Thursday, December 31, 2009

Bailey's New Bear

video
Santa left some presents for me at Buffy's house (my new coworker). One of the presents was a little white bear. I decided to open it up, pour in some catnip, and give it to Bailey. She loves it. She's licked it and slobbered on it so much that the catnip inside has gotten wet and the bear is turning green!

Sorrel

I got to try Sorrel yesterday thanks to Ross's coworker Ainsmar. I'm referring to the Jamaican drink, not the green leafy vegetable. Ross brought it to me in an insulated mug and told me to guess what was in it. As soon as I opened it I realized it had ginger in it, and possibly cloves. When I tasted it I knew it was fire and water. The ginger is the fire, but I couldn't figure out what the water element was. My best guess was apple juice. If I'd seen the color of the liquid I might have figured it out on my own. The water element is sorrel, which is also known as hibiscus or jamaica (in Spanish). I really enjoyed it. It kind of reminded me of the cucumber-ginger drink we had in Jamaica and the apple-lemon-ginger juice from CM. Very good. Thanks Ainsmar.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Snow Special

Bailey liked licking up the snow that she dragged in from the porch, so every day (sometimes twice a day) she's been getting a special treat. Ross scoops up a bowl full of snow from the balcony and she eats some snow, and then licks up the water as it melts. Last night the balcony was pretty much cleared, so I ran downstairs to get her some snow. She's so spoiled! The rain yesterday and today (along with higher temperatures) has pretty much melted the snow, so it will be a while before she has special snow water again.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Work

Working is hard work! I'm exhausted! Ha!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow and Stuff

We have quite a bit of snow out there and it is continuing to snow heavily. It looked like a great day for the movies. We drove the Subaru around and I think Ross had fun skidding around a bit. The stores are all closing and the movie theater was closed. Lame! You'd think they would know how to handle snow here. Apparently not. I think the state of Maryland has declared a state of emergency. Wha? I remember going to the movies in our 4wd truck when we lived in Nebraska. So much fun. Oh well. We have The Wrestler from Netflix sitting here, so we will watch that. At least I got to go out in my wellies and fur coat.

Now, let me rant. People around here don't know how to drive. Not just in inclement weather, but all the time. They just LOVE to tailgate. Anyway, we are cruising down the road today and nobody had their lights on, despite the heavy snowfall. I like to be able to see people's tail lights. They don't turn on their lights in the rain either. The other thing that drives me crazy is how people drive with their hazards on. In some states it is illegal to drive with your hazard lights flashing. Hazard lights are for alerting people that you are stopped on the side of the road, not for when you are scared to drive, so you are driving obnoxiously slowly. Okay, I feel better now that I've ranted. Time to watch a movie.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It is Officical

I have a job. I applied for the job 2 months ago, and now I'm officially hired and cleared to work. I even have an email address! It seems my ID# and email address are the real measures of my existence at Johns Hopkins. I'll pick up my badge tomorrow when I'm down at the hospital.

My official job title is Research Program Assistant II. I will be working with the RIVUR study. My job is to organize all the old paperwork, make sure everything is up to date, and then keep things running smoothly after that. We have 30 patients, and we are a couple of months behind in paperwork, so I have plenty to do.

I'm hoping to learn a lot about how research studies work. Whenever this is over (we have at least one year left on our grant) I will finally have some clinical research experience. When things are finally running smoothly I'm hoping to learn how to draw blood and insert IVs (on children). Also, I may be able to go into surgery with the doctor that I'm working under.

One of the best parts of the job is the flexibility. I will be able to do some work from home and I won't have to go into the city every day. Being back at work full time is going to be very, very strange. So far Bailey doesn't like it. I need to remember to turn on the radio and leave a light on for her. By the time we get home it is dark.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Scripted Answers

I still haven't come up with something to say when I hear someone say something hateful. It needs to be short, direct, and non-emotional. I don't want to sound like a crazy person (even though I am).

Another hot button topic--the fact that I'm a doctor. When people ask if I'm a nurse there is an easy answer--No. But generally people aren't satisfied with that and want to know how the hell I know the big fancy word for tummy grumbles (borborygmi) or something like that. I suppose I could just answer "No, I'm a doctor." but that seems to open up a whole other can of worms that I don't want to deal with (primarily "What kind of doctor?").

