Wednesday, April 27, 2011

To Heart

Monday was a day spent recovering from Easter and dealing with technology - so, it was not such a fun day.

Tuesday was approximately a million and a half times better.  After school, See Us Run Des Moines had our first race: the Grand Blue Mile in downtown Des Moines.  It was so much fun, and we did so well!  All of the students finished between seven and 13 minutes, and my mentee and I were right in the middle of the pack with 10:17.  It's definitely not the fastest mile in the world, but honestly, it's my fastest in several years!  I was really proud of the two of us.

(Initially I was paired with a girl who - allegedly - can run six-minute miles.  Imagine the panic I felt upon that realization.  Whoa.)

After work today I decided to do a little cross-training and hit the Y for a spin class.  I was less-than-impressed: while it was a good strength workout (and I rode 16 miles in 38 minutes), it did not feel like a cardio workout at all.  I mean, my shirt was covered in sweat, but I wasn't huffing and puffing like I usually am during/after spinning.  And, she totally cut our class short and didn't even say goodbye or thanks for coming - not cool.

BUT, I'm headed to bed now.  I'm taking a car-full of girls on a road-trip after school tomorrow to hear my personal hero, Erin Gruwell, speak.  It's going to be a loooooooooong day - but, I'm sure, an amazing one.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Sun Will Rise Tomorrow

Sorry about yesterday.

That apology goes out to two groups of people, only one of which is probably reading this: first, I would like to apologize to YOU for failing to post yesterday.  I was on a roll, and I failed.  Second, I would like to apologize to my three best friends - with whom I went to book club and dinner - for being a total Debbie Downer.

As you may know, I teach ninth grade in an urban high school; my kids are 14- and 15-years-old.  I'm not going to go into detail here (duh), but suffice it to say that sometimes really, really shitty things happen in their lives, things that are absolutely unfathomable and so intensely heartbreaking.  I cannot help but internalize some of their pain and sadness - I care too much.  And that gets so emotionally draining.

Yesterday was the day I just broke down.

My children just should not have to experience half of the things they do.  And I wish I was not so utterly helpless.

And now I'm going to apologize about today.  After putting all of that down on "paper," I just don't have the energy to write anything else.

However, I want to include this picture because of something my best friend said today, something that stuck with me.  She is a substance abuse counselor and led one of her groups on the second step: turning troubles over to a higher power.  I asked her how that step worked with individuals who are not religious, and she said the "higher power" can be anything that the person trusts:

"I trust that the sun will rise tomorrow."  

While I do believe in something greater than I, I also find it comforting and reassuring to know that the sun will rise; tomorrow will come.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Sense of Pride

Yep.  That's me.  Well, that'd be me if I were a boy and of the Pavo cristatus variety.  But you knew what I meant.  Anyway, I'm pretty proud of myself today.  (Get it?  Peacock?  Proud?  Okay, good.)

Obviously you know about my awesome workout last night.  Well, this one tops it.  Because of the weather today (approximately 20 degrees below zero and pouring bullets), I hit the gym instead of the trail for a 5k run.  I started by walking for two minutes at 4.0 to get warm, and then I started jogging; granted, I was only moving at a 5.0 pace (12-minute mile) and going at a 1% incline, but I was moving.  When half a mile hit, I thought to myself, "Emily, you can go another half-mile."  Then when one mile hit, I didn't feel the need to stop.  At 1.8 miles, I told myself that I would listen to one-and-a-half more songs and then take a short break.

Side note: I love The Boss.  He makes a workout easy.

When my songs were over, I had already run 2.5 miles, so I figured, "Why not?"  I ran the whole stinkin' thing.  First. time. ever.  At 2.5, I even upped my speed to 5.5, and with 0.3 left, I upped it to 6.0.  I finished in 00:36:51.  While it definitely wasn't fast by any means, I was pretty darn proud!

The only reason I stopped the run today when I did was because of my legs.  My lungs felt good, my heart felt good, I felt good.  My legs, however, did not.  They didn't hurt too bad during the actual run, but as soon as I stepped off the treadmill and moved into the runner's stretch, the knives jabbed into my shins.  I'm going to be a hurtin' unit tomorrow - considering I already am right now.

In other news: I've been eating like a horse today.  (I've also been drinking more water than I can keep track of - let's just say that I've spent nearly equal time in and out of the bathroom today!)

