Sunday, December 31, 2006

Blogging Recap

To prepare for the New Year I'm going to go ahead and steal Peggy's great idea of posting a blog recap from the past year. Not only is this a great idea, but I have two personal reasons for doing this. For one thing, I've had such a hectic year I've forgotten most of it and I wanted to reminisce. For a second thing, I think I have a selective memory and the part of the year I remember is the part I'd rather not remember so I'm going to psychologically reverse my memory patterns through blog therapy. So here goes:

January was cold (since we were in Minnesota). We said good-bye to my mom and brother's last winter-break trip to Minnesota, we went to many good restaurants and took a big trip to Chicago where I bought the coolest boots ever, and I procrastinated writing my thesis by doing taxes.

February was the month we discovered Neopolitan-style pizza at Punch Pizza in St. Paul. Oh, my, that's good stuff. We also went to a gay version of Swan Lake, we forgot to watch the winter olympics, I won boggle, and my Studly Hubby animated like a mad maniac. I did a crucial experiment necessary to finalize my thesis, but there's no mention of actually working on the thesis.

March was scary-busy. I remember it as The Nightmare of 2006, but looking back through my posts I see already that my blog-therapy is working because there was a lot of fun stuff in there too. I partied with my girls at a neighborhood restaurant, went to Orlando for a conference where I soaked up some sun and visited Epcott and Sea World, we got a heapload of snow, and my cousin got married! The part that sucked was that I gave my first conference-talk at the above-mentioned conference and I wrote an entire grant, plus I renewed my CPR training.

April marked the commemorative start of Dairy Queen season, and we walked there for the first time in 2006 on April 1. I also got my first electric toothbrush and made a mess of the bathroom trying to use it. I celebrated my birthday three days in a row, and then the big tornado hit Iowa City, IA (my hometown). I also got the bulk of my thesis written during April and scheduled my defense, although I only mention it in a few posts - another month where blog-therapy helps change my version of history.

May was the month I finally graduated. Unfortunately this seems like a small blip in the radar of the Nightmare Spring of 2006, but I did spend a great deal of time blogging about it - I cleaned house, had a party, invited my mom and brother up, and took a long weekend trip to Iowa to celebrate with my family. Then the next round of chaos started - my mom and dad (who live in separate states) both announced they're moving, I sold my horse, and two of my brothers graduated from high school. Meanwhile a good friend of mine qualified for the Boston Marathon. Whew!

June was the month I was hoping to catch my breath, but reading back over my blog posts I see now why I didn't. We started packing, I helped move my mom out of the farmhouse she's lived in for the past 20 yrs, and we took a short trip to Seattle to rent an apartment. Then I spent some time fretting about the apartment (the one I'm in now), and went to hot yoga a few times to ward off the stress. Meanwhile I was trying to get things finished up at work and trying to enjoy a little bit of spring (some cute squirrels were mentioned).

July was all about packing and moving to Seattle - and the dead cat we found in our backyard the first morning we woke up in our new apartment.

August was a string of new experiences: we explored Seattle, moved into our new apt, started new jobs, went to Boulder CO for the first time and I got traumatized by all the nature in Cold Spring Harbor NY during a conference.

September was a bit calmer (finally). We unpacked, explored greater Seattle a bit more (including a quite memorable hike at Mount Ranier), and settled down to watch some Netflix movies.

October was also a lot calmer. I talked about getting a dog a lot (never did get that dog) and we house-sat for a very cute schipperke. I posted some about the georgeous fall weather here and fall colors, then we went on a second and even better hike up Little Si.

November brought our first trip back to Iowa and four Thanksgiving feasts there (we are still recovering from all that turkey), plus a 10-yr high school reunion. I also voted, and got trained to work with RADIOACTIVITY.

December, and 2006, is about to finish up (in four hours) and mark my 5th month in Seattle. We started going to Quaker church, I worked on some radioactive experiments, and then my mom and brother came up for an awesome week in Seattle.

Happy New Year everyone! This has been one fun-packed year and I hope next year is even more fun (although maybe a little less packed).

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Seattle Christmas Adventure

My mom and bro flew out last Sunday to celebrate Christmas with us and spend the week doing some serious Seattle touristing. Unfortunately it's been kinda cold (being winter and all) and rainy (also a problem in winter) but we've been braving the forces and freezing our tushies off out there. On Tuesday and Wednesday we shopped like crazy mad midwesterners. Then on Thursday we went downtown, did the Underground Tour, Pike's Place and the new public library. On Friday we checked out the neighborhood of Ballard with all it's georgeous shoreline views and fishing restaraunts (my bro got some fish and chips), and we went to the Ballard Locks. Today we went over to the East side and drove out into the country a bit to see some woods (all a bit messy still from the storm though).

Although it has all been quite fun, the Underground Tour was for me the best part (although my mom thought it was a bit boring so maybe it's not for everyone). The tour gave a little history lesson on Seattle's birth in the late 1800s and then led a tour of the underground (original) downtown area. Seattle was first built at sea level, which didn't bode well for getting rid of sewage. After several failed attempts at pipelines, which all led to smelly explosions and stagnant poopy water, the city happened to burn down (unrelated to the sewage problem, more related to the problem of everything being built with wood). Businesses then rebuilt using brick, but the city insisted on raising up the streets so that sewage lines could properly be installed underneath them. The result: the sidewalks and businesses were about one story lower than the streets. This meant that people walked on sidewalks down below street level (and climbed ladders to get up and over the streets), which was a little dangerous (especially for the drunk), so eventually the sidewalks were enclosed and you had a choice of being above ground or going underground while doing your shopping. Eventually the underground was shut down due to an outbreak of the plague, and went unused until the 1960s when somebody had the bright idea of making some money off of giving tours. I thought hearing the history was pretty cool. The picture here is one from their website of a guy looking up at the glass windows that were built into the underground to let light in.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Our FIRST Christmas Tree!!

This will be the fourth Christmas that my Studly Hubby and I have celebrated while living together, but the first ever that we have hosted at our place (my mom and brother are arriving by plane TODAY, they are en route RIGHT NOW). Therefore we thought it would be a good year to buy a tree, but we're too cheap and lazy to go out and get a real one so we went down to Walgreens and bought a $25 tree (pictured at left). Note that this is our first normal-sized tree - it's 6.5' tall! We were quite pleased with the way it turned out. We even have presents under it (thanks to everyone who sent them!)

My Studly Hubby cooked up a storm all weekend while I flitted about the apartment getting ready for visitors and finally getting some of the things done that follow a big move - organizing the closets, hanging pictures, etc. Now our apartment is all clean and smells like pie, banana bread and bean soup. No need for a turkey- and pine-scented candle this year! -although we don't really have pine, but all the other smells make up for it I think.

We've been totally absorbed in Christmas this year, for the first time since I was a kid - since we aren't going anywhere we had time to listen to loads of Christmas music, properly decorate, cook, and go to church (yes we are still doing that). We even danced a bit to "Jingle Bells." It's fun to not travel, but we're very lucky that our relatives can travel here to visit us. Otherwise I think I'd get bored next week.

Merry Christmas everybody!!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Gay Bingo!!

We got an ad in the mail yesterday for Gay Bingo in Seattle. Who knew bingo could be so specialized? This isn't just any Gay Bingo either. It's an event (that you buy tickets for) and each time you go there is a different theme, e.g. Superhero Gay Bingo and Pirate Gay Bingo.

I really want to go. I would go to the Superhero Gay Bingo. I bet there would be a lot of good outfits. Their website says over 750 people usually show up, plus it's for a good cause (the Lifelong Aids Alliance). The problem is, it's $20 per ticket and we aren't that big of bingo fans. Maybe we'll try to get somebody else to go to scope it out for us, and if it's really a good party then we'll think about it.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


DESPITE having a PhD in MICROBIOLOGY, I am only LIGHTLY nerdy. How can this be? I don't know whether to be pissed or relieved.

I am nerdier than 54% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Denver Blizzard

Even though I don't live there and have only been there a few times, I am going to go ahead and post about the Denver Blizzard.

Holy crap, they got a lot of snow over there.

My friend who is there right now, wrote,

"My sister and I spent a while out in our backyard making tunnels and just wading in the drifts of snow. This is by far the best winter break ever!! I haven't been able to tunnel in snowdrifts since I was a kid."

