Thursday, May 28, 2009

A quick note

Happy Thursday night, everyone! This means's almost Friday! Yippee! Sorry for my absence in the bloglands today...I was sequestered away at a work retreat all day. I wish I could say I had fun. was a work retreat. Go figure.

Matt and I are busy "packing" (with quotations because he is packing while I am blogging) and getting ready for our big weekend in Michigan. We leave tomorrow morning for the 4.5 hour drive to St. Joseph for my friend Jenny's wedding tomorrow evening. Hmm, that was a long sentence. Saturday morning, we'll drive three more hours to my parents' house, where we will celebrate my mom's birthday! Yay! And then on Sunday and Monday, we'll be attending a visitation/funeral. So, a wedding, a birthday, and a funeral, all packed into one weekend. It sounds like a movie, doesn't it?

I am sad to report that my wonderful friend (and bridesmaid!) Anna lost her grandmother earlier this week. While Anna is from Seattle, her grandmother lived in Michigan. Anna currently lives in North Carolina, and while I wish it could be a happier occasion, I am so happy to be able to see her this weekend. It has been about eight months since we saw each other last.

Monday after the funeral, Matt and I will be driving the six hours back home. Whew! Thank goodness I start working part-time next week. Although it will still be busy. I have a regular work day on Tuesday, and then a Chamber of Commerce golf scramble on Wednesday. Nooooooo! I am dreading this. We have to get there at 6:30am and work until 8pm. Blech. Blech blech blech. Anyway, then I have a regular workday on Thursday...and on Friday, Matt and I are getting back in the car for a weekend in Nashville with Jenn and Ryan. Whew. I am exhausted just thinking about all of that!

That being said...time to get back to "packing." Without the quotations. And, thanks so much to Taryn for showing me my NEW favorite blog, Unnecessary Quotations. Check it out. You will "laugh." HARD.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A variation of Overheard in my Office...

Yesterday at work, a teacher sent out an email to all staff asking for good summer reading books.  I have, of course, been reading all of the replies and adding them to my own summer reading list.  Because you already know how I feel about reading.  

This morning, I saw that several additional teachers had emailed out their summer reading suggestions.  That's when I saw my personal favorite:

"The Autobiography of Richard Nixon.  I don't remember who wrote it."

Am I the only one who sees some humor in that comment?  

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My two new favorite blogs

I have been spending so much time lately on these two websites that I thought it was time to post my love here, in public, for all to see.

I am obsessed with Cakewrecks and Awkward Family Photos.  

If you are not familiar with either of these blogs...please, go immediately.  You will LOVE. THEM.  I promise.  Here are some sneak peaks of some of my favorites:

From Awkward Family Photos:  Happy Mother's Day

From Cakewrecks, this one is also almost too unbelievable to, well, you know...believe.  It is called...The First Censored Cake Wreck.  And I clearly see why.  

Both photos courtesy of cakewrecks and awkwardfamilyphotos

Seriously - check these blogs out, asap.  You WON'T regret it!

Weekend Recap

Happy Tuesday morning, lovelies!  Did you all have a fantastic weekend?  Do tell!

My weekend was very quiet and laid-back, which is just the way I like it.  Friday evening, Matt and I were so excited for our friends Tsana and Dave to visit.  They arrived at around 7:30pm and we took them on a brief tour of Bloomington, and then we went out to dinner.  Sadly, they left early Saturday morning so it was a quick visit.  They were stopping en route to Denver, where Tsana is moving to from Boston.  After they departed, Matt and I went to the farmer's market - holy fabulousness!  The official farmer's market season has begun!  

We came home with cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, strawberries, and some absolutely gorgeous flowers.  Love!  

The rest of that day, and all of Sunday, I spent reading Gone With The Wind.  Sigh.  What a fantastic book.  I haven't read it since I was a teenager,'s one of those books that makes you sad when it ends.  I was so attached to the characters and the story...I felt totally bummed out when I finished.  I wanted to reread this because of the southern roadtrip Lisa and I are taking in July...more on that later.  

Aaaaand that was literally my entire weekend.  Yesterday morning, I finished GWTW and then had a good workout (Day 1 of The Shred...round two!).  I don't know if was the Shred or what, but I could not get to sleep last night.  My legs were killing me.  But it was more of a dull ache rather than a muscle soreness...or something?  All I know is that I laid awake, uncomfortable, til past 3:30am.  It sucked.  And of course, this morning I could barely wake up.  

This is a short week - work today and tomorrow, a work retreat (blah) on Thursday, and then on Friday morning, Matt and I are off to Lake Michigan for my friend Jenny's wedding!  Fabulousness!  I am so excited.  Her wedding is on Friday.  Saturday morning, we're driving to my parents' house to celebrate my mom's birthday.  So much fun all in one weekend!  

What is everyone up to this week?  Anything exciting?  Any of you teachers out there getting ready for end of the year??!!!  This is my last week of full-time work and I couldn't be happier!!!

One week left...

...of Fantabulously Frugal's 31 Days of Giveaways.  Have you gone over there and said hello to Lisa yet?  No?  Well, why the heck not?  She is giving away something amazing literally every. single. day. this month.  And, the month's almost over.  You better head on over there and try to win this week!  

Friday, May 22, 2009


In October, a Bloomington police deputy was killed in a traffic accident.  She was directing traffic on a very busy road, when a 16 year old girl accidentally hit and killed her.  She was young - in her twenties - and a newlywed, married for only a few months.  It was - and still is - a terrible tragedy.  The teenager who hit the deputy wasn't under the influence of drugs or alcohol, nor was she speeding.  It was a terrible, terrible accident.

