Wednesday, June 30, 2010

By Popular Demand... My Dinner Story

Okay so the other night, Friday, I was planning on babysitting for a woman who is renting the Beech Mountain cabin from my parents. The job began at 6:00pm- right around dinner time. Well, my family and I decided to go out and spend some time together in North Carolina, visiting various stores and... eating dinner. One of the stores we visited was the Mass Annex General Store.

Now, if you have ever been to the area of NC of which I am writing, you know that the Mass Annex General Store is the diabetic coma inducing candy store of the town that would make any kid squeal with joy and buzz with sugar-filled blood accelerating through their veins. After indulging in too many scrumptious treats with waaaaay too many Calories to count, we headed to the local Mexican restaurant. Great. Now that I had overloaded myself with sugar, it was time to overload myself with grease and fat. Joy to my thighs.

After feeling totally gross from overeating candy, I decided to eat something lighter than a quesadilla or taco, etc., etc. I decided to get mojarra- A.K.A. Tilapia. The fish was delicious, the fish was tasty, the fish... still had a face when it arrived. The server came with the ginormous fish that looked as if it were going to swim off the plate. Yummmmmmm....not. I stared at the fish for a moment, pondering if I should eat it or name it. I decided I would attempt to eat it, but I first said to the waiter, "I don't want to be weird about this... but could you guys chop the head off for me? ...I just can't do this." He totally understood and promptly took it back.

It came back... headless this time, thank goodness. However, it still had the tail and fin-like spikes on its back. I was still weirdified by the whole thing, but I proceeded to eat Goldie- he tasted delicious! That is, until Travis declared that it looked so much like they had just caught it that I could probably find an egg sack in it. Thank you, loving husband. Thank you.

Oh, I almost forgot the very best part of the whole experience. As many of you know, Travis is a financial guy- always looking to make some money to help support our future in New York. His deal of the night to my parents was that he would eat the fish eyeball for $50.00. Glad to know that I married such a financially savvy guy willing to perform grotesque stunts for my parents to earn some extra cash. Did he eat the eyeball? You will never know...


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Our Hike to Exhaustion Peak

Friday was the perfect day to go hiking in the Appalachians, so of course we took advantage of the excellent weather. We began our trek at about noon; we returned from our voyage at 3:30. Ahhh yes... a 3 1/2 hour hike. We were prepared: three bottles of water, two bottles of tea, one and a half sandwiches (one for my parents to share and one for Travis-half of which he used to nourish himself prior to the hike), Siegal diet cookies for me, granola bars, and graham crackers... oh yeah... we were ready. Anyway, we began our journey, pumped and ready for action.

Being young whipper snappers, Travis and I pulled ahead. We came upon a rock near Jane Bald (I wonder which "Jane" this was named after- unfortunate bald woman), and we stopped for a break to rest and allow the parents to join up with us. It was at this joyous stop that we realized we only had
one water bottle in addition to the one bottle of tea (which my mom was currently guzzling since she thought we had plenty of fluids). In addition to no water bottles, apparently the cookies were forgotten in the car. This wasn't so bad... for everyone else. However, I did not bring anything else to eat because I figured I would have the cookies. Nope. We tried just sipping a little bit of water since the bottle was technically my parents', and we didn't want to drink it all. When my parents showed up, we shared the bad news with them, and they actually ended up finding the rest of Trav's sandwich but no water bottles. Travis ate his sandwich (I wasn't hungry), and then we all concluded that we would be fine! No worries, right?

Once we arrived on Jane Bald, we decided to reach the next bald since Jane was a lot closer than expected. We continued our trek to the Grassy Ridge despite the lack of food and water. When Travis and I arrived, I felt like collapsing on the big boulders that were at the top. However, I am far too much of a sissy to sit on a boulder where I know... critters... dwell. I had seen too many spiders on our journey to be stupid enough to sit on one of the boulders. When my parents finally arrived at the Grassy Ridge, we all decided to eat something. I was going to just eat graham crackers, but my dad made me eat half of my parents' sandwich while they shared the other half so that I would have
some nourishment. We walked a little bit further until we realized we were walking downwards; we then turned back.

