Sunday, May 29, 2005

Hold on to nothing, as fast as you can

Pretty good day today. I couldn't sleep again last night until about 3am. I bet the 2 hour nap in the afternoon threw everything out of whack (ya think?). We got up early today and made waffles again in our awesome waffle iron. I've been using the Krusteaz pancake mix, but next week I might get adventurous and make some from scratch. Our waffle iron came with a recipe for pumpkin nut waffles, just the name of which makes me drool, but I'm not sure TJ will eat those.

I finally finished and put away the laundry (which I started on Wednesday but somehow forgot about). I can't believe I used to do laundry in shared, coin-op machines. Or even worse, the summer during my internship at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center where I had to actually go to the laundromat. The luxury of having your own washer and dryer is a beautiful thing.

And we got through most of our Thank You notes. The end is in sight! I ran out of the stationery I had printed with our names, actually, I ran out of envelopes and for some reason we have about 4 extra notecards. But since I'm a stationery junkie, I had plenty of backup to use for the rest. I used to love writing real letters to people. Now the only thing I write is Thank You notes and occasional letters to my grandmother in India and my grandfather in New Jersey. Everything else is email, which is a little sad. It's so cool to get a real letter in the mailbox.

Speaking of nice personal mail, we got a wedding invitation to our friend Ron's wedding. We went to college with Ron. He lives near us but sadly, we never see him due to bad schedules and stuff. I'm sure that's not going to improve any once I start taking classes... Anyway, congratulations to Ron and Allison!

And speaking of other cool wedding-related things, I found out that the only two friends I keep in touch with from high school have both gotten engaged over the last couple of months. Judy got engaged to Kevin in February (congrats again, guys!) and Judy got a rockin' Tiffany engagement ring (nice work Kevin!). They live in Atlanta. Judy was the first person I met when I went to orientation for Canevin High School in Pittsburgh. They split up the freshman class by zip code so I guess it was by chance I met her. We've more or less kept in touch since graduation and it's convenient that my parents now live in Savannah, just a couple of hours from where Judy and Kevin live. So I've seen them several times in the last few years. No matter how long it's been, Judy and I can pick up where we left off and there's no weirdness. I guess that's the mark of a true friend. Congratulations to Judy and Kevin!

The other person who got engaged was Kristine, a friend I met later in high school when we were stuck in Chemistry class together with the strange Mrs. Rockwell. Kristine and Mike have been dating for a while - I think she met him in dental school. The cool thing is that they got engaged in Seattle while they were out here for my wedding. Woo hoo! Congratulations, guys!

So there's lots of happiness in the air: babies, weddings, etc. On that shiny happy note, I should get some sleep. Or begin reading about the Java Programming Language.


TJ on his bike the weekend before our wedding.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Clean out Vivienne Westwood in my Galliano gown

Ok, so that lyric has nothing to do with my short post. But I can't get it out of my head.

Wow, so my plan to go back to school has already been put into place. In order to even be considered for admission to this program, I need to take one programming class at UW. Sadly, it's a class I dropped while in grad school there 7 years ago. I dropped it in the 5th week because I just couldn't keep up with that and my labwork. Now I wish I would have finished it - funny how that stuff comes back to bite you sometimes.

This class is offered in Summer quarter which starts June 20. And getting admission to UW as a "summer-only" student is super-easy - just fill out the short app online and pay $38 and you can take any summer class you want. I was getting distracted by the cool language classes they offer but found CSE 143, the programming class I need to take. Unfortunately it meets 5 days a week, and only at the Seattle campus which is going to be a pain to get to in the middle of my work day. Fortunately there are plenty of spots available (which isn't always the case for UW classes...)

TJ made some good points when I talked to him about this plan (I'm *so* glad I married him!!):

1. Just register and take the prereq class now - even if I don't go through with the degree program, the class will be useful to me. Plus, if I do go through with the program, Microsoft will probably reimburse me for this class.

2. Just apply for the degree program - if I get in, I can defer admission till Spring if I'm not ready, ditch the plan completely, or take the first quarter and decide whether I like it and want to do the work. Microsoft will pay for it so it's no loss to me.

