Thursday, August 31, 2006

plumtastic

There are plums growing all over the place here, and they're DELICIOUS. I scored three on my way home from work today. I strongly believe that if a plum tree is located between the sidewalk and the road that the fruit is up for grabs. Besides, these trees have way more plums than one family could eat anyhow. So as I walk I pluck and eat, and it's all very yummy in my tummy.

Monday, August 28, 2006

My brothers rock out

I have about fifteen younger brothers. They all do their own fantastic stuff, and every once in a while I have to brag. I just got a CD with some sweet tracks that my brother's band made - all original, and all of it ROCKS OUT. Way to go brother J!! I'm very impressed.

Getting back on the wagon

I seriously fell off the wagon when I moved out to Seattle. I'm a former spin instructor, devoted yoga taker, attempted yoga teacher, and fairly consistent runner, or at least I was in Minneapolis. The new Seattle me had forgotten all that. I'm afraid to drive in Seattle, therefore yoga is impossible (I could walk to the studio but my previous experience tells me it may be hard walking home afterwards). I can't find any spin classes here, it seems they don't do that or even know what it is. I suppose when you can bike outside in the winter there isn't any need for that crazy indoor biking (but I like spin classes even in the summer! They're sooooo good!). I kept up on the running, but it's so damn hard here with all those hills... and then I went to New York for a week and was wooed away from running by all the beer.

So I figured, I am here permanently now (I haven't gotten fired yet, so things are looking pretty good). I need to get back on the wagon. I'm frightened of heading straight back to the yoga studio so I did a bit in my living room tonight (first I shut the blinds, you don't want the neighbors talking...). It went well. I didn't fall, pull a muscle or break out into terrified screaming, not once. It wasn't too rigorous though either. Maybe that'll be for Wednesday night.

Tomorrow I'm going to try that running thing again. The Studly Hubby and I have discovered the Hill of Death, which is only about seven blocks long and isn't too steep when you first look at it, but kicks everyone's ass in the end. I want to someday get all the way up that hill without throwing up or falling over. I also still haven't managed to run all the way around Green Lake, although I've only really tried to twice. It's hard not to get distracted by all the cute dogs prancing around that place.

I'm not sure what I'm going to end up doing this winter. I hear it can get kind of rainy and disgusting around here, not to mention the sun goes down around 4 pm. I will either pull out some grandiose motivation and keep running through it all, or I will give up and become a couch slug. Or maybe there will be some interesting alternative, like a magic gym that pops up next door that offers free spin classes to former instructors any time I please.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Where do I live?


I was actually back in Seattle today so I thought I'd venture around a bit and see a few things. The Studly Hubby and I have some major plans to tour by car over Labor Day weekend so we thought we'd do the walking tour today. It turns out, you can walk to a lot from our apartment. Today we went to Fremont, an artsy neighborhood to the West of us. We first went to the Fremont market, which I thought was going to be a farmer's market but turned out was more of a flea market that had everything from used clothes to bongs, with some really nice artwork and furniture in between. That was surprisingly fun. The Fremont Market is right next to our co-op, the PCC, and around the corner are a few blocks of trendy restaraunts and shops, so we walked around the neighborhood a bit and scoped it all out.

We next walked up the hill to visit the Fremont Troll (shown above), which is a huge troll under a highway bridge that is clutching an actual Volkswagon Beetle. I think the troll may have swiped the Beetle from the highway above (although the plates have since been stolen so this happened a while ago). The troll, who clearly posed a danger to the neighborhood of Fremont, was turned into concrete some time ago so is frozen in time under the bridge.

We also found a Fremont Walking Tour Guide near the troll (the troll is obviously a major tourist attraction, trolls are rare in the US); apparently there are outdoor movies playing at dusk all summer somewhere in Fremont that we intend to try out (summer is almost over though! The last one is Labor Day Weekend). Then we walked home, had some food, and drove up to Target. The Target we went to has a super-cool cart escalator, so your shopping cart can have a super-fun time riding up and down the escalator while you ride on a normal human escalator beside it. We are big-city-livin' folks that have already seen a cart escalator at the Minneapolis downtown Target, so we were only mildly impressed. We spent some good money at Target though, then came home and filled up our apartment with all our new things.

I think Seattle is going to grow on me.

Did I tell you that roses bloom all summer here?? It's incredible.

