I have to give my mom credit for the title of this post. When I found out I was going to Atlanta, Georgia for the Teaching Professor Technology Conference, I invited her along with me. For the next couple of weeks her email titles were very similar to the one on this post.
First up though, I wanted to show you this:
Pretty exciting! Not really sure what is going on here, I know it has something to do with Miss Evanoff’s post but a lot of the views and visitors are random today. This little notification reminded me of playing the Sims and something like this would pop up:
Unexpected but always delightful.
Anyway, any traffic is good traffic, so keep it coming! Now let’s talk about some Atlanta adventures! I’m not going to tell you from start to finish because:
…but I will tell you some highlights.
When we first arrived in Atlanta we headed on over the Georgia Aquarium, which was the largest aquarium in the world when it opened. I am a poisson lover, with my very own tank of beauties, so this was very exciting for me. We immediately started off with the Dolphin Tales Show which we were told was a ‘must see’ by the front desk. I was expecting a lot of dolphins doing flips and shit but it was mostly this:
The creature in the middle singing with his merry men at his side. The highlight is when he dances out and twirls around the stage in an LED cape. My mom and I were laughing so hard we were crying. My initial impression of the aquarium was that it was ridiculous. It totally redeemed itself though when we got down to business and found the actual sea creatures that I hold so dear. The picture-taking was impressive:
They also had a gigantic aquarium with thousands of fish in it, including whale sharks, nurse sharks and the biggest sting rays I’ve ever seen. They built it over a tunnel so that you could go underneath and literally feel like you are swimming with the fishes. Luckily we were there during feeding time so we enjoyed the added bonus of scuba divers.
With the Aquarium under our belt, we felt we had a good start on the ‘touristy’ aspects of Atlanta.
Another obvious highlight for me and the whole reason I was able to go to Atlanta, was my presentation at the Teaching Professor Technology Conference. On Friday night, I did a poster presentation on my look at using social media in the college and university classroom. While it may sound like an obvious idea to use Facebook or Twitter with students, I’m finding there are only certain subjects and even certain programs that really adapt well to the use of these tools in an educational manner. Being the tech wizard that I am, I set myself up in e-poster form and the finished product looked like this:
Those handouts on the right hand side of the table were gone in less than half an hour, so needless to say, it was a busy night. I also have an affiliation with the Teaching Professor because I recently published in one of their online magazines. I feel like this is a great time for a shameless plug, so check out the article here: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-careers/advice-for-new-faculty-six-lessons-from-the-front-lines/
I made a lot of interesting contacts that night and absolutely loved talking to my fellow instructors in America about our Canadian education system because talking to Americans, about anything, is always a good time:
I kid. No one at the conference thought we live in igloos.
On Saturday after the conference, we decided to do a little shopping. We also decided to take public transit. First step in the journey was this escalator:
It was the longest and steepest escalator of my life. I hated it. I had to close my eyes and Brennie told me when we got to the bottom.
We then encountered the issue of buying a ‘Breeze pass’ to get on the subway. As I stood there trying to use my credit card, the machine rejected me multiple times. I became pretty frustrated and complained loudly for a couple of minutes to my mom until a heavy set lady beside me started mumbling to herself about ‘all my noise.’ She then progressed to half facing me and saying, ‘You’re making all dis noise and nuttin’ happenin. Nuttin’ happenin!’ It was perhaps my favourite line of the trip. I wonder how many times random strangers have wanted to tell me and my friends and family members off when we randomly wail about something not working correctly or make way more noise than is necessary when something ‘bad’ happens. Good for this lady for finally telling me to shut it.
My mom and I made our way down to the platform and spotted an empty space on a bench. However, part of the bench had a piece of half eaten cake on it in a plastic container. Immediately my mom and I saw the cake and said almost in unison, ‘Oh look, cake! I sure am hungry.’ Which prompted the questionably homeless man beside the cake to put his hand on the plastic container and ever so slowly slide the cake over beside him. We’re still not sure if it was his to begin with, but we saw him get off the subway several stops later cradling that cake like it was his newborn child:
Later that evening, we decided to continue on with our public transit party and take it all the way to Marietta, Georgia, as we were booked for a ghost tour. By taxi, Marietta is about 25 minutes away. By public transit it is one subway, two buses and a short taxi ride away and boy was it a good time! People really were quite friendly and helpful but at the same time, I did fear for my safety when I was told that they only way to get off of the subway during peak time was to, ‘duck my head and charge through the crowd like an Atlanta Falcon.’ Now six months ago, they would have had me at using my body as a weapon but nowadays, it really isn’t a viable option.
