Sunday, June 29, 2008

grocery experiments

when chris was growing up, his mom occasionally brought home exotic fruits from the grocery store for him & his brothers to sample. i love the idea of learning about & trying new things, and we are fairly adventurous when it comes to food anyway. feeling inspired in the ethnic aisle last week, i picked up this latin soft drink for us to try. when chris & i watched top chef this season, our favorite contestant richard (from atlanta!) made a meat marinade out of a similar malt beverage at the season finale in puerto rico.

when we opened the drink, it had a strong smell - a lot like molasses. the color is very dark, like soy sauce. even though it's a cola, the fizz isn't as effervescent as coke. it doesn't taste quite as strong as it smells and is hardly sweet at all. chris only took one sip and i just made it through two before deciding it definitely wasn't for us. fortunately, it was only 56¢ that (literally) went down the drain. but you never know unless you try!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

atlanta trip

this weekend we took our first trip back to atlanta since we moved. our friends wes & blakely are having a baby in august, and blakely invited me to a shower sunday afternoon at her aunt's house. chris & i decided to go saturday night, so we got to stay with the yorks and chris & wes got to hang out while blakely & i were at the shower.

we really had a nice weekend. saturday we went to little szechuan (see chris' post from last nov.) & rented a suspense movie. i'm sure we didn't get enough sleep because we stayed up late talking, but it was definitely worth it since we don't get to visit often. (though i have to admit i was struggling not to fall asleep in church sunday morning!) we definitely miss our good friends in atlanta.

the shower was beautiful - wonderful people (i got to see our friend joy) & food (hors d'oeuvres are my favorite). this is only the second baby shower i have been to, but i'm sure in a year or two there will be a wave of babies to follow the wave of weddings last year. shopping at babies r us and seeing blakely open her gifts made me realize how much i don't know about babies! i had no clue there are different sized pacifiers depending on the baby's age, and i'm still not clear on what a swaddling blanket is supposed to do. but the wonderful thing about baby stuff is that it is, first and foremost, cute! as i've told chris before, anything that is a miniature of something else is automatically adorable. case in point, tiny socks & little blue shoes.

Friday, June 20, 2008

my time at clemson

this week i finished my psychopathology class at clemson - hopefully my last class ever! after spending these few weeks at clemson and going to justin & linda's wedding in athens last weekend, i've realized how much i like college towns. there's something really charming about a small town where the university is such an important party of the community and there's plenty of space (and trees!) all around. don't get me wrong, though - gt will always be the university that holds the most special place in my heart. anyway, since it was my last week at clemson i took a few pictures of campus.

this is tillman hall, probably one of the most recognized buildings on campus - i like to think of it as the tech tower of clemson. it actually houses the college of education (which includes the counseling dept), and the third floor is where i've been going to class the last few weeks.

i took this one for chris, to prove that georgia tech is not the only place with engineering!
i'm not sure what this building is, but i really like the decorative awning and corinthian columns.
i also stumbled upon death valley! we're looking forward to the tech-clemson game here this fall. i like the rivalry we have (from the little that i do follow the world of football). i've never been inside the stadium, but chris assures me it lives up to its name.
though i was less than ecstatic about having to take this class, there have been some really wonderful benefits. i can definitely see that God had a purpose for me. for one, it has given me a good excuse to relax this summer and not jump straight into a new job. i'm not sure i would have given myself a two-month break otherwise. i've also been able to collect names of several counseling agencies in the greenville area from students in my class, from the e-mail listserv my professor added me to, and from getting to meet with the counseling dept's internship coordinator. i have a list of 20 or so places, so this will be a really helpful start to my job search! another great benefit from my time at clemson is that i met a new friend. it turned out that a girl in my class, audrey, also lives in greenville - in our apt complex, no less! we were able to drive to class together a few times, and chris & i went downtown for a concert last night with her & her boyfriend and a few of their friends.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

fun in the backwoods

we had quite a fun weekend, particularly last night. our friend emily, who we know from the bsu at georgia tech, called this week to see if chris & i wanted to get together this weekend. she is interning in greenville for the summer, and her boyfriend jordan (also one of our good friends) was visiting for the weekend. the four of us had dinner at monterrey's on friday & hung out afterwards at our apt. then saturday emily invited us to a dance that she heard about through her friend who is a recent graduate of furman. when we agreed to go, all we knew was that the dance style was contra which is a blend of swing, line, and square dancing.

