Thursday, September 25, 2008

Could anything LESS have happened this week?

So, dear readers, I apologize for having yet another boring post with little to no actual information in it. But, in order to keep you coming back, I'll post some random pictures that have nothing to do with anything. Actually, I guess I do have a few pics to post from this week.

Wednesday nights from now until November or so, Jim will be playing Kickball with a league in town. His team is called the Okraholics, and they wear bright yellow tshirts. This week was their first game against the hunter green team, and they won!! 3-2! Jim got the last out of the game (it would have been a double play had they actually needed it). It made up for a missed throw earlier. But I would say that he played very solidly! The best part about these games is that pretty much everyone there is drinking beer while they're playing. It really is just about having fun (though a win never hurts!)

After the game was over, most of the teams head to CANS (a bar who is the sponsor for the league) and that's where the real competition begins--Flip Cup. These people are wild for it! Jim's team once again beat the hunter green team, and it wasn't even close. Again Jim performed very well, even though this was his first Flip Cup experience. He was pretty drunk by the end of the night--luckily, I was driving.

Work for me has been going well. We've been getting a bit busier, and also we're moving offices in October, I believe. I'll be working closer to where Jim works now. Perhaps we'll even carpool--that might get him home at a decent hour, at least!

In my weight management class last week, I was down .2 lbs, which isn't a lot, but at least I was down, right? I am expecting a bigger loss today, I feel thinner, I have been running a lot this week, and my eating was very controlled. I'll let you know how it goes.

We're having dinner with Sarah and Morri on Saturday. They are the couple that we met at the Symphony a few weeks ago. I'm pretty excited!

Other than that, pretty much everything has been calm and boring. And, as promised, here are some pictures:



This is the Edible Arrangement that Kate sent me after my dad's death. Kate and me, "we're best friends." I love that commercial...even more than that, I love pineapple covered in chocolate!



This pot was sitting in our garage until I decided to clean out the garage and make the space more organized for the things in there. So I moved it onto the deck, and out pops this beautiful lil thing! Now, there are about 6 flowers on the plant--it's quite pretty! And she keeps Rich company (the plant that Kate gave me that now has 6!! leaves)



We got this in the mail. Jesus sure can wear a suit! Hotness!



This is Jim having a cocktail before our trip to the symphony. What a wonderful night--that ended in more drinks with our new friends! And what a delicious dinner!



No post is complete without a picture of Riley in a suitcase!




Jim "at bat" in his kickball game. Though this ended in an out, Jim played really well--and he looks good in yellow!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Not Much...

This week was pretty ho-hum. Nothing major happened, but I'll talk about it anyways!

My boss had his baby on Tuesday. Ty Leo. Hmm... Looks very cute in pictures.

I went to the gym 5 times this past week. I enjoy the Y quite a bit. Getting there is no longer the struggle it used to be, since I just pack my bag the night before and head there after work. It's usually pretty crowded then, but I've found a quiet place where most people don't go, and the treadmill is always free.

Friday morning I donated platelets again, this time with much more success. It took 2+ hours, but they got 2 units from me! It was a much more pleasant experience than last time (probably because I wasn't hungover), and I will go back. My nurse Elaine said that I should only go once a month instead of twice, to give my veins some time to regroup. She was very sweet--from Russia with a thick accent, but boy did she keep those blankets coming!!

Later that night, we met a few people from Jim's kickball team at Dixie's in Uptown. Their first game is this coming Wednesday. I have officially signed up for the cheering section. I think it will be fun/funny.

Today, I will go to the gym, go to Trader Joe's, watch the UT/Florida game with Jim's physical therapist Joe, and then head to the Festival in the Park in Freedom Park. What a day! Can I do it? I did get up at 9AM today, which is pretty early for me!

Obama is coming to speak here tomorrow. I would like to go, but I know it will be utter insanity (and it means we would have to go to the early service at church.) We'll see--it's a great opportunity, but it might just be a greater pain in the neck. Hope everyone else has a fun weekend planned. I'll post a few pictures below of nothing in particular. I'm just trying to jazz up my normally boring posts!!

These are pictures taken at the Baltimore Aquarium when we went for my birthday last year. It was lots of fun, and we enjoyed all of the creatures they had to show us. We even went to the dolphin show, though for some reason we didn't take any pictures there! Whoops!




