Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I went home from work today sick. Granted, those of us with chronic conditions have different definitions for the word sick - today is one of those days where "sick" means "not contageous but can't function properly in polite society".

I started feeling awful on Sunday during my 8 hour shift in a 90 degree building with no windows or anything. Then, the next day I felt bad too and was actually physically ill.

Tuesday I managed to get it together and make it through the day/night fairly well. I even managed to go on my morning run without any issues.

Then I woke up this morning. Just as sick, if not worse, than I felt on Monday and still tried to make it through work. Bad idea.

So now I'm home- rockin my leggings and oversized sweater - cuddling with a worn out pup home from daycare early and the cat. I look awful since I'm so bloated I have my own gravitational pull, but whatever. At this point I don't care.

The whole situation is annoying because it's just a really bad episode of my IBS and it's causing me all this trouble. I feel terrible but I don't look "sick" so my coworkers think I'm a big fat faker. At least I have an appointment with the doctor on Friday and we can try and figure out how to deal. At the very least I'll get some documentation on my condition so nobody at work can say anything.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Settle in, this is a long one

It's been a bit of a crazy weekend, and it's only mid day on Sunday still.

Yesterday included a few errands, obedience school for Finn, grocery shopping and LOTS of baking on my part.

Steve requested strawberry cupcakes after reading a facebook status about strawberry buttercream frosting. So, being the loving wife that I am, I looked up a recipe (thank you!) and made sure to add the inngredients we didn't already have to my grocery list. After quite a long and involved process, we had success!

The cake part is just a vanilla cupcake with chunks of fresh strawberries, and the frosting is homemade strawberry buttercream. It was first time using cheesecloth and ended up being a huge mess... but a fun one! The end result was some really good treats! I'm taking the excess to work since I really don't need a dozen cupcakes just for myself.

After the cupcakes were finished I got inspired to go ahead and try the other recipe I have been sitting on for a few days, cranberry orange scones.

(I'll be adding pictures of both of these soon)

I got this recipe from after searching for weeks to find a good one that wasn't loaded with tons of fats and calories. I have gotten into the habit of taking a muffin and tea for breakfast at work in and effort to curb my desire to stop at starbucks on my way in. Their cranberry orange scone is my kryptonite... especially when paired with a chai tea latte. I had hoped that by finding a good recipe for a mufffin version I could avoid the extra calories.

Low and behold, this recipe definitely fits the bill! It has a great texture, only about 160 calories each (according to's recipe calculator), and is full of the flavor I love so much in the scones. I will definitely be making these again and will not be sharing them with my coworkers.

Finally, this morning I made some changes to my running playlist and got out for a couple miles in the neighborhood. I've had a really hard time lately being able to deal with things around me and running has become like therapy. Pushing my body to move like that pretty much forces my mind to leave everythign else and focus on the task at hand. As a result, the music I listen to as I work through my stuff has gotten a bit harder and more intense. Some of the old favorites are still there, but there has been a distinct shift in tone as a whole. Notice the list on the left.

This past week was really difficult for me. This weekend was a bit of a recharge (although it's being cut short by a day) and next weekend is a three day weekend for me with my family at the beach. :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

a new mantra

I've seen some posters and shirts around that say "keep calm and carry on". It looks cute and I kept wondering what it was all about.

Being the nosy person I am, I took it to Google and found out that it's actually a propaganda slogan from the British government during WW2. They were trying to get the public to stay calm even in the face of almost certain Nazi invasion.

I really like the back story on the slogan. It sort of speaks to me where I'm at right now in life.

Today was a particularly rough day at the end of an especially rough and hellish week. I needed this slogan today.

And so... I have adopted this as my new mantra. No matter how awful things seem or how difficult it is in the coming months I will keep calm and carry on.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

tales from the archives

For those who don't know, I work for a historically black university, in the library. I recently was given the responsibility of taking care of the university archives in addition to my current job and this morning I got my first taste of what that will be like.

One of the university's previous presidents passed away yesterday and, as the go-to person, I was asked to search the archives for information, pictures, and any other materials we may have regarding this man and his time here at the university.

As it turns out, this man was president of the university during the majority of the 1970's. Imagine for a moment all of the events and issues facing a historically black university in the deep south during that particular time in history. Now consider how interesting it would be to be able to read through the student newspaper from that time period.

