Category Archives: food

2009: A Year in Review

I had planned on breaking this into two separate posts, but time got away from me.  Here’s what I’ve been up to the last 12 months:

January

  • 30 days of 30
  • First ski/snowboard trip
  • Neil Clennon Reffett was born

February

FAIL

March

  • Work trip to San Francisco (two posts… here and here)

yep, that's a CRUISE ship on the right

April

Clennon and I post-race

May

The girls of Hewett 6 (minus Jo)

June

  • Ohio for Reds/Cubs game
  • Ryan Joseph Lingas was born
  • Started the Great Paint Project

Self-portrait attempt #2. This pic is horrible, but I LOVE it 'cuz it's so real!

July

  • Infamous Rural King incident
  • Cubs/Cardinals game
  • Stephanie’s bachelorette party
  • Hayden Michael Bates was born


August

After

Highlight of the trip: Getting up on waterskiis for the first time!

the entire bridal party!

September

  • 4th 5K
  • Surprise birthday tailgate

October

The bigger the hair, the closer to God

November

December

  • Kim’s surprise birthday party
  • Christmas with my dad’s side
  • Oak Ridge Boys concert
  • First Christmas with my new niece
  • CHRISTMAS BREAK!!!

Birthday girl doing shots

My 92 year old Grannie and my newborn GREAT niece

In addition, there were countless nights out, NUMEROUS trips to Chicago and plenty of downtime.  All in all it was a pretty good year.  I can’t wait to see what 2010 has in store for me.

Resolutions 2009: How’d I do?

Let’s see how well I stacked up on my New Years Resolutions, shall we?   (if you’re really bored, you can find the  original post here… and “check up” post here.)

Resolutions 2009 were as follows:

Be 100% smoke free– SUCCESS!

I can say with 100% certainty that I do not smoke. I don’t even know the last time I wanted to smoke.  My lungs are happy.

Avoid fast food– FAIL

It seems that I succumb to fast food more than ever these days. In fact, on my last trip to Chicago, I ate it for lunch AND dinner.  Big fat FAIL (with emphasis on the “fat.”)

Finish more books– FAIL

One would think that being surrounded by books, being a member of a book club, and being a self-proclaimed “book nerd” would mean I would actually read every once in a while.  But I haven’t.  At least not enough.   The last book I finished was a 250 page YA novel. Go me!

Learn to write fiction– FAIL

They say the best way to learn to write is to write…. And even though I took a fiction writing class, I haven’t “practiced” much since then. And I haven’t really felt the desire to get back into it.  Maybe over the winter (?)

Watch more movies– FAIL

I gave up my Netflix subscription and can count on one hand the number of movies I saw in the theater this year.  It’s sad, really, when you can’t even accomplish your “fun” resolutions.

Be more honest– SUCCESS!

I marked this off the list months ago.  Kind of a lame resolution anyway.

Learn to appreciate poetry– FAIL

I’ve tried… really.  And I like to make up birthday poems for my friends.  But it’s really not the same.

Get back to a fighting weight– SUCCESS!

Although I’d still like to lose 20-25 lbs, I’m at *roughly* my “low” weight from a couple of years ago.  And I’ve recently started buying a smaller size (thanks to my friends who told me my “tight” jeans really weren’t that tight!);

Get control of debt– QUESTIONABLE

I’d say I’m in control of my debt… but I’m not out of debt, and I certainly am not where I want to be.  This will be a carry-over resolution next year.

Be more responsible– QUESTIONABLE

I think I’ve been a bit more responsible this year… but I still dont’ really feel like an adult, even though I’m 30.  I wonder when you start feeling grown-up– is it when you have kids?? 

So, there you have it:  my resolution recap for 2009.  Look for a 2010 resolution post sometime before February!!

Philadelphia Fun

I was in Philly last week/weekend for work.   As always, it was a lot of WORK… but I managed to squeeze in some fun.  

Some things on my to-do list:

1. Run the “Rocky” steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art–check!

I ran the mile and a half from my hotel to the steps… and then ALL the way to the top… it was quite a feat.   I even had the Rocky theme song playing as I ran up the steps.   A nice man who was in town for the English teacher convention (i.e. OUR convention) took this picture.   It’s a little embarrassing, but I was sooooo happy to have “proof.”

Afterwards, I tried running back to my hotel… and got lost (shocker!).   I probably got an extra 2 miles of running in + an extra 3 or 4 walking.   Navigational FAIL!

2.  See the Liberty Bell–check!

Through glass.  At night.  It wasn’t that impressive.   But I got one viable photo:

3.  Sample an authentic Philly cheesesteak– check!

You’ve probably heard of the famous rivalry between Genos and Pat’s– two steak stands in South Philly who vie for the title of “best” cheesesteak.    After our work was done, a colleague and I took a cab to sample the goods.  She got a *very* plain sandwich–steak and provolone only–from Genos and I got a pepper steak “with” + Whiz from Pat’s (that’s cheesesteak lingo for a cheesesteak with peppers and onions and, yes, Cheese Whiz).     Mine was better.  Not only did mine have the delicious goodness of the peppers, onions, and cheese whiz, the meat and bread of mine was tastier.  Pat’s wins… hands down.