I had cereal for breakfast (Organic Optimum Slim) at 7:30 - I had a curriculum meeting all day and didn't have to get there until 8:00, so I actually had time for a "real" breakfast!  Around 9:45, I got hungry and inhaled a Luna Bar in about three seconds.  For lunch, we got to pretend we were "real grownups" and headed to Panera; I had the turkey/artichoke panini and French onion soup - it was cold out today!  Then I was pretty good until after my workout.  As soon as I walked in the door, I had some leftover pasta from last night along with some cinnamon-sugar roasted almonds.  And then for real dinner around 7:00, I had spring rolls:

If spring rolls weren't so time-consuming, I'm pretty sure I'd eat them way more often.  They are healthy, they are delicious, and they are filling: three of my favorite things!

Mom: check out my fingernails.  Oh yeah!

For the rest of you, it's just one more thing I have to be proud of today.

Story: I have had the nastiest habit in the world since I was four-years-old.  Yep: I'm a nail-biter - well, actually more of a nail-picker, but it's equally as disgusting.  However, after I took off the acrylics about a week ago (I always think they're a good idea...and then get sick of them after a month), I immediately painted them with OPI Nail Envy and a coat of Koala Bear-y, my personal favorite.  They are beautiful!  I really hope I can keep 'em that way!!!

Anyway, I'm off to do some more reading:

One of my bestest friends invited me to her church for a social justice book club of sorts.  (I'll be able to explain more tomorrow.)  Anyway, we're supposed to read the first 170 pages of this book, and I am currently on page 40.  Wish me luck!

Monday, April 18, 2011


I am going to be sore tomorrow.  But for a nice change, it won't be in my shins!  After school today (which was actually about 4:30), I headed to the gym for a good spin class followed by an abs/back class.  It's funny: even though I've only been "hardcore" running for a few weeks, I can already tell it's helped my endurance in other areas.  This was by far the best spin class I've ever done: I didn't half-ass it at all, I kept my RPMs and gears exactly where he told me to, and I pretty much kicked major butt.  I was very proud of myself.  After spinning I hit the abs/back class that I've neglected for several weeks.  The instructor is killer, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to have a six-pack by tomorrow.

It took every ounce of willpower to hit the gym today, though.  I don't know what it is about Sunday nights, but I cannot fall asleep for the life of me.  I lay in bed last night for probably two hours before I finally crashed.  SO FRUSTRATING.

After spending too much time at the Y, I headed to my new favorite store: Hy-Vee.  Wanna know why it's my new favorite?  Let me show you:

Oh yeah.  Bins of healthy stuff like quinoa, bulgur, and chia seeds.  I am ridiculously excited.

I went to Hy-Vee because I needed two things: rice vinegar and onion.  I need the rice vinegar to make this awesome recipe (the spring rolls, not the other ones), and I needed the onion to make white chili.  I was going to make the spring rolls last night but due to the lack of rice vinegar, decided on tonight; then I opted for tomorrow because I knew tonight was going to busy, and they are kind of time-consuming.  So...I decided on white chili.  I came home, sauteed up the garlic and onion, and went to add the beans and chilies.  Except...I didn't have ANY cans.  Ugh.  I improvised and came up with this:

I added a can of diced tomatoes to the onion and garlic, then chopped up some basil leaves, chicken, and artichokes.  Then I tossed it with some angel hair pasta.  It was pretty good, albeit quite onion-y and garlic-y!  I was pretty proud of myself for coming up with a completely random dinner, though!

Also, I discovered today that driving after a contact falls out is difficult.  And not safe.

Okay: now I'm off to compile a list of memoirs for a curriculum meeting tomorrow.  If you were me, what memoir would you be sure to include?

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I have a problem.

I cannot sit still for long and not feel guilty about it.  

Today, I had a minimal to-do list: run, do laundry, and grade tests.  The rest of the day was supposed to be spent lying on my couch, watching TV, reading books.  I tried the whole lying-on-the-couch thing and succeeded for approximately 45 minutes.

Then the guilt set in.

I cooked a rock-star breakfast for myself and BFF: banana bread pancakes.  (BFF contributed some delish bacon.)

After she went home to crash on her couch, I tried to lounge again.

It didn't work.

I messed around with my "marathon mix" on iTunes and then convinced BFF to join me for our run: three-and-a-half miles in 45 minutes.  (Don't judge my time: I'm new to this whole "running gig."  Also, my shins feel like there are knives jabbing into them on every step.)

