Friday, October 24, 2008

My New Toy!

I just got the Garmin 205 Forerunner, a GPS watch for pacing runs and other sport activities. It has so many features I haven't explored yet, but the basics more than please me. I've gone on two runs since I received it on Wednesday. Patton came with me today. Naturally, he started off in full sled dog mode for about 1/2 mile then he troted at a great pace for a mile. Afterwhich he intermittently switches between full stops and zero-to-60 sprints. He's not the best running dog, but we had fun.

I am starting to settle into my new school. It is really growing on me. I'm making connections with the staff and students. And I finally had time to clean and organize my clinic.

I've been VERY busy at work. A little boy broke his collarbone playing football at recess and the gym teacher also earned himself a trip the ER with a 2 inch laceration to the top of his head. Not to mention the outbreak of lice. Oh, and I have an 11 year old girl who doesn't eat because she thinks her "thighs are too fat." She's rail thin, needless to say. There is so much opportunity to help.

I enjoy the autonomy of school nursing. It is what you make of it! I see everything from small scratches to emergency asthma attacks. The scope of practice for nursing has increased in responsibility. It still amazes me how people underestimate my job. Nursing is truly a rewarding profession!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Wade and Jenny's Wedding and a New Knit

Wade and Jenny's wedding was this past Saturday. The ceremony was at Robert Carr Chapel and the reception at the Reata. The wedding was sweet, simple, and fun. We wish Wade and Jenny a lifetime of happiness together!

Jeremy and I enjoyed hanging out with the McDannel and Walker families. Jeremy and John left early Saturday to shoot guns with Wade and his guys. They made it back intact. Although, Jeremy has a bruise the size of a baseball on his right shoulder that he shows me approximately every two hours. Afterwhich, I reply with a "poor baby," and a kiss. I really think he is milking this for all it's worth. Good thing for him I'm a nurse and a sucker.

Jackie and I were in charge of bringing five dozen Sprinkles cupcakes from Dallas to Fort Worth. We hung out at her house that morning then delivered the cupcakes and had lunch on the square- all without getting lost, which is more than the McDannel men can say. I love spending time with Jackie. I am so lucky to have a mother-in-law that is also a friend.

I especially enjoyed meeting sweet little Matalley and seeing how much Grayson has grown (Jeremy's cousin's children.) Kalley and Matt make parenthood look fun. And I think Jackie and John got a kick out of practicing their grandparent skills. Don't get your hopes up; there are no plans for children in the very near future. I haven't even learned how to knit booties yet!

But I did knit my very first hat!

Next on the knitting agenda is a Christmas socking!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tour de Fleur and other news

Michael and Sarah-in-Law came to visit this weekend. We had a great time! Saturday was our second annual Tour de Fleur run, which starts and finishes at the Dallas Arboretum. It's 20K (12.4 miles) around White Rock Lake and through the Lakewood residential neighborhood (which is gorgeous.) There are bands and drum lines set up all along the trail which serve as great motivators for running. More bands play at the Arboretum and there are tents set up with free food, drink, and massages on the lawn. This is my favorite race of the year!

Sarah and I had lunch with her sister, Ginny, at Breadwinner's after the race. Then she and I did a little shopping in the boutiques on Lovers Lane. It is wonderful to have such a sweet sister-in-law. She has a great sense of humor and is always fun to be around. I wish she and Michael lived a little closer so we could enjoy their company more often.

Jeremy got a new chair this weekend. It replaced the hideous blue recliner in the living room. Unfortunately the blue recliner has not gone into full retirement and now temporarily resides in the sitting room.

Patton and I went to the dog park this morning. He met a little girl Boston. They were so cute playing together. I wonder if dogs recognize their own breed. He got a bath and is napping on the couch. A tired dog makes a happy dog owner!

In news at school/work: I had my first 911 call of the year. A little boy with asthma and no medications at school was running outside during a fitness class and came to the clinic in respiratory distress. I did everything I knew to do sans medicine to help open his airways to no avail and ended up calling EMS. He was treated, seen by the doctor and referred to a specialist. I am hoping this scared his mom into providing medication at school so I can help keep her child safe.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Been a Long Time...

