Thursday, December 31, 2009

Catching up on 2009 - late summer

My cousin Stacia, who had just spent 6 months teaching midwives in Kabul, got married in Princeton, NJ in August, and Ed and I were so glad to get to go. We enjoyed seeing the family and meeting new cousins-in-law.  Doesn't she look gorgeous?

They had both a western and more traditional Korean ceremony, which was by far more colorful!

Since we were in the neighborhood, we spent the next day roaming around NYC, enjoying a jaunt on the High Line, and a rest under trees in Central Park,

and lunch with some dear friends I couldn't wait to introduce!

For Labor day, we went down to Seaside, FL, to catch up with Lee, HilaryAnn and Shawn, and their daughter Jacquie. With the diet Coke w/ Lime can in her hand, Jacquie is a girl after my own heart! What a cutie!!
My kitchen was also completed, organized, and I finally started remembering how to cook again. :) I love my kitchen!

Our next door neighbors Ted and Sarah got married on a beautiful late summer day, and Jeanie and I went. Jeanie has now gotten both of her confirmed bachelor neighbors (Ed and Ted) married off to great women. :)

Catching up on 2009 - Anniversary and birthdays in July/August

Our birthdays and anniversary cluster together at the end of July/beginning of August. We took a trip down to the Florida Keys the last week of July to celebrate our first anniversary, and stayed on Key Largo, where we had a fantastic waterside seafood dinner.

We also took a kayaking trip off Big Pine Key, in and around the mangrove islands. The water was beautifully calm and we saw a lot of rays and nurse sharks, as well as water birds.

We paddled through a few mangrove islands

And we got hooked on kayaking!

We took a snorkeling trip off Key Largo, and had gorgeous weather!
Back home in Atlanta, we had a joint birthday on our deck overlooking the river. 

Happy Birthday to us!!

Catching up on 2009 - Family in town during the summer

Over the summer, my sister Christy, her husband Paul, and our niece Jessica and nephew Casey visited from Cameroon. Ed's parents timed their visit to coincide with Paul and Christy, and his brother Warren came for a visit a couple weeks later. So grateful for a finished guestroom! (Oh that's right, shortly after we finished the kitchen, the same contractor redid the paint and carpet upstairs - yay!)

Aunt Julie is such a sucker - but the kids have so much fun playing in the Chattahoochee in their play clothes!

They all loved the Atlanta aquarium.

Jessica posing in front of the piranhas - hmmm...

Casey, who is eyeing whom?

Paul and Christy and the kids enjoying the massive tank with the whale sharks
Jessica and Casey at the zoo, learning about a lion skull

I love my sis!

Ed and I took Warren too a Braves game during his visit

Catching up on 2009 - Sherstin's wedding

My dear friend Sherstin got married this spring, giving me an opportunity to travel to Naples, FL for her bachelorette party and Chapel Hill, NC for the wedding.
The parents of another bridesmaid hosted us for the bachelorette weekend at their beautiful home on the beach in Naples.

We played on the beach, and went out on the boat.

We ate very well!

And got dressed up to go out in the town!

Several weeks later, mission accomplished: Sherstin married!

Enjoying my own dapper hubby!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Kitchen progress!

Poor little kitchen! Well, we had weight-bearing studs taken out and joists and an I-beam put in back in March .... and then our contractor had better things to do, though he didn't exactly get around to making that clear. Cabinets arrived on May 8 and the boxes filled up the "dining room"- sans any other progress.

So I called two more contractors, both highly recommended and gung-ho, and spent the next few evenings meeting with them and going over the plans. A guy in the neighborhood dropped by and asked if he could put in a bid, too, and I told him it was a long shot and probably wasn't worth his time - well, contractor #1 also builds movie sets, and got called away to the set of "Drop Dead Diva". Contractor #2 had jury duty this week. Turns out the original guy got banged up in a motorcycle accident this week. Re-enter guy in the neighborhood. He dropped over again on May 12 - I told him if he could get it started this week, he had the job. Today, May 13, there are half a dozen guys in my kitchen working on plumbing and electricity - including pick-axing a trough for the electricity out to the island and making all the fire alarms in the house go off with the smoke that the saw are kicking up. But it's progress!!!
Here is the finished trench with the electric line for the island lying in itAnd the guys mixing cement to refill the trench with - that won't be going anywhere!!All the cans for the recessed lights installedMay 14 - all the cabinet boxes are now stuffed in our downstairs bathroom and living room - between Ed and his TV. :( This is what we were hoping would not happen, but now that we're here, we want to get through this stage ASAP!!May 15: Ed has done a beautiful job of installing the insulation - even our contractor was impressed! But we have a wedding to go to this weekend (May 16-17), as does our contractor, so work will take a break.Monday, May 18 - oh my gosh!! We have walls!!May 19: Dry wall is "mudded"- patched and ready to be sanded. But it has to dry for 24 hrs first.Cabinets are hung a day ahead of schedule! I LOVE them!!!

