Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Last night two events reminded me of two very important rules we should all live by:

1. If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything.
2. Sharing too much personal information with a complete stranger can be inappropriate. Sharing pleasantries is fine, but there is a line between what is appropriate and what is not. We all must learn where that line is.

So last night David and I arrived at our local pool to swim some laps and it was crowded. I jumped in a lane with two ladies. Both were very kind and understood what I meant when I asked them if we could "circle swim", which is a good sign that they have some lap swimming manners. I could not have been more wrong. It turns out that the older of the two women in my lane was SLOW. I'm talking really slow. I was lapping her every 4-5 lengths. Luckily she was easy to pass. The other woman was a little faster, but not so polite about being passed. She loved pushing off right in front of me so I had to go around her. Anyways, I swam with these ladies for about half an hour and then moved into a lane with David and another woman, who were both easy to swim with and more my speed.

We got out of the pool about 20 minutes later, dried off, and then went to the locker rooms to change. As I walked into the locker room, I could hear one of the two women I had swum with earlier in the evening talking. And as I got closer I heard her talking about ME. She and the younger woman I had been sharing a lane with were complaining about me - saying I was too fast for their lane and that I was running them over at every wall. They were referring to me as the "fast lady in the bright pink bathing suit". At one point I think they were talking about whether I was pregnant or not. Anyways, the main point of their conversation was that I was too fast and was in their way. They were talking as if it was their pool and I was unwelcome there. They made me feel bad for swimming faster than them. And all of this was taking place in the public locker room. I was insulted when I heard it all, but decided to just face them head-on. I talked into the locker room (pink bathing suit showing) and plopped my stuff right down between them. The older woman gathered her belongings up quickly and said good-bye to the other woman. She couldn't even look at me. I hope she felt bad. There was no reason for her to be complaining about me. Maybe she should have moved to the lane marked for slower swimmers! The other lady left soon thereafter. She couldn't look at me either. I hope she felt bad, too.

I got dressed quickly and decided I should use the bathroom before we headed home. Unfortunately, there was no toilet paper in any of the stalls. While searching for a stall with some TP, I ran into another woman who had to go to the bathroom, too. Both of us were a little frustrated by the lack of TP. She went to the dressing area after finding no TP in two of the stalls. After deciding I would just wait until I got home to use the bathroom, I found a little bit of TP in one of the stalls. I went over to the lady I had just met and told her that there was enough TP in the first stall. And do you know what she said back to me?!?

She said, "Oh, that's ok. I'm just going to go and use the shower."


Yes, folks, she was going to go and use the public shower at the public pool as her personal restroom. I'm not sure if I was more disturbed by what she was about to do or the fact that she just told me (a complete stranger) about her plans.

TMI = too much information.

I met David at the exit and was almost at a loss for words. I had just overheard two women saying mean things about me and then had another tell me about her plans to use the showers as her own bathroom. After trying to explain both stories to him, I decided not to focus on the fact that I was both MAD and DISGUSTED. Instead, I was going to use these events as reminders of what not to do.


Today's to do list:
- finish a presentation for school (due next week)
- make granola (must go to the store first)
- make dinner for tomorrow night
- clear off the old bookshelf to make room for the new one (details about our big shopping weekend will be forthcoming)

Tomorrow: Hanging out with my friend, Bethann, and her family in Baltimore.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Since the end of the semester, I've been spending a lot more time at home and with the cat. For the most part, Chai leaves me alone and I him. He's pretty low maintenance. He requires a lot of water and a bowel of food (and a clean litter box, but that's David's responsibility). That's it; he's not a sit in your lap every time you sit down type of cat (thank God). He's also pretty good, or so I thought, about staying off of the furniture. However, during the past couple of days, he's been a bad kitty. Yesterday I spent a considerable amount of time looking for him after he went missing for a couple of hours. The day before, I found him in our linen closest cuddled up next to a new pack of toilet paper. This time I found him HERE...

As you can see, I put the foot rest in the middle of the chair in an attempt to keep the cat off of the chair. He showed me who was boss!

And then a couple of days later I found him among David's plants in our sunroom.

