Saturday, June 28, 2008


I'm super excited that this is an Olympic summer. The Games officially begin August 8th, but a preview of the drama/excitement begins tomorrow...

The Swimming Olympic Trials begin tomorrow and last for a week. Finals will be broadcast on TV (evenings from 8-9pm on either NBC or USA). For those of you like me, without a TV, prelims and finals of the meet can be watch LIVE online at


For at least of month, David and I have been complaining about the quality of the fruits and vegetables we buy at the grocery store. Sure, you can buy peaches (lately for as little as 99 cents a pound). However, you are not guaranteed that the peach will taste much like a peach should taste. We've been disappointed not only by the taste of our produce, but also by the fact that they sometimes spoil/get rotten within 24 hours of us arriving home from the store.

We spent some time trying to figure out what we should do... shop at the farmer's market? trek down to the Whole Foods? rent a plot at a community garden? There are costs and benefits to each of these options (financial, physical, personal, etc.). In the end, we decided to try Washington's Green Grocer. The Green Grocer is a family-owned business that delivers fresh fruits and vegetables (along with milk, eggs, and cheeses) to your home each week. Each week I get an email with the list of fruits and veggies for the week. If there is something we don't want (this week it was cantaloupe), you can drop that item and add extra of something else (such as peaches). You can also order organic herbs, butter, and an assortment of diary products.

This past Thursday, we received our first box. And, to say the least, we were impressed. We had wonderful lettuce and tomatoes. And the plums were delightful (I ate three yesterday). We also had fresh, locally grown corn on the cob. We ordered a small box, which is supposed to feed two people for a week, but we're thinking we may need to upgrade to the large soon, especially during the summer months when we want all the wonderful fruits. We're also planning to try the eggs this week and possibly some cheeses.

Not only are the prices affordable, but it is all delivered to our doorstep each week. Definitely a good decision on our part!


Today: DC Caribbean Festival is going on. We're pretty close to the action... and the music is LOUD. The streets are also blocked off. Our trip to the DC dump (to get rid of materials from the basement construction) took about double the time it should have because of the detours and traffic.

School: Two presentations remaining and then the semester is over.

Health: I'm hot. We walked to a friend's house this morning to borrow their truck and I was soaked in sweat about five minutes into the walk (and it was only 8:30am). Also had my first center-of-balance has shifted fall. Upon returning the truck, we were walking home and I slipped and couldn't keep my balance. I ripped my cute brown capri pants in the process - major bummer (also bruised my knee and ankle, but the real tragedy is the pants).

Picture above: Taken by David at a super posh grocery store in NYC.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Did y'all notice?!?! Less than 100 days to go...


One would think that at six months pregnant I would be concerned about organizing the baby's room and mapping out a birth plan. However, I realized yesterday that the focus of my organizational need is school. In January 2009, I'm planning to take my comprehensive exams. This amounts to three full days of testing: day 1 is a closed book exam, day 2 an open book test on the computer (statistical programming), and day 3 is a take home. It's a big undertaking and since the test is offered only once a year, I would like to pass on the first try. Knowing that the later part of September and most of October (and possibly November) are going to be spent learning how to care of a baby, I decided I should use the time I have now wisely. So... I'm starting to study for my comps.

Step 1 of my study plan was to check out a book from the library (Rothman's Modern Epidemiology) and start outlining the ENTIRE book (I'm currently on page 17 or 682). Step 2 was to organize my study area at home. I completed this step yesterday. I organized all of my test books on my bookshelf.

And organized all of my notes, flashcards, and readings from class in 3-ring binders.

I rearranged our office - to make it a little bit more user friendly - and am getting ready to hang some pictures on the walls to make it a more inviting study environment. I'm really pleased with the way the room is coming together. And since my stuff is now organized (and off of the floor where it was collecting dust), I think I am ready to start studying.


Tonight: David and I have the first four hours of our child birth class tonight. The remaining eight hours are on Sunday.

In the Washington Post: a front page story of swimming. Check it out!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I remember a couple of years ago my mom mentioning to me that she had just realized that she had spent the majority of her life married to my father. That means more years married and part of a couple and less years a a child, teenager, and single adult COMBINED. This isn't surprising (or really note-worthy); my parents have been married for more than 30 years. However, sometimes when we take the time to think about these types of things, we realize that significant life changes have occurred.

I recognized one of these changes in my own life during the past 24 hours. On Monday night, I finally got a new cell phone (pictured here). I've needed a new cell phone for quite some time. I resisted getting a new phone for two reasons: 1) I didn't want to have to reenter everyone's name and number in my directory; and 2) I didn't want a fancy phone with a key board, camera, or a flip. I just wanted a stinking phone I could throw into my bag.

