Archive for March, 2007

University of Alabama

March 30, 2007

It has been a slow week of posting because of how busy things have been for us.  On Monday, I was contacted by the MIS department from the University of Alabama and they were interested in me giving a presentation of my research to their faculty and students as well as to discuss possible opportunities to collaborate in future research.  After working out some logistics, I will be giving the presentation next Friday in Tuscaloosa.  This should be a great opportunity for me (and my department) to build a strong relationship with some very good researchers in a corresponding department only a few hours away.  Jet and Ben will be coming with me for the drive so that she can see first hand what Tuscaloosa is like and to get some shopping in as well.

Speaking of Jet and Ben, after visiting the breastfeeding support group at the hospital on Wednesday morning (Ben is now 12 pounds, 7 ounces … a full 5 pounds more than his birth weight!), she traveled to JSU to see me and apply for an academic adviser position that just became available.  Since we have moved to Alabama, Jet has had an interest in working at JSU with me, either as an instructor or some other staff position.  I think Jet is well-qualified for the position (hopefully not “over”-qualified) and would do well.  It would be nice to have a decision/interview before Jet leaves for Thailand.  I will keep you updated on this.

The weather will finally cool down today as it has been in the 90’s and upper 80’s every day since Janette, Jeremy, and Abby have left.  For this weekend, temperatures will be in the lower 70’s with a chance for rain.  We have been having a bit of a drought down here as the last time we had any rain was when that severe weather hit Enterprise nearly a month ago.  This time of year in Northeast Alabama there is a lot of pollen in the air from the trees and plants.  It really is a sight to see as it can give anything outdoors (particularly cars) a yellow or light green dusting.  Once it does finally rain, it should wash most of it away.

Easter is just over a week away and I have brought out my old Easter basket.  In past years I have simply left it in storage during the holiday, but with Ben around and being away from family this year, it is something that I thought would be nice to bring back.  I am not sure whether I will hide the basket and have Jet find it on Easter morning, though.  As holiday’s like Easter approach, it makes Jet and I a bit homesick.  We always loved how Aunt Sue’s became the destination for Easter and we always had a lot of fun there with family and a lot of GREAT food to eat.  And I will surely miss Rene’s cheese tort.  Oh, I will indeed.  Speaking of sweets, I have still been faithful all throughout Lent by not eating any, which has become much easier to avoid … it helps after everyone’s birthday around here was in January, February, and early March.  I have lost nearly 15 pounds since the start of Lent, despite a slight setback from one too many visits to the Cracker Barrel for breakfast, so this has been a real win-win decision this season.

Talking about work once more, I was notified yesterday that one paper that I had submitted just before Christmas has been “conditionally” accepted for a journal, which simply means that after multiple rounds of revisions, a few more minor ones and it “should” be ready for publication.  I was also notified yesterday that one of the two papers I submitted to the conference in Illinois was accepted, which I will present around May 18-19.  After the presentation, I was planning on driving to Milwaukee to stay there and relax for several days and to join in and celebrate a few birthdays while Jet is away in Thailand. 

Speaking of a certain someone, only 10 more days until we have some special guests arrive!  We found out earlier this week from Kristin that they will not likely drive to the gulf during their stay since it would be a pretty lengthy drive one way (4-5 hours) that would not be enjoyable or feasible with all of the kids in tow.  That is sad news for them because that is something they had been really looking forward to, but great news for me since I will be able to see them more!  10 more days!

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How Hot Is It?

March 26, 2007

We have been on quite a heat spell over the past week since Janette, Jeremy, and Abby arrived.  We had been in the upper 70’s and lower 80’s all week until this past weekend when we reached 90 degrees both on Saturday and Sunday!  The warm weather was very refreshing and pleasant to take walks with Jet and Ben, but to play Aussie Rules Football on Saturday morning, yikes!  Heat like that can just sap all the energy from you.  The forecast for the next seven days is mid to upper 80’s and no rain.  I guess it’s hard to complain about that weather having lived in Milwaukee for so long.

Not much went on this weekend besides our usual trip to Atlanta.  That was OK because it was a chance for both Jet and I to relax after a week of traveling and sightseeing and an opportunity rest up at the end of my spring break.  Now there are only three weeks of class left for me and finals week, which I am sure will just pass by in a breeze.  In only two weeks now, Dad, Kristin, and the kids will be here (followed by Will and Irene), hopefully to enjoy the warm weather we will be having.

