Sunday, December 24, 2006

More treasure

Went into the garage looking for cast-off fabric suitable to wrap my niece's Hermione Robe and homemade magic wand in. Didn't find what I was looking for, but I did find my tennis racket, which I've been trying to locate for more than 6 months. Also found two full bags-worth of inbox "read-and-route" papers and articles that I had brought home to read while at my last job. Maybe it's wrong, but it was a delightful discovery...never read them, never returned them, and I'm sure they weren't missed!

You won't tell on me, will you Janie and Miss D?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Birds take the brunt

I was just cleaning up the yard, raking up fallen branches and cleaning out the planting beds when I came across the huge weird clump of stuff. It took me a minute to realize it was a bird's nest: an interesting combination of leaves, branches, the funny pages and some cottony bits. (I think the cottony bits came from Roxy's, the dog next door, torn-apart stuffed toys that are strewn around their backyard.) Anyway, the nest smelled funny -- a little like dirty socks -- and had wee spiders crawling through it.

Anyway, I wasn't really sure what to do with it. Should I leave it so the birds can salvage their building materials for a new nest? Were there eggs in there? (No.) Would they be returning at all? I decided to go ahead and put it in the garden bin with branches and things, as it was a pretty damp, mildewy mass of a bird home.

I don't think birds faired very well in the recent windstorm. I hope they've been able to rebuild elsewhere.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

To whom it may concern

In case you (you know who you are) aren't sure about that last Christmas present, here's a short list.

"Would You Rather..." game
End Note software
workout clothes (indoor)
argyle socks
car detailing
floors and counters

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Favorite Frou-frou

I've been celebrating since the end of finals (mostly during our trip to Portland for the weekend) and have froufrie cocktails on my mind. My all-time favorites include:

Hot Spiced Wine
Spanish Coffee (this weekend's drink of choice)
Limeade and Malibu Rum
Amaretto Sour
Bloody Mary
Bailey's and anything
Wild Pear drink at Cactus
White Russian (the first drink I ordered in a bar, in White Rock, BC; age 18. Oh wait, not counting that school jazz choir trip to Vancouver, BC when I was 16, and nearly the whole choir went to some semi-seedy nightclub called "Red Light" where I ordered a Heiniken and later got suspended from school for it.)

Monday, December 18, 2006


My sister, to her five-year-old daughter: "K., what do you want for Christmas?"

K: "I want a doll."

S: "What kind of doll?"

K: "Oh, don't worry. Santa will know."

S: "Well, in case Santa needs a little help, tell me what you have in mind."

K: "Oh no, he won't need any help. He'll know."

(My sister is just going to wing it...)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

So tired

Exhausted. Two finals down and one to go. I'd been wearing the same sweats for 4+ days, now finally retired to the laundry bin. I've spent way too much time at my computer, coming up with graphs and charts and stories to remember everything. And there's only 17 hours to get ready for the next one including 6 hrs for sleep, 1 hour for eating meals, and 1 hour for showering, etc. which leaves me with 9 hours to study.

Oh. I can do a lot with 9 hours to study. Probably need all 9 though.


Friday, December 8, 2006

Fakey Fake

December 8th marks the beginning of Christmas at our house (as it's the day after Ray's birthday). We decided to stick with the homemade fake tree this year -- basically it's a wrought iron garden spire wrapped with a few fake garlands. It's not bad, honest.

The garlands were a little dusty, so I decided to try cleaning them while truly fake-ifying the tree...cedar-scented Pledge! Fake looking AND fake smelling! I thought about burning a few candles to lessen the Pledge smell, but maybe the fumes and flame aren't a good combination.

(Okay, okay, I'll go back to studying.)

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

It's only Tuesday

One of those days today. I have a cold. I lost my Husky Card (student ID/bus pass). I found a few discrepencies in some data we just finalized. I left one page of important data on the copy machine in the library. And I can't get motivated to study.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Here come finals!

Since I'm starting to gear up for the end of the quarter, I am thinking about a million things that I want to do other than study. Blogging, for instance. Here's what I would be blogging about.

In memory of...
My friend Sheila's son named a stuffed animal after (she thinks) the late great Ramon the cat. He calls him "Ray-mon" but the name seems to have appeared during one of Ramon's stays with Auntie Sheila. Aw shucks...that's so cool! I miss my Mony.

"40-year-old Virgin"
What would you do if you were a member of Peerflix, and someone sent you a pirated copy of "40-year-old Virgin" given that a) it was a movie you really wanted to own, but b) someone lamely has been getting "peerbucks" for downloading and burning movies and sending them out.

Incidentally, I adore this movie. It has some of the best improvisational scenes I've seen. It reminds me of old friends who used to forget I was a chick and engage in guy talk around me.

We met with our real estate agent yesterday and we're starting to think about selling the house and the condo and finding something bigger in the neighborhood. Exciting, but scary amounts of stuff to do before we're ready to move. Eeek.

Endolyne Joe's
We went here for dinner last night and I had a side of mashed potatoes for dinner. Guess what? They tasted just like (as they should) the 5 Spot's mashed potatoes that I blogged about recently. I can't say enough good things about this local restaurant group that includes these and a few other fine eateries in town. I'll eat at any of these places any time, as many know about me. I'm still pissed that Jitterbug is gone. Sacrilege.

Big birthday coming up this week...I keep telling him old is just a state of mind.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Today's questions

If most of the songs Morrissey sings only really have 2 notes, why are they still appealing?

If you're blonde and pale, shouldn't you wear more contrasting colors than light pink and white?

Similarly, if you have red hair and orange-tanned skin, shouldn't you wear lipstick that contrasts rather than match your hair/skin?

Why do people wear elaborate, dangly earrings with a hooded sweatshirt?

Is it safe to jaywalk in front of cars when the roads are icy?

What does it mean when two people stand in the middle of a very tall bridge hugging?

If you're a mouse, why would the laundry room be more appealing than the kitchen?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

More cowbell

We went out to cowbell for a few friends doing the Seattle half- and full- Marathon. Miserable morning to run if you ask me...wet snow on the ground with rain and snow coming down...a downright sloppy mess. A group of us stood on Madison for 45 minute or so cheering for the half-marathoners, then Ray and I drove south to find the marathoners. Found them in the Mt. Baker area. We stood along Lake Washington Blvd at mile 17 watching some interesting faces...concentration, grimaces, closed eyes, smiles, pain, and lots of red cheeks.

People really seemed encouraged by the cowbell. We got lots of "thanks", thumbs up, waves, and more than a few "more cowbell!" One guy said, "Oh thank god. I didn't know if that was you or just a cowbell in my head." I don't blame you buddy -- I'd be a little nutty too at mile 17 of 26!

We walked a few miles along the route while cowbelling, looking for the last person we'd come out to see. Just as I ducked into the Port-O-Let, she ran by. Sh*t.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving side-effects

One of the benefits of hosting Thanksgiving dinner (which was fun and delicious) is that we get a clean house out of it. And I'm inspired to deep clean the fridge and the spice cabinet. That's my plan for today, along with doing some fun school assignments while drinking eggnog latte at Uptown Espresso.

Side note
We used the good china for the first time yesterday, the stuff we got for our wedding. A surprise benefit of the good china, aside from its beauty, is that it cleans up amazingly well. I barely had to show it the soapy sponge and voila! Clean.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Top Food Memories

Potato Chips - Guadalajara, 1989
During a youth group trip to Central Mexico, we were touring around downtown Guadalajara one afternoon, shopping for gifts and generally exploring. In the middle of a big square, we saw a guy selling fresh potato chips piled on a little wooden wheelbarrow. I don't remember if it was the smell or the general presentation that perked our interest, but a few of us decided we needed to try them. The guy scooped up a bunch of chips, dumped them into a clear cellophane baggie, squeezed a lemon over them and sprinkled on some salt. They were incredible...thick, crunchy, just the right balance of sour and salty. I don't even like potato chips normally, but when I do try them, it's because I'm looking for something like those chips. I have never eaten their equal.

