November 24, 2009
That doesn't sound all that busy, does it? But it is, because it's in addition to working 40 hours a week, commuting 10 hours a week, fitting in exercise, playing with the dog and making sure she doesn't feel ignored, my standing appointments during the week, PLUS the holidays!? I hate the end of the semester flurry, but it's all worth it when the break begins! I get to take three glorious weeks off this year, and will be spending the first third in sunny Arizona and California visiting family and friends. Can.Not.Wait.
November 19, 2009
So on top of all that, I'm going on vacation in a month and I need a new wardrobe! A friend suggested I get some essentials (like the beloved jeans) tailored and taken in rather than spend money on clothes that I will only have to replace in another month anyway. Have any of y'all ever done that? Does it work well, or does it make the clothes look funny? Is it cheaper just to buy new clothes? I'd rather spend my vacation money doing fun things than on new clothes!
November 11, 2009
Coconut Curry Butternut Squash Soup
(makes about 6 servings)
about 2 lb butternut squash (or substitute with acorn squash, delicata squash, pumpkin, etc.)
1 large onion, chopped
1 ripe tomato, chopped
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, or more, to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and pulp with a spoon. Save for another use or discard. Spread about 1 tablespoon vegetable oil on the bottom of a roasting tray and place the squash halves cut side-down on the tray. Roast for about 30 minutes, or until the flesh feels soft when poked and it has shrunken away from the skins a bit. Flip over and let cool. Once cool enough to handle, scoop out all the flesh and reserve in a bowl.
Meanwhile, heat a heavy-bottomed pot with another tablespoon or so of vegetable oil and sweat the onions over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the curry powder, optional cayenne, chopped tomato and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, another 4-5 minutes. Add the roasted squash, coconut milk and vegetable stock. Stir to combine thoroughly and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 20 minutes or so. Using a hand blender, puree the soup to a smooth consistency (this can also be done by transferring the soup in batches to a food processor or blender). Taste for seasoning. Add additional stock or coconut milk if it’s too thick to your liking. Once the soup is to preferred taste and consistency, stir in the lemon juice to taste and serve.
July 30, 2009
In other news, I am working on a paper for publication, that's exciting. I co-authored a paper with a classmate and we presented it at a conference. Now we are working on editing and cleaning it up to submit for a journal. Man, the party never ends over here.
July 28, 2009
Frankie Can't Relax recently posted her last, which I found sad, because she's hilarious and has so much gumption to say things I would only think. But I understand where she's coming from. Until recently, I was comfortable with strangers reading what I posted, and even comfortable with people I knew reading here. But recently, two things have happened.
First, I have been involved in events recently that I so desperately want to think out loud about here, but they are so private I don't think I can, because they don't involve just me. And it's a good thing, these events! There are parts to them that make me deliriously happy, answer my prayers, and drive me to distraction in almost anything else I do. This does not bode well for school work, but I have five more weeks to figure that out :) There are the complications, though, that are the driving force behind the privacy. They aren't my complications, although they do hinder the delirium, and they are heartwrenchingly painful. They lead to many moments of silence during conversation because I just don't know what to say. And I'm a born fixer and helper, so its killing me not to be able to do anything tangible, either words, or solutions, or hugs for goodness sake! And then I pray. Which often seems to not be enough, although in this particular circumstance, I seem to be much more aware of God's hand in it, so I know there is some purpose. It's still painful, though, these complications.
Second, someone I know read here, and it has made me unusually self conscious about posting, like nervous about what that person would think. So I totally understand what Frankie is saying about feeling naked and exposed. But why should that be? My FRIENDS read here, and this person and I, we are at least friends, but I feel under a microscope, like I have to prove something. Perhaps insecurities are creating themselves :) I am not a writer, but feel compelled to write and am much better are processing this way, than in my head only. And so that leaves me in a quandry; do I ignore the feeling that I have no privacy (which is odd, 'cause you know, it's the internet) and the worry of what this friend will think, interpret, and perceive? Or do I take those feelings as a warning from God and keep my mouthy fingers shut for the time being? I feel like the intelligent thing to do would be to be cautious and just don't talk about it, talk about other things. Those things that have become trivial, that are pushed aside in my distraction and delirium.
I choose the rollercoaster that takes me up and down and round again, down and up and round again, knowing it will work out in the end, and pray.