That girl - I'll call her A - goes to the high school I work at, and her younger sister - I'll call her B - is on my caseload.  I have seen the effect this accident had on B.  Ever since then, she has understandably had several issues.  Her grades have gone down tremendously.  She has problems sleeping, going sometimes for days without rest and then sleeping for a day straight.  She is only a freshman in high school.

I saw her this morning for an end-of-semester chit chat.  She told me that her family is moving away from Bloomington in a few weeks.  Apparently, ever since the accident in October, her family, especially her sister A, has been harrassed quite a bit.  There are abundant comments on the Herald Times website (our local paper) saying things like, A should be executed!  Her parents should be referred to Child Protective Services!  And on, and on, and on.

I am really heartbroken.  I would not wish this situation on anyone.  It seems as though the community is so quick to judge, and so harsh in their judgement.  In reality, a tragedy so accidental could happen to any of us, any day of the week, when we leave the house.   A is only sixteen, and she has to live for the rest of her life knowing that she took a life - albeit accidental.  Isn't that punishment enough?  

Now, this family has been forced away from their home.  They are even moving out of state, just for the hope that they will be able to start fresh.

I wish her and her family all the best.  As I said, I wouldn't wish this situation on anyone - this is the rare time in which nobody wins.  

Yay Friday!

Happy Friday, everyone!  Yay!  It's almost the weekend!  I'm hoping that most of you, like myself, have a three day weekend thanks to Memorial Day.  Anyone have fun plans?  I desperately wish that we were going to a super fun barbeque with all of our friends...but, you know, we know practically nobody here, so...that's probably not going to happen!

Reader was driving me nuts yesterday.  I didn't get any new posts until the evening, and it published my posts over twelve hours after I wrote them!  Annoying.

Anyway, Matt had a fabulous birthday!  Thanks for the birthday wishes.  I had special ordered a lovely cake from this fabulous bakery in town (Angel B's, if you're in Bloomington and need something yummy!).  As I was at the bakery picking up the cake, Matt texted me.  It said, "we have a cake!"  His mom had taken him out for lunch, and apparently she brought him a huge cake.  Oops.  

I got home with MY surprise cake, and  We have too much cake.  If you're in Bloomington and feel like having some tasty cake, let me know!  We can have a cake date this weekend.  :)  I took a couple of photos of the cake I picked up, because it is so so gorgeous.

I took Matt out to dinner at our new sushi spot, and it was delish.  We finished off the evening with cake, naturally, and we watched the Da Vinci Code.  Fun stuff!

I also picked myself up some gorgeous purple tulips for one of my fabulous vases we received as a wedding present - a Kate Spade polka dotted rose bowl.  I am bordering on obsessed with this vase, but haven't had any pretty flowers to put in it yet.  I must have mentioned to Matt about a million times that I wanted some purple tulips...but I guess he never got the hint, so I got them myself!  I am so happy.  Quality Blackberry photo below.  

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Overdue Gratitude

Anyone else's Reader effed up today?  It has been HOURS since I've had any new posts, PLUS my morning post hasn't shown up yet on my Reader.  Thoughts?  Comments?  Feelings of distress?  

Anyway!  Reader angst aside, I have received a few awards 
this week and have been remiss in posting about them.  Jenny from Lucky in Love and Jennifer from Not Just Another Jennifer have both gifted me with the Queen of all things Awe-summmm award.

Thanks, ladies!!!  Sidenote:  several of my bloggie and real-life friends are named Jennifer.  Any thoughts to you Jennifers out there about why y'all are so fabulous?  

Anyway...I'm supposed to:
1.  List seven things that make me awe-summm.
2. Pass this award on to seven awe-summm bloggers.
3. Tag those bloggers so that they know they are now queens, too (and link back to the queen who tagged you).  

True to form, I'm going to violate the rules of this award.  I don't really want to talk about how awesome I am.  So instead, I'm going to tag seven bloggers and say why I think THEY'RE awesome!  Just...plain...awesome.  Not awe-summm.  Please refer to this post, under the letter "p." 

1.  Jenn from Jeans Friday - because she is my original blog twin.  She also has been traveling like CRAZY but still manages to blog.  
2.  Mrs. Molly Lou from Molly Lou Gifts - because she is my most recent blog twin.  Plus, she makes gorgeous stationery!  
3.  Julie from Wearing Mascara - because she just finished school!  Yay!  
4.  Jennifer from Crazy Shenanigans - because she has been dealing with lots of stuff during her boyfriend's deployment.  
5.  Kim from - because she recently ran her first half marathon!  And she totally kicked it's ass!  She is always motivating me to do my best.
6.  Brittany from Living in the Moment - because she works in the school system as well, and is counting down the days to summer just like I am!
7.  Jackie from The Northerner - because she just graduated with her master's degree!  Congrats, Jackie!!!

Whew!  That took a lot of work!  In reality, all of the bloggers I read daily are awesome.  Otherwise...I wouldn't be reading your blog!  :)

Pretty Personal Gifts gave me One Lovely Blog award.  Thank you!!!

For this award, I'm supposed to:
1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link.
2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered. Contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award. 

Oh, wow.  This is hard.  Actually, it's too hard.  I have started reading several new blogs lately - and y'all know who you are!  I am tagging whoever would like to receive this!

