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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Greek Fest!!!

I'm always scared of festivals in the New Orleans summer heat - I dread the headache from beating down sun, the smell of other hot people, the bacterial breeding ground food, the weird tan lines the next day. It turns out that the perfect solution is to have your festival at night! Greek Fest Friday night was the perfect temperature, thanks mostly to storms and rain nearby. No rain came our way, though!
The 5k was bleah for me. It started at 7, so my blood sugar was crazy low and I was feeling lightheaded. Plus, you know, I'd been sick to my stomach so I hadn't really been eating anyway. And I was already a little woozy just from being sick. I figured I was ok to run though, and I was; but I had to slow it down and...well...I got sick during the race and right after! Grosssss! Some sweet lady at the finish line brought me wet wipes, which I must say was pretty heroic of her since no one really wants someone puking behind their spectating spots. My pace was horrid, 23:55, slower than I run on my normal runs in the park - which makes me wonder why I bother running races. It seems like something always goes wrong and then I feel like I wasted my entry fee! You know I'm cheap like that.
After the race we cleaned up and headed to the fest. We ended up running into a hundred people we knew (including one of my brothers) and I decided to settle my stomach with some feta fries. It did no such thing. I tried baklava next...same results. I decided perhaps the ol' tummy didn't need Greek food just yet. I managed the Abita lights just fine, though!
We sat on the grass by Bayou St John in a cool breeze listening to Greek music and talking to all the friends we happened to run into and I have to say (tummy and all) it was the most fun I've had at a festival in awhile.
What's your favorite summer festival? And have you ever run sick just because you already paid the entry fee? I totally would, even if I had bubonic plague. I can't stand wasting money. It kills me!
Up Memorial Day shopping spree for in-law birthday gifts!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

5k tomorrow and crazy work

Two things to chat about. First, I'm running the Greek Fest 5 k tomorrow. It sounds like oodles of fun. I've never actually been to the Greek Fest before. I hope I can keep my mouth off hunks of feta cheese and handfuls of olives before running, that's all. Except that shouldn't be a problem because I'm feeling rather bleah today. Some nasty little vomitty customer must have slipped me a stomach bug along with their prescription. Luckily I have a strong stomach and tend to get over these things in a few days. We'll see how the run goes, though - my run this evening was definitely on the slow side!
Second, one of the pharmacy technicians where I worked today quit without giving notice and I'm working at that store for about a week. Figures. It was, and will continue to be, crazy!
Wish me luck tomorrow at my 5k. I wonder if the winners get laurels? Wouldn't that be cute and Olympic?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Jewelry of Summer

Every season it seems like a few pieces of jewelry keep ending up paired with my outfits over and over again. It may be that they're new, so I'm looking for a chance to wear them; or they could be conveniently at the top of my overstuffed jewelry box over and over again!
Either way, I'm already seeing a pattern for this summer. I seem to be wearing these pieces a lot. Let's start from the middle and work our way out, shall we?

1. Fleur de lis cuff. I bought this last winter at a Pj's coffee and it's making a comeback this summer. The bold graphic design adds a tailored touch to looser, more summery outfits. Plus you can't go wrong with black and white.
2. Black pearl necklace. My aunt brought me this necklace as a gift when she visited for my brother's graduation. Most of my pearl necklaces are B or C grade and have that uneven look; these are beautiful smooth small rounds. They're about 5 mm which is an unusual size for round pearls. The dark color makes them less formal than white pearls and perfect to summerize an outfit; I've been wearing it with clothes you'd normally put with pearls (dressy blouses and classic dresses).
3. I got this chunky red necklace at the dollar store, but I love the long length and bright color! I've been pairing it with a sailor stripe boat-neck shirt: perfectly nautical.
4. I made the blue necklace with glass beads and hematite. The beads are unevenly dyed and look watery. It looks great against yellows - the hematite provides contrast and the blue compliments. I've been dressing up some of those sneaky hidden T-shirts with this one.
5. These coral colored pearls are paired with tiny gold beads. I made this one as a splurge - TWO strands of pearls, how luxurious! - because I was fascinated by the orange color. When I was making jewelry to sell I developed a new technique for knotting pearls (you can't just string them; you tie a knot between each one to prevent rubbing and to prevent loss of the whole strand if it breaks). The knotting technique makes double strands not as daunting - in fact, I finished this necklace fairly quickly, under two hours. It's adorable with white summer dresses and I've put it with crisp linen blouses, too.
Do you tend to wear certain pieces over and over again? What pieces are you wearing this summer?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Killed my microwave

