Wednesday, September 30, 2009
No one believes me when I say that I hate running, which I really don't understand because since when does doing something regularly automatically mean you enjoy it? I do the dishes every night after dinner because I like to have clean dishes to eat on the next day and hate for the kitchen to be a mess. I clean the bathroom every week because otherwise, that's just gross. I pay the bills every month because I like having electricity. None of these are things I would say I enjoy. I run every day because I like my clothes to fit and I like eating dessert. That's it.
Some people claim to hit a runner's high after a couple miles and say that running makes them feel more refreshed and energized than anything else in the world. Liars. I've never come close to finding this elusive runner's high and let me tell you, I've searched long and hard for it. I try to do at least a couple miles five or six days a week but I've also done several 10k's in my day and I ran cross country in high school. And did I ever hit this high that made me forget the cramp in my side and the ache in my legs and just want to go all Forest Gump and keep running and running and running? Um, no. And I say, if a 10k isn't a long enough distance to hit that euphoria then it ain't gonna happen.
Maybe if Zack wasn't such a good cook and cheesecake didn't taste so darn good this wouldn't even be an issue.
Anyway, I've been doing this running thing for the past five years or so; ever since I graduated from high school and realized that without a ball coach screaming in my face to get my butt up the basketball court I might not be able to fit in my clothes quite as well. You'd think after five years I'd reach a point where I if I didn't enjoy it, I could at least be comfortable enough with the daily run to not dread it. You'd think that wouldn't you? Well, you'd be wrong. Every day after work I drag myself home, change into my shorts and tennis shoes and drag myself to the park to run. And every day I dread it just as much as I did the day before.
On a side note, as far as I'm concerned the best thing about running is that I can justify getting new, super awesome running shoes much more often than I could if I depended on my other day to day running around to wear them out. And I'm a big fan of new shoes.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Shamarr Allen and the Underdawgs
Sundays are pretty laid back days around our house now. After church we usually either watch the Saints game or take a nap or in my case, lay on the couch and read a good book. Zack actually prefers to watch the Saints game while taking a nap but I'm not quite that talented. I've never really been into pro football, mostly I guess because I've never lived anywhere that had a team to root for. (Unless you count the Bengals, who can't manage to stay out f jail long enough to win many games). The Saints are a BIG deal down here though. They are kind of a representation of the rebuilding of New Orleans I think. It was a really big deal when they finally came back after Katrina and a lot of people say that when and if they're able to win a Superbowl it will do as much for the morale of this city as anything else possibly could. Some people are saying this is their year; we'll see. They're looking pretty good so far.
And now its back to the regular grind of the workweek. I'd just like to remind everyone that my birthday is a mere one week (count 'em seven days) away. And Mom and Dad will be here next weekend!
Friday, September 25, 2009
I think I'm starting to get the hang of this whole "job" thing and the more comfortable I get with it, the better I like it. Let me rephrase that; the more comfortable I get with it, the more I enjoy being at work because the better I feel like I'm doing. I've liked it a lot from day one, I just don't like the feeling of not being very efficient at something because I don't know how to do it and that's how I felt a lot of the first couple weeks.
Not that I'm an expert at this point or anything, but I do feel like I'm starting to at least understand a little bit more about the big picture. I don't feel like I'm completely in the dark anymore. Now I'm only mostly in the dark. ;-) My favorite part is when the bosses let me tag along to important meetings with them. I don't usually understand everything that goes on in those things but man, I sure do learn a lot.
The more I get to know him, the more I really really like my boss too. Not only is he very good at what he does (from what I can tell), he's been just incredible about answering any questions I have and making sure that I'm learning a lot too. How many CFOs out there would let the new kid take control of their calendar and pencil themselves into it for Q&A sessions whenever they wanted? I think that's awesome! I feel very, very fortunate to have found a job that I not only like, but that is giving me this opportunity to learn as much as I can. And you know, even if I didn't like the job, at this point I'd feel darn lucky just to be gainfully employed at all. I know so many people (intelligent, educated, qualified people) who can't find work right now. If I were guessing, I'd say that a solid 50% of my MBA class still hasn't found jobs. How sad is that? A lot of my classmates had much more work experience coming into the program than I did too, so the fact that many of them are now struggling to find work makes me that much more thankful that I was able to. I'd have probably had a nervous breakdown by this point if I hadn't gotten this job. I couldn't take much more sitting around the house all day waiting.
