Monday, December 27, 2010

Casualty of Peace

I had my first yoga injury.

No, it didn't involve wrenching myself into some pretzel pose or overstretching a muscle. I was doing side crow:



...and I very gracefully tipped forward and faceplanted onto a hardwood floor. Directly on my left cheekbone. Ironically (or perhaps not?) the blog where I found the above image, which is the first result on a google image search for 'side crow' is someone describing almost exactly the same thing.

Matt assures me that as of right now, there's no bruise. Though I suppose it could make for some interesting party conversation on Friday.

(Her post says "All photos are from Fit Sugar so they won’t sue me." I figured it wouldn't hurt for me to point that out as well.)

SMART Financial Goals 2011

So, how did we do for 2010? Substantial progress, but we only hit one of the four goals entirely:

1. We started off the year investing enough each month to max our Roth IRAs for the year, but made the decision to stop contributing at the end of May and save that money in our house down-payment account instead. We got about 70% of the way on mine (due to an additional fund purchase) and 20% of the way on M's. No planned contributions for 2011 (and we may even need to take some of our previous contributions OUT to make it to 20% down when we do eventually buy our next place) but we will restart post-purchase in 2012 or 2013.
2. We got about 60% of the way to an additional $25K saved towards the house. We started funneling these dollars into our regular savings account in anticipation of moving expenses next spring; otherwise this would have gotten us to about 70% success.
3. I did open my 401K and contributed enough to obtain a full match! Complete success here.

A little disappointing, but not everything was working in our favor. Okay, so on to next year.

1. Ditch the condo. Ideally for enough to cover our closing costs, but we're prepared to pay some out of pocket if we have to. Preferably by June, likely by October, definitely by the end of the year.
2. Going to try for the magic $25K again into the house account. Theoretically this should be more doable this year, but will partially depend on #1 since we may be paying for two places for a while.

Looking forward to 2011 bringing good things financially!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The clock's been reset

Because I finally had another white Christmas! My first since 1989...It's been a long 21 years. It was only a little bit (less than an inch) but it did start snowing in KG at about 4pm yesterday. They are due to get more, and we were a little worried about driving home today. The roads were wet in KG but perfectly clear by the time we got on Rt. 3, and when we got back on the beltway in MD there wasn't even any snow on the ground. We should get a little tonight into tomorrow morning.

I got pink jammies, gift cards to Old Navy, iTunes, and Kohls, silver earrings and a sliver bracelet, a purple cardigan sweater and purple striped long sleeve t-shirt, and a few little things (puzzle, hair towel and socks, chocolates). I helped mom make a fabulous Christmas dinner - she roasted an excellent beef tenderloin and made green beans with almonds, and creamed pearl onions; I made roasted fingerling potatoes (olive oil and garlic, paprika, chives, onion, parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper) and sauteed mushrooms in a butter-merlot glaze. SO YUM. (Post-Sunday-dinner update: steak and eggs = ALSO YUM, with tater tots and brown sugar bacon. Not so good for my cholesterol though!)

Only 3 days of work, and looking forward to a full week of yoga this week: two classes on Monday for my post-Christmas 'mini-retreat' (75 min gentle to warm up, then 75 min of more vigorous flow 2/3), flow 1/2 on Tuesday and 2/3 on Wednesday, either gentle in the AM on Thursday or hot yoga in the evening (depending on if we get together with M's relatives) and 1/2 Friday morning with Matt Green. Then off to Fredericksburg for New Years Eve with the Bauers, and goodbye 2010!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

5-day forecast

Tonight: 'Green Zone,' cookies, shower.
Tomorrow: Sleep in, wrap presents, yoga?
Friday: Sleep in, chillaxin, Christmas Eve church service, drive to KG, seafood.
Saturday: Brunch, presents, beef tenderloin dinner.
Sunday: Snow?

I say hey, hey, hey no matter how life is today
There’s just one thing that I got to say
I won’t let another moment slip away - Michael Franti

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Strange Day

Today I was assaulted by a piece of fruit. I also demolished someone's toilet paper at 60mph.

Total Eclipse of the Heart...I Mean, Moon (LIVE!)

12:31am - Current temperature 27 degrees. Bundle up and head outside for the first peek at the moon since dinnertime. It's almost directly overhead...I may have to hike around the neighborhood a bit to follow it across the sky! The penumbral was supposed to start two minutes ago, but I don't see any noticeable difference. I snap the first picture anyways:


1:10am - Maybe the moon looks a tiny bit darker on one side? Or maybe it's just my eyes seeing what it thinks it ought to be seeing. I didn't take a picture. The umbra shadow will start the full eclipse in 23 minutes!

1:41am - It's started!! I literally gasped a little when I stepped outside. We are now about 10 minutes into the eclipsing. It will take a full hour and 8 minutes to move to fully eclipsed.


(Note to self - bring something to sit on. 27 degree concrete makes my butt very cold very quickly!)

2:07am - Halfway point from the beginning of the umbral shadow to fully eclipsed. Temperature has dropped to 25 degrees! ("Feels like 15") I can *just* pick up the wifi signal from the front steps, hehe (yep, I am ON-SITE for this post!) I can see some of the darker reddish color on the left half of the moon; not sure how well that picks up on the camera though...


2:15am - I wimp out due to the cold, despite my blanket, after only 10 minutes. I'll go back out again in a few to get a 3/4 eclipsed shot. I didn't even take off my puffy jacket and blanket wrap when I came back in!

2:25-2:35am - The eclipsing is 3/4 of the way done; we are only a few minutes away from the full eclipse! It's getting harder to take the pictures because the brightness is rapidly decreasing, but here are the best two:



(Confidential to Jcq - in regards to your, um, request...I could go wake my husband up and ask him if it's okay? I'm sure he'd be super thrilled!)

2:42am - According to NASA, we are fully eclipsed! It still looks a little bright on one side though. I had to switch over to the night-time setting on the camera, which means bracing against the brick wall and holding my breath for each shot:



It also means I can't zoom in as far - the moon hasn't shrunk, I promise! It's a lovely mottled dark red, which I think you can pick up on a little bit in the last two pictures. The peak of the eclipse is at 3:17am; I hope the color will brighten some by then. The "feels like" temperature has dropped to 14 degrees - I've been leaving my coat on in between trips outside.

3:10am - tried to take pictures with the camera's "reduce camera shake" setting instead of the "night time" setting but they didn't turn out that great. I really should get a tripod or something...


3:21am - Clouds? BOO. I got a few glimpses between breaks in the clouds, but it looked about the same as before. Also, it's really damn cold and the wind is picking up a bit - I'm not sure I would have been able to hold the camera steady enough to take any more pictures even if it had still been clear.

So there you go! Look at the pictures in reverse order, in a mirror, for the second half :-) The moon will start coming out of the eclipsed period beginning at 3:53am. It'll take another 1 hour and 8 minutes to fully come out of the earth's umbra (at 5:01am), and the 2010 winter solstice eclipse will be officially over at the end of the penumbral shadow at 6:05am. I, however, will be in bed in 5 minutes!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Year in Review 2010

1. What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before? Completed a triathlon (two actually), went on a cruise, saw a total lunar eclipse (well, I will in a couple hours!)

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I made some headway on saving for the house (got to $18K, a little less than $7K short) and the triathlons (but not under 2 hours in relative times). Still not so great on the housework or flossing, but I'm still trying. I do want my Nike 500 mile club T-shirt in 2011 (halfway there) and a better yoga home practice. I am focusing on studying the New Testament this year. I also want to win a Fitness Challenge award at work!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Carly (sweet sweet Cassidy!!) and approximately a billion of my Facebook friends...most notably Jeremy/Ashley (Arwyn), Adam/Kristen (Connor), and Aseer/Celina (Josiah).

4. Did anyone close to you die? My dear friend Dottie from church, and almost my brother

5. What countries did you visit? Haiti and St. Maarten, plus Puerto Rico. And apparently the North Pole, for a few days in February...?

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010? a walk-in closet and a second bathroom

7. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? January 19th - the day I became an 'adopted aunt' :-)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Tripling my salary in two years

9. What was your biggest failure? Gaining back the same 10 pounds I lost in the first part of the year AGAIN. I always seen to do so well for the first part of the year and then it all falls apart around October.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I was sick like three times this year - massive sinus infection in January and some sort of stomach virus in April, plus apparently my first bout with seasonal allergies for a few days.

11. What was the best thing you bought? I guess my new car - it talks to me!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Carly and Emily - they are still wonderfully normal people even after becoming moms :-)

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Zillow

14. Where did most of your money go? Saving for the house. And apparently taxes (hello 25% bracket...)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? THE CRUISE!!!

