Saturday, August 29, 2009

Canyoning, Whales, Fish and Tubes!

The last four days have been quite is a rundown of our adventures....

Canyoning=AWESOME! There are only good things to say about it...except for maybe the blister I got, which is actually quite painful. The two guides we had were very patient and definitely inspired confidence. We repelled down waterfalls and jumped in pools of water and the views were gorgeous!!

Whale Watch = tons of fun! I really wanted to go on a whale watch. At one time we went every year in Bar Harbor, but we haven't done that in years, even though we always say we want to. We only went 3 miles of the coast and saw a pod of 7 sperm whales and tons of dolphins...It was amazing and so worth the trip!

Thursday I had my shining moment, scuba diving. I freaked out when we initially went down, in fact I just got my head underwater before I came up, so we went to a more shallow area and I went in just fine and spent the whole 45 minutes underwater. Matt had a more difficult time adjusting to the change in pressure and spent a good portion of the time at the surface. Underwater was amazing though. The deepest we could go was 30 feet and it was incredible. There was so much to see!

Yesterday we went river tubing which was quite frankly my least favorite thing to do. The river was too low and the tubes had no padding on the bottom of them so my tailbone hit every rock there was...and let me tell you there are plenty of LARGE rocks in the river. It was actually pretty scary since they just put you in a tube and let you go. I ended up holding on to Matt's tube and we went down together. I wouldn't do it again, but I can say I did it right?!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Abort! ABORT!!

Today we left from Antigua for Dominica. Let me start by saying that I am a really good flyer. I've been to Africa twice, Thailand and various short flights here and there. I am a good flyer. This flight however gave me a bad feeling. I was fine going through customs and getting on the plane. Then as we were getting ready to leave as the flight attendant was reading the emergency instructions the lights on the plane started flickering. One side would go off and then come back on and the other side would go off. This happened a number of times and quite frankly screamed electrical problem to me. But I blew it off, even though I was nervous. Then we are going faster and ready to get into the air and I could feel the brakes come on. Apparently one of the check engine lights came on. At this point I'm seeing it as a sign and thinking that I need to get off this plane. When we came to a hault I asked the flight attendent about it and she didn't seem concerned and Matt saw no problem and the problem seemed to be fixed by the mechanics, who were there for less than 5 minutes, so I stayed. Thankfully our plane did not crash and it was an uneventful 30 minutes.

I did not realize that once we landed there would be another hour and a half of driving to get to the city on one lane roads. Crazy! It was well worth it however because our hotel is beautiful!! We rested for a while and then rented some snorkeling equipment and went to a beach about 15 minutes away. SO much fun!! I expected the fish to be deeper in the water but they were actually very shallow. This freaked me out and I have video of me yelling underwater trying to get the fish away from me. I got over it though and stayed a little deeper than they were.

We got back and made a trip to the pool for some reading and then to a BBQ dinner at the hotel with a live steel drum band. So much fun! Tomorrow we'll go canyoning (repelling down waterfalls). I don't like heights...this will be interesting!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Dirty Truth About Travel...Sometimes It Sucks

Traveling requires one to be flexible, a virtue I tend not to embrace. I try to be go with the flow, but as Matt can attest, that is difficult for me under the best circumstances and realistically my flexibility is proportional to the amount of sleep I have under my belt.

This vacation, although it only officially started today, is trying my patience and pushing my flexibility to the brink. Last night we stayed at the Sheraton in Revere Ma, so we could leave our car for the week and catch our 5am flight to Dominica. Well, lucky for us, the management of the hotel decided to put the honeymooners in the room next door. So, all night we heard yelling from multiple people (they were playing drinking games) and the lights on the wall actually moved around. That is how loud they were. This does not bode well for me when I need to be up at 2am to make my flight. The people did get kicked out of the room, unfortunately they were kicked out at the same time we were leaving. Awesome for us. Then there is a shuttle that takes you to the airport every half hour. So, we haul ass to get down there for the 2:30 shuttle. The driver was kicking out the honeymooners so he was late and then we realized that we forgot our battery charger in our room. So, Matt goes up to get it and they tell him that they can't bring us to the airport until 3 now because the driver wouldn't have enough time to get back. Great. So, we wait another half hour, finally leave and the driver gets a call on his radio that there are people there that want a ride. So, he tells the front desk girl he is turning around. I have a problem with this and proceed to tell the driver that no he can not turn around because I am not going to miss my flight. They were late, they can wait until the next shuttle.

We arrive at the airport and the ticket counter isn't open yet. So we wait...and wait...finally it opens up and then we wait for security to open up. My bag apparently has problems because they keep it under the xray machine for a good 5 minutes trying to figure out the contents (it doesn't zip so I'm not sure why they didn't just empty it out and be done with it) and then put it through the machine once again. We get through that and go and sit at our gate and its 4:45 and they still aren't boarding. Finally someone from the airline comes down and tells us that they changed gates and are now boarding. Wonderful...good to know.

