Monday, November 26, 2012

{Friend Makin' Monday - Dear Santa...}

Goodness!  I haven't blogged since last Monday.  Oops!  Guess I didn't do so well with NaBloPoMo.  Oh well...  We'll see how the last few days of the month go - no so certain that it will be that much different...  The past week my mind has been pre-occupied with my surgery (on Wednesday of this week - eek!), Thanksgiving prep, Christmas prep, getting my work stuff situated before surgery, etc.  

I hope that everyone had a wondeful Thankgiving!  I started Thursday morning out with the annual Ridgewood Turkey Trot 8K.  This is my third time doing this race and it was fun as usually - terribly hilly, but fun!  Jason and I went to lunch at the Renaissance at North Hills with his parents.  Then, the rest of the afternoon and evening was spent at their house - football, napping, football, etc.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Feel free to add your links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Dear Santa:  List at least ten things that you may or may not need that you’d love to find under your tree this year!  

1. Garmin Forerunner 10 in pink - I had a Garmin several years ago, but it didn't have GPS and didn't work for intervals because of the foot-pod.  When I got my iPhone, I started wearing it on my arm and using RunKeeper, but I get tired of having to lug it around.

Of course, if someone wanted to spend the money, I could be convinced to like a Forerunner 910XT, Forerunner 610, or Forerunner 410.  Of course, the "...Give a, Give a, Give a Garmin..." commercials aren't helping the insanity ;-)

2. Perfume - I always love getting perfume for Christmas.  Jason and I always go to Nordstrom, enjoy smelling several fragrances and then he picks the one he likes best.  I am hoping to get some Hanae Mori "Butterfly" or Laila.   

3.  Breville Tea Maker - When I was diagnosed with Celiacs, I was given a list of cross-reactants and coffee was one of them.  Because I could no longer drink coffee, my Keurig and I had to get a divorce because I couldn't stand the sight of it on my counter.  I gave my Keurig to my friend, Mary, and have been boiling water in the microwave for tea since. 

I saw this a few weeks ago at Sur La Table and was immediately smitten.  It's fully programmable for all kinds of teas, water temperatures and steep times.  While I am no expert on tea, I bet that preparing tea with the correct temperature of water and steep time makes all the difference.  

4.  A few books - There are several books I have had my eyes on, including White Jacket Required,Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef,and Run to Overcome.  

5.  Gift cards to Kohl's, Belk, Nordstrom, etc. - I am excited about my surgery and the weight loss, but it will leave me with a lot of clothing needs.  I can deal with replacing weekend/casual clothes slowly but I need to get new work stuff fairly quickly.

6. Calphalon Contemporary Stainless Steel Cookware - I've had my current Calphalon since I graduated from Meredith in 2002 and worked part-time at BedBath&Beyond.  It desperately needs replacing!

7.  See's Chocolates - LOVE these chocolates.  Can't have them anymore, but a girl can wish, right?

8.  Rx Jump Rope - I have been training at Raleigh CrossFit since June and double-unders are a big obstacle for me.  Maybe if I get this fancy-schmancy rope, I can finally learn to do the damn things.

9.  Gift cards for manicures, pedicures, and/or massages - I do spend money on myself for these things fairly often, but they always make wonderful gifts.

10.  Custom CrossFit shoes - I have a feeling that I will be ordering these with some Christmas money.  Aren't they awesome?