It was a very interesting and eye opening experience for me. It is such a unique perspective and I found myself completely engrossed in the various poems, articles and letter to the editor. The opinions weren't always things I agreed with, but just the opportunity to read them was thought provoking.

slightly unrelated - as I looked through the yearbooks I found that the candid section was actually called "bullshit". That's how it's listed in the index and the table of contents. I think my mom would have a heart attack if her yearbook students pulled something like that! lol

Monday, September 20, 2010

In case you aren't aware...

This week is banned books week.

As someone who works in a library and aspires to teach English, I feel that it is important for me to make sure everyone knows about this noteworthy week.

I could go on and on about the various issues I have with banning books and literary censorship, but there happens to be a good website that makes some great points in a much more eloquent way than I would likely accomplish. If you have time, please check out the section of the American Library Association's website regarding banned books.

I would like to challenge those that read my blog to read a banned book this week, or at least a portion of one. Chances are you've read one before since the list gets longer every year.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

a productive weekend

I'm currently sitting on my couch waiting for the dough for the dinner rolls to rise and my mother-in-law to arrive. She's coming over to the apartment for the first time since we moved in and we're all having dinner together. As a result, Steve and I pretty much spent the day cleaning and getting things ready.

The menu for tonight is balsamic marinated chicken (from my DAR cook book), sweet steamed peas and whole wheat dinner rolls (from my Taste of Home cookbook). It's all very easy and simple, but great for a lazy indian summer evening.

Also accomplished today were a batch of Vegan Lemon Wheat Muffins that I found over on PreventionRD's blog. I may not be a vegan, but I am a fan of delicious muffins that are also fairly good for you. These came out really good, but I think next time I might try adding blueberries since the lemon is really subtle. Although I will say, if you like lemon cake as much as Steve and I do, these muffins are right up your alley. They're really moist and have a great texture with a hint of refreshing lemon flavor.

Between the muffins and the dinner rolls I've kept my kitchen pretty busy as of late.... not to mention all the new recipes I've been trying during the week for dinner. I'm finding that I really enjoy taking part of my weekend to bake. I spend a lot fo time cooking, but baking is not something I usually take time to do even though I have tons of great recipes to try. I'm thinking that I may make these weekend baking efforts a part of my routine when I don't have to work.

By the way, the new Taste of Home magazine came in the mail yesterday with all the incredible fall recipes inside. I've dog-eared several recipes to try out in the coming weeks, most of which include cranberries (which I love!). There was a recipe for pumpkin and cranberry cakes that sounds like heaven.

I hoep everyone else had a great weekend and enjoys the rest of their Sunday!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

a few of my favorite things

I am channeling a bit of my inner Maria from the Sound of Music this morning. The day started out kind of rough with the dog jumping on me wanting to play at 4am (after not letting me get to sleep until after 11pm). The hot water for my shower lasted a grand total of 5 minutes for some reason and the hem of my pants fell as I was getting into the car for work (5 minutes late).

BUT, like I said, I'm channeling my inner Sister Maria this morning so I'm going to list some of my favorite things in hopes that I won't feel so bad. :)

1) Twinings Earl Grey tea - Did you know they make this in decaf? I did not. At least until about two weeks ago while I was browsing Kroger. Since I'm supposed to stay away from caffeine but I love me some Earl Grey, this became my new favorite thing. And it's from Twinings... which only makes it better.

2) Noxeema - The kind that comes in the blue tub... not the new "reformulated" crap in a tube. This stuff seriously makes my face glow. It's the only thing (besides some witch hazel) that has ever allowed me to have nice skin. Thanks to my mothe rin law, I also found out that it works sort of like aloe to soothe burns too. Who knew?

3) shasta daisies - To quote Meg Ryan from You've Got Mail, "Aren't daisies just the friendliest flower?" It's true, they are. Nothing makes me smile quite like a big bouquet of white shasta daisies. I almost used them in my wedding bouquets, but my florist would have had a heart attack lol.

4) Fage greek yogurt with honey - This is a relatively new discovery, but I'm finding that I may not be able to survive without it for long periods of time. Greek yogurt is pretty much just liek regular yogurt, except with more protein per serving and I think less fat? I don't know. What I go know is that Fage brand is incredibly creamy and the honey mixed with the yogurt is one of the most delicious little treats I can eat at my office. It's pretty much always in my lunch now.

5) blueberry pancakes - Speaking of delicious food, I would be remiss if I did not include blueberry pancakes on this list. I've considered growing a blueberry bush just for the ability to have more blueberry pancakes in my life. You can't help but be in a good mood while eating them... they are delicious!