Then she went on to describe a city that is completely immobilized - people can't even get out of their own neighborhoods. Sounds like both a wild fun good time and a super-frustrating situation. I hope all those stranded folks at the airport get where they're trying to go without too much more of a delay. I have another friend in Boulder who is stuck at home for a bit while she waits for the next available flight out - to Seattle to visit me! Everyone cross your fingers that she gets out eventually so we can be reunited.

The picture above was found by doing a Google search for "Denver Blizzard" - I didn't take it and I'm not even totally sure it was taken in Denver but it was good so here it is.

Christmas FOOD

So one of the great things about holidays is FOOD. Some people may argue that FOOD is the only great thing about holidays but I can think of a few other things that come in second and third to food.

This year we're hosting Christmas for my mom and brother who are flying out Sunday and spending the week here. We put up a tree, lights, wrapped some presents, hung stockings (although we still haven't figured out how to work our fireplace), and bought tons of FOOD. My Studly Hubby has been planning the menu all week but the only thing I really need is pumpkin pie. Although it is nice to also have brownies, caramel pecan rolls, ham balls and green bean casserole. And mashed potatoes. And cranberry sauce. Oh my gosh, I can't wait.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It SMELLS like Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching it's hard not to be consumed by it - lights everywhere, people bringing in Christmas-y treats to work, presents and cards arriving every day...

So I decided I needed to get off my butt and do something about it, and I wrote our Fourth Annual Christmas Newsletter and sent it out to a bunch of people.

Except that I don't know the Ins and Outs at work yet so couldn't figure out how to print it in color, and when I went to Kinkos they told me it was going to be a dollar per newsletter! That seemed outrageous. So I went home and printed them all on our inkjet printer (draft quality). I only screwed up three of them, and two weren't my fault. The printer ate them. The third was totally my fault. Since everyone I know moved this year it was a real pain getting all the addresses and I finally gave up on some and just emailed them. Except I'm not very graphics suave and the file was gigantic and took about five minutes to upload. Hopefully I didn't jam up everybody's inboxes.

I've been having the wildest dreams this week. The other night I dreamt I was starring in the next Harry Potter movie, but got rudely interrupted by my alarm clock so I'm not sure how that ended. Then last night I dreamt that someone gave me a school bus, and a few nights ago I dreamt I was being chased but was driving a train. Those other dreams lasted a long time and had multiple parts but they were pretty much all the same theme with various characters wandering in and out.

I hope everyone is gearing up for an awesome holiday season. Our place doesn't smell like Christmas yet because our tree is fake and we haven't started Cooking the Feast, but I think by mid-day Sunday it'll definitely smell like Christmas. If not I'll go buy a pine- and turkey-scented candle.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

6 Weird Things About Me

I got tagged a while ago by several of you to write 6 weird things about me but then got busy and couldn't till now. But, for those of you who haven't given up, HERE THEY ARE!

1. I don't mix my fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt before eating it. For those of you who think that is gross, I think YOU are gross for mixing yours.

2. I can't remember my birthday, how old I am, how long I've been married or my own phone number without thinking really hard about it (and sometimes even then I come up with nothing). But somehow I managed to snag myself a Ph.D. - I guess you don't really have to remember anything for those (although I have already forgotten where the diploma is).

3. I could NEVER, EVER be a bus driver or a cab driver, and I'm pretty sure I'd be terrible working as a waitress too. The skill required for these types of jobs is way beyond me and I am totally amazed by the people who do them.

4. I am always freezing. Sometimes my fingernails even turn blue. I need a blanket even in a house that is already 72 degrees.

5. I am a terrible present-buyer. I get really stressed out about it, and I am bad at coming up with good stuff to buy people. The best Christmas present I could get is being absolved of buying presents.

6. When faced with my own devices, I am perfectly happy to eat whatever is available in any combination for dinner. This has included leftover waffles and ribs (together), a ham sandwich on cinnamon-raisin bread, and an entire meal of apple crisp.

There you have it! I think I am supposed to tag some other people in return, except I don't remember how many. Since most of you have already done this, I would simply like to tag:

Speedy KT and Uncle KT

These are two of my good friends in Minnesota who I'm sure have lots of weird things about themselves to share with us.

Seattle Wind Storm

We had a huge windstorm here in Seattle on Thursday night. We knew it was coming but it was still a bit much for the city. The first problem (as always) was traffic - there was a flash flood right before the high winds so cars were getting stuck in high water and some major streets were closed. A woman reportedly died in here flooded basement too. Traffic was a mess. Once the wind started they had to shut down some of the big bridges. The first picture at left is a shot of the 520 bridge that goes across Lake Washington - you can see the waves crashing up against the bridge here. They later shut down the 520 bridge, then had to leave it closed for a while on Friday to get something fixed that had been damaged in the storm. Unfortunately this is one of only two routes to get across Lake Washington so that was a big of a problem. The next big problem were the giant trees that fell on everybody's houses (not on ours thank goodness). Here in the Northwest we've got some pretty big trees, so when they fall it can be a sight. I got some pics of it from the local newspapers to show below:

After that, everybody had to deal with electricity outages. The Microsoft campus was without power, as was most of the East side. Several people at my work lost power. Stores and malls were without power (some stayed open anyway). Lots of traffic and street lights were out. Some people are still without power even today. This means possibly no heat or hot food.

We were very lucky. No damage to our home, no electricity outages (only some flickering) and no trees fell on our car, although we did get hit in the parking lot of the grocery store on Sat afternoon - they left a note and we're getting it fixed.

I extend my thoughts to all those in the city that are still without power and I hope everyone can find warm food, heat and a shower someplace close so they can stay comfortable until their power comes back on.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hairy Legs and Ear Wax

Now that I'm not getting in shorts and teaching spin every week, I've let my laziness preside and my leg-hair grow wild. The thing is, I think I'm getting old or something because my leg hair is no longer the light-colored hardly-noticeable stuff it once was (at least from mid-calf down). From mid-calf down my leg hair has turned dark and coarse and seems to want to grow until the end of time. It's starting to look like I have some kind of leg warmers on from a distance. Is this a late-twenties kind of thing that happens to everyone? Or did I pick up some kind of curse? Maybe this is related to the Seattle climate! Well I don't know.

And my ear wax is another problem. Ever since I can remember I've always made a lot of ear wax - I even had tubes put in my ears when I was a tyke. What makes things complicated is that doctors actually tell you not to clean your ears out with cotton balls or Q-tips, because you can irritate your ear canal (which I have done, it's not pleasant). So when your ear starts to fill up with wax because you've had the most annoying cold for the past two weeks, what do you do? Well when I was at Minnesota I went to the student health clinic (which was very good). It was right down the way, and I didn't even have to go outside to get there, so I'd just bop on down and get what is called an "ear lavage" which is when they shoot water in your ear with a big syringe to dislodge the wax until it all comes out. It took about fifteen minutes. Now, however, the doctor's clinic is a little further away and not quite as easy to get appointments at, so I've been trying to figure out a way to do this on my own. It's an easy enough concept, but complicated for a couple of reasons. First of all, I don't have a big syringe. I do have a shower, which creates some water pressure but hasn't worked so far. I also have a turkey baster, which I haven't tried yet. Second, I can't see inside my own ear. This seems obvious, but it's a problem when you're trying to get the most effective angle with the stream of water. So I may have to recruit my Studly Hubby. I'm sure this is the last thing he wants to do, but maybe if I promise to make Christmas cookies he'll oblige. Who can make Christmas cookies with a plugged up ear?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Ready for Christmas?