Monday, November 19, 2012

{Friend Makin' Monday - Thanksgiving}

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers.  Feel free to add their links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
Thanksgiving Edition
  1. Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions?  If so, please share them.  We don't really have any traditions per se.  I do run the Ridgewood Turkey Trot 8K with some running buddies every year.  That's always fun and allows me an excuse to eat/drink whatever I want ;-)
  2. List at least three dishes that are on your family’s table every year.  We usually celebrate Thanksgiving at my in-laws.  My mother-in-law always prepares a special cranberry salad, asparagus casserole (my hubs' favorite), and dressing.  When we are able to celebrate Thanksgiving in my hometown, there's always green bean casserole, fruit salad, and pumpkin bread.  This year, the hubs, in-laws, and me are going to Flights for Thanksgiving.  Looking forward to a change in our normal routine...
  3. Do you prefer pumpkin pie or pecan pie?  Pecan for sure
  4. Will you watch football on Thanksgiving Day? The "boys" (Jason and his step-dad, Dee) will watch football all afternoon/evening.  I am sure I will be in the room, listening to them yell at the TV, but not really watching.
  5. Do you plan to exercise Thursday?  Yep!  Ridgewood Turkey Trot!
  6. Do you prefer ham or turkey?  Ham
  7. Will you shop on Black Friday?  If so, where will you go first?  I have tentative plans to go out with my running buddy, Debbie.  I am not sure that I will go out after I return from our Thanksgiving night shopping adventure for her kids...
  8. Do you take a nap on Thanksgiving? Heck yeah!
  9. Share one dish that probably won’t be on anyone else’s table.   Not really sure...  We're eating out and I don't recall all the items on the menu.
  10. What are you thankful for today?  I am beyond thankful for my husband, family and friends.  There's no way that I could begin to name off all the things they bring to my life.  I know that I would be one miserable girl without them all!
Now it’s your turn to post the questions on your blog!  Don’t forget to link up in the comments!  Happy Monday, and happy Thanksgiving!

{NaBloPoMo - day 19}

Monday, November 19, 2012 - If you had to get locked in some place (book store, amusement park, etc) overnight alone, where would you choose to be locked in? 

I have been thinking about Disney for this since I saw the prompt.  My husband and I enjoy traveling to Disney World because of their awesome accessibility.  I would have to say that if I had to be locked in a place alone overnight, it would be the Magic Kingdom.  However, this decision is based on a few contingencies....  Somehow the castle would have to lit and all pretty and comforting.  Also, I'd have to have a way to get to some of my favorite (pre-Celiacs) food items in the Main Street Bakery.  I think that I could sit outside of the castle all night and dream.  It's just beautiful and the joy of the surroundings could energize almost anyone, especially if it is peaceful and quiet.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

{Irrational Fear Sets In...}

Over the last three nights, I have been having crazy dreams.  When I say crazy, I don't mean zombies chasing people through the streets of Raleigh, but crazy scary crazy.

I don't remember each of the dreams, but they have scared the utter crap out of me about my surgery.  This is the moment when irrational fear begins to take over and plague my mind.  I have been thinking non-stop about my surgery that happens in a mere 10 days.

I went into the living room, trying to sleep off and on, after I woke up shaking with fear at 6 a.m.  At 8 a.m., I went to the grocery store because sleep just wasn't happening.  When I got back from the grocery store,  Jason called me in our bedroom.  I am sure he could tell that something was "up".  Reluctantly, I climbed back in bed, even though there were groceries to put away.  Thank goodness for him... We curled up under the covers, he held me close, and I got almost an hour of good sleep.

After finally crawling out of bed around 10:30 a.m., I did a few things around the house.  Before running out to Whole Foods to pick up a few things, I finally explained to J what was up.  The dreams.  They're horrible.  Like I said, I don't remember every detail, but they're scary enough to wake me up.  He reminded me that I have done my research, I am confident in my physician, and I have to "trust the process...."  I have worked hard, researched a lot, and now I just have to follow-through.

Counting down till Wednesday, November 28....

Saturday, November 17, 2012

{Lurong Living Paleo Challenge}

Many of the athletes at my CrossFit box participated in the Lurong Living Paleo Challenge over the last 8 weeks.  I signed up right after I was diagnosed with Celiacs disease and thought it would be a helpful distraction and a way to improve my athletic ability.

The beginning of the challenge required that each athlete submit measurements and photos for comparison at the end of the challenge.  Since I am still not 100% pleased with how I did, I am not going to post the measurements or pictures - maybe after my surgery during my next challenge.

The challenge involved three benchmark workouts (Randy, Christine, and Lurong Original).  There also was a weekly WOD.  At the end of the challenge, each athlete repeated the benchmarks to gauge their progress. I can say that even though my measurements didn't go down as much as I would have liked, I am extremely proud of my progress with the benchmarks.  Look at those numbers!

I am looking forward to participating in another Paleo challenge and see how much more I can improve!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

{NaBloPoMo - day 14}

Wednesday, November 14, 2012 -- Tell us about the best meal you ever cooked.