Marietta was darling and the tour was pretty good. It was a little over the top, as I highly doubt that every store and street corner in the town is truly haunted, but you never know. The creepiest part of the tour for me was definitely this guy:
He was sitting in a window display in one of the hundred haunted stores in the town and I really just wasn’t liking his vibe. He had a couple of other buddies in the window that were not my cup of tea but he was the worst.
I also wanted to show a picture of their central park. The city does a scarecrow competition around this time of the year and places them throughout their town square. There were lots of amazing entries, but this one was my fave:
Mainly because it reminded me of Mark dressed up like a lady:
Spitting image right?
Sunday was the last day and the conference ended at noon, so my mom and I headed out to another must see, the Ferndale Natural History Museum. I actually love museums, so when this was recommended multiple times, I was down. It was probably the most beautiful and pristine museum I have ever been in.
It had a lot of dinosaurs (a particular childhood fave of mine):
And it also had one of these guys:
….a giant tree sloth. Which unfortunately don’t exist anymore. If they did, I’m pretty sure the panda and baby polar bear would be SOL in regards to being the most sought after zoo animal.
After perusing the museum for a few hours, it was time to catch our flight home. So we sped off to the airport in a fast and furious fashion……only to have our flight delayed by 5 hours due to Tropical Storm Karen.
They closed the airport for 15 minutes because of torrential downpour and during that time our flight came in, circled and went all the way back to South Carolina, hence the rather large delay. On a happier note, my mom and I watched The Heat on the way back with Sandy Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. So hilarious. My mom was laughing the entire time and she has a LOUD, infectious laugh. I loved it. It really kept my spirits up but I’m not sure about the other people around us who were clearly trying to sleep. It was the perfect way to end an amazing trip.
I don’t think I would go back to Atlanta because there are so many other cities in America I would like to explore but I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is thinking of traveling to the Dirty South:
To end the post, a few other random goodies from the trip.
1) The view from our hotel room:
Yes please! Our hotel was the Westin Peachtree Plaza, which is the tallest hotel in North America and they certainly make the most of their view.
2) The food!
Everyone from Canada who heads down to the States is just amazed by the portion sizes down there. Case in point, my mom’s salad:
It was bigger than her head. However, she dealt with it like a champ. I ordered nachos and the same thing. Needless to say, no dinner was needed that night for either of us.
3) My mom would be very disappointed in both me and this post if I did not mention that at one point on the trip we tried to get on a Japanese tour bus. I have a proud history of getting on tour buses from other countries that clearly are not my own. I will stand there looking around until someone realizes I don’t belong and kicks me off. They laugh at me like I am a silly white girl and send me on my way. I find this very amusing. It’s been a lonngggg time since I did this, so my mom decided she wanted to give it a try. We followed behind a group of Japanese tourists and were just about to step on their bus when one of the passengers looked at us and said, ‘Where you think you going?’ Busted. The bus driver told us we clearly did not know what we were doing, to which my mom slyly lifted her sunglasses and winked at him. Again, we were laughed at and sent on our way but the memory will live on for a while from that one.
Next week I will tell some tales from the Wild, Wild West. But for now, I have a stack of midterms calling my name…..
Have a wonderful week friends 🙂
It’s true – I’m knocked up. My name isn’t Penny, my husband isn’t Robbie, and he really isn’t a creep but I felt this was a fitting way to tell the inter webs that I have a bun in the oven. I certainly thought it was appropriate for Facebook:
As the announcement alludes to, this is from Dirty Dancing, which is hands down one of my favourite movies. Leon, Julie and I can recite it almost word for word. If you don’t at least know the line, ‘Nobody puts Baby in the corner,’ you are pretty much dead to me.
Now, I’m 5 months along, which doesn’t excuse my absence from blogging but for some of you out there who found yourselves unexpectedly pregnant, you can maybe sympathize with the fact that I simply have not had the mental fortitude to be able to blog and work a full and part-time teaching job. Pregnancy brain is real my friends.
I’m starting to get my feet back on the ground and get back into the groove of work but the last 5 weeks have been rough. Some nights I would come home so exhausted that I barely made it through dinner before I went to bed. I also became a fan of afternoon naps. However, that seems to be behind me. AND I honestly miss blogging. I can’t say I’m back three or four times a week but I would love to write weekly and put something out on Mondays or Tuesdays. I think that is reasonable….right? Right? Blogging friends, let me know. I feel guilty for giving it up but I just didn’t have the motivation and I didn’t want to be putting out forced garbage. You can always tell when someone is blogging for the sake of blogging. There’s also the little fact that I wasn’t over the moon when I found out I was pregnant. In fact, I probably looked more like this:
Baha, that one gets me every time.
