Merry Christmas Eve!

>> Wednesday, December 24, 2008

This has been one of my favorite Christmas Eve's yet. As I think about it, generally I enjoy Christmas eve more than Christmas day because of the fun family rituals we started about 10 years ago. We used to do Christmas eve with my mom's family and then Christmas day at with my dad's, but lately we've pushed my mom's family back to the Sunday before Christmas, leaving Christmas eve just to be spent with my parents and brother at the house. Usually the ritual is to cook a big dinner that night and then either play games or watch a movie until everyone gets tired from wine and starts to fall asleep. This year we just watched stand up comedy (also pretty normal in my house) and hung out with my parent's best friends, William and Nancy. The dogs were also a big entertainment.. I'm keeping my roommate's cocker spaniel and she seems to have just figured out how to be nice to Rylynn and everyone else. Watching them actually play together was a big treat. Up until today I pretty much thought of Ellie as the really beautiful, snobby girl in high school that no one liked (with good reason).

Anyway, a brief synopsis via pictures.. as told by dogs...

Try one... humans put silly fuzzy hats on dogs' heads (which of course don't fit)

By the way... I would be lucky to look like my mom at 52. Maybe she's been right all of these years about wearing lotion everyday.

Try two.. with a little help from me (fresh out of the shower)

This is how they really feel about it--

Rylynn: Elllllieeee... I have a soft plushy toy for you....

Rylynn: See, Taylor gets it


Now Ellie is fearless.. loving on the scary tall guy with the crazy white hair

Within minutes... Santa is gutted. Poor Santa. Glad the girls got some fun out of it.

Other random Christmas pics in the Williams' home

he looks so amused...

The end..

One more note... Happy Birthday, Sarah!! She's moving with me to Nashville this summer... holding her accountable via this blog :) Let's just hope the economy is nice to me so I can get a job!


Looking Up

>> Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The hardest semester of my life is officially over. I look back on it and still can't figure out why it was so hard exactly, but it was definitely exhausting. Even though I've gone through some major changes, I still feel like this has been one of my happiest times. It's rewarding to go after something that you know is right for you even if it doesn't seem like the most obvious choice. It was a pretty big deal for me to leave UVA and start completely over in the middle of my masters. Though, it was really nice to realize within my first week of classes I had made the right choice. I feel so much more competent, motivated, optimistic.. My work experience has been great and it must be working out on their end as well since I was offered a raise yesterday.

Anyway, here's to Virginia Tech! Guess I'm somewhat officially a hokie! I had a great time celebrating with my friends last night.. they've made such a huge difference in my experience here.

So here's to them! Cheers!


Acquired Taste

>> Sunday, December 14, 2008

I can now understand why people who are not from the South really don't like grits. For me, I really can't stand oatmeal. I think it may even be an either/or type deal... grits or oatmeal... or maybe even neither. The texture is weird for both.

I've tried to like oatmeal.. had some this morning actually. Added brown sugar and dried fruit. I managed to get down about 6 bites until I finally made myself quit because not being hungry just isn't worth it.

I think sometimes you get used to one thing and you just just can't turn back. No matter how hard you try. I managed to finish off a little bit more of the oatmeal by adding salt (I know that's gross to some people) but it sort of made me feel like I was eating grits and wasn't quite as bad.

So, all that to say, I'm going to try to let myself be ok with not ever liking certain foods. And also to say, it's really lame that the 2 coffee shops I know of in Blacksburg and Christiansburg aren't open at 8 am on a Sunday. LAME. Thus.. I was forced to go to Starbucks and waste my money on oatmeal.

I have now updated my blog three times as much in the last couple of days than I have in probably the last 5 months. Never ending papers will do that to you I guess. I went ahead and took proactive measures and deactivated my facebook account last night. The only thing standing between me and freedom is this damn paper.

12 pages!! Focus Tia!!


Goodbye Summer!

>> Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's officially effing cold! No turning back now. The only way I'm going to get through this winter is to be partially in denial and optimistic. I can't talk about the cold in front of my friends here bc they are from Michigan and Minnesota.. so therefore I'm stuck just pretending like "it could be worse" (though I really know it could be a hell of a lot better!) So... I will suck it up.. enjoy my time in Blacksburg..remember how great the fall was for me here. Blah blah.

By the way.. I DO love it.. minus the cold this place would be heaven! So maybe I'll find that I'll get through it better than I had first imagined (see.. there's that optimism ;)

As a way to provide myself closure, I am doing a quick tribute to the recent summers of the past and to my dearly beloved sun dresses (you will be missed!).

A fabulous, WARM night in NYC

Birthday weekend with Jen at her lake house

One of many amazing Charleston weekends

Beach time (I believe at Isle of Palms..)

Mary Jane and Andrew's wedding

The end! Sun dresses, until we meet again (April, please?)



>> Thursday, December 11, 2008

As much as I LOVE babies.. it is really weird to me that not only are most of my friends now married, many of them are reproducing like rabbits! My friends are on their second, some even third sets of kids..

Not to mention I had a dream last night that I was 27 years old and really stressed out about not being married. I should NOT be having such dreams! 27 isn't even old..

I may have to boycott Facebook for a little while if my attitude doesn't get any better. It's presenting a side of reality that just isn't all that real. When my DC friends start getting married then I may become a wee bit worried.. but the idea seems really premature for most of them.

And the responsibility factor is freaking me out as well. It occurred to me that I could very possibly move to Greenville when I graduate and live there for the rest of my life! No more big adventures? I don't think it's even the matter of needing to move to a new place, it's the option that is so attractive. I feel like the need to stay in one place and pay off debt is going to keep me from moving around. I guess I'll just have to embrace a new kind of adventure that involves one city. Or find random people who are out-of-staters to be friends with (to mix things up a bit). I refuse to settle before I have to! That's no fun at all.. boring life, minus the perks of a husband (and possibly kids?).. what's the point in that? Is there such thing as a 25 year old cat lady? OK, moving to Greenville does not have to mean that the fun, live for the moment lifestyle has to end.. I just don't know anyone in Greenville that's not married.. haha. Surely that's not the case with the whole young-adult population.

Anyway, call this a quarter life crisis.. so be it. Blogs are good places to vent so that I can make myself get back to my paper.. which should be my main concern right now anyway.


