Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Free burrito!


FYI, Chipotle is giving away a free burrito to you tonight after 5:00 if you wear something made of tinfoil. Our buddy Ben just called saying that he was going in with a tinfoil tie. So have fun, be creative, and save your mom or wife from having to make dinner this evening. Happy Halloween!

Raynaud's Syndrome

Ever heard of it? I hadn't either until about a year or two ago when I started experiencing numbness, tingling, and loss of color in my fingers and pain on the tips of my toes. So I had my annual appointment today and asked my gyno doc about it. She thinks it's Raynaud's, so I have to see my primary care physician on Tuesday. I'm hoping that it's primary Raynaud's (less serious) rather than secondary (which would be due to an underlying disease or condition). The severity of the disease runs a broad spectrum, anywhere from simply being an annoyance all the way to gangrene and digital amputation. Here are a few links about it, if you're interested:

1. Wikipedia
2. MayoClinic
3. About.com

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Lillabet


It's my new label. It's what our neighbor Albin would call me when I was a little kid. Instead of Elizabeth. I had some labels made in Thailand and received them a few weeks ago. Now I've got to get crackin' on finishing some of my Etsy Shop projects. My sewing machine has been acting up, so all my projects got put on the back burner. But...I ordered a new machine today! So exciting! It's not only a sewing machine, it's an embroidery machine too! Can't wait for it to arrive.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Fun with Pumpkins

Our friends Ray and Renee had us over for a pumpkin-carving party over the weekend. Winn carved his into a Colorado Rockies baseball, in honor of their making it to the World Series (too bad they were swept), and I decided to try a monogram on mine.








We gorged ourselves on a ton of tasty treats that Renee made for us. Among them were these delicious spiders...


Sunday, October 28, 2007

For those that may need it...

I found this useful lesson on my brother's blog that I thought I'd pass along for your education/enjoyment. Click here to read A Guide to Successful Kissing (Lesson One).

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Workout


Dan Abraham, the founder of Slim-Fast and a Mayo Clinic patient, funded the building of a huge new Healthy Living Center on the Mayo Campus. It's for the 30,000 Mayo employees and their families, and it's an incredible facility. There are more treadmills and other cardio machines than I can count, several weight-lifting and strength-training equipment areas, two pools, a track, a cafeteria, a demo kitchen where they offer classes on making healthy meals, personal trainers at your beck and call, and much more.


Another cool thing is this relaxation suite, complete with massage therapists, a hydromassage machine, and a light therapy room.


The light therapy is really relaxing. It's a dimly lit room w/ music playing. You sit in a comfortable chair, and these blocks on the wall change colors and patterns.


I lucked out this morning and got a session on this hydromassage machine (usually it's full, as you can probably imagine.) They also offer classes all day long in Pilates, aerobics, aqua training, cycling, cooking, etc. And all this is there at your disposal. I've been enjoying the facility for a few weeks now, but I finally had an appointment with my personal trainer yesterday. We came up with a strength-training program for me, and I'm excited to get started with that. Thank you Dan Abraham.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Achieving Your Childhood Dreams


Today Winn and I went to a video presentation at Mayo of Professor Randy Pausch, who is dying from cancer at the age of 47, giving his last lecture to his students at Carnegie Mellon University. The subject was "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," and it was very inspirational. I came away motivated to be a more positive person and determined to reach for my dreams. I'm embedding the video below (you'll have to pause the music on my songspot at the bottom left of page in order to hear the video). It's fairly long (about a 10-minute intro, an hour-long speech by Dr. Pausch, and subsequent comments by his colleagues) but definitely worth watching. So some evening this week pop a bag of popcorn, get out the kleenex box, and prepare to be inspired.



Alternatively, you can click here to watch it on Google Video.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

For your entertainment...

