"And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places." Roald Dahl

Monday, February 28, 2011

A New Tundra and the Gala Recap

Derek got a new truck today...its pretty awesome.  He had a pretty great day all around.  :)

...And here is the promised picture from Saturday's Aquagala... 

It was really fun to see all of the coaches/parents dressed up in something other than our usual uniform of t-shirts and shorts.  TAC looked great, they raised a bunch of money, and it was fun!  I, myself, did not bid on anything during the auction, but they did have lots of very cool items that they auctioned off. 

And the total outfit...haha, don't mind the professional photography... (thanks for the help, Paula!)

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Headed to a fancy little dinner tonight.  It should be fun and it benefits a great cause.  They are raising money for the Triangle Aquatic Center and the Make a Splash Foundation.  

Pictures to come :)  I love getting all dolled up...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wide Awake

I don't feel tired.  During the day, I had moments where I was surprised my eyes were open, but I stuck to staying on my feet and drinking lots of water.  I had a five hour energy drink with me at school today, just in case I needed it, but I never wanted to take it.

I'm still very skeptical of those little drinks.  I know that lots of people use them every day, but people used to love Red Bull too, and I'm pretty sure those have some crazy effects on your heart.  Everyone who has drank it though, says it's amazing; that you just feel energized and wide awake, not wired like you would on caffeine.  I did leave it at school, in my desk, just in case I feel the need to wake up on another day.  What do you think?  Have you tried it?  What is it like?

Right now I am wide awake.  Uh oh.  Does that mean that my sleep deprivation effects will show up tomorrow?  Some one once told me that its two days after a bad night's sleep when you notice it the most.  Hmmm.  I'll have to let you know tomorrow.  Right now, I feel pretty great.

And the game was a blast!  Even though NC State lost, it was the most exciting basketball game I've seen in a while.  The score was pretty close throughout most of the game and the crowd was intense.  That was my first time experiencing the basketball rivalry in person. Wow.  Intense.

This picture was taken about 20 minutes before game time.  During the game, I didn't even think to take pictures...but I can tell you that the place was packed during the game.  And really really loud.

Our seats were pretty good, too!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Help, Please!

This week has been great...

Monday, I took the day off because it was a workday and I was ahead at work.   So, I slept in, worked out and enjoyed the nice weather - it was 75 degrees and sunny on Monday and I spent several hours outside!!  I think I got a tan.  (I also think it's only in my head, but that's ok, too).

Tuesday:  Work went well and then after work, Derek and I went to Los Tres Maguelles, a mexican restaurant in town.  It was really good!  As a Spanish teacher, it's always been a little odd, but I don't really love Mexican food.  I like it, but most times, I can take it or leave it.  This place was delicious, they had huge portions, and the food came about 5 minutes after ordering - no joke.  I highly recommend it.   (On a sidenote, the reason we chose this place is because Derek had a gift-card he had gotten on restaurants.com.  Well, when we went to pay the bill, we couldn't use our coupon.  Us, geniuses, had gone to the wrong restaurant.  Apparently, there is another one on the other side of town that we will be visiting soon :).

Wednesday - today.  We are going to the NC State basketball game tonight against Carolina!  Fun!  Wait, it starts at 9:00, you say? yikes.  I love going to live sporting events and it is so fun living in a town with so many sports teams.  There is always something to do, and asking about one's allegiance is a great conversation starter. It can create enemies though, so beware.  These people are very serious about their teams.

I am a State fan.  I am not at the same level as most State fans, as I do not hate the other teams with quite the same passion as most, but I do have my reasons.  So, I will be wearing red tonight and cheering on the home team.  Hopefully they will pull out the big "W".

So...I need help.  With the 9 o'clock game, it means I will be getting to bed much later than normal.  What can I do to stay awake tomorrow?  I will be drinking a big mug of coffee (you better believe it!) but once at school, I can't make more coffee and I don't have a cool thermos to use.  What do you think is the best trick to staying awake and energetic when running on empty?  Pepsi Max? 5 hour energy?  Help, please.  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Warm Weather Tease

I went for a run this week at a lake in Raleigh and it was gorgeous out!!  The weather has been in the 70's for the past few days and while it is only hovering around 60 today it's still wonderful out!  I walked a little bit after my run on Wednesday and took a few pictures because it was so pretty.

This weather is amazing!  One of the reasons I moved down here was to have the nice weather!  I love that I can wear shorts and a tank top outside in February!!  (not always... tomorrow is supposed to be a high of 48)

Surprisingly...the iphone takes pretty good pictures.  Today, I headed to the Tobacco Trail.  I am still trying to get back into shape since having mono, and I think I am on my way there - today I ran a full 6 miles at an average of 9:30 minute/miles.  I am setting a goal of finishing the April 10 Raleigh Rocks Half-Marathon.  Today's run puts me right on schedule for a training plan to run it.  I haven't actually signed up yet...but I will soon.

In other news...my little sister was accepted to the University of Michigan Med School this week!!!  I'm pretty sure that is not the official title of the school, but it is what I call it.  She has worked so hard and is so deserving of this - I am so proud of her!!  I cannot believe my little sister is going to be a doctor.  Wow!