Little More Gloating

>> Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I'll stop soon, I promise! Yay for Dabo..


SEC = overrated

>> Sunday, November 30, 2008

As of yesterday, the ACC is beating the SEC in this season's matchups.

Clemson VS Alabama--Loss
Florida St VS Florida--Loss
Georgia VS GT--Win
Ole Miss VS WF--Win
Miss St VS GT--Win
Clemson VS USC--Win
NC State VS USC--Loss
Vanderbilt VS Duke--Win
Vanderbilt VS WF--Win
Miami VS Florida--Loss

Final record: ACC 6 - SEC 4

Correct me if I've left a game off.. but I'm pretty sure these were the only ACC/SEC games played this year. Where do those hog-cocks get off thinking their conference is made of platinum? At least the ACC also has basketball, good schools, decently behaved athletes and honest coaches (void of cheaters like Saban). We also have Florida State but we'll let one lousy school slide as an outlier ;)

Anyway, taking a break from paper-writing to gloat. Back to it.


Bored and Burnt Out

>> Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So.. it's been a week and a half now since my little hiking accident and I still can't bend my finger. I only take the stint off once a day to shower.. and I sort of try to bend my finger a little (carefully) to see if it's getting any better. I can't really tell at this point. I found out that sometimes broken fingers never heal.. and that is scary. I just want to be able to play my violin again. This is what I get for looking up fiddle instructors in Greenville and Nashville when I should be studying/working.

I did go running right before I took this picture.. but it kind of adds to the bored/burnt out/sad theme I'm trying portray.. haha.

Anyway, say a little prayer for my finger. I get to take the stint off the day after Thanksgiving... fingers crossed!! (pun intended)

And these guys are just plain awesome btw:

Punch Brothers in Roanoke

I'm also tight with Chris Thile as well... that's right.


I'm semi-famous via an espn journalist.. haha

>> Friday, October 24, 2008

Let me just say, I had a BLAST in Clemson/Greenville last weekend. I really can't recall a time when things were more perfect... perfect people, perfect food, (almost) perfect weather...

I think regardless of what I end up doing in May, I am totally comfortable with the idea now of moving back closer to home. I'm still not thrilled about ever moving to Columbia, but I would be more than happy to end up in Greenville. It's really nice to know that my friends are still amazing... even if they are married :). I was afraid if I moved back I would feel rushed into settling down like everyone else has seemed to.. but I'm really not worried about that anymore. It seems like Greenville offers good things for both worlds.. and it's always nice to be near Clemson for football season!

Anyway, I exchanged emails with Heather Dinich, the ESPN ACC blogger after I realized I caught her in a picture I took of CJ Spiller. I figured she would enjoy a copy of the picture so I messaged her to tell her about it and asked her to reply via email so I could send the attachment. Within a couple hours she responded and we exchanged a couple of emails throughout the night. She seems like a really cool girl.. I feel bad for her that she gets trash talked on the blog for being a female sports journalist. I think she's gained the respect of her readers by now, though. Proves that girls can be just as into football as guys :) (and not just as a ploy to gain male attention!).

Here's the picture and the convo... Enjoy!

Hi Tia!

Got your msg in the mailbag … I’d love to see the picture, thanks! That was too funny. I didn’t actually mean to JOIN the parade, I just wanted to walk alongside. I kinda got swept up in it. Whoops! No doubt the most exciting pregame I’ve had this season. Sure beat sittin’ in the press box! :)

Thanks for the note!

Heather Dinich

Hey Heather-

Here you go. I kind of wish it wouldn't have turned out blurry.. it's a fun picture of CJ as well.

I thought it was funny when you walked by... I was like, whoa... I feel like I know her! Haha. You have such a cool job!

That was definitely a great game. I picked the right one to go back for. It felt like the old Clemson. I especially liked how alive the fans and players were coming out of half time. I haven't seen/felt that in a really long time! I know we didn't win... and we still made a lot of the same mistakes... but I have a good feeling about Dabo. It seems like the players really respect him and he has the energy Clemson needs right now. I think we played well considering all of the transitions in only a week!

Anyway, glad you had fun at the game! Clemson is a special little place... we'll get what we've been hoping for soon enough!

Keep up the good work!



Hahaha that’s great! My editor will get a kick out of that. I told him I got stuck in it. Thanks for finding me and forwarding it. I DO have a cool job, thanks, and Clemson is one of my favorite trips in the ACC. Regardless of who the next coach is, things can only get better!

Thanks again and enjoy the rest of the season!



see ya tommy

>> Monday, October 13, 2008

This weekend is going to be interesting down in Clemson! Go Tigers! Can we have Bobby Johnson now??

Good luck, Tommy! Take your contract extension money and relax on an island for a while. You've been stressed....

Clemson Fires Bowden In Mid-Season

POSTED: 11:41 am EDT October 13, 2008
UPDATED: 12:14 pm EDT October 13, 2008

CLEMSON, S.C. -- Tommy Bowden, midway through his 10th season as the head coach of the Clemson University football team, has been fired.
Assistant head coach Dabo Swinney will take over the team for the remainder of the team's season.
The Tigers (3-3, 1-2 in the ACC) face Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Clemson, which was expected to contend for a conference title, has lost two straight games to ACC opponents.
The Tigers were ranked in the preseason Top 10, but opened with a 34-10 loss to Alabama.
The team rebounded with three straight wins, over the Citadel, N.C. State and South Carolina State.
But the Tigers lost 20-17 at home to Maryland on Sept. 27 and then fell 12-7 to Wake Forest on Thursday night.
Bowden had announced late last week that he was benching starting quarterback Cullen Harper in favor of highly touted red-shirt freshman Willy Korn.
Bowden concludes his tenure at Clemson with a 72-45 record and eight appearances in bowl games.
Last December, Bowden agreed to a contract extension that was to have kept him at Clemson through 2014.
Bowden had been pursued by Arkansas to take over the head coaching job there.
"I'm very appreciative and excited about the extension," Bowden said at a news conference at Clemson just after the extension was announced. "I fully intended when we came here nine years ago that we would make this our last stop."
Swinney began the season as the Tigers' receivers coach. A graduate of the University of Alabama, Swinney has been on Bowden's Clemson staff for six years.


