Thursday, February 28, 2008

Trip to Trader Joe's

I visited the new Trader Joe's in Chapel Hill for the first time this evening, and had a fun time! I got some produce, including brussel sprouts and red peppers, two of my faves of late. I was happy to find some no-sodium whole wheat bread (haven't tasted it yet), some low-sodium marinara sauce, and Diet Hansen's soft drinks! Hansen's, like Diet Rite sodas, don't have any sodium, as well as the usual 0 calories, and they come in lots of flavors. I've got some diet ginger ale cooling in the refrigerator. :-)

The only thing that surprised me was that I didn't see any regular brown rice! I saw brown jasmine, brown basmati, and various medleys, as well as white, but couldn't spot a big bag of brown rice! Perhaps I'll ask an employee next time.

I do think the Cary store is bigger, so it may have more options. The time I visited that store, while I was still eating at the Rice Diet Program, I bought some shaving cream that was yummy! I looked for the shaving cream at the Chapel Hill store last night, but didn't see any.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Heading to Physical Therapy

I went to the orthopaedist at the sports medicine clinic today, and she prescribed four physical therapy sessions and return visit to her in six weeks to check on the groin strain. I'm looking forward to the PT sessions, which I start next week. I was told I need to work on becoming more flexible, which is a good thing overall. I wonder if I should look into yoga. Suggestions, anyone?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Lone Star

This evening I treated my mom to a birthday dinner, along with my dad and George, at the new Lone Star Steak House in Durham. I think it was a restaurant my dad want to go to mostly. ;-) I was a little concerned about what I could have for supper at a steak house, when health issues have steered me to a vegetarian diet in the past year and a half, but I don't want to be one of those vegetarians who's hard to cook for and/or go out to eat with. So I agreed and decided to make the best of it. I checked out the menu online ahead of time, and that helped. Also, we got to the restaurant before my parents, so I was able to ask the server about the salmon dish and the salads to find out how I could make the best pick for me. I ended up with a decent salad without bacon or croutons (but with tomatoes, mushrooms, and some cheese), oil and vinegar, and a plain baked sweet potato with cinnamon--my favorite part of the meal!

When they seated George and me at the table, they left us with a couple of metal buckets, one with peanuts in their shells, and the other one empty, for the empty peanut shells. I did have a few peanuts, but was able to stop with room to spare. The server brought bread with the meal, but I barely noticed it, a non-issue tonight. I was too excited about the baked sweet potato!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Interesting Week to be a Vegetarian

Since I left the Rice House, I've stayed the course on being a vegetarian, with the exception of salmon on Valentine's least until this week! I have been lulled into the complacency of thinking the healthy veggie options were everywhere, and that this would be easy! But not so much...

Our department had our belated holiday party at a local barbeque restaurant, one that's been around for decades. I remember going there with my family when we visited Durham in the 1970s, and it's still around, in the same location, even. Anyway, the gathering of people was lots of fun, but our family style eating options were not exactly healthy. On our menu: bbq, brunswick stew, hush puppies, french fries, green beans and cole slaw. I had seconds on the green beans and cole slaw, though I could taste the salt and sugar in each respective dish. I also had a taste of the barbeque and brunswick stew to see if I missed meat, and I discovered that I don't, really. It didn't taste bad--in fact I remembered why I used to love bbq, but I don't miss it now. Not a craving anymore. In fact, my stomach was a little unsettled for the rest of the afternoon, so I'm really not missing it! But, I did enjoy being away from campus for lunch, and the company was great, so I'm glad I went.

Last night, I went to the local Dream Dinners for a "Sneak Peak" promotion offered by our employee health program. As part of the deal, I got to prepare and bring home a 3-serving entry to be cooked at home. I'd heard of Dream Dinners, but never been in one, so I decided to check it out. I used MapQuest to get directions, which took me a back way, not on the interstate, and I was glad to learn a new way to that area, which was good.