6) Project Runway - Oh, how I love this show. Tim Gunn is completely adorable and watching the designers panic every week is pretty much addicting. I DVR it every week so I can watch it when I'm not distracted or working on homework.

7) Glee! - Yes, I'm a Gleek. This show is completely adorable. Then again, I am a complete fan of musicals and cheesiness so this is pretty much right up my alley. I'll be so happy when it starts back up again.

That's all I've got for today.

Tomorrow I'm taking Finn to daycare for his evaluation! If he passes then he will get to stay the rest of the day and start full day daycare next week for three days each week! I'm so excited for him. He is always so upset when we leave him during the day. He's also starting his puppy classes on Saturday, so there will be plenty to update about this weekend!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

this weekend so far

I've been struggling to find something to say on here lately. Nothing particularly interesting or spectacular happened this week or this weekend. In fact, it was all quite a bit frustrating.

However, this weekend I have done a few things that I consider note worthy so I'll go ahead and share them with you. If you are bored to tears I am sorry.

I started journaling on again in hopes of actually making healthy changes for myself. With Steve's heart condition and both of us being more than a little overweight it's time I start becoming more aware of my body and the food I put into it.

This morning I made Goat cheese and honey stuffed fig muffins for breakfast. They came out pretty good. I think that if I coupled one of them with a cup of Earl Grey it would make for a great week day breakfast I could enjoy at my desk. This was my first time working with whole wheat flour but I was really happy with the results. I may venture into actual whole wheat bread late if I have the time and energy.

Yesterday I went for a run. I did this last saturday as well. Hopefully I can get into a routine where exercising isn't a once-per-week activity. Then again, once-per-week is better than nothing at all. Maybe I should just be happy I'm making any sort of progress?

Monday, September 6, 2010

weekend recap and menu planning at it's finest

What a great weekend!

Steve, Finn and I got home last night form our little trip up to north Georgia to see my family. We had a great time! Friday night's tailgate was low key and relaxing, exactly what we needed after almost 6 hours of driving (thank you I-75 AND I-285 for the traffic). We got to see a lot of people we don't get a chance to see very often and we had some great food!

One thing my family pretty much is known for, you never leave our house hungry and the food is always good.

I managed to fit in a run Saturday morning and did the plyometrics workout from P90X with my brother Sunday morning in an attempt to stay balanced. All I can say is that P90X is no joke! I'm so sore today... cerrying groceries up 3 flights of stairs today got a bit interesting. Steve had to help me out.

Speaking of groceries, I'm pretty excited about the menu I planned for this week. My grocery cart looked so good and healthy when I set it all on the check out counter. :)

tonight: pasta with roasted garlic, white cheddar and wine sauce from Annie's Eats
Tuesday: greek salad (from Annie's Eats) and leftover penne alla vodka
Wednesday: Italian sausage and tomato pasta from Real Simple
Thursday: Balsamic marinated chicken from my DAR cookbook with steamed green beans
Friday: chicken tostadas from Elly Says Opa!
Saturday: Spanakopita from David Lebovitz

And we can't forget dessert: I combined sliced strawberries with blieberries and raspberries, tossed them with a little sugar and about 1/2 cup of moscato. They're marinating in the fridge right now and I'll serve them over pound cake and fresh whipped cream.

As you can see.... it's going to be a week full of delicious food around our house! I'm really excited to try all the new recipes. It's so easy to gets stuck in a dinner rut when you have a busy schedule. I'm glad to have the chance to mix it up lately!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

getting away

Today is my Friday!!! Woo hoo!

Steve, Finn and I are headed up to my parents' house for the Labor Day weekend, and what promises to be a fun time for all. My grandma Westfall and Grandpa Bob will be in for the weekend too so it will be a full house.

Friday night we are going to the football game at the high school where my mom works. My whole family is pretty invested in the school and they've made a lot of friends there so it's always fun heading over. Not to mention, they always host an amazing tailgate prior to the game. Steve has never tailgated before, so I'm particularly looking forward to this. :)

Saturday is my dad's birthday and birthday party with my parents' friends, most of whom have known me for several years.

We'll definitely make time to head to the mall of Georgia for a bit and bask in the retail goodness. I've been saving up some shopping for a couple weeks so I could do it in the big Macy's there. I seriously miss being able to shop at well maintained and fully stocked stores that don't cater to tourists.

This will be our first road trip with the puppy, but I think it's going to be just fine. On our 45 minute drives to Petsmart he just sort of hangs out in the back seat and sleeps. I think he'll do the same thing most of the 5 hours to Atlanta.

I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend!