Saturday, January 2, 2016


Whew, only one more year to go. Let's see, let's see, what happened in 2015...

1. The Year Parks and Rec Ended 
Figure from Google Images
This show is legitimately the funniest show I've ever seen and it ended this year. Well, last year now. Parks and Recreation beat How I Met Your Mother for my favorite sitcom ever. This show never fails to deliver. If you haven't checked it out yet, you definitely should. My sister gave me the complete series for Christmas this year so now I can watch it anytime I want! And trust me, I will be watching it all the time! If you have American Netflix, then you can watch it whenever you want! Definitely give it a shot!

I'll probably write a blog post on this show at some point in the near future. It's just too good a show not to share with others!

2. The Year I Bought a Bunch of Games

I got into a serious gaming groove this year. It's probably because I'm surrounded by a bunch of serious gamers now. I have over ten board games now. Considering I started the year with just... 5, I think. I definitely bought a lot of games this year. I think the list goes:

1. Dominion
2. 7 Wonders
3. Star Trek Catan
4. Takenoko
5. Red Dragon Inn 3
6. Sushi Go!
7. Anomia
8. Poo! The Game
9. Tokaido
10. Ascension
11. Tsuro: The Game of the Path
12. Qwirkle
13. Exploding Kittens
14. The Last Banquet
15. Shadows Over Camelot
16. Arkham Horror

Man, I was considering posting pictures of each game, but that was before I realized how many games I had now... Dang...

Anyway, from 6 to 16, I bought in 2015. Dang... I didn't realize I'd bought that much this year... Haha. Okay. I'll make a blog post about each of the games. Or send you to the Table Top episode. For now, I'll tell you the best game I bought ALL year. Drum roll, please! And my favorite game of the year is....

SUSHI GO! (Image from Google)
This is legitimately the best game I bought this year! And I bought some pretty good games! I started a game night for the grad students in my department and this is a favorite with newbies and hardcore gamers alike. This game is played almost every game night. It only takes about 10 to 15 minutes to play a game once you know how to play and it's always a good start to an evening of games. For more information, check out the Tabletop episode featuring it!

Tabletop Sushi Go & Roll For It

Besides, look at those cute sushi faces! How can you pass this game up?! Seriously, here's the link to the American Amazon page Sushi Go!. You should just go ahead and buy it. Trust me, you'll thank me later!

3. The Year of a Billion Weddings 

I feel like every time I turned around this year someone was getting married. Okay okay. It was only two people, but that's a lot of people for me. Especially when it means travelling back and forth from Canada to the States. That was a lot of traveling for me! But it was totally worth it! Congrats, Mom! Also, congratulations to my best friend, Jamie, for getting married too!

4. The Year of a Billion Conferences (Not kidding this time)

Part of grad school is going to conferences, and I feel like I went to a billion last year. Every time I turned around, I was traveling to some other conference. In some cases, I would spend less than a day back in town from a conference before traveling to another conference. It was kind of crazy, but seriously awesome.

I went to the Geoconvention in Calgary where there was a Porsche on the exhibition floor. That was crazy. It was a great experience though. I got to see what a conference in geoscience was like.  Also, it was interesting to see a lot of interactions between the industry and academia.

I also attended a workshop in Edmonton, AB where apparently one of the largest malls in the world is. I looked it up once I want to say it's 16th which seem small but it's bigger than the Mall of America. That was a good workshop too. I got a lot of exposure to other topics in geoscience.

I helped organize a conference for grad students at the University of Calgary. Let me tell you, that is a lot of work! I mainly helped with the grunt work, like extra jobs and the like. I can't imagine what making the big decisions would be like. Whew. Not sure if I really want to do that again. Haha. But it was a good experience

I went to a conference in San Francisco which completed my visiting the East Coast and West Coast all in one year. I got to see the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean in less than 2 months. That was pretty cool. I also visited the Redwood Forests in California. That was AMAZING. I loved it. My favorite place I visited all year!

Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument
There are people at the bottom of this picture for scaling purposes.
You probably hardly notice them. That's how big the trees were! 
People for scaling purposes. These trees were amazing!
This was probably my favorite experience of the year! I would love to go back! The conference was good too! I got to see talks by people famous in the geoscience and mathematics field and also meet people from all over the world. I really enjoyed that conference.

I finished out the summer with a trip to Minnesota for a workshop. This was probably the best workshop I attended all year. It was very informative! Also, a lot of fun. We worked on a project in seismic exploration. Very cool!

 During the school year, I got to go to New Orleans for a conference! The food was soo good and the conference was very educational! Also, beignets!

Finally, I ended the year with a small meeting in Banff. The mountains are pretty all year round but with snow covering them, they are just amazing.

5. The Year I Finished All My Prelims 

I heard back about my last prelim just before I returned to the States for Christmas! I passed! No more prelims for Heather! Also, I just have two more classes to worry about! And then my candidacy exam... Basically, it's a presentation on what I plan to do my dissertation on and then they test me about it. Eek!

6. The Year I Saw Star Wars The Force Awakens Twice

Okay. I'm legitimately going to devote a post to this one, but for a quick comment, IT WAS AWESOME. I knew JJ Abrams would do it justice! Okay. That's it for now. For further comments, see later blog post.

Image from Google Search
Well, looks like I covered everything! You're all caught up! Oh wait! I forgot! My mom got me a LEGO set for my birthday in 2015. It was...

Image from Amazon
I can almost reenact The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with LEGO figures now. One day... One day!!!

