Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Back on the wagon

I know it's been over a week since I posted, however, I'm giving myself a pass on this one. I haven't had much to write about and didn't want to post anything until something exciting happened.

Nothing did.

So yesterday I decided I would post a blog about how my New Year's resolutions are going.

Above is the treadmill I bought before Christmas as an incentive to get in shape. I'm also using it to train for the 10 mile race, as my weak Texan lungs can't handle air below 50 degrees so I can't run outside.

The running has been going great, and I'm already seeing a change in my endurance. I'm hoping to run the race at a 10 minute pace (which would be awesome for me). Even if I don't make that goal, I'll be satisfied just finishing the race.

Running is a great workout. I've integrated strength training which has really helped me tone up. It's nice to see the benefits of working out and I'm excited about swimsuit season for the first time since high school! We have a pool out back and I can't wait to have barbecues once the weather is more agreeable.

One of my resolutions I'm still working on is the guitar playing. It's silly but one of the main reason why it isn't going so well is that my fingernails grow really fast and I always have to cut them when I sit down to play. It gets annoying. And then I let it go for too long and I lose my callouses, which take forever to build back up it seems like. I really want to learn a song on the guitar, and I feel like I'd be a good guitarist. I guess I just have to take one goal at a time.
In other news, I saw "There Will Be Blood" this weekend with Stu. I picked the movie. I never see films like that because I usually don't understand them. This film looked interesting because it was about oil and religion. However, it was long. And I felt that it didn't really resolve at the end. With movie tickets around here being $10 a pop, I'll stick with genres I know I like (think Old School/Wedding Crashers ...).
More exciting stuff later (hopefully).

Monday, January 21, 2008

Dinner party in frigid DC

As the title of my blog indicates, I am originally from Texas. Houston specifically. I grew up in a suburb called Clear Lake, which is close to Johnson Space Center (where the astronauts train). Growing up in Houston had its perks. I went to school with a lot of smart kids which helped me prepare for college and from an early age had a deep appreciation for the space program.

My whole family is southern and Texan (yes, there is a difference) so I also grew up with a great sense of southern hospitality. My Mom has these awesome recipes, they are all so simple and so good. Comfort food. Lots of beef and potatoes and butter. Every time I go home I think I gain five pounds. But trust me - it's well worth it. I've started using her recipes frequently and decided that I need to write them down so that I can make them for my own family some day.

This weekend I had a few people over for dinner. It was the first time I've made dinner in a long time for more than just me and it turned out wonderfully. I used my Mom's pot roast recipe and made green beans and potatoes as sides. Again, simple comfort food. Everyone loved it. My co-worker brought some great red wine that complimented the beef very well. I have to say, though, that I don't have a very discerning palate. If it's red and not out of the box, I'll usually drink it. I made chocolate chip cookies for dessert, always a hit.

It was great to sit around on a Saturday night with good wine and good friends. It was very cold outside, and a lot of the snow from last week's storm had turned to ice - so definitely a good night to stay in. The only thing that was missing was a fire in the fireplace. I still don't know how to work that thing.

Another advantage of growing up in Houston was the mild winters. Not only does the temperature rarely go below forty, but there is a lot of green year round. It has only snowed twice in the past twenty-five years. And oh yes, I have laid out as late as November and as early as February. Now, that doesn't mean that I enjoyed the summers by any means: think 110 degree heat index and mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds.

But I digress.

I had never experienced seasons until I moved to DC. I have to say that I really enjoy fall and spring, when everything is colorful and the weather is agreeable. But one thing I can't stand is the bitter cold. I can handle 40, even 30 if I'm really bundled up. When I woke up this morning it was 10. Are you kidding me?! And the worst thing is that it's sunny and cloudless so if you look out the window it's very deceiving. All my friends here make fun of me for being cold for basically five months but there is seriously something wrong with you if you don't think 10 is cold - I don't care where you grew up.