When I got there, the local DD owner and a dietician from the employee health program were there to explain things. It all seems like a great idea for busy people, especially busy people with families. There were three freebie entree options to choose from last night, all three of them meat! I decided to be a good sport while I was there and put together the honey and herb grilled chicken breasts. I went to the station, where they had three frozen chicken breasts in a plastic ziplock already, and I followed the instructions on the sign for putting in the various spices and toppings to get it "cooking ready." This included non-fat buttermilk (which I passed on, very high in sodium), honey, mustard, and a variety of spices. They provided the recipe for cooking it on a sticker that's on the front of the bag in the picture to the right. It was fun enough to put it all together and bring home, but it's chicken, and I haven't ventured down the chicken road yet. I'm not sure I want to yet, so I stopped by the grocery store and got some things to make a whole wheat veggie pasta salad, which turned out very well! I didn't use a recipe this time, just picked up some fresh veggies (squash, zucchini, red peppers and cherry tomatoes) to steam and add to the whole wheat penne pasta I already had at home. I threw in some olive oil, shredded swiss cheese, and Mrs. Dash on the flip side. 30 minutes start to finish, and yum! The thing I learned from last night is that I'm having fun putting my own ingredients together and cooking.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lunar Eclipse!

I just stepped out of my apartment to see a great view of the lunar eclipse! I've always been fascinated by astronomy, so I dig things like this.

(Image not mine, found on the internet.)

First Race Casualty

It looks like I'm going to have to ditch Saturday's 4 mile road race! &^+.}^!!(*&@! I've done a little internet diagnosis and seem to have a groin pull as a result of a long(er than I'm used to) 5-mile run/walk with a group on a Saturday, followed the next day by a hard-run 5k road race (which I ran in 35:30, a new PR for me!). That muscle area hasn't been the same since. I tried running again on the treadmill a couple days ago, and didn't make it but a couple of minutes.

So....I'm back on the elliptical machine, which doesn't cause me pain like running does, and have an appointment with a sports medicine doctor next Tuesday. (What kind of "-ist" is a sports medicine doctor--anyone know?) I'd hoped for a quicker appointment, but that was the earliest available in the local group of sports medicine doctors), and the soonest I could see my regular doctor is the day before, on Monday, as she's out of town. *sigh* I can WALK, it's just not comfortable, and if I've been sitting down for a while and need to get up and walk, ouch, ouch, ouch!

I'm trying not to be a baby about this and take advantage of cross training, but I am sticking my bottom lip out a little. I'm also avoiding my running podcasts for some reason. Could I be jealous of the podcasters because they're getting to run while I'm sidelined? Hmmm, not sure if that's totally it. Maybe I'm just being cranky, not being able to get in to see a doctor, not knowing what I can do to get well yet. Well, I do know from the internet to rest (okay, so I'm being a little impatient there), and use ice (gee, that's a little tough in that area). I am looking forward to hearing from a real person how I should proceed to get well and stronger for running.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day Dinner

Last night I cooked for George for Valentine's Day, and it turned out quite well! I went shopping at Whole Foods, where I ran into a coworker from the library, which as fun. I picked up some salmon and fresh brussel sprouts to go with the brown rice I already had at home. (While I was there, I also picked up some brown basmati rice to try, and some whole wheat pasta for a pasta salad.) I added some dill, onion powder, and olive oil to the salmon, and cooked it for about 23 minutes. I steamed the brussel sprouts (which George had never tried(!), but liked) on top of the rice cooker while cooking the brown rice, a first for me. It all turned out quite well...I don't think I'd change a thing!

I did miss having bread, and something sweet for dessert, but that's just old habit coming out. I was plenty full!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Smells Like Eggs and Bacon!

When George got up this morning and came into the kitchen, he said, "Something smells like eggs and bacon!" I think it was wishful thinking on his part! I was in the kitchen, but emptying the dishwasher while pinto beans cooked on the stove. So much for eggs and bacon! Not exactly on my diet! ;-)

Getting Ready

I'm getting ready to run another 5K race this afternoon, this one in Raleigh. 2PM start times are unusual on the 5K circuit, but I don't mind, being a pretty nippy morning. I'm a little out of sorts, though, changing my eating schedule a bit. I need to be fueled, but don't want to have to make a pit stip in the middle of the race. (There usually aren't any pit stops in the middle of a 3.1 mile race, which is part of the problem!

Yesterday afternoon I went to Cary to pick up my race packet at the sporting goods store that's one of the sponsors of the race. While I was there, I bought some high-tech running socks that are supposed to keep your feet dryer, as well as some gloves, which are supposed to keep your hands warmer! (I just noticed that my toes got in the lower right corner of the pictures! Oops!)

