Friday, February 26, 2010

Tests, Toenails, and TV's

Good news!  The Spanish test was delayed until today so I didn't miss it after all!  I was completely unprepared and will not likely get an A, but I think I passed.  I won't have to drop after all.  I will definitely be subscribing to the book's online activities to catch up.

My toes are much better since I lanced the blisters.  I might have even saved one of the nails.  We'll have to wait and see.  I'm tempted to take a picture, but does anyone really want to see that?  

My laptop monitor just stopped working.  I hooked it up to the TV and everything works, so I'm searching for parts online.  I wonder how hard it is to replace?  It's only $100 - $150 for the new monitor as opposed to $900 to buy a new computer...

That is my photo of my TV.  It makes a terrific 40" monitor! 


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Toenails Are For Sissies

Toenails are for sissies
Image from flickr.

It's ironic that I never lost a toenail after a half marathon, but I'm probably going to lose at least 2 after one hike.  I need new boots.  They didn't rub any blisters except under my toenails.  My feet must have swollen and my toes started striking the top of the boots and I didn't even notice because my knee was hurting.  Around mile 13 the other hikers started taking my stuff to lighten my load because I was limping.  It turned into a contest to see who could carry the most.  The winner actually took my pack and strapped it to his, carrying 2 packs the last six miles.  I expected people to be saying, "Don't invite her again."  Instead, I've gotten emails asking if my knee was better and hoping I'd make another hike soon.  I did have a lot of fun, despite limping the last 3 hours. 

One hiker sent this to everyone (I changed the other's names to initials):        
The results from the "Quien es mas macho(a)?" contest from the 2/20-21 Lone Star backpacking trip are now in. Apparentely there is a three-way tie between WB. ("El Burro" aka "I'm tired of being Mr. Donkey" aka "The crazy backpackin Cajun"), GS.("I can carry what-ever-the-F you strap to my back, regardless of how it is attached"- sorry G, you missed out on the "mr Donkey" story) and most importantly Jennifer D. ("The Pain blocker" -- who hiked 20 miles with severe patellar tendonitis). You guys and gal carry the torch. Runners up were C ("Bloody Toes" aka "pyro"), K ("Forgot my Boots") and K2 ("The Water Carrier"). Fyi, these results were a very close call.

It was only severe the last 7 miles.  I'll post the entire story soon.  I spent the last 4 days on the couch.  I limped in to school today because I had a Humanities test.  I just realized I missed a Spanish test and don't think I'll get a makeup.  If I do get one but have to take it tomorrow, I'm not prepared.  I'm wondering if I make A's on all the other tests I can still pass?  Maybe I'll hang in until the next test and decide if I need to drop.  I'll talk to my professor tomorrow. 

I'll heal soon.  I'll get new shoes, hiking poles, tape for my knees, and try again.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Take a Hike

Backpacking down Coyote Gulch
Image from flickr.

I finally took my boots and all my gear for a test drive.  I loaded up the backpack and walked 4 miles on the hike / bike trails in my neighborhood.  It took me  an hour and a half but I stopped at least a dozen times to adjust the straps, trying to get them just right.  The pack also has internal aluminum frames that can be bent to better fit your body and I was messing with those.  I'm confident I can do 10 at a pace averaging 2.5 miles per hour, which is what the event leader said they did last time.  It's actually easier to carry than my books even though it weighs more. 

I made the mistake of wearing cotton socks, though, so I have a blister developing on the bottom of one foot.  What was I thinking?  I know better than that...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dollars, Democracy, and Do-Overs

The Ultimate Scholarship Book 2009
Image from flickr.

I bought one of those big books that lists hundreds of scholarships ranging from five hundred to tens of thousands of dollars hoping there would be one or two I could apply for.  Some are random drawings just for registering on a website, online quiz competions, or essay contests.  I'll probably apply for those.  Would you believe there are two awarded for blogging?  There's one that states "applicants must maintain blogs with unique and interesting information".  I'll have to apply and see if they think I'm unique and interesting since they are offering awards of up to $10,000!  If that's not an incentive to keep blogging, I don't know what is.

