Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy Play-by-Play

Sunday 10/28/12

7:30pm - I return safely from Maine (more to come on this later!) Michael returns safely from a men's retreat in Durham.

8:00pm - We go to the grocery store only to find that we are about 2 days late on getting survival supplies. 

So we share a pint of Ben and Jerry's Half-Baked froyo and make the most of it eat all of it. And it starts to rain.

10:30pm - We go to bed and sleep like babies. 

Monday 10/29/12

7:00am - No sleeping in even when work and class are cancelled because it's study time! (And I still can work as long as we don't lose power.) And it's laundry time!


And make the house cozy time! And it's still raining. 

11:30am - I keep opening the front door and looking at the sky thinking something crazy is going to fall out of it or something. So far, nada. 

12:00pm - My brother Chris sends the family his report as he drives the green machine home from NYC to Dallas. 

(The sign says "Hurricane" if you can't read it.)

1:45pm - My boss texts messages that she has lost power in Virginia. And so it begins. Michael and I take note that it's pretty windy outside so we he moves the car away from any potential falling trees. And it's still raining.

2:30pm - We decide we better get a workout in while we still can. Jillian to the rescue!

3:15pm - Better bring the trashcan down the steps. Windy winds a blowin'.


Then I take a shower so fast because I'm scared the lights will go out while I'm showering and so I totally mess up my shower routine and wash my face FIRST and my hair SECOND and my body THIRD and it was weird. Normally I do body, face, hair. What is the world coming to??

4:05pm - The Washington Post sends out a news alert that the OPM (office of personnel management = government speak for HR) has closed the government tomorrow as well.

4:15pm - Mom calls while standing in the early voting line in Dallas (wooo!) to make sure we are still surviving and tells me to fill some buckets with extra water to pour into the toilet just in case our water gets turned off. "Why" I ask? Because "there are some things that can sit in there for awhile, and there are some other things that just can't." Oh. Kay. Doe. Kay.

4:45pm - Windy windy. I'm getting nervous so I've gotsda do sumthinnnng. Let's bake some bread. Annnnd it's still raining.


6:15pm - Time to think about la cena (dinner). Since we were late in the game on getting to the grocery this weekend, there was literally zero produce at the store except for huge bags of kale. Which we actually really do like, but we don't typically buy it because it goes bad before we can use the whole bag.


The bag ways a ton. But we have GOT to get our greens somehow! So kale it is. So I attempted a kale stir fry with chicken, peppers, carrots and onions. End result? Delicious and a totally great use for kale.


7:30pm - Chris sends another family report. Oh no. Good grief. Chris' tooth fell out on his roadtrip.


Don't worry, it's already fake. But it fell out. This is after I talked with Chris around 5:30 today and he was supposed to be crossing into Tennessee from Kentucky. But he said he crossed a huge river and then was in Illinois. Wrong state. Oh poor boy.

8:40pm - Michael and I decide to watch LOTR, The Twin Towers. It's still raining. And super windy. I make him pause the movie a couple of times so that we can listen to the wind outside and make sure we are still alert. I hadn't seen The Twin Towers in probably 5 years and it is so good. I've been thinking about it all morning (it is now Tuesday morning.)

So, that's the play-by-play. Rather uneventful honestly, not that I am complaining. We have a dear friend who lives on the New Jersey coast (where we went to the beach this past summer) who doesn't yet know if her beautiful home is flooded.

The big church in Ocean Grove, NJ
It's amazing how we can plan so much, both big things like early voting and small things like how I was supposed to have a doctor's appointment yesterday, and yet be at the mercy of a powerful storm system.

And it's still raining.

Thank you for the many concerned messages we received! All is well in the Catalino household.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ree is a Pi Phi

As mentioned in a previous post about apple pie, I love Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman. I recently found out through my friend Mere that Ree. is. a. PI. BETA. PHI!

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!

And then my mom sent me my Arrow magazine last week and lo and behold, lookie here:


I always knew Ree and I were kindred spirits, but SISTERS??! I have no words.

I can die happy.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hello, Lobster! and a Med School Update

Skippy. Summer 2k12. Maine.





Maine is calling! Tomorrow I fly to visit my dear friend who lives in Portland and plan to frolic through the fields. Or forest. I am not exactly sure what the terrain is like....but I'll find out!

In other news, Michael and I have lately been acting like 72-year-olds by going to bed really early and waking up really early to try to accomplish all that we didn't do by going to bed really early. Our days have been jam-packed with events, get-togethers, Bible studies, community groups, med school dinners, and friend dinners. My typical and necessary couch-time (in which I sit on the couch between the hours of 5-6pm and "read." In which I mean I fall asleep) hasn't happened in 2 weeks and I think my brain is getting fuzzy. I don't even know what that means.

