Saturday, May 29, 2010

Time to Buckle Down!

School is OUT for the Summer!!! I am so happy to have two months off of work to do what I want with. I am supposed to be working at the nursing homes PRN (as needed) throughout the Summer, but so far they have only been calling for me on the weekends (when I'm usually camping, or out of town). I need the money for our big trip to Thailand, so I hope they start giving me weekday hours soon! Speaking of Thailand, we are indeed still going!!! I am re-excited. For a while there (being my pessimistic self) I was convinced we weren't going. I had even checked out just about every travel book from every country from the library. I returned them yesterday, as I returned to my day dreaming of elephant rides, snorkeling in pristine turquoise water, and Thai cooking classes.

But, before we depart for Thailand, I have a LOT of getting in shape to do (in a month's time). I know, it's pretty ridiculous of me to expect much out of last minute working out, but I am going to do my best! I have a schedule of classes that I have signed up for at the YMCA: Mondays Zumba in the morning, stability ball in the evening; Tuesdays Zumba; Wedensdays Zumba in the morning, stability ball in the evening (although, I probably won't do this, because my favorite Summer event takes place Wednesday nights); Thursdays Zumba; Fridays Zumba, Saturdays Core Conditioning.And, of course, I will add other exercises to that list independently. I also have to work on my eating habits (as always). I can be a really healthy eater, but I just LOVE food, so I often eat way too much!

There's no excuse for me not to work out at least an hour a day for the next month, as I have no work schedule to abide by! I am really looking forward to starting these classes, and getting into a really healthy eating routine. I plan to cook from my new "How to Cook Everything: Vegetarian" cookbook a lot! I have already made several things from this book that have turned out deliciously! I will blog about them soon, as blogging is another thing that I can do a lot more of with my new found free time. I actually made a list of what to do in my spare time, as you'd be surprised how easily time can get away from you without a set schedule!

Well, I'm off to do something with my day -- to be determined!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Rock Chalk

On a whim, Chris and I decided to take a trip to my alma mater -- The University of Kansas AKA KU, home of the Jayhawks (a completely fictional bird, if you were wondering). I have been feeling really down lately. There are so many horrible things going on in the world right now, and no matter how much I try to avoid the news for self preservation, I still think and hear about all of the messes to be cleaned up. When thinking of alternative vacation spots, because of the horrible political unrest in Bangkok recently, I began to become more and more depressed. How about a cruise out of Florida again? Oh wait, there's a horrible oil rig spewing oil all over the gulf. How about a trip to Ireland and the UK? Oh wait, the volcano may still be spewing ash preventing our flight from taking off. How about Greece?! No? There are riots and horrible economic issues? Hmmmmm . . . where in the world is there not something terrible going on? Anyway, to turn a horribly pessimistic post into a happy one, we thought it best to get the heck out of dodge for a weekend. Lawrence, Kansas is quite the idyllic little college town (at least for the two of us liberal, hippie wanna bes). We decided to bring the dogs along this time, renting a really crappy motel room where they accepted dogs.

One of the things I'm sure Ollie (our standard poodle) misses most about Lawrence (his childhood home) is their AMAZING off-leash dog park -- the "mutt run". It's this huge amount of land for a dog park, where the dogs can romp around with each other, or walk free on the trails with their owners. The dog park was our first stop as SOON as we got into town.

My boys have such cute butts.

Can you spot the Wembley dog in this picture?

I'm not sure what the heck Ollie is doing with his mouth wide open.

Ollie encountered a turtle for the first time!

It wasn't scared.

So, after wearing the dogs out, we sat down with the picnic lunch I had packed. Whole wheat flat-out wraps filled with a hefty portion of Sabra hummus, cherry tomatoes, sweet pea sprouts (from our CSA), and red onion. They were delicious!! I think this will be one of my "go-to" lunches for the Summer (when I am going to try to lose a ton of weight in a month in order to prepare for the beaches of Thailand, which we still plan to go to considering things have calmed for now). We also had our CSA strawberries, carrots, and pretzels.

The doggies were so hot after their run around the dog park -- this was Wembley's solution:

Then we took the dogs to the motel for a quick air-conditioning cool down. And it was off to Mass. (Massachusetts) Street for a stroll down the street of seemingly endless shops, bars, and restaurants. We knew we'd be eating dinner at our favorite place -- Zen Zero. I always get their Thai Spicy Basil Tofu dish.

The dogs were surprisingly well behaved as we ate outside on the patio. I guess we sufficiently wore them out.
Chris relaxes on ZenZero's patio with a Free State beer.

Then we had to hit up the BEST ice cream shop -- Sylas and Maddy's!! Mmmmmmmm. We walked our food off, but after that, headed back to the motel for reading and relaxation. We, unfortunately, couldn't head out to the bars, because every time we tried to leave the dogs in the motel room alone, they would bark like mad.

Sunday morning we got up and got a scone, muffin, and two coffees and headed back to the dog park to re-wear out the dogs. They had a great time again, and so did we.

We walked them around campus, and got this obligatory "family" portrait (minus Chris who doesn't claim KU, even though he loves it).