We make it onto the plane and endure the frigid temperatures for 2 hours. Seriously, it was sub zero in there. I had on a tank top, heavy sweater and jeans and I still had goose bumps. Thankfully even though our flight was late we made our connecting flight from Charlotte to Puerto Rico. That flight would have been perfect. We had an extra seat in our row so I tried to catch some sleep, but just as I was nodding off, Matt spills a can of coke in his lap with some of it landing in my it looked like he peed himself and that pretty much woke me up.

We were supposed to have a 2 hour layover there so we got some lunch (I spent $10 on lettuce...seriously, the salad was ONLY lettuce and was literally $10). We finally found our gate and it turns out that our flight is delayed an hour. So we sit and wait. And then they say our flight is delayed another we wait. Finally we get on the plane and it stops in Antigua before going to Dominica. We are told that we will need to go to the transit area so we go and find out that our flight left without us because the plane that was supposed to originally take us from Puerto Rico to Antigua had mechanical trouble. So, trying to be flexible I try to let it roll off my back. They are going to give us a hotel and feed us and get us to and from the hotel and there are worse places to be stuck than Antigua right? Well, maybe Iraq but really after being here, Antigua isn't at the top of my list of places to visit again. We fill out paperwork, go through customs and then we pick up our luggage. Now everywhere else I've flown, that is it. You can just take off at that point. Not in Antigua. They go through ALL of your luggage. We stood there and watched customs people open everyone's luggage and go through everything in it. They were going through the pockets of all the pants in the luggage. Yeah. I really have nothing to hide, but I'd prefer some stranger didn't go through my underwear in front of a room full of fellow travelers. After about 45 minutes of standing and watching other people have their stuff gone though, we get the go ahead to leave, without having our stuff checked. I don't know why...but I'm not complaining.

We then go over to the cab station where the LIAT (the airline we were on) agent got us a cab. I was taking pictures because the grounds were nice, but then I got yelled at and told to put my camera away because I was taking pictures of the airport...yeah. Welcome to Antigua....I did a vlog in Laguardia! Seriously. Oh, and I'm pretty sure that our cab driver may have been drunk. Fantastic!

We get to our hotel and get to our room, after the chaos of getting rooms straightened out for half a dozen stranded people, and see that there are little ants crawling all over our bed. So, we get another room. We then go to dinner which takes an hour and a half...which of course bothers me. I'm an American. I want my food fast. Once I sit down, I want to be out of there in 30-45 minutes. I'm impatient. I can't help it...I blame my culture.

I'm reserving the right to be grumpy tonight and tomorrow after I get to Dominica I will fix my attitude...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pushing Through

My directed research over the summer is finally ending...or should I say slowing down. Monday marks the date I need to have a final paper written for my class. Granted I've been working on writing this for the past month or so, but it is still in less than ideal condition. I have the data, I know what I want to say, however it just isn't coming out on paper. My adviser is fantastic and incredibly helpful and when I meet with him I'm always energized and excited to talk about and work on my project. But the next day when it's time to actually sit down and write all the ideas and everything we talked about the day before all information is lost!

It's not perfect, but this morning I finished up the paper and sent it off for the final grade in the class. I'm not worried about the grade, he knows I've been spending incredible hours on this project and I'm certain to get an A, however I'm more worried that I'm not going to have the paper close enough to its final stage to get it into a conference. While my adviser is sure we'll get it in, I'm concerned about the time it will take to get it to the point where it is ready. Come Tuesday I start school back up again and will have two difficult classes. So, my time will be limited and I'm not sure how much I'll have to give to this project. Add in work and I'll be moving back to the point of overwhelming stress I was at last year. I want to be able to go out with friends and not spend every minute reading/writing, but I don't see anyway around it once school starts. Granted I tend to be type A and very hard on myself when it comes to school, but no matter what it is going to be a hard road.