I finally got a job (more on that later) and I'm going to be working with a nurse. If I say I'm a doctor it automatically gives me more authority (in most people's minds), but in reality she will be my supervisor. Skirting around the issue this week was awkward. I don't want to be a bitch, but I don't like talking about that part of my life. I still see it as unfinished business, and that is really painful.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pop and Crunch

Well, I'm on day three of my 10 day bootcamp. I did all my workouts on day 1 and 2. Today I still have to do the shred. My calves are super stiff and sore. The scale moved a bit yesterday, but nothing today. I'm really amazed that I've stuck with it this far. No excuses. My knees are crunching and popping, but I'm still working out. I'm avoiding back lunges on my right side and just doing one legged squats instead. Watching the Biggest Loser finale last night was a bit inspiring. I always get riled up when the girls weigh less than I do. I've been doing pretty well on the No C diet too. Time to rehydrate and then work out.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Plan

So, trying on pants this weekend was eye opening (and pout inducing). The bottom line is that I've been eating non-stop and I can't remember the last time I worked out (other than yoga). All that bad behavior has caught up with me. The scale is up and while trying on pants I realized how lumpy bumpy I've become. I've got to get back with the program. The plan is to do Jillian Michael's shred dvd and a Firm (cardio or sculpt) dvd every day for the next 10 days. I will also do booty exercises every other day for the next two weeks. Ross's company Christmas party is in 10 days, so that has given me extra motivation.

Valerie and I are planning to start Jillian Michaels 30 Day shred for 30 days straight starting on January 1st. Anyone else want to join in?

I almost forgot to mention. I'm also on the no C diet for the next week. If I don't start having nightmares then maybe I'll go No C for 10 days. That's about when I start dreaming about Cake and Cheese.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

National Aquarium Dollar Days

It was one dollar, yes, one dollar for general admission to the National Aquarium in Baltimore this weekend. I wanted to see the jelly fish exhibit, so we headed down this morning. Thankfully we didn't have to stand in line very long to get tickets. Once inside we headed straight to see the dolphins and jellyfish. The jellyfish exhibit was awesome. I forgot my camera, so these shots are from Ross's cell phone.

The aquarium wasn't as crowded and crazy as I thought it would be. Things ran pretty smoothly until we reached the
entry to the rain forest area. We had to wait in line and then shuffle through the whole exhibit. The aquarium has a new octopus, but unfortunately we didn't get to see it. It was behind the scenes getting settled. We spent about two and a half hours in the aquarium. I'm not sure what my favorite part--but I always enjoy the Amazon exhibits.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Statue of Liberty

When we were in New York we went to the Statue of Liberty and climbed a bunch of steps up to the crown. The stairs weren't too bad. I really would have rather gone up twice than up and then back down. The inside of the crown (and the whole statue really) was smaller than I thought it would be. The skies were clear, so we had a wonderful view from the crown. Here are some photos:




Sunday, November 29, 2009

Big Hands You Know You're the One

I have big hands: a large square palm and long slender fingers. I wear a size 8 surgical glove. In leather gloves I'm a at least a size 9. I have been looking for a new pair of leather gloves, but I have yet to find a pair that fits.

I can reach a full octave (or more) on the piano between my thumb and pinky, but sadly, I can't play the piano.

Today we went bowling. Trying to find a bowling ball is always fun. My thumb has a tendency to get stuck. If I pick out a 14 pound ball I can usually fit my fingers in, but I bowl even worse with a heavy ball. Maybe I should learn to palm it like the guys in the lane next to us were doing.

I'm not sure what my point is here. I guess I'm just whining, but I wish these manotas were good for something.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Universe is Screaming

The Universe is screaming at me, but I'm not sure what it is trying to say or what I'm supposed to do. I feel like the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Holocaust, Auschwitz, and anti-Semitism keep popping up. When I received a letter from the Anti Defamation League asking for money I thought that might be what this is all about. I sent them a check, but the Universe is still screaming. Maybe I am filtering, because when I think about it -- it isn't just anti-Semitism I'm hearing, it is discrimination in general -- hate.