Medical school for Michael has been a continual ball of both joy and anxiety. I think the anxiety comes not from the rigors and demands that med school puts on him, but really the rigors and demands that being a part of a big community puts on him. He and I talk continually about how to balance being a full time student with being a husband, a friend, a CG leader, a son, a brother, a brother-in-law...so many things. When is it important and right to put studying before spending time with friends? Or before spending time with your wife? Ummmmm NEVER. (I'm kidding...but actually, Michael would say that that is an accurate statement). I actually tend to push Michael to study maybe more than I should. I do that because I know that if I was in his shoes, I would be stressed out of my mind and would have no life whatsoever outside of school and would come home sobbing with fear that I would fail. (THIS IS WHY I'M NOT IN HIS SHOES.) But for Michael, the answer isn't to study more. He feels best when there is a strong sense of balance between his work and his life. When he understands what he is learning and when he feels like he is being a good husband or friend, regardless of whether he is caught up in his studies or not.

He comes home each day and will tell me so much about what he is learning even though I honestly have no idea what he is talking about. We've had a couple of breakthrough (a-ha!) moments when I actually comprehend the difference between HDL and LDL cholesterol, or when I can articulate in my own words how the 2nd year course structure is set up, or when I can help him remember a drug name/use that keeps eluding him. (Example: Ritodrine -- a beta agonist used to stop premature labor. Remember it this way: beta, like Aunt (Ro)berta, and she didn't have any premature labors; and agonist sounds like against so it's a drug against premature labor. Example 2: Arginine - is this a positive or negative amino acid?? It's positive because it's like Argentina! Which is the best.) On the whole though, I typically just listen because it's a good way for Michael to feel like he is sharing this huge part of his life with me.

Aside from listening, my main job is to feed him and love him and hug him and pray with him and ask him to give me a foot rub every now and then, and make him go running with me. Michael hates running and he can't believe that I have made a runner out of him! He'll now come with me on my 3.2 mile loop around Mass Ave, which is no easy feat because the majority of that loop is a big hill. And as stated previously, we've been acting like 72-year-olds, and this includes feeling like them -- my feet always hurt and Michael has bad hips. Good grief, aren't we a winning pair.

We are so excited for Christmas to get here when Michael will have a few weeks off and we can truly rest! It's actually his last official break until Christmas 2013. Gasp! for! air! But in all seriousness, the demands of med school haven't been what everyone feared. People thought we were crazy for getting married right before his first year, but we actually get to spend a lot more time together than even we expected. There are 2 things attributing to that: 1) Michael is so good at closing his books and seeking face time with me, and 2) I have a wonderful job that allows me to work from home so I can typically  be there working while Michael is home studying.

Being married to a med school student certainly has its challenges, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Ok maybe for a Mini Cooper. Nah, just kidding. I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Apple Pie

I'm just gonna give it to you straight. This pie is good. Really buttery crispy crunchy chewy flavorful cinnamony straight-up good. And it is really easy.

I don't make pie crust. I just don't. I have friends that do and I think they are awesome. The friends, not the piecrust. Because I think store-bought piecrust is a little taste of heaven.

Call me crazy. I do want to learn the technique one day. Just not today. And don't judge me about the state of that piecrust. I'm no artist.


And Don't. Trample. the Pansies! (Movie quote. Duh).

I was a little worried about how big the pie was at first. I mean how tall it was.

It was tall. Like 4 inches high. And I thought everything would kind of fall off the top. Au contraire. The height of the pie adds the gravitational pull that makes the amazing butter pecan crumble seep into every little nook, cranny and crevice.

Gravity is an amazing thing.


Faceplant into the pie. This kind of looks like fried chicken. NOT. But sort of.

Here is the recipe from my beloved Pioneer Woman. I love Ree.

I hate to even link her blog to my blog because once you go there, you will never read my blog ever again. She is incredible and she is the world's best blogger and now she has a TV show and I read her love story at the beach (From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels) and she wears tunics and I love tunics and.....

Ahhhh. Stop. I love my life. I am right where I am supposed to be. Come rain or shine, come hell or high water.

Can I get an Amen??

I'm off to make a quiche with my other store-bought pie crust. And then watch the presidential debates with the deadlocked candidates. DEADLOCKED?!? It's true. The presidential race is reportedly deadlocked 48% to 49%. I'll tell you one thing for sure, we are going to be ok. We are all going to be ok. How do I know? Because nothing, NOTHING can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in ALL creation.

Breathe it in, child. Breathe it in.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

All things FALL, yall. A Photo Essay.