When I saw this, I started trying to think of wonderfully delicious meals that I have cooked.  While I enjoy cooking, and eating my own cooking, I don't think of anything as overly spectacular.  Since I can't think of anything, I will talk about the first time I cooked for Jason....

Jason and I met back in 2004 (seems so long ago).  For the first few weeks we were dating, we ate out a lot! This wasn't my thing... Yes, I like to eat out, but it was starting to grow boring and just plan icky.  One night, I mentioned cooking for Jason.  Since I kinda really liked him, I wanted to impress him.  I had no clue where in the world to start.  I could tell he wasn't one to be really picky, but I just wasn't sure where I was treading...

I ended up fixing something that looked kinda fancy, but was really easy - Aimee's Quick Chicken, yellow rice, and steamed broccoli.  I thought for sure that dinner would be totally fool-proof.  I selected the chicken because who wouldn't love mustard, teriyaki sauce, bacon, and Parmesan cheese??  Well, dinner wasn't a complete flop, but let's just say I've had better meals.  I used too much mustard, not enough bacon or cheese, overcooked the rice and it became gummy, and the broccoli was beyond mushy.  

Since then, this meal is our local go-to for nights when we have taken out chicken, but aren't really feeling what we were supposed to prepare.  Thank goodness, my preparation of this meal has gotten better over the years...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

{Restaurant Review - 5 Star}

Jason and I decided kinda on a whim to visit 5 Star on Sunday evening for dinner.  While we were trying to decide what to do for dinner, I remembered that someone had told me how great they were about accommodating Celiacs disease and other allergies.  Simple as this, I give 5 Star a very joyous 5 stars!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps
When we arrived, we were promptly seated by the hostess (manager?).  Our server came right over and filled our glasses with water and took our drink orders.  I perused the menu and found a few things that I was interested in seeing if they could prepare them to meet my needs.  A few moments later, the hostess/manager (?) came by our table to see if I had any questions about the menu.  She quickly reviewed the menu and assured me that they would have no trouble preparing anything I wanted.  She did say that it may not be prepared exactly as the traditional method, but they would do their best.

Chicken, Shrimp, and Veggie StirFry
Jason and I settled on the Chicken Lettuce Wraps for an appetizer.  Lettuce Wraps are one of my favorite appetizers, but I have found that most places use rice vinegar...Well, not 5 Star.  The chicken lettuce wraps were quickly delivered to our table.  The sauce had the perfect flavor combination - along with lots of chicken and veggies!  So good.  

When we were about halfway through our appetizer, our server came by to check on us and take our dinner order.  I requested a nice big chicken and shrimp stir-fry, with tons of veggies.  The server confirmed that it would be made gluten free and would make sure I got extra veggies instead of rice.  Jason always asks servers for food recommendations and Sunday evening was no different.  He had narrowed his choices to Five Star General's Chicken or Crispy Sesame Beef.  Our server told him that was a hard one for him because those are his two favorites, but he ended up recommending the General's Chicken.  Being the fairly funny guy that he is, Jason went with the Crispy Sesame Beef.  When our orders arrived, I think we both realized that we probably shouldn't have gotten an appetizer.  The amount of food on my plate was crazy.  But, it was just as good (if not better), when I had it for my morning snack today :-)

To put it simply, 5 Star is now in my Top-5 for Raleigh restaurants.  The staff was so awesome and the food was even better.  Think I can convince the hubs to take me again next weekend?

{NaBloPoMo - Day 13}

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - What is the bravest thing you've ever done?

This is a hard one for me... I generally don't think of anything that I do as really brave.  There are many more people in the world that have done things that warrant being called brave...

When I mentioned this topic for today, Jason and I both went to the same thing... In 2010, I made the decision to transform myself mentally and physically.  In the past 2 1/2 years, I have been through many ups-n-downs to accomplish this goal.  I started working out with a trainer, then running.  I eventually stopped working out with a trainer and joined Raleigh CrossFit in June.  It's an ever-evolving, awesome journey, but taking that first step is what I would call brave.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