I have certain scripted answers to hot-button questions. When people used to ask me what I was, I would make them come out and explicitly ask me. I would make them just as uncomfortable as they were making me. I don't get upset anymore. I have my scripted answer. Sometimes I still make them squirm. I just don't see why it matters what race or ethnicity I am, so I make them pay for my scripted answer. I think maybe what I need to do is compose a scripted answer to hatred. I need to have something ready to say not just when I hear someone say something anti-Semitic in front of me, but anything discriminatory. Maybe that is what the Universe is trying to tell me. I need to grow a pair and speak up.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Babysitting Bailey

After ten years Bailey is finally warming up to my dad (or using my dad to warm up). My parents spent a couple days in DC while we were in NYC and took care of Bailey while we were gone. I can't believe how well Bailey and my dad are getting along. He's been combing her and she just loves it. She curled up into his lap the other day, but we missed the photo op. Today she laid with my dad on the couch during nap time. I'm sure him feeding her beef jerky helped strengthen their bond. I wonder if she's going to miss my parents when they leave.

Colbert Report, November 19, 2009

Last week we were able to see a live taping of The Colbert Report. We arrived before 5:30, which we thought was on time, but people had started lining up at about 3pm. We were pretty much the end of the line. Three people in the standby line were also allowed in. I didn't know who the guest was until we were standing in line. It was my boyfriend, Elvis Costello. I can't think of anyone else I would have rather seen! Two great guys in the same room at the same time!

Because we were the last of the line we didn't get seats but instead stood the whole time. We had a good view of Stephen, but couldn't see his first guest because of the angle. There are TV screens everywhere and it was kind of interesting to see how so many people were watching them instead of the real Stephen right in front of them. They actually take breaks at the commercial breaks to tweak things. Stephen had to do a couple of retakes and one of the breaks was pretty long, so the taping lasted longer than it normally does.

Elvis Costello came out, and he had no voice so he played the guitar while Stephen sang. After that I think Stephen played the guitar and sang (Elvis tried to sing along). That part (and others that we saw) aren't in the actual episode. We both really enjoyed seeing the show live. It was interesting to also watch the final product. Everyone who works for the show was really great and looked like they were having a great time. Oh, and we got to see Stephen out of character. He held a brief Q&A session before the show began. It was a great experience.

Numbers and Timestamps

2:30: Alarm went off, the wind howled and I rolled over
2: Number of pairs of socks, pants, and sweaters I put on
2:41: Tied my shoes
3:08: Arrived at Best Buy
41: Temperature according to my car
242: My approximate number in line
4:20: Received a voucher for a laptop
8: Gig of RAM the laptop has
2: Number of pages I managed to read while standing in line. At first I was so far behind the store there were no lights to read by.
5:00: Doors opened
A Pair: I need to grow one. I didn't say anything to the pair of guys that cut in line right in front of me as we were walking toward the door.
2: Number of lines I stood in
1: Number of things I bought
3: Number of people I saw selling their vouchers
5:38: Got back into my car
500: Gig of memory the laptop has
5:57: Climbed back in bed
7:00: Had breakfast with Dad and Ross
7:10: Went to bed with Mom
9:47: Woke up
3: Number of other stores I might brave today

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Skype Moments

We occasionally skype with Robert, Ethan, and Tiffany. They called last night and we were able to hook up via skype. My parents are here, so they also got to say hi. Ethan was super excited because he just got back from his birthday trip to Disney World. He drew some things and showed us via the webcam. Ethan is a very good artist.

At one point Ethan started saying "tickle, tickle, tickle." We all cocked our heads and Robert said "Ethan, you can't tickle them with the mouse pointer." We all cracked up as if we really had been tickled. It was a classic skype moment.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Big Birthday Trip

We headed to NYC to celebrate Ross's birthday. In a way I'm sort of sad that we didn't have a dessert party, but we had plenty of desserts in the city.

