Thursday, January 29, 2009

Grandma Josephine

Josephine Stajduhar Hart
March 13, 1929 - January 29, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Savannah: A Cherry-Poppin' Good Time!

I enjoyed my first trip to Savannah last weekend. After living 2 1/2 hours away since I was 6 years old and being a girl scout for 10+ years, I finally made it. Thank you, Angelle, for popping my Savannah Cherry. :)

Some highlights of the trip include:
  • Of course, being with Angelle and Stacey. But that should go without saying. I hadn't seen Stace since Angelle's wedding! It was great to visit.

  • Staying up until *GASP* 9:30 on Friday night. It felt SO good to go to bed early, honestly. I woke up about 9:15.

  • Taking a picture with Paula Deen!!!!! We also saw this at the back side of her restaurant and thought it was kinda cool:

  • Meeting the World Famous Writer/Days Inn Concierge, Rowan Wolfe. What, never heard of her? Yeah, me either. But apparently she had to move to Savannah to hide from some government conspiracy. She also has a living ghost in the guest wing of her home. And she just happened to have her latest book on her Concierge desk, right next to the trolley brochures. Lucky for us, she brought her sports car today and had some in her trunk. We learned all this about her in the 10 minutes it took for us to buy ghost tour tickets.

  • Eating the world's smallest Cuban sandwich at Larry's Giant Subs. We were going to the spa and needed a snack beforehand. I didn't want a plain turkey sandwich but didn't need an 8" Mighty Mitch either.

  • Having a relaxing mid-day spa treatment. I got a manicure whilst Angelle and Stacey got pedis. The spa was called JW's. It was a perfect way to release a lot of they daily crap you have to deal with in normal life. They did a great job and my nails look fantastic. :)
  • Enjoying an awesome tapas dinner at Jazz'd, along with this YUMMY Bellini Tini. The tapas were so delicious also, but we ate them so quickly that I forgot to take a picture of them.

  • Missing our ghost tour trolley by 2 minutes. That's right. We arrive at 8:32 in time to watch the trolley roll on. They 'squeeze' us on to the 9:00 tour, so we had just ehough time to get a drink to go (Gotta love Savannah's open container laws!) and chug it before we get on the trolley. Finneus the "Dead" "Irish" Privateer was our guide. Really he was some 30-something D & D player that needed some lessons in eyeliner. BUT, we were on the bus so we're happy. See? Then Finneus says that we will start a few minutes late to wait on one party. Seriously!? Grrrr... Luckily I had a drink in me that I practially injected I drank it so fast, so I got over it quickly. The tour was beyond cheesy, but it was entertaining. Angelle was a wuss and wouldn't go into the "haunted house". The true haunting experience, however, was the 60 year old woman that calls her self a Thespian *coughoveractorcough* telling ghost stories in a room with black lights. *shudders*

  • Going to Savannah Smiles Dueling Piano Bar. That's our kinda place - Sing at the top of your lungs and drink and dance. It reminded me a lot of Harmonious Monks for you J'ville Folks. We had a good time: But Angelle didn't like the smoke: After a few drinks we were cutting up and singing out of key with the best of them! At random points of the evening, I stuffed a dollar in a guy's pants and got out-of-this-world excited when the pianist played my request (Sail Away).We also met a fun guy named Philip. He's the guy behind angelle here: He was disappointed I was married, and that gave me a small ego trip for the night. :)

  • Sunday we we went back to the graveyard that we visited on our ghost tour. Apparently during the civil war the army thought it would be a great fortress since it was bordered by a high brick wall, so they moved all the gravestones to the wall and half of them never got put back. To this day some of them still line the east wall, some of them with pot marks from where the soldiers used the stones for target practice.

It was a great weekend. I can't wait for the next girl's weekend!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Butternut Squash and Macaroni Goodness

I'm renaming it.

This is what I made for dinner tonight:

Butternut Squash and Macaroni Casserole

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon chopped sage
¾ pound dried elbow macaroni
½ cup chopped toasted walnuts
½ cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9- x 13-inch casserole dish; set aside. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add squash, coconut milk, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in sage and simmer 1 minute more. (This part can be made ahead, up to 1 day in advance.)
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until tender but still firm, about 8 minutes. Rinse in cold water, drain well and transfer to a large bowl. Transfer squash mixture to bowl with macaroni. Add walnuts, salt and pepper and toss to combine. Transfer to prepared dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake until just golden brown and hot throughout, about 30 minutes.