I came home and tried to lounge again.  It didn't work.  I thought about grading tests, but that thought quickly fled from my mind.

Instead, I decided that Sunday night would be the perfect time to clean out my closets - and clean out my closets I did!  I was very liberal in what I tossed and managed to pack up FIVE bags of clothes to donate to Goodwill - or, perhaps, try to sell at a consignment shop.  BFF already claimed a bag of the goods.

I feel so much better.  There is no reason that one person should have the amount of clothes that I did - well, that I still do.  I've given lots of clothes to Goodwill in the past - I clean out the closets at least once a year - but I never do as good a job as I should.  This time I think that I did.  It's amazing how relieved I feel.

And I am NOT going shopping for quite a long time!

Now I'm off to grade tests...and watch Celebrity Apprentice.  (You know me and crappy reality TV!)

Question: What songs should I be sure to include on my "Marathon Mix"?  Hook me up with some motivation, peeps!

ABC's of Me

I haven't updated for awhile, and when I was catching up on one of my favorite blogs, I saw this quiz and decided to post it for your entertainment.  :)  Hopefully I'll be back with your regularly scheduled programming this evening.

A. Age: 27
B. Bed size: Full.  I've had the same bed since college.  I bought it used from an international student who bought it brand new six months prior and couldn't take it with her back home.  While I lived with the ex, the bed was stored in my brother's basement - I can't even begin to tell you the grossness that I had to bleach off of it before using it again.  I'm pretty sure it's time for a new one.  :)
C. Cats: Chloe and Charlie - the absolute best!

Chloe - she will be turning SEVEN on Wednesday.  I can't believe it.  My ex and I got her from the Animal Rescue League for my 21st birthday.  She's my princess.
Charlie - he will be turning FIVE in September.  Long story short: after having put my kitten to sleep only three weeks prior, one of my students brought me Charlie, a six-week-old baby.  She had bottle-fed him from day one because he didn't have a mama.  He's my sweet boy.
They look like they had the same parents, huh!?

D. Dad: My role model, the smartest, bestest guy I know.
Fourth of July - 2009
World's Biggest Buffalo, Jamestown, ND - 2010
'Tinis & Tunes - Summer 2010
F. Favorite color: Purple.

G. Gold or silver: Silver.
H. Height: 5’5” 
I. Instruments you play: I played the violin from fourth grade through ninth grade.  I was in the Omaha Area Youth Orchestra and was actually pretty good.  However, due to a horribly awful teacher/conductor toward the end of my "career" (and because I wanted to focus more on the visual arts), I quit.  I kind of wish I could still play.  I also own a guitar - but need to take some lessons.
J. Job title: Technically: ninth-grade English teacher.  Un-technically: mentor, therapist, mom, coach, cheerleader, advocate, role model, friend, confidante, nurse, social worker, etc.
K. Kids: Yes.  But a husband first would be preferable.
L. Live: South of Grand:
Oh wait.  This is down the street from my one-bedroom apartment.  Oops.
M. Mom: Best friend.
My pity party - February (?) 2010
Farmer's Market, Downtown Des Moines - summer 2010
Grandma's 80th Birthday Party - October 2010
N. Nicknames: Em, Emmy, B, Bimmy, Bim
O. Overnight hospital stays: Zero
P. Pet peeve: Rude, inconsiderate people
Q. Quote from a movie: "I carried a watermelon?!"
R. Right or left handed: Right.
S. Siblings: One brother, one sister.
Fourth of July - 2009
Erin's Graduation - May 2010
Fourth of July - 2010
T. Time you wake up: Monday through Friday, my alarms are set as follows: 6:00, 6:05, 6:10, 6:15.  :)  Saturday and Sunday, I pretty much wake up when I feel like it - but it's usually before 9:00.
U. Underwear: Yes?
V. Vegetables you dislike: I used to despise broccoli and peas; however, I'm starting to like 'em.  I discovered I'm not a huge fan of beets - although I bet I'd like 'em if I ate 'em more.
W. What makes you run late: I don't like to waste time, so if I have an extra five minutes, I try to accomplish something - which makes me late for something else.  Oops.
X. X-Rays you’ve had: Lots of teeth x-rays (and lots of pulled teeth!).  I've had ankle, foot, and knee x-rays - too many sports-related injuries.  I've also had a chest x-ray.  When I had a TB test react badly, the doctor did not believe me that it was due to skin issues, and they did a chest x-ray.  They said there was so much radiation that I couldn't have another chest x-ray for 10 years!  If only they would've believed me to begin with...
Y. Yummy food you make: Everything.  Duh.
Z. Zoo – favorite animal: I love the tapirs at the Henry Doorly Zoo - no idea why.
However, my all-time favorite animals are the big cats, specifically the lions.  Love 'em.  Maybe it's because I'm a Leo...