Nature Survival Kit

Somehow in the last six years I have completely lost my country girl upbringing. Last week I found myself in the middle of nowhere, with a cell phone that didn't work, no tv or internet access, and woods and silence all around. To make things worse, I couldn't get my bedroom windows shut. Here are a few words of advice for any of your city dwellers that might be planning to head out to the country soon: take a Nature Survival Kit. A Nature Survival Kit might include:

- Earplugs - crickets and other nature sounds can keep a city girl up all night long
- A relaxing CD, like "Truck Sounds" or "Highway Traffic," to bring you back to a familiar place
- Books, music and magazines for entertainment (you can find these at a LIBRARY, which is easily accessible back home in the city).
- bug spray and a bug-proof screen that you can wrap around yourself at all times
- all things you may need any time you are there - toothpaste, cotton balls, food, directions, important phone numbers, cash and good walking shoes - because acquiring such things may be a big pain or even impossible, and it's good to have all of these things when you are stranded at a train station in the middle of nowhere with no idea where you are.
- A PHONE CARD - these are useful for when you don't have access to a cell phone. Not sure where to get one? I found out recently that airports often have them and also train stations.
- A map
- An address, explanation, or idea of where you are trying to get to if you are travelling to some naturous destination. One major and unexpected hazard of naturous destinations are that they are not near anything helpful when one realizes suddenly that they are lost.
- flares or some sort of distress signal. Sometimes a PHONE CARD is also equally helpful.
- Useful PHONE NUMBERS, especially of co-workers with immediate internet access. Local taxi cab companies, transit, and the phone number for your destination might also be useful.
- Some luck, some patience, and a lot of bravery

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Gone!

Sorry about the long blog delay - I've been out of town. I'll catch up later with all y'all (Texan plural for "you").

Monday, August 21, 2006

A Shout Out

A Shout Out to my friend the Fixen Vixen, who recently started a blog so that now we have a complete nerdy-science-blog-ring going. Maybe we should start an official nerdy-science-blog-ring??

MAN BACK UP!!

My computer is now running again, although I was suspicious and immediately backed up all the important data I was up late last night worrying about. When I woke up this morning and came out to the living room where my computer is sitting in front of a fan, my heart was beating wildly and I was having butterflies in my stomach because of the anxiety associated with starting it. And then it started! I think I might owe someone something upstairs. What a relief.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

MAN DOWN!

My computer has taken a hit, due to a too-embarrassing-to-mention operator error of sorts. It is currently being dried out, and hopefully will survive but the prognosis is not good. Meanwhile I am fighting down panic and hoping I can recover things like important data and half-finished presentations (one such presentation is being given this coming week, the other, the week after...). The Studly Hubby is loaning me his computer during the meantime so it's a good thing we're a two-computer family. It's amazing how so many things in my life have come to be centered around my computer, even though I never really wanted it to be like that.

We found Iowa City's Twin!

After years of searching and many leads that went nowhere, we finally found it; Iowa City's TWIN. It is:

BOULDER, CO

Everything downtown looks the same, from the bricks in the pedestrian mall to the plants and trees and street signs. We found out later that the reason why they look so similar is that they were created by the same dude (whose name I can't seem to find) and he used the same bricks, same grates, etc to really give it the same look. I can't find the dude's name, nor can I find which was created first or whether there are others out there created by this same dude that looks so uncannily similar. The weird thing is, both malls have been re-done since then and look even more alike now, with similar fountains and benches and even storefronts. I guess it is a bit of pedestrian globalization that is going on now.

The pics on the left are of the modern pedestrian malls with their new fountains shown. The top is Iowa City and the bottom is Boulder. We still miss the "three ladies peeing" fountain but I guess when the city has a liability problem, they have to remove it no matter how loved it is. I took a poll at a recent gathering of Iowa Citians and more than half admitted to having been bruised or scraped while playing on the "three ladies peeing" fountain in Iowa City.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Unsolicited Soliciting

The level of soliciting in my life has reached a new low (or high, depending on your reference). As soon as we got our phone working, we started getting 5-10 phone calls per day from soliciters. My old email address was always getting inundated with spam; now I have a second, newer and supposedly "spam-proof" email address that attracts a whole new breed of soliciting scum. I have started receiving pictures. It's a little entertaining when I'm at home, but these seem a little inappropriate for work.

