Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Reading Resolutions

I don’t usually make New Year’s Resolution – I prefer to make them all year round, just to keep things interesting. But happenstance was that I made a resolution, it was in early January and thus, I decided it would be my NYR. It’s a bit of an odd one. I decided that I was going to make it my goal to stay out of the library until I have finished reading all the books I have borrowed (and returned them to their rightful owner… two I admit I have had since 2008), swapped or bought this year.

This may not sound like something that requires a resolution, but I tell you I have an insatiable weakness for library books. I’ll get a notion of a book I want in my head, I’ll look it up on the catalog and put it on hold. They call me to tell me it’s ready and I “dash” in to pick it up. Thirty minutes later, I am checking out with a good dozen other books. I don’t know what happens to me in those thirty minutes but I become overcome with something akin to binge-reading. Because they have a due date, they take precedence over the books that are sitting on my shelf, neglected and humble. So this year, I pledge to finish all my borrowed, swapped and bought books before I set foot in Reynolda Manor Library again. You heard it here first. I'm 2 months in, and making good progress.

Here’s the breakdown:

Borrowed, To Read:

  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (just finished)
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (just finished)
  • Alice Waters and Chez Panisse by Thomas McNamee
  • Food Matters by Mark Bittman
  • Fat Like Us by Jean Renfro Anspaugh
  • Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge
  • Wild at Heart by John Eldredge

Swapped, To Read:

  • Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg (currently reading)
  • Mindless Eating by Brian Wasnick
  • Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
  • A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

Bought, To Read:

  • The Master Key System by Charles Haanel
  • The Writer’s Home Companion by Joan Bolker
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

Already Read Once, but Want to Read Again:

  • Master your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels
  • End of Overeating by David Kessler

And then…. THEN…. my reward. Here are the books that are accumulating on my library list. Feel free to lend them to me if you have them, I’ll make sure to return them by 2013.

  • Real Food by Nina Plank
  • Inside A Dog by Alexandra Horowitz
  • Better by Atul Gawande
  • The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson
  • Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
  • Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
  • Stones into Schools by Greg Mortenson
  • The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Are there any I must add to my list?

In the meantime, should you see me approach a library, book store, or your own bookshelf, please feel free to dive in front of me to stop me. I know not what I do.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Old Salem

I love walking around Old Salem, a the “living history museum” of my city.  Walking around there, you can almost imagine yourself back a hundred years.  Last Saturday, Jamie and I went to romp around Old Salem with our camera to just snap whatever caught our eye.  Some of my faves… and I think I have an addiction to macro shots.  I just can’t resist obscure close-ups.

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thankful Thursday

This list threatens to be long.  I’m in one of the moods where the birds chirping and the grass being green and the right song coming on the radio at just the right time are enough to make me go, “Sigh.  All is right in the world.”  With that said, I’ll attempt to pare myself down of a baker’s dozen of thankfuls.  Without further ado, I am thankful for…

  • My sister and her boyfriend, Dylan, getting engaged!  I could not be more pleased to welcome Dylan into our family (and he’s had ample warning to determine if that’s in his best interest) and to help my baby sis plan her big day. 
  • Riley Jayne, 7 ounces of cuteness, who announced her intention to join our world just yesterday morning.  Can’t wait to meet you, Miss Riley.
  • My Grandpa S, who just celebrated his 89th year of life. 
  • Pink High Heels.
  • Birds chirping this morning, and golf clubs in use this afternoon.  Hoping that’s a sign that Spring is on it’s way.  Ignore the snow that is still on the sidewalks the sun doesn’t hit.
  • 5 am.  I’m thankful for 5 am because right now, while Matt is working the 6p-2a shift, that’s the time of day I am most likely to get to hang out with him.  And even if it’s just for 10 minutes, it’s nice to see his face.  Even better, I’m thankful for his day off falling on a Friday this week.  It’ll be a well-deserved day off for my hubby and I can’t wait to hang out with him.
  • Brewnerd’s Salty Caramel Latte.  Oh. My. Heavens.  Is it wrong to salt your coffee?  Let’s never speak of this again.
  • Mark 11:24
  • My Christmas gift arriving from my sister - “Keep Calm and Carry On.”  Ever since I saw this poster hanging up in another blogger’s living room, I became intent on acquiring it.  Thank you, little sis, for making that happen!  Can’t wait to hang it in my office with all my other green stuff. 
  • Health, and not just in-remission-health, but really, truly happy-with-my-wellbeing health.
  • Goat cheese.  I can’t get enough.
  • Heather, for reasons too numerous to list, but succinctly for her uncanny knack for the perfect words for every moment. 
  • Following up on a gut feeling to call someone I hadn’t seen in awhile and finding out it was a much needed call.  God’s timing is perfect, ya’ll. 
  • Ipod, mascara and my Joe Jeans.  The 3 material items I think I’d take to my deserted island. 
  • A pile of felt scraps given to me by a client… waiting for me to do the project that’s in my head.  (Don’t give up on me, felt scraps!  I’m coming!) 
  • Mi familia (the one I was born into and the one I was sworn into)
  • Faith in a very kind God
  • If all else fails, Thursday is always followed by Friday.