Thanks so much everyone for the awards.  They truly give me warm fuzzies!

Really, really exciting news!

This exciting news is two-fold (why don't people use that word anymore?)...meaning that I have two exciting pieces of news!

1.  Today is Matt's 27th birthday!!!!!!!!!!  Yippee!  I love birthdays and I couldn't be more excited that it's his big day.  He, of course, couldn't care less.  But that's okay.  Thankfully, I have enough enthusiasm for the both of us.

2.  This is perhaps even bigger, more exciting news.  Yesterday, we got cable and internet at home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We haven't had cable...ever, since we've known each other.  It's been about 3-4 years I guess since I've had cable at home.  Of course, we got basic cable, so we don't have my most favorite of channels (Bravo - for pretty much everything, MTV - solely for the Hills, TLC - for all the makeover shows, the Food Network - for pretty much anything).  BUT, last night I went home and watched two straight hours of Law and Order.  Excellent!!!  Anyone have any TV recommendations for basic cable?  

So, that's my news.  I hope that everyone has a happy, happy Thursday!  :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Word verification

Does anyone else find comedy in their word verifications???  

Sometimes, I see the funniest "words."

But I just left a comment and my word verification was a real word:  HERPES.

I kid you not.

Ooh la la!

It's Rue La La!

I know that most of you probably belong to Rue la la already and have already heard this exciting announcement.

TODAY AT 11:00 - KATE SPADE SALE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have preached about my love-bordering-on-obsession with Kate Spade before. This may be a shot for some of you lovelies to score her amazing stuff for cheap(er)!

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the Vineyard Vines sale also opens at 11:00 EST. I know a lot of you are VV fans, so check it out!!!

If you don't belong to Rue la la already, click here!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

This looks fun...

...and solves the "I don't have anything to blog about today" vibe I've got going on.

A - Age:  27

B - Bed size:  Queen

C - Chore you hate:  Cleaning.  Pretty much anything, but especially the bathrooms.  However, I love vacuuming!

D - Dog's name:  Oscar Wilde Liberson Smith

E - Essential start your day item:  A snuggle, a hot shower, and a Food for Life english muffin half with peanut butter.

F - Favorite color:  Blue! 

G - Gold or Silver or Platinum:  White gold

H - Height: 5'6"

I - Instruments you play:  I have played violin since I was three, and piano since I was four.

J - Job title:  Stay in School Counselor.  Fancy, no?

K - Kid(s):  I currently have zero, or one, if you count Oscar.  I would eventually like 2ish.

L - Living arrangements:  A "luxurious" (to us) two bedroom, two bath apartment that I share with Matt and Oscar.

M - Mom's name:  Judy

N - Nicknames:  Hmmm...none that I can think of presently.  

O - Overnight hospital stay other than birth:  None!  Only a couple of ER visits for migraines which lasted several hours into the evening...but never a full overnight stay.

P - Pet Peeve:  Oh gosh.  Where to begin.  Perhaps my biggest pet peeve is when people change letters in words to make them look more creative.  Such as:  Krazy Kat.  I freaking hate that shit.  

Q - Quote from a movie:  "60% of the time, it works every time."  Bonus points to you if you can name the movie.  Okay, this isn't my favorite quote, but it always makes me laugh and for some reason it's the first thing I thought of.

R - Right handed or left handed:  Right

S - Siblings:  I am an only child, but now have four sisters-in-law and brothers-in-law (their husbands)!

T - Time you wake up:  Too early!  During the week, I set my alarm for 5:45 so that I can do a morning workout, but I almost always reset it for 6:15.  On the weekends, I "sleep in" until around 8ish, usually.

U- Underwear:  I prefer the Victoria's Secret Pink line for undies.  And I prefer mine to be the boycut brief thingies.  

V - Vegetable you dislike:  Zucchini.  Although I love zucchini bread.  Go figure?!

W - Ways you run late:  Ummm...there are probably too many to count.  Most frequently, I oversleep.  OR, I wake up on time and sit down with my breakfast and start reading a really good book.  Then, I end up being late because I'm reading.  :)

X - X-rays you've had:  Dental xrays, back/neck xrays for the chiropractor 

Y - Yummy food you make:  I make LOTS of yummy foods!  Matt especially loves my (Dad's) caramelized onion and goat cheese quesadillas.  They are delish!

Z - Zoo favorite:  I've always been a giraffe fan.  Oh, and monkeys are pretty fun, too.  

Overheard from my office

This is priceless, my friends.

Counselor:  "Hi there, how are you?"
High school boy emptying out counselor's recycling: "Well, how's this for a story.  You get engaged to the girl you've been dating for four years.  Then you take her to a party, where you find out your cousin is dating your ex.  Your ex pisses off your soon-to-be wife, who then tackles your ex and they both fall into the pool, splashing everyone."
Counselor:  ".............well, I guess it doesn't get any better than that!"

Monday, May 18, 2009

One little idea

My friend Becky just emailed me the brochure for a Summer 5k/10k Training Group here in Bloomington.  It will be lead by a guy who apparently runs 4 minutes miles and sub-14 minute 5ks.  Impressive, to say the very least!  

Anyway, they will have varying pace groups, etc.  For $35, you go on a weekly run for about 8 weeks, get a free 5k opportunity at the end, plus a free Brooks Running item and 10% off at the specialized running store here.  I'm thinking that this might be good for me to do...the brochure states that the group "uses proven group training effects to meet and motivate each other to common goals" and also states that I will "grow as a runner with adaptable training concepts to meet my needs" and "educate myself with weekly discussions on nutrition, training, and race day preparation."  