In other news, one of Zack's good buddies and his girlfriend are going to be in town this wekeend, which we're super excited about. This guy was in our wedding so I know Zack is especially looking forward to getting to spend some time hanging out with him. The CATS play Florida tomorrow night so we're HOPING that we can find someplace in town that will be showing the game on ESPN2 so we can watch it with them. Zack thinks it shouldn't be a problem but I dunno...I'm thinking if LSU is playing at the same time it might be tough. Kentucky doesn't exactly get a lot of love down here in Tiger country. We'll see though. I'll let you know how that works out for us.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Also, I'm already craving the food.
I say that like we're starving to death down here which believe me, is not the case at all. Quite the opposite in fact. There's so much good food to be had in this town its a little ridiculous. No matter where you are in New Orleans I can just about guarantee you're within spitting distance of at least ten incredible places to eat. So no, it's not that we can't get good food. It's just that there's nothing quite as good as a home cooked meal...especially one prepared by my mom and/or grandparents. There just isn't. And this is coming from someone who has eaten at some pretty great places in her day.
I can cook. Zack can really cook. We take turns fixing dinner and everything we make is usually really good. No complaints there. It's just not the same though, as eating a meal cooked by someone else. For the past year or so we've been in something of a food rut when it comes to dinner...though again this isn't something I'm complaining about. We've done it on purpose. A self-induced rut, if you will. We eat eggs for dinner probably three or four times a week. "Eggs??" you say. Eggs indeed my friend.
Don't worry--we supplement that with plenty of fruits and vegetables. And we change it up a lot. We do omelettes and quiches, scrambled eggs and fritattas. We make fried egg sandwiches and eggs in a basket. Sometimes we just eat bacon, eggs and toast. We started this habit about this time last year when we were both full time students and Zack was also working full time. Even then we ate dinner together every night but between our two crazy schedules, we rarely got finished with everything and home before eight or nine o'clock in the evening. And by that point in the day, who wants to cook a big meal? Plus, eggs are cheap. This was especially important since my school schedule kept me from having a job and we were trying to save for a wedding and law school and moving and everything else at the same time.
So yes, we ate a lot of eggs.
For that matter, we're still eating a lot of eggs...for many of the same reasons. They're still quick and cheap and pretty darn satisfying at the end of a long day. They still let Zack and I sit down to a meal that we've fixed at home and eat together without spending hours in the kitchen working on it. Where am I going with all this? I'm starting to ramble aren't I?
Basically, for the most part I really enjoy our simple (admittedly somewhat redundant) meals. At this point in our life together this is what works for us. That said, when you eat pretty much the same thing over and over and over you really start to crave those things you're not eating as often anymore. For me right not it's cornbread. I know, I know. It's weird. And I actually make pretty good cornbread so I could get my butt into the kitchen and make it myself if I were so inclined. But it's just not as good as Mom's. I'm also craving her chicken salad and my granddad's fried chicken and basically everything they always make for Thanksgiving dinner. Mmmmmm-mmmm! Bring on the turkey.
62 days and counting...
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
First things first; my hair. I don't know what's going on. Ever since we moved down here my hair has been falling out by the hand full. I know its normal to lose something like a hundred hairs a day but this is way beyond that. This is gross. My hair is everywhere! It's all over the floors and the furniture and the bathroom vanity. I don't know how the drain in the shower hasn't completely clogged up because I know I'm losing tons of it every time I wash it. (I told you this was gross). Even Zack has noticed.
I don't know what the deal is though! I got my hair cut a few weeks ago before I started work and while I was there I asked the girl who cut it what she thought the problem might be. She blamed it on the heat and normal "summer shedding" that everyone has. I accepted that answer at first. My hair has never fallen out like this but I've also never lived in a climate as hot as this so I figured maybe she was right and it really was just my scalp's way of adapting to the change. But wouldn't you think that after nearly three months down here I would have gotten acclimated and the deluge would stop? I would. It hasn't though--if anything it's gotten progressively worse, so I'm thinking this must be something else.
Zack thinks I have some kind of vitamin deficiency. Ridiculous, I say! I've been eating all the same kinds of foods I've always eaten so I don't see how that could possibly be the case. I think this is all part of his three year campaign to get me to start taking a multi-vitamin every day. (I've never taken vitamins and I'm one of the healthiest people I know so why start now)?
So, any ideas? Has anyone else had this problem and if so, what caused it and what did you do to correct it? I'm really open to suggestions. At this rate, I'm going to be bald by Christmas.
Now, onto my swamp foot. I have self-diagnosed this but I feel pretty confident about that I'm right. Swamp foot is the first cousin to athlete's foot and in fact, biologically speaking they're one and the same. But since we live in the swamp and I think I've gotten this not from an over exertion on the playing field but just the sweating my feet now do over the course of a normal day, I have hearby dubbed it swamp foot. Can normal people submit suggestions for additions to the medical dictionary like they can for a regular dictionary? Does anyone know? If so, can we see about getting this one added?
