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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Obligatory Resolutions Post

I'm feeling the pressure. I get it - new year, new start, time to make some big life changes (translation: the gym and running track will be super crowded for a few weeks until everyone falls off the wagon around the last week of January. Here in New Orleans we have Carnival season, a debauchery of food, drink, and shiny plastic beads which speeds the process up a little).

But I hate resolutions. I dislike arbitrary rules (I as that aggravating "Why???" kid growing up), and that's what I equate resolutions with. However, I am going to bow to societal norms, so here goes:

My 2010 New Years Resolution is (yeah, there's only one):

- Order more cocktails. Yes indeed, people! No more hiding behind my merlot and reveling in its fruity warmth! On to the world of multiple ingredients and ice cubes! Dangerous territory, this.

Perhaps even some more ABSINTHE cocktails!

I'll let you know how that plan plays out.

Your turn. Got any resolutions? Or do you think resolutions just set you up for failure? Do you make long lists, or just one major change like my cocktailing resolution above?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

What was the dumbest thing you did in 2009?

Forget "accomplishments", "lessons learned", or "biggest decisions". It is so much more fun to look back at the dumb stuff we did, isn't it? I mean, with the way I live my life, it can be very entertaining.

Let's see, what did I do dumb this year?

Probably the dumbest was turning down a 6-figure job offer for one that paid thousands and thousands less...and never materialized.


Of course that story had a happy ending, but wow, that was pretty dumb.
Smaller dumb things I did?
- Used Emergen-C cranberry powder as a face mask since vitamin C is so good for your skin. I dyed my face dark pink.
- Almost flooded my car in a bad neighborhood.
- Trimmed my bangs into a shape closely resembling a parallelogram.
- Worked an overnight shift before Thanksgiving, followed by a 5-mile race the next morning then Thanksgiving festivities.
- Addressed a Christmas card to a cousin I barely know as "Mr. and Mrs. So and So" and they have been divorced for a year.
- Addressed another card to another barely-known relative and "Kate and Jack Brown and family" and, um, Jack's her oldest kid, not her husband. Whatever.

I'm sure there's more here but I better run to work - I want to be early and do a little shopping because it's employee 25% off day! Time to load up on toiletries!

Please share a dumb story below to trick me into thinking it's not just me.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Christmas pics, and a New Years recipe

I thought I'd share a couple of my favorite pictures from this Christmas, like hubby and I scrambling to make it in time for the timer:

Or kind of adorable kiss-pic (I have witch hair in this one):

And my wonderful in-laws!

And it's also a timely moment to share a party recipe that you can make ahead for New Years. It's delicious - more delicious than it sounds. It is also incredibly easy and fail-proof and no candy thermometer or complicated equipment is involved.

Dark Caramel Corn

You will need: About 4 - 5 quarts of plain popcorn. Follow directions on a bag of corn kernels to pop; let it sit uncovered while you make the caramel. (I actually don't measure the popcorn; I just pop a big pot-ful).

For the caramel, you will need:
1 stick butter
2 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup (light or dark)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
AND either 1 cup salted nuts (cashews are yummy) or 1 tsp kosher salt

Set up 2 foiled, greased cookie sheets and pour popcorn onto them. If you are using nuts, pour the nuts on top of the popcorn. Preheat oven to 250 F.

In a saucepan, melt the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt on high. Stir continuously until mixture boils. Let it boil for 3 minutes without stirring. Turn the burner off and stir in the extract and baking soda (it will foam up). Pour the hot caramel over the popcorn and stir it up with a large spoon or spatula, trying to coat most of the popcorn (don't worry, as you bake the caramel will distribute more evenly).
If you did NOT use nuts, sprinkle kosher salt over the pans before popping them in the oven.
Set the timer for an hour and go watch TV. Every 15 minutes stir the popcorn and rotate the baking sheets if you have them on different oven racks. Remove the popcorn and let it cool; break up large chunks before storing in an airtight container.
I brought this to work and my technicians were actually fighting over it, which made for a rather hostile work environment.