What are your thoughts?  Has anyone done something like this?  Do you feel it would be beneficial?  I know that $35 isn't much, but right now, I'm trying to pinch every penny.  If I spend the money, I want to make sure it is totally worth it.  Thoughts?  Comments?  Advice?

Back to normal

Good morning, friends!

I have to say one very important thing before anything else:  thank you.  Thanks for all the messages of encouragement this weekend after my totally depressed 5k post.  Absolutely each and every one of you cheered me up and helped me realize that it really wasn't a total fail.  I really appreciate your advice, your understanding, everything.  I felt so much better yesterday about everything.  In fact, I feel like it's already a distant memory!  Today, it's back on the horse.  I plan on just taking an easy run this afternoon.  I don't necessarily have a time or mileage goal for today...I just want to run for awhile and reconnect.  

One bummer is that after the 5k on Saturday, I didn't properly stretch out...and now, basically every muscle from my butt down to the ground is tight and sore.  Blah.  I learned my lesson there, too!  No matter how upset I am, stretch anyway!  :)

So.  Enough about that.  Something very exciting is happening this week!  Thursday is Matt's 27th birthday!  I absolutely LOVE birthdays and cannot wait to celebrate and give him his presents!  Yay birthdays!!!!!!!!!  

Then, on Friday, my good friend Tsana and her boyfriend Dave are coming to visit.  Tsana is in the process of moving from Boston to Denver, and they are driving all her stuff (and her car) cross-country.  It will be a quick visit - I think they will get here at 5ish on Friday, and they have to leave Saturday morning, but we don't get to see each other very often so I am excited!

Lots of busy weekends coming weekend, Matt and I are headed to Lake Michigan for a friend's wedding on Friday, and then on Saturday we're heading to my parents' for my mom's birthday.  The weekend after THAT, we're heading to Nashville to visit our friends Jenn and Ryan.  Yippee!

Summer is definitely coming!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Warning: this is not a happy post.

I don't know what happened this morning. But the 5k totally sucked.

Everything started off well. Last night, I relaxed with a long bath. I got a good night of sleep and woke up well-rested. In the car on the way to the race, Matt drove while I closed my eyes, relaxed, and reminded myself that I am a runner. I am a runner. I am a runner.

Let's review my goals, shall we?

1. Finish - and finish running: 50% FAIL. I finished, and I guess I finished running, but...I stopped to walk THREE TIMES. I don't even know why. The last time around, my leg started hurting (or did I just imagine it??!!). The first time I started walking, Matt turned around and saw me and got mad and yelled at me. Which I totally needed. But it didn't seem to help. There was a firefighter in full crazy firefighter uniform, complete with helmet and crazy backpack. And guess what? Yeah, he finished before me. There was a mom and dad running with their little kids - and guess what? They beat me too. Even the kids.
2. Don't finish last: PASS. I did not finish last, although I was pretty damn close. Out of 235 total finishers, I finished 222nd. Out of 36 finishers in the 25-29 age group, I finished 35th. UGH.
3. I'd like to finish in 35:00 or less: FAIL. My time was 38:36, giving me an average of 12:27 per mile. Pathetic, seriously.
4. Enjoy myself: FAIL. I did not enjoy myself. I did not have fun. Instead, I felt like a total failure. FAIL FAIL FAIL.

So, there you have it. I am so disappointed in myself...I just don't even know what happened. I didn't feel like a runner. I felt like a failure. I knew I could do this...and then I didn't do it.

When we crossed the finish line, I was supposed to be happy and excited and proud of myself! Instead, I felt like crap. I walked away from Matt and just started sobbing. And once I started...I just couldn't stop. Matt gave me a hug and reminded me it was just a run, it wasn't life or death. But I just felt like all this training I had done to prove I could do this...then today happened to tell me I can't do it after all. Then I cried while I was stretching. And I cried when we were in line for bbq afterwards. And I cried when we were eating bbq. And I cried in the car on the way to Best Buy (we had to make a quick stop on the way home) and then when we got back in the car, I cried some more.

When we got home, I just felt so...blah, that I curled up on the couch and slept for about two hours. Now it's 4:30, and I just got out of the shower. Oh, and writing this...I started crying again.

I'm sorry, ladies, I just had to get all of this off my chest. I just feel so crappy.

But now I am going to attempt to look at some positives:
1. Okay, I did actually finish. Even if the race overall is a FAIL.
2. And - 38:00 is about the same time it took me to run 3 miles around our neighborhood with no walk breaks, which leads me to believe that I had a faster pace today. So, I guess that's positive. I guess.
3. The bbq afterwards was really good, and free.

Here's my thing. I don't have another race on the calendar. This summer, I'm going to train - and I'm going to train hard. It starts on Monday. Before today, I planned on trying to shoot for a 10k in the fall, and maybe a half marathon in Spring 2010. But now...I'm not so sure about that. Instead of trying to get to a certain mileage, I'm just going to run. And next year, you'd better believe I'm running this 5k again. And I'm going to kick its ass.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Race Day Goals

Happy Friday, ladies!  

I just came from a very blah conference.  I can say with absolute truth that I learned nothing.  Zilch.  Zero.  I know this is rather industry-specific of me, but I know several of you readers are kind of sort of social workers/counselors/mental health professionals, so you'll know what I'm talking about.  The presenter asked us if we were familiar with cultural competence.  ??????  Seriously, lady, this isn't Social Work 101.  And I was mighty concerned when some of the other conference attendees - who are supposedly direct service providers for youth - seemed to be confused about how to report child abuse/neglect.  "Can we just call the anonymous hotline?" asked a very confused older woman.  Le sigh.  Kill me.

