Monday, October 29, 2007


I woke up yesterday morning ALONE. David wasn't around to sip coffee, chat, or race off to church with me. I had a lot of time to myself to reflect on the day... It was a sunny day, just a few puffy white clouds in the sky. It was a little chilly, 53 degrees around 8am. It was the perfect day to run a marathon, and I was insanely jealous of the 30,000 people gathering near Arlington National Cemetery to run the Marine Corps Marathon.

David and I have run the Marine Corps Marathon the past two years. We (READ: I) decided not to run it this year because I wanted to run a new course in a different city. The plan was to run the NYC Marathon (which is this coming Sunday), but I failed to get a spot through the lottery. Angry that I didn't get into NYC, I didn't even think about what it would be like to not run a marathon this fall...

Now that I've experienced not running a marathon, I'm a little bummed out. Not only that, but I'm running really well these days. Two weekends ago I ran a five-miler in 43 minutes (a personal best). I think I'm just about ready to run a sub-50 minute 10K. It would have been wonderful to run a marathon while in this type of shape! I guess I will have to take my no-marathon-running blues and use it to motivate me...

There's talk among two different groups of my friends about possibly training for a triathlon in the spring, which would be great. I really enjoyed the last one that I did. And there's also talk of a Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot or running another local 10K in the coming weeks. In May I'll put my name into the lottery once again for the NYC marathon. If I get denied this year, I'll definitely sign up for the 2008 Marine Corps Marathon AND will be guaranteed entry into the 2009 NYC race (because they let you in if you try three times and are denied).

Here's to a new year (beginning today) of fast running, lots of fun outdoors, no injuries, and no regrets...

Saturday, October 27, 2007


This morning David left around 8am for a weekend fishing trip in North Carolina with the guys from his Friday morning breakfast/prayer group. I'm home alone...I've enjoyed the quiet house today, but as the evening settles in and I am forced to eat dinner by myself I am feeling a little lonely. Luckily I have tons of homework and Sydney Bristow to keep me company. And David should be calling here soon - it's too dark now for him to be out on a fishing boat.

Here's some pictures from around the house this weekend.

A view of the maple tree outside our bedroom window. Its leaves have turned magnificent shades of red and orange during the past week.

Unfortunately, the beautiful leaves do fall off of the tree. We have a lot of raking to do...

Artwork hung...we've finally got pictures on the walls. Here's a view of our new plant and the picture we hung in the sunroom (still no furniture in this room, but the plant and painting look great!).

And these are some of the prints we hung in our living room.

And here is a snapshot of our bathroom. David and I agreed that adding a little color to the bathroom was a good thing. And several pictures a friend gave to us match the shower curtain perfectly.

Also, our fine neighborhood of Petworth was highlighted in Wednesday's edition of the Washington Post Express as one of the "Hot Zones" for home buyers in the DC area. We're really excited to be living here - love the house, the neighborhood, and the location! Glad the Express sees things our way, too.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


This morning was morning number two that REQUIRED coffee.

Tomorrow... no coffee!

I really do not want to be addicted to caffeine. Several years ago (2004) I gave up all caffeine cold-turkey. I was preparing for my first (and only) triathlon, and one of my Team In Training teammates was singing the joys of being caffeine-free. He said he felt more hydrated, better rested (from sleeping better without caffeine in his system), and ultimately more energized. I wasn't sure what to believe but thought I'd give giving caffeine up a try. The initial consequences of going cold-turkey were awful. I had a terrible headache for about five days. Blah. After the headache went away, I did feel better. And I liked not having to have coffee in the morning.

David and I started dating about seven months after I gave up caffeine. David loves coffee and tea as well as a cold diet coke. I started "socially drinking" with him - enjoying a sip of coffee here, a new tea flavor there, and a big swig of diet coke when the mood struck - about six months into our relationship. I gave up my legalistic "I'm not going to ever have any caffeine attitude" in the fall of 2005. During the past two years, I've enjoyed coffee and tea and the occasional diet coke, but I have not gone back to my old ways of having a cup of coffee (or two) every morning. It just doesn't suit me to HAVE to have a cup in the morning.

Obviously my attitude has changed slightly over the past couple of days. Tomorrow I'm going back to no caffeine. And am hoping that two mornings of joe will not cause caffeine withdrawl headaches.