we met jordan & emily for dinner at olive garden and then met emily's friend at furman to follow him to the dance. i assumed it would be similar to some swing dances we used to go to in the ballroom at the georgia tech student center. typically, there would be a lesson beforehand for beginners followed by a dance with some sort of jazz/big band combo playing. even though chris & i are not the most avid of dancers, we always enjoy live music. plus, chris is totally free to dance like the white guy that he is when the style of music involves line dancing!

anyway, we followed emily's friend out past traveler's rest (a sleepy little highway town north of greenville), until we were on a windy two-lane road going up a mountain in the middle of NOWHERE. after what seemed like forever i was thoroughly lost, and we arrived at what appeared to be a barn: our destination. i was pretty skeptical (read: scared), particularly when emily's friend told us that according to barn dance etiquette we couldn't turn anybody down who invited us to dance with them. i was imagining creepy older men loitering at the periphery, ready to pounce the moment a girl took a break (probably because this was the scenario at the gt swing dances!).

so we get inside (i use the term loosely because it was really just a roof & walls with no air conditioning), and there's the band - complete with fiddle and announcer calling out steps (think "swing your partner round and round"). we missed most of the lesson, but fortunately contra (which i would say is heavier on the line & square styles) involves repeating the same patterns over and over as you move down a whole line of people facing each other. basically, you move with your partner down the line but do-si-do & swing with other dancers along the way. this partner switching was actually a good thing, because i discovered that the more "mountainy" the man looked the better he could show me what i was supposed to be doing. i have to admit, i had a pretty excellent time but felt like a city girl out of her element. as jordan put it, "this is fun and i hate it, all at the same time!" i got a pretty decent workout, from all the movement and probably from so much laughing, too. i only wish we had brought our cameras (the picture is from their website - yes they have a website!). i don't think we'll make this a regular outing, but chris & i are are definitely thinking about going back sometime. now if you come visit us in greenville, we know where we can show you a good time!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

california trip!

i am finally getting around to uploading my pictures from my trip to california.

on the first morning of my trip, i flew from charlotte to dallas. i brought a book, and my first flight was rather uneventful. upon landing in dallas, i was reminded by every souvenir shop and restaurant sign that i was indeed in texas. i had a short layover, and arrived to my connecting gate to see my luggage getting wet in the rain at dfw. good times! my connecting flight was from dallas to ontario (california not canada), and i had the joy of sitting in the middle seat between a talkative older woman (who nearly spilled her wine on me a few times) and a man who was about 6'4'', 240 lb. they were both nice folks, but i quickly realized that i would not get much reading in on this flight and that two men of our size should not sit next to one another on a flight in coach. i hadn't flown in a while, but i'm pretty sure those seats are smaller than the last time i did.

it was a work trip, but i did have a chance during the weekend to do some sightseeing. on saturday, some coworkers and i decided to go hiking in joshua tree national forest.

the park was about two hours from our hotel, so i actually got to know a few coworkers outside of work. a few interesting landmarks along the way: 1) an 11,000+ ft. mountain with snow still on its peak, and 2) a whole bunch of wind turbines (that's right, you guessed it, ge). we ate at a real mexican restaurant along the way - pretty much the same as monterrey.

we wouldn't call joshua tree a forest in the southeast, but there were a lot more trees there than anywhere nearby. it's on the border of the mojave and colorado deserts, so you get the idea. the joshua tree is a pretty cool looking tree that's a member of the yucca family. anway, that's all more than you wanted to know, so i'll leave you with some of my favorite pictures.

on sunday, i went to the world famous san diego zoo. i'll be honest, it was just a zoo, but they did have some cool animals that i hadn't seen before. like a komodo dragon:

no flying unicorns or centaurs, so apparently the world famous part has to do with the breeding and conservation programs. i also stopped off at la jolla beach about 10 miles north of san diego. very pretty beach, very cold water. i like the gulf stream.

the rest of the time was just work, so if you really want to know you can ask. the flight home was as uneventful as the flight there. all in all, it was a pretty good first company travel experience.