Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blast From the Past

I work on the campus of the University of St. Thomas, which also happens to be my alma mater.  I stopped by the archives this week on my lunch hour on the way to the gym and ended up spending my whole gym time there (good thing I already had plans for a workout after work too).  Archives has so much awesome history in it.  They have the original crowns used for the Mardi Gras gala that has been a tradition on this campus, I believe from inception.  There were antiques from many of the original buildings on campus, door knobs from Hughes House (Howard Hughes' home), and a podium that was designed by architect Phillip Johnson (who also designed most of the buildings on campus).

The Bettys (both the ladies that work in the archives are named Betty, so we call them the Bettys) were so excited to have us and wanted to show us everything.  I pulled out my phone and started taking some pictures.

This first UST commencement ceremony.
I absolutely loved this picture of the first commencement.  It was held at the church where I got married (oh, and my parents and grandparents married there too...cool).

A relic from the punch card registration system...terrible picture, sorry about that

Ground Breaking from the Student Center

A letter from Ronald Reagan to one of the Basilian Fathers

One of the original hand books

A pin with a UST logo I have never seen before
My favorite find was the time capsule from the 50th anniversary of UST that was supposed to have been burried.  I guess the fact that it is still above ground will save us some time on the day we are supposed to dig it up. 

I wish I knew what date the time capsule was supposed to be opened.  Any UST alums out there know???

Friday, May 27, 2011

Racing...At a Walker's Pace

In my quest to live a healthier lifestyle, I have been reading various healthy life/fitness blogs.  They have motivated me to decide to register for a couple of races.  I had already been thinking about it when my friend Kasey asked me if I would come with her to the Texas Hill country for the weekend while she ran an 10K.  I checked it out and sure enough it is a run/walk event.  I decided not only would I go with her, but I would also sign up for the race.  Awesome, I just signed up for my first race.

Should my first race be a 10K?  Um, no...I don't think so.  So now I have also signed up for a 5K, the Heights Fun Run.  I have been walking and hiking so I know I can walk the distance and it will be good practice for the 10K in September.

I haven't entered a race since I did the Race for a Cure back in college (it feels a little funny to call it a race since I don't see it as a competition, but I will go with it).  I am happy that reading these blogs and the invitation from Kasey have motivated me to enter.  It is fun to look forward to something active.  The 5K is close...the first weekend in June.  :)

If you like to check out blogs and could use inspiring stories from motivating gals, here are my favorite healthy living blogs.

Healthy Tipping Point
Ali on the Run
Losing Weight in the City

What motivates you?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Baby Steps - Part Two

My friend introduced me to an app for my phone that applies cool effects to pictures.  I was laughing last night after I posted Baby Steps since I realized I had taken 3 different pictures of the floor to apply different effects to decide which one I liked best.  I even previewed the choices on my blog before making my final decision. 

I figured since I had put so much effort out creating 3 different pictures of the hallway floor from my office that they must be worth sharing (or not).  So behold...the tile floor!!

This photo received third place from me...didn't look enough like the actual floor.

This was a close second, very accurate.

This one won because it is so shiny!  And let's face it, a little pink.
And in completely unrelated photos, but still a demonstration of how much I am enjoying this silly picture app on my phone...I present, Sammy in a box.  Maru is her hero.  :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Baby Steps

A fabulous picture from my phone!
I found myself walking down my office hallway today looking at the floor.  The tiled floor I remember from school or the grocery store as a kid.  Not fancy tile, but the vinyl kind (I think it is vinyl).  Anyway the one made of the squares that have that pattern that looks like smudged dirt or sneaker streaks and they are laid so the pattern stripes one way and then the other. 

I was walking my office hallway remembering when I was a kid I would walk deliberately stepping in the squares, avoiding the lines of course, and ensuring that I was stepping on the tiles so my feet were pointing the same direction as the pattern.  Did anyone else do that when they were little too?

I started doing this as I walked back to my office.  My feet barely fit in the squares and I had to take either very small steps or very large steps to stay in the correct directionally patterned tiles.  I am glad no one was in the hallway to see me.

Time flies.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Quick Weekend Trip

We left for Hattiesburg on Thursday evening and arrived around two in the morning on Friday.  The drive is about 6 hours, but we had some bad weather on the way so it took a little longer.  Friday was a fun day of hanging out around the house and playing with my nieces.  Sammy and I also squeezed in a nap before an evening out.

Friday evening we saw Richard Johnston play at the Keg and Barrel.  He was awesome, great blues...plus he makes some of his instruments.  Cool!