Geno's on the left, Pat's on the right

 4.  Participate in the Philadelphia Marathon– FAIL (sorta!)

I had originally planned on running the 8K as part of the Philly marathon, but it sold out too quickly.  Then I thought about going down and spectating the beginning of the race.  But it was entirely too crazy down there.    I did, however, “crash” the marathon expo… and bought a couple of  shirts (one of which I’m wearing in my Rocky picture… it says “Will Run for Beer,” but you really can’t read it). Spending money counts as supporting the running community, right?  :)

entrance to the Philly Marathon expo--literally steps from our own exhibit hall entrance!

I also shared many dinners, laughs, drinks, and good times with my work buddies.   Putting on these shows is kinda like camp– you bond instantly with your co-workers.  Except it’s really hard work and we’re all tired and cranky.  But at the end of the day, it’s nice to have a good group of people to commiserate with!

 

What I learned on my first post-iPhone run

  • Ignorance is Bliss
    I downloaded a running ap* for my phone to keep track of time, distance, pace, etc.  I thought I needed it so I can work on my pacing.  Turns out I was checking it every 2.3 seconds and, therefore, never got into the “zone.”  It was kinda like my first 5K where I felt like I used up too much mental energy to enjoy it.
  • Knowledge is Power
    However, the ap confirmed what I already knew:  my pace is all over the place (rhyme time!).  I was running anywhere from 8:30 min/mile to almost 15.  Yes, almost 15… I can walk that (and did last night).   Maybe periodic pace checks are more reasonable.

  • Armband is necessary
    Definitely going to need to invest in an armband if I decide to continue running with my phone.  Tonight I carried my phone in my hand and had my iPod on my hip (as usual… classy, I know!).    Although my pink iPod and my pink iPhone were color coordinated, it wasn’t comfortable to run with the phone in my hand.  And I kept turning on and off the “map” function.  Plus, maybe having it on my arm will keep me from peaking too much.

  • There’s no such thing as an “easy” run when you have a belly full of junk
    I usually run in the mornings on an empty stomach.  Today, I chose to sleep in and I ran after work.  It has been perfect weather here and I only had a 2 miler on the schedule, so I was excited for a nice, relaxing run.  Unfortunately, I filled up on junk all day today and I could feel it while I was running.   Must.Eat.Healthier.   Maybe if I tell myself that losing 10 lbs will help my running, I’ll actually do it.  We’ll see.

All in all it was a pretty crappy run, but I get to put a check in the “done” column… plus, I got a blog post* out of it!

———–

* for you runners/walkers/iphone junkies out there– i’m looking for ap recommendations!

**anyone notice that as soon as I said I was “over” blogging, I started posting more often.  figures.

Long Time, No Blog: Bonus Features

Lisa was kind enough to post some photos of our Minneapolis trip, so I’ve decided to do like they do with DVDs and offer some “never before seen” bonus features:

Ate some killer Malaysian food in MPLS.  Heard a great (albeit very broken) story about a fire in a Malaysian place in Chicago.

Drinking a pomegranate concoction at the Malaysian place; Lisa got a Woo-Woo

Drinking a pomegranate concoction at the Malaysian place. Lisa got a Woo-Woo

Witnessed and responded to an on-the-job accident. Not real common in my line of work.

Sign warning us that such accidents may occur.  Taken well after said accident

Sign warning us that such accidents may occur. Taken well after said accident

Took a photo next to a statue of Mary Tyler Moore.

She turns the world on with her smile

She turns the world on with her smile--post tipsy shopping and wine-fueled dinner.

Met (and held!) another newborn baby

Me holding Rush

Me holding Rush

Attended a baby shower and graduation party.

Check out the cute little flip-flops I got him...

Check out the cute little flip-flops I got for Rush...

Lisa and I at the graduation party

Lisa and I at the graduation party

I wish I had taken pix of the teacher freebie pandemonium and the Mexican wrestling.  However, some things are better left to the imagination.  A couple more points:

  • The cucumber-flavored candy was unintentional.  It was green, so I assumed it would be sour apple, or (at the worst) lime.  It was only after the candy had been POURED into my mouth that I realized it was cucumber-flavored. I’d love to have a reaction shot of my face when I tasted it.
  • The nickname story will have to be shared privately.  Mostly because I really, really, really do not want it to stick!

Long time, no blog

I know the “too busy to blog” excuse is getting lame.  But it’s true.  I was hoping to write some proper blog posts, but since some of you like lists (shout out to Harley Quinn– I loved your last comment!), I figured I’d save myself the trouble of actually having to write anything.

