Friday, August 29, 2008

MmMmm Treats!

Have you had Vitakraft Yogurt Drops?

No?

Me neither.

But, I really want to try them.

They smell and look like candy!!

It is taking all the willpower in the world to not eat them.

And that is because...they are dog treats.

But let me back up...

My Mom loves to spoil Kona. Whenever we go back to NY or she comes to visit us, we always end up with at least one grocery bag full of treats, toys, and food. That is why we have two shelves dedicated to Kona's stuff in our only storage closet. She buys the things I never would, either because they are too expensive or because they aren't good, old fashioned bones. At some point we acquired Vitakraft Yogurt Drops, which we opened this past weekend while we were giving Kona a much needed bath. They look and smell so delicious! If I ate one, would you still be my friend? Have you ever eaten something wacky?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

No TV in the Bedroom = Happy Couple (At Least this Couple)

When we moved into our apartment in DC we decided against putting a TV in our bedroom. The decision was partially due to lack of space for the TV and difficulty wiring cable into the bedroom, but also because we wanted to spend time reading and talking before bed.

After reading this article from MSN about the things super happy couples do daily, and hearing about some of the things they do (especially the igloo)...I realized we have our own weekday nighttime routine that makes us both super happy.

I think not having TV in the bedroom has helped us establish this routine. We get in bed around 10ish, read for a bit, talk about our day/life/qualms/whatever (which usually includes warm fuzzies at the end of the conversation, which always make me super happy), and then fall asleep pretty quickly feeling happy and content. It's definitely one of my favorite parts of the day!

In addition to giving us a little ritual, I think it has helped our sleeping habits as well. Alson has never had trouble falling asleep (he is out as soon as his head hits the pillow), but I would always stay up until at least 12am, usually watching Sex & the City and Will & Grace reruns on the CW. When I did finally try to sleep, my tossing and turning would wake Alson up, thus disrupting his sleep. Not good. We were always tired and zombie-like. I can't say for sure whether removing a TV from our bedroom is solely responsible for alleviate these problems (there are multiple confounding factors...living in a new place, being finished with grad coursework, reduction in anxiety due to formerly looming life changes, getting married, etc.), but I have definitely been sleeping better. And let's be honest, I have already seen every episode of SATC and W&G...no need to watch the reruns every night.

Side note: During the Olympics I wished we had the TV in our bedroom, especially on the nights when gymnastics and swimming were on past 1am! Good thing they only come around once every 2 years (I love winter Olympics too!) and only last two weeks.

Do you have a TV in your bedroom? How does it effect your sleeping habits? What makes you (as an individual or as a couple) super happy?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I <3 Running

Now that Alson and I are training to run the Marine Corps 10k, I have become obsessed with all things running. I really hope that this enthusiasm carries me through the end of October!

We are planning to follow this 8 week training program. Since the 10k is 9 and a half weeks away, this week we are just trying to get our stamina up since we lost some in the months since we stopped running.

First dilemma we ran into...I didn't know how we were supposed to figure out how many miles we ran. Back in the day I used to only run at the gym and/or at a track...which obviously are both make it easy to measure mileage. Also, when we were following the Couch to 5k program in the spring, it always gave minutes as well as miles {ex. Brisk five-minute warm-up walk, then jog 2.5 miles (or 25 minutes)}, so it was easy to measure our time (instead of mileage) with a watch. Our 10k program only gives miles measurements....enter Google.

I found Map My Run, which....maps your run. You just click the route you took, or what you would like to take, and it will spit out the mileage. For example, here is a route that someone created in DC:



When you are actually creating the map you can zoom in and out and all that fun stuff.

There are also lots of cool features, like a training log, calorie calculator, goal and challenge setter, etc. Maybe after the 10k I will sign up for the "Run 100 Miles in a Month Challenge". Super cool! All the features are free after you sign up, and although there are a lot of banners that are kind of annoying, it is definitely keeping me super motivated!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Here's To You!

