Friday, May 31, 2013

From the corner of a small town cafe...

Picture yourself in a small town.
For some of us, this may not be too far from our everyday reality.
For others, a small town may be around 300,000 people.
I certainly relate more to the former.
Living in South Dakota,
there's no escaping small towns and the quarks that come along with them.
I was thinking of the atmosphere of a small town
from the moment I set foot in a little cafe this morning,
where I met a professor to work on our research.
Picture the Bluebird Cafe in Mayberry on The Andy Griffth Show--
only smaller and without the charm of Barney Fife 
to keep things lively.
As I walked inside, the aroma of coffee filled the air
along with the chatter of elderly folks.
(I used to hate it when my mom would use the word "folks"
when I was growing up, but it seemed appropriate in this situation. 
So I don't have to feel like too much of a hypocrite.)
While Dr. Kemmer and I were visiting over our chicken noodle soup,
it was impossible for me not to notice how dated the place was.
As the waitress walked away from our table, 
I noticed the back of her shirt read "Serving you for over 35 years"
and from the looks of the place,
it hasn't been renovated or updated over the course of those 35 years.

Between the old fashioned malt machine and ancient cash register to
the casual gossip of the usual customers,
I couldn't help but soak up the feeling of being a part of this community.
Working on research, no matter the location,
my mind tends to wander after a certain point.

At one point a lady at the table next to us was talking about dancing.
Yes. I was eavesdropping.
That's how you fit-in in a small town, right?
She was telling the man and other woman in her company,
"There's only one man I like to dance with. That was my neighbor.
He was the best to waltz with."
 I could almost picture the woman in her younger years,
dancing beneath the dim lights of a county dance.
I don't have a stereotypical imagination at all, 
do I?
Overhearing these nostalgic conversations and talk of the weather and gas prices
reminded me of living simply.
I often get caught up in wanting the latest clothing and beauty items
and am always in a hurry to escape the midwest to bigger and better things.
However, maybe some of these people have it right.

Sure, there was the occasional grumbling old man,
complaining about "idiots" in society.
Sitting there, you could tell most of these people
weren't worried about appearances, deadlines or battling for the spotlight.
They were living in the moment,
soaking up the little things in life--
like a piece of pie with a cup of coffee.
(The future dietitian in me is wanting to preach about moderation here...)
Whenever my schedule seems to load up with projects and work tasks,
I love finding moments where I my perspective is opened up and I realize how much
more there is to life.

Appreciate the community you live in.
Find the good in your day.
And enjoy that second sliver of pie...
Yup. You heard it from me.
(Just don't make it an hourly occurrence or the ADA might ridicule me a bit!)
Because life is too short to breeze by these simple pleasures.
 Happy Weekend!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

"State-of-the-Art" String Art

It has been awhile since my last post, because:
a.) My laptop has been acting up again (I just got the little guy in February, mind you).
Therefore I had to take said computer into the Geek Squad to get it fixed.
Have you ever dealt with the Geek Squad at Best Buy before?
Perhaps this was just the particular people I was working with,
but it was like they didn't know how to interact without being extremely awkward and rude.
I guess social skills aren't taught within the confines of computer classes, huh?
b.) I have been working at the campus library on the computers for my internship,
and let me tell you, the last place I want to wind up after work is right back at the library to
work on my blog.
So that is that.
However, I was feeling a little deprived of the blogging world,
so I decided to take part in this week's "Saw it. Pinned It. Did it."
with this string art I made as a gift a couple of weeks ago.
I first came across this pin,
after asking my good friend, Angie for a gift idea for
her graduation. Since she will be moving away to Missouri,
she pointed out a State string art that she had recently pinned.
(shown below)

After looking into the steps further,
I decided that, with some help, I could tackle this project.
I will be the first to admit that I have absolutely no skills when it comes to
woodwork and anything involving tools of any kind.
Let's just say, I certainly wasn't racing into my woodshop class in 8th grade.
That is where a cute boy always comes in handy.
So a couple weekends ago, I recruited Brian to do all of the hard work involved with this project.
That's what boyfriends are for, right?!

We did some rummaging through his dad's shop and found this cupboard door
that seemed to be in good enough shape for this project.

Since it was far too large for the final product,
Brian cut it to a smaller size.
The original pin suggests a 12" by 12" board.
However, since South Dakota is a rectangular state,
we opted to go with a rectangle board instead.

He also tilted the blade to bevel the edges.
See why a boy was needed?
Can you imagine how this ended if I would have even tried cutting myself.
I would probably be typing with one less finger right now.

Next came the sanding.

To further smooth out the board,
he also applied a filler to the surfaces.
If you already have a smooth board,
this step is not necessary.

I realized after editing these photos that I never actually took a photo
of this poor boy's face.
It kind of reminded me of the neighbor, Wilson, from Home Improvements.
Do you remember that show?
It made me giggle, because it's kind of ironic since we're talking about handy work here.

A hanging wire was also fastened with two screws on the back.
The board was painted a neutral, taupe color.

You may be wondering how this is my Pinterest project?
 I did finally give Brian a break when it was time for the craftier portions of the project.

Using a printed copy of the state of South Dakota,
I lightly traced the outline with dots.
You can also tape the state in place using painter's tape if you don't want to mess with pencil marks.

Make an outline of a heart as well.

Nail all of your nails in place and begin
wrapping the crochet thread around the nails...
about 10 million times.

When you are satisfied,
tie off the string and stand back and admire your work.

This was a fun, inexpensive project
and I am glad I was able to give this to my friend, Angie.

For more crafty ideas,
check-out the SPD link-up
either here or here.



Friday, May 10, 2013

Change it up!

Have you ever heard the phrase, “If you keep on doing what you’ve always done, then you’ll keep on getting what you’ve always got.”? While the saying holds true in most all aspects of our lives, it certainly is applicable in regards to our health and wellness.

Consider this: For the past several months, you have been working in a full-time position. Throughout the day, you have little time to run home for lunch. Instead, you head over to the convenient drive-thru at your favorite fast-food restaurant. In the afternoons, you find yourself so tied up in work that you are unable to eat or drink anything until supper, later that evening. Once you are home, you are so exhausted from your day that you resort to ordering a pizza for the family and lounge on the sofa in front of the television for the rest of the evening. Before you realize it, your jeans are tighter than usual and the pounds are creeping up on you.
Sound a little too familiar?

Perhaps this was the case for you over the course of this past winter. The South Dakota winter was in full-force and the last thing you wanted to do after a long day was prepare a healthy meal and venture off to the gym. Now that the sun has decided to make an appearance and the snow has melted away, why not change up your routine?

The changing of the seasons offers the perfect opportunity to reevaluate your daily routine and make some appropriate modifications. If you don’t have time to make it home on your lunch break, make a point of planning ahead. Pack a healthy lunch the night before and keep it in a lunch bag the next day. While your afternoons may be busy, waiting from lunch until supper to eat is an awfully long time to go without food. In your lunch bag, pack snacks, such as yogurt and apples, to keep you energized until the next meal. Don’t forget to stay hydrated! Keep a water bottle with you that you can refill throughout the day. In addition to packing lunches ahead, plan your menu for the week on Sundays or your day off. You are more likely to stick to eating well-rounded meals if you have a plan. Now that the weather is finally warming up, take a walk or a jog after supper to unwind for the evening. You will be amazed at how these simple lifestyle changes not only help with your waistline, but also help boost your energy and mood as well.

P.S. I wrote this post during my practicum hours this past week.
You can check out other posts on the clinic's blog.