Inside the race packet/bag were several info sheets for upcoming races, was well as my bib number and the race t-shirt, which is long sleeved-yay! It's a pretty cute t-shirt.
I'm excited about today's race, but wish I hadn't gone 5 miles with the new group yesterday. I am sore! It was such a nice morning in a new setting for me (Shelley Lake in Raleigh), and it was fun to meet some nice "new" people to run with, that I just couldn't bring myself to turn around at the 2 mile point to make it a 4-mile run (which would've been MORE than enough for the day before a race)! Oh well, I'm going to take a hot bath (and some more ibuprofen) this morning, and make the best of the afternoon race.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Ten on Tuesday: 10 Things You Can Do Instead of Watching TV

1) Cuddle up with George :)
2) Play Scrabulous
3) Update one of my blogs
4) Read a book
5) Take a bubble bath
6) Go to the gym or run outside
7) Look for some new recipes for upcoming meals
8) Work on my family tree
9) Call a friend or family member
10) Plan a games night at our apartment

What's on YOUR list?!

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Things You Learn...

When I went grocery shopping over the weekend, I learned that the handy "ready rice" 2 cup packs of Uncle Ben's brown rice, which take 90 seconds to cook in the microwave, cost the same (at Food Lion, anyway) price as a 2-lb. bag of Comet long grain brown rice (with many servings) for the rice cooker (or stovetop, I guess). This shouldn't be so surprising, I guess. We pay for convenience, don't we?!

I also discovered this weekend that rice cooked in the morning in the rice cooker and kept on the warm setting until dinner doesn't taste so good, at least in the Cuisinart rice cooker I'm using right now. Otherwise, it's working well. I'm looking forward to trying out the other rice cooker soon!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Don't Let This Happen to You

Some of you know that one of my favorite hobbies is genealogy. I've been researching my family tree for over 15 years, and it's been a fun and fascinating journey. Several of my lines settled in North Carolina, some in Wilkes County and the surrounding area, and others in Sampson County and the surrounding counties. I've been fortunate to live in the middle of the state for a number of years, so I've been able to take numerous research trips to local libraries, courthouses, and cemeteries, as well as to the State Archives and State Library in Raleigh. I've also met several cousins I first met online, and have been included in an annual reunion in Sampson County, which has been fun.

Computers and the internet have really expanded my ability to search for and organize my family tree. I've tried several genealogy software programs, and my current favorite is one called RootsMagic. I've had a lot of success lately with a website called, which has a section called WorldConnect, where people can submit their family trees to share with others. The quality of submitted research varies, so I consider shared research as nice leads, and it's up to me to verify the information as I see fit.

Well, a few weeks ago, I decided to download a file (someone's family tree) from Rootsweb that was a treasure chest of information about one of my lines. I had had a lot of luck extending a number of families in that line in my database, as well as adding extra information about some of the ancestors and cousins I already had in my family tree. I'd been typing all the new information in manually, but I figured I could create a separate database for this file, and in usual Windows fashion, do some dropping and dragging. Doing that individually, one by one, was successful, but I could tell it was still going to be time consuming, and I was getting a little impatient! Next, I decided to start dragging family units over and connecting them to my own, and that was a hit too. I was excited! Next, I found someone in the other database whose ancestors and descendants I wanted to add to my database, so I clicked on the option to add everyone in that person's family tree (both up and down) intomy database. Well, that was the wrong thing to click, because it added that WHOLE DATABASE into my own! I suddenly had an extra 30,000-40, 000 names in my database, some kin to me, and many not! Of course, a good number were duplicates I'd already added to my database, but there were still thousands of extra people I didn't want mixed in with my information! It had been way too long (several hours, maybe even a day) since I'd backed up my database. I should've backed up just before I did that, but I assumed it was an innocent click. Ugh!

So, I decided to start cleaning up my database, bit by bit. A lot of the early deleting was easy. I was able to delete some families pretty quickly, others after doing some double checking. I'm also having to clean up some data fields, mostly the place notes. For some reason, the occupations field in the other person's database came over into the occupations PLACE field in my genealogy software. So, a person who was a cotton mill worker in the other database looks like he did an occupation IN Cotton Mill Worker (some place). So, I'm fixing all of those by hand, which is fun, fun! I'm glad to say that I've made a lot of progress, and am almost done with getting rid of the extra people in my database. Cleaning up the place names will take a little longer, but I'm making progress on that too.

Meanwhile, this has given me a chance to do some clean up from the conversion of my old database (from another software program) to RootsMagic. It's also given me an opportunity to learn my greater family tree a lot better, and that's a great thing, considering the fact that I've taken a 2-3 year break from this hobby. It's fun to be back in it, but I didn't expect this big bump in the road so early on.

Worse things have happened, though! It's a lot better than having deleted the whole thing without any backups! And now I take the time to back up my data a lot more frequently! I also keep backups on different drives, including a flash drive, and another online periodically.