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A note from the road…

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I’m on my way to NYC for the weekend and am ridiculously excited about this trip!  I haven’t been to the city in almost 6 years now.  Oddly enough, I’m staying with the same friend that I stayed with back in ’05.  Except now instead of sleeping in a dorm at Columbia, I get to stay in a new apartment in Midtown!  I really don’t even know what that means in terms of location within the city.  All I know is that I’m about 3 miles from the Central Park Zoo and may make a stop there as I’ve never been.

 Just wanted to give a quick update while on the road here.  Thanks to VaMoose, I’m being shuttled via bus to New York for only $60 round trip!  It’s a traditional tour bus and is much nicer than the school bus (not the yellow kind…simply a school-sponsored bus that must’ve been from the 1970s) than I took on my last trip up.  Plus it has free wi-fi…awesome perk!

 I’m going to enjoy the free time and catch up on some reading and scenery.  I’m in Jersey now, about an hour or so left in the trip. See ya from the city!

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I Feel the Earth Move, Under My Feet…

 

Yesterday provided some unexpected excitement thanks to a 5.8 earthquake in Virginia that resonated up to DC and beyond.  I was on a conference call at work when the shaking began, and it was quite surreal to question the participants (though they were in Pennsylvania and Maine) and my co-workers around me, “Are we in an earthquake?”  I never thought I would experience one, and never really wanted to, but Mother Nature laughed at that idea. 

We evacuated quickly (amazingly, myself and others from the 8th floor seemed to be the first ones out of the building even though we took the stairs) and spent 20 minutes outside in a large soccer field away from buildings.

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I seem to have a way with being evacuated from buildings.

Anyway, I’m fine.  Everyone was fine, just a tad spooked.  The strangest thing was that I felt like I was on a cruise ship after I got back inside the building and seemed to keep rocking for a couple hours after it happened. 

I’m off to Maryland for meetings today!  Happy Hump Day, and hopefully nature doesn’t send anymore surprises our way.

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Buehler?……Buehler?

I woke up at an ungodly hour to put in a few miles in honor of National Running Day!  My injury has been much better the past couple weeks, so I felt safe running a little.  My trail of choice for a 6am run was the Al Buehler cross-country trail that surrounds the Washington Duke Inn on Duke’s west campus.  My car was one of two when I got there a little before sunrise, and when I left 45 minutes later, there was a line to find a parking spot.  Obviously, it’s the place to be!  Probably because it’s supposed to get up to 98 degrees today (seems like Durham has confused itself with south Florida) and running at 6am provided the best temperature option.

The trail itself is great, with scenic views of the WaDu’s golf course.  However, there are a few hills that no matter how many times I run them, I will always mutter certain 4-letter words under my breath because they are HORRIBLE.  I walked them all today, and even still, they’re a bit ridiculous.  But, among the soft sunlight and chirping birds, I had a very peaceful run.  

Go outside and get a run or walk in today!  Or, read through the list of 10 Ways to Celebrate National Running Day and do the one that’s best for you.  It’ll make you feel good!

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Fiesta Friday

For the past week or so, I’ve been trying to think of some cheap, easy-to-make “fiesta” decor to decorate buffet tables for a themed dinner I have tonight.  Thanks to those that helped (L.Bo), but unfortunately I ran out of time to use any of my arts and crafts skills.  Instead, I made a stop at Party City today and immediately became transfixed on this…..

Oh yes.  I will make one of the groups I have group tonight for dinner break open an ice cream cone pinata.  Ice cream cones are not very “fiesta-ish” but I’m just going to roll with it.  The candy is sure to be a hit.  I can see the group in my mind already fighting over candy as soon as it pops open.

I almost bought this one…

But then I realized that other people probably don’t find unicorns as hysterical as I do.  This one honestly just looks like it’s in pain.

Hope you’re having a fun little fiesta Friday!  Enjoy the weekend!

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Celebration Scampi

This past weekend, I watched many friends celebrate their graduation from business school.  It was really nice to be a part of their happiness because I’ve seen them progress throughout their program for the past 18 months, and I know how excited they are to move on from school. 

