31 January 2011

January in Review

Before February gets going, I'm gonna be all over it and do a photo-review blog for what went down in my corner of the world in January 2011.

Rang in the new year with some friends who've become close over the last few months: Sam, Alex & Julie, as well as a couple of old book club friends, Casey and Ryan. We celebrated at an indie, dinner-movie theatre called The Enzian during their James Bond theme party. Casey, Julie and I got all dressed up in sparkling formal-wear, and the men all looked snazzy in their suits and ties!

Just 2 days into 2011 I had the pleasure of hosting my best friend from Down Under, Tamara! We had a blast together all week, catching up, playing with Heidi and Ashes, dining out, having PB&Js, playing Euchre and discussing our cultural and language differences. That weekend my Mom flew in town to run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. I was supposed to run it with her, but I had to back out due to knee injury... She ran it, had fun, and Tamara and I supported her. The next day we all enjoyed ourselves at Universal's Islands of Adventure. We were blown away by the feature Wizarding World of Harry Potter ride inside the Hogwarts Castle!

During the Tamara visit I had to deal with Heidi having caught some gastro-intestinal parasites. Got her all treated for that, and she's doing MUCH better now. Still hanging around 55#, but she's already healthier.

Through the month I hosted a couple of euchre nights. I taught my new Euchre playing friends how to play bid-Euchre so we could have 6 or 8 people playing one big game instead of breaking into 2 smaller games. It's a lot of fun. I'm really glad I can get that taste of the Midwest down here through Euchre.

The Spring 2011 semester at PSU started on Monday, 10 January 2011. I'm taking 2 classes this semester: IST 552 Data Management and IST 411 Distributed Object-Oriented Programming. I LOVE 411 and am doing well there so far, but I'm praying to pass 552. The class overestimates the students' background knowledge and is very accellerated in pace...
I had a lovely Skype date with Miss Kristin! When I Skyped with her she announced that her and her husband, Aric, were getting a puppy - a Cocka-Poo! They've sinced picked him up from the breeder and named him Hiro, from the main character in the shoe Heroes. I've seen a photo, and he's just adorable! Can't wait to Skype with her again soon to hear all about their transition into puppy parenthood!

On Tuesday, 11 January 2011 my brother, Chucky, turned 22! I sent him a card, a book he requested ("The Art of War"), and a gift card to Target. I wish I could have celebrated with him in person, but when you're on opposite coasts of the country, it's kinda tricky and we make do. Happy birthday, Chuggy! Here's a favorite photo of the two of us, taken at Lana & Geof's wedding back in September 2009:

Last weekend I got to go skiing with a bunch of great friends from work; they are all in the IS Leadershpi Development Program with me. We had a blast! We stayed in an awesome, 5-bedroom cabin, tucked away in the woods, and we had 2 full days of skiing! Here are a few of my favorite photos from the trip:

My parents bought me Dave Ramsey's "The Total Money Makeover" for Christmas. I have sinced read it all the way through and am working to have my own Total Money Makeover. With all the student debt I have, this just made perfect sense. In fact, tonight I'm finalizing my Allocated Spending Plan for February 2011. It'll be interesting to see where my bad spending habits reside (I'm thinking eating out and groceries are my bane, aside from my car loan payment). Anyway, I like being organized and I like budgeting, so to implement his plan has been fun for me so far.

Last Saturday was my first Hackathon, hosted at Sam's house. He made a super cool white board, DIY-style that I got to use while Joel taught me how to do dynamic programming tables (part of my first IST 552 homework assignment). It was a lot of fun boucing ideas off one another for different programming projects and hanging out with like-minded career/student/developer friends. I'm excited for the next one and hope it goes from monthly to bi-weekly! Here's a photo of Sam displaying my dynamic programming table on his home-made white board:

The last big thing I did in January was epic! My friend Alex and I participated in our first Warrior Dash! On top of that, it was his first 5K! He picked a great one! We ran through mud rivers, crawled through mud pits (I'm talking several feet deep pits full of sloshy/suctiony/smooshy mud), climbed rope nettings, scaled balance beams, leaped over fire and swam through a muddy trough with barbed wire just over our heads! It was so adventurous and challenging and fun! I haven't seen my official chip time yet, but my watch clocked me at approximately 35 minutes. That's 5 minutes less than what my goal was!

29 January 2011

My 2011 NY Resolutions

My 2011 New Year's Resolutions:
  • spend less time surfing Facebook (doing quite well on this resolution so far)
  • pay of a significant chunk of my student loans (getting things in line for this)
  • run 525 miles by Saturday, 31 December 2011 (only 457 to go!)
  • earn B or better in all my PSU master's courses (2 this semester, 1-2 over the summer, and another 1-2 in the fall)
  • read the Bible (or at least several books; will be difficult with all the master's work)
  • catch up and keep up with my scrapbook for Heidi (I'm behind by about 12 months, heh)
I have made a reminder in my calendar to check in on my resolutions every two weeks. I'm excited to see how I do.

28 January 2011

LH: How to Wake Up w/o Stimulants

I've never been a coffee drinker, and I've never had trouble waking up. But I am of the minority on both points, so when I stumbled across this LifeHacker article, "How to Wake Up w/o Stimulants," I figured I'd share with you. Also, Mythbusters have proven that eating an apple has the same stimulating affect as that of a cup of coffee.

"Because an apple contains natural sugars, it has longer-lasting effects and is a healthier alternative than a cup of coffee with caffeine that will wear off quickly." -Mythbusters