Better luck next time

2015-10-29 01.20.01 pmIn an effort to avoid the madness that for me usually accompanies the lead up to the holiday season and the season itself, I created this iCal reminder for myself last year. But if I’m going to make iCal reminders that are in any way useful, it turns out that I need them a little bit sooner than October 30.

Hubs and I are currently in the midst of a three month stretch where something involving travel is planned for every weekend except three. My problem is that when most of these plans were made, it was summer, which meant that my life felt expansive and the days felt long. As we move into fall, my tendency is to turn inward, curl up, take it easy, and be cozy. During this pregnancy, I feel this need even more strongly, but many of our upcoming plans feel as though they leave little room for that.

I could probably cancel things, but I don’t want to! The plans that would be schedule-wise easier to miss (with dear friends and family, who would surely understand) are the ones that will fill us up in the midst of the required/work-related activities and travel. My solution? A new calendar reminder for next year:

2015-10-29 01.48.35 pmHere’s hoping that putting it in July—rather than October—and clarifying the language actually works! (Given that there will be another person involved by then, it had better)

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Easy, hearty pasta salad

With the arrival of fall, this pasta salad is nearly out of season. But I made it on Saturday for a picnic dinner because it’s such a good take along dish, and I wanted to share it here.

1 lb of pasta (I like colorful, spiral pasta)
1 log of salami
Pecorino romano cheese (we buy it in a wedge from Trader Joe’s)
1 or 2 sweet bell peppers (any color is tasty)
1 bag of frozen peas
1 bottle of creamy balsamic dressing (the Trader Joe’s one is legit)

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. While it’s cooking, chop the salami, cheese, and peppers into small pieces and add to a big bowl. Drain the pasta and add the still-frozen peas to the strainer. Stir the peas and pasta around, which will thaw the peas and help the pasta cool down. Add the pasta and peas to the bowl with the salami, cheese, and peppers. Pour the dressing over the top. (You might think you don’t need a whole bottle of dressing, but it will taste much better if you add it all). Stir to combine well and serve immediately, or refrigerate until you’re ready to eat.

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Therapy dog retirement

About a month ago, sweet Tonks did her last visit as an official therapy dog. We visited for two years at UNC Hospital and before that for two years at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. Through it all, Tonks has been a master therapy dog. She tunes into what people need, expertly goes from person to person in groups, and seems to take pride in her work. I am so proud of the training that she and I did together to be able to work as a therapy team for four years.

We’re hanging up our therapy badge, based on a few minor aging-related issues that Tonks is experiencing—cataracts and stiff joints—and due to the difficulty of being re-evaluated, which you have to do every two years. But she continues to give out therapy to people we meet on the street or sitting on the lawn at the bar, and I know that won’t ever stop. No one can resist the fur!

Enjoying retirement on the couch

Enjoying retirement on the couch

Prioritizing self care

Growing a person is no joke. Between feeling sick for nearly two months and daily reminders that my body is no longer solely in my control (lately in the form of clothes that fit last week no longer being an option), I am being forced to tune into this pregnancy. And I want to tune in and not just respond to forces of nature (or to having borderline high blood pressure at several prenatal appointments), but sometimes it just feels hard. So this week I’ve put a new plan in place to give me more time for focus on myself. With packing my lunch+snacks at night, 30 minutes earlier bedtimes and wake-ups, and listening to a guided meditation on the bus, I’ve gotten a much better start to my days this week. When I take the early bus, there is no chance of having to share a seat or of a chain smoker sitting right behind me. When I get in at 7:15am, I also don’t feel bad leaving work at 4, which means I have time to go to an after work yoga class or that I don’t have to stand on my second bus home because it’s less crowded. Then I’m home earlier and can have a snack while I prepare a healthier dinner than all the frozen pizza we’ve been eating (most days, at least). It’s not too much, but it’s made a huge difference already!