Our treats included: orange ricotta lobster tail, berry tart, birthday cake from Magnolia bakery, pineapple sorbet, mascarpone sorbet, apple caramel tart with cinnamon gelato, chocolate napoleon with vanilla ice cream, strawberries with zabaglione, and lobster tail pastries with cream. I wanted to bring home a dozen of those lobster tails, but I resisted. I will have plenty more desserts to eat tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Mouse in the House

I was swinging around a little rubber mouse by the tail a la Rabbids Don't Know What To Do With Cows. On my second or third try I got it to hit the wall and it stuck (by its back)! I had a good laugh and just left it there. A few hours later it walked all the way down the wall and stuck by its feet. Ross had forgotten all about it and when he saw mouse shaped movement out of the corner of his eye he freaked. He got me back later when he emailed me with the subject line of mouse. I thought we had a mouse in the house, but he was emailing me to tell me that it fell off the wall and left an oil stain. Ha!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Circles

I'm back to thinking about where I could build a bunker in my house. Sometimes I obsess over it. I have the fourth volume of the Dark Tower on request at the library. In the meantime I started reading something much scarier than Stephen King could ever come up with. I finally started reading The Family by Jeff Sharlet. I had it checked out, but was hesitant to read it because I knew it would be scary. I got maybe a third of the way through it, but had to turn it back in. The book is about the history of fundamentalist Christianity in America and The Family. The Family is a secret organization. I can't explain it. I'm not sure what is more disturbing, how much power they have or how they operate. Women only serve the members of the organization, they aren't part of the power plan. I'm not sure I want to finish the book. Sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

My mom recommended that I watch Constantine's Sword. I finally sat down and watched it (through Netfix online) last night. Wow. I highly recommend it. Two thousand years have passed. I live in the United States of America. Still, I don't feel safe. Still, I obsess about the bunker.

Again, best I should not think about it too much. Instead I eat cake.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

So Shiny!

I caught a glimpse of my rings in the shower the other day. Boy are they shiny! While I was home my dad cleaned and polished my wedding band and my two diamond rings. Wow! I forgot how they could all sparkle. My dad was even nice enough to clean and polish Ross's wedding band too.

Speaking of jewelry, I've been jade shopping online again. My mom wanted a jade pendant. So far I have bought her 3 different ones. While I was at it I bought myself a couple. I'll take a photo of them all when they come in. I have had my jade bangle for almost 2 years now. I am so itching for a new, smaller one. Dad says he'll shop for one at the jewelry show in February. I also saw a really nice jade cicada pendant online. Even Ross commented on how nice it is. Of course we like it....it is 500 bucks. Well, 499! Hahaha.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Yoga Focus

The last few times I've been to yoga I have really tried to focus on drawing up my kneecaps. Keeping the legs strong the entire time turns yoga into really intense exercise. A while back my yoga teacher talked us through handstand. I needed her help to get up. I've been really practicing it since then. I think I've almost got it.
Today in class I was able to kick up into forearm stand from dolphin pose. I think I did it on my first or second try! I shocked myself. I was even able to bring my shins against the wall. My toes were pointing toward my head, but I don't think there were anywhere near it. I suppose it was a baby scorpion against the wall. Now I have something new to practice.
As in a lot of yoga poses I think the prep and positioning are actually more important than strength. I started in downward dog and then brought my right knee to my chest and kept my toes on the floor. I think that is important. I'm really up onto my toes. I think it helps if I shift my head down (to look at my feet) and my weight forward. I kept doing this step by step, but it is a lot easier to get upright if I do it in one fluid motion.
I kick off the right toes and swing the left leg up.
Almost there.
Up into the handstand. I try not to lean against the wall. I think I need to bring my hands a little closer together. Oh yeah, my muffin top is all that!

The plan is to go to yoga twice this week and twice next week. I'm trying to get back in shape.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Fun

We headed to Germantown yesterday for some Halloween fun. We carved pumpkins, decorated sugar cookies, and went trick or treating with the girls. I carved the spider pumpkin, Valerie carved the face (that Evelyn chose), and Ross carved Shaun the Sheep. Ross's turned out really well. Trick or treating was a little tricky because it was raining slightly. Poor Evelyn had some trouble walking in her long Glinda dress. That girl made out like a bandit. 100 pieces of candy, and most of it was chocolate!

