Saturday, April 30, 2011

Knock Knock

When I was in grad school, I made a completely unnecessary trip to Target one day with my classmate Teri. She and I were browsing around the music section, and she ran across a CD by an artist named Lenka. Neither of us had heard of her, but Teri decided to buy the album. I borrowed it and loved it. Naturally, when you have 3,000+ songs in your music collection, it's easy to forget about various songs, artists, etc., so thankfully, I was reminded the other day about how much I like her when her song "Knock Knock" came on my shuffle. I just LOVE it. It's cheery and sweet. Makes me happy! :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cooking Adventures!

Most of you are painfully aware of the fact that I've never been the most exceptional cook. I frequently get lectures about this because my mom's a freakin' caterer and my whole family can cook. In many people's mind, there just simply CAN'T be a reason for me not to know how to cook. Here's my defense. Because I'm the youngest in my family, and because everyone always cooked FOR me, I never really had to learn. Yes, I know that's not the greatest defense, but it's the truth. Dinner was always on the table, and it was rare that I had a hand in it, unless it involved something simple and mind-numbing like buttering toast. ;) Anyway, since I moved to Milwaukee, I've received a lot of encouragement from some special people in my life, so I've begun dabbling in a few cooking adventures of my own. Because I'm not awesome at it yet, I've been pretty faithful to recipes that involve chicken. I love chicken, plus it seems simple enough. Below, I've posted some photos from three of these so-called adventures. They're posted in the order I cooked them (i.e., the first photo is of my first cooking attempt). Take notice of how the difficulty level and presentation skills have increased with time.

Broccoli and penne pasta serve with chicken that was baked in cream of mushroom soup.

Prepping to make Cajun Chicken pasta. One of my FAVES of all time!
Cooking all the goodies!

The finished product. It was DELICIOUS! (Note to self: Add more noodles next time!)

Cooking some of the ingredients for a new recipe called Fiesta Chicken Pasta.
The final product. SO yummy. I'll definitely be making this dish again!
Battle wound... Sadly, I burned myself this weekend by trying to wipe off the stove while someone was cooking FOR me. That's what I get for trying to be helpful! ;)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kiss Me Slowly

As I was listening to random music on YouTube yesterday, I noticed a song on the sidebar that I had never heard of before. Naturally, I decided to take a listen. As you know, I'm ALL about adding new stuff to my ever-growing music collection! Anyway, the song is entitled "Kiss Me Slowly" and the band is called Parachute. I think it's just a really pretty song. Casey, perhaps another lovely song to add to the wedding playlist?! :) Hope you all enjoy!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Full Circle

I suck at blogging lately. Let me just say, last week at work was CRAZY. I'm not sure I've ever worked that many hours in a week. They weren't bad hours or anything, just long. Anyway, that explains my severe lack of updates on my blog. And interestingly, the only reason I have time now is because I am home with the flu. Booo. Coincidentally, the entry I've been wanting to write for awhile now has to do with work, so here goes. I don't know if you remember or not, but back in November when I started my job, I wrote an entry about a student who came into my office and wanted me to essentially promise her the world. At the end of that entry, one of the things I said was, "She left feeling better about her future, but I can guarantee you that I'll see her again, and I can guarantee you that she's not done worrying. But rest assured, I still cannot guarantee her a job that she loves or her infinite happiness."

Flash forward. A big part of what I do in my job is connect with employers to see if they have any internship opportunities available for our students. Well, a particular business (a large, successful company that shall remain nameless so I don't get in trouble) had a couple different internship experiences to offer, and they came to MIAD to do on-campus interviews. If you're unfamiliar with that concept, it just means that reps from that company come to campus and do interviews right there. It allows them to do all the interviews in one day, and it gives students the chance to seek out the position without even having to leave campus. The student that I talked about above signed up to interview for both internships. Before the interviews, I received multiple emails and walk-in visits from her. She wanted to know everything from what she should wear for the interviews to what to expect if she were to work for this company. I tolddddd you she wasn't done worrying. ;) Anyway, long story short, she went through the interviews, she was called in for a second interview for one of them, and she was eventually offered the internship!! When she received the offer, the first thing she did was run (she literally RAN) into my office to tell me she got it. I wish you could have seen the sheer excitment on her face. It's moments like THAT when I feel awesome about what I do. All I did was try my best to help her through the process, and based on her reaction and excitment to tell me about it, I feel like she really appreciated all the help I offered. Talk about coming full circle. Ahh, I love my job. :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Birthday Boys!