So, in order to get ready for the stress that is lined up to hit September 1st...I am getting ready to have a relaxing week in Dominica. Okay, so I have my laptop and told my adviser that if he has changes I'll make them while I'm gone...and yes I'll check my work email while I'm away because I'm anal and afraid that I left something undone when I left. BUT, I only brought four journal articles with me (which I consider to be progress since I brought them all to Savannah a couple of weeks ago). Instead of all school articles, I added in a touch of good old fashioned girl smut...aka Cosmo and two romance novels. Because what's better for relaxation than sitting on the beach reading about sex! Granted I'm not a beach person and typically need to be doing something at all times, but they'll be good to read in airports and at night. Wish me luck on the stress relief and let's hope I can relax on vacation and NOT worry about the things I'm not doing for work/school etc!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How I Spent My Birthday

My birthday weekend was wonderful, my actual birthday however pretty much sucked once I left Savannah. We arrived 2 hours early for our flight and score...found out that we had free wifi in the airport, but then it all went down hill. Our flight was delayed by two hours or so. I entertained myself by playing bejeweled, my new obsession. Then we arrived at Laguardia only to find that our flight that was supposed to be delayed by 45 minutes was actually canceled. We had also been booked on the 8:30 flight however that flight had been delayed to 10:30. This was problematic since we also had a 2 hour drive home once we got to the airport. So, we ended up with a fair amount of time at the airport, during which time I played bejeweled.

I tried to score some free stuff at the airport by telling them it was my birthday...which was totally true, but it didn't work. I was turned down. I did however receive a happy birthday song...

We ended up getting home at 3:20am and being the good worker I am, I was up at 4:30 to get to work at 6:30am!

Overall FABULOUS weekend...FANTASTIC trip!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Savannah, Day Two

Our Savannah trip was very short by nature, so that meant we would need to take full advantage of our one complete day there. We woke up and were out of our hotel around 8:30am and headed down to see some of the squares we had missed. We ended up getting as far as Forsythe park, which is absolutely beautiful! And then over to the Mercer Williams house, which really is the reason I wanted to go to Savannah to begin with! After seeing Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil I was sold! So, as you can imagine one of the highlights of my Savannah trip would be seeing the house where the movie was filmed.

The tour of the house was fun although we couldn't go upstairs because of the safety issue of there only being one staircase. And there was no picture taking which sucks, however the tour was worth it. The house was amazing!

We ran over to the Moon River Brewing Company for lunch, which is supposedly haunted. Ghost Hunters actually did an episode there. We saw nothing. We hurried through our lunch to catch our dolphin tour on the Savannah River. We almost went on the river boat tour and I'm so glad we did this one instead. The weather was fantastic, high 80's to low 90's and extremely humid. Great day to be on the water! We saw a ton of dolphins and my body saw a ton of sun! Unfortunately as we were heading back we hit some rain, or the rain hit us. It actually pelted us! Those of us on the front deck were soaked and while the rain hitting actually did hurt, it was well worth it!

We walked around the riverfront and had some fried green tomato's, which actually just taste like fried anything really. I don't eat a lot of fried foods, but this wasn't bad. And now I can say that I had some real southern food.

And then the highlight of the night....Ghost tour at the Sorrel-Weed house. We did a quick walk through the squares that were close by and then also went back into the house for some more information about the house. It was a lot of fun and we took a ton of pictures (to be uploaded later!). Perhaps we caught a ghost (there was one picture that had a squiggly in it). Definitely worth going.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Savannah, Day One

Our first day started out with a 3:30 am wake up call. We left our hotel 4:30am for the airport. Surprisingly enough our flight from Portland to Dulles left on time and actually got in early! This was especially important since we only had an hour layover in Dulles before our flight for Savannah left, and anyone who travels knows that so much can happen to make you miss a flight! We actually had to go to another concourse so we had to take a bus to another part of the airport. But all the flights went shockingly well and in total we probably spent 3 hours in the air. This is so refreshing for people who are used to spending 24 hours in the air. These were probably the shortest flights ever for us!! We even did a vlog in the air :)

We ended up getting into Savannah around 11:30 am or so and hit the visitors area of the airport and got some brochures of things to do, caught a cab and made it to our hotel. That afternoon we decided to walk around town and get ourselves acquainted with the area. We walked around and saw a ton of the squares in the area, which was amazing! I envisioned Savannah with old Greek Gothic type houses and spanish moss and I wasn't disappointed!

Late afternoon it was looking like hte weather wasn't going to cooperate so we headed back to our hotel room. Good thing we did since it started raining heavily and thundering and lightning out. We stuck around the hotel until we had our ghost tour at 9:30 that night. The tour was fun, we walked around to a number of squares and heard the ghost stories of Savannah, which is apparently quite haunted. Sadly, I didn't see any ghosts, and I think the heat, humidity and being overtired got to me since I felt like passing out most of the time we were out walking. We got home around midnight and were completely exhausted by all of the excitement of the day! I fell asleep for a little bit in the afternoon and promptly fell asleep again when my head hit the pillow.