ANYWAY!  Tomorrow is RACE DAY!!!!!!!!!!  I am super duper excited.  Despite the fact that I have only run two miles this week...and it was on Monday.  But you know what?  I'm feeling good.  I'm feeling positive.  I know I can run this race and do a-okay.  My brain will not get in the way of this one!

I only have a few small, simple goals for tomorrow:

1. Finish - and finish running.  So basically, run the whole time - to the finish line.  I know I can do this.  I just need to relax and focus on Matt's pacing.
2. Don't finish last.  I don't think I will be, but still.  That would be kind of a bummer.
3. I'd like to finish in 35:00 or less.  Each time I've run 3 around the neighborhood, it has taken me more like 38:00 or 39:00.  Of course, our hood is pretty hilly.  I'm hoping for a flatter course tomorrow and a faster time.  
4.  Enjoy myself!  This is supposed to be fun.  I plan on enjoying the lovely scenery - the route goes through the IU campus, and it is completely new for me - and I'm really looking forward to new surroundings.  
And...that's it!  I think this is pretty doable.  I'm a little concerned about the weather...which, according to, informs me that tomorrow morning will be around 70 degrees with scattered thunderstorms.  Awesome.

So, there you have it.  I can't wait to tell all of you how it goes!  I likely won't be blogging about it til Monday, because both my computer AND Matt's computer are on the fritz.  One warning:  I will have no race photos for you.  Why?  Because I don't really know what to do with the camera while we're running.  We don't have a cheering section - nobody is coming out to see us run.  No one to take photos.  Plus, to be honest, there's no way I would ever publicize a photo of me post-run.  It is NOT pretty.  You do NOT want to see that.  I turn a crazy shade of bright hot pink/red which takes forever to go away.  And when it does, my skin gets all blotchy...I'll be white around my lips, for example, but still be splotchy red everywhere else.  

Seriously.  It's ugly.

So - have a most fantabulous weekend, everyone!  I hope it's swell!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


Okay, whew, that was stressful.  

I think I have a template here I mostly kinda sorta love.  ???  

What do you think?  I just needed a change.  I know it really doesn't matter, considering we all read in Google Reader.  But, that's okay.  It's for me, you know, and stuff.


I changed my blog template to something I don't even like that much.  And I lost my title/  Blech.

Bear with me...

I'm finally ready to change my blog template.  I just don't know what I'm changing it to.  Until then, it will be moderately boring.  

This just in...

*photo taken on a fun snow day*
Matt called to let me know that Oscar is 100% a-okay.  Despite the weird poops, the vet said that nothing is wrong and he likely ate something he shouln't have.  It could have been of the outdoors variety, or the human food variety.

I am suddenly thinking about when I let him eat some cooked egg noodles the other day...hmmmm.  Surely that wouldn't have caused my panic... ?  


A Serious Note

I just wanted to take a moment very briefly to talk about the shooting that occurred at Camp Liberty in Iraq on Monday.  An Army sergeant currently at the end of his third tour in Iraq has been charged with shooting and killing four of his fellow soldiers, along with a naval officer, at the Liberty Combat Stress Control Center - a facility that provides counseling for soldiers.  The Sgt. had been referred for counseling the week before, after his commander thought it best that he no longer carry a weapon.  After going for counseling, he was driven away by an escort.  It appears that the Sgt. gained control of his escort's weapon, forced him out of the car, drove back to the counseling center and began shooting.  Among those dead are an Army doctor and a Naval social worker.  

I think we'll probably never know why he did what he did.  Like many of those in the mental health profession, I think that not enough is being done for our soldiers' mental health, both overseas and at home, post-deployment.  There are just too many soldiers, and not enough people who can appropriately and professionally help them.  How can we better take care of our men and women serving our country?

I wish I had the answer...I wish our country had the answer.    

You can read more about this tragedy here.  

Summer Reading List

I was always the kid who loved school and loved reading.  To be honest, I still am.  Even when I was in high school and everyone dreads school, I still looked forward to it.  Well okay, maybe not every day, but I was always excited for the first day of school every year after a long summer.  I know, I know, I'm weird.  Whatever.  I loved college, and I loved grad school.  Of course, I couldn't wait to be done...but still.  I never hated going to school.  

I taught myself how to read at age four and have basically been buried in a book ever since.  Remember summer reading lists?  I LOVED them.  I would read all the books and always looked forward to the next book.  

In college and grad school, I had to read so much for school that reading for pleasure took a back seat.  I majored in English lit in undergrad and read an absolute ton...but those books weren't always my first choice.  Call me crazy, but I never felt pumped to pick up Sir Gawain and the Green Night.  Whatever.

Then...I went on to get my masters in social work.  Ridiculous amounts of reading much so that even I, a super duper speedreader, couldn't get through all of it all the time.  Whew.  
And then, something amazing happened...I graduated from grad school and - gasp - had time again.  You know, for reading.  Fun stuff, not school stuff.  And I've been reading ever since.