So yeah, I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t excited, I was actually kind of terrified and mad. Odd combination but that’s the best I can identify. The staff at the doctor’s office kept asking me how excited I was and I would respond that I wasn’t. In one case, the medical assistant made an awkward face, turned on her heel and left the room. I don’t think she was used to that attitude from an appropriately aged mother-to-be. Needless to say, for the summer, I didn’t really felt like turning my blog into a baby blog because I didn’t wanted to talk about it. I could pretend it wasn’t a part of my life but it was a BIG part of it. Your whole life changes and your stomach becomes the center of your universe. I knew from June 18th on (my sister’s b-day) that I was rocking a blastocyst and I tried to keep blogging like normal but once I came back from Calgary I didn’t have the heart to keep going and ignoring the game changer growing inside me.
But happy news…I am now very, very excited! One of my best friends and my now sister-in-law, Leon, is having a baby (soon!) and baby fever is kind of spreading in our group of friends. Here is a picture of the two of us crowning at Emily’s engagement party:
This baby love has really helped. With the exception of our friend Lisa, who had a baby when we were in our early 20’s, no one in our ‘group’ of high school friends has a child. We are pretty content to be in our twosomes and do carefree couples things, usually involving alcohol. I was not looking forward to giving this up and I didn’t know how my friends were going to react. However, they have all been gents about it, which shouldn’t surprise me. We have always been supportive of each other and our adventures, whether it be getting a pair of glasses tattooed on our faces, or growing a fetus.
Finally, my blog was also about my attempts to get back to the gym and lighter living and I can’t say that being pregnant really inspires this. I can’t fit into any of my old pants or jeans. I sometimes struggle with the lung capacity needed to teach some of my classes, which clearly doesn’t equate to full-blown gym workouts. My feet are already starting to swell. Today I looked down to my feet pushing up over my sandals. This.has.never.happened. I do not have wide feet. In fact, I quite like my feet. But I have a feeling those days are over. For example I feel like I could be sporting a pair of these beauties:
Fear not, this is not me…but I feel like it could be.
Last but not least….I am hungry. I’ve always liked food but now I’m actually hungry on a frequent basis. This is a deadly combination. I wanted to include a picture of a really large pregnant woman to forecast my pregnancy future but when I typed it into Google images of Jessica Simpson kept coming up, so I will save you the visual. You get the idea.
The summation of all of these factors hopefully gives you an idea of why I simply stopped blogging. However, I think I’m ready to get back on the wagon. Obviously the focus is going to change a little bit because my focus is going to be changing a little bit but being able to blog about my life will prove to me that I’m still a human being. Not just a human being maker.
So if you can forgive me, please keep reading. I promise to make it up to you with tales from faraway lands in the very near future.
I feel very, very busy lately and the days seem to pass by in the blink of an eye but I don’t really know what I’ve been doing.
There’s definitely been a lot of this:
And trust me I’m not complaining but I am triste about how quickly summer vacay seems to go. Most of you probably want to kill me since I essentially have three months off but trust me, it goes by faster than I can sing ‘Summer Lovin’. So what have a I been up to? I have found myself asking this exact question.
After the Baby Miyou adventure I took it pretty easy on Saturday night. I was supposed to go to a BBQ hosted by my new friend Cheryl but it was not to be. Markus got called into work, which seems to be an annoying trend these days any time he is on call. Since he doesn’t actually fix the machines anymore I don’t know what good he is during one of these ’emergencies’. I just envision him standing around the factory floor yelling at everyone, but this is not his style, so I honestly don’t know what he does.
Sunday ended up being gorgeous, even though the weatherman predicted otherwise. We decided to have our friends Rob and Julie over for a swim and a family dinner a la Snookie and pals. Mark’s friend Chase popped also over randomly and I felt it was a little reminiscent of Steve Urkell popping in on the Winslows. Although he did not cause any property damage or hit on our teenage daughter.
We had a delicious BBQ. Rob and Julie (or Khak and Kenny…long story) brought some meat and we had a salad…FRESH OUT OF OUR GARDEN!!!!! Yeahhhhh. So proud of our urban farming success.
Julie also insisted that we add a decoration from our tiki hut to the table to make it more authentically tropical.
While we set the table, Mark and the boys were the grill masters.