Are you having a New Years' party or get-together? Or are you heading out on the town? Or acting like an old person and going to bed (ME!)?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas Weekend!

How was your Christmas and Christmas weekend? Thrilling yet relaxing I hope!
David and I were both off Christmas Eve. I had planned a long run for the day, but it stormed and I stayed indoors. The storm cleared just in time for us to head out to a Christmas Eve candlelight service. We drove under this amazing brilliant rainbow on the way. If you look closely, you can see that it was actually a double rainbow - the outer ring is fainter though.

After church we went to the in-laws for a wonderful meal and gift exchange. I snatched up my totally adorable nephew and played with him for a bit. The cheeks are killing me!

Our in-laws got all the kids tickets to see Wicked, which is coming to New Orleans in March. What a fun gift!
Our Christmas morning tradition is to have a fancy breakfast at home, followed by gifts and a walk to mass. This year I made homemade waffles with strawberries and cream, cantaloupe, mimosas, and this sausage pie (I burned the crust edges!).

We opened our gifts to each other. Hubby was ecstatic about the imac! Most of my gifts require returning (poor hubby) but my favorite is an autographed copy of John Besh's new cookbook. It is as big as 4 Bibles. The hubby was also incredibly brave and bought lingerie! He's usually squeamish about that kind of purchase. And the cashier made fun of him for buying lingerie and a whisk (I have a boring wish list)! However, he has to brave scorn again to return it because it's the wrong size. Seriously, do I look like a 36 anything?! LOL.
Our walk to beautiful Holy Name of Jesus was freezing, but it was fun and the mood on the street was jolly. The priest was awful, though! He had the most monotonous homily ever! But there were lots of cute babies to watch in their Sunday finery.
After mass, I made a dress, which you can see me in here: (actually, I just sewed an old skirt that was an awkward length to a turtle neck).

Later that night we had a family get-together with David's extended family. We had a plethora of desserts, but I focused my attention on the outstanding wild rice pilaf and peppermint ice cream (yes, I passed up macadamia nut cheesecake for a scoop of pink ice cream. I just adore the stuff!).
We were supposed to have my family over the next day for a little party but my dad called late Christmas night and canceled. Unfortunately, they call and cancel last minute a lot so I wasn't too surprised - but I was disappointed. Instead David and I decided to spend the weekend in Bay St Louis to get some time together. The in-laws' house was all decorated for the holidays.

We watched some football and rode around the neighborhood on my in-laws' touring bikes - which was fun! The weather was cold but beautiful. Sunday morning I ran a great 8.5 miles using Map My Run to find a route. It went through the cute downtown, across the tall Bay Bridge (major hill work there!), and along the beach. It was kind of rough running up the elevated bridge on the way back because the wind was so strong. Actually a got a bad face chapping! But it was a fabulous run and I got to use my new ipod armband from the hubby. The old one - yes I know this is gross - REEKED of sweat. I washed that thing in ammonia and it didn't help! Plus it was all stretched out. So this time, no ipod-around-the-elbow syndrome.

Oh and the Saints have me completely disgusted.

So how was your Christmas...and what was your favorite gift?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Let's discuss the H1N1 flu vaccine