Soliciting Scumbags, I will win this war!!

I'm BACK!

Sorry my fellow blog-readers for the long delay in blog posting. I had an incredibly good reason for my absence; although it wasn't saving children from oncoming schoolbuses, nor was it a battle for our land. I was watching the end of the Buffy show. After two years of almost constant Buffy watching, we got the last two CDs from Netflix this week and dropped everything to watch them.

The ending was pretty good.

Now, I feel empty. What next? Perhaps Angel. Or perhaps some totally new show. Or maybe we should go back to the beginning of Buffy and watch it all over again.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The effort of emailing

At my old job, my "effort" would periodically get "certified" by myself, my boss, and someone that pays attention to the money. I think this is basically a way for everyone to make sure I'm getting paid with money from the most appropriate pot, and get it documented so there's no question about it later. It's weird though, formally agreeing with everyone that yes, I am working, and yes, it is worth paying me. So today it was even weirder when my Effort Certification Statement for June wasn't approved, instead it was unapproved (after first being approved). I guess they changed their minds about whether I was working.

I am on a mission to decrease the number of emails in my Inbox. This has proven particularly challenging since I get about 50 emails per day (most of which are spam). So if I delete those, plus a few more, every day it seems like eventually I should make some progress. Except that, my one email address has now multiplied into two (since I have changed jobs) and I think I have a third one floating out there somewhere, which makes it even harder to delete all the messages in my inbox.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I Miss...

Despite our spectacular weekend, I felt a bit homesick today. It's funny the stuff I miss though, like:

1. my chiropractor. Man, she was good (those of you in the Twin Cities looking for a chiro, go see Tammy at Langford Chiropractic in the Highland Park neighborhood and tell her hi for me).

2. all my buddies at work. And work too!

3. Everything being flat.

4. Having four closets and storage space (now we only have two closets and no storage space, man what a rush packing it all in there)

5. my old boss. He is great! I bet not many people miss their boss.

6. the YWCA and my spin classes. I miss my spin classes like I would miss going to someone else's beloved spin classes. I must be good! hI wonder if it would be anything close to comparable if I put the music on my iPod and hopped on my bike and cruised around a bit outside (on a flat trail of course)...

7. walking to Dairy Queen. There's no Dairy Queen here! We did buy some ice cream bars at Gas Works Park on Saturday. That was pretty good.

Ok, so here are some things in Seattle that sort of balance it out and make it better:

1. The weather. It's fantastic! Watching the weather report is like being in Pleasantville - 70s and sunny every day. They all freak out if it's cloudy even for an hour.

2. Having a dishwasher. Wow!

3. The aromas outside - flowers are blooming continuously and it smells all tropical wherever you walk. It's amazing.

4. The views. I never imagined that a "view" could be so intoxicating. Now I know what everybody was always talking about.

5. Having TWO bedrooms. I feel very fancy.

6. The rose bush in our front yard. Rose bushes here are bigger than people, they are like small trees and they bloom all summer (and I hear part of winter too).

7. Our neighbors. One of them doesn't believe in chiropractors, but the rest seem very nice.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Gas Works Park

We finally got out a bit this weekend to do some Seattle adventuring and discovered that we are within walking distance of the most beautiful park, Gas Works Park, and a spectacular lake, Green Lake. To the left is a picture we took of the old gas plant that is right in the middle of the park, making it one of the "strangest parks in the country" according to the Seattle Times. When we first walked into the park from the Burke-Gilman trail, which takes us from our apartment to the park (or from our apartment to my work, depending on which way you go), we saw the remains of this old plant and wondered what the deal was, but when we walked past the plant we gasped in wonder - the park overlooks Lake Union and downtown, the Queen Anne and Capitol Hill neighborhoods, and goes right up to the water (as shown in the two other pics we took, check out the space needle and downtown Seattle in the background). I guess the old plant was left in place to add to the aesthetic appeal (??) of the place.


The other places we adventured to today were the Seattle Chipotle (within walking distance of our apt of course, in the U-district), and Green Lake. Green Lake is my nemesis. It's a beautiful lake about a mile from our apt and my goal is to run there, run around it, and run home (only about 5 miles, and not too hilly). Last weekend I made it there and about halfway around it. This weekend I made it there and 3/4 of the way around it. I'm going to kick its ass one of these days though! You'll see! Then I'll brag and brag. One thing I really like about Green Lake is that there are a million-billion dogs there of all sorts, all looking very happy.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

CHARGING up those hills

WATCH OUT Seattle, I'm gonna conquer your hill-tastic city.

