Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Freakin me out

Now all this guy has to do is figure out how to harmonize with himself.

That sounds dirty.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

October in a single post

Where did October go?

I was...uh...in a time warp. Yeahh...that's it. Time warp.

I started working 4 days a week, 10 hours a day. It's very productive, in my opinion. And you get used to it. Since I live so far from work, I basically get home with just enough time to eat, sleep, eat, shower. But 3 days off is nice, even if I spend all of the first day asleep. I do like to sleep. Plus I save a considerable amount on gas.

In the last month, the kitchen was remodeled. The wall separating it and the living/dining room was knocked down. It freaked out the cat and she pooped in strange places. Thank goodness she got over it.

Now we have a hardwood floor, granite counter tops, a trash compactor, recessed lighting, under-cabinet task lighting, a new stove, a deep sink with a new garbage disposal, and many more cupboards under the bar where the wall used to be. Oh and the crappy, pointy textured ceiling was covered so it's flat and I can have BALLOONS!

Whilst the kitchen is awesome (it's as if someone accidentally left their nice kitchen in our old house), sleeping was impossible. It's not cool to come home at 11:30pm and get woken up at 7am by guys delivering granite.

The fence was also rebuilt by the same guys, so Kane can now romp and play as free as a fenced in dog can be. Which isn't much for Kane because he'd really rather be inside sneaking a nap on the couch.

My parents are out of town. Out of state. Soon to be out of country. It's not too spooky in the house. Previously, the dog would sleep outside the bedroom door, but apparently the lure of sleeping on the basement couch is just too strong. Luckily/unluckily, I have a cat who won't leave me alone. I think the lack of company is making Butters even more clingy, if you can imagine. In fact, she is using my leg as a pillow right now as I type. It's cute, but I feel bad when I have to get up and toss her aside. And she's warm. But I swear, if she doesn't stop rubbing her face on me, she's gonna go bald in the face and I'm gonna have rug burn.

I thought taking care of the 8 pets (1 dog + 1 cat + 6 fish) would be bothersome, but it's not bad. Plus having to take care of the pets ensure that I don't stay at work too long. The dog's gotta pee, ya know.

Speaking of that...I gotta go.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

FUBAR

I've been watching The War on PBS, Ken Burns' latest long-ass documentary. Tonight's episode, which aired at 8pm, is called FUBAR.

And to explain what FUBAR and SNAFU mean, the narrator actually said, "FUCKED."

Public television is awesome.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

One Semester of Spanish

Click. Watch. Laugh.

Am I bossy?

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hot pink

I have the urge to color a chunk of my hair hot pink.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

It's a beautiful day in DC

Today I met up with Danyel at the National Mall. It was a GORGEOUS day. Nary a cloud in sight and actually a little cool. We have plans to go to Hawaii in about a year and look fabulous, so it will do us some good to do some walking.

Turns out it only takes me 45 mins to get to the Smithsonian stop from my house on a Sunday. It took a considerable while longer for Danyel to get there from Shady Grove, so I started walking. I walked toward the Capitol and through the Hirshorn Sculpture Garden. As I got near the Capitol I heard a fife and drum corps. There was some sort of presentation on the Bill of Rights. I kept walking. I passed three games of adult kickball. Why is it when you precede a word with "adult" it makes it sound dirty? Don't worry, in this case, everyone was appropriately dressed in their team t-shirts. By the time I started walking back toward the Washington Monument Danyel arrived. Hooray! she took the Metro all by herself for the first time and didn't get lost or die!

We continued on toward the Washington Monument and walked by a Jazz Festival. We climbed up the stairs into the Lincoln Memorial, sat on the ledge beside the stairs and remembered the last time we visited these monuments. It's been a long while for both of us.

Then we went on to visit the Korean Veterans War Memorial, which IMHO, is kinda spooky. The statues of the soldiers are life sized so you feel as though you are walking with them. And there is a wall made of the same black shiny stone used at the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial but instead of names etched into the surface, there are faces. When it rains, etchings disappear, and reappear when it dries. I can just imagine that being a little spooky. We also visited the Wall and paid respects to a friend of Danyel's dad. As we walked along the wall, even though there were plenty of people around, it was almost eerily quiet. The reverence of the place is not just palpable, but I don't know...thick. We also visited the memorial to the women of the Vietnam war that is near the Wall. The number of people there was, of course, less than at the Wall, but when we arrived I noticed we were joining other young women. It was just a coincidence, but I found it particularly moving.

After all the walking it was time for dinner. We ended up going to Les Halles, which I think is becoming my favorite place to go when I visit the Mall. Since the weather was so nice we ate outside. Well, at least until dessert because the sun was fading and we were getting cold. I had a mouthwatering medium rare hanger steak with shallot sauce and french fries. Danyel had the French dip and fries. She was taken aback when she was given a choice on how she wanted her steak done. Usually don't get that choice when it's a roast beef, but in this case it was steak. The food was goood. I was verrrry happy. Only to get even happier when I decided to have my very first chocolate souffle and a lil' glass of dessert port wine. The combo was so good and I had that great moment of enlightenment when food and wine pairs well together and you're like, "ohh, I get it!" Danyel had her very first creme brulee and enjoyed that very much, as well. A perfect ending to a perfect day...even if the meal negates the Calories I was trying to burn off in the first place!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

Freezer People


The freezer at work needs to be defrosted but we don't have a backup in this room. So I wished real hard and the freezer people appeared. It seems that they are made of the ice that coated the top shelf, 2mL microfuge tube screw caps, thumbtacks, 0.7mL microfuge tubes, a red cap for a glass test tube, and a small purple nitrile glove. Somehow they settled themselves in the tops of some plastic storage boxes. But all reality, they are made of magic. I mean, how else would they have appeared? It's not like I waste time making snowmen to hide in the freezer for co-workers to find the next day.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Crazy Sexy Cancer

I want to recommend a documentary I saw last week but unfortunately it's not scheduled to air again unless people email and pester TLC/Discovery.

Either way, it's called Crazy Sexy Cancer and it's about Kris Carr, a 31 y/o woman who was diagnosed with 24 inoperable tumors in her liver. You can learn more about her here and she even has a book if you don't get to see the documentary. (I seem to like recommending things focusing on women who are yoginis.)

In her documentary she highlights other young women with cancer. One of them, Erin Zammett Ruddy, a Glamour magazine editor, really stuck out for me. She has Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) and takes Gleevec. Let me tell you a little story about CML. Warning: this may only be really cool to nerds.

Back in 1960, a translocation between chromosome 9 and 22 was discovered and named the Philadelphia chromosome (so named for it's city of discovery). It was the first chromosomal abnormality found to be linked to cancer. I first learned about it in the really great cytogenetics (chromosome biology) course I took at W&M and of course, I learned about it in numerous courses at UT-Houston HSC MDACC (even the abbreviated version is too long!).

A translocation is where pieces of two chromosome swap places. In this case a gene on 22, called ABL (pronounced "able" and named after a guy named Ableson) gets shoved in next to a gene called BCR (just pronounced bee see arr and stands for breakpoint cluster region) on chromosome 9 resulting in BCR-ABL. This encodes an protein that keeps the switch "ON" for making lots of messed up white blood cells. And all cancer is, really, is uncontrolled cell growth. Only people with the Philadelphia chromosome have this weird BCR-ABL fusion protein and presence of this translocation can give you a diagnosis of CML. It's one of the molecular tests that I do at work! Neat.

Everyone knows that the crappy thing about chemotherapy is that not only does it kill cancer cells, it also kills normal cells, like hair cells. But in the 90's along came Gleevec. Gleevec is a drug, the first of its kind, to specifically target the BCR-ABL protein (It also works on other cancers that have the same sort of ON/OFF switch).

So back to Erin - In the documentary she talks about the extremely sensitive test that determines her diagnosis and about how she takes Gleevec. She has never missed a day of work because of her cancer. THAT IS SO AMAZING. And she even has a new baby!

While I may not be up to finding the cure, when I see stuff like that I'm happy to have a job that is still part of it all.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My new favorite website

Drooling yet?

I hate this

"Don't eat what you can't pronounce."

Apparently health food advocates/marketers think you're a dumbass.

By that same logic, I would never eat Vietnamese food, and hell if I ain't eating Vietnamese food.

Descriptive, Comparative, Superlative

Butt

Butter

Buttest

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Whatchoo do today?

I helped dismantle a 30+ year old maple tree.

I didn't chop it down. No, that was done by a crazy old man with a chain saw (aka my dad). I hack-sawed it into pieces and made sure all of the pieces were in our yard. Now looks like our yard has a bunch of maple bushes that will soon turn into big brown crunchy leaf piles.

