Monday, June 29, 2009

Break those chains

On a typical workday I eat lunch at my desk. Sometimes I relax and read the news on the Internet and other times (ok, most of the time) I work while I eat. I know this is bad for a few reasons. 1. Studies show that you eat more if you don't stop and really enjoy your food, and how can you actually enjoy food if you're just stuffing your face whilst you work? 2. I don't typically take a break in my day for lunch, so the day goes on and on and on and I don't really take the time to recharge my batteries. 3. I often do not leave our office the entire day so the only sunlight I see/get is from the rays coming in through my windows. 4. In step with #3, I don't get any fresh air during the hours of 8:30-5:30. This can't be good.

So today, I decided to take a break. After I worked while eating my turkey burger (side note: I found the BEST turkey burger recipe this weekend - they were so moist and did not fall apart on the grill - two huge pluses in the turkey burger department! I'll give you the recipe later - maybe, I'm considering keeping it to myself so I can wow people who come for dinner!), I decided I needed to get out and get a little exercise in the middle of my day. I could've gone to the gym, but that takes a good 60-90 minutes and I don't have time for that today. And since the heat wave seems to have died down a bit, I decided to go for a walk outside - and it was WONDERFUL! I even talked to my dear friend Erin for 20 minutes on the phone while I walked. Aside from the 4 inch wedge heels I had on today, it was a great way to get a little bit of exercise in my day and get some much needed fresh air. Now I'm back at work ready to roll!

Here was my course:

I can't believe I went a seems so quick! "They" say you can break up your exercise throughout the day - if I walked for 20 minutes every day during lunch, I'd add 5 miles to my weekly walking/exercising routine...surely that would add up, right? 5 extra miles a week = 20 extra miles a month = 240 extra miles per year! That's a lot of miles and calories burned!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Peppers and Flowers and Limbs, OH MY

As promised, pictures!

The lone pepper -

And a close up of our little guy!

Our tomatoes (minus the suicidal ones):

The view of our "big" garden from the deck.

Our BEANS! (don't you think they're pole beans???!!!!)

One of our many squash plants - we're going to have so much summer squash if these bloom.

Our "small" garden - a big storm last week caused the tree limb to break off our neighbor's' tree and land on our garden :( I think we may have lost one cant elope or squash plant.

The wildflower garden!

I snipped a few flowers from my garden to brighten up the inside of the house too!

Bloomin Pepper

Wells folks, I can now add "successful gardener" to my already extensive list of credentials. (The others for those who are wondering are: wife, daughter, aunt, sister, bond lawyer, half marathon runner, aspiring pianist, yard-sale shopper, shopper in general, baker -speaking of which, I have an incredible recipe to share with you, martini-lover, cat enthusiast, among many list goes on and on, though it gets less glamorous as we go - wait, that would imply that something on my list is currently "glamorous", hum...must be that lawyering thing...). Back to the point - our garden has a PEPPER! Yes, it is only one, single, solitary, lone pepper, but its a pepper nonetheless and it's a-growin! I am pretty sure its a jalapeno and I'm hopeful he'll have some brothers and cousins soon, but for the moment he's our one shining star. Everything else (aside from two tomato plants which died of heat stroke) are looking good, or at least looking promising). I do need to take care of (and by that I mean kill) the grass that has decided to start growing in the garden and we need to string the beans because they are looking a lot more like pole beans than bush beans, oops. (Although in reality this is a good thing because I read that bush beans produce beans all at once so you need to keep planting thtem like every 2 weeks to have beans all season, but pole beans continuously produce beans, which is a plus). I have pics of the garden and the pepper at home that I'll post tonight!

This Sunday was Father's Day (along with the 1st day of Summer) and my mom had the whole fam up for brunch. My uncle brought my 91 year old grandpa up from LaGrange and it was my brother's first father's day as well, a father. So it was special to have everyone together - I especially cherish any time I get to spend with my grandparents since they're getting up there in age and you just don't know what the future holds. Grandpa's joke of the day was, at least I think its a joke, is what's the difference between a donkey and a jackass? Anyone know the answer???? We spent the morning playing tennis with my dad and the afternoon relaxing - it was a wonderful day all around! I was assigned the task of bringing dessert so I made a chocolate cake - the recipe and yummy pictures to follow later today.