With two of my favorite med students (Cath and Elizabeth).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Small World

Yesterday in class we were reviewing the imperfect past tense in Spanish.  Its used for repeated actions in the past so a common topic that we use with this grammar point is our childhoods.  To get the students interested in talking about their own childhoods, I always start by giving them a brief overview of my own childhood; pictures included.  The pictures I use for this activity are gems, let me tell you.  My mom emailed them to me one year when I was frantically (last-minute) lesson planning and I keep forgetting to get new ones when I go home. 

Anyway, when I do this, I go all the way up through high school.  One of my pictures is of me, in my swimming parka, from my senior year of high school.  How crazy is this?  When one of my students saw the picture, he told me that he went to that same high school last year.  He just moved here from Illinois.  

Then, in the next class, we were doing the same lesson and I was talking about where I lived as a child.  It turns out, another one of my students lived in Pennsylvania...in the same small town as me.  When I was showing the picture of my first day of school, she recognized my awful uniform and, as it turns out, we went to the same elementary school!  Wow.   What a small world.

There is obviously a pretty big age difference, so we don't know any of the same people, but it is fun to talk about the places unique to each town.  I cannot believe that in one day, I discovered two students that had lived in the same places and I had.  And neither of those places are all that big, nor are they all that close to here.  It was a nice little surprise/deviation from the normal school day.  

Here you are...some of the "awesome" super embarrassing pictures. And yes, that darling girl from the picture at the beginning of the post - that's me, too :)  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Please keep my Grams in your thoughts and prayers today.  She is having a surgery and while it is not too invasive, she is 86 years old and that is always scary.  She is feisty, spunky, and strong in spirit, so I'm sure she will make it through just fine, but send some positive thoughts our way, please.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I got my first heart-shaped brownie in the mail from my mom during my freshman year of college.  Since then, I have gotten one every year.  I'm a sucker for tradition, so I happily await my brownie every year, and it is just as popular with my sisters.  It doesn't travel the best...sorry for the picture...but it is soooo good.

  Derek and I are planning a fun dinner out soon, but for now, we exchanged cards and are going to spend some quality time together.  Valentine's day is so much more fun when I have someone special to share it with! I know, enough of me, being cheesy, but it's true :)

I hope you are all having a wonderful Valentine's Day and spending lots of time with your loved ones!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Swimming fast is fun!

Yesterday, the high school season came to an end.  My swimmers swam phenomenally and I am so proud of each and every one of them.  There was a lot that happened today...Some surprised themselves with their fast times, some reached goals that they have been working towards for a long time, and we all got to see some crazy fast swimming.  We were also reminded, myself included, that it is not about winning or losing, but rather doing your best, beating your personal records, and of course, having fun.

The girls team took 3rd place in the state, with two individual event titles and one state record...that we held for 5 hours, before it was broken again by another team.  The boys swam well, and get a little better each year.  Overall, it was a great day!

Go go newsandobserver.com to see all of the photos from the day.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Day without Coffee

I woke up this morning feeling much better :).  I got to talk to my mom last night and she always makes me feel better.  Derek and I may even plan a trip north in April.

I was already to tell you about my great weekend and show you how productive I was over the past few weeks.  I walked downstairs, grabbed my Christmas mug, just for fun...
...and I went about my business of getting my lunch together while my coffee brewed.  When I went back to get my coffee, this is what I found...

Who wants to drink that?!  I tried cleaning it out and re-brewing, but all I got was a few drops.  :(  I brought a Diet Dr. Pepper instead, but it's not quite doing the trick.  I will be teaching with my eyes half-open today.

Back to the great weekend...My swimmers had an awesome day on Saturday, we have 13 swimming/diving at the State meet this Friday and after the meet I got some cleaning done, along with some reading.  It was so nice!

Sunday Derek and I hosted a Super Bowl gathering at his condo.  We all had a blast cheering for Green Bay. No one was particularly rooting for the Packers, but I think we all had a reason to cheer against the Steelers, so we banded together.  Derek's new TV was a hit and Emmett, Derek's cousin's 3 year old son, loved Derek's huge bean bag chair.   It entertained him for most of the night, and he is adorable.  Derek's family is so nice and they all helped by bringing delicious food.  It was so great to see everyone, even though we all missed Corey and Zach.

More updates to come on my productivity and cleaning, but I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


You'd think after almost four years of living here I would be over the little patches of homesickness.  For the most part I am, but every now and then it creeps up on me.  Today was one of those days. I never know why it is.  Today, I just miss home.  I wish it were a little bit closer.  Most days I call NC home, but not always.

Today, I want to sit on the stool in my kitchen and talk to my mom.  I want my sisters to tease me without end.  I want my dad to cook lasagna while singing crazy Christmas songs (hey, this is my made up day, and I will do what I want :).  I have the best family in the world and while I love 99% of living down in North Carolina, the one thing I would change is that it is so far away from my family.