Friday, July 31, 2009


Sadly, or maybe not so sadly, this is a big birthday for me and I was hoping to do something special and that is exactly what I got! I had known for maybe a week and a half that Matt was planning a vacation for us for my birthday, but that's all I was initially told. I was told a week out that I needed to take off Friday. Other hints given included: prepare to be spooked, you may want to bring your bathing suit, the weather will be similar to what we have at home, bring a rain jacket and walking shoes. I went back and forth on where we could be going. I thought I had it figured out yesterday, in fact I was almost positive I had it figured out. I thought I was going to Niagra Falls. Here was my logic...Prepare to be spooked=I'm deathly afraid of heights, Bathing suite = Yeah, there is water there, Rain jacket = again the falls, walking shoes = walking around the falls. But I was wrong!

Where did he bring me and how did I react?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

And the Research Goes On...

Blogging has taken a back seat to the infinite amount of time that I've spent in Second Life conducting interviews and sitting in on support group meetings! My nights have revolved around when a group was meeting and how many people I could conceivably talk to after the meeting to answer questions about their thoughts on what they get out of support group meetings in SL. Thankfully I can now see a glimps of the light at the end of the tunnel!

I have essentially finished my interviews and although I still need to go to group meetings every now and then, I don't have to spend my Sunday's going to 3 or 4 meetings, which as you can imagine takes up a full day leaving me with little spare time after work, writing, etc.

Currently off the check list:

Interviews (although it would be nice to get a couple more done and that may continue to happen on a sporatic basis as I sit in on random groups to continue my work for my thesis)

Theming my results

Interpretation (can you say hyper personal relationships!) Realistically this will probably continue but the majority of the work I believe is done

Still to do:

Continue with group meetings to stay "in" with the groups and not have to try to regain access

WRITING....oodles and oodles of writing, initially to get into the ECA conference and then hopefully get published later on this year!

Now I just need to get through presenting my research findings to my advisor and two faculty members that he works with from two different colleges. My advisor is a Computer Mediated Communication person who does work with Second Life, one of the other faculty members is a SL person as well and the final person deals with Computer Mediated Communication and social support. So, I will be presenting to people who actually know what they are talking about, which adds much more pressure than talking to people who have no clue what I'm talking about!

Wish me luck tonight!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Worst Nacho's EVER as told in a vlog

This week in our culinary adventures Andy and I visit The Whig and Courier and test out the Nacho's...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

And So It Goes...

I am currently well into my summer research and it is proving to be much more work than I had initially imagined. As many know, I am looking at why people use Second Life as a means of social support, so I am sitting in on support group meetings in Second Life. While by nature SL is hyper anonymous, getting accepted by a group has proven to be difficult in some respects. For example, before I started actually doing my research on a regular basis, I had sat in on some AA meetings. I asked the group leaders if it was okay for me to be there (which they said yes) and then asked the group. During this particular meeting I had one individual who IM'd me very upset that I was there. In another group I asked to be able to sit in and there was another individual who was uncomfortable with me there as well. I have sucessfully sat in on several groups recently and I may have found the formula to being accepted by the group...but only time will tell on that!

This doesn't mean that I haven't been able to get interviews however, I'm at around 15 people in, which is actually behind where I think really should be. Unfortunately the best time to get people is immediately after a group meeting and there are only so many meetings a week. So, I'm going to be content getting maybe 2 people a meeting. That seems to be a controllable number in terms of managing IM's and should keep me somewhat close to the final number of interviews I need (about 60-80). Of the people I have asked to interview, only one has declined saying they were busy. In fact most people seem to be very willing to answer my questions and tell me about their experiences.

Not only is the interviewing (and sitting in on groups which typically go for about an hour) time consuming, but there is also reading and writing to be done as well. While I had an idea that the project would take lots of time and energy, I didn't think it was going to take THIS much time and energy. My work schedule has changed and the number of hours I'm putting in at the day job has increased significantly (one day last week I left my house before 6am and didn't get back until after 7), and while that isn't a forever change, it is definitely making the whole research thing seem to go a little more slowly. While I know I will be able to get the project done by the end of the summer, the pressure lies in that I have two professors counting on me to write a decent paper that will be accepted to the Eastern Communication Association Conference as well as be published.

That is where the stress lies! How does one work a full time plus job, spend 12 hours a week driving, spend another 8 hours or so simply sitting in on support groups and then another who knows how many hours writing...And expect to have a decent result? And how do you explain to others the amount of stress that you are under without sounding whiny? I'm really the only person I know of in my boat!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


A long and busy semester has ended and my nights and weekends that were once filled with Health Communication and The Future of News will now be dominated by research in Second Life.

Initially my project on Second Life and social support groups was just going to be a literature review for my Health Communication Class. It evolved from there into a thesis topic and an independent summer research project.

Over the summer I will be working with my adviser to collect all of my data (by sitting in on support groups in Second Life and doing 1x1 interviews people who go to support groups in SL) and then writing the paper with the hopes of getting it into the Eastern Communication Association this fall and ultimately into a journal.

