Saturday, December 31, 2005

something's burning

Ick. Who's lame enough to come down with a cough and fever the morning of New Year's Eve, when we have not one, but two fun parties to attend? And even lamer, to get sick on the Saturday of a 3 day weekend. Can't even get a sick day from work.

This always seems to happen when I get back into the exercising and eating right groove. You'd think my body would be happier with all the clean living. My trusty digital thermometer (cheapy one from Longs Drugstore) tells me I'm at 101.4 degrees. (How do you get a degree sign to show up anyway when there isn't one on they keyboard??)

And we bought a fairly expensive chocolate mousse cake to take to Nathalie's party tonight, which will now sit in the fridge because TJ doesn't know them well enough to go there by himself. Danger Will Robinson! At least he will go to the Calixtos' for a few hours and take them the cute little bottles of bubbly we bought them at Seattle Cellars.

Weighing myself today was lame too. (It's been a lame day all around, ladies and gentlemen.) I lost the mysterious half pound I gained last week. So I'm where I was 2 weeks ago. Fabulous. But I have completed 11 workouts in the past 2 weeks which is probably more than I worked out in the 3 months before that, so that's still an accomplishment.

Actually, the one high point of the day was watching the Pilot episode of The Closer on TNT, starring Kyra Sedgwick. We watch so many crime dramas (3 flavors of Law & Order and CSI) that I didn't think it would be all that good, but WOW, was I wrong. An interesting plot line, though TJ, smartypants and TV connoisseur that he is, picked up on it at the beginning, but it wasn't blatantly obvious like on bad shows.

Here are some of the other reasons why I liked it so much:

1. Kyra Sedgwick's character is quirky, not in a TV, outlandish, Mimi sort of way, but reassuringly normal. I *loved* the part where she's faced with a box of donuts, keeps giving them sideways glances, finally picks one up, holds it, puts it down on her desk and licks off the glaze from her finger. Later in the episode she finds the donut and finally just tosses it into the trash with conviction. (Now all of this is kind of in the background while she's talking about something critical to the plot.) Just a really cool little real-life attention to detail there.

2. She's not "too pretty" for the role, and dresses in a way that's actually believable for a detective. (Don't talk to me about Ally McBeal or Angie Harmon, etc.) Her accent is also adorable, though I think people from Atlanta don't really have such a thick accent. Maybe the Georgians out there can correct me...

3. There's a lot of subtext about being a woman in a position of power, and having to come in and lead a reluctant team, especially one full of guys who aren't the most enlightened bunch in the world.

4. The detectives on her team, and the characters in the show are pretty diverse, almost a bit contrivedly so, but nice to see they're making an effort. Black and white, Latino, male and female, and even an Asian cop. Nice to see an Asian on TV as something other than a doctor. Don't get me wrong, it's better than always being portrayed as a thug or gang member or the Good Guy Who Always Gets Killed First, but it's great to see Asians playing other roles as well. Now all we need is that cute British Indian chick from ER/Bend it Like Beckham to become a detective too and we'll be all set!

So I was sad when it was over, because we just had one episode on the TiVo. But now we have a Season pass! Unfortunately it's only on once a week, but this gives me hope and something else to watch until American Idol 5 starts again in earnest.

Well, back to sleep. Hopefully I won't miss the ball dropping. It's so lame that we here in Seattle have to watch it on tape delay. What kind of idiocy is that? Lame, I tell you!

Happy New Year, my loyal readers!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Used to have a little now I have a lot

Just a quick post to mention that TJ rocks. I was bored and milling about the house and he suggested that I actually (god forbid!) use the treadmill I bought and watch TV. Brilliant. I caught up on the Faith Hill and "Crash" Oprah episodes from this week. I'm not actually into Faith Hill but she just seems like a genuinely nice person so it was a nice, pleasant interview to watch. Her songs are just a bit too vanilla for me, nice as background music but they don't really reach out and grab me or anything.

The best part was about this woman, Lori McKenna, who wrote 3 of the songs on Faith's new album. She's a mom in Massachusetts who writes her own songs and somehow they found their way to Faith Hill and she decided to record them. Her voice is great and the one song of hers that she sang was awesome. So it was the usual Oprah, feel-good story about this mom whose life changed by Faith Hill picking her songs. Well, a Google search turned up the backstory. Turns out Lori has several albums out. She's nowhere near the household name that Faith Hill is, but it sucks that Oprah didn't happen to mention these albums at all. Dang, with that kind of audience, she could have at least done that for Lori McKenna. Hopefully others watching will also Google, and find Lori's site. I've bought one of her CDs. Can't wait to get it!

Don't be fooled by the rocks that I got

I finally had time to rip some more CDs into MP3s and refill my iPOD with booty-shakin, gym-worthy music. Which is good because I just started the Couch to 5K running program a few weeks ago. I'm on the last workout of Week 2 right now. So far it's easy - running 1:30 is nothing. I'm a little apprehensive about the 3 minute stretch next week as I tend to get bored and then fixate on how much running sucks. But we'll see how it goes. I swear, there's nothing like running to make you sweat and feel like you're getting a fabulous workout. I don't yet have a 5K I'm targeting - I'm not sure which ones are in March, and I don't want to run in the cold. But before 2006 is over, I want to run a 5K in under 30 min. And so it was written, and so it shall be.

Ginger went home today. It's now very quiet in the house, except for the rain outside. I changed the blog colors to something more winter and New Year-ish. For some reason I always associate the color blue with New Year stuff. Dunno why.

Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The light was shining from the radio

I got the cutest e-card from Michelle. For a corporate marketing idea, Hoops&Yoyo is pretty slick. These guys are adorable. Kind of like a less offensive South Park.

Seeing Suz was very cool. We also went over to Stan and Ada's house to see new baby Ella. Very cute pudgy little cheeks. We also saw Little Stan/Bo, briefly, before he had to go take a nap.

Omakase? OMG!
And I can't believe I forgot to blog about dinner last week at Flo Japanese Restaurant. Leslie and I ordered the Chef's tasting menu, called Omakase, and it was *incredible*. We had a little of everything: clam, oyster, sushi, salmon, a yummy steamed eggwhite dish, and fresh fruit and chocolate fondue at the end. Being the good little WW girl, I skipped out on the chocolate. But even after multiple courses, I wasn't busting-out full. That's the coooool part about Japanese food - when done well, it's light and delicate. mmm, I'd go back there in a heartbeat.

Tomorrow TJ and I are going wine-tasting at Seattle Cellars, then to Red Fin for more sushi. (Well, him for burger, me for sushi). I'm excited since I haven't tried that restaurant. Sadly, it replaces the yummy Yakima Grill, which is no more.

Well, TJ is inviting me to snuggle with him on the couch, and really, who could resist that? :) Hope you're all having a nice final week of 2005!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Fall on your knees and hear the angel voices

Random thought of the day - "O Holy Night" is one of my favorite Christmas carols, just behind "Little Drummer Boy". Tracy Chapman has a kickass version of it on one of the "A Very Special Christmas" collections.

Merry Christmas. Today has been a very low key day. Ginger and Peanut have now progressed to lots of growly playing and games of tug and "bite your ear". Unfortunately, due to Ginger's bad leg, we're not comfortable leaving them alone in case they exert themselves too much and Ginger gets hurt. So one of us is stuck at home for most of the time this week. But it's much better now that they get along - they even slept the whole night without barking at each other last night.

I worked out with Maya again today and she made a pointed comment about working out with her more often. I retorted with a very witty remark, of course, but got no response. Maybe that'll come in version 2.0. TJ probably thinks I'm crazy, talking back to the TV like htat. I was pleased to note she wears a different outfit when I picked the "Urban Oasis" workout room.

Tomorrow I'm going to see Suz. Yay! We will probably go visit Ella, Stan and Ada's new baby.

So, what's your favorite Christmas carol?

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Can't find my way home

Now Ginger is defending the kitchen from both Peanut and Spike. She has decided they can't come in here. And she and Peanut are playing the "I'm not looking at you directly" game. Peanut looks very sad and has found himself a spot right outside the kitchen to flop down. I think all he's looking for is a good nap.

Dog behavior sure is a funny thing.

Gone away are the bluebirds

Well, it's Christmas Eve, and I've got a sinus headache, two huge dogs with an uneasy truce between them and a beagle who's trying to hide behind me. I also have baked acorn squash with garlic and thyme, potato/parsnip mash, and some more steamed green beans. It's been a good cooking day for me.

TJ is at the Seahawks game with his friend Tai from work. Thanks to this sinus infection, I couldn't go. Which is probably just as well since the three dogs here still need a referee.

Ginger and Peanut are still sorting out who's big and who's gonna tell the other one what to do (or what not to do). Poor TJ had to get up a few times last night when Peanut decided Ginger was not allowed to cross some invisible line in the bedroom. Yesterday, Ginger also decided she had enough of Spike barking at her, so she tried to tell him she was big in that "I'm not gonna hurt you but I'm gonna scare you real good" growly lunging snarly way. Since we weren't actually sure how that would end, because Spike isn't smart enough to give up, we had to separate everyone. And just to be sure, Spike and I slept in Dog Bed downstairs, all curled up together. We slept well :)

Today Ginger is following Spike around a little less, but Spike still thinks hiding behind me is the safest spot. Peanut is really, really tired and trying to ignore everyone else. I think Ginger misses Dave, too, because she keeps looking hopefully at the door everytime we go near it. Poor Ginger.

Until these guys sort themselves out, we're stuck at home (at least one of us is). So we've had to turn down a couple of nice invitations for Christmas dinner. TJ and I are going to meet Suz in Tacoma for lunch on Monday, which is awesome because I haven't seen her in about 7 or 8 years, since she went to grad school. So I hope these guys sort out who's big by then.