April 28, 2009
April 20, 2009
April 13, 2009
Here is where I've been, or rather with whom I have been occupied! Meet Penny. My adorable, sweet, cuddly black lab. I had planned on getting a lab puppy in May, I knew a friend whose mom's dogs were having puppies and they were going to give me one! I am leary of adopting grown dogs because you never know what's going on behind those eyes! But I regularly visit the animal shelter by my house to walk the dogs and let them outside for a bit. So, about a month ago, I went to the shelter and all the dogs were barking when I went to the back. Except Penny. She stood up on the door of her stall and nuzzled my hand. I decided to take her out first since she was behaving herself. I had seen her picture go up the night before and she was listed as 5 years old. I figured she was a surrender, someone had lost their job or their house and couldn't care for her, so I felt badly for her! She was so sweet when I took her outside, walking around, leaning against me for a pet :) I couldn't put her back. So, I took her home. Immediately took her for a bath because she had mud all over her from running around outside all that while! Turns out she was sick, too, so she was taken to the emergency vet, two weeks of antibiotics, was not allowed to hang with the other dogs and had to put on about 7 lbs to be at a healthy weight. Oh my goodness it was a rough first three weeks, and she ran away twice, so I thought for sure I was going to give her away to a nice big farm so she could run to her hearts desire. But look into those sweet penny-brown eyes and I just melted. So. I kept her. She's learning how to play with other dogs, how to behave on the leash, and how NOT to run like hell when the front door opens, car door opens, if there is a splinter of light in the gate she might be able to squeeze through. She loves treats. And car rides. And playing with the ball, although not so much with the giving it back, she'd much rather tease and run away with it. I'm going to train her and get her tested this summer to be a therapy dog so she can go to hospitals and cheer people up and I can take her to the library for little kids to read to her to give them confidence in their skills- wouldn't it be cute to put a patch on her therapy vest that says, "Ask my mom about Jesus" :) She is certainly
exactly what I wished for, definately a gift from God. It's funny, thinking of a dog as a blessing - but I love her and she's all that I wanted! She cuddles, she's CUTE, she's funny, she loves me the best, but is happy when my mom comes home. And, she's huge. She's 67 lbs now, and she stands as tall as my hip at the top of her head. She knew nothing. Not how to sit, not how to stay, nothing. So, we're teaching her. And how can a dog that is 5 years old not know how to sit? Hmm. She's not five years old. We figured between 3 and 4, but then we noticed she's getting a tooth in that dogs don't get until they are between 2 and 3. So that explains a lot, especially if she was bounced around from home to home and a stray for a while - she belonged to a family at one point because she's fixed already.
I'm glad I kept her. I'm glad I was able to get her medicine, she would have died otherwise. I'm glad she cuddles with me before we sleep at night and makes me laugh when I wake up in the morning. I miss her when I'm gone during the day. And I don't mind going straight home instead of shopping or errand running. She helps me with homework, if putting her chin over my typing hand is helping. I think my stress level has improved. My ability to say no to things certainly has. My exercise has improved, she's a much better behaved dog if I take her for a walk.
Thanks for missing me, if you have. And I've missed writing. But it was worth the break, more stories to come!
March 3, 2009
Also, I was on facebook today, because I am ridiculously obsessed and found a group for alums of my grade school, which was way tiny, so I thought it was funny and checked it out. I found all kinds of people that I used to know, be in various stages of friendship with etc. It was neat to go through photos and check out their lives now, but crazy, too, because what different places everyone is at in their lives! Some people have these crazy busy social lives and others are all settled and family oriented. Not to offend, but back in the day, I guess I was sort of looking for something when I was filling my time with parties and friends and ridiculous fun. I certainly don't regret most of it, but my gosh my life is different now, though not less busy. But it's filled with church stuff, and bible studies, and school...more sedate, I guess. I can't tell you the last time I went to a bar, nor had a party/attended a party that went to the wee hours and I never wanted it to end. I can hardly even picture myself in that scene right now. Hmm. Interesting.
March 2, 2009
February 16, 2009
I recruited my mom and one of my classmates to do the plan with me because I'm always better about working out when I do it with someone, or accountable to someone. I started last night but only made it through 10 minutes of the 20 minute run/walk. And I would have walked the rest except Snickers was NOT happy about the sound, I think he thought I was hurting the treadmill. Probably was. But I was wiped out!!! That 10 minutes was hard, but felt great afterwards. I figure this plan will probably take me longer than 9 weeks, because I might have to build up to the levels. This week I will probably do 15 minutes instead of 25 minutes, then next week I'll do 25 minutes. Today, I'm a little bit sore, but not horribly awful.
