My cluttered brain

I am realizing the importance of more regular blog posts. Otherwise, I tend to have these long brain-dump posts, where I have about 85 things I want to / think I should post about.

It’s a nice Sunday morning here in North Carolina. I’m over at Matt’s place, enjoying Dunkin Donuts coffee + glazed donut while watching Nadal and Djokovic battle it out for the French Open final. While I’m disappointed that Federer didn’t make the final, it’s not a huge surprise anymore, and I’m not even sure who I should be cheering for right now. They’re both good awesome players.

Matt is currently out on the Raleigh Greenways for a 25 mile ride on his new road bike. I would be accompanying him (not for 25 miles though) except that my bike died 😦

But wait – you didn’t even know that I had a bike!!

Yes, last week I finally finished my bike shopping/comparing and all the accompanying neurosis. I settled on a lovely Carolina Blue womens bike by Trek, and have mastered the art of carrying it up my apartment stairs, and packing it up in my car.

I went on a quick 2-3 mile ride around Matt’s neighborhood the night I bought it, and we noticed that the front brake was rubbing the front wheel and making an annoying noise. After a few adjustments, Matt got it settled. The next night, after work internship, I took it out for ~5 miles on a local greenway trail in Chapel Hill, and enjoyed myself. Then for the weekend, I packed her up and headed to Raleigh. Matt and I planned for 10 miles on the Raleigh greenways yesterday morning. Unpacking both bikes from my car (reason #85890 that I love Matrix) we had a lot of trouble getting my front wheel back on straight, without the brake rubbing. And then Matt’s mountain bike gave him trouble with the chain (although that was actually Matt’s fault because he recently oiled it but didn’t wipe it off, so it was slipping all over the place).

ANYWAY, we started out on the greenway, but stopped after less than a mile, because the brake rubbing was getting annoying. A group of cyclists eventually stopped and helped us, with one guy whipping out his tools and loosening my brake. We got back on the trail and rode about 6 miles, but my wheel/brake issue didn’t ever really go away.

After a shower and lunch, we went back to the bike shop and had them look at the bike. At first, the guy thought it would just be a quick adjustment, but he had my bike back there for a quite a while. Every time I looked back there, he’d either be on the phone, or having another mechanic look at my bike. I knew something was up – how could I have messed up my bike after only 3 days?!

Finally he came back and told me that the bike was defective, that the fork was somehow not properly centered/aligned, and the wheel was never going to sit straight on the bike.

End of story – a new bike is being shipped down from Wisconsin as we speak, and I will pick it up sometime this week. I’m slightly relieved that it wasn’t something I was doing to the bike, but disappointed with my short-lived bike career. Oh well, this time next week I can go ride a (hopefully) wonderfully-working bike!

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In other news, Matt and I enjoyed a fun evening out in Durham for the “Best of the Triangle” party. We sample lots of food and drinks (chocolate habanero iced coffee, anyone?) and then enjoyed some great live music. Jack the Radio is a pretty great local band!

always good people watching in Durham 🙂

Happy 1st of June!

Greetings to you all. I am blogging during my lunch work at my internship. So I’ll keep it brief and bulleted.

  • Matt and I had an awesome time in DC last weekend. I definitely wish we had closer to a week than just the weekend, as we wanted to see all the museums, shops, restaurants and try out the DC bikeshare program!
  • I have a new roommate for the summer, who is interning here in Chapel Hill, from Ithaca NY. I am looking forward to introducing her to southern weather, culture, and food. Her first day here, some NC native warned her about the “Chapel Hill liberals”. Luckily, she shares our left-leaning views, so I think she’ll fit right in.
  • I discovered that by grocery shopping on Sunday evenings, you can hit all the clearance food. A few weeks ago I found a grocery cart full to the top of baked goods (88 cent loaves of bread!), and this week I found the freezer chest of clearance food. Stocked up on some Smart Ones for work lunches for just $1!
  • I’m interning at a very health and wellness-focused nonprofit. They give all employees a 30 minute paid break for physical activity every day. How awesome is that!? So far, I’ve been mostly using my 30 minutes to get outside and take a walk, although we also have a room here with exercise DVDs and free weights.
  • Harley is still hanging out at the farm with my Mom. From all the iPhone pictures I have received, it seems like he spends 99% of his days either on the couch or the bed. I predict he’s going to have gained some serious weight when I bring him back!

Alright, time to get back to work! I have created a makeshift “standing desk” here in my cubicle – will have to try and take a picture for you all to see!

first week of summer school done!

Just made it through my first full week of summer class. I can’t say that being in class (and just one class) for 5 hours a day is awesome, but so far it’s been much more enjoyable than the 3 hour classes I had last semester. It’s a Public Health Nutrition Management course, and so far we’ve been talking about social issues related to health and the role of the public health system.  I was going to write a post of the effect of community and social support on health, but I don’t really have the time for that right now. I need to pack and get ready for my fun weekend!