{Friend Makin' Monday - What's in Your Fridge?}

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Add your links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
What’s in Your Fridge?
1. List a few common items that can always be found in your fridge.  Spinach, broccoli, broth (usually chicken or veggie), almond milk, beer/cider
2. What kind of milk do you drink? I do not drink milk.  I keep almond milk in the fridge for smoothies.
3. Do you prefer fresh or frozen vegetables?  We definitely prefer fresh.  We do have a few bags of frozen veggies for those "just in case" times.
4. What do you currently have to drink in the fridge? Brita pitcher full of water, Crystal Light Lemonade, beer (husband), cider (me), Trop50 (husband), and chocolate milk (husband).
5. How often do you clean out your refrigerator? I am constantly cleaning out my fridge.  At the very least, I clean it once a week on whatever day of the weekend I grocery shop.
6. What’s the healthiest thing in it right now? Lots of veggies in the crisper!
7. What’s the most unhealthy thing in it right now? Definitely the beer and cider
8. What do you wish you had in it that you don’t have now? Can't really think of anything...We went grocery shopping yesterday, so it's full.  Jason probably wishes there was something sweet to eat in the fridge though.
9. How often do you shop for groceries? I do a "big" shop once a week.  If I forget something, I will stop and get it but I try my hardest to avoid this.
10. What’s the weirdest thing in your fridge right now? I can't think of anything weird....
Bonus:  If you could choose one thing to put in the fridge and make it calorie-free what would it be?  Granny Brown's chocolate cake!
Now it’s your turn! Don’t forget to answer the questions and post a link in the comments section! Happy Monday!

{NaBloPoMo - day 12}

Monday, November 12, 2012 -- Where is your favourite place to blog?

Interesting question....  Most of my blogging is done at home.  After Jason and I have enjoyed dinner, cleaned up, and I've packed lunches, etc. I usually settle down for the evening in the recliner or on the sofa.  While I am hanging out behind my laptop screen, J is usually in front of the TV with his iPad keeping up with sports on TV and news on the iPad.  It works for us :-)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

{Operation Fix Me - Pre-Op Discussion}

My surgeon's office does a pre-op phone consultation about 2-3 weeks before the surgery.  During this time, Valerie (one of his nurses), goes over all the do's and don'ts.  She packs a ton of information in a half hour, but it also gives you time to think about questions you may have that you can ask the day before surgery.  

Pre-Op List:

    • Stop taking aspirin/motrin/Aleve.  
    • Stop taking Fish Oil supplement (all others are ok).
    • Stop/reduce consumption of alcohol 5 days before surgery (Whew! At least I can still drink on Thanksgiving!)
    • Pick up prescriptions - pain killer, muscle relaxer, anti-nausea, antibiotic.  While at the pharmacy, she recommended that I get a laxative (TMI, right?).
  • HOME:
    • Make arrangements to have help at home.
      • I'll be at the hospital 1 night.  
      • My parents will be in town from the day of surgery through the weekend.  They won't stay the night at the house, but J will be at home.
      • Jason will stay home with me on Monday and Tuesday.
      • Friends have offered to come hang out during the day when J goes back to work, etc.
    • Freeze at least 1 full week of meals, including protein-packed snacks, etc. (I will do some of this before surgery, but my mom will do some of it while she's here too.)
    • Prepare "recovery space"
      • I'll mostly be hanging out in the living room.  We have a nice "medical"/lift recliner and that will be my bed for at least one week.  
      • I'm planning to download a couple books on my iPad, DVR some shoes, etc.
      • Put iPhone charger near recliner, etc.
      • Move things around so they are easy to reach.  I will get out our "spare" microwave and put it on the kitchen counter so Jason can reach it.  The regular is one that is above the stove and he can't reach it.
    • Take shower with anti-bacterial shower gel
    • Brush teeth, but do not drink anything
    • Wear comfy clothes to the hospital, preferably a shirt that buttons down the front.
    • No make-up or jewelry to the hospital.
    • No colored fingernail polish
    • Arrive at the hospital by 5:15 a.m. (dang that's early!) for 7:15 a.m. surgery.
That's a pretty long list and I am sure there's something else I am missing....

I will go see Dr. Lambeth on Tuesday, November 27 for my pre-op pictures and markings.  I have seen lots of blogs where women have posted their pre-op and post-op pictures... Don't expect that on here.  I am honestly just not ready to do that - I am not that "open".  Yes, I've talked about the surgery here, but posting half nekkid pictures here just isn't my thing.  You'll just have to take my word on it :-)

Friday, November 9, 2012

{NaBloPoMo - day 9}

Friday, November 9, 2012 -- If you could change one thing about your life right now, what would it be?

