12.31.2007

2007 Year in Review

This is a Christmas present a friend of mine sent me a few years ago. I think the last time I filled it out was 2005. But I thought I'd give it another go this year. Anyone else interested in filling it out is welcome to, I love reading them just as much as I love filling them in.

2007 Year in Review Survey

1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before?
Learned how to waltz

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I dont make new years' resolutions
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
no

4. Did anyone close to you die?
no
5. What countries did you visit?
just the US... but I did go to Las Vegas for the first time

6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
some new shoes, i hate shoe shopping

7. What date from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
July 25th because I found out I was pregnant. Also Dec. 11th because I finished grad school

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Completing my masters degree

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not graduating with a 4.0 (I got 1 stupid B+ grr)

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had the flu for a week in January, that SUCKED. Plus I had nearly 4 months of morning sickness, which was pretty much the same as having the flu, only it lasted forever.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
the Jetta, and a locket

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Not to be too stuck on myself, but I'm gonna go with me- finished school, handled being pregnant, worked in DC the first half of the year. Also matt, for putting up with all my "behaviors that merited celebration."

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
people who home school

14. Where did most of your money go?
school, house, cars

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
not having to go to school anymore! seeing Wilco and the White Stripes live

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
Either Way by Wilco

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. Happier or Sadder?: Happier
ii. Thinner or Fatter than last year?: Fatter (by A LOT)
iii. Richer or Poorer?: richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
traveling

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
homework

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
spent it with the family
22. Did you fall in love in 2007?
stayed in love

23. How many one-night stands?
0
24. What was your favorite TV program?
The Office
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
not really

26. What was the best book you read?
the Twilight books... the 4th one is due next fall... the wait is killing me

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Wilco
28. What did you want and get?
guitar hero for the wii
29. What did you want and not get?
a suede jacket... because I wouldnt be able to fit into anyway
30. What was your favorite film of this year?
I guess I would have to say Knocked Up
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 26. matt took me out for lunch, then I worked. birthdays just arent as exciting as they used to be

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
i think it was pretty satisfying overall

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
beginning of the year-- business (because of where I worked), middle of the year-- casual, end of the year-- maternity
34. What kept you sane?
my friend Melissa :)

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
hmm... not sure i had one this year

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
probably none really, i dont pay too much attention to politics. I can go with global warming though just so I dont leave this question blank

37. Who did you miss?
I think I was able to hang out with everyone a little bit

38. Who was the best new person you met?
a girl I currently work with... because we get along and have so much in common (born a week apart, married a week apart, husbands have same name, both currently pregnant... it's kinda creepy)

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007?
Life doesnt operate according to my plan, so learn to let go and accept it.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Maybe the sun will shine today
The clouds will roll away
Maybe I won’t be so afraid
I will understand everything has its plan
Either way"

12.13.2007

Awesome You Tube Video

Okay, so a few years ago I read a book of Essays and Lectures by composer John Cage. I wrote a post about it here: Old Post of Mine. But I'm revisiting that post because this morning I got an email for a You Tube video from my friend Harmony. It's of a full orchestra performing John Cage's famous 4'33''. Definitely worth checking out to get the full Cage experience.

(Hopefully this video will still be there when you try to view it. You Tube clips from TV tend to have a fairly short life span in my experience.)


12.05.2007

snow snow snow

Yay, the first snow of the year is here! Unfortunately this was the day I had planned to go to DC. I didn't end up going. Not because I thought the roads would be too treacherous (with all of the inch and a half we got), but because I didn't want to have to deal with slow metros (which I got emailed about) and lots of traffic. So now it looks like I'll be going Friday before work instead.

By this time next week, I will no longer be a student! I'm so excited that I can hardly keep myself focused on the remaining work I need to do. Not only that but I'm throwing myself a graduation party next week and I find getting ready for that much more interesting than trying to write research papers.

I just can't believe I'm almost done with school (hopefully forever this time). I feel like my whole life has been consumed by it for the past year and a half, its going to be weird when it's all over. I'm hoping that it will feel like a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. I definitely think going back for my masters was a smart decision (because I will now be employable... yay!), but the actual information I learned and the act of being back in school weren't quite as awesome as I expected. My favorite class was the Music Research class I took in the Spring, and that's probably because it was an actual music class... not a library class. But I'm looking forward to a future where getting a job will no longer be impossible. Of course now that a baby is on the way, that future is just a little more distant than I had originally planned. But I'm ok with that.

12.04.2007

Good Pregnancy Resources

Being the wonderful librarian-type that I am, I have mostly relied on my own research to find out everything I need to know about being pregnant. Which really isnt that hard, since there's plenty of info out there on the subject. Some of my most commonly used sources:

1- The Nest. This is the follow up to The Knot, a well known wedding website. Mostly I use this site to read message boards posted by other "real" pregnant women. It's nice to see what other people are really going through so I dont freak out or worry too much. Though I stay away from any post that asks about how much weight people have gained because I think the only women who respond to that are the ones who dont gain any weight (sorry, but finding out that people were losing 5 pounds during the first trimester just wasn't very comforting). Also they tell me how much longer I have left in the pregnancy... as of today there's only 118 days to go. That seems longer than I want it to be.

2- The American Pregnancy Association. A little more authoritative. I dont visit the website too frequently anymore, but I did sign up for their weekly progress email. So now every Sunday I get an email from them telling me what week I'm in (23rd) and what is going on with the baby at this point as well as what is going on with me. This is where I learned about the Round Ligament pain I mentioned in an earlier post. My news for this week is that the 23rd week should be one of the most comfortable weeks of the pregnancy because I'm long done with the first trimester sickness, and not yet big enough to be physically uncomfortable. Which I think is true, when I look back all that throwing up doesn't seem so bad. And other than some back aches and occasional sciatica pains, I'm not too uncomfortable yet. But I feel it coming on... bending down to do things like put my socks on and pick things up off the floor isnt' as easy as it used to be.

3- What to Expect When You're Expecting. A classic book. I got it as soon as I found out I was pregnant. They cover pretty much every topic I need to know about. And at this point I've read pretty much the whole book. I have to admit, I have yet to even look at anything that has to do with delivery. But I plan on taking a class on that (and hopefully Matt will be there to catch me should I pass out when they start talking about epidurals).

Those are the main ones. There are lots of other websites I looked at early on, but I dont really feel the need to go back to them.

12.02.2007

It's a Scrabulous Life

My newest outlet for all things entertaining, procrastinating, and time killing? Playing Scrabulous (Scrabble) on Facebook. It can be very addicting. And I'm not as terrible at it as I expected, though that's largely due to the fact that you can look up any combination of letters to see if it's a word while you're trying to make your move. I have played the regular, non-digital Scrabble (sans dictionary) at work a few times (with teenagers) and my scores dont get quite as high, but then again, neither do theirs.

Only two weeks left of school!!! Remaining assignments: a group problem set due tomorrow (done), three booktalks on Tuesday (havent even started), an exhibition review due next week (still need to go to the exhibition, then write the 4 pg review of it), and a short research paper on the differences in how librarians read to children and how parents read to children (I have a collection of resources for my research, but I havent actually read any of them yet). So I have my work cut out for me. Nothing too major, but it should keep me busy right up until my last day (2 Tuesdays from now). The only thing I've been seriously dreading is having to go to this exhibition... we can pick which one we go to (it's for an arts class though, so it needs to be somewhat related to that). Unfortunately I think that means I have to hike it out to DC this Wednesday. I'm trying to decide between going to a very small exhibit of West Side Story at the music reading room in the Library of Congress (which would be more interesting to me) or going to a Book art exhibit at the Women's Museum (which I think might be easier for the assignment, and probably more interesting for the teacher). In the end though, I'm really leaning towards the LoC... I dont think anyone in my class will think to go there, and since I'm sure it's small, it probably wont take me too long to get all the info I need. But I still dread having to go all the way out to DC for this. I just keep telling myself that in a few more weeks I'll never have homework again! That seems to get me through.

11.03.2007

Still Brrrr... and It's a BOY!

Okay, we still don't have heat. But the heat repair guy ordered a part and is coming on Monday to fix it for real. I hope. I'm tired of being cold all day long. It just makes me want to stay in bed under the nice warm covers all day and all night long.

