Monthly Archives: August 2011

In conclusion

My hurricane predictions were mostly true. There was lots of wind and rain. John’s parents house has a flooded basement. But no one died. They hid upstairs while I watched tv last night. Now I’m hiding in my room while his mom watches the weather. I’m hoping they leave in a few hours so I can cook stuff for the week in peace.

Though that dream may be smashed, Craig went back to check on everything, there’s three feet of water int he street and a foot in their basement, and someone left the washer and dryer plugged in, so those are dead.

The problem is that none of us are terrible social people, and so it’s fairly awkward, and John isn’t here as a buffer, and I’m uncomfortable with sharing my space, and I feel a lack of control. I don’t mind helping people out and offering a bed or couch, and they are sort of family, but they announced they were coming before we invited them. I was unprepared to be a host, and so now I’m coming off as a brat because my life was disrupted. Whatever.

One thing that bothers me- the news super over-hyped this storm. Which is annoying. This came right over us, sure, but it was a category one, and we had some lead time to prepare. But then I have friends on facebook who, in response to the overhype, are posting pictures of, say, leaves on the ground and ‘bemoaning the destruction’, which is also not the right way to go. Stuff got ruined. Power went out. There was flooding. Tree branches on cars and shop awnings and windows. While it certainly wasn’t the “storm of the century” (hey news guys, remember Katrina? Among others? Remember the storm we had a few weeks ago what was almost as bad, just with less flooding?), there was a decent amount of damage and it’s pretty inappropriate to belittle that.

It particularly bothers me that it’s people who’s opinions I usually agree with and/or respect.

IN OTHER NEWS. I ordered some of my textbooks, and now I can’t wait to get them so I can get a head start on things.

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My Prediction for Hurricane Irene

There will be rain. Lots of rain. Probably some wind, too. A few people will have soggy basements. Also, there will be an unfortunate death at my house because John’s mother and brother and dog are staying with me and the cats while John is trapped at work all weekend.

I was going to have a nice lazy weekend of sitting on the couch watching terrible tv enjoying my last couple days before my personal storm of work and school, but there went that. At least they brought food so I don’t have to feel bad about only having a spaghetti squash and my leftover thai food to offer them. But now I don’t know if I can eat the leftover thai food. Is that impolite?

In other words- Currently unhappy with the situation.

Registration madness

But first- I went to DC to visit my uncle for a few days. It was great. He and I get along well, it was fairly relaxed, we watched a movie every evening, went to the aquarium in Baltimore, and I spent a day at the zoo. All in all, a good visit, and I think a good length. I was at the zoo for the earthquake, which was more of an annoyance than an excitement or scary thing. The quake itself was fairly small (I thought. But I’m a little blasé about them) and the animals I saw weren’t perturbed. But then they sort of closed the zoo, and then it was just the buildings, and then an hour later they actually closed, and I managed to not get kicked out until an hour after that. Oh well. Still a very good time. And now I have a thousand (not an exaggeration) pictures to sort through and edit.

And now I’m back, and looking at classes again. This school has an interesting, and pretty helpful, scheduling thing. The first semester is from september to february. But it’s in two sections. First is just till december, and then a second, 6 week session, in january and february. You can take classes in both, but, it seems, only pay for the ones in the first section. The credits combined qualify you for being full time. So you could take two classes each session for the 12 credit total.

Very handy. So, first session, I’m taking Freshman Seminar (seriously? What are they going to tell me for an hour every week? I’m mystified), Composition (argh. Oh well. Also, argh), Algebra (okay, this I get. I’m out of practice with math. This will be good. But it’s 6 hours a week. And I already took it twice. Bah), and Intro to Vet Tech (yaaaaaay). Hooray for those. They were the ones that I originally picked, but then had trouble arranging, and now I’m back to what I wanted.

The second session, I was originally just taking Critical Thinking. But then I was looking at the required courses, and I feel like I’m behind. Algebra counts for credit hours, but not degree credits because it’s a prerequisite, and Freshman Seminar is the same. So, I was only taking 6 degree credits, and I only have two years to take 60. I got a little anxious. I need some kind of social science class and Urban Anthropology was the only one offered in the second session. It has a bunch of prereqs that I don’t have, but the guy who originally helped me pick classes put it down as an alternate to Critical Thinking. So, I figure that means I can take it. And nothing popped up when I added it! Ha. And then I noticed that he also put Mat106, the math of medical dosages as another alternate, though advising against it because the second session is a semesters-worth packed into 6 weeks. But what the hell, right? So I added that too.