Saturday was the real reason for the trip it was Lindsey's first communion.  I am a proud Godmother!  The service was beautiful and I got teary eyed watching her process in to the church.  She looked lovely!

The coolest thing was we got to be with her for her first communion...like with her at the altar.  When they called her name, we all got to go with her and make a semi circle behind her while she received the eucharist and then we all got to take communion.  Awesome!

Lindsey and a friend

Taking pictures in the courtyard

My sister and her girls
Afterward we went home to have fried chicken and celebrate.  My sister and brother-in-law didn't have to put much effort out for the party since they know a good caterer in Hattiesburg.  :) For those of you that don't know...I am referencing my brother-in-law who owns/runs the Neal House and the Keg and Barrel in Hattiesburg.  The Neal House set up the food while we were at the church.  Not a bad deal.  And we had cake....yum. 

Lindsey is looking at her mom in this picture, but it is still cuter than the one I took where she was looking at me...I cut off the top of her head.  Ooops.

I think Lindsey was definitely tired of posing for pictures by the end of the day!

Sunday morning we packed up and headed back to Houston.  The trip was way too short, but we wouldn't have missed it for the world!

We could tell the Mississippi river was high on her banks as we passed through Baton Rouge.  That flooding is so devastating!

I don't envy the folks who had to make the decisions involved in opening the floodway to divert water from the larger cities.  I know it is a greater good type of decision, but there will still be plenty of folks that lose everything in the area due to flooding.  We could tell the Atchafalaya Basin was already higher than normal.

We had a beautiful day for a drive, clear and sunny with cool temperatures.  We stopped a few times to trade off driving and grab some food.  Sammy was a good passenger.

And of course we are always happy to see the star at the Texas welcome center...a sign we are almost home!

Our weekend was busy, but fabulous!!!  I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sunday Preparation

On Sunday I try to spend some time in the kitchen getting meal plans ready for the week.  This past Sunday I incorporated dinner items into the preparation as I mentioned was the plan in my So Many Things, So Little Time post.  I try to get enough things ready where my husband and I have choices when we are making our lunches.  We like to take our lunches with us to the office since it is healthier and less expensive.  Here are some things I prepped this Sunday that are pretty easy, reheat well, freeze well and are great to have on hand.

I typically always have vegetables cut and ready for salads or for snacks with ranch dip.  I make our ranch dip with Fage Total 0% Greek yogurt.  I can't tell a difference and it is so much better than using sour cream.  If you haven't tried this combination, I recommend it!  You can also take a little bit of it and mix it with a little water and red wine vinegar to make a tasty salad dressing.  My favorite veggies for dipping are carrots, celery, mushrooms and cucumber.  A great afternoon snack!

I also made some pork tender pieces that I marinated in Allegro marinade.  It is a GREAT fat free marinade.  The spicy kind is a little too spicy for me, but my husband loves it!  I mix the regular with the spicy to make a tangy marinade.  Perfect for me.

I made a pot of beans and greens soup.  This soup is very tasty and is SO easy to make.  The ingredients are:
  • cooking spray
  • chopped onion
  • minced garlic
  • 1 or 2 bay leaves
  • whole wheat pasta (generous handful)
  • 2 cans great northern beans
  • 1 package frozen turnip greens
  • 1 quart of chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
You can also add any other vegetables you like.  I added two sliced zucchini this time.  This soup is so easy to make you really can't mess it up.  I sauteed the onion, garlic, zucchini and bay leaves until the onions were translucent then added the chicken stock and turnip greens.  I simmer the soup for a few minutes before adding the whole wheat pasta and beans.  Then I let the soup simmer while I worked on everything else.  I added salt and pepper to taste.  Couldn't be easier!

I made some super simple pinto beans.  I sauteed a couple of chopped pieces of turkey bacon and onion, then add a can of pinto beans, a bay leaf, some salsa and some Adobo seasoning; then simmer until everything tastes great.  If you live in Houston and you like to cook and you have not been to Penzey's Spices in the Heights, you must check it out.  That is where I got this fabulous Adobo seasoning.  They have other locations, but that is the only one I know of in Houston.

To go with the beans, I also made some rice.  I make my rice in the microwave (I learned that trick from my husband) and it is so easy...easier than making it on the stove.  Put your rice and liquid in a corning ware, one that is slightly deep so nothing boils out, and cook white rice 5 minutes on high then 15 minutes on medium and cook brown rice 7 minutes on high and 20 minutes on medium.  Perfect every time!