Today Jet will be taking Ben in for another check-up with our pediatrician.  Unfortunately for Ben, he will be getting four shots today, which I believe will have him ready for his big trip to Thailand.  Jet has been working hard the past few days making calls to Korean airlines to find out what she can and can not bring on the flight for Ben and securing particular seats on the flight, which turned out to be quite taxing and frustrating for her.  Now we are just awaiting Ben’s passport to arrive in the mail.  We completed Ben’s passport application about six weeks ago, so we are hoping it arrives soon so that we don’t have any additional stress on our hands prior to the flight to Thailand.

Goodbye and Farewell

March 23, 2007

Janette, Jeremy, and Abby have left us after a very nice visit to see us this week.  They left this morning right after eating breakfast at Cracker Barrel at around 10:00am.  If they don’t run into too many hurdles on the way home (e.g., traffic, Abby), they should be back in Watertown sometime late tonight.  We had such a wonderful time during their visit that we can’t wait to see them again later this year in Milwaukee.  Things seem so dull around here after they have left, but that is only tribute to how much fun it was to have family around.  It’s hard to believe that in just over two weeks Dad, Kristin, and the gang will be down here … it seems as if Kristin booked the airline tickets just last week.  Kristin told us the exciting news yesterday that Will and Irene will be here to visit during their stay here.  There is a lot to look forward to in the coming weeks.  The forecast for the next week is only 80’s … nearly 90 for Sunday.  I hope this weather sticks around for the rest of the season.

We will be off to Atlanta tomorrow for my Aussie Rules match in the morning, followed by a practice with the Atlanta Kookaburras afterwards.  We will then likely travel to the H-Mart to stock up on some groceries and then have a good Korean meal afterwards.  A full day planned indeed.

Golfing Initiation

March 22, 2007

Well, there was no “beginner’s luck” involved yesterday in my first try at golf, although I was pretty fortunate to have Jeremy giving me tips throughout the day.  I ended up shooting a 133 (70 on the front 9, 63 on the back 9) while Jeremy shot at 99, but is something that I might consider trying again.  We finished golfing the 18 holes in about three and a half hours, which I guess is pretty fast, considering all of the errant shots I had to retrieve.  I knew I was in for a rough day when on the first two holes, which were the flattest and perhaps easiest, I lost two balls.  I did improve on the day with Jeremy’s help, but a minor victory for me was finding more lost balls in the rough and woods than I had lost.  It was 80 degrees on the course so it did get a bit warm, even with the golf cart.  However, my favorite part of the course was a bin filled with apples bobbing in ice water for us at the 10th hole.  It is “cider” ridge, after all.  Sad when an apple brought my greatest joy on the day.

Last night we went out to eat Mexican food and then we came back home to relax by watching Rocky Balboa on DVD.  After the movie was over, the first thing I did was to watch the “alternative” ending.  Let’s just say that I thought the ending used in the movie was better than the “alternative”.  Today we will be heading off to Birmingham for some shopping and food.  It should be a good time as this is the last full day that Janette, Jeremy and Abby will be around.

One final note … glad to see you posting Aunt Sue!  It really makes Jet’s day to read everyone’s posts.

The Trip Continues …

March 21, 2007

Our trip to Noccalula falls was very fun on Monday afternoon as we rode the train, saw lots of animals, and the falls was pretty big compared to our last visit in August when it really wasn’t a “falls”, but a “trickle”.  I have updated the header bar of our blog with an image from the falls.  The weather has been pretty good to us as well … mid to upper 70’s, although not the 80’s that was forecasted earlier in the week.

Our trip to Atlanta had its ups and downs.  The ups were all of the sites that we went to visit.  First off, the Georgia Aquarium was a lot of fun for us all and Abby seemed to have a great time.  We then took a stroll through Centennial Olympic Park to enjoy the weather before we went to the World of Coke.  Before going in however, we had a bite to eat at Johnny Rocket’s in the Atlanta Underground.  Janette, Jeremy, and Abby were the only ones to go into the World of Coke (Jeremy got in free as a Coke employee!) while Jet, Ben, and I walked around outside taking in the sights.  Having taken up all of the morning and most of the afternoon in Atlanta, we decided to go home and avoid the Atlanta traffic.  The downs for the day, unfortunately, was the traffic.  We ran into a bit of a jam just before we exited for the Aquarium when we arrived and ran into bad construction as we were leaving Georgia (about 1 hour to go 5 miles) that added a bit of a sour note to our day.  The traffic is something that we will have to think more about when Kristin and the gang come to visit in a few weeks.