Pork - Paris, 1993
Three of us traveled through parts of Europe directly after graduation. My friend Bretney's dad lives in Paris, and it was he who took us to eat at a little cafe in the Latin Quarter, I think. I hate to say it, but I don't remember exactly what I had to eat. I think it was an apricot-stuffed pork loin. Whatever it was, it was one of the best things I had ever tasted. I have mentioned this over the years -- " of the best meals ever..." -- and it wasn't until a few years ago that I found out that my friend Melissa had a less than good dining experience that night. Her meal was not tasty and she's had to listen to me rave about mine for more than a decade. Sorry Mel!

Mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli - Seattle, 1994-1995
I lived a few doors down from the 5 Spot on Queen Anne for a few years. I got home late one night, was too tired to cook and had only a little bit of cash on me. I went into the 5 Spot, sat at the bar and just ordered sides: their killer mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli. Hit the spot. I repeated this dining experience a few times and remembered to ask what's in their mashed potatoes. They make them with white pepper and some sour cream, and the gravy has a little bit of a kick too. The comforting and just a little feisty potatoes go great with some really good fresh broc.

Crab feed - Grayland, Wash, 2001
My friend Sheila had a bunch of people down for a weekend at her family's beach place in Grayland during the summer. A few people decided to find some crab for dinner, and bought a bunch of lives ones off the back of a boat in nearby Westport. All I remember was about 15 people crammed around the table, slurping and sucking. No one talked...everyone was too busy savoring.

McDonald's - Buzau, Romania, 2003
On my volunteer vacation, we flew into Bucharest and had to drive 5 hours to our destination of Barlad. Our leader, Mihaela, said that we'd stop at the McDonald's in Buzau as it had reliably clean bathrooms and food we were accustomed to. Most of the group wasn't thrilled about this meal option. In fact, several people didn't order anything besides something to drink, and were really really hungry by the time we got to Barlad. I'm pretty sure McDonald's was someplace they'd avoided for years in the States.

Different story on the way home. As soon as we left Barlad, we discussed whether or not Vasily, our driver, would stop at McDonald's, when should we try to ask him about this considering the language barrier, what we each would order, and on and on for 3 hours. McDonald's never tasted so good! We had several great meals during our trip, but sometimes there's nothing like the taste of good ol' US and A (which miraculously tastes the same in Buzau as it does at home!).

Saturday breakfast & Sunday nights - Seattle, 1970s-1980s
I have many fond memories of Saturday morning breakfast and Sunday evening snacks growing up. Every Saturday morning, my mom would make pancakes, waffles, or popovers, usually with scrambled eggs, and maybe some hashbrowns. It was good fuel for the room cleaning and other chores that immediately followed breakfast. I think my fondness and knack for making breakfast foods comes from her.

On Sundays, my mom usually cooked a substantial mid-day meal after church, so we weren't all that hungry in the evening. Instead of dinner, we'd have a light meal centered around popcorn. My dad would get out the old-timey shaker popcorn popper, and my mom set out fixins for Make Your Own Sandwiches. I usually ate popcorn and an apple with a mug of hot cocoa. There is nothing better than popcorn with a little oil and salt that's been shaken in the fireplace. Popcorn floating in cocoa's pretty good too.

Ray's signature polenta - West Seattle, 2003
Ray makes this amazing Polenta dish that wowed me early on. It's kind of like lasagne, except instead of noodles, he layers slabs of polenta in between homemade tomato sauce and bechamel sauce. Often there's some kind of really good sausage in there, and always mozzarella. It's the kind of dish that you want to keep eating even though you're stuffed. And it's even better the next day. Thankfully for our waistlines, we only have this occasionally, like when company comes over.

Shave Ice - Honolulu, 2004
I'm such a whitey that the sun and heat in Hawaii in August were a little overwhelming. We were walking around downtown Honolulu after Ray gave a talk to a local professional group. He was showing me his old haunts back when he lived there. By the time we got to Chinatown, I was a little delirious with the heat. We stopped in this tiny place and ordered some shave ice. I got two flavors...lemon and I think watermelon. This cold sweet stuff tasted unbelievable in that heat. It was a religious experience: I had found the Perfect Food.

After we got back home, Ray bought me my own shave ice machine and flavored syrups. I keep ear plugs on hand when I use it as I think it's a bit louder than what's safe for my little ol' cochleas.

Bakeman's turkey sandwich - Seattle, 2000-2005
Bakeman's is a little like the Soup Nazi of Seinfeld fame. You'd better know just what you want to order when you get to the front of the line. Their specialty, or at least the one I like best, is a plain old turkey sandwich. I usually ask for "dark on dark, mayo, lettuce, tomato" meaning dark meat on wheat bread. They roast their own turkeys, and I think bake their own bread. It's a little like sandwiches you'd get from Grandma: very basic, very good ingredients. This sandwich goes great with a sack of Cheetos and a soda.

I miss working near downtown! At least at lunchtime when a run to Bakeman's is in order.

Thanksgiving - West Seattle, 2005
Last year's Thanksgiving meal was the product of some very adept cooks. We had so much food, all of it amazing. I won't rehash since you can read about it on the 11/24/05 post. Looking forward to something similar in a few days though we'll be missing two of last year's chefs.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Stranger Than Fiction - 9.5

This Was A Fantastic Movie. Great story. Great performances. Great direction. Great art direction. Its 9.5 score made me reconsider and ultimately recalibrate most of my movie list. I think I've been a little harsh in the past, but that doesn't take anything away from this gem!

The two people who will appreciate this movie the most: Jane (for the story) and Jana (for the art direction and story).

Friday, November 17, 2006

To avoid

1. Drum circles

2. People with clipboards

3. Peas

4. Needless brakers & tailgaters

5. Men who grunt abnormally loud at the gym

6. Starbucks (except Nov 1 thru Dec 31)

7. Thomas Kinkade

8. People who wholly ignore bicycles

9. Jagermeister

10. TV news and ER (for almost the same reasons)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Life is interesting, and usually it seems to be the small stuff that makes it that way.

It was raining so hard this morning that I opted to take the bus rather than walk part of the way to school. Thankfully the bus pulled up just as I reached the stop. I got on and sat down on the second to last available seat. At the next stop, an small old man got on and took the last seat, directly across from me. He was at least 75, shabbily dressed with a kindly face. He was holding some folded up magazine advertisements in his hand.

The guy sitting just next to him look like a doctoral student or international fellow. He was reading a library book, and based on his glasses and clothes I assumed he was European.

The old guy started talking to the student. I couldn't make out what he was saying, but I got the idea that he was trying a few languages on his seat mate. The language they landed on was Italian. They chatted for awhile, and the student seemed a little taken aback by the old guy, maybe pleasantly surprised.

A few minutes later, the student gathered up his things to get off the bus. The old man held out one of the folded up advertisements. He had folded it into an origami crane. The student accepted it gratefully, said goodbye and stepped off the bus.

My stop was next, and as I started to stand to get off, the old guy greeted another passenger, a young Asian woman: "Nee how ma?"

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hard knock life

Friday, November 10, 2006

Happy, happy Friday

Long-Necked Sea Monster Found in Montana
Tuesday, November 7, 2006 - Associated Press

A retired pastor and his son unearthed the skull and lower jaw of a sea reptile believed to be about 70 million years old, Montana State University said.

The find northeast of here represents the first complete skull of a long-necked plesiosaur discovered in Montana, and one of the best specimens of its kind in North America, MSU researchers said.

"It's a very important specimen," MSU paleontologist Jack Horner said. "We have been looking for it for a long, long time.

Ken Olson of Lewistown said he and his son, Garrett, found the fossils in mid-August about 75 miles northeast of Lewistown on Bureau of Land Management property.

Because Horner was out of the country, Olson prepared the fossils himself and delivered them to Horner about three weeks later. The bones now rest in boxes at the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman. Olson has long collected fossils for the museum.

Horner said the head of a short-necked plesiosaur has been found in Montana, but he had been waiting for the discovery of a complete, long-necked plesiosaur skull. Both ancient sea reptiles lived in the time of dinosaurs, according to MSU.

"This critter is one of the long, ridiculously long-necked plesiosaurs" and could have had as many as 70 vertebrae in its neck, said Pat Druckenmiller, MSU specialist in marine reptile fossils. "If the skull is 40 centimeters long, the neck could be seven to 10 times that length."