In the last week and a half or so I:

  • Witnessed masked Mexican wrestling in Chicago.  It was awesome.
  • Tasted cucumber-flavored candy.  It was awful.
  • Learned that you really can’t just miss your connecting flight or your entire ticket is invalidated.
  • Re-booked my ticket.  Twice.
  • Got hit on by a Greek waiter in Chicago and a Mexican bar patron in Minneapolis.
  • Spent entirely too much time on Sporcle.  Finally learned the correct spelling of Kazakhstan.  It comes in handy.
  • Ate some killer Malaysian food in MPLS.  Heard a great (albeit very broken) story about a fire in a Malaysian place in Chicago.
  • Witnessed and responded to an on-the-job accident. Not real common in my line of work.
  • Learned I like tamales.
  • Congratulated a friend on her recent engagement. Yay Keem!
  • Almost forgot, and then lost, and then found my journal/notebook.
  • Saw Star Trek. Loved it, despite zero familiarity with the original.  Reminded me a lot of Star Wars, actually.  And Lost.
  • Met (and held!) another newborn baby.
  • Picked up a new nickname (which I’m trying HARD to not let stick).
  • Ran my second 5K, less than a month after my first, with no iPod. After being gone for a week and out drinking the night before.
  • Mowed my lawn immediately after the 5K.  Bad idea.
  • Learned that I was selected to be a Nielsen “family.”  I can’t wait to report my 2.5 hours of TV watching a week.
  • Improved my ability to ride public transportation.
  • Received a comped dessert because dinner took so long.  Waited about 20 mins for said dessert.
  • Had multiple weird conversations about weight loss.  Including one that started with “I hope you’re not offended, but…”  Um, no, not offended!
  • Took a photo next to a statue of Mary Tyler Moore.
  • Met a friend’s new boyf.
  • Spent Mother’s Day with my mom, brother, and sister-in-law. Against our advice, my mom insisted on having it at her house and making all the food.
  • Ran in Chicago.  Gave unsuspecting motorist directional advice.  Felt really bad afterward.
  • Attended a baby shower and graduation party.
  • Received invitations to two other baby showers.
  • Witnessed teachers literally FIGHTING over free books.
  • Engaged in some tipsy shopping.  Bought books and a belt between happy hour and an awesome wine-fueled dinner.

Things I haven’t done

  • unpacked
  • watched last week’s Lost
  • slept, at least not much

Of Rice and Men

You know how facebook’s new prompt is “What’s on your mind?”  Well, this is what mine would say if I answered that question correctly (and repeatedly)

  • It’s Friday night. I’m hanging out at home.  I’m okay with that.  I can handle solitude in small doses.
  • I paid $75 this week to get my oil changed and a new tail light.  Then they told me I needed new brakes and a bunch of other stuff.  I hate car repairs.  I don’t have a car payment, so I can’t complain.  But, seriously!
  • I’ve apparently forgotten how to make rice.  It’s been cooking for probably an hour and I’ve had to add water twice.  Grrr..
  • I had a great run tonight. I think it’s the new shoes.
  • I have a super busy weekend planned.  Hence the staying home on a Friday night.
  • We started a “Biggest Loser” thing this week in preparation for Steph’s wedding.   I think it will be fun. I’m taking “before” and “after” pictures, but I can’t post them until it’s all over.
  • My co-worker just had her babies.  Yes, that’s right– twins.  And she has a one-year old at home.  Congrats!
  • I need to write a couple stories for my class. I have some ideas, but I can’t bring myself to write them yet.  Thus, the blogging.
  • I’m dog sitting for the night and I just discovered Roxie has this crazy “patch” of skin/fur that needs to be checked out.  Yet another appointment I’ll forget to make.
  • I really need a personal assistant.  Or maybe just someone to pay my bills.  I’m also putting that off.
  • Kansas’ Carry On My Wayward Son makes zero sense.  But it’s so damn catchy.
  • Kansas is my least favorite state to drive through.  On one trip out West, my parents drove through Kansas in the middle of the night to spare us the boredom.  I woke up in the middle of the state thinking there was a rain storm.  There wasn’t. It was bugs.  Splattering on the windshield enough to make me wake up and think it was rain.  Gross.   My apologies to any  Kansasians (?) who might read this…
  • The shuffle on my iPod is apparently not working ‘cuz Kansas is now on again.  Annoying.  Must change it.
  • Got up to change the song on the iPod and realized the rice was burning. Smoke alarm went off. Hilarity ensued. 
  • Foo Fighters now on iPod.  Best of You. I can’t hear this song without thinking about Breaking Bonaduce when his wife gave him a mirror with the lyrics on it. “I needed somewhere to hang my head/without your noose.”  Yeah, totally not a love song.  I think they’re now divorced.
  • I think the burnt rice ruined my “good” stock pot.  Ugh.
  • This is my new favorite quote:  “I don’t feel middle-aged — I just feel like I’ve been young a lot longer than most people. “
    Not that I am middle aged, but the second half really resonated with me.   It came from this really great article on drinking.

I think I’ll end on that note.  ‘Night.