Last time, on Battlestar Galactica . . .

The last time I wrote on this blog, I gave a run-down of the life and times of Curtis Bunner from a year ago to six months ago. Today I’ll be giving the last six month’s worth of noteworthy news to bring everyone (those who care to know, that is) up to speed with events.

After my trip to San Francisco for Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference, the remainder of the summer was relatively uneventful. Mandy was interning at the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office in Bowling Green, and I was doing “the usual” working at Case Western Reserve University. At the beginning of August, Mandy and I joined my mother’s side of the family for an annual week-long vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

I’ve always enjoyed vacations with the family, and this was no exception. Given that my mom’s side of the family is geographically diverse (her sisters live in Birmingham, AL; Cleveland, OH; and until recently one sister in Santa Fe, NM) it’s always nice to visit with that side of the family when the opportunity arises. Of course, everyone missed having my sister Kristen there, as she is currently serving with the Peace Corps in Namibia, Africa with Catholic AIDS Action. My mother’s parents have a week at a timeshare in Gatlinburg that they invite their family to visit, usually the last week of July or first week of August.

Of course, the activity I look forward to there every year is hiking. Growing up in the flatlands of Northwest Ohio, the chance to hike in temperate forests in the Smoky Mountains is a opportunity I thoroughly enjoy. And despite walking some of the same trails year after year, the refreshing break from the bustle of human civilization more than makes up for it. And while we do try to find new trails every year, we’ve only scratched the surface of all the hundreds of miles of trails in the Smoky Mountains National Park in the decade we’ve vacationed in Gatlinburg.

All good things must come to an end, and so too must the summer months. This past Fall, I took the next two classes in the MBA program at Case Western. Both were heavily quantitative and more reminiscent of my undergraduate major, Physics. Accounting for Managers was a class that culminated in a group project to write a paper (ours ended up being 50 pages after we whittled it down from 90) and present our research into the financial health of a company of our choosing (we chose Apple, Inc. – anyone surprised I liked our team’s choice?).  The other class, Statistics & Decision Modeling, was an interesting class in which I learned a lot about, well, statistics and decision modeling – information I had not formally learned as an undergrad as I had somehow managed to complete a Physics major with an Astronomy minor without a statistics course.

My job at Case Western has been keeping me very busy, and has been fulfilling to see the department grow and develop over the past year and a half. We’ve recently started to take on different projects in which each of the members of the team are individually responsible for certain components. It is additional responsibility to our normal day-to-day tasks, but also an opportunity to work on projects that give us a chance to expand our knowledge and skill set while providing creative opportunities for individual growth.

The combination of work, class, and the myriad other activities in a typical week left little time for much else in the way of relaxation or travel. I somehow managed to find time to play my all-time favorite real-time strategy computer game: StarCraft. And to blow off Steam (no pun intended), Mandy and I would together play the zombie-shooter Left 4 Dead 2. And as Mandy can certainly attest to, I spend a lot of time tinkering around with computers for fun, even though I work with them for my job as well. You can never have too much computer time! 😉

Mandy’s law school classes and Trial Team kept her very busy as well. We did visit with Mandy’s parents over Thanksgiving, and had an excellent Thanksgiving feast. The next day, starting at 3am, Mandy and her mother braved the crowds as they sought out the best deals on Black Friday. And although I certainly appreciate the money we saved in doing most of our Christmas shopping that day, I can’t say I’d have the same motivation to get up that early just to go shopping!

Christmas was a great time as well, spend with my Grandmother on my Father’s side of the family and his three brothers (and their respective wives). My Uncle Pete and Aunt Ellen’s two Jack Russell terriers, Sadie and Maggie, were the life of the party the entire time we were there visiting; entertaining us all with their almost-human behavior and antics. And fortuitously, the weather stayed moderate enough not to delay or endanger our travels throughout the holiday.

New Year’s Eve was spent in the company of Mandy’s family in Wilmington, Ohio, with her Mother, Father, brother Joel, and his wife Amber. We spent time visiting Mandy’s Grandmother and Grandfather on her Father’s side of the family, and attended the annual New Year’s Day gathering at the house of Mandy’s Grandmother on her Mother’s side. We also spent an enjoyable, game-filled evening with Mandy’s friend Gina and her three children Rachel, Josh, and Caleb.

Our visit to Wilmington was great, but we were glad to be back home at the end of a long string of travels over the holidays. Having the chance to relax and enjoy the remainder of the holiday break before classes started up again was a welcome relief. Yesterday marked the start of classes for both Mandy and me, with my classes this semester spanning both ends of the spectrum in business school: Managing People & Organizations and the more quantitative Financial Management.

That pretty much summarizes the last six months of everything that has gone on for me. Of course, the next six months should prove no less filled with activity with a trip planned to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas!

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