Thursday, July 31, 2008


Personal hygiene is important. I'm supportive of daily showers, deodorant, well groomed hair, well kept eye brows, and nicely manicured finger- and toe-nails. What I cannot stand is when people make their personal hygiene a public display. A few months ago, I watched a woman apply her deodorant on the platform waiting for the metro to arrive. Are you kidding me? Did she not have enough time to apply at it home? And it is not uncommon to see women (and sometime men) applying make-up or nail polish while driving to work or sitting on the train into town. All of these practices drive me crazy. Get up a few minutes early and ready yourself at home!

Nail clipping is one of my biggest pet peeves. I know it is important; I hate the look of long nasty nails, finger or toe. But I also hate the sound of nail clippers. I don't even like the noise when I'm clipping my own (usually I have to listen to the radio or turn my iPod on). When David is using the nail clippers, he has to be behind closed doors or on another floor. I don't want to hear him clipping away. Nor do I want to find his clip off nails sitting in a pile on a desk or countertop (for the record, David is VERY good about cleaning up after himself; I've never had an unpleasant run-in with his clippings).

What I don't understand is why people clip their nails in public. This morning I was in the public library looking for a couple of books. And there is a man sitting in one of the nice reading chairs in the middle of the paperback books clipping his fingernails. He had a pile of his nasty clippings just sitting on his jeans. I was so disgusted that I left that section of the library until he was finished, which was more than ten minutes later. Luckily, he did clean up after himself. But, REALLY. Must you clip your nails at the library. It was so quiet today and all I could hear was CLIP, CLIP, CLIP. I'll probably have nightmares tonight.

So, what do you think? Is it rude/wrong for people to groom themselves in public? Or am I just crazy?


DREAM: Last night I had a dream that David and I bought a whole Great White shark (it was dead). We decided to gut the shark for its meat. Upon cutting it up, we found spaghetti-ohs and a human head in its digestive system.

Any thoughts about what this might mean or why I would dream something like this?

Tonight: Heading out to the 'burbs for dinner with friends. We're bringing an appetizer... toasted almonds along with cheeses marinated in olive oil, garlic, and pepper corns.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Yesterday a 5.4 magnitude earthquake hit southern California. The quake was felt from Los Angeles to San Diego to Las Vegas. An earthquake in California, especially one that caused so little harm to things or people, wouldn't normally be blog-worthy news in my opinion, but this earthquake was not just any earthquake. It was my brother's first. He is no longer an earthquake-virgin.

I first heard about the quake when I turned my computer on late yesterday afternoon. The quake was the top story on Google News. Knowing that it was the middle of the work day on the West Coast and not wanting to bother my brother at work, I called my parents to see if they had heard anything. My dad had just gotten off the phone with him... He assured me Jeff was fine, but encouraged me to call Jeff in the evening to hear about his experience first-hand.

Jeff's tale was quite funny... when the earthquake began, he wasn't sure what was happening. He first hypothesized that a helicopter had crashed into the building where he works. He then thought that a construction crane across the street from his office building may have crashed to the ground. As the shaking continued, he realized it was an earthquake. Upon realizing that it was an earthquake, he quickly realized he had no idea what to do. Seeing none of his co-workers, he decided to run; get out of the building ASAP. He was just about out the door when he realized his cell phone was on his desk. Not wanting to be disconnected from the world, he ran back inside. Upon running back in, one of his co-workers emerged from underneath her desk to ask Jeff what he was doing. Jeff explained and the girl informed him that running is a bad idea; the smart thing to do is hide under your desk until the shaking stops. So that is where Jeff went until it was over.

Afterwards, Jeff took a lot of crap from his co-workers who said he ran like a "scared little girl" during the earthquake. When I asked Jeff what it felt like, he explained in a way only those of you from the Pittsburgh area would understand... he said it felt like he was on the old Noah's Ark ride at Kennywood, specifically the part where you had to walk through the narrow hallways where the floor boards bounce up and down and move left to right while at the same time the entire ride is rocking/swaying back and forth.

