Saturday, February 11, 2012

I'm in Washington DC!

So.  My friend, Ann, and I have been planning this trip since September!  She is here for work and I get to tag along!  YAY!  We are here at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference).  She works for Congressman Steve King's campaign and, therefore, that is why we are at CPAC! 

What do you get when you combine the excitement of CPAC with one of the most interesting cities in the world?  Awesomeness!

We left Omaha on Wednesday...
with Jeff and Lindsay King (silly kids in the background:)  As soon as we got to DC and checked into our hotel, we headed to one of our fave places to eat...
Need I say more?  But I will.  Not only does Old Ebbit Grill have fabulous food but it is soooo historic!  It was opened in the mid 1800's and people like Teddy Roosevelt and Ulysses S. Grant just hung out there!  Cool!  The must-have on the menu.....Oysters!
and mussels!
I already can't wait to go back some day!
Thursday and Friday were full of CPAC activities!
Congressman King speaking!
And, Rick Santorum!
Senator Santorum was joined on the stage by his wife, Karen, and kids John, Peter, Elizabeth, Sarah Maria, William and Patrick.  They were all wearing Bella pins because their little sister has been sick and could not join cool!...not that she is sick but that they wore pins for her!

And, then Ann Coulter...always a hoot - not a lot of substance.  It's fun to hear her speak.  Believe it or not, she does tone it down when she is interviewed on tv because she is definitely filter-free when she is talking to a room full of conservatives!
Okay....a break from CPAC and a trip to Georgetown AND drumroll, please!  Georgetown Cupcakes!  Aaah!!

Are we in heaven?  No, this is Georgetown Cupcakes! 
We are happy girls and these are the happy workers!
Well, they really were happier than what they look in these pictures!

And the prize - 6 cupcakes!  Red Velvet, Chocolate-Vanilla, Coconut, Lemon Cream, Chocolate Lava and Chocolate Ganache!  
So pretty!  Which one do we eat first?

Actually, today would have been just about a perfect day except for a tiny little trip to the ER.  Yep - you heard me right!  Ann cut her finger a few days back and it was definitely getting infected.  The nurse practitioner she called told her she better get to an ER because she may need IV antibiotics!  Turns out, she did not.  However, she did have to have her finger x-rayed, numbed, cut open and all the gunky stuff squeezed out of it.  You would have all been so proud of me!  I watched the entire thing and did not fall over!  The rest of the adventure was finding a 24 hour pharmacy to get her antibiotic prescription filled.  Finally found one - in Dupont Circle!  She is much better today and we are very happy we acted when we did:)

This morning, we got up at o-dark thirty (as Ann would say) and headed to our scheduled tour of the White House at 8:00!  It was a lot of fun!  Saw the East Room, Green Room, Blue Room, Red Room and the Dining room where all of the state dinners are held.  I thought maybe we'd get to see more but I guess the Obamas weren't accepting guests today in their private residence.  Dang!  I can say I have walked where some pretty powerful and amazing people have walked. And, when I say amazing, I mean Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and George W.  (you can take that as Washington or Bush - I'll keep you guessing!) 

Later, we are headed to the Old Post Office and the National Archives.  I am making it a personal goal that whenever I am in DC, I need to make a pilgrimage to the Archives.  Nothing is as awe-inspiring as the actual Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. 

More later! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Happy Friday!

Did this seem like a long week to anyone else?  I mean the days flew by due to the many projects at work but looking was a long week!  So glad it's finally Friday!  Not that there will be a lot of time for relaxing this weekend but it is all filled with good stuff... my dad's birthday is tomorrow so we'll head there tomorrow afternoon to enjoy supper at the Pizza Ranch.  If you have never been to a Pizza Ranch (and if you are outside of Iowa, chances are you haven't), you need to try it.  They serve not only pizza but also broasted  chicken!  No counting Weight Watchers points tomorrow night...wink, wink...

Then on Sunday, we are headed to DesMoines to work with Joppa Outreach.  Joppa serves the homeless in DesMoines.  Each Sunday, they reach out to the many unsheltered in DesMoines by bringing them food and necessities.  However, they deliver much more than that.  They offer friendship and unconditional love - no judging.  Just meeting these folks where they are at.  It is an awesome organization and Dennis and I and our church are honored to support them through our donations of time, food, necessary items and money.  Since we live about 2 1/2 hours from DesMoines, we have agreed to participate in Sunday outreach about 4 times a year.  It will be a day very well spent!

By the way....things that have brought me joy lately...

This is a puzzle Erin made for us during a hall activity at college.  Molly and I put it together a couple of weeks ago.  Obviously, we had the pieces a bit mixed up and I was sure that Erin gave us a defective puzzle but the next night I came home and the pieces were mysteriously sitting in a way that I could see our mistake....mmmm....Molly and Dennis both say they had nothing to do with it.  Howie?

Dennis' man the garage.  Yes, that is an entertainment center with a tv and library of dvds.  He has two very comfortable chairs out there and a fridge :)  I'm not saying that I'm happy he is out of the house.  I'm saying I like to go out there and sit with him!  Yes, it's heated....and yes, my car gets to occupy the other stall!

