Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good

Ever heard of a Sicilian Eggplant?


My mom always knows where the best food is and she told me she had been getting some really good eggplant from a local farm and then I got to experience it at the Japanese restaurant on Friday night. I knew I had to have some.

You know what else is good? Sweet potato, eggplant, mushroom and black bean pizza.


Next time I think I'll mash the sweet potato and use it like a tomato sauce. But still good.

Today was the first day back for teachers...I know shocking that would be under the category of "good." Nothing good about it, except first grade has their visitation so I got to see a few of my kids from last year. Love them. Want them back.

Today Eric and I were driving along and saw a lemonade stand. The two of us are incapable of driving by a lemonade stand without stopping due to memories of living on dead end streets as kids, but still trying to sell lemonade. Lemonade stands always put me in a good mood.

The Bad

I just got a reminder that my car registration is up for renewal in September. I decided to check it since I thought I just renewed it when I changed my name less than a month ago. Turns out, all they did was charge me to change my name, it didn't renew it at all. Yet, when I changed my name on my license itself that renews my license. I don't know why I'm still shocked about the number of things that do not make sense when it comes to name changing, but I am.

The Ugly

So remember last week when I lost my classroom assistant to a teaching job and spent a day interviewing new people? Yup, we hired someone. Then SHE got a job, so I still don't have one and the kids come on Thursday. Boo. If I have to sit through another interview I might cry.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Twas the Night Before the Last Day of Summer

2 posts on my teaching blog this week, whoa, I'm on a roll!

Run Update

Tomorrow marks the big switch in Eric and my 5k training plan. We will officially start running for distance instead of time. When you do the Couch to 5K plan, you are supposed to choose to do it for either time or distance. However, I decided to switch between the two halfway through so I could make sure I wasn't increasing my running too much too quickly for my knee, but was also ready for the 5k in a few weeks!

Yesterday Eric and I did a training run outside at the Cape. We couldn't find a track around, so we decided to run on the sidewalk and hope the knees could handle it. We were supposed to do a 5 minute warm up and then 25 minutes of running. When Eric and I run together, I let him keep track of time but I do find myself asking, "how much time has it been?" and "how much longer?" often. We decided to do a there and back route, so the whole way there I kept wondering when it would be time to turn around. However, on the way back I found myself totally calmed because I didn't have to worry about time, I simply had to get back where I started.

After this experience, I started to wonder whether it's better to run for time or distance. I find on the treadmill I almost always run for time, but outside I almost always run for distance (I'm not going to stop running unless I'm home or close). What do you tend to do, run or time or distance? If you don't run, do you bike or elliptical for time or distance?

Birthday Celebrations

Due to the crazyness of summer and wedding relating events, we have been failing to celebrate birthdays in my family. Tonight we did a giant celebration, complete with a turkey, stuffing and this amazing bread and veggie dish my mom made...


I got my own special portion with no cheese...


and my own portion of stuffing, yum...


Then came dessert. Lemon Meringue Pie.


Then came the Happy Birthday songs...

Happy Birthday to Chris...


Happy Birthday to Dad...


Happy Birthday to Jake...


Happy Birthday to Mom...


Happy Birthday to me...


And then we got to eat...


I don't generally tell people I like lemon meringue pie because technically, I don't, unless my mom makes it. Literally never had a lemon meringue pie I liked made by anyone but my mom. Don't even try to convince me otherwise, haha.


So, tomorrow is the last day of summer. Remember my goal to organize/clean my house and car before school starts? I put the last touch on my house today with the pantry.





Yeah pretty shocking.

Hopefully I can fit in car cleaning tomorrow in between a bunch of other errands. I really wish all grocery stores could have the same items for the same prices so I wouldn't feel the need to go to 10. Bah.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Contrasting Days

It's amazing how two days can be so different from each other.

Thursday I was at school for 10 1/2 hours, with only a brief break to go tutor one of my summer kiddos for the last time :( I had actually not planned to go to school anymore until it officially starts on Tuesday, but my just-hired assistant got a teaching job so I had to do more interviews. Well, maybe had is the wrong word. I could've left the responsibility up to my principal, but then again she's not the one who has to work with this person every day for a year, so I didn't. The day was insanely boring. It was the first nice day all week so almost no one was at school to entertain me, and there is only so long you can make birthday charts out of cut out cupcakes and eliminate dust that has piled up over the summer.

