The Friday Five

The Friday Five only a day late:

"With the following phrases, post a single image of the strongest thought/idea that pops into your head."
1.) Favorite Food: Christmas Spaghetti

2.) Least Favorite Food: Tomatoes. Like it could have been anything else.

3.) Favorite Thing:








My Mom

Your Mom Too

4.) Least Favorite Thing: My former kitchen

Specifically this stupid thing

5.) A phobia: Heights

6.) An addiction: Lattes (Yum!)


Web browsing review

As I sew so shall I reap

Anyone know a good website that gives the beats per minute of songs? Wanna know why I care? It has to do with running and my iPod...

How did Day 26 and Day 27 go? Well, yesterday (26) I found myself at the end of the night without having anything especially giving that wasn't part of my job (and so exempted from the challenge) so I went into my closet and found a pair of pants I don't wear too often. I had particularly planned to give them away, but I found myself with no real emotional attachment and no plan to wear them so into the good will bag they went.

Today (27): I gave 1500 grains of rice. It's more work than it sounds like. I might give more tonight but I wanted to write this so I stopped there for a while.

So, how have I reaped what I've sewn? Last night I called my mom because I had to ask a question about peeling ginger (don't spend too much time on it) and during the phone call I asked if she'd talk to a somewhat distant relative about me spending the night with her in Chicago on my way home in June. Mom and I had a nice call and I went back to cooking my awesome supper. (More information here.)

As I was about to sit down and eat said awesome (and also vegan) supper, Dad called me and told me he'd buy me a plane ticket so I could fly home for the wedding. Sweet. As a result, I got to talk to Dad and Jenny and Jenny's mom (when I called Jenny's house) so it was a really nice night. Thanks Dad.


A day late

The Monday Music Mambo even though it's Tuesday:

Tell us your three favorite musical Bobs, and a good song by each one.

A quick search of my iTunes library reveals:
Bob Dylan. Hey, I'm from Minnesota, you knew it was coming. One of my favorites is Working Man Blues which is also a relatively recent song.

Bob Marley is the next "Bob" I'm sure sprang to everyone's mind. My favorite Marley song is Redemption Song. I'm lucky there's so many great covers of that song.

And finally, the "Bob" that probably didn't come to anyone's mind:
Bobby McFerrin who is quite simply amazing. My favorite stuff of his is the duet album with Yo Yo Ma, "Hush". Best track: "Hush Little Baby". Wow.

Day 25

Almost to the end here. I did a lot of... well I didn't do a whole lot today so my good deed was small to match.

Something woke me up (on my day off) at 7:00am. It was like the whole building was shaking. But it was very clearly coming from the floor above me and somewhere above my bathroom. Could have been a machine, powerwasher, demolition machine of some kind, I have no idea.

It went off for about 20 minutes so then I fell back to sleep and woke up at 10am. (It just seemed right.) I spent a long time reading Amber Spyglass.

Then it seemed like time to go exercise. I did the elliptical at the Y and then more leg strengthening exercises. I was sore when I left. In an hilarious moment, Amanda had left me a message (while I was exercising) to bring my running gear to her house later on.

I went grocery shopping and then came home and took a shower, cooked my lunches for the week and headed off to Amanda's. Kelly had arranged for us to make shrinky dinks. I'm still perfecting the technique. I'd think I'd like to plan out my strategy and then try it again.

Then Amanda and I did run. Here for more information. I'm glad I didn't just call and say I was to tired.

After running Amanda and I discussed many things including grocery shopping which lead to my good deed for the day. I was talking about not buying meat (I look the other way for Turkey Bacon) and how it's actually less expensive. The vegetarian sources of protein, other than tofu, are very inexpensive. Lentils are $1.50/lb and split peas are $0.99/lb. Black beans and garbanzo beans are similarly priced. Amanda asked for a recipe I'd made before, Wheat Berry Chili which is actually totally as long as there's no cheese. So I sent it to her when i got home from our run. As a bonus, this is what I'm having for lunch this week. I've decided that anything vegan I eat has to be loaded with protein and carbs can't hurt either. Otherwise I feel like I'm going to starve around 3:30 or 4:00.


day 24

It's important that I keep counting the days. I lost track and how to go back and read my blog to figure out where I was. Today I gave 2,500 grains of rice to the UN food program. And it's before noon. Who knows, maybe I'll even leave the house today...