Back when I was a lonely, friendless blogger I wrote this post about not knowing how to comment and being afraid that noone would like what I wanted to write about. In the past couple weeks (and months in one case) I have received some really nice awards from some of my favorite bloggers. Now it's my turn to make someone else's day!

I received my first blogging award, the Spreader of Love Award, back in June from Britni at Play More, Laugh More, Live More (sorry for the delay!) . This really meant a lot because I received it right before my wedding and, well, everyone wants some love regarding their love right before the big day. Today I give the Spreader of Love Award to Katie at La Petite Chic because she is about to celebrate her 2nd anniversary and is still very much in love! I hope to be as happy and fun-loving as her and her husband when we celebrate our 2nd anniversary.


Last week I received the Blogs That Make My Day Award from Laurie at Newly-Wedded Wife, which was so awesome because her blog is one of the first I read and it will always be one of my favorites. I give this award to RA at Definitely RA because she is an amazing writer, has an awesome writing style, and always intrigues me with her posts. I feel smart when reading what she writes and that always makes my day! Plus, she is as sweet in person as she seems on her blog...always a plus.

Most recently I received the Diamond Award from Ashley at My Life as a Crazy Cat Lady, who offered me a lot of advice before I started my internship and has recently given me many reasons to shop online (including buying from DownEast Basics). I think Brandi from That's What She Said is most deserving of this award because she is a relatively new blogger that does a really nice job chronicling the life of a crafty newlywed...and is most recently a new homeowner!
Thank you so much to the girls that gave me the awards! It really means a lot :)

And congrats to all those new award winners, I hope it helps to make your day special!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hodgepodge

I have so many things I want to share about the past few days that I think I will write one big hodgepodge post.
  • At work on Thursday another intern and I ended up having a two hour lunch with a few of the second year school psychologists. We didn't intend to sit around chatting for that long, but once we started we couldn't be stopped. It was great! I really felt like part of the staff instead of the new person who only gets asked your name, where you are from, and where you went to school. We really got to know each other. We ended up talking about a lot of work relevant stuff so we didn't feel too bad about our lack of "working". Plus, since kids don't come to school until tomorrow, we didn't have much to do last week. Anyway, our conversation made me feel a lot better about my job, especially things regarding the district I work in and the kids that we serve. I admit I was jaded by the end of my graduate coursework and was not really looking forward to internship. The girls gave me hope and helped re-spark my interest in working with disadvantaged children.
  • My BFF Michelle came into town on Thursday night. We will always be the sisters we never had (we both have brothers named Matt) and we just connect in a way that is hard for people to understand. It's like we have our own little world that we live in when we are together. It's great! We first met when we cheered in a church league together way back in middle school. We were in different school districts despite sharing a zipcode (in NY districts are by town, not county) so we kind of lost touch during high school. We then reconnected during college when we coached that same cheer team we were once a part of. Some of the girls on our team and a close friend of mine from high school then convinced us to join our college cheer team together. Oh, and we were roommates in college. So needless to say, we've been through a lot. Here is a picture of us from my wedding day.

    On Friday we walked to the White House, the Washington Monument, the WWII Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, and along the Tidal Basin so Michelle could get the requisite tourist pictures. Look for a more extensive recap (with pictures) on her blog in the next few days (after she gets all settled in her new place in Charlotte!). We then stumbled upon the Holocaust Museum. Since she was a history major in college and will be teaching social studies to high schoolers someday, we decided to go in. I had heard that the experience is very moving and sometimes makes museum goers uncomfortable, so I was a little apprehensive. I am ashamed to say that I was not well versed in the Holocaust before my visit to the museum (I maybe learned about it for like a week in history class back in high school), so I didn't really know what to expect. Let me tell you, it was informative, shocking, moving, and disturbing and you should definitely check it out if you are in the area. Just the experience of being in the museum will have an effect on you. The permanent exhibit requires tickets, which are free and seemed to be readily available. We arrived at the ticket counter and were given tickets for right then. If you do have a wait there are special exhibits that you can visit in the meantime. I have become a little obsessed with reading more about the Holocaust, so if you want a refresher, you can learn more here. Onto happier topics...