I figure either that’s the end of it, or at some point a red flag will go off, and they’ll make me drop one or both. Hopefully not. The upshot- I’m now registered for 7 classes, 4 first and then 3, for 14 degree credits, and 20.5 equivalent credits. I might be a little nuts. We’ll see how it goes.

Best day ever

So, a few weeks ago, Improv Everywhere sent out an email that they were doing a Black Tie Beach today. Everyone was to show up at a then-undisclosed location, at a then-undisclosed time, men in tuxes, women in formal dresses. Madeline and I went shopping earlier this week for dresses, and I found an awesome one. Dark shiny blue, biggish skirt, jet beading. If it survives, I might even wear it to the wedding. So far, it seems fine, but damp and sandy.

But I’m off track! So then we found out yesterday that it was this afternoon, at Rockaway beach. We met up after her silks class and hopped on the subway, in costume. The idea was to play it cool, if any one asked, we were going to a party. Once we got there, just act normal. Like you would any other day at a beach. And if people asked, deny all knowledge, just say we thought it would be fun, and we have no idea why everyone else is all fancy.

It was awesome. We picked up a bucket, and a kite on the way. There were other people on the train, and then a whole bunch picking things up at the beach shops as well. It was totally normal feeling, actually, to see people all dressed up. We ran around, tossed a football, built a sandcastle, went in the water, flew the kite, and generally had a really good day at the beach. A few people asked, a lot took pictures, but it was surprisingly normal, and a ton of fun. We’re going again next week. Though in regular beach dress then.

Well, all in all, good day

So today is my birthday, hooray and all that. I got a variety of good, thoughtful presents, so that’s always nice. And a bunch of facebook greetings, so I’m still on the radar there. But in general the day got a little capsized.

It started out with pulling a muscle in my back, and sort of hobbling stiff-necked for the rest of the day. Though it got better as I went along, and it was dealable. But that first hour or so was rough. And then I went to register for classes. Super fun. Also, not. It took forever, classes I wanted were full, so now I have to wait for people to drop out of them, it was whirlwind, and yet full of waiting, and frustrating. But, after over 4 hours, I have a sort of a schedule, paid my first chunk of tuition, and got an ID. So, progress.

But all that time meant the afternoon was shot for going to Coney Island like I’d planned. And anyway, my back being what it is, going on roller coasters is probably a bad idea. So, that idea is shelved for now. But, we ended up going out for sushi at my favorite place.

Aaaand that’s how, at 22 days, the paleo broke. I was so good most of the time, avoiding the rice and soy sauce and all. But then I knew I wanted some kind of desert, and got fried banana. I forgot that fried means ‘wrapped in fried dough’, and desert means covered in powdered sugar. And I am not one to send things back, and there was too much for John to eat on his own.

Oh well. I’m okay with it, though. I mean, part of the idea was 30 days of discipline, so I’m a little bummed about that. But otherwise? I think I got what I needed out of it. I figured out how to cook other things, how to avoid sugar and grains and all. And I think the people that celebrated the huge changes are people that had some mild gluten or lactose intolerance and didn’t realize it because they didn’t feel too bad eating those things, but then cutting them out was so much better. I don’t have any food issues, so while I felt good about all the chicken and vegetables, I didn’t really notice a change in energy level, sleep, etc. And I know, they say it takes 30 days to reset your body with all of that, but really, by 22, I should have seen that change if I were going to. I lost some weight, but that’s to be expecte dwith any healthy eating change.

Conclusion, I’ll keep a lot of it, I’ll mostly follow, but dairy here and there is fine, and I really don’t give a crap about soybean oil in things, and if there happens to be sugar in the barbeque sauce, well, then, darn it. (Ribs in a slowcooker really need barbeque sauce. We found that out the hard way.) And my birthday wound up being pretty good. Despite the registration muddle.

School Approacheth

I’m nervous and impatient about this school thing. Tomorrow will help a lot, when I finally have my advisement and registration meeting and get my schedule sorted and talk to someone about financial aid and all. That will be a relief.

I’m getting prepared in other ways, though! Going back to school means buying stuff! Nothing overboard at all. I just ordered a back pack, because as much as I love all my messenger bags, they already screw up my back, and I figure I’ll be carrying more weight with books and all. I think I picked a good one, especially for the price. And then I got a couple of lunch containers. We have a lot of tupperware type things, but they’re not great for carrying, and I don’t have a dedicated bag. Or I didn’t. Huzzah. Once the strict eating thing is over, I’m going to keep a lot of the ideas (but bring back dairy. Oh cheese, I miss you.) which means continuing to make my own food most of the time.