So much for my resolution to blog more often, huh? There's a lot to catch up on since Labor Day, which we spent at the Arboretum enjoying Picnic in the Park. We sat on the lawn and watched the sunset over White Rock Lake while drinking wine and listening to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. When it got dark there was a projector showing of The Princess Bride. It was wonderful and free! You just bring your own blanket, food, and drink and they open the park to the public.

Last weekend Jeremy and I had planned to head to Houston for Michael Fest: A Celebration of All Things Michael. Unfortunately Hurricane Ike had other plans. My brother had to call off his birthday party. Michael and Sarah-in-Law made it through the storm with persons and house intact. They are getting a first hand lesson in life pre-electricity and running water. Now they take their Roman baths by candle light.

I am still establishing and figuring out boundaries at my new school. It's a large and diverse population. I'm getting to know all the faculty/staff and students. So far I would say I like them and the job. It's challenging on my patience and my nursing skills, but I feel I learn something valuable each day and help a few people while I do it. I'm sure I've pissed a few people off, but I can't please every one. Over all I have a good rapport with the people of Hamilton Park and feel I have a healthy dose of confidence to get the job done and fear to do it correctly.

The house is great! Sometimes Jeremy and I just look at each other and say, "I love this house." It's really ours!! And it's beautiful! I haven't decorated just yet. We have plans for every room and are saving for well thought out purchases (which is easier for Jeremy than it is for me.) I think Jeremy and I are giving up all gifts to each other and are now only giving gifts to the house. If it's a good house Santa may bring a new couch and chair for the living room this Christmas!

Softball season kind of started again for the KPMG Camels. Although, todays game was canceled for the Cowboy game and last weeks was rained out. I'd say I'll report back at least after our triple header next week but I don't want to write any blogging checks my blogging commitment won't cash.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Busy Bees!

Oh my goodness! It has been such a busy two weeks. I'm still getting settled into my new clinic. It has been quite the challenge and at times I feel a bit overwhelmed, but never out of control. I will be relieved once things settle down. The beginning of the year is always wild.

Bootcamp is going really well. It also challenges me, but on another level. Jeremy and I are still training for the 20k (12.4 miles) Tour de Fleur run on September 21. This is my favorite run of the year and I am looking forward to it!

The McDannel household will be immensely busy this fall but I am going to be more vigilant about updating our blog. Wishing everyone a happy Labor Day!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tamara Joins the Military

I don't mean the US Military, but Dallas Military Fitness (a bootcamp class.) Sorry for the misleading title. It's reminiscent of fitness magazines that advertise "Eat Everything You Want and Still Loose Weight," only to reveal in the article that the key is to not want to eat unhealthy foods.

Tonight was my first class. It rained the entire time, which was refreshing. The class was a great workout. I am already sore. I hope this pays off, but in the mean time I'll enjoy it.

Me and my "piece" (what DMF calls the PVC pipe filled with sand that they make us hold above our heads while we run uphill):

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Birthday Wishes and Good Company

Today is my Dad's birthday so first things first:


Today was a really fun day spent with my mother-in-law, Jackie. We started with a stroll in Northpark Mall that included window shopping and coffee. Then we pampered ourselves with mani/pedis. After which a delicious lunch at Snuffer's was had. Our plans to watch a movie didn't come into fruition do to time constraints, but that just gives us an excuse to get together again soon.

I am truly blessed to have such a great family (blood and law.) I wish everyone was as fortunate as I am; not only did a get a pretty swell guy, but his family is awesome too! It makes me wish my parents lived closer. Hopefully they will retire soon and head north (hint*hint.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cynthia's Birthday Party

My friend, Cynthia, had a birthday last weekend. Since Jeremy and I were out of town we missed the celebration. To make up for it I had a mini-party at our house last night. I made Cynthia's favorite strawberry cake with homemade marshmallow butter creme frosting and got a dozen of her favorite pink roses. We ordered in and watched the Olympics. She brought over her chihuahua, Rocky, who had to wear a diaper so he wouldn't tinkle in the house. It was so funny. We had a great time!