Druckenmiller is in charge of examining the bones, and planned to look at them with a CT scanner at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital. He hopes his research will help him better understand the creature's diet and why it needed such a long neck.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Sack of potatoes

In November 2000, I acquired a 10 lbs. sack of potatoes. Like your average high school "pregnancy" project -- the one where you have to carry a raw egg around without breaking it for a whole weekend -- I've been carrying this sack of potatoes with me everywhere, with no relief. My back is killing me.

These potatoes are different from your usual spuds, as they change in weight and quality depending on bizarre environmental factors. For example, when George W. Bush was sworn into office, the potatoes got heavier. Every time his voice came through the radio, they got heavier. When he made cabinet appointments, they got heavier. And when the Iraq War started, they got heavier and rotten and smelly.

I've been sick of these damn potatoes for years. What I want most is to open the bag and huck a few out at some choice politicians, but that can be a messy option. I've been tempted to leave the sack at the US border and migrate to another country where I hope I'd never get saddled with 10 lbs of potatoes again. "We should stay and make hashbrowns!" Ray would say, more or less. "It's hard to make hashbrowns out of rotten potatoes," I'd respond. "Well," he countered, "...we'll make rotten hashbrowns and feed them to those choice politicians!"

Yesterday, the load got lighter. Me and my potatoes went to the polls and voted, and so did a lot of other people with 10 lbs. on their back. By last night, my sack was lighter, easier to manage, for the first time in years. I was even able to take a few out and huck them just for fun, at no one in particular. And my back pain is easing just a little.

My goal for the next two years: get good at making hashbrowns, even rotten hashbrowns, so I can be rid of these taters in 2008!

Monday, November 6, 2006


I've been avoiding this pit for months. It's time to intervene. I think I'm going to throw everything here on the floor, pick out the worthwhile bits, and figure out a foolproof organization system. The rest I'll shove in recycling or a Return to Owner box. Gawd...embarrassing.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Which wife of Henry VIII are you?

That last post was a downright snooze. Bo-ring. Props to Jana for introducing me to an improved source of blog content.

Which wife of Henry the Eighth are you?
Your Result: Catherine Parr

You are Catherine Parr, sixth, and final, wife of Henry. You are known for your patience and calm manner. Though not the prettiest, brightest, cleverest,most devout, or strong, you are a good person who knows how to handle her temper. Good for you!

Anne of Cleves
Katherine of Aragon
Jane Seymour
Kathrine Howard
Anne Boleyn
Which wife of Henry the Eighth are you?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Spelling problems

With the exception of my personal trip-up words ("address" always looks wrong, and "hors d'oeuvres" is a doosey), I usually spell things correctly, even when I'm in a hurry. I've noticed in the last 6 months or so I've been making the strangest spelling errors, usually while taking notes in class.

If I'm writing down a phrase, I will anticipate the next word, and go ahead and skip to it. Or I will leave out letters. Or I just won't remember how to spell something. These kind of errors really bug me, so I go back, erase, rewrite, and then I've missed a bit of the class.

Trying to write: "right-side..."
Actually write: "righs..."

Trying to write: "formant transition"
Actually write: "formatt..."

Trying to write: "susceptible"
Actually write: "sesseptable"

Trying to write: "assistive"
Actually write: "assitive"

Trying to write: "the child..."
Actually write: "thc..."

Maybe it's just old age. If that's the case I'll hate to see what I'm doing when I'm actually old.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween legends

Pretty slow year this year: 78 trick-or-treaters to last year's record-breaking 131.

However, one kid came to the door late in the game and said: "Do you have any big candy bars left? I heard you give out big candy bars."

Ray: "Uh, no..."

Kid: "Did you give out big candy bars before?"

Ray: "No, not that I recall..."

I guess that old story is still circulating since back when we used to trick-or-treat. Maybe this persisting legend accounts for our inflated trick-or-treater volume in the last few years.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Pumpkin State Pen

Is a prison-themed jack-o-lantern disturbing? I'm finding it a little unsettling, but it's done and I kinda like it. My other idea was an Easter egg diorama, but that seemed really challenging.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Emergency response

I was driving home today when a car ahead of me collided with another car. It was a Saturn sedan; the other car, a Suburban. The Saturn's front end was completely mushed and smoking; the Suburban didn't even have a dent.

The drivers directly in front of the accident got out of their cars to see if the Saturn occupants were okay. Two Muslim women got out of the Saturn, while the driver stayed in the car. I picked up my cellphone and called 911.

"There's been an accident on Delridge SW and SW Edmunds."

"Are you in the accident."


"Did you see the accident occur?"

"No, another car is ahead of me."

"Do we need to call Medic One."

"I don't know...the driver is moving around but she's still in the car. It's probably a good idea."

"Hold the line..."

The operator called Medic One. I listened as he relayed the info and then thanked me for my call.

There were a number of people helping at the scene, and at least two other people were on cellphones, presumably to 911 as well. It made me think: 911 probably gets lots more calls now that everyone carries a cellphone around. It's a nice benefit of our overly cell-centered culture.

A few years ago I was on I-5, right over the Montlake cut. A guy was walking along the freeway, the hood of his sweatshirt pulled up over his head, walking away from the nearest exit and toward the peak of the bridge, carrying nothing. Jumper. I called 911.

"I'm driving southbound on I-5 near the U-district. There's a guy walking on shoulder and I think he might jump."

"You're between the U-District and Montlake exits, is this correct."


"We've gotten a few calls on this and have police on the way. Thanks for your call."

I think they called me back to get my name or something, but I don't know why. I hope they got there in time.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Some day...

Wake up, go swimming.
Go out to breakfast.
Read/draw in coffee shop.
Go to matinee.
Come home, bake something.
Clean something.
Pull stuff out of the garden or nap.
Eat dinner.
Watch another movie.
Read, sleep.

Trying to get this on the calendar. May have to wait until 2007.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Fat Camp for the brain

I just got back from a conference on aphasia research. It was fascinating...many of the presenters were researchers and/or neurologists who had been doing a very specific slice of research very deeply for years, or even decades. Because of this, much of what they had to say was way over my head. I didn't mind brain likes a workout even if it doesn't really know what it's doing. Exausting, but pleasantly so, like a good uphill hike, or an inclement weather swim after taking Tylenol PM.

It reminded me of my last Fat Camp for the brain, which was a conference on estate taxes. This seems like a lifetime ago, though it was only a few years back. My brain liked this workout so much that I actually considered estate law as a career. What the hell was I thinking?!

Anyway, I'm glad I've landed on subject matter that is actually interesting to me and I'm looking forward to the next opportunity to make my brain run around in circles all day.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

10 odd things about me

1. Bob Costas...hubba hubba...

2. Birds that fly make me nervous.

3. I have occasional "Clapper moments"...sometimes when I lose something, I have a fleeting impulse to clap to find it, yet I have never owned nor even used a Clapper.

4. I am an excellent parallel parker.

5. I made up my own football play--"Blue 34"--in high school, but I never convinced the coach to use it. It featured a fake and option.

6. I am determined to believe in the Loch Ness Monster.

7. I have a specific aversion that few know about, but I won't even talk about it as it's that disgusting to me.

8. I believe Yanni and Twinkies have their time and place.

9. My favorite thing about Christmas is the music and Archbishop Parade at Midnight Mass, though I'm not religious.

10. I have a case of bottled water in my locker at school in case of an earthquake.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Test taking tips

I am pleased to report that "GRE: Round 2" went very well. What I have learned from the first experience to the second includes the following handy tips:

Do Not...

1. Treat a standardized test like a triathlon or 1-mile swim. Drinking coffee and eating Clif Bars with caffeine prior to testing is not only ill-suited for sitting at a computer for 3 hours, it is downright stupid.

2. Ruminate over the first problem for 7 full minutes, allowing the caffeine buzz to create something akin to math dyslexia.

3. Allow the little voices to continually rant, "You're running out of time! You're running out of time! Wheeeeeeee...coffeee....!!!"


1. Liken your test anxiety to the break-in phobia dreams; you know, the one where the guy is standing in the kitchen in the middle of the night, and you wake up in a cold sweat. In those cases, I imagine punching the smuckers out of the guy, and then kicking him in the nuts for good measure. This same visualization works for test anxiety too.

2. Get comfortable with making a best guess and moving on. (I would provide some choice vocab words here that I have NEVER seen before today, but then the GRE people would sue me and take away my nice score.)