The big news, while at ECA my adviser spoke with another professor about work she had previously published and told her that we were using it in our research. They discussed the research I was going to be doing this summer and she was interested in it and ultimately wants to work on the project with us. It is very exciting for me!! We had a conference call a couple of weeks ago that went very well and I think that she will be able to bring more of the social support side of things into the equation that my adviser and I don't as much about.

Overall, VERY exciting!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Who Ever Said Grad Students Aren't Any Fun??

So, tomorrow marks the beginning of the last day of the semester and what does that mean for me? EVERYTHING is due. Let's recap the excitement that was my life this weekend...

Friday night - Yeah, I have no recollection of what happened and not in the good, I was so trashed I don't remember my name kind of way...

Saturday - Spent the morning at McDonald's writing part of a health campaign. There are several McDonalds in my town so I actually have my pick of them. I decided to go to the one closest to my house. Now typically I would have had a coffee milkshake, because really that's my favorite, but since it was 9am I had a hot chocolate...which burned the top of my mouth. Even after that tramatic event I still wrote probably five or so pages...which I consider a success. Then after feeling strange for hanging out at McDonald's for so long, and since the weather was actually nice for a change, I decided to go to the waterfront and actually get some fresh air for a chance. So, I hung out there for a while and then my friend Michelle came by and gave me a much needed distraction from work.

That night I went out to dinner with a friend I hadn't talked to in years which was so fun. I happen to LOVE hot spicy food, so we went and had Pakistani, which we had together a million years ago and ate and talked for 2.5 hours. My clothes still smell like Pakistani food even a day after.

Sunday - Today I experimented with a new writing location, the food court of the mall. Here is the beauty of the mall food court...people leave you alone and they have free wifi. Seriously, I have the ability to get food somewhere if I want it, but I don't have to buy something if I don't want to. There are people walking around all over the place and yelling and chaos...which is the only way I can get anything done...if there is chaos around me. I tried the library and yeah I could plug my computer in, but it is just too quiet. I can't concentrate. But my time at the mall was highly productive and I finally got my health campaign paper written, all 28 pages of it. So, I'm feeling highly accomplished. Unfortunately I still need to create my portfolio and make up a power point, but that will have to wait for another day. Sadly it will have to be done the day before it is all due.

Yup, how exciting is my life?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

And There Now Is A Plan

I've been pretty vocal of my love of Grad School. It makes me happy to spend time doing the readings and to write the papers. Things had been a bit up in the air since I was officially accepted into the program starting the fall of 2009. But now I have a plan.

I have been meeting with a professor about a paper that I was writing for another class about social support groups in second life. He had been giving me advice on how to do the research and some of the things I should be looking at. So, at my second meeting with him, and after I got my official acceptance letter, I asked him to be my thesis adviser. To which he said yes. So YEAH for me!! I'm incredibly excited. He specialized in Computer Mediated Communication, which is what I'm into as well. And he is into my research project. I sat down with him last week and set up my schedule and determined that I will actually go the communication route instead of mass communication, which is actually really good. I'd been going back and forth not sure which I should do and really just needed someone to tell me what to do.

With that said, the communication route is apparently more difficult and will be especially hard for me since I have no background in interpersonal communication. I went the pure journalism route for my BA. So, it's going to be a rough road, but I'm sure I can handle it....somehow. The best news...He wants me to do directed research over the summer and present at a conference in the fall, and then publish in the spring. Pretty sweet!! Oh, and he told me I should get my PhD....which I am actually considering doing. Who would have thought that someone who barely made it through their BA would be looking at getting a PhD....oh how life changes!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Once In A Lifetime...

One of the reasons we chose to go to Iceland, at least for me anyway, was to see the northern lights. I've always wanted to see them and had it on my list of things to do before I die, and I finally got to do it!! We went out at around 9pm on Thursday night on a tour that took us outside of the city (away from the street lights etc.) As you can imagine it was freezing cold and the wind was blowing so much that it made it impossible to take a picture outside. We chose to stay in the bus and snap some photos from there and they came out fabulous!! The weather there changes amazingly fast and went from snow blowing so hard it hurt your face to virtually no wind at all. So our bus stopped again and we got some more shots...Aurora Borealis - Iceland
And just to prove we were there....
Aurora Borealis - Iceland

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I Have Thighs of Steel...

Yesterday we went horseback riding. It was terrifying. And today my body is incredibly sore. I can barely walk. I don't know how the girls who ride the horses there everyday do it!

We rode our horses for around an hour or so through lava fields and man was it hard. I had a good horse, he was little and didn't run away with me on him or anything, but it was still scary for me. I'm sure I gave my poor horse mixed messages, I know I must have told him one thing and did the exact opposite with my body, but it worked out.