There's been evidence that he's been eating the plants, but this picture proves that he has been nibbling.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I just entered the lottery for the 2008 NYC Marathon. Obviously, I have no intention of running the race this year, but entering the lottery GUARANTEES that I will have a spot in the 2009 race. How this works... 1) if I get a spot this year through the lottery, I can easily defer my entry until next year and avoid the lottery all together in 2009; or 2) if I am denied entry into the race this year, I will be GUARANTEED a spot in the 2009 race because it will be the third year in a row that I have been denied entry into the race. The nice people who run the race cut you some slack if you fail to get a spot through the lottery three years in a row.

So, make your plans NOW! I will be running the NYC marathon in November 2009. I expect all my fans to be there cheering me on. Details will be forthcoming...

Between now and November 2009 my exercise routine is going to go through several changes. The extra 9 pounds that I've gained are making running more and more challenging. My knees and hips are feeling the extra weight and I constantly feel like I have to go to the bathroom while running. My goal is to continue running through the end of the month (about three times a week). I'm starting to swim more often (in my new pink flowered maternity bathing suit). This summer the plan is to swim three times a week and walk three times a week. I'm planning to begin my running hiatus in mid-June.

Post-baby, my goal is run the Jingle-Bell 10K in December at Haines Point. Anyone want to train with me? It's a fun run (yes, you do get jingle-bells to tie to your shoes for the race) and the course is completely flat. Marathon training will officially begin in May 2009 (after the semester is over).

Must have item for the next year: a durable running stroller.


Today's activities: spent the morning writing thank you notes and catching up on emails. This afternoon I plan to make trips to Target, the grocery store and the library. I also have some ironing to do.

Recommendation of the day: veggie enchiladas. We had them for dinner last night and REALLY enjoyed them. Plus they are simple to make.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


With jury duty behind me and two weeks until school starts, I had nothing that had to be done today, but there were several things I wanted to accomplish. In a few short hours, I successfully:

1. made a menu for the week
2. grocery shopped
3. made dinner for tonight (veggie enchiladas with a green sauce) for us and a family from church who just had a baby girl
4. baked chocolate chip cookies (to go with the dinner)
5. made lunch for tomorrow (two-bean salad)
6. talked to my mom
7. did four loads of laundry and folded it
8. watched the first episode of The Bachelorette on (only because I know Carla wants someone to talk with about the show!!).

Now I'm off for a run (I've cut back to no more than three runs per week; the extra weight has been hard on my knees and hips). Afterwards, David and I are going to take dinner to the family from church and then we're going to go pick up our changing table (we could only get the crib in the old VW on Sunday afternoon).

Monday, May 19, 2008


I was summoned for jury duty back in March, but managed to push back my service until today. I tried to get out of serving all together. I explained I was a full-time student who couldn't miss a day of classes. When that didn't work, I lied about my due date and said I was due in May in an attempt to get out it. The pregnancy card didn't work for me either. So today I showed up at the courthouse bright and early; all the while praying that I wouldn't be selected. The thought of spending my two weeks between spring and summer semesters on a jury made me sick to my stomach.

After checking in at the courthouse, I was directed to the juror's lounge - a huge room full of chairs placed too close together where sounds just echo off the walls. Among the annoying noises I had to endure while sitting in the jury room were: the crunches of the woman sitting in front of me chowing down on the ice from her iced coffee, the woman behind me who texted nonstop during the morning with her keypad beeping with every entry, the snoring of a man two rows in front of me, and the humming of the TVs (they were showing Flightplan - a bad Jodie Foster movie). The TV noises were especially annoying because the sunlight streaming in from the windows reflected off the monitors and prevented anyone from actually watching the movie.

I sat in the juror's lounge from 8:30am until about 2:30pm (minus an hour for lunch) before being dismissed. It was a long six hours, but it could have been worse. And now I don't have to worry about jury duty for another two years.

I now have two weeks ahead of me without school and without jury duty. I am so excited!


Purchase of the weekend: David and I bought a crib and changing table off of craigslist. We were hoping to find baby furniture second-hand and we were SO successful.

