Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tom & Peg, an Introduction

Today is Tom & Peg's 40th Wedding Anniversary!

In honor of this couple I've come to love, respect and admire I thought I'd share my memory of our first encounter:

It was November 2008 and Dominic had invited me to Los Angeles for his big sister Lina's wedding. I was excited about this trip but knew I had my work cut out for me so I began studying the Monley family tree on the flight from Seattle. We had flown down after work and didn't arrive to LAX until at least 10 p.m. Anyone who knows me knows that that's very late. 

Peg graciously picked us up at the airport and, as anyone would be at the wedding weekend of their only daughter, was a bundle of energy and excitement. I sat in front and concentrated on our conversation which, according to Dominic, was a good idea given the traffic and lane maneuvering required to get us to the hotel. He still teases her about nearly stopping on the 405 when she missed the exit.

We made it safe and sound to the hotel and went straight to Tom & Peg's room for a meet & greet. I still remember walking in to find Tom in the back of the room next to a flying pig. Honestly, it was circling from the ceiling just like in a children's toy store. You've all seen them:

 I was quite shocked (and remember, very tired), so in the most polite tone possible, I asked my future father-in-law something to the extent of: "Is this something the hotel installs in every room?" Everyone laughed and I found out I had passed the test! If you can't laugh off a flying pig after all, how are you going to make a relationship work for the long haul?

Thank you, Tom & Peg, for your enthusiasm and energy, for your sense of humor, and for welcoming me into this family from day one. I love you dearly. 

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Coursera vs. Winter

My attitude and overall mood rise and fall with the temperature. This morning we were listening to the radio and heard that the windchill would hold steady around 1 degree today, so as you can imagine my general disposition hasn't been too pleasant.

I was sitting at home feeling sorry for my sorry self when I remembered that I recently signed up for a free Coursera course called Nutrition for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. Coursera is this brilliant website started by a few social entrepreneurs who decided to partner with the top universities around the world to offer courses online for free. I signed up for this nutrition class, but there are topics ranging from control of mobile robots to songwriting. My class is taught through the University of California San Francisco, but I could go to University of Melbourne or Princeton! My professor is Katie Ferraro. She's a Registered Dietitian and an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Health Care Nursing. She works as a consultant dietitian.

Believe it or not, I started watching my course lectures and like magic the learning started washing away my winter woes. Who knew learning could improve mood?

Professor Ferraro challenged my classmates and I to consider interesting concepts like malnutrition being the result of under- and over-nourishment. She also helped remind me of macro and micro nutrients and which ones yield energy. I learned helpful information about my personal diet like the fact that tannins found in tea can interfere with iron absorption. I even calculated how many calories I need (1269) and Dominic needs (1738) per day based on the Harris Benedict Equation. 

We know that poor nutrition increases our risk for chronic disease, reduces our quality of life, and impacts our financial status. If knowledge is power watch out winter!