I made squash (zucchini and summer squash) with onion to have for a vegetable side.  I sliced the squash and onion and put it in a pot with a little bit of water at the bottom, added some salt and pepper and cooked it over a low heat until it was done.  Yum!

I also cut up some watermelon.  Nothing says summer is almost here to me besides a sweet watermelon.

It took me about an hour of actual work time to get everything prepped and going.  I marinated the pork first and started the soup.  Once I had everything in the soup, I put the pork in the oven.  Then everything else I did while the soup and the pork was cooking.  I let everything cool some before I packaged it up and put it in the fridge.

It makes choices and grab and go meals so easy during the week that it is SO worth it.  Monday for lunch I had a salad and today I had soup.  Tonight we will have pork and squash for dinner.  Do you do things on the weekends to prep for the week too?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Planning is Key...Isn't It?

Well, I thought it was.  Despite an hour and a half spent in the kitchen prepping lunch and dinner items, my week is still off to a bumpy start. 

We had an interesting weekend.  One that started with us thinking we might end up in the emergency vet, when Sammy started looking like this.  Poor pup had a swollen face and ear.  I'm not sure what got her that she reacted to, but some doses of children's Benadryl (by direction of the vet) fixed her right up.  I missed the bridal shower I was supposed to attend on Saturday, as I was too busy checking to make sure Sammy was breathing.  The Benadryl knocked her out and you could call her and call her and she wouldn't budge.  I was relieved when the swelling started to go down.

Sunday was a wonderful day with my mom.  Daniel and I cooked lunch over at her house and we just hung around.  Nothing super special, just time together and my mom seemed totally pleased which is what was important.  :)

After an afternoon nap, I got busy in the kitchen.  The good news is that everything I made will freeze well, so if we don't get to it this week I can carry this week's preparation into next week.  Hurray for freezers!!  Because then Monday happened.

Monday morning Sammy was not herself.  The face swelling was gone, but she was still super lazy (no Bendaryl since Saturday evening!) and she was not interested in eating...if you have ever met Sammy (or any labrador) you know that not being interested in eating is a definite sign of something wrong.

I was calling her name, loudly while taking this picture!
So, off to the vet we went.  The diagnosis...bacterial infection and after the first dose of antibiotics she was doing so much better.  This morning she was back to her old self.  Thank goodness!  She takes medicine through Saturday and hopefully whatever yucky thing she found to eat (that was the vet's guess of the cause) she will not ever find again.  In other news, the vet said the bacterial infection had nothing to do with the swollen face...just a fun coincidence.  I should reconsider my definition of fun, what do you think?

After a Monday of a sick dog, trying to work from home and a vet visit, I felt like a glass of wine and something extra yummy for dinner, so we had Chinese food.  :)  Again, hurray for freezers!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!!

In honor of Mother's Day here is a picture of me with two of the most amazing moms I know! 

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

Friday, May 6, 2011

So Many Things, So Little Time

Do you ever feel like you are being pulled in a gazillion directions at once?  That is how I am feeling right now.  It seems to have invaded my work and personal life right now. 

Without going into details about work (since I would hate to bore you), I feel like everyone wants something from me right now.  It is how I would imagine a teacher of young children would feel when all the students need attention at the same time.

My niece and my husband.
In my personal life I am also busy busy.  This month I have a niece taking her first communion, so I will be traveling to Mississippi for that event.  I also have friends getting married at the end of the month, so I have a bridal shower this weekend and then their wedding festivities on Memorial Day weekend, complete with bachelor/bachelorette party and post wedding BBQ.  Should be a fun weekend!  And don't get me started on Mother's Day!  It got here too quickly!

In addition to all my weekend plans I have made the awesome decision to hit the gym with my husband in the evenings.  My usual schedule is to get cardio in on my lunch hour so I'm adding strength training in the gym 3 evenings a week.  This is awesome, and a top priority.  I refer to it as our gym date.  However, it is taking away from dinner prep time...so that is making the evenings a little more chaotic.  Daniel and I agreed that we would spend time in the kitchen on Sunday evening to prep things for the week, so the nights we have our gym dates we have quick, healthy dinner choices.  I am liking this plan.  This Sunday I will be adding dinner preps to our Sunday ritual...I have already been doing breakfast and lunch prep, so I think I can handle this.

Anyone else out there feel like they spread themselves thin sometimes?  How do you juggle busy schedules?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Happiness is...

Aren't there certain things in your life that instantly bring a smile to your face?  They can be small random little things or things so meaningful it hurts.