Where did I pack that social calendar...

I know I used to have a social life. In Columbia, it always seemed to be filled with tailgates, departmental get-togethers, movie nights, Encore desserts (I miss y'all Annie, Claire and Sara), and Office nights ("That's what she said" Heidi and Jonathan).

But, as anyone who has moved to a new town without knowing anyone could attest, that social calendar doesn't get put to much use when you first move... unless it is to pencil in the cable guy. And, I don't make friends that easily. I am not exactly a social butterfly. (I know, you're shocked!)

Apparently, 4 months is the magic mark. Today, I was looking at my Outlook calendar and expecting to see more of the same: Days jam packed with meetings and appointments and classes from 8-5 followed by a sad, lonely existence in my apartment from 5-bedtime. No, my friends - I have a life.

I don't know if it's because of the season (because some of my appointments are no doubt obligation holiday invites and everyone is included) or because I am really starting to build a sense of community in Corvallis. In the next two weeks as the workload for the term is at it's most intense and with a research deadline looming large, I have:

  • A Collegiate FFA Christmas party
  • A First Friday game night with NW Hills Grad and Career...including pot luck dinner and games
  • Harry Potter and dinner out
  • Page CXVI concert....performing at Dox during Sunday morning service and at 1st Presbyterian Corvallis on Sunday night
  • Departmental Christmas Party
  • Dinner and Brooke Fraser concert in Portland
  • Book club (Gulliver's Travels)
  • WeightWatchers Meetings (I include them in my social calendar because the people at my meeting are really nice and I need to control SOMETHING in my life this time of year so this works!)
  • My birthday (Yup, turning 31 - not freaking out like I was when I turned 30... more to come on that in a future blog post.)
I want to come out of this with stronger, deeper friendships. And, maybe, just maybe, there will be part of me that wants to come back from NC after the holiday break because it feels like I am connecting here. Here's hoping!


Anchoring Myself

When trying to lose weight it is helpful not only to have a goal, but to have an anchor... a reminder of what you need to be doing when times get tough. It can be any object but for many people, it is a "before" picture. 

How's this for a motivation picture? Eeek. 

Let's forget the fact that I had just come back from a retreat to the coast with the CFFA officers and overslept and didn't get a shower and didn't pack a belt: this picture was taken without my knowledge and posted to Facebook. I was horrified! It is just awful. It is the heaviest I have been in my life and it was captured on film. Ugh. 

I can make a lot of excuses for how I got here: "The PhD process is stressful". "I've had two miserable back surgeries that have compounded the weight issue and complicated any weight loss efforts." "I've been heavy my whole life." "I am a picky eater." They are all true, but they are still excuses.

Since this picture was taken (September 25th), I have started a water aerobics class and began using the Weight Watchers program. I am currently down 15 lbs (I even lost weight this week with the Thanksgiving holiday) and hope to never see another picture like this one. Until then... it is posted on my fridge as a reminder of where I will never go again. 


My Thanksgiving

What a great day. . My colleague invited me over (only a 20 minute drive) to their small family gathering....and, man, did they put on the real spread: Ham, Turkey, stuffing, rolls, pumpkin pie with ice cream, salad, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, bean dip, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, gravy, peppermint bark, Marionberry cobblery-goodness, pecan pie bites, and Martinelli's. My contribution: no-bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies - because it just isn't a Lambert holiday without them!  I am happy to have found friends who are willing to let me crash their family Thanksgiving. I am truly thankful to be finding a sense of community in yet another new place.

No travel and no airports... and, yet, through the miracle of SKYPE, I was still able to see my whole family and the decorated Christmas tree at the Lambert House. It's not the same as sitting around the table with them, but the next best thing when you have 3000 miles separating you and only a 4 day weekend. It was nice to chat "face to face" with my mom and dad, get a compliment on my outfit from a sister across the country and wave at my nieces and nephew --who always manage to make me smile when they are excited to see me :-) Thanks for setting that up, little brother!

And, now I have on my "I ate too much" pants and am going to settle in for a slow evening on the couch. But, Thanksgiving makes me all the more eager to get home for the Christmas holiday. And with a mom that loves Christmas as much as mine, this holiday is sure to be epic. Check out this shot of a Lambert Christmas tree from the past!


I'm dreaming of a White Thanksgiving?

I will admit it. I was being a bit whiny about the 40degree rain we have been having. But I wanted the rain to STOP... not change into the white stuff. I guess I should have been more specific in my whining.

As I went to bed last night it was snowing. And, when I woke up this morning....This is what I saw. 

This is the view out my back door this morning.

The view out the front door.

There was enough snow to close the local schools.

And, on the up side...I think the Murano looks good covered in snow :-)

Seriously... snow on November 23rd? I am okay with it because as early as it might be snowing it is still not nearly as cold as the bone chilling Missouri winters I have been experiencing for the last few years.