16. What song will always remind you of 2010? September Girl by Jupiter Sunrise

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? same
ii. thinner or fatter? same
iii. richer or poorer? richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Yoga (and I just bought a 3-month membership!)

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Being angry or anxious

20. How will you be spending Christmas? Our last Christmas Eve service at MHBC, and then out to my mom's place

21. How will you be spending New Year's Eve? at Robyn and Derrick's new place, drinking sugar cookie martinis

(Being the catalyst for everyone else's Year In Review blog posts, I henceforth decree that questions 22 and 23 have been changed to more grown-up topics.)

22. Did you fall in love discover any great new websites in 2010? I love Sprinkle Bakes for the beautiful food shots/recipes, and Jersey Circus (a mash-up between Family Circus comics and Jersey Shore dialogue) for a silly laugh.

23. How many one-night stands weddings? Matt's co-worker Jeff, at the Eastern Shore in July; my dad's cousin Holly, in Delaware in September.

24. What was your favorite TV program? Glee

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? My hatred for Glenn Beck continually grows, but that's nothing new for 2010.

26. What was the best book you read? I read a ton of stuff on my new Nook, but Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang stands out as totally making me LOL.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Bruno Mars, and the fact that I actually do like OneRepublic

28. What did you want and get? A new stove and a 401K account

30. What was your favorite film of this year? Inception

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 29 - took a half day off from work and slept in, started my day with 29 sun salutations and then out for coffee. Met Stacy for ice cream that evening. I think M and I went out for dinner but I can't remember where? I was busy all week collecting all my free food from my e-mail mailing lists (Noodles, Ritas, Ruby Tuesdays...)

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? a housing market recovery (or even just fewer foreclosures in our zip code...)

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010? A little more business casual than the previous year; also I have finally decided to buy a few pairs of leggings. Including jean leggings (aka 'jeggings') - I was skeptical, but it works.

34. What kept you sane? Finally having a concrete plan for the next couple years

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Joshua Jackson

36. What political issue stirred you the most? TSA crap

37. Who did you miss? Eric and Emily, still (Please come back to the DC area...!)

38. Who were the best new people you met? Chris and Victoria

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010: Maintaining a post-yoga class zen-like state of bliss is greatly hampered by going to any department store.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: "Maybe the reason why all the doors are closed, so you could open one that leads you to the perfect road" - Katy Perry, Firework


(YIR 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

How is it a week before Christmas??

Cards and packages = done.

Cookies are on the agenda next. Totally scaled back this year. Chocolate chip for M, oatmeal chocolate chip for me, spice stars and double chocolate cherry walnut chunk for general consumption. (Not so secret confession - I'm starting from Betty Crocker mixes this time).

Still have to buy several more Christmas gifts (mom, bro, uncle, extended fam) and two December birthday presents. If you are reading this, please tell me what you want...

Year in review post coming sometime soon.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

D-O-N-E

I am wholly twitterpated
That my final marketing paper is submitterated
And I will be completely liberated
...Until January 24th.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Moving through December

Had a great afternoon/evening but a rotten night last night. We went to the Nusbaum's Christmas party yesterday - I won Don't Forget the Christmas Lyrics (M got 2nd) and a Trivial Pursuit card game; I also blew everyone out of the water on Holiday Trivia (this year's theme was the classic movie How The Grinch Stole Christmas, which I've seen a million times) but donated the prize to the 3rd place winner (M got second again here too). I got a portable cooler/warmer and M got a rubiks cube and kazoo set from the gift exchange.We went to a live nativity in Reston and then got takeout chinese food and watched the ACC championship game - Hokies win!!

I was feeling a little meh when I went to bed and had a few hours where, in retrospect, I'm not sure if I was asleep then or not. By a little after 2am my hot and sour soup was ravishing my esophagus and I had to get up. Four tums, a glass of milk, and two hours of half sleeping sitting up on the couch went by before I could go back to bed. I get heartburn very rarely (maybe once a month?) but when I do it's fairly awful. I am going to try some Zantac and see if that helps.

We went to church this morning (I might have been tempted to skip, but we were serving communion); I worked on my final marketing class assignment for a while after we got home and then took a two hour nap on the couch. 

We have M's office Christmas party next Saturday, church Christmas concert on the 15th, OAR concert at Strathmore on the 18th and a church Christmas party on the 19th. We'll head down to KG after the Christmas eve service, for the weekend, and to the Bauers for New Years - M and Derrick will be sampling their Johnnie Walker set they bought in St. Maarten, while Robyn and I drink sugar cookie martinis :-)

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If you hadn't already seen on Facebook, we got Droid X phones (and are back on Verizon contract). M has been dying for a smartphone for like, a year. We had originally decided that we would go back on contract once we were able to sign up for FIOS service, because it would be 'budget neutral' for the first year. They were out laying cable in our neighborhood back in June, and I actually asked one of the guys how much longer it would be - he said it's typically 1-3 months after they're done digging. Well, September came and went, and so did the rest of the fall, and still no FIOS. But when we found out that we could get the phones for only $70 each from amazon, I couldn't say no. They were listed as backordered and weren't supposed to ship until January 6th, but they arrived last Wednesday. I'm still trying to get used to the interface and there's a lot about the phone that I find frustrating (particularly the first day or two) but there are some things I like, including swype text input and the bluetooth connection to my car (not only will it make calls through the car's stereo system, but the car will also read text messages to me!) Most of the stuff I like is not phone-specific though (i.e. constant internet access, any bluetooth phone will connect with my car, and any full keyboard would be better than having to hit keys 1-3 times to bring up a single letter on our old phones).

There was also a major frustration with google voice that made absolutely no sense to me. We signed up for google voice numbers online when we got the phones. When you go in to configure the settings, it explicitly says that your google voice number will only appear on outgoing texts, NOT calls. I was thinking, what's the point? People can call us, but unless we give out both numbers we're going to show up as an unknown caller if we call anyone else's cell phone. It turns out that there's actually a 'secret' google voice app for android, that WILL configure your outgoing calls to display your google voice on caller ID. So why doesn't it say that on the google voice page???

On a totally unrelated note, I keep forgetting to post this awesome picture that I saw on Daily Squee - so here you go:

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Pleasantly surprised

Maybe I should be MORE pessimistic - then I can be pleasantly surprised (this is the Staci Deaton theory of life, btw). We took the car to Aamco this morning, expecting the worst, and they told us it was a $700 repair to the hub bearing (so it WAS something with the wheel) instead of a $3000 transmission rebuild. They said the car looked pretty good otherwise, mechanically, so as long as nothing electrical decides to go we should hopefully be good for another year (or at the very least, through the move in March). Not perfect, but right now I'll take it over another new car!

Woah, it's December. It's 63 degrees outside!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

So much for goals

As I've said before, I like goals.

I don't like when they get screwed up.

We had planned to have enough money saved up to buy a SFH in mid-2012, and then we'd worry about the cars. Then my car's computer and timing belt decided to die a slow death (see below). It was frustrating, but we traded in a 2004 Focus with 156,400 miles for a 2011 Focus with 11 miles.

Since we can't ever seem to have a single issue (see: Laptop Replacement 2010) I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when Matt's car started making funny noises. We were (again) hoping for a cheap fix, but Midas says it's probably the transmission. They don't do transmission repair, so we'll take it to Aamco tomorrow to at least get an official quote - but I'm not optimistic. It makes me VERY angry though because M's car had 40,000 fewer miles than mine and should have lasted AT LEAST two more years.

Hello, 2013 :-(

(And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.)
(Apparently the universe dislikes me)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It is still a beautiful world

Prose as the year comes to a close (I am thinking of memorizing this):

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

- Max Ehrmann, Desiderata, 1923 (bolded by me, 2010.)

More Berkshires and Breakfasts

Friday morning's breakfast was a citrus fruit salad, apple cinnamon muffins, cranberry walnut bread, and a three cheese croissant and egg bake. I also had the yogurt and granola again, with coffee and juice. We relaxed for a few hours in the morning and then went to lunch with fam at the Morgan House (burger for M, soup and salad for me). We went to the Berkshires Museum in Pittsfield, and then dinner at the pub at Matt's grandfather's retirement community.

Saturday we had a blueberry buckle, vegetable quiche and pan fried potatoes, and a grain and dried fruit compote; I had the yogurt and granola again as well (and juice and coffee). We hit the road at 10:30am right as it started snowing. It flurried all the way to Albany and then mostly stopped. We got home around 5:30.