I think that's it! I kind of wish I'd finished this post yesterday but hanging out with friends preempted finished blog posts. Oh well. I'll try to do better about writing blog posts in the future... haha. I'm adorable right?

Until next time, happy readings!

Friday, January 1, 2016


I was hoping to post this before 2016 but alas that didn't happen. It was write a blog post or ring in the new year with games. How could I not choose games? Well, better late than never!

Now, we can move on to 2014! A lot happened in 2014...

1. Graduation
I got the thing! 
I gradated from Wake Forest University with my Masters in Mathematics! Very exciting! You can just call me, Master Heather now. Haha. Okay. I'm kidding, but that was a pretty big deal.

2. Moved to Canada 
Having finished up my masters at Wake, I had to move onto bigger and better things. So why not a PhD in another country? Yup, 2014 was the year I started working on my PhD in Mathematics at a university in Canada. I took my car with me so my mom and I made a 3 and a half day road trip across the continental United States. Along the way, we stopped at several national landmarks.
Visited Metropolis, KY and met Superman!
Didn't get to go up in the Arch because roads were blocked
and we couldn't figure out how to get to it. Can't say I'm too terribly
bummed about it given that I probably would have chickened out
because of my intense fear of heights. That thing is bigger than you think it is!
Took the scenic route from St. Louis to stay in Mark Twain's hometown.
Fittingly, this took us by the Mississippi River. It was the first time I'd ever seen it!
Stopped in Marceline, MO to see Walt Disney's hometown.
The museum was closed but how many people can say they've been
to Walt Disney's hometown?
(Given the size of that town, I'd have to say not a lot!) 
Visited the squirrel jail in Iowa. And no, it's not a jail for squirrels.
But to be honest, I don't remember why it was called a squirrel jail...
Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD! I think they were working on the next year's palace.

Badlands in South Dakota. This was a detour, but the pictures do not do it justice! They were beautiful!

The fields in SD were so golden. It was amazing to see. 
Didn't stay long in Glacier National Park, Montana.
I was eager to cross the border.
We were going to stop at Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota and Devil's Tower in Wyoming, but South Dakota just took too dang long to cross. Also, I wish I'd gotten more pictures of Wyoming but we crossed most of it during the night. It was soooo beautiful though. At least at dusk when I saw it. I wouldn't mind going back to Wyoming one day.

Man, that section took forever! There were just so many pictures to share! And more to follow!

3. Rockies 
2014 marked the first time I visited the Rocky Mountains. I got to go to Lake Louise as well as Banff! Both were beautiful but I think Lake Louise was my favorite!

The view from Banff
More from Banff. The water was crazy blue!
This is a Beaver Tail and it's probably the most delicious
thing you will ever eat. It's a fried pastry and you can put
whatever you want on top. My favorite is the chocolate hazelnut
and powdered sugar. Soooooo good!
Ate lunch on Lake Louise. Not sure who the random couple is.
This is the only picture I could get with the fewest people.
Apparently, everyone wanted me to take a picture of them. 
Lake Louise
(I see you there guy-in-the-bushes, trying to be all slick and hide-y. You're still in my picture!!!) 
Well, the people in this picture are too small to see. This is back toward
where I ate lunch. That's a hotel.
Ugh, more people. But it was still pretty! 
The water was SOOOO blue. I really wish the pictures captured it better. I definitely recommend visiting if you get the chance!

4. Drumheller
Royal Tyrell Museum aka DINOSAUR MUSEUM!!!
Drumheller is home to the Royal Tyrell Museum aka one of the biggest dinosaur museums! IT WAS AWESOME! They had ALL the dinosaurs. Okay not all but they had a lot! It was sooooo cool! You should definitely, definitely, DEFINITELY go if you ever get the opportunity!

 (This one is called Black Beauty because the chemicals they used to unearth it stained it black.)

This one asked me to take a picture with it.
It has a great smile!
(Can you tell how excited I am to be there?)
They were all about the gruesome displays.
 I think you got everything on that one, buddy. 
I feel like someone is watching me...
Tallest dinosaur in the world! Yup, those are people in its mouth.
I went up. It was a lot higher than I realized!

5. First Hockey game
Since I'm in Canada, I should probably go to a hockey game. And I did! It was a lot of fun! I really enjoyed it! Definitely a sport I wouldn't mind watching! This was a school match.
I was rooting for the red and white team.
A little hard to see but we actually won! Yay!
6. Olympic Skating
If you haven't guessed by now, I'm attending the University of Calgary for my PhD. In 1988, Calgary hosted the Winter Olympics (check out Cool Runnings if you haven't already). The Olympic Oval is actually located on the University campus and I got to skate on it! It's actually free to students if you have skates! It was a lot of fun! And despite there not being any railings, I didn't fall once!

7. SMAUG!!!!!
Another LEGO set joined my collection in 2014! My sister got me the Desolation of Smaug LEGO set!!!! There's a Smaug in it! IT'S AMAZING! He sits on my desk at school now! He's sooooo cool! I love him! (I legitimately have the best sister ever! Shhh, don't tell her I told you that though!)



There was a lot of crying involved with this finale (I think one of my roommates was a little concerned to be honest), but I absolutely loved it! It was a really great way to end the series. Honestly, the only way to end the series and I don't care who thinks otherwise. It made the whole show make sense. I saw the other ended they'd originally planned and it was stupid. The one they stuck with in the show was SOOOOO much better!

OH! And another big thing that happened in 2014 was that I passed my first prelim! Prelims are big tests based on specific areas related to your research that you have to take during your Math PhD. Very exciting!

Hopefully, I'll be able to put up a summary of 2015 before the end of the day!

Happy readings!