Don't tell him I said so, but my brother Bob is one of the funnier people I know. I like to check his blog when I need a good laugh: http://www.rjblanshan.blogspot.com/.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Drapes, Magic Shows, and Fathers

We checked out the southbound lane of Highway 63 from Rochester to Southern Iowa again on Thursday afternoon and the northbound lane late last night. The blacktop is still intact (although the painted center lines were a little more faded than they were last weekend) and, thank goodness, there were very few deer to watch out for. Winn's parents are slowly getting settled into their new home. We got the kitchen and living room pretty much unpacked, and Winn and Gary worked on tearing out the closet in the office to make space for a built-in desk unit. It just wouldn't suit the Cradics to buy a new home without remodeling something. I think the kitchen is in line next. The drapery didn't turn out exactly as I had planned, but I'll go ahead and post a few pics of them anyway. I may try and revamp the top valance a bit. I do like how the dupioni silk side panels look, though, and was especially thrilled to find these fabulous metal ball tiebacks (they remind me of antique doorknobs).



On Sunday at church Gary talked about fathers, and it reminded me of how grateful I am for my dad. He has always sacrificed a lot to spend time with his kids, and I appreciate that he was very involved in our lives. Thanks, Dad. I'm also fortunate to have such a wonderful father-in-law who has always been a good example to Winn and who has blessed my life tremendously and taught me a lot in the time that I've known him. My dad was a pretty cute kid, don't you think?

My brother Billy got to participate in a benefit magic show for cancer patients at the Hope Lodge last week. Unfortunately, we missed the show but hope to catch his next one. I heard he did a good job with his series of tricks. What a talented family I have. Here's my favorite photo of my little bros Billy and Jimmy when they were tots...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Guide For Short People (Part One)

Written by Bob Blanshan, the younger (my 6-foot, 7-inch brother)


This is for Short people. This is an attempt to end the monotony that tall people face in conversation and to help short people with their obvious struggles in communication. If you are reading this and you are tall, I advise you to treat the Shorts with the utmost patience (and give them a copy).

THINGS SHORT PEOPLE SAY TO TALL PEOPLE:

1 -"You’re tall." While information is always appreciated most tall people already know that they are tall. They’ve noticed. Maybe you should try telling them something they don’t know, like what it’s like to have clothes that fit (although I warn this will get you an equally negative response).

2 -"Do you play basketball?" Before you utter these words to another tall person, consider: only so many tall people can be in the NBA, and (in case you didn’t know) there are many other careers for tall people. It could be that by constantly asking this question you are reminding this particular tall person of his athletic failures. You should also realize that it is stereotyping. How would you respond if a tall person asked you if you polish shoes?

3 -"How tall are you?" Why is the height of a tall person the only physical attribute you are allowed to question? Maybe this particular tall person is sensitive about his height. In any event, most tall people don't go around asking questions like: "How much do you weigh?" or "How old are you?"

4 -"How is the weather up there?" Apparently most short people believe that the difference of a few feet could accompany a change in the weather. For those of you reading this, it does not.

5 -"Could you reach this for me?" Short people must believe that all tall people are endowed with the spiritual gift of light bulb changing. Most tall people are helpful and longsuffering. However, it would I think surprise many if tall people started asking short people to do chores that were inconvenient. "Would you clean under my sink?" or "Could you tie my shoes?"

6 -"I can't see." You usually hear this from short people sitting behind you, and evidently most short people can’t figure out a solution. Here’s a tip: move.

7 -"I wish I was tall." This is a prime case of the grass not being greener on the other side of the fence. There are many disadvantages to being tall including: finding clothes, sticking out in social situations, and listening to short people say the same things over and over.

8 -“I feel short.” I of course want to encourage all people to be brave in expressing their feelings, but sometimes wait till you’re asked. Of course maybe you should consider this: you might feel short because you are short? In any case, we already know.

In order to improve your ability to converse I recommend that short people, when confronted with a conversation with a tall person, choose one of the following options: (a) Think up with some new and creative remark, (b) discuss something less offensive like politics, or (c) don’t talk.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Peanut Butter Kisses


Mmmmmm...gotta love those peanut butter kisses at Halloween time. I couldn't resist a bag while at the store today, my first bag of the season! Yum.

