Sunday, April 25, 2010


You guys, I have to tell you what I was invited to do on Thursday night. It's like I died and went to heaven. You know that episode of Friends where Pheobe accidentally finds Monica's soul mate (only it's not Chandler) and the two bond over a love of cheese? So much so that they each agree it would be ideal to move into a house made of cheese? (If not, click here.)

Well, I'm not moving into a cheese house, but I did the next best thing. I went to a gourmet cheese dinner. The entire meal was centered around God's second greatest gift to the world: CHEESE!

It all started Wednesday night while I was setting up for my big event and in stress up to my eyebrows. I was actually standing still for a moment when a coworker strolled up and invited me to attend this dinner with him. I don't think he knew that I was such a cheeseoholic (or that I could use a fun night) but BOY did he learn.

So Thursday night, we headed to Loew's Vanderbilt Plaza, a fancy hotel here in town, where we partook in the Clark Wolf Cheese Dinner: a four-course cheese-laden menu prepared by the hotel's executive chef with commentary on each course from Clark Wolf, a restaurant/food consultant and author of American Cheeses: The Best Regional, Artisan and Farmhouse Cheeses, Who Makes Them and Where to Find Them. And yes, we each got to take home a signed copy.

Wondering how many ways any chef could possibly serve that much cheese? Here's the breakdown.

We started off with a "cheese maker festival" reception featuring cheese from local farms. The cheesemaker himself was there to tell us about his product, which we sampled generously, along with some delicious Pinot Noir. Don't worry, there was other stuff there too. And in a related story, guess who like to eat olives now? Particularly kalamata olives? Yum.

Once it was time for dinner, not only did I find we were seated at the head table, but that we were also sitting with the author himself, Mr. Wolf (aka the big cheese - hahahaha). For the first course we were brought three cheeses: Bellweather Farms Fromage Blanc, Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk and Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog along with some walnuts, figs and dried apricots to get all this cheese down with. Mr. Wolf explained why he chose those cheeses for us to sample and where and how they came into production. My favorite was the Humboldt Fog. It had grape leave ashes in it and was creamy like a goat cheese - so delicious. Not as appealing was the Cowgirl Red Hawk. Even with walnuts and a bottomless glass of Syrah.

For the second course, we got to choose between beef tenderloin with Roth Kase Gruyère and Tennessee morel ragout; roasted all-natural rosemary chicken, with Marin French Petite Crème and jus lie; or seared Carolina grouper, with Vermont Creamery feta, fire-roasted tomato coulis. They also served some side dishes family style, such as green beans and potatoes au gratin. My beef was delicious and word around the table was that the grouper was stellar as well.

The next course was fried green tomatoes with arugula, smoked mozzarella and drizzled with an apple cider vinaigrette. Having never been a big tomato fan, I only nibbled on this dish but it was still good.

And to top off the meal - sweet cornmeal cakes, brown butter and ricotta ice cream with bourbon glaze. De. Lish.

I know what you're wondering: A) why I didn't take a picture of any of this; B) how I managed to go this long without bringing it up; and C) if I've pooped since eating all that cheese. Regarding a photo, it would have been inappropriate (maybe not entirely but I didn't want to embarrass my date); as for B, I have been too SWAMPED with other things to even think about blogging (starting with a 70-hour work week this week); and as for the last question, don't worry about me. My body is long since used to the amount of cheese I put into it. The good news is, now I am burning it all off!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


So, how about a boot camp report?

Tuesday morning that sucker came bright and early. Actually it was not bright. It was still dark outside. But the sun was coming up.

I got there a little early and the class queued up and waited on our instructor. There's 18 people total, which apparently is a large class. Once everyone had signed waivers and we were all checked in, we took off.

First stop: the roof. Yes, the roof and no, not to jump. My YMCA has a rooftop patio and pool and outdoor track, which we ran a few laps on to warm up. We did some other stretching and warm ups and then went back inside.

It felt like gym class y'all, without Ms. McCoun. We had to do as many sit-ups and then as many push ups in one minute as we could. And then at the end of the course, we will compare. I did my best. That's one thing I will say about this class - I am bound and determined to get my money's worth, and really get some good results, so I am reminding myself to put forth a lot of effort - this theme comes back up in a minute.

So after the timed stuff, we moved upstairs to the indoor track for the running portion. As many laps as you can do in ten minutes - go! I did better than I thought I would at that portion, with definite room to improve, but still.

We gathered back downstairs for some stretching and ab work and what do you know? It was 7 am. Time to go back to bed! Yes, I went home and got back in bed for an hour (...or so) before getting back up to go to work.

