Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer House Progress

Random house pictures.... yippeeeeeeeee!!!

My desk is ready for some studying! It's now complete with a new laptop after my previous one literally blew up on Wednesday. (This is where I do my blogging, because I am sure you were just dying to know, right?)
Meanwhile the kitchen is still a work in progress, but so much closer to being complete. We have a new refrigerator in the middle of the living room! (Meredith - that magnet says "Yay Bacon!")
We also have countertops! And tile selections, which hopefully will be installed this week! (Note the piles of tiles we've been going through... this has not been easy!) Once we put the floor tile down, we can FINALLY install our appliances and the sink, hook everything up, and have a real kitchen again! We're mostly unpacked which has cleared up some space around the house. I'm really loving Joe's beer glass collection display & our wine area.

If you've wondered what you do when your kitchen is in transition for 3 months - here it is. We do all of our kitcheny stuff in the living room. Did I mention I am ready to be back in a real functioning house? :) I am so excited to have a range and an icemaker again!!!

Here's Lil' Bit trying to help with our remodel.
Joe is painting our new door right now - which is also an awesome new addition to the house. I love the fact that he is doing so much remodeling so we can enjoy it while we live here, instead of doing it right before he would rent or sell it.  

By the way, see what happens when I need to load pictures from my camera to my new computer? All kinds of non-important pictures reach my blog!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

improv metaphors

Last night I went to an improv elective about using physicality in performance.  In one exercise, we had to grab an object (left to our imagination) and as we interacted with it, it would grow bigger. I grabbed a bar bell, and as I tried to lift it, it got heavier and heavier and nearly unbearable. Then we were supposed to grab at another object. I reached down and grabbed a toad, which I fearfully dropped and tried to get away from, all as I struggled with the barbell.

Kinda strange, right? When I shared my objects and experience, the instructor told me it all made perfect sense. I thought I was getting weaker and more timid, but he said that I was getting stronger as I was able to hold more weight. Meanwhile, I had to challenge the tiny toad which was trying to thwart my efforts. Ahhhh... then I got it.

Gotta be careful of those tiny things that get in the way of ultimate success, especially when you're already proving your strength. 

And moments like that are why I like improv.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Annie & Lil' Bit

Even though it's nearly 6pm, the house has a calm, groggy feeling to it. On the awake team: me. On the nap team: Joe, Sam, June, Annie & Lil' Bit. I'm clearly missing something.

It has been a good day here. We are finally making more progress on the kitchen! Cabinet hardware and trim went in today. Tomorrow we get countertops. That means we will finally have a sink! Not that it will work, because that will come after we put the flooring down, then put the appliances in, then have the plumber do the final hook-ups... But regardless, there is progress around here!

Meanwhile, I spent the day immersed in MBA Math. I completed my first accounting homework and then spent nearly 6 hours reviewing more accounting. Here's the kicker - I realized just a few minutes ago that I didn't need to do that accounting section. So I basically just got a lot of extra accounting practice I didn't need. Which means I didn't get the economics, statistics, finance, and excel training I REALLY need. Oops. On the plus side, I got to share my desk with Annie, the more energetic of our foster pups. I can't complain. :)
I realized I still have an enormous amount left to do... and second down the list to studying is going shopping. Apparently one has to wear business clothes while in school. That is a problem considering my closet is full of workout clothes, 2 pairs of jeans, and lots of clothes I never wear that wouldn't even come close to meeting business casual standards. I am thinking that recruiters might not appreciate my "Thesaurus" t-shirt with a dinosaur-book-morph on it. UGH I hate shopping. I may push this task off until Sunday afternoon around 4pm.

That's all for now. Time to go wake everyone up. :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Getting Organized

I woke up naturally at 5:45am this morning with a decision... go the gym or see how productive I could be during my most alert time of day, which is the window from waking up to 7am-ish. I'm proud to say that I actually finished my macroeco book! You want to know about a country's balance of payments? Fiscal policy vs. monetary policy? Capital accounts vs. financial accounts? Well, you should probably ask someone skilled in economics. But for a basic overview... come to me! I can do it! :)

I'm not proud that I didn't make it to the gym all day.. Still need to figure out how to optimize my brainpower vs. willpower vs. zombiepower (which usually hits at about 2pm.)

I am glad to say that even without some gym-provided-endorphins, I was very productive today, even if I did not do any studying past 8:30am. I picked up my new friend Steph and we went to TOPS to look at used office furniture. I scored a fancy black leather executive chair, a file cabinet, and some new school supplies. After lunch, I came home and got to work organizing my room. Part of the project included going through mounds of paper that I have ignored for the past 2 years and organizing everything. I put my new cabinet to good use and now I'm set to start school in an organized mindset.