It needs more salt than you think, but it is delicious! AND it's only 430 calories for a hearty serving (it serves 8). Did you notice it was *gasp!* vegan? Go me and my healthy eating (just ignore the burger stain on my sweater from lunch).

Also, lately I've been on a fruit kick. All my snacks have been fruit related recently(yes, chocolate counts). I'm assuming that this, paired with my new active lifestyle allowed me to take my size 16 pants and put them away. They have gotten to the point where i just look frumpy in them. Last week I had to shop for some new pants. I was getting sick of washing the 3-4 pair I own and thought I'd "splurge" with a $12.74 clearance pair of slacks from Belk. I grabbed a few 14's, knowing that I had to have gotten a little slimmer, but not really noticing it in my current wardrobe. I tried them on and they were too big. Wha-what! Oh yeah! I bought me a size 12!! It felt so good. (Que: "How good was it?") It was soo good, I rewarded myself with a nice top to go with them! WOOT!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

PCOS Update

I started this last tuesday. I finished it this tuesday.

Had my regular quarterly visit with Dr. Raspa today (1/13). I have officially lost 7.6 pounds since my last visit on October 14th (yay!). Not really a lot in 3 months, but that's better than nothing. I have to continue with my current regiment of 2250mg of Metformin and 1000mg of Vitamin C daily. Those, along with my multi vitamins, I take 7 pills at night before bed. SEVEN. And they aren't tiny BC pills. Oh no. These horse pills take a full glass of water to get down. Metformin's side effects include upset stomach and loose stools. I feel like the metformin isn't doing anything for me except give me a blow out every morning, but Dr. Raspa asked if i had an upset stomach and I don't. He says "It doesn't make people sick who need it." (There's some poop for you, Alix. :)) But it's not drying me up like it's supposed to either. Oh well, just do what the doctor says I guess.

All-in-all it was a good visit. Same ol'-same 'ol... but for whatever reason i was feeling off the rest of the day. I was on my period, which may have cause some of it. I didn't realize my off-ness was reflecting in my actions, but Barry called me on the way home from Tuesday dinner w/ my parents and asked if i was ok. I realized then that I wasn't. I wanted to SCREAM at him that I want a baby. But I finally admitted to him that I was ready, and that I would be ecstatic if we got pregnant. He reacted to the news much better than I expected. But something at the doctor's office made me realize that I may not be able to experience it- Motherhood. A few weeks ago Barry and I were having one of those weird hypothetical conversations about what you would do if you knew the world was going to be destroyed. The ONE thing i could think of that i want do to, more than anything, is have a baby. Be a mother. How weird is that for a world ending wish? But every time I see a baby I feel a strange combination of sadness and longing paired with love and joy that I'll never get used to.

I want to have faith that one day I will be able to say that I am a Mom. Some days it's just harder than others.


Not you, me.

I have been actually working at work (go fig), so by the time i get home i really don't want to spend more time in front of a computer. I have stories to tell, training to update, and thoughts on the new president, but until I find a few minutes at work (which i hope to today), you can call me a slacker.

So go ahead, I can take it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Night Rider

If you're already a consistent member of a gym, new years sucks. The gym we go to (Brooks YMCA) is an awesome gym in the heart of the Southside, which is a hub of large companies that employ probably 1/2 the people in 3 counties. Needless to say, it's a busy area anyway. Everyone has the same crazy idea that they'll burn more calories in January. You should not have to wait in line to workout. This brings me to last Wednesday. A fresh batch of gym members clogging my idea of a pleasant workout gave Barry the idea that it would be best to just go biking outside instead. After about 30-45 minutes of debating where we should go cycling during rush hour, coupled with my hot desire NOT to workout, Barry dragged me out of the house and we decided just to go to the Rail Trail. Well, debating is not the best word. It was more like arguing, griping, and a lot of bitching on my part -I was not being a team player. But off we went anyway.

By the time we got out there it was completely dark. There were 3 cars in the parking lot, including ours, and 2 were on their way out. We got set up and turned our lights on and off we went for a 10 mile ride.