I like my life how it is....  But, if I had to pick something.... I would have the opportunity to meet Jason's Dad and have my best friend living in North Carolina instead of Florida.

I never had the opportunity to meet Jason's father.  He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March 1996 and passed away that same September.  I often hear stories from the municipal officials with whom I work about what an awesome person he was... I get to hear stories of fun times from Jason, his mom and his step-Dad (who was friends with his Dad).  I wish I had an opportunity to meet this gentleman as I am jealous of anyone that had the opportunity to know him.

My best friend, Margaret, has lived in central Florida for almost 14 years.  She moved down to the Orlando area after our freshman year in college.  She moved back for one semester, but quickly high-tailed it back.  She's been there ever since...  Granted, I should be grateful that her family still lives in North Carolina and she makes regular trips up here, but I wish she was here all the time.  I get to see her maybe 5 times a year (3-4 times a year she comes to NC, 1-2 times a year we go to Florida).  We talk almost every day, but that just isn't the same as having her around the corner when I want to go grab a quick lunch or something.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

{NaBloPoMo - day 8}

Thursday, November 8, 2012 -- If you could have any job (and instantly have the training and qualifications to do it), which job would you want?

As insane as it sounds, I would love to be a home organizer/life planner/Gal Friday type.  The "Gal Friday" portion isn't really a good description though... 

Here's the deal - I love to plan meals, create the list, cook the meals, and plan the family schedule.  I can't help myself.  I just like to know what's going on at any given moment.  This habit is very a tad bit annoying to my husband, who is more of the free spirit type.  

Sometimes I think that there are people that wish they had someone to be there personal life organizer and I think I could do it.  I am all about work smarter, not harder.  Maybe I should start offering my services ;-)  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

{NaBloPoMo - day 7}

Wednesday, November 7, 2012 -- Talk about the last compliment you received.

It's no secret that I train at Raleigh CrossFit.  It's also no secret that I have to work really hard to not compare myself to the RX gals.  You know the type I am talking about - big ass tire throwin', 36 inch box jumpin' strong girls...  

Yesterday, I had to do Randy, one of the benchmark workouts for the Lurong Living Paleo Challenge.  I was partnered with Dena.  Dena's a firefighter and one of what I consider to be a "RX gal".  The first time I did Randy, I finished in 7:18.  Even though I wasn't feeling quite up to snuff, I had a goal to finish in 6 minutes.  With encouragement from Dena, I finished in 5 minutes.  Later on in the afternoon, Dena sent me a message on Facebook saying, "...You killed it today..."  Hearing that from one of the "RX gals" put a big 'ole smile on my face.  I know that wouldn't be much to some people, but having one of the "RX gals" give me a compliment made me beam!  Keeping that tucked away in the back of my mind for one of those days in the future when I might want to try to slack off.

{Three Weeks till "Operation Fix Me"}

This shiz is gettin' real...  

My surgery is exactly three weeks from today.  I cannot even begin to describe accurately the emotions I am feeling.  I am ridiculously excited and nervous.  I'd say 90% excited and 10% nervous.

There's a lot I have to do between now and then.  Here's the short list:

  • Prepare and freeze some more meals for Jason and me 
  • Move some things around in the kitchen to make them easier for Jason to reach
  • Talk to a few friends about their schedules, etc. to see if they can come visit and/or bring meals to us
  • Write up list and do a big grocery shopping trip the day before surgery
  • Finish writing "Surgery Guide" for my Mama.  My parents will be coming from Tuesday, November 27 through Sunday, December 2.  My Mama wants to do lots of things to help while she's around.  Things I was thinking she could do:
    • Bag small amounts of snacks for me - almonds, "trail mix" (almonds, pistachios, and raisins or almonds with chocolate chips)
    • Bag small snacks for J to put in his lunch each day
    • Cook a few crockpots worth of soup and/or spaghetti to freeze
    • Prepare chicken breasts with various marinades to freeze (easy for me to cook)
    • Any other ideas???
  • Work my arse off at CrossFit because I won't be able to go for a month.  BOO!
What am I missing?  The nurse said that doing this surgery is like preparing to have a baby.  Since I know absolutely no knowledge of preparing for a baby - what am I missing????