You know what the worst part of hiking is? That moment when you realize that allllll of that hiking you just did... you know... all of that intense walking and climbing that nearly killed you... was only half. Ahhh yes... when you hike into the mountains, you are only hiking
into the mountains. This means that all the time and effort that it took you to get to the destination at which you are resting and relaxing now… you get to do that again. :D Unfortunately, we were not born with “gas gauges” built into our bodies. Therefore, we cannot tell that, “Oh gee, I am half tired now; better turn back!” By the time we reached the Grassy Ridge… I was whipped… not only whipped but dehydrated as well. Either way, we had no choice but to head alllll the way back to our car.

When we finally trudged back, I had already had fantasies of guzzling water until content. Thankfully we were not too far from home: about 15 minutes. When I got into the car there was a little bit of warm… nay… hot tea in a bottle... hot or not, I needed it. Slurp! Ew. It was gone in half a second. I laid down on Trav’s lap for the drive home; when we returned home, I drank and drank and drank and drank! …water! Ahhhh, hydration at last…

Well, there you go… that is the story of our near fatal hike… eh okay… so not near fatal… but we WERE tired! Have a similar story? Gone on a beautiful hike recently? Share!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Brittany's Blissful Blogging Brought on by Boredom (oh, alliteration- how I love thee)

So I decided that I am bored of responding to blog requests. Ha ha! No worries to those of you who requested something. I will get back to those requests when I once again fall prey to writer's block. That, however, is not the case for me right now. Actually I have a couple things to talk about. The first is a formal "blog thank you" to Travis for my hacked birthday blog. Thank you, honey; it was sweet and hacktastical!

The second is that, yes, Brittany, A.K.A. "Galinda" from the Broadway musical
Wicked A.K.A. "Barbie" (when I put on my blue Betsey Johnson dress with my sequin heels), is no longer a blonde. *GASP*! No. I have done this before, everyone! For those of you who have seen me regularly for the past few years, you will know that this is an annual event- a celebration of the fall season! ...wait... June isn't in the fall? Oh crudmuffins! I need to bleach it ASAP!!!! ...just kidding. :D

The deal with the awkward month change is due to the fact that I wanted to be blonde for my wedding... thus, I didn't dye it last fall; therefore, I am "off" by a few months. This time, however, I don't know if I will be going back to blonde soon. This is because brunette is easier and cheaper to maintain, and as you all know, Travis and I are moving to New York which has the dandiest cost of living
ever! epic. fail. So please don't be frightened by this sudden change... I know it will be difficult to get through, but we can do it together.

Anywho! Another thing to discuss is an update on my Summer Lovin' List. Here goes:

1. Go hiking on Grandfather Mountain
Oops! Haven't done this yet, but we have hiked in Tennessee... does that count? No?... dang.

2. Lose ten pounds
Bahahahahahahahahaha!.... ahahahahahahhahahaha!!!

3. Finish reading the Spirit Flyer series with Travis
Man. I'm not doing so swell am I?

4. Watch Up Close and Personal with Mom
Ha! Win! Oh, and it was good by the way. Very cute... but sad. Beware to those of you who really hate sad movies.

5. Ride on the ATV
Check! This was a wonderful experience when Travis and I were out there for about 10-15 minutes and a torrential downpour occurred on us... on the ATV. That was a winning combo.

6. Go to the beach

7. Play frisbee
Oh yes! And may I just say that Travis and I are epically winful at frisbee? I may? Well then... we are. :)

8. Take an apartment hunting trip to NY
Not yet, but we have the tickets! Woo hoo!

9. Take NY certification tests
I called to find out what I needed to do to be certified in NY, and taking the tests right now was not required. Thus, number nine is void. "Number nine... number nine... number nine..."

. Apply for jobs in NY
Probably should get on this, eh? Still haven't gotten my fingerprinting kit! Love government organizations- especially ones in the Northeast... yay.

11. Hike in TN to see the "balds"
Been there. Done that. It was beautiful. And bald.

12. Go on a cruise with the Engebretsens
Absolutely! It was fantastically fantastic! :D

13. Play Beatles Rock Band with Dad and Trav (and Mom if she will participate)
Nope. I have not yet jammed out to best classic rock group of all time. Beatles= the definition of amazing... and groovy (but that was expected).

. Take a trip to see Ivan and Linz's new place in TX
Not yet. Once again, it is planned.

15. Get a better tan
I've been burnt; I've been browned. Either way, I definitely have an improved tan

16. Get closer to Jesus
Hmmm... in certain ways yes... in others no. I definitely want to get closer than I am now, though.

17. Get closer to Travis
This one is kind of hard to gauge... I think 16 and 17 go hand-in-hand. However, I do suppose we get closer with each passing day... each passing moment even!