On the bright side, my next taste of home is coming soon!!  I'm looking forward to Elizabeth's trip to the south at the end of March!  It is her last Spring Break ever!  From here on out, it is Dr. Elizabeth :).  She is coming for a whole week and we are meeting up with Sarah and Andrea and we are all going to do the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC.  Andrea, Sarah, Corey and I did it last year and we had sooo much fun.  Did not run very fast, but we had a ball.

Yes, we posed in front of every mile marker.  The runners near us thought we were crazy (rightfully so), and as you can tell by the time on the clock, we were not going to break any records.  We were all so clogged up with allergies we couldn't have run very fast anyway (wait, maybe that was just me).  Hopefully, we will have better weather this year and remember the allergy medicine.  hahaha.  Dr. Berger, do you hear that?  Bring on the goods.  Either way, I cannot wait to get all four of us together and have another "sitterhood of the trabeling hibigo" experience.  

I'm also going home for a long weekend in May for a good friend's wedding.  That should be a blast and I should get to see most of my family. (May 13-15, mark your calendar's people.)

And maybe, just maybe, Paula and Matt will make it down here to visit :)  Please!!  that is a not-so-subtle hint.

Enough of my whining...I started out this post in a funk, and I am feeling much better already.  I am so lucky to have such amazing friends and family here in NC, in STC, and everywhere else.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Catching Up

This morning we had high school Regionals!  The swimmers did really well; we have 5 relays swimming next week at the State meet in addition to 8 individual swims.  I was happy that they swam fast.  One of the swimmers that made it to State is not a year round swimmer!!  Score one for me :).

Other than blizzard updates, I haven't said much about what I've been up to, so other than teaching and coaching, this is it... (beware, this is kind of a random mix.)

Two weeks ago my teaching mentor, Laurie gave me two free tickets to go see the 'Canes.  Yay!  It was teacher appreciate night at the RBC Center, so Derek and I went and got to see the Hurricane's 1000th win.  They also debuted the banners for Cam Ward and another player (that's embarrassing that I can't remember who).  There was a bunch of excitement and fanfare as it was their last home game before the All-Star game on January 28th.  The seats were pretty good.  We sat on the end, but they shot at our end twice, which, according to Derek, made the seats better.  I thought it was just nice to be that close to the ice!

The 'Canes won! and there were a few good fights.  This is bad to admit, but I like hockey because of the fights.  They are so exciting and raw to me.  There are few sports left where the athletes are allowed to keep fighting during competition.  Once they hit the ice or it gets too serious, they always break it up anyway.  But now you know, I rate how good a hockey game is based on how many fights I get to see.  

Last Saturday, to celebrate the end of the first semester and the completion of finals/grade reporting a bunch of teachers met in downtown Raleigh at a piano bar.  We had a blast!

Laura and I

Laura, Karen and I

Laura, Rachael, myself, and Cassie
Speaking of the change of the semester...I have had my new second semester students for two weeks now and they seem like they are great.  I was blessed with funny, intelligent students last semester and this semester, it seems like I got pretty lucky again.  Thank goodness.  I have had some semesters that have truly tested my patience, so I know this is not guaranteed, but so far, my students have been really fun!

Wednesday we went to see NC State play Virginia Tech....The outcome was not as happy as the hockey game.
One frustrated fan.
Let's hope that they turn their season around soon, March Madness is coming! 

Last night Derek and I tried Fondue.  It was delish.  The recipe we used was made with swiss cheese, a little bit of flour, garlic powder, and nutmeg.  We dipped french bread, pretzel rolls, and carrots (I had to get a veggie in that dinner somewhere).  I haven't ever made my own fondue, so it was new.

Fondue and a movie.  A very nice Friday night.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chicago Blizzard in Pictures

Here is the update:

In St. Charles, there was a total of 18+ inches of snow.  There is a pile of snow higher than the mailbox around the driveway where it was plowed.  By the way, this is the plow that skipped my parents street, and left the snow there, but made it to clear the driveway.  Yes, they were still snowed in when I talked to them last night, but the driveway was clear.

Chicago Public Schools cancelled again today and most of my friends and family got to stay home and enjoy yet another snow day.  I know that this is normal in North Carolina, but for the midwest, a snowday is unheard of!

I have had some fun looking at all the pictures on facebook and others that people have emailed me.  It is crazy!

Here are some of my favorites:

This is a view from Paula's balcony...normally you can see the Chicago skyline...

Bailey all bundled up. That snow is high.

Emily, I know you aren't the tallest person in the world, but that snow is deep!

A NASA satellite view of the storm yesterday.

Holy cow.

Here is a link to some pictures from the Chicago Tribune. There are some very cool ones.  Example:

These are the cars that eventually just got stuck on and then towed from Lake Shore Driv.  Courtesy of the Tribune.

And, here is a link to a story about people that got trapped on Lake Shore Drive.  It is actually really scary.  I am so happy that all of my family and friends are safe.  WRAL on the Chicago Snow - thanks for the link, Dusty!

I also found out that there was a bunch of thunder and lightning during the storm.  Here is a video link of one of the weather men freaking out during a newscast.  Entertaining.

I love hearing from you all, keep the pictures coming!