Thursday, July 26, 2007


Being the wonderful Uncle and Aunt that David and I are, we purchased a Nintendo Wii as a gift for our three nephews (and my VERY excited brother-in-law, Robert), who live in Taiwan. The Wii is not yet available in Taiwan; it is still hard to buy in the U.S.

After weeks of trying to track down a Wii, I secured one last week. On Monday it arrived in the mail. Since we are taking the Wii to Taiwan when we go next month, we thought it was prudent to try it out and make sure everything is in working order. It would be so disappointing to get to Taiwan and have a non-functioning video game system. Since David and I don't have a TV (yes, we are that crunchy - vegetarians without a TV in Washington DC), we had to beg our good friends, Ted and Martha, to allow us to come over to their house last night with our new video game system. Ted allowed it only because he was thinking of the children (read: our nephews). In truth, he and David were SO excited to try the Wii out. They were like little children on Christmas morning.

I, on the other-hand, was skeptical. I'm not a huge video game fan; never have been. When David and Ted busted out the Wii and started playing baseball, tennis, and duck hunting, I have to admit I was excited. The Wii is like no other gaming system. The games are easy to play and the controllers are SO easy to use. If you are golfing, you swing the controller like you'd swing a golf club. If you are playing baseball, one person pitches the ball and the other one swings the bat (as David and Ted are doing in the picture below).

Much to my surprise, I ended up playing a fishing game and a cow driving/racing game. And I enjoyed it! The cow driving/racing game, which is part of WiiPlay, was my favorite. I'm looking forward to playing some golf and tennis with my nephews when we are in Taiwan.


SCHOOL UPDATE: I am registered for classes for the fall semester and am feeling completely overwhelmed. A full course load at Maryland is five classes per semester. This fall I will be taking: Principles of Epidemiology, Principles of Biostatistics, Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Health Education & Promotion, and Health Survey Research Methods. I'm going to school tomorrow to turn in some paperwork and get my student ID. I'm also hoping to visit the bookstore and buy my books.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Last Thursday evening I found myself locked in a bathroom stall at Washington National Airport.

This is what happened... I waited in line to use the bathroom and when a stall finally opened up, I went in. Once inside, I realized that the handle/knob that one uses to engage the lock on the stall door was not there. Being the handy person that I am, I slid my finger into the hole and pushed the locking mechanism into place. Once I finished with my business, I realized that I had pushed the lock too far to the left and there was no way for me to disengage it.

I was locked in the bathroom stall!

It took me about three seconds to realize that I might have to crawl out under the stall. About two seconds after that thought crossed my mind, I decided there was NO WAY ON EARTH that I would crawl on the nasty public bathroom floor to get out. I'd sooner break the door down (that is what Sydney Bristow on ALIAS would do!). Instead of pulling a Sydney, I asked myself, "What would MacGyver do?"

In what is to date one of my prouder "MacGyver" moments, I used my fingers as a screwdriver and removed one of the screws holding the lock in place. Once the screw was removed, I had access to the lock and was able to disengage it by pushing it to the right.

I walked out of the stall, leaving the removed screw on the toilet paper dispenser, with a smile on my face. Knowing all the while that MacGyver (and Sydney Bristow) would be so proud.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


In the past 24 hours, David and I have been to five CVSs across DC looking for the Wyler's Italian Ices that we like so much. With back-to-school supplies taking over the "seasonal" aisle at the CVS, the Ices have been hard to come by. Last night after visiting three stores, we could only secure one box of Ices (we ate all of the Ices we had at home). This evening we visited the Woodley Park Ices. However, we hit the jackpot at the Adams Morgan CVS. They had 11 boxes!

Because we were on our way home from a run, neither David nor I had any money. We walked home, got some cash, and returned to the store where we bought eight boxes. Buying out the store seemed wrong. Buying eight was merely indulgent!


The first fight David and I had as a married couple took place in a grocery store. A Shopper's Food Warehouse, to be specific. We had been out returning wedding gifts post-honeymoon when we decided that we'd stop at the store to pick up some food since we had been gone for two weeks. We didn't make it through the fruits and vegetables before I was in tears, and David was frustrated beyond words. We didn't realize while we were dating or engaged that we are not naturally compatible grocery shoppers. David likes to meander around looking for seasonal items and crafting meals in his head. I'm more task-oriented. I want the basic necessities to get us through the week - what do we need for lunch? dinner? snacks? And most importantly, do we have cereal and milk in the house?

Before either one of us lost our cool (or walked out of the store ready to just throw in the towel), we took a seat in the store's cafe and tried to figure out how to make THIS - grocery shopping - work. The decisions we made in the Shoppers on that March evening have shaped our marriage, as well as our shopping habits and budgeting.