About 15 minutes after his first earthquake was over, Jeff said his heart rate finally settled down. He survived and will, without a doubt, be more prepared if/when the next earthquake hits.


It's been several weeks since my last post and much has happened... Unfortunately, our bathroom (the subject of my last post) is not finished, but it is close to being finished. All of the tile has been laid, primer has been applied, paint and grout are purchased, and the new closest has been dry-walled. With any luck, the toilet and sink will be re-installed this week.

Other happenings include: the conclusion of summer school. I turned my last paper in over a week ago, and my grade for the course should be available early next week. I'm going to continue working on a project with one of my professors until the baby comes, which will keep me connected with school and occupy some of my time.

Speaking of baby... during the past couple of weeks, I've had two baby showers (one in DC and one in Pittsburgh). Both were wonderful. We have just about everything one could need for a newborn, including a crib, sheets, stroller, car seat, clothes, blankets, etc. I also got a couple of things that were more wants than needs, including a Steelers onesie and cute clothes for me to wear at the hospital (during the 48 hours my insurance will allow me to stay).

Pictures of said items will be forthcoming. A picture from my Pittsburgh shower can been seen on Carla's blog.


Things to do today: Stop by Target for pet supplies (a well-fed cat is a happy one), mow the grass in our back yard, and clean the upstairs bathroom.

Dinner: Not sure what we're having at this point, but we have some DELICIOUS tomatoes to use (bought at a road-side stand in eastern Maryland over the weekend).

Watching: Just finished watching the 3rd season on ALIAS. I really enjoyed it; loved the Vaughn, Lauren, Sydney love triangle. The cliffhanger ending, however, leaves much to be desired.

Looking forward to: the Olympics! The opening ceremonies are next Friday night...

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Nearly two months ago, we began a little construction project in our basement. Our aim: to add a shower to the half-bath, open up the laundry room, and create some much needed storage and counter-top space. David did most of the design work, I did (and continue to do) most of the critiquing, and we hired a friend, Eric, to do the actual work. Eric has been working a lot and David has been doing a lot of work, too. On Tuesday night, they finished tiling our new shower stall.

David and I debated a lot about the shower stall. I was pretty insistent that I wanted a shower that would keep the water in the stall and not allow it to spray all over our new bathroom. From the start, I wanted a contained shower stall with a door. David was open to any and all shower design possibilities. In the end, we decided to install a shower stall base (48 inches long) and then tile the sides of the shower. We will install a shower curtain rod to prevent water from getting outside the shower.

Tiling the shower stall turned out to be a freaking genius idea. As you can see from the picture below, we got a little creative with the tiling; deciding to do one of the shower walls in an accent color. I'm thrilled with the way the shower turned out and am proud to say that it was my idea to frame the blue wall in white tiles. All the remains to do in the shower is to apply the grout. And for those who are interested, we are painting the bathroom yellow, specifically "lemon drop", as a contrast to the accent wall in the shower.

Next we will tile the floor in the bathroom and paint. Then we'll just reinstall the toilet, sink, and light fixtures. And finally it will be done!


Today: At Panera Bread writing my final paper for my research practicum class. I'm about done working for the day. It has been quite productive.

To do: Writing thank you notes.

Reading: Still working through Having Faith (see below for full title). I read the book before (it's by one of my favorite authors, Sandra Steingraber). I'll write a full book report when I'm finished.

Health: Went to the doctor yesterday. I failed to gain any weight during the past month. Not sure how that is possible... I'm still in the "average" weight gained category. I'm not anemic and don't have blood sugar problems. My heart and the baby's are also pumping well. If only I could lower my body temperature!

Monday, July 7, 2008


David and I have a wonderful home with several great places to do work. Our smallest bedroom has been converted into an office, complete with desk, bookshelf, bright lighting, desktop computer, and a comfortable reading chair. We also have a large dining room table, which is optimal for spreading out on. And when the weather is nice, I can work on our front porch. One would think with all of these work/study locations I would have no problem getting work done in our house.