Not to beat a dead horse...

>> Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's quite a privilege for a team to make the EDSBS blog...

Dead, again. With a 12-7 loss to Wake Forest jampacked with all the excitement you’ve come to expect from the Electric Sex Conference, the ACC, Tommy Bowden has reverted to familiar mid-season status as the dead guy with the headset. Ron Morris polishes off his “Tommy Bowden is totally dead this time and we mean it” piece, the same one you could have used four years running to look very prescient before the inevitable boot-and-rally Bowden curve.

We’re not even sure .500 gets him fired, though: at 12 years, he’s far more entrenched than you might think, and even with the bitch mentality at full blast Clemson’s at least consistent under Bowden. It all depends on the administrative approach: if the Clemson admins view the football program as a beast they like to keep under wraps and properly chained, they’ll keep him. If they think like, say, and Auburn or Florida, then he’s joining Tony Franklin in the Sad White Box of Totally Fired Club.

(Giving James Davis a meagre 12 carries will get you that Sad White Box of Office Refuse, too.)


I don't know why I'm even following this anymore

Clemson is officially the biggest bust of the season -- Not just in the ACC, but possibly on a national level, too. We're talking about the No. 9-ranked team in the preseason (admittedly too high), but still a team loaded with talent -- a roster other coaches throughout the country would love to borrow from for one Saturday. And yet the Tigers have not been able to do anything with it, instead playing themselves into obscurity and almost out of the Atlantic Division race for sure.

Oh well. Can't wait until basketball season!! Go Oliver Purnell!


>> Friday, October 10, 2008

I woke up to this message this morning (from a "friend" that went to Vandy)-

"if you guys steal our coach, i'll kill you"

Evidently the rest of the world thinks Tommy's job is at risk as well...

And this says it all-

Clemson Turnovers,
Last Two Seasons

(13 gms)
Turnovers 12
Fumbles 6
Interceptions 6
TOs by offense 9

(6 gms)
Turnovers 12
Fumbles 6
Interceptions 6
TOs by offense 10

And this is with an all-star recruiting class that decided to stay for an extra year instead of making millions in the pros. Doesn't seem like they weighed in too much on the opportunity cost of the situation.. considering they have the same lousy coach and offensive coordinator.

ugg i can't get away from economics! haha


Comfort Drinks

>> Friday, October 3, 2008

Can I just say real quick... I really miss good coffee.


And so it is...

>> Sunday, September 28, 2008

Clemson continues to underachieve under Bowden

"Clemson, when ranked, has lost to an unranked team at home seven times now since 2000. All under Bowden."

Yeah... I'm pretty sure I was there for most of those games. 

I can understand that teams lose games all the time... and upsets happen all the time... but when you consistently win games on a "whim" basis, something is up. We win games because our talent is good enough that we're bound to win games... and then we lose a lot of games bc our talent sits on the field driving the same play and getting shut down bc of our predictability. Add into that our tendency to waste precious seconds looking confused and our coach's inability to rally the guys in crunch times...

Clemson lost the Maryland game because we made mistakes and we were outcoached. You can have the best talent in the world and still lose games when unfortunate penalties ransack the pride of your team. Clemson rallies when doing well... and falls apart otherwise. That's where coaching comes in to get the team over the hump. 

When will we ever get over the hump?


collection of comments post the Maryland disaster

>> Saturday, September 27, 2008

These comments somewhat sum up my thoughts...

CLEMSON, S.C. -- It's official. Clemson has laid two eggs this season, losing 20-17 to Maryland on Saturday. At home. And, yes, Clemson fans are booing.
Maryland's defense was the difference in the second half, finally shutting down Clemson's playmakers. This marks the second time in the Terps' past two trips to Death Valley they have come away with a win. Neither team looked all that impressive, and both made costly mistakes, but Maryland somehow got this win.
The Clemson fans are booing as they file out. More later ... heading down to the locker rooms now.


See ya Tommy

Kstallion006  --> this is sad

Maryland fan here....... I guess I'll have to take the win and move on. Clemson fans, I"m sorry for you. But just remember, when Bowden gets fired, someone will come in who can actually coach all of your talent & you'll probably go to a national championship game.


Somebody just needs to tell Clemson that the game is 4 qtrs long!!!


It is time for Bowden to go.


The way we played, we didn't deserve to win anyway. blah.


Wants a new coach

And finally from Kristin.. who was at the game:

"Don't even get me started- I have never seen people get so mad at bowden!"


>> Monday, September 22, 2008

Had to change the profile pic bc Peter told me that he can in fact see "the twins". There needs to be none of that! 


blogs are for venting

>> Friday, September 19, 2008

Let me just say.. I signed in to update my blog and the first thing I see on dashboard is my profile picture completely zoomed in on my chest!

Peter just told me that he only sees the full picture... so I guess that means only I have to be subjugated to staring at my chest when I sign in.. so that's good :). But I still don't like it.. I can't figure out for the life of me how to change the settings without changing the entire picture. Oh well.

Recap on the week:

I killed myself to finish a 12 page paper on international trade issues and three weeks worth of data gathering at work... but I have seemed to survive. I think the paper turned out fine and the presentation was easy, my work presentation was long and mentally draining (sitting in a conference room with 5 of my coworkers going through 2 different 20 page documents of graphs and figures!) but I got through that ok as well. Starting last Friday I morphed into crunch mode... which is weird since crunch mode is usually only a couple of days. It's a little longer in grad school. Saturday I actually woke up at 7 in the morning to dig into the second half of my research (that I didn't finish Friday night) so that I would have all of it finished before I would meet my project partner at 12:00. Lots of notes and 5 sources later I headed to the coffee shop to see Emily. I didn't feel great about what I had found but I figured I would need to just suck it up and deal with it. We sat at the coffee shop from 12 until 7 that night... rehashing all of our findings and realizing that international trade is (obviously) a very complicated subject. The rest of the week I worked and went to class and worked on the dang paper every other free minute I had. I figured out that I had not exceeded one 5 hour night of sleep since last Thursday, and between Tuesday and Wednesday night I only got 6 hours combined... yikes! Needless to say I haven't seen my roommate more than 20 minutes here or there since about 2 weeks ago. I'm beginning to wonder if she thinks I've found a second home.. haha.

