Monday, April 30, 2007

Gender quiz

Can you guess the gender of Person 1 and Person 2 in this (not so) hypothetical conversation about girl baby names?

P1: "What about Jessica?"

P2: "Nah. Like Torrance?"

P1: "Uh-uh. How about Robin?"

P2: "Nothing for me. What about Bianca?"

P1: "Don't like it. Jennifer?"

P2: "No. Sabine?"

P1: "Ooooh no way. Jeanette?"

P2: "Uh. No. How about Louisa..."


Friday, April 20, 2007

Tito Jackson

I tagged along for a little orientation of one of the UW's new MRI scanners. It has a powerful 3T magnet, whereas the last one our lab used was a 1.5T.

When I got home I did a little research to find out what, exactly, this type of powerful magnet can do relative to the old one. I googled '3T' and learned, to my surprise, what Tito Jackson has been up to for the last few years. Uh, good to know.

It was also glaring reminder of how much better I understand entertainment news compared to imaging.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The BEST prescription

I've been noticing more lately that the back of my head falls asleep if I spend any time laying on my back. I'll wake up, and realize that my posterior cranium is all numb and tingly. I'll sit up, rub it for a few seconds and the feeling returns. Disturbing.

Just saw the doctor who said I have severe muscle spasms back there, and they are pinching my nerves. Charming. So I now have a prescription for massage! I can't think of anything better!

I looked up my favorite massage therapist, Michael (you VM folks know who I'm talking about), and he takes our insurance. Hurrah! I also just remembered he used to give me "homework" for my extraordinarily tight head/neck muscles years ago.

"Okay Rebecca, let's practice...gently let your head fall back into my hands."

"I am..."

"No, no you're not...let's try again..."

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Harry Potter and the Curse of the Harry Potter Book

I decided to reread the last 2 Harry Potter books ahead of the release of the final installment this summer. What a great counterpoint to everything else I'm working on for school! In fact, too good a counterpoint: I'm having trouble working on my research project for any length of time without thinking "I should really take a break and read Harry Potter..."

I'm sad to see both HP and The Sopranos conclude this year.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

It's a girl!

Amazingly, my hunch was right (with the backing of Susie's intuition, which is always scary dead-on). We found out Friday that I'm carrying a she-baby, and so far she's doing great. We also got some excellent (and unintended) parenting tips from the sonographer, who bonded with Ray over Catholic school. But before we consider Holy Names, we gotta get this baby born!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The friendly defense

An interesting article ran in this morning's Seattle Times, about how banks are using "customer-service-on-steroids" to approach and deter would-be bank robbers. Basically, when they see someone enter the bank that looks suspicious (like wearing a parka in warm weather, or gardening gloves), they immediately greet them and take a very personable approach to welcoming them to the bank. This tactic apparently takes the robber off-guard, since they are no longer "anonymous", and gives them an easy exit strategy ("Oh...I forgot my wallet..."). So far, Seattle's bank robberies for the first part of 2007 have dropped by nearly half compared to last year. More banks are adopting this approach.

All of this reminded me: About a year ago I was meeting some friends at an Irish pub downtown for trivia. I stopped by an ATM across the street before going into the pub. I had just inserted my ATM card when I noticed two guys standing behind me. They were obviously together, but not standing together. They were behind me, one on either side, closer than is customary while waiting for the ATM, and were watching me. I knew they were there for cash...namely mine.

I had one of those quick decision moments that we all sometimes have. I could a) ignore them and probably get mugged or b) turn around and address them to either reassure myself that I was wrong, or possibly deter them from whatever they had planned if I was right. I chose b.

I turned and said: "Can I help you with something?"

One of the two responded: "Uh...where is the store?"

I pointed some direction and the two of the walked off. Clearly, they would not have been standing where they were watching me if they were actually looking for the store. I'm so glad I trusted my gut.

I'm even more glad that Melissa and I took a self-defense class many years ago. In the class we learned that a good way to ward off attackers (the raper type), is to act suddenly crazy. Pee your pants, eat grass, laugh maniacally, anything to break their script of overpowering you. I bet this "crazy defense" would've worked well in the ATM situation, but no grass, peeing is messing...and the friendly defense was all that occurred to me at the time.

Anyway, this morning's article was a great reminder that most people who want to do bad things want to be as invisible as possible. Next time I see a scary skulker, I'm gonna say a big hello. That way if my gut is totally wrong, the only harm I've caused is being friendly.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sammy and Roxy

Our neighbor has been hospitalized for the last month or so. Meanwhile, we've been keeping Roxy the dog in touch with other living creatures, namely ourselves and Sammy. I'm not sure she spends much (if any) time with the person who feeds her, as he doesn't seem to take much interest in her. Plus it doesn't help that she's scared of him.

Even though Sammy is an old girl and gets irritated with Roxy's puppy energy, they make pretty good friends most of the time.

Thursday, April 5, 2007


I've had this new fangled Blogspot blog for 2 whopping years already. Still wish I could access my old blog, but it still may be in the hands of Brazilian blackmailers. Who knows.

Anyway, I'm feeling overwhelmed and undermotivated about what needs to be accomplished in the next 5 months before pushing a wee human out of me. (Um, let's just not go there yet.)

- Finish and present research at 2 symposiums (symposia? symposii?)
- Put condo on the market (hopefully it needs little or no work!)

- Help Ray's dad move from Hawaii, and get him set up in a new place
- Finish up at school

- Plan and initiate big home improvement projects
- Maybe work in another professor's lab
- Take childbirth classes

- Finish home improvement projects
- Finish childbirth prep
- Learn to relax.

There. I feel better already.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Luckiest girl around, I think

Tonight I'm in charge of dinner. This is a rare thing as Ray always cooks the evening meal, but since he's sick, I'm head chef for the night. If I'm in charge of any meal, it's usually breakfast, as I make some mean pancakes, popovers and biscuits. Anyway, I haven't cooked dinner in so long I have no idea how to get started. It's as if I've never cooked dinner before, yet I used to do it all the time. What the heck did I used to make? Was I any good at it? I think we'll be having blueberry pancakes and scrambled eggs with ham for dinner. Ooooeee!

I had another traditional gender-role reversal moment yesterday. We stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner and the week. I ended up following Ray around the store, and since I was in the way, he sent me to go pick up paper towels and toilet paper. I was just like those older men you see sometimes...following their woman around, clueless, unhelpful. How did I become an older man?

I often feel a bit out of place when chatting with girlfriends about their spousal units:

"Gawd, he always buys the wrong thing when I send him to the store, or he forgets what I've asked for completely!"

"He leaves his crap everywhere...what am I, the maid?"

"He always says he'll be home about an hour before he actually shows up..."

I just keep quiet, hoping to not incur the wrath of some legitimately frustrated women. And after all, I do have my important contributions to the household (weeding, organizing, kitchen sanitation, etc.), not to mention the pancakes!