Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Here are a few things I want to do in 2009

1. Start my own garden: I'll have to get to this this spring sometime.

2. Attempt to bike to work when I can: I'll wait until the days are a bit longer and warmer to do this. Hopefully, I can work out a way to do this a couple of times a week. I'm also hoping that it won't take me that much longer than waiting around for the bus, etc.

3. Shoot a gun: I know this is a weird one for me to have on here, but I want to know what it is like to do it once at least. Maria, do you think we can plan to go shoot clay pigeons over Thanksgiving? If not, I'll have to find a range to go to so I can try it out. I think doing it in Wisco with Maria would be more fun as well as cheaper, though.

4. Learn to can: I think I'll try to get to this sometime this summer.

5. Get a dog: I think Jake and I will start looking in February.

A couple of these might replace items on my big list (which has an ending date of July 14th...yikes!). I'm actually not doing too bad overall. I didn't really expect I'd wind up doing 100% of what I wrote on that list, anyway. I wonder if I should make another big list once my anniversary is done or not. It is fun to look back and see that I have done a lot of things in the last year and a half or so; however, I don't know quite how I want to define the next phase of my life. If I had to guess, I would think the next couple years will be spent: a) settling into our house, making it efficient and sustainable and b) enjoying fun activities before actually having a family. Also, I purposefully didn't write anything too specific for career goals on my current (big) list, but I wonder if I should think about coming up with a new direction for the next list. I've furthermore been kicking around the idea of doing some sort of service vacation...like going to another country for a couple of months to build schools or something (anyone have suggestions on good programs to go through? I doubt I could commit to a year like you did, Emily, but I think I could make a month or two work). I need to find ways to make myself feel useful. My job definitely doesn't make me feel useful. I did start volunteering once a month with The Reading Connection, but I think I need more than that.

The ideas for this next list are all very vague, I know, but at least my first few goals above to start the New Year are more specific and time-bound. These other thoughts are just seeds of goals for another list, if I wind up doing one. What do people think? Should I write another one? Should I do a list recap this summer to talk about the highlights of completing items on the current list?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Survey Question of the Day

What's your favorite Christmas movie?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Should Candy's next holiday be an open road adventure or a return to "home"?

So, I thought about writing out day-by-day everything that we did in Costa Rica, but I'm feeling a bit lazy. The highlights were: learning scuba diving, doing a canopy tour, relaxing in the hot springs, and getting a massage at the spa. It was a lot of fun and made me really wish I could spend like an entire year in another country. I wish I had more opportunities to practice speaking Spanish and it would be nice to have a different sort of experience.

Here's a picture of Jake and me, near Volcan Arenal:



Here's a link to Jake's photo albums of our trip, for anyone who's interested.

I feel as though there is always a tension between wanting to be out on the open road, doing new things, and wanting to have the comfort of a place to call "home". What wins out? Sometimes I think I shouldn't get too comfortable because then I won't grow enough as a person, but on the other hand, it's nice to feel like there's somewhere I belong. I'm not sure how long it will take to make our house feel like "home", or if it ever will feel like it. I find myself still calling Princeton "home" now and again, and I wonder if there will ever be a point where I don't call it home. When does that happen? Does it ever happen?

This weekend, we actually spent some time sitting around the house. I feel like I haven't had a chance to do that since we moved in. It's been kind of nice. I still sort of want to just have a day where I sit in my pajamas the whole day long and just relax around the house, I think that might make it feel like I'm breaking the place in.

Jake and I leave for Wisconsin on Saturday. We're flying into Milwaukee and plan to have Jake's parents pick us up. We'll stay with them the first night and see if we can borrow a car from them. think we'll take our time getting to my parents' on Sunday, just to avoid any conflicts over going to church (like we did last year). We'll stay with my parents until sometime on the 25th, and then see Jake's family until we leave on the 28th. I'm not sure what we're going to do each day exactly, or which friends and family I need to pop in to see while I'm there. Maria won't be around this year, so that'll be a bummer. I want to go see Lelani and Jon so that I can meet Memphis, so that is definitely on the list.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

End of November! Eek!

I made it a goal to blog at least once every month. Well, it is the end of the month and I haven't written anything in November yet. So, here I am...this will have to be short, though. I got back to my house from Costa Rica last night at around 3am. We had an awesome vacation, and I hope to write and post pictures soon. I crossed a lot of things off of the list and had a number of adventures. I definitely wouldn't mind going back some time. Now, however, I need to get my mind prepared for the fact that I am going back to work tomorrow. I need to finish the laundry, finish getting unpacked, and prepare to get back into the swing of things.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Moving

Jake and I finished our move to the house last weekend! Yay! Here is a collection of pictures from the experience:

Jake with our moving truck. We got one for free from our realtor! We're also allowed to reserve it whenever we want now. Awesome. Anyway, the main point of this picture is to display the party bus parked in the front yard of our neighbors' house.

Here are some of the pictures of the inside of the house:

Our family room. I call this the "man cave". Note the new big tv Jake decided to buy.

The kitchen.

The dining room, along with a pile of packaging and crap from the new tv. I'm still waiting to throw that out. I'm hoping it's out by this Wednesday (garbage day).

The front room. This is the room you see when you walk into the front door. It's fairly sparse and random right now. We'll move the couch and chair from the "man cave" to this room once our sectional couch arrives in 8-10 weeks.

Hallway.


Bathroom. We also have a half bath right across the hall, but I didn't include a picture of that one.

Master bedroom.

Guest bedroom.

Office.

Tejal and Jon were nice enough to help us move. Yay! We went to Clyde's in the evening. We shared a lobster between the four of us and a few random appetizers. We all got to have pictures in the bibs, though.
Me and Tej in the lobster bibs.

Jake and Jon in the lobster bibs.

Now to plan the housewarming. The date is still TBD. I'm hoping January, but we'll have to see...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Election Yard Signs

I read this article recently about yard signs and elections.

I've been thinking that yard signs are kind of stupid. I mean, who looks at yard signs and says, "Well, my neighbor is voting for candidate X, so I think I will, too"? I'd hope it wouldn't work that way. I don't really see the point in yard signs, so I read that article to see if they had any redeeming qualities, or even if they work in ways that aren't apparent to me. This particular article said that signs increase the level of support among the people who actually put them out. I don't know if I think that's good or bad. Good if it's a candidate I agree with on the issues, and bad if it's one I disagree with, I suppose. I guess if I were the person running for office, I'd try to get people to put out my yard signs, too, because it would be a smart move to increase my level of support. But, inside, I'd just be thinking how silly yard signs are.

Yesterday, Jake and I went for a walk after dinner. Our route took us past a large home with a big brick fence around it. It's probably valued within the multi-million dollar range, considering it's in Old Town. A couple of weeks ago, I walked past the same house and it had a couple of your average-sized yard signs out for McCain. Well, yesterday those yard signs had been replaced with a couple of GIGANTIC signs, one for McCain and one for a local candidate whose name escapes me now (though I do remember the slogan at the bottom of his sign: "Drill Here, Drill Now!"). They were so gigantic, I don't know if I can still call them signs so much as banners. They were at least a couple of yards long by a couple of yards high. I wish I had taken a picture to include because these signs were just ridiculous. Maybe if I have time in the next week before we move, I'll swing by there again, just to snap a photo. In conclusion, I can tell everyone that I have seen that yard signs do lead to escalation of commitment. The people who own this house have committed to much bigger yard signs over the past couple of weeks.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Performance enhancement

I just heard about this stuff called Gamer Grub. Oh stupid marketing, I love it! The next time I get a chocolate craving, I think I should make sure it's "strategy chocolate".