We finally pulled all of it together around 2 in the morning Wednesday night.. and I felt good about it and definitely ready to turn the page on the project while Emily was still freaking out. She's an undergrad senior that's trying to move into the grad program at VT and I guess the combination of the application process and the fact that she still thinks about grades (she's an undergad) made her a little more sensitive to the whole thing than I was.

Everyone liked our presentation and it was honestly one of the easier ones I've had. I've been MUCH more unprepared for grad school presentations... which is something you generally get used to (and probably more realistic in the real world anyway). You DEFINITELY don't worry about grades.. you do the best you can and that's all you can do. I take that back, I worried about grades last year in my methods class... but that class was crazy. We were all walking on egg shells the entire semester.

After the presentation I hurried over to my office to throw together a power point presentation with the 50 graphs I made the day before. It was the second day I had skipped lunch entirely.. but I knew I would be down to the minute to pull this one off. I had exactly 2 and 1/2 hours until I met with my office to present my work. Sure enough, in usual Tia fashion, I handed them the stapled print outs still warm. Good thing we have one of those fancy high powered printers! I would have been completely screwed had I try to accomplish that in the lab.

Granted, had my research partner not spazzed out about the paper (and thus if we didn't have to rewrite it like 10 times), I think my week would have been a little less chaotic. Although, I'm starting to realize that adding a real job into this grad school thing is going to make my life much more hectic. I just have to keep telling myself: "debt free, debt free, debt free" haha

Anyway, the week ended with a really fun night out in Blacksburg (last night)... in which I actually stayed out until the bars closed! Haven't done that in forever, let me tell you. I felt really old the whole night.. but I still had a blast. A bartender called me darling and I just thought that was funny enough to text Peter to share the good news.

I don't know if it was the sleep deprivation.. or the alcohol.. or both... but I definitely had a close call to losing my phone because I dropped it while leaning against this car (I fell asleep for a second.. true story). I think I vaguely remembered something like that last night before I went to sleep but I didn't have the strength to walk outside in the dark to try to find it (looking back... probably a wise decision). I retraced my steps this morning and sure enough.. 5 blocks from the house where I was staying at... I found my phone on the ground next to the car that I recognized because I had left a huge smudge on the window!! Gross! I'm sure some random VT student is loving that right now.

That was the extent of my crazy night- almost losing my phone (seems to be pretty normal when you hit 25). Funny thing is.. I wasn't terribly worried about someone stealing my phone because it's such a piece of crap! I had some assurance that if I went back to the bars that we were at I could probably find it.. or someone may try to get it back to me. Overall, I think I've learned to become much more selective in my stressing. Can't stress about everything... gotta pick and choose.

So, overall, I'm doing ok. I like Blacksburg so far and I will have an opportunity to actually go outside this weekend so that should give me some new juice to get through next week. The kids in my program want to make this Thursday night out a weekly tradition, but I'm starting to think that may not be realistic for someone like me. I think at least watching the bluegrass band from 8-10 at the bar we started out at sounds reasonable.

Oh, and one last thing... go tigers/hokies/bills/eagles/cougars! I'm going to start spreading my allegiances so at least some of my teams will win :)


oh football

>> Thursday, September 11, 2008

10 Most Obnoxious Fan Bases

Clemson #6
Do you get the feeling that Clemson fans feel they belong in the SEC and tend to over-compensate for it? They call their stadium Death Valley and chant "Tiger bait" at visiting teams, but honestly, what have they done in the last 10 years? A golf championship in 2003? ("Spin that wedge! Sink that putt!") These SEC-wannabe fans are downright delusional. - Lisa Horne

Considering Nortre Dame, Michigan, Oklahoma, LSU, USC (the real USC), Ohio State, Alabama, Florida State and Florida were the other teams mentioned, I am not terribly upset that Clemson did end up in the top 10. At least we matter enough to be considered.. but then again I'm not to too thrilled with all of the commentary we have been receiving. I'm starting to feel a little embarrassed for being a college football fan. Rivalries are fun... head to head match ups between state rivals are even better... but when people start to show their true colors (such as in the comments of this article) it makes me not want to associate with the competitive sports world anymore.

Who knows... maybe it's just the nature of the internet these days that causes people to say whatever they want without any real fear retribution or punishment. But it's scary that they couldn't have said it without some (if not all) truth lying behind their statements.

And does sexism really still exist to this level? I know people joke around about women not knowing a lot about football.. but to deliberately comment on the incompetence of a female journalists??

There were SEVERAL comments like these-

This is the funniest thing I`ve seen. No one should take this seriously because Lisa Horne wrote all of these. A

Basically, almost all of the commentators proved how obnoxious of sports fans they actually are. For that reason, I'm a little sad that Clemson did make the list.. since I would like to believe that though our fans are very passionate, they are also kind. But then there are plenty of those that bring down our public image. It's amazing how many of these people usually have not even ever attended the universities that they are so obnoxious about. In that way, yes, I can see how football is kind of barbarian and seems to draw out the extreme machoism and (unfounded) arrogance in its followers. But there is a whole other level of football that is still worthwhile.. and I like to think it lies in the higher level of community involvement and cohesion that it achieves.

So.. I'm not going to let a couple bad fans ruin my appreciation of the game.. but I have taken a hard look recently at the credibility of all of this "football hype". As long as Clemson's performance doesn't alter my overall wellbeing, I think it's fine for me to follow my team passionately and personally. I don't however, want to ever let obsession with my team actually cause me to hate other people for their own allegiances. I may make fun of a lot of other teams (usually it's out of jealousy), but overall I love the sport.. and I love meeting other people who do too. We should focus on that commonality.. and stray away from all the dirty name calling. It really gets us no where in the end.


my thoughts on reading... especially this week

>> Monday, September 8, 2008

From Brian Regan's recent stand up (the epitome of hyperbole):

I hate when a sentence drags on because my brain can’t handle a long sentence. ‘The corporation had originally decided that a restructuring of its charter should be preceded by preliminary'… what in the hell is going on??!… Ok, here we go, alright, ‘the corporation’… ok the corporation- put smoke stacks on that… ‘had originally’.. ok this thing had before.. going to move that to the past and that’s a time line… smoke stacks.. they’re not even here yet. That’s a commin’. ‘The corporation had originally decided’… “hey we better” (I put little people in the window, making decisions).. “hey we better”... That’s how I read in the library “hey smoke stacks hey” … they’re like what are you doing… shh I’m trying to read!