3. Did I mention the problems with caffeine? The adrenalin will give you all the boost you'll need. Trust me.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

On math

I'm reviewing math for the GRE and having 8th grade flashbacks. In 8th grade I was in honors algebra with Mr. Croone. The problem was that we spent most of the year on factoring. Apparently a bunch of people in the class didn't get it, so Mr. Croone continued to teach the same material forever. The good news is that I can factor equations in my head automatically some of the time. The bad news is that when I arrived in 9th grade honors math, the teacher started the year by saying:

"Last year you learned that..." Nope.

"You'll recall from last year..." Uh, no. We just learned how to factor in our sleep.

So that was the end of honors math for me, and pretty much everyone else who had Mr. Croone.

Incidentally, it was the same 8th grade math class where I met Kevin. Since we both understood factoring, we'd sit in the back, goof off and punch each other. He was a sweet kid and funny as hell. He later went to the Gulf and lost his marbles, came home and killed a woman with a screwdriver to the eye. I guess while we were teasing each other during Mr. Croone's class, he had some really heinous stuff going on at home. I would have never guessed.

Monday, October 2, 2006

Strikin' gold!

I was digging around in the garage this evening, trying to find my old APA style guide for a paper I'm working on. Didn't find it but I did find some old Nancy Drew mysteries, my Rubic's Cube, patches from summer camp, and my very first love letter, circa 1988.

"Dear Rebecca,

My shyness has kept me from saying this in person. I like you. I think we should be more than friends. What do you think..."

(Name withheld to protect the innocent, and terribly adorable.)

Friday, September 29, 2006

What I would be blogging

The beginning of a full quarter and several other school related projects are keeping me from doing my blog duty. What I would be writing about, and hopefully will be writing about soon...

"Bob Costas is Sexy, and Other Odd Things About Me I Can't Possibly Explain"

"The Sandwich Rules: Melt My Cheese Please"

"Top Five Favorite Pieces of Art" (I want to work on this one NOW)

"Potential Research Topics" (I can't post on this one because I need to spend time writing about it for real)

"What Color Should I Paint the Living Room Now that the Kitchen is Dramatic Dark Blue?"

Monday, September 25, 2006

Birthday lists

It's my birthday, and not only that, it's a milestone birthday. Makes me think about life so far...

1 helicopter ride
3 trips to Europe
1 triathlon
1 mile open water swim
1 volunteer vacation
1 drive on the other side of road
1 beloved car
1 parasail
400 trips to the ocean (approx.)
1 summer with the fishes

In the next 35 years I'd like to:

Live in another country for at least a year
Ride in a helicopter again
Go to Fashion Week in NY or Milan
3-mile open water swim
Sprint tri in 1.5 hrs
Trips to Scotland, Nicaragua, Turkey, Samoa, New Zealand,...
Drive through the Deep South using backroads
Hear Pavarotti live
Take piano lessons
Participate in guerilla art
Own an old truck
Finish watching AFI 100
Make a mobile
Make audio recordings (of above, where applicable)
Watch movies in Ray's future movie theatre in Milan

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Oh dear

Like others, I cannot help but watch the trailer for Borat repeatedly. It is embarrassingly tasteless and hilarious. My favorite part is when he talks to the cow.

Oh lord, I have to watch it again.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

But first, I must post to my blog

Today's project: painting the kitchen. I've already spent part of two days starting this project and today is the day that I hope to get most of it done. The kitchen was white and I thought it needed a little livening up. (Livening? Does that look right? It didn't to me, but I spell checked it and sure enough...livening. Do you ever have that experience where a word suddenly just looks wrong, even though you're pretty sure it's right. Strange.)

So I'm drinking Trader Joe's Organic Nicaraguan coffee (I keep asking Ray how to say that right?), which is really good stuff, and trying to get motivated, as this painting project has many little details that require standing on the kitchen counters and appliances. I've already given myself two bruises from climbing up and down, and I'm not looking forward to standing on the stove top.

But, painting is an excellent time to listen to music, especially to unearth some old cds that I haven't listened to in ages. My favorites are the unmarked mixed cds that you put in the stereo not knowing what you're gonna get.

This will be the approximate color of the new kitchen...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Movie rating

Yesterday I saw "The Last Kiss," the newest Zach Braff-y Garden State-esque movie. I added it to my movie list but I have no idea how to rate it.

I saw the movie with a friend, who asked me "How do your movie ratings work anyway?" Um, excellent question. I told her that it's some combination of my level of enjoyment with the movie AND how "good" I believe the movie is...writing, directing, acting, etc. I gave "Good Night and Good Luck" the highest rating yet, though I would not want to own this movie and watch it over and over. But, indeed it was a remarkable film that I certainly enjoyed. Another highly rated movie, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," is not the most artistic movie in the world, but I believe it was extremely well-done. More importantly, it was so entertaining that I've added it to my "comfort movie" collection, i.e. the ones that I will watch over and over again.*

"The Last Kiss" does not nicely fit into my flawed but useable rating system. While the story was compelling and thought-provoking, the movie had a lot of weaknesses and holes. It was not a great movie in the conventional sense, but the way they tackled some of the subject matter and concluded the main storyline was evocative and quite true to life. I enjoyed watching it -- was in fact glued to my seat -- and Zach Braff is cute.

So, I rated this movie on a split scale...5.5 for writing & direction and 7.5 for enjoyment and mental chewiness.


COMFORT MOVIES in alphabetical order, incomplete list
Austin Powers, The Barefoot Contessa, Big Fish, Bollywood/Hollywood, Carlito's Way, Contact, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Elizabeth, Gladiator, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Lord of the Rings trilogy, Lost in Translation, Monsoon Wedding, Napoleon Dynamite, Pride and Prejudice (BBC 1995), The Princess Bride, Princess Mononoke, Rushmore

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Let's convince the spousal units/flings of the Bush Administration that this is a great idea (from today's BBC News)...


Wives and girlfriends of gang members in one of Colombia's most violent cities have called a sex ban in a bid to get their men to give up the gun.

Dozens of women are said to be taking part in what is being called the "strike of crossed legs", a move backed by the mayor of Pereira.

The city in Colombia's coffee-growing region reported 480 killings last year.

A city official said the idea came from a meeting of wives and girlfriends over the progress of a disarmament scheme.

"We met with the wives and girlfriends of gang members and they were worried some were not handing over their guns and that is where they came up with the idea of a vigil or a sex strike," the mayor's spokesman told Reuters news agency.

"The message they are giving them is disarm," he added.

Studies found that local gang members were drawn to criminality by the desire for status, power, and sexual attractiveness, not economic necessity, Colombian radio reported.

One of the girlfriends, Jennifer Bayer, told Britain's Guardian newspaper: "We want them to know that violence is not sexy."

Ms Bayer said the women had come up with a strike anthem rap song that included the lyrics: "As women we are worth a lot. We don't want to fall for violent men because with them we lose too much."

Saturday, September 9, 2006


Since I felt much better than yesterday, I decided to go ahead with the 1-mile swim this morning. It had rained all night, but heck, who cares.

My strategy included taking some ibuprofen about 1 hour before the race. As we got ready to head out the door I popped 2 caplets in my mouth, took a gulp of water, swallowed, and thought...uh oh. The caplets that just went down were white and blue, and I think they were suppose to be orange. I looked around on the counter, opened up a few bottles and realized my error. I just took Tylenol PM. The last thing I need is a sleep aid!

Since I'm not a pucker, what's done is done. I just prayed my caffeine-laden Clif Bar would help counteract the sleepy stuff. Oh lord, this was too funny.

We made our way to the beach park just as the organizer was making announcements. "If you've never swam in open water before, today is not the day to start." Sure enough, the wind was whipping and the water was both energetic chop and waves. About 20 people of the 55 who had registered bailed out. The rest of us stood around shivering while they pulled the buoys out to the appropriate positions. The weather was bad enough that they didn't place the furthest buoy, but instead told those of us doing the mile to do the course twice. Several people decided the 1/2 mile was more sensible. I wondered the same thing.

In the end, I decided to keep swimming and finish the whole mile. I came in third from the end and my time was sucky, but who cares. Third from the end was also approximately 9th place! No wonder it looks like I'm swimming alone...

Moral of the story: Be careful about containers of mixed pills AND next year wear a wetsuit.