So, there's your long, drawn-out intro.  I wanted to share with you my 2009 Summer Reading List:

The Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson (have any of you read any Bryson before?  If not...seriously, run to your nearest Borders/library/whathaveyou and grab one of his books.  I have read the one where he takes a roadtrip around America - amazing - the one where he takes a trip around Europe - amazing - and the one where he hikes the Appalachian Trail - amazing.  He is so freaking funny that you will laugh out loud while reading.  Seriously.  I promise.  This book is about the English language...and I CAN'T not read something so fantabulous.)
A Million Little Pieces, by James Frey (I am probably the only person who hasn't read this book, after all the Oprah scandal.)
The Memory Keeper's Daughter, by Kim Edwards 
The Reader, by Bernhard Schlink (I'm still dying to see the movie)
The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz
Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
Merle's Door, by Ted Kerasote (it's about a dog...naturally I have to read this one)
In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
City of Thieves, by David Benioff
The Almost Moon, by Alice Sebold (Anyone else besides me super excited that they are making The Lovely Bones into a movie??!!  I think I read that book in one day.  It was amazing.)
The Middle Place, by Kelly Corrigan (recommended by one of you lovely bloggers...I can't remember who...)
The City of Falling Angels, by John Berendt (the same guy who wrote Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - this one takes place in Venice)

Have you read any of these books?  If so, let me know what you think.  Just don't give anything away.  :)  Also, if you have any further suggestions, comment and let me know what books I absolutely need to read this summer! goes without saying that the last two Twilight books, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, are on the list.  I have been on the library waitlist for Eclipse for over a month.  Seriously.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

T-3 Days and Counting...

...until I run my first race!  That's right peeps, the Coach Hep Cancer Challenge 5k is Saturday!  I am excited beyond belief.  To be honest, I'm a little surprised at how excited I am.  Perhaps I am more amazed that I have even gotten to this point at all.

My leg bothered me all last week and I didn't run much at all.  Of course, this made me super nervous.  Matt and I went out for a "fast" 2.3 miles on Monday - and we finished in 20:15!  This is my best time at anything yet.  Of course, the last .75 or so was brutal.  Matt does such a good job pushing me...but in the end I just want to kill him.  Okay, not really.  Because I WANT to finish.  I WANT to get there.  

My plan is for another "quick" 2ish miles today, and then no running til race day.  I went to the chiropractor on Monday, and discussed the weird pain I'm getting in my leg...he gave me a few tips for stretching, etc, pre-run.  I took his advice Monday afternoon and ran pain-free!  In fact, my leg didn't hurt for the rest of the day!  This is huge - it's been awhile since I've had a completely 100% weird-leg-pain-free run.  Of course, it hurt yesterday.  And it hurts today.  But...sometimes it's the little victories!

On Friday, I'll talk about my race goals for Saturday and all that jazz.  Fun fun!


Ugh.  I just made Oscar an emergency vet appointment.  He had a weird poop this morning.  I won't get into the details (because, you know, I'm a lady and nobody likes talking about poop), but I Googled it (yay Google) and discovered that he may possibly have ulcerative colitis or intestinal worms.  WORMS!  

I freaked.  Now, Matt has to take him in tomorrow morning (along with the dreaded stool sample) to see what's going on.

Sniffle.  I hope nothing is wrong with my little baby... :(

Here's the thing...

I'm getting really sick of my pseudo-anonymity here in the blogland.  Every time I talk about the husband, I type in his real name accidentally before deleting and replacing it with Mr. Smith.  Depending on how many times I type/delete/retype, I estimate that I am losing approximately 34 seconds a day changing names.

That is an extra 34 seconds that I could be...reading your blogs!  Thinking up witty comments!  Or...changing lives of high school know, "working!"  

So.  I'm finished with anonymity.  

Allow me to introduce myself.  I'm Shaina.  My husband is Matt.  Our dog is Oscar...who I haven't protected with a pseudonym, already know that.

Nice to meet you.  

Monday, May 11, 2009

Overheard from my Office x2

"Don't you have a Jesus fish on your car?  You're like hardcore about Jesus Christ, right?" - high school girl
"No, I'm totally not." -high school boy
"Booooooo fish hater!" -high school girl


"Ugh, I hate summer.  Summer just freaking sucks, every year." -high school boy walking by my office

Ummm yeah, I'm pretty sure you're alone in that one, dear.


Happy Monday, my lovelies!  Did you have a good weekend?  Did anything exciting happen?  

It was a pretty quiet on the front at the Smith residence.  I volunteered at an all-day event at one of the junior highs on Friday, so I was away from all of your lovely blogs.  Saturday and Sunday were pretty low-key - we went out for a nice brunch on Saturday, only to discover that it was IU Graduation day.  Chaos insued.  We got a table at one of our favorite spots after waiting for about 30 minutes...only to discover that they had a special "Graduation menu" that involved all of the normal menu items with completely jacked up prices.  Damn.

We followed up our lengthy and pricey breakfast with a nice long five mile hike with Oscar.  It really was gorgeous out!  Sunday was spent celebrating Mother's Day with the inlaws.  

But - enough with all the pleasantries.  I came across two very concerning things on Friday and Saturday, and I just HAVE to share them with you.

Friday, as you know from my last post, marked six months since our wedding day.  When I checked my email in the morning, I was rather surprised to see this in my inbox:

Subject:  Pregnant?  New Parent?  Trying to Conceive?

Believe it or not, it's already been six months since we helped you plan your dream wedding!  Did you know that our family of websites also includes two of the top pregnancy and parenting resources on the web?  With all the same great features you loved on The Knot, and are can't-miss destinations for anyone even thinking about adding another member to the family.  If babies aren't on your mind right now, forward this email to a friend.  She'll thank you for it later!

etc, etc.  