Did you get yours? If not, now is the time: the CDC recently opened up stores of the vaccine to anyone who wants it, rather than just priority groups such as pregnant women or school teachers.
While you make your decision about whether or not to get immunized, let's discuss pros and cons.
We'll start with cons, because there are lots of rumors out there that we should address.
So cons -
1. RECALLS. There have been several recalls of vaccines, but only one was for side effects. That was a lot used in Canada, so USA readers need not worry. The vaccines were recalled after a higher than normal percentage of adverse drug reactions were reported. We don't actually know if this is a vaccine problem or a statistical fluke. As of today, there have been 2 recalls in the US, both children's nasal doses. Both were pulled for potency issues: One was considered potent until the FDA changed guidelines; the other appeared to lose some potency before the expiration date and was pulled today. Neither one had safety concerns. Still, the recalls are a big con because if you received a low-potency vaccine you will likely need a second dose.
2. SIDE EFFECTS. Everyone saw the video of the cheerleader with Guillain barre syndrome walking around backwards after receiving the H1N1 vaccine. The syndrome is an autoimmune disorder; it occurs with some vaccines as your body responds to the introduced antigen. Apparently your immune system is somehow activated to attack your own nerve fibers as well. GBS is a risk with all vaccines but was seen in higher rates back in the '70's with the last swine flu outbreak. It's difficult to correlate it to causes, but your risk is higher with an vaccine that contains an adjuvant (a substance included with the vaccine to increase your immune response). The vaccines in Europe and Canada contains adjuvants; the US vaccines do not. To note, GBS is also a risk when you catch the flu - in fact, the rate of GBS due to influenza infection is much higher than the rate due to vaccination. Both are very rare.
3. BRAND NEW DRUG. This is a problem. No one likes to try out a new drug first! And examples of potency issues above heighten concerns. I don't blame you. I would only get a vaccine produced by a company that usually produces vaccines. Novartis is making most of the vaccines sold at Walgreens and I trust Novartis - the know their injectables and I can't remember any FDA manufacturing citations (and lots of companies get cited!).
4. MERCURY. Like all vaccines, the preservative in the H1N1 vaccine is thimerosal, which contains mercury. Many people don't care about this - there is no hard and fast evidence that vaccinations have caused health problems such as autism, and they figure that since all the vaccines they got as a child had mercury, it must not hurt. However, I don't like the idea of injecting a known-toxic heavy metal into my body. The H1N1 is available as a preservative-free single dose injection, and you can simply request that one if you share my concerns.

Now for the pros. This is simple.
1. YOU DON'T GET A POTENTIALLY FATAL INFECTION. Let me tell you why I'm MORE concerned about H1N1 now than I was at the height of the pandemic. We saw this year that H1N1 is quite alive and active in warm weather, and in fact the CDC is predicting another surge of the virus in the Spring. I'm afraid that this next wave will be resistant to our antivirals. We only have two - Tamiflu and Relenza - and the virus has already shown signs of resistance. I am almost positive that virus will return in a mutated form that is not treatable with antivirals. I say this because of the incredible volume of Tamiflu we filled at pharmacies this year. Most of the doses were either not necessary (mild cases) or preventative; the result was a gigantic exposure of Tamiflu to the H1N1 virus. Viruses are smart for non-living things. They mutate to protect themselves. I see the return of H1N1 as a big ugly super bug. This is ok if you're planning on staying in bed for a few days and taking in lots of fluids, but it you (God forbid) end up with a severe case or have underlying health conditions - well, there is no treatment. That scares me a tad.

So, having said that, run along and get your vaccine! If you live near me, I'll even do it for you (I'm a certified immunizing pharmacist in Louisiana, so I can give vaccines). I promise it won't hurt.

Did you get your vaccine? Was it hard to find? Are you planning on getting one?

Monday, December 21, 2009

A complicated and yucky weekend

I messed up at work, and that is the most miserable feeling ever. I made my first pharmacist mistake (that I know of!) and I feel terrible! Luckily, it was a minor error and no one was hurt. A doctor wrote a prescription for an antibiotic ointment, with the directions to "apply to affected area three times daily", which I dispensed. However, the patient called later and said the affected area is the eyelid, and this ointment said not to use it on the eye. Turns out that this doctor is an ophthalmologist - I just didn't know that since I am not familiar with MD's in the area. Had I realized that, I would have automatically dispensed the ophthalmic version of the ointment (which is sterilized) instead of the regular. Luckily we were able to exchange the ointments; even if the patient had used the ointment it would not have hurt her since the ointment was going on the eyelid, not in the eye.
Still. I feel so stupid for not catching that. I really feel dumb. And I made myself feel more dumb with my next brilliant move - I took the pharmacy key home! Those of us who work at many different stores have to check the keys out and back in each day. I stupidly walked out with the key - later the pharmacy manager called me (she must think I'm an idiot!) and told me I still had it. And this store is over an hour from my house!
Thankfully, that scenario worked out ok. I worked Saturday morning with a pharmacist who is best friends with the pharmacist who needed the keys to open Monday morning, so I passed the keys along through her. I haven't gotten a call yet today so I assume she got in ok! But too late, my reputation is shot.

