Monthly Archives: September 2012

Friday Favorites


Happy Friday!!! It doesn’t feel like Friday to me… honestly it feels like next Monday!  This week has been crazy busy at work, I’ve been testing students like woah, and I’ve already worked over 40 hours. I’m not at work yet, but I plan on going in today long enough for a staff meeting, lunch, working on my timesheet, then heading out of the office around 4:30 for a run! Boom. What’s your Friday schedule looking like?

Here are a few favorites I’ve found this week that I wanted to share:

Check out these 51 creative business cards! Some of them are super cool! Have you ever created unique business cards like these?

Did ya hear about the morning-after pill becoming available for high school students in New York City?! Am I the only one who thinks that’s absolutely ridiculous? Article on USAToday here.

This lemon poppy seed zucchini bread looks amazing! Probably going to be making some loaves tonight!

I’ve played this number game on Sporcle a few times this week and still am frustrated I can’t get them all within the time limit! Read the rest of this entry


Hey Guess What


Hey guess what?!

((AKA random tidbits about my life currently. AKA most boring post ever.))

– I went to Target yesterday to buy floss. The one time I don’t have it in my purse or at work, is when I need it. Go figure.

– While at Target, I splurged on coffee. AKA I spent about $4 on it. Dang it, Starbucks and your pumpkin flavored drinks.

– My mom finally got a new car since hers was totaled nearly a month ago. Oh, and Padre is still undergoing different tests to find out what happened/if anything is wrong.

– Did you know I’m training for the Color Me Rad 5K that’s a month from today?! Well yeah, I am. And not doing a very good job of training seriously. I’ve been trying to run every other day, but once I get to the point where my breathing is staggered and rough, I stop and take a walking break. Clearly, I don’t want to walk during the race. Any tips on how to train? ((PS. If you want to sign up, do so soon before prices go up!)) Read the rest of this entry

Of Monsters and Men


Do you ever discover new music and immediately fall in love? No, not necessarily with the artist(s), but with the sound, the words, the harmony of it all.

About a month ago when the song “Little Talks” played on my Mumford & Sons Pandora, I learned about Of Monsters and Men. The song was catchy and I liked it. Naturally I gave their album, My Head is an Animal, a listen on Spotify, and after the third time through the tracks, I decided I liked it enough to buy it on itunes! Actually, I don’t even think like is an adequate word to express my feelings towards it… I kinda sorta love it. And I thoroughly enjoy listening to Of Monsters and Men. I burned a CD of the album and it’s been playing nonstop in my car, with the exception of listening to talk radio in the morning on the way to work no lie.

There’s just something about their music…their lyrics. Read the rest of this entry

Dad and Sam


Do you remember the first book you ever read? What was it about? How old were you?

Honestly, I don’t remember what book I read or what it was about, but I probably was young… maybe 4 or 5. I don’t even remember learning how to read, it’s just something that came naturally and easily for me.

Last Thursday night, my 53-year old adult literacy student read a book (Dad and Sam) for the first time. That was the first book he had ever read.

53 years of not being able to read a simple children’s book… can you imagine?

I’ve been teaching him since January… months and months of simple phonics, repetitive lessons with words like sadmap, rat, tag, lid, job, hot, pit, nag, rot… months of practicing and homework and flash cards and writing sentences. Months of hard work all paid off on Thursday night.

For some random reason, I picked up a Hooked on Phonics book for my student to try to read in class. And I kind of laughed to myself after seeing how childish and easy it was. Oh if only I knew how much gravity that book would have.

“So we’re done with the lesson but I picked out a book for you. It’s a little kid book so it might be silly but I want you to try to read it.”

“I will try.”

I hand him the book. He looks at the cover, squints, and says, “Dad and… Sam?”

“Yes, great job! Now open it up.”

“What’s this?” he asks pointing to the first page, confused about where to start reading.

“This is called a cover page. See, there’s the title, and the author and illustrator- the person who drew the pictures. What’s the title again?”

“Dad and Sam.”

“Good. Now flip the page.”

“Dad h-a-d… Dad had a …hat.”

“Yes! Keep going.”

Pages were turned. Simple sentences were read. And when he finished the last sentence and closed the book, he hunkered his shoulders, lowered his head into his hands, and started sobbing.

“I’m sorry,” he blurted out through the tears.

I was in shock for a few moments… “It’s ok, don’t apologize. You just did something amazing, A. You read a book! You did so great.” I patted his shoulder, in hopes to comfort and encourage him.

His sobbing continued so I grabbed a box of tissues. He took one… two… three… trying to compose himself and wipe the tears from his face. “I’m sorry,” he said again.

I let him take his time. I didn’t want to ask questions or press him to read it again but when he picked up the book I quietly asked, “do you want to read it again?”

“Yes. Dad and Sam…”

The second time after finishing, he put the book down, took a deep breath, and covered his mouth as if he wanted to stop the inevitable words from coming out.

“You know… it’s been hard. I’ve lived a hard life. Nobody except my ex-wife knew about my… my disability. I haven’t let it hold me back though… I’ve had lots of good jobs and I know lots of skills, but I can’t read. If you ever have kids stick with them and teach them to read. I didn’t have that and I couldn’t do that for my son and it’s been so hard…”

I let him talk, vent, confide some of his hardships and past experiences to me. He went on for nearly twenty minutes, bringing me to tears a few times because of the pain with which he said the words “my disability.”

“You should be really proud of yourself, you know. I’m proud of you.”

“Thank you. And I thank you for all you do. I couldn’t have done this without you. I thank you for your time.”

That’s when I started crying again. Hearing how thankful he was for my help, especially after he had told me how hard his life had been because of his disability.