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

{NaBloPoMo - day 6}

It's no secret that today is election day in the US.  In North Carolina, we are voting for a new governor too.  Oh, times they are a changin'....  Today is a day where no matter where you work or go to school, you will likely hear about the election every time you round a corner, visit a bathroom, or go into the kitchen to warm up your lunch. 

And then, after all the results have been announced, the discussions will likely come to a screeching halt.  Part of me is looking forward to it, but at the same time I wonder how things could be different if we were willing to talk with one another regularly about issues.  I know that our leaders are supposed to talk to one another about issues, understand the other side, etc.  You know as well as I do that this happens far too infrequently.  It seems to be all about towing the party-line, no matter what your political party.  

Can we all make a pact to try to be more open-minded and talk things out?  Surely that will go farther to making things better, different, etc. than just following the leader...

If you were President of the United States, what would be your first act in office?  
Until I saw this prompt for NaBloPoMo, I had never given this one thought....  And now, I still can't really think of anything....  Women's rights/issues have been a huge debate this election season.  I think that working on women's equal pay and healthcare would be my first priority.  It's just hard to know where to really start.

Monday, November 5, 2012

{Friend Makin' Monday - 10 Reasons to be Thankful}

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Add your links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!
Ten Reasons To Be Thankful
  1. I am thankful for my husband, Jason.  He makes every single day of my life better.  He is beyond supportive of everything I want to do and I don't know what I would do without him!
  2. I am a lucky gal when it comes to friends.  I have had the same best friend since diapers and I have met some great friends through running, CrossFit, etc.  I am thankful for the unique things that each one of them bring to my life.  I have some ridiculously awesome friends!
  3. I am thankful for my parents, in-laws and extended family.
  4.  I am grateful we have a nice condo that we own.  It is comfortable and nice.
  5. I am thankful that I have a good job that I enjoy going to on a daily basis.
  6. I am thankful that I finally found out what has been wrong with my body for so long... Granted being diagnosed with Celiacs disease isn't good news, it can be managed.
  7. I am grateful for the strong body and mind I am developing through continuing to train at CrossFit, running, etc.
  8. I'm thankful for the weight that I lost over the last 10+ years and for the surgery that will allow me to finally see the body I worked hard to get.
  9. I am thankful that we live in a city that has lots of amenities, but isn't too far from the mountains or the ocean should a weekend getaway be needed.
  10. I am thankful for the opportunity to live in a place where I can have my own opinions and speak my mind, even though those with whom I speak may not agree.

{NaBloPoMo - day 5}

What are your thoughts about tomorrow's election in the United States?

I am the type of person that has my political opinions, but I don't express them aloud very often.  I work in local government for a membership association that promotes good government through non-partisan advocacy, insurance and other services.  Basically, everything at my job has to be non-partisan.  

However, given all of that, I think that the election this year is big, maybe even bigger than big.  It is no secret that the United States has its issues.  It's also no surprise that while we have been through some very hard economic times, the recovery has been slow.  But, my biggest issue is the back-biting crap.  I understand that political ads are needed, but the negativity wears on a person.  I know that life isn't always puppies 'n rainbows, but we all need to just do the best we can to work together.  No matter what, someone isn't going to agree, but that doesn't change the fact that things need to move forward.

Hopeful for the election tomorrow and continued progress.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

{Beer Review - Glutenator}

Before being diagnosed with Celiacs disease, I was a lover of beer.  When I use the term beer, I am not talking about your run of the mill Budweiser, Miller Lite, Amstel, or Yuengling.  I am talking real beer.

Since my diagnosis, I have been leery to try many gluten free beers.  This is due simply to the fact that my first gluten free beer was Red Bridge, from Anheuser-Busch.  It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't good.

Just so you can get an idea, some of my favorites before Celiac were:

  • Rogue Mocha Porter
  • Southern Tier Mokah (American Imperial/Double Stout)
  • Lagunitas Cappacino Stout
  • Epic Big Bad Baptist (American Imperial/Double Stout)
  • Flying Dog Gonzo (Imperial/Double Porter)
  • And the list goes on and on...
Do you see the theme going on there?  They are all very dark, "thick" beers and most were considered to be high ABV (alcohol by volume).  Well, the minute I got my diagnosis, I knew that (normal) beer was out.  Since then, I have been drinking ciders and wine, but have just been wanting a good beer.

