Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back to School...

Well, school starts tomorrow, which means summer is officially over! I think that this was by far the fastest summer ever! Because I had seven trips planned between the June 4th and August 5th (click here for my pre-summer post), it made my summer fly by because I never really settled in. But, I must say that I had a blast this summer with all of my trips.

I've been in my classroom this last week, getting things all organized and ready for my 4th year of teaching (I can't believe I'm entering year four!) Here is my classroom, all set and ready for the 175 little 6th graders that will be my students this year...

For the first time in three years, I didn't feel like I had to spend the last two weeks of summer living in my classroom. This is the first year that I didn't switch classrooms, and it's also the first year that I am teaching the exact same curriculum as I did the year before. I definitely feel much more prepared and relaxed going into this school year than I have in any of the previous years. I hoping that it will be a great year. Farewell summer, welcome year 4!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hearst Castle

One of my best friends (Yay, Meg!) from college got married this past weekend in San Luis Obispo. While that could be a whole post in and of itself (such a fun wedding/college reunion), this post is dedicated to what I did the day AFTER her wedding...

Funny how I went to college only 45 minutes away from Hearst Castle and somehow during those four years at Cal Poly, I never made it to Hearst Castle. Well, it only took me another four years since graduating college to actually get in my tour of Hearst Castle. With that, the day after Meg's wedding, Jason and I made the short drive from San Luis Obispo to San Simeon, the home of Hearst Castle.

I really didn't know much about Hearst Castle (or William Randolph Hearst) going into the tour, but boy did I learn a lot! The tour started with a five mile bus ride through the hills to make the 1000 foot ascent up to Hearst Castle. The bus ride gives you a history of the Hearst Family and the construction of the castle, plus a beautiful view to enjoy along the way.

View from Hearst Castle

Upon arriving at the castle, we were shown the outside of one of the many guests houses (or mansions) - this guest house has 18 rooms! (We saw four bedrooms and a sitting room).

Casa Del Sol - Spanish Style

We then saw the outside pool and wow, this was awesome. Mr. Hearst and his wife were all about bringing European culture and architecture to their estate, and the pool was one of my favorite demonstrations of that. Loved the ancient Roman and Greek history here.

The Neptune Pool and Roman Pool

Apart from the pool, the gardens were probably my favorite part. The vegetation was so colorful - I couldn't stop taking pictures.

The last stop of the tour was the main house. We viewed two of the sitting rooms, the dining room, the billiard room, and the theater. And of course, we couldn't have a complete tour without viewing the indoor pool.

Casa Grande - The main house

Assembly Room

The Refectory - one very long table

The Indoor Pool

I had so much fun exploring Hearst Castle and feeling a part of another century. Too bad I waited so many years to visit when I was so close for so many years...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Training is in Full Swing!

Running a half-marathon is one of the check-offs on my '30 before 30'. I started training about three weeks ago for my half-marathon, giving myself twelve weeks of training before I actually run my first half-marathon on October 3rd! (I'm running the San Jose Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon with my friend Kristina). My new running shoes and my nike+ipod are a good motivator to get me out running. (The nike+ipod is awesome! It is a small chip that I put in my shoe, and then there is another piece that I attach to my ipod. It keeps track of all my runs, telling me how far I went, what my pace was per mile, how many calories I burned, etc. I can then plug the piece into my computer and it creates graphs and what-not. Basically, perfect for me!)

My new running shoes

My nike+ipod ~ love!

I figured it might be good for me to do a few smaller races leading up to my half-marathon (well, Jason more so decided for me or rather highly encouraged...), so this past Saturday we both ran in Brazen's Bad Bass at Lake Chabot. (Jason was ecstatic about doing our first race together - especially because I have been refusing to run with him because I think I'll be too slow). I ran the 10k and Jason did the half-marathon.

Right before the race...

Again, Jason was very excited!

The challenging part was that the run was 50% trail and 50% paved - which means for me I literally had to run 1.5 miles straight uphill. But, I must say that it was a GREAT experience, and I absolutely loved it. Jason and I both did really well, too. We were both very pleased with our times - I ran my 10k in 1:02 and he did his half-marathon in 2:08. Considering that we were running straight-up hill for a quarter of our race, we were happy. I ended up coming in 5th for my age group (and 35th overall out of 140), and Jason got 2nd in his age group (and 37th overall out of 95).

Just about at the finish line!

Besides the fact that it still hurts to walk (that downhill is brutal on your body), I had a blast! I could definitely see myself doing a few more of these leading up to my half-marathon. The only downfall is that it sure isn't cheap to do these races. However, they sure can become addicting!