I really, really wish Mark had been wearing his grill apron. Which I think you will agree would have been more appropriate for this occasion than his Larry Bird shirt:
Here our friend Khalil models the apron, as well as an inner tube and someone’s training bra. I think you can agree it is quite fetching. I also see a Troy Junior photobomb in the background.
After dinner we lounged around and Khaki and Ken’s pup Hal romped in the backyard with Bolt and Miyou. Meaning we tried to keep Miyou calm and not rip a stitch, while Bolt mostly ignored both of them when possible.
Julie said Hallie is terrible at posing for pictures but I seem to have the dog photog touch. Isn’t she a sweet pea?
Monday was another one of these with this gal:
I apologize I recycled the pic but it pretty much was exactly the same. It rained for a wee bit and we headed out to Ardene to get our shop on. Seriously….that store is my dream. It it the cheapest thing ever. Their clothes literally cost 5-20 dollars and will last you a couple of seasons. I feel like I completely freshened up my wardrobe for my upcoming trip to Calgary and it was less than $100.
Monday turned into Tuesday and besides reading a mind-numbing ‘female friendly’ book called Unsuitable Men, I didn’t do much until the afternoon when I decided it was time get off my ass and clean the house. Which is what I did for a solid few hours. Mark was working a shut down so I headed over to my friend Sherrie’s house with Emilio and we immersed ourselves in a delightful BBQ. While it mostly looked like this outside:
….it didn’t matter. We were all smiles as Sherrie regaled us with her antics from her recent trip to Thailand:
I was enthralled as Sherrie told us about ‘Thai showers’, lady boys, ping pong shows and all of the international friends that she made. I was also a little jealous and definitely wish that I could have gone with her. I was seriously, seriously considering going with her but her timing coincided with Focus on Learning and that was one professional obligation that I definitely had to keep. The pictures were beautiful and I can tell she had the time of her life. She is a very brave soul. There is no way I could backpack by myself through the US, let alone somewhere like Thailand but good on her!
After this little love-in I headed to the movies with Marks (remember…Tuesday’s cheap night) and met up with my sis and her boytoy Kyle.
As you can see, I was definitely a creeper with this pic.
We went and saw World War Z, which Mark and I had both been dying to see since we saw previews for it a couple of months ago. I totally enjoyed every minute of it. I’m pretty easy when it comes to movies but this was definitely a winner for me. I liked Star Trek a lot but this movie was in a different category all togetha. I love zombie movies and apocalypse movies, so this was a beautiful combination, particular since good old Brad Pitt makes a delicious appearance. While he has certainly aged and is not physically the divine specimen we knew and loved in Troy, he is an amazing actor and I think this is what made the difference for me between this and any other zombie movie I’ve seen in a while. All in all, I clearly recommend it if this kind of movie is your jam.
Today is another beauty. However, instead of lounging on my chair like a lady or leisure, I have decided to get acquainted with my good ol’ laptop and not just for blogging purposes….although I am acutely aware I’m currently blogging instead of doing my work…BUT I think this outside office thing is a step in the right direction.
I even added our little tiki hut friend for that fun office vibe.
On that note, I’m going to get back to writing up my Pearson Publishing chapters and see where the afternoon takes me but I must say a big thank you for the distraction!
Just wondering: do you ever get to work from home? Do you have a job with flexibility? If so, do you often waste you time like me? (Shame on us.)
I put up an old post about a week ago that I wrote last year about our rescue pup Miyou.
If you didn’t read it and want to catch up, read all about it here.
Our darling has been with us for a year now and I must say, she has really grown on me and particularly Mark. She really is daddy’s little diva. You will see a lot of her on my blog and even other people’s blogs, as she is always a requested guest at our many get togethers. She is super social and loves any gathering in which any and all food tidbits go directly to her as resident cutie.
Some examples of her partying hard:
I’m not 100% sure what’s going on in the second picture but it appears she is enjoying it. Needless to say, I was sad and a little anxious when it came time this Thursday to drive little Miyou up to Guelph to get spayed. Her situation was unique because when we got her last year we thought she was pregnant. However, this sadly proved not to be the case. Her belly was simply distended from lack of nutrition and as she stayed with us and received proper nutrition, she just kept getting sexier and sexier. By the time we figured out she was not expecting any Baby Miyous of her own, summer was over. Myy schedule would not allow me to get her to Guelph to be spayed by the rescue organization from which we got her. It had to wait until this summer. Unfortunately, this resulted in Miyou going through heat twice and dirty, old man, Bolt getting in on that action.