Needless to say I'm very much wanting to get away to some place sunny, like my best friend Anne and her husband. They are in Florida for a few days for his birthday.

Maybe I'll escape for a weekend some time soon. Heaven for me is a beach, my iPod, and some low-SPF sunscreen. I can hear Jimmy Buffet already ...

Monday, January 14, 2008

On call weekend

One of the responsibilities of my job in addition to helping doctors put pacemakers in people is that I have to be on call every three months or so. What that means is that I have to stay in the DC metro area in case one of our patients goes into the hospital and needs their pacemaker checked.
This past weekend I was on call and it was shaping up to be pretty quiet. Then yesterday around 4 pm I got called to Shady Grove, Maryland. While I was there I got called back down to Fairfax, VA. Just as I was getting in my car to go over to Stu's and watch the Cowboys, I got called back to the Shady Grove ER. When it rains, it pours.

I finished up with the patients around 7:30 and didn't get called again, thank goodness.

It was probably better that I didn't watch the game because the Cowboys lost to the Giants 21-17. Needless to say, Stu was not a happy camper. Being from Texas, you'd think I was really concerned about the game, however, I'm more of a college-ball fan and I don't really get into the pro teams. (but don't tell Stu) Go Aggies!

Saturday night I was able to go out for a birthday party. It was at a little place in Falls Church, VA. It's so fun getting to know the area better!

It was Stu's roommate's birthday and Alexis came with us. Here is a shot from the party ...

Overall it was a fun weekend, but I'm glad I don't have to be on call again until March!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Museums are fun!

This weekend I went to the National Building Museum in DC with Stu. We had originally wanted to see the Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian and then walk over to the architecture museum, but after spending close to an hour looking for a parking spot we bailed on the Mall area and went to F St NW. It was fun sightseeing from the passenger seat, and I wished I had taken some pictures from there. Some times I take for granted that I live so close to so much history.

Over at the National Building Museum there were some really interesting exhibits highlighting famous architects. There was a really cool exhibit about the architecture of DC. Apparently, the engineers weren't smoking pot when they designed the transit system - it just worked a lot better for a population that was about 10% the size it is now.

There was a section that highlighted architectural art. I drew a picture of a bridge. I'll stick with pacemakers, art isn't my thing.

We couldn't take pictures inside the exhibits so here are a couple from outside on the balcony.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Ok, so I know that I've been a slacker about blogging but I have some good reasons why it has taken so long.

1. I lost my camera and don't like posting without pictures
2. The holidays are crazy and I didn't have any time
3. I don't love writing
4. I'm lazy (supercedes the previous reasons)

One of my resolutions is to blog at least once a week. I hope it won't be hard to find subject matter - some of the blogs might only be a haiku long - but they will count! It's like dieting and exercising. I went on Weight Watchers last year and lost 20 pounds so this is the first year in a long time that one of my resolutions is not to lose weight. I started running as well, which is something I really don't like, but I've been sticking with it and will hopefully be running in a 10 mile race at the beginning of April. Both of these are things that I worked into slowly and had no experience sticking with in the past. Now blogging will be the next goal (aim high, right?).

Actually there are a couple of other things I'd like to work on this year and they are as follows...

1. Run in the Cherry Blossom 10 mile
2. Blog at least once a week
3. Do my bible study everyday and not all on the day before I meet with my small group
4. See some touristy stuff in DC, since I live 12 miles from the Smithsonian
5. Stick with my money management plan so I can save some for a rainy day
6. Spend less money at Coach
7. Learn how to play my guitar
8. Learn a new song on the piano

I think these are all realistic and attainable. I hope that this blog doesn't become monotonous but there are no guarantees.

In the mean time, here are some pictures from my New Year's Eve last night. I went to a party in Arlington with some folks from my church. Actually, it was a great mix of people - about 120 showed up. We danced and sang and had a great time! I got home at 3:30 and fell asleep around 4am.
2008, here I come!

Stu and me before

Alexis, Stu and Shani

Alexis and Me!

Dancin' the night away