Sunday, March 31, 2013

Resolution Sunday: Running Universe is Not My Job

Big week this week, with Holy Week and Supreme Court hearings. 

A lot of talk about us vs. them, believers vs. not, tolerant vs religious. 

This weekend I am celebrating Easter. That to me is an annual reminder that we are all loved so much. All of us. Every last imperfect, inconsistent, wrongheaded one of us.


It is my sincere hope to boogie my hardest at a best friends wedding as she makes a sacred promise to the woman of her dreams.

I am hopeful for the day where I can comfortably wear both of these sentiments loud and proud (I am working on it).

For now I am just trying to be kinder.

And being grateful that running the universe is not my job.

Happy Easter to you and yours!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mac and Cheese Confessions

I didn't know until I went to college that most people don't use Ketchup on Mac and Cheese. I thought it was just like how you put ketchup on burgers or hot dogs. 

I have since converted my husband to this deliciousness.

I suggest you try it. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Morning Preparations

We have a big week ahead of us. 

Doctors appointments, job interviews, big work meetings, conference presentations, out of town guests, Easter...

How do you prepare yourself for a busy week ahead? 

Me? I say a oft repeated prayer for patience, eat a big breakfast, and remind myself to take it one day at a time.

And pour myself a big cup of coffee.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Resolution Sunday: A show!

This week we went to see Anything Goes, a Cole Porter musical that was touring and ended up here at the Durham Performing Arts Center.

Marty got me tickets to see it for my birthday back in November. He even bought me a birthday cupcake during intermission. (Because my birthday is so close to Thanksgiving, sometimes I don't get a birthday cake).

I love going to see musicals and this one was great. My sister was in it in high school and it has some great music, a good amount of farce, and some fun tap dancing. Have you ever tried tap dancing? Let alone tap dancing in sync with twenty other people for ten minutes?

I am thankful to got to go see a mid-week show and thankful for the guy who knew I would enjoy this mid-March treat.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Feel Good Friday

This here is a piglet squid. 

The piglet squid would seem to suggest that evolution’s medications are working. Possibly a little too well.

You can find other amazing, strange, or just funny looking animals on this blog

We live in a pretty cool world, right? 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What His Running Face Reveals...

(my running face at mile 9 of the Princess Half)

I am currently training for a half marathon in about a month. This means I spend too much time hitting the pavement (they don't do 'trails' around here). I get a lot of time to think about nothing, or to try to think about nothing as I am really thinking "this hurts why the heck am I doing this" over and over again.

I have noticed that there are only a few different types of faces that runners make when they pass you by. I am the type to make brief but polite eye contact and flash a smile. I figure that we, those who have given up precious couch time to be upright and moving (or what I call running), are in this together. I smile to say "I hear ya, this is kinda awful" as if to commiserate with whoever I see.

There are really only a small handful of guys that react politely to me running past them, I find there are four other reactions to my stare-and-smile approach. And in my spare brain time running yesterday, I provided them all with personality traits, a la any magazine read by teenage girls (he wears blue shorts on Tuesday? ditch that boy fast! Green jacket on Thursdays means he is ready for love!)

1. The wave-stop: These guys give you a brief stare followed by a movement of the hand from right to left. It is not quite a wave because it doesn't go back and forth. These runners are confident, smug, and not that interested in your personality. They are the most likely to check you out after you run past (if you know what I mean).

2. The dodge: These runners go out of there way to give you more than a three feet berth. C'mon girl, you don't smell that bad! Why are they risking turning an ankle or stepping in something gross just to not have to look at you. Commitment phobes! (Continue the) Run away.

3. The stare-ahead: These runners don't even crack a smile or acknowledge your presence at all. At least the dodgers acknowledged you were there! They just keep on staring. These guys are self-absorbed. Watch out, they are going to be most concern with their own well-being without giving a care about you.

4. The locked-stare: These guys lock eyes a block ahead and don't let go til you are shoulder to shoulder. They don't smile, perhaps give you a quick eyebrow raise, are quite serious, and instantly make you regret wearing anything other than your baggiest sweat pants. These guys are competitive and are sizing you up. This is a jog on a Sunday, not a Western-style show down.

What do you do when you pass someone head-on while running? Pretend they don't exist? Give them a friendly smile?

Bottom line girls: Get out there on the pavement and give them all your best grin! Trust me, if I can do it, you can!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Resolution Sunday: Chocolate

This week, I am going to let this picture of a two pound bag of Robin Egg's speak for itself. 


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Dave Stage

If our story had chapters, the first one would be called the Dave stage.

Because of this guy here, Dave Matthews.

You see, when we first started dating it was over ten years ago.

And I am still a kid now, so I will let you do the math. We were young.

The puppy love stage when you are young goes on for quite some time.

Long enough to convince M to go to a Dave Matthews concert with me even though he didn't know who Dave was and it certainly wasn't his kind of jam. 

(Back when pictures had actual sun spots and not Instagrammed ones, 
this one is from the Dave concert)

Nowadays? There is really no way I could get him to do that with me.

Seeing Dave Matthews in December made me remember fondly the Dave stage - all the intense butterflies, eager words, sweet gestures, and overly wrought conversations about the future.  

All of which take on a very different form these days. And I am happy to be here, a few stages later - how well we know each other and how much we can communicate in just one wink across a table filled with friends. 

I look at that picture and smile at how much fun we had. And all the fun that was (and is!) in store. 

And -bonus- quite happy I have good girlfriends to go see Dave with instead. 

(Pretty sure M wouldn't look nearly as good making these rock and roll faces.)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Resolution Sunday: Go team go!

There is nothing quite like cheering on your team at a live sporting event, am I right? I am by no means a sports fanatic but perhaps I am a fan fanatic. I love cheering, groaning, and yelling with strangers around you that almost seem like instant friends just cuz they are wearing the same color t-shirt as you. Yesterday we went to watch the Hurricanes, our local NHL team. We started out with some good tailgating - because in the south you tailgate before every event - even one based on ice. And even in March. 

After the Hurricanes game we rushed home to watch the Heels vs. the Blue Devils. If I have to tell you which sport, then, well, you obviously don't live within 100 miles of here. They are perhaps the best rivalry in sports. I don't really want to talk about the game (heels got dominated got an A for effort) but I loved cheering, even if it was to a television. Here is to having an excuse to yell "rock me like a hurricane" at the top of your lungs for two hours without anyone taking notice!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Thank you notes

My mom taught me to write thank you notes after receiving a gift or if someone did something nice for me. This was ground into me as a small kid, having to take time after the sugar rush of eight-year-old birthday parties to spell out the names of my friends and thank them for the Polly Pockets.

But now, as an adult, I keep this tradition going. I think that it is a polite way to show my gratitude. And who doesn't like getting something in the mail?

I have received a bit of flack for still doing this apparently antiquated appreciation and not giving it up for a "yo, thanks" text message or a shout out on Twitter. I know about the times a'changing and I am fine with receiving thanks via modern methods - no worries friends. But I have stubbornly stood by writing a heart-felt note while feeling a little like I should sign up for that Twitter account and get with the times.

But yesterday I had my faith restored by my dear friend's children who wrote me a hand-written note as a thank you for a book I had sent them. I am now much more confident in the next generation. Although that  phrase does make me feel antiquated.

So thanks Kari for your sweet kiddos - I am glad to know that you are out there being a fabulous mom. Your kids are welcome to come for a sleepover at my place any day.

(As long as the thank you is in the mail the next day.)

Do you send thank you notes? Am I totally alone in this? What's the best way to say thanks?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Cookbook Challenge: Sushi

When we got married, we registered on Amazon. This was great and I really recommend it. We got to register for things like board games, power tools, camping supplies, and other random things Macys doesn't have. 

The only glitch was that there was another person with my exact name registered on Amazon too and one of my cousins ordered me a few things off of her registry on accident - three books on making Sushi to be exact including this one. (Who registers for three cookbooks on making sushi, btw?)

Now lucky for us we love sushi and its a fun activity too! Because we are limited to seated funtivities these days, making homemade sushi was the perfect stay in date for Valentine's. They sell sushi grade fish at our local grocery store. You can eat it raw (left side of below pic) or quickly sear it (right side) if you want to be extra careful. 

Homemade Sushi
Here is the recipe for the sushi rice, really the only part you need a recipe for. You can put whatever you want in yours. We like tuna, avocado, cucumber, and wasabi. In addition to the fillings and rice, you will need the nori (seaweed) wraps. We can find this at our local grocery store in the international aisle. The rice does take a bit of time to make, so you may want to cook it ahead of your planned funtivity time. This made enough rice for plenty of sushi for both of us.

Sushi rice:
1 1/2 cup sushi rice
1 1/2 cup water
4 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt 

1. Put the rice in a sieve and put it in a large bowl of water. Wash until the water is clear, changing the water frequently. Drain the water and let stand 30 minutes til dry. 
2. Put rice and water in heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Cook for 3-5 minutes more. Don't peak!
3. Reduce the heat to very low and simmer 8-10 mins and remove from heat. Let stand 10 mins.
4. Heat the vinegar, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and stir until sugar and salt are disolved. Do not boil. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.  Put the rice in a presoaked wooden bowl. Pour a little bit of the vinegar mixture over a spatula into the rice. Spread the rice evenly in the bowl and slowly add the vinegar mixture using a slicing action to coat the rice evenly. 
5. Fan the rice to cool it and fold the rice until it is nice and glossy and cool.

Find something that you can roll the sushi up with. We use my silicone baking mats. 
Put the shiny side of the nori down.
Spread the rice evenly across the whole width of the nori, leaving a little over an inch on the edge farthest from you. Lay the goods down about an inch in from you, as seen in the picture below.  

Place your thumbs under the rolling mat and lift the near edge of the mat. Hold the fillings in place with the rest of your fingers. Keep the roll tight as you roll it up. When you get to the end, seal the exposed nori up with a few drops of rice vinegar.

Cut it up and enjoy!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Resolution Sunday: Peaceful Elections

My friends in Kenya are on the eve of a presidential election. The first after a new constitution and the first after the last election left thousands dead as ethnic violence broke out. This Sunday I am thankful that we have peaceful elections here in the states. Our elections may be tedious, annoying, aggravating, and disheartening but unlike people in other countries, we do not fear for our lives or for the lives of our loved ones. We may fear that we will lose our sanity, but we do not fear that we will lose our lives.

Tonight I am praying for my Kenyan friends and for those who live in countries all over the world who are not as free and secure as we are.

(As a political sidebar... the sequester has the potential to drastically change the immediate future for both myself and my husband, as we pursue careers in international development and cancer research. Two areas that will almost certainly be impacted. If someone is telling you that the sequester does not have an impact - send them my way.)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Feel Good Friday

Today I am feeling good because...

I was at Disneyworld earlier this week and got to meet Aladdin

It's almost spring!

February is over, and that really is a dastardly month

This month I get to go to my first work conference like a big kid

Next month I am going to Pairee

I single-handedly kept the postal service in business this month and managed to send something every day

I think we are finally ready to come out of our self-imposed hibernation.



Feel good story, feel good laugh, feel good remembering and feel good drumming.