Even if I have to fart and puke all the way up and poop in my pants at the end.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Erotic Bakery

Our apartment is just down the street from The Erotic Bakery. I'm totally serious. I'd like to say that we picked this particular apartment only because it's down the street from the Erotic Bakery, but actually, we didn't. Although, my new Seattle co-workers did exclaim, when I told them where we are moving, "oh! that's just down the street from The Erotic Bakery!"

The nice thing about The Erotic Bakery is, they will ship their cakes and cookies anywhere in the US. So, we were brainstorming all the people who would really like a cake from The Erotic Bakery (which is a surprisingly large percentage of our friends) when we realized, HEY!, WE live close to The Erotic Bakery, so wouldn't it just be easiest to ship a cake to US? We live just down the street, after all.

The only thing is, it's a little pricey at The Erotic Bakery. It's $79.95 for a 20 piece sculpted penis platter of cookies. Those cookies better be freaking awesome for $79.95.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

New Phone! New Week!

We got our phone fixed today, so it's working now. I guess there was some wiring problem on the outside of the building, so it was free to fix it which is great. I also celebrated my first week anniversary at work by breaking three things and finally finishing my experiment (which worked, thank god). Tonight I'm going to fix one of the things I broke (a nylon screw which is no longer available to buy), pay to wash some laundry (which totally sucks), and do some good old fashioned television watching (O Buffy, you call to me). We still have lots of unpacking to do but I really need to concentrate on getting my energy back so I don't break anything else at work... not a good way to introduce myself to my new lab-mates.

Monday, August 07, 2006

I got pinged!!

I got pinged or poked or tagged or something, by Peggy from Scotland. I'm not sure what it means, but I think I'm supposed to go through a list of stuff on my blog that is about me and then ping some more people. So, here goes:

Five Items in my Freezer:

1. Loads of coffee, most of which is unlabeled and in tupperware. Since I can't drink caffeinated coffee or I blow up, I've been afraid to test it to see what is what. So it sits in the freezer.
2. Ice, shaped in pluses and arrows, in Ikea ice trays
3. Bread. We keep it in the freezer or it molds within a day.
4. Frozen cranberries. Like Peggy, I can only buy cranberries during certain seasons and so I buy them up and save them for later. I love cranberries!
5. Frost.

Five items in my closet:

1. way too many clothes
2. way too many shoes
3. wedding memorabilia (what are you supposed to do with this stuff??)
4. two extra pillows (and now we have a 2nd bedroom too!). One of the pillows is an extra-nice down pillow too.
5. five million belts. I LOVE BELTS!

Five items in my car:

I no longer have a car. One of my many younger brothers nabbed it while I wasn't looking. It leaks gas now though so the joke's on him.

Five items in my backpack:

I have so many items in my backpack that my Studly Hubby was afraid that one day it was going to bust open and ruin our carpet so he cleaned it out for me. Now it's a little better but I still have at least five items in there.

1. Super-woman deoderant. You never know when a girl needs an extra boost.
2. My laptop. I never go anywhere without it!
3. Some random food. This is where the trouble starts. Some of it isn't in such good shape.
4. My purse, which lately consists of a tiny little travel pouch which fits my cards and money and nothing else.
5. Tylenol and Pepto-bismol (remnants from my college life, I still find I need them every once in a while).

Now I get to peg, or punch, a few other people who now have to do this same thing, I think. I target:

Uncle KT
, whose blogging prowess has impressed us all (but has been waining of late... maybe this will give her the boost she needs to stay on top)
Speedy KT, who just might stop running for long enough to try this out
The Mopinator, who I think is a guy but nobody really knows. This type of thing may provide more clues for the constantly wondering among us, like myself.
My Studly Hubby, who would never in a million years do something like this even if he was being kicked in the head repeatedly
My mom, who doesn't have a blog nor reads any blogs. She is the modern rebel.

Push the Tush

How to get (or keep) One Fine Rear:

1. Teach a couple spin classes every week

OR

2. Move to Seattle, live close to work, walk to work

One week of walking to work every day, and these hills are STILL whooping my ass!