Roses for Cynthia:

Strawberry Birthday Cake:

Rocky in his diaper:

Cynthia blowing out the candles:

Friday, August 8, 2008

Second Annual Moonlight Margaritas in Austin

Just got home from a fun, fun trip to Austin this Thursday and Friday! Jayme and I participated in our second annual Moonlight Margarita 5K race last night. It was stifling and we were both glad we didn't pass out of heat exhaustion at the finish line- it was 102F! (Not sounding like "fun, fun," yet but I assure you it was- keep reading.) The thought of ice cold margaritas kept us moving and we felt the party afterwards was much deserved. We drank our fair share and danced on the lawn to Pat Green. Oh glorious night!

Earlier that day we drove in and met my friend, Courtney, on the Drag. After an excellent lunch at the infamous Veggie Heaven and some yummy bubble teas, we played dress up in a vintage store and took a few interesting pictures of life and art on the Drag.

It was wonderful to see my grade school friend, Courtney, and her husband, Jason. We stayed at their home; they are always very gracious hosts. Courtney and I talked on the patio until 2:30am. I love the familiarity and ease of conversations with old friends, especially ones as interesting, amusing, and abiding as Courtney.

Speaking of old friends, I had a wonderful surprise when Courtney brought our mutual friend, Dan (whom I haven't seen in nearly 10 years,) as well as her mom, Francis, to lunch today. It was so nice to see Dan again and hear he's doing quite well working as an accountant for a non-profit organization in Austin. I loved visiting with Francis and reminiscing on years past when Courtney, Dan, and I were kids.

We hit the road after lunch. The "traffic gods" smiled upon us most of our trip and we only had one stop along the way. No drive down I35 is complete with out a swing by the Czech Stop. We made it home in time to pick up Duke from boarding and let him and Patton play in backyard for 20 minutes before Jayme had to head back to Oklahoma. I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and look forward to next year's adventure, sans heat!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

They are fleeing to Oklahoma?!

We sent yet another friend off to Oklahoma last night. The only thing I can think of that would be drawing people to this state, other than the fact that their state mammal is the bison, is the price of gas. So this is to wish Josh good luck in his venture. Texas will miss ya!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Michael and Sarah's New House

Jeremy and I went to visit my brother, Michael, and his his wife, Sarah, at their beautiful new home in Houston this past weekend. Unfortunately I forgot the camera. You must take my word for it, it is a truly beautiful home. It is very tastefully decorated by Sarah. Michael even allowed us into his media room- which is awesome. While in Houston we went to the Holocaust Museum on Saturday followed by an Astros game. We had a blast and look forward to them coming to visit us in September!

In other McDannel news: last night was the last softball game of the summer. The season ended on a losing note, but all in all it was a fun summer activity. The fall season will be starting in a month or two. We'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hurricane Dolly

Hurricane Dolly hit my parents pretty hard yesterday. Their house flooded a little bit and it ruined their carpet. I think most of the damage is outside effecting the landscaping, roof, and fence. They have not had power since 9am yesterday and are reportedly "pretty bored."

They managed to keep busy yesterday. The sandbags did not hold out all the rain, which was falling at a rate of five to 12" per hour. After using all of their towels and blankets to soak up water leaking into the house they spent five hours continuously mopping. Mom says Dad was filling the buckets faster than she could dump them out. Some of their neighbors have about a foot of standing water in their houses.

Sounds like their vigilance helped keep their home from flooding. Thank God they are safe and their house has minimal damage. Please say a little prayer for my parents and the people in the Valley as they get their homes back in order.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Dirty Dog

This morning Patton and I went to the Dog Park (aka the "Bark Bark.") It is his ritual upon arrival to dive into the mud pit that accumulates around the watering hole. And who am I to deny him this simple puppy pleasure? If I would have had enough foresight I would have taken pictures so you can see precisely how filthy he actually gets.

What is great about Patton, among many things, is that he knows he gets a bath post "Bark Bark." I don't even have to say anything. He just follows me around the back yard until I have everything set up and then he stands there while I bath him. Since we have moved into the house we have added a step to this process. Before his actual bath I spray him down with the water hose and he goes absolutely nuts.

He loves the water hose-- more so shower spray, not so much on jet spray. While he gets hosed he snorts and rolls in the grass, scooching on his back and biting at the water. Then he suddenly takes off in full speed around the entire backyard, making a flying leap into the spray of water only to repeat the scenario. It is adorably hilarious. Once we get our video camera back I will video tape it because the pictures do not do Patton justice. I love our dog!