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Poll function

I'm not sure if there's a way to embed the poll function right in my posts. So, if you're coming directly to my site, please answer the poll question of the week. Which is better, circus peanuts or candy corn? If you'd like to provide a rationale for your choice, feel free to post in the comments below.

Gallup is wasting its time with polling people about Obama-McCain, while I am here asking the important questions in life.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

We're getting a house!

Jake and I are signing an agreement with the sellers this afternoon. We still need to have a home inspection done, etc., but we finally had an offer accepted. Yay!

Here are some pictures of the place I stole from the online listing:




Electoral College Pool

Jake and I were just having a conversation about how there needs to be a contest to see who can predict the results of the electoral college.

So, I searched online, and the Post is having a contest:

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/2008/pick-your-president/

The winner gets $500 to Best Buy!

My current picks have Obama winning 314-224. Is there any way to track this on a smaller scale, similar to comparing NCAA picks with your friends?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Random Labor Day Weekend Post

Well, after a hiatus of a couple of weeks, we went house hunting again on Saturday and didn't see much that interested us. There were really problems with everything we looked at. I guess the most interesting thing we saw was a life-sized blow-up doll hanging from a ceiling fan. Yeah...I'm sure there was quite a party in that house.

So, we'll probably look again next weekend. :P

I do feel ready to move on. I want a new space with new projects and new opportunities. Things are starting to feel stale.

I have finished all of the things on the mini-list of stuff I wanted to do before we move out, except for karaoke at Rock It Grill. I was going to go with Tej last night actually, but gave up on it because a) I had some drinks early on and didn't feel like going out for more drinks after and b) because I decided I wanted to go check out Tej's new apartment with her. I'm sure I can make time to go some night after work in the next few weeks. It'd be cool if I could get a good group of people there, because that'd make it more fun.

Oh, I and I need to revamp the 50 things list. I know I want to add "Start composting" onto the list. The pull-up thing can probably go.

Today I made a salad with watermelon, tomato, red onion, basil, feta, and balsamic. I stole the idea for it off Rustico's menu. I have a crapload of tomatoes because it's that time of year AND I got a watermelon and basil from Farmer John this week, so it made sense.

Even though I can't seem to move on lately (and, you know, FINALLY get a house...), there have been a lot of other things happening around me. Change is going to happen whether I make it happen or not, I suppose. It may take me a bit to process all the recent events. At work, a couple of people are leaving/things may be shaking up/we may hire someone new. In the fam, my sister told me she and Paul are going to sign her divorce papers soon (okay, this one I've known was coming and am ready for it). Also, my Uncle Tom passed away yesterday morning. I hope my dad is taking it okay. It's hard for me to gauge him. He did mention it to me on the phone, but I don't really know how he's feeling about it.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Stalled Out

Jake and I put an offer on another house this weekend. It's the third one we've put an offer on so far. I'm not optimistic that we'll get this one. There's already one offer on it and more will probably come in. We're not offering much above list because the list price was about what Jake and I have decided we're willing to spend. Yeah. I'm at this point where I feel that I'm spinning my wheels and not getting anywhere. If this one falls through, we may take a break from looking for a while. It just feels as though there are too many people looking in the same places we are and I'm getting tired of competing for houses. I just want to try to enjoy the rest of the summer instead of running around looking at real estate on the weekends.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Purposeless Living

So, I just read thisthis article on purposeless living. It was interesting for me, considering the thought that I've put into purposeful living in the past few years. I want my life to have purpose! However, I agree with this guy in that I don't want to be enslaved by my goals. I want to enjoy the process of achieving my goals, yet at the same time feel that I am challenging myself enough to actually be developing personally. Can I trust that some growth and development will happen to me even if I'm not focused on goals, or do I need to push myself somewhat? What are the signs that goals have enslaved me, instead of my goals being tools directing me on a path to living a focused life?

Monday, July 14, 2008

The List- Year One

Tonight is my wedding anniversary. Jake and I have reservations at Restaurant Eve. So, I'm through just over the halfway point for the timeframe for my Things to Do List. I'm feeling the need to re-vamp it. I don't think I ever took doing a pull-up seriously, for example. I also feel that I've done a lot of the "easy" things on the list. I feel the need to add some things that I can accomplish quickly so that I get some quick sense of achievement. I do think I'm on track to do a number of the other things if Jake and I get our house-buying in (Number 22 on the list). Once that one's out of the way, I can look into a new couch and a dog. That'll be more off of the list.

I feel that the list is stagnating a bit. I'm getting bored. Hmm...what do I need to do to make things more exciting?

Here's a mini-list I could start work on:

List of things to do before we move out of our apartment!
1. Go eat a cupcake at Bittersweet in Old Town.
2. Go back to the Tiffany Tavern to see another Open Mike night.
3. Sing kareoke at Rock It Grill- and get another thing off the big list!
4. Get rid of any clothes I don't wear anymore and donate them.
5. Take a water taxi or a boat ride off the end of King Street.

Tomorrow night, Jake and I are meeting with our agent to put an offer on a different place we saw on Sunday. It's another foreclosure and the bank's reduced the list price to draw in offers. They'll probably get a bunch of them...Jake and I will probably offer above list again and not put contingencies in. The last place we bid on went to some people willing to fix the basement on their own. The whole place needs carpet/flooring as well as a paint job before we move in, but we'll do that on our own. You all should see the paint on the walls of this place...it's like a mint green next to a pink next to a dark purple. It's craziness...and will have to get fixed. Still, I guess it isn't as crazy as this place I saw that had yellow and burgundy stripes painted in the living room. What are people thinking?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Huh.

I came acrossthis post from Ripon's mayor. I guess Boca Grande has been buying up properties since last fall at least. It sounded more sudden and recent to me when I talked to people back home.

I'm getting antsy for Jake to do something with Blue Lava

So I decided to pull a few Wisconsin pictures myself and put them up here for your viewing pleasure:






So I just realized right now that I can add this blog list thing.

And, it shows the last time the blogs have been updated!

C'mon, I've Got Dispirito! Two years ago? You can make it back to the top of the list with a single post!

;)

Friday, July 11, 2008

House Hunting

The house we bid on went to some other people. Bah. So it's back to the house hunt this weekend. Ugh. I'm ready to be done. I can't wait to have moving over with so I can settle in and do some projects. I'm feeling stuck in a rut at this point.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A list of the books Art Garfunkel has read!

Check it out!

http://www.artgarfunkel.com/favorites.html

Next time I'm looking for a book suggestion, I'll see if Art Garfunkel has read something good...

Monday, July 07, 2008

At least there aren't any snakes on this plane...

So, I'm writing this as I'm stuck on the plane in Milwaukee airport. We've been here for over two hours sitting on the runway. Ugh.

Anyway, Sarah and Emily told me that I need to update my blog, so I figured I should make the most of my time while I'm here. I'll at least try to be productive. I could be reading my book, but I'm a bit tired of that, so I'll just work on this.

First off, don't fly AirTran! They suck. They'll hold you hostage on a plane for hours and let water from the air conditioning slowly drip on you. Yeah, it sucks...