Basically, I'm kind of falling apart.
Monday, September 21, 2009
You have no idea how intimidating this is to me. I'm no good at stuff like this. I'm terrible at asking people to sponsor me for things, or donate money to a cause I believe in because...well I don't know why exactly. I guess I just feel bad asking people for money--especially in times like these when the economy is so sluggish and lots of people are having a hard enough time just getting by. I think I tend to feel like if people want to donate to a cause they will because it's important to them. I don't want to guilt them into it. Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way. This is something I really feel strongly about and maybe I shouldn't see my support of a very worthy cause as a burden to someone else. I dunno.
Wow. I just reread the last two paragraphs and I'm pretty sure that's gotta be the worst sales pitch ever, of all time. See? Told you I was bad at this kind of thing. I'll try again. I'll tell you a little bit about why this particular cause is so important to me, and let you decide for yourselves how you feel about it.
An estimated 80,000,000 American adults suffer from some sort of heart disease. 80 MILLION. That's one in every three adults. This is something I'm passionate about because its something that truly has or will affect probably every single one of us at some point in our lives; either us personally or someone we are very close to. There are hundreds of other very deserving organizations that you could choose to support; the American Cancer Society for example is another great one. But because heart disease is the number one killer today, I feel like maybe it is the one that the largest number of us can relate to.
Two of my grandparents have had heart attacks in the past five years. That's scary enough in and of itself, but scarier still because I know that heart diseases are to some extent hereditary so it makes me scared that the same thing will happen to my parents and then to me and my sister one of these days too. Both of my grandparents are otherwise very healthy; they don't smoke, they're physically active for their age and they're not overweight. I guess my point is, if it could happen to them it can literally happen to anyone.
The American Heart Association was founded way back in the early 1900's by a group of doctors who were concerned about the lack of information on heart disease that was available to the public. Since then, the AHA has grown into one of the largest volunteer health agencies in the world. A major part of their mission still today is to make people aware; to educate them on heart disease. Risk factors, what to look for, detection and prevention...you get the idea. There are four major branches of the AHA now, and Start! is the name of the one sponsoring the heart walk. It's all about promoting physical fitness/activity to stay healthy. And that's definitely something I can agree with.
Alright, enough with the history lesson. I'm going to wrap this up by posting a link to my Heart Walk website. I set a goal of raising $500 by November. I've never done this before so I have noooo idea whether that is realistic or not. Most people set goals in the thousands though, so I feel like surely I can manage to raise a few hundred. Please, please, please feel free to make a donation--each and every one, no matter how big or small, will be greatly appreciated and could help to save someone's life someday. And even if you don't make a donation, if you just want to go to the site and read a little more about AHA and the heart walk, that'd be great too.
This is a link to my personal Heart Walk page. You'll notice that I'm desperately in need of a little help to reach the $500 mark.
Thank you so much in advance...I'll stop soliciting you now.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
So now that we've got that out of the way...
I went to the grocery last night for the first time since I decided to start actively looking for and using coupons. I should back up and explain that Zack and I are NOT efficient grocery shoppers. At all. We both lived less than a mile from Kroger back in Lexington so we got into the habit of buying groceries only as we were going to use them. So basically, every single day. At some point every evening after work/school, one of us would go get whatever we needed to fix dinner that night. It was good in that by buying only what we planned to use right then we had very little waste and we ended up always getting the freshest of whatever it was we were buying. But like I said, going to the grocery seven or more times a week isn't especially efficient. Now that he's in school all day and I'm at work, combined with the fact that the grocery store isn't exactly in our backyard anymore, I'm trying to be more diligent about shopping ahead for things.
Which brings me back to last night.
I hadn't been in several days so I knew there were a bunch of the staples we'd need (bread, cereal, milk) in addition to whatever else I wanted to get for dinner last night (waiting until the last minute to buy dinner stuff--what can I say? Old habits die hard). I was all psyched to use my newly clipped coupons. The problem I quickly realized, is that we don't typically buy a lot of the things that you can use coupons for. We just don't eat a lot of prepackaged, processed foods and when I bake, I rarely use a boxed mix (unless its brownies and then you've gotta go with the mix). If we ate lots of Fruit Rollups, Lunchables, or Keebler cookies or bought many diapers we'd be in business. But as it is there aren't many coupons out there (or at least not many I've run across yet) for fresh vegetables and fruit, fresh meat, cheese, milk, etc. I feel like in some small way this is only contributing to the obesity problem in America, especially among those with lower incomes, but that's a topic for another day. I did get to use a coupon for some cereal though, so that was at least a small victory for me. *mini victory dance*
In other news, my birthday is now only...18 days away! You all know how I feel about birthdays in general so multiply that by like a hundred and that's how excited I get about my own birthday. The best part of this particular birthday is that my mom and dad are coming down to New Orleans for the weekend to celebrate with us! I'm can't wait. They were here for a couple days to help us move in back at the beginning of July but we literally spent two 18 hour days getting moved in and unpacked and then they left. They didn't get to see or do anything fun while they were here. We didn't even get to take them to eat at any of the really great New Orleans restaurants which is a tragedy in and of itself. I plan to fix that on this visit.