Once the tree is cleared, we can build a new fence on that side of the yard. Then the dog can run wild and free once more. Well, you know, as free as one can be inside of a fenced-in yard.

Next week: wood chipper fun.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Art

This Sunday, Grace, Danyel, and I will be going to see "Gee's Bend: Architecture of the Quilt" at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. I am excited about going to a museum I have never been to; I don't go to Baltimore much, despite it being only about an hour north.

I have already seen the exhibit in Houston, but I liked it so much I want to see it again.

Pictures really don't do them any justice at all.

If you're registered at the Washington Post, you can read a review here. The first time I had heard of them was on PBS's "The Quiltmakers of Gee's Bend" and if you're lucky enough to catch it, I definitely recommend it. Art is always way more interesting if you know the stories behind it (even if it is modern art that you're supposed to appreciate without any background knowledge of the subject matter).

Some people look at stuff like that and say, "I don't get it." The nice thing about these quilts, I think, is there is nothing to "get". These quilts were not made by some moody modern artist living in some dingy loft in NYC trying to make a point about god knows what. They were made by poor black women in the deeeeeep south who made the quilts because they had to, out of stuff they had, basing the patterns on what was passed down from women before them and adding their own personal touches. I think you can appreciate them as craft, or art, or pieces of history.

I've started watching Ovation TV. I hope you all have it. It's a really cool cable channel devoted to art and it satisfies my nerdy need for documentaries. It forces you to ask yourself over and over, is this art? I saw a doc on Ray Johnson and he was beating a cardboard box with a belt and called it a reading. Is that art? Is it supposed to be deep? Absurd? I wonder if you're allowed to laugh? What is art??? Makes my head want to explode. But I love asking it! Head explosions be damned!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

en masse

I kind of hate things en masse. Massive numbers of anything gross me out a little. Like a stadium filled with sweaty, near naked music festival goers. Or barrels of mice. Or this.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Good times

Goo went back to the land of Cleve this week. While he was home we did fun things like make freezer paper stencil t-shirts. I learned it from Grace and you can find the instructions at Make.

That is a chalupa. It is placed low on the shirt because the tummy is where chalupas go.

I can't help but laugh every time I look at that shirt. And then I crave a chalupa. However, it makes Goo feel full. Which is good, because when Goo is at home he loses the ability to feel full. It doesn't help that Ma makes 5 kinds of dinners in one day supposedly so that she doesn't have to cook for the rest of the week. But in the end, some of us just end up eating many dinners in one day.

Anyways, this is my t-shirt.

It turned out to be a fish that jumps over my left boob.

Here is a close up of the design:
I think if I ever get a tattoo, it might be a fish. Probably not on my boob. I don't want it ending up looking like an eel or a whale or a sea monster later in life. Gross.

Speaking of tattoos, Goo also started on a t-shirt that will have his tattoos on it so that he won't have to lift his shirt to show them off. Apparently, he has already ripped one shirt in the process.


Tedious, but satisfying. And a completely unique product at the end!

I wore my fish shirt to yoga and I got to admire it in the big mirror. I'm vain.

Speaking of yoga, Goo came with me to yoga at the YMCA on two of the three Saturday mornings he was here. Actually, first, I showed him how to do a Sun Salutation A the week prior to the first class. He did really well and even the teacher was impressed by his ability. He's really good at standing pigeon, which involves standing on one foot. I wonder if it has something to do with having pontoon feet, lol.

The second week was challenging for both of us, mostly because of the headstand and shoulderstand that the teacher had us try. Goo managed a headstand but I was too afraid. These aren't headstands while standing on your hands. Your entire body weight is supported by your forearms and the crown of your head. I have only one neck and know too much on how I could break it. Frankly, I think it's a little irresponsible to have inexperienced people do headstands, but it's yoga at a gym taught by a former aerobics teacher who was trained in yoga through a totally westernized method. I don't expect too much. But it's fun and there is variety and that's why I go, but I know what my limits are. And just because yoga is old doesn't mean it's right. I don't think my head was meant to support my butt for any length of time. It was a pretty crappy class for me because I ended up giving myself a crick in my neck and the fact that I didn't do a headstand bothered me all day long. Though, the experience reminded me that I still do need to find a good serious Ashtanga yoga studio. One day I will do a headstand, but my head will not carry any of my weight.

On a better note, after the first class, the teacher and I were chatting about how Goo liked the class. She was surprised to find out that he had never taken a class before. I told her that I showed him a few positions and she was impressed (though I think my family has been blessed with great proprioception). She asked if I was interested in teaching, especially since I would be a great example of someone who is not skinny, but still strong and flexible. She recommended I check out the method she was trained in because it would only take a weekend or so to be able to teach a beginner yoga class. (Sounds a little sketchy, no? But the training program gives you step by step instructions on what to teach.) I was realllly excited about the prospect, because in an ideal world I'd just like to make jewelry and do yoga. But trust me, if I do end up teaching yoga, I'll save headstands for the truly advanced student.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Do I count?

One of Goo's favorite movies is Super Troopers. He told me that he doesn't know a single female that likes that movie. Some of his female friends can't even sit through it. So, of course I take that as a challenge.

But I watched it and I liked it. It is a great stupid movie.

Now he knows 1 girl who likes it.

But then again, I was a HUGE Adam Sandler fan. And we're talking Billy Madison Adam Sandler, not Punch Drunk Love Adam Sandler.

So...I might not count.

Speaking of man-centric movies, Goo and I also watched 300 and the Bourne Ultimatum. While we both finished watching those movies and felt like we could go out and kill, I must admit, 300 ridiculously ripped Spartans and dreamy Matt Damon aren't too hard for a girl to watch.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sing and Dance while the music is playing

Movies

I saw the latest Harry Potter movie on Monday. The previous week I read books 1-4. Ten years later and I'm finally jumping on that bandwagon.

The Simpsons movie is coming out this week. I haven't actually watched the show on Sunday in ages. That doesn't mean I don't watch the Simpsons. I watch them all the time on DVD. Anyways, I've been rather blase about the whole movie, but honestly, when I think about it makes me so excited! I think I'm just trying to keep my expectations in check just in case the movie sucks ass. I must still make a trip to Bladensburg to check out the Kwik-E-Mart. Who needs the Kwik-E-Mart? I DO.

I have heard and read about young adults who have grown up along with Harry Potter and have expected a new installment every year or two for their entire adolescence. But now that is gone. I thought that was rather odd to have such a connection to a fictional character, but then I remembered that Bart Simpson and I are the same age. Lucky for me though, the Simpsons isn't ending. Ever, it would seem.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Possibly the best weekend ever pt 2

The next day Grace showed me how to make freezer paper stencil tshirts. She made one with a big black birch tree and I made one with a large white birdcage on the lower right side and a tiny black m-shaped bird on the left shoulder. By the way, freezer paper doesn't seem to stick to shirts with synthetic fibers. Next time I'll either use a 100% cotton shirt or contact paper. But it was really easy and fun with very nice results.

We finally made it to Bev's where Grace and I had lunch. I had the world's perfect sandwich. They call it a grilled cheese but it's really a grilled prosciutto and pesto and cheese sandwich. I also had a cup of she-crab soup that was more like a thick chowder than a soup. I finished my lunch with an ice cream that combined by two favorite flavors: coffee and cookies & cream. Truly a lunch from heaven.

It was blazing hot that day so we stayed out of the A/C-less house. So the best thing on a hot day is of course a movie and a giant Icee. We saw Ratatouille and it was SO FREAKIN GOOD. Animation: unbelievably gorgeous. Story: great. The fact that it is about food and rodents (please consider my background here)? Awesome! If I could, I would shove you all into the theaters right now to see it.

After the movie it was around dinner time but still felt like midday on the surface of the sun. I suppose, midnight on the surface of the sun would feel the same, but... shut up. Even though we were planning on a dinner with just a little cooking, it still involved cooking in a house with no A/C. So we went to Grace's favorite Thai restaurant instead. Grace had an excellent pad thai that wasn't overly flavored one way or the other and had lot of great seafood. I don't eat Thai very often so I'm still always surprised to see so much of it is like Filipino food. For example one of our appetizers was fried tofu. I eat that pretty much every week at home. And dessert was mango (one of the good yellow ones, not the red/green ones) and sweet sticky rice cooked with coconut milk which is Khao Niaow Ma Muang in Thai, but in the Philippines it's called suman and cooked in banana leaf. The foods are basically the same, but I think the flavorings are the biggest difference. Plus I have this feeling that Thai incorporates different flavor sensations ie spicy sweet salty sour more in a single dish so the combinations can be rather startling to the uninitiated Westerner, whereas Filipino tends to be very sweet or very hot or very sour. On the other hand, I could be totally wrong.