My internet is driving me bonkers

What did I do today?

Morning: My neighbors alarm clock woke me up at 8:00. I wanted to sleep longer but had no choice. Amanda called to invite me up for bacon. Given the weather later on in the day, I'm kind of glad I didn't go. Mostly I spent the morning lounging and having a nice breakfast.

Afternoon: I went to the Y where I totally wore myself out. After running yesterday, I decided my hamstrings needed some strengthening (all that running on dirt and gravel). We'll see if I run tomorrow. Then I went to the hardware store where I found my new favorite substance, paper tack. I have these little frames that need to be hung in a specific configuration. I learned from Amanda's mirrors that nails might not leave the desired flexibility in adjusting the position.

Actually I feel about the paper tack about like I feel towards the internet right now. If it does what it's supposed to, it's great. However, the possibility that the tack won't behave as expected is very real.

After that it was like 4:00 and lunch seemed like a really good idea.

At some point during the day, my internet freaked out. Which didn't make me at all happy. So I called USI wireless to let them know that while not touching anything related to the wireless modem or my router, the signal just totally disappeared, and stayed gone for a while. The technical support operator said he is sending me a directional (read: better) antennae that's supposed to address this issue.

Evening: It took me until around 9:30 to get my laundry in the machine. I thought that while I was drying clothes I'd give some rice away but that was the next time the internet freaked out. This time it said I had a signal but it wouldn't pull up any web pages other than the login to the USI wireless network. It's only puzzling because usually if I don't have a signal, I can't login. This time I could login fine, I just couldn't get anywhere else.

So what else did I do for day... oh crap, the internet is freaking out again. I'm assuming this'll just get saved on the computer for later.

Thing 1: Save a bug. Remember, all life has value.
Thing 2: I put more clothes in the good will bag. It's almost full. Again. It's good that I'm doing this because I'll have a lot more free space to buy nice new clothes on day 30.


A nice start to the long weekend

Amanda took me "camping" with her family today. I use that word loosely because anytime I don't have to go outside to pee, I don't think of it as camping. Once refrigeration and television are added, it might as well be a hotel.

This morning I woke up and got ready for the day. I was advised there would be a pool so I dusted off the swim suit for the inaugural swim of the year. While I was pulling the suit out I found some clothes that I added to the Good Will bag. (Also taking care of my good deed for the day.) My good deed for yesterday? Mom called and needed help with the computer, which I gave graciously and with good cheer. (It's the gracious and good cheer part that really qualifies it for the 29 days thing.)

Once Amanda and I were at the KOA, running seemed like a good idea. I got the feeling if we hung around we'd do nothing but eat anyways. So Amanda and I started off. I learned that Amanda runs fast. No, seriously. Fast. We ran intervals (which you may be able to tell by looking at the link in the previous post) and I love how fast Amanda goes. For some reason, I slowed way down at the end. Maybe it was my regular pace and it just seemed slow because of how fast we were running before.

After the run it seemed necessary to jump in the pool. (Read: I was stinky and didn't bring soap or shampoo.) Someone told us it was warm once you got used ot it. Lies. It was freezing. But refreshing after the running.

Most of the afternoon was spent in various horizontal positions, although I didn't actually fall asleep. And I read a bunch of the book I'm currently reading, The Amber Spyglass. I may have to read the series again. It moves so fast I feel like there's stuff I missed.

I was well fed for dinner, hamburger and ice cream. What else could I want? Then Amanda and I colored with her neice. After that I was about to fall asleep so it seemed like a good idea to come home.

I finally hung up some pictures in my bedroom. Three of the four walls are done. Wall number four involves the dresser and some other decisions so that might have to wait, at least until tomorrow.


Running with Amanda

Amanda and I ran together today. This is what happens when one girl with slow twitch muscles and one girl with fast twitch muscles run together. I had a lot of fun.

PS - why doesn't Nike+ website work with Firefox 3 RC 1?