Today we went to Wally World and Target for post holiday sales. Ross found some candy and I found a set of fall cookie cutters. Now I'm going to have to make some super buttery cookies.
We all thought this was just adorable. Julia was seeking refuge from her big sister and ran to Ross. Check out Val's blog for pictures of the girls in their costumes and the decorated cookies.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Billy Would Be Happy

Tonight the last flavor on the board at the dairy was "bacon--yes, really. bacon vanilla."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Drop Down Suggestion Box

Search boxes how have this drop down suggestion box. I love them. Sometimes I can get the answer I am looking for without ever hitting the search button. I was typing up a document in Spanish yesterday and I was able to use the search box on SpanishDict to check spelling and accents. It is just so convenient!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Crazy Day

Yesterday was a really crazy day. I ran errands with Valerie in the morning and was overjoyed to complete two of my quests. I found a felt cloche hat for a decent price AND I found the chapstick I'd been looking for. I ran out of chapstick last week and couldn't find the same one anywhere. That always seems to happen doesn't it? You find something you like and then when you want to buy it again it has been discontinued, repackaged, or reformulated and you go from store to store searching for it. Well, at least that's what happens to me. I ended up buying a four pack of chapstick to get the one I wanted, but I don't care--I'll give the other three away.

After errands I had a crazy time with the rain. Then I couldn't get the dvd player to work. Oh boy, did I feel dumb. When Valerie got home she made the dvd player work by pressing one button (which I know I tried) and I was introduced to Shaun the Sheep. I really liked it and I knew Ross would too (he loves claymation), so we watched a couple of episodes on YouTube as our Saturday morning cartoons (we usually stream something from Netflix).

Last night Val and I had a crazy time finishing up Evelyn's Glinda dress. We were both tired and it really showed (not on the dress thankfully). I think the dress is finally finished.

Lots of other crazy things happened. It wasn't a bad day, just a crazy one.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Boy Loves Queen

Before we moved I noticed that Ethan would always get excited when a Queen song started playing on my computer. I made him a cd with a bunch of Queen songs, but I don't know how often he listens to it. When I was in Texas I was pushing Ethan in a shopping cart at the grocery store and he started singing..."Ooooh you gonna take me home tonight" and I couldn't remember the next line (Oh down beside your red firelight), so I just repeated what he said and realized--hey, that's Fat Bottomed Girls. So I started singing "Fat bottomed girls you make the rockin' world go round." Then it dawned on me. That's a Queen song. My boy loves Queen.

Live In Nanny

On Monday Valerie emailed me offering me a job as a live in nanny for the week. She was frustrated because she hasn't been able to work (substitute teach) since she was hired because her babysitter has been sick. Since I don't have a job I decided to help out.
I've been taking care of the girls and I even helped with some of the Halloween party preparations. We filled goodie bags on Tuesday night and yesterday I made a ghost for the pin the eyes on the ghost game. Evelyn's Glinda costume will be covered with sequin-outlined appliques. So, tonight we'll be working with sequin string and the hot glue gun to make those appliques. I'm having a ton of fun here with the girls, but I sure am happy I don't have any kiddos myself. They wear me out!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pretty Poppies

On our last trip to Italy I bought this great watercolor of poppies for a mere 14 Euro. Now, two years later, I finally got around to framing it. It cost me over 50 dollars, and that was with a 60 percent off coupon! I'm glad that we finally have it framed and hanging, but I am always baffled by how much it costs to get things framed!

The Waste Lands

I have finished the third novel in Stephen King's epic series The Dark Tower. I liked this volume more than the second. I think it was as good as, if not better than the first novel. I've already checked, and my library has volume IV, so I might go pick it up tomorrow. I checked out a book about Christian fundamentalism, but I have lost interest. I guess I should at least give it a try.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hair Donation

Well, I've spent the last hour or so reading online about my hair donation options. Because some of the hair I have cut off is dyed my options are limited. The more I read about Locks of Love, the more discouraged I become. Every day the hanks of hair arrive, filling some 10 postal bins, representing the best intentions of donors, but so much of it destined for the trash. This is partly the fault of donors who donate hair that doesn't meet the requirements. Still, the hair could/should be sent to Matter of Trust, which accepts hair of all lengths and conditions. Locks of Love does NOT make wigs for children suffering from hair loss due to cancer treatment (as I (and I'm sure many of you) thought). Locks of Love hasn't made very many wigs at all!