Thoughts on Blacksburg

>> Friday, September 5, 2008

Around 5:30 tonight, I was pleased to find out during my jog around campus that I had managed to join a 5K race! It really didn't begin to occur to me until the 2nd random jogger I passed said "good job, keep it up!". I must say... if it weren't for the comment by the random lady standing on the side of the road with an official looking tshirt, I would have probably thought this is just normal Blacksburg etiquette! 

I don't think there could be a much more pleasant surprise than to find yourself joining a foot race. God must have known that I would need the encouragement given my almost 2 week absence of any kind of exercise. I decided to keep running past my normal turn around point. Almost in the same moment, a flood of runners came out of nowhere. By this point I had people on all sides of me, with several of the faster runners passing me in the opposite direction. They were smiling and very enthusiastic to spur me on... I realized later that I was at the tail end of the race, so I can see why they felt it was important to feed me with hope.

Amazingly, I passed a couple of the runners. I had no idea where the race began, but figured that it had to have been much closer to the duck pond (where I had recently passed) than to where I started downtown. I had already run about 15 minutes, and realized that I would then be just beginning my 5k race. I had a quick thought about whether or not this was a crazy idea, given that I am terribly out of shape... then thought... what the hell. I kept running passed the equine center and passed the pasture of horses and foals that I admire every morning on my commute into class. This must be some sort of breeding farm, since there are just as many foals as adult horses. They are absolutely beautiful. Since I can remember I have had a fascination with horses.. and I figured that I would sort of outgrow that feeling with maturity. I'm starting to think the opposite may even be true. 

I ran past the green houses, down a dirt path until I finally found myself back on a wide sidewalk. I realized then that I was on the huckleberry trail, and quickly scolded myself for not taking the time to explore it justly. It was beautiful.

After passing about 20 or 30 runners, I became comfortable with cheering them on as well. I laughed to myself throughout the run.. sometimes out loud... and thoroughly enjoyed feeling a part of something again. I have been lonely this month.. and with it I have felt a flood of emotions. All of the sudden, I had friends... and we were all united in a desire to finish the race. 

Once I made it back to the duck pond and within eyesight of the finish line, I realized that I would need to run another 15 minutes back to my car. Worse, I would have to give up the gig that I am not an actual race member and go it alone. I decided to embrace the nearing crowd of people with a smile and simply kept running. I remember verbally thanking a couple of them for all of their kind words. The rest of the run was hard, but I was determined to not stop. I only get a runner's high every now and then, but when I do there is little stopping me.

I passed the crowd of students downtown and weaved in and out of various dogs, kids and old people. I decided to stick to the periphery but still had a hard time not running into random slow walkers. The school is having its first big pep rally in front of the library to celebrate the game tomorrow, and celebrate they did. From what I witnessed, there was a rock climbing wall, a mechanical bull, a dj and dance team, the hokie bird, clowns and various other organizations representing tables. I must say I was impressed. 

Finally, after picking up some speed, I found myself back at my car downtown. I opened the door first thing to check the clock since I was more than curious about how long I had been running. To my surprise, it was only 45 minutes. I quickly figured that I either overestimated how long it took me to get to the race portion of my run, or I missed some loop along the way. Either way, I quickly decided I was ok with my run time and decided to be proud of myself for running more than three miles after not exercising in so long. I am hopeful now to take advantage of some time to run in the middle of the day while the weather is nice... 

So... Blacksburg has been fun. I went to a cookout last night that someone in my program hosted. I finally met most of the second years. I feel good about these people.. we spent the night drinking beer and eating hotdogs (surprisingly they are not all vegetarians!) and finally finished with foosball (which my partner and I dominated in) and the redskins game. Seemed like a completely normal night... I even think I may have made some good friends. 

But for now... there is still some loneliness. My gut says this will pass... maybe even soon... but my heart is still heavy. However, I appreciate these times. Life seems very real right now. Transitions are inevitable... and that's why we have blogs. :)


Absolutely Depressing!

>> Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm ashamed to be a football fan right now. I, along with many others, sadly saw this coming. I hate predicting every time Clemson will choke (which is every time the nation hypes us up). Can you even imagine our team on a national championship stage? That's a laugh...

Not that we don't have the talant.. we do. But then again we've always had the talent. Please just remove the spotlight and we'll do well. Damn you, Heather Dinich! I blame all of this on you.. what do you know about Clemson football? Why fuel our self-destructive fire? Stop telling us we're going to win so that we can win already! Geez.

Here's what thinks about us and our pathetic conference:

(oh yeah, let me add... all three ACC schools that I have attended so far have lost... not a good track record)

7. ACC: What a nightmare! If it wasn't for Wake Forest, things would really be bleak here. The Demon Deacons opened Thursday night and just carved up Baylor, showing that the ACC probably has at least one Top 25 team. And, since there wasn't much else to pick from, Duke blew out a good FCS team in James Madison, and Georgia Tech looked surprisingly crisp in coach Paul Johnson's debut with the big shift in offensive style. It also contained Jacksonville State's Ryan Perrilloux. Of course, Tech is supposed to beat up on the FCS schools.

The bad news: Where to begin? Preseason favorite Clemson was embarrassed by Alabama, which is supposedly only the third-best team in its division. The Tigers looked completely flat and played with absolutely no passion on the prime-time stage. They could run the table after this and no one will care because they'd only be beating The Citadel and other suspect ACC squads. Virginia Tech lost a lead when it was upset by ECU, and the Hokies have a QB mess on their hands. NC State's offense looked dreadful when it was blanked on national TV by South Carolina.

Virginia got destroyed by USC at home, Maryland struggled mightily with Delaware and UNC almost got knocked off by McNeese State. Oh, and there was that botched parachutist thing, when the game ball was delivered to the wrong ACC stadium. Luckily for them, another bad ACC football team was just a few miles away. Unless Miami pulls off a shocker in Gainesville this weekend, it's hard to see the ACC's jumping up much higher next week.


