Thursday, September 27, 2012

Exercise: 100,000 pounds

Y'all know my husband is a beast. 
Literally, the strongest man I know.
Sometimes, I forget that he is human and I assume he can pick things up like trees and cars.

He inspires me to be "stronger" even though with him around, I really don't have to be.

That's right...he's strong!

We went to dinner Saturday night and I was explaining how I am stuck.
Stuck with "being healthy" as my only motivator for working out.
I am happy with my weight, he thinks I am hot, and I eat well, so I feel pretty great most of the time.
So, he suggested we make a goal together to run a certain distance and lift a certain weight.

Now running is easy for me. I am not fast, but I get it done.
Weight lifting is easy for him. He is strong. 

So, we agreed on 15 miles and 1,000 pounds for me and 5,000 for him.
Until he lifted 10,000 pounds on Sunday, just working out in our yard.

I laughed  until I added it up.  

Monday, I went to the gym and had an easy workout of 20,000 pounds. Literally, an "ease back into it" workout. I was amazed, as I always thought about leg press as 100 pounds. NOT 3,000 pounds.

So, I upped my goal to 100,000 pounds (same as his) and I am 28,250 pounds into my goal. I think a more realistic goal is 50,000. Tweaking, still tweaking.

So, with that goal, we are training yet gain for this. And lifting tons of weight. 
TONS! I feel stronger already.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Gratituesday: Take ownership

I am a huge fan of democracy.
As a red blooded American, I believe we are the luckiest people in the world to live in our amazing country. We enjoy so many freedoms that we take for granted, such as driving, watching free speech television (Fox News and The Daily Show owe a huge thanks to democracy), banking, living where we choose...the list goes on and on.

We owe all of this to one of our greatest and most ignored freedoms. 
The freedom to vote.
In a society where there are television shows dedicated to politics and politicians,  and how the job of running the country is getting done, you would think everyone would exercise their right to pick who represents their interests.
Yet only 40% of the eligible voting population voted  in the last election.
 That turnout was a record turnout, highest in 4 decades. 

Shame on us. 
Voting allows us to have a voice, to take ownership if you will. 

When we own something, we take care of it. We have it maintained, check ups are involved, if something is broken we have it fixed. 

That is what is wrong with our country. We are renting the space. 
60% of eligible adults are neglecting the freedom that allows all of the others to be enjoyed.
The argument is nothing ever changes. Well, nothing will when over half the population doesn't give a damn if anything ever does.
It's really easy to find something you care about, even if it is trivial. The fact is nothing is trivial, it all matters. Find what affects you, figure out who sees the issue the same way you do, and vote.
 For instance, Want the soda size regulated so that people will make better choices and hopefully  not guzzle 32 oz. Big Gulps, sending healthcare costs up? Vote.Want everyone to be able to get semi-automatic weapons? Vote. Want to preserve our country by getting off the oil dependency that has put our country in bed with terrorists for the last 40 years? Vote. Want deregulation of everything, including seat belt wearing, speed limits, drinking age, pot smoking, garbage dumping, stock trading, dog fighting...? Vote.
The act of voting is both selfish and selfless. You become a voice and lend yours to another, at the same time, enabling you to feel good about being selfish.

I started voting as soon as I could. I vote in most of  my elections, including local. 
I have many frustrations at the way our government is being run and I look for whomever is going to serve my agenda and vote for them. If they don't serve me, I vote for someone else whom I think will.
Very selfish, but it is my duty as an American citizen  to exercise that particular freedom. But I am so grateful that I have the ability ( as of 1920 for women like me) to vote and to make my voice heard in my beloved country.
So, my gratitude this week is also my soap box. 
Get off your damn lazy asses, America and go vote.
South African voters after the end of apartheid

Monday, September 24, 2012

Eating: Fall equals soup

Can you believe it is almost OCTOBER?

Me either. I really am not a fan of Fall and now that it is officially here, I am a little sad.
Summer is my favorite season by far. Food, heat, flip flops and sundresses top my list as my favorite things in life. 
But, for every reason there is a season or something lame like that. 
So, along with Fall comes chili, soup and crockpot meats. 
This week, we are hosting our Ragnar team at our house for chili and cornhole. Then my husband is in a chili cook off  here on Sunday. So, we won't be having our usual Mexican this week.
Instead, we are having my husband's favorite chicken. And my favorite, soup. At least if I have to suffer through Fall, I get soup.