Why else was this weekend yucky?
- The Saints got mutilated by the Cowboys.
- I had to go to a Christmas party with lots of people I don't know who are out of my age range / stage of life. Because the hubby is 8 years older than me many of his friends are at least a decade my senior and have families, kids in high school, serve on the PTA. David's friends are mostly lawyers and their wives are Uptown socialites. Nothing wrong with that, I just don't know what to say when I get caught in a heated debate about whether or not they should postpone a debutante party because one of the debutantes broker her leg and is in a cast.
- One of the drug stores at which I regularly work (like, I worked there Wednesday) got held up for drugs! They caught the criminal, but that's not my idea of fun even though he was only armed with a srewdriver. Now I remember why they pay me the big bucks.
- My husband started his new job this morning, and since I'm an OPT worrier (other people's troubles) I fretted all weekend. He still doesn't have a car so I actually dropped him off this morning and he will walk home while I'm at work. This upset me because I'm afraid it looks bad to be dropped off at work your first day. I also don't like him walking home at night. It scares me.
- Oh and USAA is actually repairing his car, not totaling it, so until this car dies we'll have a post-flood Civic. That just killed the blue book value.
- I managed one short run on Sunday and my knee hurt so much I actually started trembling; I looked down and realized it was twice the size of the other knee. I think I really hurt it!
- This evening I work at the same store where I made the mistake - I don't even want to look at anyone in the eye over there! Ugh! I feel soooo silly!!!

On the bright side, this is a 3-day work week so perhaps I should stop complaining.
And how was your weekend? Please say less eventful!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fun and Free Christmas

Here I am, getting ready to drop big bucks on tickets for a Christmas concert, and I'm posting about free stuff to do for Christmas.
Silly me.

1. Attend a cantata. Most churches put on a big Christmas program for free and nice big churches with nice big choirs usually have a lovely cantata! Tiny little churches with names like "Second Christian Church of Jesus' Redeeming Fire and Blood" should probably be avoided.
2. Sing the Hallelujah Chorus. Have you seen these programs in which singers of all skill levels form a massive choir and sing the hallelujah chorus? Most programs provide the score and a conductor and you provide your voice. If you enjoy singing but aren't too critical of others' singing skills this is fun and very christmas-y.
3. To me the most reverential Christmas feeling comes with a candlelight service.
4. If you live near me, you've got to go to a bonfire on the levee!
5. Volunteer with a group to go caroling at a local nursing home (a personal favorite since most of the residents can't hear how bad I sound).
6. Go on a lights tour around residential neighborhoods, trying not to look like you're casing the joint.
7. I bet if you turn your tv on some station somewhere is playing It's a Wonderful Life. Watch it in your Pj's. And if it isn't on when you want it to be, your library probably has it for free.
8. When we were little we would read Dicken's A Christmas Carol aloud, taking turns. I remember once an aunt sent us a large tin of those hard striped candies and we happily developed cavities as we read. It made enunciation difficult, but I'm sure that just encouraged appropriate elocution.
9. If it snows, get together a sledding party! Sledding might be my favorite sport, and i really think it has a shot at becoming an Olympic feature. If you can persuade some kids to come with you they probably have all the cool sleds.
10.Go window shopping downtown....and drag your honey past all the jewelry you would like so that when he has to rush out and buy a last minute gift (he will) he remembers what you pointed out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Kitty Rescue!