Microwaves and I have issues. In my semi-hippie home growing up, we didn't have one. Actually we had one when I was four and microwaves were kind of new and cool. My grandparents bought us one for Christmas, and my mom would make us all go outside when she used it so we wouldn't radiate to death. At some point the microwave "got lost" in a move (we children fully understood this term to mean "mommy threw it out while we were moving in hopes that you would lay blame on the Allied moving men with the big truck") and we were microwave-less for many years. We survived. I have a creative system for heating leftovers up in a cast-iron skillet with a little water around the edges, and I learned to make popcorn in a pot over a burner.
My roommate had one in college, but I rarely used it; I couldn't get the heating times right. This persisted even after I married a microwave-owning bachelor (it's about the only appliance he used; I was impressing him with a homemade feast at his house while we were dating and asked if his rather ancient oven had to be lit, or if the pilot light lit electrically. He replied that he didn't know, as he had never turned the oven on.)
I spent a few years figuring microwaving out and it still throws me once in a while. Last week I planned on putting sausages in the oven, when hubby pointed out that the microwave would be faster and wouldn't heat up the house. Oh yeah! The microwave! I popped the pan in and microwaved a fully foiled baking pan for ten minutes, during which time I discovered that a certain amount of metal CAN be microwaved.
Then I killed the durn thing. I electrocuted it. I forgot that our 1900's house is very sensitive. We have only one outlet in the kitchen, and it sprouts an 8-pronged fire hazard. I'm not sure why we bother with 8 outlets since the electrical system can only handle one appliance at a time. I think it is just so we don't need to unplug and replug every time! Alas, I forgot about these restrictions and turned on our George Foreman grill at the same time as our microwave. They shorted out. I flipped the grill back on, but the microwave began making ominous clicking sounds. I tried ignoring it (I often do this when appliances or cars make funny sounds), but tiny sparks shot out of the vent. I guess I killed it. And now I'm microwaveless again. Luckily this is not the end of the world, as I am fully prepared to handle the crisis! Popcorn on the stove, here we come!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday...what are you wearing to work?

I have to kind of dress up for work. We have a dress code, but I cheat a lot: especially since I wear a white lab coat. White coats are the bathrobe of the medical profession. There's all kinds of wrinkly mess under most white coats.
For me, the most important component of my work wear is my shoes. 'CAUSE I LOVE SHOES! Actually it's because I stand up at work for 8 hours straight. I also move around a lot, and fast- so I need shoes that are practically athletic but look dressy.
The rest of my outfit varies, but I'm always well-accessorized. I don't want to look like I stopped caring. Once comfort > appearance, you look like you gave up on life. I make a lot of jewelry, so my collection is vast, and I usually wear at least 2 pieces. I'm also a fan of belts and scarves.
Today I'm wearing... slim slacks, a yellow T-shirt (it's under the white coat! Who cares!), and a bright cotton scarf. I forgot to put my jewelry out... I'll probably wear a thick bangle and skip the necklace and earrings since I have a loud scarf on. Those boots are super comfortable for all-day standing. I like the rubber heel - lots of shock absorption. Should I tuck my pants legs in? It looks pretty casual, but sometimes I do it anyway!
Tomorrow I'll...