We spent the weekend Christmas shopping and doing a little Christmas decorating, then we went out Sunday night to look at some Christmas lights. It was a very Christmas-y weekend. I ended up buying a 6.5-foot artificial tree ($25 at Walgreens!) to replace our dinky little tree that went MIA during our move last summer. That meant we had to buy a few more decorations because the three we had didn't quite cover it. To look at Christmas lights we went to Candy Cane Lane, a cul-de-sac and side street smack in the middle of the city (pretty close to us) that puts out a huge effort and lots of electricity every Christmas. In addition to extravagant decorations on each house (one even had Christmas music playing in their front yard) they decorated the grassy circular median. The thing that was really fun, though, was that it's such a well-known destination that there were all kinds of families out walking the circle and taking pictures, and lots of people were even dressed up (there was one dog being walked with Christmas lights on his collar). We were at the place to be! Note: we forgot to take our camera so the picture at the left is one I found on the internet.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I'm lost in Lost

We've been watching the show Lost on DVD. We started watching it because a group of people at my work get together to watch the new episodes and we want to get caught up so we can join them (part of my plan for Making Friends). I enjoyed it at first, but am quickly becoming disenchanted. There are so many things wrong with the show I don't even know where to begin, but really, it's all related to this: the show is way too overdone. It is exactly why TV puts me on edge: they are out to trap you and make you watch more by any means possible. Some of the stuff that happens doesn't even make any sense when you shake out of your Lost-induced hallucinations long enough to really think about it. Why, for example, aren't they ever concerned about food? We should all know from our Survivor experience that food is a major problem when you get stuck on a gorgeous tropical island. Especially when there are 40-some of you and only one person seems to know how to hunt (and he's constantly distracted anyway). I'll forgive them that they can't make the actors all lose a bunch of weight to more accurately reflect their situation, but they could at least write into the script something about their concern over the food situation every once in a while. Instead food just appears out of nowhere (fish? oh, here's a net we weaved from nothing with no skills and now we're going to catch some fish in the shallow water where fish wouldn't be, and there you go! fish! now everyone is free to fight monsters).

One thing I like about the show is that it's filmed in Hawaii (like Dog the Bounty Hunter). Oh, my, what a lovely place.

Monday, December 04, 2006

J-Funk Does Radioactivity

Now that I've been recently awarded a shiny new "Radiation Safety" certificate, I was all ready to roll up my sleeves today and dig in. Unfortunately, the radioactive isotope we happened to have was about 20 times more concentrated than what I needed, but I had to use it anyway because it was what we had. So I suited up - put on the lab coat, the gloves, turned on the Geiger counter, got all my tubes lined up and labeled, then got out the "source vial" - the vial that the radioactivity comes in (a huge thing inside several other things, all screwed down tightly). Unfortunately the mere thought of the amount of radioactivity I was handling got me sweating profusely and quaking in my boots, and I almost dropped the whole deal on my foot. Then I stuck my finger in some of it (with my glove on) and had to switch gloves. Then I couldn't get the lid back on it. Once I finally got it back into the freezer I did about ten surveys over the benchtop to make sure I didn't spill any while I had it out. I even did a survey of myself and my notebook. Then I staggered out of the room and passed out in the hallway (and came back later to document what I had used and that I didn't get any on myself). All in all, it went well, since nothing blew up and nobody called the police. I give myself a Gold Star.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

J-Funk Goes to Church, Again

I went to church again today. This was my second time at church in Seattle and my second time in church in about five years. I chose not to return to the last one, which was a very small congregation - I've always enjoyed being a bit more anonymous and didn't want to be the only one my age. I went instead to a Quaker church, which gets me back to my Quaker roots a little bit (my mom and my dad independently became quakers in my youth, and then one of my brothers ended up going to a quaker high school in Iowa, Scattergood). This church was appealing to me for several reasons - 1) it is within walking distance, 2) it is in what is called "University District," which I thought might increase the population of young intellectual types like me, and 3) it is a fairly big church.

The drawback is, it's a traditional unprogrammed Quaker meeting (church isn't actually the correct name for it), with no minister and no service. Everyone just sits and stares at each other, sometimes for the entire hour (the alternative is for someone to stand up and say whatever is on their minds, sometimes this can be much more powerful than any sermon but sometimes it's not that interesting). For people who like to be quiet, sitting in silence for an hour is the best thing ever. For people with Attention Deficit Disorder (like me), this is not so great.

I knew this was what it was going to be like before I got there, but I still went because I thought, hey! everyone meditates (even Wolverine, and he's hot) so why shouldn't I? Besides it seems like that kind of thing outta be helpful in some way (especially for a young stressed out thing like me). And again, the church had many other perks.

So I went, and you know? Sitting in silence for an hour is exactly as horrible as it sounds (maybe even worse). But two other things happened that were neat. First, I saw the leader of my book club there, and he came over and talked to me for a while which is exactly why I've been wanting to join a church - seeing a familiar face is uplifting in so many ways. And then, I met a girl from my hometown in Iowa. She knew some people I know (my neighbors! who are also Quaker), she recently worked at Scattergood, and she also has Attention Deficit Disorder. It's hard to tell right now if we're soul mates, but it was certainly looking good (note: I'm not looking for a girlfriend, since I'm hetero and married, but I am definitely in the market for a friend, since I currently have none within a ten mile radius). So she had some suggestions on how an ADD girl like me can get through an hour of silence and then promised to sit by me through the next service to help me get through it. yay!

Note: for those of you who aren't familiar with the Quaker religion, you could probably think of them as being famous for their anti-war philosophy (and yes, they are Christian and sometimes conservative but generally very liberal). This church was liberal, and definitely anti-war. They organize peace rallies, get arrested at protests, put out signs and have bumper stickers and one guy even mentioned today that he puts "Give Peace a Chance" on all of his stationary at work (and he's a lawyer!).

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The youngest sports fan

Do you think this was set up?

Picture courtesy of The Broom, who says it's his kid, but I doubt it.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Happy Friday!

Usually I am so excited for Friday I can hardly keep myself awake until 8 pm. Tonight, it's 9:15 pm and I'm still up! It's a Friday miracle! I owe it to having missed most of this week at work. First, I was travelling. Then, I was sick. Finally, I just gave up. I realized something: when you don't work most of the week, you have a little more energy for Friday.

So tomorrow I'm going to bust out and do some stuff. A book that I've been waiting for with great excitement is finally in at the library (the latest Janet Evanovich book, oooooohhh aaaaaaahhh). Plus we somehow lost our Christmas tree, I discovered this last night when I went to haul it out. The Studly Hubby thinks we might have thrown it away but neither of us can remember for sure. Apparently we place little priority on remembering the fate of a midget $15 tree. Now we need to figure out what to do. We don't have any storage for a bigger better artificial tree, but we're too lazy to go out and find one in some field, cut it down and tie it onto our car and bring home. What's really putting a crimp in our decision-making process is that we're hosting Christmas for the first time this year and I kind of feel like we should at least have something. Which is why I was looking for our old tree. Maybe we should just get another one of those. What a bummer that we lost it. Who loses a tree anyway?

Anyways back to busting out tomorrow. I may also get a haircut, start writing our Christmas newsletter, and/or go for a walk. I haven't formally exercised for a week now (like with work, I was sidetracked by travelling, being sick, then simply giving up) so I need to start with something light. Whenever I go for a bit without formal exercise I start getting a little crazy, so it would be good to work on that. The weather here turned to crap the last few weeks but it's probably going to stay that way for a while so I need to get over it.

But first, I'm going to go to bed, sleep a good solid stretch, and relish the sweet life of a no-committment Saturday morning. These are rare.

Goodbye Mr. Mop!

A blog legend was once born, called himself Mr. Mop, wrote a bit about cycling and a bit about his home-grown tomatoes, then one day he wrote "It's OVER!" and he never blogged again. He did this almost like he had planned all along for the blog to be short-lived. It's funny, I always assumed my blog would someday lose my interest (like so many diaries I've tried to keep) but at the same time I've always thought of it as permanent. Strange paradox. And here I am, still blogging.

And if you readers keep reading, I'll probably keep blogging.

But Mr. Mop has moved on to other things. I wish you luck in the next life Mr. Mop!!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

No more underwear

Britney Spears recently had a photo taken of her getting out of a car with Paris Hilton flashing her woo-woo for all the world to see (see article on CNN - you can find the actual picture on Flickr). There is also a similar picture of Paris Hilton (also on Flickr). Apparently these gals firmly believe that the best way to conquer VPL (Visible Panty Line) is to nix the undies altogether. I don't know about the rest of you, but this seems like a dumb idea if you are constantly surrounded by papparazzi and are wearing a mini-skirt.

10-year High School Reunion

Last weekend was our 10-year high school reunion. It was held at a small bar in downtown Iowa City. One of my co-workers in MN had hers this past summer and said it was really a lot of fun so that helped me work up the nerve to go. Plus a lot of my 'crowd' from high school was there including several people I haven't seen in a long time (one of which just moved to Minneapolis and missed us by a day when we moved out to Seattle!). So having them there was very protective. And it did end up being a lot of fun. The unfortunate thing was that the bar was really really crowded (we had about 150 people in a bar that has only 20 tables) and they kept turning the music up so we were all losing our voices after only a few conversations. We finally took the whole party to a bigger bar across the street. Every time I moved through the crowd I saw all kinds of familiar faces and had to stop and talk to everyone. After the second bar filled up and got too loud, we attempted to take the party to yet another bar but everyone got snagged in the crowd by familiar faces.