In other news, we had a fairly good weekend back in Wisconsin. We got to see Matt Troitter on Thursday night at Summerfest. We drank lots of beers and went to watch Gomez. Matt stumbled around and couldn't stand on the benches while we were watching the band, but he was full of fun as always. One of the best things about Matt is that he's always ready to dance and party.

On Friday, Lelani and I made a cake for Maria's B-day. We made a tree out of food coloring and frosting to decorate the top. Maria and Rexx came over in the evening and we played Yahtzee.

Saturday morning, Maria, Rexx, Jake, and I went to the flea market in Princeton. I ate a cheese roll at the Ho-made Egg Roll stand (Maria wasn't sure it would still be there...I knew it had to be!). I also saw some painted spoons. I was tempted to buy a spoon with an eagle painted on it for work. I didn't though, as I've probably spent an embarrassing amount of money on spoons so far this year. It's getting to be a problem.

We all went to the Sub Shop in Ripon before heading to Alison and Justin's wedding. The subs were tasty- I'm glad to see that the place is still in business. I like it when the little local guy survives. I heard some news while I was home about a bunch of buinesses in Ripon being bought up by the same company (Boca Grande?). I wonder what'll happen there.

Alison's wedding was a lot of fun. Beer, good weather, and lawn games...who can complain? I also appreciated the short ceremony. Sometimes I think that ideally someone would have just asked me and Jake, “Do you?” and “Do you?” and we both would have just said, “Sure thing...” and it all could've been over with.

In semi-related news, I learned that my great-uncle (who is a pastor) randomly resigned recently. He hasn't talked to anyone in my family, so no one is exactly sure why. I say more power to him. I asked him to officiate our wedding, but he turned me down. I always thought he was a fairly cool guy- you know, not as preachy as preachers could be- which is why I wanted him for our wedding. I can totally understand wanting to get out of the God business. My fantasy is that he's given up on religion.

Okay, they're telling us that we'll be able to take off soon...we'll probably get home three hours later than expected. Ugh.

Later...at home...

On Sunday, I saw Sarah and Emily. We had lunch at Laredo's, hung out around Em's apartment, and got some custard at Michael's. The flavor of the day was Elephant Tracks, which apparently is just PB cups mixed into chocolate custard. What's the point? None of us got the flavor of the day.

Sunday evening, we went to Jake's Aunt Lolly and Uncle Dennis's place outside of Waunakee. They're building a house, so a lot of things were unfinished there (including bathrooms...). The piece of land they have is huge...I think Dennis said 85 acres. It was really beautiful out there. They had a lot of family over for food and conversation in their garage. Jake's cousin Nora and her boyfriend Jeff were back from NYC, too. They told everyone that they plan to get married some time next year.

My mom was a pain while we were home. She did a lot of yelling in the car because we got stuck in traffic in Milwaukee (there was a fuel spill on the off ramp we needed to go on to get to the airport). My mom has a knack for making stressful situations even more stressful. She needs to learn how to chill out. Really. Anyway, being around my mom reminds me of how I need to learn to control my own stress levels. It also reminds me of why I'd never want to move back in with my family...

Well, it's been a long day. I'm going to wrap this up and try to relax for the next hour or so before going to bed.

Bah, work tomorrow... :P

I would have included pictures in this post, but I'm feeling lazy. Maybe I'll steal some later once Jake puts them on blue lava.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What Happens in Vegas...Gets blogged about?

Our trip to LV started out with disappointment, as our flight was delayed from Friday night to Saturday. This meant that Jake and I had to miss the helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. Our friends who went on the trip were good about pretending like they didn't have fun on the helicopter, but I know it was the highlight of the trip for a lot of them... :P

So, Jake and I got in on Saturday morning and I felt that I needed to start drinking to make up for lost time. We hooked up with some friends and got drunk in the mall. Here's me and Tejal with our Fat Tuesday glasses:


We stayed at Bill's Gambling Hall and Saloon, which was actually a pretty good deal for being right on the Strip. Outside the front of Bill's, they constantly played a recording of this guy with a southern accent plugging the steakhouse at Bill's and Bill's 99 cent margaritas. A cab driver we had at one point informed us that Bill's, which used to be owned by Barbary Coast, was recently bought up by Harrah's for a half billion dollars. Apparently Harrah's and MGM own pretty much everything on the Strip.

We went out to the buffet at the Bellagio on Saturday evening. The food was good, but I made myself sick by the amount I tried to eat. I somehow thought I'd be able to make up for the $45 we each spent by stuffing myself full of food. It didn't work. We saw the Wayne Brady show on Saturday night, which was all right. He did pull our friend Tonia up on stage to make sound effects for one skit he did. Our friends all had plans to go out afterward, but Jake and I were utterly exhausted at that point. We went back to our hotel and crashed.

On Sunday, we met up with Zac, who I went to high school with and who now works in LV as a chef at the Wynn. He's getting married in another couple of weeks and is also getting a promotion to work at a higher, more managerial level at the Encore, which is a new casino going up right next to the Wynn. At first, we tried to get together and spend time with Zac and some of our other friends all at once. They were down at Slots O' Fun, but then we went with Zac down there and realized Slots O' Fun sucks as a place to sit down, have a drink, and catch up with an old classmate. So, we went across the street to the Riveria and had one drink, then drove down to New York New York, where we sat in this Irish pub/restaurant and drank some beers. That evening, we met back up with our crew to have dinner at Circo and watched the fountains in front of the Bellagio. Jake and I went to the Rio to see Penn & Teller and we convinced Tej that she should buy a ticket to it as well. It was a good show. I really like P & T. It's more bang for your buck to just watch Bullshit DVDs at home, but the live performance was quite enjoyable. They make me want to do magic... After P&T, we saw a show of floats in the air within the Rio, where these women in their underpants threw us beads.

Monday morning, Jake and I realized that we hadn't even tried to gamble any money. I watched Jake lose money quickly at a blackjack table and then decided to take a free blackjack class to learn more. After the blackjack class, we sat down at a table for about an hour and both wound up breaking even (I'm pretty sure I could have gone up in money if we'd stayed, but Jake wanted to leave to get into a poker tourney to lose some more money...). Monday night, we went out to Tao, which is some hip, pricey restaurant with decor like this:

I thought things were overpriced and our friends showed no qualms about doing things like ordering a $65 dessert for the table or lots of expensive sake. I got kind of annoyed. Dinner took over three hours and I was trying to get out to meet up with Zac again. I thought we were going to go out and meet his fiance.

The bathrooms at Tao were totally confusing...all the doors said were "Yin" and "Yang". I wound up going into the men's bathroom at first and having to turn around. They also had one of those bathroom attendants in there, which makes me uncomfortable. I don't want to have to tip someone to come over and hand me a towel or put soap on my hands. It made Tonia uncomfortable, too. She was like, "Hey, do other people need to use the bathroom? We can all go as a group and I'll tip for all of us..." I went in there alone at one point to wash my hands because they had sauce on them and the attendant woman started speaking to me in Spanish. I didn't catch what she said, but I did notice that she was sitting there reading "The Secret". Ha! Oh, and over the course of the 3 hour dinner, I found out that Tej is a bit into Scientology. What a weirdo...I need to sit down and talk her out of that...

We'd planned to go up the Stratosphere after dinner, but then realized that to meet Zac at Fremont Street, we wouldn't have time. We took the Deuce bus to Fremont, which I wouldn't recommend to anyone. It's slow and crowded... However, we got to Fremont and caught the light show right away, which was cool:

I enjoyed Fremont. Cheap, old school Vegas. Yes. We found Zac, but his fiance couldn't make it out because she had some sort of bachelorette party plans. Oh well.