I feel like the blog needed some pictures

From Como Conservatory:

From Race for the Cure:

From my parents trip up:

Days 18, 19 and 20

What have I done lately?

Day 18 (Tuesday): I went to a meeting at the Restorative Justice Council where I volunteer. At that meeting (in an amazing lapse in judgment) I volunteered to do a "consensus building workshop" to figure out how we want to incorporate mediation into what we're already doing.

Day 19 (Wednesday): I contributed to a going away gift for the ELL teacher at our agency. The ELL program is ending after June.

Day 20 (Today): I gave the coffee shop where I get coffee three times a week (yes, I'm still on that plan) a big tip. Usually I pay with my credit card and you can't give a tip on the card. Don't ask. So today, I was planning on getting a big discount with my punch card and so paying cash. I brought extra to leave a nice tip.

What's the plan for the last nine days? You'll just have to stick around and see.

I am strong

I was feeling pretty bad because I hadn't run in a while. I did that workout on the elliptical on Sunday that nearly killed me. Then Monday and Tuesday I walked and Wednesday I did nothing.

This morning was the first morning all week I was able to get up early enough to exercise before work. And I ran. And ran. And ran. It felt great. I ran a little over 4 miles, then did a mix of walking and running 'till I got home. I was surprised at how fast it felt like I was running. (I might not have really been moving that fast, but it felt like I was.) It seems like I shouldn't be that much stronger but maybe I am.

On that same note, I've also realized that what was hard for me tody was not my endurance but the physical strength of my legs. So I'll spend some time working on that at the Y. At least now I have a goal. Like the second I started running my knees and ankles yelped in protest. They settled down after a while. They just want to be stronger.

After work I went with my friend Liz to the Highland Grill, which still has Jack Cakes something neither Longfellow nor Edina has on their menu any more. I didn't have them though. It didn't seem like they'd go well with the beer battered green beans we had as an appetizer.


Day 17

Hurry up Greasemonkey and make me an update!
Today, I spent time with my mentee doing algebra. Once she gets started, she really does it on her own. I hope I helped her right. It's been a long time since I've had to do absolute values and stuff.

What'd I look at on the web when I got home? (And Firefox still doesn't know how to spell with apostrophes. Although it does know "Firefox" now.)

Kelly mentioned the clean sweep assessment. I scored an 81. I scored highest on relationships and lowest on physical environment which I find disturbing after all the work I've put into this place. See here, here, and here for more info about the work I put into my environment. I lost points for not backing up my hard drive (I really should know better), not having vacuumed recently, and not making my bed with any regularity. (I'm just happy when I get the sheets cleaned regularly.) Maybe the "back up my hard drive" thing is the first one I should try to improve.

The story about the raid on the largest kosher meat packing plant in the US just keeps getting better. Seriously? I mean, I knew it was a problem in Iowa but really?

Just something I wanted to share because I'm a caver. Also, just so we're clear, Cavers rescue spelunkers See: Naming Issues.

Unhealthiest drinks in the US. How bad do you have to be when Coke doesn't even crack the top 10?


Days 15 and 16

First off, I'm now using Firefox 3 Release Candidate 1 and Greasemonkey is, once again, not working which makes me sad. It also makes the editing box on blogger way too small.

So for day 15 which was yesterday, I basically gave to the world by not taking up too much oxygen, what with the lying on the couch all day. I did add a pair of shoes to the good will bad.

Day 16 is today. My gift was going to work on a Sunday, which is normally my day of rest. My boss told me if I worked today, I could take any other day off that I wanted, so next Tuesday, (which will be day 25) I'll be reaping that benefit. I still think it counts because I did it to help out, not really for the day off.

Other than work today, I went to the Y and did the elliptical. I did 10:00 miles for four miles straight on that sucker. And then I nearly passed out. As a pop-quiz, for the person who just finished several classes related to how my body works: What is happening to me when I feel mildly light headed, winded, and like I might throw up? The good news is I do stop when I get like this and it only lasted about a minute, maybe two. I drank water in small sips which seemed to help. I've also noticed that I am much stronger on the elliptical now than I was even a few weeks ago. I'm glad I started running outside again. I would say it's the weather but I really think it's how early the sun rises. It helps me get up early.

