Friday, February 27, 2009

Thursday Night at the Joel

Bah duh da da da da da da GO DEACS... bah duh da da da da GO DEACS.... (Or at least that's how it sounds in MY head.) This has been a roller coaster basketball season. First, we were amazing. Unstoppable. Steam rolling over both Duke and Carolina. Then, we start losing should-be-easy games - games against Miami and GA Tech. In my 9 years as a Deacon, we have ranged from being #1 and Cinderella-storied all over the place, to being most commonly confused with a small liberal arts school in Chicago until a Tim Duncan reference is made. Oh Wake Forest, they'll say. One thing I can say about Demon Deacon basektball though, is every game is exciting because you never know what you're going to get. Classic Wake Forest: unpredictable, at best . Unpredictable at their best.

Thanks to our friends, Emily and Wiggy, we got to enjoy an in-person win at the Joel. Beating State doesn't cause quite the same ruckus as Duke or Carolina win does, but every Wake fan probably has a half dozen State fans in their inner circles of colleagues, friends and family and a little Friday morning bragging rights is always fun.

Go Deacs!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Any Given Sunday

After getting back from my in-law's house, I threw myself into a flurry of housekeeping - I cleaned both bathrooms (tubs), cleaned up the kitchen (including the dreaded microwave wipe down, ugh), did dishes, mopped the kitchens and bathrooms, finished folding and put up laundry, washed and changed the sheets, dusted, vacuumed, and made pesto and banana bread (needed to use up parsley and overriped banans, respectively.) By the time I finished it was 7:45 and the Duke/Wake game was on so I watched that while reading food logs and then went to bed. A bit exhausting, but there's just such a good feeling like looking around your house and seeing everything in it's place.

Too bad it never seems to last more than 24 hours. As I was talking to my mom last night and reporting on my day, she paused before saying "Didn't you do the exact same thing last Sunday?" Sigh.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bed In Progress

I mentioned awhile ago that Matt was drawing up plans to build a bed with his Pa, who built our dining room table (seen below). Just 2 months ago this bed was a mere sketch on a bar napkin from Charleston and today there were three pieces of beautifully grained walnut planks being fed through a radial saw about to become our headboard. Amazing. (All sawing done by Pa, who claims he's never seen a doctor without fingers and won't let Matt near the blades. Good looking out, Pa.) I'm amazed at my husband's knowledge of carpentry - it is such a cool thing to disocer a side of your spouse you had no idea even existed. I hung out in the shop for about an hour on Saturday while they discussed how the headboard would be joined together and it was like they were speaking a different language. The precision and careful planning it takes to requires a depth of patience I can't even BEGIN to claim that I possess. Matt grew up hanging out with his Pa in his wood shop and helped him with many projects, but it's just incredible to hear his complete competency and knowledge. I just can't wait for our bed to be finished and have this heirloom piece we have for the rest of our life. Already, I imagine our children fighting over who it will get willed to someday. (Yea, I don't get ahead of myself at.all.) It's amazing to see these rough planks of wood and hear Matt describe how they will all come together -this one a paneled headboard, that one a wide solid foot board,these a strong bold sideboard. I'll tell you one thing - whenever we match and start looking for houses somewhere, criteria numero uno is going to be "ginormous bedroom" because this thang ain't gonna fit in our 11 x 13.

Working the radial saw.
Unassuming planks now, paneled headboard later.
Examining the future panels with Pa.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Parental Visit

My parents are here visiting now, back from being with my sister down in Charlotte. For the last 24 hours, my dad has had the same GI bug that Matt and I fell victim to a few weeks ago. I think my sister feels a little jipped - that I had him healthy on Saturday, he spent the day in the bed/bathroom on Sunday and Monday, and now that he's healthy he's headed back up here. Oops... sorry sis? While I've been toiling at work (slash blogging), they've been roaming the aisles of Harris Teeter, stocking me up on soy sauce, Frosted Mini Wheats and toliet paper. All the essentials. Sigh - they are some generous people. I'm anxious to finish up work and go hang out with them, so I suppose I should work instead of blog. I think the game plan is to go to Milner's tonight - my fave WS restaraunt. Southern gourmet. Yummmmmers. Last night we had a dinner for the my research study staff at another new restaurant called Ombu which is also super good and way cute/trendy. I'm getting way overfed this week, but I can't say I'm complaining.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Be Our Valentines?