But to back up to this afternoon – I did all my errands on foot this afternoon (have I mentioned how much I LOVE living in a place where I can walk everywhere??). I walked to Whole Foods for lunch (thanks again parents for the gift card!) and then to the gym for a comprehensive workout sans my trainer, then to the mall and library to pick up some guidebooks for an upcoming trip to our nation’s capitol:

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Really weird thing happened both at the gym and walking home afterwards: I got some cramping/twinging in my toes and calves. I’m not sure why this is; I rarely get any type of muscle cramp, but when I attempted to jog on the treadmill, it was like there were aliens in my legs pinching certain muscles to cramp up, and was not pleasant. Reminded me of the last 1/2 mile of the Country Music Half-Marathon in Nashville, where I attempted to run my fastest to the finish line, only to be stopped by terrible calf cramping. What the heck? It wasn’t low electrolytes due to fasting or sweating, and the only thing I can think of was my just eating a decadent lunch at whole foods? Oh well… I cannot resist their pesto portabella pizza slices when I walk past Smile

So now I am off to pack and get ready for a fun weekend with Matt. Hope you all enjoy your weekend – make it a good one!

Time for summer school!

Good morning readers.

I am sitting at my desk with my new fancy laptop (still loving it) and a tall glass of iced coffee. Today is my first day of summer class – ever! I never took summer classes during my undergrad career, but am taking full advantage of all learning opportunities while here at UNC for my masters. For the next 11 weeks, I will be full-time during the week, between my one summer class (Public Health Nutrition) and a summer internship at a local non-profit.

Harley is staying at the farm with my mom for the next month or so, so that I don’t have to worry about leaving him for such long hours during the day. I know he’d be fine (after all, I had him at the farm while working full-time at the hospital), but this way he gets some grandma bonding and canine social interaction. From what I hear, he’s spending 90% of his days on a bed/couch. Oh, and he’s gained 5 lbs with the summer heat and needs to lose a little weight. Poor Harley…

Speaking of the farm, that’s where I escaped to last week to see my mom for Mother’s Day. We had a great time together – lots of thrifting (that’s what we do best), fun meals, daily naptime, and caught up on season finales for Big Bang and New Girl. A nice way to relax before my busy summer begins!

It’s also interesting to note how my morning routine doesn’t take much time without a dog… I didn’t realize how much time I’m saving by not having to feed/medicate/walk Harley each morning. I guess I can sleep later! My bus doesn’t come for 45 more minutes… so more time to read blogs and peruse pinterest Smile

Have a great day everyone!

fun times this weekend

Starting Saturday morning at the Carrboro’s Farmers Market
So, 5 miles from my apartment is one of the top 10 farmers markets in the country. And yet, I had never been. So this weekend I promised myself that I would go.

Carrboro is such a fun little town with a great community spirit. There were so families at the market, all enjoying the produce, plants/flowers, bakery products, and locally made goods. I may have treated myself to a Sweet Potato Maple doughnut for my breakfast (along with iced coffee which I proceeded to spill all over my car’s interior…) as well as picking up some delicious produce and a little basil plant for my balcony. It’s hard to believe that I paid someone a premium for homegrown zucchini – for the past 2 years I have grown so much zucchini that I would give it away to anyone I could!

Picking fresh strawberries
Matt and I headed to a local farm here in Chapel Hill to pick strawberries. In 30 minutes, we had picked 4 lbs of gloriously ripe and delicious strawberries – for only $6! So much better than the 99cent Aldi strawberries I had picked up last week, yet cheaper than the ones I saw earlier at the farmers market.

Some homemade whipped cream complimented them for a perfect summer dessert!

Getting $60 of free food for dinner with friends

We introduced some friends of ours to Groupon this weekend, with a wonderful deal at a Durham-area pizza place. Fried zucchini sticks, veggie pizza, and cheesecake made a filling and delicious meal Smile

Almost buying a road bike

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Living in Chapel Hill, (and dating an avid cyclist), I have been thinking about getting a bike. It would make an easy 3 mile ride to campus, as well as enjoyable for all the local trails in my area. So today, we went bike shopping. I always pictured myself buying a nice, colorful and cushy cruiser. It certainly would be comfortable, but apparently not efficient, speedy, or easy for any type of hill. Not to mention it weighs a ton and would NOT be practical for having to carry to my upstairs apartment or in/on a car. The above pictured bike is a nice carbon/aluminum $1000 road bike that was on sale for $599 which I almost bought today. Until I test-rode it and found that I preferred a different bike. Matt fell in love with a $1200 road bike, also marked half-price (to clear out the 2011 models) which I predict he will buy this week. For now, I’m looking at a Trek hybrid bike instead (like this one), which seems to suit my needs a little better. I’ll be sure to show you what I end up purchasing!