Also, I had a sonogram on Thursday and found out that Matt and I are having a boy! We're really excited. I can already see the baseball games and guitar lessons (though I'm pushing more for drums). But mostly it just makes this whole pregnancy thing seem more real. Now instead of imaging and "it" I can imagine a "him." And for all those people who are in favor of being surprised at the end, and all those people who say "you know, doctors can be wrong", I say "when you're pregnant, you can decide whether or not to find out the sex ahead of time and I won't criticize either way. but this is our pregnancy and we aren't doing anything to harm the baby, so what's the big deal to you if we decide to find out ahead of time. And if the doctor's wrong, well then he's wrong, and I'm fully aware of the fact that they can't be 100% right all the time... though when they say boy, it's pretty hard to be wrong." Anyway, that's my little vent.

10.30.2007

Brrrrr

It's finally starting to get cooler out, which I'm happy about. I'd be even happier if the heat was working in our house. Last night got pretty cold, but fortunately we have really warm blankets so I didn't really notice it until I got out of bed this morning. But tomorrow we have someone coming to look at it and hopefully fix it as well.

In other unrelated news... we got Guitar Hero for the wii this weekend. It's so much fun. I'm not a big video game person, but I've definitely already put in a few hours already. I don't think I'll be a guitar hero expert or anything. So far I've just been playing on the medium level. Today I tried a song on the hard level and I dont think I lasted anymore than 7% of the way into the song. It is incredibly more challenging than the medium level. So I think I'll just work in the medium mode a little longer.

Also, this week I go in for another sonogram. This could be the time I find out the sex of the baby. I really hope the doctors are able to tell, I'm dying to know. But for the record I dont have a preference one way or another... I'm just curious. Plus then I can really start planning baby stuff. I've also started feeling the baby move a lot more in the past week or so. They aren't big movements (I can barely feel them if I put my hand on my stomach, but I can definitely feel them internally), but once they kid starts going they last for about 5 minutes or so. It's a really weird feeling, but cool in a way. The only this is that I wish this baby were on the same sleep cycle as me. I've been woken up a couple nights in the past week because of the little flutters.

Alright, time to bundle up under the covers in what I hope is our last night without heat.

10.27.2007

Excitement at Panera

Matt and I did a little shopping this morning... I finally caved and got some maternity clothes. I wore them earlier this evening and I feel stupid for not getting them sooner. They are way more comfortable than squeezing into nonpregnancy pants.

But anyway, before we started shopping we got bagels at Panera. Our server seemed pretty new (based on how long it took him to find the items on the register, not that it was too long, but you could tell that he wasn't really familiar with the layout yet.) After we ordered I went to the drink station to wait for the drinks we ordered, and Matt waited at the bagel section while our server sliced and toasted our bagels. I'm not sure if you've spent much time at the Panera by the outlets, but it isn't exactly the speediest, most efficient place to get food. So after waiting for what I think is longer than I should for the drinks, I noticed that Matt was still waiting on our bagels (which usually doesnt take too long).

So I walked over to wait with him and that's when I saw that the server was trying to put out our bagels which were on fire in the trash can. Apparently he took one of the bagels out of the toaster with a piece of paper rather than (non-fire-catching) tongs. And when he noticed the flames he threw it into the trash can, which was (surprise) filled with equally flammable paper, so things just got worse. But he didn't seem to concerned (I on the other hand was wondering how long it would take for more people to notice and for someone to come over with a fire extinguisher.) Eventually another guy came over to help (equally not as freaked out) and they figured out that they wouldn't be able to put out the fire by standing there and smushing everything down further in the trash can so one of them grabbed it and brought it into the back room where I think I heard him say that he used one of the sink's faucets to put out the fire.

Then the guy came back out and sliced a bagel, put it in the toaster and pulled it out of the toaster with a piece of paper... which, again, caught on fire. But I guess he learned his lesson (or at least part of the lesson) and didn't throw the paper in the trash and instead placed it on a blank spot of the metal counter and just let it burn out. But based on how non-fazed these guys were, I'm guessing this wasn't the first time (and probably wont be the last time) that they've caught bagels on fire at work.

10.25.2007

Back to the Real World


Well, our vacation ended on Saturday but it feels like it's taking me all week to get back to normal. Matt and I were completely exhausted by the time we left Vegas. But I think that's because we both decided to do as much as possible since we probably wont be going back (at least not anytime in the foreseeable future). After Matt finished up his work related stuff, we had lunch with two of my uncles that live in Vegas (who helped us get this picture above), we saw the Penn and Teller show as well as O (which was surreal to say the least), and played a little blackjack.

It's definitely good to be back home though. I have to admit that I've been feeling more tired than usual. But I think that's due to the busy week we had and the time changes, so hopefully I'll start to get my energy back to somewhat normal soon. I thought I had more to write about, but I think I'm really just stalling before I have to go to work. So until next time...

10.18.2007

Suze Orman's advice

Matt and I were watching Oprah while taking a break from the crazy Vegas lifestyle. Suze Orman was on giving financial advice to couples in insane amounts of debt. One tip she gave a guy who had a huge DVD collection: download his DVDs onto an iPod (or something like an iPod) and then sell the DVDs. good way to make some money... so long as you dont mind breaking the law doing it. Good advice to be giving out on national television, especially on something like Oprah, where all the unsuspecting Oprah-drones will follow whatever is said. Why dont people care about copyright laws? (granted I wish they were so crazy myself, I know that the way it is now really just protects big corporations like Disney so they can make crazy amounts of money, instead of serving the purpose copyright was created for-- to support creativity and the progress of culture-- but still, it's pretty irresponsible to go on tv and advise someone to do something illegal.)

10.16.2007

What Happens in Vegas...

... gets reported about in my blog.

Today is Day 2 of our Vegas vacation. So far we're having a good time (aside from the fact that Matt has spent all of today in a work conference, and I spent the majority of the day finishing homework for the class I missed tonight).

We arrived early yesterday. After a LONG LONG LONG wait for a cab at the airport (apparently there's some huge conference going on this week and everyone flew in for it yesterday at the same time we got here), we arrived at our hotel. The MGM Grand. It's pretty nice. Lots of casino space and restaurants. We had a small mishap with our room but that just resulted in the hotel bumping us up to a room on the 18th floor, so now we have a nice view of Caesar's Palace and the Bellagio on the strip.

I expected Vegas to be over the top before I got here, so I wasn't really too surprised with all the excess, but I was surprised with all the parallels between Vegas and Disney. And since I've visited both of them this year I thought I do a little comparison.

1. Expensive. Everything at both places is crazy expensive. I think we paid like $3 for a bottle of water yesterday. But again, that's kind of expected at places like these.

2. Lines. There are lines for everything! I mean, Matt and I must have waited like 45 mins for a cab, then this morning I waited about 20 minutes in line for the breakfast buffet (to get seated, not to get food). The only thing I dont see lines for are the casino games, but I think that's because there are just so many of them.

3. Entertainment. Lots going on, lots to do. Free stuff, and expensive stuff. Last night we saw David Copperfield. The tickets were more than most concert tickets (at ticketmast prices, not ebay-Hannah Montana prices), but it was a small venue and a really good show, so I think the value was there. We also have tickets for Penn and Teller and the cirque d soleil show O over at the Bellagio, and possible one more if we can squeeze it in. But there are also free things to do. There's a lion habitat in the hotel that we can see for free, and I've heard that there are mini shows and attractions throughout the strip (we just haven't gotten out too much yet so we haven't seen them). But there's no shortage of stuff to do. Oh, and did I mention the gambling, that's always available of course. So far I've just been playing the slots, and usually just the penny slots, because that's right in my price range. (I actually won $8 on one play earlier today, but overall I've lost about $15... not too bad though) I'm hoping that we'll wake up early one morning and find a $5 table though because otherwise it's just too expensive to play.

4. Themes. Everything has a theme. There's a lion theme in the MGM, which makes me feel like it's really a Lion King theme. Next to this hotel is the Excalibur, which looks like a castle, on the other side is New York New York (the theme is obvious). But it all reminds me of all the themes at Disney: Epcot, movies, characters. I think Vegas is like Disney for grown-ups. Which brings me to the biggest DIFFERENCE between the two... Disney= millions of kids ALL over the place, Vegas= very few kids anywhere.