I also believe using my blog as a prewriting exercise is paying off, so that's another reason to continue.  For my first Humanities discussion I received 15 out of 15 possible points.  I was able to type over 600 words in less than an hour for my second discussion on democracy.  Among other questions, I had to answer:

Why might anyone hate freedom?
How much trouble should be taken to give democracy to other people?
What should be done if people freely vote away their freedom?

I did make brief notes as ideas occurred to me, so I didn't really begin the assignment at the last minute even though I didn't start typing until the morning the assignment was due.  Is that really procrastinating, or is it taking advantage of all the time given?

I received an 81 on my first English Comp paper.  At first, I was disappointed.  Then I discovered I received the second highest grade in our class.  I guess it wasn't so bad after all.  I can revise it for up to 10 additional points.  I started too many sentences with the word "they" and it "reads like bullet points".  She also thought I could use more sophisticated vocabulary and phrasings.  I need to rephrase and use bigger words.  I do like that she specifies exactly where and why she took off points.  Not every instructor will do that.     

Monday, February 15, 2010

Just in Time

Pencil & Scantron
Image from flickr.

Have you heard of the "just in time" practice of moving goods only when they're needed instead of spending money on storage?  I think I've adopted a "just in time" study habit.  I finished my essay en espanol 5 minutes before class.  In now have to complete my second Humanities essay (due tomorrow).  That means I'll be writing my speech to be delivered in Spanish (due Wednesday) tomorrow afternoon.  The plan is to do it in time to practice with the tutors.  I am allowed notes, but cannot read word for word from a paper.

I got my grades from my first two tests...92 in Spanish and 99 in Biology!  Woo hoo!!!!  Did you know we have to buy our own Scantron forms?   

I have also confirmed with my Biology professor that studying does indeed burn calories.  I made a comment to one of my classmates that it makes me hungry and I've been cooking or baking during study breaks.  Her response was that the brain burns on average 20 percent of our caloric intake.  It stands to reason that when you use it more, it burns more.  I can still have faith in my theory that if I eat every time I'm hungry, and only when I'm hungry, I will not become obese (not to be confused with the few extra pounds I sometimes carry).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Estudio Mucho

Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14, 2010

You Still Have to Read For a Math Phd

That is not me.  I've been using images from Flickr in my blog lately.

I spent the weekend watching the olympics and studying.  I've outlined two Biology chapters since I can't remember just by reading.  If I write, I remember a lot more.  I used to make crib notes in high school, but by the time I finished writing everything I didn't need them any more. 

I haven't started my Spanish assignments yet.  I have to write an entire page (due tomorrow) in Spanish answering the questions:  Que estudias?  Cuantas clases tomas?  Cual es tu especialdad?  (What do you study?  How many classes do you take?  What is your major?)  There are supposed to be inverted question marks in front of each question and accents on each interrogative word, but I can't figure out how to add them with my English only keyboard.  I also have to give a 3 minute speech (Wednesday) in Spanish.  That's scary.  I'm going to be using some very elementary sentences in both my written paper and my speech.   

I need a more comfortable place to study.  I'm cramping quite painfully from sitting on the couch with my legs crossed.  I've got a little table in my bedroom, but they say you should only sleep and have sex in there.  I don't know where I'd put it in the living room.  I guess it's time to rearrange the furniture... 

Saturday, February 13, 2010


Friday, February 12, 2010

Dirty dishes
Image by MelissaRStern from flickr.

Do you ever have those moments when you completely understand why some parents beat their children?  The kitchen is supposed to be my daughter's job.  I was trying to make spinach stuffed shells last night and every dish I pulled from the cupboard was dirty!  She refuses to rinse them before loading the dishwasher and apparently didn't even look at them before she put them away.  After I'm done decluttering the pantry, the cupboard is next.  Too many dishes only encourages the dirty ones to pile up.  They sometimes don't get washed until we're out of clean ones.  Anything we don't need is getting tossed!