  • On Friday night we all watched Elf. This is most definitely one of my favorite movies, and it still gets me laughing so hard that I cry. Michelle and I probably watched Elf once a month back when we were in college, it was always our go to movie when we needed cheering up or recovery from a rough night out. I caught the last half of it last month when it was on TNT for Christmas in July, but before that I hadn't watched it since last Christmas. Just the other day Alson commented on how we hadn't watched it in a while, so we made sure to incorporate it into our weekend. Funny Elf story...one day a while back I texted Alson an Elf quote, so he texted me back a different Elf quote....and we went back and forth for probably a good hour. Good thing we have unlimited texts and a lot of free time :)

  • Last night Alson and I went on our first date as a married couple. We had dinner at JoJo Restaurant and Bar on U St. and it was excellent. We first went to JoJo's the weekend we moved in and loved it then as well. My mom's name is Jo and she picked up JoJo as a nickname when some of my cousins called her that back when we were little. Like you probably realized from these three posts, I have lots of little cousins so the nickname is still used by all 20 something of them...even the older ones. We thought it was funny that there was a restaurant called JoJo's, especially since it is so close to our apartment, so we had to take my mom there (she helped us move in). From the outside JoJo's looks a little like a dive, but the inside is immaculately decorated and has an amazing atmosphere. It is perfect for a date or an intimate group dinner. The food is delicious (the online menu is not up to date or as big as the actual menu, so don't get discouraged); my favorite dishes are the caprese appetizer and the lobster ravioli. The prices aren't too bad, I'd say most entrees are probably $12-18. Check it out...and tell us if you want some company because we will definitely go back!

  • As a result of all the TV watching we have been doing during the Olympics, I am quite the commercial critic. Have you seen that Harris Teeter commercial that introduces the cruise giveaway? It makes me want to boycott HT until they take it off the air. So stupid and annoying. I also wanted to complain about the Secret Flawless commercial, but luckily, notsojenny discussed it so I don't have to. When What Women Want (another favorite movie of mine) came out a while back, I wanted to be Helen Hunt and have her job as Creative Director at an advertising firm. Obviously I didn't actual go that career route, but I still think I could have done a better job than the people at HT and Secret. Readyyy... better advertising pronto.

  • Yesterday we headed to Northern Virginia for Long John Silvers and the dog park. Yes, I admit that I love LJS. Sometimes I need greasy fish and chips in my life...I blame it on my Irish heritage. Luckily it is in Falls Church, so the distance will keep me from eating it often. The real reason we went to NoVa was to take Kona to a dog park, LJS was just an added bonus. She had a ball running around with the other dogs and playing with her daddy. She was so dirty by the time we left. The girl loooves to roll around in the dirt. But, at least she was happy and is still tired and thus more well-behaved! Needless to say, she needed a bath when we got home.

  • Last night I got a Facebook message from one of my friends I worked with at camp saying that her and her husband (also a friend of mine from camp....they met at camp and got married two summers ago) are coming to DC to run the Marine Corp 10k at the end of October and were hoping to get together while they were here. After hearing about them, Britni, Heidi, Lexi, Melanie, our neighbors, and pretty much every other person in the world running some kind of race or taking up a running regiment, I felt like the laziest person ever. Alson and I were running pretty regularly before the wedding and our move, but then stopped once we got so busy this summer. Well my friends, I registered us for the 10k today and we start training tomorrow. I am so thankful to everyone who helped motivate me through their blogs, and especially my friends for that final push to get me off my butt and on the road (well, I suppose it would be the sidewalk here in DC).

  • I can't believe I haven't posted about the summers I spent working at camp. They were some of the best experiences of my life and it has really shaped who I am today. I will definitely try to get on it in the next few weeks.