When I learned that cell phone companies can transfer your phone directory electronically, I opened up to getting a new phone. And when David found a simple, non-flip phone on the internet, I realized I was ready to purchase a new one. So that's what I did. My new phone arrived Monday and after my doctor's appointment on Tuesday I stopped by the cell phone store and had my directory of names and numbers transfered from my old phone to my new one.

What doesn't transfer from your old phone to your new are your speed dials. So this afternoon I spent some time reprogramming my speed dial numbers. This is when I noticed the change...

My old cell phone was more than three years old. When I bought it, David and I were merely dating and he didn't deserve a speed dial spot. I believe I added him as my #8 speed dial right before we were engaged. My first three speed dials spots were reserved for my family... the home phone was #2; Dad's cell #3; and Mom's cell #4. As I was programming my phone I realized that my first speed dial spot should be reserved for my husband. So David moved from slot #8 to #2 (#1 is for my voicemail and that cannot be changed).

It was a monumental change moving David's spot. He is the most important person in my life, and the person I tend to call most often (although my mom is giving him a run for his money these days!!). For emergency purposes, he should be at the top of my speed dial list, too. But it is a shift in perspective. It made the reality of soon to be expanding family more real. Although we are part of my parent's family, we are building our own as well. But unlike three years ago when David hadn't earned the right to be high on my list of speed dialees, things have changed - significantly. And my comparing my list of speed dialees from three years ago to today shows that changes have occurred.

Mom and Dad, don't worry. I'll still call home. You still have slots #3 and 4.


Stats: went to the doctor yesterday. Everything is good. I've gained a total of 12 pounds since my first doctor's appointment and the baby's heart-rate is strong and rapid. I'm carrying the baby extremely high - to hear the heartbeat, you have to listen near my rib cage. I am suffering from some serious ligament pains in my hips. Hopefully swimming and stretching will keep the pain under control. We're still expecting Baby Dawson to arrive on September 27th.

Monday, June 16, 2008


adj. regarded as dull, plain, or unfashionable; 2. regarded as colorless and primly sedate.

This morning I had to catch the 7:20am train to Baltimore. With just over six hours of sleep, I woke this morning feeling tired. I showered quickly, dressed, and made myself breakfast. Then I rushed out the door. I went out the door in a khaki skirt, blue cotton shirt, and a pair of mules. I didn't think much about my outfit because I wear my skirt all the time and I love it. I've worn the shirt several times (but with capris) and have received a number of complements on it. What I didn't think about what how the shirt and the skirt looked together.

As I was passing by the hospital on the way to school this morning, I caught a glance of myself in the windows. And the sight was NOT pretty. I looked frumpy. My bag and shoes looked cute and I was having a good hair day (sporting a nice bun); however, my attire was so frumpy. I looked SO unfashionable; as if I did not have a care in the world about my appearance. (Unfortunately, I fit in with so many of the people in Baltimore - it is definitely not a city known for being fashion forward.) I so wished I had taken two seconds to look in the mirror before leaving the house.

I managed to get through my meeting without thinking too much about my frumpiness. I then raced home in order to beat my stylish friend, Andrea, to my house. She was meeting there before we headed off to the pool this afternoon. I so did not want Andrea to see me looking frumpy. But there she was sitting on my front porch as I walked along the sidewalk in my frumpy outfit. Luckily she's a really good friend and she described my shirt as a little too baggy to go with the skirt. That's the nice way of saying, "you look frumpy."

Starting tomorrow I'm going to take a look in the mirror before heading out of the house. I want to be the cute pregnant lady; not the frumpy one!

Monday, June 9, 2008


Our basement is a construction zone; however, last night when we realized that our air conditioning was not working correctly we decided that sleeping in the basement amidst the construction was the only way to ensure a good night of sleep.

We're under a heat advisory here in DC. Temperatures are close to 100 degrees and the heat index is well above 100. It was 94 degrees at 10:30 this morning. Saturday and Sunday were just as hot. We knew we had some circulation problems in our house (namely because it was cold upstairs all winter long), but we had no idea we'd be unable to cool our house down to a reasonable/livable temperature when summer arrived.

And summer arrived aggressively this year. The last few weeks of May were so pleasant - cooler than usual and no humidity. This past weekend we went from days with temperatures in the 70s (perfect for opening windows and enjoying the lovely breezes) to temperatures near 100. There was no time prepare (physically or mentally) for summer. And we were unprepared (physically and mentally).