Thursday, February 11, 2010


Image from flickr.  Umbrella's, originally uploaded by bartwe.
It was a nasty, rainy day but I couldn't stay inside. I had to go to school. I pulled the hood of my wool jacket over my head. It sheds quite a bit of water, but I was still getting wet. I heard a voice say, "Wanna share?" A girl I'd never met stuck her umbrella over my head and walked me to class. It's nice to receive an affirmation that people can still be kind and generous.

P.S. I just throw my daily posts together and stop writing when I run out of things to say. I'd like to do a better job on my Travel Tip Thursday posts. I've started some outlines and will get the stories out soon. Can't wait to tell you about the Australian rugby team, Hanauma Bay, Germaine's Luau, stalking Bon Jovi, etc. I'm having fun remembering my trip.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Image from flickr.

I know I made the right decision, but I see him online and I want to IM.  It's killing me that I can't call.  I'm pathetic.

Studying and Baking

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

BEST pumpkin bread ever
Image by 3 Bees from Flickr. 

I had to study Spanish and Biology for my first two tests.  I have discovered something we didn't have back in the day.  My textbooks have supporting websites that will generate practice quizzes.  They are terrific study aids.  My Spanish textbook would have come with free access to an online "Activity Pak" for additional practice if it was new.  Since I bought it used, I would have to pay $21.88 for two years.  That might be worth paying.  I can't learn by staring at a page in a book. I have to use the words to remember them.  When I first learned that we would not be allowed to speak any English in class, only Spanish from day one I was more than a little nervous.  I now appreciate that is the best way to learn.  I have a hard time coming up with the right words and forming the sentences, but I can understand what she's saying.

Studying makes me hungry.  Does it burn calories?  It gives me the urge to cook, too.  I made pumpkin bread during study breaks.  I baked three loaves in those disposable aluminum pans.  I noticed that the bread came out clean, not sticking at all, so I automatically washed them and put them back in the pantry to use again.  Uh oh.  More hoarding?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Creole Green Beans

Creole Green Beans

Image from flickr.  Mine didn't look this pretty, but they tasted good.

I have some salsa left over from when I made chili and need to find a way to use it up.  Yes, I know salsa goes great with tortilla chips, but I'm trying to eat healthy foods.  I need to find something else.  Here's a recipe for Creole Green Beans that calls for half a cup of salsa.  OK, let's try it.  15-minute prep...that means it will take me at least 30. 

First, I need 2 small onions, chopped.  Is it weird that chopping onions only bothers one of my eyes?  A few years ago, I had an intraocular lens implanted in my right eye and it's the only one that's stinging.  The food processor in the corner mocks me as I dab at my eye with a cool cloth.  "You could have used me to chop those onions.  La idiota."  Did it not see me tossing clutter?  (I did my 15 minutes today.)  It could be next...  

I have to saute the onions in 1/4 cup butter.  How long?  Until they are golden brown?  Until I'm tired of cooking them, which is now.  I picked two of the smallest I could find, but this seems like an awful lot of onions to go with 4 cups of green beans. Wait a minute.  This recipe is for a 2-quart slow cooker.  I need to double the recipe anyway because mine is much larger.  Let's make that 8 cups of green beans. 

Next, I have to combine the onions with the remaining ingredients in the slow cooker.  I need a full cup of salsa instead of half, which is almost exactly how much I have left.  2 to 3 Tbsp. of brown sugar doubled is 4 to 6.  I choose 4.  One half teaspoon of garlic salt is optional.  I'll add it, but not doubled.  Finally, I have to cook them on low for 3 to 4 hours.  After they've been cooking for a couple of hours I'll put some chicken, skin removed, in the oven with some Zatarain's Creole Seasoning.   

