Monday, January 31, 2011

Another one bites the dust

Did you know that Knoxville, Tennessee is about half way between Athens, Georgia and Oxford, Ohio?  I did.  Megan did. 

A few weekends ago, Megan and I decided to meet up in Knoxville.  Megan's my favorite coffee Friday friend.  Fortunately, even though there are many miles between us, we still manage (most Friday's) to skype a coffee date.  She's doing her Master's out at Miami and I'm so glad to be a part of her life and her journey into student affairs!

Anyway, here are some pictures (and stories) from the trip!

Friday=Meet up, eat dinner, a visit to the hot tub at the hotel, and quality catch up time.

Saturday morning we went to the Knoxville Zoo.  Despite it being cold and some of the animals being taken inside for winter, we still saw tons of fun creatures.  It's official, I now want to own a red panda.
Umm do you blame me?  Look at how cute he is!
So whenever we could, we attempted to find 'indoor' animals.  Although we found few inside, we did find a couple kids areas.  Here is me attempting to go down the slide.  It was too small, or I was too big.  :)
I love this sign.  Don't want to make the animals sick now, do we.
Not only is Knoxville, TN halfway between the two of us, but it also gave each of us the chance to cross off another state.  For me, Kentucky was the kicker.  Saturday night, we drove up to Kentucky to check out the Cumberland Falls. 
Apparently, on a full moon, you can see a moonbow from the mist.  The moonbow is the only one in the western hemisphere, and the waterfall is said to be the mini niagra falls (125 feet wide).  Although the full moon was 3 days later, we were hopeful.  After all, the website did say it can sometimes been seen 2-3 days before and after a full moon. 
Aside from it being beautiful, I also learned how to use the slow shutter on my camera.  The waterfall was amazing.  Unfortunately, we didn't see the moonbow.  Maybe next time.
Sunday we tackled a new state for Megan, North Carolina.  We headed to an Appalachian trailhead on the Tennesse/North Carolina border.  The drive was magnificent, the views were breathtaking, and the snow was white. 
North Carolina must be known for their tunnels.  When my mom and I visited in October, there were beautiful tunnels all throughout the mountain.  Different part of the mountain, different type of tunnel, but amazing nonetheless.
Megan and I decided we would hike part of the trail.  We tried to find the official markers on the trail, we did not succeed.  Either we didn't hike far enough, or maybe they were all buried in the many feet of snow.

Ooops, Megan fell.  Oh, right after she said, I think this is where I ... slipped last time.
Sunday night Megan and I ate at this place called, the Old Mill.  Need I say that the bread was delicious?  Three baskets.
Sunday night, Megan and I went to this place called Wonderworks.  It was actually more of an accident.  While driving through Pigeon Forge, we saw this wacky building that looked upsidedown.  After hiking, we decided we were heading back to the hotel and would finish the evening by relaxing in the hot tub.  We were both fairly exhausted.  We did, however, agree to stop at this strange building to see what it was before heading back to the hotel. 

Upon entering and seeing the staircase built on the ceiling, we were intrigued.  Apparently, the building is a sort of exploritory learning museum with over 120 exhibits and the largest indoor ropes course.  After some debate, we were sold.  Literally, they sold us two tickets.  :)  It was such a blast.  I am glad we did it.  Here are a couple pictures from some of the exhibits.

Megan in the hurricane simulator
 The earthquake simulator
 The ropes course.so.cool!
 Smart glass bathroom (frosts the glass when locked)
And this would be the building with us outside. So glad we went!
The weekend with Megan was fun!  It's always nice to be with people who really, really know you...and still like you anyway. :)

Ps. If you are wondering, I now have Connecticut, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and Alaska left...woohoo, only four more to go!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Snowpocalypse

On Sunday night and into Monday (January 9th & 10th), we here in the south had a dumping of snow thrust upon us and some have called it the snowpocalypse or the weather or northern aggression. 


For those of you from the south, you may have heard this before.  For me, I've always referred to the war between the north and the south as...the civil war...shocking, I know. Here, many southerns refer to it as 'the war of northern aggression.'  No I'm not kidding.  Thus the weather of northern aggression.  Wow.  Anyway, I'm digressing.