Anyway, it was nice to have him lay this out for me so logically. So I've applied to UW as a summer-only student for the prerequisite class. I can't actually register until they send me some sort of code (love that bureaucracy!). And the sections that meet at noon are full or almost completely full though I may be able to talk my way into one of them. It's still going to be a 2 hour chunk in the middle of my day when you count travel time. But my schedule is pretty flexible so I should be able to deal with this.

Wish me luck! Now I've got to go pull out my old dusty Java materials as they've switched the course syllabus from C++ to Java in the 7 years since I last took it...

Here I am, once again

I'm so happy it's a long weekend! Maybe I'll finally get a chance to organize the kitchen and figure out where all the new stuff *really* goes. Right now we've just put stuff away to get it off the counter, but nothing is in a truly intuitive place.

I had a brainwave this morning when I woke up (I tend to have good ideas, or come up with major life plans before I get out of bed...) I think I want to try to get a second bachelor's degree in Computer Science. I don't have enough CS background to get a Master's Degree, but I really do want to learn the theory and start from the basics. I have a little bit of programming background but just taking programming classes isn't satisfying for me. I found a program which might fit into my work schedule and looks really interesting - Computer and Software Systems at the Bothell campus of University of Washington. It's closer to where we live than the main UW campus and also has more of a focus on what you would do with a CS degree, with classes in management, technical writing, etc. I'm really intrigued by this.

The deadline to apply for Fall quarter is July 1, which is right around the corner. The cool thing about starting this year would be that I could collect the $5K tuition reimbursement from Microsoft for this year, as well as next year - it's done by calendar year.

But do I really want to go back to school? And do I really want to pay for it? But it would be the first time I went to school to study something I really enjoyed, with no eye on what kind of job it would get me, etc. And that really appeals to me. Plus, I'm good a being a student. I thought about this a year ago, when I decided to put it on hold to focus on the wedding. So now, I'm free to think about it again. Hmmm.

Friday, May 27, 2005

If the sky that we look upon should crumble and fall

When TJ and I were planning our wedding ceremony, we used a lot of books and websites to create a ceremony that reflected who we are. I'd like to attempt to help out others by posting our ceremony outline here. We tried to incorporate some traditions of a Hindu (Vedic) wedding, as well as those from American weddings that were important to us. Enjoy!

Stand By Me, Ben E. King
Here Comes the Sun, John Williams


We bless you that you may have a harmonious married life.
May your lives be filled with happiness and contentment.
May you fill others’ lives with happiness.
May you have good health.
May you have a long life.
May you have strong and healthy children.
May you be loving and caring parents.
May you be like the two wings of a bird.
May you be like the two oars of a boat.
May your lives be as bright as the sun.
May your lives be as gentle as the moon.
May your lives be as vibrant as the seas.
May you be strong and hold your heads high.
May you be united and face the world together.


On Marriage, Kahlil Gibran

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

Husband and Wife, Manu (Indian sage)

He is Vishnu, the Preserver,
She is Lakshmi, the Goddess of Prosperity.
She is Language, he is Thought.
She is Prudence, he is Law.
He is Reason, she is Sense.
She is Duty, he is Right.
He is Author, she is Work.
He is Patience, she is Peace.
He is Will, she is Wish.
He is Melody, she is Note.
He is Fuel, she is Fire.
She is Glory, he is Sun.
She is Motion, he is Wind.
He is Ocean, she is Shore.
He is Day, she is Night.
He is Lamp, she is Light.
He is Battle, she is Might.
He is Tree, she is Vine.
He is Music, she is Rhyme.
He is Justice, she is Truth.
He is Channel, she is Stream.
She is Beauty, he is Strength.
She is Body, he is Soul.

I, Anandi, take you, T.J.,
to be my husband,
secure in the knowledge
that you will be
my constant friend,
my faithful partner in life,
and my one true love.
On this special day,
I give to you
in the presence of God
and our family and friends
my sacred promise
to stay by your side
in sickness and in health,
in joy and in sorrow,
through the good times and the bad.
I promise to love you without reservation,
comfort you in times of distress,
encourage you to achieve all of your goals,
laugh with you and cry with you,
grow with you in mind and spirit,
always be open and honest with you,
and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.

