Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Week 21

Time for another thrilling edition of Sandy's 101! Let's find out what has been happening, shall we?

22 - In Process - Originally I had thought an extended family vacation, but at this point I will take what I can get! We are currently planning a long weekend in Asheville, NC for this fall. By "we" I mean me, Jeff, John, and Catherine. That's "my side of the family" so I'm very excited about that.

32 - In Process - I'm officially making a serious effort to do this one right now. The meal planning should help!

36 - In Process - I'm also making a serious effort with this one. I've found a pretty good substitute treat for the moment - rice krispy treats! The hard part will be eating ice cream without the chocolate syrup!

45 - In Process - This one is in the works! Everyone is supposed to be coming over on Friday. Hooray!

86 - COMPLETED - I was originally supposed to work Friday night, but traded with someone and surprised Jeff with dinner reservations. My step-mom joined us and it was a wonderful time and wonderful food (as it usually is!)

So there you have it. Another week and another task completed! I'm really excited about the way this is going and can't wait to see what I can do next!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday Meal Plan

It's high time I got back into the swing of things and started writing more about what's been going on in my life, and thus have a little more motivation for HAVING something go on in my life! The first something I want to work on is cooking more. I miss it. I was thinking back to those first months when we were married. I was excited about "playing house" on some level and also going a little stir crazy because I rarely got out of the condo. But the one thing I did every single day (almost) was cook dinner. I generally tried to have it ready and waiting by the time Jeff got home from work and it was a really nice way to spend my afternoon.

Obviously, a lot has changed in the past two years. And while most of it has been great, I do miss making the time to cook regularly. And while this whole "working" thing has played a big part in it (and also having Jeff home all the time!) I want to at least TRY to get back to cooking regularly. And so, in order to keep me properly motivated and to enable my darling house-husband to help out, I am going to get back to menu planning. I used to do it for two and three weeks at a stretch, but that gets to be a bit much, so let's work on one week at a time, shall we? Granted, this week is not the greatest example, but it's a step in the right direction!

Monday (30th) - Smoked Chicken and potato salad (Hopefully Jeff will let me share the recipe for this one since this is his doing!)
Tuesday (31st) - Pork Roast in the crock pot with pasta-roni
Wednesday (1st) - Grilled Chicken with Rice Pilaf and Green Beans
Thursday (2nd) - leftovers
Friday (3rd) - Burgers and Hot Dogs
Saturday (4th) - Spicy Chicken Pasta and Salad (stay tuned for a recipe if this one comes out well!)
Sunday (5th) - Roast beef with mashed potatoes and broccoli with cheese sauce

Hopefully I can make this a pretty regular thing and get a little discipline back in my life! Suggestions are always welcome, and let me know if there's something you want me to share a recipe for!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Five - Allergies

Today's Friday Five is all about the bane of my existance - seasonal allergies.

1. Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? Any other kinds? Seasonal - absolutely. I definitely react to pollen, privet, and all kinds of other blooming mess. I am sort-of allergic to cats as well. This one has developed in the past 8 or so years (when I went to college) but it doesn't bother me too much.

2. What kind of symptoms do you experience during your allergic reactions? I get the traditional sneezing, stuffy/runny nose, headache, and sometimes have the watery eyes. For the most part my reactions are exceptionally debilitating, but this year has been worse than normal.

3. How do you manage your allergies? Normally I just sort of tolerate them and try to avoid whatever is setting me off. This year I have had to try and avoid stuff AND take a nice handful of medication. I should probably look into other stuff because this stuff clearly isn't working as well as I would like!

4. What is the strangest allergy you've ever heard of? I don't know that this is the strangest I've ever heard of but definitely the strangest I have experienced - When I was in high school I had an allergic reaction to pizza sauce! I broke out into AWFUL hives and was miserable for several days. It was years before I would eat pizza with sauce again and to this day I generally prefer my pizza without tomato sauce!