I would donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, but my dyed hair doesn't meet the requirements. Same problem with selling the hair and then donating the proceeds to charity. I'm going to think on it, but I may just donate it to Matter of Trust and hope it helps soak up an oil spill.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Seventeen

On October 2d Anne Shackleford cut 17 inches of hair off my head. Here are the results:




I will send the hair to locks of love this week. My mom actually likes it! I love it. It is so great to have something different. It is going to take me a while to learn how to style it. Practice makes perfect I guess.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Celebrity Visits

It has been a week full of celebrity visits. The other night I was cheating on Ross with Daniel Craig. Not bad. The next night I dreamt that I saw Dolly Parton wearing a very tight blue dress. She was looking at a car that she wanted to buy. Last night my boyfriend was John Oliver. Ha! I wonder who will visit tonight.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

National Cathedral Excursion

The National Cathedral was one of the things on my excursion list. When I checked a while back I found out that they were having tower climbs this weekend. We headed down to D.C. yesterday and hoped for the best despite the rainy weather.

The climb up to the bell tower was 333 steps. It really was a piece of cake. The enclosed spiral stairs weren't as tight as they are in the duomo. The stairs were clean and concrete (instead of dirty slick marble). There were also some open metal spiral stairs. At the top of the climb we saw the bells that are pulled by hand. Then we came back down one level and saw/heard a mini concert of the hand pulled bells. We learned that this is the first time they have opened up the bell tower in about 15 years!

After our descent we spent some time checking out the inside of the church. Everything was so clean, new, and concrete. We didn't look around the outside much because of the rain. Overall I liked the visit, but newness of it all was a little disturbing.
This is one of the hand pulled bells--ready to be rung.

Outside of the bell tower from one of the window ledges.
Garden from above.
The space stained glass window.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Just How Long is It?

Neither photo shows the true length, but I think you get my point. Yesterday it was really long, and today not so much.












Thursday, September 24, 2009

Autumn

It seems that right on cue the tips of the trees are turning colors and the weather is changing. We just got back from the dairy. I got pumpkin ice cream. Perfect for Fall. It is super super scrumptious--like pumpkin mousse or pumpkin brownies. Mmmmmm, pumpkin mouse.

The Drawing of the Three

This weekend I finished The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three. I didn't like it as much as the first book (I'm not a fan of time travel type stuff), but I liked it enough to check out the third book in the series. That will make a good read on the plane to Texas next week. Well, that is if I don't start and finish it by then!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Brought to You by the Letter B

A while back my interest in cursive handwriting was rekindled. I practiced writing the letter b over and over again. I haven't practiced much since then. I made the effort to improve my handwriting when I was in college. I really tried to make sure my notes and orders (in patient charts) were legible. I have had to deal with more than one coworker with the handwriting of a 7 year old. Some people seem to think that education negates the need for legible writing. (I even had one classmate tell me that she was going to be a doctor, so she didn't need to need to know how to spell!)

Yesterday I read an article about the decline of handwriting skills. I'm a little sad that handwriting is no longer considered important enough to teach. Yes, everyone emails and texts--but they don't even do that with proper spelling or grammar. We haven't reached the time where pen and paper are obsolete. (I don't think we ever will.) Legible handwriting is still an important form of communication. It isn't just about learning cursive. The worst handwriting I have ever seen was print. I don't think children are learning to write legibly--in cursive or print. While Ross does his homework I'll go back to practicing Copperplate script. Funny (or not so) that what was once a skill that everyone was taught is now considered an art form.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Space Between

I spent two hours and twenty minutes in the bathroom straightening my hair today. The space between before and after really cracked me up. I took a photo just to show how much changes between the blow out and the flat iron.
Don't I just look thrilled?
Super long hair!
One of these days I'll take a photo of what my hair looks like if I just let it dry naturally. I was trying to find one recently and realized I don't have one.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Twins!

I harvested a decent sized eggplant from my little garden. I think I'll cook it up tonight. I also harvested half a dozen jalapenos and there are still more on the plant. Yesterday I checked on my plants and found that I have two eggplants and a set of twins growing! I have two eggplants coming from the same flower! My little garden has brought me so much joy. I'll probably have two next Spring.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

DVR, Hallelujah!