Unfortunately I don't have any video of us riding our horses, but I did get some video of the farm....and other parts of the country (oh and the waterfall in the video is one of the smaller ones, we're seeing Gulfoss tomorrow when we go superjeeping and caving).

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Swimming Between Eurasia and The Americas...

That's where we went snorkeling today. In between the two tectonic plates. Ya ya...I know, Iceland and snorkeling doesn't so much mix, but it was actually pretty cool (in both senses). Apparently the lake they do the snorkeling in is a constant 32 degrees or so year round (it's so cold that fish don't even go there!). So, even if we went there in the summer it would be cold. But, they are prepared. We got down snowsuits to wear under the water suits. The water was amazingly clear and it didn't feel cold at all with all our layers! Pretty cool that we could see where the fissures were and snorkeled between tectonic plates! Apparently this is the only place on earth you can see them (or so they say). Sadly we couldn't get pictures of ourselves snorkeling because there wasn't anyone there to take the pictures (except for some other tourists who took our picture with their camera, I asked them to email the pictures to us but I'm unsure if they really understood, so I'm not crossing my fingers! You can however, see what we see from the tour company should you choose to (and I would suggest it because it's pretty cool!)
Þingvellir National Park Snorkeling
The hardest part of the whole thing? Getting the GD head thing on! This is actually my favorite photo of the trip and believe it or not it wasn't staged. I'm pretty sure this is the point where I lost one of my diamond earrings. Sadly I got the earrings in South Africa and it has sentimental value :( But life goes on right?!! Tomorrow, I hope to conquer my fear of horses...more to come...
Þingvellir National Park Snorkeling

Monday, March 2, 2009

Glacier Hiking and Ice Climbing

Way too tired to type after 9 hours of hiking/climbing, but we made a video...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The One Where Everything Goes Well!!

Ever have one of those days where things just go perfectly?? I had one of those days today (and yesterday as well...). Today we slept in, we had no plans other than lunch with friends so there was no need for an early morning.

We met up with Barry (who we both worked with for a while) and his girlfriend Heather in Boston where they both live. We got a tour of the station he currently works for and pizza which can I tell you is FANTASTIC! They dropped us off at the airport where we hung out for several hours (5 to be exact). But this was actually a good thing because I got probably 1/3 of my second life paper done. So, less stress on this vacation for me!

So, the best news of all, we ended up in first class for our flight. Accidentally, but first class none the less. I was in charge of getting us to the right seats and quite frankly I failed. I didn't see the 1 in front of the 5, so I had us sitting in seat 5d and 5e instead of 15d and 15e. We were all moved in and the flight attendant came over and asked to see our boarding passes and told us we were in the wrong seats. So we started to gather our stuff to go to our correct seats and he told us just to stay where we were. SCORE! In first class I had smoked salmon, fish and potato's. Then two chocolate deserts. It was really good. We also got some presents which included hand cream, socks and lip chap, oh and a really nice bag to hold it all. I'll be keeping the bag with me all the time.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Yup...we got to meet the band...

How many modes of transportation can one use in a day? Yesterday I capped off at five. Here is the breakdown...

1. Drove our car to Portland (2 hours)
2. Picked up the Concord Trailways bus there and took that to Logan Airport (2 hours)
3. Grabbed a commuter bus there to get to South Station (1 hour)
4. Took the red line (10 minutes)
5. Got a cab to the hotel (10minutes)

Add in waiting for busses and figuring out how to get where we needed it took about 6 hours to get here...a trip that would normally take around 4 or so in a car. But a easy price to pay for not having to pay $25 a day to park in the city for a week...oh yeah, and avoiding driving in Boston!

We came down a day early to see The Yellowjackets, a jazz group my husband is a fan of. And...can I just say that I am now in the running for the best wife EVER! Not only did I find the concert that coincidentally was the night before we were supposed to leave for our trip (and taking place in the same city we were to leave from) but I also took pictures of him with the band. Yup, I did. The venue was very small, probably around 200 people or so and everyone sat at small round tables. They played from around 8 to 9:30 or so and after sold cd's in the lobby and autographed them and posed for photos. So, we now own the latest Yellowjackets cd, autographed.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Oh It's Coming Fast!!

In T-minus 7 days I will be in Iceland and can I just say it doesn't seem like it's that close! Maybe it's because life is so incredibly busy with school and work, or maybe it's because we planned everything so long ago...I don't know...The planning isn't going oh so fast, but here's what we know so far....

Friday - Drive to Boston to see the yellowjackets because Matt is a fan. Me not so much, but I hear I'll be able to get dressed up in my hot little black dress and drink a couple toasted almonds...and that makes me happy.