Finally, my Kuerig coffee station!  I got it for Christmas from my family and I am in love with it!  In the morning, I brew Caribou coffee and in the evening, I brew green tea!  I need to experiment a little with other kinds of coffees and teas.  It just makes me a very happy girl!

Speaking of things that bring me joy, I had a good week of work-outs!  Yesterday, I wasn't sure that would be the case!  I usually work-out over my noon hour where I work at Buena Vista University.  The students are on winter break that started yesterday and will run through next Wednesday.  Consequently, the fitness center will be closed during that time.  Now what? 

I decided to run on the indoor track.  I was a little hesitant....there are student athletes in there practicing and I'm not what you would call a great runner.  But I sucked it up and did it anyway.  And it was GREAT!  The students ignored me, of course...exactly what I wanted!  Yesterday and today, I ran just under 3 miles in about 30 minutes...Yay ME! 

Wednesday night, I put together a few different work-outs that I had read about on other blogs into one.  Yep...I was feeling it yesterday.  Here's what I did...
100 jumping jacks
90 crunches
80 squats
70 leg lifts
60 jumping jacks
50 crunches
40 squats
30 leg lifts
20 jumping jacks
30 push-ups
20 tri-cep lifts
30 bi-cep curls (with two cans of corn)
30 arm lifts (also with two cans of corn)
100 jumping jacks
It was a sweat-producing 20 minute work-out:)

Finally, I wanted to share a new scripture verse (well, new to me!) that was in my devotions this morning.  It is from Nahum 1:7 (wow...I never get to Nahum!)  "The Lord is good, refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him."  Simple...but it pretty much sums it up.  Why do we think we have to make trusting in God so complicated? 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Remember Me? are you?  Been awhile since I checked in, right?  Sorry!  It's not that I've been sooo busy.  Basically, I didn't know what to say.  What!?  You say.  Didn't know what to say?!  It happens.

But I'm all better now:) In fact, I'm a happy girl!  I've started running again!  My last (at least it better be) surgery was December 13th.  I am all reconstructed now!  After a few weeks of taking it easy, I started walking and about ten days ago, I added in some running.  This rare beautiful Iowa winter allowed me to run outside last week a couple of days.  However......we are now experiencing typical Iowa weather so I have moved my running the gym where I work on the treadmill.  As many of you know, this can be very boring! 

How do you beat the boredom?  I've found a couple of ways. Nothing earth-shattering but it's working for me.  First off, I love adding new music to my i-Pod shuffle.  The best way, though, are treadmill work-outs.  Today, I did this 3-2-1 work-out...
2 minutes @ 3.5 mph (walking)
3 minutes @ 5.5 mph
2 minutes @ 6 mph
1 minute @ 6.5 mph
3 minutes @ 5.5 mph
2 minutes @ 6 mph
1 minute @ 6.5 mph
3 minutes @ 6 mph
2 minutes @ 6.5 mph
1 minute @ 7 mph
3 minutes @ 5.5 mph
2 minutes @ 6 mph
1 minute @ 6.5 mph
3 minutes @ 5.5 mph
1 minute @ 3.5 mph
30 minutes and about 2.80 miles.

It felt great!  Follow along...only 9 months until the DesMoines Half-Marathon.  My hope is to record my journey between now and then.  Wish me luck!

Check this out!

For supper tonight, I made Barley, Grape Tomato and Arugula Saute.  It was in my weekly Weight Watchers flyer.  It was awesome!  The best part is that it can be re-heated tomorrow for lunch or can be eaten cold.  Looking forward to that!
1 1/2 cups water
salt and pepper
1/2 cup uncooked pearl barley (not instant)
extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
2 cloves minced garlic
3 cups arugula leaves
lemon zest

Bring water and a pinch of salt to a boil in a small sauce pan.  Add barley, cover, reduce heat to low and cook until water is absorbed and barley is tender but still has a nice bite to it, about 35 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat about a teaspoon of olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add tomatoes and garlic; saute until tomatoes start to soften and release their juices, about 1 to 2 minutes. 

Add barley, salt and pepper to taste; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until tomatoes soften further and barley absorbs tomato liquid, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in arugula, toss over medium heat until wilted, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat, stir in about a teaspoon of olive oil and some lemon zest.  Serves 4.  Enjoy!

Oh, by the family did not eat this.  This is just a little too out-there for them.  They ate scalloped potatoes and ham.  Baby steps....

What is there beside running and eating?...well, lots!  But, this week in addition to my full-time job, I will be filling in for our pastor this Sunday.  I've been working on my message and I have it almost done.  When I sign off here, I'll be working on that a bit more.  My message is entitled "Modern-Day David" and gets into the story of David and Goliath - looking at it from a bit of a different angle than it is usually looked at. 

There you have it.  I truly hope that it is not 2 months before I check back in.  Let's put it this way.  It will NOT be that long.  I have to keep you updated on my half-marathon training journey after all!  See you soon!