A Year in a Life

Picture 1

I’m done with my Project 365 (or 366, as it was a leap year).  Just over a year ago – a year on Thursday – Shane accepted the job offer that resulted in our move out here.  On the same day, I applied for the job that I now have.  I can’t believe it’s been a year already.  Our lives have changed so much since then!

Picture 3

While this move was very, very hard on me, I think it’s been a really good thing for our relationship.  I feel like we’re much closer, much more stable, and much more aware of needing each other.  I’m so thankful for that, and for the awesome dude that is currently asleep in our bedroom with our cat.

Picture 2

There are still times when I’m horribly, achingly homesick for the life we had back in Champaign – our friends, our favorite places, our 7 minute commutes on our bikes, my wonderful job and coworkers, our big sunny apartment with the garden and clothesline – but for the most part, I think we’re both really happy out here.  And that’s a good thing.


Eating and Growing Locally: Week 13


  • In an attempt to like cauliflower, I roasted a head of the purple stuff.  It was pretty tasty, but I’m still not convinced.
  • A LOT of blueberry pancakes last weekend when Erin Fae was here.
  • Peach ice cream and peach turnovers to use up the last of the peaches and the last of the puff pastry.
  • Spaghetti and meatballs with both the sauce and the meatballs from scratch.
  • Two all-local frittatas with garlic scapes (local for Erin Fae, who brought them as a gift), zucchini, onion, and tomato.  OMG so good.  I think we’ve mastered the frittata – now we just have to master getting it out of the pan:

Frittata attack!


The first of the Amish Paste tomatoes committed tomato suicide, but I’ve been steadily picking little Beam’s Pear tomatoes throughout the week, as well as beans and the basil, which has now stayed alive for THREE months.  We also got our first red chili this week = hooray!

Moving Uhgain

So, in the next 6 weeks we get to pack up our apartment and move again. The reason for the move is a good thing – the actuality of the move is going to suck as always. I spent some time this morning getting heavily addicted to Apartment Therapy. The dozens of beautiful and uncluttered apartments/homes have lead me to want to seriously declutter before this next move – well, the beautiful apartments as well as the knowledge that this time around, we’re doing most of the moving ourselves, with no handy work-paid-for mover men.

Since I know many of you have downsized, live a rather spartan lifestyle, or somehow make do in extremely tiny (Brooklyn!) spaces – how do you do it? If I wanted to make a dramatic cut in possessions – how would you recommend that I start? What have you gotten rid of that you now regret? What seems necessary but really can go? What strategies do you employ to keep the clutter from coming back?

(This is x-posted from my LJ with no regrets or apologies – only thanks for good advice!)

New Museum Fun!

My dear friend Erin Fae came down for a brief visit from NYC.  With all of the wonderful free things available to her in our fair city on the occasion of her first visit…she picked the National Postal Museum!  It was well worth the trek through the extreme heat – I learned about the Mailster, Victory Mail, and Owney the Dog, among lots of other things.  Erin Fae delighted the security guards with her excitement to the extent that they pointed her out to other guards, explaining that she came allllll the way from NYC and all she wanted to see was the Postal Museum.  Wonderful.

Day 358 - 7/20/08

On Sunday, we went to the US Botanic Garden, which Erin Fae and I had discovered on the Mall the previous day.  While going to a big glass building in 100 degree heat was a questionable choice, we had a really good time anyway.  In addition to beautiful and diverse gardens, the permanent exhibits were fantastic!  We were delighted by tactile and sensory Plants in Culture exhibit, where we pretended to be bees, smelling giant flowers that contained herbs, spices, and other plants that provide the base of perfumes or meals.

Shane is a BeeErin Fae is a beeI am a bee

The exhibits managed to be engaging for children while not condescending to adults.  The other permanent exhibit explained How Plants Work in both clear and scientific terms.  I also found my favorite museum sign to date:


Three notes for a Monday morning

  1. The first of the Amish Paste tomatoes to ripen enough to pick evaded my harvesting by committing suicide off our balcony sometime in the night.  I’m v sad about the whole affair.
  2. Target has come to its senses and returned the price of Basic 4 back to normal.  We’re both v sad about the whole affair.
  3. We watched Diamonds are Forever last night, which might be the worst of the Bond movies that we’ve seen so far – and that’s really saying something.   It might, in fact, be one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen.

Eating and growing locally: week 12


We caved and bought chicken at the store.  We eat a lot of chicken, and while we would love to buy it locally, it’s prohibitively expensive for not much meat.  We’re not perfect.