Dinner was yummy.  I'm learning. 



Sunday, February 7, 2010


My Messy Room
Image by ClaMs from flickr.

I'm watching a show called "Hoarders" and it's breaking my heart.  These people are so attached to their stuff that they never throw any of it away.  A man is faced with cleaning up his yard or going to jail, and he's still having difficulty letting it go.  The people from the show are there to provide labor and assist with the logistics, but he still doesn't want to let it go.

It's a little frightening.  My home is nothing like what I see on TV, but those people weren't always like that.  It started slowly and built up over the years.  The only difference I see between them and me is that I don't have the emotional attachment.  If someone showed up at my door and offered to haul everything away, I'd let them.  If I could afford to start all over, I would.  How fun it would be to tell someone, "Take it all.  I'm going shopping."

My problem is disorganization.  Time to get organized.  I'm thinking if I devote 30 minutes a day, I could get a lot accomplished.  I've said I was going to do it before, but I didn't have a plan.  I'm going to plan it out on a project planner.  I'll report back here in a week on my progress.  I could make it a regular feature:  Progress Report Sunday.  What do you think?    

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I've Been Tagged

Le Grand 8 (0+0=8)
Photo from flickr

Christiejolu from Tales From My Head tagged me awhile's taken a little time...

8 Shows I like to watch:

2- Battlestar Galactica
3- Firefly
4- Survivor
5- Amazing Race
6- Northern Exposure
7- Stargate:  Atlantis
8- Dirty Jobs

8 Favorite places I like to eat and drink:

1- Cafe Adobe
2- Buffalo Wild Wings
3- Pappadeaux
4- Pappasito's
5- Outback Steakhouse
6- Pho Saigon
7- Cafe Express
8- KFC

8 Things I look forward to:

1- Shinedown Meet and Greet I finally got tickets for in March
2- My daughter's high school graduation
3- My graduation
4- My first backpacking trip
5- Hawaii trip in December
6- Summer road trip
7- Making new friends
8- New romance

8 Things that happened yesterday:

1- Ended a romance that never really took off
2- Published my 100th blog post
3- Was late to school
4- The cat tried to force me to kill him
5- Cancelled my hiking trip
6- Wore my new hiking boots to school to start breaking them in
7- Both cats curled up in my lap at the same time
8- Was tempted to call and say, "I didn't mean it"...but didn't.

8 Things I love about winter:

1- Don't have to shave as often.
2- Don't have to wear a swimsuit
3- It's not 107 degrees outside
4- Lower electric bills
5- Snuggling on the couch under a blanket with a good book
6- Snuggling under a blanket with a special someone
7- Hot cocoa
8- The occasional snow flurries

8 Things on my wish list:

1- A better camera
2- My own home
3- A beautiful garden
4- Funds for school
5- Ford Mustang GT convertible
6- A self-cleaning kitchen
7- New bedroom furniture
8- A bridge to Hawaii

8 Things I am passionate about

1- Hiking
2- Kayaking
3- Marathons
4- Music
5- Wyoming
6- Hawaii
7- Texas
8- My independence

8 Words / phrases I use most often

1- Get down.
2- Pick that up.
3- Did you feed the cats?
4- Where are you going?
5- When will you be home?
6- Good morning.
7- Good night.
8- I love you.

8 Things I learned from the past:

1- It's better to be alone than to be in a bad relationship.
2- It's better to be in a good relationship than to be alone.
3- You can't make someone love you.
4- You can't have it fast, good, and cheap...pick 2.
5- There's always someone smarter, prettier, better off than you.
6- There's always someone uglier, dumber, worse off than you.
7- Pretty faces are a dime a's not enough.
8- You can't hide broccoli in a glass of milk.  (OK I borrowed that one.)

