I'm protesting Snow

I'm protesting the weather report. Sven is cute, but not this cute. Instead of going to the gym after work, I did an in-home workout. Miraculously, I'd already gone eight times this month. I did 8 Minute Legs, 8 minute buns (probably the most challenging of all), 8 minute abs and 8 minute arms for a surprisingly complete workout. The legs and buns are probably the hardest. Wow.

Apparently, I didn't operate the 2 hour delay feature on my dishwasher properly last night. I'll try it again tonight. I'll let you know how it goes.

After my workout, I decided to poke around the web and find the following hilarious things:


Great things we should all get to see

Environmentalism: It's not just for white people. I'm so glad someone is actually writing about this. Most environmental problems disproportionately impact people who are poor and minorities (higher asthma rates in inner cities, for example) that it seems ridiculous that part of the population is so excluded for finding the solution.

Bats are dying from a mysterious fungus. So sad. I used to do surveys for the Indiana Bats. I didn't do a whole lot in mines. And most of the caves in Kentucky closed for the winter to accommodate the hibernating bats.

A helpful look at what the numbers inside the recycle logo actually mean. So helpful.

Improve your vocabulary. On an intellectual level, I always knew number seven, but it's been so long since I've read music, I don't know if I could have recalled it immediately without the help.

The most helpful websites someone in the UK could identify. Some of them look cool. I haven't been through all of them yet.

And finally, for Amanda You know what this is about and if you want to feel good this is probably the better way to go.

It's always something new with the car

A lot has happened since I've written last. Sorry. I think the more exercise the more energy I have to blog. More on that later.

Wednesday: I got my car back that day. It was nice to only have to be without it for a day. I got a ride from one of my co-workers in the morning which was most instructive. She had some views about what areas of the city are safe and she explained them to me. Fascinating. I know I went to the Y, although I don't remember what I did so I probably just walked. Also, Men in Trees was on.

Thursday: Basically a blur. I think I was really busy. Work has been insane lately. I got back to work after my trip, found 21 messages waiting for me and haven't been caught up since. But I have a neat job and I love every minute of it.

Friday: I worked both of my jobs. At the aquarium, it was my last night actually spending the night on overnights. I told them I can only work half shifts for a while. I might have made it seem like I'd start spending the night again. But I felt the biggest sense of relief I'd felt in a long time thinking I didn't have to spend the night anymore. I think at the point it's not fun, it's good to stop. The change in income didn't even really freak me out. Although it might. More on that later too.

Saturday: After I got home (from my final full overnight) my mom called. This call was so good that I'm basically immune to "your mom" jokes. She says, "I just got a letter in the mail from NASW inviting me to be a delegate on a trip to South Africa. Do you want to come?" All I can do is grin....

Amanda came over on Saturday too and we walked around Lake Nokomis. She took me to Caribou and worked off some of her debt. Then we went to the Riverview and watched 27 dresses which is a winner. Just the right amount of fluff, humor, and actual plot. Great. And a total hottie in the lead. Plus Amanda bought me the jumbo popcorn and pretty much erased her debt to me.

Sunday: I ran today. Outside. Slowly. I think part of the problem is that I lost some confidence in myself over the winter so I held back. I could have gone faster. And there's this hill which I've written about before and here which comes late in my run and I was thinking about it the whole time which made me really tight and nervous. I'm glad I ran outside today since tomorrow is going to be a nuthouse. It's not the snow, it's that it takes a few days to clear off the sidewalks so I can't run outside on those days either.

As I was leaving to meet Amanda I found my car in distress again. Poor thing. This time there was a gaping hole in the bumper where someone had hit it. And then I'm assuming they drove off. There was a car next to me in the parking lot whose paint didn't really match. So I had to call the police and file a report since this qualifies as a hit and run. And a nice officer came out and filed a report. I guess I'll go back to the body shop I went to last time. I wonder how long they'll want my car this time.

Amanda and I had an awesome breakfast. Yum. And then I came back and took a nap. When I woke up, I went grocery shopping and did a whole bunch of cooking. Don't worry, I didn't actually eat any of it, it's all in preparation for my week. Seriously, that breakfast was like my meal for the day.