Work is still going really well. I like it a lot. I really, really like my boss(es) and everyone I've met/worked with so far has been great. For me the frustrating part about any new job is feeling like I'm not very good at it yet--or at least parts of it--just because of the learning curve. I wish when you started a new job like this you could just automatically insert into your brain all of the knowledge you would need to do the job right. That'd make the first few weeks/months go so much smoother I think. It's not that I don't like learning new things because I do and there's something to be said for that feeling of accomplishment you get when you finally catch onto something--the "Aha!" moment. But sometimes, I'd just like to already know this stuff too. Is that too much to ask?
Our little cottage down here is cute and charming but it still needs some work. Our landlords had it repainted right before we moved in so it was all nice and clean for us. Unfortunately, they color they chose is B-O-R-I-N-G. Every single wall in our house, from the living room to the kitchen to the bedroom to the bathroom, is roughly the color of oatmeal. Or maybe hummus. We have some friends whose landlord painted their kitchen neon electric burn-your-retinas green so I guess we should be thankful we don't have that but still, we need some color in our lives. The good news is I've actually found some home decor stuff that both Zack and I really like. The bad news is that Zack and I have tastes that exceed our budget; everything we like comes from Pottery Barn and is way more expensive that it's probably worth or than we can afford. As perfect as I think they'd look in our living room, I can't really justify $51 per throw pillow.
So I guess we'll keep dreaming, start buying lottery tickets, and keep looking elsewhere for stuff to brighten up our living room.
Over my extended summer vacation (read: unemployment) I watched a lot of HGTV. In hindsight, I think this was a bad idea on my part. All it did was make me want to have a house of our own that I can play with and decorate and by furniture for. Do we need to buy a house right now? No. Could we even afford to if we wanted? No. If we needed to and could afford to, would I still be extremely hesitant to buy a house in this city because of how old and in general disrepair most real estate is? YES. Guess I'll add the house-buying to my growing list of things to dream about and shelf until a later date. One of these days though...you just wait.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Read it? Seriously, do it. I'll wait. This post isn't going to make nearly as much sense if you try to shirk your homework assignment here.
I came across this story the other day, after some of our new friends down here were telling us about the New Orleans hospital accused of euthanizing critically ill patients during hurricane Katrina once conditions deteriorated to the point where there was nothing else that could be done for them. You've now read the article so I'll let you decide for yourselves how you feel about that, but regardless of where exactly your morals align, can you imagine how bad it must have been for all those poor people--doctors and patients alike--stuck in that hospital with those conditions, and being told that no help is coming? I can't. I don't know the specifics of that particular hospital, but I've read enough about some of the others down here to know that they weren't necessarily very well equipped to handle the aftermath of a storm like that. The hospital where I work now for example, stored its emergency generators in the basement. Arguably the worst place in the world to keep something so important during a flood.
Like I said, I'm not going to pick sides in this one. I'm no even going to try to justify what those doctors did or didn't do. I wasn't here, I can't even imagine ever being in a situation like that--who am I to judge the decisions they made? What I will say is that if it were me laying there in a hospital bed, critically ill and hooked up to an oxygen tank that was quickly running out, knowing that once it does I will slowly suffocate to death...well...a shot of morphine seems like a much more humane way to go.
This is really very morbid and it makes me sad to think about. I apologize. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer here. I'm fascinated by all of the untold stories of hurricane Katrina though, and I think this one is especially thought-provoking. If anyone out there is reading, I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
10. Gone With the Wind - The book and the movie. Of course we all know the unwritten rule that the book is always better but in this case the movie is no slouch either. I watched the movie for the first time when I was like six or so, at my Grandparent's house one Thanksgiving afternoon. I didn't muster up the courage to read the book until high school (have you seen that thing? It's huge!) but once I did, I was hooked. Now I read it at least once a year. At least. I love Scarlett. I love Rhett. I love Vivien Leigh as Scarlet and Clark Gable as Rhett. I love Mammy and Prissy and Ashley and Gerald O'Hara. I cry like a baby every time Melanie and Bonnie Blue die. Rhett walking away at the end of the story tears my heart out. As far as I'm concerned this is the greatest love story ever written. Margaret Mitchell was brilliant in the timelessness of the story because to date, there's not been another romantic novel come along that can hold a light to this one. Nicholas Sparks, eat your heart out.