In the cafe, we designed a menu for the week - what we'd eat for lunch and dinner each day as well as what David would prepare on Friday mornings when the guys come over for breakfast. From the menu we crafted a shopping list. Knowing what we needed to buy made grocery shopping with David a pleasant experience.

Since March 2006, we have put together a menu and grocery list for each week. We have a stack of menus and shopping lists that we can use to craft future menus. Additionally, we got a subscription to EVERYDAY FOOD to help us come up with new menu ideas and eat more seasonal items.

I grocery shopped yesterday (with my weekly menu and list in tow), and it was quite successful. Because I bought only what we needed and knew what we needed before walking into the store, I did a complete shop in less than half an hour and spent only $51. This means that David and I will eat 15 meals (one a piece for lunch and dinner and him on Friday for breakfast) for $51. That is an average of $3.40 per meal. Not bad... Eating one lunch out during the week would be at least double that price (everything is expensive in DC!). And don't think that we're just eating ramon noodles and spaghetti-Ohs! We have a wonderful menu planned for this week. (See below...)

I'm proud of our shopping habits and the money we are saving. More importantly, I'm glad that our marriage survived the awful events that took place in the Shoppers Food Warehouse.

Menu for this week:

Monday: (lunch) portabella sandwich, yogurt, and fruit, (dinner) pesto pasta with 'chicken' and green beans

Tuesday: (lunch) green salad with tomato, avacado, and onion with a veggie burger, (dinner) curried lentils over rice

Wednesday: (lunch) PB&J sandwich, yogurt, and fruit, (dinner) mushroom melt sandwiches

Thursday: (lunch) grilled cheese and green salad, (dinner) tomato/cucumber salad in yogurt served with crackers

Friday: (breakfast) scrambled eggs and hash browns, (lunch) black beans and rice, (dinner) southwestern corn chowder

Saturday: (lunch) tofu, rice, and broccoli, (dinner) veggie burgers and fries

Sunday: (pre-church breakfast) oatmeal and 'sausage'

Monday, July 16, 2007


According to Allegheny College:

As many of you will have read, a wrecking ball operated by a contractor broke loose of its cable on Monday, July 9 at a campus construction site and rolled 3,600 feet down North Main Street, damaging a number of parked cars and ending up in the trunk of a car driven by an Allegheny soccer player.

We are happy to report that the three people treated for injuries were all released from the hospital later in the day on Monday.

Police officers note that eight soccer balls in the student’s car may have kept the wrecking ball from causing more severe damage, as they provided an extra cushion of protection.

The construction site was at Pelletier Library, where contractors are removing large brick planters and a concrete plaza in a large-scale renovation project. The interior of the library is also undergoing a major makeover, with the main floor redone to include a computer classroom, study and collaborative work spaces, a café, a digital multimedia development suite, library services, and the Learning Commons. The library's other two floors are being renovated in stages to be completed in 2008.

I'm so excited that they are updating library. It sure needs it...

Saturday, July 14, 2007


Last night our friends, Jesse & Joan, and their five-year-old daughter, Genesis, came over for dinner. David completely outdid himself in terms of meal design and food presentation. The five courses he served were:

Appetizer: Fresh tomato and cold roasted eggplant with veggie seasoning and balsamic

First: Coconut milk/veggie stock soup with jumbo shrimps, fresh basil, and fried shallots

Second: Cold sesame noodles with shredded cabbage and carrots, gingered 'beef' strips, and blanched sugar snap peas

Dessert: small lemon cookies (my only contribution to the meal)

Finish: chocolate sorbet or butter pecan ice cream with strawberries, blue berries, and kiwi halves

***served with our house white wine (Picpoul de Pinet from Coteaux du Languedoc - 2006)

Friday, July 13, 2007


For breakfast: steel cut Irish oatmeal. Yes, it does take 30 minutes to make (and there is no microwave recipe), but it is so worth it. These oats really do "stick to your ribs" as my Grandma Milby would say. A quarter cup of these oats with some craisins, brownsugar, and walnuts is the perfect way to start the day!

My new sunglasses (as modeled by my carebear):

My new digital camera - the Sony Cybershot DSC T100 (which should be delivered on Monday). Our digital camera is a dinosaur. I'm so excited for a new sleek camera. It will be wonderful to have in Taiwan next month when we are on vacation.

Wyler's Authentic Italian Ices - the PERFECT summer snack. We are eating these things by the boxful. They are so much better than the traditional freezer pops that come in colors such as blue, pink, & purple. In DC the Wyler's Ices are only available at the CVS - luckily there is a CVS about 5 blocks from our home. I highly recommend the lemon and orange cream flavors!