Friday, September 8, 2006

Bad timing

Tomorrow is the 1-mile swim and I am sick. I haven't been sick in forever. I'm too hot, then cold, then hot again, and the thought of getting into cold water and trying to swim my durndest sounds miserable.

I'm praying for a quick recovery. Being sick is silly.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006


-verb. Slang. To move or act snoopily or stealthily.

This is a good description of Sammy, especially now that she has bubblegum stuck to her right front paw. It smells like watermelon flavor.

Sunday, September 3, 2006


My grandpa drove a pink Cadillac. It wasn't an obvious, garish pink, but more subtle...close to the flat off-white paint they used on cars before the 70s. He must have custom-ordered it, since I can't imagine this color being one of the standard offerings. What I do know is that he did it for my grandma. Her favorite color was pink.

Grandpa made other bold gestures (or sacrifices, I'm not sure which) for my grandma. The family moved out of the city and bought some property near Normandy Park, where Grandpa designed and built a pink house. It was similar to the pink you've seen on those houses built on the hillsides along the Ligurian coast. You know the, mauve, yellow, orange buildings all jammed in together.

Anyway, Grandpa's house was a fascinating place. From the outside I'd say it was your somewhat average (albeit pink) American Colonial style, but inside it included some interesting architectural touches. The most interesting of these was the two separate 2nd floors off the dining room.

If you sat in the dining room, you'd see five separate entryways. The first two were obvious: a few steps down led you to the living room, and through a short wide hallway you'd find the kitchen. On the other side of the dining room was another few stairs going down to the hallway where my Grandparents' bedroom and bath were situated. Then there were two closed doors. Behind the first, in the corner, was a narrow dark staircase that bent around to the right. Once at the top you'd see two dark attic-y bedrooms. These rooms belonged to my dad and his brothers when they were kids, though as I remember it, these rooms were used for storage in later years. Lots of dusty, cobwebby storage.

The other closed doors in the dining room were french-style with white-painted wooden blinds. Open these and you'd see a short but steep and wide set of stairs up to a landing, where an upright piano stood. The stairs turned and continued a few steps more. The room at the top was well lit by the large windows on one side. My grandma's collection of glass bottles sat on the window sills, giving the room flecks of blue, green and other colors. I think there was a small desk and bookshelves on one side, and lacey pillows and quilts lay on some kind of settee on the other. Built-in wall shelves held books and more collectibles: ceramics, figurines, glassware. Continuing down a hallway you'd find a well-lit bathroom and another bedroom. I think this space was especially used by my grandma.

Off the kitchen, down two stairs and through a darkish laundry room lay the pool room. It was a funny rectangular room that held the pool table and not much else. There was just enough room to play pool.

My grandma loved roses, and planted scores which outlined the yard in front of the house. Beyond that was another yard, a square field where we used to throw lawn darts. Beyond this was the shuffle board, the big brick fireplace and the beach house. We'd stay in the beach house sometimes, and my mom would attempt (and likely succeed, though I don't remember) to cook on the ancient stove...the type where you'd have to light an actual fire under the cast-iron burners.

My grandparents died when I was 12. My grandmother had a stroke in the mid-70s, resulting in full-blown dementia for the last 10 years of her life. When my grandma died, my grandpa couldn't live without her, even though she didn't even recognize him in the final years. He died a month later. He just wasn't interested in being without her.

My dad and his siblings sold the pink house and Cadillac sometime after Grandpa's death. By that time, the Cadillac probably went to the wrecking yard, and the house met a similar fate a few years later. You see, my grandpa was a civil engineer, not an architect. That funny pink house really wasn't built well, or on ground that made for a firm foundation. It was used as a rental for awhile, and then some subsequent owners tore it down.

Shortly after I met Jana in college, I mentioned something about my Grandpa's pink house. It turns out she remembered it well as it marked the spot of her Dad's favorite fishing hole in the Sound.

A couple of years ago, Desiree and I drove down the swichback road that led to my grandparents' old property. I knew the house would be gone, but I just had to see what was there in its place. It seems the new owner had combined my grandparents' property with the adjacent lot, and built a behemoth with a five-car garage. The landscaping around the house was all lawn. It looked weird and sterile, and bore no resemblance to the beautiful and quirky place I remember.

I sometimes wonder if my interest in archtecture comes from my grandpa. If I were to design a house, I would want to include some oddities like my grandpa did. Who knows, maybe I would even paint it a subtle shade of pink in Grandma's honor.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Plums anyone?

(...and this is just a 1/3 of them)

Anyone have any good recipes? We're gonna have a real plum situation on our hands in just a few days.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Seen in DC

Sunday, August 20, 2006

"Exceptionally fine"

This was our wave's key word during Sally Edwards' starting line pep talk. Apparently they'd run out of adjectives for the 30 previous waves...things like "fantastic" and "bodacious." Nope, our wave was "exceptionally fine."

Actually, I think this phrase captures the triathlon experience. It was really a lot of fun with no real "what the hell am I doing!" moments. I think I was too numb (especially my left foot during the last two miles) to have an opinion about the less-fine parts. All in all, great fun and a big rush.

Fully exhausted, and probably less than lucid, I'm trying to pack for our trip to DC. This is a challenge for two tired people. I caught Ray mumbling, "I wonder if I'll need any pants?" Hmmm, what kind of conference are you attending?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Pearls? of Wisdom

A few gems from the past week or so...

Professor: "Never deep fat fry in the nude."

Sticker: "'Stressed' is 'desserts' spelled backwards."

Bumper sticker: "Bush is Poopy"

Sorry that's all I got. It's finals week.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Rewriting the formula

Though rationally I knew otherwise, I've been fooling myself in thinking that in most cases...

event/activity = pleasure/enjoyment

...when in reality it's more like...

anticipation + event/activity + recollection = maximal pleasure/enjoyment

I think for most activities with a relatively long lead-time, like planning for a trip or vacation...

anticipation 35% + event itself 30% + recollection 35% = 100 maximal pleasure

Spontaneous activities, however, are different for me: anticipation time is short to non-existent as is its total pleasure percentage, but the during and post-activity rewards are great.

anticipation 0 + event 50% + recollection 50%

Training for the triathlon has helped me understand these three base components of the pleasure formula, but also that pleasure derived from long-awaited sporting activities is still more complex...

50%? training activity (anticipation 10 + activity 40 + post activity 50) + 50%? sporting event (anticipation 10 + activity x + post activity y)

This time next week I will have solved for x and y, and they will be directly impacted by whether or not I get into a bike crash. Meanwhile, I'm grateful I've finally figured out my own formula. And after all, isn't the last part of the formula why blogs exists for lots of us?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Monday, August 7, 2006

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

By September 25

I have been fixated on and off (can a fixation be periodic?) a long-distance swim ever since this triathlon training started. So here's me, throwing down the gauntlet: On or before Monday, Sept 25, my birthday, I will do at least a 1 mile open water swim. There's an opportunity for an organized 1-mile swim on Sept 10, or I could do a solo swim. If it turns out to be the latter, does anyone have a rowboat for loan? Anyone want to swim along with me?

I'm meeting Susie at the crack of dawn tomorrow to time myself on a 1/2 mile. This swimming stuff is really interferring with my plan to overcome run-hating.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Chicken in a bucket

I've been meaning to take a picture of the plastic chicken in a bucket that sits neglected next to our neighbor's house. Our neighbor is basically houseridden and looks out her window all day. She'd think it's peculiar for me to be taking a picture of her forlorn plastic chicken in a bucket. Though she may be right, I'll keep waiting for the right moment.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Monday, July 24, 2006

Tall bike

Yesterday, a few of us were chatting about Floyd Landis's Tour de France win. It spurred a conversation about the Amish and the vast number of sub-cultural groups that exist, and the groups (unlike the Amish) who you aren't remotely aware of until you run into them by chance.

I remembered this conversation today, though thankfully I did not literally "run into" this group.

While driving home, I saw a guy riding a triple decker bike. By triple decker I mean it had 3 bike frames welded together, one atop the other. I was driving down a busy 3-4 lane arterial, and watched him as he tried to cross another busy 4 lane arterial. He was sitting about as high up as if you put a folding chair on top of a full size van. He was wearing shorts and a t-shirt, no helmet. While I admire the ingenuity of this contraption, and his guts to ride it, it also seemed pretty stupid to ride something like this in heavy traffic. If you were close enough to him, you may miss that there's a bike near you, since the rider is well above the top of most cars. And how would he dismount in a hurry without landing on his head? At best and with some luck, he may have a moment to throw one leg over the middle of the frame, and aim to jump on some nearby grass.

