Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Due to a family emergency I am on hiatus until further notice.  For those who pray, keep us in your prayers please.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ten on Tuesday, college edition

1. Where did you go to college?

Virginia Tech. Go Hokies! #6 in Pre-season polls... booyah!

2. What did you study?
Biology. With a minor in Chemistry. I also was trying to double major in Psychology but then I had a semester long meltdown and I got too behind to complete the double major without taking another year.

3. Was college really all that it was cracked up to be?
Depends. It got me away from my mother which I desperately needed. It was where I matured, figured out who I was as a person and learned necessary skills for adulthood. Like how to keep personal feelings out of the workplace. However, I also came to the conclusion that college is a really expensive way to get a piece of paper that tells people to hire you (or if they would have hired you anyway, to pay you a higher starting salary), many times for a job that has nothing to do with what you studied at all.

4. How far were you from home?
4.5 hours. There was no direct trains there and since my mom didn't drive and the Greyhound took about 18 hours to get there she could never show up unannounced. It was perfect.

5. Did you have the same roomate all four years?
Yes, the frequently mentioned Alaina. One year we tried to add two others to our housing situation and like most things we try to add others to, it did not go well.

6. Where did you order food from at 2am?
Gumbys Pizza. They gave you ranch dip to put your crusts in and made possibly the worst pizza on earth. However, it was cheap and tasted delicious when drunk or up doing the paper you procrastinated for two months and now have to write in 4 hours, which is really all that college requires.

7. Did you date in college or were you tied down?
Both, sort of. Technically I had a boyfriend for the last two years (I met a senior at the end of my sophomore year). But he lived in DC and I lived there, we saw each other maybe once every few months and I was a massive flirt and immature. Honestly, in retrospect, we probably wouldn't have been together for as long as we were if we lived in the same location.

Historically, I didn't do well when I feel neglected. I didn't cheat on people per se, I just tended to start looking around and getting affection elsewhere. (not affection in a dirty way- I just mean someone to talk to, hang out with, hold hands with, cuddle with, flirt with, that kind of stuff- just wanted to make that clear)

I grew up enough to learn to say "hey you, you are neglecting me and this relationship"or to break up with them instead of just finding someone else to fulfill my need for attention while staying with the original person for way too long. Not fair to either person.

8. Funniest drunk college moment?
I went through a phase where I would drink like half a wine cooler and dump vodka into the bottle to fill it back up (yeah, nasty- right?). Well one night I had a few of those, someone picked me up to carry me into the apartment and I kicked my ex boyfriend in the head while we were walking past him and he was exactly at foot level. It wasn't hard or assault charge worthy or anything, but it became the running joke for the rest of the time we were there. "Hey remember, that time that Kim kicked Avi in the head? Hahaha!"

Then I fell asleep on their kitchen rug.

9. Did you make it to class on time?
When I went to class, I was always on time. In my defense, in a college of my size and in some of my classes it wasn't really necessary to go to class. Some professors would just talk about their research the entire time instead of anything that would actually BE on the test. I'd teach myself the stuff from the textbook and just show up to take tests. I had one class that took attendance but he did nothing but talk about his research, so I used to do the Washington Post crossword puzzle.

I do wish I tried a lot harder in school though. That is a huge regret of mine. I was intelligent enough to get As, but I was lazy and more interested in the social aspects.

(Note to parents: This is what happens when you hold your children down with an iron fist their entire lives, never let them make any decisions for themselves nor show them one iota of respect as a person. They go completely insane at the first whiff of freedom.)

10. What was your favorite class in college?
Calculus and Analytical Chemistry (also heavily math based). Two way tie. Crazy, right? A bio major who preferred math?

I think the one thing I'll tell my kids when they are making those sort of decisions is that you don't always have to go with what you need to work really hard at to do. Go with your strengths.

Math just makes sense to me, it always has. I didn't really even have to try to get A's, once something would be explained to me once everything would click into place and I'd never forget it. That easy. Whereas in some of my other courses I could study for hours and never quite get it. I think I thought you were supposed to have to try super duper hard or you were taking the easy way out, or something.