My last act of giving for the day will be to share what I've found recently on the web:
Incase Kelly ever wants to re-design her blog again. Don't. Remember how much work it was last time.

Time tested kitchen tricks I knew nothing about before I read this. I'd heard of a couple of them, but most of them are new and helpful.

And finally remember that Corell commercial where all the models carry plates and fall down? this is even funnier. I always had a complex about walking in high heels so I'm glad to see even the professionals screw it up from time to time. This is a link to a youtube video. It's safe for work and hilarious with or without the sound. But if you can't watch it at work, you should still check it out. Hee hee.


Day 14

Today, as part of my giving I:

  • Gave away an ink pen. It wasn't the nice one but still..

  • Put a small donation into a Tzedakah box at work, which doesn't really count because someone gave me a stamp and told me to put the money there instead of giving it to her

  • Started a new Goodwill bag. Current in the bag are: parts of a door handle, one "S" hook, and a pair of pants. What else will go into the bag? Hopefully I'll remember to put the mirror in there, as well as an old pair of sandals I found about two seconds after the last trip to good will.

  • Called a friend the second I found out she got thrown off her horse the other day. No, seriously. She spend the night in the hospital. Now she is on pain meds and doing great. Well, the pain meds are great. Also, she doesn't need help walking her dog, I asked.

  • Offered to work tomorrow night but was super relieved when I didn't have to.

And now, I will give you my responses to The Friday Five

What's your favourite TV network? It seems as though the only network I watch is the Style Network. I am a Clean House junkie, and my new favorite show is Clean House Comes Clean. Other than that, I like The Dog Whisperer on National Geographic and I sorely miss Comedy Central for the Daily Show and the Colbert Report.
If you could create your own channel, what would it be? LizTV. Really, I like the home and cooking and makeover channels. That wedding stuff isn't too interesting to me, where you have like two days to plan a wedding for a million people and the bride always freaks out. I'm not at that place in my life yet.
What TV show did you watch as a child, that you wish they would bring back? The Smurfs were always my favorite.
What show have you always hated, and wonder why they ever made such a dumb show? I will now confess that I totally don't understand The Family Guy. I think it's stupid and I can't get into it. I'm also bothered by the talking dog and the little baby who is a snob about everything except wearing a diaper. I'll go watch paint dry instead of that show.
What TV show's seasons would you buy on DVD? None of these should come as a surprise. In my home as actual DVDs that I purchased from a store (because the show came out before I had a DVDR) are The West Wing. I still need season 7 if you need a birthday gift for me, and Dr. Quinn. I am not ashamed. Shows where complete season of the show exist in some form or another are: Sports Night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip which was a winner and met the same sad fate as Sports Night, and Men In Trees which I just learned was cancelled when I googled the show to get this link. I'll have to go back to that story in a moment. Why do all the shows I like get cancelled?


Day 13

I was right. This is getting harder. Today, I gave 700 grains of rice to the UN Food Program. I had an awesome day at work, well most of it sucked but at the end of the day I did something great. Plus, I'm posting a link to the National Geography GeoBee game at Amanda's request. It's really fun. Yesterday I got 10/10. Today not so much.

In all that time I created by not being generous, I found some neat stuff on the web.


Day 12 of 29

Today, I showed a colleague where our big shredding bin is located. We have a little shredder (the old strip one) and a big locked garbage can where someone else shreds the everything, I'm assuming that is at least cross-cut shredded, if not totally shredded into bits. This giving thing is kind of hard. I feel like I need to make a better plan. (It seems like it gets harder over time. Reminds me of watching friends who fast during Ramadan, day 1 is always way easier than day 28 or 29.)

What have I seen on the internet?
See how fast the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Cool site. Hit the NOW button just for fun.

A great article on the politics of happiness. Parts 1-3 are linked in the article and are interesting as well.

My dad's office sued a bunch of these places in Kentucky, glad to see Ohio is following suit. Six thousand people will be out of jobs? Oh please.

I have no words...