Speaking of the food thing, it’s going well. I’ve only had a couple moments of trial, and the main one was because I was hungry. After work the other day, it was the last day for the people who had been there through the whole summer, so they brought out beer and ordered pizzas (really good pizzas, by the looks) and I hadn’t anticipated that and only brought food for snacks and lunch. And I was having a good time hanging out with all of them, so I didn’t want to leave and just suffered.

As for all the benefits they proclaim- meh? Sort of? I mean, I’ve lost some weight. John’s scale is all fancy and does body fat percentage too, so I think I’ve lost a little of that as well, though it’s sometimes wacky and tells me I’ve gained or lost 3% in a day. But usually it seems fairly accurate. I don’t think I’m sleeping any better, but I never slept that badly to begin with. It’s really hard to tell about allergies. Maybe I have more energy? But I don’t do that much aside from work, and once in a while rope class, so that’s hard to gauge. But maybe. The one big thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve been having really vivid dreams. Not sure what that’s about, though a few other people I know mentioned that as well, so maybe it’s also the season? I don’t know.

Anyway. At 2/3rds through, it’s been an interesting experiment, and it seems worthwhile to keep it up, mostly. Though I’ll bring back the dairy, and say screw it about soybean oil, and the negligible amount of sugar in some sauces. John’s having some trouble right now figuring out how to make pork in a slow cooker without sugar. We’re thinking sauerkraut and orange juice. Or something.

To bring this full circle, it’s looking like a busy fall, and I think continuing to make this much of my own food will be challenging. It takes a lot of time and energy, so we’ll see how I do. But I figure it’s worth a concerted effort. And I’ve figured out some good, fairly quick things (fennel sausage and mashed sweet potatoes! Win.)

Rain, rope, and neurosis.

So, I did have all kinds of plans for today. Like picking up my laundry and buying shoes for the wedding (though I could just order them. Hooray payless and $20 shoes online) and depositing checks and all of that. But. It is Raining. Not raining. RAINING.

I was wiped out yesterday from rope class so I took a nap and ended up being up till around 1, when the lightning and rain started. They are still going. And it’s not oh, look, it’s wet out. It’s Oh, this must be the beginning of the 40 days because it’s already flooding and shows no sign of letting up. Oog.

But rope class was awesome! I took Miranda, a friend from work who I thought would like it, and she loved it. And because she’s a dancer too was pretty good, caught on to things quickly, understood how and when she wasn’t getting things right, had the strength to do a lot. And she had a blast. I was so happy. And I had a really good class, actually learning something within the course of it. Not that I don’t usually, just that I’m not strong enough for some things, and so I get the idea, and can do part of it, but part might be an epic fail (hip-key, I’m looking at you). But this thing, I did it, and I did it wrong a couple times and I learned how to correct, and by the end of class, I did it complete and right. Huzzah.

About bringing a work friend- if I had a therapist, they would be very proud. For YEARS, I have had this thing about mixing people from different areas of life. My school friends, and my other school friends and my circus friends, were never to meet. Good thing I was lowkey about birthdays, because that would have been tough otherwise. I’m pretty sure I was generally terrified that they would end up liking each other more than me and run off happily into the sunset without me. I have no idea where this comes from.

But anyway. Progress in recent years! Willingness to mingle groups! Actively doing so! Go me.

Late-summer cleaning

When we first moved in and bought furniture and all, John bought three main pieces. The couch, which is awesome. A coffee table, to which my first reaction was along the lines of ‘holy hell, I didn’t know they made coffee tables that big’ but I’ve come around to it. We can fit a lot on it, and it doesn’t look crowded. And then a folding table. That has been sitting in the closet, until yesterday. And clearly, when you put together a table, you must clean the living room. And the bathroom. And the kitchen. And my room.

About the table, though. It’s huge. There’s a center section with drawers on both sides, and then a wing on each side. For us, we can just use one wing. But when you open both, you can fit 6 people. Six! It’s huge. I don’t believe there’s room for the real table and the coffee table at the same time. Also, the pressure. Now we have to have people over, or something.

At least my room is clean. It was getting pretty bad, and I was spiraling into the ennui of hating it, and being too depressed to do anything about it because there was just so much. And it really wasn’t that much. A lot of clothes to put away or in laundry, and a lot of random paper, mostly receipts and paycheck envelopes. And now it is sparkling clean! Except for my pile of tools in the corner, and bin of things I’m not sure what to do with. But they’re mostly contained, so.

