Friday, April 25, 2014

Worlds collide

When it comes to exercise, my personal and professional worlds collide - in a good way.

I write about exercise on this blog often and I study exercise in my research. I co-organize a regional Exercise is Medicine conference at my institution (our third conference is coming up next week!) and this year I became the faculty advisor for an Exercise is Medicine interdisciplinary student group. These students are future doctors, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists and researchers - and they want to practice their particular health care specialty with a focus on exercise as prevention and treatment for their patients. I love that these students share my passion for this idea and this is truly one of the most rewarding and enjoyable aspects of my job.

At home, I try to practice what I preach. I enjoy exercise and wish I could fit more of it into my day. I think better, eat better, live better when I exercise.  In my 20s, I often logged over 50 miles of running a week, and racked up 9 marathons. In my 30s, I struggled with the demands of work and family and finding time for exercise was difficult. Since turning 40 I feel like I've found my happy medium. I worry less about the number of miles, and instead focus on the number of steps I get each day and what exercise does for my health (love my fitbit!). The kids sleep until 7am most mornings which allows me to once again consistently exercise in the morning. This 30 minutes in the morning is my daily quiet time, exercise, and meditation all rolled into one. Exercise makes me a happier person!

This past winter I heard Dr. Jordan Metzl on NPR's Science Friday while I was driving in my car and I had one of those driveway moments - where you stop the car and sit listening to the radio program even though you are home and could go inside. Dr. Metzl was talking about my favorite subject - exercise - and explaining why it was the ultimate prescription for anything and everything that ails us. I went out and immediately bought his new book, The Exercise Cure, A Doctor's All-Natural, No-Pill Prescription for Better Health and Longer Life. A NYC sports medicine physician, he practices what he preaches and has run 30 marathons and completed 11 Ironmans. I listened to him on the radio and I was encouraged that he is getting the Exercise is Medicine message across with a popular new book that people might actually read!

Fast forward one month and I'm meeting with my colleague to finalize our plans for our Exercise is Medicine conference in May. We had a few speakers picked out but our top choice fell through and we were searching for new ideas. I suggested Dr. Metzl almost jokingly, thinking if we were to aim high and ignore the logistics (we likely couldn't afford him and why would he come to Kansas City?), he would be a dream speaker for our conference. We were optimistic, but realistic in thinking it probably wouldn't happen.

Later that week, Ryan sees my copy of The Exercise Cure sitting on our kitchen counter and says, "Why do you have Jordan Metzl's book? He's good friends with Lisa, you know." No, I did not know. Lisa is a friend of ours who used to live in NYC and, according to Ryan, she knows Jordan well. What?! OMG! I contacted Lisa and within two days I was emailing back and forth with Jordan himself, and only 2 weeks later met him in person during a visit to Kansas City to see his family - he is from KC! Who knew?!

He is the keynote speaker at our conference next week, and he and I have become friends over the last several months of planning and scheduling his visit. I've had the pleasure of playing publicist/agent - and even arranged for the venerable Vivien Jennings at Rainy Day Books to put on an author event for him during his visit next week. I helped set up his appearance on our local Public Radio - the director of the station is also a friend from our daycare. I simply cannot imagine any other event bringing all the silos of my life together! It has been an exhilarating and fun learning experience. And the best part is that I know the activities of next week are only the beginning. This entire experience has created new alliances and friendships that I hope will carry forward into other opportunities.

So excuse me for the long post, the excess detail, the rambling. I'm just so excited about how all the stars have aligned, how my worlds have collided just so. It appears I've managed to build my life and my work around something I love.

Hear Dr. Jordan Metzl speak next week at Unity Temple on the Plaza. May 1, 7pm. You can purchase tickets here.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Downtown days, the Crossroads by bike #tbt

We took a stroll around our new neighborhood this many exciting and different things to see!

 Just around the corner from our building, we needed a water break. It was hot, even for the morning.

I just love this part of the city. We are in this low area just shy of all the tall buildings and commercial city life. The Crossroads. People live here, walk their dogs, go running, walk home late at night, raid the dumpsters. We're surrounded by 5-6 story brick buildings inscribed with names of warehouses long past, the occasional coffee shop, tattoo parlor, and artist's den. On Labor Day morning, the streets were quiet, the shops all closed, and we had the neighborhood to ourselves. Perfect for exploring on Charlie's strider bike for the first time.

Stopping for another water break.




I was afraid to crash this place with two toddlers. But as the only place open that morning, it was tempting.

Iz was sleepy and happy to sit quietly in her stroller and pose for the occasional picture.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter at Modern on Meadow

Hold onto your Easter bonnet, because this post contains a lot of pictures! The theme of the day for Charlie was patience. He needed patience to sit through the Easter church service, and patience to wait and hunt Easter eggs until all the family had arrived for Easter brunch. He failed miserably.

This was our first big family gathering at our new home and also the first time we've hosted a holiday as important as Easter.

I really enjoyed setting the table for Easter, but I will admit to googling the proper placement of all the silverware, plates and glasses. We don't dine like this every day.

Since our wedding china is very simple, white and silver, I wanted a colorful backdrop for the table and I found the Robin's egg blue tablecloth and coral napkins at Target - not bad for the last minute. We have my Grandmother Lo's silver and I love an excuse to use it. Each piece is monogrammed with her initials - it was almost like she was at the family table with us. We also have some of my Grandmother Helen's china mixed in with our wedding china, mixing the old with the new. The napkin rings are from a favorite paper store in Italy - picked out by my Grandmother Lo when she was visiting me in Florence. She gave them to me many years later and I love that they remind me of Italy and my time living there.

These place card holders were my Great-Grandmother's at one time and they were made in Germany. I would love to know the story behind when and where they were purchased. In the box were five place cards - one for my mom, Cindy, my Dad, and Dad's siblings. My Grandmother Lo had these place card holders before me and I think she wrote out the names and placed them back in the box after using them. I put the cards I made for our Easter brunch back in the box, too. Now when I use them I will always have reminders of previous gatherings and celebrations.

Trader Joe's has the best flowers at the best prices. I used pink tulips and all colors of rununculas for the table.

I found these little chicks at an antique store about a month ago. (Shhh. Don't tell my modern-obsessed husband that I like browsing antique stores).

The little woven baskets were discovered while browsing the same antique store.

These peep nests were a project I did with the kids and I ended up using them as the kids' place card holders.

And in all my Easter preparations, the one thing I forgot to do was get Charlie a haircut!!

Finally ready to hunt the Easter eggs, but we had to wait for all the cousins to assemble on the steps for a picture. Patience Charlie.

Someone is missing...

Finally, an egg!

It was an absolutely beautiful day!

We eventually got around to eating a delicious meal...

and to some relaxing for the hosts.

But wait, Mom wants one more picture to remember the day. Sigh. Charlie must wait, again.

Someone did not get to hold baby Max and was quite upset about it. Perhaps you can tell who it might be?

And we're done! Until next year...