Now off to pick up chinese food. Possibly getting the new car tomorrow, though I'm more nervous now because M's engine seems to be running extremely loud and we may be facing another imminent repair-or-replace dilemma :-(

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

So we are up in the Berkshires for Thanksgiving - drove up yesterday (about a 7 hour trip) and checked into our B&B, and then had dinner and visited with Matt's grandfather and Jane. We showed them pictures and video from our cruise and gave them a tutorial on some of the newfangled technology available (iPod and e-readers).

We are staying at the same B&B we were at when we last came in 2008. The breakfast is not as varied as last time (fewer options laid out) but still quite tasty. This morning we had a challah bread souffle with berries, cinnamon and almonds, along with fresh fruit and yogurt with homemade granola, juice and coffee.

I finished knitting my first scarf (finally!) and have started a second one that involves some more complicatedness - two colors of yarn, as well as adding and dropping stitches to create a neat diagonal effect. I think my next attempt after this will be a pair of leg warmers to wear to yoga class so my legs don't get so cold walking to the studio.

We are relaxing for a few hours, and then heading over for Thanksgiving dinner at 2:30. We will probably hit up a museum or something tomorrow, and we'll be driving back to Maryland on Saturday morning (after breakfast, of course!)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I usually like cracked.com

But this article is just silly: "5 Common Medical Procedures (That Secretly Aren't Worth It)."

They list CT scans, physicals, circumcision, C-sections, and antibiotics. However, they are conflating OVERUSE of a procedure with the merits of the procedure and trying to make a controversial article out of it. Overuse of antibiotics = bad. But antibiotics have also saved countless lives and reduced morbidity as well (I know, I had to tough it out through a weekend of strep throat once so my parents could take me to the regular doctor Monday morning instead of the Emergency Room, where I'd get the same treatment at ten times the cost). C-sections have saved lives. CT scans have saved lives (they try to make the argument that MRI is not only safer but also a far superior technology; for starters, try giving an MRI to someone with a metal rod in their leg, or a plate in their head, or an implanted pacemaker). I'm not even willing to give them a pass on physicals (although I agree about the correlation between medical care and income level/general interest in maintaining health and yell at the David Drew Clinic commercial every time I hear it on the radio; I still believe there are benefits to seeing a doctor on some sort of regular basis). About the only thing I agree with is circumcision, and even then I have to reserve a tiny bit of former self-interest because we always got our human melanocytes for our lab experiments from the Hopkins OB department.

So, sorry, cracked.com. You usually hold my interest but this one falls flat.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ho Ho Ho

M and I won't be handing each other presents on Christmas morning.

He worked fabulously hard to meet an incredibly tight deadline, and is being rewarded with a bonus that will cover most of the cost of his long-awaited gaming computer that he will be ordering in two weeks. His 'gift' is basically the rest of the cost of the computer.

And me? I'm apparently getting a new car for Christmas, because the verdict on mine this morning was about $2000 in repairs (for a car that has nearly 160K miles on it and is not even worth twice the repair bill any way you slice it). Just like with the laptop, I would have been perfectly fine with keeping this car for another 1-2 years but fate and technology seem to have other plans to force me to be a Good American Consumer. I have to keep reminding myself that, even though I've had the car for less than 7 years, in 'mileage years' it's more like 10-11. Next go-round will be better since I don't ever plan to have a 100 mile-a-day commute again.

The 2011 Ford Focus is still on the Consumer Reports Best Buys under $25K list and is the top small sedan from an American manufacturer, and Ford cars in general also have the highest reliability ratings of any American manufacturer, so that's what we're going with. Woo.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What's the deal with Homerun?

I was going to make my first facebook status today a comment about my blogiversary, but instead I had to make it an apology (and have already sent two people explanatory e-mails as well). I got an e-mail from my pastor about a free coffee from Qualia (apparently it's a small coffee shop in DC). The site is called Homerun (I'm not linking it) and it looked like a Groupon sort of thing, so I clicked through and it asked me to log in with what I thought was Open ID. The site then sent an e-mail of the free coffee offer to every address in my gmail contacts (about 250 people) and required a credit card number (for 'identity verification') to 'buy' the 'free' coffee. By this point my spidey sense was ringing 11 and I got the heck out of there. I e-mailed their customer service address asking them to delete my 'account' immediately (it autocreates an account with your e-mail address, and I couldn't find anything on their site to remove an account). I also changed my google password, just as a precaution.

Now, I can't quite figure out what their deal is (Homerun). It does seem like it's trying to be a groupon-like site. They have links at the bottom of their page to Facebook and Twitter profiles; the Facebook one just takes you to the FB home page and the Twitter account doesn't have any tweets.

I also found the webpage for the coffee shop. The have text on their page which reads "ALERT! If you have received a viral email using our name, please know that neither Qualia nor Homerun are associated with the criminals who sent it. They are operating illegally and without our permission. Please contact HomeRun directly at [] if you have received one of these emails." So that seems to add some legitimacy to at least the site in general, except for the fact that if you go to Homerun's site, the free coffee offer is right there on the main page. So did their site get hacked? There was nothing that jumped out at me in terms of funny addresses, misspellings, etc - the usual suspects. I am a little curious as to whether people are actually getting actual printable coupons at the end of the process; there is a list of Recent Activity on their home page and it does show 6 people as having purchased the free offer, which sounds like it would not be honored at Qualia based on what I saw on their webpage. Unless they're talking about a different e-mail?

A google search didn't seem to turn up anything either; I did get a lot of extraneous stuff because apparently the search terms "Homerun" and "spam" seem to go together a lot - one example was "Homerun or spam? Winning MLM selling strategies." "Homerun" and "scam" also seem to go together a lot for things not related to this particular website, because there is a sketchy investment firm with the same name. I had originally written this in my blogiversary post below, but I decided to make it a separate post in case this starts showing up in google searches, since this may be the first outside account of this site.

Blogiversary!

I started this blog on November 20th, 2004. Funny that I was getting ready to have a party that day too! Since then I've accumulated 1,186 posts (including this one). I've had nearly 23K site visits on the counter, but I didn't start using Sitemeter until June 14, 2006...so who knows what the actual total is (I'd guess close to 30K if I had to extrapolate).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.

But my name isn't even Dave!

So, my check engine light came on Tuesday morning. The car didn't have any noticeable effects, but given that winter is rapidly approaching, I figured breaking down at night, in the cold, probably wasn't something I wanted to put on my to-do list. I got up this morning on the wrong side of sunrise and took it to Midas to get checked out. (Side note - I think a lot of people drive around with their check engine lights on for a long time, because the guy seemed mildly surprised that I had brought it in even though there were no other symptoms. I bet those people don't get annual medical/dental checkups either).

The mechanic took it for a test drive, and then brought it back to run the code scan. Nothing happened. He comes and tells me that the regular scanner isn't connecting to the car's computer; they can run more in-depth diagnostics but it will cost $49.50 - I tell him that's fine and settle in for another half-hour (free wifi at least, and I had already gone to Starbucks). They come back around 8:45 and tell me the fancy onboard diagnostics computer won't connect to the car either. Since they couldn't even get a connection, they didn't charge me anything. The mechanic suspected that, since they couldn't get any information from the car's computer, it might be a problem with the computer itself (Powertrain Control Module) but that I'd have to take it to a dealership to confirm. He did check all the fuses/fluids and inspected the engine and other mechanical parts and said nothing seemed out of place, so I at least have a bit of confidence that my car isn't going to blow up before Monday morning, when I will get up on the wrong side of sunrise AGAIN and take it to the Ford dealership in Frederick.

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There was a groupon offer today - $25 for $50 worth of clothing at American Apparel (in-store only). I had never shopped there, but I like clothes (especially half-off clothes), so I went to their website to see what styles they had and if there was a store nearby. I'm assuming they have real clothes, but I can't confirm this because I never got past those two pages due to the soft-core porn littering their site. The Maryland store locator page had a series of three pictures of a woman provocatively posed in black underwear and a very sheer black tank, who was enjoying her desk chair a little too much, if you catch my drift. The store's main page had a rear shot of a woman squatting in a white lace thong, cheeks cozied right up to the camera. I guess they don't think anyone ever checks out clothing sites at work, or while their kids are in the room? Needless to say I don't think I'll be supporting that business any time soon.

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I just saw a recipe for a sugar cookie martini. I have to try this: 1 part each white chocolate liqueur, Baileys, and butterscotch schnapps plus two parts half-and-half. Sounds delicious!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas top

Kohls occasionally sends out $10-off cards with no minimum purchase. Sometimes I will try to get something very close to $10 (I even got a t-shirt for free once; it was $8.99 on sale). This time I just took $10 off a top for this year's Christmas parties (and Steve's wedding, and probably dinner on next year's cruise). Vera Wang Asymmetrical Charmeuse Top:


I am thinking slim black pants and black heels for parties, pleated khaki skirt and flats for the wedding. Undecided about jewelry in both cases - the neckline stands on its own but a great pair of earrings and/or bangle(s) would go well, I think.