When I got home I googled "tall bike" and come up with this wiki on the subject. "Bike hacking" is apparently somewhat common outside of the carnival circles, and there are several clubs in Puget Sound and Portland. Who knew.

It makes me feel very old to dwell on the dangers of this bike and its use on busy city streets. But really, Dude, I respect your bike hacking skills and all, but think about where you're riding next time. And eat your vegetables.

(The bike I saw today was taller than this one.)

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Looking around my office space at home, I am disgusted by all the crap that I really don't use or enjoy. I already have a big stack of stuff to go to Goodwill, but maybe it'd be more fun to trade or give it to someone who will at least marginally appreciate it. Or use it in some art project.

CDs up for grabs, for a few weeks anyway before I go to Easy Street. I'll mail it if you feel like trading for something funky or interesting of any value.

PJ Harvey, Uh Huh Her, 2004

Her album before this one was so good, and this one seems so mediocre to me. But reading the Amazon reviews, I guess a lot of people really liked it.

The Vines, Winning Days, 2004

This is a pretty good album, but I never listen to it. It's pretty rockin' alt-punk-whatever, and the best song is "TV Pro".

Otto, Samba Pra Burro, 1998
Brazilian techno...interesting.

Ennio Morricone, Morricone Aromatico, 2004
A compilation of the composer made famous by his movie scores, including The Mission. Everything is listed it Italian, and I didn't recognize a lot of it.

Joan Osborne, Righteous Love, 2000
Where did this come from? I don't think I've ever listened to it.

Joan Osborne, How Sweet It Is, 2002
Huh? Did I have some kind of Joan Osborne blackout? I couldn't hum a thing on here. I don't even know what Joan Osborne sounds like.

The Beatles, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967
Classic! I own 2 of these, so I'm willing to part with this one. But what if I need a backup one day...?

Phil Collins, Serious Hits...Live!, 1990
I suppose this is good for 80s reminiscing, but I don't need this CD to do that.

Dan Fogelberg, Greatest Hits, 1982

I think someone loaned this to me 15 years ago, but I have no idea who. Never listened to it. Who was Dan Fogelberg?

James Taylor, Dad Loves His Work, 1981
Same as above...except I do like James Taylor. I've just never listened to this album.

And the gem...

Kenny G, Breathless, 1992
Oh my god. I've been listening to this while writing this up, and it is disturbing. This is so boyfriend-in-1992-ish. Maybe I should find him and send it to him. We went to the Kenny G/Michael Bolton concert together at the Puyallup Fair. Oy! If I could've gone on stage and touched both of their long wavy mullets, maybe it would've all been worth it.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Multi-purpose melon

I was driving though the east edge of the International District this afternoon, as I do every day when I work. I had my windows rolled down since it's hot and my air conditioning is on the fritz. While stopped at a light, I heard a lot of yelling coming from a large, fenced Asian produce market on the corner. Two guys -- I assume they were employees -- took off around the fence and headed down the street after someone, yelling in high pitched voices in Mandarin or Szechuan. Behind them was a cashier woman, also running and yelling. She stopped suddenly, turned around and ran back to one of the produce bins. After scanning the bin quickly, she picked out a perfect, palmable little watermelon. She turned around again and jumped back into the race down the street, holding the watermelon next to her head, ready to launch it at the perpetrator as soon as she was within range.

I didn't get a chance to see what happened next, as the light changed and a mini-van virtually stopped in the intersection to watch the action, blocking my view. Anyway, I hope her great idea was accompanied by good aim.

Note to Miss D: A few minutes later I stopped at that DeLite Bakery on Beacon Hill and bought some rolls. Now I get what you were telling me about those relatives who came to visit and their bread fixation! So evilgood.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Ray: "You know what would be cool? At the end of the triathlon, you should turn around and headbutt the person right behind you."

Monday, July 10, 2006

Dream learning

I have two recurring themes in my dreams: houses/architecture and flying. I'm glad I dream these things with some regularity since I rarely want them to end.

Last night I had one of the flying dreams. In it, I was helping some federal law enforcement friends deal with a nasty spurt of organized gang violence. Somehow the flying skills made me especially helpful, though I couldn't tell you what exactly I did that was useful in this situation.*

The gangsters figured out I was helping the cops, and they weren't too pleased. I went to the top of their take-down list. For a few hours I flew around some unknown city (I think it was Manhattan), trying to hide from these guys. I wasn't scared; rather I felt the excitement of flying coupled with some slight but tolerable worry. I later discovered I knew some people in the gang, in fact had been friends with them at some point, which made the entire situation a little more dicey. Ultimately the dream ended as I went to this tiny boutique spa where I met up with Jana and we each bought a pair of these cute pink slippers.

Anyway, the point is that while I was flying around Manhattan, weaving around skyscrapers and trying to find alcoves where I couldn't be seen by the gangsters in hot pursuit (in cars, on the ground...?), I was actually noticeably better at flying than in previous dreams. Usually during the dreams, I do fine until about 3 or 4 stories up, at which point the height makes me a little anxious and I bring it down a little bit. However, this time I was way above 4 stories, and my height anxiety didn't factor until at least 50 floors up.

Fascinating. Has my sub-conscious been "learning" how to fly and practicing with all these dreams, or was it just a fluke and next time I'll be back to the jitters once I'm several hundred feet in the air? Maybe this is my brain's way of demonstrating a kind of plasticity since we've been talking about it in class and in the lab lately. I don't know, but I hope I get more flight time soon to find out!


*Ray: "Wow, it's like I married a superhero!"

Me: "Except that I wasn't doing anything hero-like."

Ray: "Yeah, but you were helping out the cops with your superpowers."

Me: "I don't even think I was helping them. I think I was more just like their super friend."

Ray: "Ah-ha, you're a Superfriend!"

Friday, July 7, 2006

Learning curve

Me, on phone to Ray: "Hi, got a quick question. Do you know of any good websites with basic list of commands for Unix? I'm in the lab and we're trying to convert the fMRI data to this cool new program that runs on Unix."

Ray: <laughter>

Ray, muffled, to others: "Check this wife's on the phone asking for a quick tutorial on Unix..."

Ray, to me: "'s like you just asked for a website on how to fly a plane."

Me: "Oh."

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Summer Concentrate

Lucky me...a sampling of summer over the last four days:

- bike ride on Alki
- swim in Lake Washington
- drinks on deck with friends
- fish tacos
- overnight road trip
- sitting around a camp fire
- shopping for lawn furniture
- BBQ chicken
- potato salad
- burgers from the grill
- walk on the beach
- shish kabobs
- home improvement projects
- yard work
- 4th of July fireworks
- and, roasted marshmallows, which inspired this s'mores alternative...

Bananas Gorilla

Roast marshmallows.
Put over sliced bananas.
Add chocolate syrup.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

True story

I went to the dentist yesterday. Since I hadn't been to the dentist in at least three years, I was extremely nervous. I was convinced my gums had receded to the point of root exposure, a few teeth would need to be removed, and I would be a candidate for early dentures.

This was the first time I'd seen a dentist other than Dr. W., who had been my dentist since the womb and must be at least 85 by now. I opted to switch to Ray's dentist since, in addition to good reviews, I'd heard he uses all the latest gizmos, is generous with the laughing gas, and "has a chin like Viggo Mortensen."

They took about 800 x-rays when I got there...all digital, which is much better than those horrid little cardboard-covered film pieces my old dentist made me bite down on. Ewh. After the x-rays, Dr. L. came in and quietly looked at them. A few minutes passed. The longer the silence, the more I prepared myself for the worst.

"So, do they look so far?"

"Actually, a bit of a snooze. I don't see any problems..."

No way.

After going through the x-rays, he took his poker-hook thing and started prodding around.

"Nice looking teeth. Gums too. You've been doing a good job..."

No way.

The rest of the visit went similarly. The hygenist used words like "lovely" and "very nice" to describe my teeth. Good thing I was laying in that cush dentist chair, because I would've fallen over. She did end up finding a wee cavity in the back, but Dr. L. took a look and said, "There's no way you could've done anything to prevent that's in a really deep groove."