What we DID do this week was make 1 lb of ground pork into two awesome meatball-filled meals: spaghetti and meatballs on Saturday with a homemade sauce, and meatball sandwiches on chili-cheddar bread from Atwater’s along with leftover cole slaw on Sunday.  We also stretched 1 lb of pork sausage into 4+ meals – crustless quiche with local eggs, sausage, zucchini, and onions Monday night (with leftovers for lunches), sausage, zucchini, and onions tossed with pasta and homemade roasted tomatoes on Tuesday (with leftovers for lunch), and sausage patties with assorted other meals throughout the week.  Without even really trying, we had a couple of totally local meals, and a bunch of mainly local meals.  Hooray!

Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the melon as big as my head that I’m still working on:

Literally bigger than my head


We’ve hit the heat of mid-summer, and the plants look tired.  I keep hoping that we’ll have a bumper crop of tomatoes, and then I eat all of them whenever any are ripe.  There are beans ready to be picked, and the lettuce and herbs persevere.

Today we’re signing a lease on a new apartment in Alexandria.  We’re excited about the place, but one drawback is that there’s no outside space for our garden.  With a crazy Miss Mina (who is currently running around pouncing and meowing for no ostensible good reason) and a Basil who likes to bite plants, we’re not sure what we’re going to do – I think the bigger things will go to friends, and I hope to rig up something for the herbs in the kitchen window.  (Did I mention that there are windows in every room?!)

Another Thursday night at the desk

Just for the sake of having something to write, here’s a short list of the questions I have answered since 5:45pm.

  • A request for guest wireless, which I set up with a smile.
  • Print problem #1: the print server is slow.  Fixed itself before I could get to it, as is generally the case with tech problems.
  • Print problem #2: frames will be the death of us all.  Whenever a patron comes to the desk with a sheaf of half-printed papers, I know they’re trying to print from a) Blackboard or b) Yahoo.  Right on both counts this time, and one more patron now knows how to right-click.
  • Another request for guest wireless.
  • “Do those copiers send faxes?”  No.  Go to Kinko’s.
  • A request for back-issues of GW publications – specifically “By George”, and specifically the most recent one.  Special Collections is closed, so I steal one out of my coworker’s mailbox.  Mental note: put it back before I leave.
  • An IM from a friend who is trying to find publication dates on a series of books.  The reference collection lets me down.  I totally marked this on the stats sheet even though it wasn’t technically a question from one of our patrons.
  • “Where’s the bathroom?”
  • “If I need something from a library in the consortium, can I just go there?” Yes.

By the Numbers: June 2008

Our total grocery spending was down this month, but that’s likely because our eating-out spending was up as a result of Bonnaroo.  Beginning July 1, we started tracking our eatings-out in order to provide us with better budgetary numbers going forward.  We’ll be moving to a new place in the fall, and being able to accurately calculate our expenditures will be important for our fiscal well being.

I’m really proud that this month we neared 50-50 on our market/non-market spending!

Do Breast Self-Exams Do Any Good?

I don’t really know what to think about this article from Time, which argues that conducting regular self breast exams may actually be worse for women than not. They argue that while self exams do lead to early detection – they frequently lead to the detection of benign cysts, resulting in unnecessary biopsies, scarring from these unnecessary treatments, and emotional scars from the imagined scare.

What this seems to indicate (to me at least) is that women need to be educated as to what they’re looking for – not just that they need to do an exam. In gyne instruction, we were trained to teach doctors to teach patients to look for anything that changes from month to month – and to not necessarily panic at every little lump and bump. Healthy breasts are full of all kinds of nodules and other weird-feeling bits of tissue, fiber, and ductwork. They change from day to day, month to month. Being aware of these normal changes will make it easier to notice when something abnormal pops up.

The results of this study also point to a trend towards overtreatment. I’m not sure what I can say about that, so I’ll just let it stand.

Regardless, I feel like it’s really irresponsible to discourage women from doing a simple, painless, easy thing that might lead to early detection. As the daughter and granddaughter of breast cancer survivors, and also as the daughter of an oncologist, and also as a former gyne instructor, I think I know what I’m talking about.

Tuesday this ‘n’ that

So at the beginning of the month, I had good intentions to post every day.  That very much didn’t happen.  Instead, I bring you the always classic bulleted list of stuff that’s going on.

Things I’m excited about right now:

  • Pimms & lemonade.
  • The good planning meeting I had today – one of the first good meetings I’ve had in a while.
  • Dinner, which is just waiting for SB to get home to eat it!
  • Finally achieving “regular” status somewhere.
  • New apartment!
  • Erin Fae’s impending visit.
  • Maybe volunteering for a farmers’ market event next weekend?
  • Cait had her baby!

Things that are going on but I’m not so excited about:

  • Crazy papercut on my index finger.
  • Finally running out of bath bombs after my January buying binge.
  • Having to pony up for various deposits almost 2 months before we recoup our old deposits.
  • Homework.  Augh.  I’m trying to be good about pacing myself, but I’m falling a little behind.
  • Cradle to Cradle is depressing me all to hell, but I’m reading it anyway.

What’s up with you?