I had a goal of renewing my vows with Elvis while in Vegas, but the closest I got was a picture of Jake and me and an Elvis statue. Drats.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

House Hunting

This weekend, we're going to Vegas, baby! After we come back, Jake and I are planning to start doing some serious house hunting next weekend (July 21-22). I'm both excited and apprehensive at the same time. I'm excited for the opportunity to move into a new place and start fresh, to have a bit more space, and to actually own a piece of real estate. I'm apprehensive because it's a big commitment, we will have to put hard work into the upkeep of a home, and it'll have to be somewhere I'm happy living in for more than the next couple of years. Jake and I wrote up a checklist of what we'd ideally want in the house we find, so that should help guide us a bit.

I'm also thinking the change of venue will help jumpstart me in making a few good lifestyle changes. I find that moving helps me to reorganize and rethink my life sometimes. So, these are some objectives I have for after we get a new house:

Start a garden! (I really want to plant vegetables! Maybe I could also Plant a Row for the Hungry.)
Create an area of "sanctuary"- a good place to be alone, read, think, etc.
Buy comfortable furniture
Bake and cook more (with the larger kitchen I expect the house will have)
Set up a good system to deal with dirty laundry (similar to Maria's basket system at her house)
Find ways to get involved with my community (not sure how...volunteering? meeting my neighbors? hosting a neighborhood party?)

Okay, that's what I have for now. I'll put up an update if we see any good houses.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How can I not waste my life???

I'm so bored...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A recipe I made up:

I make up recipes sometimes, but never write them down. I've been meaning to do it (hence, the goal on my list of writing three recipes). I have a feeling I'll never use this again, but decided to write it up anyway. If anyone else makes this, let me know!

Smoked Tomato Pasta Salad
Ingredients:
16 oz. pasta (I used whole wheat fusilli)
3-4 green onions, chopped
one large tomato, chopped
small head of broccoli, cut into small pieces
cubed pieces of mozzarella
black pepper
italian seasoning
Drew's Smoked Tomato dressing

Boil pasta, drain, and place in large bowl. Toss pasta with chopped vegetables and mozzarella. Use about 1/2 bottle of salad dressing and add seasonings to taste. Chill and serve.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Some Things that Make Me Happy!

Doing things that give me a sense of self-efficacy
Learning new things
Reaching goals
Spending Time with friends
Having people think of me and give me recognition
Laughing
Coming up with Ideas/ Being Creative
Being Silly
Eating Good Food
Meeting Interesting People



What's something that makes YOU (yes, YOU, my reader!)happy?

Planning My Future

I wonder if something I project to people makes it so that they feel that they should be giving me advice. (You're right, Maria, that "arrow finds its way" advice sucked...) Does anyone think that people with doctorates tend to feel that they are more qualified to dole out life advice? Or maybe it's just people with psychology doctorates who feel that way? Has anyone else been given advice and not wanted the advice? Jake doesn't seem to have had lots of people give him "life advice" the way people try to give life advice to me. I've had that experience a couple of times in grad school and now again in this job. Wtf?

The reason I think that "arrow finds its way" advice is crap is that it feels far too religious in a way. It doesn't match up with the way I see the world. The woman at work who said it to me said something that alluded to trusting that there was a force or a power that was going to get her to where she's going. I don't buy into stuff like that at all. I do think people have to PLAN to get places in life. Sometimes that plan needs to be altered as circumstances change, but nevertheless, I think you do have to plan. Or maybe, I just want to believe that planning is needed. I want to feel responsible for where I've gotten in my life and feel that I have some control over it.

I think my real issue is that I don't have much for career goals at the moment. I was just pissed that I had to confront that during my performance review. I tried to convey that I don't think that "career" and "life purpose" are synonymous during my review. However, I did upset myself by thinking about how much time I fritter away sitting around at my job. I told my supervisor (at least, I suppose she's my supervisor...the role structure at my job is confusing...I've been told that on the one hand, she can't fire me-not that she would- However, she really is the main person that gives me work to do, answers my questions, monitors me, and gives me feedback, while the boss that sometimes doesn't even know my name is the "big boss")that I can't find a purpose in the work we are doing. She never gave me a real answer to that...

Friday, May 30, 2008

I had a performance review at work today

It went something like this:



But seriously, I got the whole sort of "where do you see yourself" question...ugh. Yes, I've been labeled as having an "existential crisis". I was basically like, "yeah...I don't want to talk about this right now."

Oh, and I got offered advice. Jeez. It was something like, "An arrow knows where it's headed." Whatever that means. Bah. Advice.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Some Days I Think...

It might be a good idea to stay up all night doing the things I want to do and then just go to work to sleep. Maybe I could even sleep 6 hours there and do like two hours of actual work. Maybe...

We're having this training. It started today and goes through tomorrow. I'm totally bored. We have no internet. It sucks. I decided to play minesweeper for a while...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I wanna neck, I wanna neck

I wanna necklace made of pearls

I wanna pet, I wanna pet
I wanna petticoat that swirls

And when the dam, dam, dam, dam
Damage is done
I'm gonna run, run, run, run, run, run, run
To granny's
Sweet granny's

Swingin' on the outhouse door
Without a nightie on
Grandpa's layin' on the floor

Singin' "Granny"
"Granny, won't you give me some more."


Okay, so I vaguely remember some people in high school singing this song. Does anyone else know where this comes from? Emily (with her post about childhood nursery rhymes) got me thinking about all this little ditties I've heard in my life.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Candy's Last Will and Testament

I've been thinking about wills lately. I realize that I have nothing to bequeath to anyone, but I have been thinking a bit about what I'd want done with my body once I die. How does that get decided? Do I need to have a formal will made up for that? I really don't want to be embalmed and put in some crazy casket. I don't want people to spend a bunch of money on something that gets buried with me. Really, just throw me in the ground as is or something. If you need to, I'll allow you all to cremate me. If you can, plant a tree on top of me.

If I'm all Teri Schiavo-ish, pull the plug. Yes, do it.

What is it that makes a will legally binding? I need to look this up. Jake said it's possible that wills might need to be notarized. I remember Lelani used to have a tool to notarize documents. I don't know how she got ahold of that thing. I remember being in her bedroom and she was notarizing pages in some of her books and she said to me, "Hey, need anything notarized?" What the hell is up with that?

Brighton, if you read this- do you have anything to add about wills? I know you've been looking some of that stuff up.

Anyone else? Do you care what happens to your body when you die?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spoons!

We've been collecting souvenir spoons at work. Anytime anyone goes anywhere, we ask them to bring a spoon! Here's a picture of the spoons we have so far on display just outside Cindy's desk:



So far, we have Tennessee, Chicago, Texas, New York, Delaware, Wisconsin, Georgia, Washington DC, Kansas, Virginia, Florida, Arizona, and Iowa. More will come soon!

Here's a picture of the Tennessee spoon. It's always a favorite:

Sunday, April 20, 2008

You Get What You Get and You Don't Throw a Fit

So, I know I've been negative about my job lately. Maria's told me to job hunt. Sarah's told me to check out a program on Oprah related to job satisfaction. But today, I've decided to write a blog focusing on some of the positive aspects of my job.