Except for the much awaited sun peaking in through the windows of my classroom, Thursday was painful.

Friday, on the other hand, was perfection.

After my run followed by 10 1/2 hour work day on Thursday, Eric volunteered to drive us to the Cape. Since I woke up at the Cape on Friday, I was already happier. The weather was perfect summer weather, and the water was calm as glass. Eric and I decided it would be a perfect day for a boat ride. We made reservations with a company called Catboats that does sail boat rides out of Hyannis Harbor. We grabbed a picnic lunch and showed up at the harbor. When we got there, a lady who worked for them informed us that there was no crew and the trip was cancelled. She fed us some line about "sorry for the inconvenience." Personally I thought it was rude that they didn't call us (they had my cell) to warn us so we didn't come down. But since it was Friday and not Thursday, we quickly recovered and signed up for a Harbor Cruise instead. We ate our picnic lunch on the dock and waited for the boat to arrive.


Wow, looks nothing like the dusty insides of my classroom.

The harbor cruise lead us through Hyannis "Inner" Harbor (so they called it?). Then we go to see the famous Kennedy Compound.


See the house with 3 peaks all the way to the right? That was Ted Kennedy's summer home before he passed away.


The picture above is of a small island close to the Kennedy compound. It is not part of the compound itself, and none of the house are owned by a Kennedy. However, this is where President JFK would vacation while he was in office. The island nature made it a lot more of a secure place to be.


Post boat ride, we headed over to see the JFK memorial that we were able to see from the water.


It was also next to a Korean War Memorial.


After our little tourist extravaganza Eric and I had to run a few errands, including finally getting my new debit card with my new last name on it. Apparently to change my credit card, I have to send in a copy of my marriage certificate, new license AND new social security card (excessive?) so that will take a bit longer. This is why I will keep my new and old license in my wallet for awhile!

For dinner we went to one of our favorite Japanese restaurants in Yarmouth Port. It's called Inaho and if you are very down the Cape and want high quality, delicious, Japanese food you should go.

I've posted my food from here on the blog before, but I couldn't resist a picture of an appetizer special we got last night. It was an eggplant, stuffed with scallops (cooked), mushrooms, spinach and more eggplant, cooked in a tempura sauce. Amazing.


I know it's better not to use a flash when taking pictures of food, but the dark picture did not do it justice. You will be seeing eggplant again soon on my blog. Yum.

Okay, time for a 5K training run with Eric. In 3 weeks we'll be running it!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Favorite Place

It's been raining for 4 straight days, and I had an utterly obnoxious day at work today, so all I can say is... I'll keep this post as positive as possible.

On Monday night Eric and I enjoyed a little Restaurant Week Boston. Eric and I have a bit of trouble with Restaurant Week because we have such different tastes in food. They usually only give you a couple of choices of entrees so it's hard to find a restaurant with food I want and food he wants. Plus I'm not a big 3 course meal person, I'm full after the appetizer.

However, we have been wanting to try Ristorante Olivio in Arlington for years and they actually had a restaurant week menu we could both get on board with.

Our meal started with some delicious bread. Bread makes or breaks an Italian restaurant in my mind...DSC06044.JPG

Definitely passed the Kelly taste test. For the appetizer I ordered the mussels with crispy pancetta, cherry tomatoes, and garlic simmered in white wine. I had never tried mussels until a few weeks ago but now I've decided I really like them. I'm assuming they are good for you, right? Might want to look that up.


For dinner, I ordered the Homemade Fusilli with shrimp, zucchini, plum tomatoes, basil, oregano and garlic. Can't go wrong with homemade pasta, can you?


Yeah amazing. As I established, I am not good with 3 course meals, but Eric and I both agreed dessert at home would be wonderful. So coconut gelato to-go it was...


It was a fabulous dinner all around. We will definitely be visiting this restaurant again.

Yesterday was spent being tourists with Eric's parents and their friends from England. I've never actually done the crazy Duck Tours that go around Boston but they were actually surprising cool!!!


The guide was fantastic and Boston was gorgeous, as usual, even in the rain.


I even learned a few interesting things about Boston I never knew before. Like did you know we have a small piece of the Berlin wall near EF Education in Cambridge?