Enjoying the wonders of Netflix
In the past week or so, I have been enjoying Netflix documentaries, both of which I highly recommend.

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I had no idea what went into the Muppeteers’ work! A great story of hard work and perseverance

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Can’t say this taught me anything new, but certainly reinforced and reminded me about my eating choices

Tonight, I introduced Matt to “Faulty Towers”. We watched The Germans episode, which is my favorite. How can you beat the talking moose, fire drill, and german scenes!?

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And tomorrow is Monday, a new week. I don’t have too much going on in the next few days – some babysitting, a haircut, and school menu work. Wednesday morning, Harley and I are heading to the farm for a few days with my Mom and her pack of dogs Smile

summertime thoughts

Today officially feels like summer
I turned in my last final exam yesterday, so I am done with spring semester! (2 semesters of grad school under my belt, 3 to go).  I now have a 10 day break before summer class/internship starts, so my days are officially filled with ‘break-like activities’ such as:

  • making iced coffee every morning
  • working on my side projects as my only projects (= school menu proofs, mostly so my bank account doesn’t dry up completely)
  • planning crafting projects and cooking ideas from pinterest
  • getting excited about my memorial day trip to DC with Matt! Smithsonian here we come! Smile

My new laptop is wonderful

I picked up my HP dm4 laptop today at Staples ($500 was an amazing deal!) and am loving it so far. My previous laptops (2004 Dell for college, 2008 Dell for after-college) always seemed to come with lots of extraneous materials like random CDs and instruction booklets. This time, I opened the HP box, pulled out a laptop, battery, cord, and a single sheet of “how to set up your computer”. That was it. Wow. I guess they assume you can get everything you need online now. Nice and minimalistic.

Anyway, so far the dm4 is working great. Nice and fast, great audio, a really cool fingerprint scanner that I am already loving instead of typing in passwords to websites all the time, and an excellent-sounding keyboard. I have always been a sucker for the good sound of keys. Ask my mother. I used to collect old typewriters, keyboards or adding machines as a child, just to type on them and listen to the sound. That’s also my favorite part of the movie “You’ve Got Mail” – listening to Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan typing on their 1990s computers to each other 🙂

Now I just need to work on setting up folders, and getting microsoft office (a great perk of still being in school – free software!).

Food Trucks are Genius

So, today there was a food truck parked right outside my apartment for lunch. Better yet, it was a grilled cheese food truck. Called “American Meltdown” – they drive a bright orange truck and make excellent gourmet melts with local ingredients. I had the ‘Fordham’ with mozzarella, pesto and sundried tomatoes, and it was dee-lish, with perfectly crunchy bread and a gooey cheesy filling. Definitely hope I can visit them again some time!

Using chilled glasses for chocolate milk is also genius

Not much to say about this, other than when I got back from the gym this afternoon, I sure appreciated having a glass in the refrigerator, ready to be filled with some low-fat chocolate milk. I swear, the cold glass made it taste even better!

Yes, that’s right. I went back to the gym today

It’s been more days than I would like to count since I’ve been to the gym. We can blame final exams on that. Today, I remembered that if I actually put on gym clothes in the morning, I might actually go workout. And so I did. After running errands this afternoon, I stopped at the gym for a run/jog/walk session on the treadmill, followed by a few strength exercises. I don’t even know the last time I sweated so much. Gross.  I should probably do things like this more often, right?

Until I next write, keep calm and be nice to each other

Summer Weather is Here

Happy 1st of May!

It certainly feels like summer today – hot and humid outside. I have had a productive day, mostly at home getting work done, although I did get my car’s 105,000 mile service completed, and a new type of dog food for Harley to try. Apparently the Taste of the Wild salmon & sweet potato isn’t exciting him much anymore, so we’re going to switch to a sweet potato & bison variety by Natural Balance and see what he thinks. I can’t imagine a life without food/meal enjoyment!

I have my last final exam paper due tomorrow. This afternoon has included several hours working on it, and it’s gotten to the point where it doesn’t even make sense to me anymore. I keep writing and reading and editing, but nothing sounds right. That was when I realized I needed to get out of the house and take Mr H for a walk. A nice 30 minute walk in the setting sun was just what we needed. Now I’m watching the news, filing my online rebates for the new laptop (which will arrive tomorrow!) and brainstorming dinner options. Hopefully I can get the paper finished up tonight so that I can go to the Durham Bulls game tomorrow with some friends. It’s always helpful to have motivation 🙂

I’m going to experiment with a white sweet potato that I got this past weekend at the farmers market. Never heard of such a thing, although my mom informs me that they were quite common when we lived in Australia. Going to try baked wedges as a side dish. Yum yum.