I remember awhile ago, Kelly was having CAPTCHA issues, this article reminded me of those issues, and similar problems I've had with Yahoo.

And for those of you lucky enough to drive a mac, 10 things I didn't know my mac could do at all.


What've I been reading..

Minnesota drivers really are nice. I've talked to some Minnesotans who think this is crazy. However, I've lived in several states and I pretty much agree with the article. States I've lived in: Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Minnesota. Best drivers: Minnesota. Worst: Florida. I lived near all those Miami drivers.

Seven habits of highly effective internet users. Hee hee. I need to learn what some of those sites are. What the heck is twitter?

The global distribution of water. Quit putting it in those plastic bottles.

And for those of you who are traveling, How to make everything fit in one suitcase which I'm sure will be a valuable article. I like the graphic.

The 29-day Challenge

Today was a rough day at work for reasons I can't go into. I read about The 29 Day Giving Challenge and decided it'd be worth it to give it a try. It was nice that I could go back in time for some of the days:

11. Today: I went to my agency's annual meeting. On the way, I helped a colleague not get lost. (After she turned the completely wrong way on one of the streets.)
10. Yesterday: I hung out with my mentee. We had a nice time walking around Lake Nokomis.
9. Sunday: I was racing for the cure.
8. Saturday: I helped Kelly and Eric paint their garage.
7. Friday: Took my Mom out for Mother's day
6. Thursday: Spent the day with my mom, did I mention I gave her a nice place to stay...
5. Wednesday: Took my mom to Como Conservatory. (That was kind of for me too.)
4. Tuesday: The parents got here, I welcomed them.
3. Monday: I hung out with my mentee and we did math homework.
2. Sunday: I gave a bunch of stuff to Goodwill.
1. Saturday: I cleaned the whole apartment so it was ready for my family.

That's as far back as I could go. I'll let you know how tomorrow goes, although I'm kind of worried because I don't have any "giving" planned. Too bad I can't count my job.


The Week with the Family

I had actually a very nice time with my family. Here's how it went:

Tuesday: I worked all day. I had a fairly rough time getting everything together so I could be out of the office for three days. I only ended up staying a bit late. And then I went out to eat with Amanda and Kelly. When my parents arrived, they brought me chocolate cake. My dad came to inspect my kitchen and then went on to the hotel where he was staying. Mom and I hung out for a while before we went to sleep.

Who can explain to me Minnesota shoe etiquette? I basically don't wear shoes in my own home and keep my house clean enough to support such a habit. My parents basically put their shoes on in the morning when they get dressed which I think is gross. I keep the house clean but I do like to keep the vacuuming to a minimum. So, when going over to someone else's house, what's the rule about shoes? I say, look at the host's feet. If they're not in shoes...

Wednesday: My mom woke up amazingly early and did some work. Then we made breakfast and mapped out our shopping strategy. First we went to the Como Conservatory and Zoo. I had a really nice time. Also, I didn't have a panic attack despite the amazing throng of school kids and little kids with scary moms. (You know exactly what I'm talking about.)

And then we went to the DMV where I got my new driver's license. At least in this photo I'm not wearing a bandana and glasses. That was right down the street from Saigon so it only made sense to go. It really didn't matter to me that I'd been there the night before. We had a nice huge and great lunch.

Then it was off to Ikea for who knows what. Honestly, do we really need an excuse? Then, because we were there, we had to stop at Macy's although that trip was ultimately unsuccessful. And then we had to get coffee on the way home. I had nothing to do with that, I'm a morning coffee drinker.

When Dad came over for dinner we went to an Ethiopian place by my office. It's a place where no one really speaks English (in the good way). In Spanish speaking restaurants I can usually get by but in this place all I can do is point and see what comes out. Yum.

Thursday: I had really good intentions about getting up to run but that didn't happen. Instead I drug my mom out for a walk around the lake with me. That was really nice. We came back and had a tiny breakfast and then it seemed like it was time to go shopping again. We stopped at Target to pick up pictures and then headed over to the Edina Grill (a relative of the Longfellow and Highland Grills) for a yummy late lunch. Then it was over to Southdale for bra shopping. Is it weird that I don't like to try on clothes right after I've eaten? Anyways, we also went over the Bed Bath and Beyond where I picked up a wok and Mom found some other neat stuff.Next to Bed Bath and Beyond is a Dress Barn which I was initially reluctant to enter, however, I found two pairs of pants in there so I ate my humble pie on the way home.