The other issue was that at Va Tech, you apply for a particular major, so you pick your major as a senior in high school. In my high school we had a superb biology teacher, so it's not surprising that that's what I picked. By the time I realized that I actually wasn't as interested as I first thought, I had already finished the first two years, which is all major involved classes. It wasn't practical, nor financially feasible to start over with something I really wanted to do.

At liberal arts colleges, you do your core requirements first so you can kind of figure out what you are interested in before you pick a major. For someone like me, that may have been better. However, I can't imagine having gone to any other school.

Read more here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Party excuses

Someone over on my other site (if you haven't visited yet, why not?  Go now! Go!) requested that I do a blog post on our excuses to have parties.  Here are the ones so far:
  • Guitar Hero World Tour
  • Dance Dance Revolution
  • 4th of July
  • Beginning of Summer
  • End of Summer
  • Misc BBQs thrown in during the warmer months
  • Come Sit on our Deck
  • "Pre-Thanksgiving"
  • Gingerbread
  • Christmas (with White Elephant Gift exchange)
  • New Year's Eve
  • Halloween
  • Super Bowl
  • March Birthdays
  • April Birthdays
  • June Birthdays
  • Melanie's Birthday (she's the only one with her own month)
  • Dinner club- a theme potluck night once a month for just the girls. Ones we've done so far: Fondue night, Indian, Mediterranean, Mexican. Next up is Chinese
It generally works out that we have a party of some sort every 2 or 3 weeks.  In our area it's really pricey to go out, so it's just more fun and a ton easier to just go to someone's house.
I would love to do theme parties where people dress up or like a murder mystery thing but my friends have nixed that idea over and over.  Boo! I love costumes and I love dressing up.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ten on Tuesday, August 10th

1. Do you have an innie or an outie?

A deformed innie. I had an umbilical hernia as a baby and had surgery done on my belly button so it's scarred.

2. What kind of milkshake do you order?
Chocolate and banana if they have it. Or chocolate and peanut butter.

3. How often do you repeat outfits at work?
Usually not more than once every 3 or 4 weeks. I'll wear the same items but paired with different things. Like I have two pairs of black pants but I'll pair them each time with different shirts/sweater combos. I have a lot of clothes.

4. What are your feelings about thank you notes?
I think they are important to do. However, in practice I'm horrible about it. I never sent out thank you notes for our wedding presents. Yes, I realize that makes me a terrible person.

I just find thank you notes awkward- I never know what to write on them, they are time consuming and I just never seem to get around to writing/addressing/mailing them.

5. Do you like spicy food?
Love it. I think I actually seared off all my taste buds and the only ones left are my spice receptors.

6. How many toilet paper squares do you use?
I use enough to get the job done.

7. Were you in Girl Scouts?
Yep. I got the Silver Leadership Award and then quit sometime after that. I had other stuff to do, plus once you are at the Senior Level no one is in Girl Scouts anymore. It's not like Eagle Scouts.

8. Notebooks/Journals: College ruled? Wide Ruled? No lines? Spiral Bound? Plain front? Decorative?
Wide Ruled, Spiral bound and usually decorative. That's just for my to-do lists and shopping lists though. I don't keep a journal.

9. Do you snack throughout the day? What do you pack for snacks?
Yes. Well more specifically I graze eat. It's not really snacking when there aren't defined meals. I have a fridge in my office so I actually grocery shop for work. Right now I have bread, peanut butter, honey, granola bars, yogurt, blueberries, tuna salad packets, V-8 juice cans, Skinny Water, Instant Oatmeal packets, Microwave popcorn (cheese flavored), Wheat thins, Laughing Cow cheese wedges, Weight Watchers brand ice cream cups, and frozen veggies (steam in the package).

I eat combos of that food throughout the day.

10. What is your favorite month? Why?
October. Fall is my favorite season, Halloween is my favorite holiday and it's the month we got married.