All in all, it's a new age in dentistry. Not only do they use supersonic vibrations and digitized images as part of their regular check-ups, but they've caught on to a little thing called Positive Reinforcement. Excellent!

One problem: my daily dental regimen was based on fear and paranoia. What will be my motivation now?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Product Pitch

With Jana's foray into individual-sized wine boxes (Petit Chateau Carton?), I'm inspired to pitch my own latest discover: Trader Joe's Organic Limeade. It is very nice and refreshing by itself, or makes any cocktail experiment tastey. (Haven't tried it with Jagermeister or that Cinnamon-flavored crap, but I'd almost say this is universally true.)

Since I'm concerned that TJ's will pull this product off the shelf, please buy some and try for yourself.

Lime & Da Coconut
One cup Limeade
One shot Malibu Rum

Stir or shake with ice, adjust to taste, drink up. Serves 1.

12th Ave Sling
Juice of one orange
Juice of one lime or lemon
Shot of Amaretto
Shot of Vodka
Seltzer optional

Shake with ice, adjust limeade, alcohol to taste. Add seltzer for fizz, drink up. Serves 1-2.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Moving on*

Probably one out of every 8 posts I find annoying after I put them up, which is handy as it compells me to keep writing. I started working on a Best Of list, but it's just so dull I'd have to push it down if I posted it, just like I have to push the cutesy critters from the top of the blog. Sorry guys.

Anyway, since summer is upon us, and my schedule is starting to fill up, it'd be useful to do another To Do list. And what possesses me to make my To Dos open for public** consumption? Doesn't really does help keep me on track.

TO DO THIS SUMMER (June 20 - September 25)

1. Study for GRE, Sept 2
2. Train for the triathlon, Aug 20
3. Finish cleaning the garage
4. Paint the bathroom (done)
5. Possibly redo the bathroom and kitchen floors and counters
6. Help plan Ray's dad's move to Seattle
7. Decide about pursuing Ph.D. (got more info: urgency off, decision later)
8. Paint the bedroom
9. Paint the living room
10. Rip out plants in back planting bed
11. Deep clean area rugs
12. Host a BBQ
13. Lose 20 lbs.
14. Box up some cds
15. Go to Henry Art Gallery
16. Get body work done on car (done)
17. Make Iranian rice
18. Figure out research project for next year (done)
19. Fix 2 clothing items
20. Do clinical observations

*Moving On makes me think of Movin' On Up, the title song of that classic TV shoe, The Jeffersons. I have no idea why I loved this show so much, but thinking about the theme song immediately puts me in a good mood. Is Sherman Hemsley still alive? I think Wheezie (sp?) died.

**Public as in all 7 known readers of my blog.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Spring break list

I don't know what to call this break between spring and summer quarters, but since it's technically still spring until June 20-something, then why not another Spring Break. Anyway, I'll post another To Do list and pretend it keeps me on track.

1. Clean the house (good go of it)
2. Clean my office space for next quarter (done)
3. Buy better running shoes (done)
4. Run twice (tennis once, 2 runs)
5. Swim twice (check)
6. Bike once (Sunday)
7. Paint a room (only looked at/thought about paint so far)
8. Clean up that one bed in the front yard, and put new plant in (this week maybe?)
9. Buy an odometer (done)
10. Buy GRE prep book (done)
11. Watch 5 DVDs (3 down)
12. Watch 1 in-theatre movie (Mission Impossible 3)
13. Take stuff in garage to Goodwill (first round done)

That's a healthy list. I'll be pretty durn proud if I get all this done.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Shark Reef, Lopez Island

Scene from a hammock

Ah, this is the life. The quarter is over, tests are taken, papers submitted, we've gotten outta Dodge, and I can finally relax in this hammock with nothing to do but listen to the woods. I wish I knew something about birds since I can hear several chirping around me. Let's see, there's one over here to my right, and another different kind over to my left. I'd say the one on my right is at about 40 degrees and the one of the left is at about 200 degrees. But then how does the elevation factor work, since I'm laying down, and at least one of them is several degrees "elevated" from the azimuthal field. And both of them are in my "cone of confusion" which means that I probably have their locations way off. Argh! Stop it! Stop. It.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Necessary ridiculousness

Last final tomorrow. I've been studying like a mad. However, I am going loose my last cognitive twinkie if I don't write something utterly ridiculous and silly right now (besides "cognitive twinkie").

There once was a little girl named Shirley who walked 4 blocks to school every day. One day she took an alternate route down a shadowy street in her neighborhood. It had lots of tall trees with big trunks and walnuts to kick on the ground. While she was looking down for walnuts to kick, she spotted a tube of toothpaste. It was orange and glittery on the outside, unlike any tube of toothpaste she'd ever seen before. She opened the lid and put one eye right next to the little round opening. Inside it looked like pink satin and marshmallows. Being so close to the little round opening, she couldn't help but get a whiff. It smelled like marshmallows, but better -- like marshmallows and birthdays and a Christmas tree. She had never though Christmas trees could be edible before, but somehow she had an overwhelming urge to taste the paste. She squeezed out enough to fit on the tip of her finger, and stuck it in her mouth. Wow, it was good. She closed her eyes trying to place the other flavors. It made her think about her favorite dreams where she could fly. Those dreams always came with a vivid sensation of weighing nothing at all. Shirley marveled at having that feeling during daylight hours, and opened her eyes to squeeze out a little more paste. But wait a minute! What happened to the grass and the ground and the walnuts. Shirley looked up just in time to avoid a big leafy branch of one of those big trees. She was floating!

Just like in the dreams, Shirley kicked her legs and flapped her arms a little. She could maneuver just like she'd been doing it all her life. Pretty soon she could see the roof tops, and then the flag pole at the school. Not wanting to be late, she floated her way over to the building. As she set down on fenced part of the school yard next to the cafeteria kitchen, she tucked the toothpaste into her pocket, and went to class.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Feliz Aniversario

I like being married to someone who always buys and reads Real Change newspaper when he gets a chance.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

The paper

Got a draft of a paper due this week. In short, it's on the auditory codes and how they work with a cochlear implant. I've set aside the whole day today, Sunday, for some serious paper-crankage. But somehow, it's almost 11 and I haven't done a thing. It's incredible what "needs" to happen in order to write this thing.

Wake up at 6:30 to feed pets. Too tired to start writing. Go back to bed.

Wake up at 8:30. Try to get up. Unsuccessful until 9.

Breakfast: must make blueberry pancakes. We're out of some ingredients, so find alternates. Works out pretty well.

Watch TV while eating. Ina Garten is making a beach picnic. Doesn't hurt to watch the rest of's only 15 minutes.

David Chiarello comes on. He's making roasted corn salsa. I should spend a few minutes cuddling the dog before I get going. Wow...can't wait to grill some vegetables. We should start planning that BBQ we've been talking about. Okay, later.

I'll just read this article about new baby Brangelina. Oh hey, check this out: Johnny Depp breaks in all of Keith Richards shoes for him. That's hilarious.

Need coffee. The choices at home aren't doing much for me. I'll go up to Heidi's and get one made by professionals. Sammy better come with me. Where is her leash?

I should really wear something other than pajamas. Where are my sandals?

Okay, got my coffee...let's fire this sucker up.

I should pull up the class website so I can reference notes from there. Hmmm, it'd be best to get the blog reading out of the way so there'll be no distractions later.

Ha! Check out everybody's favorite State Rep. Dave's MySpace account.

I need to figure out when I'm working out today...

The house needs picking up...

If I get a lot done, I'll go with Ray and his friends to see the X-Men movie...

I really should post to my blog...

This is ridiculous.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Ode to Spring

By Sammy

Spring has come
Hurrah - such dung!
The possoms scamper
And relieve a sampler
Of delectable fair
For dogs with hair

Run wild and free
In the backyard shall we
Alight anew
On the glories of poo!
Once precious loot found
Roll round and round
On choice fresh scent
Of moist defecant

O' gather ye possom
Come from hither and yon
To feast in our garden
And poop on our lawn

I shall find thy sweet leavings
Oh yes, I will nigh
For morrow day greets me
With prized possompie

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Happy Quitiversary

Last Saturday marked 1 year since my last day at my old job. It seems a little silly to remember such an anniversary, but it's an important day for me to remember.

