Sunday, January 31, 2010



As many of you know, Michelle has recently begun to fully indulge in her love of magazines. She currently has four subscriptions (Cooking Light, Health, Natural Health and Prevention) and we regularly visit the Half-Priced Books in Lexington so that she can buy even more periodicals at fifty cents a pop. Evidence of this new love affair is the ever-growing pile of inserts (magazine guts) under the coffee table in the living room.

Many of you also know that Michelle's new FAVORITE game is called "Hey honey guess what I just read about_____________ (insert topic here: topics range from the importance of fiber to truth about chronic gas)." Example: David! Be sure to dry your hands after washing them in a public restroom. Damp hands spread one thousand times more germs than dry ones and some viruses live for 8 HOURS on doorknobs! Sometimes I wonder how we are able to leave the house at all after learning all that we have from "Family Circle"... While some of the information is reported and then forgotten, some concepts have sorta taken hold of us.

We are certainly trying to eat more fiber and whole grains. We try and drink more tea throughout the day. We've replaced large amounts of crappy ingredients like fat-free Parmesan cheese with smaller amounts of the legit version. We are trying to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night as studies strongly support the link between obesity and lack of proper sleep. And we consume ridiculous amounts of cruciferous vegetables. But perhaps the bit of information that we have most adopted in our lives thus far has been our recent obsession with the idea of NEAT: Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.

NEAT activities are basically everything that you do during the day that isn't sitting, eating or exercising. When you wash dishing, go up and down the stairs, or shovel the snow, you are doing NEAT. This has lead to our new love of house chores and our total obsession with parking as far away from our destination as possible.

We will enter a parking lot and begin the horrible ritual of slowly winding through the lanes. But then we will look at each other and exclaim: Let's be NEAT! We then speed away from the competitive search and slide easily into an empty section of the lot. We open our doors full and wide as we exit all alone, breathing traffic-free air.

We have also started bickering over who gets to shovel the snow. That's right...Michelle, the girl with the greatest propensity for being cold, actually fights for the chance to put on her hat and gloves and shovel the drive way!

While I am in no way an authority on healthy living, we think that this new obsession will be very good for us. Studies show (and this totally comes from a magazine btw) that America is not obese because it doesn't exercise but rather because Americans sit on their asses during the other 23 1/2 hours of their day. All I can say is that I have a new love for sweeping and doing the dishes, taking the trash out and standing behind the couch while watching TV.

Michelle and David being very NEAT in the Macy's parking lot on Sunday

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chicken Casa Caper

Friday night Michelle and I planned to have dinner and play cards with some friends of ours. They had told us recently about a new restaurant in Lexington that they really enjoyed, the Chicken Casa. We went over to their house around 7:00 and by 7:45 we had called the Chicken Casa and were all set two pick up our two whole-chicken meals with rice and beans and fresh salsa a guacamole. On our way out the door to pick up the food, Gabe handed us some cash and asked that we stop by the market to pick up some Bourbon. Deciding that our chicken would be hotter and yummier if we picked it up on the way home, we went first to the Rite Aid, but drove by the restaurant, glanced in, and thought about all the yummy chicken that awaited us.

Upon arriving at the restaurant, we were happy to see that a police car was parked in front. Lexington's finest enjoyed the Chicken Casa also! we thought. However, as we got out of the car, the cop was walking out and said that we might want to pick another place to eat, that this place had just been robbed. We said that we would rather give them our business given the circumstances and so we went in. Three generations of Chicken Casa workers (I'm thinking the owner's family) were standing behind the counter, the youngest with noticeable tears in her eyes. The owner came up to us as we walked in and said that our order would be ready soon. We sat and listened while the cop and the owner discussed the incident.

The owner said that the man walked in in a mask but that initially he thought that the robber was us, Michelle and me, the folks coming to pick up their food. He said welcome but then noticed the mask and then the gun. They went on like that while Michelle and I waited for our chicken dinners. We realized that had we come to the restaurant before going to the Rite Aid, we would have been robbed too. The man in the mask had taken the owner's wallet and he surely would have taken ours as well.

The oldest of the women working that night eventually came out with two big bags filled with aromatic chicken. We went up to the register and asked if they took credit cards. The owner laughed and said that they prefer it; it can't be stolen. We said how sorry we were and told them about all the nice things we'd heard about their chicken.

Before we left, we put a twenty dollar bill in the tip jar; it was empty save a couple ones, having been emptied by the robber. The owner said thank you but that it was not our fault. The oldest women there said que Dios les bendiga.

The chicken was awesome, roasted to perfection, spiced simply with garlic and salt and pepper. The four of us took down two whole chickens a were barely able to finish the rice and beans. We will definitely be going back to the Chicken Casa and hope that others in Lexington support this great new restaurant.

I am also proud to say that purchasing some W.L. Weller Bourbon saved me from getting robbed. Is there nothing that amber elixir can't do?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Technology in the Classroom

Michelle was right again... When she first suggested that we take a one-credit course on technology in the classroom through the Graduate School I was not very enthusiastic. I was so looking forward to my first semester without classes since beginning my graduate studies four years ago. I thought that I would finally be free: free to choose my own books, make my own schedule; free to not give in-class presentations and not write 70+ pages come the end of the semester. However, after three weeks in the technology class, I am pleased to report that it has been very rewarding.