To take a break from posts dealing with insurance claims and flood waters (by the way, it rained again last night and my husband's car flooded again! Not that it matters at this point), I will tell the tale (tail?) of the three kittens under our house. The were abandoned by their feral mom after being disturbed by our gardeners. It was a bitterly cold night and they sat under our house mewing, mewing, mewing. The sound traveled right through our large floor furnace and echoed in the house. Finally I could stand it no longer and we pried the skirts off the house (we screw wooden "skirts" to the house to cover the crawl spaces in winter to make the house a little more energy efficient) and peered under with a flashlight. The poor kittens were crawling in 3 different directions and making a racket! I grabbed the only one close by and made the hubby (poor guy) crawl under and retrieve the other two. They were dirty, hungry, and flea-ridden. One was a runt and was mewing piteously; he was so cold and actually had scabbing from flea bites since fleas prey on weaker animals. I turned up the heat and placed them in a lined basket in warm spot, but I had no way to feed them. I soaked brad in milk and tried to get them to suck the milk that way, but only the black kitten could figure it out (the minute he got something in his tummy, he shut up. Silence. No more mewing). Meanwhile I had sent the hubby to the pharmacy for droppers and baby formula. We heated the formula up and fed everyone - ah, the blessed silence! Let me tell you, hungry kittens are incredibly loud. Once the kittens were fed the dropped off to sleep in a furry heap. We ended up keeping them overnight (they slept in a bucket with a hot water bottle and a heater nearby) before giving them to my parents. My parents run a sort of cat rescue operation accidentally - they live on a long winding road and unwanted cats are often dropped there. I think they have like 7 cats. Ok, that's 10 now, thanks to me.
I gave the kittens a bath before I presented them to their adoptive parents and I read that 50-50 apple cider vinegar will kill fleas. I am here to tell you that that is a lie. I think one flea died during that traumatic bath-time and it had underlying health conditions.
However, my mom swears that lavender oil will cure them all.

Do you know any natural flea products? It has to be natural. My mom does not like chemicals. Seriously. She doesn't ever use bleach and she is wary of rubbing alcohol, so this has to be mild!

Anyway, I was glad we got the kittens out when we did because that night was bitterly cold - followed by torrents of rain the next day!

Aren't they cute?

Monday, December 14, 2009


Well. Hubby started the car up again and black smoke billowed out as the engine completely burned up. So much for that.
So I guess we're looking for a new car!
The insurance adjuster shows up next Wednesday - lucky us, we bought flood insurance for the cars. Even though David's car is old and only carries liability otherwise, we did buy flood and it is certainly a blessing now!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Orleans flooded...again!!!

This is the worst, most stressful, un-relaxing weekend ever. I already want today to be done and it just started!

We started out the weekend with a dramatic kitten on Friday. But more on that later. The kittens are safe and sound and I have bigger things to gripe about.