  • I am scared to see what kind of searches will bring people to my blog as a result of this post. Oh wait, I still don't fully understand how to work Google Analytics so I will probably never know ;)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Work = Tired

I am definitely not used to working yet.

I get up at 6am (okay, today I got up at 7am and let my hair hang curly so I could sleep the extra hour), drive to work (it is so glorious driving the opposite way of traffic), work (I am still orienting and school doesn't start for kids until Monday so it's pretty uneventful), drive home from work, take Kona out, decompress (i.e. sit on the couch), make dinner/get take out, think about how tired I am while watching TV/reading/playing on the internet, go to bed anywhere between 8:30pm and 10pm, and repeat.

I feel like a zombie! I am so tired all the time and I am not even really doing anything at work. I sit around in the office and read books/manuals/articles to "refresh" my memory on how to do my job.

Sidebar...in actuality it is some of the older school psychologists (i.e. trained on completely different models/theories/systems) that I think should do some reading. I feel like such an ageist lately, but if you saw the way some of them were acting at our staff meeting yesterday, you would be annoyed with them too. Maybe someday when I'm not so tired I will report on their unacceptable behavior.

I could attribute my tiredness to getting up early, but I go to bed early as well so I feel like I am getting enough sleep. I guess it is just the change in routine. Boo!! I can't wait to settle into the routine and be able to function like a normal human being.

I guess my tiredness means I won't be posting about anything meaningful tonight.

I do have a few things to look forward to...My BFF is coming to visit tomorrow night AND I don't have to work on Friday. Thank goodness it is only a four day week! I love superintendent's days!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Spice Girl

While making dinner last night, I decided I suddenly wanted to add a little spice to my life. And by life I mean dinner.

This is not normal. I am not sure what came over me. But I liked it.

I started being spicy by mincing the fresh jalapeños Alson bought at the farmer's marker. Do you have a chopper like this?
It is AMAZING. I have very poor knife skills, so this is a lifesaver. I then minced some onion (also in my handy dandy chopper) and sauteed the mix until the meat was brown. I added Manwich sloppy joe sauce (barbecue flavored instead of original...it was on sale) and decided it still smelled a little too ordinary.

We don't have a spice rack (lack of space) so we line our spices up on top of the stove. This probably isn't a good idea because the plastic may melt, but this way they stare me in the face while I cook, daring me to get innovative. So as I stood there contemplating what I was about to do to my mouth, I decided to go for it because I knew the spiciness would make my husband happy.

I then proceeded to add about a teaspoon of chili powder (why we even have this spice is a mystery to me...I certainly didn't buy it) and not one, not two, but three pinches of red pepper flakes (which also suddenly appeared in my kitchen). I instantly had spice adder's remorse. I was convinced I ruined the bison and that it would be too spicy for even the spiciest of individuals.

BTW, every time I type spicy or some derivative of the word, I say it in my head with such sass it makes me want to click my imaginary finger symbols and do the cha cha. Wow, did I really just admit that? Back to dinner....

I finished cooking the meal, sat down, served myself a sloppy joe and started eating. It was like I had forgotten that I had just made the spiciest meal of my life. No hesitation, just eating. And, surprise (although not really) I really liked it. Sure, it had a serious kick to it, but it was really delicious and I enjoyed the fire that ensued in my mouth.

As I have been saying over and over, I think my picky eating is due to the fact that I don't like to try anything. I'm scared, I like safe meal choices, I don't like change, etc., etc., etc. But, once I try something I usually like it. It's just the process of getting it in my mouth that is difficult. Last night I took the initiative, had only one moment of uncertainty, and ultimately ended up really enjoying our dinner. As did Alson.

As for the bison....I couldn't tell that it was any different than ordinary ground beef, and although it is pricier, it is also healthier!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I'm Seeing Green

I married into a family that is very environmentally friendly. I also watch Jon and Kate Plus 8.

Both of these things have slowly influenced me to take some short rides on the green bandwagon. Although I haven't completely transformed my life, I have picked up a few good habits in the past couple years. At first I was resistant to changing my ways, but it's really not that bad and there are definitely some perks.