So those are my thoughts and our experiences so far. I'm looking forward to the rest of the week, especially now that I've finished my homework :)

10.14.2007

Sunday Thoughts and Events

So far it's been a fairly typical Sunday.

-Matt and I decided to go out for breakfast this morning. Of course I didn't get up until late so by the time we were ready, all the good breakfast places were packed... as in lines of people waiting outside. So we went for our usual Panera. Then we drove around Ashburn trying to find a neighborhood we'd want to live in... nothing. Wanna know why? Because builders build these huge houses on these itty-bitty plots of land where your dining room is practical in your neighbors kitchen. It irritates me SO much. Why cant there just be normal sized houses on normal sized plots of land with a decent amount of space between you and your neighbors. grr

-Then i went to my yoga class. Which felt really good. I missed it last week and felt really tense and uncomfortable all week. So it was nice to go out and stretch some more.

-After that I went to the only drive thru place I know of that has salads that dont come with chicken on them... burger king. And technically salads sans chicken isn't on their menu, but if you order one, they charge you less than the salads that are on the menu. bonus.

-So now I'm at home, having just finished my delicious garden salad, watching Gossip Girl on tv and checking my email. Two interesting things there... Gossip Girl is based on the teenage series of novels. I read one for a class this summer and it wasn't all that great. The show is even worse, yet I'm watching anyway. I also got my weekly "here's what's happening with your pregnancy this week" email. I found out that these sharp stabbing pains I get from standing up too quickly are called round ligament pain which is apparently normal. Just one more thing to add to my list of things you can only experience while i'm pregnant. yay

-Now it's time for me to get up and do laundry because bright and early tomorrow morning matt and I leave for Las Vegas!

10.11.2007

Update

I got one of the greatest gifts ever today... the gift of a clean house. My mother-in-law was kind enough to give me the gift of a monthly maid service. She knew that I've been struggling with keeping up with house chores, so today she sent over her cleaning ladies to help with the floors and the bathrooms. And I have to say, these women did such an amazing job that for a long time I couldn't stop inspecting their work. Behind the toilet- check, shower doors- check (they look brand new, they even cleaned the tracks for the shower doors), bathroom mats- check, vacuumed stairs- check, vacuumed the vertical part of the steps- check, mopped up all the eve drool marks from the wooden floor- check, cleaned the baseboards- check (yeah this doesnt seem like such a big deal, but trust me, it is). I mean, it's amazing. They took care of all the little things that drive me crazy, so I dont have to worry about them anymore. Maybe I'll finally have the time and energy to finish the laundry now. ahhh, what a thoughtful and helpful gift this was. Having a clean house really makes me feel much more relaxed. I think it's because all the little dirt clutter is gone (and clutter makes me feel cramped, which is not a relaxing feeling).

In other news, not much is new. I'm still getting sick even though I'm in my 4th month (supposedly the nausea and throwing up is supposed to be going away at this point... but considering the fact that I threw up on route 28 this week, I'm gonna say that hasn't happened yet). I had a doctor's appointment yesterday, they just listened to the heartbeat. At first the doctor didn't find the heartbeat right away, which (unknown to her) caused me to totally freak out, but eventually she put the little microphone thingie in the right place and we could hear it ticking away. Hopefully we'll find out the sex of the baby in a few weeks. I can't wait. I know some people want to be surprised the day of the big event, but I want to know as soon as possible. I still don't look pregnant yet. I do look fat though, which isn't quite as fun. I haven't bought any maternity clothes so far, other than a bathing suit for my water aerobics class (because I was afraid that by the time I needed a maternity bathing suit, they wouldn't be selling them in stores anymore). Mostly because I don't think maternity clothes would fit me yet, but also because I'm not mentally ready to be at that point. I dont know how much longer I'll be able to put that off though... my wardrobe is rapidly shrinking (well, more accurately, I'm rapidly expanding).

Let's see... other news updates:
-Matt and I are going to Vegas next week. He has a work conference and I'm tagging along for the gambling and shows. I got us tickets for David Copperfield and Penn and Teller. I'm really excited! I'm sure Vegas will be over the top in excess (yes I know that's redundant), but I think it's still worth seeing at least once. Plus, I enjoy playing blackjack at 9:00 in the morning while the minimum bets are low.
-My parents did something I never thought they'd do in a million years... they got a dog. A puppy even (well, an older puppy... 7 months). I guess since my youngest sister is basically the last of the children still living at home, they finally caved and decided to get her a companion. So a few weeks ago we went down to the Pet Smart in Falls Church to see a german shepherd mix, and she turned out to be the dog they took home (I like to take some credit for that since I was the one who found the dog online and arranged for the meeting). So far, the dog's been great. She likes to sleep in a crate, and hasn't had any accidents. Other than some chewing and a skin rash there have been no problems. She (her name is April) gets along great with Eve too, though Eve had a hard time keeping up with her (but that didn't stop Eve from making sure that April knew who was boss).
-We went and checked out some houses in Purcellville. A new-ish neighborhood that's still under construction. I did my research on the houses and thought they sounded perfect for us. And when we saw them I was even more convinced! Until we drove around the neighborhood and saw a waste water plant across the street from them. That's a deal breaker. If you ever drive through Leesburg near the outlet mall at night, you may smell this very strong sewage smell. That's from Leesburg's waste water treatment. Fortunately we are far from this stink, but there are townhouses near the outlet mall that I'm POSITIVE must be able (and forced) to smell it nearly every night. No way am I going to move into a neighborhood like that. I was so heart broken though. And so our never ending quest for a house continues...

I guess that's about all for now.

9.18.2007

Maybe I'm Just Driving Too Much

You know what cars really need? Some kind of horn that lets drivers behind you know you are not happy with them. Typically when someone honks a horn the people to the front or immediate sides of the car think they are honking at them. So what am I supposed to do when Mr Jerk in a fancy mercedes is driving right on my tail and the guy in front of me keeps slamming on his brakes for no reason? And of course, i am following him at a safe distance so that I have time to step on my brakes and not hit him... which seems like a good reason to step on the brakes (as opposed to just stepping on them because they're there, which is what I think this guy was doing). But Mr Jerk behind me is practically kissing my car and I want to let him know to back off so I dont have to worry about him slamming into me when I have to react to Sir-Brakes-A-Lot. My solution: we need some kind of signal for the cars behind us. Like maybe a big banner that says "back off" or "if you're in such a hurry, why don't you switch lanes?" or "please drive safely, I dont feel like getting in a car accident today." Or some special kind of horn with a unique honk that lets everyone know that the car you are pissed off at is the one right behind you... and not the one in front of you (though I wasn't all that thrilled with that guy either).

Okay, time for bed now.

9.16.2007

These Things Happen in Threes

That's the saying anyway... and today I figured out who the other two people are.

#1- On Friday I told the people I work with that I am pregnant (actually they guessed it when I started off by saying "I have to let you guys know something..."). Right after I made my announcement, another girl I work with was like "well... I wasnt going to say anything yet, but... I am too!"

#2- My mom just called me to let me know that I have another cousin on the way. It turns out that my aunt is pregnant. Not that it's a race or anything, but I'm due first. Which means that I am going to have a cousin younger than my own kid. This is what happens when your mom's family consists of 11 children, and your aunt is only 5 years older than you.

9.13.2007

What are Capers Anyway?

A few weeks ago Matt and I went out to dinner with his parents. His mom had some tartar sauce that had some little green things in it. At first she thought they were some kind of pickled peas, but when I saw them I said "oh those are capers." I dont think she believed me at first (because she had never had capers), but eventually she was convinced. Of course, I have no idea what capers are... I mean I know one when I see it, I know what it tastes like (actually they taste a lot like what pickled peas probably taste like), so I looked it up in Wikipedia... because that is the easiest way to get quick info now a days.

The salted and pickled caper bud (also called caper) is often used as a seasoning or garnish. Capers are a common ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine. The grown fruit of the caper shrub is also used, and prepared similarly to the buds to be used as caper berries.