In addition to connecting with everyone I knew, I connected with quite a few people I never knew. Conversations with, say, the high school football star are a lot easier when you see he now has a potbelly and is losing his hair. Several of the hotties from back then are still hotties now and we dared each other to talk to them while we swooned distractedly at their closeness. My Studly Hubby, I must add, is one of the ones that got even HOTTER.

While we were all originally living in Iowa City and going to the same high school, we are now living all over the world doing all sorts of interesting things. One of the best parts of the night was simply finding out where everyone ended up. I heard some pretty strange things, too. I found out that a high proportion of my classmates became lawyers (and they all promised to defend me if I ever get sued for sexual harassment, so I think I'm covered). One is a stripper, one is a professor, one of the smarty-pants science geeks (a friend of mine) ended up in drug rehab, lots have kids, and a few have died (!!). Plus a number of people from my class ended up marrying each other (including my Studly Hubby and I!). One guy lost his thumb in a freak accident (it got sewed back on, he showed us) and several people have been all around the world (one response to the question 'what are you doing now' was: 'I'm waiting for a visa so I can go to Timbuktu').

I managed to stay out until 2 am (this is VERY late for me) but my brother still beat me - he was out until 4.

I'm Sick!

I woke up yesterday early morning feeling stuffed up. Thinking it was allergies, I got up to take an allergy pill (I love you Zyrtec) but as soon as I got up I knew it was something more. The allergy pill helped a little bit and I went back to sleep for a few more hours. When I woke up at the normal hour, I was feeling slightly better so I headed to work. Work was cold though. It's cold here in Seattle - the high was only 24F - and although this would be warm in Minnesota, it's too much here. They don't insulate ANYTHING so a cold draft was heading down the hallways at work and some of the offices were only 65F. I got chilled during a meeting in one of the offices and couldn't get warmed up after - I ended up leaving at 1 pm and coming home and crawling under my electric blanket. I turned the blanket all the way up and shivered under it for a good hour before I finally warmed up. Then I alternated between freezing and sweating and started getting the Aches. Convinced I had the flu, I turned our futon couch into a bed and sprawled out with soup, tea, and several movies. Thankfully my Studly Hubby was home and could wait on me hand and foot while I constantly complained of my body aches. After three movies and a half a bottle of ibuprofrin, I started feeling better. I went to bed (again under the electric blanket) and woke up 12 hours later feeling about the same with an added sore throat and no voice. After some more tea, the voice kind of came back. The body aches seem to be gone but I'm afraid to go back to work and get chilled again. I have a few things to do at home but they all require heavy thinking and I'm not sure I'm ready for that. I may go take a long hot shower and ponder all my options. Thank goodness tomorrow is Friday.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's Backwards World!!

We left the midwest on a warm, rainy late November day (it was in the high '50s the whole time we were home and was wonderful!) but we arrived in Seattle to SNOW and ICE and FREEZING weather. Fortunately we are from the midwest, so we had coats and gloves and good shoes on. Many people at the airport weren't so lucky - a flight arrived from Hawaii at the same time as ours and we saw people outside waiting for shuttles wearing flip-flops, wrapped up in beach towels and huddling together.

Even though our flight arrived at midnight (after a twenty minute delay), we could see how bad the traffic was from the plane - and they ANNOUNCED how bad the roads were on the plane as we were landing. Apparently traffic in Seattle had been gridlocked all day, the airport parking lot was treacherous, the wait for taxis was rumored to be four hours long, and shuttles and buses were getting stuck and weren't showing up. We had parked at a nearby park-n-ride lot and got very lucky catching a shuttle out there, which was the one shuttle still running for that lot (the other two were stuck en route). We sat in traffic trying to get out of the airport area and onto the freeway for about an hour (even though it was less than a half a mile away) and finally rerouted to a highway that we had heard was really slick but had light traffic. It turned out to be fine. I think the Seattle definition of "slick" is very different from ours (although the hills here really change the definition of "slick" too). We finally got home at 3 am.

The city is still shut down today - schools and daycares are closed, buses are running on a reduced route, and we slept in. I am going to venture out and see whether the sidewalks have been salted. It doesn't look bad though.

More reports from Thanksgiving, including a detailed overview of the high school reunion, will be coming shortly.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

One Full Belly

I just finished up with Thanksgiving Feast No. 2. What delicious food has been coming my way!! I've had lots of pumpkin pie, and turkey, and even got some candied yams and mashed potatoes and gravy and cole slaw. It's SO GOOD! It's also really nice to visit my family and see the familiar Midwest. We're having some spectacular weather here this week with lots of sun and mild temperatures.

Still coming up tonight: a Battlestar Galactica marathon (my mom has had the good sense to tape it this season) and a break for Gray's Anatomy, then tomorrow some mother-daughter hot yoga (if the turkey has digested), a trip out to the old farm to say good-bye, another Thanksgiving feast, then more Battlestar Galactica. Saturday, Thanksgiving feast No. 4 (and final) and the high school reunion. Then Sunday, a Fondu party.

I've discovered that since the kids have moved out my mom has latched onto her dog with a fierce loyalty. She takes him out for long walks and to dog school and worries about him when she's away, and even takes him with her in the car when she runs errands and goes to yoga. He's soaking it all up and loving every second. She showed me the new Iowa City dog park and the other great dog places to go and then we hooked the dog up and took him out for a while and they showed off the things they learned during school (he went to the advanced class and knows fancy things now).

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I hate packing

I've said this before and I'll say it again: I hate packing. Whether it's for the weekend, or for a week (like this time), or to move your whole house. Once, when I was in college, I tried the alcoholic approach to packing: get wasted the night before to drown your worries. While it definitely helped drown my worries, it did NOT help with the packing the next day (and I would not recommend this method, I learned that your mom and boyfriend do not relish moving a couch with you on it). So tonight I am once again ramping up for packing. First, I baked. Next, I cleaned. Then, I sorted some papers. Now, I'm doing laundry and blogging. Next, I'll vacuum. Sometime later, much later, I'll pack. The good thing is there's a washer where we're going and we know where the tylenol is and what the weather will be like and what the rules are so it's a little less stressful than, say, a trip to Zaire, where the terrain would be much less familiar. When I first moved away from home, I would pack for trips like this by throwing all my dirty laundry into a basket and putting it in my car. I also always took my bike, just in case (you never know).

Speaking of traveling, my Studly Hubby and I were out and about the other day and saw a sign in someone's yard that said:

SPEED LIMIT: 300,000,000 m/s. IT'S THE LAW.

I totally didn't get it. My Studly Hubby, who is an even bigger nerd than me (this proves why), knew what it meant: 300,000,000 m/s is the speed of light.

If I don't get to post again until the holiday, Happy Thanksgiving everybody!! Good luck getting all that pie down. I'll be rooting for ya.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hot Yoga, revisited

After an official two-month break from hot yoga (also called Bikram yoga, a version of yoga done at 105F), I went back this morning. This is why: I am going home for Thanksgiving, and I have no doubt that my mom will drag me to her studio not once, but TWICE (or even thrice) and I am already embarrassed by how out of shape I know I've gotten.

It turned out ok. The fat guy with the speedo who rolls around moaning with a towel on his face was still there. You'd think if he was coming regularly for the past two months he might have lost some weight by now. I don't think he has. But I did notice that when he laughs his belly jiggles like Santa. That got me excited about Christmas.

The room wasn't as hot as my old studio (in Minneapolis). This served me well since I am out of shape, and out of practice. It's honestly very hard to keep your head in the game when it's 105F. As it was (I think it was only 95F), I stayed in the game, and only almost threw up once.

I have stayed in better shape than one would have thought. I really fight to stay even slightly flexible (tying my shoes is still very hard), so I was happy that I don't have to start completely over.