More Transitions

>> Monday, August 25, 2008

Looks like I may need to change the name of my blog to "A Tiger Lost in Blacksburg"...

But then again if I change it, it'll probably be something entirely different.

I have officially moved into my townhouse, found a job with the office of economic development and created my schedule (mostly). I have also learned that I should definitely be able to graduate on time.. which was a surprise to me. I honestly wanted the extra time to figure things out.. but now I'm trying to look at it as an opportunity to explore other options. Maybe I will find a way to live overseas for a year.. who knows.

I know I promised to finish the cheers to series.. and maybe someday I will work on that again... but for now, here's a mini list:

Cheers to:

  • Sabrina, Swing dancing, peach picking, mountain biking and tennis!
  • Katy, (6 hr!) pride and prejudice, NYC, 80's night, turkey basters and football!
  • Bodo's Bagels (and the ham, egg and cheese on wheat)
  • Bratty tennis kids that make me smile
  • Georgia, Brooke, Jane and Kerry
  • Peyton House... and all the good and bad memories that follow
  • the small group girls and their flavor of the month
  • Walnut Creek Park
  • Polo!
  • Highway 29... not really but I'll miss being 2 hours from DC
  • Parties at Jason's
  • Thai 99
  • Michael's Bistro
  • Trees on Fire, 6 Day Bender and the occassional good shows at Fridays after Five
  • Biking to the Downtown Mall
  • Hiking Humpback Rocks
  • Jen, the speech girls and the lake house!
  • Office watching parties
  • the trolly

and finally...

William Earl... for amazing road trips, dancing, Starry Night, grilling out, movies on the laptop, camping and nearly drowning, South Street, Hoos Brews, concerts, nerdy conversations, 80's night and snacks (or lack thereof), Siips, funfetti cupcakes, the waterfront in Alexandria, and for an overall incredible summer :)


welcome to the life of a tiger fan...

>> Monday, July 14, 2008

This sums up the frustrations of a Clemson fan pretty well I'd say. 

In response to this ESPN article-
As a Clemson fan, I'd like to thank you for jinxing the crap out of us. Like we needed the help. Actually, ESPN got us before your blog did, but somebody has to take the blame. We know we SHOULD be very good and SHOULD win the ACC title...but please talk abt another team winning the league and the player awards. It's like giving crack to an addict. we're already unstable, paranoid and scratchy...we don't need your help. Welcome to the neurotic mind of a Tiger fan. Counting down the days 'till kickoff vs. Bama....GO TIGERS.

...I promise, soon I will return to the 'Cheers To' series! 


a brief break from the "cheers to" series

>> Monday, July 7, 2008

So I picked up on of my favorite Donald Miller books (Searching for God Knows What) today to read while laying out. Though I've read all of his books several times by now I always seem to find passages that are significant to whatever life situation/emotions that I'm dealing with in the moment. He also writes on a very personable and humble level, which is why I think so many people like his books. 

"Moses said God knew Adam was lonely or incomplete or however you want to say it but God did not create Eve directly after He stated Adam was lonely. This struck me as funny because a lot of times when I think about life before the Fall, I don't think of people going around lonely. But that thought also comforted me because I realized loneliness in my own life doesn't mean I am a complete screwup, rather that God made me this way. You always picture the perfect human being as somebody who doesn't need anybody, like a guy on a horse out in Colorado or whatever. But here is Adam, the only perfect guy in the world, and he is going around wanting to be with somebody else, needing another person to fulfill a certain emptiness in his life. And as I said, when God saw this, He did not create Eve right away. he did not give Adam what he needed immediately. He waited. He told Adam to name the animals. 


"I think it was smart of God because today, now that there are women all around and a guy can go on the Internet and see them naked anytime he wants, the whole species has been devalued. If I were a girl today in America, I would be a feminist for sure. I read recently where one out of every four women, by the time they reach thirty, are sexually harassed, molested, or raped. And then I thought how very beautiful it was that God made Adam work for so long because there is no way, after a hundred years of being alone, looking for somebody whom you could connect with in your soul, that you would take advantage of a woman once you met one. She would be the most precious creation in all the world."

I appreciate the first section very much.. I think, especially Americans, are in error to believe that the simple desire for companionship means that there is something lacking in a person. Especially now, our culture is pushing young adults to consider putting careers first and holding off on marriage,  maybe even indefinitely, with the hope to become a successful individual. This theory implies that an individual may not be "as successful" with another person by his or her side. Maybe the advice is just a spin off of American's frustration at the 50% divorce rate, who knows. Regardless, desiring a partner or a community does not imply that a person is weak. If anything, I think the more successful individuals would have a very strong support group. 

The second passage just makes me smile because I'm a girl and I like when guys talks about women as valuable. It doesn't really get old :)


Cheers To.... The Mud House

>> Monday, June 9, 2008

When I first moved to Charlottesville, I distinctly remember wandering over to the Mud House for the first time as I was wandering around the downtown mall (you will find that most of the posts in the 'cheers to' series will involve wandering). I had this idea that the Mud House would be my new Murky Coffee of Charlottesville, given that the coffee was high quality and the ambiance was similarly eclectic. My first day was interesting, since I had plenty enough people watching to entertain myself for the couple of hours I hung out. I'm very touchy feely when it comes to things like coffee shops. I usually go to such places bc I'm searching for inspiration... for a dwelling with like-minded people who are searching for something pure and true. Mainly what I found in the Mud House was a bunch of intellectual snobs that didn't seem to have a desire for understanding the depth of other people unlike themselves. Moreover, the hippies were somehow without the warmth and openness that is often stereotyped upon them. These people actually seemed somewhat bitter. Needless to say I was very confused and surprised.

Now, this is still a cheers (not a roast) to the Mud House. In the year I have lived in Cville, I have realized that the discovery I made that day in the coffee shop was not unlike many discoveries I made all over the city and campus. Charlottesville is a snobby town, period. However, I've been pleased to find that I have a completely different mindset when I stop in the Mud House for a coffee and a couple of hours to chill. I have stopped looking at the arrogance in the fellow coffee shop inhabitants, but rather started seeing them as normal humans. So what if they are intellectuals? Most of the people in this town feel like they have to live up to a certain standard.. but many are begging for an excuse to relax and let loose. It's not really fair to judge this town on the surface. 