As soon as I felt the wind in my face I felt better. I don't know what it was about being out there at night, but I was in my own world. If it extended past my headlight, it didn't exist. Just me, my bike, 10 feet of pavement, and the wind in my face.

I'm glad the Resoluters spoiled my mood. It gave me an experience than i ever would've had at the gym.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Need to Smile?

Check this superhero out:

Grandma Update

My Grandparents had a pretty eventful Thanksgiving. They were able to visit with all 3 of their children, me and a few other grandchildren, and they even got a suprise visit from Green Bay with my cousin Sarah and their brand new baby girl. They were so excited to meet another Great Grandchild.

I'm wondering if that was just what Grandma was waiting for.

Shortly after everyone were on their flights home, Grandma stopped talking. Her ankles and hands became more and more swollen and she grew weaker. So weak she couldn't feed herself. What we all knew would come finally seems to be happening.

Grandpa signed the Hospice paperwork yesterday; Grandma won't be with us much longer.

I'm grateful that Hospice is involved. They will be there every night to help her to bed. A chaplain will come by a few times a week for spritual support and a nurse will be there every day. They've taken her off the medications that she doesn't really need anymore (cholesterol).

I'm doing just OK. It hurts me that the next time I see her will be in a casket. I ache when I think that the next time I see my Grandpa he will be a widower. After 62 years of marriage, my Grandpa is losing his wife, his lover, his best friend, his soul mate. I have never seen anyone love another person as much as he loves her. I am scared to see him defeated. I'm afraid to see him without that twinkle in his irish eyes. I'm afraid I won't recognize him without it.

Logistially, I bought trip insurance for my cruise in Febuary, just in case. Murphy's Law says that because I bought the insurance I won't need it. I really hope that's the case.
...I'm really going to miss her.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Eat the Moon!

At dinner at my mom's last night we were talking to ashton about the difference between a carnivore, herbivore, and omnivore. He's so freakin' smart he already knew that carnivores eat meat. Somehow the conversation led to him stating that he wants to eat a WHOLE T-REX. It goes like this:

Mandi: "AWHOLE T-REX, Eh? That's ALOT! What do you think it tastes like?"
Barry: "Like Chicken."
Ashton: "No, a T-Rex tastes like the moon."
Mandi: "Really?!"
Ashton: "Yep."

That proceeded to a whole reinactment of the SNL skit of Will Farrel as Harry Carray:

Harry Caray: Yes! Hey! Now Ken we all know thta the moon is not made of green cheese.
Dr. Ken Waller: Yes! That's true Harry.
Harry Caray: But what if it were made of barbeque spare ribs would you eat it then.
Dr. Ken Waller: What!
Harry Caray: I know I would. Heck I'd have seconds. Then polish it off with a tall cool budweiser. I would do it.
Dr. Ken Waller: Yeah!
Harry Caray: Would you.
Dr. Ken Waller: I'm confused.
Harry Caray: It's a simple question. Would you eat the moon if it were made of ribs.
Dr. Ken Waller: I don't know how to answer that.
Harry Caray: It's not rocket science. Just say yes and will move on.
Dr. Ken Waller: Yes!

Engineering-Multitasking Genius or a Pyromaniac Idiot? decide:

Yesterday I actually left work early. I was so excited! As I left the building at 3:00, my plan was to go to CVS to pick up some hair ties, then head to my mom's to go running around the neighborhood before dinner.

I picked out my hair ties with great success (and got a Jaguars Santa hat for 75% off - woot!). Now off to my mom's. I was feeling a little frisky because I was out of work before the sun went down so i decided to roll down the windows and fully bask in the glory that was Afternoon on a Weekday. But then of course, I needed a hair tie so the wind doesn't blow my hair in my face. Well, aren't I in luck? I just bought some! I go to rip the sticky cardboard that typically holds hair tie packages in place when-"OW!" DAMMIT! I guess there was a rise in hair tie theft because the company had put a plastic zip ties around them. And not just any zip tie that's easily torn - oh, no - its one of those beaded ones that, unless you have superpowers, have no luck of breaking with your bear hands.