On an unrelated note, why does USPS refuse to leave packages at the door on the first delivery attempt? I always have to go online and tell them to redeliver it and leave it. Now I have to wait another day for my Old Navy order and my pink suede shoes :-(

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sweet lassi

The high point of my day so far is a yummy glass of sweet lassi. There was a super simple recipe in one of my e-mails, that I tweaked slightly. The cardamom is a warm contrast to the cool yogurt, and the vanilla adds a nice flavor:

2/3c each plain yogurt and cold water
1/8tsp ground cardamom
1Tbsp vanilla sugar

Combine in a bowl and whisk until blended and frothy; pour into a glass and enjoy.

*Notes: the original (traditional) recipe called for a drop of rosewater, which I've never used before, and a Tbsp of sugar. I thought the vanilla sugar was a nice variation. You could also use regular sugar and a drop of vanilla or almond extract for a different flavor. It also called for a MUCH higher water:yogurt ratio (4:1). However, my homemade yogurt was pretty thin this time compared with store-bought. I figured I could always add more water, but equal parts turned out to be pretty much spot on for me. If you don't have cardamom (it's expensive) you could substitute cinnamon and/or nutmeg.

(Hours later, I realize I should have made a 'Sweet Sassy Mo-Lassi' joke in the title. Booooooo)

What a dismal day

10-second recap: pouring rain, 'check engine' light, dentist appointment, frustrating work phone call.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I fixed the budget!

Go to the NYT page to see my choices and try your hand at balancing the national budget.

Hiking and Cake

Went hiking with M, Stacy, Jim, Phil and Lisa at Sugarloaf Mountain yesterday. Weather was absolutely perfect! We hiked up the orange trail to the summit (and when I say up, I mean UP!), down the red trail, and then the white/blue around the summit - probably about 3 miles total.

View from the summit looking (I think) west.

Another view from the summit (south-west?)

M and me at the summit (1282' according to the elevation map)

View from the red/blue trail's McCormack overlook (facing north).

<3

My awesome ice cream cake - two layers each of chocolate cake and mint chocolate chip ice cream (spread with hot fudge in between each layer), frosted with cool whip, and decorated with andes mints. I forgot to take a picture of a slice but it looked great - and between the 7 of us we ate the entire thing before dinner.

We went to Ziki's for dinner - tried sake (didn't like it, but Matt did), got smoked salmon nigiri for an appetizer and then hibachi steak and shrimp all around - served with vegetables, yakisoba, and fried rice, yum. We came back and watched MST3K: Soulstealer, which was predictably horrible and fantastic.

Next weekend is the chili party! We are having the last of the groceries for that delivered today (including 6 pounds of beef). I will be dicing and chopping and sauteing on Thursday or Friday (a dozen jalapenos, half a dozen onions, a head of garlic, beef and bacon) and then throwing it all in my biggest pot Saturday morning for a good 5-6 hour simmer. We may have up to 18 people at our place - should be interesting, but I know as always it'll be a blast. It'll be our last chili party in this place!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Not to be outdone by the turducken...

Someone invented the Cherpumple. A cherry pie baked into a white cake, on top of an apple pie baked into a spice cake, on top of a pumpkin pie baked into a yellow cake. One slice has approximately 1800 calories.

Thanks, but I'll stick with my ice cream cake. Pics to come later this weekend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Numbered brain dump

1. Wow, a whole month?? I'm so freaking lazy. I kept thinking that I didn't want to post other stuff until I had done a vacation post, but then I just kept putting it off and putting it off.

2. So, vacation. Cruise = very awesome. We are already working on planning our next one (see #9 below). We did a bartending class, went to the Captain's welcome, saw one of the comedians, the ice show, the Ever After musical, and the Up In the Air acrobats show, went dancing at the club, swam and hot-tubbed, played mini-golf, did the rock climbing wall and ice skating, played Apples to Apples with the Bauers and Glasnapps, read a ton, ate a ton. The main dining room was very good, but the Chops steakhouse was also totally worth the $25 per person the one night we went: shared three appetizers (lobster carpaccio, portabello mushroom stack, crab/shrimp cake), got steaks with broccolini and roasted potatoes on the side, and a slice of Mississippi mud pie for dessert. In St. Maartin we went to the Tiki Hut Snorkel Park, which was fun, and then spent a little time walking around the town. Puerto Rico was our zipline canopy tour (SO much fun and of course, too short!) and then we had lunch at a place called Tio Danny's - fish tacos for Matt and paella for me. In Labadee (Haiti), we had pretty low expectations since we planned on just taking or snorkel gear to the beach and seeing what we could find - it turned out that there was an awesome reef on the side of one of the coves! We spent about 2 hours snorkeling, had lunch that the cruise ship brought out to the picnic area, and spent a little bit of time on the ocean side of the beach.

2a. We also had a blast with Steve prior to the cruise at Disney! Went to the Animal Kingdom for the safari and zoo area, Everest coaster, Lion King show and A Bug's Life show; Hit up Hollywood Studios for a parade, Tower of Terror, Rocking Rollercoaster, Toy Story, and Into the Movies; rounded out the park tour at Epcot to ride Soarin', Mission: Space, Test Track, Spaceship Earth, Nemo and Friends, Gran Fiesta and Journey into Imagination. Finished the day with the Epcot fireworks show and then dinner at the Yachtsman - we both started with lobster bisque; steaks for the boys and lamb chops for me; creme brulee all around.

3. Just ordered some cute pink suede mocs from Old Navy and some other stuff - including jeggings. I'm interested to see how this will work out (but I really want to wear them with the boots below). My reasoning is that jeggings will fit me better than skinny jeans because they'll have more stretch and will tuck into the boots better.

4. Weekends - Stacy's birthday is this weekend (hiking, Ziki's Japanese Steakhouse dinner, and ice cream cake). Next weekend is the chili party! We may have our biggest crowd yet (current record is 14). The Wednesday after that, we leave for Massachusetts to see Matt's grandfather for Thanksgiving. And then it's December! Two Christmas parties (Nusbaums and M's office); OAR concert at Strathmore, and then Christmas! And then New Years at the Bauers'.

5. Moving - we're almost settled on March. I cannot wait for a bigger closet! I did my closet switch-over this week, for hopefully the last time ever.

6. Appointments - I went to my eye doctor's appointment today, at My Eye Doctor (never setting foot in Hour Eyes again, remember!) I really liked the optometrist here too, and the customer service people seemed a lot more on the ball. I ordered my contact lenses and got a free pair of sunglasses! I moved my dentist appointment up to Tuesday because I started having heat sensitivity on the right side, over by my crown. Of course it sucked for two days straight (throbbing etc) and then the day after I moved my appointment it seems to be better.

7. Stupid people - need to stop honking at me when they're the ones being morons. Last Saturday I was waiting at a light to make a left turn. There is a left turn only lane, a left turn or straight lane, and a right turn lane. I'm in the left turn or straight lane, because I have to make an immediate right at the next light. So I turn left, into the far right lane, and someone blares their horn at me because I just "cut them off" - said person had been in the right turn lane and decided to turn left instead! I was really mad, because she even had the cahones to do the hand-fling-into-the-air thing at me! THEN...two days later, I'm at a light where they have a pedestrian crosswalk. The light is either solid red, blinking red, or blinking yellow. There is a sign that says "Proceed after stop on blinking red - yield to pedestrians." So after the pedestrian crosses, the light changes from solid red to blinking red. The car in front of me goes. I pull up to the line and stop; before I have the chance to move again the car behind me starts blaring their horn at me. Of course after I go through the light they fly right through behind me without stopping. Nice reading comprehension.

8. New music - I have bought a ton of albums over the past few weeks. I got BNL's (sans Steve Page) All In Good Time and Steve Page's Page One (Steve Page is better, but neither is as good as their former awesomeness). Got two albums from Jackson Rohm (Four on the Floor and Twisted and Misguided) and finished out the rest of the tracks from Jupiter Sunrise's Under a Killer Blue Sky. Got David Gray's newest, Foundling, and OneRepublic's Dreaming Out Loud. Got All Sides by OAR. And then a couple random mp3s from John Mayer, Snow Patrol, Ryan Star, Neon Trees, Eminem.