I award myself a million points for getting back to hot yoga. And I award a million points to those of you who are similarly going forth and conquering:

1) my Uncle Bruce and his wife, who have also taken up yoga
2) Speedy KT who is off to the Boston marathon for the first time this year and has gotten addicted to spin classes (I knew it would happen eventually)
3) Uncle KT who has tried thousands of new sports this year and even stuck with a few of them
4) Mr. Mop who also tried hot yoga, and loves Brewer's yeast, and continues to run despite his deep-rooted hatred of running (and video games) - keep fighting Mr. Mop!
5) my Studly Hubby, who has slowed down his running potential so that his wife (me!) can manage to keep up with him, and who is very sweet and handsome and loving (and studly)
6) My dad, who has started commuting by bike and continues to swim regularly, yay Dad! - we can't wait to see you and the herd next week!
7) Any of the rest of you who I neglected to mention

Go everybody! With our guts and fury we can conquer the world (or at least our bodies)!

The Split Infinitive, Part 2

Thanks to the very wise alienvoord, I was alerted to the info on Wikipedia about Split Infinitives. Wickipedia is so great for things like this. Not only does it define "Split Infinitive" (when a word or a phrase occurs between the marker "to" and a verb), but it informed me of two things I didn't know: 1) this is not officially wrong (although it has caused much disagreement) and 2) the word "to" has to be involved, therefore all the "hidden" split infinitives I created in the previous post aren't really right because they were just split action phrases that didn't actually have the word "to" in them.

So therefore, my boss and his henchman are both wrong. Split infinitives aren't wrong, and most of the phrases they were correcting aren't actually split infinitives anyway.

Therefore I win.

Except Tink really wins, because she never found my "hidden" split infinitives in my previous post - they weren't really there. So therefore SHE is president of the Split Infinitives club and as Vice President (that's me, I declare it) I deem her responsible for the club's primary concern of spreading the Glory of the Legal Split Infinitive, starting with my boss and his henchman. Meanwhile, I will run in the opposite direction firing off split infinitives to innocent bystanders in every direction.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Splitting My Infinitives

One thing I have learned through the many revisions I have gone through on this grant is that I very frequently like to split infinitives. If you, dear reader, are like me and have no idea what this means, let me give you an example.

To boldly go

Is a split infinitive.

The infitive 'To go' is split by 'boldly'

It should read:

To go boldly

I blame this grammar error on never having formally learned grammar. I was part of the group of kids that was part of the experiment called "don't teach grammar and see how it turns out." I can't regret it, because grammar is very boring, but every once in a while it trips me up when something that has sounded normal all my life (because it is very frequently used during every day language) is, in fact, grammatically formally incorrect.

So now I am going through this grant for the one millionth time and fixing all my split dang-blasted infinitives. What I'm actually doing is blogging about it, which I think is a very necessary first step towards healing, which will enable better grammar.

Can you boldly count all the split infinitives hidden in this very post?

Another Busy Week

We've been bolting through another busy week, our main conversations happen now when we're out running in the dark together (still managing to avoid the rain, for the most part, during our runs). We're leaving Monday for a week-long Thanksgiving vacation which will be a nice break but probably equally as busy. On our agenda: three Thanksgiving dinners and one pseudo-thanksgiving dinner, a Fondu party, a 10-yr high school reunion (which I have started having weird dreams about) and some major travelling.

This morning I'm 'working from home' and hopefully I am in the final stages of writing this dang-blasted grant. Then I'm off to work for a meeting this afternoon and a happy hour at my boss' house. He lives in this weird very tall house with about five floors. It's the kind of thing you dream about when you're dreaming about getting lost in somebody's house, because it's illogical the way you walk in on what you think is the first floor, but then you walk out on the back deck and realize the backyard is three floors down. Each floor has only a few rooms too. Plus he has this little tiny Chihuahua he calls Mr. Big and carries around on his shoulder. So that should be entertaining.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Seattle Weather

I nicked this image off of the 10-day weather report for my zip code a few days ago. The prognosis was bad, but the first four days haven't been that bad. Yesterday we actually had about an hour of sun (part of which I could enjoy while I was outside walking to work, luckily), and it hasn't been raining constantly (although it's raining right now). Plus the rain is soft and kind of sweet and relaxing, unless you have to go out in it, in which case it can be blustery but usually isn't. So far I haven't found the rain to be too inhibitive - although we've had a few recent bouts of hard rain that caused some flooding and I guess that was inhibitive (we live on a hill so no flooding here). The thing that's the hardest to deal with here, which we had already gotten used to in Minnesota, is how early it gets dark (right now it gets dark at 4:45 pm). It's hard to keep dragging your butt around work, then later around the house, when it's already been dark for a while and your body is telling you it's not right to still be awake (even though it's only 7 pm). My Studly Hubby's solution to this is to turn on every light in the house (we have three in the living room) but that just ends up being confusing - we're supposed to be winding down because it's dark out, but yet all our lights are still on signaling party time. I think it would be better if we could just go to bed earlier, but I guess that's not really a good solution either. So I'll do what I always do - distract myself with the upcoming holidays, survive through January, and then count down as the days get longer and eventually it gets back to normal. At least here in Seattle January won't be bringing the coldest weather you can imagine on top of it all (the coldest we dealt with in Minnesota was a day with a high of -25F, the whole day I was thinking "why do people live here?" while my friends that were raised in Minnesota were thinking "wow, I better put on some gloves").

Monday, November 13, 2006

The World of IM

So after some encouragement from the Studly Hubby I finally signed on for an MSN Instant Messenger (IM). This little deal gets you: immediate access anytime to send your husband animated pictures and clip-art, and to make a screen come up on his computer and shake all over - all while he's trying to work.

This deal is pretty sweet.

So I spent most of my afternoon sending him laughing heads and sheep and stars and shaking screens - much more fun than email.

There is something better about instant messages - it is slightly more like having a real conversation than email (slightly). It's also more instant (hence the name: instant messaging) - you don't even have to wait for them to check their email now. So I can send demands like: buy me some pie! and bring it over now! right... NOW!! and he can't say, "well, honey, I woulda bought you some pie and brought it over right in the middle of the afternoon even though you work all the way across town, but..... I couldn't because I didn't get your EMAIL."

Speaking of pie, I made some this weekend as practice for Thanksgiving. Every time we eat some we get better at it. I'm almost ready now...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Radium Girls

I did some Radiation Safety Training today because I'm going to be working with radioactivity (everybody run!). We learned some scary things in the class about the early days of radioactive fun. Back at the turn of the (20th) century nobody knew how bad it was for you so they used it for all kinds of fun things and in very high doses (with no attempt to provide protection from it). In fact, one of the early units of measurement was Erythema Dose, which is how long it takes to turn your hand red (dang!). They took X-rays of your feet when you tried on shoes, took X-rays of famous people's skulls as a novelty, offered it to eliminate the need for shaving, and offered "Radium" pills as a cure-all. Note: radiation really is a good cure for cancer (e.g. 'radiation treatment') but obviously you wouldn't want it unless you had cancer - or unless you believe in 'hormesis' (that radiation is good for you).

One of the interesting (and very sad) things that happened during this era was that someone made the discovery that if you make paint radioactive, it glows in the dark. So naturally they started painting watch faces and compasses and marketing them (this is where 'glow-in-the-dark' comes from). Young middle-class girls were hired to paint the watch faces, and to make the job easier they would lick the paint brush heads to make the tip finer. These girls (pictured at left) were called Radium Girls and eventually began to glow in the dark themselves (looking like ghosts at night). Not knowing it was bad for them, they would also paint their nails and one reportedly painted her teeth before a big date (wouldn't you?). Needless to say, they eventually started having big problems so the guy who owned the factory closed up shop and moved on to another city. To convince the girls that the paint was ok, he ate it. Eventually, about four cities later (and thousands of girls exposed), he died of cancer.

FYI - by the '30s it was becoming clear that radiation is in fact bad for you, and by the '50s the radiation regulations that are still in place today were set to protect people who work with radiation on a daily basis (and the general public). As a researcher, I am only allowed to be exposed to an amount that is definitely well under what would ever cause any problems (and researchers generally are exposed to nothing anyway).

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Yesterday was the big Voting Day and I hiked over to a church in our neighborhood and cast my vote even though I've only been here for three months. I haven't read a single paper while I've been here and didn't have a clue about what I was voting for so it was a little stressful. I mostly voted straight down my party line (ideally I would have researched the independent and green parties a bit but I didn't know how good a chance any of them had and didn't want the other party to win). The thing that totally stressed me out was all the propositions etc. They took an immense amount of concentration to read through and on the back of the ballot were about twenty proposals from the City Council to do simple things like replace their secretary. I couldn't deal with it all. Some of them I just couldn't decide on, some of them I couldn't understand, and by the end there were a few that seemed too stupid to try to figure out. One of the few propositions that I had heard of (amazingly) I voted against my party on (I realized later) but I don't think I regret it - I guess that's just one topic that I cross the party line for. Another proposition, about regulations in strip bars, my Studly Hubby had heard of through his man-radar and even though I didn't have an opinion about it I found out later that he certainly did. My Studly Hubby, it turned out, couldn't vote due to a mix-up with his voter registration - he tried to register when he got his driver's license and by the time he figured out they had goofed that up it was too late (you can't register at the polls here like in Minnesota, bummer).