So that was my fantastic weekend from two weekends ago.

This weekend I had to work Sunday and so I had Monday and Tuesday off. Wasn't a terrible weekend but I am looking forward to the 29th when I go back to Richmond and cook Filipino food for all of Grace's friends that I met at the brunch.

Possibly the best weekend ever pt 1

It's been a while since I've posted anything about what I've been up to.

Two weekends ago I went to Richmond and had a faaaabulous time with Grace. As usual, I suppose, but this time was rather good.

Anyways, we had to get up for church on Sunday where the Unitarian Universalist church was having a special service from their writers group. Instead of a regular service they recited their poems and short stories. I liked many of them; they were charming, funny, and inspiring. One was kind of angry and scared me a little.

After church we went to a "young adults" group brunch held at the house of one of the members. There are quotations on that because they're not really all that young. I think you just have to be older than 18 but not yet retired. They call themselves the Young and the Restless. Anyways they were fun and interesting and the food was delicious. And I got to talk about beading and even got buttons for more projects!

Beading came up, by the way, because Grace was wearing my latest creation of three rather eclectic strands of freshwater pearls. Did I take a picture? Of course I didn't. But the earrings aren't yet made either, so maybe then.

Afterwards we stopped by Target so I could buy a swimsuit (the horror!) and Grace and I went swimming (more like standing around in water) at her parents' house while Andrew and their friend Erin went golfing. Did I mention it was like 90deg? Yeah, swimmin's much better than golfin'. Plus it was nice to chat with Grace's family. But then Grace's dad pulled out a puzzler from Car Talk and we couldn't stop thinking about that darn problem all day. Grace did figure it out some way I don't understand (she's a mathmagician!) but then in the middle of the night I figured out how to solve it like a geneticist would (ratios and such). We're great geeks, I tells ya.

When Andrew and Erin were done baking...er golfing, we all went to a Mexican restaurant. The food was good, especially the complex and aromatic red enchilada sauce. We planned to go to Bev's for homemade ice cream, but it was already closed. Probably a good thing considering I was stuffed.

We finally got home and while Grace and Andrew went to bed, I stayed up and watched the 4th Harry Potter movie which for some reason I had never gotten around to watching. I liked that one very much and now I have officially been sucked in and am now reading the books.

We did more that weekend, but I'll post the rest later.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Nerd YouTube

If you have the stomach for it, check out the Dissection of a E12.5* mouse and removal of embryos; it's what I used to do. Although, I would have done things a little differently- you don't need scissors to get embryos out of a uterus. Also, watching him plate the neural precursors has me yelling at the screen, "I can't believe you just dropped that lid! Why are you crossing your arm over your open plate??!?!"

Yeah...nerd = me.

*12.5 day old embryo, roughly corresponds to a 46 day old human embryo

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Sleepy cat

Butters, my cat, used to live with me in Houston. She'd sleep in my bed with me, especially on chilly nights. I sent her to live with my parents before I moved back because I didn't want her to have to travel in a car for three days when she can't even stand being in a car for three minutes.

When I came back home, Butters' usual sleeping place was a chair in the living room. But in the past couple of weeks, she has come back to my bed every night. Whilst I stay up, fearing insomnia has come back, the cat sleeps. Back when I took classes and had homework to do in the wee hours of the morning, I'd nudge her awake because if I had to be up, so did she. Now I just let her sleep because she looks so cute!

I'd like to think she likes me a lot again like she did when I was the only person in her life. But I also think it has something to do with the recently relocated fish tank with the noisy water pump.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Science museums aren't just for kids and James Watson sure is a prick

Very interesting article about how dumb we all are. Also check out accompanying article to see how embarrassing it is to be so dumb.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Blah Blah Blah

Today is the end of my three day weekend. I have to work tomorrow on the 4th of July, but that is ok because getting paid more is nice.

This weekend we grilled zucchini that was grown in the backyard. It was very good and I didn't die, so the whole growing stuff thing is going very well. Of course after the plants were in the ground, I did very little to help them out because my parents have much greener thumbs than I. But I have also eaten some of the squash blossoms in quesadillas and in omelets. They don't have much of a taste but they are very pretty and are a nice alternative to spinach, I suppose. Unfortunately, the blossoms have to be cooked the same day they're picked because they wilt really quickly. But, there are plenty more blossoms on these gigantic plants, so hopefully soon I'll manage to fill them with cheese and fry them up like chile rellenos.

On Sunday, I also met up with Danyel who has started work in Rockville, yay! We had plans to catch a movie today, but my whole weekend was delayed by the random power outage Monday from 2-10pm. So today I had to do a bunch of laundry and just about everything else that requires electricity.

Monday morning I went to the YMCA Potomac Outlook in Ft. Washington for a yoga class using a free pass I printed out from their website. The teacher turned out to be the same woman who taught at the free yoga demo at Harmony Yoga, also in Ft. Washington. The class was pretty good, though I still have issues with revolving triangle poses and the alignment of my feet and falling down. My leg is sore now and applied some of what my mom calls 'hot and spicy'. The rest of the world calls it Icy Hot. I guess that is what I get for not exercising for eons. Good thing I did actually join the Y. LOL, yes I do actually pay for stuff and not just try to get stuff for free. But it was nice that they waived the joining fee because they didn't know what it was supposed to be for this month.

Once again there are no pics because I kinda suck like that. Have a great Independence Day!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Hauh hauh hauh!

I have a word stuck in my head.

"Biomerieux"

It's the company that makes a nucleic acid isolation machine.

We had all been pronouncing it By-Oh-Mer-Ooo, like it rhymes with kangaroo.

But recently the company rep stopped by for maintenance and we learned it was pronounced "Bee-Oh-Merry-Ooo".

So now I say it over and over in a snotty French accent and laugh in a snotty French accent.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I want

A car that runs on recycled vegetable oil

A compact and long lasting battery for my electronic thingies

Good Mexican food

My boring life

For the past two days at work, we have been moving our lab from two spaces on the upper level and the lower level to one consolidated area on the lower level. We had been sharing space with other departments and now we have our very own. It's funny because I have moved in all three labs I have ever worked in. I think I will have to add it to my resume: "experienced laboratory re-locator and organizational specialist". Or something like that. Unfortunately, I only know the workings of maybe 1/3 of what goes on in the lab, so I can't really say for sure what can go where, so I spend half the day wondering what I should be doing. At the same time, we still have to try to get our real work done because it can pile up really fast. But of course, we first have to make sure everything is working correctly in the new space. So, it's been a bit stressful.

To combat stress in general, I've been trying to find a place to learn more yoga. They offer yoga at work, but it is held once a week in the middle of my shift. So if I am busy that day, I can't go. But I'd like to see how it is and plus it's free! I was planning to go today, but since the lab is still an unholy mess, I didn't. However, on Saturday I am planning to go to a place in Virginia that is on the way to work. They offer Ashtanga yoga but I'll be attending a variations class which probably means it isn't strictly Ashtanga, but it should be fun and not too hard. And last but not least, there is now a YMCA in Ft. Washington (near home) that offers yoga and I plan to check that out on Monday morning.

Today was week 3 of Weight Watchers. I skipped week 2 because I was feeling fat and lazy and slept in. But I'm losing weight, albeit Sllllooooooowwwwwly. I'm down 5lbs, a ton to go. But it's not so bad considering my gluttonous four day weekend, going out to eat on Monday, and the bbq we had this past Sunday for my dad's birthday. And it's not so bad considering I am still terrible about keeping track of my points. I really hate counting Points or Calories. WW has two programs:1)the Point system where every food has a point value based on Calories, fat, and fiber and you are allowed a certain number of points a day based on your sex, age, and weight, and 2)the Core program which has a list of foods you can eat (bread is NOT one of them) and you eat as much as you want but have to be more conscious of when you are full (i.e. a 3 on a scale of 1-5, 5 being "Thanksgiving full". I hate counting points because it makes me obsess. Plus, shouldn't I try to learn to stop on my own, and not when my calculator says I am done? But also I hate being deprived of certain foods. It only makes me want them more. However, the one thing both methods have in common are the rules for healthy eating that is basically the recommendations the FDA hand out: don't skip meals, drink lots of water, eat fiber, dairy, protein, good fats, at least 5 fruits and veggies, and fit in at least 30 mins of cumulative exercise each day (I may be forgetting a couple more rules, but you get the picture). It's stuff you hear all the time (and really I learned how to fit it all in during my stint with JC. Granted, it is tons harder to not overeat when nobody else is pre-portioning every bite). Many people abuse the Points system by thinking they can eat just junk food as long as they stay within their Points. I am sure (and the idea is even supported by the WW rep) that as long as I follow the basic rules that everyone is supposed to be following anyway and keep mindful of when I am full, I can lose weight, even if it is slow. Going to the meetings to get weighed-in will be my motivation to stick with it. And this way, it hardly feels like a diet.