Monday, July 9, 2007


For those of you who don't know, I married into a cat. David adopted CHAI from the DC pound over 13 years ago. When David & I were engaged, I was planning to move into the apartment he had been living in for nearly ten years. The apartment was ideal for Chai - he had access to the great outdoors through the backdoor. About a month before we got married, David's apartment flooded - a pipe burst on the second floor on Christmas Day and no one was around to shut the water off. David's apartment was destroyed (thankfully our wedding gifts and the computer remained unharmed). We found our current apartment the week between Christmas and New Year's.

The new apartment is great and was a wonderful fresh start for David and me. The apartment, however, was not ideal for Chai. We were asked by our landlords to keep him inside at all times. They didn't want him in their backyard or on their front porch (they live in the house above us). So poor Chai is inside all day and night. To make matters worse, when we use our alarm system during the day, Chai has to be locked in the bathroom because we cannot get the 'stay' function to work properly.

I'm not a cat person. So having Chai in the house all the time has been a HUGE adjustment for me. He's pretty low maintenance, but is so needy at times. And I hate the smell of kitty litter, the sound he makes when he's digging around in his litter box, and all the freaking cat hair in our apartment. Chai's personality, however, is growing on me. He's sassy - he demands attention when he wants it and then walks away when satisfied. I'm learning to appreciate him and his way of life...

Chai and I have been bonding the past couple of weeks. Since I'm not working, he spends considerably less time in the bathroom. When I'm home he's free to roam around, sleep by the window, and get the needed attention he desires. One of Chai's quirks is that he doesn't like to drink water from a bowl. He prefers to get his drink from either a dripping faucet or the toilet bowl (he has fallen in!). The picture here shows Chai sitting in the bathtub waiting for someone to come in and turn on the water. If you don't turn the water on before sitting down to go to the bathroom, you are likely to have a kitty on your lap.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


Wednesday was the 4th of July, and there isn't a better place to see the fireworks than in Washington DC. I'm not sure I can write this with much authority. Aside from the DC fireworks, the only other fireworks I've ever seen were in Pittsburgh, Hampton Township, and Meadville, PA. I don't have much to make a comparison with; however the DC fireworks are amazing!

We BBQ-ed at our friend's, Steve, house in Georgetown and then ventured down to the Mall. At 5:15pm the Mall was evacuated because of a tornado warning; by 7pm people were being allowed to re-enter. We joined my friends, Angie & Andrea, on the steps of the Reflecting Pool around 7:30 and waited for the festivities to begin.

This year's fireworks were spectacular. I have now watched the fireworks in DC from four locations - the Capitol, the lawn of the Washington Monument, the steps of the Reflecting Pool, and a rooftop in Georgetown. In my opinion the best viewing spot is the steps of the Reflecting Pool. Not only do you get to see the fireworks being launched, but you can see their reflection in the pool. And the echo at that end of the Mall is incredible. Definitely the best spot in the city!

After the fireworks we took the bus home and caught most of the Columbia Heights neighborhood after-show. Kids and adults set off everything from sparklers and M-80s to actual fireworks. It is quite the sight to behold - a little scary at times too. Safety is not on everyone's minds. Before heading home for the night, we went to the rooftop deck of our landlord's house. From there we were able to see fireworks from miles away along with the neighborhood aftershow. It was beautiful.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


My last day of work was Thursday, June 28th. So yesterday was my first 'official' day of summer vacation. (I was off Friday, but it was my scheduled compressed day off so it didn't feel like anything new.) The agenda for my first day off was as follows...

7:15 - out of bed
8:00 - walked with David to the bus stop & then took an hour walk through the National Zoo
9:15 - returned home to make dinner, clean up a bit, eat breakfast, and prepare for the afternoon
11:45 - took bus to Andrea's house
12:45 - went with Andrea to the pool
1:00 - arrived at pool to sit in the sun & swim a few laps
5:00 - left pool & returned to Andrea's to watch M*A*S*H
6:45 - had dinner with Andrea & Angie
10:00 - returned home

It was a wonderful day. Above is a picture taken at the pool in East Potomac Park. What a view! (Yes, that is the Washington Monument in the background!)

While at the pool, I finished The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. What a great, easy read. I am going to go to the library tomorrow & get the Second Summer of the Sisterhood book.

I've been a homebody today, but am heading out to run some errands. I'll return home around 6pm to go for a run & make dinner. Tonight we are having mushroom melts & watermellon. Mmmmmmm....