So.  That's the cutoff, is it?  Six months post wedding, and I should already be planning my family.  Whew.  Well, since I'm not at this point yet, consider the email appropriately forwarded to any of you who perhaps are considering starting a family.  Feel free to thank me now, later, or anytime in between.

Furthermore...on Saturday night, Mr. Smith and I went to the Bloomington Symphony's concert.  This is a community orchestra that I'm planning on auditioning for in a couple of months (more on that another time), and we (I) wanted to check it out.  

The concert was conveniently held at the high school auditorium (yes, the same high school I work at).  As we wandered in and purchased our tickets, we were handed an audience survey to fill out.  The survey wanted to know how many concerts we had been to this season, if we'd like to volunteer, etc etc.  Then, they wanted us to check off our age range.  We were a little surprised to see the age range we currently fall into:

Age: Under 19
65 or older

Um, ohmygod.  Apparently, the Bloomington Symphony isn't too concerned about getting statistics from their "middle-aged" concertgoers...?  Because I feel like 25 and 64 are so different that they just cannot be in the same range.

Thoughts?  Comments?  Comforting words?  Because suddenly, Mr. Smith and I feel like we're about to register with the AARP.

Friday, May 8, 2009

6 Months Ago...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Small town blah

The last few days, I've been thinking about the big-city stuff I used to love, and now therefore miss incredibly.

Like the day that, after work, my friend Darlene and I walked what seemed like a gazillion miles from GWU Hospital to Adams Morgan to attend a charity dinner for our other coworker's charity.  Afterwards, we walked about another mile back to the Metro and enjoyed public transportation all the way home.  

Or the numerous walks to Georgetown after work with the girls for happy hour and, possibly, a cupcake from Georgetown Cupcake (okay, I've only been to GC once, but it was the yummiest cupcake ever.  If you live in DC, go to Gtown Cupcake!!!!).  

Or the time the girls and I went down to the Georgetown waterfront for cosmos before seeing the Sex and the City movie.

Or the lazy Saturday mornings when Mr. Smith and I would go into Old Town Alexandria, have brunch at Bread and Chocolate, wander through the Farmer's Market, and then head down to the waterfront for no reason.  

Or how Mr. Smith and I celebrated each occasion - and sometimes, just a fun Friday night - eating sushi at the best sushi place ever, Yamazato.  

Or enjoying Restaurant Week by trying out new, fun restaurants - and finding a nearby favorite, Farrah Olivia.  

Sometimes, I'm not sure if I miss the city...or if I just miss my friends.  I suspect it is much of both.  

One thing I do remember vividly is, at our old apartment in Alexandria, when Mr. Smith and I decided to go for a run.  At this point, I couldn't even run a mile.  We casually entertained the idea of running a 5k, and he made me run a whole. entire. mile.  It seemed like pure torture.  Two days later, he pushed me to keep going after the one mile, and I probably made it about 1.15 miles.  I thought I was dying.

Shortly thereafter, the running ceased.  I just didn't think I could do it.

Fast forward to now, when I can run three miles.  Wow.  Every time I complete a "big" run, Mr. Smith says to me... "remember when you couldn't even run a mile?" and I am so proud of myself.

I went for a run yesterday and, sadly, it didn't turn out very well.  It was pouring rain so I ran on the treadmill.  I started running and ran for probably about a mile when I looked down to see how I was doing.  I discovered that the treadmill hadn't been reset from the last person who had used it, so it told me that I had already been running for 45 minutes...and that I had run over 3 miles.  Of course, I knew this was incorrect, and it totally threw me off.  I hadn't brought my watch because I knew the treadmill would tell me all I needed to know...but then, not knowing messed me up, bigtime.  I panicked, and shortly thereafter, stopped running and walked for awhile.  Blah.  When I got home, my leg started to hurt again, pretty badly, like it did a few weeks ago.  I iced it for awhile but it's still kind of a bummer.  

I'm going to hold off on running for a few days so that it can heal a bit.  Tomorrow, I'm thinking I'll do the eliptical for awhile, and weather permitting, take a nice long walk with Oscar.  I am a bit concerned that the 5k is next Saturday and I haven't run three miles - or anything close to three miles - since last week.  Help?

Small town fun

Every morning, I listen to the radio on the way to work.  And every morning, I catch the traffic report.  

Fact:  the Bloomington "traffic report" makes me LOL, bigtime.  The nice man comes on the air and says the same thing every morning:  "If you're driving in the city this morning , you'll likely be delayed at insert every major intersection in all of Bloomington here.  And that's your traffic on B97."

Seriously.  I love this.  So basically, if you are driving anywhere in Bloomington in the morning, expect to be delayed whenever you hit a large intersection.  Gotta love small town traffic, right?

Call me crazy, but after three years living in - and navigating around - Washington DC, I think I can handle a little small town traffic.  

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Overheard from my Office

"I know!  I know!  I know, right?  I know!  I know, right?!  Ohmygod I know!!!"

-High school girl on what I can only assume is her cell phone.  

Tuesday run = epic FAIL

Well friends, the title really says it all.  I missed Monday's run and went out solo yesterday while Mr. Smith was studying for his final exam.  

Solo run = fail.  

I managed to jog for about five minutes before I felt like my body was possibly going to fall apart.  My legs were killing me.  And since I didn't have Mr. Smith to keep me going...I just stopped.  After five. freaking. minutes.  Nevermind the fact that I am running my first race ever in a week and a half...and oh yeah, that race is 3.1 miles.  What the heck?  Five minutes?  