Top 5

Ok, I will admit. At first, I didn't watch The Office. While in Columbia, a friend invited me to join a Thursday night Office watch party and since I needed both friends and something to do on a Thursday night, I said yes. Even as I watched the first episode, I remember thinking... I don't know if this is really funny.

Let me just clear it up for you: It is!

So, I am going to make some tough choices... and try to decide on a Top 5 list of my favorite Office moments. Most of them involve Jim doing something to Dwight :-) but not always.

There is a great cold open scene where Jim dresses as Dwight: "Bears, Beets, Battlestar Gallactica!"

The Jim/Pam Wedding episode in general was completely epic.. but the mental picture bit made me tear up a little... at an episode of The Office. Well done!

The episode where Jim gives Dwight an Altoid every time the computer "dinks". Ah, Classical Conditioning

While Jim was working in Stamford, he still manages to get Dwight to use Gaydar! Did you know they sell it at Brookstone?

And, finally... a cold open from this season where the coworkers try to figure out exactly how oblivious Stanley really is at work...What will Stanley NOT notice! The things he missed included Pam with a mustache, Kevin dressed as a woman, a shirtless Andy, replacing Stanley’s computer screen with a cardboard box, having a meeting in the backwards conference room full of ridiculous reports, Michael with a puppet, and Dwight with a pony. Stanley doesn’t notice a thing, except that the office clock is five minutes slower than his watch. He leaves at 5:00. Loved it!

So, why is this included in a blog about my happenings on the West Coast?.... because all I have to do on an evening when I am feeling alone and missing friends is watch an episode of The Office and think about my forever friends I met through this wacky Thursday night show. It always makes me smile. 

What's your favorite?


Home for A holiday

I took an unexpected trip home October 28-November 10 for my dad to have open heart surgery. Dad is doing great.... and I am mostly caught up from missing 1/5 of the term (Eeek!)

This is me, my dad Phil, and my older sister Melissa around 1980.

It is never fun to face the fragility of life, but it was nice to be home. I had a chance to celebrate Halloween with the family for the first time in 4 years. My brother's girls were both Oregon State cheerleaders. My sister's kids were a mobster and a devil woman. This is the obligatory pre-trick-or-treat picture in the front yard of grandma and grandpa's house.

It is easier to see the big kid costumes in this picture.  I love it!

Because I was just home for a random mid-term trip, I will not be home for Thanksgiving. I will, however, still be feasting with friends here in Oregon. And, I will still get back to NC for a long Christmas holiday.



We had a speaker (Dr.Gary Ferngren, a professor from OSU) during Tuesday night's NWHills Grad and Career Group who gave a talk: "Why doesn't God want me to be happy". I found it not only intriguing but exactly what my heart needed to hear. The gist of the talk was that God promised a lot of things in the Bible... never once did he promise happiness. However, the point was made that the more you have, the more you want.  And, in a culture blessed with wealth, like our own, happiness doesn't follow. With this being the time of the year when we are obligated by a calendar specific holiday to be thankful, I shall count some blessings (in no specific order). I would encourage you to make a list of your own... perspective is a good thing.

1. God's love and eternal salvation
2. A supportive and loving family
3. A sister I can share my life with
4. Friends who know me on a level no one else could
5. A brother who serves selflessly
6. My health
7. Reading for fun
8. Skype to see the faces of friends and colleagues who are too far
9. DVR and the flexibility to entertain myself :-)
10. An income
11. Mentors who care
12. Music that moves the soul
13.Colleagues who value me and allow me to contribute
14. Students
15.A warm place to sleep at night
16. A healthy, safe, abundant food supply
17. Truly connecting with friends, family, colleagues, and students
18. Contentment
19. An Active lifestyle... especially my water aerobics
20. Freedom
21. The ability to continually learn and grow daily
22. Weight Watchers, and new found confidence
23. Sunshine and storms
24. Facebook (seriously) and the ability to stay connected with friends I wouldn't otherwise
25. Getting to re-center with my Grad and Career friends every Tuesday night
26.God given talents and quirks that make me uniquely unique 
27. The beauty of nature
28. A boy who sends me flowers
29.A happy childhood where I always felt safe and loved
30.Nieces and a nephew I can spoil any time I want


Stupid grin

I got flowers!

I had a blog post all thought out and ready to go, but I am finding it difficult 
to think straight with a silly grin on my face. Maybe tomorrow...


I'm back

I'm back. The OSU term got rolling and I had tons of blogging topics in my head, but no time to blog about them. I kept a list as I had ideas so now I have a giant list to blog about and I plan to find time every other evening to write about one of them.

In the meantime...remember how I was raving about the weather back in the summer? Well,..... this is pretty much the forecast from now til May.

Thank goodness for Christmas travels home (Dec 14-Jan 1) and the spring conference season (Orlando, Fresno, Coeur D'Alene). Those breaks will give me a chance to dry out a little.