For instance, today Alson and I went to the Dupont farmer's market. Alson's family prefers to support local farmers/businesses/etc. and I am sure they will be happy to hear that we are slowly integrating a little bit of their lifestyle into ours. At the market there was a huge selection of fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy products, and flowers. Obviously, everything is so fresh and usually organic, two pluses in my new green book. We came home with some string beans, corn on the cob, jalapeños, mozzarella, homemade oat & wheat pasta, ground bison, eggplant, and a bunch of zinnias (in our reusable bags). I plan on using the bison and jalapeños tonight for sloppy joes. According to wisegeek.com "Bison meat is very lean and has become popular in supermarkets. It contains far less calories and cholesterol than either beef or chicken. For example, bison meat contains 2.42 g. fat, 143 calories, and 82 mg. of cholesterol per 100 grams of cooked meat. By comparison, beef has 9.28 g. fat, 211 calories, and 86 g. cholesterol. Skinless chicken contains 7.41 grams of fat, 190 calories and 89 mg. of cholesterol". I have never had bison, but Alson really likes it so I have decided to give it a chance. I will report back on the taste after our dinner tonight.

We also recently bought some Clorox Green Works cleaning products.

We have the Natural All-Purpose Cleaner, Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner, and the Natural Bathroom Cleaner. They all contain plant-based ingredients, which (among other things) makes them smell so much better than traditional cleaning products. The Toilet Bowl Cleaner smells like limes, so it makes cleaning the bathroom a little bit more enjoyable. I used to have this Kaboom powder stuff that I would pour into the toilet bowl, and I would have to do this maneuver while pouring so that I didn't inhale any of the fumes. The first time I used it I did inhale, and I literally could not breath for 20 seconds and then had difficulty breathing for about 15 minutes. Ultimately, I like the Green Works products because they aren't slowly killing me as I clean. Here is a more complete review of the products from TreeHugger.

Any other simple, easy things I can incorporate into our life?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

First Day

After reading many uplifting and kind comments (thank you all!) my spirits rose and I decided you all are right...everyone has moments of sadness, but this too shall pass.

On to a different topic.....

On the first day of school each year, my mom made a special breakfast (usually waffles) and took pictures of my brother and I in our new school clothes. It was a fun tradition that always made the first day of school extra special. Although today technically isn't the first day of school for students, it was the first day at my new school job. That counts right? I had to get up at 6 AM, an hour I haven't seen in many months, so a hearty breakfast wasn't a priority, but I still got my picture taken...this time by my husband. I think I look quite chipper for it being 7 AM.

Now for the shocker.....I bought the shirt from Express and the skirt from the Gap back in early high school. I have tons of new "school" clothes that I could have worn today, but last night as I was combing through my closet and trying on numerous outfits, I decided on this one. I have probably worn this outfit 30+ times over the past 8 years. I last wore this outfit for my thesis proposal (not to be confused with my defense) last September, so although I don't wear often, I have still worn it a lot (that makes sense right?). I remember I went through the same thing the night before my proposal, ultimating choosing this outfit. Does anyone else consistently wear the same outfits because they just work?

Anyway.... Yay for surviving the first day of orientation! While most of it was boring and predictable it was nice to have a schedule, meet some new people, and start to get acquainted with the life of a grown-up.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sad Panda

I'm not sure what it is, it could be many things in fact, but I am just not feeling as joyous and happy as I imagine a newlywed should be. Since I don't have my best friend's or mom's shoulder to cry on...I turn to you blog world.

Hopefully I will bust out of my bad mood in the next couple days, but for now I will wallow in my sorrow and laundry list all the bad things that are bugging me lately:

  • This past week Alson got in touch with a couple incoming students that had already moved to the area. We have all been hanging out a lot in the last week, which actually has been fun. However, there is only one other married couple, and usually towards the end of the night the married people and single people differ on what they would like to do and the places they would like to go. I guess this is normal, but it is just hitting me that things are different now. Not necessarily a bad thing, just different.

