stroke every 50-100 meters, since I'm much more confident in breast stroke, even though it is far slower. People are coming to watch, which is really nice for support but embarrassing if you don't finish well. I'm even worrying about things like my hair! It kind of goes crazy when I take my swim cap off, as a ponytail holder doesn't hold back all my layers, so how I am I going to get it pinned back out of my face in time for the bike? And that blasted confusing running trail that got us all confused on Sunday... How bad would it be to get lost DURING a race?? Or find out that your time doesn't count because you cut off part of a trail??

OK, that is why I'm nauseous. But I thought maybe writing it down would help.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

White River Trippin'


My thoughts when I took this picture? "I can't believe I'm getting paid to do this." On Monday and Tuesday, I helped out at the summer camp where I used to work by supervising six White River canoe trips in two days. It was a lot of work and it was HOT and super sunny and I was pretty much exhausted after the two days were over, but it was also a lot of fun. Any excuse to be out on the water, plus get paid for it, is alright with me! I did four of the six trips in a canoe and two of the six trips in a kayak, which I definitely prefer. The picture about is from one of the day two trips in the kayak.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Times Flies When You're Having Fun

Wow, last week flew by. I was pretty busy and didn't take the time to sit down and update, so I'll kind of recap any points of interest I can think of that occurred over the last few days.

First of all, for all of you who have been telling me I should read it, I finally broke down, jumped on the bandwagon, and read Stephanie Meyer's uber-popular Twilight. Even though I have been resisting reading it, because it's not my kind of book, I decided it was a pool/lakeside/beach worthy read. I checked the 500-pager out of the library around 12:00 noon on Friday and had finished the entire book by 1:00 pm on Saturday. I didn't think it was fantastic, but it was a good, easy read, and now some things that didn't make sense when I saw the movie recently make a little more sense. Since I already bothered with the first 500 pages of vampire fun, I'm sure I will read the other three books in the series as well. I DO have a lot of pool/lakeside/beach laying around to attend to, so I have a good excuse to indulge in some light-hearted chick lit, my favorite. Next up for pool time today: Nicholas Sparks' Nights in Rodanthe.

Last Wednesday, Gearry and I hosted my head coach Steve and two assistant coaches, Conny and Josh, for a little dinner party on our back porch. Gearry played chef, of course. The food was amazing! The salad was made with baby spinach, strawberries, feta, candied almonds, and poppyseed dressing. For the meat eaters, he made a grilled red snapper. For the vegetarians (Steve and me), he made grilled portabello mushrooms. For everyone, he made goat cheese and fresh herb risotto and grilled asparagus. Gearry picked out a wine that accompanied everything nicely and we also had plenty of cold brew on hand. The evening was great, and as you can see by the picture, the table settings and fresh flowers looked fantastic on the back porch. So much fun to just sit and relax with these people who I worked so hard with all year long.

The Hoosierman Triathlon is getting closer and closer and closer! This Saturday, June 6, at Fairfax Beach. Today, I met up with about 15 triathletes for an organized group ride on the course. It was a social ride at a relatively comfortable pace, so it was fun to ride alongside people who enjoy doing all the same things you do and get to know them. Everyone was so friendly and interesting! Even some of the more seasoned triathletes thought the bike course, with all of its monster hills, was pretty intense, so that made me feel a little bit better about thinking the same thing! After the ride, a few of us decided we wanted to go run the 5K course. Well, it's a good thing we were all together because no one could figure out the trail course! A lot of the orange markers the race organizers put up a couple weeks ago have been taken down or moved, so it was pretty darn confusing. It took us 17 minutes to do the first mile of the trail run... that should say something! I also have a nice cut on my leg from some sticker bushes. The first mile of the run is crazy... Lots of steep, steep trail and you have to jump over creeks, over logs. Dang. But then the last two miles of the run are on the road, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If you don't get lost in the woods. They said they are going to remark the trails on Friday night, but I can see someone getting lost. Hopefully it is not me!

Also, perhaps since I last updated or perhaps I just forgot to mention it, Stebby and I decided we had far too little Colleen in our lives these days and so we're heading to Washington, D.C./Annapolis, for a girls' weekend, June 12th-15th. I fly out of Indy Friday afternoon, and Stebby flies out of Columbus around the same time, and we should land about the same time in Baltimore Friday afternoon, where Colleen will pick us up to begin a weekend of fun and mayhem! Can't wait to get crazy with my girls again. Saturday is our D.C. tourist day, which should be fun, and then we'll just see where the wind blows us for Sunday. So, this weekend, triathlon. Next weekend, D.C. Next weekend, Mexico. And then it will almost be July! CRAZY!

Alright, the pool is calling my name for a couple hours of sunning and reading before I drag myself back in front of my laptop to work on my (overdue) assignment for P540. This class seriously blows and is trying to put a damper on my summer, but I'm not going to let it!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Green Drinks and Slow Swims

Yesterday, Mom, Dad, Josh, and I made our way south to French Lick to attend my cousin Kyle's high school graduation. He was class valedictorian and will be attending Rose Hulman on, I believe, full scholarship. Yes, our family is one of overachievers ;) It was great to get to see a bunch of my family and show my support.