It's mid-October already. (Of the year 2012. WHAT.) So we hopped on the "I love fall" bandwagon and have been frolicking through quite a few fields lately. Let's be honest, who isn't on the "I love fall" bandwagon? Maybe our feisty presidential hopefuls who just want November 6th to get here. Ummmm but that is probably it.

So. We went apple picking. 

There's a man in that tree!

And berry picking. 


Both with these two blondies:
Ahoy! We pick berries!
Then I had a photo shoot with the raspberries:
I'm in love with you, raspberry. 

Then we made a berry crisp with the fruits of our labor. 

Get it? Fruits of our... oh nevermind. 
(The crisp wasn't 5 stars in my book so I won't bother sharing the recipe.) 

Then I saved the apples and a week later made an apple pie for Mimi's birthday!

This pie is SO good that it deserves its own post. So I'll leave you hanging...

Then, we needed to get outside again so we went to a vineyard with these lovelies:
We love the fall! 

Oh wait, ow, something in my eye...
Michael clearly doesn't care.
Amy and I felt like young school girls again...

Happy happy merry. 


I also made the most amazing potato soup. 
Don't mistake those taters for apples
Why must all good things in life be chopped? Because you have to earn your keep, that's why. This soup is so good that we ate it too quickly to take a pic. But here is the recipe - compliments of the lovely blondie in the berry field, Jenn.  


Curl up with a good book and eat this soup. Or wear 19 layers because it is so cold out and eat this soup. Or count your Republican vs. Democrat friends on Facebook during a presidential debate because they sure do make it quite apparent who they love and who they don't, and eat this soup. 

Last but not least in this fall-themed montage, I've discovered that I am completely worthless when it comes to decorating pumpkins, which I did one Friday afternoon with Liz and Alexandra. In mid-September. We may have jumped the gun with the fall spirit on that one. I've been waiting for the neighborhood kids to come smash this ugly thing, but it hasn't happened yet.

Probably too scared to come close enough.

Happy fall!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What is cool?

This photo is either photoshopped really well, or these people are total dimwits.


Umm. Hello! There is an ELEPHANT behind you! An ELEPHANT. Get over looking safari cool and look at the biggest animal on earth standing next to you.

At least they aren't on their cell phones.

I hate technology.

This picture (yes, it is from Jetsetter. I love Jetsetter emails. I just contradicted my previous statement. Ok I lovehate technology) reminds me of when people act too cool. They are trying to act way too cool so by default, they become less cool. Do you know what I mean?

Let me see if I can explain. This scenario, I know, has happened to everyone who breathes:

You are walking down the sidewalk on M street, or in the mall, or airport - basically anywhere that people gather round together - and people look at each other. Not really at each other though. Because if someone makes eye contact with whoever he is looking at, that person (both the looker and the person he is looking at) immediately looks away. Heaven forbid that someone catches you looking at them, or admiring their jacket, or wanting to see what book they are reading.

We feign indifference all the time. Like this: "I am too cool to act like I notice you there, but really I do notice you there, but I'm not going to let you notice that I noticed you." I'm not talking about physical attraction... I'm just talking about everyday interactions with the people you bump into.

But what if instead of feigning indifference, we intentionally don't look away when someone catches us being curious. What if we actually comment on the book they're holding, or their super tight skinny jeans, or their amazingly gorgeous hair. Or even just smile before looking away. (DISCLAIMER: People smile more at you in Texas than they do in DC.) People want to feel good and look good, so why not let them feel that way if you like what you see.

Self-consciousness. Aaack. I hate it. I feel self-conscious when I run in public. Which is basically all the time. Or when I haven't showered after working out and then go to the grocery store. Which is also basically all the time. Or if I haven't shaved my legs in awhile. Which is... nevermind. Most people who act too cool are really just completely over-the-top self-conscious. They are longing for some sort of approval, even if, and sometimes especially if, they are perceived as the coolest person ever. Children are different - they haven't yet learned to be self-consious. And that is why they rock my socks. Same thing with grandmothers.


Not a care in the world except for blowing out those 90th birthday candles.

We should learn from kids and from our grandmothers. The funny thing is that we spend most of our lives in between those two stages. And we spend most of our lives trying to figure out how to not act like a kid and not look like a grandmother. But really, I think they've got things figured out.

From the Book of Cool: Smile more, make eye contact, try (I know that this is so much easier said than done) to be comfortable in your own skin, don't worry about what people think of you, and do fun things that get you away from your norm = go apple-picking.


And hug each other more.

Monday, October 8, 2012





Venice is featured in Jetsetter's Mystery Monday because it's mysterious how small the showers are in that city.

Like I said.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Give it Away

I realized recently, well ok maybe everyday I realize this, that I have way too many clothes. And my closet is the size of a shady hotel shower in Venice. If you have ever stayed in a shady hotel in Venice, you may recall that the showers are big enough for maybe one leg. Maybe one arm as well -- but that's being generous. So I have a very small closet. 