The one thing I will miss tomorrow morning is the smell of a hot pot of coffee. It is truly a wonderful smell first thing in the morning.


Update: our camera is back. We had to send it to Sony to have a battery issue fixed (thank goodness it is still under warranty). I'm hoping to post some pictures of the beautiful maple tree in our front yard, our new house plants, and some art work we purchased a couple of weekends ago at IKEA.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


No time to blog; MUST STUDY.

Yesterday was my epidemiology midterm. Today is Health Survey Research Methods. Next week I have a research proposal for Health Survey Research Methods due and have yet to pick a topic or begin researching. Also next week I have to make a presentation on the epidemiology of the Salk polio vaccine trials and steps towards global eradication of polio.

And I have a large problem set for statistics due on Thursday.


Last night was a late night (after midnight and awake before 6am) - so late that I made a pot of coffee this morning and brought my sippy cup (READ: travel mug) with me to school. For years I've been so proud that I don't NEED to drink coffee in the morning; rather I can enjoy a cup socially or reward myself after a long day of work or studying. This morning I NEEDED a cup. Sorta' feel like I'm an addict (and a failure for not being able to stay awake and focus on my own), but also realized that I need to be awake to study this morning and for my exam this afternoon (1-4pm).

Prayers that I can grasp the information, focus, and stay awake would be appreciated.

Monday, October 15, 2007


I think I have a very good sense of smell. And I love to smell - smells of coffee, cookies baking, roses, lilies, David's post-shaving moisturizer, rain on dry pavement/cement, burning leaves, and freshly cut grass are among my favorite smells.

I'm one of those people who can walk into a room and say (with confidence), 'it smells like ___________.' For instance, the entrance/hallway at David's mom's condo smells like dill pickles. I'm also really sensitive to smells. The smell of egg shells left in the sink for as little as an hour can turn my stomach; as can strong perfume/cologne smells. This morning I was sitting on the train heading into Baltimore eating my luke-warm oatmeal when an individual sat down behind me drenched in a floral-medicinal perfume. The stench was appalling. I could basically taste it with every bite of oatmeal. Not wanting to make a sense, I didn't turn around to give the woman sitting behind me a look of disgust. I just sat there, finished my breakfast, and did some work. When I got up to exit the train, I was surprised to find that the feminine smell behind me was not from a woman, but a man. He was wearing what I would call a perfume. It was horrible; not just a bad smell, but a man wearing perfume. (For those of you reading that remember the 'sex panther' incident at ASTHO, the scent was just as strong on the train, but more feminine than Jason's cologne.)

In addition to having a heightened sense of smell, smells also bring back memories (like a flood) for me. For instance, the smell of cleaning products with bleach remind me of swimming pools and I love that smell. More specifically, the smell of the coffee shop on the first floor at school combined with the hotdog vendor located on the other side of the doors from the coffee shop reminds me of club swim meets as a child. Our team, the Hampton Dolphins, used to have these enormous spreads of food to keep people full during the meet (I also think that secretly the mom's just wanted to do something other than sit in the stands for 6 hours on Saturday afternoons; at least at the snack stand, they could talk and be away from their kids and the hot pool area). Another smell that brings back memories is the McDonald's dumpster area at 13th Street and New York Ave, NW. I'm not sure what it is, but that corner always smells like the cafeteria at the pool/compound where we trained in Puerto Rico. Just the thought of those NASTY meals and the endless hours of swimming, makes me cringe!

I also believe my sense of smell is directly correlated with my need to use a lot of deodorant. According to both my mother and David, I go through deodorant at rate faster than normal. I attribute this to my HATRED of body odor smells. One of my worst fears (under my fears of suffering second-/third-degree burns on most of my body, drowning, having to ride a horse, and finding a snake in my house) is having body odor. I'll do anything to prevent it. Thus my need to use a little more deodorant than the next guy/gal.


Weekend Update: Us city kids (READ: David and I) went to the countryside (Quantico, VA) to do some hiking this weekend. It was wonderful. We stopped at IKEA on the way home and bought some art for the walls in our living room. We hung pictures on Saturday night before heading over to our neighbor's house for an Octoberfest party. Yesterday I spent the vast majority of the day doing homework and completing a take-home quiz.