Mom, Dad, and I (Josh drove separately because he had to get home and get to bed early in preparation for waking at 4:00 this morning to go to the Indy 500) also made a quick stop while we were in French Lick to see Gearry at his restaurant. Business was booming -- they served about 240 that evening -- but he was excited that we came by and took a few minutes to say "hi." I had not been to the restaurant since he was promoted to head chef, so it was kind of neat to be there and look around and see all the people waiting for tables and think about how much responsibility he has. He is doing a fantastic job and seems to be really enjoying himself, so I couldn't be happier. If we could magically cut down his 50 minute commute time (without leaving Bloomington, of course), I think it would be absolutely perfect.

While at Kyle's open house, I got a chance to talk to my cousin Chris, who does tons of triathlons, including a couple full Ironmans. He is pretty much AWESOME. He asked if I was going to be doing the Hoosierman, since he knew I lived so close to the course, and that got me to really thinking about how close the race is! Two weeks from yesterday. That made me a little excited, but a lot nervous. I've done the Tri Indy duathlon, so I have my first race experience under my belt, but since it was only biking and running and did not include the swimming portion, the swim is throwing all kinds of nerves into the ring for this race. I'm slightly terrified. It's not that I can't swim; I've been swimming in the lake since I was a baby and I was a lifeguard, so swimming is not the issue. It's swimming WELL. Or FAST. My technique is somewhat awful, mostly brought about by the fact that I have 1) Never had formal swim training and 2) Panic when it comes to side-breathing and so therefore swim most of the way with my head stuck way up out of the water, a.k.a. lifeguard swimming.

So, I'm confident in the bike, slow but semi-confident in the run, and hesitant in the swim. My goal is just to not finish last... But the idea that I COULD finish last really scares me. I think it would be somewhat of a victory just to finish so that I can say I finished my first real triathlon (kind of how I felt when I finished the duathlon), but coming in last is not an option. The problem is if I'm slow enough on the swim that I come out of the water last, I will be playing catch up the entire bike and run, and that's no fun. I've gotta figure out how to get better at the swim over the next 13 days. On Wednesday morning Gearry is going to kayak alongside me (for safety) while I swim the Eagle Pointe lakeshore, and I hope to make some strides there.

OK, enough rambling thinking. (You see how mind works... It's an interesting place inside my head.) This morning I had a great bike ride on the course (cut 2:10 off Thursday's time) and a short but spirited little 20 minute run immediately following. Getting off the bike and right into the run is difficult, as your legs feel like they weigh about 180 pounds each, so I've been practicing that transition. My post-workout fuel of choice lately has been a smoothie I read about in Vegetarian Times and started making last week. Super yucky looking (it's GREEN) but very tasty and very chocked full of all the important post-activity stuff (protein, iron, carbs). If anyone is interested, you just boil about 5 oz. of fresh spinach until wilted, then throw it in an ice bath. Wring the water out of the spinach and toss into a blender with 3/4 cup apple juice. Blend. Then add 1/2 cup plain (preferably organic) yogurt and a dash or two of salt and blend again. This makes enough for about two smoothies, but if you save the extra until the next day, be sure to blend it again and maybe add another dash of apple juice before drinking.

After my ride & run this morning (and, of course, a smoothie and a shower) Gearry and I enjoyed the fruits of our shopping labor yesterday with our absolute favorite meal, which I am pretty sure I have blogged about a few times on here. Our "farmer's market" lunch included multi-grain baguette, fresh strawberries, sliced tomatoes, herbed goat cheese, honey, and Runcible Spoon Sumatra roast. AMAZING. If I could eat this every single meal for the rest of my life, I would be perfectly satisfied. Feel free to salivate., but please do not lick your computer screen.


Alright, I'm off to perhaps take a nap, perhaps work on my P540 reading, perhaps sit and stare at Indy cars going around and around in a circle for a bit. Then cookout this evening with my friends Catherine and Emily, and Emily's visiting friends from Michigan. Have a great one, people!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

These are a Few of my Favorite Things... About Summer!

I LOVE SUMMER. There are many, many reasons why, but below are just a few, along with pictures from yesterday and today to illustrate the fabulousness of this fine season. (Yes, I know it is technically still spring.)

Reason #1 - Naps!

Who doesn't love a good nap? Obviously, Zoey enjoys them (I just took this picture of Miss Zoey catching a few winks on the guest room bed a few minutes ago) and I do too. There is nothing like a carefree snooze after a long day working or playing out in the sun. The world would be a better place if everyone could make time for a little mid-afternoon shut-eye. I keep threatening to move to a country where they have afternoon siesta. They know what's going on.


Reason #2 - Summer Food and Bloomington Farmer's Market!

This morning, Gearry and I hauled ourselves out of bed to trek into town for the farmer's market, one of our favorite things to do on Saturday mornings in the warm weather months (well, other than sleep). The Bloomington farmer's market is fantastic. Our favorite buys are the local maple syrup, honey, and Capriole goat cheese. Above is a picture of this morning's bounty, from the market and the grocery and our favorite coffee roaster, Runcible Spoon. Summer eating is all about fresh veggies, fruits, and grains. This is pretty much the base of our summer menu here at the Young Caudell residence... If only everything could be so fresh year-round!


Reason #3 - Fun in the Sun in My "Backyard"

Took this picture yesterday while reading my first "for fun" book since August (grad school requires enough mandated reading as it is) during a break from working on my summer class. I think this picture kind of speaks for itself.