So here's to the Mud House.. they have awesome coffee. So does Shenandoah Joe's.  Hopefully Blacksburg will have at least 1 coffee shop with high quality espresso. It's pretty important in my book...


A new 'cheers to' series...

>> Monday, June 2, 2008

I need a purpose for this blog for the summer. Since I'm leaving Cville (tear), I need to document the sites around here. Since my original purpose for this blog was to document my photography, I'll try to meet that goal as well.



Cheers to... Lake Sherando

I found this place randomly one day while cruising around the Blue Ridge Parkway. The first day I went there I remember being bombarded by hundreds of screaming elementary school students in the swimming section of the lake. I decided to take the little trail off to the side of the lake to see where it would go, and I distinctly remember having to walk briskly about 15 minutes before the voices subsided. There's something wonderful about wandering around in a new place and being guided by a path (that allows some sort of security to not get lost). I ran into several deer and they were surprisingly unalarmed. Years of living in a game reserve will do that I guess. 

Water is a calming element for me. I loved growing up on my grandparents' lake and wading in the pond barefoot despite my mom's orders. I could keep myself entertained for an entire day with just a 2 foot long fishing net. My 10 gallon aquarium found more than enough strange occupants in the near decade that I owned it. It's a good thing that my mom isn't squeamish or afraid of random creatures messing up the house. 

I think it's healthy for people to want to spend a certain amount of time alone. Many people choose to do so in nature since it's usually a place filled with minimal distractions, but I think a person can also find those places elsewhere. Right now I'm sitting in a coffee shop, listening to music on my laptop and still hearing bits and pieces of conversations around me. This has been a good day for alone time. Reading Into the Wild has been an interesting experience for me to consider the extremes of isolation. Some say creative people turn to isolation in order to collect thoughts. Others (creative or not) use it as a form of escape. Religious individuals may see that time as community with the divine. We all have our own reasons for wanting to step out of human contact for a period. 

Alone time should serve the purpose to make time in community more valuable... otherwise I would believe it is a mostly selfish act. We definitely need to feed our own needs, but only to the point that it makes us more, not less of a benefit to the community. Though...whether or not a person actually carries out that purpose is extremely subjective. 

Random side note: I am sooooooo excited to be getting my violin back!! 


>> Saturday, April 26, 2008

Still no update on the summer internship. Having a hard time finding motivation to send out cover letters/resumes! Encouragement is welcomed... 


true story

>> Saturday, April 12, 2008

Last night, I almost got a ticket for driving 66 in a 65. I followed a cop for about 20 minutes until I finally got impatient enough to pass him. As soon as I passed him (which took forever, I was driving really slow) he turned on his lights. 

Later I realized that the cop was pulling over everyone who passed him on I-64. I managed to watch one more pullover by the time I exited the interstate...

Can we say boredom? egotism? extremely screwed up justice system? 


A post as promised

>> Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lots to say! First, proof that I play polo:

I'm riding Tia. She's a feisty pony and has a little bit of an attitude problem at times, but she's a good polo pony. Maybe even a little too motivated... but at least not lazy!

So, I'm officially breaking the news on blogger that I'm transferring to Virginia Tech. They have an economic and community development focus within their graduate planning program that I think will be much more useful for my future line of work. They also have an economic development certificate that is unique to most APA certified schools. More on that later..

I'll miss Charlottesville. Especially polo and babysitting. Yesterday Brooke asked me for a magazine while she tried to go poopie (she's 2 and potty training). It was so classic I couldn't help but laugh out loud. Then she asked me to give her some privacy.. which I thought was even better. I couldn't help but peek back in and it was just precious looking at her sitting on the potty with the magazine wide open and her feet dangling from the seat. 

Georgia has gotten really fun lately too. When I first started babysitting her she was 4 months old and SO tiny. She looked almost like a new born. Now she's sort of doing the walk-bob and making noises that could or could not be actual words. The best part is that she's completely fascinated with everything and likes to play with me (mostly my face and hair) as I'm holding her. It's great watching how much more attentive they become. Now she wants me to interact with her all the time, whereas before she could be ok settling in her little daze. 

I'm excited about VT though. I think Blacksburg will be a nice place to chill for my next year and 1/2 in grad school. Coming from DC I thought it was entirely too isolated. Then I realized that you don't have a life in grad school and it really doesn't matter where you are as long as you're somewhere comfortable. Plus there are tons of Clemson kids around. Sometimes I think VT and Clemson are the same school when it comes to the engineering and football scene (though I heard that tailgating isn't quite as big of a deal in BB). 

I should hear back from the Austin internship by next Thursday (fingers crossed). It's pretty competitive and they are only choosing 2 interns so I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much. If it doesn't work out then that means there's probably another internship that's a better fit for me. 

In regards to March Madness, I am still completely sickened that Clemson chumped out so quickly, but I am actually kind of excited for Davidson. Nice to see another NC school do well to take some of the glory away from UNC and Duke. Plus I have some friends that went there and I know they are really excited right now. Besides all of that, Cinderella teams rock. 

On a final note, I love coming home from polo dirty and smelling like that barn. Seems like the weirdest thing ever but if you're a horse person you know what I'm talking about.

One last thing- from

The City of San Francisco has a very multicultural population that ranges from white to gay to Asian. Within white culture this known as “ideal diversity” for its provision of exotic restaurants while simultaneously preserving property values. The presence of gays and Asians is imperative as it two provides two of the key resources most necessary for white success and happiness.

I think this website is pretty funny but I realize why it gets so much grief. I like this quote bc it addresses an issue in planning where people want "diversity" but they would rather not be around too many uneducated and/or low-income people. 


This blog...should be a blog

>> Thursday, March 20, 2008

I'm feeling a need for inspiration right now. Also, I think I'm actually going to start telling people I have a blog. Right now, only Peter and Kristin know. I doubt Kristin even looks at it bc I update so infrequently.

Wherever I end up this summer, I really want to use this blog to capture my experience. We're supposed to keep a journal anyway, and I have a better chance of staying on top of it if I know people are checking in. Random side note, is it possible to make some journal entries private? I'll probably post some boring things just for my own records that I don't care to share.