I made lentil soup, turkey apple picadiilo (with zucchini instead of tomatoes), and banana corn fritters. Now I've got my dishwasher loaded and my newly discovered favorite feature, a delayed start. Since the kitchen and the living room are basically the same thing, I try not to run the dishwasher when I'm in here. It's too loud. So I have to remember to start it before bed. My usual strategy is to take all the pillows off my bed as a reminder to start the dishes before going to sleep. Those days are over. I can choose to delay the start time two, four, or six hours. Nice.

Looking forward to April: Well, April starts the month of all my bills being due. It's the month that both the mortgage and one of my loans come due. And I need to remember to pay my association fee as well. In an effort to save money, I'm going to try to go the whole month without going out to eat. I have decided to exempt Caribou Coffee because otherwise this whole thing is doomed to fail. Although, I'm trying to step down the Caribou as well (April is 3 times per week). Apparently I've had a dinner scheduled for like a month so that night gets to be exempted too. Hopefully the roads will be clear by then.

I'll let you know how the 30 days of not eating out goes.


On the road with Lizzie

The high points of the trip:

Lots of time to visit with Cincinnati friends: They were all on spring break too.

Wireless internet access: It's a reality in certain rooms in my parent's house now. That made the trip a whole lot better. I never realize how much I rely on the internet until I don't have it. And I think my reliance upon the internet increases when I am in unfamiliar territory. Also nice to be able to update my podcasts while I'm home.

Seeing Mark get married: It helps that I really like the girl he married. I had a nice visit with my extended family and an awesome meal. (Remember my Christmas spaghetti? Same chefs.) Part of Irmghard's family came as well. Her parents came from Venezuela and her cousin from Cleveland drove down.

Our uncle is a judge and that's who married them.

My hair looks awesome when it's straight: And obviously I straightened it for the wedding.

Another use of the awesome brown dress: Best Bridesmaid's dress I ever bought. (Thanks for your help Kelly.) Also, see that necklace? It's a $26 necklace that was on sale for $3. I can see why it was on sale, because it fits my neck in an odd way, but it also looked great with that dress.

Things the trip made me think about:

I live really far away from my family: It wasn't the wedding that made me think that. It was all this really little stuff at home. Like my mom wants a new computer but doesn't really know how to take care of one (we've already begun with the "get a mac" discussion). And if I was closer I could help her with that stuff more. And there's stuff they want cleaned out and organized that if I was closer I could participate (and by that I mean lead) in those activities more.

What's marriage really like? I've got to say I saw a few couples, people who are good friends of mine, and all they do is bitch at each other. And when they're not together, they bitch about each other. It made what I have look pretty good. I don't get help or to spend time with someone at home, but I'm not mad all the time either. There are very few people my age whose marriages actually look like something I would enjoy.

What I came back and found:

The sink: It works now. I'm not asking how it got fixed or why it took them so long. (My mom is betting a rag from the workers was stuck in there.) I just care that it works.

Did I mention my car was busted into this morning? Yeah, I had a nice long drive last night and arrived safe and sound. I even got groceries and made a nice lunch for the week. And then I went out to find my drivers side window all smashed to bits. There are three cars of the same model (though not the same color, year, or even registered in the same state) and only the cars of this make were damaged.

I had this appointment first thing in the morning that a colleague picked me up for and then she helped me take my car to the body shop in the afternoon. Hopefully I'll have it back tomorrow night. Although last time I took my car to a body shop, they found a bazillion more dollars worth of damage once they were able to get up close and look at it. I'm sure I'll keep you updated about that. Also, did you know I can file a police report online now?

And finally, what did I see on the web while I was away?

Happy to see Minneapolis made the cut for wildest traffic interchanges although the one they picked is actually not that confusing, if you can ignore the traffic that appears to be on the wrong side of you every once in a while.

An hilarious look at hippies and the environment. I come from composters but they'd do a garbage disposal if they had one.

Easter was the second earliest date it can ever be and the cycle repeats every 5.7 million years. Who did they pay to figure that out?