Maybe you're wondering where I've been for a whole week without a single blog (but then again, maybe you didn't notice I was gone). Well, I survived a whole weekend with Winn's extended family at their reunion in Iowa. Between his mom's five sisters (one, Aunt Jenny, has passed away), one brother, their spouses, children, and grandchildren, there was a total of 74 present over the weekend! My ears just stopped ringing today. It was a lot of fun though. I'm pretty fortunate where in-laws are concerned. They're all such kind and creative and lovely people. I'm especially mesmerized by Winn's cousin Winnie (their family has a thing with naming kids alike). I really am. In fact, I would often find myself staring at her. How embarrassing! I hope she doesn't read this. She is one of the most beautiful women I know, and so poised and compassionate. She and her husband have four darling kids, of which the youngest two are toddler twin boys! I don't know how she does it.

Anywho, enough about that. Then on Monday we stayed down there to help Winn's parents move. Believe you me, it is no small feat to cram the contents of a 4000 square-foot house w/ three outbuildings into a 2500 square-foot house w/ no outbuildings. It will be so nice for them to live in town now, though, and to have a smaller place to maintain. We are headed back down to the Corn State again tomorrow to help unpack the mountain of boxes. I also have some drapery ideas in the works for their new living room window as I found the perfect fabric at a textile store in town here. If they turn out, I just might post a picture of them next week. If they turn out.

Other than that, we've had some delightful company for the past couple of days, Lisa and Gerald, friends of my Aunt Suzanne. Gerald had eye surgery today at Mayo, and it seems to have gone well. Please pray that he is able to regain sight in his right eye and that the cancer will disappear after his upcoming chemo treatments.

I'd like to give a shout out to my volleyball team. Go Culvers! I'll miss playing with you tomorrow night. Good luck.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thank you!


We enjoyed our free chicken/tomato pizza last night for supper! I hope the rest of you were able to take advantage of the promo. Thank you, Domino's!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Secrets for Staying Healthy


Winn and I attended an excellent seminar by Dr. Creagan over the lunch hour today at Mayo. He talked about how important it is to take care of yourself (diet, exercise, spirituality, sense of purpose, etc.) and how that can determine 75% of your overall health (the other 25% is genetics, etc.). It reminded me of two things: one, how grateful I am to be a part of a facility like the Mayo Clinic (via Winn) and all the resources and expertise that it offers. And two, how we really need to take care of our bodies, as they are a gift to us, to be used to fulfill God's purpose for our lives.

Here is a brief synopsis that I received of Dr. Creagan and his book, in case you're interested in reading it:

Dr. Creagan is the American Cancer Society Professor of Clinical Oncology, the Rouse Professor of Humanism in Medicine, and a Professor at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine. Among his honors are the Distinguished Clinician Award, Mayo's highest honor, and being named “Outstanding Teacher” in the Mayo School of Continuing Medical Education.

He is the author of 400 scientific papers as well as the best seller: “How Not To Be My Patient, A Physician’s Secrets for Staying Healthy And Surviving Any Diagnosis”

Dr. Creagan has been quoted in multiple publications, including Sports Illustrated, Prevention Magazine, Newsweek, The Philadelphia Enquirer, The Wall Street Journal, Bottom-line Magazine and the Ladies Home Journal.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

By Candlelight


Last night was just an ordinary evening. I made some pasta and chicken for dinner to finish up the leftover pesto sauce that I used for pizza over the weekend, made a loaf of bread, and sliced our last precious Honey Crisp apple from the apple orchard. Just as we were about to sit down to eat, we decided it would be fun to turn our ordinary meal into a candlelit dinner. It was fun, just us, just being together, just celebrating the ordinary.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Southern Butter Pecan



Tried another new coffee creamer flavor. Not quite as good as the White Chocolate Macademia Nut, but tasty nonetheless. Give it a try sometime.