5. How do you feel about school/social policies that are banning peanuts/other allergens? As I have clearly demonstrated with "the pizza incident", you can't ever avoid everything that might ever cause a reaction in somebody, and I think social policies attempting to ban stuff like that is ridiculous. I do think it should be disclosed, but if you are an adult and you know you're allergic to something, then you have to be responsible about taking care of yourself and avoiding it. It's not everyone else's job to take care of you. On some level I understand schools taking precautions, but I think doing it on a "what if" basis is also a bit much. I'm much more understanding of an individual teacher having a "no peanut" policy for the classroom if he/she knows a particular student has a severe allergy simply because kids aren't alway going to be responsible about it or totally understand the consequences, plus you don't ever want to be the kid who always has to have the "special snacks" at class parties and whatnot!

Ok, I'll enough about that. Do you have allergies? Because I do and because almost everyone I know also does, I kind of assume that's a "yes" for pretty much everyone. So maybe a better question would be this: Do you have unusual allergies? Ever had a random reaction like my thing with pizza? Leave me a comment and tell me about it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Week 20

Time to check in with my 100 Week List once again. The reason I didn't update last week was, well, there wasn't anything to update about! Not much has been happening lately. Fortunately I'm getting my rear in gear at least a little bit and continuing to make headway.

12 - COMPLETED. Last week Jeff and I went up to the lake Wednesday night - Saturday. It was nice and quiet and we enjoyed ourselves.

41 - In Process. If you notice, I modified this one a bit. I had a nice photo album Jeff had given me as a gift while we were dating and it had very little in it with plenty of space for more, so that will continue to be the ongoing album for us. I'm in the process of getting all the pictures up to date and I have a few more to be printed and then we will be all set!

47 - In process. I modified this one, but didn't note it as modified because in reality I didn't change anything, just clarified my intention. I changed it from "buy two sets" to "get two sets" because Jeff gave me one as a wonderfully sweet second anniversary gift (since the second anniversary is cotton) and I specified that I want two MORE sets from what I already have (which is one good set and a several so-so sets that can probably be donated and/or recycled!) Now all I need is one more!

48 - Postponed. I could probably go ahead and cross this one off (as I've said before) because I generally do this at work, but my goal was to be intentional about keeping up with it and I haven't done that, so we're going to try again in June and see if I can't keep up with it this time!

75 - COMPLETED. Apparently this has been done for a while, but I just didn't realize it because there is so much other "stuff" in that closet that will need to be dealt with. Oh well, it's a step in the right direction!

So that's pretty much where the list stands at the moment. I'm continuing to make forward progress and I feel good about the "schedule" so that helps. I'm looking forward to what the second half of this year brings!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Five - Words II

After what seems like forever, I am finally getting to do a Friday Five and in a timely fashion! There aren't words for how much this excites me. Which is pretty appropriate since the topic of today's Friday Five is "Words!" More specifically, words that are meaningful and why!

Sumatanga - This word is meaningful to me for so very many reasons. The first is that it is a camp and conference center that has been absolutely formative in my life. But even more than Camp Sumatanga as a specific place, the word itself means "a place of rest and vision" which I think everyone needs at times in their life!

Community - I didn't realize how meaningful this one was to me until I felt like I had lost it. It's hard to believe that I'm now celebrating two years since my graduation from Vanderbilt Divinity School, and while it's been a great two years of growing and working, it's also been a somewhat lonely two years because I felt like I had lost "my" community. Thankfully I am now realizing that I still have that community and several others where I am just as valued, including this wonderful online community. And that's a pretty darn special thing!

Bodean - This one is just plain silly because it's my husband's pet name for me. I'm not exactly sure where it came from except that about two weeks after we were married he declared that I was "Sandy Bodean" or "Mrs. Bodean," except on Sundays when I was "Rev. Bodean!" He said he had to choose something with a "B" because his nickname and his mother's nickname (both given by his grandfather) were "B" nicknames, but I think he just randomly chose something! Either way, I love it and all the unique alternate forms it has taken over the last two years!

Create - This is something I love to do and don't do nearly enough, but still love just the same. Whether it's creating some sort of artsy, craftsy project or creating a great meal or creating an experience for others I love to create. Now I need to be better about creating time and space for myself!