So I wore my shirt yesterday that has a lip-shaped American flag on the front and on the back, the words:

Go Vote
Go Run
Go Lead

(Only one person noticed it)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

It's a Blog Miracle!

Thanks to some kind of Blog Miracle, my blog hits skyrocketed over the past week. I was actually averaging 120 hits per day! It's now going back down to normal, however, so I thought I'd capture the moment and display it for the world to see.(Note that at the peak I had over 180 hits to my blog). Now everyone can join hands and "oooh" and "aaah" over the Blog Miracle that has happened in our life.

Here are some other interesting bits and pieces. I've started reading more blogs than ever, thanks to being glued to my computer 24/7 for work, and have found another blog I really like, Pickled Beef. Ms. Tink over at Pickled Beef does some creative thinking but threatens that if you steal her stuff she'll "spork your face off" so I must be careful in how I make use of her inspirational posts. She does a monthly review of her blog hits, which I feel is ok to do here, because I did it once before I knew Tink, and Peggy in Scotland has done it also (I'd look up these posts and link to them but they're both very buried so it would take me a year, plus whenever I go back and look through my own blog I always get very distracted and forget what I was originally trying to do).

So, due to inspiration from Pickled Beef, here are my favorite search terms from October (that people used to get to my blog):

1. Pistachio toilet seat - if these actually exist I would love to have one
2. "Beth's boobs" - a reference to Dog the Bounty Hunter's wife Beth, it seems Beth's boobs are on everyone's mind
3. Dead dog suitcase apartment sitting - this one was interesting for two reasons. One, I can't believe someone did a search for such a long string of words and actually found something and Two, relating a bit to number 1, I connected the search to a post I did a while back about a story I heard, and did a search myself, and discovered that this story is in fact a well-known myth. Good thing I titled the post, "Urban legend... or a true story?"
4. Chipotle fart - need I say more? I think I may have actually had these two words in the same post once, but who can blame me?

And one last interesting tidbit, an experience I would like to report from a few weeks ago:

We went to a bar for happy hour with some pals from work. The waitress came over and took our order, but was taking a while to get back to us with our food. I was starving, so I scouted her out in the crowd, and saw her sit down at the table across from us. "What can I get for you?" she said to the man next to her. The man on the other side said, "We want a pitcher of Budweiser!" She turned to him and said "F--K OFF DOUCHEBAG!!" (except she actually said the naughty word I censored out here - I did that for you kiddies out there, I don't want to foul up the minds of my innocent readers).


Needless to say, I opted to abandon my mission and leave this waitress alone. She seemed like she needed some space.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ode to Apple Crisp

Yesterday I came home early to "work" and was not into it so ended up making an apple crisp, eating some apple crisp, then passing out on the bed for the afternoon from the sheer delight of the apple crisp. Apple crisp is an intimate part of my life, although I hadn't made any in over a year. I like it because it requires simple things that I almost always have (apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, butter), is super easy (cut apples, throw stuff together, mix a little bit, bake), keeps easy, and I can convince myself it's healthy because it has apples in it. Plus I associate it with fall and in the middle of a very busy and unfamiliar fall I can eat some apple crisp and feel like I'm back in the midwest rolling around in a big pile of leaves. In Minnesota we used to always hit the apple farm sometime in the fall and we would have all of their apple treats; apple crisp, apple popcorn, apple syrup, apple pie, apple cider, etc. The last two years we discovered a new apple farm with even more apple treats including apple brats. Oh, yum! I think if we looked we could probably find a good apple farm near Seattle too, we just haven't looked yet. Meanwhile I am overjoyed to have some home-made apple crisp.

Speaking of fall food, Thanksgiving is coming up...! Thanksgiving is my all-time favorite holiday, mainly because I get to have pumpkin pie (and practice making pumpkin pie several times beforehand). That's next on my list for baking, and I'll be sure to blog about that one too.

Tootsie Pops

My weekend is again sucked up by work (and the Seattle rain has started) so I take breaks by eating interesting things, pushing my Studly Hubby around, looking at, and checking everyone's blogs. This afternoon the interesting thing I ate was a Tootsie Pop. I am a huge fan of tootsie rolls and tootsie pops but haven't had one in a really long time. I got this tootsie pop from a girl at a halloween party who was using it as part of her costume. For halloween she was some sort of school girl with a short skirt and pigtails and had a basket full of tootsie pops.

Tootsie pops are one of the most fabulous things invented on earth. I found a Tootsie Roll website (with some of their old advertisements and a chronological history, Tootsie Pops were invented in 1939). I was also reminded of an elementary school Legend that if you got three whole Tootsie Pop logos on your Tootsie Pop wrapper then you could get a free one (which wasn't true at the time and I'm beginning to doubt that was ever true). When I was a kid I was also a huge fan of Twinkies. Now, Twinkies kind of gross me out (except for the deep-fried Twinkie at the Minnesota State Fair, those are actually really good). The Tootsie Pop wasn't as good as I remember either. I think my sugar-sensors are changing with age, and it's been kind of hard to adapt. What I remember as being good is still good in my mind but not so much in my mouth.

Friday, November 03, 2006

South Park does Dog the Bounty Hunter

One of my friends alerted me to the fact that South Park recently did a parody of our new favorite show, Dog the Bounty Hunter. In the show, Cartman became "Dawg the hall monitor" and took care of any violators of hallway infractions by spraying them with bear mace. When a particularly difficult hallway infraction occurred, he put a team together with "Beth," whose boobs were so huge they completely blocked her face, and "Leroy" and "Earl" who were dumb hicks (my only grudge with this parody was this - the real Dog's entourage is not made of dumb hicks, one of them is very hot and they are all very good at what they do - although they are maybe slightly hickey). The parody was really great, particularly the parody of the "Dog" intro (in the real Dog show, Ozzie Osbourne sings the intro). You can find both the real "Dog" intro and the both of the South Park "Dawg" intros (one with the team and one with just Cartman) on YouTube.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

One more halloween pic

This weekend I discovered that there's a thriving community of pugs in Seattle that get together regularly for various events, including Halloween. Curious, I looked it up and indeed found pictures! Here's one of them.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Halloween Pumpkin Treat

According to CNN, the small town of Boone CO woke up to a town full of pumpkins - lining the street, on everyone's porches, everywhere one looked, on Tuesday morning. Who would have thought a town could breed a mass of punk kids that supply pumpkins instead of smashing them?

My Hurricane Life

I've been plowing at breakneck speed the last couple months working a full hard week and then trying to get extra things done on the weekends. I finished a paper from grad school and sent that off, then started rewriting a grant for my new job, meanwhile I had to give a presentation on my new research (which was not much since I've only been there for three months) so I was putting in extra time to get data for that and get prepared. Finally, after my presentation yesterday, I just totally crashed and ended up going home at 4 pm, going out for a run (it's getting chilly here!), calling my mommy and chatting with her for a while, then spying on the trick-or-treaters that ran through our front yard all night (none came to our door - it's on the side of the house so I don't think they realized they would get more candy down-that-way. Maybe next year I'll put up a sign).

Now I'm in trouble because it's only Wednesday (why can't it be SATURDAY?!?) and so I still have three more days left this week that I have to drag myself through. I can't imagine going in to work today, much less working.

The good news is, my insurance company here covers massage therapy so I've got myself scheduled for one in a week and a half... o' glory be!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Daylight Savings What?

It's that time of year again! Everyone get ready! And now let me tell you what this means for me:

The good:
- we get an extra hour today, which is really good because both my Studly Hubby and I are working hard on assignments - he has a homework assignment due at noon (getting more and more time-consuming as he nears the final stretch of his final quarter), and I have a grant proposal to send over to a co-worker, also at noon. Now we have an extra hour to work! Oh I just love working on Sunday (and all day Saturday too!)
- We get to sleep in tomorrow, and for a few days after that it'll still feel like sleeping in. Now that's a pleasure!
- It'll be light out when we wake up now (which was the whole point), which means getting up will be 10% easier.