Monday, August 9, 2010

How I Spent my Sunday

You know how I said that we had no damage done to our property by the storms that moved through?  While that was true, we are house-watching for our friends/neighbors that live 2 streets away and go back to their hometown every year for the months of August and December.  They seriously have the worst luck with their trip timing.  Last December they left immediately before we were hit with Snowstorm #1 and their neighbor slammed into the car they left parked in front of their house.  This time they leave and this is what happens to their yard.

Yes, that is a tree.  Well, not a whole tree, a lot of very large branches that fell taking out a section of the side fence and landing on top of their cable line (you can see the black line to the right side of the picture).  Luckily it was not an electric line or we wouldn't have been able to do much on our own.

The winds also took out a portion of their back fence.

You can see it on the back right, that is not an intentional opening or gate.  You can also see another fallen branch.

Bill went over to borrow their saw to cut up the branch that fell into our yard and this was what he found.  (in our house-watching defense, we did go over after the storm to check the place out but didn't go into the back yard.  Just made sure there wasn't a tree on the roof or on their car or anything big like that)  Obviously we couldn't leave it like it was for them to come home to in a month so this was our Sunday afternoon activity. 

It took awhile, it was hot, and I discovered that I am not very good with saws but a few hours later the mess of the yard became this:

With a neat brush pile in the back corner and a pile of new logs for them to use in their fire pit once they return. (their log pile is hidden behind the tree to the left)  We pushed the back fence back up before we left but didn't do much to repair it, maybe we'll head back to do that this week.

Yes, that's my husband.  I didn't realize I got him half in the picture until I was uploading.

We have always been a bit jealous of their shaded backyard, now we have been cured of that.  We'll take our hot, sun filled area over tree limbs falling and taking out fencing. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

7 Quick Takes: August 6, 2010

1) Tonight we are having a Guitar Hero World Tour night, otherwise known as our latest excuse to have a party. We make a lot of excuses to have parties.

2) We got a line of wickedly bad storms through our area yesterday. Click here for some photos via The Washington Post. The cats were so freaked out by the time I got home that they were edging around the very center of the house to get around instead of lounging in their normal by windows spots.

I was at work when the storms occurred but if the wind and rain was anywhere near what we witnessed from our office windows I'm sure they were terrified. Probably thought the house was going to blow over.

This has been a crazy year of weather for us.

3) Speaking of photos; I've started a new site "Snapshots From My Day." Please go over and check it out. The idea is that I will post pictures throughout my days; some days will get multiple posts, others only one, depending on what is going on. I'm also accepting submissions if anyone else wants to post a snapshot from their own day.

4) Alaina and I took a BodyJam class at our new gym on Wednesday night. The description of the class is "the cardio workout where you can enjoy the sensation of dance. An addictive fusion of the latest dance styles and hottest new sounds puts the emphasis as much on having fun as breaking a sweat. Funky instructors teach you to move with attitude."

Now, I'm not sure anything can teach me to "move with attitude" but it's a really fun way to burn around 600 calories in an hour.

5) We originally were going to try to go to Aquaerobics but we got there late, then we went up to the workout machine level where we got bored in 20 minutes. Then we wandered back down to see what classes were going on and ran into the BodyJam group and instructor. I'm glad we did :-) I'm also glad that it seems that this gym is good for just getting there when you get there and still being able to find SOMETHING to do. There's a ton of options!

6) I made a quick and easy corn salad/salsa last night when realizing that I was in need of a vegetable to go with my enchiladas because all my salad stuff froze in our old decrepit fridge.

In a medium saute pan heat up about 2 tbs of olive oil with 1 tb of butter (you can skip the butter if you want but mixing the oil and butter keeps down steam) over medium heat. Dice 1/2 of an onion. I used Vidalia because that's what I had but red would work great. Add to pan and cook until onions soften (about 5 minutes). Add one bag of frozen corn and a few jalapenos diced finely. You can add more or less depending on your desired spiciness. Cover and cook until the corn is heated through stirring a few times.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once everything is cooked through, let cool for a few minutes and then add cherry tomatoes cut into fourths. If you realize it's a bit spicier then you meant it to be, adding more tomatoes will help.