So hear I am, driving down Roosevelt with the window down and hair blowing in my face, looking around the car for something sharp to cut the zip tie open when I look in the side console and find a lighter. HM. (Are you getting a visual, yet?) A stroke of genius rushes over me. I grab the lighter in my left hand, the package of hair ties in my right. With both wrists on the wheel, going a good 50-60 mph, I flick the lighter. No, I didn't forget to tell you I raised the window. It's still down. The flame goes out (drph.) I'm sure by now my tongue is sticking out or something. I flick the lighter again (window still down - don't ask why), and manage to melt the zip tie of steel just enough to pull it apart.


Grinning from ear to ear and fully dissapointed that no one was around to witness my amazing talent, I pick out a nice maroon hair tie, pull my hair back, and turn up the radio...

...just in time to sit in traffic.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Renal Retentive

Today, My friend Erin gets a new shot at life. Today, Erin recives her kidney transplant.

About a year ago, Erin learned she was pregnant. She and her husband were overcome with joy and excitment for the new baby. Unfortunately, at 21 weeks, she lost her baby due to complications from Kidney Disease. Amelia Grace was stillborn on 3/11/08. She was an angel in disguise, however, because if it wasn't for Erin getting pregnant, they would have never discovered her Renal Disease and would still be on medication for high blood pressure and not for the underlying reason. Who knows where she would be today. I could go further into it, but its best just to read her story here:

As soon as she was put on the transplant list, her entire family and friends were ready to line up to be tested as a match. Her first prospect, her cousin Brenda, went through the testing and through amazing Irish luck, she was a match! So the last month has been a whirlwind for her and her family with the holidays and scheduling her transplant surgery. Everyone is taking a deep today as Erin and Brenda go under.

UPDATE: As I was typing I got an update from her sister, Sarah. She says:
Erin's donor, Brenda, went in for surgery at 8:15am. We just received word at 10:45am that Brenda was closed up, moved to recovery, and in great shape. They were able to do the surgery laparoscopically, which is the best possible scenario for Brenda. She will be discharged on Thursday, if all healing goes as planned.Erin was taken back for prep at 10:15am. Just two seconds ago Rick was taken back to give Erin kisses before being put under and taken into surgery.

Please keep Erin and her family in your thoughts and prayers today for a quick and seamless recovery.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I Carried a Watermelon?

Friday, after working 42 hours in 4 days (not counting New Years day when I volunteered for 3-4 hours to help with the Gatorbowl's Tailgate party), I had a bout of insanity when I invited my friend James's kids to spend the night. All 4 of them. (WHAT was I THINKING?!) They're a little bit older (from 8-12) so they pretty much entertain each other, which is nice. But unfortunately I live in an upstairs condo with crapily-made floors with no insulation. So... Twister? Bad Idea. Cosmic Catch? Bad Idea. Finally I was like "Everyone on the couch! We're watching a movie!" After the movie we eventually got to bed about 1:00, 1:30.

The alarm came way too early at 9:00. I got in the shower then woke everyone up for a trip to the zoo! We got yearly passes from my sister and we upgraded them to bring up to 4 kids w/ us. Our zoo has this great kid's play place where the kids can run around and truly feel like explorers. The problem is, for the parents/adults, its near impossible for us to keep track of the kids. So after about 20 minutes, i set out to round everyone up (I was hungry!) Well, i couldn't find them. I called in reinforcements and Barry and I both started looking for them. Turns out they were hiding from us. The little shits. I saw Kody running another direction and when I called for him he ignored me and kept running. Well that just pissed me off even more and when we finally got everyone together, 1/2 the kids thought we were still playing and were trying to run away. Then, it happened. You know how you start saying something and before it even leaves your tongue you regret what you're about to say?? I yelled at Kody and said "I will leave you here- DO NOT RUN." Like I'm gonna leave the kid, right?? AND any time i hear a parent make a promise or threat that they are in no way going to keep i cringe. And i said I was going to leave him?! I wanted to immediately go back in time and say something else. Luckily it blew over fast and i learned something I already knew. The way to a boy's heart is through his stomach. I said "Let's go eat!" and everyone was by my side.

After a "quick meander" back to the front, we wandered through the gift shop and stopped through the drive thru at McDonald's before returning them to their parents, all in one piece.

I just chock this one up as another parenting lesson that one day i will be able to use for my own.