Clueless guys can't read women focuses on when guys think girls are flirting and they're really not. I'd like to see the follow up piece about women who want more (ahem) intimate relations and the guys totally fail to pick up on those signals too. Seriously, remember all the married people I mentioned in Cincinnati? Why would I want to get married if I was going to have roughly the same amount of sex I'm having now?

10 websites that may be interesting but if not, they'll be good for a laugh. I didn't get to investigate these as fully as I would have liked.

How to make a very good thing even better?

10 utterly useless things to have in your home. By the way, don't let your mind get into the gutter when you see the banana accessories.

More useless crap. Seems to be a theme today. Mix tapes. Ha. I remember those.


What a long strange trip it's been

It was a fairly uneventful trip yesterday, in the sunshine, to Cincinnati where there's no snow on the ground and none expected for the duration of my stay. This morning I woke up and did a walking path with my dad. It's around an airport and by the rivers (which have all flooded). It was fun. And then I went out to lunch with my mom. Now I'm waiting on a friend to call and tell me if she wants to do something tonight. Although, I'd be perfectly happy just taking a nap.

Since I haven't blogged in a while, I've a ton of things I'd like to share:
1. Haven't we all felt this way?
2. Kelly mentioned the Kitchen Cure and I think it looks intriguing as well. Did I mention my sink didn't work when I left town. Still. It's been two weeks.
3. I think this recipe looks really good but some others think I'm nuts. Maybe I'll have an open house for my kitchen (once the sink is working) and make them then.
4. Some hilarious pranks. This site plays streaming video with sound, but none start automatically so if you're at work you'll have a second to turn the volume down.
5. 8 records I'll never spend time trying to break. The guy with the ear-hair is creepy. Why would you let it get that long? And who was the runner up for that record?
6. There's a joke here, I just can't get the bat off my shoulder....
7. For Amanda whose mirrors look better than these I think.
8. Another poor planning moment or an opportunity for cross cultural understanding? Really I prefer the squatters. They're ultimately cleaner and aiming is not that hard.
9. 101 Web Resources for Students for you to know about while you're in school and also if you're a teacher, to know how students will try to cheat.
10. We really need a study from Harvard to tell us this? It's true though.


Uh... Wednesday Mind Hump?

Today is Department Store Day:

1. Do you shop at department stores? Yes. Macy's in particular since my uncle works there and gives me gift cards. Sometimes I find some neat things there. I also really like Nordstrom Rack for dress clothes (which are the rejects from Nordstrom's Department Store.)

2. What is your favorite department store? Dude, does Ikea count because that's beyond my favorite. (Hey, I even know my way around which is why you should always take me when you go.) I'm going to say Macy's. But not the one in the Mall of America. Actually, the one in Cincinnati is really good. Also, does Kohls count as a department store? And Herbergers but I'll probably like them less once Carrie leaves.

3. What do you usually buy at department stores? Mostly clothes. I don't really go there for the home section.

4. If you had your own department store, what would you call it and what would you sell there? I would call it "Nearly There". I have no idea why. And I would sell all of the clothes my brother designs. To see some of his current creations, check out the women's denim line at American Eagle. I can honestly tell which skirts are his just by looking at them. (They don't have the individual designers name but I wish they did. How cool would that be?)

Guess who's been running

My sink is still clogged. I am less than amused. A co-worker the other day asked me if I'd ever have this contractor back (please god not another remodel) and of course I said yes. But a couple of times it feels like the work has taken much longer than I expected it it (like that time six weeks ago when he told me it would be five days or work for my kitchen). It'll be a week tomorrow since I called about the sink. I think part of the delay this time is the plumbers fault and not the contractor.

When I got home today the contract was actually putting in his finishing touches (other than the sink) so when the sink works my kitchen will be totally done. Yeah.