PS I tried running around Green Lake this weekend (think Lake Calhoun, for those of you from Minneapolis) and only made it halfway around. I think my bum was still recovering from all that walking last week.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

The Hot Dudes of the Comic Book Movies


The comic book movies are making a big splash these days and what I'm excited about are all the hot dudes that are being cast in them:

Heath Ledger as The Joker in Batman 2: The Dark Knight (2008). Note: Katie Holmes is also in this movie, they are about to begin filming. Will we all see her as the sweet girl she was in the first Batman movie, or is she now tainted by Tom Cruise's baby?

Also Tobey Maguire as Spiderman (left) and Topher Grace as his nemesis Venom (opposite) in Spiderman 3 (May 4, 2007). I don't care what you people think, Tobey Maguire is hot. And so is Topher Grace (from That '70s Show).

And last, but definitely the best, Hugh Jackman is set to star in his own movie (yes he is THAT HOT), Wolverine (out sometime in 2007), where he will flex his muscles and look irresistably troubled as much as can be squeezed into one feature-length film.Descriptions of all these movies and a few more can be found here. Also, for those of you who might care, there's going to be a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie (all CG) and also a new Transformers movie! Bringing back the greats every couple of decades is sure to crop up a winner sometime.

Guy or Girl?

It's getting harder and harder to tell guys apart from girls these days, but this story from CNN surprised me. Apparently, a woman and her live-in boyfriend (the boyfriend is shown at left) were abusing their kid, and when child-services hauled them off to jail they discovered during a routine strip-search that the live-in boyfriend was in fact FEMALE. So where did the five o' clock shadow come from? Is there five o'clock shadow makeup that girls-that-wanna-look-like-boys can buy? And how surprised was the girlfriend to find out about all this? I'd be a bit surprised.

My baby's got a job!

My Studly Hubby's got a job! Unfortunately, it doesn't pay real money, but it does pay in experience and networking access. He is working for a gaming company as an "Animation Intern" while they are between game productions. If they get the next gig, which they think they will and they think will be soon, they will be hiring animators and actually paying them so hopefully he'll get some access to that and then I can start spending all his money.

Meanwhile, he is going in every day and trying to get used to the terrible commute that is indigenous to the west coast. The place he works at is only 5 miles away yet it is a good hour drive due to heavy traffic. Most of the people there work from 10am - 7pm to try to avoid traffic so he's been also experimenting with later hours, which is totally weird. It's only about an hour and a half later than what we're used to but it's totally throwing my game off (I try to match his hours since my hours are flexible). I'm hungry at weird times, I desperately want to take a nap right after lunch, and I can hardly wait to get out at night and head home. Oh wait, that's my usual pattern.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Third day is better

Today was my third day at work and it was definitely getting better. I figured out that if I can stave off and eat lunch about an hour and a half later than usual, I can have some company, which is much more fun than eating by myself. I also got invited to dinner at another new post-doc's house this weekend.

I unpacked three boxes tonight and did a load of laundry, which I consider making major progress. We have to pay for our laundry here, which totally sucks, so we set up a rack by the laundry door and we plan to air dry as much as possible. According to Al Gore, that's good for the environment too. It's just kind of a pain in the butt. We also cooked dinner for the first time, and had all we needed which was amazing. There are still boxes everywhere though. This weekend we will tackle those boxes. Or, go out and enjoy the nice weather we're having here... we're the only place in the whole US that's not having a major heat wave right now and it's awesome.

New Jobs Suck

So I started my new job on Tuesday, and was almost too exhausted from the move to form any opinion of it, but on Wednesday when I felt a little better I realized that I really hate it. Not the job, which I think I'll like eventually, but the whole starting a new job thing. It's awful. I feel uncomfortable around everyone, I don't know where anything is, I don't understand what anybody is doing, and I don't really like being there. I would just hide at my desk as much as possible, but I'm forcing myself to go out into the lab and do an experiment so that I will have to interact with people and familiarize myself with the place. And that sucks too. The lab is made up of about 15 different small rooms, including three rooms with benches, but all the equipment and desks are spread out amongst the other rooms. The space was originally supposed to be temporary, so stuff is thrown illogically into different places and the rooms all still look the same to me. It's impossible to find things, and worse, a lot of the people in the lab don't even know where anything is (some of them are new too).

And today, I get back to it. Hopefully, with time, it'll start to feel more normal.