We met Dad and went out to the Birchwood Cafe. That's a yummy place and we should go there more. I had a vegan burrito which was yummy and amazing filling. And used Jicima which is not an ingredient I typically use. Mom and Dad came home and had blueberry pie and I had a milkshake.

I was around bed time that I discovered the lock on my patio door wasn't acutally locking anything. I had a mild freak out but was able to fix it for the night.

Friday: Great success. I actually got up and ran. I ran over four miles. And then I walked the rest so it totalled six miles. I only meant to run four miles so it is a success.

To celebrate me getting off my butt, Mom and I went to Maria's which is always yummy. I had corn pancakes and mom had huevos perichos which is the other really authentic dish they serve that everyone knows. I would enjoy that dish more often but it has identifiable tomatoes. So sad.

After brunch we went to the hardware store (trip #1) and returned the paint and bought a replacement latch for the patio door. I came home and tried to insall the new handle when the locking mechanism fell into the door. This led to hardware store trip #2. Well ultimately neither of those locking mechanisms would have worked. I tried several things. Dad tried to help for like two seconds but he hates home repair so he didn't really do anything. In the end, there is a bit of a mish mash of old and new parts on the door and some things are in slightly different places. But, like the run, it is a great success because the thing really locks now. And I have an entire set of parts I can return which will lead to hardware store trip #3 which hasn't happened yet. I'll let you know.

Since Dad had been at a conference all week, he wanted to see the great outdoors. So we walked the (all 6 miles) around Lake Nokomis. We stopped after mile 5 for some ice cream at the Grand Old Creamery (yum) which held us over nicely for our dinner.

We went to this place I read about in City Pages. It's the one at the corner of 46th and Nicolette (yeah, the building that started as a KFC). It was really yummy but a nicer place you wouldn't regularly go. We celebrated mother's day.

I found my mom a really neat card. I think the girl on the front looked like Mom but she didn't see it. After that, we watched an episode or two of Monk and went to sleep.

Saturday: I protest the hour at which I was roused on Saturday. I got up and made my parents breakfast. And then they left. It's really a good thing they got me up that early because otherwise I never would have been on time to help Kelly and Eric pain their garage. Which is how I spent a big part of that day.

Racing for the Cure

I ran in the Race for the Cure this morning. The Milk Run had been my favorite, but this is a pretty powerful race.

The race is held at the Mall of America really early in the morning. I've worked at the mall on race for the cure days so I knew to expect a mad house. I was right. I asked Amanda to be at my house at 6:15am and was amazed when she agreed to the time without objection. We got to the mall about an hour before the race started so we had lots of time to get registered, get shirts, and so on.

When we register, all the racers get a number. Anyone who is a breast cancer survivor or currently diagnosed with breast cancer gets a pink shirt, everyone else gets white. (So I'm really glad I didn't wear my pink running shirt.) Runners pin their tags onto their shirts. Runners have the option of also pinning a "I Race in Celebration of..." or an "I race in loving memory of..." tag below their number tag. Every time I see one of those tags, I tear up. It's even worse when the tag says "aunt, aunt, grandma, mom, sister" all on the same tag. Those just made me want to run faster.

When I was lying in bed this morning, it seemed like it was reasonably warm. I didn't want to wear my cold weather gear because I thought I'd be too hot racing. I also thought I'd do a 10:00 mile but that's a story for a different day. So I wore shorts and pants over top of them. And then I had to take the pants off and get into my racing outfit. It was cold. It was really cold. Amanda gave me her jacket until I had to go line up to run. Then I just tried to get into the center of the pack and wait for the race to start. And ignore my fear of being trampled. Did I mention there were 7,500 runners in this pack. They didn't block the wind as well as I'd hoped, but once I got going, I warmed up quickly.