  • Alson got his orientation schedule the other day, and it is literally jam packed with different events from morning to late night. Sure it is only five days, but after that, classes start, and he will likely have a similarly packed schedule. It made me (finally) realize that law school is going to monopolize his time more than I had previously thought (I guess I was kidding myself), and as much as we want to live a normal married life....we probably won't. Advice from Britni, who was in my situation last year, entailed finding lots of hobbies and keeping myself just as busy as Alson. I am trying to find things I like to do, but I've been having difficulty fathoming doing fun things alone all the time. Sure, I like to read, scrapbook, bead, sew, be crafty, blog, and the like....but the thought of sitting in my apartment every night doing some form of arts and crafts makes me feel pathetic. It makes me miss my mom and my BFF...the two people I used to do crafty stuff with. (Sorry for my poor grammer, I'm not in the mood to correct my sentence structure.)

  • Many of the law school's evening events this week and weekend are supposedly spouse friendly, so I was planning on accompanying Alson to a few. Last night I went to a dinner/happy hour/hangout that was organized by the students so they could all meet up before orientation starts (in other words NOT law school sponsored, in fact it was orchestrated through facebook). After being there for maybe 10 minutes, this girl came up to me and said "So are you going to come to all the law school events? Because if you do people will think you go to law school." Umm, excuse me? I literally was speechless. Now, I had met this girl on Sunday at a brunch because she came with another incoming student we have been hanging out with the last week (see a previous bullet). The brunch was in no way related to law school, in fact we brought one of Alson's college friends that visited us for the weekend, because it was just a get together with friends. At the brunch I could tell that she was a little pompous and condescending towards me, but I figured I will be meeting a lot of people like that over the next three years, and I could tolerate it. What she said to me last night, however, was downright rude. (Right? Or am I overreacting?) After that comment I decided to leave, partially because I could feel the tears welling in my eyes and I didn't want to cause a scene, and also because I just didn't feel welcome there. I convinced Alson to stay so that he could save face and make the best of the event, even though I know he felt terrible and really wanted to leave with me. Honestly, I needed the time alone to just be upset. So I walked the 15 or so blocks back home less than 15 minutes after walking to the event. About an hour later Alson came home and assured me that the girl was just being a snot and I had every right to be there, but still.... The damage is done. Bottom line: I now do not feel comfortable going to any of the events.

  • I haven't been sleeping well lately. Last night I woke up at 2:00am, tossed and turned for an hour, finally got out of bed at 3:15am, and sat in the living room wide awake. I also felt sick to my stomach, which could be attributed to last night's fiasco, or the fact that I am nervous about starting my internship tomorrow. I eventually went back to bed to try and get some sleep, which leads to my next bullet....

  • Because neither of us slept well (I kept Alson up with my tossing and turning and then by not being in bed), we missed the chance (i.e. slept late) to move my car to the opposite side of our street for street cleaning this morning and got a ticket. Boo!

  • As I said before, I start my internship tomorrow. I am nervous and anxious because it is new and therefore scary, I will be meeting the seven other interns and my two supervisors, learning new laws and regulations, will have to acclimate to new schools, etc. etc. etc. You know, all the things that come with every new job.
Okay, enough about all the bad things. Any advice or tips on how to get out of this slump?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympic Know It All

I've already had three outbursts, and the US Women's Gymnastic team is only through the floor exercise. I can't handle this kind of craziness! But, I guess that is what the Olympics are all about. I can't even describe how much I love the Olympics. They are so exciting!

Funny Story That May Describe My Olympic Obsession:

When I was a senior in college, I worked as a research assistant in the Marriage and Family Studies Lab at Binghamton, which happened to have its clinic right next door to the Anxiety Lab. One day as I was entering data (I actually don't remember what exactly I was doing, but I was probably entering data) one of the graduate students stopped by our lab to see if she could "borrow me" for a minute. Since I was the only person in the lab I obliged, and accompanied her to a small conference room that contained a podium, a chair about 4 feet in front of the podium, and a tripod with a video camera placed behind the chair. The graduate student told me she was about to start her dissertation study and needed a few people to serve as "guinea pigs", so she could come up with a categorization system for different kinds of anxious behaviors.