Well, I hope you all have a nice Christmas Eve! Go Seahawks!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I'd buy you a green dress

Grades were finally posted today for UW. I got a 4.0 for my CSS 301 Tech Writing course. That was nice to see. What's also cool is seeing that my cumulative UW GPA for this year is a 4.0. That's not a sight I ever saw at Caltech, except for the one brief shining quarter my sophomore year when my GPA was a 4.2 or something crazy like that. (That was the quarter that started with the guy I was dating getting engaged to someone else *while* I was still dating him. Nothing like anger to motivate a girl.)

I also gave into the wacky cultishness and bought a Moleskine notebook today. You know, the kind that was used by Picasso, Van Gogh and some guy named Chatwin no one has ever heard of except in reference to Moleskine notebooks. Fortunately I didn't need to go hunting for one - the Crossroads Barnes and Noble had one. It's really a gorgeous notebook - very posh look and feel.

Anyway, I'm determined not to spend the next 15 years "trying" to lose weight, as I have spent the last 15. So I'm going to use the notebook to document this project as if it were a lab experiment - one with a specific beginning and end. I think it'll help me when I want to ditch the whole thing, just to read previous entries and see what progress I've made. That's the plan, anyway. It will also spare you having to read a lot of whiny angst over pants not fitting or pudgy face days, or whatever other things I choose to obsess about in private. :)

The good news is that I've completed 3 workouts now for the Bon Jovi Challenge - 2 running and one with Maya. Tomorrow is another Maya day, which I'm dreading because my legs are sooo sore from the lunges she made me do on Tuesday.

I sent some Christmas "surprises" online today to our families, which should get there later this week. I hope they enjoy them, as much as I had fun picking them out.

TJ and I are dogsitting Ginger, the fabulous chocolate ice cream colored dog who belongs to Dave (no blog) for 6 days starting Friday. We'll need to closely supervise the dogs during that initial uneasy first couple of days before Peanut and she sort out who's big. I can't wait to see who that is! I think Ginger may be a bit taller than Peanut. And she's got a very dominant personality. She also tormented Spike the last time she was here by following him around the room and just looking at him quizzically when he barked his "Go away you big dumb dog" bark. We'll see how that goes.

Good times. Oh, and Happy Birthday to Kristin whose birthday is either today or tomorrow - I'm so bad at remembering and it's on my calendar on both days, unfortunately. I'll have to fix that.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Beagle beagle beagle I made him out of clay

That darn Spike - he keeps having adventures without me!

Everyone's looking for the little guy.
The Search for Beagle 2

Even NASA is trying to help.
NASA Eyeballs Lost Beagle 2

Ooh, NASA caught Beagle being naughty!
NASA may have Images of Beagle on Mars

Wait, I think we found him!
The Beagle Had Landed

Oh dear, it was only the getaway car.
Missing Beagle craft found on Mars

Hey look, now we got him. We think.
Scientists 'Find' Beagle on Mars

Poor beagle.
Wreckage of Beagle Found Scattered in Mars Crater

Despite the fun times Spike had on Mars, we found him sleeping in his bed this morning. Pretty impressive, that Beagle.

Monday, December 19, 2005

I ain't gonna do what I don't want to

The March 2006 Bon Jovi Challenge has officially begun. TJ has agreed to take me to the Bon Jovi concert in Seattle on March 6, with good seats bought from a ticket agency (as the show is mostly sold out now), if I work out 50 times between now and then. Those who are math-inclined realize I have about 75 days to complete those 50 workouts, so not a lot of wiggle room there. Workouts can only be counted once a day, and have to be at the gym, or with Maya, my XBox virtual trainer. Walking at the dog park or to work, though good for me, doesn't count.

I have officially completed 1/50 and am pretty motivated again. My love for Bon Jovi is coming back again, though I'm not sure I can match the crazy devotion I had to them when I was 11 years old :). The new album "Have a Nice Day" *really* rocks. Most of the songs are typical Bon Jovi, could have been recorded in 1988, stuff, but there are a few mellower songs that sound Gin Blossoms/Matchbox 20/random post-grunge band of the day-ish as well. So I really want to go to the concert, and an added bonus is that I might get to buy a cute outfit to fit my newly skinny self by then! (One can dream!)

Spike was quite the Beagleman about town yesterday. *Everyone* wanted to talk to him or pet him. Unfortunately this made him very nervous, and as a result, dandruffy, which made me look like a bad dog parent. I swear we just bathed him on Saturday! Of course, today, he looks fine. We made friends with another beagle at the downtown dog park, some friendly homeless guys, a dad and his daughter out for some Christmas shopping, a man who had a picture of *his* beagle tattooed on his arm (not kidding!), an Australian woman who really wanted a beagle, a sailor from the Navy, and the saleslady at J. Gilbert footwear, who gave Spike a dog cookie in the store. Spike didn't like the shoes at J. Gilbert, so we didn't spend much time there. I on the other hand, was drooling and vowed to return. I will surely celebrate my intermediate weight loss achievements by buying fancy shoes there. Spike slept like a beagle baby when we returned home, and Peanut got to go to the dog park with TJ.

I made a nice meaty pasta sauce called "Sandro's Ragu" from the Seattle Times and we ate it with farfalle and a glass of the $6 Snoqualmie sauvignon blanc I bought to make the sauce. The wine was pretty dry and not something I'd really want to drink again but didn't taste as crappy as one might expect for the low price. The sauce looks like it'll make a great lasagna so that's the plan for later this week.

Today I'm baking a low-fat pumpkin bread. Turns out Spike is fiendishly fond of canned pumpkin. Who'da thunk it?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Now I'm leaving this all behind

Playing DDR has opened up my world to a whole lot of new, annoying techno music that won't get out of my head. In the game, each song clip is only about a minute and a half, so I haven't even heard the whole song - just snippets of each one.

I'm so not feeling the Christmas thing this year. Perhaps it's because stores around here had their Christmas trees up since Halloween. But I am looking forward to having a couple of days off and being able to organize some stuff around the house. We have so much *stuff* and not a lot of storage space so I'd like to really sort through some of it.

Grades haven't yet posted for my pseudo-technical writing class yet. I've been stalking the UW website for a week, trying to get some closure. I'm definitely not taking a class next quarter.

It occurred to me that I tend to take on projects that I'm good at, where I know I'll succeed, rather than working harder on the stuff I'm not very good at (such as regular exercise or eating right). So I think I need to shift the balance in the other direction and really try to get down to a healthy BMI before I get any older and it becomes too hard to do. I can already tell it was easier to lose weight at 24 than it is now. Someone made an interesting comment to me once, about how women tend to take weight loss and fitness programs *personally*, while men just see it as a plan then need to follow and do it. So a setback doesn't cause men any major emotional distress - they just get back on track and do it. I don't know if that's really true for men, but it sort of explains my behavior anyway.

Today, TJ is going to clean out some of the big stuff at his office at work, so Spike and I are going downtown with him to wander around. Unfortunately, Peanut is too big to fit in the car with all of TJ's stuff, so he'll stay home. There's a very nice shoe store downtown called J. Gilbert, which, oddly enough has its other store in Tucson, just down the road from my old house. Since they allow dogs in their store, I thought I'd go take a look.

We played poker last night with a bunch of folks TJ works with. I got crappy cards all night and slowly lost all my money. TJ got second place, which was pretty good, and Travis kicked butt and won. I forgot how much I like having people over for a low key evening like that - I got some snacks and beer at Trader Joe's and people brought over even more so it was pretty low stress entertaining.

Well, off to put Spike's jingle bell collar on him so he can share the Christmas spirit with Seattle!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Imagine all the people, living life at peace

Dear Mr. Balding 40-something Overgrown Frat Boy with Cell Phone Earpiece:

I was so pleased to meet you today at Crossroads Mall, when you pulled out in front of my car to make an illegal U-turn, stopping two lanes of traffic. I understand that it must have been horribly inconvenient for your phone call to be interrupted by my horn honking.

I'm sorry I couldn't step out of my car like you asked, to kiss the boo-boo on your middle finger. Since it was cold out and my windows were up, I couldn't hear the enthusiastic holiday greetings you were yelling at me. Merry Christmas to you too, sir. I hope Santa finally brings you that brain cell.

I suggest taking a course in Effective Communication at your alma mater, FU.


Monday, December 12, 2005

See, hear, feel the real thing

Hey! I've been quoted on the LibraryThing buzz page. Too cool. Maybe a zillion people will now read my blog. Then again, maybe not :)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I'm headed for who knows where

Ok, whaddya think about the new look? The pink was too much, too syrupy, like that cotton candy you bought and took one bite, and was instantly sick of it. I'm back to the original design, with a slight change in color for the holidays. I guess I'm really a simple girl at heart.

This is too much fun.

Now it's really time for bed.

Don't ask the past to last

TJ pointed out I haven't written in a while. He doesn't usually read my blog, so that surprised me. Of course, then I realized that in 2 short weeks he will be Unemployed Man. Yes, he finally quit the job that has been making him unhappy for the past 2 years. And I am proud of him for that - it takes a lot to walk away from a paycheck when you don't have the next one lined up. That's one of the nice things about being married (or for that matter, any committed relationship where you share money). One of us can quit our sucky job and take some time to find a new better one, without The Man coming to repossess The Peanut.

Here's a blog post about eeeevil Banana Republic that made me bust a gut laughing. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I'm finally done with my wretched Technical Writing class, in which we did hardly any Technical Writing and a lot of English 101. I did well on my Writing Portfolio (yay) and got the highest score in the class for our last in-class writing exercise (impressive considering my total studying time was about 5 minutes). So I'll end up with a decent grade, but really, I'm just relieved to be done. It annoyed me way too much. I did appreciate practicing my writing and learning about visual design and a bit about writing instructions and process descriptions. But the class seemed just so much about "what does the professor want" and less about learning for its own sake. On the bright side, I am now much more thoughtful about the status reports and other writing I do at work. So it wasn't a total loss. I guess now that I am *choosing* to take classes, I have very high expectations. Yes, I'm *that* snotty student with the bad attitude.