Last night New Orleans was hit with torrential rains and flash floods and suddenly we were all reliving Katrina. I was driving home from the Northshore (across Lake Ponchartrain - about an hour out of New Orleans) after visiting my family. I was on the 2-lane, 26 mile bridge for the worst of it (Which was mildly terrifying). The hubby had called to tell me he was going to mass earlier. The next call I got from him was to tell me his car flooded! The rain was so intense that during mass his car - and others parked outside - flooded out. He drives a 12-year old Civic that refuses to die, and yesterday was so exception. He overrode the transmission to drive it in neutral to higher ground, where he parked it on an angle to drain. He had to walk 2 miles back to the house. Then he tried to guide me home, but it wasn't happening: every avenue to our house was flooded and impassable. I had some narrow misses getting on the interstate, but I made it to New Orleans East and his parents house. Ah! I love you, inlaws! Warm tea and sandwiches! Unfortunately, the worst news was still to come - my sweet and talented sister in law Liz is a wedding singer. She had a wedding that night at Ursaline in Uptown New Orleans. While she was singing preludes someone came up to her and whispered that the streets were flooding. She rushed out to move her car but the rain was so bad that as she drove the water rose and she stalled! She drives a 2009 SUV that she just bought - she had to abandon it and wade in water over her waist.
Basically all hell broke lose from there. The wedding went on once the priest got there - after first his car, then the car of the kind couple who gave him a ride, flooded. David was going to try to come to his sister's aid, and in fact he walked the 2 miles back to his car - which started up without a hitch. Seriously, I don't know if you CAN kill a Civic! However, the reports of flooding were worsening, and he couldn't reach Liz. The water in her area was 4 feet deep in the street! Luckily the rain slacked up enough for the large limo bus to carry all 25 or so people who made it to the wedding through the water to higher ground, where my FIL was able to pick Lizzie up. He took a route that brought him close to my house, so I took notes so I could make it home, too! He picked up the hubby too and they attempted to retrieve her car but to no avail- it was a lost cause and they almost flooded in the inlaws SUV trying to get it. Finally I tried to venture home from New Orleans East. It was a huge mistake. The lull ceased as soon as I got on the interstate and I was in a downpour. The streets started to flood again and for almost an hour I drove frantically, on the phone with hubby, just trying to stay on higher ground. Naturally I ended up in an intersection surrounded by water in a bad neighborhood. In front of me was flooded; both sides were flooded. The way I came was dry, but it was a divided road. If I tried to head back on my side of the road, it was flooded too! SO....
SCION POWER! I took my little XA up on the flooded sidewalk and by the grace of God we made it home. I was so stressed out when I got home! My husband was soaked through and we were exhausted. We had a much-needed glass of wine and headed to bed - but the drama isn't over. My hubby got up at 5 am to meet Liz's dear friend Fr. Jeff at her SUV to push it out of the road (she had abandoned it literally in the middle of the street) and they confirmed that the car is totally dead. The computer system was saturated and sat in water overnight. Hubby crawled home to get some sleep but poor baby, the calls kept coming. Now he's back out meeting the tow-truck by Liz's SUV.
What I have to be thankful for:
- We are all safe. Many people had accidents last night.
- My car did not flood and it is a very low riding little thing
- Liz has good insurance
- I have wonderful in-laws who love me

What I am not-so-jazzed about:
- The local news was USELESS about this. Not a word of warning, no helpful weather alerts. We're talking about 18 hours of flooding and no source of info! We had to base our decisions off twitter!
- David's trade-in value is about down to zero now.
- GAGH! I want my weekend back!

I tried to get a good picture of the water for you, but guess what? Not a single image on any news websites. Because our news sucks.

Tune in tomorrow to hear the much more heart-warming tale of the three kitties who made it through the cold cold night.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm getting my husband a pun-y Christmas gift!

My gift to the hubby this year is my second favorite thing, a verbal-visual pun (my first favorite being a plain old verbal verbal pun).

It is this painting, shown here still on the easel, which I entitled "The apple of my eye". This will be accompanied by a cheesy note about how he is the apple of my eye. This is so uncharacteristic of me that the hubby will get suspicious and flip the note over, where he will find that I am actually giving him permission to buy an imac. Haha, get it, an EYE MAC (that's a McIntosh apple in the picture for non-New Englanders).
I am resigned to having to explain this pun to him...but he won't mind since he'll be thrilled that he gets a new computer! I was too unsure to buy it myself - a computer is pretty personal. Hence the dorky pun.
The painting is acrylic on vellum bristol and I did it quickly this morning before work. The eye looks creepy. Let's get a close up:

Nice. There is a trick to getting the creepy eye: you leave out the "stripes" on the iris. But please don't steal that trick. I invented it. Then I put the picture in this dual frame:

So what do you think? Think he'll get it? Did YOU get it???

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thrown off the Scent

Recently I made a great bargain purchase at Pier One. It's this autumn hand lotion complete with cute little leaf charm that I will re-use to make a necklace later. It was only $1.99! The scent is "autumn leaves". The lotion smells exactly like apple cider. This is very confusing to me, especially since the lotion is green. It is baffling my visual-olfactory interactions. I'm glad I'm not struggling to learn the English language because I'm sure I could confuse "leaves" and "apples" for the rest of my life.

I got this body wash for free with a purchase (that I paid for with a gift card, go me!) at Bath and Body Works. The scent is "Ps I love you" which is hard to define anyway, but I'm pretty sure this isn't it. I mean, I know that BBW employs fragrance experts and all, but this smells like potpourri. It should at least be ammended to "Ps your grandma loves you".