After dinner with friends on Saturday evening, the hubs and I went by Tasty Beverage.  We visited the store for the first time a month or so ago, and I was impressed by their gluten free beer and cider selection - definitely lots of choices.  I had heard on Twitter from @bruisinales that Epic Brewing had a great gluten free "dark" beer called "Glutenator (Doppelbock)".  So, that's what I was seeking....and I found didn't find it.

While writing this review, I realized that I was supposed to be looking for the "Glutenator Doppelbock", not the "regular" Glutenator.  So....  My review was already slightly biased because I was expecting a dark beer.  

The Glutenator is good, but not my favorite beer ever.  I honestly have to say that I don't think any gluten free beer will ever live up to my expectations because of my preference for darker beers.  However, this one was good.  I can imagine sitting out on the deck on a nice summer day and drinking this beer.  It's light and has a nice sweet flavor.   

Now, if I can only convince Epic Brewing to bring back the Glutenator Doppelbock.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

{Annual Wellness Assessment at Work}

Last year, I wrote a post about my organization's wellness program at the Biosignia "Know Your Number" assessment.  We utilitize this tool throughout our municipal health pool/wellness program and for our organization's staff.    

Monday was the day for the annual assessment...  I have to admit that I was none too pleased for it to arrive because I knew that one thing that wasn't going to be good was my weight - up about 8 pounds from this time last year.  

The initial results are pretty good...  Basically, my modifiable risks stem from weight.  Given that I am getting ready to have a decent chunk of weight removed from my abdomen, I am pretty pleased with my overall numbers...  I can't wait to see what the numbers are like next year!

Friday, November 2, 2012

{NaBloPoMo - Day 2}

Friday, November 2, 2012 -- If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

100% without reservation - a small, coastal community like the one where I grew up....  I grew up in Beaufort, North Carolina (In case you are confused, it is pronounced bo-furt, not like our southern neighbor).  While I didn't love my entire childhood in the sleepy coastal community, I have come to appreciate it.  

There's something about a small town that is "right" in my mind.  Don't get me wrong, I love living in Raleigh, but sometimes the "city life" just gets me down.  I think part of it has to do with the crazy busy schedules that seem to be the "in" thing in the city.  Growing up, I had a childhood filled with activities, but I wasn't over-programmed.  The adults all had a good time hanging out, etc. but there was not getting a baby-sitter every weekend so they could try out the newest restaurant or bar in town.  I think that sometimes we all need to get back to the simple way of living.  Being in a relatively small community kinda forces that on a person.    

Interesting facts about Beaufort, NC:
  • My hometown is steeped in history as the 3rd oldest town in North Carolina (following Bath and New Bern).  
  • Blackbeard had a home in Beaufort (more info).  His ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, was located just outside of Beaufort Inlet in 1996.
  • Beaufort was once home to one of Beaufort Fisheries.  In 2005, the last menhaden plant in North Carolina closed.  Yes, it was terribly stinky, but I will always remember my Nanny saying it was the "smell of money..."
  • The Old Burying Ground on Ann Street is the resting place of many historical figures in eastern NC's history.  One grave site belongs to a young girl buried in a rum barrel after she died at sea (story from News & Observer).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

{NaBloPoMo - Day 1}

Well, I've decided to give NaBloPoMo a go again.  I tried this in March 2012 (?) and didn't do so well.  I am hoping this time 'round will work out!

"Thursday, November 1, 2012 -- Tell us your favourite quotation and why."

I have 2 quotes that I remember often:

Shoot for the moon and if you miss it you will still be among the stars. (Les Brown)
I am not sure where I heard this quote the first time, but I believe it was during my sophomore or junior year in high school.  I think it addresses the power of positive thinking and trying your best so well.  I mean, really...  Shoot for the moon...  You're still among the stars.  That's a pretty powerful message.

Nothing is impossible, the word itself says "I'm Possible"! (Audrey Hepburn)
Again, this is one that I don't remember when I heard or read it first.  Who doesn't love Audrey though?  She's got it right - nothing is impossible!