Annoyance of the day/week: Our loud neighbors have been SO loud lately. Saturday afternoon they washed their car with the stereo blazing (an event that took more than an hour). Their kids (who are also VERY loud) have taken to playing (read: yelling at each other and fighting) in the street until well after 11pm every night of the week. Last night it was so loud around 10:30pm that I had to shut our bedroom windows in order to get some peace and quiet. I'm on the verge of calling the police to complain... (That's how we handle loud neighbors in this city)

Events to look forward to: Thursday we're going to see Hamlet performed outside at the Carter Barron and Friday we have tickets to see A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keiller at Wolf Trap.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


About three weeks ago during an afternoon thunderstorm, David decided that we should capture some of the rainwater to use as water for watering our plants and grass. He quickly filled a garbage can (by putting it under the downspout draining our entire roof). Thinking that the garbage can wasn't big enough (READ: we were letting too much rainwater get away from us), he decided to fill our entire 50 gallon recycling can. Again, it only took a few minutes to fill the entire can. He was SO excited.

For the past few weeks, we've used the leftover/recycled rainwater to water our indoor plants. We haven't needed it to water our outdoor plants and grasses because it has been such a wet spring. Needless to say, our recycling can is still full of rainwater (probably breeding mosquitoes and we'll both have West Nile virus before the end of the summer, but that's another story). Since our recycling can is full of water, we cannot put our recyclables into it. The DC government requires that all trash/recyclables be placed in either the blue or green containers they provide in order for the trash/recyclables to be picked up. We cannot put out a plastic trash bag and expect the city to take it away. Nor can we just leave our recycling sitting in the alley.

So every week on the eve of trash pick-up, David or I has to, under a veil of darkness, sneak out to the alley and covertly place our recyclables into our neighbors' recycling containers. Sometimes we have to go three or four houses away to find a recycling container with enough room for all of our stuff. The whole process is becoming ridiculous. I'm just waiting for the night when one of our neighbors catches us placing our stuff into their container or us moving their recyclables around to make enough room for our stuff in their container. David said he was going to get rid of the water last week (by watering our grass), but we've had so much rain that our yard is saturated with water. There is no need/use for the recycled water. For now, it is just sitting in our backyard waiting for a dry snap of weather and some grass that needs watering.

Having a rain barrel to capture and reuse rainwater seems like a good idea, but I'm in favor of buying a barrel that was designed to be a rain barrel. One that will capture and dispense the rainwater properly. And one that will not allow mosquitoes access to the pool of fresh standing water. For now, I think we should just dump the remaining rainwater into the alley and free up our recycling can. I'd prefer to be able to take our recycling out more than once a week and to use our own container. Borrowing recycling space in our neighbors' containers is getting a out of hand.

Maybe after we finish our basement home improvement projects, we can invest in an actual rain barrel. Stay tuned...


Today: Spent the morning at Ikea looking at cabinetry for our laundry room. We're pimping out our laundry room and putting in a full bath in our basement. This afternoon, I crocheted while sitting on my front porch and emailed a few people about cribs and baby furniture advertised on craigslist. Still waiting to hear back if the items are still for sale.

Tonight: I'm home alone. Just doing some laundry and reading a book. Also watching a little ALIAS.

Dinner: Honey Bunches of Oats cereal with strawberries.

Tomorrow: David is running a 5K in the AM. I'm going to go cheer him on. I made the decision weeks ago not to run thinking that I'd be too pregnant to run a 5K halfway through my pregnancy. I'm kicking myself now. I'm totally up for running 3 miles, but I had no way of knowing this weeks ago.

Monday: I have jury duty. Blah...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


There are few things as exhilarating as crossing the finish line of your first marathon. I crossed mine in October 2005 with David by my side (actually he was one second behind me!!). The finish was AWESOME, but there were points along the marathon route (namely miles 17-19 along Haines Point and the 14th Street bridge where I took a nasty fall) where I wasn't sure if we'd finish. But we kept pushing forward - leaning on each other, sucking in the encouragement of the crowd, looking forward to milemarkers and milestones (like cookies at mile 22). By the end of the race, I was ready to be done, but I had so enjoyed the process. Each mile marker was an accomplishment, every time I received encouragement I was blessed, and there was always something, namely the finish line and next year's race, to look forward to.