The buds, when ready to pick, are a dark olive green and about the size of a kernel of corn. They are picked, then pickled in salt, or a salt and vinegar solution.

Capers are a distinctive ingredient in Sicilian and Southern Italian cooking, used in salads, pizzas, meat dishes and pasta sauces. Examples of uses in Italian cuisine are Chicken piccata and Salsa puttanesca. They are also often served with cold smoked salmon or cured salmon dishes (especially lox and cream cheese). Capers are also sometimes substituted for olives to garnish a martini.

Capers are categorized and sold by their size, defined as follows, with the smallest sizes being the most desirable: Non-pareil (0-7 mm), surfines (7-8 mm), capucines (8-9 mm), capotes (9-11 mm), fines (11-13 mm), and grusas (14+ mm).

Unripe nasturtium seeds can be substituted for capers; they have a very similar texture and flavour when pickled.

9.09.2007

The Real Reason for the Lack of Posts

Okay, so over the past several weeks I haven't been entirely honest about my reason for not writing much. Mostly I haven't been posting very often because I've been completely exhausted, which has caused me to cut out most extra activities, like using the computer (except when I absolutely have to for school), and instead I spend that time napping. And the reason I'm so tired all the time? Well as it turns out... I'm pregnant!

I've known since the end of July, but Matt and I decided to only tell a few people until I was further along. Now I'm nearly three months, and the pressure of the secret has gotten to be too much, so today I told extended family and friends, which I suppose makes it ok to talk about it in my blog now.

Along with exhaustion I've had a pretty nasty case of morning sickness, but I'm learning how to cope with that so nausea doesnt consume my whole life (like it did for a while). Mostly I just have to eat a lot (but I dont cook because smells=sick) because I tend to get sick whenever I have an empty stomach. But to combat my increase in eating I've signed up for some prenatal exercise classes at the rec center. I'm taking a water aerobics class (which is a lot of fun) and a yoga class (which is very relaxing).

So that's my big news, and the real reason behind the lack of posts. Since my life has pretty much revolved around my new situation it made it tough to write about other things without mentioning the fact that I'm pregnant. Matt and I are both very excited (though at first we were both just shocked), and we've already got some of the "essential" baby items... such as: a "Littlest Red Sox Fan" baby shirt, a Starbucks apron for babies, and a baby pair of Chucks. Sounds to me like we're all set. :)

8.20.2007

Long Time, No Post

Okay, so apparently I've totally forgotten my blog altogether lately. I guess the summer is just getting the best of me. or at least my summer class is. I've been taking this Business Info class which has been a lot more work than I wanted it to be. Fortunately this is the last week of classes (and I have all of next week off before the Fall semester starts). Unfortunately I have a 25 page paper due on Thursday and I have a mere shell of a start as of now. So I know how I'll be spending my next two days...

Also, I got a new job. It's a part time library assistant position at a nearby library. My primary responsibility is working with the Friday evening teen center (which has nothing whatsoever to do with library stuff), and then I spend the rest of my hours working in the children's department. I started two weeks ago. So far it's been pretty good. I like the people I work with. It's way more laid back than at the gallery. And I can actually answer people's questions when they approach me here (as opposed to at the gallery when someone asked me about seeing a Monet print and I'd freak, here kids ask me where the Time Warp series are, and I actually know how to answer... wahoo) And I think I'm picking up on the work pretty quickly. I think it's a good next step on my road to becoming a real librarian.

Other than that, things have been pretty low key for me. Pretty much all my energy is going towards finishing school. I just filled out my Intent to Graduate form. Some days December seems like it will be here in no time, other days it seems like I'll never make it. But I'm sure that once the fall semester starts time will go by quickly.

So that's about it. I guess I haven't been blogging because I really haven't had much to blog about. I'll try to do something more interesting soon so that this won't become incredibly boring.

7.21.2007

It Burns

So summer is moving right along. It seems that at this rate, December will be here in no time (as will graduation). I can hardly wait!

In the meantime I'm trying to keep myself busy. Summer classes are doing a good job at that, but I'm also trying to do what I usually do in spring cleaning, but never got around to this year. I had big plans for today, but I did something stupid that has kinda hampered that.

My sister Elizabeth is over sealing our deck for us today. So around 1 I started to make lunch for her, Matt, and myself. I made Matt a little frozen pizza first, and as I was getting ready to put Elizabeth's pizza in the oven, I grabbed the handles of the hot stone (just used to cook matt's) with my bare hands. I don't know why, I just wasnt really thinking... I guess I figured that since the pizza was frozen, the stone wouldn't be hot either... not thinking.

So after realizing that the pan was hot, I dropped it and immediately ran to the sink and put both my hands under cold water (I was even smart enough to take off my wedding rings since I could tell the the area right around them had been burned and I knew that if I waited for a blister to appear I'd never be able to take them off... funny how much I was thinking at this point). Matt got me an ice pack and I was holding on to it for dear life. All I kept seeing in my head was what my burns had looked like the last time I did something like this (in which I ended up with three HUGE blisters and a trip to the ER). So I held onto the ice, with both hands, for about an hour (meanwhile matt ran a bunch of errands, including picking up some burn cream). As of now I have a blister in between my ring finger and pinky finger on my left hand, and a bunch of sensitive, near blisters all over both hands. I like to think that I prevented blisters from occuring in those parts by holding on to a ball of ice for dear life. I keep checking though, because the last time something like this happened, the blisters didnt swell up until about an hour after the burn incident, and I'm really afraid of that happening again. In case you dont know this about me, I tend to overreact in emergencies.

I have 3 incidents to prove this...

#1: we had JUST moved to virginia. We'd only been living in our house for about a month. My brother (typical for most boys at this age I'm sure), had a fascination for all things fire-related. Anyway, he was up in the room lighting sparklers and dangling them out the window when one of them dropped and lit the bushes next the house on fire. Now the fire itself wasn't too bad... a bunch of our neighbors saw it and came running with fire extiguishers (welcome to the neighborhood!), but unfortunately the location of the bushes happened to be right next to one of the air vents for the house. So the smoke got into the air vents and started filling the entire house. Of course most of us in the house didnt really know what was going on, but all of a sudden this black smoke started coming out of the air conditioning vents. So my mom told us to go outside, while she called the fire department. I, of course, was running around trying to make sure my sisters knew to get out and to see what the heck was causing the smoke. At least I think that's what I was doing... though I remember after everything my mom telling me that I was just running around like an idiot.

#2: This is my previous burn incident. I was working at Starbucks and I left my hand under the hot water (used for making the espresso) a little too long. I knew at the time that I had a little burn, but since burns were fairly common there, I didnt think too much of it and after putting on some burn cream and a bandade I went back to work. When my shift ended I went home and decided to change the bandade, and when I took the old one off... I think I screamed. Anyway, my mom came running into the bathroom to see what was wrong and all I managed to say was "I think I need to go to the emergency room." The top layer of skin between my knuckles and the first joint of my fingers on my right hand had swollen up like grapes. It took everything in my not to pass out at the thought of how big the blisters were. So I just covered my hand with a towel and let my mom take me to the ER. A few hours, a tetanus shot, and a bandage that covered my entire hand and wrist later, and I was fine. So long as I didn't look at the actually burn marks at least.

#3: I used to have a mole under my left ear. Everyone wanted me to have it removed, but after my first mole removing experience (I still have a nice scar that pulls whenever I stretch my back), I wasn't really in any kind of mood to have that happen again. But after matt and I got married and I was able to go to civilian doctors (yes, it makes a difference), I decided to go through with it. The actual experience wasn't too bad (considering how much I hate needles and doctor-related things). But when I was sleeping later that night, I could feel the spot on my neck burning. Finally I woke up (as in opened my eyes) to see what was wrong and when I looked down at my pillow it was covered with blood, as was the shirt I was wearing. So I screamed (maybe it wasn't quite scream volume, but it was definitely panic volume) for Matt to wake up because my neck was bleeding. I'm sure the last thing you want to see when your spouse wakes you up suddenly in the middle of the night is their neck and pillow covered in blood. And I'm sure that if Matt and I were in the reverse situation, I would have passed out on the spot (instead of helping him clean it up, like he did for me). And I did nearly pass out anyway, but Matt was able to help keep me calm.