I was talking to my mom, on Saturday no less, about my anxiety over an upcoming test. I mean this was a doozey, which included sun-up to sun-down studying, several study groups with beer to lessen the anxiety, and discussions about vomitting both pre- and post-test. (Vomitting is also a somewhat accurate analogy of what most of us did with the material on the test as well.) Anyway, after patiently listening to me whine, she concluded, "Well, I bet they would have you back at (old job)..."

I have joked about this in the last year, but it was her seriousness that really took me off guard. For a half second, my imagination ran with it: sitting at my desk feeling beyond bored, working on strategies that felt personally compromising, getting through painful weekly team meetings, feeling like most of my brain was slowly melting while the time management and politicking centers worked at full steam. Ugh. I'm trying to think of a word that captures this unhealthy combination of boredom, paranoia, disatisfaction, depression, apathy and longing that represents my old career. Maybe...bordepathetism.

The fact is, as I told my mom, I love school. Even at the most daunting part of the quarter, I absolutely love it and the direction it will take me. And as for my old job...well, in hindsight I realize it's 3 times as horrid a fit for me as I thought when I walked out of there my last day. Horrible fit. Simply awful.

Today I sat in class and thought for the umpteenth time: I will take phase-locking to fundraising any day. The period of a time waveform is far superior to a cultivation strategy form, period. I'd rather spend an afternoon trying to understand single voxel comparisons than schmooze with strangers on some view patio. And even when I'm struggling to remember the point of the temporal modulation transfer function, I'll take it over that old slurping sound of my soul being sucked away.

So happy quitiversary or whatever you'd call it. I am very happy to be here.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Monday, May 8, 2006

Back from the time warp

Palm Springs recalls 1985-stuck-in-1975-harkening-the-1950s. White tuxedo jackets, headbands, and sequins on t-shirts and sandals are not only acceptable, but encouraged. Some premium people watching ensued during our 2/3 pool-lounging/drinking, 1/3 eating/drinking all girls birthday weekend.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006


At the beginning of the year, I griped about my name being a moving target...Rebecca Whoseit, Rebecca Whatsit, or Rebecca Whoseit Whatsit. Since then I've been consistently using all three names except when it's not possible. It's cumbersome at times, but it feels more like me than the other options.

So today, I got reinforcement (and reinforcement goes a long way with me!) one of my regular coffee stops...

Coffee guy: You have the coolest name.
Me: Really? Which one?
Coffee guy: All three, together. It's the coolest name I've seen in a long time.
Me: Wow, thanks!

Hurrah -- at least there's one person who isn't saying "Rebecca blah blah huh?"

Friday, April 28, 2006

My Sweet Pee?

Gmail works great for email. Even though they have a little bit of advertising related to topics they believe are of interest to you, it's subtle text-only stuff. I usually don't even notice it...until today.

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This line of advertising was apparently in response to the email string between Ray and I about meetings, shoes, DVD purchases, plans for the day, and a trip in a few weeks. Oh, and a brief line about what the dog did on her walk today.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

This calls for chocolate

Ray starts his new job today, six months after the Old Company's dramatic crash landing (there were no survivors). Downside = he's working for The Man again. Upside = The Man has benefits. Literally...benefits, and regular paychecks! Woohooo!

I celebrated with a Cadberry Cream Egg.

Monday, April 10, 2006

The problem with running

I don't like running and it doesn't like me.

The other day at the gym, I kept track of how many things contributed to my dislike of spending time on the treadmill when both feet lift off the rubber track. First, my right achilles and calf begin to ache. Then my left arch starts to yowl. Then the pad of my right foot has something to say. Shortly thereafter, the contents of my abdominal region begin to shift around, sending messages to the brain that I need to stop right now and take care of some things. Then my hair flips into my eyes and I start the mantra that I'm trying to avoid: "Hate this. Hate this."

It doesn't help that right at this moment they're showing how to deep fry a corndog on the Food Network directly in front of me. All I need is some exhaust fumes to inhale and some lint to eat...mmm, heaven.

Friday, April 7, 2006

Seen last night

Bored salesman decked out for picking up some "babes" at Ocean Shores, or the beer garden at Nascar. At the bar alone, no one talks to him and he gets drunker. He finally leaves. Fun to watch though.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

Seen yesterday

Is it a hat? Is it a headband? Whatever it is, I think the "fur" came from the set of Fraggle Rock, now available on eBay.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

...and in my free time, I like to make my own breakfast cereal...

Today, in between classes...

Me: Anyone want some Chex Mix?

S: Sure!

Gum Chomper: Yeah! Thanks!


S: This is good.

GC: Yeah, did you make this yourself?

Me: Uh-huh. Made two big bags of it.

GC: Wow! That's incredible!


GC: So, like, how did you do it?

Me: Oh you know, a little butter, a little Worcestershire...

GC: No, I mean, how did you make these little squares? They're all, like, perfect.

Me: It's know, Chex.

GC: Oh...I get it.

J: Yeah, why are you spending your time making your own cereal when you should be studying...

Monday, April 3, 2006

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

It's official (pretty much)

I'm doing the Danskin triathlon in August. I've committed to a training group, and my registration is pending. And since I'm now typing about it here, it will be so.

So next steps are figuring out my training schedule. I'm going to do 2 of 3 components for each workout. Since I usually swim about 1700 for a workout, I'm going to concentrate that into a vigorous 1200 (the race is 800), and then bike or run for the other 1/2 of my workout. I'm really worried about the running part, as I have NEVER been a good runner. Ever. Even when I was playing lacrosse I still preferred sprints and loathed distance running. My training buddies suggested working up to 3 miles (3 miles is a lot for me!) using intervals...1 minute run, 1 minute walk...2 minute run, 1 minute walk, and so on. That seems doable. And I also need to get my bike tuned up and get some road tires.

The only other experience I have with triathlon is when I did the swimming portion for a team a few years ago. Like everyone else, I had my race number written in big black pen on my calves the day before. Then I went to a baby shower. I'm concerned that I ruined some nice lady's furniture with black pen smudges, try as I might to not let my legs touch anything. Bloody inconsiderate if true, eh.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Blogs make world smaller

I just looked at Santino Rice's blog and found out I could've gone to his yard sale this weekend in L.A...if I lived anywhere near L.A. of course. I'm willing to bet he did pretty well.

Before and after

Monday, March 20, 2006

Spring break

It's spring break this week. I'm done with both work and school, and given my last week I deserve to indulge a bit. But just a bit. By end of day Sunday, I will have:

1. Finished the front yard...all beds cleaned, new plants planted, all spiffed up.
2. Swam 5 times.
3. Watched at least 5 new movies...this could be a challenge, but I'm up for it.
4. Kept the stack of clothes on the dresser below 4".
5. Sat at Le Panier with coffee and paper on one morning.
6. Readied my office area for next quarter.
7. Done something nice for Ray besides #4.

(You know, I have to acknowledge how spoiled I really am to have a list like this. I know more than a few dynamo moms who would consider giving their left arm for such a week.)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

In Memory of Ramon Guillermo de Cazando el Gatito Favorito

Ramon was born in 1989 or 1990 and lived a full life until he left this world on March 13, 2006 after complications of leg tumor cancer. Adopted in November 1992, Ramon made friends easily and always looked for opportunities to be held and carried. He enjoyed naps and meals with his family, friends and neighbors. Favorite activities included talking, yelling, eating potatoes, eating turkey, hugging, sleeping with his head on the pillow and body under the covers, ripping paper and paper bags, being carried around the house, playing with his favorite stuffed toy (once resembling a bird), covert naps with Sammy, antagonizing T-Ko, biting out of affection, biting out of boredom, spraying bags and clothes on the floor, being let in and out every few minutes, stealing food off of active dinner plates and lobbying for cereal bowls in use.

Ramon -- also known as Mony, Mon-ster, The Mons, Mon Guillermo, Pure Evil, Diablito, Bones, Bone-sy, Butt Wind and Bubba -- is survived by his mother, Ray, Andy, favorite aunt Sheila, Grammy, Sammy, and all those who cherished being bit on the head or elbow while sleeping. We will miss you Mony. You were the best and softest gray cat ever.

Please feel free to sign the memorial guestbook, located in comments.