When we turned on the DVR just now it was recording the season premiere of The Biggest Loser. I had no idea the new season was starting this week! The trusty DVR knows. The trusty DVR records. Hallelujah.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Gunslinger

Not too long ago I picked up the graphic novel The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born. I liked it and was disappointed to find out that the library didn't have any other books in the series.

The last time we were at the library I decided to pick up the actual book--The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger by Stephen King. I have just finished the first volume of Stephen King's seven volume epic novel. Wow. The book was written by a 19 year old King. Only one thing in the book got onto my (so easy to get on) nerves. The story reminds me of The White Mountains, one of my favorite childhood novels.

I'm so impressed that I think I'll keep reading. The first four volumes are 2,000 pages in paperback. The first was only 300 pages. I'll have something to read for a long time to come.

Someone once told me I have a great American novel inside of me. I thought it was a really odd thing to say. I've often wondered if it is true. I don't consider writing one of those things that I'm really good at, but I think I'm better than average. I've started that novel more than once, but like everything else in my life, I never follow through. I never finish anything I start (pondering that has gotten me extremely depressed lately).

Like Simon Grim I'd like to find out that I'm really good at something. I'm afraid I'm as useless as Henry Fool.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Yoga Practice

I'm trying to be more regular about my yoga practice. I went to yoga today--third week in a row, but I need to do yoga more than once a week.
It didn't smell like taco bell in the studio today. Well, it might have, but I put some (good) smelly stuff under my nose so I wouldn't be distracted by any funk. Today we did more work against the wall. The best thing we did was wheel with our toes up against the wall. Then we put one foot up against the wall, and then the other. I got my right leg straight up, but my left foot was stuck up on the wall. The teacher helped me by lifting up my left leg and then she said to flip over. Oh! I thought the point was to get up into handstand. I tried it again and was able to do it on my own. The teacher said I should be able to flip over without the wall soon. I'll have to try that in the living room!
The other thing we did against the wall was forearm stand. Well, I didn't do it, but I attempted it. I tried and tried to kick up from dolphin pose, but just didn't get there. I was totally jealous of the guy that could do it without the wall and the girl that came down into scorpion pose.
I didn't do camel pose because that's the one pose that is really uncomfortable since I pierced my neck. I also pulled up out of a half backbend against the wall. I just feel like I'm choking. I'm going to try and do at least 30 minutes of yoga a day. Hopefully that will get me back into shape and help me progress toward more challenging poses. Yoga is one of the only things that I feel like I'm good at, and if I practice I know I can get even better.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Nothing Has Changed

We just finished watching Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip. I've always loved Richard Pryor. I grew up on his movies, but I don't think I'd ever seen his stand up stuff (not exactly child appropriate). I was mesmerized by Pryor's candor and somehow found his jerking movements graceful. The performance was filmed in 1983. Pryor talked about how racism needs to end and how nobody, not even blacks, should use the word nigger. Funny, but it seems nothing has changed. I don't think we've progressed much in the last 25 years.

Whites still tiptoe around blacks afraid to offend, lest they be labelled racist. Oversensitive blacks find racism in everything whites say. This summer I had some totally frank and open discussions involving race with the interns from Ross's company. There were no eggshells to tiptoe on. I felt so free, so liberated. It was such a foreign feeling that I was uncomfortable. I found the whole situation hard to embrace, but I wish that's how it always was. People, friends, having fun and laughing together. No holding back, no trepidation, no offense meant or taken.

At age four or five when I asked my mom to explain the civil rights movement I was totally appalled at the idea of discriminating against someone because they are different. I asked my mom when it happened and when I realized it happened in her lifetime, I was in complete disbelief. I thought it must have happened hundreds of years ago. How could people advanced enough to go into space be dumb enough to discriminate against people whom I just saw as fellow humans?