...recycle the same slacks, this time adding a wrinkle-free button down and some copper wedges. I dislike flats for work. There just isn't enough between me and the floor, and I tend to lock my knees when standing in flats. The 1" wedge on these shoes is perfect. In fact I have 4 pairs of these wedges, 2 black, one bronze, and one silver! I'll wear a few bracelets and this mother-of-pearl and polished gemstone necklace. I made these necklaces for my bridesmaids and kept one when one of my bridesmaids had a last minute outfit change.
Of course, I always wear support hose to prevent varicose veins! Just kidding, I don't. I ought to, and every so often I buy a few pairs and promise myself I'll wear them. I wear them once or twice, then give up. They are so hot and uncomfortable and they squeeze my toes in a death grip!
What do you wear to work? Do you have a dress code? Do you break it? Mine says no open toed shoes, but on the weekends I wear peep-toe wedges. I'm a rebel like that!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Last running post, or "In which I run out of things to write about".

Running likes and dislikes....
LIKES: some of my favorite races, accessories, things to do...
- New shoes!
- Crescent Connection Race (over a long bridge)
- Vitamin Water Revive with potassium to decrease post run cramping
- Gulf Coast Classic 10k
- Compression shorts/capris
- Feeling just a little sore after a long run or race
- Gu. It's what's for dinner!
- The occasional untimed fun run.
- Running races with the brother(s)
- Rest days!

DISLIKES: the parts I don't adore...
- Having to carry water on a run
- Race T-shirts. I want my dresser drawer back.
- Running in 100% humidity. BOO.
- Forgetting to charge my ipod
- Knee pain.
- Running nausea
- Crescent City Classic. Meh, I'm kind of over it...too many people at this one!
- Summer acne from yucky sweaty work outs
- Ugly feet

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Running history

As you know, for no good reason I dedicated this week to all-running posts. I guess this is to get it out of the way so I can get back to what I do best: complaining and talking about food. So how about a little running history?
I started running the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college. I had undergone surgery the prior year that had a rather long recovery period and left me partially thyroid-less. I felt like I needed to do something active to kick my metabolism back into gear. Anyone who's been hypothyroid knows how much it SUCKS. You feel so tired and lethargic all the time, and exercise leaves you breathless. No matter. I figured my oxygen capacity would increase over time, and it has. For the first couple of years of running, I just jogged. I would run on my street or around my campus' main block. Both routes were just 2 miles each. I only started increasing distance when I started running with my friend and eventual roommate Bj. He ran track in highschool and I had to keep up with him. Plus if I slowed down he would throw gravel at me. True story. A few months into running together, I ran my first race (The Crescent City Classic 10K) in about 48:30. Unfortunately after that I took a pretty long hiatus - I still ran, but not as often, not too far, and not very fast. That's because I started pharmacy school and basically had no time at all for running. Or eating, sleeping, and engaging in any activity labeled "fun". During my last year of school, which is all clinical rotations, I found I had enough time to run a little more. I wore my old shoes out and for the first time was "fitted" for running shoes.
The experts at the shoe store gave me extreme over-pronator shoes that weighed ten tons. I bought two pairs of these because I found a brand-new pair on ebay for super cheap. My knees basically died. I wore these shoes for over a year and during that time ran two half marathons, suffered knee pain that kept me up at night, and finally saw a sports medicine doctor for my knee. Of course I was labeled with runner's knee, but I think changing shoes helped more than any of the exercises I was supposed to do. I say that because while I did change shoes, I didn't stick to the PT very well. I suck at following directions. This was mid-marathon training, and I somehow managed to seriously injure my right knee around that time. This was a separate injury and in retrospect I think it was a ruptured bursa (something about the fluid filled joint as big as a grapefruit seems bursa-like to me). I ran the marathon this spring and it was wretched - I was slow, in pain, sick, and injured. Now here I am trying to train for another - please, injury free! - and work on speed a little. I've never tried to improve my speed because as soon as I switched from rare jogs to regular runs I started an injury cycle. A quick read of this story should suffice to prove that I'm not really a "runner"; I'm just someone who runs for exercise. I'm still working out when I should eat, what my pace should be, which shoes are best. And I'm obviously not very good at running, as you can tell by my race times and my injuries.
But you know what? I have about 1/4 of a thyroid and I don't take any medication for it at all (doctors are baffled). I live with clinically underactive thyroid and not only am I healthy, but I run regularly and I'm normal weight. I think being active has really helped me here. I'm actually walking around with not enough thyroid hormone (that is why I'm perpetually freezing cold and have a heart rate and blood pressure that are absurdly low) but I'm not overweight! GO RUNNING! I might just be running for exercise, but RUNNING, YOU ARE AWESOME EXERCISE!
So...Do you run, or what's your fav exercise? And if you do, why do YOU run? And how long have you been running? And are your knees the texture of sea sponges yet?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Um...more new shoes! And running gear

