Friday, September 18, 2009

List 2.0!

Here's my new list. It's shorter than the previous one, but maybe that means I'll hit a higher percentage overall in the end. It took me a while to publish this. I've actually already accomplished a couple of things (going to Berkeley Springs and canning salsa). Maybe I'll hit a higher percentage of accomplishments this time around.

By July 14, 2011:

1. Take a trip to a country outside of North America
2. Go fruit picking
3. Plant a row for the hungry
4. Get a manicure/pedicure
5. Shoot a gun
6. Can my own salsa
7. Go camping
8. Bake bread
9. Take pictures with the SLR camera and print at least two of my own pictures to hang in our house
10. Visit 2 new national parks I haven't seen before
11. Tour 2 breweries I haven't been to before
12. Go to Berkeley Springs, WV
13. Complete a sewing project
14. Do a scotch tasting
15. Eat oysters
16. Complete four landscaping projects
17. Take another trip with friends
18. Write a personal email to catch up with friends at least once a month
19. See a movie at AFI Silver
20. Make our house more energy efficient
21. Brew beer
22. Go back to Wolf Trap to see a concert and have a picnic
23. Learn basic bicycle repair
24. Sleep under the stars somewhere without a lot of light pollution.
25. Obtain a graduate certificate or take at least three graduate-level courses toward another degree.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Two Year Anniversary

The traditional gift for the two-year anniversary is cotton and the modern gift is china. What's the post-modern gift? Goal-attainment.

Well, my two year wedding anniversary is in two days. I suppose I need to account for how my list went.

Overall, I had some good adventures these past couple of years. The list gave me things to look forward to and pushed me to try to do things I wouldn't normally do at times. I'd say there was more excitement for the list at first and that has waned as time went on, however. It was also easier to focus on the list for the first few months when I didn't have a full-time job. I don't know if two years was a good time frame or not. It did take me a while to achieve some of the things on the list, so I suppose it needed to be longer than a year or a few months.

I estimate that I have completed 72-80% of the the things on my list, depending on how credit is given. I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Maybe it's average?

Here are some of the things that weren't completed:
4. Write a song
I did start a few times. I recorded a guitar riff I had made up onto my computer. I wrote myself a few little ideas for lyrics. It never came together.

5. Go canoeing.
I went tubing a couple of times instead. I would still like to get out in a canoe at some point, however. I wonder if it's more common to canoe in Wisconsin than out here on the East Coast.

6. Visit either Mexico or the Caribbean
I think I put this on the list thinking Jake and I might do one of these for our honeymoon. However, I did go on the Costa Rica trip. That was cool.

14. Learn to tell five more good jokes
I'm not entirely sure why this didn't happen. I only count learning one more joke in two years. That's pretty pathetic. Maybe my sense of humor isn't broad enough to find a lot of things funny. I read through jokes trying to think if I even considered them funny and mostly I didn't. Someone tell me a funny joke so I can memorize it!

17. Gain the upper body strength to do a pull-up
I'm pretty sure I thought this was not going to happen even as I wrote it into my list.

18. Stop being overweight.
As of last summer, I had lost 10 lbs. since the start of the list which was pointed out to me at a doctor's appointment. However, since last summer, I gained it all back. Eh, oh well.

24. See at least 5 new states I haven’t visited before
I wound up short one state. I thought I was going to get to go to Arizona on a helicopter ride, but because of flight delays out to Vegas I had to miss that. I also briefly thought that I'd get to go to Georgia for work, but that didn't happen either.

33. Write either my Congressman or Senator at least 3 times about issues I care about (using my own words, not form emails)
Yup, just didn't do this.

34. Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper or magazine
I think I may have started once or twice. Huh, I wonder why I haven't been able to get fired up enough about anything to do this.

35. Go to another continent besides North America
Again, just didn't happen. I really need more vacation time. And, you know, more money.

These are some things that are questionable as to whether I completed:
25. Throw a dinner party
We did have a party at our house where we invited over a bunch of people, I made a couple of salads, and we grilled. I'm not sure if this counts as a "dinner party". I suppose it might.

40. Trace Jake’s and my ancestry at least back to Europe on each side to have a family tree for our children
After our wedding, I did pull together most of this. We have it in a booklet in our house. It's good enough for now, I suppose.