What’s on your list?

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Limiting Yourself

When I was in grad school, most of my classmates had 5-10 years on me and rings on their left hands. This, of course, made them experts in the realm of dating, and since I was 22 and single, made me the victim of their expertise. I was perfectly content sitting in my apartment on a Saturday night getting tipsy on Sutter Home and IM-flirting, but my grad school friends were intent that I have a Real Life Date. Thus, began a series of blind dates that while often disastrous, were also usually hilarious.

Let’s begin the story-telling by noting that all names have been changed to protect the innocent. Namely, me.

My classmate Rick was a 30-something, Jewish, dual MD/MPH who I think may have died a little inside when we were discussing relationships one day and I told him I was perfectly content being single, and probably not getting married for at least another 10 years. (I was only off by 7.) Rick was intent on finding me a guy who was “marriage-material”. Just what every 22 year old girl is looking for, right?

The week before I went home for Thanksgiving, Rick and I were walking out of our health comm class when he tells me he passed my email along to a friend of his, who had recently broken up with his girlfriend but was really, really nice, and laidback and would be soooo perfect for you. Mark, the friend, emailed me over Thanksgiving and after exchanging some basic niceties, we decided to get drinks at a bar in my neighborhood when I returned.

My first warning that this was about to be a blog-worthy-bad date was the email I got about 30 minutes before I was due to meet Mark at the bar.

“Don’t wear a turtleneck. Wear something sexy.”

I promptly went and changed into a turtleneck. I’m that kind of girl.

Upon returning from my first, and last, date with Mark I sent the following email to my girlfriends:

Top Ten Things to Say/Ask on a First Date to ensure that there's no second date:

1. Are you a wearing something sexy? (As I still have my coat on)

2. Are you looking for a relationship... or just friends with benefits?

3. So, do you like me?

4. My ex won't really let me talk to her anymore... she told me not to contact her.

5. Are you a virgin?

6. (As we're leaving the bar) So are you going to kiss me?

7. I kind of think Federal Hill (the neighborhood I happen to live in...) is a shit hole.

8. I'm a Yankees fan.

9. So, do you like me? (yes... fact, a total of five times)

10. So, when can I see my girl again? (note the possessive pronoun)

When our date had ended, I bid Mark good night and told him, as kindly as I possibly could, that I just didn’t think this was working out for us. I’ve never dumped someone on a first date, but I felt that my intentions better be made known quickly and without any room for interpretation.

The next morning I woke up to an email from the persistent and affable Mark that said that he wanted to see me again, but if I didn’t want to date, we could just be friends with benefits. (Marriage material? Really, Rick?)

I wrote back, in no uncertain terms, that we would never be seeing each other again.

A few hours later, I got another email from Mark and the subject line read: “Limiting Yourself.”

The content:


Don't limit yourself in life. You have hard and fast rules for everything in your life and you make obtuse decisions.


I didn’t bother to grace Mark with another reply and in fact, I haven’t thought about Mark since that October night in 2004. I came across his email tonight though, as I was looking back through old emails trying to find the address of one of my grad school friends. As I scrolled through the few emails from my one-date-boyfriend, ironically on Valentine’s Day, I thought how in fact the best relationship decision I ever made in my life was based on exactly what Mark had warned me against: having hard and fast rules for myself. Limiting myself.

The best decision I ever made in my love life was finally deciding that I wasn’t going to spend any time and energy with any guy where I had to guess what his intentions or motivations were, how committed he was, or how interested he was. In my year of grad school, I had been recoiling from a relationship defined by two people emotionally exhausting one another, I had gone on enough first dates to rival that hideous Drew Barrymore movie and I had had a few weeks-long relationships with guys who were more than just a little hesitant at the mere mention of the idea of using monikers such as “boyfriend” and “girlfriend.”

By the spring of that year, I had decided to set some hard and fast rules for myself. I wanted to date someone who wanted to call me their girlfriend. Who would call me. Often. Tell me he liked me. Be honest and sincere in his interest. Make time for me. They weren’t rules that required jumping through fiery hoops and buying gifts that came in baby blue boxes (although that never hurts)… but they were rules that, in 9 years of being in relationships, I had never bothered to set for myself.

When Matt asked me out, I was taken aback by how straight forward and honest he was. He liked me, he asked me to date him, and that was that. All the “games” that I had been so accustomed to playing in my past relationships never made an appearance. He made it a point to tell me how he felt about me. He made the time to come and see me (not an easy task as we were nearly 400 miles away.) He called me his girlfriend without me asking, without making a fuss, and with pride in his voice.

Setting hard and fast rules for myself made me consider myself worthy enough for someone’s sincere appreciation and love. And when I finally set the bar high enough, in to my life walked the person who was tall enough to reach it. So, Mark buddy, if you’re out there, I’m sorry to tell you that limiting yourself is not always a bad thing. In fact, you may want to give that method a go yourself sometime.