As most people know, I am computer elliteraete. When my friend, Mahan, told me that he "tweeted" with his "Twitter" account, I asked him where he had gotten his hands on a twittermachine, thinking that only the stars had access to such advanced technology. This is a true story. Michelle and Mahan don't let me forget it! Now, however, I have an "RSS" feed to Mahan's Twitter account set up on this blog! (Only three weeks ago I didn't know what an "RSS" feed was. I also was unaware of the workings of the following items: blogs, wikis, Turningpoint Technology, zipper files, blasting software, Camtasia, Merlot, Blackboard, etc.)

I owe the existence of this blog to the class that we are enrolled in. I have been making more effective Powerpoints for my grammar class and I have been really thinking about ways to integrate technology into my classroom.

Just yesterday in class the teacher explained about a cool, free software called Jing that can capture images from your computer screen while you use it! Excited to try this out (and not really having a reason to use it) I made a Jing video of how to navigate my blog. (I's REAL difficult!)

Click HERE to see the video.

Michelle and I are really very excited at the prospect of teaching at a school that will allow us to experiment with new technology in the classroom. And while I hate to say it, I must admit that Michelle was right and taking this class has turned out to be fun and useful.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

National Yoga Day

Michelle and I both love to look for deals. While I tend to scan the side of the road for discarded treasures, Michelle does her deal-searching on the internet. Last week, Michelle took it upon herself to find a free yoga class here in Lexington on Saturday the 23th. It was Yoga Day USA and she had heard, through the internet line, that many studios were offering these special classes in celebration of the holiday. Michelle indeed found a class, at Lexington's Yoga Health and Therapy Center.

We arrived early to the old brick building on Second Street and were greeted by the warm staff. The place smelled good, was clean and all the ladies were dressed in white sweat suits. It was pretty groovy. Then another woman came up to us and said that she was from the Lexington Herald Leader and that she was doing a special story about Yoga Day, and could she ask us some questions and take our photos while we did yoga. I said that as long as she was discreet with the photos of our butts and/or belly bulges that is was fine that our photos appear in the article.

Little did we know that the photographer would be present for 40 minutes, taking pictures of us as we posed. He had set up one of those portable flash devices that illuminate the room and with every photo (there were probably about 100) my closed eyes would explode briefly with light. Needless to say, there was a decidely non-yoga vibe going on in that room...That said, the photographer and reporter were very nice and the teacher of the class was very apologetic about the experience. I remarked that considering that the class was free, we had no right to complain.

At the end of the class, during the the Savasana relaxation, the teacher led us in a meditation that placed us on a tropical beach, standing in the darker space where the waves meet the shore. She described the breeze and the way that our feet felt slightly unsteady under the sinking sand. As she began to describe the cry of the seagulls, an ambulance passed outside on Second Street and the screeching siren aligned perfectly with the bird call, the way that a night-time rain storm might provoke dreams about rushing water.
All in all, it was a nice little practice in downtown Lexington on a Saturday morning.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bento-Style Lunch Box

I have often complained that I don't have cool lunch gear, that I look like a bum entering the office with my leather bag, long coat and scarf and then: plastic grocery bag bulging with awkward-sized lunch materials. For this reason, Michelle bought for me for Christmas a really cool Bento-style lunch box by "Laptop Lunches." I was especially excited to see that this product was made in Santa Cruz, California, where I had lived for seven years.
I enjoy this product; it provides compact design with built-in portion control. All these are great things. However, I have one major issue with this product. There is exactly zero extra space in that box and I mean zero. We first attempted to replace one of the containers with a pudding cup but soon realized that the box would not close with the cup inside (even though it looked real close). Then, today, we had "carnitas" and Michelle tried to put a tortilla on top of the containers. A tortilla. The world's flattest food. And the box would not close! We were so sad. I understand that the goal of the design is optimum space usage. However, leaving three quarters of an inch wouldn't have ruined the sleek look of the thing.
Good thing I'm a clean eater because at this point I doubt that a napkin would even fit in that box!
All that said, I love the product. I love that I'm cutting down on waste and limiting myself to a legitimate serving of food. Check it out.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Apparently I am the person in the house with the responsibility of consuming the leftovers. It is usually two days after a meal and Michelle is opening the fridge. Our fridge resembles a recently-stocked refrigerated section at a grocery store. It is bulging. You'd think we were depression babies with the food stores we have. Anyways, Michelle is looking in and then I get the call: "You didn't eat the last of the cranberry sauce!" I reply that that is true, that I had indeed not eaten cranberry sauce. I imagine what it would be like to eat cranberry sauce as if it were a dish and not a condiment and we laugh at that. Our friend Matt had brought that to work as a lunch one day and we laughed at it then as well. Now today, Michelle opens the fridge and says: "If you are going to snack, make sure you eat the humus. And there is salad too from last night." While she was up on treadmill, I had a little snack: an old banana (trying not to be wasteful) and some pita chip crumbs. I did not have any humus or any salad. Needless to say, Michelle was quite disappointed in me for this. She pointed out my snacking error and then even referenced the fact that I'm always complaining about not having dips. She said that for all my bellyaching regarding dip, I should really have snacked that humus.

I think at the end of the day I feel a lot of pressure regarding my role as sole leftover eater. I don't want to be wasteful but sometimes it is hard to take care of all the little left over items from the days before.

Anyways, I tossed the cranberry sauce and saved the humus. I guess I'll have to use pretzels now that I ate the last of the pita chips.