Saturday, April 25, 2009


Tally so far:

Lawyer letters in mail: 3
Chiropractor letters in mail: 3

What a society.
Tally so far:

Lawyer letters in mail: 3
Chiropractor letters in mail: 3

What a society.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Car Woes

What a week.

Last Friday was an absolutely lovely day. A perfect day for a cold drink after work and then some ribs for dinner. Ken and I had two separate cars and on the way home, I managed to get rear-ended by a crazy Hoosier driver. It's actually amazing that it took 8 months for it to happen. Seriously, I want to sit in on a driver's ed class in this state. What are they teaching?!

So the weekend started with a slight bump in the road since my car, while not terribly injured, is not legally driveable any more. I've spent the last two days picking up police reports and calling insurance companies. I have to say, both insurance companies have been absolutely amazing and I'll be getting a rental car today and the car should be taken to the shop as well. It's been very seamless so far and I hope it continues until my poor little car is okay again. My car has been slightly cursed lately --- a new timing belt at the 120,000 mile mark, 4 new tires, a rock to the window, and now this accident --- all in the last 3 weeks.

In other news, I've suddenly found a new hobby. Investing money! I rolled over my retirement money from teaching into an IRA and now I'm figuring out how I want to invest. It's a whole new world out there --- mutual funds, index funds, stocks, bonds. I actually find it all quite fascinating and am reading books, blogs and financial websites. I read Suze Orman's "Women and Money" in one sitting on Monday and she talked some sense into me.

Perhaps I'll become a financial advisor. Perhaps not.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Chicago on the architectural tour...

2009's lamb cake!
Chicago on the architectural tour...

2009's lamb cake!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Back to the grind.

Five-day weekends are lovely.

Last Tuesday, I headed home for our guest speaking engagement on Wednesday at a local high school. Ken and I served on a panel of three with a Lebanese man who emigrated to the United States and is a successful local businessman. He actually showed us up since he had free taco tokens to throw around, knew the kids through his own children, and generally had some really interesting information regarding language. We were speaking to the French and Spanish classes and Ken and I tried to pass it off that knowing a language is very important, even though both of us stumble when it comes to taking up a new tongue. It was a nice day although students totally did not get our jokes. They did pay attention, however, and had some great questions at the end of each hour. Most revolved around Mr. Habeeb’s dreaming in English and how Ken and I have managed to finance our travels. I did meet two students who were both born in Okinawa, one of which did a lot of bowing and had a Japanese flag scarf tied around her neck. I pretty much just handed her a JET application.

On Thursday, Ken and I headed downtown to do the Chicago architecture river tour. I got some great shots and it was a beautiful day. The tour was really fascinating and worth the money! We ate lunch at Heaven on Seven and I had one of the best dishes of my life – shrimp and grits with cornbread. The grits. Doublewow. The shrimp. Wow. I also gained 5 pounds in 20 minutes.

Friday was spent with my mom working on our world famous lamb cake. This year, we went all out and bought tips and bags for the frosting. As a result, we ended up with a lamb that looked like it was “covered in potato salad.” (Quote – Mike) It was cute.

Saturday involved eating my weight in mashed potatoes at Ken’s house and then heading to a bar near my parent’s house with my parents and Brooke and Mike to hear my cousin play in a Nirvana tribute band. It was odd that he was playing in the Middle of Nowhere, Illinois, so we couldn’t miss the opportunity. This bar also broke all rules and allowed smoking which eventually did everyone in.

Sunday – church, ham, food, good.

Then after a great weekend, complete with $3 martinis and plenty of time with friends, I came back to work to find out that Thailand was experiencing another fabulous uprising. Perfect timing considering I currently have 76 students there for spring break. I got to spend most of yesterday putting out that fire and dealing with some anxious parents.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Speaking to the Masses

This week Ken and I are giving presentations to high school students regarding travel and living internationally. It took me some time to get my thoughts together, but now I think I have a pretty funny presentation.

Essentially I am relating the nasty side effects of prescription medications with the side effects of travel. In a purely humorous way, of course.

Here is my Top 10 list of the potential side effects of travel:

1. Weight Gain - nutella, Pocky, gelato, pretzels, fish 'n chips, Vietnamese coffee... time to get on the treadmill.
2. Loss of Appetite - yak momos; rotton meat, flies in soup, etc.
3. Shortness of Breath - Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat, etc. will leave you breathless
4. Increased Urination - quick mention of Tibet... haha
5. Trouble Sleeping - mention of hostel experiences and overnight trains
6. Uncontrollable Outbursts - flashing peace signs in every photos, random Japanese being thrown in for good measure in a conversation
7. Restless Leg Syndrome - Where to next?
8. Dizziness and Disorientation - Some India photos
9. Unexplained fungal infections - with reference to the various wildlife encounters we've had
10. Dry Mouth - Avoiding giardia by not drinking local water

And a bonus - 11. An obsession with Hello Kitty.

Hopefully I can make it quite funny and not at all boring. My photos are quite priceless for some of the points.

The main point is that I should have been warned by my study abroad advisor and now that I am actually an advisor myself, the advice I give my students is to have a great time and love it all.

Anyways, this weekend was a good one. I did some spring cleaning, spent yesterday with a colleague and today was going to settle in for the Chicago Tribune crossword puzzle at the cafe. Imagine my surprise when I see that the Tribune has reformatted their Saturday paper and no longer has my favorite crossword. I'm not pleased.

Guess I'll just spend some time surfing the internet, hit Target and then watch America's Next Top Model for the rest of the afternoon.

Rough life.