I, T.J., take you, Anandi
to be my wife... (same as above)

T.J. and Anandi will take seven steps together as they state the guiding principles for their marriage.

An: We will share in the responsibility of the home
TJ: We will fill our hearts with strength and courage
An: We will prosper and share our worldly goods
TJ: We will fill our hearts with love, peace, happiness, and spiritual values
An: We will be blessed with loving children
TJ: We will attain self-restraint and live long lives together
An: We will be best friends and eternal partners

The wedding ring is a symbol of the vows T.J. and Anandi have made to each other.

Anandi wears this necklace as a symbol of her wedding vows. T.J. and his sister Robin will tie knots in it to indicate their acceptance of Anandi into their family.

This ritual symbolizes the joining of two families into one. At the beginning of the ceremony, the mothers of the bride and groom each light a candle, from which TJ and Anandi light their unity candle.

Please give us your blessings and support us in our marriage by saying “We Will”.


I Can See Clearly Now, Soul Asylum

Hopefully this will help someone out there. It was very important to us to have *one* wedding ceremony that blended our traditions and I didn't find a whole lot online. The site that inspired me most was Sonia & Keith's. We'll probably never meet in real life, but I was so happy to see a wedding where they had incorporated disparate traditions into one flowing ceremony.

Good luck to you if you're planning a wedding! I'm honestly glad to say I am done - no regrets here, no post-wedding depression. Just relief that the much-anticipated event went well and is now a happy memory...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

That's me in the corner

Check out this quiz: Belief-O-Matic

After answering 20 questions, and ranking their importance, this quiz spits out the religion that most matches your personal beliefs, and then ranks 26 others based on how much they have in common with your answers. Very cool. Here's how I did:

1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (95%)
3. Secular Humanism (91%)
4. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (90%)
5. Neo-Pagan (79%)
6. New Age (70%)
7. Theravada Buddhism (68%)
8. Taoism (64%)
9. Nontheist (64%)
10. Mahayana Buddhism (60%)
11. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (58%)
12. Bahá'í Faith (57%)
13. Reform Judaism (53%)
14. New Thought (52%)
15. Scientology (50%)
16. Orthodox Quaker (48%)
17. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (41%)
18. Jainism (41%)
19. Sikhism (39%)
20. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (35%)
21. Jehovah's Witness (28%)
22. Hinduism (27%)
23. Islam (22%)
24. Orthodox Judaism (22%)
25. Seventh Day Adventist (20%)
26. Eastern Orthodox (14%)
27. Roman Catholic (14%)

Take the quiz and tell me what you got!

If I was a rich girl

na na nananana... I bought Gwen Stefani's CD over the weekend. It's fun, but the lyrics are stupid. Jasmine and I talked about it a little bit and she thinks Gwen is trying to appeal to the preteen-girls-trying-to-act-older crowd. Which is kind of scary considering the content of the CD (not only are the lyrics dumb, but they don't really contain values you'd want your daughters to espouse.) Of course, kids with parents who are actually paying attention aren't going to get sucked into a lifetime of crime and poor choices just because they listen to this CD. As evidenced by Kristin and I turning out OK despite all the heavy metal we listened to over the years (and still do - yay for Queensryche!)

Speaking of being a rich girl, we have been slowly depositing the wedding gift checks into "our" bank account. People were so generous! TJ and I have decided to split up the money into 3 buckets - 25% to each of us to spend however we want, and 50% to spend on stuff for "us", like the house, donation to charity, etc. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with my share. I don't have anything big I really want to buy right now. I still haven't had time to sit down and figure out how to get my XM radio portable unit to work anywhere else except docked to our home stereo. I'm not sure if I want to get the antenna professionally installed in the Saturn since I'm not planning to keep it for very long. (The Saturn, not the XM radio, though it's funny how portable electronics have become so "disposable".) And my cool iRiver MP3 player isn't even half full yet.