18. Read The Essential 55
Working on it! It is definitely an entertaining book; as a future teacher, I can definitely appreciate the stories and advice.

19. Buy new "teacher" shoes
Boring. Yes. Done. Meh.

20. Crochet
Complete! Well... I haven't technically completed a crochet project... but I HAVE completed this item on the list. ... :D That counts.

I have completed a definite 9/20 from this list. Not too shabby for now! Granted... this grade would be no means be an A in anyone's book, but I am workin' on it! Phew! That was a LOT of typing. Now that my fingers are about to fall offsdfklds... sorry... lost one there. As I was saying: now that my fingers are about to fall off, I think I will head to bed! Nighty night!

-->But WAIT! There's MORE! Before I go, I have some questions for YOU, yes YOU- the reader! What are some of your summer plans/goals? What have you accomplished from your list thus far? What do you still plan on accomplishing? Please leave a comment to fill me in on your Summer Lovin' List!<--

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy 21st Birthday, Brittany Engebretsen!

While I am a day late, I think it is important for Brittany’s 21st birthday to be recognized on her blog. She wouldn’t do one herself, so I decided to write something short for her. I hacked onto her blog as a surprise! Much more exciting this way!

As some of you may already know, we spent Brittany’s birthday in Kentucky. Why spend her birthday in the Fried Chicken State? Well, Brittany has a tradition of waking up in a new state every year for her birthday: so far she has had birthdays in California, Illinois, New York, Wisconsin, Texas, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, International Waters (on a cruise), Pennsylvania, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Alabama, New Jersey, Florida, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and now, Kentucky.

As I mentioned previously, this year was Kentucky. I won’t say all the details since Britt will probably post a more detailed account with more humor than I could ever muster. But essentially we spent the day exploring underground caves in one of the most boring and vacant towns in the United States. Trust me, I would rather live in an actual cave than in Cave City, Kentucky.

Anyway, Brittany took the many of the big memories and events that we have had for her post about my birthday, but I thought of a few that she didn’t include. The first one I thought of was when Brittany first asked me to sing with her. We were at our musical theatre class, and she motioned for me to come over to her, and then asked if I would sing a duet with her at a local variety show. Now normally, I would have said no, but I felt a strange spontaneity overtaking me, and I said yes. I am still not sure why I said yes (aside from God putting me together with my future beautiful bride), but I am sure glad I did.

Another time I remember is when Brittany’s parents first bought a cabin up in Beech Mountain, North Carolina. I went with them at the very beginning, and there was absolutely no furniture, so we ate our meals sitting on the stairs, and slid across the wood floor on our socks. Oh, and Brittany made me an incredible double-decker peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The last memory I will share is another food item Brittany made for me (she is a great cook/baker/chefette(?)). One year for Valentine’s day, she made the most amazing cookies I have ever had—ever. She took two or three recipes and combined them to make what she calls her “Heart Attack Cookies”. These cookies start off as very large chocolate stuffed cookies, which are two cookies pressed together with a pile of chocolate chips between them in the middle. Then she makes some sort of thick chocolate frosting, and makes a huge cookie sandwich by putting this frosting between two of the chocolate stuffed cookies. I am sure I forgot something, but the end result is a monstrous pile of delicious chocolate and dough that takes days to eat. They must be two inches thick and seven to eight inches in diameter. Seriously though—it is the best thing ever.

Following the mold Brittany set for my birthday post, I would appreciate it if everyone would post about memories they have made/shared with Brittany over the past 21 years.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Note to Self...

...don't ever take a movie suggestion from Dad EVER again. He encourages me to watch horror films; I suppose he doesn't realize that I am a scaredy cat if there ever was one. He, on the other hand, has nerves of steel. On to the movies.

First, it was The Exorcist; boy, THAT was a treat! Then tonight we watched Children of the Corn... WHYYYYYYY?!?!?! It was a straight-up slasher movie with a demonic plot. Joy. Travis and I are now sitting up in bed watching cartoons and working on our Macs. I'm sure Dad is sleeping quite peacefully right now... thanks for that, Dad.

lesson. learned.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

#6- My Thoughts on Public Education

Topic #6 From Travis (A.K.A. My Hubby): "Or the current state of the US public education system..."