Sunday night, the school announced its closure on Monday.  So on Monday, Mallory and I trekked out to Larry & Christy's for lunch.  It really was a bit of a trek, lots of snow, and a layer of ice upon the snow.  In the afternoon, we went sledding.  Tuesday, another snow day.  So I did some stuff around my house and in the afternoon, went out for another sledding day.  Wednesday, another snow day.  So I did some stuff around my house and... you get the point. :)

The school opened late on Thursday and late on Friday.  It was quite the week and although the snow days were wonderful, I was looking forward to getting back into a routine.

Here are some pictures.  We got approximately 6-8.2 inches of snow.  Clearly, Georgia is unprepared for that amount of snow.
 Monday after the trek to Larry & Christy's
The people (and kids) in H-105 made this huge, and lovely, snowman! :)
 The hill by the intramural field, awesome for sledding. Ps. a trash bag covered pillow is an amazing sled!
 My dead plants. However, I thought it was symbolic, the snow did make me happy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Christmas 2010 (part III)

After leaving California, I was headed to Oregon to spend time with my mom and sister.  Now that I'm a student again, I had 3 weeks off and spent almost 2 of them in Oregon.  Here's the list, pictures, and recap of my time in Oregon.

Fringe.
My sister got me hooked on fringe this season.  So I caught up on seasons 1 & 2.  Yes friends, that's about 26 hours of TV watching.  Yikes, but soooo good. :)

Christmas Eve.
My sister's church held a Christmas Eve service at the Portland theatre downtown.  It was a wonderful celebration of the birth of Jesus, very authentic, very real worship.  I also enjoyed the hot drinks and cookies provided in the lobby.  :)

Christmas.
Christmas is no longer a wake up early, run downstairs event.  In part, we don't have stairs.  After a slow moving morning, we opened presents, had two lovely breakfasts, and hung out around the house.  One of my favorite gifts, that I accidentally left in Oregon but should be on it's way back to me is a necklace my sister got me.  There's a long back story which I will save you all from (this post is already going to be long).  But the necklace is this cute little heart and on the front it says, 'I love that we're sisters'.  Ahhhh.  Sweet.  Right.  On the back it says, "And I love that there is nothing you can do about it'.  Now that's more like my sister.  Ha. 

Reading.
I got a couple great books for Christmas.  I enjoy reading, but frankly with school I haven't done much fictional reading.  Well, I made up for that this break.  A friend in Athens recommended the 'hunger games'.  The book, which turns out to be a trilogy, is young adult fiction about...well, the premise makes the books sound awful, but that couldn't be further from the truth.  I read the first on Christmas day and had to run out and get the second and third...which of course I read in two subsequent days.  Best piece of fiction since Harry Potter.  Amazing. 

New Years Eve.
I  think New Years Eve is kind of a bust of a holiday.  Don't get me wrong, I stay up til midnight and 'celebrate', but I've never really understood why such celebration occurs over the flipping of a calendar page.  If you actually still use a paper calendar, it happens every midnight.  It is however an excuse to get people together.  My mom, sister, and her roommate spent the night playing games.  It was a relaxed and enjoyable time!  Oh...and I made a new settlers convert.  ;)

McMenamins.
The McMenamins are a family who take local historic or old buildings and convert them into hotels, movie theaters, breweries, and restaurants.  Not having ever experienced one, we went to see the movie Red.  The theater has all couches and tables, and you can order food, beer, or snacks while the movie plays.  It was a fun experience.  Next time, I'll make sure it's a movie I really want to see.  

Home videos.
One night my sister, being her sneaky self, brought out some old home videos.  Of course, she primarily brought out the old videos of me singing.  Oh yes, all my grade school performances were taped.  Watching these videos brought back wonderful memories and tons of laughter.  Here is one of my favorites of my sister in a Christmas musical from church.  
video

Snowshoeing.
I love hiking.  I love snow.  So why not love snowshoeing?!  Well, since I had never been, I couldn't have an informed opinion.  But now, I know I love it.  My sister and I went up to the foot of Mt. Hood on some 'trail'.  It was a beautiful trek with the view of Mt. Hood ahead of us.  The trail was about 3 miles long and many miles wide.  The snow covered trees were a sight!  I enjoyed the time with my sister AND the time in the snow!
We're excited about being in the snow!
 My 'trek' picture was actually taken on the way down, but the view this way was much better!
Yay for snow!