I now have two new obsessions, stemming from my recent purchase of an older Xbox for a very low price from the Micronews, our classified ads site. The first is Dance Dance Revolution, something I've played on more than one occasion with Kristin, and once with Kristine as well in Las Vegas this summer. It's nice to be able to play in the privacy of one's own home, where embarassing acts of un-coordinated flailing around are hidden from everyone except Spike and Peanut who can't laugh at me because they're DOGS. I wouldn't go so far as to call it exercise but it beats sitting on the couch.

The second "game" I bought is Yourself! Fitness, which features a virtual personal trainer named Maya who gives you a different workout each time based on your fitness goals and performance on fitness evaluations. I hate working out so any unique gadget that gets me off my butt (one of those that doesn't fit into Banana Republic pants, see link above) is a good thing. My fitness evaluation and first workout with Maya went well today. Though she was pretty mean about making me do 2 minutes of jumping jacks. I also had to do 50 squats (aced that thanks to aforementioned butt) and 40 girl pushups (could barely do 20) for the eval. Ugh, I'm in so much worse shape than I was when working out with Nelson before the wedding. I hate to represent the cliche about married life! My next workout with Maya is tomorrow, for 30 minutes. I'm starting out slow since I'm really in that gym-hating frame of mind right now.

And I started following the Weight Watchers plan again (they should pay me now, for the amount of money I've spent there over the years!). Through empirical evidence, (yes, I know I'm slow to pick this up) I realize I actually need to change the way I always eat, not just go on a diet for some short term goal. So I'll never be able to eat "whatever I want", which is kind of sad, but just the way things are, I guess. Of course, if I ever get back to running, I can be a bit more lax about it. But alas, that time is not now.

I'm sort of happy to get back into this frame of mind before the other 10000000 people do this in a month. And I will probably avoid the gym for a while until that craziness subsides. Anyway, wish me luck (again). I can't believe I've undone all the good work I did earlier this year. It's amazing how quickly that happens. Next time I'll be smarter about it. (Lord knows, even lab rats learn from their experiences...)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A sort of fairytale with you

Just wanted to point out the coolest website EVER (besides this one, of course).

I've started my library already and in less than an hour, have added over 60 books to it. I think I'll post my book reviews there now instead.

What a cool idea. Now I really will be able to keep track of my books, minus the previous 27-odd years' worth, I guess, though I'm trying to remember what I've read in the past.

Go start your own catalog there and link yours to mine! I'd love to see what you've read and what you think of it!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Like a good book, I can't get this day back

I just finished my Writing Portfolio for my Technical Writing class. What a relief. I made the decision *not* to rewrite the paper I got an A- on, but did rewrite the B- and B+. A nice compromise. I'm having a hard time with the concept of "enough" and not obsessing about the A/4.0.

I'm not taking a class next quarter so I can focus on getting back into shape. After October's horrendous work-every-day schedule, I gained back almost all the weight I lost in the preceding *year*, if you can believe that. I weigh almost as much as I did before I started the crazy workouts before the wedding. (And more than Tyra Banks, I'm sad to report.) But the good news is, I went back to the gym today and started running again. My goal (as the Internet is my witness) is to run a 5K in less than 30 minutes in 2006. I know, for all you runners out there, that's pretty slow, but for me that would be a screamin' pace. And to be honest, I'm not sure I can even run for 5 minutes given the shape I'm in now. Boo.

Thanks to Thanksgiving (hee hee) we have a ton of healthy homecooked food in the house. We had 7 people at Thanksgiving dinner this year: my parents, my brother, my aunt Swarnam(who just happened to be visiting from India!), and my cousin Ram who also works at M$. We used the nice china TJ's grandparents gave us and drank a bottle of the nice Riesling that was almost like the Happy Monk wine that we LOOOVED at Canlis on my birthday this year. Ram also faced his fear of dogs and was totally cool with Spike and Peanut being in the same room as him. (Pretty brave!)

I made a bunch of stuff for dinner - some old favorites and some new recipes from the latest issues of Cooking Light. We also figured out how to cook the happy natural vegetarian pig-based ham we got from Whole Foods. Which, by the way, is AMAZING. (The store, I mean, though the ham was pretty good too.) I went to the Bellevue store for the first time last week and was BLOWN AWAY at how nice it is. They even have a creperie inside. How cool is that?

We're going to the Seahawks/Giants game tomorrow - only a few more for our season tickets. It should be fun, and hopefully not too cold or wet.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Diamonds don't bling in the dark

Yikes. It's been a while, huh? You'd think I'd write more often when I'm busier, cuz' there's more to write about. My parents were here for 6 days and just left this morning. My brother's still here and leaving tonight. TJ and I made Thanksgiving dinner for everyone, including my cousin Ram and my aunt, last night. It's been a fun, busy past couple of days.

My mom and I went to see "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire". What an awesome movie. I'm a little sad that the guy who directed "HP and the Prisoner or Azkaban" didn't do this one, because that movie had a really neat dark vibe. HPatGoF was pretty scary and true to the book, but wasn't as "artistic" as HPatPoA. Some of the details of the "Yule Ball" weren't quite like I imagined, and neither was the magical prefects' bathroom, and the actress who plays Hermione is far too pretty, but all in all, it was a good film version of that extremely long book.

Today I got my hair cut and colored by The Awesome Lindsay again. As usual, I didn't have a style in mind, so I let her Do Her Thing, and she did not disappoint. I have big red stripey highlights, and a cool cut that's short in the back (just to my collar) and a bit longer in front. We'll see if I can reproduce this after washing my hair. I suspect not, but I think it'll look ok anyway. Yay Lindsay!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I'm on my way, just set me free

Oh my god - this was just too good to pass up. Only a few of you will get these, but I thought it was funny. I've edited to remove the ones I didn't get. :)

You Know You're From Pittsburgh When...

"Hey Yunz Guyz" is your traditional greeting.

You know the location of the following towns, know someone from them and have spent time there: Monongahela, Altoona, Bethlehem, Ligonier, Harmony, and Wilmerding.

You've memorized lines from the movie "Flashdance".

If you're a girl, you're biggest fear is getting hit on by a hairy-chested man, heavily weighted in gold chains, who refers to his friends as "junior" at Chauncey's.

Your latest cultural experience: On your way to partying at Slippery Rock University, having to stop your car to let the Amish buggy cross the street.

As your out-of-town friends brag about their latest trips to Europe, you think to yourself, "Polish Hill will suffice."

Your father has worked for the same company for over 20 years.

You don't see what all the hype is about Disney World when Kennywood is just around the corner.

" N at' " is eloquently added to the end of every sentence.

You feel the only good bands out there are Donny Iris, Joe Grushecky, The Blue Oyster Cult, and of course.... Rusted Root.

You're more worried about Jerome Bettis's health than your own.

You own more than one original Terrible Towel.

You don't understand what all the hype is about for Rolling Rock beer. You've been drinking it for years, although Penn Pilsner is better.

You consider a great vacation a trip to Conneaut Lake or Lake Erie. For something a little more exotic, a trip to the Jersey shore.

You're 35 years old, have never been outside of Allegheny County, and don't see the need to leave.

You only own four spices: salt, pepper, Heinz ketchup, and the bottle of Trappey's Red Devil you swiped from Primanti's.

For the life of you, you can't understand why your all your out-of-town friends don't get the "fries and cole slaw" thing...

Words like: hoagie; chipped ham; pop; and gumband actually mean something to you.

You walk carefully when it is "slippy" outside.

You often go down to the "crick".

You've ever gotten hurt by falling into a "jaggerbush".

You know that Ahia is a river, a boulevard, and a state.

You've ever "warshed" or "wershed" the laundry.

You know you can't drive too fast on back roads,cause-udda-deer.

You've drank an "Arn" .

You've told someone to "quit jaggin around".

You know that Clinton, Monaca, and Beaver, are actually names of towns.

You've called someone a 'jaggoff'.

You hear "you guyses", or "yins" and don't think twice.

You hate Cleveland, although you've never been there.

You drink "pop", eat "hoagies", pierogies, and gyros(jy-rows).

You know what a still mill is.

You can find Zillionopal on a map.

You go 'food shoppin' at 'Jine Iggle'.

You know someone from 'Sliberty, E-sliberty, or Wesliberty.

You know the Pittsburgh Zoo is in 'Hilinpark' and have been there for school field trips.

You know what is meant by "The Point".

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Pittsburgh.

Monday, November 14, 2005

And it makes me feel so fine I can't control my brain

My Starbucks chai exploded all over Otto's front seat today. Ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration, because most of the chai stayed in the cup. But what a bummer. Now I need to go clean out the cupholder and the spots on the seat and steering wheel that got splooged with my grande nonfat 1-pump chai (don't ask).

I think I'm digging the pink blog. And speaking of pink...

Last night on ESPN Sportscenter, there was a whole story about how the Univ. of Iowa stadium's visitor's locker room is painted pink. Even the urinals are pink. Apparently the idea was to give the home team a psychological "edge" over their opponents. Now there's obvious sexist intent here, making the visiting team feel like "girls" or whatever. But I think it's kind of funny anyway. Apparently there are some people who are really upset about this. Honestly, with so much injustice and overt racism/sexism/homophobia/etc. in the world, why would you choose this as your battle?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

I think I know what you think of me

I was sick of the old template, and the new flowery graphic wasn't working for me either. There are a lot of free Blogger templates available on the Web, but I just wasn't happy with a lot of them, so I came back and picked one of the templates Blogger provides on their site. Over time, I'll tweak it to be a little more personal.

For some reason, I was feeling pink. I wish I could effortlessly design my own template but I don't even know how to begin with that. So I'll settle for poking at the available ones until it's "just right".

Ignoring the ads, I love the design of (She's supporting her family with those ads - apparently her site is one of the top visited blogs on the whole Internet.) The top graphic changes from time to time (seasonally) and is always *really* cool. Everything else is clean and simple. I'd be all set if I could design something like that.