9. Next year's cruise - we wanted to a) go out of Baltimore, and b) go over Thanksgiving. Royal Caribbean had a 9-day Bahamas itinerary with stops in Port Canaveral, Key West, Nassau, and CocoCay. It was perfect! Except it seems that after this fall, they're only doing that itinerary from Jan-April. Booooooooooooo. So we looked at some different options, but finally we decided that the new Baltimore itinerary over Thanksgiving was still our best bet. 9 days, stops in Puerto Rico, Haiti, St. Thomas, and the Dominican Republic. We repeat two ports but we're okay with it. We didn't get to see any of the forts in San Juan, and we don't mind going back to the beach/lunch in Haiti. We are also planning on a turtle cove snorkel in St. Thomas, and either snorkeling at the Cayo Levantado beach area or a horseback ride to the Salto Del Limon waterfalls in the DR. And my mom better come - I haven't been on vacation with my mom since I was like, three - and I cried on the beach at Atlantic City because I didn't like the sand. I promise not to do that this time!!

I'm sure I'll think of more stuff, but at least I can stop feeling guilty about not posting for a month :-)


A few hours later - I've got one more.

10. TV - WHAT the heck is up, CBS??? There have been 8 episodes of CSI so far this season, and you've failed to bring any resolution to THREE of them! (Spoiler alert!) It started with the very first episode, where they catch the one bomber, but after he's in jail another bomb goes off...they allude to the fact that it might be The Biebs but totally leave you hanging. Then you got the shark guy and the vamps v. wolves, but the rubber suit guy is still on the loose. Wrapped up the hoarder, animatronic dinosaurs and ID theft guy, but then tonight you dropped the ball again on the corporate pollution cover-up. This isn't Unsolved Mysteries, guys (which are practically all solved by now anyways). Very disappointed.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Birthday Boots

I bought my new most expensive pair of shoes, and they have nothing to do with sports/athletics! (Prior to this purchase my most expensive shoes were my cycling shoes and my running shoes. And then I think my 'vegan' sport mary janes from Athleta?). Here they are:


They were originally $198 at Macy's, marked down to $179 in store. Then Macy's was having a shoe sale so I got 15% off. I also had a gift card from Matt's fam for my (belated) birthday (hence the title). I ended up paying $78 after tax, but it still counts! I am looking forward to wearing these with dresses and skirts :-)

But first, I have a bit more sandal-wearing to do! It was in the upper 70s all weekend and will be tomorrow too. And then I'll definitely be wearing sandals in the Caribbean too. I might be able to get in a wearing of the boots on Wednesday before we leave though!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Zillow - pulling stuff out their butts?

I like data. It makes me feel like I'm reducing uncertainty. But Zillow has been driving me nuts lately.

I've been using Zillow for a couple of things. One is the actual sales data - this seems to all be correct. It's how I know about all of the condo foreclosures/short sales in our zip code. I've also been using it to track our condo's value, but something seems to be off. There are 6 condo buildings in our neighborhood, thus there are at least 6 "perfect" comps for our place. One of them sold a year ago for $144K and is currently valued by Zillow at $148K. I saw the pictures of the interior when it was listed for sale - they had laminate hardwood flooring in the living room and kitchen, but our kitchen appliances/cabinets are newer and our bathroom looks nicer. Yet for some reason Zillow is valuing our place 10% lower?

I've been frustrated by that for months, but I just found a new issue. I was also using the Zillow Local data to guesstimate how much houses will cost in Leesburg by the time we're ready to buy (by taking the median home value and then correcting for current the rate of year-over-year change). Last month Zillow listed the median home value as $316K and the y-o-y increase as 2.4%, putting us at about $326K by mid-2012. The data updates once a month, so I checked today to update my figures. Zillow is now listing the median home value as $399K?? That's nearly $90K higher after the y-o-y correction is done. And yet Zillow only reported a 0.1% month-over-month change. I don't even know what to believe from that site anymore.

So the moral of the story is that a) I have no idea how much our place is worth/might sell for, and b) I have no idea how much money we will need. Rawr.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

October!

Vacation month is finally here! I will be in Florida in 9 days and on the ship 3 days later!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Someday...

You can go, you can start all over again
You can try to find a way to make another day go by
You can hide, hold all your feelings inside
You can try to carry on when all you want to do is cry

And maybe someday, we'll figure all this out
Try to put an end to all our doubt
Try to find a way to make things better now and
Maybe someday we'll live our lives out loud
We'll be better off somehow, someday

Now wait, and try to find another mistake
If you throw it all away then maybe you can change your mind
You can run, oh, and when everything is over and done
You can shine a little light on everything around you
Man it's good to be someone

--Rob Thomas, 'Someday'

(patience is a virtue...patience is a virtue...I wish I was more virtuous.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

More Progress!

Done fixing the duplicates and getting everything in the right place. I still have plenty of album information to add, but I'll worry about that more later. Working on the 3 hours and 15 minutes of copying back to the share drive right now, and then I'll sync.

Progress

I'm sure you think I'm anal, Carly :-) But having an organized iTunes library is important to me!

I did realize that the problem wasn't ENTIRELY iTunes fault...part of it was that some stuff that had previously been in an "unknown album" folder got duplicated during a back-up after I had added album names. I plan on wiping the backup completely and recopying it after I'm done, and will continue to do so in the future instead of merging folders during the copy.

So, as of right now I have #s-I and W-Z transferred back into iTunes, for a current total of 2080 songs (roughly half way, I think? I've grabbed a bit more from M's files so I am probably over 4K by the time everything is back in its place.) I haven't done album titles on everything at this point though, since right now I'm more interested in getting to the point where I can sync my iPod again.

Friday, September 24, 2010

iTunes hates me

First, the upgrade to the latest version of iTunes (10? I lost count) decided to toss half of my album artwork, that I had been working on meticulously adding.

Then paying to upgrade .m4p files to .m4a left me with 127 duplicates in the wrong location because it created copies of the files in some 'iTunes Media' folder, even though everything else is in the 'iTunes Music' folder. I also noticed, while moving these files to their correct locations, that a lot of the album sorting had caused duplicate files to be made in 'Unknown Album' folders.

So I figured it would just be easier to remove everything from iTunes and re-add the folder, since I wouldn't have to fix file paths and try to find the duplicate files manually. Except when I removed the files from iTunes, it also decided to move them to the recycle bin. Even though it had said 'files in the iTunes MEDIA folder will be moved to the recycle bin' - and remember, everything of mine was in the iTunes MUSIC folder (which was not in the iTunes Media folder). So I had to recover the files from the recycle bin.

Then, I add the iTunes music folder to my library, and it only comes up with ~3300 songs. Somehow it's just decided to send, randomly, approximately 3GB of music to the land of wind and ghosts. So now I'm trying to figure out what's missing. I pulled artist folders from the share drive first, since those are the top-level sort. But there are album folders missing from some of the artist folders too (iTunes, what do you have against Billy Joel???)

Once I FINALLY can get all that restored, I'm still going to have to go in and find the duplicates. Grrrrrr.

(@12:56am - #s, As, Y-Z are clear. Time for bed).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Goals Updated

I must have jinxed it when I wrote a couple weeks ago that we wanted to move in Fall 2011. As it turns out, after checking around a few places - no one is doing 80-10-10 mortgages right now. Too many lenders got burned on second mortgage financing with all the short sales and foreclosures over the past few years, and ruined it for the rest of us. So there's another thing we likely won't be able to take advantage of (I suppose it's possible that they'll relax their lending in a year or so, but I'm not counting on it). Back to 20%, and I guess we're looking at Summer of 2012 now. It's kind of a moving target, because we can't even say we've bottomed out on this place yet. Grumblecakes.

I do want to get my Nike+ Running 500 Mile Club T-shirt next year, so I threw the other goal tracker down there. Nike+ got rid of the Minis that you used to be able to put on your blog/facebook and showed your total mileage, so now I have to update it manually. The total is cumulative since January of 2009.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Season, New Layout, New Name

Happy Fall! I know I'm a day or two early, but whatevs.

I decided that, since I've had the same blog layout since I started this thing almost six years ago (November 2004), it was time for a change. I've freshened up the layout, worked on the sidebar, and decided to go with a blog name change to match the url. I'm not really much of a 'Pharmer' anymore anyways :-)

I'll try to keep things fresher over here, hehe. Facebook may be my newer medium, but you'll always be my first love, Blogger.

Glee season premier was tonight!! Will New Directions get new members? Will Quinn revert to her old, snobby, Cheerio ways? Will Brittney finally get a solo? Can't wait to see what the rest of the season holds!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Phones

We will be getting new, smarter phones sometime within the next 6 months. The debate between AT&T (iPhone) and Verizon (Droid) rages on. I am starting to lean more towards the iPhone. Not only are AT&T's plans slightly cheaper (because they offer a 550 shared minutes plan, versus Verizon's 700) but I just found out that the Droids are only 16GB - upgrading to a 32GB sim card is about an extra $100. I already exceed 16GB just in music! So with the extra sim card costs, the Droids are the same price as a 32GB iPhone 4 - and the monthly charges would be about $200 less per year with the iPhone.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lappy #3

I felt like I should document the purchase of laptop number 3. I came home from work yesterday, and mine was dead. This has happened before (power adapter has been finicky for a while and if it wasn't seated *justso* the battery would drain). I could usually finagle it back into place and get it on AC power, but not last night. It was Dead.