In other news I made a pair of earrings and a necklace for myself, a necklace for Grace, a two necklaces for my mom. Photos soon.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

4 day weekend

Today is the last day of my 4 day weekend. I had been working Sunday to Thursday but I am beginning my regular schedule of Tuesday to Saturday. So I had Friday to Monday off this week. I don't yet accrue vacation time so I had to take full advantage of this minivacation.

Friday I went shopping for summer tops. I got a lot of good deals so it was lots of fun. And I got my dad his Father's Day present of a couple of weekend shirts.

Saturday, my parents and I went to Rehoboth Beach, DE. I had never been before and it was very nice; not too big and very cute. The weather was good but the water was still too cold so we just walked around. There are a lot of neat little shops near the boardwalk and I'll definitely go back sometime soon, probably when the water is warmer (and I'm with people who actually want to go into every little cute shop with me).

Did I mention that I had funnel cake and a hot dog and pie and greasy delicious pepperoni pizza? After being good and eating healthily for the past week and a half or so, I was totally nauseas from overeating.

So what did I do on Sunday? I had dim sum. Because, you know, I'm disgusting.

Thankfully, today, I got back on track and even made myself some baba ganoush. I'm a little worried about stepping on the scale on Wednesday, but oh well, such is life.

Today I also went to a bead shop in Rockville (Rockville's got everything, I tell ya). Oh SO NICE. It was a little weird at first because you aren't allowed to take your purse inside the store. You have to leave it in the front room in a locker. And since I've got the memory of a gnat, every five minutes I'd panic and think, "Oh my God, where's my purse?" But the selection and the prices are very good. I think I'll go to this Rockville store for my supplies that I don't buy online. You know, every time I go into a bead store I hate the bead store I worked at more and more. Ridiculous markup there, I tell you whut. But anyways, I bought some silver and other miscellanous supplies for the multiple projects I have waiting for me. I wish I had more time to just veg and make stuff. LOL, a 4 day weekend just isn't long enough!!!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Loser

Remember back in September of 2005, I started Jenny Craig? It was the first time I'd really made a sincere effort to lose weight. It worked. I lost nearly 30lbs.

But then I got lazy and gained 25lbs back.

The first 10lbs I wasn't too concerned with. Then the next 10lbs came on really fast. Too much Dessert Gallery! The last 5 came back on rather slowly and I've lost it again and gained it back again.

I kept telling myself that "when I get a job, I'll start a diet. I will be able to afford JC if I want to join back up again". Which is ridiculous. Why should I wait?

So I now have a job and no excuses. I joined Weight Watchers at work on Wednesday. I only found out about the meetings on Tuesday. It was much like how I joined JC. Just all of a sudden, I decide to go on a diet. I don't wait until Monday. I just sign up. Plus, the WW meetings at work started a new 18 week session on Wednesday and I assume I'd have to wait 18weeks if I wanted to join the next session, and that's way too long to wait.

Unfortunately, since I joined up on a whim, I am so ill prepared. While I do want to lose weight, I'm not all GUNG HO! (what the hell is a gung? I know what a ho is, but I don't think that applies here...) Perhaps it's because I don't have a diet buddy. The meeting at work is attended by a rather large number of people and I felt kinda lost. But I'm confident that will change. However, I totally have not done my homework on this whole Points system. It's math that is more complicated that adding. With JC, it was all about keeping it under a certain number of Calories. They made it super easy because they provide almost all of the food and you don't have to think. But with WW you have to think on Day 1.

So far, I'm just following a JC kind of diet. Salads with lunch and dinner, keeping the bulk of each meal under 300 Calories, lots of water, trying to get in some milk and remembering to take my vitamins and omega-3s. But the part I'm really working on is learning to stop eating when I'm satisfied. Not when the food is all gone. Not when I'm "Thanksgiving full". I'd really like to learn to eat and it's really why I didn't go back to JC, I think. But I'm going to take today and tomorrow to figure out the point value of everything, so hopefully I can follow WW how it's supposed to be done and see how well that works.

In any case, I think the thing I want to get most out of going to these WW meetings is getting weighed in every week. Shame is my motivation. LOL...*sigh*.

So far, after two days, even after not being too watchful of what I ate, I lost about pound. So what if it's just water?!?!?! It's still a pound!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Naked people and fire

Goo and I had a great time in Richmond yesterday. We arrived at Grace's in the afternoon and walked to Carytown. We visited the always amusing World of Mirth where Goo got some wind-up chinese food. We also stopped by the very hip yarn store, The Yarn Lounge. I loved that their knitted samples are wee little sweaters. And of course, we went to the bead store, Bangles and Beads. Oh My Goodness, what a fantastic store. They had lots of great stuff at really good prices and it was just awesome in there. I have a lot of beautiful projects to work on, which I'll post once they're made into something!

We met up with Andrew and Grace's friend Erin and Erin's friend Jennifer for dinner at the New York Deli. It's a fancy deli and I had a delicious plate of vegetable ravioli with a creamy walnut sauce. The desserts were good, too. Goo had a very dainty creme brulee that he ate as manly as he could.

After dinner we went to our main event for the day: NAKED PEOPLE! It was the Disrobed 2 event at Gallery 5. There were roughly 25 people painted and on display. There were a few performers? (they were just standing there) "dressed" in work clothes. They looked like they were wearing clothes so they didnt' seem naked to me. Actually all of the people fully painted gave the impression that they weren't really naked. Most of the performers were part of this huge living mural with industry represented on one side and nature on the other (I don't know why industry is always represented as evil; that sort of annoys me). It was strange to me that as soon as a performer wanted to take a break, they would immediately wrap a towel around themselves and scurry off stage. I suppose it is all relative to where you are. Like, you can wear a bikini at the beach, but not in the office. There was one woman who was completely painted, except for her left breast and that seemed very naked. One display that I found really interesting was where three women on a stage were also being projected live on a tv screen above them. It felt very taboo to watch them on T.V. but I was comfortable seeing them live in front of me. In real life it's art. On video, it's porn.

Either way, it was a really neat experience, I had a good time, and very glad I went. It was really nice to go to an art event and discuss it.

Outside the gallery fire dancers performed. The line to get inside Disrobed was somewhat long so it was nice to have entertainment. The coolest fire dancer was the girl with the flaming hula hoop.


While that was cool and all....

Today Goo and I went to the Southern Maryland Pow Wow in Waldorf, MD. We got there just in time to see the Samoan dancers. I was surprised but delighted to see that there weren't just area Native Americans performing. The Mosquito dance where the men slap themselves all over was pretty funny. But the BEST was the fire dancer. He had a 4ish foot stick lighted at one end and lit the other end WITH HIS HAND. He brought one end to his mouth and HIS TONGUE WAS ON FIRE!!!! He twirled that flaming stick so fast and threw it soooo high up in the air, it was unbelievable.

There were also other plenty of dancers in fantastic Native garb with feathers and bells and it was so fun to watch. There were also lots of vendors and I bought a hand painted sarong from the Samoans. I even helped make it! We ate fry bread tacos that are basically incredibly good Chalupas :)

So I had a great weekend. I think next weekend will be a lot quieter since Goo is going back to Cleveland tomorrow. Anyways, I have so much jewelry to work on...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

So many events, it's as though I have a life.

Friday, Goo and I went to the Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall. We got there just in time to have lunch and join the 3pm tour.

I LOVE art and history and culture but in all honesty, usually the best part of any museum is the gift shop. Granted I liked the gift shop; I even bought a dream pillow filled with a lot of nice smelling herbs. But! at the Museum of the American Indian, the best part is the cafe! They have foods from all over the Americas. You can get a tamale from the south, a lobster roll from the northeast, buffalo from the plains, or even bass ceviche from...somewhere. Sure it's a bit pricey, but the museum and the tour are free, so it's fine. Goo and I both got tamales and soup and aqua fresca. Goo's chicken tamal was really good; the shredded chicken was so succulent, it was like pork. Goo also got the shrimp and coconut soup and that was really good and a combination of flavors we had anever really had before. I got a bean tamale and scarlet runner bean soup. I was really craving beans, I think. We don't eat many beans at home because they are high in potassium.