So all in all, I think I handled this better. At least this time around I had enough sense to know that I overreact to these kind of things, so I was able to control myself a little better (or at least repress my natural urge to panic). And now my hands are even starting to feel better, so maybe I can get back to some of that cleaning after all.

7.18.2007

Outrageous

For Virginia Residents:

If you are as outraged about the new traffic violation fines as I am, you may want to visit this site:
Repeal the VA "Civil Remedial Fees" for Traffic Offenses Petition

You may also find this information interesting:
Washington Post Article

Metroblogging DC Post

7.10.2007

7.07.2007

Taking A Walk

After two rainy days spent indoors, yesterday Matt and I decided to head out to Great Falls with the dog. It was really nice out, especially in the shade under all the trees.


matt and eve overlooking the river. i didnt get that close to the edge.

7.06.2007

It's Coming!!!!

Xanadu on Broadway!! How crazy is that?!?

Last night my sister Sarah came over to pick up some stuff she had left behind after house sitting for us. I convinced her to have dinner with me, and then we watched Xanadu... singing along and laughing at all the beyond crazy outfits throughout the movie.

Then today, Matt checked the mail and pulled out his new Entertainment Weekly. And smack in the middle of the magazine is a 6 page article on the tragic, yet popular (among some) movie Xanadu and the fact that it is going to be a Broadway musical (opening this month).

If only there were a (cheap) way to get me, my sisters, and my mom up to NYC to see it...

Xanadu (doo doo doo doo doo),
Xanadu-u-u
Now we are here
In Xanadu.

Xanadu your neon lights will shine
For YOU XANADUUUUU!

(it's time to break out the leg warmers and roller skates)

6.30.2007

Greetings From Florida

Vacation is almost over :( We fly home tomorrow morning... then it's back to living life in the real world. No more reading by the pool or ordering room service or standing in line for roller coasters. But it's been good while it's lasted.



Me with the topiary Sorcerer's Apprentice in front of Fantasia Golf


Matt doing his part to stop the at-ats from attacking us.


Overlooking Tampa from the hotel's gazebo

6.26.2007

The Wilco Concert

As mentioned in my previous entry...

First of all, the circumstances weren't great. It was a Thursday evening and Matt and I both had to take off work early because the tickets and website said that the show started at 6:30 (which I thought sounded crazy early, but I then I thought... well it's an outdoor venue, maybe they want to do it while it's still light out?), and there was no mention of an opening band (again... weird). So we wanted to make sure we got there on time (I know what rush hour beltway traffic is like). And we got there earlier enough to have dinner before hand at the Cheescake Factory. And while we were eating there was a thunderstorm... which could be distressing for an outdoor concert, but I was smart enough to buy tickets for seats under the roof. They weren't great seats, but at least we didnt have to worry about getting wet, and we had actual seats to sit in. We got to the concert close to 6:30 and surprise surprise, there was an opening band, that didnt go on until around 8:00! (so much for me doing research). And the opening band was TERRIBLE. I think they fit in the "post-rock" genre (I've only seen that termed used in DC Metroblog so I'm not sure if it's a real term yet, but it definitely fit this band). Anyway, they were perfectly capable and talented musicians, but the music was BEYOND boring and repetitive and had NO energy whatsoever, which is kinda the point of post-rock I think (with my limited knowledge of it). Anyway, I dont want to print the name of the band here, because, well if you really want to know who they are, you can find out, and if not, I'll spare them the embarrassment. Then after that, Wilco came on. The set was simple, no backdrop or fancy lights, or explosions or anything. In fact the stage was covered in amps, so there really couldnt be any of that (though I joked with Matt that the amps were the backdrop and lead singer Jeff Tweety joked that this small, decorative macrame owl was the backdrop.)

The sound was great, especially for an outdoor concert. The band sounded just as good live as they do on their CDs, which surprised me only because there is a LOT going on on the albums (as in instrumentation-wise... though they do have 6 people in the band, which allows for fuller sounds I suppose). Jeff Tweedy's singing was great, and the song choices were pretty good. I heard a lot of my favorites: war on war, jesus, etc., and was exposed to some songs that I wasn't too familiar with but definitely listen to a lot now: via chicago, hummingbird. I think one of the things I was most impressed by was the audience response. The place was PACKED (including the lawn), and these people clearly loved Wilco. Matt pointed out that because the band really doesnt have a "hit" or popular radio singles that everyone knows a lot of Wilco's material (as opposed to only 2 or 3 songs). And this was definitely true as people were singing along with nearly every song (to the point where sometimes Tweedy would back off and just let the audience take over.) And he invited everyone to sing along with Jesus, etc. which nearly everyone did... and they knew every nuance to the song too. There was one point where the band started playing a slower song and people began sitting down (or going out for beer) and then all of a sudden, while Tweedy and the back up singer continued on with their singing and playing as if everything was normal, the guitarist, keyboard player, and drummer started going CRAZY. At first, I honestly thought they were setting off fireworks in the middle of this tame song, but turns out that it part of the song. Everyone went crazy, and then it went back to the tame mood the song began with (this happened another time or two). I wasn't familiar with the song, so I totally wasn't expecting what happened, and in all honesty, wasn't sure what to make of it at first (it sounded like they band was playing 2 totally differnet songs) but in the end I really liked it. (turns out the songs was Via Chicago). Anyway, the set was full of surprises and they played a mix of new and old, with definite emphasis on their current album Sky Blue Sky and the popular Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. And they played for a LONG time, we defintely got our money's worth even though we left before the second encoure (we did get to hear Heavy Metal Drummer as we walked to the car though).

How on earth could we have left early? Well it was a Thursday and we both had work in the morning. I also had 3 book reviews to write that night (I got a grand total of 1 hour of sleep before my last day of work... wahoo!) But we were trying to be responsible. Though now I think that we'll just have to see them again. Matt wants to do it soon before they hit it big (it seems like Wilco is everywhere we look now... selling albums in Starbucks, #60-something in Entertainment Weekly's "celebrities we like" (or something along those lines) and their music is even being used in new VW commercials-- we found that out AFTER we bought our Jetta-- we're not that obsessed) ) and we can only see them somewhere like the MCI center (or is it the Verizon center now?) so we may be making a trip somewhere this summer/fall.

Anyway, I know that I recently wrote a post about Wilco and how good they are, and all that... but after seeing them live, I think they are on their way to becoming one of my favorite bands. And if you haven't started listening to them yet... you should start... now!

Random 8

I've been tagged (thanks Tom)... here's the game:

a) I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
b) Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
c) People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
d) At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
e) Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they are tagged and to visit your blog.

My 8 Random Facts:

1. I dont know how to parallel park. And I really dont care to learn either. In all honesty, I think the world is better off without me trying to do it. I count this as one of the reasons I could never live in a city.

2. I dont like being in cars with black leather interiors. To me it's the same as having a bedroom with the walls, ceiling, floor, and furniture painted all black... depressing and confining... not to mention how hot the car would be in the summer.

3. I'm really excited that they decided to bring Vanilla Coke back. I found out about it while watching previews for Shrek 3... I cheered! I also bought a pack for myself at Giant the last time I went grocery shopping... they are just as good as I remember.

4. Last Thursday I went to see Wilco in concert at the Merriweather Post Pavilion. I considered it to be one of the best concerts I've been to (for several reasons). I wrote so much about the concert here that I decided to move it to it's own post, so you can read about it there if you are interested.

5. Right now Matt and I are in FL. Tampa to be exact. He's here for a conference, I'm here for vacation. In a few days we're both going to Orlando (so we can both have a vacation). Despite being on vacation I still have a paper to turn in by Friday, and another one to start that's due next week. Right now I'm taking a break from sitting out by the pool. It's great to be on vacation.