For now I'll have to settle with not-quite-perfect and the restlessness that comes with this crappy winter weather, which makes me want to buy new clothes I don't really need and make other sweeping changes around the house.

And the car drama continues. TJ bought this yesterday from a guy at Microsoft:

The Micronews really does rock! That's where we found Spike and sold the Saturn, too. I think this car's name is Simon. So maybe the Micronews works for cool things that start with the letter 'S'?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The distance erased with the greatest of ease

Last night, Doyle, Dre, Lisa and I went to see Vienna Teng at the Triple Door in downtown Seattle. VT is slowly creeping up on Toad the Wet Sprocket and Queensryche as far as the number of times I've seen them live. This was my 4th Vienna Teng concert. I think I've seen TTWS 6 times (alas, no more!) and QR 7 times.

And WOW, what a show. I keep forgetting how much better it is to see music live. This time, VT had a drummer - in the past it was either her, unaccompanied except by her own piano playing, or with a couple of string instruments. But this was a much more rockin' show and I LOVED it. Even more than Weezer/Foo Fighters a few weeks ago. She played Harbor, which I put on the CD of songs we played as the guests were arriving at our wedding. That made my day. It even more made my day when she said it was her experiment in "Progressive Rock". Woo hoo. I'm so amazed that someone smart enough to get a degree in CS from Stanford, who worked at Cisco as a developer, can be *such* a talented singer/songwriter/piano player. Apparently when god was handing out the good stuff, she stood in line twice :)

Just like when I was 13, a good concert will keep me happy for days. The cool thing about VT is that, though I've heard her two CDs a million times, when she does the songs live, there's always something different about them. And not different in that weird Adam Duritz-talking through the song- sort of way, but in a familiar, but brilliant way, that makes me listen to the CD versions and notice new things in them. Which is just AWESOME. Though I do wish she'd come out with a new album SOON. She played some new songs last night which were great too.

And I got to chat with her briefly after the show. The weird part is she said she recognized me from one of the other shows. Sometime last year I think, or maybe even 2003. Anyway, that's kind of cool. I can't quite imagine Geoff Tate from Queensryche saying something like that. Though, come to think of it, Randy, the drummer from TTWS told Jasmine and me he remembered seeing us the last time we saw them in Seattle. Maybe I'm funny looking and that's why.

I have a sore throat again. Boo. Hopefully it won't last four weeks this time.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

A little bit of disregard

Ugh. I got a B on my Tech Writing midterm. Which is not too shabby considering I was feeling pretty ill after the customer event last week, and didn't exactly have any time to study. However, it is a bit humbling, since I thought I did pretty well and yet, a third of the class (at least) did better than I did. So I guess I need to buckle down and study at least a bit.

I'm rockin' out to some stuff I downloaded from iTunes, specifically "Island in the Sun" by Weezer. As part of the customer event last week, we went to the Foo Fighters/Weezer concert. We rented out 5 luxury suites and had food, beer and wine, as well as a great view of the stage. I was not particularly excited about the concert since neither band is one I'd pay to see. But OH MY GOD. It was one of the BEST concerts I've ever been to. (Perhaps it was the fact that I could stand there with a glass of wine and rock out in the comfy suite?) Dave Grohl is a madman and has serious ENERGY when he performs. He did the most amazing version of "Everlong", which is definitely in my top 10 favorite songs of ALL TIME. And Weezer has a lot of great songs that I didn't realize was them until the show. So I spent about $12 on iTunes downloading my favorites. I'm burning them to CD so I can listen to them with Otto.

Today after class I had lunch with Dre, the first time I've seen her since she had Evan in August. (I know, I'm a bad friend.) He is an adorable baby- cute little round head (do they all have round heads?) and red hair.

Well, back to the boring task of cleaning up the office. Boo.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Remember yesterday and all the dreams we had

A moment of silence for my Saturn, which I sold today.

I got a pretty good deal for it, but it's still kind of sad to sell the first new car I ever bought. It will always have a special place in my heart, since I bought it as soon as I got the job offer from Deloitte Consulting.

TJ and I tried a new restaurant today - Blue Ginger in Bellevue. Korean + sushi. Talk about YUM. Nice atmosphere/interior and pretty good service too. The Bee Bim Bop was the best winter comfort food and exactly what I was looking for. We'll definitely go back when we're in the mood for Korean BBQ.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The workers are going home

Here's Otto. Thanks to TJ for taking the picture. It was a small price to pay since I let him drive Otto to work today. He's going to end up doubling Otto's mileage.

I have someone interested in looking at the Saturn so I have to take it for a wash/vacuum before work. Wish me luck in selling it!

Congrats to Kristin on her new condo! I can't wait to see it!

Monday, October 31, 2005

You got a fast car

YAY! The Garnet Red Audi A3 is now mine. I will call him Otto, to pay respect to his German heritage.

After we test drove it today, we were just going to go home. I spent the better part of the day researching other local dealers' inventories to find a car closer to what I was looking for, without all the extra options. Of course, the salesman wanted to keep us there. His manager came out and essentially asked "What can I do to get you into this car today?". I tried not to look at TJ because I knew I would bust out laughing.

We held firm to our price (our max price from yesterday) and also told him we wouldn't pay any of those extra charges like "PDI" or "dealer prep", etc. Oddly enough, without a lot of hassle today, they accepted it!

It has navigation, sport suspension, premium Bose audio, 6 CD changer, heated seats, sunroof, and a first aid kit. Unfortunately since it's not officially insured yet, TJ made me drive it straight home.

Otto is now resting in the garage. I will pass on any welcoming comments you have for him :)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Drivin' in my car

Today was a test-driving, attempted car buying sort of day. I say attempted because at the end of the day, I do not have a new car.

I test drove the Mazda 3 first. Sadly, it wasn't that different from driving my Saturn. (And, as TJ pointed out, it would be about $20,000 cheaper just to keep driving the Saturn.) It felt like driving a rental car - fine, but not particularly interesting or fun. And it was super loud and somewhat plasticky inside the car.

As I expected, I loved the Audi A3. We test drove the "Premium" package, and it was very nice, right down to the heated seats and individual climate control. You can barely tell when it shifts gears and the gauges are just so cool looking. Very plushy.

However, I want the navigation system, and that's pretty hard to find. The dealer had *one* in stock, but it also had a sunroof, and a cold weather package, which we definitely don't need here in Seattle.

So given that, and all the research we did, TJ and I made them an offer of what the MSRP would have been for the car we wanted. After the usual haggling and "let me go ask my manager" idiocy, we came out with no deal. (And one very confusing bargaining round where the guy came back and asked if we were willing to pay more than the last price he offered us...) So we left and promised to return tomorrow because we still need to test drive the Sport version. I guess he was ok letting us go since we were planning to come back.

Somewhat disappointing, but not a big deal. We'll test drive the Sport version tomorrow and possibly offer a little more $ for the one on the lot. If that doesn't work out, we'll order one. The only issue I have is that we'll likely end up paying pretty close to MSRP that way. And that makes me feel like I'm getting ripped off. But at least then, it'll be exactly the car I want.

In the meantime, I'll check with other local dealers about what they have in stock. Fortunately there are 7 Audi dealers within 200 miles of where we live, so it might be a productive search.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Times like these you learn to live again

So much has happened since my last post but I'm currently occupied by my excitement about potentially getting a new car! I've had the vague intention to start looking for a replacement for the Crappy Saturn in 2006. TJ and I went out looking today.

I was all set to get the hatchback Mazda 3, because it's cute, cheap, and I can trick it out like the tuner girl I secretly want to be.

TJ saw an Audi S4 station wagon thingy and made me go to the Audi dealer. That's when I saw him! The Audi A3. He's perfect. Just the right mix of swanky and utilitarian. Peanut and Spike will fit in there if they need to, because it's a hatchback and the back seats fold down. There's a navigation system, a Bose sound system, and the neato red interior displays. I think I will name him "Beagle" if I get him. Kind of depends on what color he is, though.

Tomorrow we'll test drive both cars. I think TJ is kind of freaked out about making such a big decision so quickly, so he'll probably make me wait a couple of days. I guess that's the compromise one must make when married. :D

Saturday, October 22, 2005

We're halfway there

Bon Jovi is coming to Seattle in March! I'm still bummed about not being able to see them on their "Slippery When Wet" tour in 1987. I was 12, and my parents thought I was too young to go.

I had to wait until I was 13 to go to my first concert, which was David Lee Roth and Poison at Pittsburgh's Civic Arena. The tickets were only $17.75. Dang. I'd still pay $17.75 to see Poison today.

I did finally get to see Bon Jovi in 1995 when I was in college, in L.A. I was a bit offended by the giant blow up dolls but I guess that's 80s heavy metal cheese for you...

I shouldn't be posting now. I'm in class. Unfortunately our instructor lectures about the same stuff that's in the reading, and I've taken enough writing courses that I've heard all of this stuff at least twice before. This isn't exactly a Technical Writing class as much as it is a general writing class. All of our assignment topics are about technical subjects, which at least gives me some practice writing for a technical audience.

We got our first assignment back today, graded. I got a B-. Boo. The good news is that I have a chance to rewrite it before handing in the final draft. The bad news is that I thought it was decent, and based on the instructor comments, now needs to be completely rewritten. It's his first time teaching the course and apparently we're his "Beta testers" so if the assignment writeups aren't clear, we're paying the price.

I'd be less cranky about this if I hadn't spent every day since 9/26 at work. Rewriting every assignment 3 times isn't something I was really counting on. On the other hand, I just wrote a paper comparing different programming languages and had a great time getting an overview of them via some web research and interviewing my friend Dave via email.

My next paper is about why there are so few women in software development. I found a fantastic study done at Carnegie Mellon a few years ago where they interviewed all the women in the department (those who stayed and those who changed majors) and studied all the factors that contribute to the skewed ratio.