Anyways, the museum was really neat and it was nice to get a tour of a new museum. All the tour guides are American Indian/Native American/First Nations/etc. Our tour guide was from Arizona and is half Navajo and San Carlos Apache. It's strange to go to a new museum on the mall having grown up in the DC area and gone on a million field trips to the Mall as a child. I was particularly impressed at the bead exhibit and the insanely intricate beaded dresses. Having done a little bead work with small beads, I can't even imagine how long it would take to completely bead a shirt. One really interesting point is the name of the museum. The name was given by Congress in 1989 when the act for the museum was approved. Remember back in '89 when "American Indian" was the PC term?

My cousin Donna and her husband Vinnie came to visit and it was very good to see them. I didn't really spend much time with them because I had to work Sunday and on Memorial Day Monday I drove down to Richmond to spend it with my best friends Grace and Danyel. Danyel actually lives in Philadelphia but had an interview in Richmond on Tuesday.

I was a teensy bit worried about my friend worlds colliding, but it was all for naught because I think Grace and Danyel got along very well. Especially once they started talking about Lost. I was twiddled my thumbs at that point because I do not watch Lost. Yes, I am sure it is a good show. Somebody get me the DVDs. Seriously though, all y'all Lost fans iz cuh-razy.

We had a jammed pack day of crafty funness. We walked Carytown looking for all the stores that were open on Memorial Day. Luckily one bead shop was open and Bwahahahah!!! Grace got sucked into the world that is beading and jewelry making!!!! She bought a handful of strands and a really neat polished fossil for me to make something for her. Soon she will be making her own jewelry!!!!

Later that day we went to mall because it has air conditioning and the Olsen house does not. When we were in Carytown we though we might go to a paint your own pottery studio but it was closed. But there was one at the mall and it was open! So CRAFTY! And it is actually another craft that Danyel and I have done before but was new for Grace! Join the crafting cult! I mean, uh, movement? Hopefully our pieces will be finished and glazed by Friday because I am planning to go back to Richmond.

Grace keeps telling me I need to move to Richmond.

The plan for Friday is a trip to the Gallery 5 Disrobed 2 exhibit. Here's the link. NSfW!

I also plan to go to the 25th annual Southern Maryland Pow Wow on Saturday.

I'll post again soon and hopefully this time I'll have photos!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Don't lose your photos!

Since I have many a photo on Yahoo! Photos and this news from Target Photos (partner of Yahoo! Photos) caught me by surprise, I wanted to let all y'all know: Yahoo Photos is shutting down in the fall to concentrate on Flickr. Later this summer Yahoo! Photos will remind you to choose another photo repository like Flickr or Shutterfly or Photobucket, etc. and they'll do all the work for you. So don't ignore those emails from Yahoo! lest you lose all your precious memories!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Work is hard

Just kidding. It's not.

The only hard part was the fact that the guy training me had to go out of town this weekend and so he scheduled himself for four long days instead of five regular days. The first three were fine, noon to 10:30pm. But then on the fourth day he was catching his flight at 5:30pm and so had to come into work at 4AM and left work at about 2pm.

Hells no, I didn't go in at 4AM after getting home at 11:15pm. Instead, I did a couple of 5 hour days with someone else in the lab and finished off my week.

I got my three work issued lab coats this week. The rooms where I work have numerous machines and get very hot. My lab coats have elasticized cuffs and are not made of a very breathable material, so it's not going to be very comfortable. On top of that I have latex gloves and sometimes I wear disposable sleeves. I need to get some astronaut underwear, the kind with a cooling system sewn inside. By the way, wearing disposable sleeves makes me feel like doing the rumba and shouting "Babaluuuu! " Not that they're frilly and ruffled...just that, well...I'm a big weirdo. And I think the people at work may be realizing that.
Babaluuu!!!

Payday is tomorrow! Gem and Jewelry show is also tomorrow! Yay! Dangerous combination, but YAY anyway! My mom has the day off and she's going to go with me. It's funny (not haha, but hmmm, interesting) that I have to actually pick up my check tomorrow (direct deposit hasn't kicked in yet) and the show just happens to be just down the street from work. It's also funny that I seem to either live or work within five minutes of a gem and jewelry show convention center. Still not funny haha, but I'm still laughing at the dude with the sleeves.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Newbie

And so ends the first week at my new job.

Turns out my trainer is from Houston and actually worked a couple of floors above me for a little while. I think I recall seeing him in the break room once. Maybe.

I'm being trained to do a particular kind of experiment and that is going well. Nothing totally new. My biggest challenge is just getting used to the new environment and remembering the little details of the protocols so that I can work efficiently.

Going from academic research to clinical for-profit is probably my biggest adjustment. I have to clock-in and out now and have to be mindful of my hours. So that means I have to get work finished before the end of the day; I can't just keep working until the work gets completed nor leave if there is not much to do. Also, I don't think anybody cares if I understand what I am doing. All I have to do is put the right samples in the tubes with the predetermined amounts of solution, stick them in some machines that are already preprogrammed and report the results. Now I am beginning to understand how someone could have lab experience and yet arrive in grad school without knowing how to make a properly diluted solution. Everything is already figured out. It's like making cake from a box; you could probably make a few mistakes and it would still turn out okay. But honestly, the best thing in this industry is that since there are such high volumes of samples coming in, we have machines!!! that do a lot of the work for us. Machines are fast!

My schedule is currently synch'd with my trainer's so I don't really like it. I have to work Sundays and have a bunch of ten hour days because my trainer is going out of town. But I don't foresee having any problems with this bit of training so I hope to be on my own schedule very soon.

I work a strange second shift that most departments in the building do not have. Which means when I take my lunch/dinner/supper?/food break at about 5pm, there really isn't anyone in the cafeteria. And my department is kinda small. Lonely and sad little lunch. or Dunch? Linner?

I need to find me some friends around here.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Did ya notice?

I updated the layout a wee bit and added my favorite websites over there on the right of the page.

Have fun wasting your time.

First Day

Today was my first day at my new job. I'm a bit stressed because of anxiety of starting something new but the people are so far very nice and it seems like a nice place to work. Today was pretty boring because it was only orientation. And I still have another day of orientation tomorrow. I should be in bed now since these orientation days are scheduled from 8:30am to 4:30pm. This also means an average of 1hr 15min in rush hour traffic each way. FUN.

I can't wait until I work my regular hours from noon to 8, but I'm not sure when that will happen because I have to be trained in the lab while those who will be training me are in the lab. So that actually might be 6am to 2pm!!!! Nighttime! But as long as I don't have to drive during rush hours, I don't mind too much.

So I suppose it's finally sinking in that I have a regular job. Being "hired" for that last job and not getting it really threw me for a loop because I keep having this feeling that this job is going to dissolve for no reason at any time. Having a job is something you may tend to take for granted after a while. But ya never know when you're gonna be out of one. It didn't really help that pretty much all we talked about in orientation today was the many ways you could get fired.

In other news...

Saturday was my last day at the bead shop. I couldn't leave without buying SOMETHING, so I bought some supplies for a Mother's Day gift. Here it is:


This photo needs cropping.

It is a bracelet made of "pearls" knotted (I taught myself to knot!) on gray silk thread with matching earrings. The beadcaps and toggle clasp are sterling silver. Black diamond Swarovski crystals with an aurora borealis coating top each beadcap.

On Sunday I stopped by a Craft Fair in Cheltenham to check out if there was anyone selling jewelry. There were a few. I wasn't impressed so I didn't buy anything. One of the jewelry makers recognized me from the bead store. The one really interesting thing at the fair was the person selling an abundance of fake display food. Donuts, cakes, pies, even crabs in a bucket and a platter of fish with fries. I don't know why the general public would want fake food, but I was really tempted to buy a fake donut for no reason. I did however buy a real apple dumpling. And since I got there late and the fair was about to end, I got a second one for free :).


Friday, April 27, 2007

Yay!

Today I heard back about the Job and I got it! :) I'm still a little nervous because I've been offered a job before and not gotten it in the end. So ,I'm still sort of holding my breath...

But, yes! A real JOB! With real money (not so much the first year, but that's fine! It's like a bajillion more than I'm making now. Seriously, a bajillion) and real benefits (not starting until July, but that's ok too! because now I've got insurance only to cover me if something horrendous happens).

I have orientation in a little over a week, so, sorry to my best friend, I cannot come visit. But I'll come visit as soon as possible. I have a lot of visiting to do. My "weekend" will be Sunday and Monday which is cool because I don't like Saturday crowds when I run my errands. Also, my regular schedule will be very nice because it's second shift and I will avoid rush hour both ways and don't have to get up early! It's basically the slacker schedule I kept in Houston, so it's perfect! And I may be able have it so the company will pay my tuition when I go back to Houston to complete the bane of my existence.