The bad:
- It gets dark now at FOUR THIRTY. How is this normal? How can anyone deal with this? When I was in Minnesota, I always wondered what happened to our sanity right after daylight savings time. It seems to me that when it's getting dark at 4:30 you should be heading home around 3:30 or even earlier but people still go about their usual business somehow and just get home an hour after dark. And out here on the West Coast, the usual business is to get home at 7 pm. So now it'll be even weirder (plus it gets dark even earlier, and it rains all the time). Gag!!

So I'm just hanging on until March, when the days start getting noticeably longer and the rain starts letting up and I can start feeling normal again.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hike Up Little Si

Sunday was absolutely georgeous here (absolutely GEORGEOUS!) so we thought we'd go on another hike. I consulted with our neighbor, who looks athletic, and she thought a hike up Mount Si would be good. Next we consulted our Hike Book, which we bought at a little bookstore down the street, and decided that maybe Little Si (a mini-Si) would be more like it. Little Si is Mount Si's little sister, is located right next door, and is only an hour hike to the top (vs. a four hour hike to the top of Mount Si). A website detailing both Mount Si and Little Si, with some more great pictures, is here.

Little Si, it turns out, is really a fantastic hike. It's steep and challenging, but rather short and well populated, so you never worry that it will kill you and you might die alone in the wilderness. It was steep enough to slow us down though. I'm not sure what the deal is, but I am continually getting my butt kicked out here by all sorts of people. For example, we were happily hiking along the trail when we came across a middle-aged couple and their six-year old daughter. The couple was helping their daughter up some really steep rocks on the trail so we passed them. Then, for the next fifteen minutes, we just about died trying to stay ahead of them. We finally let them pass us so we could have some peace. Next, as we're catching our breath from that little adventure, a woman and her dog pass us as they jog by. Jogging??! I was shocked. But by the end not one, but THREE joggers passed us on the trail. As if climbing up steep rock isn't hard enough, these people feel like they need to jog it. I shook my fist at one of them as they breezed past.

But oh! The top was beautiful. There was a large flat rock overlooking Mount Si on one side and the flatlands on the other, and everyone that had passed us on the trail was sprawled out enjoying the view and handing out twizzlers to their kids and small pets. I did a little yoga (I felt inspired), we each ate a victory apple, then we set off to hike back down. Then we took ourselves out for some Chinese food.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A 100-Hit Day

I got over 100 hits to my blog today. For some reason, the whole world is looking at a picture I have of Dog the Bounty Hunter this week. Well, I take what I can get and I'm excited to hit 100 today, whatever the reason.

Happy 100 to ME!!

Maybe that's lucky, and I should go do some risky thing like rob a bank to see whether the luck carries over.

Cruising the Neighborhood

Our new neighborhood totally rocks out. It is called Wallingford, and despite being right in the middle of Seattle it is considered a "quiet" and "close-knit" neighborhood. We have found that to be exactly the case. It almost has a small-town feel (except the houses are worth $500,000 plus and each placed on little itty-bitty plots of land). So when the weather was amazing on Sat I had to take a break and go out and take a few pictures to show you all my new digs.

The top picture is of our apt, which is the bottom of a triplex. From the front, all you see are our two little bottom windows and it doesn't look like much, but around back it's all ground-level and it's actually a very nice place.

The next picture is of the roundabout at the end of our block. There are lots of these in our neighborhood to keep heavy traffic out (it works) and they are often full of flowers (but I still don't know who keeps them maintained...).

The third picture down is an example of one of the many fancy houses that we're surrounded by. There are also quite a few 2-3 bdr homes, it seems to be a mixed neighborhood. People here have money, but it doesn't get flaunted around too badly. You see quite a few nice cars but they are often parked on the street and need to be washed. You see super fancy houses like the one above, but the lawn might be brown or it may end up being a rental property.

I tried to get a nice picture of the view. We live on the side of a hill facing the water, and across the water is downtown Seattle. It's a spectacular view. This means, at the end of each block, if you look south you gasp in amazement (especially on a clear night when downtown is all lit up). Unfortunately it wasn't very photogenic, perhaps because it's a bit far away so in the photograph all you see are the cars in front of the camera. Our neighborhood also has a nice playground about ten blocks away from us, and small but very popular shopping area with a grocery store (QFC), some restaraunts, and a few small but useful shops. I took pictures of all that but again it didn't turn out all that great, because there were people and cars everywhere and all I could get was one shop at a time instead of the whole experience. If you really want an idea of our neighborhood you may just have to come visit us. But hopefully the pictures helped.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Dog the Bounty Hunter, Season 2

I've gotten an extraordinary number of hits from people doing searches for Dog the Bounty Hunter (pictured at left), which reminded me to post a blog about Season 2 of this spectacular show.

Season 2 was even better than Season 1. His wife Beth gets into a brawl in a motel parking lot (thanks to her dirty mouth), his son Leland is still uber-hot and throws a few hard-swung punches in to defend Beth in that motel parking lot, the blond 7-yr-old gets a mullet just like his daddy (Dog), and it somehow looks cute, and Beth's boobs are as big as ever.

If you want verification that Beth indeed had a boob job, check out the Special Features of the Season 1 disk - in it is the "pilot" episode where she has her original boobs - much more normal looking.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

My Studly Hubby and his cookies

My Studly Hubby made some chocolate chip cookies the other night (which contributes towards my unwavering loyalty to him). A few mornings later, I was helping him pack his lunch and I asked "how many cookies do you want for your lunch?" to which he replied "5" and I said "whoa! that's a lot!" and he replied


Don't worry Studly Hubby, I won't judge your cookie love. If anything, it makes you a better man.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Questionnaire Answers

I found on Newt's Muse, a blog I've started reading, a template for some questions that looked like fun to answer. My Studly Hubby, who is really good at these things, helped me spice it up. So here it is (get ready!) - the questions are in black and my answers are in blue:

Winter Holiday of Your Choice Blog Extravaganza Gift Exchange Questionnaire Answers

If I could, I'd invent arm warmers, because damn it, the world needs these .

If you came over to my house to play and touched my Studly Hubby suggestively I'd be a little bit mad at you forever. (Except chances are good that neither of us would notice.)

The color mustard yellow makes me want to shave my eyeballs with acheese grater.
The color blue is so beautiful that when I see them, abeam of light comes down and I hear a choir sing.

I might get sick or die if I touch or ingest onions, or look at President Bushy-poo.

An itchy ear gives me the willies and I might need to consider afrontal lobotomy if I even think about it further.

I love the feel of scabs so much I want to hump them like a puppy ona sofa pillow. (Seriously. Scabs feel so weird it's good.)

No one should have to watch me eat Girl Scout Cookies, because then I might consider being polite enough to share, and I don't want to share them.

If I could invent a way to permanently coat my nostril hairs with this scent, I'd be my own biggest customer: roses

Three things I like that anyone might like: Walking, dark chocolate, Dairy Queen

Three things I like that nobody else in the world likes: Brewer's Yeast, dried squid, hot yoga

I have TOO MANY jeans, and not enough jeans.

Okay, we know the best things in life aren't things, but these are the best things in life if there are going to be best things: 1989 Toyota Camries (especially red ones).

It's true, I'm flatulent. I'm learning to be proud of it.

If I could have any talent in the world, I'd choose total peeing freedom and use it to pee on the ceiling OR out the car window . One or the other.

If I were to name the Holiday of my choice for this exchange, it would be: Thanksgiving! This has the best food and most time for family.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Arrest Warrant for Wesley Snipes

Do you all remember Wesley Snipes? He was the fondly remembered hero of "Blade" (and he was in "White Men Can't Jump!"), and now he's WANTED for tax evasion (and nobody can find him!). Apparently he had a lousy accountant who got caught helping some other big money-earners evade their taxes (these lousy accountant types get part of the tax return as payment). Wesley Snipes was one of the clients. The accountant claimed Mr. Snipes' total income was zero and he got a 7 million dollar tax refund.

I'd like a 7 million dollar tax refund.