I ended up getting a Toshiba Satellite from Best Buy today. For $370 including sales tax, I got:
15.6" Widescreen
2.2GHz Intel Celeron processor
2GB Ram
250GB, 5400rpm SATA hard drive
DVD-RW/CD-RW
802.11b/g/n internal wireless
6-cell battery with up to 4.5 hours battery life
Windows 7

I have to say I've very impressed with Windows 7!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Housing

After much mental back and forth, frustration, and discussion, we've finally settled on moving to Leesburg next fall. (I feel like the more I put it out there, the more real it becomes to me - same thing with the triathlons). It's pretty much the only place other than Gaithersburg that maintains or improves both of our commutes so neither of us have to change jobs. It's closer to most of our friends (less than 20 minutes from team Nusbaum!), and no further away from most of our family. It's also cheaper.

It's also a little crazy how *everything* seems to be in Leesburg. My gym, a yoga studio, Let's Dish, our vet...it just goes on and on. We'd be close to the W&OD trail for biking and Harper's Ferry/the AT for hiking.

So we're still saving money like mad, and have a target date of September-November 2011. We should be able to sell this place to at least cover our closing costs. We're aiming for a 10% down-payment (had to come to terms with that mentally) so I've adjusted the savings goal meter in the bottom right accordingly.

In the meantime, two sentiments were thrown my way today. Tom Petty came up on shuffle on my ipod in the car:

The waiting is the hardest part / Every day you get one more yard
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart / The waiting is the hardest part

And then Carolyn Hax, in all her wisdom, wrote this today:

So when you feel yourself starting to covet something, force yourself to think bigger. Want your friend's gorgeous house? Sure! But I hope you also want that friend's spouse, family, job, education, politics, faith, appearance, angels, demons, everything, because that's what your friend has. Chances are, in weighing someone you envy as a whole package deal, you're going to hit something you don't want -- or, just something of yours you wouldn't want to give up.
Happy Friday the 13th - mine was pretty mundane. I only have 371 days left in my 20s!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Busy Weekend!

We're packing a lot into the next two days (not that that's anything really novel...) Volunteering tomorrow morning (finally, it's been like 6 weeks!) and then biking the Millennium Trail in Rockville with M and Stacy. After that it's back here to get cleaned up, head over the church to set up for Sunday's communion service, and then into DC for Nick's wedding reception.

Sunday we'll be off to church, lunch, and then out to Jim and Matt Green's for a little yoga lesson, general hanging-out-ness, and dinner.

Whew!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Guess who I won't be voting for

Brian Murphy, a GOP candidate for Governor, who has been endorsed by Sarah Palin. Mr. Murphy's campaign was allegedly responsible for the 10-mile backup on 270 yesterday morning. Now what this tells me, besides confirming the fact that most people are idiots that shouldn't be behind the wheel of a car, is that Mr. Murphy clearly has NO grasp of Maryland since he thought that campaigning on a busy overpass during rush hour traffic was a great idea.

Where is the GOP finding these people?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

French Fries

I love the new McDonalds french fry commercials.

A panel of experts recommends giving your McDonalds fries...to a panel of experts.

An ordinary potato could never bring you to tears the way a box of hot McDonalds french fries can. Unless someone hit you in the face with that ordinary potato.

Now THAT, marketers, is good advertising.

So I had the double-blended cinnamon dolce frappuccino with 2% milk. It was acceptable. Very well, Starbucks.

I'm sipping thai yogi tea with vanilla rice milk - my nose and throat feel a little scratchy :-/

Found some good places to run across the street from my gym in Frederick. Also took the bikes out with M and Stacy Saturday around the MoCo Airport. Going to give the Millennium trail in Rockville a shot sometime soon! The only thing that makes me nervous is trying to get out of our neighborhood onto Muddy Branch. It's scary enough in a car sometimes!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

You win

Okay, Starbucks. Since you gave me a survey invitation to go online and answer questions about my visit this morning in exchange for a free beverage, I will give the new frappuccino one more try at some point in the near future. I did get a few tips from someone I know who works there (ask for double-blended, do NOT get skim milk). This is your last frapp shot though!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Definitions

Now this is the definition of GIRL POWER: The Women's Gangs of India.

And this is the definition of cute: Kitten versus Pillow.

Definition of a donut-lover:
M: You didn't throw away that coupon over there, did you?
Me: The one for the two dozen donuts?
M: Yeah.
Me: When does one need two dozen donuts?
M: I think the question is, when does one NOT need two dozen donuts?

Ahead

I wasn't planning on accruing any credit hours this pay period - we drove back from Chesapeake Beach Monday morning and I worked from home, and got in 5.5 hours. Given my usual schedule, and the fact that you have to get a minimum of 1 credit hour if you're accruing any in a pay period, I was figuring on breaking even right at 80 hours.

Then Thursday at 1pm, I got an urgent deadline for something that was needed at a 10am meeting Friday morning. I worked on it from 3:00-6:15pm, went to pilates class, came home, and finished it up from 8:15-11:00pm. As of tomorrow I'll be 2.25h ahead instead of behind.

I ate dinner at the dining room table tonight only because I was working through dinner. I found that rather ironic.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Mayans

Matt and I watched 'The Nostradamus Effect' on the History Channel over the weekend. I posted on my FB status that we were having a party on December 21st, 2012 and everyone was invited :-)

BUT - my Google calendar goes on to 2013. And if anyone knew that the world was going to end, it would definitely be Google.

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I more or less ate Krispy Kreme donuts for dinner, ugh.

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Today is the anniversary of the Moon Landing. Today also would have been Dad's 52nd birthday - he turned 11 the day Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Happy anniversary, Moon.

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I think I like these lyrics better for this week:

I've got my heart set on anywhere but here
I'm staring down myself, counting up the years

Steady hands, just take the wheel...
And every glance is killing me
Time to make one last appeal...
For the life I lead

Stop and stare
I think I'm moving but I go nowhere
Yeah I know that everyone gets scared
But I've become what I can't be, oh

Stop and stare
You start to wonder why you're here not there
And you'd give anything to get what's fair
But fair ain't what you really need
Oh, can you see what I see?
-OneRepublic

(I was very surprised to find out this was OneRepublic, because I HATED their first single...)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bloggers block?

I opened up a new post window, intending to do something with Beck's 'Loser' lyrics (which I also listened to, a la Glee, on the way home tonight). And then I just stared at the big white box for a while. And then I deleted that post.

Another frustrating night. They seem to be coming more frequently.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

You don't know anything

How does Facebook know so little about me? Today it recommended "Eclipse" and "I Like Being Black."

Just give me my iced coffee!

I stopped at the B&N Cafe after picking something up from Target. When I get to the register, the girl asks me "Welcome to Starbucks, can I get a Frappuccino started for you?" No thanks lady, I already fell for that once. I order a grande iced vanilla coffee. She says "You didn't want that as a blah blah blah vanilla frappuccino?" (She said some long name, I can't even remember the entirety of it). I said 'No thank you.' Next, it's "Would you like that as a venti, only 30 cents more?" Holy crap, the upsell. I just want a iced coffee, damnit!

And then I finally get my iced coffee, and the sleeve says "Next time, try the NEW however-you-want-it frappuccino." Well Starbucks, I'll tell you how-I-want-it: the old recipe.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Morning Person

I am only up at 5am (on purpose) approximately once a year. So it's not surprising that I missed the 3.6-magnitude earthquake that happened in Gaithersburg early this morning. The epicenter was less than 5 miles NW of our house. I have to say, I'm a little disappointed. It couldn't have waited a couple hours until I woke up??

Once again I am relying on my Facebook Feed for current events, hah.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Received

Got my cycling shoes (and pedals). Ended up keeping the pink and gray snorkeling gear; Amazon customer service told me they didn't actually have the pink and green one, but they gave me a 20% discount as compensation. It'll work.

Also got my Hoover Steam Vac carpet cleaner, and Urine-off for the carpet in the living room. Le sigh. Applied the first soaking (with a watering can; I don't know why I didn't think of this before!) and covered it with a tarp to let it really soak in. I saw Max checking out the new litter box this evening, but no one's 'gone' in it yet.