And now you know more about me than you probably ever wanted to know.  Hope you enjoyed!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


So, if you read the title of the post - which I'm assuming you all did - you can see that I'm a bit frustrated.  Let me tell you why:

First, I have shin splints.  Already.  They felt fine today when I was walking around in my little kitten heels, but the minute I took them off, I felt stabbing pain.  Then when I squatted to pick something off of the floor, it stabbed harder.  The Icy Hot I lathered all over my lower extremities last night did not seem to work - at all.  Ugh.  How am I only up to three miles in training and already keeling over?

Second, I'm super irritated that every time I slack off - eat unhealthfully, don't work out - I lose weight or, at the very least, stay the same, but when I work out hardcore and watch what I eat, I gain weight.  Um, excuse me: isn't that supposed to work the other way around?

Okay.  I'm sorry.  I've been Little Miss Cranky Pants lately.  I need to snap out of it.  Yesterday - for the first time in my entire life - I thought, "I'm really grumpy.  I just need to run."  So I did.  Unfortunately, that's when the shin splints decided to come on full-force.

Yesterday after my run, Boy and I went out for sushi.  He bought a Groupon for a new place (I'd been there once when it first opened) and we hadn't seen each other for several weeks, so we decided to cash it in and head out for some grub.  Check out the chef's platter:

OMG.  The picture doesn't do it justice.  We loved this meal - it was a sampling of several different things, many of which we never would have ordered on our own.  The squid salad (upper right) was to die for; we order this at every sushi place, but this was by far the best.  I had never tried seaweed salad and really enjoyed that as well.  It was also our first time trying nigiri sushi and sashimi.  While I prefer the raw fish in sushi rolls, I'm really glad I tried it this way as well; it was yummy!  In addition to this Groupon deal, we ordered another roll: "Love You Long Time" (I swear that was the name of it).  It was so spicy - layers of fresh jalapeno atop a roll of fish (forgot what kind), mango, cream cheese, and spicy sauce.  It was great flavor but a little too spicy for me to eat too much of it.

Today I was super busy: school, work with students, meeting for my Planned Parenthood, and errands for a baby shower tomorrow.  Because I had to stop at the mall as part of my errands, I naturally had to go into Barnes and Noble.  Check out my purchases:

This book intrigued me because of the flashy cover and the "300 under 300" caption.  Natch, I picked it up and leafed through it.  The recipes looked super easy, very similar to the things I usually make.  Plus, the inside pages are fairly funky, and there are full-color photos of several of the dishes.  I just had to buy it.  AND, I even made my first meal from it tonight:

This is a Feta & Fuji Chicken Salad.  I know it's really hard to tell from the photo, but here are the layers: chopped Romaine, 1/4 cup sliced beets, 1/2 Fuji apple, diced, 1/4 cup diced cucumber, sprinkling of Feta, 3 oz chicken, and a light honey mustard dressing.  The recipe called for a homemade dressing, but this one sounded yummier, was probably healthier, and was obviously easier.

I chugged down several bottles of water with dinner - from my Fat Tuesday Key West coozie bottle, natch!

Back to the books:

Since I finished Dawn Dais's amazing book about running her first marathon, (not kidding - you have to read it), I had to check out the other running books.  (Check out my mini-review of the Dais's book on my "Books" page.)  This one looked awesome.  First, it's published by Runner's World.  Second, there are diary-type pages where you can fill in your information.  Third, the advice - upon skimming - looked sound and valuable.

Finally, I picked up Lonely Planet's guide to New York City.  What an odd purchase, you may think.  However, you will think it's a great purchase once you find out that I'M GOING TO NEW YORK CITY in a month!!!  Awhile back I applied for an all-expenses-paid professional development opportunity and was just notified that I got accepted!  My amazing student teacher from last semester did, too, and I can't even imagine what kind of damage we'll do to that town!  Neither of us has been there before, so if you have, please please please hook us up with what we need to do/see/experience while we're there.  We'll only have about a day or so to wander, but we're planning on approximately 72 hours of no sleep!

