Thursday, October 30, 2008

University of Pittsburgh

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of visiting the History department at the University of Pittsburgh to learn about the graduate program. I met with Dr. Marcus Rediker, a highly respected expert in his field of Atlantic World history, and learned that my interests will not only be well served at the University of Pittsburgh, but also that my interests filled a void in the field of history. My interests focus on the field of maritime history, and in particular, how the maritime culture impacted the growth of American port cities. According to Dr. Rediker, research in the Atlantic World (maritime history) is a hot topic and many opportunities are growing. Within the filed of maritime history, Dr. Rediker indicated that research on port cities is lacking, but also a topic of growing interest. The new interest in the Atlantic World seems to stem from a different school of thought. In the past historians had viewed the oceans as a dividing force. Now historians are viewing the sea as a connector of peoples.

I sat in on one of Dr. Rediker's seminars and I really enjoyed the discussion of Bernard Bailyn's Atlantic History. The students were completely engaged and passionate about their views. It was interesting listening to them defend opposing viewpoints on the book, while respecting the views of others. I intend to add this book to my personal library within the next few days.

After the seminar, I had the opportunity to meet with two of Dr. Rediker's current students. We discussed their personal views about the program and each of them gave me an honest assessment of the programs strengths and weaknesses.

My application to the University of Pittsburgh is complete. I have completed 4 of the six applications to date. A fifth will be complete with the receipt of my transcript from WVU. I meet with the final school, Ohio State, on Monday. After that, I will focus on graduation, waiting to hear back on my applications, and spending time with Lori and James.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Anniversary to my Sweetheart and Happy Birthday to our Little Man

No, we didn't have a typical anniversary, but life has been anything but typical for the last year. A slight improvement from last year's anniversary when I was ordered to rest and was three days away from having James. I was staying at my parents' house already since I was going to deliver up there so that I would have extra support after he was born. Jim was back and forth to Morgantown to work and go to class. He came up that Friday night of our anniversary to the news that I would be having a C-section Monday morning bright and early. We did manage to buy each other gifts. The theme ( I don't remember if it was modern or traditional) was wood so Mom and Dad went with me (they were afraid to leave me alone) to Hallmark and I bought Jim a Jim Shore Christmas piece which looks like wood but is actually resin...close enough. When we exchanged gifts that night, he had also bought me a Jim Shore piece. The first in our collection. Anyway, it has been an incredible year and I couldn't be happier with my two favorite boys. I love you both more than anything. I hope this year with the adventures that are sure to come is as good as the last. Happy Anniversary Sweetheart! and Happy 1st Birthday to my baby boy!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Turning of a Leaf

We drove through West Virginia today on our way home from vacation and had the opportunity to see the beautiful autumn colors, in some areas, at their peak. Autumn is such a wonderful time. We admire the beauty of autumn and chose to get married in October because of that. Autumn is the time when God pull out his canvas and palette and starts painting the world a happy place and when he is done, he white washes it to start anew in the spring with the beautiful blooms.

But I have to say that I have been disappointed recently by the autumn colors. For the past several years they have been dusty and dry. I miss the vibrant colors of yesteryear and I long for their return. But alas, I feel as though they will not. I believe the dusty autumn I see is the result of our impact on our environment. It's hard to imagine that in West Virginia where the Wild and Wonderful forests should be able to overcome the pollution. I mean West Virginia is a sparsely populated state. But it seems that is not the case. The dusty autumn is indeed the Wild and Wonderful doing everything it can to clean our air for us. It really is a shame.

dusty autumn

the colors aren't as vibrant
as they were years ago
changes to our environment
has faded autumn's glow

the beauty of the autumn
once a fiery spark
of maples, oaks and sugar gums
now turn dusty dark

without the brilliant reds,
oranges and the yellows
summer fades to dead
as the wind of winter bellows

Iron and Candy

Today, Lori and I celebrated out 6th Anniversary like a couple of old married folks. We did not get each other any presents, not even a card. Is this what mrried life has come to so soon? It's not that either of us forgot. We both had good intentions. We even discussed the traditional and modern gifts for the sixth anniversary starting almost two weeks ago. Iron is the traditional gift, candy is the modern. I joked about getting Lori a cast iron skillet filled with chocolate.

So why didn't we get each other anything? Because we simply ran out of time and had too much going on. Lori has been trying to plan James' first birthday party and I have been busy with trying to graduate. We took some time off to go on vacation and had intended to do our anniversary shopping while we were relaxing, but again the time just got away from us.

So I would like to take this moment and wish Lori a Happy Anniversary! My life would not be complete without her and if anything should ever happen to her, I would have to be committed because I would lose my sanity. Lori is my life, and although I don't always show it, I love her more than anything in this world. Everything I do, I do with her in mind. She is my world. My best friend. My angel from above.

Happy Anniversary!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Lady and Sons

For those of you who watch the Food Network, you have undoubtedly heard of Paula Deen and her sons Bobby and Jamie. Today, we had the pleasure to eat at their restaurant The Lady and Sons while taking a day trip to Savannah. I must say that it was well worth the trip. In fact, not only has it been the best meal of our vacation so far, it will rank as one of the best meals I have ever had. Ironically, there was nothing fancy about it. The buffet ($14.95 for lunch) included fried chicken, baked chicken, mashed potatoes (red skinned), rice, gravy, lima beans, creamed corn, black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans and potatoes, and collard greens. Dessert was also included which was served separately by our waitress. Choices included banana pudding, peach cobbler, and an ooey, gooey chocolate cake.

Reservations are required and only accepted in person beginning at 9:30 a.m. We arrived at 10:15 a.m. and were able to get a 12:30 p.m. seating for lunch. The restaurant spans multiple stories in a historic downtown Savannah building and was busy and had simple but minimal decorations with an open air atmosphere exposing the historic ventilation and electrical systems like an old warehouse. It was truly a memorable experience and I highly recommend visiting if you ever find yourself in the area.

After lunch, we stopped next door at the Paula Deen Store and got a chance to see Booby and Jamie in person. We did not get in line for autographs, and therefore did not personally meet them, because you had to buy a cookbook. However, it was pretty cool seeing them having watched them on TV.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Four Steps Before Thinking

James took his first four unassisted steps this evening into the middle of the kitchen. He was very balanced and stable in his steps and only stopped when he realized that he was not holding on to anything. It was funny to watch him when he stopped, because you could literally see the wheels turning in his head before he got down and started crawling. Once he thought about it, I guess he decided he wasn't suppose to be walking. Mommy and Daddy are so proud of our "Little Man". He turns one year old in just over two weeks.