People quote Seinfeld quite often. I know this makes me fit in some weird way. When I would quote Seinfeld in grad school, people would say that they hated that show. I never really fit in too well there.

I work with highly intelligent people. They talk about current events and make all sorts of cultural references. I don't feel that I'm getting stupider at my job. It certainly beats working with children with special needs in that respect.

I can use the bathroom whenever I want.

I get to be on the computer and no one bothers me about what I'm doing. I can read on the job- yay! I had a co-worker at APTS tell me I shouldn't be reading a magazine once. Blargh.

I can go to CVS or walk down the street anywhere really and no one cares. I can be out for extended periods of time.

I can show up pretty much whenever I want and leave pretty much whenever I want. I do work regular hours just because I have this sense of responsibility and work ethic. I don't why I don't just get over that...

People go out for drinks at least once a week. We talk and complain and people seem to pretty much understand what I'm going through. So, yeah, it works out.

I'm still really leery about posting things about work on here. I think this sort of stuff is safe, but I wonder when it becomes against the rules. When I start talking about and naming specific people I work with? Is it okay if I disguise their identities? Some days I really, really want to blog about events that occur at my job because things happen weekly at least that are just totally bizarre. I sort of want to type up some of that stuff just so that it can go into my memoirs...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Advice and Consent- not just the responsibility of the Senate

I have had lots of downtime at work lately. I've also been shaken up by a number of things happening to people close to me. This has led me to think a number of things about my life and my relationships with people. Maybe thinking too much. I've also talked to a number of people about these things and reflected on them a bunch. Bouncing my feelings about things off others has allowed me to refine more of my thoughts on some of this, but now I'm going to try to write out some of these things and refine them a bit more. Maybe I'm trying to find consistency in places where there is none. I feel like I could go on writing for a long time about all my issues. I'm going to forget to put something down here, I just know it.

My mom stayed overnight in the hospital last weekend. She was having chest pain and shortness of breath. The doctors don't think it was a heart attack. But, yeah, it was enough to shake me up. It was also enough to feel resentment for not being told that she has had high blood pressure for quite a while now...now I have to factor in that I actually do have a family history of high blood pressure. I've been blaming my own high blood pressure on other things. I hate the bullshit of people not talking about things. I hate it, hate it, hate it...

This is also an issue for me at work. A coworker of mine told another coworker of mine to not say negative things around me because I'm young and impressionable. WTF? I'm irritated that it seems all sorts of people feel that I need to be sheltered. I hate being sheltered when I want to know things...wouldn't knowing things allow me to evaluate them? To prepare for things? To change my behavior if necessary? To check this person's perception of reality against my own?

I've been thinking about how it's difficult for me to criticize my mom. I'm afraid that she's going to get angry and have some sort of tantrum. She can get pretty scary that way sometimes. Cory is able to laugh it off when she gets angry, but for some reason, I get scared.

I've also been thinking that I am similar to my mom in some ways. I have these anxious freakouts sometimes when I am put in positions I am unhappy or uncomfortable with. I find myself speaking angrily to Jake over these things (getting lost places and/or having to drive in large amounts of traffic is a huge trigger event). I don't know sometimes how to disconnect myself from the stressful event and just calm down about it. I realize afterwards how stupid and irrational it is to get upset about such minor things, but somehow I can't stop this torrent of anger and blame coming out of my mouth towards Jake.

I also wonder if people are reluctant to tell me my flaws and weaknesses. I randomly blurted out the story to some coworkers about the time I painted black eyed susans on the Rip Van Winkle mural in the nursing home in Princeton and how Maria told me they were summer flowers, not spring flowers. I got a reaction from them that made it seem that they were sorry for me that Maria said that to me. I wasn't expecting that reaction from them. I think I told the story to say that it's important to be accurate, that people should plan and have discussions with each other ahead of time, and that I would like to know when I do things wrong. I just suck at telling stories sometimes. I don't know how to make people understand me.

What are other people's feelings on advice? Advice confuses me sometimes. I feel uncomfortable giving advice most of the time. This is part of my what my issue was with school psychology. I didn't like the idea of coming into a teacher's classroom and acting as though I know everything. This came across as a lack of confidence. I also lacked the faith that most people would even act on anything that I suggested.

At what point does it go beyond a healthy tooting of your own horn and into becoming arrogant and pompous?

I never know if anyone can offer good advice. Has anyone had advice that they can say has really worked for them?

I get mothering comments from some people at work occasionally. It makes me feel resentful toward them for saying those things. It also makes me think that there's no point in me saying anything because nothing I say will be taken seriously.

I don't know. I both want and reject any sort of direction from other people.

I can't figure anything out anymore. I confuse myself and I confuse other people because of all of my mixed feelings on everything.

Ugh.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Twenty-Six

My birthday is on Thursday. I'll be 26. I'm not sure if I feel old or young at this point. I feel as though I'm often told how I'm a child or a baby at work...or at least it's implied. I'm not entirely sure why. Am I too idealistic in thinking I want a purpose in what I do? Is it wrong to want things to have meaning? There are days when I wonder if things would be different if I worked with people less jaded. I wonder if there could be any change if there were a collective level of idealism instead of the pessimism I feel comes out from my coworkers sometimes. They're probably right in the end that it's not going to pan out and we aren't going to find a use for the information we're collecting. Sometimes I want to hold onto hope, though. It's probably naive, I know. I wonder if I'm even seen as immature for my age. Maybe I'm weirdly underdeveloped from a lack of social contact and experiences. I don't know when I'll ever feel mature. I think that if I continue to just have random experiences, it might not come exactly. I don't know where to pick out the patterns in my life quite yet. I know some are there, but I don't know where to focus. Where is the main theme?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Parents in Town

My parents came to town this past weekend. I was dreading it a bit, because I knew that they were expecting to sleep on the floor in my apartment and because they also talked about taking me to church out here. Luckily, they only spent one night on the floor and then went to Holiday Inn. I also somehow got out of the church thing. I'm not entirely sure how that happened, but my mom left the door wide open for me to say that I didn't want to go. So, we went on a segway tour around town on Easter instead. Here's a picture:



Yeah, I can't make sense of it. One hypothesis that I have is that my mom didn't want to piss me off too much while she was here. I think she wants to keep things amicable while I live far away. My mom also kept saying things to suggest that it was my grandpa that expected all of us to go to church, which I don't understand either...

Whatever.

I'm just glad to have gotten out of it and to have survived the whole thing.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Falling Behind

I constantly have the feeling that I'm not accomplishing everything I want. Do other people feel this way, too? I don't know if my day-to-day "to-do" lists are too ambitious or what...

Some of my recent examples of not measuring up to my own expectations:

  • I may shelve the idea of a weekly food blog. I did take pictures of a polenta chili bake I made two Sundays ago, but I've been too busy/stressed and possibly lazy to put them up. Oh, and the recipe was totally ad libbed, but I didn't bother to write it down. I think I'm waiting to make something more impressive before considering a recipe "authored". Yesterday, Jake and I made those brats and italian sausages from the guy who raises pigs in the woods on the grill. I didn't take any pictures though. Yup, the food blog is losing steam. Maybe if I make something cool once the CSA produce starts rolling in, I'll make some food posts...maybe.
  • I've been working on knitting this damn scarf for Jake for what seems like forever now. He'd better wear it after its finished.
  • When I started my job, I thought I'd get a lot more reading done, since I am on the train for 40-50 minutes total every day. However, I think my book reading is slowing down. I'll typically read the paper on the way into work. On my way back, I usually end up standing for at least part of the ride. So, I don't often get around to pulling out reading material coming home. Lately, I usually just listen to music. (Sidenote: I feel pressure to stay on top of the news constantly. Does anyone feel this? I feel like I need to be able to keep up with conversation at work...)