On that note...

Swann " talk and not talk" menu

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Dirt: I am a junkie and I married one too.

What are you doing New Years...New Year's Eve?

I will be with the cutest boy in the world indulging in our mutual love of all things live music.

In the RYMAN...
Don't can't get tickets anyway because it sold out in less than 10 minutes.

Here's a little something to soothe you instead.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fun Fact Friday: How to look cool in an instant

Hello fellow 40 somethings that want to seem cool.
Meet Instagram.

I have to say I am a huge fan of instagram.


I have been able to "artify" myself, my kids, my dogs and my husband just with a few swipes of my finger via Instagram. In my pathetic attempt to seem interesting and arty, I have edited hundreds of photos.   None of them award winning. Usually I am bored. 


But of all the aps on my phone, this is the one I love the most. Genius and apparently worth a cool billion dollars. That's right...BILLION. 
Started by two guys with a little start up money, Instagram was bought by Facebook for $1,000,000,000 and the deal was finalized on the national holiday know as My Birthday.
Taken on the other national holiday my family daughter's birthday.

So, next time you are arting up a photo of your dinner, your dog or your mom, remember.. you are using a billion dollar ap. Use it wisely.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Reading: What I am reading right now

I am reading a really funny book.
Funny to me because it is about a family with three grown daughters who are very opinionated.
Very familiar territory to me.

I have been reading it at night and it makes me laugh. My husband wakes up and looks like a deer in headlights and I feel a little guilty. But, I keep on reading and keep on laughing. As this is the first book I have read by this author, I can't wait to find her other books and read them.
The non fiction humor in it really cracks me up. 
Looking for something "real" and funny to read? Check out 
Why is My Mother Getting A Tattoo?: And Other Questions I Wish I Never Had to Ask  by Jancee Dunn. Hilarious. Especially if you remember the 1980's.
I am so glad MY daughter picked it up and handed it to me at the book store.Of course there was a very sarcastic look that went along with it.
Can't wait til I get my tattoo...


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Gratituesday: My old/new kitchen

We spent a fair amount of time (and money) this summer renovating parts of our house.
Some of our work, we hired out to "professionals" and most of it we did ourselves.

My husband became a focused man this summer and taught himself some craftsman skills. In addition to the table in the kitchen, he installed counter tops, tiled and stained our floors and stairs. I still am amazed.  This was also a great excuse occasion to  buy a lot of tools. Kreg jig, router, and who knows what else joined our collection of tools in our basement.

We also got a really great kitchen out of it. I had a picture in my head of what my kitchen would look like and with some minor tweaking, I got it. We still have to paint the ceiling and I am lobbying for a new stove and micro. But until mine die, these work just fine.

I am truly grateful for a happy place to cook my family's dinners, chat with my girls at night about silly and not so silly things, sit and have a glass of wine with my husband AND just sit by myself and look around at how lucky I truly am.

Now, I am not a fancy girl, and my kitchen reflects that. I am an art loving, hippie chick who loves to cook and really loves old houses. And so, for  my old house/new kitchen, I am truly grateful.

Old kitchen...with weird lower "deck area" that was useless
Mid progress...

Tiling being grouted
Almost paint, new tile...laundry on pool table

Ah..perfectly me.
Even Charlie approves

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cooking: And...we're off!

School is back in the swing of things.
My kids are busy with homework, sports and social lives. Not necessarily in that order.
Most days, I get home at 6pm. That is about to change. My oldest is now swimming until 7:30 two nights a week. So, now we will be eating later on those days.
We like to eat at 6:30 and then have an hour or so to chill out before my early bird husband goes to bed at 8:30.  
It's exhausting being so awesome

We also like to eat things other than tacos, so I am trying to find things I can make and stretch or make extras of and freeze (other than chili).

My routine will hopefully be set now that my sale is over and we are pretty much on the course for the rest of the year. My day goes like this:
Drop off, workout,work, chores, make dinner,  pickup, eat dinner, dishes, hangout.
We'll see if that jives with the rest of the family.

This week, I am trying a new "make now, freeze for later" meal.
As the only one who is not eating it, I am hoping it works.
The Casa Swann " try something new" menu
  • sloppy joes, roasted carrots and broccoli
  • Pulled chicken sandwiches, oven fried okra, roasted squash
  • Pesto pasta with shrimp, salad
  • black bean and zucchini quesdillas

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fun Fact Friday: Original Gator Hater

It's football time in...