Yes, they are stuck together. I was ashamed and embarrassed to be their mother that day at the dog park.
As much as I think Miyou would have had some excellent babies, the right thing to do was to get her spayed, as I truly believe in rescues over breeding. So this leads us up to Baby Miyou’s Excellent Adventure. I think I will now let Miyou take over and tell her side of the story.
Hi I’m Miyou. I like food. And dad and mom and Bolt. In that order. Sometime someday (remember I have no sense of time) Mom and I got in the car. I like the car but it doesn’t like me. Sometimes I vomit during
long any car ride, so I get spoiled and get to sit in the front. See.
No, that wasn’t comfortable, so I tried this.
Alright, finally, I found the right position. I like to rest my head on mom’s arm when she drives. Makes it just a little uncomfortable for her and that’s OK because I know I’m a babe.
We arrived at this place.
And I’mthere’s going to be some food because I haven’t had any all day. So I’m excited to all up in these people’s faces. I know once they see how cute I am they’re going to feed me, right? Wrong. They tricked me! All of a sudden, bam, I’m asleep, without any nourishment! I wake up and I’m stoned as can be. Those sadists cut my toe nails too! Then I was . I decided to go haywire and crap myself and try to bite everyone around me. That will show them. Feces and fierceness, a potent combo. I succeeded in my mission because they ended up calling mom early to come get me. I could hear them on the phone, ‘Miyou has had enough of our company and you need to come get her.’ Damn right I had, you didn’t even give me food.
Mom came and got me and she looked pretty sad. Perfect, I’m going to play this up like nothing she’s ever seen. The whole way home I cried in the car like a dying monkey. Really, I was so stoned I didn’t feel a thing but I really wanted to make sure I got some cuddles. And I certainly did. As soon as we got back to this weird house we were staying at, I got wrapped up like a little baby and I’ve never gotten so much attention in my life.
I also wasn’t hungry for the first time in my life and didn’t even eat my dinner but that’s OK, I could stand to lose a few ounces for bikini season. I literally slept all day and night and when I woke up the next day, Stella had her groove back!!! I decided to wake mom up properly by licking her face and scratching at her with my newly trimmed racoon’s paws. Considering I also now get carried up and down the stairs like the princess that I am, whatever they did to me, they can do it anytime!
Thanks Miyou for that informative narrative. I must admit, she has been bugging me to guest blog for a while, so that should get it out of her system for a solid month.
While my little darling was sleeping the sleep of the truly drugged I met up with my friend Anja, one half of the dynamic duo that Mark and I met while in Belize last year. We instantly hit it off and have been lucky enough to meet up a few times since then. They even came to our wedding in Jamaica.
Anja is a beauty. The first time my friend met her there were lots of questions surrounding her possibly being a model. Nope. She has brains and beauty and holds down a smarty pants job I could never do. She is one of God‘s special creatures. We met up at a restaurant in Guelph which coincidentally ended up being only a one minute drive from my parent’s rental property, which is where Miyou and I crashed for the evening. It was called Cusina Mediterranean Bistro and it was GOOD. I’ve travelled to Greece before and therefore have a hard time thinking any Greek cuisine here is comparable but this place was really close. I got the Tyropitakia Platter and it was massive.
I ate the fries and salad because those things are dirty leftover and took the rest with me. Anja also ordered chocolate cake, which you can see was bigger than her.
Unfortunately, she said it wasn’t so great and most of it went home with her but everything else was fantastic. The restaurant has really great reviews and I can understand why. After a lengthy catch-up it was time to say our goodbyes but I’m really hoping she and her boytoy Jordan buy a house of their own in Guelph so we can become frequent house guests 🙂
Anja said she was excited to be part of the blog and that I had popped her ‘blog cherry’. I’m pretty sure statements like this could really inspire more men to become a part of the blogging community.
After dinner I headed back to my parent’s rental property and helped them with some clean up. Even the living room was filthy, so I attempted to remedy this. It wasn’t much but the tenants have left to much stuff in the house it is hard to work around it. My solution would be to hire a cleaning company and charge the clean up fee but sometimes Brennie is far too nice and she doesn’t find this appropriate. She is a kind soul and also one of God’s special creatures. We went to bed relatively early for a Friday night and headed back home on Saturday morning.
All in all, it was a good few days and Miyou has come through with flying colours. Her incision looks beautiful and she is back to her food loving ways. My prognosis is a speedy recovery. Before I depart I’ve gotta ask, how much do you love your pet? Does anyone out there have a positive vet story? What about just a pet story?