8 Places I would like to visit:

1- Grand Canyon
2- Washington DC
3- Romania
4- Alaska
5- New York City
6- Vegas
7- San Diego
8- Cayman Islands

 8 Things I want / need

1- To win the lottery.
2- My degree.
3- A maid.
4- A badass racing bike.
5- A mountain bike.
6- A kayak.
7- More hours in a day.
8- Three copies of myself.

8 People I would love to tag:

1- Rebecca S. @ Letters to the World
2- gayle @ Gramme's Blog
3- Anita @ Beyond the Diapers and Spills
4- Buckaroomama @ Mamahood, Among Other Things
5- yonca @ Yonca is Cooking
6- Heather @ Welch Happenings
7- smileyfreak @ Nowhere, Over & Out
8- Amanda @ It's All About the Walls

Participation is strictly voluntary.  No hexes will be placed upon your household if you don't participate.  Go visit these blogs if you get a chance.

Friday, February 5, 2010


My asthma kept me awake all night and into the morning.  I missed my first two classes completely.  I didn't get to my 10:00 class until 10:30.  We only meet once a week, so I didn't want to miss everything. 

I'm afraid to hike 11 miles into the forest where there is no cell phone coverage with my asthma acting up.  I had to withdraw my name.  Hopefully, someone on the waiting list will be able to go in my place.  There is another trip in two weeks.  I'll spend the time getting used to the weight of my pack and breaking in my new shoes.  I wore them to school, by the way.  They seem quite comfortable so far.  They are warm, dry, and don't hurt my feet at all.

I don't drunk text very often, but I tend to insomnia text.  Poker Guy is going to be riding the MS150 with her.  I know they've been planning it a long time, but it pisses me off.  I sent him a message that said, "If you're going to continue your relationship with A___, I don't think I should see you again.  It bothers me more than I expected."  I haven't heard anything from him yet.  Part of me is hoping he'll call and say he won't see her any more or that the race will be the last time he sees her.  I really don't expect it to happen, though.  They seem to be much closer than I first thought.  


Thursday, February 4, 2010


Sorry.  No travel post today.  My chest is hurting.  Heartache or asthma?  Or maybe a little of both?

Both cats have just crawled into my lap.  Freaky how psychic they are...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


This weekend is my first backpacking trip.  I just checked the weather.  The expected low is 41 and the high is 60.  There is no chance of rain on Saturday but there is a 10 percent chance for Sunday.  If there is any chance of rain, that usually means someone around here is going to get wet.  Should I take my Frogg Toggs?  They are very lightweight and came with their own stuff sack.  There is a hood hidden in the collar.  They look like the ones in the pic.  I would be very uncomfortable wet, so I believe I'll take them.  I won't carry a tarp, though.

I bought some hiking boots.  Academy only had one pair of waterproof boots in my size, so I didn't spend a lot of time comparing different styles.  If these don't work for me, I'll be searching online.  I'll walk a few miles in them tomorrow and Friday.  Should I tramp through some puddles to test how waterproof they really are?

I found a polyester sleeping bag liner for six dollars.  I'll be taking that with me.  I've learned that just because your sleeping bag is rated to 40 degrees doesn't mean it's comfortable at 40 degrees.  A liner will give me another ten degrees of warmth.  Silk would be better, but much more expensive.

I'm getting excited!   


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Though I'm Far Away

Poker Guy is now in Ohio.  He called me during his drive and we talked for almost an hour.  I almost never spend that long on the phone.  He's coming back to Houston in April for the MS150, a bike ride from Houston to Austin which benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. 

I said, "But I'm not going to see you in April."

"What?  Why not?"  He sounded a little hurt.

"Because you'll be busy riding your bike 150 miles."

"I'm spending a week in Houston."

The ride is only for the weekend.  I guess I'm seeing him again in April...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Not This Time

We were out of cat food and I didn't want to make a special trip to the store.  My daughter said if I gave her money, she'd go.  The last time I sent her to get something because I didn't want to, she wrecked.  The cats ate tuna.