As requested, I will discuss the current state of the public education system. First, I will say that the public education system varies by state, obviously. I will first list the top ten states with the best public education systems according to

1. Maryland
2. Massachusetts
3. New York
4. Virginia
5. New Jersey
6. Ohio
7. Pennsylvania
8. Georgia (tie)
9. West Virginia (tie)
10. Arkansas

Where would be the lemonade without the lemons? Here they are:

1. Washington D.C.
2. Nevada
3. Idaho
4. Mississippi
5. Nebraska
6. South Dakota
7. Montana
8. Oregon
9. Arizona
10. Missouri

Remember, too, that the education system also varies according to districts. Now as far as I’m concerned there is one serious problem- circular blame. Teachers blame the administration, the administration blames the government, and the government blames… the teachers! Then you have parents sprinkled in here and there blaming and being blamed.

I have the answer… I know who the real problem is… everyone!!! Wow! What a concept! Everybody has some part in the education of children. Period. Even the children have a part. If a child simply refuses to try after everything has been done to help him or her, then he or she may not make it to the next grade on account of his or her own doing. You know what my response to that is? Oh well! If everything has been done to motivate and help that student save cheating on standardized tests or other illegal methods, then that child will have to learn to accept that he or she did not try. Now don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that students will special needs or learning disorders should be included in this category. I am referring to the children who have positively no ambition whatsoever.

However, I digress. The main point is- we all have some part in the failure of the U.S. public education system. No one person or group is to blame. Yes, even I as a teacher would have to accept some blame if a student of mine did not succeed.

The reason I believe this is because my mentor for my teaching internship had to deal with the administration, unsupportive parents, and students who didn’t want to try… wake up call… every one of his students passed the FCAT. Even the ones who we were certain would not pass. Why? Because he is an amazing teacher who feels it is his responsibility to try his best to help each child succeed. He didn’t give up on them. He understood his responsibility and took it upon himself to try his best for every student.

The overall U.S. public education system is messed up in my opinion. There are reasons:

1. Standardized tests
2. Over diagnosing children with disabilities that are non-existent
3. Lack of discipline at home
4. Lack of homework help/attention in general at home
5. Lack of repercussions in school
6. The mushy gushy “everybody is a winner” garbage
7. Lack of parents helping their children learn English
8. Too much "English as a Second Language" obsession… learn English… you are in the United States!
9. The Great American Melting Pot turning into a “Salad Bowl”? I am surprised we aren’t “Salsa” if you know what I mean.
10. Lack of respect for education
11. Tenure
12. Unions
13. Grade levels based on age instead of developmental levels

Those are just a few. If you have any to add, please comment with your ideas and add your much-needed two cents. Two cents… hmmm, I believe that is a teacher’s yearly salary. ;) Like I said… add your two cents… do you agree? Disagree? Are you indifferent? What’s your point of view?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


The yoke of an egg is not the chick. Yes... chicks come out yellow... but that is not because they were the yoke at one point. However, the yoke is where the embryo is formed.

I learned about eggs today... you should, too.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

"Aruba, Jamaica, Ooh I Wanna Take Ya..."

Hey friends! Ahhh, we are back from the beautiful Caribbean, and boy, did we have a blast! We visited the Princess Cay (private island for Princess Cruiseline in the Bahamas), St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Grand Turk. Let me break down the activities for you:

><> Bahamas <>< Lay out, eat, swim,
putz around, etc., etc.

><> St. Maarten <>< Kayak with Kristin while Travis checked out the shops around the port with Grandmother E., Grandfather E., and Erik and chilled out on the ship.

><> St. Thomas <>< Travis and I snorkeled together and went to the chocolate shop downtown. :D Yum!

><> Grand Turk <>< Horseback riding on the beach and in the ocean with Kristin while Travis toured the island with the rest of the family.

Phew! How exhaustingly fun! Clearly, we had a great time. In case you were wondering, Travis didn't go on some of the excursions because we could only get two tickets. Since it was Kristin's cruise, she definitely went on the excursions, but she could only choose one other person to go with her- that was me! :) We are just epic sisters like that; girls gotta stick together. Despite Travis and my separation for some of the time, we had a great time individually and together!

Overall, it was a fantastic cruise with the Engebretsens Sr. and Engebretsens Sr. Sr.! Although it was sad to leave, I am now tanned and ready for Tennessee with my Johns parents! Let's see how long my tan lasts in the Tennessee mountains; I am going to attempt to at least lay out on occasion. We'll see how that goes. ;)