7) Has anyone tried Skinny Water? The Acai Grape Blueberry is pretty good but the Goji Berry Fruit Punch is rather nasty. I'm not sure if it's just me or if Goji Berry is something that takes a bit of getting used to.

Speaking along the veins of flavored water drinks- did you see the news about Vitaminwater? Corporations amaze me with their greed and stupidity.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Most true valedictorian speech ever given:

...I am now accomplishing that goal. I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers. I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contend that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer – not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition – a slave of the system set up before him. But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave. I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost? I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I'm scared.

John Taylor Gatto, a retired school teacher and activist critical of compulsory schooling, asserts, "We could encourage the best qualities of youthfulness – curiosity, adventure, resilience, the capacity for surprising insight simply by being more flexible about time, texts, and tests, by introducing kids into truly competent adults, and by giving each student what autonomy he or she needs in order to take a risk every now and then. But we don't do that." Between these cinderblock walls, we are all expected to be the same. We are trained to ace every standardized test, and those who deviate and see light through a different lens are worthless to the scheme of public education, and therefore viewed with contempt...
Read the rest here.

Brava to her.  This is exactly how I feel about the educational system of this country.  My defining moment?  When I turned in a thought out, well written paper only to have it returned with a F-grade because my english teacher thought I interpreted the book in question "wrong."  My fault? "you responded from the female perspective whereas the book was written and should be read from the male perspective."  The paper read out loud in class and lauded as an example of an assignment well done?  One spliced together from her parents "help" and cliff's notes.  There was not one iota of original thought contained within, but therein was the point.  He didn't want MY interpretation, he wanted me to write out the same old recycled drivel that everyone else thinks.

In that moment I decided that school was a complete waste of my and everyone else's time.  It's only purpose was to ensure that one did not have to work as a fry cook for the rest of their life.

Dear English teacher,

in·ter·pre·ta·tion   /ɪnˌtɜrprɪˈteɪʃən/ [in-tur-pri-tey-shuhn]


1. the act of interpreting; elucidation; explication: This writer's work demands interpretation.
2. an explanation of the meaning of another's artistic or creative work; an elucidation: an interpretation of a poem.
3. a conception of another's behavior: a charitable interpretation of his tactlessness.
4. a way of interpreting.
5. the rendering of a dramatic part, music, etc., so as to bring out the meaning, or to indicate one's particular conception of it.
6. oral translation.

No love,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ten on Tuesday, August 3rd

1. What is your current favorite television show?
Current as in showing new episodes right now? Havoc on the Sci Fi channel. Check it out on Hulu, it's entertaining.

During regular programming my favorite is Glee, hands down. They are doing a Britney Spears episode this season which has me in fits of excitement.

2. Apple juice or orange juice?
Apple. I'm allergic to orange, I think. Or am sensitive to it. At risk of oversharing, if I drink more than a minimal amount of orange juice I vomit within 15 minutes. Even if it's mixed into something else. Damn you tequila sunrises! I just can't digest it.

3. It’s Shark Week on Discover Channel. Do you watch? Why or why not?
No. I've just never been interested in sharks.

4. What are the non-blog websites that you visit regularly?
Washington Post, Cooking Light, Faith and Family Live!, Facebook, Twitter.

5. What is your favorite way to prepare green beans? Asparagus? Potatoes? Carrots?
Green Beans and Asparagus with salt, pepper an a bit of olive oil. Stick in oven at 450 degrees and roast about 10 minutes.

Potatoes, roasted with whole heads of garlic a la Pioneer Women.

Carrots- raw, dipped in ranch or hummus. I hate cooked carrots, the texture just seems off.

6. What is your favorite flower?
I'm allergic to flowers so my favorite is silk. Or a picture of a flower taken somewhere far, far away.