Today we are going to be taking a break from all of the traffic and the sightseeing.  At 10:00 this morning, Jet will head off to the hospital with Ben to get weighed and have his picture taken.  We had BBQ last night for dinner, so for lunch today, we will have Mexican.  At 1:00pm, Jeremy and I will go golfing.  Yes, golfing.  I actually got through the phone lines on Monday night on Southern Shopper and got two green fees + cart at Cider Ridge for $40 (regular price – $80).  I have heard from a lot of people that it is a very good golf course, since Jeremy is an avid golfer, I will find out today how true that is.  I guess all I have to do now is learn how to play golf!

They Made It!

March 19, 2007

After leaving at around 2:00am on Sunday morning, Janette, Jeremy, and Abby made it to our house at 5:30pm Sunday evening.  They would have arrived much sooner, but they were trapped in traffic for two hours in Louisville due to an accident that closed down the freeway.  When they arrived, Linda and Jet had a fine Southern dinner waiting for them.  Abby was quick to venture around our house and get into things she shouldn’t be getting into and Abby’s first exchanges talking back and forth with Ben was priceless.

We had breakfast at the Cracker Barrel this morning (Monday) and already visited Mt. Cheaha for some pictures.  Unfortunately, it was a bit cool that high up and very windy, so it was a short visit.  Right now we are back at home taking a break and ready for lunch while Abby is taking a nap.  This afternoon we will head out to Gadsden to take some good pictures over at Noccalula Falls while tomorrow will be our big day in Atlanta.  I will try to keep everyone posted as things happen and work on sharing pictures as we take them.

Funny Thing Happened …

March 17, 2007

A funny thing happened yesterday while I was outside tending to our lawn.  Jet was calling for me to come see her, but before I was able to come back inside, she came out to see me and showed me a medal that came in the mail for me.  A medal?  For me???  Turns out that my “poor” performance in the 5K last weekend was actually third best in my age group.  In fact, the two people that finished just ahead of me were the top two finishers in my age group.  I never received a medal in all of the 5K’s that I have run over the past 6+ years … and to tell you the truth, I NEVER expected to get one – I’m just not that good.  Well, last Saturday I apparently was for my age group.

I went off to Atlanta to play footy by myself this morning since it was a bit chilly down here.  It was only in the 40’s and 50’s so Jet decided to go visit Sweet Repeats once more (50% off everything that hasn’t sold) and picked up a few more items for Abby and Sam. 

Jet, Ben, and I are pretty excited about Janette being here in only about 24 hours.  We may go grocery shopping tomorrow so that we can pick up some items for a picnic up on Mt. Cheaha on Monday.  Tuesday we are planning to go to Atlanta to go to the Aquarium (the largest in the world), The World of Coke (for Jeremy) – which, incidentally, will be closing in one month and move to a new location, Olympic Centennial Park, and perhaps Stone Mountain.  On Wednesday, we may travel to either Birmingham for shopping or up to Noccalula Falls for some sightseeing and fun.  It should be a great time.

Spring Break!

March 16, 2007

Spring break has arrived but our great weather has left (at least temporarily)!  The weather will be in the 60’s today and tomorrow, and we got a good rain yesterday, which is good because it will surely green up our lawn.  I am actually surprised that no-one commented on the pictures we last posted.  What did you think of Ben in his Alabama outfit?  That was actually the first outfit I bought for him when he was born, but only now is he able to fit it (3-6 months!).

We made a couple of major technology purchases on eBay last weekend that we just received in the mail.  The first is a Sony DVD camcorder similar to the one we got Dad for Christmas two years back.  By the way, is he using it at all anymore?  We wanted to get a DVD camcorder, despite the fact that the image quality is not as good as the one we sold to Janette, so that when Jet and Ben go to Thailand, they can mail me back the mini-DVD’s so that I can see all the fun that they are having.  The other major purchase was at TomTom Car Navigation tool.  This is something that I have actually wanted for some time now, but always talked myself out of buying one.  With all of the travelling that we will be doing in the coming months, I figured it finally made sense to get one.  I will let you know how well it works as we put it into use this coming week when Janette and the gang come down here.

As one last note, Jenny … how much do we owe Taylor for the girl scout cookies?  And can we just mail you a check?  Jet and I have been trying to call you but have had no luck.

Spring Has Arrived

March 14, 2007

 I know, I know, spring doesn’t officially arrive until March 20 (the vernal equinox), but the weather for the past week has just been outstanding.  Sunshine.  80’s.  Birds chirping madly.  Happiness all around.  I even hear that the temperatures have gone up in Milwaukee, but unfortunately only temporarily.  Looking ahead to next week when Janette comes down here, the forecast is now for low 80’s each day.  I hope they bring their shorts and swimsuits!