My boss at the bead shop will find out about my resignation tomorrow. A few weeks ago she wondered if I wanted to be a manager. Hmmm...no. Sorry. Flattered, but no. I do wish I knew someone who could replace me. But I don't really know anybody around here. LOL....*sigh*.

But I have learned some things at the bead shop. I learned not to shop at bead shops. LOL. Seriously, I had a lot of time to really think about retail markups. And I learned some neat techniques that I would have previously never considered. Like chain mail (maille?) Finally! an interesting (albeit expensive) technique perfect for boy jewelry.

Anyways, I am happy to be leaving retail and going back to meaningful science where I can do PCRs and load gels whilst standing in my weird little Sumo stability stance (feet spread, elbows on the bench. Don't laugh at me).

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Lol

I'm not a big fan of cats. I don't own cat knickknacks. I have a cat, but I only like her juuuust enough to keep her.

But I love lolcats. If you don't know, lolcats are cute photos of cats (also other animals such as rabbits, dogs, and walruses) with captions. The caption is often in some form of Engrish and the spelling is phonetic. You can find them at http://icanhascheezburger.com and other places.
I'm not sure why I like these so much. It's a giant waste of time. I guess I like the clickability of it all and once in a while I find one that makes me laugh.

I just love sloths. Except for their algae fur.

I would NEVER do something like that...never.

Here's a freaky one:
If Kane, the short legged dog, and Butters, the cat loaf, mated!!!!!

*I do not condone crappity ass spelling unless you are an animal. If you are an animal, good job on learning to read and type and add text into your photos.

When I'm not watching T.V, I'm thinking about T.V.

I miss the old Food Network. The one where chefs cooked and taught stuff and it wasn't all about being a celebrity.

Food Network Awards? Really? Why?

I still watch Good Eats (when it ISN'T one that I have seen 10 million times) and Ace of Cakes (but really just for snippets Geoff's dry wit).

Sorry, I can't chat about American Idol because I can't stand to watch it. I will gladly say Sanjaya, though, because it sounds nice. SanJaaaaaaaaayyyyyyahhhhh.

I am the Queen of Geek T.V. I watch tons of PBS, Mythbusters, Deadliest Catch, and Survivorman, Bizarre Foods, No Reservations. That's reality T.V., right?

However, I may be watching too much Deadliest Catch. Scary drowning nightmares. But Mike Rowe's voice is getting to be quite soothing to me. I'd watch Dirty Jobs if it weren't all about poo.

Why can't I stop watching Medium? I really don't understand how Patricia Arquette won that Emmy for Best Actress.

I like Heroes, but I hate how they make you wait weeks and weeks between shows just so that they have exciting stuff to show during May sweeps.

I need Tivo. I'd record everything during the season and just watch it all at once.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

What's happening! (remember that show?)

My, it's been a while since my last post. Well, nothing fabulous has really happened.

Bad things in the world have happened, specifically in Blacksburg, Virginia. All I can say is that it is very, very sad and I'm very, very tired of senseless things happening. So, here's my request: Evil of the world, please cease.

That'll do it, don't ya think?

My parents went out of town and have come back. While they were gone, I held the fort with the dog and cat and fishes. It was nice to be alone except for one night when the dog barked at something across the street and I swore I heard someone at the door. Spooky! Other than that it was fine and I ate rice! and things with tomato sauce! (stuff my dad can't really eat due to his diabetes and medications that make his potassium too high).

On the job front, I got a call last Thursday from the human resources lady telling me that the molecular oncology position was OK'd. You see, the director of the department just saw my resume and wanted to hire me even though there was no actual position to fill. So they had to make a position for me. Now I must wait while that position is posted internally in the company for one week. I'll find out if I have job on Thursday. I really hope nothing gets screwed up.

So I told my current boss that there is a chance that I would be taking a new job in May. So, she decided not to offer the ring class that I would have taught. I suggested that I could teach another employee how to do it, but she decided against it. Which is actually fine by me. I was a little sad to be letting out the secret to making these rings since I spent plenty of time figuring it out on my own. Plus I felt kinda bad because it's not like it was my original design to begin with. Getting paid to sell someone else's idea is not a good idea. But I have no problem teaching techniques for free. I could never run this business. I would never run a bead shop business anyway. It's really dull. Selling jewelry on the other hand would be fun and creative. But selling inventory? Blech.

I'll probably post more after Thursday. Hopefully something good. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pickle

On the 5th I told y'all that I had an interview for a cytogenetics position. I still haven't heard back from them, but I knew it would take at least 6 to 10 days to even have the background check done. However, I got a call from the molecular oncology department in the company. The director said that my resume "jumped off his desk when he saw it". Turns out he is from Houston and we know a lot of the same people. He gave me all these reasons why I should consider his department instead of cytogenetics, and basically left me in a pickle. I don't know what to do. So, tomorrow I am going to see his lab and compare the two jobs. I will keep in mind however, that I don't have either job.

Damn this world with no guarantees!

Cracked Eggs

The day after Easter my mom and I bought candy 50% off. I hadn't had ANY Easter candy all season. I just wasn't in the mood. But since it was on sale, I got some jelly beans and Cadbury mini eggs, in milk and dark.

I had some jelly beans and tasted a few dark Mini Eggs, and thought, "Ok, I won't binge on sweets. I can make this last a while. Cool."

But then I had a milk chocolate Mini Egg.

Dear LORD those are fiiiillled with crack. Pure, unadulterated crack. I can't have just one. Thank God they only come out during the spring.

I know I've mentioned Mini Eggs before on this blog, but DAMN!

Crack, I tells ya, they's filled with crack.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter

The snow melted shortly after I wrote about it, so I didn't get any pictures. However, it still appears to be snowing, almost. It's windy and the white petals from the pear trees that line the street are falling and sprinkling the ground in patches of white. It's still quite chilly outside so unfortunately all the ladies with their new pastel Easter dresses had to cover them up with big winter coats.

I hope you all have a nice Easter, or at least a very nice Sunday.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Snow

FREAKIN' SNOW.

There is SNOW on the the ground.

SNOW.

There is snow on the trees, on the ground, all over the freakin' place. Well, not the roads. BUT STILL.

SNOW.

I tells ya, this place is a'drivin me a'crazy!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Cold

It's so cold for April.

Some weeks ago I planted summer squash (for the blossoms) and heirloom tomato seeds in a tray. Last week when it was sunny and warm I placed the seedlings outside in the shade to let them get used to the big, big world. I started digging a plot for the seedlings. I only got about a rectangle 6ft x 3ft dug up. It sort of looks like a really shallow grave for a skinny person. I mean, reaaaallly shallow. I only dug up the grass, so it's about 6inches deep. And I didn't even start mixing the soil and such and such to put in the plot. I didn't get terribly far because I was doing this alone on a Monday (I work on the weekends) and I am kinda lazy and whiny when it comes to yard work. There are worms, people and they are icky!

Anyways, it's cold. I brought the seedlings back inside.

This is the first time I've ever really grown vegetables so I'm pretty excited about the whole prospect of having vegetables you can't easily find.

Damn you random cold weather!!!!

Flute

I'm usually not a fan of the flute.

But then there's this

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The eye of the beholder

I do not consider myself very attractive. I'm much too pillow-like. I've got awful skin. My calves are too big and I think I may have giant man hands with kielbasas for fingers. My hair often resembles a topiary.

But today in the store a woman asked me what my nationality is and then said:

"You're beautiful."

I bet you that woman is going to heaven.

Hopeful

Yesterday I had an interview for a cytogenetics job. It went okay I suppose. You never can tell. I tend to replay things in my head and wish I had said something more intelligent or eloquent, but I do not yet have the power to go back in time. Anyways, crossing fingers and toes...

Yesterday evening I went to a free yoga class. It focused on stress relief and meditation. While we did do a few asanas, most of the time we lied under blankets with our eyes closed and visualized stress being washed away into the ocean.

Sounds so flaky, huh? I had a hard time paying attention. I just know the woman next to me started snoring and I was concentrating so hard on breathing deeply I gave myself a headache.

Flaky or not, it is for that very reason that I want to learn to meditate. I have such a hard time clearing my mind sometimes. Like I mentioned, I replay situations in my head, sometimes obsessively so. I worry a lot and get very anxious. And just forget about it if I haven't had enough sleep. Basketcase = me.

