Monday, November 24, 2008

Food critic

Since leaving the comfort of the PNW, I’ve been put in a whole new food element. I thought I’d share some of my discoveries and critiques.

Soul food:
I went to Baton Rouge for work and learned that soul food must be an acquired taste. Most of what I encountered was either very spicy or very fried. I don’t do spicy. And fried food doesn’t agree with fitting into a wedding dress…which left me to order the only food that wasn’t fried or spicy, which, as it turns out, isn’t very good.
**But “soul food” from a really expensive restaurant is indeed good. However, I broke down and ordered one of the fried dishes…so that probably explains it.

Convention food:
Even in a fancy, schmancy hotel, food made in mass quantities just isn’t very good. And note to the meal planners: don’t serve chicken on the bone when people are dressed nice and trying to eat gracefully. I’m trying to engage in conversation with people for the first time, meanwhile I’m flinging chicken on the floor as I try got get it off the bone and in my mouth!

Back to fried foods:
Fried chicken here in Knoxville is delicious! I’ve never cared for fried chicken until I tried Guthrie's. It’s delicious and the sauce is even better. They do do it better here! (yeah, yeah, I know…still not good for the whole wedding dress thing…)

Delights:
Smashed sweet potatoes when done right = my new favorite side dish!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Go Zags!

I'm so excited that Men's College Basketball season is here! I just can't get into football, baseball or any other sport. But basketball, basketball gets me fired up!

This year I get to follow the Gonzaga (GO ZAGS!), Kansas (Rockchalk Jayhawk!), Tennessee (Go Vols!) and WSU (Go Cougs!).

And I get to go to two Zags games this year, so they better deliver! I'll be at the Battle in Seattle in December. And Matt and I get to cheer on our Zags against Tennessee in January at UT. We don't expect to see many other GU fans, but we will proudly wear a Gonzaga gear!

The best news for the season so far is Dick Vitale's latest prediction for the final four: ZAGS IN THE FINAL FOUR!!!

If this comes true, I really don't know what I'll do! Can't wait to see it all play out. And of course, put some money in a pool for the tourney (last year I made $350 when I won!).

GO GONZAGA, G-O-N-Z-A-G-A!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Always Learning

When I decided to move to Knoxville I was really sad to leave Vancouver –for many reasons, one of which was leaving a job I enjoyed and wonderful coworkers that I love.

When I was offered my current job, I was overjoyed…mostly because it meant I got to move to Knoxville and be with Matt. But the opportunity to try my hand at something new also excited me. I wasn’t entirely sure what my job actually entailed, but it sounded very promising. As I’ve made the transition and am learning what my job really is, I still greatly miss my old job and my old coworkers. I haven’t made up my mind on how I feel about my new position and my new company, but I definitely know that I am enjoying the lessons I am learning.

My old company was small-medium in size with a “flat” organization (I put flat in quotes because I don’t think flat actually exists, but it definitely wasn’t a traditional hierarchy). My new company is the corporate world. It is my first taste at working in this environment. Now I will be able to say that I understand both the corporate and the non-corporate setting. It’s great experience for my professional growth and good old resume.

I only starting to realize how different it is, and how that will affect my actions. And WOW what a different world! I’m realizing that in corporate America you start to question what people’s intentions are more than non-corporate settings. Are your peers just trying to work up the corporate ladder? And I’m also noticing how for some people, hierarchy gets in their head and they become power hungry. There is more of a need to self-promote, you have to get to know the “right” people, you have to make certain people happy and not worry about others. And when I list it that way I get a little put-off. That doesn’t interest me, it isn’t how I work.

That being said, I don’t think acting in that way necessarily gets people where they want to be. I am choosing to keep doing my best work, striving to keep learning and bettering myself, being a good team player, helping the company meet their goals and I’m confident that my approach will pay off (not necessarily pay off in a promotion or raise (which I won’t complain if it ever does) but in my own personal satisfaction. But I can’t be na├»ve…I’ll definitely look out for my best interests.