Ed and I spent 40+ hours over Memorial Day weekend painting and tiling - absolutely backbreaking done all day for days! Here's Ed painting...And tile day 2 - pretty good progress! You can see the diamond mosaic motif in the floor on both sides of the island.Close up of diamonds on the floor - those were fun!

Tuesday - lights!!Wednesday - yay! My gorgeous countertops!!

And at the end of the next weekend, after appliances, sage green paint on the walls, green tile mosaic backsplash, and dark brown stained wood outlet and wall switch covers (all of which I did - except for appliance installation) - FINISHED! I love it!

Sunday, March 29, 2009


I had been considering running a marathon ever since I was a college student - well, it didn't happen in college.... or medical school...or residency... or EIS, and I realized that at age 33, it's never going to get any easier, and I had a nice block of time in which I was not traveling for work (although my personal travel - Florida, Cameroon, Dubai) put a dent in my training. Anyway, the half marathon in Florida went well at the beginning of this month, and I had finished training for a marathon anyway, so I signed up for the Atlanta ING marathon.

Obervation 1: Marathons always start at ungodly early hours! Ed and I were up before 5 to get ready, and catch the train into town to be at the starting line in time. And here I am at the starting "corrals"- in the pitch black, but smiling!

Observation 2: Every time I run a race, it's COLD! And windy! I didn't take the earmuffs and mittens this time, but I could have used the mittens! I was thankful for every layer I had.

Observation 3: Atlanta is hilly. No, I really do mean HILLY! There are hardly any flat spots. It's just up and down and up and down for 26.2 miles. And Druid Hills (miles 17-20) is named Druid HILLS for a reason. It's just one killer hill after another. Oh, and the course elevation map, which I had obsessed over to the point of memorization, was not helpful. I can't tell you how many times I was expecting a downhill and got a uphill, or sometimes the other way around, or thought a hill would be bad and it wasn't, or got a bad hill when I wasn't expecting it.

Observation 4: Downhill is not easier after your knees have taken a pounding for 15+ miles. One knee started hurting to the extent that I was dreading the downs and looking forward to the ups. I was doing all sorts of crazy gaits trying to find something that didn't hurt as bad. At which point, I called Ed and asked him to pray for my knee. And very soon thereafter, my knee hurt less and less, and I enjoyed my downhills for the last 7 miles or so. :)

Observation 5: Caffeinated energy gels rock! Oh my gosh! Nuff said.

Observation 6: Through my training, I've realized how many things you have to do to have a good long run - you have to have the right clothes, socks, and shoes on, protect the problem spots on your feet from blisters, make sure your laces are not too tight or too loose, body glide (lube) any potential chafing spots, adequately carb load in the days before but don't gain too much weight, get in a few quick carbs, lytes, and water before the race, but not so much that you have to use the portapotties early in the race before the halfmarathoners split off, drink the right amount of gatorade/water on the course, and eat enough gels during it. That, and don't pound the heck out of your knees on the downhills in the first half. ;)

Anyway, it was good! The course takes you through many of Atlanta's signature spots - MLK's house, Piedmont Park, a lot of the Atlanta neighborhoods - Inman Park, Candler Park, Poncey Highlands, Decatur, Little Five Points, Virginia Highlands, and through 4 college campuses - Georgia State, Agnes Scott, Emory, and Georgia Tech. They all come out to cheer - in fact, there are cheering spectators along most of the course - and the neighborrhoods get together and have a band, dress up in costumes, make fun signs - all very encouraging. Most awesome for me was running by Decatur United Methodist Church, who had a worship band out on the sidewalk, playing contemporary worship music. As I was running by, they were playing Blessed Be the Name of the Lord - a song I have always loved, but became my theme song for the race. I sang it (in my head) for most of the rest of the race! Especially when I started hurting!

I really liked some of the cute t-shirts - "I know I run like a girl - try to keep up", "It seemed like a good idea 3 months ago", "Toe nails are for sissies"- especially funny to me because I've lost both big toe nails during training. ;)

Anyway, I finally hit a wall at 25 miles, and that last mile HURT!! Back to pictures now - hurting...

Oh, there's Ed! That must mean the finish line is really close!! Yay, so good to see Ed!!!The finish line is about 100 yds after the final turn, and has a merciful slight downhill leading to it. Ed says that when I saw the finish line, I gave a yelp and started sprinting. :) The horse smells the barn! Mmmmm!
I was so ecstatic I didn't even hear them announce my name when I crossed the finish line!Very happy, with my blanket and finisher's medal! And looking forward to the warm dry clothes in the bag Ed has been toting around all morning. Yay!!!!!!!!!