Monday, September 15, 2008

Lipstick

I think it's funny that Sarah Palin chose to tell a lipstick joke in her big speech. Because you know what? That's all she is. They put lipstick on the ticket, hoping women would be distracted by "shiny things" and "pink" and somehow forget to vote with their brains. They put lipstick on the ticket to mask the fact that when it comes to the big-ticket issues, they lose. John McCain may be a "strong" candidate (if he were THAT old and didn't have any experience, there would be a major problem), but I think she was a weak choice. I haven't heard a single thing from her or about her that makes her even a CONTENDER for the VP slot, much less the ACTUAL VP choice. I am a big proponent of women's rights and increasing the number of women in high-powered positions in our country (you all know I am a big Hillary fan!), but let's not throw any ol' Jill in office to prove a point. I think in the end that will do way more harm than good to our cause.

I disagree with her politically--that's no surprise, since she's running on the Republican ticket. But she is a liar. She is distorting the past, leaving out major details and inventing new details (need examples? Bridge to Nowhere. For public interest? Nope--she vetoed school, hospital, and senior funding. No earmarks? No way!). I know she isn't supposed to come out in favor of any Democrat's platform, but instead she (and her running mate) just chooses to make things up about Obama's policies. To me, it makes her look uninformed and that can't understand the basic make-up of the US population (though she does a pretty good job of that in general). And, something that she needs to look at, is the clearly ineffective abstinence-only program her daughter was taught in school.

And if I hear her say "good ol' boys networks" one more time, I will scream--it's time to write a new speech, Sarah.

That's my two cents. I know some will agree, some will disagree. But you are sorely mistaken if you think that electing someone who votes with Bush 90% of the time is any sort of change that we need.

Fantastic BBQ Recipe

I love BBQ. I am a pulled girl--no sliced for me, thanks. I also like a little heat, a little sweet. Chicken and pork are both delish. Not the biggest fan of Carolina BBQ--don't like a lot of vinegar. I do like it super-saucy. On a bun, or off. No slaw.

If any of these things sound good to you, then you will absolutely LOVE this BBQ recipe. It is from Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger on the FoodNetwork. (I love her show--if you don't watch it, you should. Most recipes are super easy, super yummy, and healthful too!)

This is from her "Yes Can Do" show on shortcuts.

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
5 tablespoons molasses
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 whole rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat shredded into thin strips (about 4 to 4 1/2 cups)
6 whole-wheat hamburger rolls
6 large green lettuce leaves

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, vinegar, molasses, pepper and liquid smoke and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add chopped chicken, return to a simmer, and cook an additional 10 minutes.

Split rolls. Place a leaf of lettuce on each roll, then pile on 3/4 cup of the chicken mixture onto the roll.

The only changes I made were 1) I added about a 1/4 tsp salt; 2) I added some hot sauce for kick.

It tastes like it has been smoking and cooking all day--SO GOOD!!! I can't even explain how good this is--everyone must try it!!!

Do you have any delicious recipes that you'd like to share? Post a comment!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

In the last few days...

We've been out and around town a bit, and I've gotten a few good things taken care of.

Tuesday I tried to donate blood, but my iron count was too low--as was that of 7 other people there! It's an epidemic! Oh well! I have a platelet donation scheduled for next week, so perhaps it's for the best. Apparently, when you donate regularly, your iron sits a little lower without a concerted effort to raise it. I have not been eating tons of protein lately, so I can see why it was lower. Last time, my platelet donation didn't go so well, so I'm hoping this one is better. It better be! Although, I did get a lunchbox AND a travel mug last time, so not a total loss!

Wednesday I had my first weight management class at the Y. I have been going to the YMCA regularly for the past 3 weeks. I started this class to focus on the nutrition side of things, since my Weight Watchers class was less than enjoyable here (couldn't find a leader or group that I liked--and believe me, I tried!) So I'm giving Monika a try. It's a one-on-one session, which I like, but I don't feel like there is a strict enough focus. She didn't really explain their eating plan, and as we were setting my nutrition goals for the week, she was just letting me choose random numbers that were almost exactly what I was already doing. How will that improve my situation? Next week, I am hoping that it will improve--the first meetings are always for feeling each other out, and getting the basic information down.