Learning to meditate has been on my mind for the past few weeks as I have been reading Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I mentioned this book in a previous post. I am taking such a long time to read it because I know once I finish it I will be sad that it is over (kinda like flan. mmmm...flan). In other words, I like it. In the second third of the book, Gilbert goes to India to learn to pray and get closer to God. While I don't have such ambitions, I do relate to the author in her desire to learn to let go (sincerely, and not just repress or ignore things), live with an open heart, and most of all be happy. I'll let y'all know if I ever figure out what all that means and how to do it. Don't hold your breath though, I hear it's a lifelong thing.

(Before you think this book is totally zen flaky granola earthy crunchy, keep this in mind: Elizabeth Gilbert's life is also the basis for the movie Coyote Ugly. Interesting, no? I also hear that Eat Pray Love might be turned into a movie starring Julia Roberts. I really hope that doesn't suck.)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Swirly

I really like this ring because it's a rather clever use for a very pretty button. It would have been cooler if the green swirly etched button had been made of glass, but when is the last time you saw a button made of glass? I got the button at JoAnn's and I used inexpensive copper craft wire for the rest.

I was inspired to make this after seeing some stacked button rings online. Of course the way they take the pictures makes it impossible for you to see how they made it, but I figured it out and was sort of surprised how easy it is. I showed it to the ladies at work and was asked if I wanted to teach customers how to make it. I'm not sure how well a wire wrapping novice would do, so I said I'd have to think about it to get the logistics down. When I make stuff, it's all, "oh use a some of this and tweak it a little that way so it looks okay". I may tend to waste material (which is why I used the craft wire and not sterling silver) but it is SOOO satisfying to figure it out on my own. But I suppose if you're paying me to teach you something, you'd want a little more structure.

Since the last time I posted a ring I made back in May, I bought a ring mandrel. It's a long tapered wand marked with ring sizes. It made keeping the ring the right size a lot easier. But if you have a dowel or something the same size as your finger, you can use that too.

The button I used is about 3/4" so the ring is rather large and frankly, verging on the edge of crazy bead lady. But you can always use smaller buttons or beads or if you want to be crazy bead lady you can stack a few buttons to make it even bigger.

I'm working out how to make a ring from a pin back button and I'll post that when I have it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Winter crafts turn to Spring crafts

This is the scarf I finished the first day it turned warm. Then it got cold again. But now it's pretty hot. So I guess regardless, I'm a little late in posting this picture. On the left is the reverse side and on the right is the right side. The scarf measures about 60"x7" . It has a tendency to fold down the middle and I'm wondering if I had used wool, instead of acrylic and had been able to block* it, this wouldn't have happened. Also with wool blocking it would have let you really see the lacy pattern. Oh well, next time. At least I can put it in the washing machine. *block = shaping or stretching out woolen garments by wetting or steaming them and drying them pinned to a mat or bed. Does not really work with synthetics.

Now that the weather is warmer I don't feel the urge to knit as much. So I turn back to my first craft hobby: jewelry making. This is a set for Marivonne (who is doing FABULOUSLY on her weight loss "journey". Do check out her blog to see how she's shrinking!)
Please ignore the wrinkly bed sheet, lol.

Months ago Marivonne had purchased some Swarovski crystals from Antiques, Beads, and Crafty People (crazy name!) in Pearland, TX for me to make something for her. And for most of those months I didn't have all the materials to make something and I didn't have any clue as to what to do with the beads. But since I now work at a bead shop, I used my employee discount to get a few findings and the perfect cloisonne beads to complete the set. I couldn't find a clasp that I liked so I made an S-hook and loop with some wire, hammered them, and filed down any pointy bits. I heard that it would make it stronger. Plus I like how it looks. I should get a little anvil and a hammer though. For this I just used the flat tip of my crimping pliers, which would take WAY too long if I were hammering a lot. Also, since I didn't have any gold filled headpins for the earrings, I made those also. I flattening down the tip of a piece of wire and bent it 90deg. This is probably the most expensive thing I have made due to materials- gold filled* findings** and Swarovski crystals*** are pretty pricey. In materials ONLY, the necklace is $25 and the earrings are $10.

*gold filled means that the outside of the material is gold and filled with some other metal. It is NOT gold plated, and will not wear off.

**findings are all the jewelry making materials (wire, hooks, clasps, etc) that are not beads

***Swarovski crystals are glass with lead (32%) making them sparklier. So do not put them in your mouth!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Pretty bird

These would have been good to have for my birthday pie.
(http://www.delight.com/Birdie-Birthday-Candle-Holders)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Irritating

The past few days have been irritating.

For one, my computer had a nasty virus. The virus blocked me from buying antivirus software online as well as accessing any sort of webmail. Just kept getting that "cannot find page" page. I felt guilty for not updating my subscription to Norton, but even when I installed a new version that I had to actually buy in a store, not all of the problems had gone away. I installed a free trial version of Spy Sweeper and that seems to have done the trick. God help me I hope that doesn't happen again. I think it screwed with Excel (but not any other MS Office software) and I'm hoping a reinstall will fix it.

Secondly, I've had a stomachache off and on for three days. It's either a bug or I'm stressed out. Not much is really going right these days so it wouldn't surprise me if it's the latter to blame. I took a really long nap today hoping that I'd feel better afterwards, and I did, but it resulted in the fact that I'm wide awake at 3:40am.

Another irritation: bad websites. For example, I want to apply for a teaching fellowship for the public school system. But their application page doesn't work. Tsk tsk tsk shoddy workmanship. That's public school for ya, I suppose. I'd laugh but it's actually pretty sad.

The dog is being very irritating. He keeps whining. And barking short little barks for no apparent reason. And he stares at me while I eat. It does not make for a very relaxing dining experience.

The cat is getting fat. That's not so much irritating as it is something else I have to be concerned about. She was thin for a while but we realized it was because the dog kept eating her food. Now the cat food and litter box are behind a dog proof barrier made from an headboard from Goo's old twin bed. The dog has short little legs so he can't get over it. But anyways, now the cat is eating all of her food and getting pillow-like. Plus I don't think she schedules in any exercise during the two or three hours in the day that she is not sleeping.

Speaking of sleeping, I'm going to try.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Birthday wrap up

Thank you all for wishing me a happy birthday :)

I wasn't all too excited about this birthday. This may be the first birthday that I feel old. I can't remember if I felt that last year. LOL I guess I'm getting old and forgetful. But, hey, what the hell? I'm how old now? And it doesn't help that I'm in this horrible sort of limbo right now. When my mom was 27 she had her first kid. And the nurses told her that she was OLD to be having her first!

But your calls and text messages and blog comments and IMs and ecards really cheered me up. Especially the ones sent at 1:59 or 3:14. Nerds rock. Thanks again.
Earlier the plan was to have two pies. But I only had 1 pie, blueberry, because there wasn't enough time to make the key lime. Oh well, once we're finished with this blueberry one, we'll make the key lime. While I might not like getting older, I don't mind extending the celebration.

I don't think my mom or I have ever made a berry pie before. So I didn't know how long you had to cool it so that it would set up. FYI for all you out there, make sure your pie is completely chilled before sticking in candles. Hot filling + wax candles = molten wax in your filling. Oh well, still tasted good!

Are there 27 candles there? They only stayed in the pie for a very very very short time because they were melting fast. Three candles in the middle. Three is the magic number.

So the reason why there wasn't time to make another pie was that I went to a salon today. I got my hair cut. No appreciable change in length, just long layers cut in so that my head would stop being so triangular like that character in Dilbert. And I also had a facial. I have never had a facial before and it was more involved that I thought it would be. There was soothing music in a little room and blankets to lie under like when you get a massage. There was a lot of steam and a little tingling and the biting my tongue so I wouldn't laugh from feeling ticklish, but all in all it was really nice and left my face feeling clean all day long.

Also this evening my parents and I went to a Mexican restaurant and I had a platter with a cheese chile relleno, fish taco, pork tamale, and beef enchilada. I also had a frozen margarita with a sangria swirl. Didn't finish. Too full. Bleh. The food was good, I suppose, for what it was, but you know...I'm much too far north and east.

And that was my 27th birthday. Hope y'all had a nice day too :)

Happy Pi(e) Day!!!

On the menu tonight, key lime pie and blueberry pie.

I'll need two pies to place 27 candles.

No, not really. The blueberry one is gonna be made with splenda so that certain diabetics can eat dessert, too.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

For those about to knit

Ok, this is boring unless you knit.

Remember when I was having an issue with finding circular needles that weren't short enough? Well, on knittinghelp.com (which I referred you to before) there is an instructional video on Magic Loop knitting. It's on the advanced page which is why I hadn't read it. You CAN knit narrow diameter things on long circs.