Well...yesterday I bought MORE new running shoes! My "long run" shoes are actually totally worn through the sole (in less than 500 miles, ouch) and I can't run far in my Karhus. Since I was off work, I went to a local running store to see if they could help me fit my weird feet.
Foot weirdness: Extremely wide toes, average/narrow heel, bunions (ew), very very high arches, and...I pronate a lot. I know, people with high arches shouldn't pronate. But that's what I do! The gentleman at the store stared at my arches, then stared at my old worn shoe soles, then stared at me. He refused to sell me shoes. He told me I had the strangest feet ever and he was afraid of injuring me and he couldn't help me until I got a note from my doctor. Seriously. So I left shoeless. Next door was a TJ Maxx, and despite my sort-of promise to myself that I would quit buying new clothes for a while I stuck my head in just to check out the deals. Lo and behold! New Balance 738's for $29!

So I bought a pair. They're lightweight neutral shoes and probably not what I need, but for that price I guess I can try them! If I'm screaming and clutching my knees in a few months you'll know I was wrong on this one.
While I'm on the running subject I thought I'd share my basic running gear:

Shirt: whatever race T-shirt is on the top of my pile.
Shorts: I recently started wearing tight, compression style shorts. They don't do much for your figure but loose flapping fabric annoys me to no end. I love these!
Socks: These are from Walmart, but I also have some Underarmour running socks I like. I have some pairs from the dollar store, too - I'm not picky as long as they have padding.
Bra: I have tried nice Nike and Adidas jog bras and I hated them - they actually restricted my lung expansion! I wear cotton fruit of the loom. I had two Everlast jog bras in high school that I just threw out last month - talk about living up to your name!
Etc: Got to have my ipod, cheapo stop watch that goes off everyday at 6:15 because I can't figure out how to turn off the alarm, and dollar store sunglasses. I wear glasses even if it isn't sunny because they keep wind and dirt out of my eyes. I USED to wear the knee strap but I've weaned off it for now.
Hat: My aunt just bought me a white, wicking fabric hat that I intend to try out on sunny days. My head gets hot thanks to my dark hair.
What do you wear to run or exercise? Favorites? Things you can't do without?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shoe review - Karhu Fast Fulcrum