Ok, back to it - Kate I hope this gave you some entertainment today :)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hot in Hotlanta

You know summer is here in Atlanta when the sweat, I mean glistening, starts the minute you step out the door. Sunday is the official start of summer, but it sure feels like its here in full force! Currently it's 94 degrees and that sun is just beaming down. What a beautiful day to be at the pool - there I go daydreaming again.

While this is a beautifully hot day in the Big A, it's a sad day in the Little A - Athens, that is. Today a historic landmark burned down. The Georgia Theater caught fire around 7am this morning and while the fire fighters were able to contain it, the roof collapsed and the interior is destroyed - all that remains are the exterior brick walls. While the GA Theater wasn't the most sanitary place and my husband always felt like he might get trapped in there one day (there were rumors that the fire doors didn't work and there wasn't a sprinkler system), I have many fond members from college there. Whether it was listening to some band perform or attending a sorority function, I always enjoyed going to the Georgia Theater. I hope it's rebuilt and continues on as a downtown Athens fixture.

Speaking of North Georgia towns, Mr. Cob and I escaped to one last weekend. We both took Friday off of work and went on a minication to Dahlonega. We hiked the trails at the Amicolala Falls State Park and spent the night at the lodge. The trails weren't as long as we anticipated, but it was still a beautiful hike and the falls were breathtaking. We did encounter two snakes!! But Mr. Cob said they weren't the kind to be afraid of...still not sure I believe him after watching him scurry past one! We also saw the BIGGEST tadpoles I've ever seen. Actually, I'm not sure I've ever actually seen a tadpole in person, but these were huge. A few already had their back legs and were just waiting for their front ones before they were true froggies.
It was nice to get out in nature and get some fresh air and exercise. We then went to the town of Dahlonega for some shopping and dinner. It's a very quaint town - perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon. We bought some locally made jams and wine at one of the shops - once we try them, I'll report back. We ate dinner at this Cajun restaurant called Gabee's Cajun Kitchen (90 Public Sq N Dahlonega, GA 30533 706-864-4417)- I would highly recommend it if you're ever in Dahlonega.

Then on Saturday, my sweetie planned a wonderful day at a local vineyard - Montaluce. Check it out: It opened about a year ago and this weekend was the celebration and opening weekend of their inaugural white wines. It was a beautiful resort-type vineyard. We took two "flights" of wine (for those not in the know, this is simply a wine tasting - admittedly, I didn't know that until this weekend, and to think, I claim to be a wino). We tried Montaluce's white wine flight and their "favorite reds" flight. All the wine was amazing, though I'm still not a huge fan of Chardonnay. We came home with two new bottles of wine, which I'll save for some special occasion (or just a Sunday when I run out of wine and can't go to the store and pick up a new bottle...gotta love Georgia). We also ate lunch at the restaurant and the food was fantastic - we had the meat and cheese plate to start (I can never resist). Then I had their salmon flatbread - delicious! And Mr. Cob had a shrimp pasta, which I loved more than him. It was a wonderful day and is a great day trip from Atlanta. They're opening an inn and spa in about a year which would be perfect for a romantic weekend getaway or a girls trip!

On the home front, we've started our next DIY project - screening in the porch. The wood has been cut for the frame and has two coats of white paint - one more coat and we'll be ready to frame the porch - hopefully tomorrow. Our vegetable garden is still doing well, though nothing has bloomed yet...maybe in another couple of weeks! The tomato plants are getting bigger as are the peppers and beans - I'm taking this as a good sign.

This weekend we're celebrating friends birthdays, going to hear some live music and most importantly, celebrating all the dads on Sunday!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bloom Away

The past few days I've noticed peach-colored flowers sprouting up in the flower garden, and today another beautiful flower emerged - a yellow one! Sadly, I don't know the names of any of the flowers so I can only describe them by color, but here are a few pics from my phone. These flowers really do make my morning trek to work more enjoyable!

Monday, June 8, 2009

My husband rocks

The hubby will be embarrassed by this post, but I just don't care. I think it is important and blog-worthy!

As some of you know, Todd has been slaving away long hours at the office preparing for his first trial. He was given only 13 days notice from the judge (uniform rules call for at least 30 days, but this judge just didn't care). Both sides had agreed to try mediation before hitting up the trail-route, but the judge denied their request to mediate. So for the past 7 days he has been working 12+ hour days feversihly preparing for trial. The facts weren't easy and his client wasn't ideal, but he had a plan and was ready to go to bat.