I read some other people's blogs (see links at right) and most are so much more serious (and less self-centered) than mine. It makes me feel shallow, until I realize that the reason I started this one is to keep in touch with friends and family and let them know what's going on in my life. I guess I've always been sort of insecure about my lack of political awareness (thanks to someone who kept pointing it out to me while I was in college, in a snotty way), but honestly, beyond a few key issues, I don't really care much about the nitty-gritty of politics. I do read CNN online to find out what's going on in the world, but don't care much for political commentary. Some people will look down on me for this, but I'm ok with it.

I guess the deepest current events commentary I'll have here is about American Idol. Despite my adoration of Bo (go Bo go!), I'm glad Carrie won. She needed it more and maybe this will allow Bo to escape the pure cheesiness of the American Idol machine. The songs they made him sing on Tuesday were hideous (except for "Vehicle" by the Ides of March, which he chose himself.) Very "pop" and bland. If you like Bo, get yourself out to the Sugar Money website, where you can order his band's CD. It really rocks - it's both familiar and different at the same time. So what do *you* think about the outcome?

One last thing - some congratulations are in order for two new babies born recently to friends of mine: Nora McDunn and Erik Hedlund. Congratulations to Jon and Gillian, and Magnus and Heather!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Adventures in Wifeliness

Given that I am newly married, and that TJ teases me about not being very "wifely", and our recent resolution to eat at home more so that we can use our new kitchen gadgets, save money, and not get fat, I embarked on a cooking frenzy this weekend. And it was fun. I used The Gourmet Cookbook that Kristine bought for me as a wedding gift. It rocks!

The 4 or 5 recipes I chose were easy to make and didn't require crazy ingredients I couldn't find. I made blueberry muffins with fresh blueberries (so yummy), a carrot-ginger salad dressing just like they serve in Japanese restaurants, macerated strawberries in a champagne-sugar syrup to serve over waffles made in our new waffle iron, turkey chipotle chili with a tomatillo base, and pseudo-tandoori chicken. The chicken is marinating right now so I haven't tried it yet. Everything came out pretty well. I ran out of cumin so the tandoori chicken may be a little bit off.

My new favorite ingredient: canned chipotle chilis in adobo sauce. Yum! Apparently once you open the can, you can keep the rest in the fridge almost indefinitely if you transfer it to a new container.

Quite a successful cooking weekend, and now we have food for at least the next few days. My challenge will be convincing TJ to put aside "The Sandwich" and try the chili and the chicken. Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

All I've got is a photograph

So TJ and I needed a way to post wedding pictures online for folks who couldn't attend any of the events. I did some research on the different sites: OFoto, Snapfish, Flickr, etc. I liked Flickr the best, except that it didn't seem to allow you to purchase prints (or maybe I wasn't smart enough to find out how to do that?).

TJ suggested Smugmug, because the photographer who was at his last track day posted TJ's pictures out there. So like a good wife (yikes did I really say that) I went out to the site, even though I was pretty sure Flickr was the right one.

And I was impressed. It's not free, but it's only $29.95 per year. I searched online for a coupon code that knocked off $5 from the price, making it the same price as the paid Flickr subscription. (Use my coupon code CKF89vdmpnglY and I will get some $$ credit on my account) They have drag-and-drop upload from Windows Explorer, a great, easy to use interface, and unlimited photo storage. They also have very reasonable prices on their prints and promise pretty fast shipping.

There are people out there who will ask me why I'm advocating a non-Microsoft service. I could be using MSN Spaces. Technology isn't about blind allegiance to a particular company or platform. It's about using what works for you. It always annoys me to hear folks who are rabidly anti-Microsoft complain about anything Microsoft does. Yes, some Microsoft products have problems. But so do some Mac products, or Linux products. Companies aren't inherently "evil" or "good" like comic book characters. I make jokes about the "Evil Empire" but I'm pretty darn proud to work there. Windows has to appeal to millions (100 million, I think?) of users, from the grandmother who just wants to see photos of her grandkids, to the braniac developer writing the next app that will take over the world. Of course it's not going to please everyone. Which doesn't mean Microsoft shouldn't stop trying to improve it and market it and sell it. If Linux works better for you, that's great. Use it. But don't bash Microsoft as a whole. Tell me why you think x product sucks.