Obviously that means that I need to stock up on sleep now.  So, with that, I'm going to sign off.  Nighty night!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


It's been a few days since my last post - school is super busy lately!  But, I thought I'd follow Amber's lead and do a little "Get to Know You."  So, here goes!

1. Do you watch/read the news?
I watch listen to the news (Channel 13) every morning when I'm getting ready for school.  I am so happy that Jeriann is back from maternity leave, and while I'm not a huge fan of Brooke Bouma (how many times can she stumble over words?!), I generally enjoy the station's broadcast.  Whenever I have a free second during school (so, like, never), I check out Yahoo's top stories - they're usually more entertaining than anything else.

2. How would you describe your "look"?
I wear what I want and what I think looks good, and I don't particularly care what others think.  :)  While I used to only wear heels - like, all the time - the recent ankle sprain really made me appreciate flats.  I like to look put-together and always wear fitted clothing, even when I'm lounging at home alone: no baggy t-shirts for this girl!  I don't so much do patterned fabric...

3. Did you play sports in high school or college?
Yep!  In high school I was on the soccer team (two years) until I decided that knee/hip issues just weren't worth it.  I did cross country for a summer and hated every minute of it (and am wondering why I thought this marathon idea was a go).  I was also on the golf team for one year - but golfed more regularly outside of school.  In college, I played soccer intramurally.  I have coached both soccer and cheerleading at a couple different high schools.

4. Would you rather give up lipstick/gloss or high heels?
This is a super hard choice.  I'd probably have to say lipstick/gloss - because it doesn't mention anything about chapstick!  :)

5. What's your favorite show to watch on tv?
I don't follow any shows regularly because my schedule just doesn't allow it.  I'm more of a "TV on DVD" sort of girl - Dexter, True Blood, Weeds, etc.  However, I am a sucker for marathons: Law and Order: SVU, Real Housewives of New York City/New Jersey/Beverly Hills, CSI, etc.  I also like Jersey Shore.  I know.

6. Would you rather bake or cook?
If I had an oven that worked efficiently and effectively, I'd probably say bake.  I really like decorating things.  However, I'm working on some culinary skills and would have to say cook - at least for now.

7. Shorts or skirts?
DEFINITELY skirts.  I don't do shorts.  Ever.

8. What's your favorite scary movie?
The Omen is the scariest movie um, ever.

I'll try to get back to you with regularly scheduled programming tomorrow - it's looking like quite a busy day, though!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Busy B

Hey boys!

Why am I single again?  :)

Okay, now that I got that out of the way...

Sorry I didn't post yesterday.  I have been so ridiculously busy.  Yesterday I started off my morning with a healthy serving of cereal:

It was really, really good.  The cereal kept its crunch, even when doused with UVAB - or maybe I just inhaled it so quickly that it didn't have time to get soggy!  It's also loaded with protein and fiber (9 grams each!), so it kept me full all morning.

Because I was at a training all day yesterday, I was able to eat out like a real grownup.  Some other teachers and I headed to Old Chicago for their fast buffet.  While we each had a small side salad, I wish the salad was part of the buffet so that I could have eaten a little healthier...  Instead, I had a couple of slices of pizza; while it was delicious, it was not necessarily the best for me.

After the training was finished, I sped home to change and run two miles prior to my dinner engagement with a Pre-AP specialist from Texas.  We met at Bos, the restaurant in the Renaissance Savory downtown.  It was amazing, and I'd totally eat there again.  I opted for the almond-crusted salmon.  Wow.

I then came home to dive into one of the new books that I bought.  My aunt gave me an Amazon gift certificate for Christmas, and I finally used it - and bought five new books!  The first two are for my new interest:

The one on the left, by Dawn Dais, is so freakin' hysterical.  I'm already 100 pages in, laughing out loud at nearly every other sentence.  I'll be sure to share some of the gems with you.  The one on the right is, I believe, a little more serious take on marathon training - I'm pretty sure I'll have to get out my pink note-taking pen for that one!

I also bought two novels I've been eyeing for the last month or two.  The first is These Things Hidden by Iowa author, Heather Gudenkauf.  Her first novel, The Weight of Silence, is one of my all-time favorite books, so I'm pumped to read this one.  The second is Incendiary by Chris Cleave, the author of another of my favorites, Little Bee.  I'll keep you posted on my book reviews - but I still have to finish Pictures of You.