Sounds awesome, count me in! (Sarcasm)

If you have ever read my blog, especially a lot of the posts leading up to the wedding, I am sure you know that I have some of my own anxiety issues. Needless to say, I immediately started sweating and I could feel my face turning a deep shade of red.

Next she explained what I had to do: "I am going to sit in this chair while you give a speech about a current event. I will videotape you. You will need to talk for 5 minutes."

FIVE MINUTES?!? That is such a long time! Remember that I am unprepared and was asked to think of a topic about 30 seconds before "my presentation" began. I racked my brain for something that I was at least a little well versed in when it hit me.....

In the two weeks before this guinea pig experiment, the 2006 Winter Olympics took place. Of course, I watched almost every event with great intensity and dedication. In an instant, I would have to think of every event I watched, all the controversies, triumphs, and come from behind winners, and probably even the boring stuff (like describing the sport of curling) to fill up the 5 minutes.

I don't remember my entire speech, but I do recall discussing:
  • Where the Olympics took place
  • The women snowboarder who showboated at the end of a run, fell, and ended up getting silver instead of gold
  • Michelle Kwan's withdrawal from the figure skating competition
  • Emily Hughes replacing Michelle Kwan and her sister's gold at the 2002 Olympics
  • Curling
  • Bode Miller's drinking, and lack of winning
  • Sasha Cohen falling and the Japanese lady winning instead
  • Random Olympic related thoughts that popped in my head at that moment
Somehow I pulled it off. Granted, it was quite terrifying just standing up there talking while she stared at me with no kind of reaction or conversation, but once I got in my Olympic groove, there was no stopping me. I just kept jabbing away about countless 2006 Olympic related stories.

Once I finished and the graduate student and I were walking back to our labs, she thanked me endlessly, telling me how it is supposed to provoke anxiety and I did really great considering the circumstances. As we parted ways she said something like "I can't believe how much you know about the Olympics, you must have watched every event!".

Why yes, mean graduate student, I did.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Trip to the Zoo

Yesterday Alson and I went to the National Zoo.

I am not a big zoo fan*, but Alson really wanted to go, so I sucked it up and joined him. Although we were hit with two brief thunderstorms, it was overall an enjoyable day. I was happy because we got some pretty pictures of ourselves with zoo backdrops.



The zoo has some neat exhibits and all your standard "zoo animals". We were there from like 11 until 2:30, which isn't really the best time because most animals were napping and therefore looked like this.

This was disappointing, especially since one of the major draws of this zoo are the pandas. Alson said the pandas sleep up to 17 hours a day. Boo!

Luckily, the elephants were out and about. I loved this elephant because he was so cute playing with this ball.
Alson was really excited to see the komodo dragon. It was huuuuuge and nasty. Reptiles scare me.

Also of note: Visiting the zoo is a sneaky way to get a good workout. It is on a hill, which you walk down to see all the exhibits, and back up to exit. We did not realize, however, that you had to walk back up to get out because we didn't buy the map. So, we exited at the bottom of the zoo where people who drove could exit, ended up taking a hike through Rock Creek Park, realized we didn't know where we were going, and eventually found ourselves at another exit of the zoo. And we were of course still at the bottom. We then walked back up the hill to the place where we initially entered, making our walking total probably somewhere in the 5 mile range. Needless to say, my calves are quite sore today.

*When I was maybe 7 or 8 my family went to the National Zoo during a trip to visit relatives in the DC area. When we arrived at the zoo there were protesters out front of the entrance. Now, as an adult I understand that some people have problems with captivity and the premise of animal cruelty, but as a child, I was seriously scarred by the way were acting. At the time, I felt really guilty for going to the zoo and have been lukewarm about going to them ever since.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thank You Notes

Two of my friends bought us these beautiful Boatman Geller correspondence cards to use for our thank you notes:

Last night we finally finished all of our thank you notes. Boy, does it feel great!