On Friday, Jim surprised me with a nice dinner and a night at the symphony, for a Mozart and Mahler evening. It was fantastic! Not only was the symphony excellent--and the guest soloist was amazing, I was blown away!--but I got to talking with the woman next to me. She and her husband are also new to Charlotte, so we all went out for a drink after the performance and had a great time! Could it be that Megan has finally made a friend in Charlotte outside of work?!? We'll see! Jim and I have mutually decided not to get too excited about it, in case they don't call us. (Of course, Jim gave them his volunteer card with an outdated phone number and an email address that he is "pretty sure" forwards to his gmail inbox. Way to go, Jim! I just snapped at his to change his phone message with his new number. "Don't ruin this for me". Haha--am I insane?)

This morning we went to church. I continue to love our congregation and the thoughtfulness that goes into each service. Our minister has recovered from a bout with Mono (uh-oh, Jay!) and he was back in full form today. Today's topic was mindfulness, and began by pointing out the metaphor of "being awake" in multiple religions as a sign of someone who is mindful, appreciative, and does not take life for granted. It was a great talk, as usual. I always leave church smiling (even if I've been crying during the actual service, which happens almost weekly).

This week should be busy at work. Don is back in town, so I'll be working more for him. Larry's baby is due any day now, so who knows when I'll see him next? I'll let you know how my weekly check-in at the gym goes. Hope everyone's week goes well!! Any big plans coming up?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

As some of you know, my dad passed away about 2 weeks ago. Even though I had not seen him in 13 years, this has been a difficult time for me. I had mourned the loss of him from my life years ago, but would always wonder "what if" and "why not" and would imagine seeing him again. That has been taken away from me forever--my hopes, fears, and wonderings--and I miss them, and I miss him. I never talked about my dad much, but it didn't mean I wasn't thinking about him. Every Father's Day, his birthday, my birthday, Christmas, Thanksgiving, July 4th (the day after his birthday), Sundays. It was more than I realized, until I started thinking about it recently.

My dad was not without his shortcomings--as no person is--and he had more than his fair share of demons. Being himself and being with us never worked together, and that is why he left us alone for so many years. In recent days, I have come to find out that he also thought of Ryan and me as often as I thought of him, and that he did love us very much. That was very comforting and also hard to handle. It seems like the "what if"s and "why not"s are not so dead after all.

I won't ramble on and on, I am sure I will mention things in coming entries, but I wanted to share some of the memories that have been filling my head these weeks, little snippets of life when he was in it.

My dad loved music, and he played the piano like a pro. He taught me how to play, and we would play Heart and Soul and chopsticks together. Then he would listen to my "improvisations" of Beatles songs, especially Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane. Those will forever be my favorites. He also taught me songs from the Sound of Music, which was and is my favorite movie.

He had a lot of houseplants. Every Sunday when we would visit, I would mix up the perfect amount of water and miracle gro in his yellow watering can, and go around the house and water them. It was one of my favorite things to do.

He once recorded over the end of Annie with a football game. I guess this isn't so great, I was actually pretty upset, but now I think it's a little funny.

He could fix anything.

He once let us try cooking with the wild onions that grew in the yard. We made yellow squash and onions, and it was totally disgusting!

Whenever we would make meatloaf, he would let us form it into whatever shapes we wanted. The last one that I remember, I made "hamburger and fries" (3 round blobs and 4 skinny blobs) and Ryan made a bust of Batman (his actually looked like Batman). Thanks, Ryan.

He had one of my wedding pictures up in his apartment. They found it when they were cleaning it out.

I was trying to gain access to his information recently, to sort things out. One of his passwords for his email account was "ryanandmegan". It was my second guess (only after "meganandryan").

One year when he hosted Christmas for his family, we worked so hard at filling stockings and wrapping presents for us, his nieces and nephews. Everything was perfect. Perhaps that's where I get my gift-wrapping skills. He also liked a lot of tinsel on his christmas tree, and had original bubble lights.

Speaking of Christmas, Ryan and I once guessed one of our wrapped stocking stuffers (a half-chocolate, half-mint Santa Claus). After that, he took the stockings up until Christmas morning. That was probably the last time he put things out early.

Another Christmas memory (everyone knows how much I love Christmas!!), he used to let us open one present early, so one year I opened my one present. I liked it, but it wasn't what I thought it was. So as he was leaving the room with the rest of them, I grabbed one of them, and ripped it open before he could stop me! I think that was the last year we were allowed to open a present early.