My decision *not* to major in CS at Caltech falls right into this study. (Bummer to be so predictable!) It was the self-confidence issue and the "those guys have so much more experience than I do" argument. Damn. Maybe if I had read something similar at the time, or talked to someone about it, I would have chosen it anyway. Then again, I'd probably *still* be at Tech, trying to pass AMa 95. That was one advantage of majoring in Biology and Chemistry - neither major required that horrendous class.

Another interesting point made in the study was that they found women with a good support system (family, middle class or higher) were more likely to drop out as things got more difficult, while those who felt like they had no choice but to work through it, persisted and were successful because they worked so hard. The authors also made the point that in certain Asian cultures, the value of hard work and repetitive drills, extensive studying, etc. is clearly emphasized, and students from those cultures are much more likely just to stick with it and work hard to reach their goals.

So I am really glad to get a second chance now. And I'm in a good place at work where I love my job. So all in all, Life is Good.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Brand New Day

Quick post before I need to Start my Day. (And go back to work!)

I am missing the Seahawks game this week and next in order to work. TJ is going today with his friend John from work, who's from Texas (I think they're playing Houston, but I'm not sure).

Looking for something funny? Here's what they call the @ sign in other languages. Thanks to Richard for pointing this out - it's really amusing, especially the language (Thai?) in which they call it something that translates to "the wiggling worm-like character".

I got about 9 hours of sleep last night. Yum! I made myself promise I'd finish my presentation slides before I went to bed. I started working on them around 2pm yesterday (already had a skeleton of a deck before that!) and didn't finish until 12 midnight. I seriously underestimated how long it would take, but I'm pretty happy with the results, except for a few minor changes I need to make.

OK, back to work. Today I get to set up the Website we use to communicate with our customers. That should be fun and not too challenging, as Microsoft already has a configurable tool where I just "plug in" the content I want to appear on the site. Yay for easy things.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

How long have I been sleeping?

Ugh. It's crunch time at work. The customer event I've been vaguely planning since March is now less than 2 weeks away. I've spent nearly every waking moment for the past 3 weeks at work, doing work at home, or thinking about work (in the shower, before bed, when I wake up in the morning). Which is sort of cool because it's been a while since I've been this motivated about my job. And I have always worked well under pressure. But I'm not sure I can keep this up through Oct 27, when the event ends, so I'm trying to take it easy a bit and not stay at work until 11pm every night.

Oh, and on the off chance I'm not working, I'm doing homework for my class. I'm not sure why I actively sign up for that kind of punishment...

So if I haven't called you in a while (hi Amma and Appa!) or responded to your email, that's why. I'll be back in the real world on Oct 28.

If you want to see what Suz has been doing while she's been at MIT, check this out.


Friday, October 07, 2005

It's taken me all this time

Now that I'm finally done with all my homework for my class (last minute of course), I can post here without feeling too guilty.

The next few weeks are going to be insane. I am planning a huge customer training event at work, and getting all the details nailed down is huge work. Not to mention I need to put together a couple of presentations for it and make sure everyone else is doing their stuff. It's kind of like planning my wedding all over again, except this time my livelihood depends on it and my entire team is watching whether I can pull it off. (no pressure or anything...)

I met with my writing group for Happy Hour on Wednesday. They seem like a decent bunch of guys. (Then again, would I really say otherwise, out here on the Internet?) :) I just finished reviewing their papers for the first assignment we had to do. Fortunately it was a short one, so it took less than an hour to read all three and jot down some notes about each one. It's kind of a neat exercise since it makes me think about my own paper as well. We'll see how the "exchanging feedback" part goes tomorrow. Hopefully it won't be too painful.

I found out that one of my co-workers has a brother that went to high school with TJ (in Arizona) *and* she and her husband live in the house that's diagonally behind ours. Very freaky. Apparently one day she saw TJ chasing Spike through her yard since that's where he likes to go when he escapes. I guess I should be careful if I ever decide to have a loud tirade about work with the windows open...

I watched the TiVo'd finale of "So You Think You Can Dance" today. I can't believe Nick won! Melody is so much better. Ugh, I am a slave to these reality TV "talent" shows.

Now that Rock Star: INXS is over, I'm not sure what to watch!! Nathalie is going to try to get us tickets for the INXS concert in Seattle, which is in January. Woo hoo!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

You're no problem at all

Class turned out to be ok. The four hours went by much quicker than expected and OneNote performed admirably as a note-taking tool.

We had to form 4-person "writing groups" on our own, which is kind of weird in a classroom full of people that don't know each other. Oddly enough, I did know one person in class - he was in my last group at Microsoft and was part of a group of folks I went to lunch with occasionally. So we decided to be in the same group and found 2 other guys looking for some more people.

I gotta say, group projects terrify me. I'm just more of an independent worker. But none of our assignments are actually group efforts. We each write up the assignment for the week and our writing group reviews it and provides feedback. That I can handle. So far it's working out pretty well - one of the guys set up a Yahoo! Groups site for us to post messages and our drafts. Yay for technology. Oh, and we're planning to go to Happy Hour this week. It works better for me if I'm comfortable with the people who are trashing my writing ;).

The class seemed to be mostly "non-traditional" students, or at least people who aren't 20 years old. So that was cool. And the other students seem pretty interested and motivated. I am really glad I'm only taking one class - I've already spent a couple of hours on the reading and homework, and I'm not even halfway done. I've got two writing assignments to complete this week, which shouldn't be too difficult, but I also have a ton of reading in the 3 (!) required textbooks we have. I think it's going to be a lot of work, but not terribly difficult. (Unless the prof thinks my writing sucks, in which case it's going to be a long and painful quarter.)

I'm having flashbacks to that stupid remedial composition class I had to take at Caltech, when something like 60% of my class got stuck in ESL or remedial English for no apparent reason. The best was the native English speakers who had to take ESL. I wasn't that unfortunate.

Did some cooking today with so-so results. Annie's white cheddar mac 'n' cheese with some fresh steamed broccoli came out pretty dry for some reason. I guess being all-natural has its drawbacks - no chemicals to make the sauce nice and gooey. I also steamed some vegetables in soy sauce and rice vinegar with garlic and ginger, but they didn't taste too good. And I baked the beets I got in the Pioneer Organics box. I think I just don't like beets unless they're the marinated ones you find in the salad bar. Well, at least I have food for this coming week, which is going to be crazy busy.

Here's a special shout out to Kristin who's moving back to DC in a week. I'm sad that she'll be so far away again, but hope she likes her new job better!


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Let's get it started in here

I'm sitting in the classroom, waiting for my first day of school to start. So far I'm the only girl, and there are about 7 other people here. The classroom is very nice - the whole campus is brand-new, so there's a place to plug in my laptop and they use tables instead of those annoying individual desks.

The cool thing is that I can just connect to the UW wireless network automatically - nothing to configure on my laptop. Awesome. But also bad. If the class gets too boring I will probably end up surfing the Internet. Very distracting.

Well, class starts in 4 minutes so I better get going. More later! (If I'm not comatose after a 4 hour lecture, that is.)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Bebot bebot

The long-awaited (ok, just about a week) iPod Shuffle showed up today. Incidentally, FedEx Ground's online tracking system sucks. I think they update it once a day, in the dead of night. With something useless like "Arrived at FedEx location" or "Departed FedEx location".

My favorite, though, is the email notification system that only emails you when it's been delivered. Well, duh. I already knew that because I have the freakin' package in my hand.

I worked from home for the first half of the day today to wait for the box, since it required a signature (at least the tracking site told me that). The Shuffle is actually even smaller than I thought. It's cute and doesn't seem nearly as fragile as the nano. I loaded it up with 168 songs (1GB) so now I'm ready to rock. I guess the 240 songs claim is if you use the Apple format for all of them. MP3s are bigger (nearly twice as big, it seems) so I got less songs. I'm definitely glad I got the 1GB player - it should last me a while before I have to switch out the songs.

Now I'm rocking out to the Black Eyed Peas' "Monkey Business". I LOVE this album. How can you not love a hip-hop album that has a song in Tagalog, and a sample of a Sting song!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

If you want to destroy my sweater

I went shopping today. Bought two sweaters and a long sleeved shirt. I guess I'm finally admitting that summer might be over. I also bought a really cool sterling silver necklace with a star hanging from the clasp for $30, marked down from $120. I love finding deals like that - Macy's jewelry clearance has some pretty good stuff if you look hard. It's nice having some disposable income. I have some pretty strict criteria for purchases, though - I have to absolutely love it before I buy it. That makes me feel better about the money I spend. There are actually shopping trips where I come home empty-handed. That never used to happen!

I tried on a bunch of clothes and I am happy to report I am definitely a size 12 now, no question. Woo hoo. A few more pounds lost, and I'll weigh less than Tyra Banks, famous supermodel. (We'll ignore the fact that she's about 7 inches taller than I am...)

Spike is communing with his Squeaker, Peanut is flopped in the exercise room, and TJ is walking on the treadmill watching some awful Western. I'm just waiting for the new Law and Order episode to start so we can watch it together. Work is crazy busy, mostly because I'm still catching up from being sick. But busy is good and I love what I'm doing at work.

Well, it's L&O time. See ya later!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I'd just stare out my window

It's nearly midnight and I can't sleep. I came home early from work and slept for 2 hours because my cough was worse today. My own fault, I guess, because I didn't use the inhaler in the morning. It makes me shaky and I don't like it. But I guess the alternative is to keep coughing, so I guess I'll live with shaky.

We watched Commander in Chief" today - the new show with Geena Davis as the first female president. I really wanted to like it. It wasn't as horrible as it could have been, but it just seemed like a bad West Wing ripoff. Geena Davis had some damn fine presidential suits though - it *almost* made me wish I had to dress up for work. I'm willing to give the show another shot. The background music was really cheesy and the dialog not much better. Oh well, I don't really *need* another TV show to watch.