I'd love for you to join me! If you start the Couch to 5K plan this week, let me know your progress in the comments section!
February 13, 2009
So, my carpool lady, her husband is thinking of getting a dog, as they put theirs down about a month ago, and they have never not had a dog. I completely understand this, as I miss my poochie all the time and while I claim Mom's Best Friend's Dog Snickers as my very own (because he loves me best) he is not actually mine, does not live with me all the time. So, I'm trying to convince her that we should get two puppies, one each, and mine can stay at her house during the day with her husband and while she has not agreed to this, I think it's a fantastic idea and so whenever we find sibling puppies on the internet, we ooh and ah over them. So yesterday we found boxer lab mixes and oh were they so cute! You know how puppies just have that little round head thing going on. She asked if they stayed round-headed and I said of course not, they get square. Because they do. And she said, "No, I know their nozzles get square, but their heads stay round." Excuse me? Their nozzles? Oh, I was on the floor! She meant of course, their muzzle or their nose, but combined them and it came out nozzles. I have been screaming about that ever since.
Now I am trying to bribe her with paying her and buying all the dogs' food if she will let us follow through on this plan, no matter what shape our dogs' nozzles are.
February 6, 2009
One of our receptionists is looking to buy a new car having just finished her lease on her Hummer. When I went up to the desk the other day, she was looking at pictures of this new car, called the Genesis. I asked if she was getting it and she said no, but she was looking for the bible verse on it. She explained that her mom sent her an email and said the car had two bible verses, Genesis 4:9 and 3:6. She couldn't figure it out, so we went back to the bible and read the verses.
"Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"
"I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"
"When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it."
It was a very far stretch for these to give any indication as to where to find the bible verse on the car, so the receptionist kept searching. A while later, I was back up front and asked if she ever found the bible verse on the car. She started laughing and explained that her mom was confused and that the numbers were two different engine sizes available, Genesis 4.9 and 3.6.
February 4, 2009
1. There was a woman there that was stuck to me. Every meal. Every break. I started to get irritated because it made it almost impossible to them meet other people. One night I purposely went to dinner just as it was starting and sat at a different table. Now, I know that makes me sound like an awful person, but really, I figured we would then meet other people and have a perfectly fine evening. Then. No one sat at her table. I felt awful. There was an empty space at my table, so I caught her eye and told her to come join us. She made a friend on the other side of my table. And do you know my former magnet was now stuck to someone else the whole next day. I wasn't sure if it was funny or sad.
2. I got to stay at a fancy hotel! Oh, it was pretty! And actually, I got to stay in two! A wonderful friend of mine from school had a free night at a casino/hotel and boy it was gorgeous. They had a beautiful spa there where I steamed and saunaed and whirpooled and rainbenched...oh, it was great. I also fell on the floor, but we won't talk about that. The second place, I stayed, for the conference, was also a fancy hotel, but a lot more traditional, however, I did get the room to myself, which was great. It's really hard to be your professional self all day long without some down time. And although I like my boss, not such a fan of being professional all day, every day. Sometimes, you need to be a goof.
3. I had a wonderful dinner party with some new friends when I got home and it was fabulous. We laughed, drank wine, had some yummy dessert and dinner, and then laughed some more. And, I found out, one of my new friends reads my blog! Hi, Martha! Martha was actually the inspiration for the dinner party. We have gone to the same church for years now, but our paths hadn't really crossed until recently and we decided to have a friend date! It was super fun, we went to Target, then had coffee and decided we would be friends. During our conversation, we were lamenting the fact that all our friends were married and we were sick of them! Sick sick sick! That may be a little extreme, but thought it would be nice to have a group of single women to be around, and came up with the dinner party idea! I do hope we have another one, because it was so much fun. Don't you know we ended up talking about babies, though? I guess you can't get away from it :)
Question for you, I think I want to do monthly giveaways - is that too few? And what kind of stuff should I give?
January 23, 2009
Turns out, she wore tights under her pants (hello, is it hot in here? gosh, that would be torture) and they were a little too small, which I also don't understand because this woman is a toothpick, seriously needs to eat a meal. Anyway, the more she walked around, the more her tights slipped her hips and rolled their way south. At this point, the only thing holding up her tights was the crotch of her pants.