6. Books I've read in the past week or so: Gossip Girls, ttyl, Plain Janes, As Simple As Snow. All good so far. Especially As Simple As Snow. I highly recommend it (it's a quick read too). Plain Janes is good too, it's a graphic novel, and doesnt take long at all to read. ttyl is all written in IM chat language... which can either be unique or annoying depending on how you feel about sentences like "omg, I cant wait to c u l8r" Personally that stuff drives me up the WALL (granted my grammar and spelling isnt great), but it's for my YA Lit class and my youngest sister is already pestering me to loan her the book, so I guess it works for that audience. Gossip Girls is pretty much what you'd expect based on the title... rich spoiled high schoolers drinking and partying all day. So now the next books on my list are: Coraline (which my youngest sister is reading at the same time as me... i heard it's a fairly disturbing book, but how bad can it be?? it was in the children's section--not the teen section--of the library), The Clique, Toning the Sweep, Kit's Wilderness, The Princess Diaries, and about 7 others. and I have 2 1/2 weeks of class left to do it. No problem... right?

7. I'm debating on which class to take in the fall: Children's Services (to make myself appealing to public libraries, and because I like the YA class and they seem to go together), or Access to Arts Info, which is about visual and performing arts. My only reason for hesitation about the Arts class, is that, in all honesty, after looking at the syllabus, I think I know most of the resources already. Not that I dont have room to learn more, but just that, I think I'd learn more in the Children's class. But we'll see. I guess it all depends on how I feel by the end of the summer. Also, I dont know who's teaching the arts class, since the usual person just quit, so that adds to the hesitation.

8. I'm officially unemployed. My last day of work was Friday. I have to admit I'll miss the response I got from people when I told them where I worked (and they thought I was all cultured and stuff), but I made the right decision. So how am I going to fill my time now? Well I plan on volunteering at a local library (stupid Rust in Leesburg is closed... grr...), hopefully getting some great experience and making some good connections. Also, I'll have time to do things like: laundry, make dinner, walk the dog, actually play the bass (instead of just looking at it), do my homework on time (I've been having issues with this lately), job hunt, and all kinds of things I haven't been able to do in a while. I'm excited. I just hope I'm not unemployed for TOO long...

So there are 8 things. Maybe not too random, but most of my posts included random things about me so it's hard to come up with 8 more. As far as tagging 8 other people, sadly, I dont know 8 other people who have blogs... but I will tag one person... Melissa, if she's up to it :) and anyone else who likes doing these things as much as I do.

6.20.2007

Giving up the Commute

Total commute time I've been dealing with over the past months:

School: twice a weeks, 9 hours in class, 8 hours driving

Work: two or three times a week (alternating) avg: 20 hours of work, 10 hours of driving/metro

That's like having a part time job of just commuting. I realize that in this area there are a lot of people who do it every day (and from places even further than Leesburg). My grandpa used to commute into NYC from a little town called Mahopac NY (about a 2 hour train ride... that's a train, not the subway) and he did it for YEARS. I talked to him a week ago at my sisters graduation party and told him that whenever commuting started getting to me I would just think "hey Grandpa did it everyday so why can't I?" and he looked at me and said "grandpa was an idiot." But in all honesty, he and my grandmother had 11 kids to take care of, so they were in a different situation than me. He also told me that several of his children would ask him to get them a job in the city and he always told them no, because of the commute. So I'm taking the same advice (even though I made my decision to quit my job before talking to him... at least after I talked with him I felt more justified in my decision... for some reason I needed the validation that I wasn't just too lazy or something).

Anyway, I understand why some people chose to commute SO far to work, but fortunately, I dont have to be one of them.

6.14.2007

Lunch Break

Some pictures from a lunch time stroll (from a few weeks ago) to the Botanical Gardens:

A pretty combination

The boat is a sculpture (the red, yellow, orange objects are made of glass). I got a lot of material at work about the sculpture so I decided to check it out.


View of the Capital just a few steps away from the Gallery.


The National Gallery of Art... if you look about 20 feet underground of the right end of the building.... that's my office!

No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth...

... though sometimes I feel like that might be easier.

So summer classes started. I remember last summer's classes, and how I used to complain about how easy and work-free they were (I'm sure I even blogged about it), well, you'll be happy to know that I'm now eating those words.

I'm currently taking a Young Adult Literature class (YA for all those who enjoy acronyms), which is actually really interesting, partly because I genuinely enjoy reading YA materials, partly because the teacher is really good (which is a rare and beautiful thing in my program), and of course partly because my friend Melissa is in it with me (how else would I survive the school library media frustration?). But it is a LOT of work. We have readings and writings due every class... I think when all is said and done I will have read 12-14 books over a (very short) 6 week period (plus boatloads of scholarly articles-- my personal favorite). Not that I mind the reading, I love the reading, but we also have to write about everything we read, which kinda sucks some of the life out of it. But I am in grad school so I understand that writing is an important part of the job. Unfortunately I think that I'm still struggling to recharge my brain's writing batteries after last semester, so most days I really struggle to even write a coherent, intelligent sentence (in case that isnt already obvious in this post).

One of the side effects of the class is that I'm finding tons of books I want to read (once I have a little more free time) which is something I've struggled with in the past few years. Granted most of them are fun easy reads, but I dont care.

Other news:
--I quit my job at the gallery. My last day is next Friday. The commuting has gotten to be too much. And I anticipate that when I am taking 2 classes during the second half of the summer, I wouldn't be able to handle it. But I stuck it out for a good 6 months, and it was great, real life librarian experience, so I'm thankful for that. But when I think about not having to be up at 5:30 to rush and get ready for the day when I dont actually work until 9:00... I am very happy :) And since I graduate in December (and I'm only taking 1 class in the fall, YAY) it will soon be time for me to start my real job search. In the meantime though, I'm going to see about volunteering at a local public library.
--Matt and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary on Tuesday. We both agree that it feels like we've been married for longer. Hopefully in a good way. But we spent most of the day in a car dealership buying a new VW Jetta 2.5 (it's a really great car... and we got a bright red one). Then we went the Lightfoot in leesburg for dinner, which was great. We started off with a glass of champagne, I got something on their list (a name I'll never remember, but it was really good). Matt picked a champagne called Sofia, Coppola something something (served with a straw). It came in a can. Very weird. But he liked it. I thought it tasted like the kind of champagne my mom used to buy. Dinner was great and I would highly recommend eating there. Though it seems to be a place to go for special occasions (as the couple sitting next to us was also celebrating their anniversary).
--At the end of June we're going to Florida for a week. Matt has a business trip down there for a few days (during which time I'll be reading a not-so-short stack of YA books), and then we are going to Disneyland (world?) for the rest of the week. I've never been, and Matt went as a young child, so it should be fun. Anyway, I think we are both ready for a vacation.

That's life in a nutshell.

6.04.2007

My summer class starts today. ugh.

5.30.2007

Drink Recipe


Having a little time on my hands today, I decided to make some iced tea and fresh lemonade. Knowing that not everyone likes lemon in their iced tea (crazy), I like to make them separate. So I made the usual black tea, nice a strong (if people think it's too strong they are free to add some water to it). And then I started squeezing lemons when I realized that I had a bunch of oranges in the fridge too. So I squeezed some of those and added them to the lemon juice. Then I remember that I had some canned pineapples in the cupboard, so I added a little of that juice to the mixture. And when all was said and done I had a nice refreshing citrusy concoction. It tastes really good. Kinda reminds me of a juice I used to drink when I was a kid. I'm not sure how it mixes with the iced tea, but it does taste really good in a tall glass with a lot of ice cubes.

Recipe (for those interested... note- I squeeze the fruits by hand, so it tends to get messy and may not make as much juice as a professional juice squeezing machine or gadget):

Juice of 4 lemons
Juice of 6 oranges
(total should be close to 2 cups of juice)
1/2 cup of pineapple juice
1 cup simple syrup (1 cup sugar with 1/2 water, simmered until sugar dissolves)
2 cups of cold water (or to taste)

5.21.2007

Garden Pics


Purple flowers


The backyard


The deck


The monster hosta


My orchid


My hibiscus

Things I Have Time for Again

With the semester over, I'm finding myself with some free time. Not too much... I'm still working, and I start classes again in two weeks... but until that time, I'm going to enjoy doing all the things I couldn't do in the past 3 months but would think about whenever I was stuck in my office writing papers.