Happy Valentines Day, my sweetheart. Thank you for being you, and for being the "marriage material" I didn't know I was looking for.

megs and matt

Matt & Meg, Baltimore 2005

megs and matt 2009

Matt & Meg, Rochester, 2009

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cabin Fever

I am so sick of this cold weather here, and the wind, my gosh, the wind. Every time I step outside, I can hear my mother’s voice: “Where is your hat?” (I hate to admit, but she poses a good question.) My poor little pupdog has not gotten a decent walk in about 3 month. It is sunny outside and looks so tempting... but it is just so darn windy.

Oh hey, I'm complainy today. Let me think of something nice to say. I’ve tried yoga – twice now! I am taking a super beginner class (the kind that involves lots of blocks, straps and generous time in child’s pose) and it was really nice - I have never had anyone break down the poses and explain them so well before, as well as take the time to correct form. It is a 5 week class that my friend has talked me into it, so I'm encouraged to see how it goes. I also keep noticing today how many times I've realized my shoulders are up at my ears when I write. That could have something to do with the reason my back and neck always hurt. DUH.

Speaking of writing, I got up extra early today and spent a few hours on my book... I’m making a good dent in it and I'm kind of excited about it. It's like my little garden, I just keep doing little bits and bits at a time. I've got about 2/3rds of the content done, and want to finish the bulk of the content by my wine trip at the end of March. Then I want to go back through and insert some research and more case studies. And then.... I have no idea what to do with it. What does one do with a book? Stand on the street corner and sell it like the newspaper guys do? Print it off at Kinkos and make your mom buy 500 copies? Send serial letters to Oprah until she gets a restraining order on you? Put a tent on the front step of the Rodale offices? Sigh. Guess we'll tackle that step when it actually gets DUNZO.

But really, the wind? It can go now, and in it’s place, I’d like to order up some sunshine and green grass. Hurry, Spring, Hurry.


Mom, I’m booooooooooooooooooored.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thankful Thursday

My sister, the English teacher, told me today that she had her 10th grade students make Thankful Thursday lists in class today. I love it. Gratitude is contagious!

I needed this exercise today. I was super grumpy this morning as a hangover from an experience the day before that I still hadn’t shook off, and I was experiencing a bit of cabin fever from all the snow/ice we’ve had this week. Taking the time to pause on my happy list, combined with my new beginner’s yoga class and a glass of wine with some girlfriends, was the perfect antidote to my frumpy mood.

Thankful (this week) for:

  • My mom, who has been superwoman taking care of my Grandpa.
  • My hubby. I love being married to this man. And I love that he is making baby back ribs tonight. ‘Nuff said.
  • Doggy Daycare. Especially when pupdog is suffering from cabin fever/frumpy face. And even better, picking Buddy up from doggy daycare. The look on Buddy’s face when he sees me – OMG YOU CAME BACK – cracks me up every time.
  • Yoga! I actually like it. Taking a beginners (realllly beginners) class was key. And taking it with 2 friends (accountability?) has been key.
  • That the yoga studio is right near 6th & Vine. Double Win.
  • My sis. Who is hopefully visiting tomorrow, who makes me laugh every day, who keeps me honest to commitments (even blogging commitments) and who thinks to send my mom flowers when she’s having a bad day.
  • That despite the snow being a bit annoying, it has completely shut down the South. It’s been kind of a vacation-at-home/catch up week, enforced by Mother Nature.
  • Health insurance.
  • Having all my tax forms ready to go. Before April. That’s a first.
  • My friend Heather’s uncanny ability to always know exactly what to say to make me laugh or get inspired.
  • My grandparents-in-law (Nanta and Pa) who just celebrated SIXTY-FIVE years of marriage. Amazing!!
  • Having time to write this week, and beginning to see my book take shape somewhere besides my imagination.
  • The cheerleaders of said book, who tell me I can do it and keep my mind off the slush pile.
  • The safety of everyone I know on the roads this week. The South is not exactly known for it’s road-clearing-prowess.
  • Getting back to an exercise routine – after “outing” myself on my coaching blog, I’ve had 2 consistent weeks and I feel a zillion times better, and double thanks to Matt who keeps taking me on dates to the Y. I think I exhausted all his guest passes this week.
  • New clients!
  • Winos. Who I am hopefully seeing tomorrow, weather permitted, and planning for our WINE COUNTRY trip. Woop.
  • Jess, who gets her own special line, for listening to my academic woe-is-me rant this week and assuring me that it’s okay that I couldn’t remember what logistical regression was.
  • The entrance into our world of 3 new sweet little ones: Georgia Mae, Hailey Jordana and Spencer Chase, and the health of their mommas.
  • Friends who brave snowstorms for parties and show up with delicious goodies like lime-buttercream-coconut cupcakes. (Jme, plz repeat as often as possible.)
  • A lunch date with a new friend.
  • Cheap champagne.
  • Delving into the world of bloggers who take pictures of food. Reassurance that the compulsive need to photog my food doesn't make me crazy.
  • Waking up early to find that it’s a snow day, and going back to sleep… just like being a little kid.

So, what’s on YOUR list?

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