Now I like the scent of my current bottle of shaving cream (not that I plan on using it again until oh, say, March), but it definitely isn't avocado. Or alluring avocado, whatever that is. Trust me on this - I am an avocado aficionado (and amateur poet, teehee) and this is most definitely not avocado. It is cucumber. Cucumber, dear shaving cream people, is another veggie with a dark green outside and light green inside. You can distinguish it by its long thin shape...

And this is just ridiculous. It's a "Great new fragrance" but the scent is "original fresh"?! Make up your mind!

Bath and Body Works redeemed themselves with this one, though. I just bought this White Citrus perfume and it is just as it should be: light and fresh with citrus notes, but...white ones. Think lemons and kumquats instead of navel oranges. (This is what I bought with my gift card to get the free body wash!)

Whats your favorite scent for the holidays? What's the newest scent you bought, and what is it? And it is aptly named, hehe?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What have you crossed off your shopping list?

For no real reason, I'm going to do a quick run down of the gifts I've bought. Maybe you will be inspired if you haven't finished all your shopping yet!

For David's family: A few years a go we instituted "cheap Christmas" (a phrase introduced by my SIL Miriam when she was broke and gave everyone homemade artwork)and give each other $5 gifts. We ended up spending about $15 though.
Pete (my FIL): He loves to cook and watches a lot of food network, so we bought him the "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" cookbook.
Gayle (my MIL): I found a very pretty jar of bubble bath with seashells inside - it's a beachy look and scent and I think it's perfect for the master bath jacuzzi at their beach house.
Liz (my SIL): two pretty stationary sets that reflect her love of things Victorian.
Mir: She had admired a necklace I was wearing a few months ago that I made. I bought her the supplies to make one, and we will make it together.
Chris (my BIL): He just bought his first Mac, so David picked out a book called "The Missing Manual" that guides the switch from pc to mac.
Chris's wife: Monogrammed washcloths that match her decor and several bars of homemade soap. It's soap from Pier One that was on sale - normally $3.99 a bar; clearance for $0.48! That's how I stayed in the cost limit!
Baby Jacob, their son: a Curious George story book (big one) and a Saints Tshirt. Got to start the fans early.

Now for my family. Remember that I have a zillion brothers. So please excuse me for my boring choices:
Brothers Matthew, Izzy, Sam, Abe, and Joey all got Saints polo shirts.
Nate, who is a English lit/philosophy double major and aspiring chef, got a cookbook called "The Philosopher's Kitchen" and some money (I threw some money in for Joey as well since he's a poor college student as well. I well remember the days!)
Melissa, my dear darling older sis, and her husband Matt, are going through a hard time this year- they recently heard some bad news that I may or may not get permission to discuss here. But they're feeling a tad out of the Christmas spirit and requested no gifts this year. I blatantly disregarded this request and got them the Planet Earth dvd set, an espresso machine with fancy espresso, and a coffee drink cookbook. Hopefully little useless things that will cheer them up!
Johnny, my older brother, and his wife Brenda are getting coupons to 5 restaurants in their area> I bought them on so it was less expensive than you;d think!
My parents are health food eaters ,so I made them a gift basket of herbal teas: two boxes of assorted herb and green teas, a little honey bear, tea cookies, a tea bag saucer, a few Lipton instant green tea packets, and a lemon!

How's your shopping going? Share your list with me!

My knee is blah

Last Wednesday I headed out for a long run, feeling great. I was planning on 16 miles, but at mile 9 suddenly my knee exploded with pain! I tried to"run it off" (bad idea no matter what) but the pain was so bad that I actually cried. And I don't really feel pain - seriously, I had my bottom wisdom teeth cut out sans anesthetic or painkiller and ate a steak afterward. I can't even remember the last time pain brought me to tears!
I had to walk the mile and a half home and have basically been in agony ever since. Walking aches, running throbs, stairs are fine...on the way up, But then I have to stay up there indefinitely.
Well, that was yesterday anyway. Today I braved a very short run - and I could do it! The pain was so bad when I first got hurt that I was convinced running was over for me. But I limped out for 2 slow miles and I feel so relieved. I followed my run with ice and ibuprofen and plan on rest for tonight.
What a scare! If I couldn't run I would blow up like a balloon, I'm a food addict. Phew!