For starters, there's a lot of housework to be done. Matt and I started rearranging the house after the piano was sold and gone, but there are still areas in the house that need fixing up. For one, my new office has turned into a catch all, so at some point I'm gonna have to suck it up and clean that room. I got some book son Feng Shui to help with ideas of how to arrange things, which has been really helpful. It at least gives me an approach to design. And after using it in the living room (which I think has turned out great) I'm excited to see what I can do in my office. Though with all the junk in there right now it's all a little overwhelming. So lately I've been focusing on more basic cleaning.... vacuuming, bathrooms, kitchen (I cleaned out the fridge and the pantry today-- that was, uh, surprising), dusting, laundry, etc etc etc.

I've also decided to start cooking dinner again. So tonight the first attempt back into the domestic culinary world was baked salmon, mashed potatoes, and asparagus. It was my first attempt at cooking salmon and mashed potatoes. When I was growing up, my mom never cooked fish (other than fish sticks) so overall, I really dont know how to cook seafood, but since I'm vegetarian now, I figured that I better start learning. Overall it came out pretty well, though the salmon was a little fishy, but that's probably just due to the fact that I bought it at the grocery store. The only other thing I can think of making for dinner is pasta related... and that might get old after a while.

I've been spending a lot of time gardening too. I used to hate gardening, and I still don't absolutely love it, but I do like having the outside of the house look decent. So in the past few weeks (and especially the past few days), I've been planting lots of flowers. And I've even decided to start a herb/tea garden on my deck. It's awfully ambitious of me... we'll see how it goes. Either things will go great and I'll have lots of dried herbs and tea, or I'll lose interest in 3 weeks and have lots of dead herbs and tea. But I think I have found gardening more tolerable lately because it allows me to be outside (instead of shut up in my office glued to my computer), and doing work, without major efforts of brain power. It's kinda nice to have something that keeps my hands busy and gives me brain a rest. Though I can still only do it for about an hour to an hour and a half a day at the most. Then I lose attention and have to stop or I'll start taking short cuts.

I've also started getting ready to start working on my scrapbook again. I started it after I got married, with the intention of creating a scrapbook that documented our first year of marriage. I put a lot of planning and creativity into it, so it's taken a long time. I haven't had very much time to work on it in the past year, but I hope that will change. I got some really interesting books from the library about how to make artist journals, so I have a WHOLE bunch of new ideas to try out. Yay for creativity outlets.

I have even started playing piano again. I played for about an hour today. There are a few songs I've been wanting to learn (not just sight read through), so I started working on them today. It felt good to play too... though my piano is SEVERELY out of tune. Trust me, if I can tell it's out of tune, it is severe. And once I get my office cleaned up I'm going to start practicing bass more too. I want to start off with some punk rock songs (I've been looking at Ramones songs mostly) and eventually I want to get disciplined enough to learn my scales. Not so much because I think I need to know scales, but I think that they will help me learn where the notes are on the bass. That instrument is so FOREIGN to me compared to the piano. But that's really my reason for learning it.

And lastly, I went to the gym. Yay, no more flabby me (hopefully). I went for the first time in a LONG time on Sunday. I'm starting to feel the soreness now, I'm sure it will be worse tomorrow, but that's just how I know it works.

I'm gonna be so sad when classes start up again and I have to give up all my new and reclaimed hobbies.

5.19.2007

Cool Art

Here's something I came across at work the other day. I think this is one of the more interesting sculptures I've seen. It's located at the Seattle Airport (part of a public art project). I tried to find up close pictures of some of it, but haven't seen any on the internet that were as good as the ones in the brochure I got.

The sculpture is of a bird landing on the water. The bird is made up of small little bird sculptures hung on cables, then the reflection of the bird is made up of small fish sculptures. At the very bottom (which you cant really see) are little sculptures that have something to do with the Seattle area or airports. Some of pretty much what you would expect (coffee mugs) but some are really clever, like a suitcase with the clothes spilling out of it, and the way the clothes are falling, they spell the word "lost" (as in a lost suitcase... see the airport connection?) Anyway, I'm not sure if the sites I found do it justice, but in case they do I thought I'd post them.

http://www.4culture.org/publicart/registry/sites/sites_profile.asp?ProjectID=helmick02

and the artists' home site:
http://www.handsart.net/

5.17.2007

Done

It's over. The semester is finished. And not a moment too soon. I just emailed my last paper to my teacher, so I officially have no work left.

For some reason, this semester just wiped me out. I dont understand how that's possible, especially since I didn't have any instruments to practice (which was always my undergrad excuse). I have my theories... my job (plus commute time), the # of papers I had to write (I think it was 5 total, with about 55-60 pages overall-- I'd much rather take tests though), and lack of sleep (due to staying up late writing papers and waking up early to go to work). But I made it through alive, and I'm pretty sure my grades will reflect my awesomeness (I already know 2 of them, I just have to wait on the last one before I can feel completely assured that I did as well as I hoped this semester).

But now my brain in mush. I dont know how long it will take before it recovers... hopefully less than two weeks though because that's when summer classes begin.

I'm gonna go celebrate my accomplishments by going to bed. yay sleep!

Wilco

Lately my new favorite band to listen to (just new to me, seeing as how they’ve been around since the mid90s) is Wilco. Matt started listening to them a few months ago, and instantly knew they were good, but it always takes me a while to warm up to new music, though once a do, watch out, because it’s all I’ll listen to. Wilco is a great band, the kind of group I would love to be a part of if I were a “band” kind of musician (despite my new attempts at bass playing, I don’t except to ever really fit in to that kind of environment). But the songwriter/lead singer Jeff Tweedy writes some amazingly interesting (and good) songs as well as the kind of voice i love hearing. I tried to describe the band to my sister a last week and I think it went something along the lines of (depending on the song) a mix between John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Beck, and the Rolling Stones. Who wouldn’t like that kind of combination?

They have a new album that came out yesterday (Sky Blue Sky) and I read a review of it that I think properly described the band better than I could have, something along the lines of “Americana” and non-radio format "rock and roll.” I’ve also heard them described as “alt country” which I have issues with because, aside from Johnny Cash, I loathe country music (sorry to all my friends who like country music, I've tried, but I just can't do it), but in all honesty I can see where that term might come from, but I think “Americana” sounds much better than “country”. And despite their lack of prominence in pop culture (due to their “non radio format” probably), they seem to have the respect of a lot of the music world (rightly so), especially because their style can really appeal to pretty much anyone… matt even mentioned to me that his mom asked about the band when she heard him listening to it.

So here are some of my fave picks of the moment (I’m still learning the music, so these will pretty much come off the albums I know well)

From Being There disc 1:
Far Far Away- a sweet song about leaving a loved one while going out on a road trip, also I like it because the chorus switches from 4/4 into a waltz rhythm which makes me think that matt and I could someday dance to this song (we’d just have to learn a 4 step pattern for the verses)

Outtasite/Outtamind- really catchy upbeat song. There’s a different arrangement of the same song on the second disc that sounds like the theme song for Sesame Street (I thought it was weird that I thought that, and then found out that matt shared that opinion, and then while reading reviews saw that one of the reviewers thought the same thing—great minds think alike I guess!)

Monday- I wouldn’t have been one bit surprised if someone told me that this was originally a Rolling Stones song, and was actually more surprised when I found out that it wasn’t

The whole rest of the album. The second disc is really good too, more mellow and pretty, but doesn’t necessarily have the “hooks” found on the first disc.

From Yankee Hotel Foxtrot: (there’s a really interesting story behind the creation/production of this disc that’s worth reading about… there’s also a documentary that matt and I watched a few weeks ago. That’s really what got me interested in the band. It’s always interesting to see the creative process while it’s happening. Sometimes I think “I could do that” and other times I think “wow, I would never think to come up with something like that”) Well all the songs are good, so I’ll just highlight a few of them

War on War: I totally love this song, even though the lyrics don’t kick in until about 1 min into the song and even when they do it just repeats “there’s a war on war” for about 8 bars before going into the rest of the song.

Jesus, etc.: This is a great song overall. I really love the line “you were right about the stars, each one is a setting sun.” It’s kind of a beautiful pessimism.