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's a new day!

In Megan’s blog, she spoke about the new day created when we elected Obama as our next president. When he won, I was really happy and hopeful for the next 4-8 years. But it hadn’t really sunk in how monumental it is to elect a black president. I think for me I have just seen Obama as qualified--as a president we can be proud of, a well-composed man and someone that aligns with my political viewpoints. In my evaluation of him as a presidential candidate, his race never played a piece—even though it was a well-communicated element in the election.

Megan pointed out that Becca, my adorable niece, will never know a time before having a black president. Then the immensity of Obama’s win started to sink in. But it didn’t fully hit me until I went to St. Louis for work. I was there visiting some of my company’s charter schools to see EdisonLearning education in action (great experience for me overall, BTW). The four schools I saw are all about 95% black. Quite a different scenario than any school I ever went to or have even visited—actually pretty much the exact opposite.

I arrived on November 5th, the first full day we knew Obama would be our next president. Bulletin boards littered the hallways with information about the election. Many were displaying pictures kids drew, or sentences they wrote with their thoughts about the election. Some showed bar graphs, pie charts, etc. of who the students wanted to win. Others said why they would vote for Obama (cute to see what kids say or think is most important). I think everything I saw was supporting Obama. In the entrance to most the schools, the front page of the newspaper was hanging up to announce the election results. Election information was everywhere!

First, it is just awesome that kids get to learn about the political system in America and for many, this is the first election they will ever remember…and what a good one to have in their memory banks!
Second, it was really neat to see how proud and supportive kids and staff were of Obama. In these St. Louis schools he has quite the fan base! Now when these kids say they want to grow up to be president, they know it really can happen.

Now I wonder when we will elect a female president…

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Joined the Wii club

When I told Matt that I wanted to move to Knoxville, we agreed that that meant we needed a Wii. I argued (not that Matt was in any way against the idea) that I was moving to a city where I only knew him and a Wii would be a good form of entertainment.


So that was that, we decided to get a Wii. And then when I found a job earlier than planned and got here in October instead of January, we decided that the Wii purchase should come prior to Thanksgiving. This way I wouldn’t miss being with my family on Thanksgiving because I could just play the Wii instead. Okay—so this concept is a little ridiculous, and don’t worry family, you can’t really be replaced by a video game. I am just telling myself this to feel better about missing Turkey Day in Battle Ground.

A week or so ago we decided that if we ever saw a Wii in the store than we’d just buy it since they aren’t always in stock. That day was Sunday. We went to Lowes to get more paint for the house and decided to swing by Target for a few things. Turns out they had Wiis in stock (Sundays are the best day to find them) and were having a special on games. Without hesitation, Matt and I made the big purchase. A wii, several extra remotes, 3 games and a recharging station later, we have a whole Wii set-up (and a hefty price tag).

It has been great fun so far. Turns out I’m rotten at video games and Matt is pretty good. This frustrates the competitor in me, but I think I’ll catch on soon (I really hope!). I’m convinced that it is also a good purchase to help me get in “wedding shape.” I’m not dieting or on any sort of fitness plan for the wedding, I just want to improve the look of my arms. Ideally I will have toned hot arms to show off. In comes the Wii! It might not be doing THAT much, but it certainly can’t hurt. And maybe it’s just from painting all weekend, but my arms and shoulders are actually sore!

According to this article, Wii activities really can result in weight loss! (Sorry if the link doesn't work, it was earlier today but isn't right now...in a nutshell, this guy did 30 minutes of Wii every day for 6 weeks and went from 180 lbs to 171 lbs withouth changing any other aspects of his eating/exercise regimen)It may be a bunch of hogwash, but I’m choosing to believe it! (But I won’t be replacing my workouts with Wii games just yet.) Once we get the Wii fit, look out!!

(PS-Isn't hogwash a fun term? I'm glad I got to throw it in the mix!)