I stick with GMail for my personal mail because Hotmail didn't give me as much space. I use the iRiver iHP-120 for my music because the iPOD didn't have support for WMA files when I bought it. I use Windows because as an operating system, it suits my needs just fine. The same is true for Internet Explorer. I *love* Microsoft Outlook for my email and time-management stuff (calendar, tasks, contacts etc.) And here I am on Blogger because I just liked it better than MSN Spaces.

Anyway, just needed to rant a little about all those people who are anti-Microsoft because either one product didn't work for them, or because they think Microsoft is "evil". Oh, and check out my pictures on the link at the right. More wedding pictures to come over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

On my wedding day

Tear up the calendar you bought, throw the pieces to the sky

Back to the grind today - first day back at work in 2 weeks. All that sittin' by the pool relaxation gone already - funny how work will do that to you.

Thanks to my checking email a couple of times while I was gone, and the amazing Outlook ThreadCompressor tool, I only had 149 email messages to wade through this morning. I diligently processed my email and by the end of the day, I had only 18 left. For all you time-management-system junkies out there (you know who you are!), check out Take Back Your Life by Sally McGhee. I'm not plugging this book because it's from Microsoft Press. This woman's company used to teach a class called "Managing Action" (yes, it sounds cheesy) at Microsoft where they'd teach you this "system" of processing your email and using your calendar and tasks in Outlook more efficiently. It rocks. And the book is super easy to read and even better than the class. They no longer offer the class at Microsoft - rumor has it that people would re-take the class multiple times in order to clear out their Inbox (you spend the day in class actually working on your stuff). I'm not sure that's really true, but it sounds like something people might do.

Now that the wedding stuff is (mostly) done, I may be able to get back to making this system work for me. It does take about an hour a week just to keep it up and keep things organized but the more you use it, the more things become easy to maintain.

Thanks to the Seattle PI, I got to find out early who lost on 'American Idol' today. I'll give you a hint - it wasn't Bo. Woo hoooooooo!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I seem to recognize your face

Yay! We're now in Google. If you search for "spike peanut", my blog finally shows up. Woo hoo!

TJ and I are off to Savannah in an hour or so. We took Spike to TJ's Aunt Susie's house yesterday, and he seemed a little nervous, but much better than he does at the kennel, aka "dog camp". Peanut is on his way to Dog Camp now. He always has a great time.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

I've been having dreams and visions

I've been putting off writing about the wedding because I'm not sure my words can do it justice. But I really appreciate all the good wishes people have left here.

I did get a few more fitful hours of sleep after my post on Saturday. We had a relaxing morning, just TJ, me, and the dogs. I think we even squeezed in a trip to the dog park. Then TJ and I went to pick up my bouquet and the bouttonnieres and corsages at the florist. It was really nice to be together - it kept me from getting too stressed out.

At 11am Kristin and I went back to the salon (4th time in 5 days!) for hair and makeup, which actually did take 2 hours. There were also a couple of girls getting their hair and makeup done for prom. I can't believe I went to my junior prom 15 years ago (!). We got a couple of cute pictures of us getting our hair done. I felt like a bit of a drag queen - I had on a ton of sparkly makeup and it was only noon. But Lindsay assured me it was necessary to look like a princess, and she did a really nice job, again. BTW, Loreal Voluminous waterproof mascara rocks. I may have to try wearing it on a regular basis...

Back home, TJ and I just chilled out for a little while and waited for Bradley, our photographer to show up. He wanted to take some "getting ready" pictures, and I wanted him to get some of the dogs, as well. Having him there was pretty weird for the first half hour, then we sort of stopped noticing. Spike was really, surprisingly calm and posed pretty for some pictures, which is very unusual. Peanut tried to put his big wet nose on the camera lens, which didn't really endear him to Bradley. Bradley got a bunch of pics of TJ shaving and a few of TJ helping me tie the sash on my dress. We took a couple of obligatory posed pics, and then we were off to Gasworks park for more posed shots with the wedding party and our families.

The weather was beautiful and I think the pictures at Gasworks will come out really nicely. Everyone looked so nice! And the flowers, especially my bouquet, were really lovely. I promise I'll post a couple of pictures as soon as we return from Savannah.