Matt got his snorkeling gear a few days ago, and a wedding present we ordered arrived recently as well. So as a result, we have about 8 boxes in various places around the house. Oy vey.

BodyPump tomorrow, bible study on Saturday, wedding at Chesapeake Beach on Sunday. Spinning class with the new cycling shoes on Tuesday!

WANT
!

We got our cruise stateroom assigned today! So very excited :-D We will be room #6220, on the front right side of the ship. Balcony, yay :-) We even got upgraded from "deluxe" to "supreme" which is an extra 14 sqft. We can book our shore excursions in about another month or so!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I got hot pink again :-(

Thanks, Amazon. Third time's the charm? Matt and I bet on whether it was the right color before I opened the box. He said yes, I said no. I opened it, and said "I win! Except I lose." Repeat of O.N.U.D. in 3..2...

Kitties still have not used the new litterbox. Thanks a lot, guys.

Funnies:
Yahoo Answer Fail
LOLDogs

Q: Dear Miss Manners, Is it proper for a young lady to brush her teeth in the presence of a young man?
A: Only if an improper act preceded it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Weather

I went to a church friend's mother-in-law's funeral visitation after work. I'm glad I ran when I got home, because it's raining now and it will probably rain for at least the next 48 hours. I'm not complaining too much, because we need the rain (and a break from the heat). It was actually fairly nice when I went running - humid, but cool. I apparently did not drink enough water throughout the day though, because I got a nasty side cramp during the last quarter mile of my run. I muscled my way through though.

My snorkeling gear was delivered today, but Amazon sent the wrong color :-( I had ordered it in 'Pearl Pink' which is a light pink and green combo, and instead I got it in 'Hot Pink' which is a bright pink and gray combo. I'm shipping it back as an exchange and hoping that it doesn't turn out to be like the Old Navy Underwear Debacle, where they sent me the wrong color three times (although the outside label was correct each time) and then finally admitted they didn't have it in the color shown on the website.

I believe we will break the $10K level in the house account before the end of the month. Not sure about the $25K for the year though...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

My dress for next June

My sister's getting married and I'm wearing this dress next summer!



(It's a cute dress though - I'm not sure if I'm sad that I hadn't bought it yet or not.)

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Dear Performance Bike

I am ashamed to admit, as a woman, that I have just bought my most expensive pair of shoes from you. Of all places. Though if you take into account the lovely 30% discount that you gave me, they are technically only my second most expensive pair of shoes...after my running shoes. Does this make me a tomboy?

PS - Thank you M for my early birthday present...again :-D

Dear Panera Bread

Why can I buy a half sandwich with a half salad, but I can't buy a whole sandwich with a half salad? Is it some kind of salad conspiracy? Now I have leftover salad.

Monday, July 05, 2010

It's the 5th of July

Feelin' independent / Please step aside / The celebration's over
- Eddie from Ohio


Spent the weekend in SC. Hung out with Matt's fam, went out to eat for his sister's birthday, got ice cream. Did a little yoga and slept in three mornings in a row. Saw Toy Story 3. I flew back this afternoon; Matt will be back Wednesday night.

When I got back I went to a yoga class and a BodyPump class. I filled the time in between walking on a treadmill. I liked the BodyPump class, but I definitely need to do it fresh.

Got takeout BBQ from Famous Dave's and watched two mediocre movies on Netflix streaming.

Short work week this week, and then a murder mystery party/margarita party at C&E's. I'm playing a hippie this time :-)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Quick brain dump

I ran 1.25 miles this morning - that's quite an accomplishment for me (time-wise I mean, not distance-wise). I was thinking of doing interval training but I'm not sure I can do anything that intense at 7:30am, even if it is for only 15 minutes. I am going to try a quick bike interval after pilates class. It's just 8 cycles of full intensity for 20-30 sec followed by a 3x recovery.

I am wondering if I should get a heart rate monitor. I could even get a pink one...

I am going to try out a Body Pump class next week. I could use some weightlifting in my routine. I plan on going to that class and yoga next Monday after I get back from SC (yoga first).

Two more days until the work madness is finally over. I'm looking into whether I can file for workman's comp due to paper cuts. Also, I'll probably be at work from like 7am to 6:30pm Wednesday...yay for credit hours!

In addition to SC, we have a murder mystery party and a wedding next month. That's about it though...August is similarly quiet. Dinner with Carly (I hope) and a trip to Six Flags.

We were finally eligible to cancel our mortgage insurance this month, hooray! Now that $150 will go towards our principle every month instead of just disappearing. Hopefully we will be able to move in 26 more months.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I am a successful triathlete!

I crossed the finish line in 2:06:08 this morning - not bad for my first showing! Overall I was pretty pleased with my effort, despite several long large hills (on the bike and the run) and the heat (mostly just on the run).

My swim time and transitions were very good! I swam in 11:03 which included getting in and out of the pool and a bit of hustle to the timing mats. I would put my actual laps time at about 10:40, which is about 30 seconds slower than I had been swimming in practice but I really didn't want to overdo it here because there aren't a lot of big gains to be had for me. One thing I will do next year, now that I know, is to more accurately report my estimated swim time. I had put like 12:00 on the form way back when, and it ended up getting me a very late start time. I was scheduled for 9:15am (the race started at 7am) but they ran a little early and I ended up getting moved to the upper pool, so I think I was closer to a 9am start.

My swim-to-bike transition was 2:18 (137th overall) and my bike-to-run transition was 1:38 (83rd overall). I could have jogged the second transition a bit more but overall I thought it was very good. It seemed like not everyone was taking the transitions seriously, but as Nick reminded me, a triathlon is really a 'four-event' event!

The bike overall was good, but slower than I had expected (1:12:17). There were three or four extended hills that were pretty draining but I tried to make up for it as much as possible on the flat/downhill parts. One thing I found out pretty early on was that using first gear (of three) on the bike made the chain prone to slip off. I had to stop and reset a popped chain twice; after that I just used second gear and raised or dropped the other side as needed. This probably slowed me down on some of the hills though. I'll have the bike shop adjust the derailleur sometime this summer. I also want either pedal clips or straps for next year.

I could definitely work more on the run though. It was mostly uphill for the first half, and one more hill right at the end to the finish line. My calves were pretty tight and the heat was hard (getting a better start time next year should hopefully help that a bit though). I had to walk briefly in a couple places and my overall time for the run was 38:54; while practicing I had been (continuously) running in 35-37 minutes. I probably should have run outside more and in heavier heat...also noted for next year.

Getting ~5 minutes off my bike time and ~1 minute off my run should get me to 2 hours next year! I did have fun though and I was very glad for my cheering section: Matt, Stacy, and Rhoda (who was volunteering at the race). Rhoda's son was my lap counter at the pool :-) The course volunteers were also very supportive, which was cool. Assuming that there isn't a conflict with the yoga teacher training dates, it's 364 days until next year's event! Matt and Matt M. better not miss the registration next time :-)

(Update: pics up on Facebook)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I really am 28...

Almost 29, even.

So I got pulled over by a MD state trooper on the way home Tuesday night and got a warning about my stupid headlight:

MDST: So, where are you headed?
Me: I'm on my way home.
MDST: That's good...where are you coming from, school?
Me: No, from having dinner in Silver Spring.
MDST: Oh, I guess school's out by now, right?
Me: I'm a bit past school age...
MDST: (looks at my driver's license) Oh, I guess you are.

(Slow night? I got the bulb changed the next day).

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I am apparently on the NCI-Frederick newsletter distribution list twice (they probably just added me into the system a second time when I switched jobs). Someone came by to drop off my mail yesterday:

Co-worker: You must be special, you got two newsletters.
Me: (looks at the labels) Oh, it looks like I'm in Publication's system twice, once as 'Courtney Silverthorn' and once as 'Dr. Courtney F Silverthorn'.
Co-worker: Guess you got a promotion!
Me: Actually, I AM a doctor.
Co-worker: Really? You're joking me, right?
Me: No really, I got my PhD from Hopkins at the end of 2008.

(I had to show her my business card.)

Co-worker: How old ARE you anyways?

Friday, June 11, 2010

More June

June is dividends month - yay! June is quarterly estimated tax payments month - boo.

June is also the triathlon! In retrospect, I probably should have done a bit more running. It was just so annoying that I didn't want to run much at my gym (because the Nike+ sensor refuses to connect to the ipod there) and that running outside is so weather dependent.

I think I'm going to do yoga teacher training next year - I figure it will be a good experience for me personally, plus it's never a bad idea to have multiple marketable skills. Though I am kicking butt at my job currently!

'Sherlock Holmes' is a pretty great movie.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Gerber is a brand of baby food

GERBERA is a type of brightly colored daisy! For some reason I've heard three people on TV/radio make this mistake in the past couple of weeks.