And house divided time at my house.
This weekend Tennessee plays Florida. 
And my husband attended the University of Florida.
Don't hold it against him, he was actually born in Knoxville. Although his grandfather was famous for saying that his mother "Took a perfectly good boy to Florida and ruined him."

So this weekend, we are rooting against each other.

So... my Friday Fun Fact this week is about....
Florida and their "Chomp" !

Their special hand gesture is a fairly new one, compared to the Gig Em. In fact it dates only back to 1981. The chomp is one arm over the other to represent a gator's mouth. This is accompanied by the lovely chant "Gator Bait". Orignial, I know.


However, as someone who has lived with a "gator" for 17 years, I have to say that chomp is painful. Especially when this guy was quarterback...

This year, however, I will not hear too much, as the Gators are not looking to great and almost lost to Texas A&M last week.

So, Honey, I hope you have fun talking trash and getting yourself all worked up because the only thing getting "chomped "  is you.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gratituesday: Music to my ears

My kids are little music lovers.
They are not Beliebers * They are Deadheads, Owl City Heads, Florence & The Machine Heads.
The are just plain ol' music lovers.
They have grown up listening to a wide variety of music in our house.
And, they have been going to hear live music since they were babies.

My town, you see, is a music town.

As someone who spent her teens and twenties going to hear as much music as possible, I am thrilled to see my kids going down the same path.  They are eclectic and a bit snobby.
We have spent many a  Friday night the past 12 years going to hear a free band at a block party in downtown Chattanooga. From Memorial Day weekend to the Friday after Labor Day, people come with chairs, kids, dogs and an open mind.

I have heard some truly great music at "Nightfall". Some have gone on to be very famous s

uch as the Carolina Chocolate Drops who won a Grammy just a short few weeks after I saw them. Others have been local bands that are striving to make the music they love as a career, such as my beloved
 Strung Like a Horse.

But just this summer alone, I heard a band that had just played at Bonnaroo (Deertick), one that will be huge in just a year or so (The Wild Feathers out of Nashville, TEXAS), a Celtic Rock band, a jazz pianist and more. 
In past years, I have seen Zydeco Indians, hard rocking rollers, Canadian Bluegrass and more.

The best part is this. People from all over my city from all demographics come together to hear music that is not necessarily their cup of tea. We all dance and pet each other's dogs and say "Hello!". It is amazing how many people I see each week, year to year, always there. Black, white, homeless, rich, young, and old, we all gather with open minds.

This is one of the best things about living in my city. The music and the fact that so many options are free and family friendly, makes it such a great and happy place to live. Last weekend my family went to hear free live music Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
My musical soul was fed.
I am so grateful to have these experiences to share with my kids.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Eating: A quickie

The menu this week is short.
The week will be full of work and play.
my birthday.
National Celebration. Big stuff. Coincidence? I think not.

Casa Swann "It's my Birthday Week" Menu

Three years ago...! Time flies when you are fabulous.
  • Steak salad/ oven baked okra
  • Pork tacos/veggie tacos
  • Crock pot lasagna with ground beef/ kitchen sink salad
  • Nightfall Food Trucks*

*Tomorrow's Gratituesday blog will be all about Nightfall and the food trucks.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Fun Fact Friday: Breton Stripe

* Somehow this did not get posted Friday...

I have a sickness of sorts.
It is of stripes. 
One of my favorite books that I read to the girls when they were little was "A Bad Case of Stripes", purely for the name. (And the fact that the main character loved lima beans, one of my personal favorites as well.) I recently went to The Gap and bought myself TWO striped shirts. 

My favorite stripe, if you will, is the navy and white or cream Breton Stripe.
Which leads me to Friday Fact #2.

The Breton Stripe.

Introduced in the mid-1800's as the uniform of the French navy, it was copied and put into civilian fashion by the likes of Saint James and Coco Chanel. The Breton Stripe shirt was the anti-establishment cool shirt to wear during the 1950's and 1960's, with Pablo Picasso and James Dean sporting them. Now, it is the epitome of sloppy cool, a Breton shirt and a pair of khakis being the epitome of classic style.

I have finally given into the fact that I am a "uniform" kind of girl and one of my classic pieces is indeed a Breton shirt.  Bad case of stripes? 
That's me!

Oh...I wish I was this glamorous! -via