39. Make Jake go to see a musical with me
Jake and I are seeing a musical on July 17th, which is three days after our actual anniversary. However, it is also in celebration of our anniversary, so maybe it can count?

47. Go to a book signing and get a signed copy of a book
I've been to a couple of book talks/signings since I made the list. I even stood there while Jake got a signed copy of a book by Amy Goodman for his mom. But, I didn't do anything to get my own signed copy of a book.

Some of the things on my list I wound up doing more than once. I saw a couple of shows at the Birchmere and I hiked in Great Falls on two separate occasions. I suppose I don't get double credit for those things.

So, what's next? I'm in the process of making another list. I have a few ideas I'm working on and hopefully I'll publish that soon. It'll probably be for another two-year time frame. I'm open to suggestions. What's something awesome I should do before 2011?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Fertility Rates by Education Level

I just read that women in Ethiopia who haven't gone to school have an average of six children, while the women who have a secondary education have two children. This made me wonder what the stats are for women in the US. I'd definitely think that women with less education probably tend to have more kids, but how many more? I asked Jake what he thought the difference was, and his initial response was that he thought that women with a high school diploma probably have, on average, 1 more kid than women with a bachelor's. I wonder if it is even that high...That difference of four kids in Ethiopia is incredibly high. I suppose that was surprising.

I'm not sure where to look up number of kids by education level in the United States. Does anyone have suggestions about places to look? I sort of doubt that it's within Census information at all. It'd be a bit tricky to get accurate information on this. The numbers might change generationally, and a final number of children couldn't be calculated until a woman has finished her reproductive years.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Worlds are colliding.

Some days (a lot of days actually), I think I have too many worlds colliding.  I think I need to try to stop having that happen so much.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

April has pretty much flown by...

It feels like the month just started and now all of the sudden it's the 30th. Yeah, my age went up by a year at the start of the month and that hasn't even registered with me. I'm trying to think what even happened this month.

We did have plenty of visitors this month and got plenty of baseball in as well, I suppose. My parents were here at the beginning of the month. We saw an exhibition game at the Nationals Stadium with them. Last weekend, Maria and Rexx came to stay with us. We took a drive up to Baltimore with them to see an Orioles game at Camden Yards.

We got to a few things out in the yard and garden. We bought a push mower thinking that we'd use that for our yard, but that turned out to be a lot of work. So, we wound up getting the riding lawnmower left behind by our house's previous residents repaired so that we could cut our grass. Jake spent a ton of time planting arborvitaes along one of our fence lines one weekend. Maria told me that arborvitae means "tree of life", which she thinks comes from some stranded explorers needing to subsist on eating tree bark at one point in time.

We got a patio set for outside. We grilled twice this month. Once on our own and once with Maria and Rexx. Yeah, I'm ready to get some use out of the outdoor area at our house.

I think the dog put on four pounds in the last month. Should that concern me? I'm pretty sure she was a healthy weight when we got her, so I'm afraid I've been overfeeding/underexercising her. We have a vet appointment for her on Monday, so I suppose that is one thing I can ask about when we go in. We never did get her medical records from the animal rescue league, even though we've been bothering them to send them. I hope she's not going to have to get a whole bunch of shots or something when we take her in.

Huh. I guess when I sit down to think about it, a lot has actually happened this April. Well, I got my blog entry in for the month! I guess I need to make my May Day plans for tomorrow now!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

We have a new member of our family!

Here's our new dog! She's a hound/beagle mix we've named Lainey:

Also, I started a new blog. It's called Dose of Cute. You all should send me things to include on it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

How much is that doggie in the window?

It's been a struggle to adopt a dog. It's starting to feel like we're in some sort of competition where judges are looking to eliminate us.

One of first steps we took toward our dog search was showing up at an adoption event at Petco about a month ago. It was totally chaotic. There were people and dogs everywhere. It was not clear who was a volunteer and who wasn't. We did finally track down a volunteer who told us that if we were interested in a dog at the event, we needed to fill out an application and a vet check, sit down for separate interviews, set up a home visit, sign a contract in blood, etc., etc. At that point, we decided that we weren't ready to do all the paperwork or anything, especially since we didn't have a particular dog in mind.