I bought these shoes for a steal and have tried them out enough times to review them. The concept behind the fulcrum design is to encourage mid-foot strike instead of heel strike.
FUNCTION: I find that the shoe actually does what it says it does - that is, I feel myself leaning into my stride as I run. If you don't lean, you sort of land on a lump in the sole (which is the "fulcrum"). I'm liking this so far, but I'm only wearing these for short, speedier runs. That's good, because the shoe is designed for speedwork and has a very minimal outsole that you could probably wear right through in one marathon. Karhu does makes other shoes that are designed for longer runs and have more stability.
FEEL: The shoe itself is comfy. There is no structure at all to the upper, but that works for me because the toe box is rather narrow and long and my toes are wide and short. The loose upper lets me adjust fit to my foot - but I should mention that in order to do so, I have to do some creative lace work; actually tying these shoes and getting them to feel right takes several attempts. These aren't slip on and off shoes - you have to rework the laces every time for correct fit. The insole and outsole feel SO cushy to me, and just standing in the shoe is comfortable. But take that with a grain of salt because I'm comparing these to a pair of Nikes with about as much cushion as a cinder block.
You should be aware that the shoe provides little or no stability. The fulcrum sole helps guide your foot strike, but your arches and ankles are on their own. I imagine that I pronate pretty badly in these, although it's too early to tell by the sole wearing. If you need support, or you are a heavier runner, Karhu does make a more supportive shoe.
FIT: Reviews for the shoe warned that it ran very small, but I did not find that it ran especially small for a running shoe. I wear an 8 or 8.5 shoe and bought a 9.5 Nike; I bought these in a 9.5 as well and actually I find them a little larger than my Nikes. This is partly due to a roomy inside since there's no upper structure, but most of that extra room is in the toe length, which is a little long and narrow. The long toe plus a not-very-narrow heel and the fulcrum design can tend to allow your foot to slide forward. This would be a problem if I wore these for distance. By the way I have wide feet and I don't have a problem with the fit, although the shoe appears "European" (narrow).
PRICE: The shoes are pricey for what's basically a racing shoe, $115, but you can find them for less (mine were under $40 including shipping) and actually Sierra Trading Post has them on sale again if you're interested, although for about $50 this time!
OVERALL: I was hoping these shoes would cushion my knees and maybe work with me to increase speed. I don't expect my shoes to actually make me run faster, but I feel comfortable knocking a few seconds off in the Fast Fulcrum (plus, it's called "fast", so you've just GOT to be inspired, right?). It's hard to tell if my knees are doing better or not because I'm wearing other shoes for longer runs. I'm loving them for a soft, fast, short run (3 or 4 miles) and if I ever get a weekend off and can squeeze a race in I'd definitely wear these!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Freedom's Run Marathon!!!

You might remember that I was debating whether or not to run the Freedom's Run Marathon in West Virginia this OCtober. I used to live in this area and really wanted to go back and visit, and the marathon sounded like a good excuse! I was a little concerned about it for a few reasons, though:
Concerns: I might not be able to get off work, I don't like to train in the heat, I have no hills experience and the course is described as "very challenging", that's a lot of money to spend on travel for one little race, I just got over a knee injury and what am I thinking.
But I persuaded myself to do it.
Persuasions: Limited entries were filling up fast, I DID get off work, my best friend from children's church when I was seven lives there, this is a great excuse to visit West Virginia (I can't think of any other particularly good reason), maybe overwhelming heat + 100% humidity will = same effort as hills during training.
So I signed up about a month ago and I signed the hubby up for the half marathon!! Haha, he hates me so much for that. Poor kid. I spent the last few weeks trying to find the spare time to make training plans, which I will share in detail later.
I am really excited about this race because I spent a large chunk of my childhood exploring these national parks. When you're one of nine kids you do a lot of FREE activities for fun! And I know the course is incredibly pretty. Check out how beautiful the course is in this gallery from last year:
Freedom's Run Gallery 2009.
I am still concerned about the hills and the ten miles of dirt road. But I decided that's ok because I am not setting a time goal for this race. I know, what's the point then, right? I don't want to set a goal because I really want to enjoy this race and the scenery. Some of my best childhood memories are here and I want to feel comfortable stopping at places with a lot of stories and laughs behind them. The course passes the place that my older brother flew off a 60-ft cliff on his bike and got caught in a tree top, and the place where I spun out on my bike and ground my leg into the gravel, leaving me with a large red scar that still oozed tiny pieces of gravel years after it "healed" (it's still there, a red triangle on my knee!). It passes the tow-path lock where our family ate many a breakfast purchased at Ye Olde Bakeshoppe in Shepherdstown, before setting off on a "death march" early morning walk. My dad trained for his marathon here, the Marine Corps marathon that he ran in 1991. My mother lumbered over many a hilly battlefield, hugely pregnant, chasing whoever the baby was at the time, while the older kids tried to keep up with whoever the toddler was at the time. One birthday we went to the battlefields on a day of reenactments, and I had my picture taken with a little girl in Civil War dress. I was so shy of her - she was only about my age, but she was so poised asking visitors if they wanted a photo with her!
So many family stories take place along the course of the Freedom's Run! This marathon I'm just going to enjoy. NEXT marathon (the Mardi Gras Marathon 2011) I want to run for time, but for now, it's just for fun and practice.
In honor of the marathon, and for lack of anything better going on this week, I hereby proclaim this week running week on my blog. So yeah, I'll finally review those Karhus I bought last month.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I won a race!