Valentine's Day Table Setting

Yesterday my parents arrived to spend a week, half with us and half with my sister down in Charlotte. Since they were going to be here for Valentine's Day, we decided to invite Matt's parents as well and have a dinner party. Hey, an excuse to use some of the wedding presents we'd received a year and a half ago for the first time ever! Nothing more exciting than taking the tags off new napkin rings, right? My parents were bringing down a beef tenderloin, so to go along with it I decided to do roasted potatos, asparagus, a spinach salad and then chocolated covered strawberries and Moravian cookies for dessert. For my first schmancy dinner party, I had to call upon two of my favorite hostessing experts. Nope - not Martha and Paula D, but my Aunt Jennifer and Aunt-in-law Paige. Both of these ladies are from North Carolina - Jennifer from Gastonia and Paige from Lincolnton - and these Southern ladies know how to throw a par-tay. My Aunt Jennifer is famous for her theme parties, including a Tequila-themed wedding shower she hosted for me in DC, where everything matched down to the cactus-shaped napkin rings and the invitations that arrived snuggled around an airplane bottle of Jose. Paige hosts Christmas dinners where each dish is literally something straight off the Food Network. The meat might be Emeril, the potatos Giada, the vegetables Bobby Flay... and everything is smack-yo-momma delish.

The Menu from my Tequila Dinner Party Shower. Yum!

So, I called up Jennifer and got her tips on how to cook the asapargus while the tenderloin would be monopolizing my oven and got a spinach salad recipe that Paige had used last Christmas, that featured pomegrante vinagrette and little pieces of granny smith apples and toasted walnuts. With these two ladies reinforcing my game plan, I felt good to go. The hardest part of throwing a food-related party for me has always been the timing - the meat will take longer than you expect, or the potatos are done too soon, or something unexpected always seens to happen. This was almost the case, as my dad took out the beef declaring it done while my potatos were still a little too al dente to get by as edible.

In the kitchen with daddy

However, I took a look at his determination of "done" and realized that with the exception of he and I, the carnivores extreme, no one else would appreciate the still moo-ing meat. So back in it went to my melt-your-mascara hot oven, and the taters and cow finished at exactly the same time. Whew. Timing is everything.


Dinner was delicious, the conversation lively, and the evening relaxed and enjoyed by all. Matt and I are both thankful that not only do we genuinely enjoy time spent with both of our respective parents, but they seem to enjoy each other's company as well. If Valentine's Day is meant to be shared with your loved one, it was even better shared with five of my loved ones. Especially because that means ten extra hands to wash and dry dishes. (What, they're family. I can put them to work after a dinner party, right?) Matt's family headed home after dessert, and my parents left this morning for Charlotte to spend the day with my sister, capping off our short but lovely holiday weekend.

Ready to eat!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Occasionally I Get Dressed For Work

This is my favorite time of the entire week. I've worked out my schedule so I cram all the craziness into Monday through Wednesday, and by the end of the week things are slowing down. Friday mornings I make phone calls that start at 7:15 and usually go until about 10. Back in November I started making those phone calls from home and then going into the office afterwards. One day I decided just to stay at home, and get work done there. Lo and behold, I got more done at home than I had in the office. I always thought I'd struggle with working from home - that between the pantry full of snacks and the beckoning lure of getting some extra laundry done I'd get too distracted. Turns out I like my work more than I like folding laundry, whatdoyaknow. I get way more done at home. When you share an office with 3 other staff and a team of about 20 undergrads who frequently stop by - it's amazing what a respite an 8 hour shift with no interaction other than my Pandora asking me if I'm still there can be.

I wake up at 6 and slip into the den with a cup of chai, and start by answering emails. It's always a nice touch to send my boss an email with a 6:08 am timestamp - just to sort of say hey, not only am I working, but I'm working early. No slacking here... even though I am in my jammies. Once the emails are done, I write. It's either a weight loss-related blog or updating a powerpoint with the latest and greatest nutrition/coaching findings, but I've found that 6 am to 7 am is when my creative juices are amped up so I try to take advantage. Or, maybe it's the caffeine and sugar, but whatevs. It works. (Today: hunting down a journal article about yoga turning on genes that combat oxidative stress. Is Om the new blueberries?!?! Yea, this is what makes me go "woohoo!") Once I've committed the updates to e-paper, it's phone call time. The next three hours I do anywhere from 4-6 coaching sessions, and they fly by. With my feet propped up on the windowsill, I watch the sun rise over the tops of my neighbor's roof while furiously scribbling notes and asking prying questions about emotional eating, portion control and "are you still using your measuring cups?" Time slips by stealthily when I'm coaching. By the time I hang up on my last phone call, it's hard to believe I've been working for nearly four hours and it's time for a break.

Last week I decided to implement a yoga workout into my day. A combination of wanting to bolster my antioxidant capacities (aka reduce stress), release the computer-posture knots in my back and neck, and get back at the wii Fit for telling me "balance just wasn't my thing" sparked this new trend. I've only done it once, but I figure if I write it on my blog that has to hold me accountable right? Despite having no qualms about exercise in general, yoga is something I have just never been able to commit to on a regular basis. I enjoy it. I see the benefits when I do it more than, say, three times in a row. I don't even really mind how much I really suck at it. But for some reason, I seem to be as committed to doing it regularly as I am to quitting caffeine. (See: second bag of chai steeping.) But, I'm going to try. Again. So hear me now, internets, I'm adding in yoga on Fridays. Check me.

After my yoga break (which previously was a Facebook, g-chat and/or random youtube googling break -pro.freaking.ductive), it's on to the mindless stuff that for some reason I can tolerate much better at home than I can in the office. Maybe it's because I don't have a window in the office, and the penitential feel of florescent lighting and eggshell painting just contribute to the tedium of data entry and scheduling. Someone has to do it, and until I hire a VA, that someone is me. A couple hours of plugging in this week's weight loss into my oh so cumbersome web tracker and figuring out what times the hospital will do a DXA scan on my participants, and I'm totally spent but it's done. The same tasks used to get spread out into three or four hour-long slots I had during the week, crammed in between meetings and teaching classes. I never felt like I had a handle on it. Getting it done in one fell swoop is the band-aid rip of my work week. It's usually about three o'clock by this time, and when you start at 6 am, boy oh boy that's quitting time. If my hub is home at this time, he'll ply me away from my cocoon in the den with the lure of a cold beer in a pink coozie and an episode of Entourage. The weekend officially starts with that short walk from den to living room. If that's not a perfect work day, I'm not sure what is.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

February Delight

Hello, sunshine. Hello, warm weather. Hello, RUNNING SHOES. Please, please, please, weather gods and anyone else listening... DON'T GO AWAY. This is the kind of weather I love. It's not hot, it's not cold. You're comfortable in a t-shirt and light pants. The grill beckons to be used. Windows are rolled down on cars and we start to wonder if we can pack up our cardigans.

The best part of this weather, for me, is running. Running outside today feels like slipping seamlessly through the air. There's no cold to burn your lungs, there's no heat to blanket you and follow you around like your own personal sauna. I love this weather, and I'm going to usher in some sore overused hip flexors if it keeps up because I cannot stop myself from lacing up and heading over to Buena Vista to slip through the perfect air along the cracked sidewalks, delightfully surprised at the February spring we've been blessed with. Please stay like this? Pretty please?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Snow Day Version 2.0

Another snow day! And of course, it's all melted by now.

It's been a nice morning... if I must confess, I didn't bring all that much work home last night so I didn't have tons I could do today. I've finished the laundry, re-organized my purses and shoes (which has such an immediate happy calming effect), cleaned out that one pantry door that drops measuring cups and cheese graters on my head whenever I opened it, got all the ingredients ready for dinner, put curlers in my hair, sliced up an apple and cheese for a real-food snack, dusted the bedroom.... and then read 20 food logs just to call it a work day. Ahh, heaven.

Sometimes I think it would be nice to be a stay at home wife. Yes, I mean sans bebes. I can imagine when/if I do stay home with wee tykes, I won't be happily seated on the closet floor deciding if I want to arrange my Vera's by shape or by pattern. I will be removing power cords from mouths, wiping poopy butts and microwaving Smiley face french fries. I am sure all this will be accompanied by oozy goozy feelings of love, but in the meantime I'll take my happy in the form of organizing and having a dust-free home on this surprising and quiet gift of a day.

Um, yes I took a picture of my pantry...why, is that weird?

Monday, February 2, 2009


Saturday night we went down to Matt's hometown to hang out with his family to celebrate his Pa's birthday and his grandparent's 64th wedding anniversary. Sixty-four years! That is a long, long time. We gathered for a meal of hushpuppies (and fish, but I tend to ignore anything else when you put hush puppies in front of me) the night before the lunch celebration. I was glad we had a chance to do that, becuase during the night Matt came down with the same GI bug that had knocked me out the week prior. Oops - and I always thought he was the most immune person ever for surviving his peds rotation without even a sneeze! Once he felt about 30% human, we packed it up and headed back home to Winston where he spent the next few days quarantined in our house and slurping Gatorade. I felt awful for getting him sick and having to call it quits on the celebration, but glad we had the night before for a quiet dinner together with the fam and Nanta & Pa.

I just have to say, I am so fortunate to have a family-in-law that just makes me feel like one of their own. They have done that from day one, and I know that more people have in-law situations that are a little less everybody loves everybody and a little more Everybody Loves Raymond. Although I have laughed until tears sneaked out of my eyes as my girlfriends try to one up each other with mother-in-law stories - it's a tie between the mother in law who rearranged all the kitchen cabinets while her new daughter in law wasn't looking versus the soon-to-be MIL who is pushing relentlessly for a Stampin' Up themed-wedding - I have just always felt totally blessed that I married into a family like this. My parents were both very close with their in-laws, even calling them "Mom" and "Dad" and I'm so fortunate to have the same.

So here's a little shout-out to my wonderful family-in-law, who did a brilliant job of raising a son who puts all his dishes in the dishwasher and a brother who knows never to knock on the bathroom door while I'm doing make-up and ask if I'm ready yet. Thank you, fam-in-law, for the open door you've held since day one.


Sis-in-law & Nanta and Pa.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Here Drink This, Never Mind The Flames

Friday night I was invited to a bachelor party (no I did not misspeak) for one of my co-workers. This is definitely my first invitation of the sort, and almost certainly my last. The invite went out to all of us - most of my other co-workers and the graduate students in our department - with the option to RSVP for dinner and drinks and peace out for the the strip club afterwards. I happily took up the pass on that offer. Allllll set on my fill of ta ta's and booties, thanksverymuch.

I was feeling a little out of my element - most of this crew (namely the grad students) are quite close and spend a lot of time together, and outside of staff meetings and vent sessions in the office over shared research-related frustrations, I really haven't gotten to know many of them very well.

Dinner was at Elizabeth's, which felt like a total throwback to my freshmen year when we didn't realize there was more to Winston than University Dr. (And with Pancho's and Rose's on UD, did we really need more than that? Nooope.) Afterwards, we went back to the one of grad student's apartment to drink and apparently, greatly expand my learning curve of drinking games. You know when you should learn these things? When you're 20. Not when you're 26 and imbibe, oh, say once a lunar cycle. Low tolerance does not a good Zumi Zumi contender make. (Note: that is not us in the togas. This was just to give you a visual reference of the extreme coordination and concentration required by said game.)

As the party wore down, Shub (the groom) begged out of going to the strip club and said he just wanted to go out downtown. Somehow, because I've lived here forever I became in charge of the post-apartment festivities.... and in case you're wondering fellow alums, taxi service in Winston still sucks. Never before have I missed pledges so fervently.

Was he tired from partying or from the fact that he had a 5 lb weight taped to his hand?

We went to Tap Room, which is usually good balance of non-sketchy townies (the antithesis of Burke St) and older undergrads (the antithesis of Burke St). But the crowd was very light, and the crew I came with started dropping one by one. We summoned Victor, our new favorite cabbie to come pick us up. Here's a WS survival tip: if your cabby actually delivers you safely to your destination without stopping to make a drug deal or pick up his friend, you have a good cabbie and you should get his name and phone number in order to ensure your safe return. Victor delivered us to IHOP.... yes IHOP, more undergrad nostalgia, and then full on pancakes and coffee, we called the night quits.

I had a great time, because I really haven't gotten to know any of the grad students and it was really nice to actually TALK to them and not just pass them in our all-too-narrow hallways and make HES-themed small talk, like oh hey, off for a run? It's very easy, here in Winston with it's small town feel, to not step outside your comfort zone socially. It's part of what I love about living here, becuase I oh so quickly got over the meet'n'greet scene of DC. I am glad I went nipped my homebody desires in the bud and, as first grade as this sounds, feel like I made some new friends. However I must say, if there are future social engagements, we're going to have to skip any kind of shots that involve flames - I'm pretty sure there's a maximum legal drinking age for those. And it's 23.

Here drink this. Oh and just ignore the flames...