So, we've followed up by looking online for dogs that look interesting. Jake has sent out several emails and has also filled out a couple of applications. He hasn't even had a response to some of his emails. One place in Maryland rejected our application. They didn't even tell Jake why at first. Jake just got a response that basically just said, "Nope, you are rejected." So, Jake followed up and asked about it and they responded that it was because Jake said on the application that our backyard fence is four feet high. They said that it needed to be at least five feet high or the dog might be able to get out.

Then, we saw this dog, named "Joey":

Jake filled out an application, and we got a response to come to the next adoption event to meet him. We showed up, and the volunteers there told us we needed to wander around to try to find him ourselves. When we did find the dog, a couple and their teenage son were also there looking at the dog. We walked up and said that we had filled out the paperwork for Joey online. The family that was there said that they had also filled out the forms. They then launched into a story about how their terrier had recently passed away. The son was kneeling down on the ground with his camera phone, flashing Joey a picture of their previous dog. The volunteer standing around told us that Joey was very hesitant, has a lot of separation anxiety, and would do best in a house with another dog. Well, Jake and I did say that we both work and couldn't be at home with the dog all day long. The other family brought up that the husband had a home office and Joey could just curl up by his feet all day long. It seemed as though the volunteer was trying to steer us away from going through with the rest of the application process. It did feel pretty hopeless with this other family standing right there trying to sound like a better fit the whole time. Joey does have a brother, who had just received medical attention the same week we went in. We didn't go through the whole interview process for Joey, because it seemed pretty futile to us. We said we'd wait to see when Joey's brother becomes available, which the volunteers seemed to think would be in a week or two. It's been two weeks, we've sent follow-up emails, and haven't heard anything back from the animal rescue team. So, yeah, I think we've been rejected from the dog adoption an email saying "You have been rejected" pretty much does sum it up. I think if we get another one of those emails, our next step is just to drive to West Virginia or Kentucky and pick up a dog from the side of the road somewhere.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

So, this does pretty much sum it up...

I took a "Career Advancement Test" online just now. Here are my results. Sorry they aren't pretty looking or in a chart, but I didn't have a way to link to the results page:

Snapshot Report
Your answers showed that you are ready to take on more stimulating tasks than you presently have at work. You may even find yourself feeling bored and would welcome some more difficult or demanding duties. Either you feel you have reached a high level of competency in your current position or it was never sufficiently challenging for you to begin with.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Can blogging make you happier?

Check this out. Thanks kids, for creating more social connections through blogging. :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

I went to a garden party/ To reminisce with my old friends

I'm getting antsy to start trying to do gardening. We got this hydrangea at our housewarming party, and I want to find a place for it outside:

It was doing fine for a while, then some of its leaves got a bit crunchy. I hope I can get it to survive until I'm able to get it outside.

Jake and I went to Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria on Valentine's Day. I've started some flower seeds in little pots. I chose penstemon digitalis, because the description I read said that the plants attract bees and hummingbirds. The seeds are super small. I could barely even see them as I put them in the pots. I'm afraid nothing is going to come up. Jake chose a plant called liatris spicata. I really need to learn the common names of these things. Go Google! Okay, the common name of mine is "beard tongue" and Jake's is "blazing star".

I also have a bunch of seed packets of vegetables, but haven't tried to start any of them yet. I have 2 kinds of tomatoes, 2 kinds of peppers, lettuce, mesclun, and cucumber. I'm not sure how much I should try to start. On the one hand, I don't want to start trying to grow too many things at once and become overwhelmed. On the other, I want to make sure that I'm successful at growing something (even if it is just one thing) and the more things I try, the more likely it is that something will work out.

Oh, and I got flowers from Jake on V-day. I just told one of my coworkers that I can't remember the last time I got flowers, so this was cool. He also bought the vase for me on etsy. Here are pictures:

Friday, January 30, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

Okay, I'm doing this "25 Things" deal because I've seen so many people on facebook do it. I'm not going to "tag" anyone, but I do enjoy reading other people's lists. So, if you haven't made one and want to, go ahead and do it. I'll probably sit and read it and enjoy it.