Today was spent in another meeting: pre-AP training.  While it was a great session, it's really hard to miss school.  I've missed four days now for the pre-AP trainings, I will miss three total days for the curriculum work, I will miss a day for my brother's med school graduation (my one allotted personal day), and I just found out today that I'll miss three more days for a writing conference.  Again, I am so thankful that I'm able to attend these wonderful workshops - it's just hard being away from my kiddos.

Immediately following the training today, I headed back to school.  I had some papers to grade, some kids to say hi to, and a college/career night to attend.  It was good to see the kids - it's nice to know you're needed.  :)  I'm excited to see the rest of 'em tomorrow.

I'm really excited: I suggested the marathon program to one of my little girls, and she told all of her teachers about it and attended the first practice today.  I cannot wait to see her tomorrow and get all of the details and to tell her how proud I am of her.  This is such a great program.

On that note, I'm going to sign off.  But first, here are a couple pictures, courtesy of the Iowa AIDS Project, of me during Saturday's 5k:

Starting out - still on pace with Maggie, still ready and rarin'.

Finishing up - dead tired, smiling hugely because I get to stop running.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Commence, Race Season

I cannot begin to tell you how much I needed this weekend.  Holy moly.  After weeks of grading, parent-teacher conferences, cross-country travel and a weekend excursion, full work weeks, volunteering, etc., I needed a weekend to do nothing.  While I didn't quite do nothing, it was a good one.

Friday started with a walk around the cemetery (you know, one of my favorite places).  I was then able to coerce my little sister into driving from Knoxville to Des Moines for a sushi dinner - we hadn't seen each other in, um, forever, so it was a lot of fun.  We then went to Blockbuster because they were having a huge store-closing sale.  We both bought a ton of movies for $4, the following being my purchases:
  • Volver (the only one I had seen prior to purchasing - beautiful movie)
  • Fever Pitch (only because Erin made me - it was...okay)
  • Rachel Getting Married (not my favorite)
  • Invictus
  • Ondine
  • My Sister's Keeper (bawled my eyes out through the entire movie)
  • Youth in Revolt
  • Bobby (because I'm in love with Robert Kennedy)
  • Vicious Circle (I may have judged it by its cover...)
I then went home, popped in Fever Pitch, and promptly fell asleep on my couch - after all, I had a race to run on Saturday morning!

While this was only a 5k, it was pretty killer.  First, it is the longest distance I've run since The Injury in October.  Second, the course was ├╝ber-hilly - like, ridiculously hilly - like, all-uphill hilly.  I finished in the same amount of time as my first 5k, but I chalk it up to a major victory due to the aforementioned circumstances.

Oh, and my quads are killing me.

After the race my friend and I headed downtown to the Natural Living Expo.  It was the first time either of us had been, and it was really cool - totally worth it.  We got a ton of free samples, including a mini Larabar, "cream of wheat" from Bob's Red Mill, a bunch of natural remedies for exercise-related discomforts, wheatgrass shots, etc.  We wandered around for an hour or so and then grabbed some grub: homemade veggie burgers.  Wow.  I need to find a recipe.

The race and the expo totally wore me out, so I bummed around for a bit before heading to a bestie's for an evening of grilling and yard-gaming.  However, my "bumming around" did not work so well, and I headed home early and crashed on the couch by 10:30.

When did I get old?

Today I was up bright and early - that's what 10 hours of sleep can do for you!  I had a piece of peanut butter toast (my recent favorite), and chilled for a bit.  Then my mama was heading home from Minneapolis, so she stopped for lunch.  We went to Okoboji Grill (right off the interstate); it was our first time there, and it was really, really good!  She had the gyro salad, and I had the bruschetta chicken salad.  Mmm, mmm good.  I'd totally go there again, and I'm definitely going to try and replicate that one at home!

The afternoon was spent attempting to grade a million essays.  Over the course of about six hours, I graded an entire class set, but wow: it took every ounce of willpower I had to get 'em done.  Today was about 85 degrees and gorgeous, yet I was stuck inside.  Wah wah.

After I finished grading, I headed to Gateway to pick up dinner:

Yep: I'm pretty sure I could eat it for every meal.  Nummy.

Off to play some Words With Friends and try to fall asleep after way too much caffeine this afternoon - wish me luck!