Monday, June 22, 2015

My Quasi-Unemployed Summer

Since I have graduated, many have asked me what I do with my time. Unexpectedly, it seems like I'm busier than I have been the previous summers! Don't get me wrong, I love it. I love getting to work on these things (most of the time). I just figured I should share what I'm actually doing with my time. Hopefully it will explain why I've been MIA on my blog :)

Typically every Monday and Wednesdays, I work on my research. That can involve one (or more) of the following activities: reading and taking notes on articles, writing, running analyses, cleaning data, writing emails to professors and peers (I'm not sure where I fit in the world yet), and editing papers. Publish or perish, right? 

I dedicate Tuesdays and Thursdays to course prep. I have 3 courses that I am prepping this summer- 2 that I will be teaching in the fall and the 3rd is an online class I'll be teaching in the spring, but it has to be completed by September. Right now I'm working on writing up course outlines and exams for the online course (research design). Then I'll be putting together lectures, exams, and assignments for my other two courses (criminology and community corrections). 

Friday tends to be my 'catch-up' day, where I deal with emails that I had been putting off and trying to finish up some of the other tasks that hadn't been completed quite yet. 
I try to take the weekends off for the most part. That probably won't always be the case, especially once the fall rolls around, but I'm enjoying it right now :)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Journeys of Home Ownership

Being a first time homeowner is nothing if not overwhelming interesting. We have now lived in our house for a little under 2 months and have learned many things already. I'm sure it will only get better with time, right?

Lessons we have learned:

  • Something is always broken. 
    • Literally the night we get back from our anniversary trip one of our alarm sensors break. As a result, we can't set our alarm. Due to all the rain, the alarm company is flooded with service calls (apparently rain does weird things to alarms?) and they can't fix it for another 10 days. #FirstWorldProblems.
    • During this time, my garage door decides not to open automatically. Call our home warranty and set up an appointment for the following Monday to get it fixed. We receive advice that it could be the sensor. Matt does something to it (magic, I'm sure), and it now works. #YayForSavingMoney!
  • Always bag the bones.
    • So it turns out just throwing trash into the garbage can doesn't guarantee it will fall out into the garbage truck. 
  • You will go on dates to Home Depot and Lowe's.
    • See above. #YayForFlyRepellant                           
  • Get to know your neighbors.
    • You may have to ask them if their dog is up-to-date on their rabies vaccines. (Don't worry, they were.)
  • I know nothing next-to-nothing about:
    • Lawn care
    • Electrical 'stuff' and GFCI outlets
    • Insect infestations
    • Granite counter tops 
      • What, they have to be sealed?
  • Your parents & Google know everything.
    • See all of the above
Image result for google is your friend

Monday, June 15, 2015

Anniversary #4

As I said in my last post, Matt and I went on a trip to Gatlinburg, TN, a few weeks back in order to celebrate our 4 year anniversary! Yes, it's the same place we went to for our 1 year anniversary, but we fell in love with it. When deciding where we wanted to go, we decided it would be best given all of the change that was happening this past year. I'm so glad we did because we had an amazing time! 

We stayed at the same B&B this time, too- The Buckhorn Inn. We loved it just as much if not more than we did the first time! I was a little worried that we had built it up in our minds to be better than it actually was, but as soon as we stepped into our room, all those thoughts were gone. I could not recommend this place more, especially if you like beautiful mountain views and delicious breakfasts! 

We did do a few new things this trip. The first was going on some longer hikes. Our first hike was up to Ramsey Cascades. Due to our inexperience at finding trailheads, we ended up hiking a little under 12 miles as opposed to the posted 8, but we had a great time! I think we will be looking into getting our own hiking gear (my brother lent us his backpack) and do some more hiking locally.

We had conquered 10 miles, still had another 2 to go.
Our second hike was to Rainbow Falls. This was a shorter hike (about 5.5 miles roundtrip) but we got to see tons of chipmunks! As it hadn't rained in the mountains for a while, the falls weren't quite as impressive as I heard they could be, but we still enjoyed our hike.

Matt finally found a salamandar! 

The other new thing we did this trip was go visit the Biltmore Estates. This was certainly a splurge ($60/person including the audio guide) but it was worth it to see the nation's largest home. If you go, be sure to get the audio guide as otherwise you won't find out much about the history of the estate. Though we didn't get to see everything, we did enjoy what we did do. For us, it was one of those 'good to see it once, but don't necessarily need to do it again' kind of things. 

You couldn't take pictures inside the home, but this was one of the views outside of the house!

The estates included several beautiful gardens and greenhouses

Overall we had an amazing trip! It was great to get away and just be the two of us after all the work/graduation chaos of the prior few weeks. 
Apparently Matt is super serious when he meets hiking-black bears!
Take me back to this view, please!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Life Lately

As my aunt (hi, Paula!) so gently reminded me, I haven't blogged since my graduation. This past month has flown by! Since graduation, we have traveled to and from Gatlinburg, TN, hosted our first party at our house, and experienced our first insect infestation. Nothing like being homeowners, right?

I will go into some more of these things in more detail, but I wanted to do a quick post to let you know I'm still alive and well. Even though I'm technically 'unemployed' this summer, I am staying very busy. During the week, I am working on both research and class prep. The weekends (and weeknights) are inevitably filled with house-related tasks, plus a few social events scattered here and there. 

Each of the other topics deserve their own post, but until then I'll leave you with some miscellaneous pictures.
Matt in front of Ramsey Cascades in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
Our 4 year anniversary dinner
This was us on our 1 year anniversary, also at our B&B
in Gatlinburg. WE LOOK LIKE BABIES!!!!
Fast-forward to the present- we got
to see a panda at the Memphis Zoo!!!