This week... more studying. Friday we are having my former colleague, Heather, and her husband as well as my former boss, Pat, over for dinner. Then it is study, study, study. I have two mid-terms next week and two papers due the following.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


This morning I woke up to a cool breeze blowing through my bedroom windows. And when I checked the weather on the computer, it reported that it was 52 degrees in Washington DC. Could it be fall? Are the October days of 90 degree weather with high humidity over? Please, please, please say that it is so!

As I dressed this morning in our cool house, I put on my first sweater of the season - my light yellow turtleneck.

I can only hope that that the cool fall-like weather is here to stay.

Monday, October 8, 2007


This weekend I did my best to balance my social life with my need to study. I also had to sneak in a couple of chores.

On Friday, I got up early and worked for about six hours on my lab project. Right now I'm cleaning up data I've collected from an online genetic database. The work is tedious and long (I have 139 pages of data collected). I then went for quick run, with a stop at the local bank to close my checking account. My run was fabulous (ending in running the steps at Malcolm X Park - pictured here - three times).

I then rushed home and got ready for a night out with the girls...

I met up with Andrea and Angie on Friday night and we went with three of the girls from our church youth group to a high school football game. It was a lot of fun and brought back a lot of memories (both good and bad) from high school. I got home around 11pm and went straight to bed.

Saturday morning David and I got up early. He did chores; I studied. Mid-morning we went out for a run (about 4 miles) that ended in a sprint up the hill from Rock Creek Park to Connecticut Ave. We returned home and I began studying again. Saturday night we had dinner with our friends, Ted and Martha. After dinner David went to a concert in the neighborhood. I stayed up until after 1am and studied.

Sunday we went to church. We came home and I studied. During my afternoon study break, I swept the floors and talked to my parents and Andrea on the phone - nice multitasking. I also made chocolate bundt cakes, which I made into ice-cream cakes (after they had cooled) by cutting off the top of the cake and sticking in a layer of ice-cream (as you'll read a little further down, today is Andrea's birthday).

After the break, I studied some more. David and I ate dinner together and then went for a nice walk through Columbia Heights. The highlight of the walk was that the Sunday night drummers at Malcolm X Park were still drumming when we walked into the park. It was the first time I heard the drummers this summer - they are wonderful. After we got home from our walk, I hit the books again.

This morning I completed the statistics exam I had been studying for around noon. I've decided that after a lot of studying this weekend I need some time off. I'm going to go to the gym, nap on the train ride home, and go out to celebrate Andrea's birthday this evening (I'm also going to have some homemade ice-cream cake!). When I return home, I'm going to spend no more than one hour finalizing a paper that is due tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning I'll get up and do it all over again. Only this time, I'll be studying for mid-terms in epidemiology and health survey research methods and preparing for a 20 minute oral presentation in infectious disease epidemiology.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Last week my college roommate, Jill, posted an entry on her blog about how trashy the Washington Redskins cheerleaders are. To quote Jill, "their skimpy bikini-uniforms were almost pornographic." Jill's entry reminded me of how much I don't like cheerleaders. Like Jill, I'm proud to be a Pittsburgh Steelers fan because (among other reasons) the team does not have cheerleaders.

After reading Jill's post, an article in yesterday's Washington Post Express' Fit Section caught my eye... The Washington Redskins Cheerleaders are taking their show on the road (so to speak)... They are now teaching cheerleading fitness classes at various Washington Sports Clubs around the city. Decked out in their skimpy bikini shorts and tight shirts, they are teaching cheerleading in exercise classes. According to the article, "Members of the squad are taking their show to local Washington Sports Clubs for a handful of workshops where anyone (female or male) can learn the secrets of their struts... Their revealing gear — tight white hot pants, knee-high white boots and skinny black T-shirts — shows the stunning end result of at least two grueling, four-hour practices each week."


Do people really pay for this kind of stuff? The article in the Express closed with an interview with one of the male participants in the cheerleading class at the Bethesda Washington Sport's Club. He said, "No French guy would pass up this opportunity, even if I am making a fool of myself."

Are these women proud of what they do? are objectifying yourself!

In conclusion, I will not be taking a class at the Washington Sports Club. I'm going to stick to my gym on the 9th Floor of the Pratt Street Parking Garage in Baltimore.