Back to School, Time for the Barre

You have probably noticed that the blog has been a little quiet lately. Well, summer for me is over and it’s back to the grind. I am back teaching Monday through Thursdays and also trying to make a real dent in my dissertation progress… Important tip: never ask a grad student when s/he will be finished or how his/her research is going. We don’t know and not as well as we hoped… that’s the answer ;)

Anyway, usually the first week back at work means I have a lot of busy work. I try to have my lectures pretty much outlined and ready to go for the semester, so then week by week I’m making edits and tweaks to them as necessary. But the first week is filled with lots emails and giving out add codes for students as well as following up with students who missed first class meetings. It usually also means fixing what isn’t working on Blackboard (our education website). So blogging doesn’t always happen.

But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been busy with other life stuff! Running of course continues (look forward to recaps later this week on the 3rd SCE Whale to Whale and the Dip and Dash). The hubs and I also got some fun new furniture (that the pups have approved!).

Sami prefers to share the hubs's new chari

Sami prefers to share the hubs’s new chair

Gus can't decide which book to use in the new reading chair

Gus can’t decide which book to use in the new reading chair


And also, I’ve been training and practicing for the soon-to-be-open Barre Studio in Capitola! My friend is opening it and I am learning to be an instructor for it. Before I ran, I danced. I took classes for about 17 years in tap, jazz, and ballet. So the barre was a second home to me. But after injuries and college, I stopped taking classes regularly and a few years later fell in love with running. But I never forgot how tough all the barre workouts were or how fit I felt during those years. So the barre fitness classes are great for me and I’m really excited for the philosophy that The Barre Studio will be implementing. They have that fitness element, with small, isolated movements to strengthen muscles but do not require the technique (or talent and grace) of dance. Anyone can come in and find the workout to be doable but also challenging. I can’t wait until the Studio opens! But in the meantime, you can check out its brand new website (you might recognize Leslie or me there too!)

Getting my plank on for the Barre Studio website

Getting my plank on for the Barre Studio website

Summer Recap

I know, I’ve been a bad blogger.

It’s been a long, long time since my last post. I’ve logged in and started to write posts but didn’t know where to start. Well, I figure no time like the present to get caught up on my blog. I thought about doing a separate post for all the events/things we have been doing, but instead here’s a bit of what we’ve been doing since May (yep it’s a long entry).

Wedding Planning
Not surprisingly since I’ve been out of my course work for the summer I have been focusing on the wedding. We finally have a DJ (yay!) but still have lots to do. I had my first dress fitting a few weeks back (and will have another one on Friday) as well as talked flowers and decorations. My mom, Susan, Olivia, and Tara have some AMAZING ideas!

Engagement Photos
In June, my amazing friend and mom-to-be Punam took engagement photos of Kevin & me. They are great. Here’s a teaser shot, but you can see her blog post on them here.

Bachelorette Weekend
The weekend after the engagement photo shoot, four of my close friends and I went to Sonoma County for my bachelorette weekend. It was perfect, complete with beautiful views, hiking, dogs (you know I love dogs!), delicious food, and wine… lots of wine! One of my best friends, Tawny, planned the whole thing and I seriously couldn’t have asked for a better time.

We’ve Been Here, There, & Everywhere (yeah, I totally used one of my favorite Beatle songs here)
Kevin & I have been traveling all over the place this summer. I think one or both of us was gone every weekend beginning in mid-June until, well, now. As mentioned earlier, I was in Sonoma County in June, Kevin’s sister and his niece and nephews visited the following few days, then we flew off to Texas (more about that later), then we drove up to Washington (with a pit stop in Oregon to see one of my best friends), Kevin’s uncle visited for a week or so, then I went home to wedding stuff, Kevin went off to Taiwan for work… and now we’re laying low. Of course, we’ll be traveling here and there again soon :) During that time, Kevin also celebrated the big 3-0!!

While we were in Washington, Kevin’s family threw us a wedding shower. And when I was in So Cal my best friend threw me a bridal shower. Both parties were so much fun and it was great seeing everyone. We really appreciate that everyone came out and celebrated with us. Plus, my mom brought an old high school photo album that my girlfriends and I had a good laugh at!


Dan & Juliana’s Wedding
As I mentioned earlier, Kevin & I went to Texas this summer. Why? To attend Dan and Juliana’s wedding of course! I love this couple, they are fun and sweet and a perfect match for each other. I also got to catch up with some of my old high school friends, as well as visit some of the best that San Antonio has to offer: Alamo, River Walk (ok we barely did this), San Jose Mission, Cavender’s Boot store, and some serious BBQ (the boys ate it, I just stared in amazement).

The newlyweds

Outside the cathedral

The boys & me outside of the Alamo


Summer School
In addition to traveling, planning, and partying, I also worked as a teaching assistant for the first session of summer school at UCSC. I had the pleasure of working with an amazing teacher and fellow grad student who I definitely look up to. This was a class I had TAed for before, but I learned a great deal from above-mentioned-instructor and her great teaching style.

As usual, I’ve spent a great deal of time cooking and baking. I made a yummy batch of cookies-n-cream/cookie dough ice cream (yes together, in one delicious, sugary bowl!). I failed at my first scone making attempt (that’s what I get for last-minute recipe modifications). And I made homemade pasta for the first time, yum!

Drying pasta

I’ve still been running with a few races here and there. Since my last post, I ran 4 races (see my results here). I did take 1st in my age group for one of them, always a nice feeling! And tomorrow, I’ll be running the 1st half of the San Francisco Marathon. Since running the Big Sur Marathon I’ve been pretty slow on my long runs, so I’m not expecting to be very speedy tomorrow but I think it will be a lot of fun. And I have to admit I’m pretty darn excited about getting an Irish Coffee after the race, now that’s a treat I can look forward to post-run (the run is early, like 5:45am early, so I’ll ready for that warm beverage!). Here are some photos from my recent races.

Silly me, throwing my hands in the hair! Crossing the finish line at She.Is.Beautiful 10k on May 22

Post race at Nisene Marks 5k, very rainy race :)

Coming up to the finish line in the San Lorenzo Train Run 10k

Pre-Race Wharf to Wharf 6 mile (surrounded by 15,000 other runners!)

Well, I think we’re all caught up. I will try to get back into my normal blog routine in August.

The Return of Grading!

It’s that time again… grading.

When I started teaching I was soo excited to grade. I love editing (I still offer to peer edit friends’ papers just because I like it so much… but I am a terrible self-editor, go figure). Since I love editing so much I thought that I would love grading as much. But reading 50+ papers and 50+ handwritten essay based exams hurts my brain. After my first semester teaching with only a handful of students I was already tired of grading. I need a teaching assistant assistant. I love teaching and leading section, it’s this part that makes me cringe.

I have to spread my grading out over several days even though I could easily do it in one or two. The problem is how grumpy I get reading the same answers over and over again, the same mistakes over and over again. Even the best students’ perfect answers over and over again results in frustration. I know this would eventually affect the grades… so I take breaks, long ones. Then I get upset that I’m wasting time with a break… it’s an endless cycle for me.

But its worth it. About a year and a half ago, one of my community college students left me a note with his final thanking me for the class. It really made a huge difference for me, like I was doing something right, something important. This past Monday one of my students wrote me a letter, again thanking me. But he also told me some of his own life story. He has been doing very well in the class, so I knew that this wasn’t some sympathy ploy. He has lived through a lot – and here he was taking his classes and doing well. It made all the grading I had ahead of seem like a luxury.

But here I am… whining… and procrastinating. And going back to grading.