Then the day started to go by really quickly. Dave's NeverLost thingy found us a really quick back route to Canlis from Gasworks and TJ and I adjourned to the "Cache", the private room we rented to "hide" before the ceremony. Canlis was nice enough to provide some water, fruit and cheese, which was great since I had completely forgotten to eat lunch. We were only in there for about 30 minutes, when Susan came to tell us we were starting.

We lined up just like we did in the rehearsal (now I know why we did a rehearsal, as I was really wired and wouldn't have been able to remember what to do if I hadn't actually done it before!). And that's when I entered my little wedding bubble. I can't remember a lot of the exact details. The ceremony went well - the work TJ and I put into creating a ceremony that represented both of our cultures really paid off, I think. I'm so glad. I choked up big time during the vows but managed to recover after a little while. It was exactly what I envisioned and I wouldn't have changed a thing. The ceremony was surprisingly short - we were aiming for 40 minutes but it was more like 25. Afterwards, TJ and I spent our first few married moments alone in the Cache with a couple of glasses of champagne. It was lovely.

Dinner was good, but I wasn't really tasting my food - I was just so happy to be at my wedding and all that. My dad's toast was great - funny and touching. So were Dave's and Kristin's. I felt so blessed to have had everyone I love there with me. And the cake was yum.

There were so many people who made that night magical for us: our parents and family members, Kristin, Dave and Kim, Susan the officiant, Nisha the florist, and the entire staff at Canlis. I wouldn't have changed a thing. And now we're married, which is the best part.

Tomorrow we're off to Savannah for the reception my parents are hosting on Friday. I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend - the weather should be nice, and the hotel we're staying at looks great. I remembered to pack my bathing suit and some workout clothes so hopefully I can get back into the exercise groove.

So far I've changed my name on my Gmail account and on Hotmail - Anandi Raman Creath. I guess the rest will have to wait until the marriage certificate comes back. Woo hoo! Other than that, we're almost back to our normal life. With better dishes and kitchen stuff...

Saturday, May 07, 2005

4:30 am on a Tuesday, it doesn't get much worse than this

OK, so it's actually 4:15, and Saturday. My wedding is in 12 hours and 45 minutes. I wish I wasn't wide awake. I'm also hungry so maybe I'll go poke around in the kitchen.

Rehearsal was fine, and I'm glad we practiced the processional and the general order of stuff, because suddenly I got *really* nervous standing up there. I'm sure I will today as well, but at least I'll be familiar with the idea of standing up there.

Rehearsal dinner at Shamiana last night was a lot of fun. People mingled, everyone seemed to like the food, and it was pretty relaxed and non-stressful. It went by really quick so I can only imagine that the Main Event will, as well. Since Shamiana is a popular place for Microsoft folks to eat, I also ran into someone I used to work with and it was a pleasant surprise. (hi jack!)

Last night after dinner, Asha and Sanjay came over to meet the Peanut and Spike. Tom and Erin did as well, and Tom hadn't seen Peanut since he was just a little dog in Tucson 2.5 years ago. Earlier in the day, Dave and Kim came over. It was nice to have a little bit of time to chat with folks. The house was quiet by 10pm so in theory we had enough time to get our beauty sleep. I really hope I can get back to sleep as tomorrow (today?) is going to be, unfortunately, a nap-free day. Hair and makeup starts at 11am. I've been to the spa/salon every day this week except Tuesday. Woo hoo.

Tomorrow night (tonight?) we'll be staying at the Hotel Monaco. The last time we stayed there was in 2000 for the Deloitte Christmas party when I lived in Tucson. Good times.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

I've got a heart full of rubberbands that keep getting caught on things

Massage appointments today. Parents arriving today. Rehearsal today. I've only been up for an hour and it already seems like a busy day. I'm so glad I took yesterday off and got a bunch of stuff done.

Well, I should grab some breakfast before picking up Kristin for our massages. More later.