School starts on Saturday - woo hoo! I think I've finally recovered from my summer class and am ready to start again. Hopefully Technical Writing will be interesting, and from the sounds of the course description, will actually be something I can use at work. We learn about writing RFPs, marketing docs, help docs, etc. Should be fun, plus I have those new textbooks, TabletPC and messenger bag for my first day of school! I'm such a geek.

Well, I should try to get some sleep. Tomorrow is almost all meetings for me. Boo.

Monday, September 26, 2005

An's Book Club #6: The King of Torts, John Grisham

Grade: D

Yes, I admit it. I've read almost all of John Grisham's books, except for the cheeseball Christmas story one and the other one he wrote about his childhood in the South, or whatever. I *love* Law and Order, so it's not a surprise I like his legal thrillers.

But this book absolutely sucked. So much, in fact, that I could not finish it. I was *that* bored. Despite being on a 5 hour flight from Atlanta to Seattle, I could not keep reading this book. Boring, one dimensional characters. Horribly boring plot (if it could be called that). I made it about halfway through the book and decided that listening to music on my iRiver, staring out the window into the pitch blackness, and catching up on sleep was a better plan.

Don't waste your time. Don't read this book. Even if it's free and you're stuck on a desert island.

He said she reminds him of me

Well, it's week 4 of the Cough that Won't Go Away. How annoying. I haven't been to the gym in the entire month of September. I can feel my muscles wasting away. I guess I should be happy that I actually *want* to go to the gym, cuz that almost never happens!

I did pretty well on the WW plan this week, even including my nacho splurge on Wednesday (planned). I think the medications and lack of exercise screwed things up, though, because I was up half a pound. But just to make myself feel better, I weighed myself this morning and was down two pounds from last week. But since it's not my Official Weight Tracking Day, I won't count it.

The (sort of) cool thing is that I felt really ill on Saturday night after eating a bunch of junk (soda, chips, pizza, etc.) that we had when we played poker. I guess I'm slowly getting used to eating healthy food again.

The Ruddock House Poker Tournament turned out to be more of a low-key poker night, where we just played Dealer's Choice. Leslie has got an encyclopedic knowledge of poker games - who knew?

On Saturday we went to the Seahawks-Cardinals football game. TJ bought us season tickets for the remaining 7 games. The seats were pretty good, and I now understand enough football to make it sort of interesting. We're also right near the lounge, which is a nice warm indoor area that will come in handy when it's really cold out. Football, as it turns out, doesn't have the most diverse crowd. I guess I shouldn't be that surprised...

Tip of the day: Do not use "Simple Green" cleaner. It smells nasty and I highly doubt it's that environmentally friendly. I like Restoration Hardware's Surface Cleaner instead - lovely scents, works great, and definitely non-toxic.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Snapping her fingers and...

I just did it. I broke down and bought the 1GB iPod Shuffle. This is the 4th MP3 player I've bought in 7 years. The very first one had 64MB storage (imagine that!), which was replaced by a free one I got in 2000 as a Christmas present for working on a consulting project at ChevronTexaco, which held 192MB. That one served me well into this year, holding about 3 hours of WMA format music.

Then I wanted more. I wanted a 20GB iPod, but it was just too expensive and you had to buy all the accessories separately. So I bought the iRiver iHP-120 which also has an FM tuner (great for watching TV at the gym) and can be used to transfer data files as well. One drawback was that I had to re-burn all my music in MP3 format so I could use the "shuffle" feature of the iRiver. So I'm still working on that, what with the 200+ CDs we own. But it's nice to have that much space and tons of music, especially for long plane flights. Unfortunately, I also discovered that brisk walking (and definitely running) with the iRiver caused all sorts of skipping, due to the moving parts of the hard drive.

I needed a flash memory-based player with no moving parts. I really thought hard about the brand spankin new iPod nano, which is a work of art.

However, it seems a bit more fragile than the Shuffle, and I don't really need the color LCD screen or the worry that I might sit on it and snap it in two. The 1GB shuffle is half the price of the 4GB nano, and I don't really need more than 500 songs anyway. That's what my iRiver is for.

So I bought the 1GB shuffle, and with the Apple student discount, it came to less than $130. It includes the lanyard thing to hang it around your neck. I'll start with that. My new toy should arrive sometime next week. Yay! Maybe by then I'll be ready to go back to the gym.

Just another day

Lots of random ramblings today, nothing coherent.

Spike is still obsessed with the blue Cuz toy. Unfortunately it violates our size rule, which means it can get stuck under the couch, and then Spike will whine and bark until you come and rescue it for him. We really need to put something along the bottom of our couches so that the dog toys can't get stuck down there.

Went to lunch at Flo Japanese restaurant in Bellevue today to say goodbye to a coworker Jack, who's leaving to work at Google in the Bay Area. Jack is super smart and I know he'll do well. The sushi was great, and it was a fun group of people (coworkers from my old group at Microsoft). I'll definitely go back to the restaurant. Sushi is the only way I can eat fish - I hate cooked salmon, halibut, etc.

Went back to the doctor today as my cough is worse, though I've been taking the steroids and antibiotic diligently. Chest XRay yielded nothing (except maybe some unnecessary radiation exposure for me). She gave me an inhaler prescription. I'm not comfortable taking 4 prescription drugs at once so I think I'll just ignore the inhaler until the steroids and antibiotics are finished. I may also switch doctors as she hasn't been able to diagnose any of the cough or sinus problems I've had in the past couple of years. She's very nice and actually calls to follow up, though, which is rare for a doctor. But if she doesn't know what's wrong with me, I guess I'm just wasting my time.

Played some catchup at work this week, but it's slow since I'm not feeling 100%. Company Meeting tomorrow, should be fun. Hopefully it won't be as cold as it was in 2003, though the fleece blankets they gave away were a nice perk. I'm dressing warmly just in case. I'll need to pack some healthy snacks as the box lunches aren't usually that good (or healthy) and it's a long time to sit there without a snack.

Hope your week has been going well!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

We're here where the daylight begins

Yay! Vienna Teng is coming to play the Triple Door in downtown Seattle in November. I've seen her live 3 times already in Seattle and her music and performances are awesome. Plus, she has a CS degree from Stanford and used to be a software engineer at Cisco. What's not to love?

Not to mention the Triple Door is my absolute fave place to see a show these days. They have actual tables and booths, and you order food from the Wild Ginger menu, which includes some truly decadent desserts. What could be better than awesome live music in a great setting with yummy food?

I've got about 3 friends interested in going with me so far. I can't wait!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Better than anything else that I've tried

Spike and Peanut each got a new toy this weekend. Spike got the small blue Cuz and Peanut got the giant green Cuz. I selected the colors carefully at Urban Dogs in Bell Square last weekend because I read somewhere blue and green are the only colors dogs can see. Based on the prices I've seen on the Internet, it appears I got ripped off. It's such a cute store, though, and Spike and Peanut loooooove their new toys.

Actually they both love the small blue Cuz since it squeaks easier and the green one is too heavy for either of them to easily pick up. But Peanut is learning the difference between his "green toy" and Spike's "squeaker" and Spike seems to be catching on too (sort of. as much as a beagle can, I guess).

There was some toy contention today, but Spike held his ground, growled at the Peanut, and the Peanut backed off. Go Spike!!

Is it any wonder

Um, I just counted 9 different kinds of cheese in our fridge, and only two were TJ's (Velveeta slices for The Sandwich and shredded mozzarella for Boboli, pizza, etc.)

Hmmm, d'ya think that's why I've been dieting half my life?!!

Your anger looks so ugly

First it was Roid Rage Peanut, now watch out for Roid Rage An!

I went back to the doctor today as it's getting annoying that I haven't gotten a good night's sleep in two weeks, thanks to this cough, and a week's worth of antibiotics haven't made any difference. Lucky me - I got a prescription for more antibiotics, prednisone (scary-ass steroid) and a cough syrup with codeine. So I guess I'll be pretty loopy. And angry.

TJ thinks I should take this opportunity to go to the gym and build up some muscle. Which I may need to, since prednisone makes you gain weight. BOO!

Apparently I'm not well enough to go back to work yet. Just finding a parking space this morning made me really, really tired. But I had some urgent things to take care of, and I got my email Inbox down below 100 items, so I feel a bit better. Plus the constant hacking and snorking is unpleasant for my co-workers.

Spike has a doctor's appointment today too. One of his problems is too private to discuss here so I won't. He also yakked on the carpet, shivered with chills, and coughed and sneezed a bunch yesterday, so I'm really hoping he doesn't have an infection of some sort. Did I make my dog sick? Wow, that makes me feel like a horrible person.

The cooking adventure worked out well yesterday, except for the surprise of the Tex-Mex Mac n cheese really being more of a pasta salad. (Note to self: read all cooking instructions before starting.)

I made a batch of the No Pudge fat free brownies and they are divine. TJ was really surprised they're nonfat. (This from the guy who has rejected diet Coke, diet Coke with Splenda, C2, and Coke Zero, saying that all of them taste like diet drinks.) I'm happy because a small chunk of brownie is plenty sweet and chocolaty and makes me not miss the 7 layer chocolate cake we used to get nearly every week at Claim Jumper. Yes, my eating habits were really that bad.

Well, wish me luck with the steroids. I have to take 6 pills at once since they're very small. Lame. But I'll stop whining now - I need to go prepare the treat bag (e.g. bribes) for Spike's trip to the doctor so he won't try to hide in the corner (or worse, bite) when the doctor pokes at him.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A little piece of heaven

I'm listening to a horrendous remix of Roxette's (?) "Listen to Your Heart" on XM Radio. I was trying to stay in touch with "music these days" by listening to the Top 20 Hits channel. Most of the songs are R&B crap. I did hear a couple of decent rap songs, and some crappy pseudo-rock (a la 3 Doors Down, etc.)