Three years ago!
And I just now discovered it!
Yesterday there was a local race I had planned on running but I didn't because...some other pharmacist flew to California on their weekend to work (I am not making this up) and I saved the day (and made overtime pay) by rushing in and opening the store. Totally not how I planned on spending my weekend, but the OT is really nice. Pharmacists' OT pay is basically obscene.
Anyway... when I got home I googled the race to see the results and only prior years' results were posted. And there I was, top female finisher three years ago! I guess I was a little faster three years ago, LOL. That makes the number of races I've placed in three...and I wasn't around for any of the awards because it never crosses my mind that I'd place so I go home!
Don't you love small, local races where you actually have a chance to place? In the recent Gulf Coast Classic 10k there were under 500 runners!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Presentation at work! and public speaking tips

For most of you, a presentation is NO BIG DEAL. That's part of working life, right? Not for pharmacists! I was always struck by my classmates' terror at public speaking, but that's normal in pharmacy. When's the last time you saw a pharmacist giving a speech, afterall?
Because of the rarity, it's easy to impress if you happen to be the pharmacist giving the presentation. I gave one yesterday at our district meeting and it went swimingly. I presented to all of our district's pharmacy managers, and my district supervisors were thrilled. I even received a congratulatory email from another pharmacist - it was the nicest email; he is nearing retirement age and the gist of the email was that he was confident in our profession if he could leave in the hands of pharmacists like me. So sweet!
(I am 100% for complimenting people if you think of something nice to say because it just might make their day. What nice and unexpected compliments have you received recently?)
But anyway. I do love me some public speaking. Give me a microphone and a laser pointer and I'll do my thang. My public speaking and teaching experience has led me to compile the following speaking tips:
1. Introduce yourself to connect with your audience. Not everyone knows who you are or why you should be teaching/presenting to them. Yesterday I mentioned "floating" to most of the pharmacists stores, but I also pointed out my qualifications so the audience could understand why I was selected to present the info.
2. Get attention in your first slide - a stunning statistic or a graphic; if your slide is uninteresting ask a question that requires audience answers. You want your audience awake.
3. HUMILITY. There are always one or two members of the audience who know so much more than you! Yesterday I kept that in mind because I was essentially teaching managers who had been pharmacists for years longer than I.
4. Do not speed up if you feel like you're running out of time towards the end of your presentation. Omit info if you must, but keep your enunciation and speaking pace the same.
5. Add an attention getter 3/4 into the presentation (question, joke, anecdote) to recapture those whose minds wandered.
6. Make eye contact with several members of the audience as you speak. Smile, laugh, move around. The podium will kill you. If your presentation is over 30 minutes switch sides of the stage half way through.
7. Never tilt your chin down. If you have to glance at your notes briefly move your eyes down. Putting your head down makes you look shy, unprepared, and withdrawn; losing that face-to-face contact will lose your audience.
8. When you make an important point, move towards the audience. It's like speaking in bold font.
9. Skip the objectives, outline, and summary. If you're well-prepared you shouldn't need to tell us what you're going to tell us about, and you sure shouldn't have to recap what you just told us. If the material is so varied that an outline is needed to follow the topic, put it in a handout instead.
10. Under no circumstances ever should you provide a handout of your slides. How redundant can you get?! A handout should only be given to provide additional information, allow note taking, or if graphic slides need to be reproduced for clarity. I almost always give a take-home handout for future reference; I want my audience looking at me or at my slides, not a piece of paper. It's bad if they look down, too!
What are your best public speaking tips and tricks? Do you love it? Do you hate it?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Saga of Bob