When we turned our air conditioning on yesterday, we found that no cool air was reaching our second floor. Today I had an HVAC guy come to check things out. He found what is likely our problem (ducts that are too small running to the second floor) and made some suggestions for correcting the problem. Unfortunately, he is SUPER busy at this time and won't be able to get us an estimate for several days. In the meantime, I've closed all of the vents in our basement and first floor in an attempt to direct all of the cool air to our bedroom. I'm charting the temperature changes upstairs. In about an hour after vents downstairs were closed the temperature had dropped three degrees. A monumental improvement. Unfortunately, our upstairs is still in the mid-80s.

To avoid the heat at home, I've ventured out to the library. I'm going to go home by 3:30 to check the house temperature again. Then I'm going to make a quick run to the grocery store (it is always so cool there) and then to the pool. Hopefully the temperature in our house will drop below 80 before the sun sets.

If not, David and I will again camp out in the basement tonight amidst the construction. The risk of harm from being around the construction is much less than the risk of spending a sleepless night sweating in our bedroom upstairs. Plus sleeping in our basement reminds us of the good old (cool summer) days when we lived in a basement apartment in Columbia Heights.


David update: To simulate what it is like carrying another human being (another 98.6 degrees) in one's belly during these hot days, David pledged to walk to work with a hot tupperware container of pasta stuffed into his shirt. I appreciate the sympathy and had a good belly laugh...

Food: Baking is out of the question this week. We're going to have a raw foods week in our house. There will be two kinds of gazpacho (cucumber mint and tomato), salads, veggie sandwiches, and wraps. The oven will not be turned on.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


I mentioned in passing several posts ago that I spent this past Thursday shopping, and I've had several folks ask what I bought. The short answer is NOTHING. This was a look and don't buy outing for me. It was the first time I really looked at all the items you must buy for a baby, and I was overwhelmed. It was really good to start looking and thinking. A lot needs to be bought and a lot of decisions need be be made. I'm glad the process is underway.

I spent the afternoon with my friend, Bethann who is the mother of two adorable children.

Elizabeth is just finishing first grade and Rachel has successfully completed pre-school. She'll be in pre-K next fall. Bethann is an incredible mom to say the least and I am so grateful for the time she took to help me think through what we'll need for our baby and what we won't need. Prior to going shopping Bethann and I sat down and made a list of things I definitely need (sheets, mattress pad, etc.) and things David and I think about whether we want them or not (diaper jeannie, CD player for baby's room, etc). Then we went shopping.

Bethann is no no-nonsense in the store. We methodically went up and down the isles, talked about different brands of this and that, discussed colors, critiqued products that were way too over the top, and had fun trying different things out. I didn't buy a thing, but I started baby registries at a couple of stores and got really excited for our upcoming arrival.

David joined us while we were shopping at Target. There we were able to easily decide on a decor for the baby's room. Pictures can be seen here.
I'm excited because I really wanted the baby's room to be limegreen. What I'd love to do is paint one of the walls in the room limegreen as an accent, but we'll have to see...

All that remains to get for the baby's room is a dresser, which shouldn't be too hard to find. It is exciting seeing it all come together!


Home: Construction is underway in our basement. The walls of the bathroom are coming down; as are the walls of our laundry room. Soon we'll have two full bathrooms in our house AND a laundry room with cabinets and counter space. I'm so excited.

Celebrations: Today is my Grandma's 91st birthday! She's amazing... at 91, she has a busier social life than me. She has a wonderful group of friends, is part of a weekly Bible study, maintains an adorable two bedroom 'cottage', and is a proud mother of three, grandmother of six, and great-grandmother to three, with a fourth on the way. Happy Birthday, Grandma!


I now understand what pregnant women mean when they say, "I just popped." As you can see, I have done just that. Mom, this picture is for you. Note: the new skirt. It fits wonderfully.

Friday, June 6, 2008


I just got word today that I did NOT get a spot in the NYC marathon for 2008. The good news is this is the third year in a row that I've been denied a spot in the marathon. That means GUARANTEED ENTRY INTO THE 2009 RACE! I'm so excited.

Prayers that David would get a spot in the lottery next year would be greatly appreciated. He failed to defer his entry from two years ago in May and was put back into the lottery system. I'm pretty sure that I HAVE to run the race next year - they're giving me a gift of lottery-free entry. If David doesn't get in through the lottery, he'll either have to sit the race out (sad for me; he's a great marathon running partner), find a charity (like TNT) and run with them, or buy a spot 'illegally' on e-bay or craigslist.

No matter what happens, I'm excited. I also have a reason to get my butt of the couch. I have a marathon to train for...


Yesterday morning I had my first "you're in trouble"-interaction with a DC police officer. Yes, I've received a speeding ticket, but that was from the Montgomery County, MD police and yes, I've called the DC police on several occasions (loud neighbors, public urinations, car accidents, etc...). But I've never been busted by a police officer for my unlawful actions... until yesterday.