You learn something new every day.

Today was spent tutoring (time went by SO slowly for some reason- I had to play games with myself that involved not looking at my watch) and attempting to interview people for my 1:1 aide. Then I found out my classroom assistant took another job, so now I have to start over the interview process instead of going to the Cape like I wanted to. The major issue lies in the fact that the state of MA is stupid and elementary certification is grades 1-6 and does not include K, so nobody wants to be a K assistant because it doesn't build their resume for what they are certified for. But WHY is 6th grade considered elementary?! And why isn't K? I am SO much more like a 1st grade teacher than a pre school teacher! Most elementary schools are K-5!!!! If I had a dollar for every really STUPID decision made in education, I wouldn't need a job at all.

On a more positive note, I've been hard at work on my classroom. Want to see my new Star of the Week poster? (I had to re-do it, a few things have changed since I started teaching 4 years ago hehe)




In case you are wondering why I put a ? for my age... it's because I don't want to redo this every year as I change ages haha. When I did my first Star of the Week poster I didn't want the parents to know how absurdly young I was, but now I figure I've proven myself and I will openly tell whoever asks that I am 26. Still, I'm also lazy and I'm not doing a new poster every year :)

The hardest part of this poster for me was figuring out where my favorite place is. On my first poster I said Australia, which was true at the time. But now I haven't been to Australia in 6 years and the Cape is always my happy place no matter where else I travel to. It's just the right distance away, it's almost always relaxing, and no matter how much Eric and I explore I don't feel like we've seen it all yet. That doesn't mean I didn't consider just about every other place I've ever been....

Where is your FAVORITE place? And why?

Monday, August 23, 2010

What Does "Pain Free" Mean?

As I announced a few weeks ago, Eric and I are currently training for a 5K. We have been doing our own version of the "couch" to 5k, alternating runs on the treadmill on days when we can match up our schedules with runs together at the track.

If you've been reading my blog for awhile you may know- I was diagnosed with patella tendonitis in June 2009. Aside from a crazy sprint triathlon, I did not run for over a year after that in attempt to get rid of the knee pain. Even with PT, exercises, icing, and excessive amounts of rest, the pain only stayed away when I didn't run at all.

Earlier this summer Eric and I had probably our 100th conversation about my frustration over not being able to run. I find it hard to comprehend how people have literally recovered from surgery and been able to run and I am sidelined by a little tendonitis. Which brings me to my question of today's post...

How much pain will you tolerate and still say you had a "pain free" run?

When I was doing PT for my knee last summer they used to ask me how much pain I felt on a scale of 1 to 10. I always found this question to be a challenge, as I have to assume that I have never in my life felt a 10 or even close. At that point I think my pain was a 5, 10 being the pain someone might feel if they say, fractured a part of their knee or tore something. Now, a year later I'd say my pain is a 1 or 2 when I run, and usually is at a 2 after a run. This leaves me to wonder.

Is the reason why I am the one who still cannot run "pain free" because I have a different definition of pain than others? When Caitlin (who has had a lot of trouble with her knees, but now can run marathons) says it doesn't hurt her knee, does she mean AT ALL, or just compared to when things were really bad? Does she simply mean that she can tolerate the amount of pain in her knees or is it really NOT THERE AT ALL?

It's really impossible to know another's feeling of pain, so I have decided to assume that a small amount of pain is okay, as long as it doesn't get worse. I am on a strict regime of foam rolling, stretching and icing and I don't run on anything except a treadmill and a cork track. Hopefully that will allow me to run, within reason, I am not going to be doing any marathons any time soon :)

I'd love to know your thoughts. Just how much pain will you tolerate before you get concerned? Do you think your past history with sports/athletics influences how much pain you tolerate?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Kerry + Adam's Wedding in the Berkshires

So? The Berkshires... overall impression? Beautiful, fun, but don't really know if I have any major reason to go back haha.

As you probably know Eric and I love to travel and see new things...in fact, I'm thinking I should probably change this blog into a travel blog since I seem to be doing way more of that than healthy living haha. Anyway, we decided to arrive early in the Berkshires this weekend so we could see a bit of the area and spend extra time with my friend Katie who lives in Minnesota and has a 10 month old son I got to meet for the first time.

Here's Henry, isn't he a total cutie? DSC05879.JPG

I will admit that I find newborn babies pretty boring after about 5 minutes of oh's and ah's. However, Henry is obviously not a newborn and he is at such a fun age (well fun for me, probably exhausting for his parents). I could've just watched him get into one piece of mischief after another for hours. He even tried to steal my beer...


Haha love him.

On Saturday morning Eric and I woke up nice and early so we could do some exploring. We were staying at Jiminy Peak and they have tons of activities right at the mountain. We decided to try out the Alpine Slide.



I have to say it was pretty cool, minus my total inability to control my own speed. Eric beat me down by like 10 minutes, oops.

After our Alpine adventure, we took a short drive over to Mt. Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts.


It is also part of the Appalachian trail, which is cool. We probably would've done some hiking on the trails on the mountain but we didn't have a ton of time before the wedding, so we just brought a picnic lunch to the summit.

Not only was it a gorgeous view...


but there were also hang gliders and parachute gliders (? just making up that name, it was like hang gliding but with a parachute). We got to see a few of them take off...






Very awesome. Then, it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding. Did I mention the ceremony was on top of a mountain? We got to take a chair lift up! Henry liked the chair lift at first and then it put him right to sleep...


The ceremony was as gorgeous as you would expect a ceremony with a mountain back drop to be :)



The cocktail hour and reception were back down at the bottom of the chair lift. Here is our all kindergarten picture from cocktail hour, of course the bride isn't in the picture so I guess it's not really all kindergarten haha...


Got one with the bride too...


And we had some fun with sunglasses...


Overall we had a great time. Kerry and Adam are fantastic together, and they did a great job planning a fun wedding.

Now I'm happy to be home and ready to enjoy my last week of summer. I've got to tutor and get some things done in my classroom but other than that I'm hoping for a lot of fun to close out a totally crazy summer.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Exploring Massachusetts

The funny thing about my travel experience is that even though I've been to Australia, Greece and Paris... I have never actually driven out to western Massachusetts. I had a friend from high school go to college in Worcester, and that's about as far as I got (45 minutes from Boston). That's why when I heard my friend was getting married in the Berkshires I was excited to actually see the Berkshires (which by the way, when I was younger I had NO idea that Berkshires where in western MA, I thought it was some far away exotic location).

Yesterday Eric and I set out for good ol' western MA. First stop: Amherst. For those of you who don't do Amherst, MA is a college town. It's the home to, I believe (unless I'm forgetting one), 5 colleges: Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, Smith and UMass Amherst. Amherst was definitely pretty, and the downtown area was even bigger than I expected.

DSC05866.JPGAs we drove into it we saw Amherst College, and then tons of restaurants and stores that can be expected in a college town. We ate lunch at a place called Bistro 63 at the Monkey Bar. Both Eric and I started out with the butternut squash soup. I got the vegan version so it would have no cream or cheese in it.


I am definitely going to recreate that at home this fall. For lunch I got a turkey sandwich with the typical lettuce and tomato, but also mushrooms, roasted red peppers, onions and grilled zucchini. I'm a big fan of veggies like this in my sandwiches...


The sandwich was delicious too. I'd definitely recommend this restaurant to those visiting the Amherst area.

After lunch we headed to a personal request of mine: The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. For those of you who are not teachers, you still may remember Eric Carle from your childhood story time...



Eric Carle has a very unique way of making his art- he paints a whole page using acrylic paints and then cuts out the pieces to make his picture. In the museum there were four big murals that show what the painting looks like at first...



In the actual museum, you can see originals of Eric Carle's artwork, as well as some other children's book illustrations like Leo Lionni and some of the people who did nursery rhymes and classics like the Wizard of Oz. Unfortunately, they don't let you take photos because it could ruin the art. I was going to sneak one without the flash but there was a very scary lady in there who definitely would've kicked me out. She yelled at a child for talking to loud (it's a place for KIDS! he certainly wasn't bothering me!). Outside back in the hallway there were some replicas so I was able to take pictures with those...





Overall it was very cool, and probably the closest to an art museum you are going to get me to like haha.

I think I am going to have to stop there on our day and pick up tomorrow morning with what we did next. It's 8:30 which means it's time to wake up Eric and start our day of exploration and then wedding :) There might be an Alpine Slide involved. I hope everyone is having a great Saturday!