You remember Bob, of course. He was the kid on the cake. Actually HE wasn't on the cake, his NAME was on the cake. He was one of my brother's roommates and he graduated Saturday, as well. He was the one who planned to bring his family to the graduation party.
As things turned out, Bob did not bring his family after all. Actually Bob brought his family to the airport right after - I mean minutes after - receiving his diploma. They had flown in a small aircraft and had to leave immediately due to impending bad weather at their landing strip. So poor Bob showed up at the party alone, and with a lump in his throat. Not the crying kind, although I'm sure he was sorry to see his family abruptly go. He had a big old lump on his throat.He asked me if I knew what it could be (pharmacist, doctor, whatever) but after quizzing him I didn't know. It was too high to be thyroid, too centered to be lymphatic, and too soft/cool/pale to be infection. I told him to see an ENT on Monday (and recommended one) but to go to the ER if he spiked fever, the lump became painful, or he started to feel sick.
Then I sent him home with a foil packet of chicken because I felt bad that his family had abandoned him on his graduation day.
Sunday night I heard from Nate. Bob was in the hospital! I hunted him down and called him, and apparently on Saturday night he started running fever. He didn't do anything at first, but then the lump began to swell more and he remembered that he was supposed to go to the ER for a fever. He did and was admitted for Ludwig's angina! That diagnosis, although rare, sort of made sense to me (especially now that he had fever). But since then his doctors have withdrawn the diagnosis and are considering scarlet fever (huh?! I didn't see any of those symptoms!).
Poor Bob! He's still in the hospital. He still doesn't have a firm diagnosis! But he does have a job - he found out while in the hospital that he got a position he applied for. Perhaps the good news will help him pull through!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The party re-cap

Here are all the Thacker kids...minus my sister, who couldn't make it.
This weekend was so overwhelming and busy that I'm actually relieved that it's over. Between all the cooking and baking, the hosting, the entertaining, and the tension that results whenever my aunt and my mom get together...I'm a little happy to be heading back to work.
Here are some of the highlights of our packed weekend:
- Early Friday morning I spent making cake and doing last minute cleaning before picking my aunt up to attend Nate's honors ceremony. It turns out that he won four awards, two for English and two for Philosophy (his two majors). I think as a sister I'm allowed to brag about that a little. Apparently, I'm not. I posted that on facebook and a "friend" I barely know responded with a long public post containing multiple Bible verses pointing out that pride goeth before destruction. That absolutely annoyed me to death. It's not real pride if it's about someone else! Can't I just enjoy my brothers' accomplishments without being judged? People aggravate me. Unfriend!
- Drew Brees was great at the graduation and after half the graduates stopped processing to reach over and shake his hand he just got up and got in line to give each of them a hug or handshake.
- The party was a success! All the food was tasty and the weather was beautiful so our house did not overheat. My aunt was ecstatic to see most of the kids, since we rarely see each other thanks to the distance between us.
- Nate, the honoree, was barely with us the whole weekend. Why? Because he still had schoolwork! That crazy child had decided to write two theses and asked for a deadline extension to this Monday. In true Nate fashion he was writing all the way up to the deadline. Unfortunately that meant that he was hardly there to see my aunt, who flew in from Maryland, or my older brother, who drove in from Texas.
- My aunt had a long list of sights to see that we only barely made a dent in...but it still exhausted us. Thankfully much of our walking and shopping was done in the beautiful and unseasonably cool weather we had all weekend.
- I ate about 1 million calories this weekend, a result of having guests in New Orleans
Now I'm back to reality. Johnny (older brother) and Brenda (his wife) drove home yesterday; my aunt is flying home this morning. I have to crack down and ready a presentation I'm giving this Thursday that sort of took the back burner to my cake-baking, party-making few weeks.
Happy Monday to all!