April happens to be the month in which two of my amazing nephews were born. Interestingly, while they are relatively far apart in age, their birthdays are only 2 days apart. Mr. Nash celebrated his 2nd birthday yesterday, while Peyton will be turning the ripe old age of 11 tomorrow. I can speak for all of us when I say that it is simply shocking to think about how fast this time has gone. I have shared some pictures below (the first ones are of Nash) to show how things have changed since the boys were little. It gets me every time when I look at the ones from when Peyton was just little. Crazy how time flies. Happy birthday, boys!!!! :)

Me and Nash at the hospital when he was born.

Just hangin' out. Finding way too much enjoyment playing in the mud. Dinner at the Vintage House
Christmas 2010

Now we move onto Peyton. This kid never ceases to amaze me. From a very early age, he was not afraid to show his love for the camera. Some of these early pictures just melt my heart thinking about how much has changed since those days. Stop growing, Peyton! ;)

Pontoon ride on Sue Lake


Christmas Eve (Just don't remember which year)

Clowning around at Royal Tokyo!

Thanksgiving 2009!

Random one at the house!

Ahhh, what a grown up! He's so handsome though! :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What's Up, Doc?

For those of you who don't know me, I'll let you in on a little secret: I absolutely HATE going to the doctor. I usually find any reason to cancel appointments or to avoid going in unless I'm experiencing something reallllly bad. Part of my dislike for them is that they like to draw blood, and when they draw blood, I usually pass out. Not exactly my idea of a fun time. You may or may not remember, but back in January, I wrote an entry about going to urgent care because of my lymph nodes. The doctor told me to come back in a month if I was still experiencing issues. Because of what I just mentioned above, I didn't go back in, even though my glands have still been giving me some problems. Since that time, I have also developed a multitude of other random symptoms, so just recently, I made the decision to get into a doctor down here and figure out what's up. Sometimes you just know when your body doesn't feel right, and I was at that point. As usual, I didn't want to make the appointment, primarily because I have the tendency to think in worst case scenarios. I go through this weird back and forth. I want to go to the doctor to figure out what's wrong, but I'm afraid that something will be really bad, so then I don't want to go in because I'm afraid of what they tell me. Irrational? Maybe. But it makes sense to me! ;) Anyway, since mom and dad have been a bit worried about me, they came down on Sunday afternoon, and then mom came with me to my appointment yesterday. As I expected (and feared), my new doctor - he was awesome, by the way - ordered some blood tests. You would've probably shit yourself if you saw all the things they tested. A few of those things included: blood sugar, sodium, potassium, kidneys, liver, thyroid, urine, HIV, Vitamins D and B12, in addition to a host of other things. Kinda crazy how much they can do with such a "small" sample of blood. You'll be happy to know that I didn't pass out, due in part to the fact that my crazy little nurse was cracking jokes about how she'd post videos of it on YouTube if I passed out. Gotta admire her sense of humor. Anyway, got a call bright and early this morning regarding most of my lab results. At that point, everything that was ready came back extremely normal. A relief? Absolutely. But it's also frustrating at times because obviously there's something causing all the symptoms. Then, this afternoon, I got another call, but no one left a message. I decided to call back, trying not to freak out. When I got in touch with someone, they told me that my Vitamin D test came back, and at this point, that appears to be the little culprit! I don't understand much about it, but the woman told me that the "normal" count is between 30-100 (I don't know exactly what they're counting), with 3o obviously being on the low end and 100 being on the high end. According to the research I've done, levels below 30 generally raise cause for concern. Well, whatever it is they're measuring, my count was only 8.2. WHOA! There are varying levels of Vitamin D, and based on how low mine is, I am currently considered Vitamin D deficient (as opposed to having levels that are insufficient, optimal, or high). In other words, being deficient is pretty much the worst option because there are more proven effects from having too little of it than "too much." So for now, they're giving me a prescription for Vitamin D. It's 50,000 units (I don't know what that means), there are 32 pills, and I will take them twice a week. That means I'll be taking these bad boys for 4 months! Beyond that, I'm just supposed to continue taking over-the-counter supplements. In addition, she recommended that I go out and get some sunlight because that increases Vitamin D levels too. Not too often that this pasty little white girl is told she SHOULD go out in the sun. ;) Anyway, the nurse said that hopefully this will help alleviate some of my symptoms (primarily the extreme fatigue which has been killlllling me lately), so I hope she's right! If things don't improve in the next couple weeks, she said they'd be more than happy to get me back in for more testing. I just hope this is "all" it is right now, considering they were also concerned about much more serious things like diabetes, thyroid issues, etc. Keep your fingers crossed that the rest of the tests come back normal, and I'll do my best to keep you up to speed as it all progresses!