7. How do you feel about handkerchiefs?
They seem germy and gross to me. As someone who does all the laundry in my house, I wouldn't like having to wash them. I can barely handle picking up used kleenex.

8. If you could only shop at 3 stores for the rest of your life, what would they be? (You probably should include a grocery store.)
Giant Food
JC Penney

I think that covers all the neccessities; food, clothing, pet stuff, furniture, cookware, etc.

9. If you could only use wine for one purpose for the rest of your life, which would you choose? To cook with or to drink?
Drink. Just use chicken broth for white wine or cranberry juice for red.

10. What’s your bedtime?
I am trying to get better about that. currently it's approx 30 minutes after Bill finally shows up at home which is anywhere between 10-12:30am some days.

It should be no later than 10-11pm to get a full 8 hours of sleep before I should wake up in the morning.

Monday, August 2, 2010

They have towel service!!!

Alaina and I have this problem. We have a bad habit of looking at "high-end" stuff (even though we know better) and then it completely destroys everything under it in our minds.

For example, we found a neighborhood that we thought was cute so we went into the sales office to see the prices. While we knew they would be high we never expected exactly what the interiors were... nor what the resultant price tag would be. Now, to expect us to be able to ever go into a normal townhouse and think it's cool would be nearly impossible. However, if we had just not gone in we could have lived in a state of blissful oblivion.

This past weekend, we went to check out a gym. Not just any gym but this gym. You should know that we are currently members of Bally Total Fitness; not because we really want to be, but because they send us cheap "renewal" offers. Since we fulfilled our original soul sucking contract entered into 6 years ago, we get yearly offers that breaks out to about $10 a month which is way cheaper than any other gym or class or anything else you could sign up for.

It's like the buy one get one free paradox. Yes, you would get something for free but if you didn't actually need the first item in the first place, buying it is actually costing you the price you didn't plan for. No one thinks of that in the moment though, you just get dazzled by the word free and nearly subconsciously the debit card falls out of your wallet and you are headed home with two of "such a fabulous deal!!"

Yes, $10 a month is a great deal! Except that Ballys sucks so hard that I never go. You can never find machines, their locker rooms are icky, half their machines are constantly broken in some way, the temperature of the place is always wonky, their receptionists are snotty, their Personal Trainers are unprofessional and their classes.... oh their classes! You have to sign in at least a half hour ahead of time, still the classes are overcrowded, they keep cutting down the times they are offered making them even more crowded, and anything that you want to take? Pilates? Zumba? You pay extra. AND they let non members come in for them (they just have to pay a bit more than you)

At one of the Ballys locations here, the line for Zumba actually goes up the stairs and out the door. If you aren't there at least an hour ahead, you'll never get in. To add insult to injury, non members will get in but you won't because your monthly fee means nothing to them. Seriously.

/rant over

This is going somewhere, I promise.

So, Alaina and I decided that we should start lap swimming. One, it's fun. Two, it seems like a great activity in the hottest summer of recent memory. Three, it burns like 3-4 times the calories as walking and jogging. One of the Ballys locations has a lap pool. We could use it for free since we're already members. However, there was this other gym and they have a cool looking pool! The plan was made to check out new gym then compare it to Ballys pool and then decide.

Bad plan.


We should have seen it from a mile away. This plan should have been stopped as soon as it was hatched.

Once we walked in the -beautiful, clean, wide open, new equipment, 3 floors, towel service, salt water lap pool- gym we were never going to leave. Ballys didn't stand a chance.

ETA: if you are wondering why I am so enamored with towel service- before my wedding I got a personal trainer from Ballys in an attempt to lose weight.  I did not lose any weight, nor inches, however I did learn that when working out at a time that requires showering afterwards (or, swimming) you have nothing to do with a damp towel.  I would lay it out on the surface of my hatchback trunk so it could get sun and dry though stuck in my car.  I ended up having to drive around in a musty smelling car for 3 months.  To not lose any weight.  Did I mention that part?