Sunday, May 1, 2011

Finally Spring

After a long winter we ventured out and about on Saturday to explore our State in the Springtime weather. Many conversations and consultations of our Hiking WV book (Thanks J&A!) led us to the Canyon Rim trail of the Blackwater River. The trail ambled for about four miles through a forest with all the fresh signs of Spring.  

As Daniel and I were enjoying the warm, fresh air and all the budding trees and flowers, the dogs were enjoying their favorite part of this Spring time weather...the mud of the ephemeral streams.

Before turning back for the car, we took a break to overlook the Canyon and relax in the sun.

Here's hoping for many more chances to explore Wild and Wonderful West Virginia!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Happy Birthday

For Daniel's birthday we spent yesterday cross country skiing at Cooper's Rock outside of Morgantown. This was a completely new sport for me, but I willingly braved the cold and headed out on my rented skis.

After a little warm-up lesson in our neighborhood, I got the hang of it. A friend of ours described it as "just like walking, except more fluid." As I was learning the basics Daniel had it all figured out and liked to show off his skills from time to time. After all he was the pro since this was his third time out.

Surprisingly, after a couple of hours I was really enjoying myself and felt a lot braver. The problem was that I still hadn't quite mastered turning, stopping without falling, and going down hills. However, that didn't stop me from trying.

Oh well...falling in the snow is actually fun too so it didn't matter that I didn't know how to turn and stop.

Such a great way to spend a nice winter's day. And a very Happy Birthday to my sweet husband.

Monday, October 11, 2010

How do you know?

This afternoon I was driving through beautiful rolling hills that were dipped in the reds, oranges and yellows of fall in the Appalachians! It was an amazing fall day and I was traveling to visit 2 clubs in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia to meet lots of new students. I was excited to be headed back into the classroom. As the miles ticked by, I realized that those miles were themselves becoming a classroom for me. I was driving past some very important historical landmarks that I am sure I learned about in high school, but have long since forgotten. Unfortunately, my historical knowledge is very limited and I probably shouldn't admit that I was unaware of the importance of some these places until now. (My limited knowledge may be linked to the fact that I grew up and learned American History in the South, where the Civil War is still referred to as the "War of Northern Aggression")

The first passing landmark was the Battlefield of Antietam. This was the location of the first significant battle of the Civil War to be fought on Northern soil and thought to be the turning point of the war. Although it was considered a tactial draw this battle was the springboard to President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation as Union Army Major General George B. McClellan was able to stop Confederate General Robert E. Lee's invasion of Maryland.

Next on my little history trip was Harpers Ferry which is layered with many historical events:  the starting place of  the Lewis and Clarke expedition;  the site of the John Brown raid which precipitated the Civil War; the first command of Stonewall Jackson, who raised and trained his famed Brigade here;  the site of three Civil War battles, the major one involving over 30,000 troops on both sides which resulted in the largest surrender of US troops until Bataan in WWII.

So, how do you know when you love your job? For me, I know when I am driving to a high school to meet and teach new students and I am the one that becomes the student.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Settled In

As I sit here and write the cool, crisp mountain breezes are blowing through my house. Yes, that's house. It is official. We have moved in, closed, and are now settled in our new home.

The inside is beautiful and completely brand new. The outside, well...we have some work to do. The seafoam green is growing on me, but the lack of trees is depressing.  We have already begun work on the landscape and will have new pics soon!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Moving Craziness!

Did anyone ever say moving was easy? Surely not!!! If anyone actually ever uttered those words they are crazy! Not just crazy... maybe completely insane! For the past month our life has been consumed by the craziness of moving.

It seems we are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnell. We moved into a rental house yesterday and are set to close on our house sometime around the end of August. Most of our stuff is still in storage but at least we will have a roof over our heads for the next month. 

We owe so many people so much more than a thank you. Although many of them were not officially present for all the moving and packing, they definitely helped get us through this difficult time. The prayers and words of support from so many people including my best friend, Megann meant so much and reminded us how lucky we are to have such wonderful friends. For all the folks that helped us make the move out of Clinton: The Inmans, The Hudsons, David Crotts, and Daniel's parents; we cannot tell you how thankful we are to have you in our lives.

Once we made the long journey to WV we still had quite an adventure ahead of us. There was still the task of unloading the truck and loading it all into a rental house and a storage unit. Thank goodness Tyler Boulware was here to help us unload things. Not only did he help us unload the truck, but he and his wife have welcomed us into their home and helped us navigate this crazy journey for the past several months. Then came my parents to the rescue!! On their first trip to Morgantown, and on their vacation no less, they worked all day helping us get settled into the rental house. Once again we are so blessed to have all the help and support of family and wonderful friends. We could not have made this move without any of them behind us.

Although it is not nearly enough, THANK YOU so much and we love all of you!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Already a Mountaineer

On my second week of my new job I am quickly becoming a true Mountaineer. Last week I toured the football facilities, met a few football players and got my picture made on the flying WV. This week has been no different in my orientation to all things WVU. On Tuesday I met the actual Mountaineer (sorry no pics of that) and yesterday I met Coach Stewart. (For all my ACC fans, Coach Stewart is the head football coach here at WVU.)

Maybe next week I will meet Coach Huggins!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Job Update

As I begin the second week of my new job I am still learning what my title actually means. For some, I am the HSTA (Health Sciences Technology Academy) Program Coordinator, for others I am the Curriculum and Education Program Associate. I think these two title mean the same thing, but what do I actually do? Let me see if I can explain this amazing program and my role in it.

HSTA was developed in 1994 to provide math and science support and enrichment to minority and underrepresented students from West Virgina's rural communities. The goals of the program included shepherding these students through precollege, college and graduate training in health professions and programs and encouraging these students to return to practice their careers in an underserved area of West Virginia. Through school year club programs and summer campus programs at WVU, Marshall University, and West Virginia State all of the HSTA students are exposed to intensive academic enrichment emphasizing science and math for each grade from 9th through 12th as well as laboratory experiences where students work with scientists/clinical practitioners. Our ninth grade students participate in a Fun with Science camp, our tenth grade students participate in a Forensics science camp, and our eleventh grade students are involved with a Biomedical component.

Since the inception of this program the focus has been on relevant issues of WV Health. Currently the focus of our program is the obesity and Type II Diabetes epidemic in WV. Much attention has been drawn to the fact that WV ranks number one in the nation for percentage of the population that is obese and  the  prevalence of Type II Diabetes. HSTA students in our Biomed program (11th grade) are currently invovled in a Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) project in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh.  One of the goals of this project is to guide students and teachers in research projects involving life-style interventions in communities where they transmit their knowledge and understanding of research and clinical trials to their parents and community members in order to address critical barriers to progress in healthy lifestyles.

So, what does all that mean to me, and what do I do? In a very simplified answer:  I support the teachers in the clubs accross the state with their research projects related to our Diabetes Education project. I organize the summer Biomed component of this research project., and I act as a research associate on the diabetes research project. It all still seems a little fuzzy to me,  but I am learning everyday and LOVING every minute of it!