My parents were in town over the weekend. I want to try to write a blog about what we did and how things went. I may try to do that tomorrow...(Jake is busy with our cameras right now and I'll want to put in pictures).

Sometimes I really, really want to blog about work. A lot of what I want to say I don't think I should post online, though. Man, it's so tempting to do, though...

Maybe I can post about the disorganized catastrophe that was our last staff meeting. That might be safe. I wasn't over the line on the other staff meeting I posted about, was I? The one where we talked about the Meyers-Briggs?

There are things about how things operate at my job that I don't think I should put up, though. I also really want to write blurbs about the people I work with, but I wouldn't want them finding out I wrote about them or have their names up on here or anything.

Jeez, I wish I knew of a good set of rules about blogging about work. Maybe I should read up on examples of people who have been fired as a result of their blogs. Hmm...maybe I can do that while at work tomorrow.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Sunday Dinner 3


This is called "Spicy Vegetable Stew with Dhal". This came from a cookbook Maria gave me a long while back...

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

It seems McCain is getting his science briefs from Oprah...

Yeah, read this...whoops. I wonder if he'll put out any sort of statement to correct this comment.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Sunday Dinner 2


I forgot to put this up earlier...but yeah, I cooked again this week. It's called White Bean Jumble and has potatoes, white beans, kale, and tomatoes in it. It's from the book "Student's Vegetarian Cookbook", which has lots of quick, easy recipes in it.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

So, I've been talking to Jesus lately...

You should, too! It's hilarious!

Go here.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday Monday

Last week was a busy week. Here's some of the stuff I did:

On Tuesday, Jake and I went to Iota Cafe near Clarendon and saw Brian Vander Ark (the lead singer from the Verve Pipe). The Iota was a cool venue to see music. We sat at the bar and were only a few feet away from the stage. There were probably only 30-40 people in the audience. I also really enjoyed the opening act, Kristy Kruger. She's playing every state in memory of her brother, who died in the war. She said Virginia was the 20th state she's played.

On Wednesday, I went for drinks after work...

On Thursday, the PTO had free food at the Patent Office after work, so I sat with Jake and some of his coworkers.

On Friday, Jake and I went out with some of my coworkers to Zaytinya in Chinatown and ate mezze. Afterward, Jake and I made our way over to Hamilton's to watch Badger hockey against Minnesota. Jon, Ellen, Michelle, and Lisha were there. I got a margarita that was pretty much entirely alcohol. I watched the bartender pour it and he only put in a splash of mix...

On Saturday, Jake and I had a treat and went to Elevation Burger in Falls Church. It was the first time either of us have had a beef burger in a while. Woo...grass-fed beef! I totally want to own a franchise. Anyone else in?

Then, Jake and I helped out at a neighborhood clean-up. We found a whole car door out in this wooded area. I don't know how it got out there. We both had achy muscles afterward from hauling trash around. It felt good though. I was glad we were able to prevent some waste from finding its way into the watershed.

On Sunday, we went to the Ethical Society and listened to a talk on atheism. The speaker summarized the books from the "Four Horsemen" pretty well. It was nice to hear a thought-provoking talk and people's reaction to it. At least it got me going enough to have something to talk to Jake about later on. While we were there, the people were friendly and went out of their way to inform us about the group. They had coffee and snacks afterward. Jake really wanted to get to some of the treats that were on the table, but there was a flock of kids milling around. It was an interesting experience, but I'm not entirely sure if I'll go again. It does require the work of going out to Vienna on Sunday mornings. Also, there really wasn't anyone our age there. I don't know...I guess I'm still working out where to find my niche and where I really want to invest my free time.

So, today is Monday. I think I'm going to aim to take it easy tonight and relax. I need to hide these girl scout cookies I bought from myself. I already ate too many... crap, I can't plow through these suckers too fast. Oh, but I think that I need to put on some pajama pants now...I think I need something with a stretchy waist to accommodate me and my cookie-eating ways...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday Dinner

I've been wanting to do a weekly food blog, so here's my first attempt. I thought that I'd write about one meal I make a week. I think this will get more exciting as the spring and summer CSA season starts. Maybe I'll even get around to actually writing down those three recipes I want to write as part of my goals list.

So, my Sunday dinner was Persian Spinach and Black Eyed Peas. I got the recipe from Vegetarian Times. I've been wanting to make something with leeks, so this fit the bill. I also think it was the first time I've cooked black eyed peas. So, it was a little adventure. It wasn't bad, but I think I prefer dishes with some more spices in them.

Who Blogs?

I took Maria's suggestion to hit the "Next Blog" button and track whether the blog's author is male or female. I only did it twenty-five times, but here are my results:

Male bloggers: 8 (32%)
Female bloggers: 8 (32%)
Can't tell/ Multiple authors: 9 (36%)

I'm surprised at how many had multiple authors . Why am I not on a team blog? Who wants to start a team blog with me?

I know that I counted one blog that was a mother/daughter team as "female". I also questioned the gender of one or two authors...like, it says it's written by a woman, but could be written by a man posing as a woman.

Some blogs didn't seem very active (had only one post, for example), but I still counted them.

Also, I think more than half of my results came up in languages other than English. Which really shouldn't be surprising, since there are plenty of people out there who don't speak English as their native language. It just really highlighted to me how I think I really should know more about languages. Is it too late in my life to really pick up Spanish and be fluent?

So, those are the results of my study. Hope you all enjoy them! If anyone else feels like doing a replication of this, let me know how your findings come out.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Why Blog?

Jake and I were having a conversation about writing the other day. I said I like to feel that I have the time to sit and write down my thoughts (which feels harder to do lately...). Personally, it allows me to organize my thoughts and helps me to remember things. Jake said that blogging a) makes him leery because he doesn't want all of his thoughts out there for anyone to see and b) is kind of a chore. I said, "But how about just writing your ideas on paper so only you can see it?" Jake was like, "That's girly!" However, it also came out that he thinks that blogging is more of a girl activity. I disagreed, but neither of us had any evidence to back up our opinion. Does any one know stats on this? Are there more female than male bloggers? Do women blog more often than men? How do other people perceive this- is blogging more of a woman thing?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Finding Meaning

I'm having trouble finding any real meaning in my job. I've asked a few times about the real purpose of what we do, and can't find a satisfactory explanation. Other people I work with feel the same way. I've been told that by others that they do the work because they are being paid and because they want resume fodder to eventually move on. I'm trying to find a way to reframe my job in my mind to make it seem more worthwhile, but it's difficult.

So, since I can't find any meaning in my job, I'm working to find a purpose in my life somewhere else.

I came across the website for a group called the Northern Virginia Ethical Society. It seems to be like a church that's not a church, you know? I'm partly just looking for like-minded people to interact with. A few weeks back, I went to a group for atheists. But, I don't know if that is entirely my thing or not. I'd rather have the focus be on what I can do to be a better person rather than just bitch about religious people the whole time (although that can create some funny moments...). I can't really find a purpose in the atheist group because all their activities revolve around promoting atheism and not a lot else, though. I guess I don't have much of an atheist agenda...although I don't believe in god, I wouldn't make atheism my "religion". Does that make sense?