The race itself was fun. I had a bit of trouble because it took me a few minutes to get to the starting line so when they called out the mile splits (I was like 13:30 at mile 1) I couldn't tell how fast I was actually running. It could have taken me three minutes after the start of the race to actually cross through the starting gate. I'm not sure. Remember, there were 7,500 people and some of them were in front of me when the race started. I looked at the course before I ran, but I forgot what I looked at because I imagined the turns coming at different places so I was disappointed (and slightly worried about my speed) when I came to the turn and found out it was only a mile. During the race there was a loud speaker playing Melissa Etheridge's I run for life, a drum band (my personal favorite), "hug a survivor corner", cheerleaders and other fun things along the way.

The coolest thing happened at the finish line. This wild girl My good friend Amanda was standing there screaming for me. So I starting screaming for myself. And once I crossed the line I just stood there and waited for her to run up and give me a hug. Which she did in short order. And then, in her joy, took this picture.

After the race we met up with some of Amanda's family and walked the course again. This time, we waited in line at one of the *ahem* facilities. And Amanda thought it would be good to capture that bit of my day on film as well.

It's ok, I got some great shots of her too.

They also added "hug your mom" corner to the walk. (Gosh, I can hear Kelly now. *Rolls eyes*)

Ultimately Amanda decided to do her best impression of the chicken that represents me on her wall. You be the judge.

After the race we had coffee (because I fear the caffeine headache) and then lunch which was yummy. After lunch I felt inspired to start framing pictures for my room. It's a work in progress.


Catching up on the blogging

To begin with, I need to share some of the amazing things I've seen recently while perusing the web.

Save Money
I usually don't enjoy things from Reader's Digest but this article had a few nice sites in it. I'd never heard of Jellyfish, meetup or some of the travel sites before. All those will be relevant shortly.

This article while not quite as helpful is... well I must have liked something about it when I bookmarked it.

Pictures from around the web
Mac users will understand this. If you're a windows user, pretend it says "ctrl" instead of the little flower picture.

I became a vegetarian when I was 12, although, I imagine if my mom ever gave me this, I would've been a vegetarian at a much younger age. It looks like it should taste good, but totally wouldn't.

Politics in the news
Reproductive rights haven't gotten a whole lot of play in this election cycle. However, some economist did some research and found out that if the elected official is a man, the more daughters he has, the more likely he is to vote "liberally" on reproductive rights. I wonder why that is.

I think my opinions on the current presidential administration is fairly clear. This article simply illustrates the point that there's always a little bit of good.... I think my feelings towards Africa are equally clear. While I'm not wild about this money being in a bill to continue the war in Iraq, I'm happy for anything that helps that part of the world. I'll just go ahead and think that's where all of my tax dollars are going.

Seriously, Why do people think a gas tax holiday is a good idea? If it's too expensive today, it'll be way too expensive tomorrow. Taking a holiday from the real price won't help when it's a commodity that we consume on such a regular basis.

Science in the news
I was at this training recently and the trainer said, "loosing weight isn't complicated, it's just hard". I think he was right, although this article takes it a step further which only makes it seem harder.

Mental stimulation is important as this article suggests although there have been several research studies saying things like that Nintendo DS game don't actually stimulate the brain in a way that would help the brain fight off Alzheimer's. Although it will stimulate the brain in a way that will ultimately cost money.

I'm mentioned the spinning dancer twice before here and here. Now, more on how the thing actually works.

This was an issue we grappled with often at my old job. Even once the teens I supervised learned the science well enough to explain it, they couldn't always convince the parents it was true or that they should care. You should care about science by the way.

For Kelly
A while ago, I talked with my friend Kelly about Del.icio.us which is one of my favorite websites ever. Initially when I started using the site, I was bummed that I couldn't assign web pages to various folders in a nice little tree. (I have to look at all these links every time?) Kelly experienced a similar initial discomfort. Shortly after starting to use the site, I fell in love with tags and now which Mac OS X allowed me to tag everything instead of those clunky old folders. So, when I found this post on Slashdot it seemed like a relevant topic.

For Amanda
See if this looks familiar.