Fast forward through Tuesday to yesterday evening, when I had probably one of the largest events I'll have all year. I was SO TIRED when I got home lat last night. My feet were swollen. It was ridiculous. I went straight to bed, knowing that 5:30 am would come early, but once again - money's worth! - I knew I would not be missing the class.

Ross (my coworker who is taking this class with me) WAS planning to skip today since he is running the half-marathon on Saturday. He didn't want to risk injury, which is a shame because guess what: Today's class was GREAT!

Our normal instructor wasn't there (she gave us warning on Tuesday) so we had a sub. I hope he subs again, though in our normal instructor's defense, what we did on Tuesday was not a true class. But I really liked what we did today.

Once again we headed straight outside. Only this time we weren't on the roof but in the parking lot behind the Y, and this time we stayed outside the whole class. Let me tell you, 6 am on a crisp April morning is a good time to be outside - it felt GREAT out there. I guess this is why they call it "Basic Training" boot camp (as opposed to Farmer's Tan boot camp, which is also being offered at my YMCA if any of you are interested). We had to do a lot of drills and a lot of cardio: three reps of this kind of exercise, then jog a lap around the parking lot. For example, we had to do a series of lunges across the parking lot, jog back around to our starting point, more lunges, jog back back, MORE lunges and then jog a full lap. We did the same thing with "inch worms," which is where you start standing up, bend over and crawl out on your hands until you get to a push up position, do a push up, and then work your feet back up to your hands until you are standing again. Three circuits of these then another lap. And so on and so forth. We did this type of thing most of the class.

The last two drills we did were my favorite. First, we would jog away from the instructor. Then he'd blow the whistle, and we had to turn around and sprint back to him. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I sprinted. This is when the "let's get some results" thing came back into my head. He gave us time to get our heart rate back down and then the same thing again. We did this a few more times - lots of sprinting!

Last exercise was a circuit set-up. He divided us into four groups and each group started in one corner of the parking lot. I started in the "crunches" corner, and then when he blew the whistle, we got up, ran to a different corner, and did a new drill. After one stop in each corner we'd done crunches, jumping jacks, squat jumps and jumped rope.

We ran back inside, did some nice deep stretches, and then class was over. I REALLY liked it, y'all. I didn't even get back in bed when I got home but sat on my couch and watched the Today Show for an hour while I drank my coffee. It was a nice leisurely start to the morning. Except that right now, I am about to fall asleep at my desk.

I think I may like this boot camp thing after all!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Yesterday I did something a little crazy.

In keeping with the "do something for yourself!" mantra I am hearing over and over, I have been looking for things to do. Manicures and cocktail parties and cooking classes, oh my!

Are you ready for this?


AT 6 AM.


And yes, this was my idea. I went from discovering it on the YMCA's website, to paid up and registered in the span of about an hour and a half. You can't give ideas like that too much thought or else you'll think your way right out of it. I was surprised that I quickly found a coworker to do it with me, so right after work we went by the Y and signed up. We start Tuesday!

And in case I was still on the fence about what I had gotten myself into, guess who I happened to see immediately after leaving the Y. Yep, you guessed it. One lane over, heading home from work. Boot camp, affirmed.

I am really excited/nervous. You should be too. Don't think you're not going to be reading all about it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Here's where I've been:

I've been computerless. My work computer crashed last week. Three days without it. Let's just say I got a lot of paperwork and filing done.

I've been organizing my jewelry drawer. It looks great now. A place for everything, and everything in it's place.

I've been spending a LOT of time at the gym. I've been taking walks with friends.

I've been at Arrington Vineyards with some girls from bunko group. Thank God for those three little dice:

Here's where I am:

I'm at my desk, looking at these flowers that a sweet friend sent me:
I am sad because I didn't cry yesterday or the day before... and honestly? That makes me feel guilty. Someone should still be crying about this.

I am listening to songs I've been playing for years, studying the lyrics like it's the first time, and resisting the urge to type them into a text and hit send.

I am sick of being told "It'll get better" and "I know how you feel."

I am hearing the phrase "marry(ing) my best friend" and trying not to scream. I had a best friend that I wanted to marry. How come you get to? Life is not fair. You get to marry your best friend... I get to miss mine because he "just didn't feel it like I do."

I am damaged.

I am sad. I am confused. And I am angry. Which makes me sad again.

But like it or not, I am here.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Thursday, April 01, 2010


In the words of Leslie Chaney, "Nothing to see here!"

I appreciate everyone's comments, emails, text, and Facebook messages of encouragement. I'm staying busy and that's good. I went to bunko last night and it was the best I've felt in days. Additionally, I'm boarding a plane in a little while to be with my family for Easter. While I am excited to see them, I sure wouldn't be offended if the pilot decided to take us to Cabo or Barbados instead. Though I would be severely underpacked.

It's been a hard week. I'm going back in my cave now.

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