As an aside, I do NOT feel the same way about Scarlett, the sequel to Gone With the Wind. I'm sorry Ms. Ripley but your book was just too unrealistic for my tastes. You expect me to believe that a young widow traveled by herself from rural Georgia to Ireland right after the Civil War in order to find her father's ancestors and then the man who had walked out on her miraculously decided he missed her and came halfway around the world to bring her home? Come on. (Rhett Butler's people, which came out about a year ago, was actually pretty good though).
9. Cheesecake - If I could only pick one food to eat for the rest of my life, this would be it. Of course, then I'd weight roughly one ton but it might be worth it. I didn't like cheesecake when I was little and looking back, I think, "What was wrong with me?" because its sooooooo good. Zack makes fun of me because I don't eat it very often (mostly in an effort to keep my clothes fitting) but when I do I eat it slowwwww. You've gotta savor that. The past few years I've asked my mom for a cheesecake birthday cake and when I couldn't decide on a flavor I just ended up getting her to make me two.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I had to put this in as an homage to Zack's current cereal of choice. We could never find any of these in Lexington and he thought they had quit making them altogether. Of course, when you come to the food mecca that is New Orleans you can find every cereal known to man, including the Count Chocula-Boo Berry- Franken Berry trio.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Yep. You guessed it. The window unit in the dining room, which happens to be the largest of the three and responsible for cooling the whole downstairs, died. it had been acting sick for a few days so its passing wasn't entirely unexpected. It had been giving what Zack described as a "death rattle" for the past week or so, and making lots of other funny groaning sounds too. I was hoping it would just hold out for another month or so, until it was a little bit cooler but no such luck.
You can probably imagine, at least to some extent, what it's been like for us this weekend. We have leather couches which means that we literally have to kind of peel our bare skin off of them after we've been sitting for more than a couple minutes. Everything in the house has a fine film of condensation on it now, which is pretty gross and the other night when Zack was making dinner and cut a couple slices of butter to use for sauteeing vegetables, it melted in the pan before he even turned the burner on underneath it.
I know that there are hotter places we could live...my cousins out in Phoenix can attest to that and I'm sure that the heat out there is even worse than it is here so I shouldn't complain too much. Here in New Orleans though, it's not the heat so much as the humidity that'll kill you. We had planned to only use the air conditions sparingly; to turn them down when we weren't home or during the day when we were in other parts of the house. The problem, we discovered very shortly after moving in, is that its so darn humid down here that if the A/C isn't running at basically full-blast at all times, everything gets damp and musty. There's nothing worse than living through the heat all day long then crawling into what you hope will be a nice cool bed at night, only to find that the sheets are practically dripping with moisture. Oh, who am I kidding? The heat down here is every bit as bad as the humidity.
So the A/C decides to die at about 5 p.m. on the Friday of a holiday weekend. Our chances of getting it replaced before Tuesday were looking pretty bleak. It's now Sunday afternoon and lo and behold our landlords have managed to find someplace open over the weekend to buy a new unit. Zack is downstairs helping them install it as we speak. I'm hiding out upstairs until I'm sure they're finished. I've been sweating down there for two days just sitting...I'm not too excited at the thought of manual labor!
Thursday, September 3, 2009
So far, everyone I've met has been great to me. I may eat these words later but everyone seems very friendly and helpful and genuinely happy to be working there. I know that no business is perfect but the fact that I keep hearing nothing but good things about this one makes me think that there must be some truth to what these people say.
Even though I'm on the bottom of the totem pole (I am after all, the new kid) I've already gotten to enjoy one little perk of this new job too. Today at work the CEO, who is now one of my bosses, offered Zack and I his tickets to tonight's Saints game! How cool is that? Of course, we were very excited to have the chance to go to see them play (for free no less) since neither of us had ever been to a pro football game at all...much less in the Superdome so we gladly jumped on the opportunity. It was pretty darn awesome too! These seats were 26 rows off the field so we had an incredibly view. Even though it was just an exhibition game, there were a lot of people there and the atmosphere was great. Zack told me to be sure to let my boss know that we will glady take any extra tickets off his hands in the future too, if there's ever a time when he doesn't want to use them!
I promise to write in greater deatil about my job soon. I just wanted to let everyone know that its going well so far and we are still alive down here in NOLA!