As so it is with being pregnant...

I past the halfway "milemarker" this past weekend.

I remember crossing the 10 mile marker during my first marathon and thinking "I've never run further in a race ever before." Since finding out I am pregnant, I have this thought basically every morning I wake up. I think, "One more day pregnant; one day closer to being a mom." Both are pretty amazing.

Miles 10-13 of my first marathon were trying. I was overwhelmed by the fact that I had never run a race so long. The past few weeks of my pregnancy have been similar. I've been overwhelmed - both by the changing shape of my body and the thought of being a mom (one who will be studying for her comprehensive exams with an infant child).

Similar to crossing the halfway mark of the marathon, passing 20 weeks of pregnancy has been somewhat of a relief. I'm starting to look a little more pregnant (and a little less like I've just gained some extra weight). I'm looking forward to things to come, like baby showers, buying furniture for the baby, and crocheting baby hats, booties, and blankets. I've enjoyed sharing my pregnancy-related excitement and woes with friends and family, and have so enjoyed hearing stories and advice in return.

I know that like a marathon, there are going to be trying times ahead. The hot summer weather, my increasing belly size, and my inability to enjoy running/exercising are bound to be to pregnancy what Haines Point and the 14th Street bridge fall were to the marathon. But there are exciting milestones to look forward to and I'm closer to the finish line now than I am to start. Hallelujah!


Answers to the three questions your probably dying to ask:

Q1. When are you due?
A. September 27th (which is my friend, Bethann's birthday!!)

Q2. Are you having a boy or a girl?
A. We don't know and we are NOT going to find out. It's going to be a big surprise.

Q3. What are you naming the child?
A. We're NOT going to tell you. David and I are working through a list of names (first and middle), but the final boy and girl name will be kept a secret until it is printed on the birth certificate.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I just returned from my first visit to the post office a couple of blocks from our house. Since we moved to our new neighborhood last fall, I have managed to avoid a trip to our local post office. On the few occasions that I have needed to go to get something at the post office, I've either gone on my way to school (in College Park, MD) or visited the post office by our old apartment while out running errands.

I had planned to visit the post office in our old neighborhood today at the end of a run, but I decided not to venture out for a run in the rain during the downpour. Instead I took my umbrella and walked over to the local post office.

I had two objectives during my post office trip: 1) to mail some pictures to my Grandmother (yes, they were pictures of Baby Dawson), and 2) to double-check that I had the correct postage on a couple of letters I needed to mail (the price of a stamp went up 1 cent today). For each of the letters I needed to mail, I used stamps we found while cleaning David's mom's condo. She had each book of stamps marked with the value of each stamp, but I wanted to double check the value of each stamp with the post office. Each letter I had ready to mail had a 39 cent True Blue stamp (seen below) and a three cent stamp (for a total of 42 cents) on it.

When I handed the woman behind the counter my envelops, she scolded me and told me that the True Blue stamps were worth 3 cents. I began to argue with her and insisted that the stamps were 39 cents. I even told her that I received numerous wedding invitations during the spring and summer of 2006 with the True Blue stamp. She wouldn't budge. She told me my letters only have five cents worth of postage and that I had to pay the remaining 37 cents for each letter.

Knowing that I wasn't going to win an argument with this woman and seeing that the line behind me was growing, I forked over the 37 cents per envelop and walked out of the post office. I came home right away and googled the True Blue stamp only to find that it was worth 39 cents (just like I told the lady in the post office and David's mom had marked on the book of stamps). Finding the value of the stamp made me madder than it should have because the woman at the post office assured me there was no way to go online and verify the value of a stamp which is no longer in print. I showed her...

So now I must ask... do I go back to the post office and demand my money back from the post office employee? Should I go back there and tell her she was dead-on wrong about the value of my True Blue stamp? Or do I just let this one slide? I really want to go down there and stick it to her, but is it really worth the effort for a stamp? What do you think?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


Yesterday Neil released a new CD, Home Before Dark.