Blessing - I can't think/talk about words without also talking about blessings. This is something that has been on my mind a lot lately - both the giving and the receiving of blessing. And as I think about words and their power, I am quickly reminded of a quote from Henri Nouwen's book, Life of the Beloved - "To give a blessing creates the reality of which it speaks." WOW! Not only is there some serious power in those words, but it also gives serious power to the words that we may speak. I could probably talk/write in circles about all this, so I will just stop here and say that if I were to choose a sixth word, it would be "Beloved". If you haven't read Nouwen's book, do it. It explains "Beloved" better than I ever could!

As always, thanks for stopping by. Leave me a comment and let me know you were here, and let me know if any of my words stirred something in you! Happy Weekend!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cruise Update

In case you missed it, Jeff and I FINALLY took the vacation we have been anticipating for over a year now on the Carnival Dream. We went with his mom (Barbara), step-dad (Ray), grandmother (Mamaw), great-aunt and uncle (Linda and Hugh), 2 aunts (Donna and Sherrie), uncle (David), and his mom's friends (Chris, David, Valencia, and Jana). See? We are a pretty good-looking bunch!

Jeff's and my vacation officially began on Friday, April 29th. We flew down to Orlando and were picked up in an executive SUV that took us to our hotel in Cocoa Beach. Heck yeah I got spoiled by that! We spent the night at the Residence Inn that was all of one mile from the port. We couldn't tell exactly how close we were that night, but when we left the next morning we realized the cruise ship was practically parked in our back yard!

Saturday we were up early enough to take advantage of the breakfast in the hotel and then catch the shuttle to the cruise terminal. It didn't take hardly any time for us to get through check-in and we were on the boat by 11:30. We wandered around exploring, got some lunch, and enjoyed the view. You could actually see the Nasa stuff, including the shuttle on the launch pad (because the launch scheduled for that morning was postponed). Pretty cool huh? We had a spa cabin, so we got to check out all that stuff and generally just hang out before dinner.

The spa cabin was nice. It wasn't all that much different from the other cabins, except that it was a much smaller area of the ship, you were a lot higher (we were on the 11th floor, actually ABOVE the Lido deck where the food and pool and stuff are!) and there were no kids so there was no running, screaming, slamming doors, or general mayhem. It was very quiet and serene. Plus, our cabin steward was AMAZING! Her name was Sunshine and she was just the sweetest thing. We loved her! The best part about the spa cabins was that we had access to the "Thermal Suites" (a variety of steam and dry saunas of varying temperatures) and Thalassotherapy pool (basically an overgrown mineral-filled hot tub). Oh, they were wonderful! I found myself falling asleep on those heated seats more than once, and spent lots of time in the pool turning into a prune. You had to be at least 18 to use this stuff, so again no screaming kids splashing around. Plus the pool was only slightly warmer than body temperature, so you could easily spend a lot of time there. Jeff and I probably spent at least two hours every single day in the spa.

The ports were Cozumel, Belize City, Mahogany Bay Roatan (Honduras), and Costa Maya. Cozumel was not bad. We were at a little dock about a mile or so from town. It was kind of nice because ours was the only ship there, so it wasn't too crowded. We found a nice restaurant on the beach where we had lunch and were joined by several iguanas. One got surprisingly close to my feet, but he didn't lick or bite, so we didn't have any problems. Belize was an absolute waste of time. We had to take a Tender Boat for five miles to get to shore, and when we got there, there wasn't really anything there! We stayed off the boat maybe 20 minutes. We spent more time going and coming than actually off the boat. At least we can say we've been there! Roatan was my favorite because it was nothing but a beach. We wandered over, found a couple of chairs, and I was able to read and nap in the shade of a palm tree while enjoying a fruity beverage. It was a good day! Costa Maya we didn't even get off the boat! We just slept late, wandered around the ship, and napped on the deck.

The most exciting part of the trip for us happened while we were at sea! We took a behind the scenes tour where we got to see the kitchen, engine control room, dressing rooms, crew areas, and of course the bridge. We got to meet the captain and have our picture made with him, and that was really cool. Jeff thought he was hot stuff. We got all kinds of fun stuff including the pictures, some goodies, a little soap carving of a swan (how they practice for the big ice sculptures!) champagne, and some yummy treats from the kitchen including chocolate covered strawberries and almond pralines! I'd say it was a good way to spend the morning! It was definitely a fun thing to do, but not something I would do every single cruise. As is tradition, I had to take $20 and hit the slots. I rarely lose any money (usually I just break even, maybe come up a buck or two on top) but this time I won big! Ok, not huge, but I won $90 on the penny slots! Not bad if I do say so myself!