Marathon (study) training

Top of the morning to you!

Today is our last biochem exam. Well, our last one of this semester. There are still two semesters to go of our favorite subject, but let’s not dwell on that fact. This is the last biochem activity in which I will partake for the next 4 months 🙂

My studying for this exam has been pretty minimal. I have yet to do much studying on my own, but am instead only studying with other classmates. I’m following the ‘less is more’ approach. Isn’t that a thing for marathon runners now? Instead of working on running super high mileage every week, they focus on cross-training and speed workouts, and end up running fewer miles during training but performing better on marathon day? Well, that’s exactly what my approach has been for this exam. Study hard with my classmates, but enjoy my rest in between study sessions and get other things accomplished (like writing all those other papers that have been due this week)!

So… the exam is in less than 5 hours. I energized myself this morning with coffee and raw cookie dough (and reminded myself that if I ate dozens of raw eggs, I could become deficient in biotin due to all the avidin in egg whites). Harley is looking at me with pathetic eyes, so my next stunt activity is to take him for a nice morning walk, biochem notes in hand. You can walk a dog while reading, right? Not sure I’ve attempted this before, but we’ll give it a go.

The exciting part of getting this biochem exam over with (besides finishing biochem for the semester!) is what I have to look forward to. Our class potluck is this afternoon/evening. That explains my raw cookie dough eating behavior – I have a batch of Hilary Clinton’s in the fridge, waiting to be baked this afternoon. As well as Matt’s infamous spinach dip that I made as his contribution.

After the potluck, I’m heading out of town for the weekend to reunite with some of my good RD friends from my Vandy internship. Plans include garage sale-ing, wearing fruit costumes at a farmers market, and lots of laughs. Can’t wait. And then Sunday includes computer shopping and a possible movie date!

Final sprint of the semester

I’m so close to the end of the semester. Just one exam (biochemistry) and two papers, and I’ll be done!

My plan for tonight was to spend it working on my obesity-related paper, until Matt called and invited me out to dinner at a wonderful Mexican place in Durham. Clearly I chose the Mexican food.

Thankfully, the paper isn’t due until 5pm tomorrow, and classes have ended for the semester, which leaves me with plenty of time tomorrow to finish things. Harley deserves a long walk in the morning first though. He’s been spending too much time cooped up in the apartment with all my end-of-semester business. Sorry Mr Harley!

Harleyhoodie3 A brief re-cap of other things in my life:

  • The snoopy fire king mug has already sold from my etsy store and will be off in the mail tomorrow.
  • Matt spent hours last night taking apart my laptop and trying to diagnosis it. No luck yet. Thankfully, I was paid today for one of my school nutrition consulting jobs, so I have money to buy another laptop if need be… which I think will end up happening soon.
  • Our classmates are hosting a celebratory pot-luck this Friday to celebrate the end of the semester. I wanted to make the delicious zucchini brownies that I discovered last year (when I was growing more zucchini than I knew what to do with), but sadly have no idea where the recipe is. This is my biggest problem with the plethora of online recipes – I do a terrible job of recording which recipes I use (and like/modify). It makes it near impossible to go back months later and find the recipe I used! My clever sister records all of her recipes in a large word document. Maybe this is why she’s going to be the one in the family with a PhD…
  • In the end, I may just make my standby recipe: Hilary Clinton’s chocolate chip cookies. They never fail to please.
  • I created lots of lists tonight for biochem review. List-making generally helps thinks sink into my brain…..

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And now, time for bed. Good night!

Morning with snoopy

Started the day with a church garage sale. It has been a looong time since I’ve been garage sale-ing. When I was living at the farm it became a regular occurrence on the weekends. Of course now my weekends seem to be busier, and Chapel Hill hasn’t been quite the bargain-mecca that I might like. That being said, spring cleaning is in the air and lots of local garage sales are popping up. A church near campus was having their annual ABC sale (attic, basement and closets) but the line to get in was wrapped around the building and I couldn’t find a place to park. Darn.

I did, however, score a few items at another church garage sale, including this 1950s Fire King mug with Snoopy!

It might just have to go in the shop, since I know how highly collectible these old fire king mugs are!

The phrase “I think I’m allergic to morning!” would probably suit many people and is fitting for a coffee mug. I, on the other hand, am definitely an early bird and enjoy my productive mornings!

Now I’m off to tackle my long to-do list, including:

  • biochem study group
  • gym
  • laptop repair?
  • work on my nutritional epi final paper
  • school menu proofs
  • finishing my energy drink paper

Adios!