There are a couple of people from atheist group that I've invited to check out the ethical society thing. So, yeah, I think I'll check it out next Sunday and see if it's my thing at all.

Oh, and I'm trying to get more on the ball with doing good things for the environment. Ever since I've started my job, I feel like a terrible person for the amount of waste I produce. I eat out more, which creates all sorts of packaging waste. I sometimes go to this salad bar place that gives you these huge styrofoam containers. Hell, I thought styrofoam went out in, like, 1987. I'm also always printing stuff at my job (most of which doesn't need to be printed, but I do it anyway because people ask me for hard copies of things...), which feels like a waste of paper. Next Saturday, I plan to do a neighborhood clean-up with Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment. It won't make up for all my environmental evils as of late, but at least I'll be doing something. And, I'll get to cross something off of my list! (my list is my religion...just kidding...)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Derrr....

I read today that 20% of Americans think that the sun revolves around the Earth. (A National Science Foundation study cited in Susan Jacoby's Outlook article in the Post today said so...)

Shit, we're all screwed.

Are things going to become like the movie "Idiocracy" in another couple of generations?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Potomac Primary Day is Tomorrow

I vote tomorrow morning. I'm actually surprised because a month ago, I thought that by the time Virginia's primary rolled around, the nominees would be decided.

I'm excited. I'm voting for Obama. I'm hopeful that something good is going to happen this fall...there seems to be lots of commotion around this primary (which I've been told is actually a bit unusual).

Regarding the nomination for the Democratic candidate, I don't understand why there is such a thing as "superdelegates". What's up with that? Can someone justify to me why we have them? I heard that superdelegates started up in the 80s, and the last time they made a difference was when Walter Mondale ran. I think I'm going to be pissed if they are the ones that decide this thing, because it isn't clear to me why they should be given so much weight. Shouldn't the voting public decide?

I wondered to myself who my parents might possibly vote for in this upcoming election, so I mentioned something about it on the phone to my mom this past weekend. I basically got from her, "I'm already sick of hearing about it. I don't care for any of them."

Yes, the times are changing. Yay.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Flu News

I'm really finding news about influenza interesting this year, for some reason.

Anyway, today I read in the paper about how scientists didn't do a good job of predicting the right strains that would wind up circulating in the population this year. Check it out here.

And, I learned that this week is when scientists meet up in Geneva to come up with the next flu season's vaccine. It seems really early to figure that out. I suppose that's why this season's vaccine didn't take into account this Brisbane mutation and some other stuff, though.

Is this even interesting to anyone else?

I work in Dilbert.

Communication at my job sucks a lot of the time.

Some examples:
My boss walked over to Sabrina's desk one day. He said to her, "Could you tell Candy to do..." She thought to herself, "Or, you could walk two steps in the opposite direction and tell her yourself..."

One day, there was a meeting scheduled in the conference room. Several of my coworkers were sitting in the room waiting for my boss to arrive before they started. As they were sitting there, he emailed them to say he wasn't going to be able to make it. Yup, not exactly the best way to communicate that information...

So, anyway, everyone else at my job had to go through a performance evaluation recently and provide feedback to our boss about how things are going (I didn't because I'm too new). They all told him that, basically, communication sucks. Soooo, my boss's "solution" to this was to have us all take this Meyers-Briggs type test and to schedule a brown bag lunch to discuss communication styles. (Take the test here! I came out as INTJ, the "Mastermind" or the "Logical Visionary"...) Our meeting on this test started off with my boss saying that he didn't think the test came up with the right type for him, so he told us what type he thought he was instead. He didn't prepare anything for us to discuss about the test. However, I did make copies of a handout on Meyers-Briggs, which everyone had and sat and stared at for a while. Another woman that I work with took the initiative to ask everyone what their profile was and write it on the whiteboard. Overall, the meeting was disorganized and nothing was really communicated too well. Cindy had the same profile as me and during the meeting she talked a lot about how it's important to have clear definitions of what it is we're doing and how it is important to touch base with each other on a regular basis. After she was done talking, my boss called on me to ask if I agreed with everything she said because, obviously, if we had the same profile, we're clones or something...

Ah, yes...

Monday, February 04, 2008

Delaware. I'm in Delaware.


Well, I'm in Wilmington, Delaware for work right now. I'm in my hotel room because there is nowhere I'd want to go around town. The town is frankly quite run-down. The only nice buildings I've seen are some of the skyscrapers owned by the credit card companies (lots locate here for DE's very tax-friendly environment, I guess), the courthouse, and this building on the riverfront that had a restaurant in it as well as a food market and some other shops.

Things I've learned about Delaware:
Their state bird is the blue hen. See the picture above.
Wilmington is said to be the first city in the country to install security cameras downtown in an attempt to curb crime.
Delaware actually did worse on their second CFSR (Child and Family Service Review- the way the Feds check up on how the state child welfare agency is performing) than on their first.

Uplifting, eh?

I watched five dependency court hearings today and I should see four more tomorrow. It's interesting to see the process and to see the families that come in for these things. I don't know if it gets quite as exciting as seeing a "Who's my baby's daddy?" episode on Jenny Jones, but it's pretty darn close. Definitely more excitement than going to the office.

Monday, January 28, 2008

BRAT

I'm home sick from work today. I woke up with a stomach flu (which isn't the same as influenza...what the vaccine prevents). Well, I'm pretty sure that it's stomach flu and not food poisoning because Jake and I ate the same thing for dinner and he is totally fine. Some women that I work with were sick/throwing up last week, so my best guess is that it's a virus I picked up from them. I'm still trying to figure out what I can eat that won't make me nauseous.

Some reading on WebMD led me to what's called the "BRAT diet". It recommends bland, easy to digest foods. BRAT stands for: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.

Luckily, we have all those foods in our apartment right now. However, I don't think it's worth it to cook up rice right now, the way I'm feeling...

Does the fact that I want to pronounce BRAT like "bratwurst" instead of like the the word for a spoiled child show that I'm from Wisconsin? Or does it make sense because bratwurst is a food and would make sense in front of the word diet?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Farms!

I'm super pumped because I went to the farmer's market this morning and there are two new meat vendors there.

One sells pork from forest-fed pigs.

The other one sells grass-fed beef.

Awesome... so, Jake and I got brats and Italian sausage from the pig guy, and a roast from the beef people. Maybe we'll have some meat meals in a couple of weeks.

It's making me hopeful that sustainable farming is really catching on and that awareness is growing about the environmental and health effects of factory farms.

Oooh! And Farmer John (our CSA farmer) emailed me this week to say that he's doing some spring crops if I want to get in on some veggies before the big summer season. I'll probably also start buying eggs from him. Yay for farms! Yay for locavores!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

MLK weekend

Jake and I skiied Saturday at Bryce Resort. I think I've decided that skiing is not really my thing. I find myself freaking out about injuring myself more than really enjoying or feeling exhilarated by speeding along downhill. I took a class before Jake and I hit the slopes and felt proud of myself for not falling and generally being able to control myself pretty well compared to most of the other people taking the class. However, going down the hill later on was painful. I really try to go pretty slow, which can be painful on my knees. Also, the ski boots really killed my calf muscles. They've hurt the past couple of days. I really notice it when I walk down stairs.