I ran around Lake Nokomis again, possibly faster than 12:00 miles, although not too much faster. Wait 'till the summer. I remember those 10:00 miles. Not well, but they did exist. It was a nice and sunny day for a run. And on the way out to my car I stepped in a big puddle. So sad. When I got to the lake I walked (and then ran) through basically a flooded field covered by a centimeter of snow. And I thought, "I wish I had my smart wool socks that Amanda got me right now". Turns out it was warm enough even without the socks. Please don't ask about the puddle issues. It's a story that requires dramatic rendition and must be told in person.

Anyone have trouble getting to work today? I about drove into a garbage truck because I misjudged my speed and the level of ice covering on the road. I'm fine. I just ran a red light instead. Although I saw what looked like a fairly serious wreck at (duh) the bottom of a really big hill. I've never seen a car's bumper literally wrap itself around a telephone pole. That person was out of his car though so hopefully he's fine. Made me feel bad for driving fast.

Want to hear something funny? (And also the reason I didn't blog yesterday). Wednesday morning I woke up around 4am. No, seriously. Around 5am I finally got up. That's when I learned the Y doesn't open until 5:30a. Wow. Last night I was forced to stay up because Men in Trees was new. (It was ok.) And then I completely zonked out. The lesson I learned from the poor sleeping is that my bed still can't be on the wall with the pipes (where it belongs) even though they're insulated now. No, I'm not opening my wall up and putting in more insulation, although the thought did cross my mind. So I moved my bed back to it's other configuration. I'm not sure how I'll keep it. I want it under the window even less than the position that allows a site line to my main door. What feng shui suggestions do you have?

Also, Kelly, I'm ready for those little shelves to put candles on going up the wall on either side of my dresser. Can you recommend anything cute and in my stain of wood or an acceptable color? (Thank you.) Also, Eric if you still read this blog, would you teach me how to hang a light? I'm done with the crappy brass chandelier I've got going on in the living room. (Hope you're well by the way.)

Now, I've got tons of questions to ask about my recent internet travels:
What's "operator error"? Hee hee. I so totally understand this.

I know several people in various stages of family planning, having kids, raising kids, and having their kids move out. For those of you in the earlier stages of this process: there's still time. Odd names really do screw up your kids chances.

Companies using the H1-B or foreign worker visas more frequently. I was surprised to see the University of Minnesota listed so high. Are these people mostly in the med school? I've never seen them.

This is the first thing I saw that made me think of Amanda. Honestly, if you know the situation, it's moderately sweet.

I've mostly thought I was too old for the HPV vaccine but these statistics absolutely took my breath away. Not the 1 in 4 part, but the breakdown of HPV to basically everything else. Maybe 26 isn't too late.

More information about the gender gap in education. After reading this story that I mentioned here I had an overnight full of boys. Serendipity? I figured out that I did have to ask them questions or engage them a little differently but once I had a direction it worked really well.

This is the next thing that reminded me of Amanda. Take a study break. You'll like to look at this. Figure out if you're in the small percentage of people missing any of those bones and muscles.

This tragic picture (that you probably shouldn't look at if you're at work) reminded me of a very dear friend who we mercilessly tease about "crack". Luckily (for all of us), she's never had this problem.


Can someone explain

I was reading this comment from Overheard in Minneapolis and I don't understand it. Can someone please explain?

Also, I think I should show this too my boss. I wonder how many monitors I could squeeze out of them. There's no way I have an 18" monitor. And the resolution on everyone else's monitor (besides mine) is set to like 600X800 or whatever the grainiest biggest oldest dumbest resolution is.

Sounds like it could be a fun work project for Lizzie.


It's actually been a nice day

I woke up kind of late. This whole "spring forward" thing is just not my cup of tea. That's why, when I went around the world, I went in the direction where we had to "fall back" every couple of nights. Nice.

In the middle of work I got a check (Thanks Dad) and paid off the short term loan I owed on my kitchen. Now there's just that pesky mortgage to pay.

After work I went to the dentist. I've decided I like this dentist and I rarely feel that way about dentists. He figured out something was wrong with my mouth that other dentists have denied for years. It has to do with atypical spacing between two of my teeth. It's always driven me up a wall. This is the first guy to say, "yeah, that's a problem". Thank you.