Presently Winn and I are having a Monday date night at Dunn Brothers. Well, kind of a date...he's working on homework, and I'm catching up on my blogging and emails. But we're having some quality shoulder-to-shoulder time. :)

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Chicken Pesto Pizza and Good Friends


Over the weekend we had some friends over for dinner and enjoyed a delicious new pizza recipe that I got from my friend Jessica. I took the above photo before the chicken and cheese were added, but you get the idea. It is too yum of a recipe to keep to oneself (and soooo easy to make), so I had to share it with you:

1 pizza crust (Pillsbury pizza dough in the tube works well for something fast)
2 chicken breasts, diced and browned
1 bag of white cheeses (mozzarella/parmesan/asiago mixture is good)
1 jar of pesto (the best part of the whole pizza!)
cherry tomatoes, sliced
fresh baby spinach (whole leaf)
red onion, cut into large pieces

Bake crust for about 5 minutes at 425 degrees (or per tube of dough instructions) before putting toppings on (this makes it crispier). Spread pesto over crust (I like about 5 ounces, half a jar, per pizza). Layer toppings according to your taste buds. Bake until crust is golden brown. Enjoy!

The pizza was only part of the beauty of the night though. Our guests' company was what made the evening the most delightful. The Ewings are our dear friends, confidants, encouragers, and mentors. It was a perfect night out, so we ate on the deck with the tiki torches and didn't come inside until around 10:00. In October! In Minnesota! Neato.

Our evening began at 6:30, and four and a half hours, three pizzas, a salad, two sliced Honey Crisp apples, four iced teas, four chocolate milkshakes, and some prayer time later, we said goodnight, edified and with full tummies. Thank you, Kevin and Janet. We love you guys.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

3191

This is a really neat site. 3191. Two friends who live 3,191 miles apart. They each take a picture every morning and post it. To be inspired, check it out (by clicking on it under my list of blogs to the right of the page).

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Market Madness


Online shopping is so handy. I buy a lot of my gifts and clothes that way, and lately I've been getting groceries that way too. There are, of course, several cons (i.e. not being able to try things on or feel the product, etc.), but there are a lot of pros as well. Here are some of the reasons why I like to shop online as opposed to at a store:

1. It's quicker. I'm not a big fan of running errands, so the fewer stops I have to make, the better. If I can order groceries, photos (http://www.snapfish.com/), you-name-it online, that saves me a lot of time.

2. You don't have to wait in line. Depending on the time of day you do your shopping, this might not be an issue, but there are a lot of times when I'll stand in line for several minutes at the checkout. This can add up to quite a bit of time over the course of several stores.

3. Faster shopping and faster checkout. When I shop for groceries at the grocery store, it can take me an hour to go through all the aisles (oftentimes twice because I forgot something on my list), but when I shop online, I just click on the product I want. You can also build "quick lists" on some online grocery websites of the products that you and your family use on a regular basis, and this saves a lot of time as well.

4. Less human error. At the store the cashiers are likely to scan something twice or forget to register a sale price, etc., but when shopping online, you can see the price right in front of you to ensure that you're paying the correct amount.

5. You don't have to deal with crowds. I imagine this would be even more true if you have young children and don't want to have to load them into the car and take them along, especially if they're tired or sick.

6. Less impulse-buying. This is a big one. When I'm grocery shopping online, I'm not tempted to grab that bag of cookies on the endcap or that candybar in the checkout lane. This saves money in the end.

7. Saves on gas money.

Now, this isn't to say that I never go to the store. There are things that come up that you need right away and have to go get them, and there will always be times that you just want to hang out at the mall with your sisters and your mom. And I like to go to the fabric store and feel the texture of the fabric and see all the new colors, and I enjoy going to an apple orchard to pick apples or to a pumpkin patch for pumpkins. But it's convenient to have the online option.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Lucky No. 7




Our nephew Tye plays quarterback for the Burlington Mud Dogs, and while in Iowa last weekend, we got to see one of his games. These tough guys are so cute in their uniforms...

Happy October, by the way! Wow. I've really got to get cracking on some things. My two main goals for the month are: 1)working out three times a week with my friend Rebecca (we start this afternoon), and 2)developing a plan for simple yet healthy time-saving, cost-effective meal preparation at dinnertime (including on-line grocery shopping and plan-ahead menus). I've been working on this for several weeks and have made a little headway, but the evenings just get so busy...