So, I decided to walk for awhile and then try to run again.  Fail.

So, I decided to talk to the gym to try the treadmill for awhile.  Fail.

Dejected, I returned home to ice my leg.  Fail.

After dinner, Mr. Smith went back to studying and I planned on curling up on the couch with a good book.  Fail.  I fell asleep promptly, thanks to the minor headache that was creeping up around my temples.  The time?  Oh, I believe it was around 8pm.  

I woke up at 10:30.  Promptly moved to the bed to pass out again.  A few hours later, I groggily woke up as Mr. Smith was getting ready to go to bed.  I opened my eyes and stared at him confusedly.  He said, "do you have your nightguard in?"  I mumbled, "no" (I grind my teeth at night...lovely...).  He replied, "well, you need it," and went off in search of my nightguard.  

I was clearly interrupting his reading with my constant grinding.  Le sigh.  

For the record, I slept soundly until around 7:30...late to work again.  Fail.

But!  I successfully testified yesterday, and all is well.  Shortly before they were going to call, I got super nervous...totally silly, considering the fact that I was basically just talking on the phone.  Of course, they had to swear me in and everything, so that was fun.  I have testified before, several times, in various court cases during my professional career (while working both in foster care AND at the hospital), so none of this was new...but I definitely haven't testified about a case that I haven't had for over two years!  I think that's where the nerves came in...just trying to remember those details clearly, you know?

So, anyway.  That's over.  Today, I am going to hope for a successful run.  Wish me luck.  And, wish Mr. Smith luck, too!  He has a big exam today in finite mathematics (I know, I know, I'm jealous he's taking that class too...gag) AND he had a great job interview on Monday.  Mr. Smith has been unemployed and desperately job searching since we moved here in September, and I'm really hoping this one works out!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Blast from the past

Last week, I received a voicemail at work from an attorney from the Children's Law Center in DC.  She said that she had a few questions about a foster child that I worked with waaaaay back when, in what seems like another lifetime, when I was a foster care social worker.  

After we connected in person, I learned that this foster child is (hopefully) being adopted by his foster parents - the same foster parents he had when I was working the case.  This is great news to me - they really were a perfect match, and I know that being adopted will be so great for him.  I also learned that the Children's Law Center had hired an investigator to find me!  Wow, don't I feel special.  I give them credit...I worked in foster care two jobs ago, before heading to the hospital in March of 2007.  Since then, I have moved from DC to Indiana AND I have changed my name.  Good job, investigator!  Of course, little did they know that I still use the same cell phone number...which probably would have been a much easier way to get in touch with me.  Oh well.

Anyway!  Since then, I have literally spent hours on the phone with the attorney preparing for this morning's adoption hearing - during which I will testify by phone.  

Now, this has been no picnic.  I last saw this kid over two years ago...and naturally, several of the case details were a bit fuzzy.  Questions like..."do you remember how many times you reviewed drug test results for R---'s mother?" really stumped me, considering how many parents I had drug tested.  Digging deep into my memory about this case reminded me how happy I am to not be working in foster care anymore.  But - all that aside, I have remembered a surprising amount about this case, and I really do look forward to testifying today.  

Definitely a blast from the past.

UPDATE:  I just got off the phone with the attorney again, who informed me that the biological mom's attorney plans on drawing things out for a lengthy trial and he will likely cross-examine me.  Awesome.  I am 100% happy that I am testifying over the phone, not in person, so I can't LOOK nervous, and plus...I never have to see these people again!  Whew!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Engagement photos!

Okay, this post is a little delayed considering the fact that our engagement photos were taken in September.  Oh, and also, we're married now.

BUT...I just received digital copies of six of my favorite engagement photos that I wanted to share with you.  Please disregard that fact that almost none of them involve our faces...I wasn't thrilled with the majority of the engagement photos and I think we kind of look terrible in most of them.  We just don't photograph well.  But these...I mostly love.  We had them taken on the campus of University of alma mater.  

Campus lore states that the person you kiss under this arch will be the person you'll marry.

*all photos by Patricl Abel, Special Moments Photography*

Monday Monday

Happy Monday, friends!

Gosh, I feel like it's been forever since I've posted.  I don't have much to say today, for some reason, but I wanted to talk about a couple of movies.

First of all - has anyone seen Seven Pounds?  I am dying to talk about this movie with someone but I don't want to ruin it for those who haven't seen it.  If you've seen it and want to chat about it...comment/email me.  

Second - Mr. Smith and I rented The Changeling over the weekend.  Wow, wow, wow.  What an absolutely amazing film.  Clint Eastwood never disappoints, I'll say that much.  Have you seen it?  What did you think?  In real life, I'm not a huge fan of Angelina Jolie, but I do think that she's a great actress and I tend to like most of her movies (yes, even the Lara Croft movies.  Don't judge.).

Hey - has anyone read (or looked at) the Runner's World Complete Guide to Women's Running?  That may or may not be the exact title of the book,'s something similar to that.  I checked it out of the library last week and I'm really enjoying it.  So much so that I think I will probably buy a copy to keep forever and ever.  It's tailored to women and has everything from training plans to stretches to strength training exercises to tips on diet and motivation.  I highly recommend - and I'm only halfway through it!

If you have read or seen any of the above...let me know.  What did you think?  Like/not like?  Discuss.  :)