There were many more highlights from the trip including my sister discovering the brand of her favorite bed at Macy's (after practically climbing under the bed to find the name plate) and dessert at Papa Haydn's; the time was precious and I returned to Athens rested, rejuventated, and ready for the next semester!

End of Book.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas 2010 (part II)

After celebrating Christmas with my dad and the extended family, I spent the next few days with my mom's side.  Since my grandpa has yet to make a miraculous recovery, I treasure the times I get to spend with them.  Additionally, for Christmas, my mom's siblings chipped in to buy her a flight down for Christmas for which she was able to take family and medical leave.  So Sunday, I did family Christmas with my grandparents, aunt, uncle, mom, sister, and cousins.  It was such a special time.  
 I don't remember what was so funny, but I love this picture.
 Aunt Sherry and Wayne
My aunt and cousin make wrap with beautiful bows, however, sometimes they're hard to undo.  My sister to the rescue with the scissors!
 Cousins
My grandma got a blanket and a Bible with large size print for Christmas.  Both of which my grandpa tried (successfully) to borrow.  He read some out of her Bible that night, it was a precious moment with his insertions of 'yes Jesus and you know it Lord' after passages about strength or such.  It was funny enough to keep us all from sobbing as he read.

A little later, I reminded my grandpa that if he was going to borrow grandma's gifts, he should let her borrow his.  (Only he got gloves, which wouldn't fit her, and a shirt, same problem.)  He responds with, "I'll let her borrow my shirt...when she washes it...cause I'm a good husband."  He's obviously being a ham, and now has us cracking up with his sarcasm.  I later point out to him that I've obviously been looking for the wrong qualities in a guy...clearly I need to find one who will let me do his laundry.  ;)
Sunday night, my cousin Jonathan stayed around and we played Settlers...and my mom won?!  Not quiet sure how that happened. ;)

My mom and sister went back to Oregon on Monday and I stayed around until Tuesday afternoon.  Monday night, my grandma and I went on a date to see Tangled.  Cute movie, and it was fun to spend some quality time with just her!  After we had a snack before bed.  Hot chocolate and cinnamon and sugar toast will ALWAYS remind me of my grandma and grandpa Rhymes.
Tuesday morning, I made breakfast for my grandparents and for my uncle (he's staying with them to help out around the house, etc).  Swedish pancakes have been a family favorite for years, and I thought I'd find the recipe and whip some up that morning.  I feel a little tricked as the recipe was under Norwegian, which referenced French pancakes...but, my grandma had added her own writing into the cookbook making them 'Swedish'. :)  I also thought the cookbook was too funny not to include a picture.
Tuesday afternoon, my friend Kristel, former roommate, picked me up so we could hang out until my flight on Wednesday morning.  And where did we stop for lunch?!   In-N-Out!  Yumm! 
We had a wonderful visit, even though it was short.  I miss my southern California friends, Kristel being one of them!  I was bummed I couldn't get down there this year, however, grateful I was able to spend some quality time with Kristel (as her family lives in northern California).

In other news...I began to panic on Tuesday when I hadn't received email check in information for my Wednesday flight.  Long story short, apparently I didn't book the flight.  Which is odd, because I remember exactly where I was when I bought it.  In case you wanted to know, I was sitting at Common Ground parking lot on Wednesday (before Thanksgiving) in the Tiff-terra, as CG was actually closed, but their free wi-fi still worked.  I remember purchasing it before going to dinner with my friend Kelley.  I remember.  I remember.  Only, they don't.  And there was no record.  And it wasn't on my credit card.  So Tuesday night, I frantically called Alaska Airlines to double check, and to repurchase, or purchase for the first time, my flight from California to Oregon.

It was a close call, the flight was overbooked by one, me.  But thankfully, and with much prayer, I was able to get on the flight!

Oregon, here I come.

End of part two.