Other good things we did included dinner at the steak house which was GREAT and I got a 75 minute hot stone massage. It was wonderful! My only regret was not getting to take the yoga class. Looking back I wish I had asked the guy to just teach me a little bit even though it was just me, but maybe next time.

So yeah, that's the complete run-down of everything I did on my vacation. It was wonderful, even if I am still sort of trying to get myself together being home again. I'm looking forward to my next one, whenever that may be!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Week 18

So a lot has happened with my list in the last two weeks! Most of this is a result of the cruise, but it pretty clearly illustrates that "getting away" and taking care of myself were high priorities when I was making this list!

#5 - COMPLETED. Ok, so when I made this list, I had intended this to be Gulf Shores. But I did get to go to the beach (twice) while on the cruise and it was lovely. I still want to try and go to Gulf Shores, but it's not as much of a priority anymore.

#7 - COMPLETED. I got a hot stone massage at the spa on the ship one day before dinner. Lawsy mercy, I needed that more than I thought! The therapist told me I wasn't carrying a lot of tension in my muscles (which was kind of surprising) but she said that getting a massage every couple of months would probably help me. I'll have to see what I can do about that...

#13 - COMPLETED. I did this as a surprise for everyone for mother's day, but also because I wanted to do it too and really, how many other chances am I going to have? We had a stretch Escalade pick us up from the cruise terminal and take us to the airport when we got back. We had an executive SUV pick us up when we got down there, but it just wasn't the same. Either way, I liked it and could get used to it!

#15 - Attempted - Another spa perk was a couple of free fitness classes. Normally I wouldn't even consider it because it's vacation and workouts and vacation generally don't go together in my mind. But I've been REALLY curious about yoga and just plain don't have the guts to find a class around here where I might have the see the same people again after making a fool of myself, so the trip was the perfect "safe" space to try it out. I signed up for a yoga class, got myself up early and showed up but I was the only one there except for the instructor. He and I just sat around talking for a while and he said he's put me in for the last class later in the week, but I had a conflict so I couldn't go. Sadness! I still want to give it a try!

#31 - COMPLETED. Jeff and I had some new family portraits made on the ship. Hard to believe it's been almost two years since our wedding and those are really the most recent pictures we have of the two of us! Stay tuned for some of these when I do a "real" cruise update or you can check them out on facebook.

#37 - COMPLETED. I did not take the computer with me. I did not borrow a computer. I did not even have a desire to use one in the hotel lobby before we got on the boat. It was actually really nice!

#41 - In Process. This is directly tied to the whole "getting pictures of us" thing, but now that we have a bunch of pictures, I'm going to get a new photo album. I'm also going to make scrapbooks for stuff, but want to have one ongoing book just to toss pictures into. I'm going to get the actual book when I go to print the pictures next week.

#68 - COMPLETED. I downloaded and read "Miss Julia Takes Over" on the boat. It was definitely better than the first one, although it was still kind of hard for me to get into. I'm warming up to Miss Julia so I think I will continue the series whenever I get a chance. I also read Devil's Food Cake Murder, Gingerbread Cookie Murder, Life Laughs, and Life of the Beloved.

#79 - COMPLETED. I really enjoy having breakfast dates with Jeff and they really don't happen that often. I wouldn't have thought of the cruise being an ideal location for a great breakfast date, but it was. We got up and went, just the two of us, for a nice quiet breakfast where we could take our time and enjoy starting our day together. I highly recommend it! Plus, there's something sweet about eating off the same plate. No, we didn't feed each other. We did draw the line at that!

#95 - COMPLETED. This was a little harder than I thought it would be. On the one hand, not having the computer made it much easier, but having access on my phone was really tempting. Fortunately, I was able to resist because of the whole cost of the cellular at sea thing. The only down side was the amount of junk I have had to filter through because it's not getting sorted on a daily basis!

So that is eight new things I crossed off my list in a little over two weeks. That brings my grand total up to 23 items in 18 weeks. Not bad at all! Still, I haven't seen a movie and want to do that...