Heavy Metal Drummer: a good song to get started on Wilco, though most of their music isn’t like this. But it’s a really fun catchy song and has some great lines in it: “shiny, shiny pants and bleach blond hair” being my favorite (there’s something really fun about singing the word shiny twice in a row.) My other favorite line: “Classical music blasting, nice and ringing in my ears.”

So those are just a few of my starting suggestions. You can listen to them all (in their entirety) for free on their website (yay for free stuff on the internet!)

5.12.2007

How I Know I Learned Something This Semester

The other day I went to the library to pick up a book that was on hold and to also do a little browsing. I found a book on container gardening. On the cover of the book is a little bubble with the words "All New Edition" in it. All I could think about when I saw that was:

Should I consider that an official edition statement if I were cataloging the book. I mean it does say something about the edition, but doesn't really seem like one of the standard edition statements (like 2nd Ed. or 4th Ed.). Would I put that in the 250 field for MARC, or is that really something that would be better as a quoted note in the 5XX area? hmm... I wonder... let me check the CIP to see what they did, oh wait, there's no CIP in the book... great that means I'm actually going to have to look it up in WorldCat or LC's catalog (since i can't view the MARC record in the public library's OPAC.

Turns out, the Library of Congress does this. The 250 field says "1st ed." even though it doesn't say that any where on the book (which is really weird), and there is a quoted note in the 500 field that says "All New Edition" --Cover.

Though I dont know how it can be an all new edition and the 1st edition... but I guess if it's the first edition, everything about it can be considered "all new."

And that's how I realized (yet again) that I'm a big nerd.

5.07.2007

An End to the Craziness is in Sight

So these past few weeks have been fairly intense. Somehow I managed to finish 3 papers that were due within 10 days of each other. I wrote over 40 pages by the time it was all over (not including scores, appendixes, a CD, and lots of bibliographies). So this weekend I made sure that I had nothing to do with writing (cleaning, gardening, dinner with family, movies, tv, napping, reading for FUN-- it was great). Unfortunately, my music paper was only a rough draft so at some point I still have to edit and turn in a final copy, and I have a final exam on thursday, so I'm not entirely done with the semester, but for the most part, I've made it through the stressful week (it probably didnt help that I actually worked more than usual last week too, to help out with absences while some of the librarians were at a conference.) I'm almost finished, it's so close that it's starting to get tempting to blow off the few things I have left, but I know myself well enough to know that I can't do that (even if--and though-- I really want to). I just keep telling myself that after May 15th, this will all be over.... at least for two and a half weeks, then the summer semester starts. wahoo

5.02.2007

Love Is All You Need

So here I am working on paper #3 for this week (which explains my lack of blog postings lately, or even my lack of interacting with anyone or anything that isn't school related)... I'm listening to iTunes, just letting it play down the list, not really paying attention... until the Beatles song "love is all you need" came on. I've heard this song MANY times (especially after performing it at church last summer) and despite how simple the song sounds, there's quite a bit going on. For instance, the verses (for the most part) do not follow a standard 4 beats or even 3 beats per measure pattern, instead it alternates (4 then 3 then 4 then 3 etc) which makes counting fun. And despite all the times I've listened to it, I noticed something new today. At the end of the song there are two trumpets that come in and play the opening measures to a Bach Invention (I cant remember what number it is because I'm not good with numbers, but it's one of the standard inventions-- I played it in college, and a lot of people used to have it as a cell phone ring). Anyway, I notice all kinds of things in songs I've heard a million times when they are on in the background while i write papers. This is just one more to add to the list.

okay, less blog writing, more paper writing

4.22.2007

Yay (?) for Global Warming

From the EPA's kid site for climate change:

What Might Happen? It is important to understand that scientists don't know for sure what climate change will bring. Some changes brought about by climate change will be good. If you live in a very cool climate, warmer temperatures might be welcome. Days and nights could be more comfortable and people in the area may be able to grow different and better crops than they could before. But it is also true that changes in some places will not be very good at all.
(http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/kids/bigdeal.html)

4.21.2007

Sol LeWitt

Okay, for anyone who closely monitors my blog, you may have noticed that over the past week or so I've been switching back and forth between using "LeWitt" and "Lewitt" in one of my earlier posts. This is because everywhere I've read his name lately does it differently. So at first I had "LeWitt" because that's what I thought I remember seeing it as. But then I saw it somewhere else as "Lewitt," so I lower-cased the "w" on my post. But then while at work the other day, I noticed that our folder on him was "LeWitt." So I just used the Library of Congress authority files to see what the official form of his name is... and I was right from the beginning, it's LeWitt. I guess I need to be more careful about where I get my info from.

Also, if you have published anything and are wondering how the Library of Congress forms your name, you can check out the authority files here. Just make sure you search under your last-name first. This will tell you how your name will appear in pretty much all standard library databases. I spend hours doing this every week (for work/school, not just for fun), it can be addicting (or just a way of knowing that I'm a big nerd). Maybe someday I too will have an authority file with LoC. Wouldn't that be awesome??

Crunch Time

So I'm now officially at the part of the semester in which I can no longer procrastinate (though that didn't stop me from going out with matt this morning). I have 3 research papers due in the next week and a half, and I have 0 amount of significant work done for any of them. Well actually i have most of the research done, just very very very little of the writing done. And unfortunately, I think I have writer's block. I can't even seem to make very coherent outlines at this point in time. It's very frustrating. But I'm gonna have to push through and come up with something. Fortunately I have most of this week off from work. My boss and the reference librarian are going to an art's librarian conference, so instead of working tues/wed, I'm going to work fri and next monday (to help cover their absences). So that means that I have most of this week to write my papers... but unfortunately it means that I have hardly any time next week to finalize them. So I really do have a lot to do over the next few days.

In other more exciting news... this week was National Library Week. Wanna know how I knew that? ... Stephen Colbert told me (that's where I get a lot of my news). For what remains... Happy Library Week... go read a book for free!

4.15.2007

My Family's Reaction to the News that I am a Vegetarian

a story my sister just told me...

Sarah: ohhh i have a story for you!!
Jessica: ooh i want to hear
Sarah: im watching planet earth with dad
Sarah: it was the rainforest one
Jessica: what is planet earth?
Sarah: um..we'll get to that in a minute
Sarah: anyways
Jessica: ok
Sarah: ..its on discovery for some background info
Sarah: a mini series that took 5 years tofilm
Sarah: and shows like..all this nature sstuff
Jessica: oh ok
Sarah: so i came downstairs to watch it in hd
Sarah: and theres are part when there is a chimapnze raid kind of..so theyre like fighting eachother
Sarah: and one side kill another chimp from the other side & eat it
Sarah: and dad goes"guess jessica cant eat that"
Sarah: BECAUSE WE EAT CHIMPS APPARENTLY

that pretty much sums up my parents reaction...

4.14.2007

What, No Library Science?

Your Learning Style: Unconventional and Insightful

You are very intuitive and ingenious. You're attracted to any field of study that lets you break the rules.

You Should Study:

Art
Art history
Architecture
Comparative religions
Eastern religion
Education
Music
Philosophy

NPR and Sol LeWitt

I never used to listen to NPR. I think it's because I always thought that all they did was talk about politics and other things of non-interest to me. But lately I've decided to give them a try. This link goes over a review of the song "This is Why I'm Hot" that I heard a couple days ago. It's a very unique way of analyzing a piece of music.

Also, just thought I'd mention that the minimalist/conceptualist artist, Sol LeWitt died this past week. (Part of my job requires that I read the obits of major newspapers... so I'm pretty on top of who's dying in the country, here's an interesting one). I was sad to hear about that, I really like some of his sculptures. And I remember my old boss telling me about when he was at the gallery working on one of his wall paintings.

4.08.2007

Galaga Commander

Matt and I stopped by the outlet mall today. Since we got there before things really started opening, we hung out in the food court with some Starbucks and Matt played Galaga for a little while. He played just long enough to set a new high score (if you are ever at the outlet mall, you can check it out). I've also seen him flip the score (go all the way around back to 000000) at a bar in Herndon.

Matt is the Galaga Commander. I am honored to have the privilege of standing by his side (and holding his hot chocolate) while he shows his dominance and leaves behind his three letter legacy.