Saturday night, we met up with Daine in Charlottesville. We went out for dinner and then hit a couple of places for drinks. I was glad to see Daine and catch up somewhat. He lives in a different apartment than he did the last time Jake and I went to see him (in fall 2006). He also let me know that Alison is engaged and will probably have her wedding this summer. However, the pace of drinking with Daine was too much for me. I had too many beers in too short of a time span. I should have known to cut myself off. I was definitely feeling it after a beer or two at dinner, but I had more after that when we went to a different bar and then to a pizza place. I think I was mostly drinking so that we could have something to do while we socialized. I really should have switched to soda or something, because once we got back to Daine's apartment, I threw up in his kitchen sink and Jake had to help me out to the car and back to our hotel room.


I woke up Sunday morning hung over and feeling like a disgusting person. I'm really ready to not drink beer for a good while.


On Sunday afternoon, I was feeling better and Jake and I toured Monticello. Monticello was cool. Thomas Jefferson was the man. I'm sure it would have been a lot better to go at a time when there is warm weather, but I was still impressed. I decided that I want to live in Monticello. I want the big vegetable garden and the cellars for my wine. I want the plantation lifestyle...only I'll call it a "co-op".


We headed back home yesterday. We drove through Culpeper and stopped for lunch at a tavern there. I wouldn't recommend the tavern... I got sick eating clam chowder and Jake ordered a sandwich that took them forever to make. The rest of the day was pretty low-key while we did chores around the apartment after getting back home.


Monday, January 21, 2008

I think Journalism majors should be required to have a course in the proper way to cover science news.

We stayed at a hotel in Charlottesville this weekend, which gave me chance to sit and watch tv. I typically don't get to see how stories are covered in television news. I felt utterly bombarded by the news story about the study that found that women who drank more than two cups of coffee a day while pregnant were more likely to have a miscarriage. I know I saw it on Fox News, CNN, and in USA Today this morning. Of course, the news media sensationalized the whole thing by saying caffeine "doubles" a woman's chance of a miscarriage. I get really annoyed when I hear science news and no one reports n's and I have no real way of evaluating exactly how risky certain behaviors are. Luckily, the New York Times did a slightly better job of covering it. Here's the article.

I love the quote at the end that talks about moderation and how human beings are more robust than dying off over tiny bits of any one things during pregnancy. I'm glad the Times actually tries to temper the freak out factor a bit. Oh, and I'm glad they tried to discuss a bit of the scientific debate surrounding the results because it is only one study. Kudos, New York Times.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Awesome...

This made me smile:

http://www.theonion.com/content/amvo/study_counters_autism_vaccination

Now they just need to replace the first woman's head with Jenny McCarthy's and it would be perfect!

Monday, January 14, 2008

ATM Fees

Jake and I went out for dinner at Bar Louie in Chinatown with a group of people on Saturday. When the bill came, he and our friend Rob both realized that they didn't have enough cash to pay for dinner (and splitting up the check would have been a major pain at that point...), so they went out into the lobby/movie theater area right outside the bar to find an ATM. When they tried to use the ATM, they realized that the fee to use the machine was $8. $8!?!?! I think that is the most ridiculous ATM fee I've ever heard. Highway robbery for sure. Well, Jake didn't use the machine, and he's lucky because I had enough cash on hand to pay for both of us...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

DON'T FLINCH

How to win a silent auction and how to be lucky at an alumni event.

Jake and I went to a DC Badger Alumni event Thursday night at Hamilton's Bar and Grill. I heard about it through an alumni email and signed up because they advertised free beer and wine with admission and because the money they earned goes to a scholarship fund for DC area students who want to attend Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the only free beer was Coors Light (wtf?). Otherwise, though, it turned out to be a pretty good night for Jake and me. Jon and Ellen didn't come, but we hung out with Scott, who usually comes to watch the football games with us. Then, Jake and I each won prizes in a raffle. I got a "Visit Milwaukee" cooler bag, headband, and coffee mug. Jake won "Don't Flinch", Barry Alvarez's autobiography. It was only after he grabbed it off the prize table, came back to mingle with people, and started flipping through the book when he realized it was signed by Barry himself!

There was also a silent auction, which Jake and I got into as well. I decided that I was interested in winning a behind-the-scenes tour of the National Zoo and the Baltimore Aquarium, so I bid on it. A man named "Tom C." kept bidding after me. Jake figured out who he was and pointed him out to me. I was going to wait him out and head straight over to the tables at 8:30 (when the bidding was to end) to try to win it. Fortunately, we saw Tom C. leave the building a bit before 8:15, so I swooped in and put in my bid. We watched the papers get picked up at 8:30, and we think that I had the winning bid for the Zoo tour and that Jake had the winning bid on a Bo Ryan signed basketball. We're waiting for the alumni chapter to call and confirm our good fortune.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A Few Random Christmas Pictures:

I learned recently that by posting photos on Facebook, you grant Facebook rights to ownership and distribution. What's up with that? Anyhow, here are a few pictures for your amusement:

Me singing karaoke with my cousins. "All-Star" by Smash Mouth. Oh yes, I am so damn cool...

Jake got a head lamp from my parents. I never knew he was into spelunking. My parents must know something I don't...
My parents and Jameson at my grandpa's house.

The Manthei residence on Christmas morning.

Update on Goal List

Well, since I have so much going on with my 50 things before my second wedding anniversary list, I haven't made any specific, formal New Years Resolutions. However, I think I'm going to have to be prepared to make more goals soon, because I'm racing through the list. I have solidly completed 16 items on the list. (The most recent thing I completed was #29- seeing Jenny Owen Youngs at the Kennedy Center on Saturday.) It's likely that I will complete two more items over Martin Luther King weekend. Jake and I are talking about going skiing in the Blue Ridge Mountain area (where I could take a skiing class- #13) and then checking out Monticello (#32). #23, #30, #36, and #37 are well underway. I'm only about 6 months into a list that's supposed to take 2 years and in my mind, I'm close to halfway through...I suppose a lot of the hardest ones are left, though.

I'm really tempted to add new goals. Is it silly to come up with secondary lists now that I'm getting bored of my main list?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

Well, I'm back in DC now. I'm ready to try to start getting into something of a routine once again. Being home forced me to deal with: my mom's anger and grumpiness surrounding the holidays, lots of snow, lots of germs being passed around (which caused me to get sick during the 2nd half of my trip), my grandma randomly breaking into racist rants, and much more! Now that I'm back, I'm currently dealing with a 5+ pound weight gain (every time I go home, there's all sorts of unhealthy food lying around and I end up grazing on it...ugh...I gained weight while at home for the wedding, too...), general grogginess involved in recovering from a cold, the fact that the heat in our apartment had to be fixed again today (which required having our landlord in our apartment for a couple hours this afternoon), and the feeling that I really need to get my stuff organized because I'm trying to incorporate Xmas gifts into my life. I'm really glad that I don't live close to my family because then they can't buy me a lot more shit. I need to be able to get my Xmas gifts back on the plane.

I'm happy that I got a chance to see my family and hang out with some friends, but part of me really thinks that maybe next year I should go to Mexico for the holidays.

Wow, I feel like such a big complainer lately...

Anyway, I guess if I had to have one overarching "resolution" for the New year, it would be:
Get on (and keep) a routine that is healthy for both my physical and mental well-being.

I feel all over the place lately. However, right now, I'm feeling ready for a new start. My landlord finally left our apartment just a bit ago, I got to have a shower after a couple of days of grossness, and I'm ready to relax and prepare myself to return to work tomorrow.