I then worked with my pal Jennifer on her resume & a website we are building together.  Before I knew it, it was 7:00 and I had not played with the puppies enough. So here I am. Blogging (and redesigning the layout - goodbye robots, hello longhorn!) instead of cracking open my Solid Footing accounting homework. I do what I can, right? :) Well, as much as I can with a puppy in my lap!

I will do math tonight. I will, I will, I will.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Post Boot Camp...

My first somewhat week of classes (i.e. Quantitative Boot Camp) is in the books. Here's a view of where I've been spending my days over the past week. I took this picture one morning when I arrived super early to get some stuff done before everyone else got there. I will definitely be spending a lot more time here over the next two years, so enjoy the visual. :)

Overall boot camp was great. I got a refresher in accounting, i.e. I tried to learn basic accounting.  I'm still not feeling quite so confident but I was glad to have had some guidance. Who loves adjusting journal entries?! I also got refreshers in excel and calculus. Oh calculus, how I adore (*hate*) thee. Then we had another professor lecture us on more business overview concepts, and again I was reminded that school was the right decision for me. However, the best part of boot camp was meeting some of my classmates, both in class and during the lunch breaks.  I finally attended a happy hour, and today I organized a group to tour Austin. Check out the social initiatives over here, right?

Boot camp made me realize I have a lot of work to accomplish in the next week. I believe MBA Math & I will be close friends this week.  However, I wasn't about to dive right in. This weekend was devoted to catching up with a few friends, going to another boot camp (luckily this one was physical and only one hour!), hanging in the pool, and playing with our foster puppies. YAY PUPPIES! We've got Annie & Little Bit, both 9 week old german shepherd puppies of differing sizes and energy, but each adorably cute. Honestly, I did try to study some but how could I really study with this cutie pie around to distract me?
Don't worry, I won't leave you with only one picture.

I love me some puppies. :)

Alright, off to hit the MacroEco book again!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kicking things off...

At 7:45am on Monday morning, I walked down Inner Campus Loop to the back door of the McCombs School of Business. The last time I made that trek as a student was in December 2001... but it felt strangely familiar and strangely good. (Strangely odd that Jenna, my attached-at-the-hip-best-friend-undergrad-partner-in-crime wasn't there, but that's another story.)

Monday was the first day of Boot Camp, which is a week long MBA quantitative training program. (Glad we cleared that up... it is not a place for Das Boot to go play. Sorry boot!)  I walked into a room packed with students, each of us with our backpacks and school books and anticipatory expressions.  It was a bit overwhelming, but it was also very exciting.

Over the past two days, I've been reviewing accounting, learning quantitative tools and applied excel for data, markets and statistics, and listening to great lectures like "The Overview of the Business Environment and the Goals and Responsibilities of the Manager." There are many times when I feel like I need to participate in the class discussions, or ask a relevant question, or say something to converse with the professors. At first I was feeling quite stupid because I didn't know the answers to questions they would pose, but now I see that I AM HERE TO LEARN THE ANSWERS. (Took me a moment! Sheesh!) In other words, I am already learning a lot and I am loving it!

I do however feel like I'm in a strange place, having lived in Austin for 11 years and already establishing myself, my routine, my friends, and my lifestyle. While I'm being social enough during the day, I need to get out to the student activities and meet people. (No hibernating bear allowed for a while!) I realize that my education and my network go hand in hand, and I need to start building it ASAP! The people I have met so far are really amazing. I'm constantly impressed (and then further impressed) with each of them, and these experiences continue to confirm my decision to stay in Austin.

Next week I have my last week off, and then orientation starts on August 1st. I'm thinking of having a "good-bye" party before the semester starts, because I can already tell it's going to get crazy.

Did I mention I am loving it?

Pearl Harbor

I wasn't sure what to expect when Joe suggested going to Pearl Harbor.  I admittedly do not know more than the average person about WWII, with the exception of the Holocaust, so I said "sure" and figured if it was important to him, then it would be worth it. We got tickets to Oahu for the day, and arrived at Pearl Harbor by 8:30am. Everyone told us that we would be done in 2 hours. We left at 2:30, and we could have stayed all day.

I think rather than describe the experience, I will post some pictures (featuring the USS Missouri & the USS Arizona Memorial) and just say that this was far and away the best experience of the trip, and perhaps one of my most memorable experiences ever.

Aloha Hawaii! Again! x2! Again!