Friday, May 7, 2010

World's Best Sister

That's me. Go ahead and dare deny it after gazing upon this labor of love:

It's four layers of dark chocolate cake filled with chocolate ganache and frosted with whipped cream frosting. Notice how Bob made the cake. I'm nice like that.
Sorry about the Blackberry photos. The husb has absconded with the camera memory card. He is forgiven all, however, because he has to entertain my family all weekend. What a good soul.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Graduation Party Menu

First, a quick update on my schedule drama:
1. I have to work Friday night, meaning I'll miss my older brother arriving from Texas and quality time with my aunt. She's arriving tomorrow, but it taking Nate (the graduating brother) out to dinner that night. As it turns out, this is not as bad as I thought. Nate was invited to an honors party/reception on Friday and my aunt is going as his "date" to check out his school, department, faculty, etc. So I wouldn't see them, anyway. But I WILL be off Friday morning, and that means I can attend Nate's honors ceremony. He's basically winning all the awards, including top literature award, top philosophy student, and something else important that I forgot (oops). So I can go to that with my aunt.
2. I got off Saturday! Late last night another pharmacist texted me that she would swap with me for next weekend. And she didn't make me take an extra day, either! As a thank you I'm going to have pizza delivered to the pharmacy on Saturday.

So on to my menu: I really, really did not want to spend this weekend cooking (especially with my schedule so up in the air). So I'm actually purchasing fried chicken. I planned on buying it at Crabby Jack's, a little hole in the wall with incredible food. But they're pricey - $2 a piece - and at my local grocery I can get 60 pieces for $50. My local grocery is good, too. So I have to make a decision about that still.
For sides, I'm making three cold salads: one is an apple/cabbage slaw, one is a fancy potato salad, and one is an orzo-sweet pea salad. I'm also serving lemonade, cantaloupe, an cake. The cake is 4 layers of chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling and rum-vanilla frosting.
I think this will be an easy menu, since the only part I'm doing can be prepared ahead, and it doesn't heat the kitchen up. With 20+ guests in my tiny house, we don't need any added stuffiness!
Can you think of anything I left off?
Oh and the vegetarians in the group? They're bringing their own main dish. Phew. One less detail to fret about!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

You know what? My job just isn't all that.

People think being a pharmacist is a cushy dream job. They think that I get paid six figures to count pills and put them in a bottle. The job doesn't LOOK hard, after all.
Quite honestly, they're right in a way. I enjoy my job, and I'm good at it.*** That's why I enjoy it! It's satisfaction at a job well done. I do make a nice salary, and it's more than adequate.
Now I'm not going to go into the whole, "BUT!" argument here: But you have to work late evenings or nights, but you don't get lunch, but you have to be on your feet all day, but you get bladder infections from holding it for 8 hours, but you have to work weekends and holidays, but everyone yells at you, but you're on the phone 95% of the time. I knew all that going in, so I'm not griping.
Here's what I am griping about.
I asked for this weekend off to host the big party I mentioned and spend time with my family, who is in town for my brothers' graduation. I didn't get it. I'm scheduled all weekend. That means I spent two ultra stressful days calling every pharmacist I know and begging them to work for me. In the end I traded shifts so that I am working the morning shift Saturday - I miss the graduation but I can make my own party - and got someone to work on Sunday in exchange for TWO Sundays later this year!
This drama has reduced me to a stressed out puddle of red eye...which I tried to show you in the picture above, but the flash made me squint. Take my word for it. My eyes are majorly blood shot!
Do people have a different perception of your job than you do yourself? How has work been sucking lately?

***Oh, why be modest? I'm the best pharmacist ever. There, I said it!

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Meet-up

(The meet-up group. I'm in the back looking damp and warm.)

Nobody slipped me a mickey, so that was good.
I met up with a group for sushi this Friday right after work. Unfortunately I got rained on going to my car and going to the restaurant, so I arrived a sticky mess. I met some nice people and one of them is a runner who had actually run a lot of races I had and we were swapping stories. His wife was charming and we chatted throughout dinner but...
I never got her name! We weren't really formally introduced and I either never caught her name or forgot it immediately. Now I'm annoyed at myself because I definitely had the most in common with her out of the whole group. Has that ever happened to you? You missed the name of the one person you really needed to be introduced to? Usually I'm pretty good with names, so this annoys me!