Also, biosphere keeps posting updates and such, and they finally caught a leopard! Exciting, and so so jealous. I wonder if they caught any in the downtime, when the scientists were still there, but no volunteers.

All I write about is food.

But it’s the majority of what I’ve been doing lately. Looking up recipes, buying food, making food, cleaning up after food. Sheesh.

Yesterday I made an egg kale quiche thing. I got the recipe here http://whole9life.com/2011/03/stmegg-and-kale-quiche/ and clearly he and I were using different sized bunches of kale. It does shrink down in the pan, but I heaped it overflowing and still had some left over. To be made into kale chips. Because there was so damn much of it, I had to add three more eggs. But it came out well, and was enough for 4 meals, so that’s a good one to remember. And really, it could be any green leafy vegetable in there.

Tonight was an adventure. I made mayonnaise. It came out okay. Next time, light olive oil. And pour faster. I was so afraid of the emulsion breaking, and people had stories of pouring in super slow, drop by drop, that it took me OVER 20 MINUTES to pour in two cups of oil. Ridiculous. I’m surprised I didn’t cook any of the egg, the poor blender was so hot by the end. I think also less oil next time. It’s a little watery, more for a sauce than a spread. Which was fine, because half of it I added roasted red pepper, basil, and garlic too to top the crab cakes with. Because I also made crab cakes!

It was a learning experience. Lesson one- thoroughly drain the canned crab meat. Lesson two- maybe don’t use your just-made runny mayonnaise. Lesson three- I don’t care how much they recommend coconut oil, if you’re over medium heat, you have to use something heftier. This one I should have known. Several people said coconut oil is great for lower to sort of medium cooking, but burns off really fast after that. The recipe I used (http://everydaypaleo.com/2011/06/24/everyday-paleo-crab-cakes/)  called for medium to high heat, and I should have skipped to coconut oil.

But, all in all, came out well. Two of them fell apart in the pan, but the rest survived more or less intact. Served them on a barrel of spinach* with avocado bits, lemon juice, and the basil/pepper mayo.

And now, though I’ve only been up just over 12 hours, I’m exhausted. Time to shower and bed.

* We have so much spinach right now. Which is a good thing! But ridiculous. Before we ate it tonight, I had a large container of it, and two bags that I bought the other day, plus another bag that John got when he picked up other stuff I needed for tonight. We’ll have to put in some effort to finish it before it dies.

Dividing line

So, I live in a fancy neighborhood. I have about a mile long walk to the train, but (so far, we’ll see when the snow starts) it’s a really nice walk. There are trees everywhere, people’s lawns are pretty well kept (the week of the tulips blooming was amazing) there are lots of birds and squirrels. I’m right by this big forested park, where I go running, so there are more things bounding around there, and I’ve seen fireflies(!!) at night.

I live in the fairly rich neighborhood (though I am nowhere near. Hooray reading craigslist at the right time) and my walk to the train is through the super rich neighborhood, where you need a resident parking pass to park there, and they maintain all their streets and everything. The houses and lawns are bigger, the cars are shinier.

Walking home last night, I was listening to the crickets, and something else. I think maybe cicadas? But in everything I’ve read, it’s described as “high high pitched cries of the cicadas” and I wouldn’t call this high pitched. Maybe katydids? But I thought those were a daytime thing. Possibly a strange voiced bird? It was coming from the trees. Who knows. In any case, a few blocks past the end of the Rich Land, the noise stops. I had been surrounded by it, but as I was crossing the street, I heard it switch from being all around to just behind me and fading. Only the crickets up ahead.

Weird! The trees were still the same varieties, same number and all. But there was a really clear end to whatever-it-was’s territory.

I also walked through a lot of spiderwebs and had Nam’ flashbacks. Namibia, that is. Those webs were so much worse, though.

Also, the website that I found the food thing on said not to weigh yourself for the 30 days that you do it, but I don’t listen to these things. I’m down 7 lbs in 5 days. I know up to 4 of that is totally water weight fluctuation, but still. I haven’t even been working out or anything. That’s just 5 days of food shift, and not even portion control shift. Though when you’re having to make your own food, the portion control is slightly built in.

Tonight (or thursday, I want John to be awake to eat this with me) homemade mayonnaise with basil and roasted red pepper, and crab cakes. Wheee!