Another photo tour coming your way!
There are chickens everywhere in Kaua'i. The locals joke about how annoying they are and ask us to take them with us back to the mainland. I don't think they are serious because surely you could get rid of wild chickens if you really don't like them. Anyway, Joe considered taking 2 home for the chicken coop, but that didn't exactly work out.
We loved Brenneck's at Poipu Beach. I got not one, but two fruity drinks! Yum!!!
That's odd. Joe with a beer? Huh.
Second most awesome meal of the trip. Grilled ahi salad. OMG. OMG. (I'm talking like a teenager because it was so good, OMG.)
Now we've moved on to some zip lines. We went with the Princeville Ranch Zip N' Dip. Nine zip lines and a lunch break at a little pool with a waterfall. I jumped 8 feet into the pool by the way. I'm brave like that. (And didn't want to be outshone by the 14 year old girl who was scared but jumped in anyway.)
The King Kong! 1200 feet of zip line madness!!! Joe & I "raced" it. He won. However, in the race of who could put their harness on without help... that was all me. I win when it's important.  (Joe was impressed and said I need to start helping out more around the house since I'm so handy. Doh.)
That evening we took a detour to visit a beach we were unable to see a few days prior. We hiked down a trail and came across this little waterfall...
And then onto this rocky beach...
And then watched the sun set over Queen's Bath. Just stunning.
There are 2 sea turtles splashing around in there!
Last picture at Queen's Bath. We took off just in time, otherwise we wouldn't have been able to see the trail back. This was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip... and what I loved about Kaua'i. It was so unpretentious, natural, and beautiful.

Aloha Hawaii! Again! x2!

Here's a random assortment of other fun things we did in Kaua'i. Yippee for fun things! (And one creepy thing... as you will soon see...Wait for it... Wait for it...)
Did you think this was the creepy thing? Nope... just Joe in a canoe with a fruity drink. :)
That's my silly boyfriend thinking about the upcoming luau.
And that's Joe's silly girlfriend, also contemplating the upcoming luau.
Ahhh.... so cute, huh? (As if I would post the 10 pictures of myself that I hate! I mean, yes, we are adorable!)
Luau time. This reminds me of the time I took belly dancing classes and failed miserably. For the record, they did not fail miserably. Obviously.
Purple sweet potatoes. Am I in heaven? If heaven is a luau in Hawaii, then YES I AM!!!! (No this is still not the creepy part!)
Dolphins swimming alongside us during our Na Pali Coast Raft tour. There were hundreds of them, and I promise they were super playful even though we couldn't catch a picture of them in action.
CREEPY!!!!! We found this boat floating at sea. SOOOO CREEPY!!! We almost had to call the coast guard, but some guy claimed it was his over the radio. We all doubted it but didn't want to see what was inside. (Or, rather, we didn't want to wait for the coast guard to show up. But that sounds less creepy.)
Joe with a yellowfin tuna that he caught while deep sea fishing. As much as I would love to say that I took this picture, or even saw this happening, I was only about 4 feet away vomiting in a bucket. When Joe caught a shark (CREEPY PART II!!) I was so sick I couldn't lift my head to see it. Lesson learned = $88 is a ridiculous amount of money to spend being seasick for 4 hours and trying to get everyone to ignore you. Ugh. But yay Joe!!
Lastly, this is the fish seen above. Our hotel grilled it up for us and I must say - it was the most delicious fish I have ever hard. Hard to believe it was swimming in the ocean not 2 hours prior to us eating it. Next time I will sleep in and let Joe bring the catch back. Lesson learned.

Monday, July 18, 2011

I interrupt this Hawaii update to bring you...

... my view for the next two years, taken this morning on my way to class. 
It feels really great to be back. :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Aloha Hawaii! Again!

How about a quick photo tour of the rest of our trip? Yeah? Yeah! Here Joe & I are at Poipu Beach Park. Yay for ocean hair! This was the nicest beach we went to - relatively gentle and easy access. We liked it so much we even came back.
Here's Joe along the drive up Waimea Canyon, or the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific." Very pretty drive with lots of fun places to get out and explore along the way.
Joe is king of the world!!! (E is too scared of the edge to duplicate this photo!!!)
Pretty. Yay nature.
We had just been on that coastline in a raft only a few hours before. It was so neat to see this view from sea, land, and air throughout the trip.
Yes, air! We went on a helicopter tour and it was awesome!!!
Little did I know I would be cursing this harbor later in our trip. :)
Watch out for dinosaurs! This was the famed Manawaiopuna Waterfall, most famously known for its appearance in Jurassic Park.
Breathtaking, really.

And that makes 2 blog posts about Hawaii! I'm on a roll. :)