Jet and I visited an event on Monday known as “Sweet Repeats“, which is something that is put on twice a year to sell new and used baby clothes, toys, strollers, etc.  We picked up several items and, in fact, Jet returned there today (Wednesday) to pick up a few additional goods for Ben, Abbi, and Sam.  Speaking of Ben, Jet had him weighed today and he is now a hefty eleven pounds, eleven ounces, which is still on track for normal growth.  Jet had an appointment scheduled with the skin doctor today since some of her rash and itching have started to come back.  Jet told me that the doctor recommended that we switch cleaning products (soaps, detergents, fabric softener) because that could be causing the irritation.  I hope that does it because it is becoming a major nuisance for Jet once again, although not nearly at the scale it was two months ago after Ben was born.

We will be off to Atlanta again this weekend for another Aussie Rules game.  Jet was thinking of not coming this week, but may change her mind as the weekend approaches.  Jet’s Mom visit to Alabama is again looking promising as Jet mentioned that she may be booking a flight soon to arrive on Tuesday, April 3 and stay here for two weeks.  I hope that she will be able to attend because it will be wonderful to have her here as Dad, Kristin, Josh, Ty, and Sam are visiting as well.

Happy Birthday Jet!

March 12, 2007

Yesterday was Jet’s birthday … thank you for everyone that called and wished her (or sung her) “happy birthday”.  Ben got us both up early (3:00am) to kick off her “special day” and we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast with Donald and Linda.  Once we got back home, I worked on a couple of projects at the house for Jet’s birthday gift.  The first was painting the patio concrete (primer + 2 coats) so that it would be nicer for Ben to crawl/walk on.  The second was putting a garden bed together in our yard (with a lot of assistance from Donald) so that Jet can plant some tomatoes, peppers, onions, or whatever else she desires.  For dinner, we went out to eat for BBQ, which was a pretty tasty treat.  Jet was actually in the mood for one of the Chinese buffets, but we have a poor track record of eating Chinese on our birthdays (e.g., bad food, poor service, paying for things we didn’t want, no birthday treats, etc.) that goes back a few years.  Consequently, we had made a vow to never again eat Chinese on our birthdays.  The funny part is that we nearly break that vow every year until one of us remembers our rule.  After BBQ, we went to Maggie Moos (just like a Cold Stone Creamery) for ice cream.  Unfortunately, the weather has been in the upper 70’s and 80’s for the past few days (absolutely beautiful), so there were about a dozen people waiting in line for ice cream.  Instead of waiting, we decided to go home where Jet could enjoy some ice cream and go for a walk with Ben.  Jet mentioned that she had a very good birthday, so that made me happy.

To backtrack a little, on Saturday morning I had my 5K run at 8:00am.  It was already in the 60’s so the weather was very nice and favorable for me posting a good time.  I was shooting for 25 minutes, but ended up with a time of 26:31 – a bit disappointing.  My time was a little slower than I had hoped, namely because I hadn’t trained much for running longer distances (playing Aussie Rules, you just work on multiple sprints) and because there were five small hills that I had to trek up and down throughout the course.  Looking on the bright side, I figure I can only improve upon that time in future runs.  The thing I found most interesting about this run were the people I ran with.  I had ran numerous runs with Sandy (and sometimes Maggie and Matt) in Milwaukee and they were the only ones to ever speak with me before and after the race.  At this run in Alabama, I didn’t know a single person there, but people approached me asking me how I did in the run and made small talk.  Must be a southern thing – that “Southern Hospitality”.  On Saturday night, Jet and I made homemade pizza and celebrated her birthday with Donald and Linda.  We had a great time and Donald and Linda gave Jet a very nice picnic set that I am sure we will put to good use when we have company in town visiting.

Speaking of company, it is now only a week away until Janette, Jeremy, and Abbi will be here and both Jet and I are very excited!  The weather is forecasted to be in the low 80’s for most of this week, but the early forecast for next week has temperatures dipping into the low 70’s.  It’s not a real warm-up for us, but I guessit’s better than the 30’s and 40’s forecasted for Watertown next week.  It should be a great time and Jet and I have several places lined-up in Atlanta and Georgia where Janette and the gang might be interested in seeing.  JSU has their spring break next week (and yes Maggie, I have major projects due from my students in all of my classes this week), so we have lots of time to relax, well, as much much as you can with Ben, and enjoy their stay.