These past couple of weeks have been hard. I'm really thankful that the weather is getting nicer. This is sort of a pointless blog entry except to mention that I have some (hopefully) interesting thoughts that I want to share later.

On a happier note, I am really excited about march madness and hope that I'll get to watch at least 1 or 2 full games (this month is going to be pretty rough). I have Clemson going all the way in one bracket and making it to the final 4 in another. Usually I set up my bracket with the intent to be as accurate as possible, but it's nice this year to actually be able to predict based on hope. I mean, it would look really bad for me to not pick my team and then they actually make it through. Plus, I full-heartedly believe that Clemson is a top 10 team when we make free throws. Anything can happen if they wake up one day and somehow start making the easy shots.

Also, I thought this was amusing (from

Best Case: For the first time since 1997, the Tigers win an NCAA game -- and don't stop there. For the first time since December, the Tigers win four in a row and advance to their inaugural Final Four, beating Wisconsin in the regional final on a last-second 3 by Terrence Oglesby from 26 feet. Coach Oliver Purnell gets so excited he almost changes facial expressions. Clemson fans get so excited they pry their eyes off spring football for up to 15 minutes at a time.

Worst Case: Notorious bricklayers clang six straight free throws in the final minute, blow a lead and are upset in the first round by Villanova. Clemson fans mourn for 60 seconds, then turn their attention back to spring football.



>> Friday, March 14, 2008

I really miss my Nannie... but cute puppies are great to make the day better. This has been a really hard semester. My Nannie's death made me realize that I want to be closer to those I care about. The mid-twenties limbo isn't all that it's cracked up to be. But~ I guess this is also an important time. I'll look back one day and understand. Until then.. something to smile about:

And I still miss my Gabby:

Pretty funny that Rylynn at 3 months is about the size of Gabby at 1 month. She'll fit in well with all the petite women in the family.


This is me..

>> Saturday, February 23, 2008

I'm pretty hard core.. and I now have a blister to prove it :)

Hopefully I will eventually have a real picture of myself playing polo. A lot of my friends think that it's just an ongoing joke that I joined the UVa polo league. It's no joke... and it is quite possibly the most fun I've ever had. Not even exaggerating.. 



>> Saturday, February 16, 2008

Sprawl Costs: Economic Impacts of Unchecked Developments:

In South Carolina, if sprawl continues unchecked, statewide infrastructure costs for the period 1995 to 2015 are projected to be more than $56 billion, or $750 per citizen per year for these twenty years. Roads would cost 2.5 times what would be spent on primary, secondary, and higher education infrastructure, including all hospitals, institutions, and water-sewer treatment systems; ten times what would be spent on public safety, administration, and justice infrastructure; fifteen times what would be spent on environmental protection infrastructure ; and twenty-five times what would be spent on all cultural and recreational infrastructure.

In addition to a massive infrastructure conservation program and the adoption of numerous technological cost savers, funding this infrastructure in South Carolina would require an increase in the gasoline tax of 2 cents per gallon, the tolling of all interstates at thirty-mile intervals, and an increase in property taxes of 12.5 percent.


Clemson #2 recruit class 2008

>> Wednesday, February 6, 2008

11:30 a.m.: Shocking news just breaking. ESPN 150 TE Dwayne Allen (Fayetteville, N.C./Sanford) has signed with Clemson after saying at a news conference Monday that he would be sticking with his commitment to Georgia. He's one of the most well balanced tight ends in this class. Clemson continues to add to an already impressive class.

added to the list # 1 ESPN recruit DaQuan Bowers, #3 Jaime Harper, Jon Richt (son of UGA coach Mark Richt)...

We'll take the #2 recruiting class even if it is behind Miami


Could it be??

>> Thursday, January 31, 2008

A SC Congressman fighting global warming?


I wish I had more time to read for fun...

>> Saturday, January 26, 2008

"The American church today accepts grace in theory but denies it in practice. We say we believe that the fundamental structure of reality is grace, not works- but our lives refute our faith. By and large, the gospel of grace is neither proclaimed, understood, nor lived. Too many Christians are living in the house of fear and not in the house of love." - Ragamuffin Gospel


more to come..

>> Sunday, January 6, 2008

The last 24 hours have been so much fun! Portland is awesome. It really is. I know I need more time here to really justify that but so far the coolest things have happened. I arrived at the Portland International airport about an hour behind schedule (which is actually early according to airport time these days).  While on the plane I sat next to a lady that is a history professor at a community college in Portland. She commented on the book that I am reading and we started a full fledged conversation about life in general. Somewhere midway through the flight she gave me her card and said she might need someone to house-sit for her this summer since she is planning on being in Austin. The guy next to her heard us talking and also gave me his card saying he might be in the same predicament. He also said not to look for housing after March since the PSU kids swipe up all of the available housing. Good to know.

After the flight I said goodbye to Sylvia and headed on my way to find the Max transit. While attempting to buy my fare pass an artsy looking girl named Margaret from Baltimore asked me if I knew how to get to the amtrak station. I told her I was from the East Coast and we instantly began a long convo about the metro and growing up in the South/East and traveling post graduation. She wants to possibly move to an experimental city in Auroville, India that is fully planned and internationally inclusive. After giving me about 3 different authors to look up and her web address (where she displays her art), we said our goodbyes. I made a mental note of the number of times we mentioned the term "authentic community" and pondered the deep desire most people have to fulfill such a need. She also told me that she liked my hat and said that it was very "Portland". That made me happy since the clothes I buy at TJ Maxx don't particularly stand out as trendy in any way.
My "Portland" hats-


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About Me

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Tia Nicole Photography has launched this summer after many practice photo sessions and the encouragement of some dear friends and family ("Life Through Tia's Lens" was a recommendation of my good friend, Kristin, who has been an avid supporter the whole way through!). This blog has documented the process from the beginning and also dates back to some older rantings during grad school and football seasons. Feel free to get to know me and my work. I like to focus primarily on natural shots, true emotions and beautiful landscapes. I also absolutely adore kids and pets so you will find a good bit of my work in these areas. Feel free to contact me anytime! I love blog comments!

My pup, Rylynn!

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