From Around the Web
Best headline ever

Remember my month of not eating out? During that time I packed a lot of lunches. I wish I'd had this idea then. Even though I don't eat meat, I do sometimes freeze portions of the food I've made for later.

The only place whose liquor laws are more screwed up than my current home state. I remember the beer warehouses there. To curb drinking, beer must be purchased a case at a time. No, seriously.

Need a job? These guys are hiring. I'd recommend AmeriCorps, Peace Corps and Teach For America to just about anyone.


Wifi update

Well, I successfully installed my new wireless modem and hooked it up to my router. That took a minute, but not too much longer. My first thoughts: "wow this is slow". I may have to stop doing the "open all in tabs" as often anymore.

Anyone want to explain pipelining and how it can make firefox faster? I have a whole bunch more to say, but apparently, my computer will take forever to load it.


Here's the other reason I'm going to hell

I got a bill from Comcast that was higher than I expected.
Me: I'm looking at the prices on the website and this is the price it says, that's what I want
Girl:that's for customers who have cable.
Me: I have cable.
Girl: Now? Is it working?
Me: ...

Well, see the cable package never shows up on my bill and I don't ask questions. It's the cheap cable and the internet was always more than I thought it was. It's a hold over from when Time Warner cable switched all of their Minneapolis accounts to Comcast. It's been weird ever since then. I always got the services I wanted and paid about what I expected so I didn't ask...

So I quickly hung up with Comcast because I didn't want them to ask too many more questions (and possibly turn my cable off). And switched over to Minneapolis WiFi because it's way the heck cheaper. And serisouly, what are my other options for wi-fi in my own home?

Congratulations, you've reached your goal of..

If I had an iPod programed to do this, the little girl's voice would say, "congratulations, you've reached your goal of 30 days without eating out". Sadly today for lunch I had to go to a restaurant. I actually did put in some effort to avoid that but that's for another day. So, here's how it was for me.

At the beginning, it seemed like something I thought I could do so I wasn't too nervous. Everyone else either thought I was crazy or thought it was sad that I had to save money that way. In the beginning I was more worried about how everyone else was going to handle a month of this. I also seem to remember Kelly not being very supportive in the beginning either. The first day of the "no restaurant" rule, she brought Chipotle and ate it in front of me. (By the way, Firefox thinks "Chipotle" is spelled wrong and suggests "Shippable" in it's place. Firefox also thinks "Firefox" is spelled wrong.)

As time went on, I worked out a good routine. I started preparing my meals way ahead of time which was really nice. It made me plan grocery shopping better, helped me think about the actual number of meals I eat in a week, and what I really need at the store. And cooking ahead of time makes me weeks much more pleasant. Usually when I get home at night I don't want to be bothered with tomorrow's food anyway.

I also liked that the Tuesday night crowd (you know why I'm not using the other name) was very supportive. It was fun to cook for everyone. It was also fun to switch houses. And have other people cook for me. And since we were no longer buying food, it meant that we had more cash to spend on alcohol.

There was a point last weekend when I wasn't too excited about cooking for myself. Why yes, it did coincide with the time my living room was moved all around for painting. Last weekend was rough. It's like that moment right before you can see the home stretch. I knew it was right around the corner and I just wanted to see it so bad and have it be done.

It doesn't seem like that big of a deal looking back. I think if I'd been doing some of this stuff all along (planning lunches) I would have eaten out a lot less anyways. It seems like a mild accomplishment, something you wouldn't ordinarily do, but ultimately probably not my biggest achievement of the year.

I went to this training about personality disorders today. At the end of it I felt quite crazy.

So I went for a run at the Y. I ran five miles of intervals which was fun and an accomplishment. And I learned that the Nike+ sensor has no idea what to do when I run or walk backwards. Seriously. It says "zero miles per hour". I'm freaking moving. Why was I walking backwards? (Who cares?) I was stretching out my hamstrings. Walking and running backwards is a good way to do that. It's why baseball players run backwards during warmups.

After that, Amanda surprised me by dropping by. Which was nice because it made me feel less crazy after that training. And we played with Photo Booth. I got some pictures that are Christmas Card worthy but this is the only one that Amanda may actually allow me to post. Enjoy.