I'm going to try and go back to that five year old mentality, even if some say that in itself is racist. At five my life wasn't ruled by fear. I was happy.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wally World

I discovered a new website called peopleofwalmart.com. I have trouble with it loading half of the time, but when the pictures do load they are pretty horrific. They are so bad that I had a nightmare about them. We all hate going to Wal Mart, but there is usually a cake wreck or wal creature that makes me chuckle. Well, now you can get a dose of wally world without ever leaving your house.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Book of Tea

I just read The Book of Tea. It was amusing and very educational. It not only chronicles the history of tea, but how tea has changed the world. It has three sections: Tea Gardens, Time For Tea, and The Taste of Tea, each authored by a different person. I now have a much better understanding of life of tea. My interest in buying a tea set was reawakened, as was my enthusiasm for drinking tea. Maybe one day there will be a Brown Cat Bakery, with an adjoining Brown Cat Tea shop.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

MP3 Ringtones for My T Mobile Samsung

I went to the T Mobile website to browse through ringtones. I tried two different computers and two different browsers and could not listen to any of the ringtones. Ross suggested I make my own ringtones and send them to my phone via blue tooth.

I spent a lot of time yesterday clipping mp3s into short ringtones only to discover that my phone does not allow mp3s to be used as ring tones (converting the files to wav and aac didn't work either). I became very grumpy and frustrated. After hours of google searches, reading, and trying different things I successfully turned one of my mp3s into a ring tone.

1. First I had to cut the mp3 into a ~30 second clip. I used the free WavePad Sound Editor and that worked just fine.

2. I converted the mp3 clip to a 3gp using the ImTOO 3GP converter (again, free).
To do this I selected Blackberry 3GP video from the drop down profile menu.
--I clicked the icon next to profile settings and changed the advanced audio settings to:
audiocodec: mpeg4acc
bitrate: 128
sample rate: 22050
channels: 1 (mono)
volume: 100%
disable audio: false

3. I saved all these files to a shared folder so that I could use the blue tooth on Ross's laptop to send the file to my phone. The file must be less than 300kb to be used as a ringtone (so I double checked to make sure before sending it).

Now I can make my own (completely free) ringtones in just a couple of minutes. Who knew I could get so technical? I guess that's what happens when I get frustrated and stubborn.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Madison

It is so hard to believe that an entire year has passed since I got my Madison piercing. In the beginning I didn't think I'd make it to a month, much less a year. I think my piercing is pretty much stable now, although it still requires a lot of maintenance. I tape it every night, and clean it every morning. I have been soaking it regularly too. The top of the piercing is very well healed, but I can't say the same for the bottom. The slightest little thing can piss it of and a cyst will form.

I want to thank Ross for all his help. When I remove the ends of the jewelry to clean them he puts them back on for me. I can manage the bottom one, but the top one is too difficult. I don't think I'll be free of the daily maintenance any time soon. I feel like if I want to keep the piercing I have to keep taping and soaking it.

I don't have any new piercings in mind--yet!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Finally!

After my phone got soaked on our bike ride to the dam, I bought a phone on ebay. After weeks of waiting all I got was excuses. I don't think the guy ever sent the dang phone (he eventually gave me a refund). I had to start looking all over again. My dad offered to buy me a brick phone, but I turned him down. Ross bought me a phone on ebay, and it finally arrived yesterday. Woohoo. Now I'm going to check out some new ring tones.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Indian Movies

Last night we watched Dil Chahta Hai. It was a modern Indian movie about three best friends. We enjoyed it. Like most Indian movies, it is long. The song and dance scenes cracked us up. There were some unnecessary scenes of one of the guys walking and walking and sitting here and sitting there, but it was a good story.

A while back we saw Parineeta. It was a great soap opera type story. Parineeta ran just over 2 hours.
The costumes were beautiful. I recommend both movies. I love me some foreign films, and both of these movies gave me a good fix.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hair Cut

Check out my new haircut! Ay, no te crees! I haven't cut my hair, but this is the haircut that I really want. I had a lot of fun yesterday and today playing with virtual makeovers online. Today I found one on InStyle.com that I like more than the others I tried. Some of the other sites let you try on basic hair styles and change the hair colors. Some of the sites let you try on celebrity hair styles. I just happened to find the exact one I was looking for on In Style. Best of all, it let me save the makeover to my computer. Wow, I just realized that I you can change the hair colors on In Style. If you have free time and want some free fun, check it out. You just might find your next hairdo.