Have you ever had an injury scare? Or health scare? And do you have awesome recovery tips for me?

Friday, December 4, 2009


There's a possibility of snow this weekend! In New Orleans! Last year it snowed and - horrors - I was out of town and missed it. My little brothers sent me a picture of a message for me though :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My worry fixes

Thanks for all the congrats yesterday for the hubby. It is such a big change, and since it is an area of law I don't know too much about, I can't run every detail of his work life anymore. Sigh.
Some of the responses got me thinking about how I respond to worry. Specifically, I was thinking about how I deal with worry so it doesn't take too much out of my life. I made a little list to share but I totally expect you to share back. And you can't say running because Lindsey and Britt already did.

SO my worry fixes:
- Do something special for somebody else. Write a card, buy flowers, send Facebook gifts, whatever. It takes your mind off your own life and worries!
- Drink coffee. True, I drink coffee no matter what my state of mind is; but there is something empowering about a cup of coffee. As your heart rate picks up you get the sense that you can solve or survive whatever your problem is. Did anyone else read Margaret Jensen's book First We Have Coffee? The mother in this autobiographical work always tackled problems after a good pot of coffee. It's a cute story. You should read it.
- If I'm worried about something I can fix...quite simply, I fix it. For example, if I had a big report at work or a research project in school, I would jump in and start work. Once you get started you see that things aren't as bad as you first thought.
- If it's something I can't control I verbally remind myself of this. I frame a sentence and say it out loud: "It isn't your duty to make sure your brothers get good grades. They are smart kids and are grown-up enough to study on their own, and they will earn the grades they deserve." Truthful - not sugar coated - but it takes the weight off of me!
- If it is stressing me out I exercise (I didn't say run so it isn't against the rules). Endorphins = happy feelings.
- PRAY. Once, then let it go!

So your turn!
How do you deal with worry?
What is your response?

PS - the picture shows worry dolls. I used to have some when I was a little kid (choking hazard! Do not endorse!). You tell each doll a worry and it takes care of it overnight. The idea is that you only get 5 dolls, so you only get 5 worries. The person above is clearly an overachieving worrier, since she is well over quota.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


...For the hubby, not me.
My husband is an attorney and for the past 6 years he's been working as a real estate attorney for a title company. It's been good, but some of you may have noticed that the housing market ain't what it used to be (Housing market 2004: Can you sign your name? You qualify for a home loan! Oh, you can't sign your name? Lucky you, we offer the special "x is ok" package! Credit score lower than your bowling score? Don't worry, you too can live in a McMansion! Housing market 2009: Foreclosure is the new open house.)
Basically, his company was stagnating. Thanks to good management, they stayed open and barely downsized (many title companies closed their doors), but he didn't get a raise last year- even though he got promoted!- and the company stopped matching his 401-k. So this summer he just casually logged on to a job seeking website. The first job he saw was a property attorney position with the Army Corps of Engineers.
It takes awhile for the application process to get moving on these government jobs, but to make a long story short, he got the job. He'll be starting in December!
The upcoming big changes have started up my worry engine. Weirdly, I don't worry about myself much, but I am great at worrying about others' problems. My current worries:
- What if he doesn't like his boss?
- What if he needs to brush up on his skills/knowledge (he's been practicing one narrow field of law for a long time!)
- What if this temporary position - it is temporary - isn't renewed and he's jobless in 2 years?
- What if I get insanely jealous of the fact that his office is within walking distance of our house?

Sigh. SO many worries these days...
But congrats to the hubby, good for him to get a job when so many people are jobless right now!

What's on your mind these days? What worries you? What are you doing to stop worrying? (please do not reply in the form of a drug name)