Saturday - Hang out in Boston and maybe have lunch with a friend who we haven't seen in a long time. Then catch our flight at 8:30pm.

Sunday - Arrive in Iceland and hit the hot springs. This is where I pray that I have kept my low carb diet the week before because sadly the only bathing suit I have is a bikini and nobody wants to see a chunky carbed out me at the springs! After a day at the hot springs we'll head into Reykjavik and find our hotel.

Monday - So from here on we have no set plans. We're pretty much thinking that we're going to pick up a few tours. Matt REALLY wants to go in one of the jeep/hummer things and drive fast through rivers and snowbanks. I found a tour that will let him drive. Plus the same tour also lets us hike on a glacier which includes wearing crampons and safety lines and I'm actually pretty psyched about that.
Hopefully on the way home from that tour we'll be able to see the northern lights as that's one of the reasons I wanted to go to Iceland. I've also found another tour that will let us go caving in a lava cave and snorkel. Yet another day of wearing a bathing suit for me. Who would have thought my bikini would get this much use? Seriously, I don't think I broke it out once in South Africa!!

We've also decided that we're going to try some of the fermented shark and whatever the liquor is that people shoot after. There will be video of that. Don't you worry! I'm not sure what else we'll do...We'll probably visit the geyser but I'm not sure what else. We got international drivers licenses so we can rent a car should we want to. Oh and the macbook will be coming with us, partly so we can upload stuff while we're there (because we're cool like that) and partially so I can do homework because sadly the work of a grad student is never done.

Wish me luck...and if anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

I'm Living Proof That One Can Screw Up Royally and STILL Recover!

My undergraduate college experience was pretty much a first class party scene. I stayed up late and ignored the whole learning thing. In fact, there were classes I may have only hit once and then there were the classes I liked, the ones I hit once a month. Somehow I ended up graduating and at the time never expected to want to go back to college. But, somehow things change and I found myself wanting to go back to school and figuring that it would be a long hard road to get in.

So, my plan was to take some classes as a non degree student and see how it went. So I took 2 classes last semester and I'm taking another 2 this semester. I took the GRE's and bombed the first time after a horrible experience with a global meltdown, then took them again the beginning of this month.

Then Wednesday came. It was a great day, work went well and I met with another professor about my second life project. It was a great meeting and I got a ton of information. I was really happy. Then I called home.

Me: I'm leaving right now (45 minutes later than expected)
Matt: Ok...there is a message on the machine from Nate (the graduate coordinator at the school)
Me: really?
Matt: Yeah, do you want to know what he said
Me: Ya
Matt: You got in!!

And that is how I found out that I was accepted into Graduate School!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

When It's Good...It's Good!

Yesterday was one of those days that come a long once in a while where everything seems to go right.

I started my day with the GRE's and I am happy to say that after my first failed attempt, I have actually moved up to average! I'm not proud of my scores, but at least now I can say that I may have a chance at Grad School. I'm not sure how I could do better than last time, I didn't study for them because quite frankly where do I have time to do that? I just basically got a good night sleep and that was it. It was so much less stressful taking them the second time! Seriously, what was the worst that could happen?!

I spent the afternoon on the couch doing some reading and hanging out with the puppy, oh and figuring out the new DVR. It's nice to not feel like you have to be doing something school related when you are home, just to have a minute to yourself to relax and hang out. There is a good deal of stress related to balancing full time work and full time school and having any type of a life outside the two. Any time that I can just sit and not worry about what I need to be doing is huge deal!

Then for dinner we went and had italian and the lady (who normally isn't so pleasant) was really nice to us! We ordered pizza and got some peanut butter pie to go which was SOOOO good!

Oh and the day before I came up with an idea for a paper which may turn into a thesis. VERY exciting!! YEAH FOR ME!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Watch Out Iceland...I'm Legal!

We're about 5 weeks away from spring break which means...I'm going on vacation! I'm excited to go, I desperately need a vacation since I haven't been on one in 7 months or so. Yeah, I know that doesn't seem like a long time at all...I get that! But I'm telling you, once you get the chance to visit foreign countries, you want that excitement all the time. In fact, I'm usually trying to plan two vacations at a time. At the very least I'm always thinking about where I'm going to go next...In fact I'm already thinking about where I can go after Iceland.

But, back to Iceland...

In preparation for our trip, we went and got our international drivers permits. I must say though, I was a little disappointed because I really thought I'd get a license that looked like a US license. Unfortunately it was really just a booklet like the yellow booklet you get when you get your international travel vaccines. It does have a picture of me in it so that's fun. And I'll be able to drive in any country for a year. Granted I won't be doing much of the driving, that will be Matt's job, but I'll have my license just in case something happens, I'll be available to drive to the nearest emergency room (which wouldn't be unprecedented for us on our travels).