Patton vs the Water Hose:

The Not-so-Sneaky Flying Leap Attack:

The Landing:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Farewell for now...

Today we sent our neighbor and friend, Jayme, & her dog, Duke, off to Oklahoma. We wish them well and are excited for all the new opportunities that await them. Even so, we can't help but be sad that our sweet friends are moving away.

I will definitely miss our Saturday mornings spent drinking coffee in our pjs and letting the dogs play on the trail outside our apartments. And our Margarita Mondays at Ozona. It was nice to be able to walk down stairs at any time and hang out with a friend, borrow clothes, be lazy, or go for a jog by the lake together. Jayme has looked out for us and our home, not to mention all the times she took care of our little man.

Although he is completely unaware, I'm sure Patton would be sad to learn his best buddy Duke and beloved Aunt Mayme are no longer a few steps away. Patton has been Duke's annoying little brother, always wanting to do whatever it is Duke is doing. Partners in crime, they always invent mischief when they are together. Nothing makes Patton happier than the mere mention of Duke's name.

There is no mischief to be found today or morning coffee and conversation. We will miss you, dear friends! Sending you off with our love. It's not goodbye, but merely until we meet again. Good luck in Oklahoma...and hook 'em horns.

Jayme's Going Away Dinner @ Gloria's:

Patton + Duke = BFF:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Working Girl

That's right people, I have a summer job and my marriage has been saved! I say that because Jeremy has not been too keen on the summer holiday provided by my current position.

Being a team player, I signed up with a nursing temp agency and have been assigned two jobs thus far. The last job was at Parkland. I held in-services teaching RNs how to use their new feeding pump. Tomorrow through Friday I will decipher medical charts for lay people.

The pay is awesome and the commitments are very short. It has worked out swimmingly. I might just be able to afford a new chair and couch for the living room by the time school starts. I suppose that all depends on how much of a team player Jeremy will be.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

In the Kitchen with Tamara

Feeling creative I decided to make a new recipe today using herbs from my garden. I tried to keep fat and calories at a minimum. It came out good. I would rate it a B-. It's missing a little kick. The sesame oil flavor did not blend as well with the curry as I had hoped so I ended up adding a little rice vinegar. I think next time I should try a fish oil instead. Any suggestions for improvements would be much appreciated. I am proud to announce the basil was excellent. Here's the recipe; it serves one:

Tamara's Shrimp and Vegetable Curry with Basil

4oz lite coconut milk
1/2 tsp yellow curry powder
3/4 cup frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots
1 tbsp water
1/4 tsp sesame seed oil
1/4 small white onion, chopped
1/4 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp brown sugar
3 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Simmer lite coconut milk and curry in saute pan for 5 min.
Stir in vegetables, water, oil, vinegar, sugar. Simmer for 10 min.
Add shrimp, salt and pepper. Simmer until shrimp are cooked.
Remove from heat and add basil. Let sit for 1-2 min. Serve.

Calories: 236
Fat: 10 grams
Carbohydrates: 14 grams
Protein: 20 grams
Fiber: 3 grams

Yum Yum:

Monday, July 7, 2008

Eat, Drink, and be Merry

Forth of July weekend was a blast! Jeremy, Jackie, John, and myself loaded up the wagon and met up with Mom, Dad, Mike, and Sarah at Wes and little Jackie's house in San Antonio. We celebrated my Mom's 60th birthday in concurrence with that of our great nation.

Wes and Little Jackie went out of their way to cook the entire weekend. It was excellent! They had the margarita machine going and we all relaxed in the "Shop" out behind Wesley's house.

On Saturday we floated the Comal River. Luckily it wasn't too cold for Jackie. John traded in his "Safari Johnie" title for "Tubing Johnie" when he lost his safari hat on one of the tube shoots.

The afternoon started out bright and sunny. About half way through the ride a few clouds started to form. By the end there was a torrential down-poor of rain. This did not deter the spirits of my family, who drank beer and sang 80's songs the entire bus ride back to the drop off. It was especially entertaining to watch my mom, the school teacher, riding the school bus with a beer in hand, singing loudly. Happy Birthday, Mom! We love you!