January 22, 2009
January 21, 2009
Today, I am wearing slippers to work. You can't tell they are slippers, but they are and I'm LOVING it! I'm going to wear them again this week with my cute plaid pants. They are cute, really. Anyway, the only reason I'm wearing them is because I'm on phones today and don't have to see students. Although, they are really comfortable and look like shoes, so maybe I could get away with it.
Did you watch the inauguration yesterday? Should that be capitalized? Inauguration. Whoo, was it good or what?! I'm so over that poet with her annunciating, but the praying and the speeches and the Obamas? Loved everything about it, yes I did! I am dying to know what kind of puppy they are getting. I think it's funny that everyone has Obama gear now. When has that ever happened for a politician? Of course, I want Obama sheets, t-shirts, and dishes, but I follow the crowd, sue me.
Oh and I can't WAIT for Funny Friday because I have the funniest thing to tell you.
January 19, 2009
And remember how I didn't work out at all last week? Not for lack of trying, but it just wasn't a cooperative week. Anyway, I lost two pounds! Yay me! I'm sure it's from eating salads for lunch every day, but I did cheat a couple of times and I am shocked that I still lost weight. Only a million more pounds to go. But I figured, if I keep losing at this rate, I will lose 75 lbs by the end of the year. That's kinda nice, it all adds up. So, this week it's back to the gym. And I'll eat salads for dinner. That should add up to another couple of pounds, I think.
Also, the most exciting thing! A friend from my class invited all the women to be her guest at the Motorcity Casino this Saturday night! It's a swanky new place and there will be much relaxing going on! On Sunday I will be at a conference at the Ritz-Carlton, which looks very fancy! It will be work of course, but will feel like vacation!
Off to find some work to do!
January 16, 2009
So here's a tip for ya: Never, ever, under any circumstances, think to yourself, "Hey, an avacado would be great in my chicken with greek olives and raspberry dressing salad." No, it wouldn't. Go with your original instinct, eat the avacado separately. Beyond ick.
But, you know what is the BEST thing after a wonderful yummy salad like that? Yoplait Chocolate Mousse Whips. Oh. My. Heavens. I bought some so that if I want something sweet I can just have that instead of getting ice cream or something. I am also famous for putting fruit in cottage cheese and calling it dessert. It's yummy, it's a treat, it's dessert. Anywho, delicious.
I've not been to the gym in a week, and I hate it. I'm going tonight. In fact, I'm considering quitting everything I do in order to only spend time at the gym. My free gift runs out in a week and fortunately I will be out of town until the end of the month essentially, so that I can work out at the hotel and not have to miss a week like this week. Oh, no! I just realized I'll be out of town on a Monday and will miss my weigh in.
Off to lunch, toodles!
January 6, 2009
Now it's back to business. I start classes tomorrow. And there was a two hour wait to see an advisor in my office yesterday. Oh bless my own heart.
So, here's one of the exciting things that I did over break. I worked our EVERY DAY! I'm not kidding! Well, every day that the gym was open, 'cause there were a few days they were not. But my friend, The Doctor, she joined Curves like a year ago after having her third and final baby. And do you know she lost like 80 pounds at least? Ridiculous. So I bugged her, and she finally told me her secret. Walking and Curves six days a week. WHAT! 30 minutes six days a week and she looks like she does now? Amazing. So she gave me a free pass for a month and boy have I enjoyed the heck out of it! And I'm eating healthier because after the first week I gained a pound and a half, which they said was all muscle, but I was positive it was from the double cheeseburger. Week two was guaranteed to be disappointing, as I've heard your body things you're starving it, so it refuses to let go of the fat. But do you know that I lost a pound in week two?! I beat the Week Two Curse! So excited and that was just enough motivation to eat even healthier this week and rush down to the Curves after work last night. Oh, and I eat like every three hours to boost my metabolism. I've noticed it makes me more satisfied with smaller meals, AND that I don't lust after the junk. Nice, huh? We're in week three, I'm excited.
So, clearly, Girlymama won the prize for the giveaway. What happened to all the referrals and friends? How does anyone get blog readers? Anyway, the point is, I feel as if I should just be writing daily letters to Girlymama, whom I love dearly, but really, she doesn't need letters from me that often.
Off to the gym!