After we had both composed ourselves and said our goodbyes until the next class, I sat in the room still in shock about what had happened… about how lightly I had taken the whole ‘reading a book’ thing, and about how harsh the word disability sounded coming from his mouth.

Illiteracy is a form of a disability, but I hate hearing someone say that. Illiteracy holds you back in so many ways… more ways than I can even imagine. My student (and others at the center where I serve & volunteer) can’t look at a menu in a restaurant, can’t read street signs, can’t read his own mail. I can’t imagine living in a world without literacy. Without the ability to read. And that’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about volunteering and helping A learn to read and write. I’m passionate about giving him the gift of literacy… about turning his so-called disability into an ability.

My student read a book for the first time at 53-years old. And that’s just the beginning. He will read many, many more books during our time working together, and far into the future. Soon, A’s disability will become his ability. I can’t wait to see just how much this will help his life and change him as a person. I can’t wait to see the excitement on his face when he finishes his second book. I can’t wait to hear him read more books.

You’re never too old to learn to read your first book.

Friday Favorites


Another busy week is (almost) in the books for me! Because it’s been so stinkin’ busy, I haven’t had much time for online article scouting, but thanks to twitter yet again, I am somewhat up-to-date with recent happenings and cool news stories. Here are some of my favorites from the week:

A piece of the moon goes up for auction. The auction ends October 13th, so you still have time to snag this chunk of the moon.

Turner Classic Movies & Fathom Events are teaming up and bringing E.T. back to the big screen for the 30th Anniversary Event on October 3rd! I haven’t watched the movie in years because it always creeps me out, but I might be willing to give it another shot!

Speaking of older classic movies, Sarah P. Duke Gardens will be showing Back to the Future next Wednesday night around sundown! Picnic and movie in the park, anyone? 😉

Did you know that some famous authors had a little backyard shed or writing hut where they wrote some of their works? How cool would it be to have a cute little escape from the world like that?! Read the rest of this entry

Three “New” Restaurants


Everyday I learn something new about Durham. Whether it’s a new statistic (like 20% of Durham residents are functionally illiterate), a new “business” (like Bull City Yoga!), or a new place to grab some food, I am always astounded at how I did not know about that fact/place before. In the past three weeks, I’ve tried three new (to me) places and I want to share them with you! 🙂

NANATACO with their $5 Margaritas everyday, is sure to draw a crowd… especially on Friday night! I went with Britt, and the line was literally out the door. Luckily though, by the time we ordered, we were able to snag a small table for two!

Menu: Lots to choose from! Basically you choose what you want (tacos, nachos, burrito, quesadilla, etc) then you choose the meat. One of their options for meat was duck! They offer veggie options too so don’t let that scare you away! A handful of chips is served with each meal, but next time I will definitely order some chips to go with whatever I order. There’s a small salsa bar with a few options, so it was nice to get free salsa to add to my tacos! I played it safe and got 3 chicken tacos, and the flavor was really good! They have sides of rice or beans, which is an easy, tasty addition to any meal.

Price: Everything was reasonably priced, in my cheap opinion. I got 3 tacos, some chips, and a water for under $10 on a Friday night out with a friend. Score. Read the rest of this entry

Summer Baseball Soundtrack


Ok so I know summer is kinda already over thanks to the cooler weather that has graced Durham, NC, but that doesn’t mean I want it to be over! I’m already missing the days where I can pull on some shorts and a tank top and head out for errands or work. I’m already missing driving with my windows down and sunroof open, and feeling the warm sun hit my skin. I’m already missing Durham Bulls games that mean summer is in full force.

Although the Bulls’ season is over, tonight there’s a big game being played on Durham Bulls turf – the Triple-A National Championship game! It’s between the Reno Aces and the Pawtucket Red Sox. And, through a random turn of events, I ended up with tickets to the game… so guess who will be getting one last baseball fix at the DBAP tonight??? 😉

Anyways, today’s post is dedicated to some of the awesome music I heard this summer at the Bulls games. Seriously, awesome music. I made a playlist on Spotify that I dubbed “Bulls playlist” because it was that awesome. And, because I think you should get a chance to enjoy some of the tunes played at the games, I’m sharing the music with you today!

Skillet – Comatose

Alex Clare – Too Close (Henry Wrigley‘s walk-up song)

Read the rest of this entry



Today I’m doing a lot of remembering.

Not solely because of the date – September 11 – but because I’ve had random memories pop into my mind, and determined to not forget them, I jotted them down.

I remember taking our sweet old black lab Chloe on hikes at the Eno River, and her diving for rocks in the 3-foot water. I remember how excited she would get when we would go hiking. Oh, the fond memories of Chloe.

I remember carpooling home from high school with a friend and her brother, and us singing “Lime in the Coconut” and laughing the whole time. Oh, those silly high school memories.

I remember my first day in Peru in 2009… the shock I felt when I had to ask an officer for directions to an Incan Market that many people don’t know about. I remember blushing when I couldn’t think of the word for “blocks” in Spanish, and how the officer seemed impatient with this gringa. Oh, the memories of Peru that remain fresh in my mind.

I remember going to a concert in Charlotte 2 years ago today with some friends from high school who I hadn’t seen in 2 years (and haven’t seen since then). I remember the thrill I felt when the musician made eye contact with me from the stage. Oh, the random girl memories from concerts with little-known artists.

I remember today, my Grandpa’s birthday as a special day to celebrate the strongest man of God I know. I remember him quoting Bible verses off to me at random times, and his urging me to memorize more. I remember calling him every year (which reminds me that I need to call him on my lunch break!) and him always making me cry with his sweet words of thanks. Oh, how I love Pops.


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