And then I ran around Lake Nokomis. Slowly. It was kind of cold and windy. It's possible I ran like a 12:00 mile for most of it. Did I mention it was cold? I didn't want to go too fast and have to suck down all that cold air at once. I had a friend who tried that and wound up with exercise induced asthma. Yick. It felt nice to run outside. I really like running outside. The track at the Y is not so interesting to me, but outside is always a good time. Plus I got to wear the nice cold weather running shirt my parents got me for Christmas. This is how I looked (and felt) after the run. It's been a while since I've had a nice picture up here.

After the run I had a moderately low-carb meal. I still feel hungry. I had my rendition of salmon picata (which is salmon, shitake mushrooms and capers) and an artichoke. Yum. A bowl of cereal sounds so good right now but I'm trying to be strong. I'm also considering going to the Y in the morning since I won't get to go tomorrow night. That way I can justify eating Green Mill as well.

A couple of things I'd like to pass on before I go:
Are smart people drawn to the arts? Finally, a look at the difference between correlation and causation. Fascinating. As someone who played several musical instruments and did art projects from a very young age, I can see the impact it had on me. Music made math in particular much easier because it was another way of seeing patterns in numbers.

One good thing about all the Republicans coming this summer? You know what I just realized? The convention and the state fair are going to be at the same time. Maybe that's when I should plan my vacation. I'm thinking either Alaska, New York or Yellowstone. Although San Fransisco is always a good time too. Hawaii would be nice. Is it their hurricane season then too? Or is that just the Caribbean?


There are no words for my joy

Yesterday was Wednesday and I was wildly busy. I went to work. After work I knew I had to go to the Restorative Justice Council and have eaten by the time I got there. So I went to the Mercado and get tamales. Yum. And the volunteered.

I knew my kitchen would be more ready for me to cook in it so I went to the co-op. And they had Passion Fruit! I was almost speechless. Don't know what a passion fruit is or what it looks like? I've included pictures.

Oh, they were so good. I sat down and ate like four of them. They're really expensive too. But yummy. The seeds are edible. I just eat it with a spoon. If you're interested in trying your own, passion fruit goes great in fruit salads, mango salsas and marinades. And, to cap my day off, Men in Trees was on (which is good to begin with) and it was a new episode.

I had a less wild but still eventful day today. Bright and early I went to the eye doctor (a new one because I changed insurance) to get a new contact prescription. And the dilated my eyes. Sucks. She sent me off right away after that too. Driving to work was fine but trying to read my messages once I got there was hilarious.

Work was good. I went to Noodles and Co for lunch. I know, but I didn't get to actually cook last night, I just bought the food. I had their pan fried Japanese... something. They have broccoli which Amanda would like and mushrooms which I love. And their noodles. And they have the word fried in the name. What other information is needed here?

After work I went to the Y and ran which I haven't done in a while. I did the run one lap walk half lap deal. That got hard after 45 minutes. I think I get done with work early tomorrow so maybe I'll make it back to the Y before I go to that other job this week. Yeah, maybe not.

I came home and cooked Pad Thai (what else) as the first meal on the new stove. I thought my stove was just making weird smells (like a new stove thing or something). Turns out I'm just an idiot. I forgot to put water in the bottom of the pan to steam the broccoli so I just had a steaming basket and broccoli on a burner. Woops. It turned out fine in the end. Nothing got burned to a crisp (although there was that potential).

I have a couple more photos of the kitchen progress. I think the whole "Lizzie buys lights" fiasco happened during that time I wasn't really blogging. Here's how it went. I went to Home Depot to check out their selection of track lights. I did amazingly well (in even going to home depot) at not freaking out or feeling overwhelmed. I got to the lighting aisle and started looking at my choices. There were many. And I kept looking. I thought carefully about the pros and cons of each light, the brightness of the light, how it would look, if it can be aimed, and so on. And I kept standing there looking at the lights. Then I had to think of the number of fixtures I wanted on the track. There was one thing I really liked but they only had three fixtures in stock. And then I stood there and looked some more. By this point, at least 20 minutes had passed. Of just standing and looking. Eventually I called Amanda and she had some brief but quite helpful input that led me to select the fixtures pictured. (I refer to them as "Amanda's lights.) I really like them. They fit in nicely. I'm also happy I had a professional do the installation because it involved cutting the wire (which was about 3 feet long to begin with) before installing the fixture.