Here goes:

1. I was the only girl in my grade school class from Kindergarten through 3rd grade and then again from 6th through 8th grade.

2. My sister and I shared a bedroom until I was in 5th grade. We would talk to each other until late into the night sometimes. I remember we would make plans to live next to each other when we grew up and have dinners and barbeques over at each other's houses.

3. I have two best friends with whom I have been close since high school. Maria lives in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Lelani currently lives in Wisconsin not far from where we grew up, though she did go to college in Pennsylvania and also lived in Vermont for a while.

4. I have lived in the following cities: Princeton, WI; Madison, WI; Eau Claire, WI; Arlington, VA; and Alexandria, VA.

5. I love the show "Seinfeld". I know they call it the show about nothing, but at the same time I still find a way to relate it to everything.

6. I like drinking bloody marys. I like it when they basically show up as a meal in a glass along with a beer chaser. That seems to happen back in Wisconsin. I don't see them presented quite the same way in DC.

7. I grew up in the Midwest, but for some reason, thought of myself as being more aligned with the ideology of people on the West Coast. I wound up living on the East Coast.

8. When I was growing up, my parents competed in an annual trivia contest that played on a local radio station. It was 21 hours of trivia and my dad would collect books from libraries all around to have on hand to look up answers and call in. This was back in the day before everyone had the internet. I'd look forward to it every February. It was practically another holiday to where we'd get to stay up all night and eat Twizzlers and Chex Mix.

9. During my junior and senior years of college I lived in an apartment with 5 other girls. It was a really weird apartment. I think it was some sort of office that got converted into an apartment. We had an "Exit" sign that lit up our living room.

10. I taught myself how to play the guitar when I was 13. I'd been playing trumpet since I was in 3rd or 4th grade. I thought for a while that I wanted to have a career related to music. When I was 16, I took private trumpet lessons with a professor in Oshkosh, because my high school band teacher thought I should. Then the professor kicked me out of the lessons because I wasn't practicing as much as he wanted me to and because my musical ability wasn't improving as quickly as he wanted.

11. I like cooking, and I want to get better at baking.

12. Before I got married/engaged, I didn't want an engagement ring. I told Jake to get me something practical. Then, I backtracked and said that if Jake wanted to give me an engagement ring to show that we were engaged, he could. I think I confused him so much that he wound up giving me a ring, a trip to NYC, and a laptop as engagement gifts.

13. I gave Lelani a cheap gaudy ring from Claire's when I asked her to be my maid of honor. It was over a candlelit dinner of Domino's pizza.

14. When I die, I really don't want to be embalmed.

15. When the war in Iraq broke out, I was on vacation in Paris. There were huge protests there.

16. When I was little, I threw up in the movie theater while watching the Disney movie Cinderella.

17. I once went trick-or-treating with two friends on Labor Day. I think we seriously confused an old lady.

18. I wish I were better at speaking Spanish. I took four semesters in college. I understand a lot of what people say to me when they speak in Spanish, but I am never confident enough to actually keep a conversation going.

19. I never liked watching sports all that much until I went to Badger football and hockey games in college. I still don't like watching any sporting events as much as I liked watching those games in person with the crowd chants and the band playing.

20. I tend to be an early riser. I always got up on the weekends before my college roommates. I always beat Jake out of bed, too.

21. When I lived in Madison, I was a participant in a study about emotional regulation. I had to go in for 3 MRIs and get shown a series of images. I got paid a few hundred dollars.

22. I have a scar on my left arm from donating plasma for money while I was in college.

23. I hated swimming lessons as a kid. I remember my mom bribed me into going to my swim lessons one summer by telling me that if I went to all the lessons, she would buy me Super Mario Bros. 3 for the Nintendo.

24. I don't remember the day my sister was born, but I remember the day my brother was born. My great-grandpa had died recently, and we were cleaning out his house. My parents left for lunch and didn't come back. My grandparents took us over to their house and we watched the Miss America pageant on tv. My dad showed up in the middle of night to wake us up and say, "It's a boy!"

25. I never got a traffic ticket until I moved out East. Then, I got two in one year. One was for an illegal U-turn here in Virginia, and the other was because I was going too slow in the left lane of the highway while in New Jersey.