Then, it was lunch at our other favorite place -- Papa Keno's pizza! Of course, afterwards, another trip to Sylas and Maddy's. It's always the goal to hit that place up as many times as our stomachs will allow in a trip. This time it was twice, as we were only in town for about 24 hours. I then bought a new KU t-shirt (I love t-shirts), and Chris bought a growler from Free State Brewery along with a Free State t-shirt.

My Southwest pizza -- jalapenos, onions, tomatoes, and a little crumbled bacon!
Don't worry, he didn't eat it all!

It was such a great trip. I felt it helped renew my happiness, my outlook on the world, my outlook on our dogs (who behaved so well, unlike they have been lately), and our relationship got a much needed happiness charge. We had been in a bit of a sulky rut lately . . . this was just what we needed.

Rock Chalk Jayhawk, KU!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Share, Chicks, and fridge on the fritz

Well, this will be quite the random post. A couple weeks ago, one of the schools I travel to was incubating eggs (ha! story of my life), and 7 adorable chicks were born! I couldn't believe the beautiful colorations they ended up with:

Also, the new Fair Shares Community Shared Agriculture season began two weeks ago! We are getting some delicious things, as usual. Here is just a small sampling:

Mild Cheddar from Mountain View, MO

Companion Bakery Strawberry Poundcake from St. Louis, MO

THE BEST preserves EVER!

Black Beans and Rice
A drawer FULL of farmer's greens (including some arugula that I am in the process of turning into pesto, but I forgot to buy lemons and pine nuts today)

Fresh mint -- anyone know if mint regenerates roots if you leave it in water?

AND -- CSA inspired chicken noodle soup. This is just the stock part of the process, but if you look closely, you can see our little whole chicken from our CSA. After making the stock, I built the soup with onions, carrots, celery, leeks, the chicken, the stock, and our CSA egg noodles. I will try to take a picture of the finished product soon, but I lost the daylight by the time the soup was finished.

And that brings us to the "fridge on the fritz" part of the blog . . . Friday, upon returning home from a long day at work and then out and about . . . we discovered that everything in our freezer was becoming quite soupy, and our fridge was growing warmer by the minute. DANG! We had just gotten all these delicious meats and such at our CSA. This would have been the perfect time for someone to prank call us and ask "if our refrigerator was running," because it wasn't, and that would have ruined their joke! So, our refrigerator was headed to the appliance grave yard. Fortunately our friends who live close by were able to offer their deep freeze to us until we found a new fridge.

We headed off to Lowes and Sears. We liked the refrigerators at Sears, but they just don't have the deals like Lowes does, AND they didn't have any of the fridges we wanted in stock. So, we headed back to Lowes where they were able to offer us free delivery and haul away, 0% financing for 12 months, and a pretty good price. AND, the best part, they were able to deliver the next day!

So, here she is, in all her glory, my new pride and joy . . .

You might wonder why I didn't dress her up for her online debut, and left her with blue tape and plastic in tact. Well . . . that's because the Lowes delivery guys dropped a dolly on the freezer door on their way into our house and created a huge dent. SOOOOO they have to come back out this week and bring us a new door. PLUS, they messed up the copper water line that hooks up the ice and water spouts, so they have to come back out to fix that too. Oh well, at least we have a working fridge and freezer again! AND, it's going to be so AWESOME to have crushed ice whenever I want! I LOVE crushed ice . . . almost as much as I love an organized fridge:

We went to Costco today and bought a HUGE pack of strawberries and a huge bag of bell peppers, so I got to cut some of them up and put them in the new freezer.

I can't wait to eat some crushed ice! It's the little things in life . . . nighty night . . . off to write a STUPID report for work (my FAVORITE part of the job).

End of NIAW and Beginning of Life

Well, unfortunately I didn't find time to blog at all this past week, even though it was National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). I did, however, get the message out through e-mails to friends and family, as well as numerous Facebook posts of facts found on Resolve's website.

While I was talking about infertility, several close family members were demonstrating their fertility by having BABIES! On April 19th, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law had their twins (boy and girl). We went up to visit in the hospital that day (even though it was a 2 hour drive to get to them). We also visited the following weekend for an overnight visit with the new additions and the parents.

Chris and our new niece.
The new niece and me -- no pics of the nephew, because I tried to use pictures that didn't show their faces (to respect the privacy of their parents), and all the pictures I had of him were full facial shots.

THEN, on April 25th, my cousin's wife had her daughter!! I am to be named Godmother, which was a big honor for me, as I really love my cousin, his wife, and their 4-year-old daughter. I know I'm going to fall right in love with their newest addition! I didn't get any pictures on my visit Friday, but will be sure to take some at her christening and see about getting her mama's permission to post.

It was definitely hard to hear about and see these new babies (that aren't mine), but I really was happy and excited to hold and play with these 3 cuties. It was quite a mix of emotions. At times I was overwhelmed with the desire to have my own baby ASAP, and then other times I would think, yikes!, do I want babies?!?! Of course I DO want baby(ies), but they are hard work, and they change EVERYTHING!! It's hard to let your mind think of those potential changes to your life when you have to work so hard to try to procreate!