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sports...Why Do They Exist?

I first have to say that I'm blessed to have NOT married a sports fan. Yeah he'll go to the occasional hockey game (partially because he works some of them) but for the most part that's it. If you come to my house on a Saturday afternoon, we won't have "the game" on. We probably don't even know what game is playing.

That said, we went to a college hockey game this afternoon and I have to say there are some hard core fans there, and I just don't understand. Now, I do come from a family of sports people, my mother especially. I remember the family Thanksgiving with my mother and her mother and sisters screaming at the TV if the Patriots were playing. This caused me a great deal of embarrassment, even though this was happening in the privacy of my own home and it truthfully may have scarred me for life.

Now, I don't fully understand all the intricacy's of hockey. I pretty much stopped at put the puck in the net, anything beyond that is lost on me. To me how the game is played doesn't matter, I want to know why people get so involved with their sports teams. I could never imagine yelling at the TV or even yelling at players while at the game. You're not on the team, so what's the purpose in getting all wound up about a game? By the way, I enjoy my reality tv, but you'll never catch me yelling at the rock of love girls, and if I was ever going to yell at the tv it would be because of that skanktacular group!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Who Can Make Urgent Care Fun?? I Can!

Tonight I had my first experience at our local Urgent Care. The husband had a hurt back and we thought he might have kidney stones, so off to the Urgent Care we went. Now, not everyone would have a good time there, but I like to think we're a fun couple who make the best out of every situation.

So, here is a list of the good and the disappointing ....

First, for the things that will get Urgent Care an A+ in my book....

Warm towels and juice. That's right. I wasn't even a patient and I was offered a warm blanket and some ginger ale. I couldn't even get some juice on a recent flight. I may hang out there just for the free drinks...oh and the casino because as a member of the players club I get free soda there too...

Quiet time. You wouldn't think you'd get that in a public place, but it really did happen. Sure people came in and out, but sick people don't make much noise. Maybe its their weakened state. I don't know, but it was nice to go somewhere and have it be peaceful. I may end up going there to do homework next semester.

The pee cup package. Now, I didn't get to experience the pee cup myself, so I'm taking the husbands word on that one. His exact words...."it was like a boxed lunch, except with a cup to pee in". Apparently it had a funnel to move your pee into the cup. Seriously, how much fun is that!

Things that disappointed me...

THE LACK OF WIFI! I brought the touch so I could check my email and tweet...but signal. Sad, sad, sad. So, I ended up playing some majong, learning some sign language from an app I had downloaded and never used, and watching some It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I admit I did laugh out loud when watching the just amuses me.

No turn your head and cough for the husband. I can't help it, every time he goes to the doctor I swear they're poking around down there. I get a fair amount of amusement knowing that's happening, so I was disappointed he came out unscathed.

Let's hear it...what's the strangest place you've had a good time?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

So That's What That Means...

I'm not much of a resolutions kinda girl. If I really want to do something, I just do it regardless of the time of year. But, this year I'm feeling a little left out after reading everyone's resolutions blogs. So, I'm joining the masses.

Finding a resolution that I could actually stick with required a lot more effort than I had initially thought. I went through the typical hit the gym more often and be nicer to my enemies...blah blah blah...

Then I thought, why would I want to be nicer to people I don't like. That's just stupid!

And as for the exercising...Yeah, I could stand to loose a few and I do hope to go down a size this year...but then I think...I'm a size 4! How much more do I really need to loose? I'm just not down with being the next Donatella.

So, after ruling out the obvious I decided to look at things my husband has complained that I don't do well. Two things immediately came to mind here, my poor ass spelling and my failure to use slang phrases appropriately.

Now, I have no intention on cleaning up my spelling. Now-a-days I rarely ever use a pen for anything meaningful so that leaves me with spell check, and if spell check doesn't pick up my mistake, well then, really its the fault of technology and it's out of my hands.

This then leaves me with my only flaw being my lack of slang knowledge, which I attribute to a failing memory and a recent lack of quality television time.

I had heard the term "bust a nut" used in conversation off and on and for the life of me thought it was appropriate to use the term when there was an injury to the groin area of a man. Apparently this is incorrect and the fact that I use the term wrongly in front of our dog daughter upsets the husband. I'm not sure if its the whole using the term at all...or the fact that I don't use it right that bothers him. I don't ask.

I also tried to use "snap" unsuccessfully on facebook as well. I think I used it correctly, however the husband looked at me with a blank stare and walked away.

Based on that reaction, I think it is very clear that the husband is not in the mood to mentor me ... so, are there any takers out there?? And exactly what slang should I be implementing in 2009?