Yay for magic!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Words fail me

I work in a strip mall and today I was sitting at the teaching table at the front of the store near the big window. A red Ford truck pulls up into a nearby parking space outside the store (obviously there is no parking IN the store). This was no ordinary big red Ford pickup that litters the highways and dirt roads of backwoods Maryland and downtown Houston. No, this one was special.

I regret not having my camera phone out before the guy left.

Strapped to the grill of his car was a mounted deer head.

That moved.

And sang.

I couldn't quite hear what this poor deer was singing but it was motion activated and startled a few passing shoppers. The head bobbed up and down and shook side to side as its mouth open and closed along to the song. The hide didn't look terribly fake and the construction looked a bit homemade, so I am afraid that this man shot a deer and made himself an animatronic hood ornament.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Hey, what's up?

So I've been at my job at the bead store for almost a week now and it's going fine. Lots of inventory type stuff and of course working the register. It's a nice job for someone who puts their M&Ms in color order before she eats them. Not that I do that. That would be cuh-razy.

But that's probably all I'll say about work because I don't want to get dooced .

In my last post it was snowing. That was Monday. Yesterday, Friday, the high temp was 63F and I saw daffodils blooming on the side of a sunny hill.

I've still been knitting, though by the time I finish my current project it will probably be hot. Right now I'm working on a lace pattern scarf from Knitty . I'm using "harvest red" Caron brand acrylic yarn because it's cheap but still feels nice. I've knit and tinked (reverse knit - undoing the stitches one at a time) and frogged (rip it! - completely unraveling) it so many times I finally understand what is actually going on in the pattern. And I am getting more and more comfortable with maintaining tension in the yarn. I'm a continental style knitter, FYI. That basicaly means I hold the working yarn in my left hand and never let go of the needles. The other style of knitting is english a.k.a. throwing where you hold the yarn in your right hand and let go of the right needle briefly to wrap the yarn around the needle. I think english is easier to teach to kids and it is actually the more popular style of knitting in the US, but continental is faster and more efficient. Nevertheless, it is recommended that a knitter should practice both styles to avoid repetitive stress injuries. Check out knittinghelp.com for basics. But on how to properly hold yarn for continental knitting, check out this youtube video

I have been wanting to learn to knit circles for hats and bags and socks that don't require putting pieces together and seaming. But knitting circles require circular needles (two needles joined with a cable at the bases) or double pointed needles, but have been unable to find appropriately sized ones at the craft stores. I have to find a local yarn shop. But in the meantime I got a crochet hook to make circles. Which technically means I have taken up another craft. However, I am having trouble finding good, clear online teaching resources and feel a little overwhelmed with the patterns that I don't understand. So we'll see how that goes.

On an uncrafty note, I just bought a new paperback nonfiction book called Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I've only read a few pages of it but I already want to recommend it to everyone. I think in a very teeny nutshell it's about a woman trying to find what really makes her happy, not what everyone says should make her happy. In other words she's looking for Truth and she went to Italy, India, and Indonesia to do it. It sounds totally flaky but it's not! The book is really funny and witty. I'll let you know how the rest of it goes. But you all should read it!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Surprises

It snowed today! Big fat snow great for snowballs. Where are my presents? *

We went to church this morning and when we left the house it was lightly snowing/raining as predicted by the weather people. But by the time mass ended, there were big chunks of fluff falling and about an inch on the ground. I guess we got about 2 or 3 inches total.

The snow was a little surprising because yesterday was very deceiving. It was really clear and relatively warm. I don't think anybody believed the weather people but then it turned out to be worse than what was expected.

When it was all nice and pleasant yesterday I drove up 301 to Bowie to a bead shop. It's not the closest bead shop but in my opinion it's the easiest to get to. The area of suburban DC that I live in doesn't have cool shops and boutiques. You usually have to drive over the Potomac into Virginia or all the way on the other side of the beltway to Bethesda or Gaithersburg to find cool stuff. The drive over to say, Alexandria, isn't so bad as long as there isn't traffic. A 25 min drive at the wrong time of day turns into an hour of stress and road rage. So I was really excited to find a bead shop that was just straight up the little highway and nearby where I used to work for my aunt in her pediatric office. The shop is situated in a strip mall which is great because parking is simple, unlike in Old Town Alexandria where you have to park on the street or in a garage.

The shop is small and simple and fairly new and they offer lots of classes. I left house not terribly excited about going to a bead shop when I knew I couldn't really buy anything, being that I'm broke and all that. But I did get excited because they had a good selection of sterling silver wire and precious metal clay supplies. And I was doubly excited because they had a "Help Wanted" sign in the window. And then I was quadruply excited when I got the job on the spot!

It's just a part time retail deal but can you think of a more fun job for me? I start Tuesday. Can't wait!

*TV would like you to believe that it only snows on Christmas. So when there's snow, there should be presents, right? RIGHT?!?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I wear bags on my feet

Wazzat? A funky pumpkin? A boat? A knitting project gone horribly wrong?
No! It's a shoe! Or a sock. Or a slipper. Whatever.
Actually there are two.

These didn't take too long. Maybe a few evenings. They're called pocket book slippers because they're built like little bags that you stretch out with your feet. I used wool and threw them in the washer and dryer so that they'd shrink a little. I'd like to throw them in again so they turn into felt, but I worry that I won't be able to stick my feet in them afterwards. Then I'd be stuck with little felt bags which isn't too bad, but my feet would be cold.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Since we're uploading pics...

Who doesn't like a drunk baby?

So I've been drinkin with my buddy Igor, I mean, Eeyore. What's it to ya?


Haha! Just kidding! Happy Valentine's Day!





She's crafty and she's just my type

Brrrrrrrrrrrrr. It's cold. There was no power in the house from 7:30am to 1:30pm. As you can see the trees are covered in ice. A branch from a tree across the street fell and just nicked my car which was parked out on the street. Thanks to my dad, who stayed home today, all three cars are now parked in our driveway. My mom had the day off today anyway and woke me up this morning when she thought I might need another blanket. My room is in the basement which is usually FREEZING. Colder than cold. But I have a space heater, so my room was actually the warmest room in the house today.

Look! My bed and its snazzy new bed linens! And the wall under the ledge is "Jade Sea"! the window is covered with a bamboo roller shade that lets in a lot of light into the basement room. That circular yoga pillow was my Christmas present from Grace and is satiny like the linens. The bed is quite slippery now. Weee!!!! And look at that! The old lamp that used to be in the living room matches the room now! But what's even more impressive is the fact that my bed is made! Exclamations!

I even found a switchplate that matches. And it all coordinates with the curtains covering my closet. So matchy-matchy! I've gone insane!

So what does a crazy girl with no electricity do when it's colder than a witches boobie? Knit

I know, I don't even like to knit. But it's cold! And I've been watching too much DIY and reading too many crafting blogs (Crazy Aunt Purl and NotMartha). Marivonne taught me how to knit in Houston but I guess in Houston the weather just wasn't right for knitting. While I love jewelry making because it's fast and you can wear jewelry in any weather, knitting is portable. And you can knit in bed under a bunch of blankets. I can't bead in bed or in a car.

I used to HATE crafting. Thoughts of the arts and craft shows at the Waynesboro Outlet Mall (now closed and used for fire fighting exercises until they build a Target) make me shiver with disgust (or is it just really cold? no, it's digust). But now I make jewelry and knit and will probably take up some other crafty thing. But you know with things like Stich 'n' Bitch and cooler people doing crafty things it's not so bad. Though I did have a Granny moment this morning in my "Amish" house, sitting by the fire and knitting while sitting in a rocking recliner.

Here's my scarf in progress under my new little Ikea lamp. The color of the Red Heart Light and Lofty yarn is "pheasant" but I like to call it granola. It has bits of tan, ochre, olive, and burgandy so it will match with all of my outerwear. The loopiness is a bit difficult to knit for me, as this is just my second project ever (the first being a blue scarf), but I love it because it hides all of my mistakes.

I just noticed in the corner of the picture is another crafty thing. I painted that bud vase at the Mad Potter in Houston, a paint your own pottery place. The craftiness is overwhelming!







Friday, February 09, 2007

Favorite thing right now

Finding a whole cookie in my cookies 'n' cream ice cream

I wish they just had a tub of cold soggy cookies. But I'm sure they'd market that better.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Legendary

President's Day is coming up...sometime... I don't know.

Anyway, I came across this weird video about George
Washington. Did you know that he never chopped down a cherry tree and said he could never tell a lie? Lies I tell you! All lies! But the stuff in this video...truth. All truth. (NSFW and it gets weird at the end).

Here's another one on
Kennedy . He was a robot! Just like Dick Cheney!