But that is not the case. Our house can be one of the most distracting working locations for me. Yesterday I locked myself in the office in an attempt to finish my final presentation for my research practicum class. With distractions - such as the home phone ringing, David coming and going, high-speed internet that I was not sharing with anyone else - it took me more than four hours to pull together my presentation (all 30 slides). It should have taken me less than two hours to complete this project.

Today my to-do list included: making revisions to my presentation, finalizing a paper abstract, and finishing a paper that is due tomorrow evening. When the clock struck noon this afternoon and I hadn't even turned on my computer, I decided I needed to leave my house. I packed myself a lunch, bused down to the Love Cafe on U Street, ordered a wonderfully cold glass of iced-tea, and sat down to get some work done. Three hours later, I had completed everything on my to-do list. It was a successful afternoon.

My tendency to get more work done in coffee shops and libraries confuses me. Even when I try to simulate the coffee shop environment in our house - with fancy coffee drinks and internet radio - I cannot get as much work done at home as I do outside the house. What is more frustrating is that when I'm home trying to get school work done I rarely procrastinate by doing chores. It's not like I'm doing laundry and therefore not getting my work done. At home I just goof-off. I read the news, watch TV on the internet, read, take long showers, lie around, etc. Why my motivation increases in a coffee shop or library is beyond me, but I think it is good that I'm learning where and how I study/work best.

Anyone else more productive outside their house?


Reading: Having Faith: An Ecologist's Journey to Motherhood

Tonight: Shareholders' meeting at David's company

Tomorrow: Last presentation in my research practicum class; second to last class

Looking forward to: Becky L and my parents will be in DC this weekend!

Favorite snack: homemade trail mix - peanuts, raisins, and chocolate chips

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


The Sound of Music is one of my favorite movies. I love the scene where Maria distracts the von Trapp children during the thunderstorm with the song These Are a Few of My Favorite Things.

Today I'm working on my final presentation for my Research Practicum class, and it is slow-going. I'm ready to be finished with this class and am sick of dealing with and analyzing data about suicides. In an effort to cheer myself up (and kill time while I'm waiting for a profession to respond to a couple of questions), I put together a short list of some of my current favors. In no particular order...

1. I was a little disappointed when I heard that the swimming Olympic Trials were going to be broadcast on TV. Not having a TV, I felt left-out. However, the internet is AMAZING. Both prelims and finals of the Trials are available for viewing online. I haven't missed a minute of the action. And the quality of the video online has been stellar. I couldn't ask for more.

2. Smucker's Natural Reduced Fat Peanut Butter. I love this stuff. Peanut butter may be my pregnancy craving. I cannot get enough of it. But I am picky about the taste and consistency of my PB. Smucker's definitely makes the best.

3. Maternity jeans. They are the best; nothing is more comfortable.

4. Cool evenings. The weather in DC has been perfect the past couple of days. During the day, temperatures have been in the mid- to upper-80s, but there has been NO HUMIDITY. And the evenings have been cool and breezy. It has been perfect weather for taking evening walks and sleeping. Hopefully the whole summer will be like this...

5. A healthy, low-maintenance cat. Chai, David's cat (of 14 years), was really sick earlier this week. Things got so bad on Monday night that we put him, his litter, and some water in our bathroom and left him there for more than 24 hours (cleaning kitty puke from the tile floor is a breeze). Thankfully the cat appears to be healthy again. Sometimes I don't even realize he's in the house with me.

6. Fireworks! Although I'm not the most patriotic person, I do enjoy the fireworks. We probably won't venture down to the Mall this year for an up-close view of the National Fireworks, but there are plenty of places (namely a rooftop in Georgetown) to get a good view of the festivities without the crowds.

Now I just have to figure out how to take these few favorite things and make compose a song about them. Then I'll be just like Maria...