Alson was a really great sport and pitched in with about half of the notes. My hand would have fallen off I tried to write them all myself. We wanted to finish them before we both start working/school next week...I can't believe we actually sat ourselves down and did it!

Plus, my friends splurged and bought way more cards than were needed for the thank you notes, so I have extras to use for whatever I would like!

Now, if I could only get my wedding pictures...I can't stand waiting!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Cottage - Day Two

I can't believe how many pictures I took at the cottage! Here is a synopsis of the rest of the weekend...

More fishing:


Alson and I went kayacking before the motor boats hit the lake:


I finally got to meet Carmel! How cute is she?? :

After seeing all the fish that were being caught, I was afraid to get off my tube...of course that meant everyone tried to push me in:

My dad wanted his clean up to be documented (gross). It was a joy to find this picture on my camera the next day:

Carmel stole Kona's toys:

The dogs chased each other:

We played games:

Grant was so excited to get Yahtzee:

The guys went out for a little more fishing before dinner:


And my dad caught a monster....according to Grant "It's a shark!":

After posing for a picture, they threw it back....No more swimming for me:


Such a fun weekend...thanks to everyone that helped make it special!

And for good measure, another picture of Kona, who may or may not have felt neglected because Carmel got all the attention.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Cottage - Day One

I have many fond memories of trips to my grandparent's cottage as a kid. It is maybe 30 minutes from our house, so we were always able to go for a week, weekend, or just the day if we wanted. While it is not exactly roughing it....there is electric, running water, and bathrooms...it still forced us to get outside and play and swim, or stay inside and play cards or other games because there is no tv, internet, etc. It is my mom's parents that own the cottage, and she comes from a family of 6, so needless to say, there was, and still usually are, a plethora of grandchildren at the cottage at any given time. My aunt and uncle also bought a cottage next door, so now there is even more room for everyone to congregate there during the summers.

Since I spent my summers living in NYC and NC during college and then moved to NC after graduating from college, Alson had never been! So we planned a trip to the cottage for a weekend, and we both really had a great time. Two of my cousins, my aunt and uncle, and their new puppy(!) were there for the whole weekend, and another one of my cousins, her friend, and my aunt came out both nights. My mom stayed with us at the cottage, but my dad was on call that week so he could only come out randomly throughout the weekend. Oh, and obviously my grandparents were there! It was great to have a bunch of people to hang out with. Here are some of the things we did...in picture form of course.

Alson and my cousins swimming:


Airborne! :

We tried jumping on a trampoline, but it wasn't quite blown up enough...or perhaps my weight made it lopsided (sad face):

So we decided to use it as a launching pad:


I got some distance this time! And Grant took a nose dive, poor thing:

They went fishing:

Kona got to ride on the boat:


Grant got to drive it:

Hanging out on the boat:

My dad was so excited to catch a fish:

I didn't realize how many pictures I have....so I guess I will have to continue posting another time!

Fun Times with My Cousins

When we were back in NY last week, we spent Thursday night at my Aunt and Uncle's house. Among other things, it was fun to see how they handle their crazy, but so adorable children. And it helped remind us newlyweds that we certainly aren't ready for any of our own. Here are some of my favorite shots of the night.

Everyone loves steak on the grill, especially my husband:


Kona was so happy to be able to run around with their dog:


My cousin drew Alson and I this chalk portrait...she wanted to lay down next to "us" for the picture:

I was trying to get a shot of the dogs playing, when this was suddenly in my viewfinder:

I was so excited for Wegman's bruschetta, until I saw little hands in it:

When I said "ewwww" I got this face (which is why she gets away with everything):

My cousins hamming it up:

They are so cute! I have tons of other pictures because they were always doing something photo-worthy. Boy are they BUSY!

Photos from the lake to come.....