Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Facing my Fears

Yesterday was the second day of the water aerobics class that I think I am going to participate in this summer. For those of you who don't know, I am very weary of swimming. I don't know where my fear came from. My parents enjoy swimming, and when I was little I remember swimming at Seven Peaks. But since I have gotten older I have had this aversion to swimming pools, ponds, lakes, oceans....

I always feel disoriented when I am swimming since I have to take my contacts off because of the chlorine. So I can't even see anything. Well, I decided that water aerobics would be fun and the class description said that the class is done in the shallow pool. I can just stand up if I need to in the shallow pool right?

Well, anyway the first class was on Monday. I was nervous the whole time, but it was really fun. The interesting thing is that you don't feel exhausted while you are doing the aerobics in the pool, but when you get out of the pool that is when your muscles feel it. Before the class started I asked the instructor whether this was ok for someone like me (someone who doesn't know how to swim and who is paranoid of drowning in 3 1/2 ft. of water). She said I would be fine since I could stand up if I fall over--it is funny how everyone says that to me! She said I could stay by the side and hold on till I feel more comfortable to venture into the middle of the pool. So there I was in a class full of pregnant ladies doing something that I am terrified to do. I decided to go back on Tuesday for my second day. I felt scared and anxious as I entered the pool, but I quickly started to feel more comfortable. I was even able to let go of the wall and really get a full workout! The class is about 90% pregnant. From the barely pregnant to the really pregnant. 8% have had at least one child before, and the remaining 2% are at least married. It is really fun and a very sociable class.

Ok, I know above I said that I don't know why I am so afraid of water. But I do recall one experience that probably contributed to my paranoia (if not caused it altogether). When I was in Junior high my mom enrolled me into a swimming class at the Orem Recreational Center. It was a one-on-one class. The first class I worked on learning to float on my back. Then we progressed to the "dead man's float." That's right, that is what she called it. Basically, she wanted me to feel comfortable floating face down (like how you find dead bodies in a body of water--hence the name). She showed me how to do it and she helped me by holding my stomach up as I tried. It came time for me to do it on my own. I was still a bit nervous. She would count and then at the count of three I was supposed to fall face forward into the water. Well, the first couple of countdowns I wimped out and she had to start another countdown for me. I admit, she was probably getting frustrated that I wouldn't just do it. So, finally at the count of three she just pushed me face down into the water. It is at this point in my story that I would like to tell you yet another story. My dad had told me when I was younger how he learned how to swim. There weren't swimming lessons when he was a young boy. His cousins took him to a lake and threw him in. It was either he learned how to swim pretty quickly, or he drowned. I am still not sure if I completely believe this story, but whether or not YOU believe it is besides the point......I don't learn this way. So when the instructor just pushed me in, I started to drown. she of course pulled me up by my straps and I sheepishly finished the lesson. As soon as I saw my mom I promptly told her that that was my last lesson....EVER!

Since then I would go into a pool , but I would never completely enjoy myself. I have always been afraid to really go out and swim around.

So with all of this said I would like to posts some pics of Maya swimming at the Comfort Inn swimming pool with Daniel and Daniel's dad when they (his dad, his aunt, and his dad's girlfiriend) came up to Utah for our graduation. As you have probably figured out I am the one holding the camera and taking the pictures....outside of the pool.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Pablo and Dinner Ideas

Pablo is the newest member of the Dowler family. He is a green anole (or American Chameleon) that inhabits the ten gallon tank in our living room. We first had gotten two Cuban Tree Frogs as a belated birthday gift to Daniel from his mom. She chose to get him a small animal because he loves them and because it would be interesting for Maya. The frogs didn't do well. We had named them Miguel and Sapo and Sapo died not too long after we had bought him. Miguel was doing really well until recently when he stopped eating. We had to force feed him--which involves a credit card and me shoving a cricket into his pryed open mouth. He died a couple of days ago. After Sapo's death we had decided that we should get an anole since Daniel had had some when he was young and Miguel needed a tank mate. We named him Pablo and he has done very well. Maya absolutely loves him. She loves when we take him out (and we have confirmation that he is male--he displayed acts of male agression like doing push-ups when he encountered himself at a mirror in one of his outings) she insists that we put him on her arm and she loves to walk around with him there.

Now for the dinner ideas portion. I was making dinner and I thought that it would be cool to post up every once in a while some ideas that I have for dinner. So I wanted to post up a quick meal that any of you can make.