While managing the various celebration receptions, I recalled a meal that I threw together a few years back when I concluded of a certain facet of undergraduate business school:  financial accounting.  I had two good study buddies in this class, and I still remember our late-night meet-ups to go over practice problems and concepts before any exams.  When we all passed the final and the class, we decided to celebrate with a delicious home-cooked meal.  And by that, I mean that I cooked and my friends (two guys who did not have the best kitchen skills back then) provided the home for it.

Celebration Scampi
Serves 4

8 to 10 oz. whole wheat pasta (linguine and penne both work well)
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. butter*
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
1 Lb. medium, uncooked shrimp (veins removed)
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Parsley and freshly grated parmesan cheese, garnish

*For a more traditional scampi, use 2 Tbsp. butter instead of 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

While pasta cooks, heat olive oil and butter in a large pan over medium heat.  When melted, add garlic and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly so as not to burn the garlic.

Add wine to pan and stir to combine.  Let cook for 1 to 2 minutes so that the wine begins to reduce.  Then add the shrimp and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until shrimp are bright pink.  In the last minute of cooking, add in salt, pepper, and lemon juice, all to taste.

Pour pasta onto a large serving platter and top with the scampi sauce.  Garnish with parsley and/or freshley grated parmesan.

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Joie Revisited

I have been absent on this blog for a very, very long time.  I’ve been busy, to say the least, but need to get back to regular posting.  I find it only fitting that I do so after a trip to the location of where I first spotted the painting that now serves as the “Joie de Vivre” header on this blog.

I spent the past 24 hours in Washington D.C. and stayed in the Georgetown section of the city.  After checking in at my hotel, I set out on what turned into a very long jaunt and walked from Georgetown to the White House to the Mall to the Smithsonian and back.  While walking down M Street (the main thoroughfare in Georgetown) on my way back to the hotel, I stumbled upon the Joie de Vivre painting.  I was really happy to find it again, because honestly, I couldn’t have told you the exact location of where I originally took the photo.  I knew it was in Georgetown, but that was it.

Now I know that the painting is at the corner of M and 30th street on the side of a Parisian style café and bakery called La Madelein.

Sometimes re-discovering something is even better than finding it the first time.  There are times when you learn a piece of information, or you find a great photo opportunity, but all the details don’t necessarily stay with you because you’re not ready for them.  Perhaps it’s because you’re too encased with other details to worry about.  Perhaps it’s because the details are too big to comprehend.  But then, you reach a point where the thing you discovered re-presents itself to you, and it clicks.  You notice the artist’s signature.  You notice the jagged crack cutting through the yellow at the top of the painting.  Ultimately, you just pay more attention.  Such was the case with me re-finding this painting on Sunday.

So, going back to the blog.  I hope that I don’t have another extended break like the one I’ve had the past three weeks.  Who knows what life will bring, but hopefully I can keep some semblance of recipes/travel/photos/life experiences coming to those of you who read.  To start you off, here are some photos from my walk. 

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On Top of the World

In case you haven’t heard, it’s Earth Week!  This week (really April 17th – 22nd) is a chance to not just learn more about environmental impacts that you incur on the environment every day, but also to make some changes to make your life better, and hopefully the planet a little better.

I’ve loved this holiday week since elementary school.  Yes, it may be weird, but Earth Day was always one of my favorites!  The highlight of Earth Day came in P.E. class each year.  My school had these huge inflatable Earth balls (and oddly are available for sale on Ebay!).  I would run, jump, and roll onto the top, trying not to fall off as my teachers kept the ball rolling.  As corny as it sounds, I really was on top of the world then, and it was a great feeling. 

Well, I do not get a free Earth Week to just play outside with huge balloons anymore, but I still find ways to celebrate the planet each April.  If you’re looking for a way to make a difference this Earth Week, just make a pledge or attend a local event.  You’ll help raise awareness and probably learn some new things, too.

Another option — just take a walk and marvel at what Mother Nature has to offer.  I went for a walk this evening in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens on campus.  These gardens are one of my very favorite places to visit at Duke, and are absolutely gorgeous this time of year.  Spring is definitely their time to shine. 

Enjoy the pictures!  I was amazed by many of the plants and flowers I saw, and just being able to see, smell, and take photos of them made me feel like I was on top of the world again.

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. 

– Native American Proverb

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