Since you've made it past all the pictures, let me suggest some other things for you to check out today:
What I hope to be doing at 101. My favorite part is that he came back from retirement. Two years of retirement. Do the math. Hilarious.
Boys and Girls Really Do Think Differently. Especially useful when fighting with your husband thinking about teaching the future generations of America as Kelly will.
That bar in Maplewood made it into Time Magazine. I'm not sure if Time's standards or slipping or if the idea is really that clever.
Chairs that Kelly should consider buying when she moves into her new house. Not. (Sorry, I know the old one isn't even on the market. I'm choosing to plan ahead.


All the fun stuff I've read

All the fun stuff I've read that I couldn't share because I was typing on Amanda's computer (that didn't have my bookmarks).

Usually when we get together on Tuesday nights, we order out. I want to suggest that at least once, we try cooking these. Yum.

The worst ice storm ever. Brrr.

What life will be like in 100 years (from 1900). Some of these are way off base (no exposed food) or so far fetched they're sad (we'll all walk 10 miles a day) but some of them are pretty accurate, even if they are described in 1900's language.

10 videos for Amanda (because she loves chemistry). I haven't watched them, but the title reminded me of Amanda and there's fire so we should all be entertained.

Is it sad that this actually makes sense to me?

Great look at nursing home staffing. Let me tell you, I hear about the good and bad places too.

The consumerist wanted to know about the really bad companies in the US. Turns out people had such strong feelings (mostly about Comcast and AT&T) that they broke that first site. Here's take two. Most people were sad they could only blast comcast once. Comcast hasn't pissed me off to that degree yet. Two companies with a reputation for poor customer service (AOL and Circuit City) aren't even on the list. I'm also surprised Apple is so high. They tend to have really good customer service in my experience. Also, "Hallmark / Westland Meat Packing Co"? Huh?

Just so everyone knows, Mark did call me. He's getting married (congratulations) and it's not clear if I'm going to be there for that. That makes me really sad. But it sounds like there will be a second wedding (after his fiance gets the first marriage annulled?) and that's the bigger deal to Mark, so maybe I'll just try to be there for that.


So my mom just called and told me my cousin is getting married. Wtf? Not that he's getting married but that he didn't call me. I'm kind of hurt by that.

I just left him a message. I hadn't heard from him in a while and (as a looser cousin, and as someone whose kitchen just started being under construction) I didn't call and tell him happy birthday.

But still. I went crazy in Africa and then lived with him. You'd think he could call me and say, "hey, I'm getting married". Mom said Gramma said something but then it wasn't clear if it was supposed to be a secret. What the hell? Uncle Dave is going to marry him. It's shocking to me that he's not going to be married in the catholic church.

See why he needs to call me?

Amanda should get the greasemonkey script that makes this more fun

I'm posting on Amanda's computer right now. I've decided that she should get the Greasemonkey extension for Firefox. And then she can get this script and it will make the editing box the width of the entire screen. It makes it very nice to write blog posts. Maybe then you'd write in your blog more.

Also, just because I say "four" then "three" they can still be random.


Before and After Kitchen Picture

I wanted some before and after shots for effect. The old cabinets were really dark (in addition to being unfinished on the inside). And yes, that is the original stove.

There are no words to describe how sick of these cabinets I was. I'm so happy I odn't have to look at them anymore.

Nope. Still don't like them. Don't like looking at the back of my appliances either.

The new stove actually hangs on the counter top partially so that no food (or kitchen utensils) get lost in the gap between the stove and the counter top. I'm happy with how it looks. There was a moment of panic when I thought there was going to be a gap in the back, but the counter goes around three edges just like I wanted it.

And the light shone down from heaven and the angles sang. And there were these cabinets. Obviously the electrician hasn't been by and there's more work to be done here.

And nice light wood with dark appliances instead of dark wood and brown appliances. There are no words for my joy.