I set off for the metro before lunch time yesterday. I was running a few minutes late. So when I got the intersection across the street from the metro station, I decided not to wait for the walk signal. I made sure there was no on-coming traffic and I crossed in a well marked crosswalk. However, by not waiting for the light to turn green and I was guilty of jay-walking. My actions yesterday were not out of the ordinary. Often I cross the street when I don't have the green light, especially when I am running. I'm not the type to run out into the street in front of cars, but I am the type of person who is too impatient to wait for the light to change in order to cross legally.

What I didn't realize yesterday as I made my way across the street illegally was that there was a Metropolitan Police Department Officer on the other side on his segway waiting to ticket jay-walkers. When I got to the other side of the road, the officer asked me a few questions about my behavior and threatened me with a citation (read: ticket). I tried to be respectful and appreciate his and the police department's concerns about pedestrian safety. But really... In a city where crime (of all sorts) is a MAJOR problem is picking on the pedestrians a good use of time? Every day in this city houses are broken into, cars are stolen, drugs are sold, people are killed, children are endangered and hurt. Is the police department really taking a bite out of crime by placing officers at strategic intersections on expensive transportation devices (segways) to yell at pedestrians who aren't willing to wait for the light to change? Should I feel safer knowing that the police are looking out for me as a pedestrian?

Well, I don't feel either of these things. I'm mad that an officer would waste his time threatening pedestrians with citations when there are so many other crimes that need attention in this city. I don't feel safer knowing that the police are concerned about pedestrian safety. If they really cared, they could work with the local neighborhood groups to build pedestrian walkways or with metro to create station exists on both sides of busy streets. Threatening me for crossing the street only makes me mad and disappointed in the priorities and actions of the police force.

Am I wrong for feeling this way?


Today: Was up and swimming before 7:30am. Plans for today include preparing our basement for the construction project to begin, making chocolate chip cookies, and chauffeuring a high schooler from church to the prom.

Yesterday: Had a successful day of shopping for Baby Dawson with my friend, Bethann. It was so helpful to be in all those baby stores with someone who already has children. That said, I was completely over-stimulated by all of the toys and bright colors.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


When I was a child, we vacationed at a cottage on Lake Erie. We had a lot of fun there - sail-boating, swimming, playing in the sand, 'shopping' at the penny candy store. Some of my best memories at the Lake are of thunderstorms. Storms would usually come from the west and, therefore, come in over the lake. Hours before we could see the storm, boaters would start speeding into the harbor, then the waves would pick up, ultimately we'd hear the first crack of thunder and would know a storm was coming. With my dad serving as chaperon, we'd stay down by the lake (usually hiding behind trees to avoid being pelted by blowing sand) to watch the storm come onto land. It was beautiful and powerful (and sometime dangerous). But I loved it. I loved that the storm touched each of my five senses and I loved being there to watch the storm move and develop and ultimately disappear.

Today, sitting on my front porch, I had the opportunity to watch a storm come into DC. First the wind started to pick up, then the temperature dropped, and finally the first faint sound of thunder could be heard. By the time I looked up from my book, I could see the storm marching right down my street. The storm was moving west to east and I could not have had a better view. Slowly the dark clouds got closer and closer and the smell of rain was in the air. I could not yet see the lightening, but knew that it was there because the horn on the crane at the construction site at the end of my street blew indicating that they were turning the machine off and the operator (more than 8 stories above group) was coming down. Soon after the horn, I saw the lightening. And then, without any warning, the skies opened up and the rain began to fall. Within minutes the wind picked up and the rain started failing horizontally. I had to move off of the porch and take in the rest of the storm from indoors.

The storm has now moved on; leaving behind a steady fall of rain and some faint rumbles of thunder. I'm so grateful that I had the time to just enjoy the storm today. With nothing pressing on my 'to do' list, I spent more than 45 minutes watching the storm arrive, display its power, and then leave the area. It was magical; a moment I hope I do not soon forget.


School: had my first summer school class yesterday. It went well, but had a LONG trip home from Baltimore. My train got stuck two stations south of Baltimore. It took me more than three hours to get home - a long first day back.

Reading: Eight pages of Guns, Germs, and Steel left. I went to the library this morning and checked out The Kite Runner, Michael Phelps' Beneath the Surface (getting geared up for the summer Olympics!!), The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, and a book full of crochet patterns (I'm feeling crafty)

Recommendations: I highly recommend folks read Guns, Germs, and Steel. I also recommend Smuckers natural chunky peanut-butter and iced-chai tea (especially the kind that can be bought at Teaism in DC).