I lost two pounds this week. Woo hoo!

I was a little afraid since Leslie, TJ, and I went out to dinner at Ibiza Dinner Club with Paul, a Caltech friend from Portland we haven't seen in years, and his lovely wife Trista who we'd never met before. It was a fun time. The food wasn't spectacular, but it was good, and rich. We got a bunch of tapas to share. Except for TJ who just got a big old steak. Try the churros for dessert - they look like they're made out of Play-Doh but they're really, really good. Especially when dipped in the chocolate sauce.

Leslie mentioned the restaurant looked like places in Miami, which is the kind of look they're going for, according to the reviews I read. It wasn't as full of the "beautiful people" as I thought it would be. Maybe they show up later in the evening, when the band starts. There were some bouncer guys out front when we left, with the velvet ropes set up (and absolutely no one in line!).

TJ went to the track again today, and is going back tomorrow. Zoom!

I'm still getting over this stupid cough. I did get out of the house today to get a haircut and manicure so I look much more presentable now. Let me repeat: Lindsay at Paule Attar is a genius when it comes to hair. If I ever become really, really rich like Oprah, I will pay Lindsay handsomely to be my Andre.

I have a full day of grocery shopping and cooking ahead of me tomorrow. Here's what's on the menu: Tex-Mex mac n' cheese, chipotle turkey and corn soup, another zucchini/mushroom/onion quiche (I devoured a whole one over the past week), green bean and tomato salad. Except for the quiche, all of the recipes are from the September issue of Cooking Light magazine. (Thanks Muffie and Karen for the awesome wedding present!).

If I'm feeling ok, I may go for a walk outside - it's been weeks since I got any exercise. The Extreme Body Makeover class just isn't going to work out for me this month (sorry Lisa!) as I'm still trying to get rid of this cough and it's already week 3, and I haven't been to a single class yet. Except for the first one where they took our measurements.

What are your Sunday plans?

Thursday, September 15, 2005

By my side

Ick. I've been sick for over a week and a half now and am so tired of being confined to the house. Unfortunately I'm too tired to do anything but check email occasionally and watch TV, and nap.

Rock Star: INXS was a *huge* disappointment last night. They cut Suzie loose, and she's clearly the best singer in the bunch. I don't understand that rationale, unless they were never going to choose a woman (which seems likely). Now I'm not sure I care to watch the finale as I genuinely have no preference between MiG, Marty and J.D. MiG sucked last night -- I can't believe he got to stay.

Spike is sleeping on the floor next to the computer and is vigorously wagging his tail in his sleep. I'm glad he's happy. We slept in Dog Bed last night and it was somewhat unpleasant with Spike trying to push me off the bed, and Peanut constantly getting in and out of the bed, and swatting me to "ask" each time if he could get in the bed. I guess that's a testament to TJ's good training, but heck, at 3am, just get in the bed and be quiet about it!

Well, time for another nap. I'm a little stressed about missing a week of work, but I need to relax in order to get better. Boo.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

An's Book Club #5: Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure, Sarah MacDonald

Grade: A

I found this book at my parents' house last month. It was hilarious and extremely easy to read.

Sarah is an Australian 30-something former reporter who moves to India for 2 years to be with her boyfriend who is working there as a journalist. She paints a very accurate picture of a Westerner's impression of the daily life in India - interactions with the household staff, the poverty, dirt, and traffic, etc. But this isn't a whiny travelogue - it's also a pretty interesting survey of the many different religious traditions (some mainstream and others that are way out there).

This book definitely doesn't romanticize India and typically didn't get stuck in the usual cliches (though it seems she thought every Indian woman she ran into was gorgeous, and somehow I find that hard to believe). Reading this made me so glad to live in my comfortable, temperature-controlled house, with clean running water and no bugs. But then again, I don't have a particularly adventurous soul.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

An's Book Club #4: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling

Grade: A+

Yikes! It's been about a week since TJ and I finished reading this book but I needed some time to recover from my shock before writing about it. First, I'd like to thank Kristine for buying this for us as a wedding present - what a nice surprise to get it in the mail!

As with all Harry Potter books, we read this one to each other out loud. (And to answer the question everyone always asks, no we don't do different voices.) I like sharing these books with him, instead of reading it separately and waiting for him to finish so we can talk about it, plus, I read really fast when I read to myself, and often miss things. Reading aloud ensures that I keep to a slower pace, and then I get to read (or hear) every word. It's a nice way to savor the Harry Potter series, which by far, are my favorite books EVER.

The book was very dark. I like how the writing and plot is maturing with the characters. I was really angry and sad about the death in this book, but it was amazingly well-written and I absolutely can't wait until Book 7 to see how she wraps up the whole thing. There was less plot in this one, and more background, and more about the character's daily lives (lots of teenage kissing!). As always there were several laugh out loud funny parts, especially snide comments made by Ron. The movie will be truly frightening, I'm sure.

The author actually did less recap than in other books, which was nice. If you've made it this far into the series, you probably know what happened in the other books. I found it useful to re-read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix before diving into this one, as it's been a long time since we read that one. That was extremely helpful, though re-reading Books 4 and 5 would have been ideal.

Even if you're not into "fantasy" books, I recommend this series. I have very little patience for things that aren't "real" (ask me how much I hate "Star Trek" and most sci-fi) but this series has such a well-developed framework and is "real enough" that it's extremely enjoyable. Not to mention that Hogwarts Scool of Witchcraft and Wizardry seems an awful lot like Caltech. I will use this time to liken Snape to Prof. Fuller, as the professor who I kept having to take classes from though I hated them. Bah!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Like a complete unknown

Back from Tucson. Grandparents happy to see us.

Awful, hacking cough. Fixed blog colors. Appreciate honest comments. Need Nyquil and sleep.

More tomorrow. Peace out.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

How does it feel?

Still playing around with the "look" of the page. Lord knows I was never meant to be a graphic designer. Bear with me - I'll get it right eventually!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Make me beautiful

I changed the look of the blog a little. I wanted a template a bit different from the limited (though nice) selection on Blogger. I got the neato biology graphic from Hoover Web Design. Whaddya think?

What can I say?

I'm sick ;( Boo. I missed Extreme Body Makeover, which, as it turns out, got cancelled since the instructor was sick too.

We're going to Tucson this weekend for TJ's grandmother's 90th birthday, so I hope to recover before that. Being sick on a plane is *not* fun. I'm excited because we'll be staying at the Arizona Inn, which is supposed to be pretty nice, and is also supposed to have a lovely Sunday brunch, which we're eating with the family.

I dragged myself out of bed to go to my UW Bothell advising appointment today, which was surprisingly helpful even though I've been stalking the course listings and planning my schedule online for months now. The advisor, Dina, was great. She even suggested that I should apply for jobs when I get close to finishing the program in order to negotiate a better salary or better role. It's something I hadn't even thought about. We'll see how it goes. Maybe I'll hate programming when I'm forced to do a lot of it. Turns out that even if I only take 1 class per quarter, I can graduate by Winter 2009. That sounds like a long way off, but it's really not bad and the courseload shouldn't be too painful that way. I can also take Summer and another quarter off per year, if I need to, without any problems. She said about 50% of the students in the program are "nontraditional" like me. Woo hoo!

So I've decided to take Technical Writing this quarter, on Saturdays. I ordered my new pink messenger bag from eBags. It was much cheaper than the Timbuk2 and some of the money goes to a good cause (Susan G Komen foundation for breast cancer research). If it's a horrible bag, I'll go back and order the Timbuk2.

I have been stalking my TabletPC via FedEx, and it's now in Seattle. I think it should show up at our mailroom tomorrow, and should be in my grubby little hands on Thursday. Yay!!

I also ordered my books on Barnes and Noble online - they were cheaper there than the University Bookstore, and also less hassle since they'll just be sent to me. Class starts October 1, and runs for 10 weeks. I'm pretty excited. I love the chance to do college over again now that I'm "older and wiser". Or just older anyway! Plus, CS is just cool.

Off to watch Rock Star:INXS and consume more hot tea. Where is everyone lately? I've gotten hardly any comments on the last couple of posts. Makes me feel lonely. (sniff).

Monday, September 05, 2005

No, I'm not from around here

Went to Bumbershoot today for the first time in 6 years. We left after an hour - there wasn't anyone we really wanted to see and it was really crowded. I bought the tickets a couple of weeks ago so that we could see Garbage on Friday night but TJ was too tired to go on Friday so we went today.

I had some good and bad food experiences today, but thanks to the hourlong walk we took on the Microsoft trail this morning with Peanut and the oodles of walking we did at Bumbershoot, I stayed pretty much "on plan".

First, the pumpkin old fashioned donut at Top Pot. It was good, but I still like Krispy Kreme's pumpkin donut better. I just can't seem to find a donut at Top Pot that is worth the >$1 price. Since I hadn't had lunch, it wasn't an egregious lack of self-discipline, and I ate it without guilt. Yay for me.

Then I saw a booth selling funnel cake at Bumbershoot. Funnel cake is the taste of my childhood - we'd always get it when we went to the amusement park. However, the one I got today was seriously nasty. They didn't even bother to use a funnel to drop the batter into the hot oil, so I got just a big chunk of oil-soaked batter that wasn't even crispy. Just thinking about it makes me nauseous. I ate some and threw the rest away but the damage was done.

After deciding Bumbershoot was not worth the hassle, we went to Sport, a nearby snooty sports bar for lunch. The menu is better than your usual bar menu, and each table has its own TV. TJ let me watch the Food Channel. Yay. I had an awesome flatbread pizza with spicy chicken, avocado, cilantro and salsa. That made me recover from the nasty funnel cake.

I'm coming down with a sore throat. Gotta go make some tea, and make that quiche I've been planning for this week. Hopefully I'll recover in time for tomorrow morning's ungodly early Extreme Body Makeover class. I'm already tired thinking about it. Boo.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

I'm free to do what I want, any old time

Hey! This is my 100th post! Woo hoo!