Does it seem weird to you to "rehearse" a wedding? I want the ceremony to be genuine, and not a performance, so I have some reservations about this... But I guess everyone needs to know where to stand, etc.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

We've got tonight

Yay! I'm on vacation for the next 2 weeks! That might explain why this is my 3rd post of the day.

I'm having a hard time coming up with topics for my work-related blog. I feel like I should post to it once or twice weekly, as it is part of my "commitments", aka my performance review goals for this year. I just get so intimidated about posting under the Microsoft name, when all these other sites out there are so technical. So far no one has commented on any of my 4 posts out there, so I guess it's not like i have to worry about disappointing my audience or anything...

American Idol was really fun tonight as each of the 5 contestants got to do 2 songs each. All were pretty good except for cheeseball Anthony who keeps picking the worst songs ever. He's actually a decent singer but the songs are unbearable to listen to. TJ thinks Vonzell will be voted off, which makes me sad. I like her. Bo did a pretty good rendition of Stand By Me, which, incidentally, is one of the songs we're using in our wedding ceremony. He also sang that really annoying song by Los Lonely Boys that's always in my head or on the radio.

Question of the day - why can't I get this blog to show up in a Google search??

Am I in Pi?

This is so cool!

Find where your birthday occurs in the digits of Pi.

Also, here's a great version of the e^x joke.

Before we take this step, before we walk down this path

Extra points to anyone who can identify the song lyrics that make up most of my post titles.

I'm late for work so this will be quick. Today is my last day of work before I take 2 weeks off for the wedding and related stuff. Tomorrow I'll be checking email from home but also running some errands prior to everyone's arrival. Kristin (maid of honor, college roommate, partner in crime) arrives tomorrow night. I think TJ's parents and granny arrive tomorrow as well. My parents and aunt and uncle from India show up on Thursday, then most everyone else arrives on Friday. Except for Kristine who's coming in Saturday morning because she's got to take some kind of dentist board exam on Friday. Good luck Kristine!

Stan, one of our good friends from Caltech (and who I've known since I was 15!), and his wife Ada are taking us out to dinner tonight. We haven't seen them in a while, so that should be fun. I guess I'll be doing my fair share of eating out this week. At least I'll have some time to get to the gym if I go early in the morning.

Yesterday went by in a flurry of work. I had a list of 5 or 6 things I wanted to get done before I left for vacation. Fortunately I made the list last week and got a good head start on those items. I was so efficient yesterday I don't have much left on the list today. I do have a meeting with the CIO of one of our partner companies today - wow, that makes me feel so grown up. It also makes me realize that as long I work at Microsoft, I'll probably never be a CIO. But I think I'm ok with that. I like my job, they pay me well, I like my work-life balance so I'm reasonably content. Of course, I'd love to make more money (you can't be too rich, though you can be too thin, for sure.)

Yes, I'm rambling. I think "wedding brain" has set in. The nightmares have started, that's for sure. A few nights ago I dreamed that everyone showed up at Canlis in jeans and just chitchatted with each other through the whole ceremony, not paying attention. Our officiant forgot major parts of the ceremony and when I complained about it, no one was listening. Plus I couldn't find my dress and had to wear some of my regular work clothes.

So really, the actual event can only be an improvement over that! Honestly, we're looking forward to it. And I'm looking forward to a nice 2 week vacation. I haven't taken that much time off at once since starting at Microsoft in November 2002. Raman out.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Spike and Peanut's Big Day Out

Whew! It's been a weekend full of exciting Dog Outings. New experiences and adventures galore.

As I mentioned earlier, TJ is gone all day both days this weekend for a motorcycle track day. He gets to put on all his gear and ride his bike as fast as he can in the controlled environment of the racetrack. (Which is better than doing it on the street, not that he's that stupid.)

So I'm home alone with dogs. Yesterday we woke up early, at 5:45am when TJ left for the track and the dogs snoozed in the kitchen while I put away more wedding gifts (yay George Foreman grill! yay new flatware!) and cleared out the box/styrofoam peanut explosion from the front entryway. I also did dishes and laundry - very wifely and industrious. :) Then Spike and I picked up the drycleaning. He *hates* being left in the car when I run errands, and tried to escape a couple of times when I opened the car door. I'm hoping it's something he'll get used to.