I don't think I need to explain my opinion on this one.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Max the Pig-Dog

So we had an exciting weekend with Max, the Pig-Dog (the pictures are of him in our kitchen). It turns out he is much better behaved than his owner let on, at least during the day. He never so much as considered going potty in our apartment and was pretty calm about the whole getting-ripped-from-his-home-with-no-warning ordeal. Upon his arrival, he happily trotted all around our apartment and checked it out, then snorfed around in the corners looking for food, then plopped down on the couch like he owned the place. We took him out for a few long walks, the Studly Hubby played ball with him a bit, and then we all cuddled on the couch for some tv time (this dog actually watches tv, it's cute). We were just starting to really think that getting a dog would be a good thing (we even did a little dog search on, when it all took a turn for the worse.

My Studly Hubby always has a short night on Sat nights because his homework assignment is due on Sun. So we went to bed around 11:30 or so, and Max came into the bedroom with us and we pointed him to his sleeping-pillow. He tried getting up in our bed with us (fortunately it was too high for him to jump) but eventually settled with the pillow. Around 1 am, however, we woke up to the sound of him playing with his ball. I guess the ball is that much fun that he woke up in the middle of the night thinking about it and had to play with it. I got up, took him out to pee, and eventually he settled back down. Then at 2 am, our neighbors woke us up, which woke Max up, and he barked at them for a while, keeping us up and probably making our neighbors wonder. Then at 4 am, we both woke up because we were way too hot - it turns out that Max had accidentally turned our electric blanket on while he was playing with his ball. Then, at 5:30 am, the alarm went off for the Studly Hubby to get up. He says between all the chaos, the dog's constant snorting and my constant snoring he only got about a half an hour of sleep.

The next day went pretty well though - we went for an even longer walk, all the way to my work where the Studly Hubby and Max bonded in the courtyard while I did a few things in the lab. Then Max sacked out for the rest of the afternoon. I think if we do that again we may have to figure out a different sleeping strategy, and if we get a dog for real we should wait until after graduation in December. Plus the Studly Hubby is going to need some extra sleep this week.

How to make a giant Chihuahua

How does one go about making a giant Chihuahua??

Mess with the Igf-1 gene, which was recently discovered to play a role dictating the size of a dog. This may be a gene involved in making a type of growth factor.

There is actually something to be said for this research: dog breeds (purebreds at least) have less genetic variation than humans, and a very well documented breeding history. Therefore they make a great model for genetic hunts for, say, cancer-causing genes.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Blog Dreams

I had a dream last night that I met Mad Cabbie. In my dream, we were at a big lecture with all my friends from high school, college and graduate school but Mad Cabbie was the one sitting next to me. I was showing him my new dreadlocks, which looked like crap because I have no idea how to do dreads. He was very encouraging however. Meanwhile my friends were trying to give various important presentations and couldn't get the microphone to work, so they were distracting the very large audience with various entertainment that hadn't been worked out very well. And some people I knew from Minnesota were very upset because they were failing out of medical school (even though they were about to graduate from a Ph.D. program, last I heard).

Is this the first of my high school reunion anxiety dreams? Or is it a leftover moving-to-seattle anxiety dream? It's hard to tell. But it was sure interesting. I found out after from my Studly Hubby that I was snoring like a train, too.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Fall Colors

Fall here in Seattle has been excellent. It's still very warm out - all last week it was sunny with highs in the 70s. And now the leaves are changing colors and starting to fall to the ground and it's spectacular. I think fall is going to last a bit longer here than it ever did in Iowa or Minnesota, the trees seem to be taking their time and dropping leaves whenever they want instead of all at once. To the left is a pic we took Thursday night of a tree just outside our front door (literally, I took the picture from our doorway). It was already dark out by the time we got home (we get home around 7 pm) and we were heading out for a run. I can identify at least three different primary colors in those leaves. I hope they hang on for a few more days so I can continue to have a breathtaking scene on my first step out the front door.

By the way, the roses in our front yard are still blooming happily.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Urban Legend... or a True Story??

All this talk about dog-sitting brought out a good story at work yesterday. A friend of a friend was dog-sitting for a Great Dane (these are BIG dogs - compare with a chihuahua, left). A few days into it, the dog died of old age. She called up the owners, who weren't upset, but she needed to find something to do with it because they were going to be gone for a few weeks. They made a few phone calls and then told her that the best thing would be to take the dog to the vet so the vet could properly store it. The problem was, this dogsitter didn't have a car. As you may imagine, it's very difficult travelling around with a giant dead dog, especially without a car. So she brainstormed for a bit, and finally decided to put the great dane in a giant suitcase and carry it with her on the bus to the vet. So she lugged the suitcase onto the bus with her and sat right by the door of the bus, so that she wouldn't have to carry it very far. Then, at one of the stops, a guy in the back of the bus jumped up, ran over and grabbed the suitcase, and jumped off the bus with it before she could stop him.

Oh, what I would give to be a fly on the wall when that guy opened his stolen suitcase, expecting all kinds of treasures.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pig Dog

In the name of dog research, I am dog sitting for a co-worker this weekend. The dog is a 13 year old Schipperke (right), with attitude. She calls him Pig Dog, but his real name is Max. I guess his wide shoulders and frequent snorting noises make him pig-like. I think he's very cute. She's afraid he's going to drive us nuts, so she has set up a back-up plan for us in case we need to get rid of him - a kennel at her place. Also, he's known to bark frequently so we're giving him to another co-worker during the weekdays so he doesn't bother our neighbors. So, we'll just have him Sat-Sun. I consider it a treat. It's like baby-sitting for a cute niece. Only it's a dog that looks like a pig and barks a lot.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Toilet paper and paper towels

My Studly Hubby gets all upset when I put new rolls of toilet paper and paper towels on the holder "backwards" - he claims that there is a correct way to put rolls on (so that the new sheets are on top) and I can't seem to remember what that is when I am in the middle of doing it. He claims that the user-interface of these paper towel and toilet paper rolls is important (his words, this is what you get when you marry a web designer), and that when this user interface is flawed it can really mess someone up. I don't know or notice the difference. I also don't really notice different kinds of tea or good food vs bad food so I'm not sure if I'm much of a judge on this whole deal. All I know is that I'm incapable of creating a good user-interface with new paper towel and toilet paper rolls and now I get all nervous whenever I put one on because I'm sure I'm going to do it wrong.

Good news for this week:

1. I'm making progress on a paper I'm writing up from graduate school. It was pretty hard at first trying to remember all that confusing stuff, but then I realized I can copy most of it from my thesis and it got better after that.

2. We have three friends in Seattle now! Last weekend we went out with some people from Derek's school and one of his new co-workers, and even though all the school friends are moving away the co-worker was great and I claim him as my friend now. Then on Friday night we went out with two of my co-workers who are not only great but live next door so we will most likely be going out again (the bar we went to was two blocks away, too - it doesn't get much better than that!). I was so excited to have friends I could hardly sleep. Plus they have cable.

3. I have unpacked all of our boxes from our move. I have not yet put it all away yet, or hung pictures, but my nesting instincts tell me that it's definitely getting better. Now that we have friends I am newly invigorated to get it all finished and invite some people over. Plus there is a beer store down the street where I can get stocked up.

4. I have discovered a new favorite kind of beer, called Pyramid Hefeweizen. It is so good! It is like Blue Moon (one of my former favorites) only even better. And did I mention that there is a beer store just down the street? Pyramid is apparently a local brewing company near the Safeco (Mariners) field downtown, and they sell large volumes of beer in reusable glass jugs for all your party needs - now that we have 3 friends, and a cheap but good beer supply source, we could have a whole party! Or we could just go there for a tour and beer tasting sometime, that would be fun too.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Running in the dark and the rain

My Studly Hubby and I haven't joined a gym here yet in Seattle - so far it's been working out to go out running every couple of days and go to the occasional yoga class (one yoga class so far, but hoping for more...). The weather has been great so far and when the weather is great it's easy to get myself to go out for a run. But, when it gets dark... and rains... I'm not so sure. So tonight, it was dark. And raining (my Studly Hubby claims it wasn't really raining but it was drizzling and I think we can count that). And we went out and ran. And it was good! So, we win.


For those of you who are part of my generation, you have to have watched Saved By the Bell. And if you did, then you know who Screech was. He was the comic relief on the show - the nerdy, annoying, and funny-looking kid that somehow fell in with the "cool crowd" and provided entertainment for all (as long as the laugh track was working). Well, apparently Screech now lives in Wisconsin and is about to have his house foreclosed - so he tried to sell T-shirts to raise money to save his house. When that didn't work, he made a sex video.

Can you imagine? Let's not.