I also realized that it's ok to have a lot of clothes if you wear them. If you are like me and wear only one outfit pretttty much all the time, then what are you doing with all of your clothes that are just hanging there?


Here is my uniform. I wear these designer duds, or some variation of it (Nike running shorts and an American Apparel Track Tshirt) all the time. I mean really all the time. I should probably not do that so much, but I have wracked my brain and can't really find a reason not to wear this outfit. 
  • It's comfortable.
  • It's sporty (I'm not really sporty but I was asked by the doctor last week if I was an athlete after she took my blood pressure. Apparently it's so low that I'm barely alive or something.)
  • My bright shoes make me kind of happy. 
  • I can run from gun-wielding folks on the streets of Georgetown (This is true. I should write about this story). 
  • I can go on a walking date with a friend with less than a minute's notice. 
  • I can hide money and my house key in the little pocket of my shorts just in case I need to go get Tsweets real quick.
So as a result of this brain wrackage, my one outfit-wearing self has decided that I need to give more clothes away. To friends or to Goodwill, it doesn't really make a difference to whom it goes! But I do think it's more fun to give things to people you know will wear them. Last week, I gave away a dress that I literally hadn't worn since 2008. 

We could be sisters.

No lie. This was the last time I wore it. It was spring 2008, my 4th year at UVA, and I was at a post Foxfield brunch/engagement shower for someone. I really am not sure who! Anyway, I gave the dress to a friend who I knew would love it and who would wear it with glee. I love it when you see something at a store or have something already that you know is the perfect gift for someone. I am terrible at this so it doesn't happen that often, but it rocks my socks when it works out well. 

Giving things away can make you feel so good -- it really is better to give than to receive.  It's like taking a hit to the soul, in a good way. A few months ago, Michael and I were driving home on a road that we weren't familiar with, and we realized entirely too late that we were in the "EZ Pass" toll lane. We don't have an EZ Pass. Ohhhhh shooot. This is where you royally piss off every driver on the road because you have to butt in front of the cars who actually know what they're doing and have waited for 10 minutes to get through the "change-made" lane. 

Dang. 

I hate being that person who has to butt in, but more than that, I hate letting people in front of me. 

I know, it's terrible. 

I am seeking therapy. 

Anyway, just when I'm about to crawl to the floorboard and pretend like I'm not in the car and leave driver Michael to fend for himself, these super nice guys driving a Chevy Suburban (must have been from Texas) waved at us to cut in front of them. 

Well, I'll be! Ain't that something. We loved those guys immediately. And then the best part happened: we decided to pay their toll as a thank you. For the next 5 minutes until we got to the toll booth, we were like giddy school kids about to prank the teacher. Only in a good way. Because we knew we were about to pay the $6 (Holy cow, six dollars??) toll for the Chevy Suburban behind us. 

Pay it forward! 

After those guys made it through the toll, they sped up to us and waved and honked and smiled. And we waved and honked and smiled. It was glorious. Truly. Glorious is definitely the right word here. 

I will never forget the fun of doing that. I know it is such a small thing to do, to pay someone else's toll, but it was really just letting them know that we were thankful for their kindness to us. 

Giving things away... clothes, money, time, your energy, whatever it may be.... It's so good and just really super amazingly glorious. I'm pumped to do this more. Starting with my clothes! 

And I'll jam out to this song while doing it:


Au revoir! Off to make some butternut squash ravioli and a maple glaze sauce. Just because? Because it's fall, yall. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pieces of Cake

I drove down to High Point, North Carolina this past weekend to see Chris in Romeo and Juliet. I hadn't seen my brother in a play since 2002 when he was the king in the Three Musketeers in his senior play at Highland Park. That was kind of a fluke because it was way before Chris even knew he wanted to be an actor in the first place, so seeing him as a "real" actor was magnificent! 

Chris aka Paris, I-wish-I-could-Act, and Romeo himself 
My friend Alexandra came with me, and we shared good tunes and good stories and didn't get too much sleep, but she was the best driving/theater buddy ever. 

I made it back in time to get to church yesterday evening, which was good for my soul, like always. 

During the sermon, Glenn referenced I Kings 19:4-8. Elijah (essentially Prophet Numero Uno of the Old Testament) has just had a major meltdown. And God just does the sweetest thing. He makes him lie down to sleep and then wakes him so that God can feed him little pieces of cake. 

How wonderfully nourishing is that. Sometimes we just need to rest and be nourished in the face of all that whirls around us. 

Michael and I decided to make this our theme for October. 


It's pretty simple. Yet we often forget to do this. 

He makes me lie down in green pastures... 

Hello October!