I can't believe it's already Sunday night. This weekend has been quite uneventful. We went to Dave's house for his 30th birthday BBQ, which was fun. Peanut and Ginger were pretty wary of each other but warmed up to chasing each other in the yard. I'm not sure they've really figured out which one is bigger. There was some staring and a little bit of very quiet growling from Peanut when Ginger came and stuck her snout in his face, but all in all, they both behaved well.

Spike got to go to the dog park today with us, all by himself, since we didn't take him over to Dave's. I think he enjoyed it, and we got a little bit of exercise walking around since Spike doesn't run off to the water like Peanut does. So we could choose which way to go and actually make reasonable forward progress.

My UW Bothell advising appointment is on Tuesday. Once I confirm that I'm "allowed" to take only one class, and take quarters off, I'll buy the books for the Technical Writing course. And once my fabulous Tablet PC laptop shows up, I'm going to buy a new bookbag. I love back to school shopping! I've got my eye on a sweet Timbuk2 messenger bag.

Well, since I ate a lot of cookies at Dave's house, I'd better go spend some quality time on the treadmill. I think I have an old episode of Oprah left on the TiVo. We finally stopped recording the Law & Order reruns since I think we've seen all of them at this point. I've replaced it with "The Gilmore Girls". The show's witty banter can get annoying after a while, but I really like the characters. And Alexis Bledel is just too cool. Good times!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Waiting, watching, wishing for something to happen

If you go to Google, there's a link to donate money to the Red Cross for hurricane relief via Yesterday the site showed $3.3 million donated, and today, the number is up to $6.5 million. That's really impressive. Now if only the local and federal governments could get their act together...

Well, I made it through an entire week on the Weight Watchers plan. (again no small feat for my short attention span!). I love the fact that I can do this completely online, without having to attend meetings with neurotic people who take a spoon to the grocery store and finish an entire half gallon of ice cream by the time they've done their shopping. I kid you not - this is a story I heard in one of my WW meetings in the 90s, before they had the online thing. Which is not to say everyone at those meetings is like that, but there *is* a lot of whining about how folks are powerless against eating this or that. I'm just too harsh when it comes to that stuff. It's a choice, people. Eat it or not, but get over yourself.

The online program has all the information on the Web, and has a cute little food journal/database where you enter in your food for the day and check off how much water you drank and record your exercise, etc. The user interface is pretty fantastic and is "gadgety" enough that it seems like a game to me.

I guess this all paid off because not only did I stay "on plan", but I lost 2 pounds. Woo hoo! And that was even including the Baja Fresh nachos I ate on Wednesday (serious yum!) which I found out later are 35 points on the WW system. To put that in perspective, I only get 22 points for a whole day. But I had enough of the extra weekly Flex points to eat them and it was goooood.

So as my reward, I bought myself a cute new Nike workout T-shirt at Marshall's. I love that store. I also got some gym socks (the cute little ones that don't show over your shoes), a little backpack I can use when walking to work, a nice burnt orange long sleeve Columbia Athletic shirt, a sterling silver bracelet and some silverplated picture frames for the wedding pictures we're framing for our family members. All for <$100. Yay!

Oh, and at work, I am getting a new laptop! I can't wait - it's a Toshiba Portege Tablet PC! I've wanted one of these things ever since they came out. It's supposed to arrive next week and I can't wait. Maybe I'll even be able to take it to Tucson and poke at it on the plane next weekend when we go there for TJ's grandma's 90th birthday. Woo hoo!

Well, off to finish the Harry Potter book. This one is truly shocking. I actually thought I might cry after the last 2 chapters I read. I'm hoping it gets better, but I'm afraid that it might not, and there's only a few chapters left. This one is very dark.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Caught in the undertow

Stupid mistake today. Last night, I got it into my head that today was Thursday so I went to bed early since my Extreme Body Makeover class starts on Sept 1. I woke up at 5:40am today, and made it to the gym by 6:10. Perfect timing, except... it's Wednesday and my class doesn't start till tomorrow. I'm such a dork. So rather than being a woose (I know others disagree with my spelling, but I don't care!) I stayed and did a 40-min cardio workout. I even did a bit of running on the treadmill, thanks to Jay-Z and Linkin Park. (Something about their music makes me want to run. And no, I don't mean that because it's bad.)

Thomas Friedman was at Microsoft giving a talk yesterday. I'm glad I went. He was a little annoying in terms of talking about how earthshattering his ideas were, but otherwise a very interesting talk. There were a *lot* of people who attended.

Today is Blog Day 2005. According to who, I'm not sure, but it's all over Technorati. I'm supposed to recommend 5 blogs to you. Choose your 5 from the list on the right.

TJ is making great progress on getting his motorcycle back together - he got the new painted parts yesterday (a nice sparkly dark blue, which I helped him pick!). It looks like he may get to ride it before the nice weather is gone. Woo hoo! Almost makes me want to get another bike. Maybe next year.

Have a great day!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Raging at unreachable glory

I got my prize from the San Jose Mercury News fashion editor today - it's Hollywood Glo body luster powder from Benefit Cosmetics. It's like they know me and my desire to be girly and glittery!!

I also made an appointment to speak with the UW Bothell CSS Program adviser next week. I'm going to ask her if it's possible to register for 0 or 1 class only per quarter, based on how my schedule goes. I'm thinking of registering for the Technical Writing course next quarter, which meets on Saturdays only. I think it's something I can handle, since it's only once a week, and on the weekend.

I have been so good this week - 3 days sticking to the Weight Watchers plan. (I'm not kidding, this is a streak for me.) It's actually getting easier and I'm much happier eating the stuff I made - it just seems healthier.

Thanks to Leslie for providing me with a new website I think is just SO cool, even more so because it's an Idealab! company. It's basically a cross between Friendster and ePinions. You write reviews of local businesses that you can share with friends. We're always doing this via word of mouth, so it's cool to have a site for it. I use mailing lists at work to get this info, but I like this site so much better! Let me know and I'll send you an "invite" to be in my network. You can get $5 Starbucks cards for writing 5 reviews. I wrote my first 5 today. Leslie is way ahead of me with 50! :)

Well, back to reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Baby, baby

Dre & Dave had their baby Evan last Wednesday. Congratulations!

An's Book Club #3: Little Earthquakes, Jennifer Weiner

Grade: A-

Facing a loooong flight to Savannah last weekend, with no more studying to do, I picked this book up (finally in paperback!) at Half Price Books. It was on my wishlist at the library forever, but I kept forgetting to pick it up when they'd notify me, and after a week, they give it to the next person on the list.

I finished this book in two days. It was easy to read, and her characters are multi-faceted and interesting. I'm a sucker for well-written chick lit. This book focused on the interwoven stories of four new mothers, so it doesn't exactly mirror my own situation, but I have enough friends who have recently had babies that it felt like I was hanging out with them. I have to admit that some of the detail in the book around childbirth and the change in lifestyle when the baby arrives made me even more squeamish about the prospect of having kids. What I love about Jennifer Weiner's writing is that it's just like talking to a friend - her writing is hilarious, sarcastic, and straightforward. Reading this book made the long flight seem much shorter, and provided me with some laugh out loud moments, which earned me some weird looks from fellow passengers.

A change will do you good

I was messing around with the template for the blog and somehow all the stuff on the sidebar ended up at the bottom. I didn't want to spend too much time figuring out how to fix it, and I thought a new look would be kind of fun. I find this one very soothing. Let me know what you think.

Princesses was a fun show, without much substance to it. I'm not sure I would be willing to pay more than the $36 we paid for our tickets. The songs were ok, with a couple of good pop-flavored tunes, like "Success is the Best Revenge". The sets and lighting were impressive. On the whole, though, it didn't even come close to being as good as Jesus Christ Superstar (my all-time favorite musical EVER), and I'm definitely not willing to see it again. I think Leslie and Yamini have maxed out their musical quota for the year. But I appreciate their willingness to go with me!

Our dinner at Andaluca was YUM. We ordered a lot of small plates and shared. The only bad thing we had was one of the items on the calamari plate - it seemed like it was calamari swimming in ketchup and mustard. I'm sure it was far more sophisticated than that, but I couldn't get past the way it looked and I think that tainted its taste as well. The service was great, and I'm totally impressed that our waitress remembered all of the things (7+) that we ordered without writing them down.

I spent this morning in a frenzy of cooking. The last box I got from Pioneer Organics, unfortunately, mostly went to waste as I didn't properly *plan* what I was going to do with the vegetables. By the time I got around to cooking, a lot of the stuff had gone bad.

So this week, I was determined to be on top of it. I made a savory, slightly spicy coleslaw and curried couscous with broccoli and feta from the Cooking Light 2005 cookbook, baked eggplant slices with light mayonnaise and parmesan from the Weight Watchers website, and roasted red potatoes with Italian seasoning (my own recipe).

I usually hate eggplant and was dismayed to find one in my box this week (I forgot to list it as an exclusion on the Pioneer Organics website). However, this recipe was great! I guess you can put mayo and cheese on anything and it'll taste good. Kind of like deep frying, only healthier. It also helped that I remembered the trick of sprinkling the eggplant slices with salt to get some of the water out, and forgot about the slices in the oven, so they cooked until they became very thin and soft, almost like eggplant chips. Even TJ agreed that they tasted good! Incidentally, when I showed TJ the whole eggplant, he didn't know what it was. Shocking!

Oddly enough, after all that cooking, I'm not at all hungry, and it's not because I snacked while I was cooking. This always happens. I guess I know what I'm having for dinner, though. Yay! Staying on track with my healthy eating plan should be a snap this week!

I got my letter saying I got into UW Bothell's CSS program yesterday. I'm really torn now. For some reason, actually getting the letter has made me want to start school again, despite my previous resolution. (How quickly we forget!). I have to decide by Sept 6 what I'm going to do. Wish me luck.

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