Patton had his own vacation hanging out with my brother's dogs in the back yard. Naturally he found the closest mud pit and wallowed in it like a pig, then proceeded to hump Nelly, the bull mastiff's, face. Clearly that was the highlight of the weekend.

We enjoyed hanging out with the family. Getting all of us together at the same time has been difficult lately. We are spread out all over the state. It was so much fun to be with everyone. We hope to make this an annual trip!

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Soon-to-Be Walker Family

Wade and Jenny are getting married and we couldn't be happier for them! The McDannel clan met up at Cafe Madrid last night to get all the details. He popped the question in Cabo and she was pleasantly surprised. Nuptials will be sometime this fall.

They look so happy together. It warms my heart and reminds me of all the wonderful things Jeremy and I have experienced together and of all our hopes for the future. I wish them love and growth. Now if only I could convince them of a destination wedding in Maui...

The Reenactment:

The Happy Couple:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Summer of Softball and Low Energy Bills

Radiant Barrier went in yesterday morning courtesy of We added a foot of insulation as well as the energy shield radiant barrier. The barrier looks like aluminum foil spread over the entire attic but is hard as nails. I tried scratching and tearing a spare piece of it to no avail. The temperature only took 15 minutes to drop two degrees in mid-afternoon, opposed to taking over an hour pre-barrier. We are pleased thus far!




In other news, Jeremy’s company softball team, the KPMG Camels, ended their 2 game winning streak last night. Jeremy is the team statistician and first baseman. Last night he was 2 for 2 with 3 RBIs and 1 run scored. I was unable to obtain his batting average for the season. Patton is the team mascot and has attended every game. We are working on getting camel humps to strap onto his back. The games have been fun. Especially since I get to go home with the handsome first baseman!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Crape Myrtles and a New Old Couch

The crape myrtles have been planted! They are so pretty. Jeremy did a great job on researching and narrowing down which ones would do well in our area and I got to pick them out. Patton approved of the selections and promptly marked them as ours. Now all we have to do is love them and watch them grow.

The ceiling fan was installed in the main living room this morning. It's better than the standing "Hawaiian Breeze" that did not take me back to our honeymoon, such as it's name would suggest.

Thanks to Uncle Ron and Aunt Jackie we now have a couch in the sitting room. It was apparently my grandmothers. The cushions have springs in them and they weigh a ton. It needs to be reupholstered and refinished, but it has great wood detail and a lot of potential. We really appreciate Uncle Ron and Travis dropping it off.

Last night we had Lane and LeighAnne over for an impromptu engagement party. They are getting married in March. We had a blast and maybe a little too much wine. At least we have the rest of the weekend to recover while sitting on our new couch under the breeze of the fan while admiring our crape myrtles.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Keeping up with the McDannels...

Jeremy, Patton, and I are 3 weeks into our first house! Although the furniture and decor are not up to my standards as of yet (cue Jeremy's blue cloth recliner) the house is absolutely perfect. It has three bedrooms and two baths, with an attached two car garage in the rear.

Patton is still adjusting to life sans carpet. He has made good use of the back yard and gives the term "weed eater" a new meaning. He spends most of his time on a perch in the sitting room's big bay window. The highlight of his day consists of barking madly at the mailman, his natural enemy, as mail is delivered through the slot located between said window and the front door. Jeremy and I especially love walking Patton through the friendly neighborhood of Lake Highlands, where he has been, for the most part, on his best behavior.

Jeremy is taking increased pride in the yard and has quickly become a Neil Sperry addict. I'm convinced he is turning into his father. Hopefully the green thumb genes were passed down to Jeremy.

We are getting two crape myrtles for the side of the house this weekend from the Crape Myrtle Trails of McKinney:
One will be a Tonto, with bright pink flowers, to be planted in front of the dinning room window and the other is a white flowered Acoma for the living room windows.

In the meantime I have planted a small potted herb garden harboring lemon mint, basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. They are all doing quite well. I'm excited to cook with them and will also try drying a few. So far Patton has more of a palate for crab grass than my herbs, thank goodness!

Other big house purchases include Radiant Barrier for the attic that will be installed on Monday and landscaping for the front and back yards. Hopefully a mechanical gate will be in the near future. Although it is a toss up between that and a new chair for me... I mean Jeremy.