Spaghetti alla ceci (with homeade garlic bread and salad)

the recipe:
a can of garbanzo beans
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
crushed red pepper flakes (however you like it)
italian seasoning (thyme and oregano)
ground black pepper
14 oz can crushed tomatoes
olive oil
approx. 1/2 c. chicken broth
chopped up onions and/or mushrooms

You want to use a skillet or deep pan for the sauce. Heat some olive oil in the pan on medium heat (about 2 tbsp.) with the garlic and the crushed red pepper flakes. Let the garlic release its fragrance.
Here, you can add the onions or mushrooms or you can just skip these all together.
Meanwhile drain the garbanzo beans and grind them up in a small food processor, add this to the oil and garlic. Next add the italian seasoning (about 1 tbsp. or however much you like). Add the chicken broth and let it cook for about 3 minutes. When the liquid starts to evaporate add the crushed tomatoes. Add the ground black pepper to your taste. let it cook for another minute or so. During all of this you can start to heat up the water to cook your spaghetti.

Also, you can make the garlic bread at this time and preheat the oven to cook the bread. Also, this is a good time to get your salad together.

When you add the spaghetti into the water go ahead and stick your bread into the oven. Set your table.

when the pasta is done you can either add the pasta to the sauce or the sauce to the drained pasta or just ladle the sauce over the plated pasta. Top with grated parmesan and enjoy!

Our dinner that we had tonight!

And proof that it actually was ok.....

Some tips:

1. Try washing the dishes as you are cooking. This really lightens the load of dishes after dinner.
2. If you can spare 5 minutes after your meal, go ahead and do the dishes then.
3. I use a lot of garlic when I cook. So, I mince up a bunch of garlic cloves ahead of time and keep them in a small glass jar in the fridge. This saves a lot of time. Sometimes I even make enough that I have an extra bag in the freezer ready for me when I run out of the fridge supply.
4. If you wash fruits ahead of time then you don't have to bother about washing them when you want to eat them, especially if you don't have a lot of time. This goes for herbs as well. However, do not wash any type of berries ahead of time (for some reason they go bad faster).
5. For those with kids, I usually will dish out Maya's portion before I am completely ready to have dinner. That way her food is completely cooled down and we can all enjoy dinner together.

There are really a lot of things you can do to save time while cooking dinner. We really can eat healthy and have good meals even though we may be working or having homework to do.

Bon Apetit!!!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Some great news

Holy cow, I was accosted on the comments page of my own blog! I was told that I needed to post on our new and exciting news and also to get more pics up since we got a really cool digital camera for one of our graduation gifts. And with that said, I will have to post on graduation next time and include at least some of the millions of pictures taken those couple of days.

So to the exciting news.......

Daniel got a letter two days ago telling him that he was chosen to receive the Fulbright Scholarship Grant for research in South Korea. We had already made plans that he was going to apply for economics jobs and we were going to do that for two years and then head off to grad school. But then the letter came and we were given an opportunity of a lifetime. The first thing that came to both of our minds was the speech given by Dick Cheney at the university commencement(and I don't care if you think that he just has a speech writer do it, cause it was good and very thoughtful). He himself had a life that was different than what he had planned for himself. He told us that opportunities come and when they do take them. So we did, we decided that Korea was the best thing for us (even though it will set us back almost a year) and now we are trying to get things filled out and taken care of for our trip. The cool thing is that all of my mother's family is in Seoul, South Korea, where we'll be, so there will be a support system there for us. Just a note on my mom's family-- they are awesome! You may not see them for 10 years but they always treat you as though they have always been with you.

Daniel's research project is on the Peace and Prosperity Policy South Korea has with North Korea and its ties (or maybe effects) on/with the next presidential elections that are going to be held in 2008. We also found out yesterday that he was also given a grant on top of the Fulbright to study Korean at one of the universities there in Seoul. I am really proud of him. The Fulbright is a very prestigious award and he has definitely worked so hard to get where he is. As for me, I think the plan is that I am going to tutor English as a private tutor. According to my family, there are a lot of people willing to pay a lot of money to have an English tutor. I also will be working on my Korean. It is not very good at all right now and I am hoping that with 10 months of living there and having to speak Korean, I will finally pick it up completely.

I am just so excited! I have been to Seoul twice and I really want to take Daniel there. Plus, we will be staying long enough that we can plan on taking trips to different places like Pusan or Cheju island. And there is nothing that can beat Korean food. I love Korean food, perhaps because I was raised on it. It is spicy and delicious and I love that Korean food has strong and pungent flavors. Nothing is ever bland there.

Anyway, we will keep you updated and hopefully I will post up about graduation next time!

God Bless!