It's his 26th album. You can watch Neil perform on the TODAY show here. He's also going on a worldwide tour beginning in July. He'll be performing in DC on August 5th and Pittsburgh on August 18th. Anyone interested in going to the concert?!?!


There are several awkward phases in life... there's the elementary school awkward phase: for me, 4th grade was the worst. I had braces, new glasses, and permed bangs. I wanted to dress like a tom-boy, jeans, t-shirts, and tennis shoes, but felt pressured into wearing dresses and (the dreaded) jumper. I had just grown out of little girls clothes' sizes, but didn't fit into or look appropriate in clothes from the juniors department. It was a bad scene all around.

My second major awkward phase took place my freshman year of high school. I grew my bangs out that year. This left me with a major hair disaster on a daily basis. I also was still pegging my pants, which is sad because it was 1993 and pegging was WAY out of style by then.

There's been other minor awkward phases in between and since, but none like the one I'm in RIGHT now...

I have outgrown the vast majority of my pants and my spring/summer tops don't fit so well either. I can squeeze into my favorite pair of jeans, but about an hour later I am uncomfortable (and often forced to unbutton them to ease the pain on my tummy). This morning, knowing that I was going to have to sit through a two hour statistics final, I put on my new maternity jeans. They are very stylish and I've been looking forward to wearing them. The only problem is they are too big. My waistline isn't quite big enough to hold them up properly, so I've walked around all day with saggy-bottomed jeans (which are dragging all over the floor), which I have to hike up over my bellybutton to ensure that they stay on my body (and not end up around my ankles). I also have a pair of maternity capri pants that are wonderfully comfortable, but they, too, are awkward. I realized when I wore them to the grocery store on Monday that part of my backside could be seen because the pants were basically falling off of me.

I'm not looking forward to gaining more weight or to watching my belly expand even more, but I am desperate to get out of my awkward phase. One would think that by the time you turn 30 the physical transition times in life would cease. I'm guessing that the awkward phases will keep coming. For now, I'm just hoping to fit into a pair of pants sometime in the near future!



School: Took the hardest final of my life this morning. It was just terrible; nothing like I expected. Can't wait to see my grade (not!).

Activities: Tonight I'm going to go for a run (my running days are numbered so I'm making the most of the time I have now with a little belly). Tomorrow is my last day of classes. I have one small assignment and a paper due by next Thursday. Then I am officially done until June.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


I love Neil Diamond - love the songs, the sequins shirts, the cheesy lyrics, EVERYTHING. I have loved him since I was young and am proud to say I bought tickets from a scalper to see him live in Atlanta. It was a great show!

I've been thinking a lot lately of Neil's song It's a Beautiful Noise. The song is about the sounds of the city - what he calls "the music of life". With the springtime weather FINALLY arriving in DC, we have been keeping our windows open day and night. Along with the fresh air coming through the windows, are the sounds of the city. And, honestly, in my neighborhood I'm not sure they are a beautiful noise.

This weekend was filled with a host of noises. David and I woke up to the sounds of our "loud neighbors" yelling at their kids and each other at 7:30 on Saturday morning. Early Saturday afternoon, our back alley was filled with the noises of a cop car, an ambulance, and a fire truck. I'm not sure what happened, but a man was taken away on a stretcher. As the sun began to fade on Saturday evening, the party began. Our neighbors played hip-hop music on their outside speakers until well after 11pm. While showering Sunday morning, I heard some loud Spanish pop music being played. One of our neighbors behind us decided to wash his car to some LOUD tunes. One of our other neighbors didn't appreciate the sound too much and called the police. Fifteen minutes later three police cars zoomed into the alley and put a stop to the morning concert.

As I've been studying this afternoon, my head has been filled with more hip-hop music and the sounds of our other loud-talking (but very kind) neighbor talking about his well manicured yard. A host of police cars have zoomed up and down our street and there have been several loud motorcycles. There's also the sounds of dogs barking and kids playing.

So I ask myself are these beautiful noises? Are these the types of noises that Neil sang about? Are they "a sound that I love" like Neil sang about?

I'm not sure, but I'm sure time will tell...