As of last night, he had his opening statement down pat (and sounded great and confident delivering it). His case was compelling and he grabbed my attention right away and if I was a jury I'd have been interested to hear his side of the story. He had all his questions ready to ask the jury at voire dire - Have you ever been accused of stealing something? Are you a caretaker? Have you or any of your close relatives had to deal with terminal illness? Have you ever had a strained relationship with your in-laws? (You can kind of get a grasp of the oddity that was this case).

This morning we woke up at 5:45am and Todd left the house in his navy suit, crisp white (wife ironed) shirt, red and blue stripped (lucky, new) tie (from said wife) and white handkerchief (just in case one of the witnesses started to cry). His hair was parted on the side and he looking like an intelligent, yet likable attorney. (And very attractive, if I do say so myself. I am his wife, so I might be a bit biased, but still...he looked good. And more importantly, he looked the part.) And off to the court house he went.

Well I just got word that he'll have to get his sea legs another time, because thanks to his hard work and dedication to his client, they were able to reach a settlement agreement this morning before he could deliver his performance. In my book, that counts as a SUCCESS!

So I just wanted to share with everyone this victory!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A touch of Blue

On my walk down the driveway to my car this morning, I was greeted by a surprise in my wildflower garden - a beautiful BLUE flower! So now the garden has white, blue and pink little flowers!! Here are a few pics (they're from my phone, so they aren't very good quality):

I also hit 125,000 miles in my car this morning - we're hoping she lasts me a few more years!

(and yes, I realize I was almost on empty...)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fruits a Plenty

It was a busy weekend for the Swans. We kicked off the weekend with a three hour vegetable garden planting extravaganza on Friday night! We have:

- 12 tomato plants (4 different varieties)
- 18 pepper plants (jalapenos, habeneros, sweet, and hot)
- multiple yellow squash plants
- 3 zucchini plants

And we also planted these seeds:
- chives
- broccoli
- brussell sprouts
- cantaloupes
- basil

It's also possible I'm missing something. Anyway, we have two separate gardens - one big one and one small one....we thought the big one was getting the most sun, but after careful observation during the first really beautiful weekend in GA, we've now realized that the little garden might win the "best all-day sunlight" award. In which case, I hope you like cantaloupe and yellow squash, because we're sure to have A LOT!

The next thing we're going to try to grow is some hops for Mr. Cob's homebrew (aka Mad Swede Brewery). Hops require full sun so we've been analyzing the best place for optimizing their success. The latest idea is to plant them near our deck and let them grow up the side of one of the poles supporting the deck...or possibly in the front yard! Luckily hops look like this, so either option is OK and aesthetically pleasing:

Saturday morning I went to a class on Composting. The instructor had on a shirt similar to this, which I thought was hilarious! I learned a lot from the class - you need something green and something brown to make compost (i.e. grass and leaves) and the more frequently you turn your compost pile, the quicker you'll have good compost. I'm still undecided as to whether or not I'll try it. Instead, I was more drawn to the concept of turning "garbage to garden" where you simply keep non-meat food scraps in a jug and once you have enough you just bury them underground in the part of your garden that is currently empty, cover with dirt and the "garbage" helps enrich your soil. It's kind of the lazy girls way to good soil.

We also got out our bikes for the first time in months and went on a Sunday morning bike ride to the Flying Biscuit for breakfast (yum)! There are some serious hills on the particular route we took and it made me realize that I might not be ready to try a triathlon....I got winded way to quickly on the bike. But it was such a beautiful day and reinforced our decision to move to Kirkwood - I love being able to get to restaurants/shops without setting foot in a car. I also walked to our local library on Saturday - its only a half a mile!

All in all it was a wonderful weekend (we even had date night on Saturday night and friends over for dinner on Sunday - I baked a chocolate sour cream pound cake FROM SCRATCH for dessert - delicious)!! OH, and last week we got a new TV stand...the product details said it is "sage green", but the more I stare at it I'm convinced it's more of an avocado or pistachio green. Regardless of the actual color, I really like it - it opens up our living room. Now we just need a rug....the list is never ending. Here's a not-so-great pic of the TV stand.

I'll post pictures of the vegetable garden tomorrow. And more pics of the wildflowers - the solitary pink flower now has some pink brothers and sisters and some white cousins!!