After that, we drove to Seattle to see Nisha, the florist who is doing the wedding stuff. I really like Nisha and her ideas are different and beautiful. Fortunately for me, she is an artist and I can just tell her the color scheme for the wedding and she'll run with it. I'm really looking forward to what she comes up with. Nisha was nice enough to put her dog, Violet, in her van, so that Spike could run around the shop while we were there. That kept Spike occupied, except for the occasional whining.

Then we went over to Genesee Park, somewhere in South Seattle, for a Beagle play date organize by Seattle Beagle Rescue. The off-leash area at Genesee is just a large fenced-off field, but the nice part is that it's completely sealed off so dogs can't escape. I think Spike likes Marymoor better since it's more interesting to wander around the trails and do his smelling and rummaging. Genesee is more for dogs who like to play with other dogs. Peanut would have loved it as there were many games of "jump on your head" and "bitechu" going on. Adrianne, a woman I know from Caltech UAS stuff, and her husband brought their beagle Bartleby and their other dog Sadie. Sadly, Spike wasn't interested in playing with either of them. Even more disappointing was the lack of beagles who attended the play date. The highest beagle concentration at that park was 4, including Spike and Bartleby. After an hour of Spike rummaging around and half-heartedly playing fetch, we decided to leave.

Spike and I had a lunch date at Stan's Fish and Chips, a take-out stand we saw on the way to the park. Spike got a whole kid's hamburger with no bun to himself. He ate it in about 2 bites, then proceeded to whine until I gave him some of my chicken strips and fries. That's a beagle for you.

Clearly this outing was exhausting for Spike, so he sprawled out in the backseat on the long ride home.

When we got home, Tasha, our friendly neighborhood Visla puppy, was waiting outside our garage. So I called her into the garage and closed the garage door before opening the car door to let Spike out. Well, Spike is fast, and the garage door hadn't closed all the way so he shot out the door and ran across the street with Tasha chasing him. He knew I was trying to catch him so he ran like a beagle. Now Spike is never allowed to run around the neighborhood because I think he'd get lost and he's just not that smart about cars, so I was freaking out. Tasha's family lives down the street, so I went to see if Spike had followed Tasha home. We looked in the field behind their house and there was Spike, rummaging around. He seemed happy to see me, and came when I called him. I think he did feel a little bit lost. After collecting Spike, I let Peanut back into the house and we all took a nice 2 hour dog nap. Tiring day for all dogs!

Today was a good day for a Peanut adventure. I felt bad that he didn't get to go anywhere yesterday, so instead of going to the gym (any excuse, really), I decided to take Peanut on a walk to Crossroads Mall, about 3 miles away. The weather was gorgeous and Peanut hasn't gotten any exercise for a couple of days now. So off we went. I took some water with me so we had a couple of water stops along the way. The steroid medication Peanut is taking makes him thirsty so I was a little worried about that today. But we had 3 or 4 water breaks and he was fine. Thanks to TJ's patient training when Peanut was a puppy, he is great on-leash. Not a lot of pulling and he even knows the command "heel". Such an easy dog to deal with.

It took us about an hour to get to Crossroads, and the lady at Michael's said he could come in while I returned the extra wedding stuff I bought. So nice! Peanut just flopped on the cool tile floor and hung out during the transaction. He did drool on the floor a little, which I felt a little bad about, but really, he behaved so well! Then we went to Starbucks to relax and get some lunch. I attached Peanut to the patio fence and put him in a down-stay and left him some water. He's pretty good with Stay, but I wasn't sure he'd actually stay once I was out of sight. I went to get a drink and a sandwich at Starbucks, and was gone for about 5 minutes. When I came back outside, Peanut was exactly where I had left him. Fabulous. This dog is awesome. (Another reason I'm glad to be marrying TJ.) In return for such good behavior, he got some turkey from my sandwich (don't tell the vet).

It was about a 3 hour round trip by the time we got back home (lots of smelling along the way) but a lot of fun. I got some exercise, Peanut got some exercise and some leash practice, and maybe we even improved the reputation of big dogs for a few people we saw today. A fun time was had by all.

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