We went to Kings Dominion today for M's company picnic. I found it pretty crazy that the longest line we had to wait in was for the Volcano. We rode the new Intimidator 305 twice in a row, in under 20 minutes - there was like no line! We also rode the Dominator three times and only had to wait more than one car cycle once when we were waiting for the front car. Also hit up the Crypt, Anaconda, Flight of Fear, and Boo Blasters (for Matt) before we went to the water park. The Cyclone is cool! Went on some other slides, the lazy river, and the wave pool. Got funnel cake (for breakfast, take that mom!) and Dippin Dots - which are no longer listed as 'The ice cream of the future.' I guess that means THE FUTURE IS HERE.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

WDSTF

Updated for 2010: We (still) Didn't Start the Fire by Bruce Fine.

Unrelated:
Me: I got pooped on for the first time this weekend.
Adam: Matt needs to grow up.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Kicking off June

It's June already?? That means the triathlon is THIS MONTH OMG. It's okay, I'm very confident in my ability to meet goal #1 (finish). Will probably attempt two more full practices before the 20th.

Memorial Day weekend with the Griffiths and Nusbaums (and Tito) was lots of fun! Hiking, church, cookout, movies, board game, yoga class, babies galore. I only got pooped on once. (what??)

Matt and I have long ago given up hope of having 'normal' families. It's probably a good thing...I might elaborate later if I feel like it. I'm okay though. I think the mentality of yoga is helping provide me with a healthy sense of detachment (serenity prayer etc). Interestingly enough, I just saw the serenity prayer the other day with an extra line added: "...and a big bag of money." I sure wouldn't turn that down!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Charity Whore

I just saw a commercial for 'Pink Bucket' chicken at KFC. For every bucket sold, KFC will donate 50 cents to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

OOOORRRRRR...how about we not encourage people to eat fatty fried foods for the sake of 'charity', seeing as how being overweight is a well-documented risk factor for breast cancer?!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Guest post - WelcomeOmDC

I submitted a guest post to WelcomeOmDC during their call for articles on the topic of 'Yoga Off the Mat.' It aired (is that the right word?) today! Check it out: "Off the Mat and Into the Water" :-)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What have you done, Starbucks??

On my way home today, I stopped for a half-price frappuccino. I ordered a grande light chai frappuccino. Instead of a refreshing, creamy beverage, I ended up with this less than a third of the way through:


That, my friends, is a pile of milky ice with no flavoring. As best I can tell, they're not using the frappuccino base anymore. It's just ice, milk, and flavoring. It doesn't really blend all that well. And frankly, it stinks.

I'm consoling myself with the fact that we're going to Sweetwater tonight for dinner.

Friday, May 07, 2010

I HAVE THE POWAH!

Maryland is a deregulated energy company state. What that means, apparently, is that while Pepco is our energy distributor, they are not required to be our energy generator. I happened to find this out yesterday, and another authorized distributor is Clean Currents. They offer 50 or 100% wind-generated power and a 1 or 2 year price locked contract. And get this - the price per kilowatt hour is less than Pepco's rates! We just signed up for the 50% wind power generation on a 2-year price lock and it's nearly 20% less than what we're currently paying for generation & transmission. Cheaper AND more environmentally sound? Yes please!

If you live in MD, DC, or PA you should check them out! I don't think enough people know about this aspect of their power bill.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

It's May!

And how!

So, April - Mom's 50th birthday and dinner at Truluv. Yoga on the Mall during the Cherry Blossom Festival. Dinner with Carly at The Melting Pot for her birthday. Poker night and 2nd place (straight flush draw; any club, 4 or 9 would have won but I didn't hit it). Lunch with M and Stacy at Buca di Beppo. Got back into Hopkins for more book larnin'. Cassidy's dedication service. Went to the FLC national meeting and added another state to my list - New Mexico.

So, New Mexico. I'll start with the good - conference was good; I went to Sandia with Seth and JoAnna to ride the tramway and also took a 'ghost tour' of Old Town Albuquerque.

The bad was that at about 1:30pm last Monday (a little over halfway through the first day) I started throwing up. I was feeling weird after lunch and thought after the first time it might be done because I immediately felt better. I went back to the training session but realized within another half hour or so that I had better go back to my room. I grabbed a bottle of water and a can of sprite on my way up.

Between 1:30 and 6:30 I threw up about every 30 minutes. Lunch, breakfast, soda, water, bile. It was terrible. I had other digestive issues as well (and I'll leave it at that). My boss brought me some Pepto Bismol around 6:30. I ended up taking three doses over a couple hours, and it started spacing out a little. I threw up about every 45-60 minutes most of the rest of the night. Throwing up water is a horribly strange feeling. My stomach HURT too...I was starting to worry that I had appendicitis or something. I was within a half hour of calling down to the front desk to ask where the closest hospital was.

I finally stopped around 10:30pm. By then my abs and back were killing me. My knees were bruised too. I tentatively took two ibuprofen and laid on the floor for a while until I could crawl into bed and fall asleep a little after midnight.

I was sick four more times the following night (thought it was over and tried to eat too soon), stuck to liquids for most of the day Wednesday, and finally got some soup and crackers Wednesday night. Dinner at the awards banquet was divine on Thursday, because it was basically the first real meal I had eaten in four days.

Anyway, enough about that. What's on board for May?

Yoga workshop on the 16th. Booked a half-price aromatherapy massage for the 21st. 24 series finale. Eric and Emily and Owen visit for Memorial day weekend!! So excited about that, though I'm a little nervous about having a 7-month-old for 4 days in a less-than-babyproofed house. It'll be an adventure, for sure.

46 days to the triathlon, 165 days to the cruise!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm not symmetrical :-(

I noticed last time I ran that I was feeling a little soreness in my right shin, which seemed to be alleviated if I leaned a bit to the left.

I noticed when I was showering after swimming that my right quad is more muscular than my left.

I noticed in the studio mirrors when I was in yoga class that my left hip/outer thigh has considerably more...padding.

I'm uneven! :-(

Time for some lunges, side and rear leg lifts, and single-leg squats (yes, I can do these!) to focus on the left leg. I also plan to try going up stairs leading with my left leg rather than alternating so it does some more work.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spoiler

I watched the movie 'Passengers' tonight (with Anne Hathaway, Dianne Wiest and David Morse).

SPOILER --> CLICK HERE

On another note, why did I watch a movie about a plane crash 8 days before I'm due to fly halfway across the county? I don't get myself sometimes.

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Didn't want to go to the gym today, but I figured I'd feel crankier if I got off schedule. So I went, and completed 90% of the triathlon land distance. Numbers here and here!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"You'd do that for me?" "Absolutely."

(Scene: After midnight, in bed. Lights are off.
Suddenly, I jump up off the pillow.)


Me: Something just touched my nose.
Matt: It was probably a cat hair.
Me: What if it was a spider?
Matt: It's not a spider.
Me: How do you know?
Matt: Because I killed every spider in the universe.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Conquering the pose

I am trying to learn how to do Salamba Sirsasana - a headstand. I practiced last night with the help of my very trustworthy husband. No sarcasm, he was! I was finally able to get my legs up by myself and hold it for about 1.5 seconds unassisted. My arms really hurt today though!

Other poses I am slowly working towards fully completing: Hanumanasana (monkey pose) and Supta Virasana (reclining hero pose). Surprisingly, the first is proving to be less challenging than the second. I'm also trying to build more upper body strength so I can move through Chaturanga Dandasana without dropping my knees. Someday...

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Anatomy

Also, my current quest is to figure out what the muscle is that runs along the inside of my thigh, slightly to the back of the leg - and figure out how to stretch it, because it's preventing me from doing certain forward folds or getting my legs out to a 90 degree angle.

UPDATE - It's my adductors. And I find it amusing that it wants to correct the spelling to abductors. Those are on the outside of the thigh!

More Cherry Blossom Yoga pics

Unofficial reports say over 1700 people were doing yoga in front of the Washington Monument on Saturday!

Photosets at ReadysetDC and WelcomeOmDC - I didn't see myself in any of these either :-( So unfair, they only crowd-shot in front of the stage! Noted for next year. I'll keep looking though - I know someone out there took a picture with me in it!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

National Cherry Blossom Festival Yoga

One yogini out of over 1000:
More professional-ly pics here and here (mostly of the instructors on the stage). I haven't seen myself in any of the crowd shots yet since I was more to the left of the stage than any of those pictures, but I was up front by the sidewalk and I know that at least a dozen people pointed cameras in my direction. I have no idea if they were event people though, or just interested tourists! I'll keep looking :-)