16 November 2008

The other day I was on the elevator with a group of students who were discussing how glad they were to have quit smoking, which made me think about how I’m also glad that I quit smoking.  I was reminded of this last night, when we got home from the bar, reeking of smoke.  I won’t lie – I miss the act of smoking – but I don’t miss anything else about it.  I’ll still have the odd cigarette – I’ve had maybe 3 this year – but every time I do, I remember why I quit all over again.

Those are my deep thoughts for the day.  I’m glad that almost 3 years ago, I made a good decision.  I just wanted to remind myself of that.

15 November 2008

The last 24 hours in bulleted form as I can’t seem to manage a paragraph to save my life these days:

  • Decaf, snacks, and Scrabble with SB at Buzz.  He wins, but we discover in the last round that the Q is missing.  It is later discovered under SB’s butt.
  • Cross-stitching while SB plays RockBand2.  New fun songs and also very buxom lead singers.
  • Sleeeeeeep.
  • Up around 8 for breakfast of the 2-for-1 snacks from Buzz.  I spill coffee grounds everywhere.  Found my silverware on Linens & Things for cheap, so bought more.
  • Fastest trip to the farmers’ market ever – there and back in less than 45 minutes.  Assorted dairy, meat, and a whole pile of onions.  Good stuff.
  • Metro into DC to meet up with Piotr, Jess, and Amanda for brunch at Kramerbooks.  Split the huevos rancheros with SB.  YUM.
  • An Epic Walk – Dupont Circle to Adams Morgan to U Street down 14th then over to the Newseum.
  • Or at least we tried to go to the Newseum – instead we’re held up by G20 motorcades and are Not. Allowed. To. Cross. The Street.  Then it starts raining.  Also, there are protesters.
  • Detour back to the Hirshhorn, where we hung out with lots of awesome art.
  • Get confused trying to find the L’Enfant Plaza stop.  It rains a little.  SB runs up a down escalator to get a street egg roll.  It’s better than it sounds.
  • Amanda departs, and the rest of us head back to Alex for a snack-dinner and beer at Rustico.  Sesame crusted pickles are better than they sound.
  • Detour by the apt to feed the cats.  Basil charms everyone as usual.
  • Return Piotr and Jess to the Metro, then drive up to Clarendon to meet Jackie, Anne, Jennifer, and Adam at the Hut.  Drink beer.  Eat nachos.  Drink more beer.  Laugh.  SB tries to convince us that he is a typical man.  It doesn’t work.
  • Spontaneous gelato stop.
  • Home.  Sleep.  Now.

14 November 2008

So yesterday I talked about the morning routine.  Today I’ll hit the opposing part of the day.  I’ve read that the close of your day should be peaceful and devoid of electronics so that you can relax into sleep.  I’ve also heard that you shouldn’t eat after 7, or that perhaps you should eat a small snack of something that has slow-digesting protein to keep your body from going into starvation mode (??) overnight.  I’ve heard a lot of things, but that’s never helped me get into a nighttime routine.  A few snapshots of evening routines:

2003: In an attempt to write more, I keep a journal and write in it before bed after brushing my teeth and taking out my contacts.  I don’t remember when bedtime usually rolled around, but Nate had to get up really early, so it seems like it would’ve been around 10.  Two pillows, as little light as possible.

2003-4: Somehow working at the bank + dating a grad student wipes me out.  Hang out with Shawn until I’m about to pass out, then brush teeth, take out contacts, and frequently crawl into bed in my work clothes.  If I’m sleeping alone, curtains are open so that I can wake up with daylight.  If I’m not, curtains tightly closed, and I fall asleep while Shawn reads.

Fall 2004: Work until 11:30 many nights, then go out with coworkers.  Close out the bars, then come home and have toast with Boursin or hummus to prevent a hangover (and also, I would learn, induce WEIRD dreams), brush teeth, take out contacts, and crashhhhhhh.

2005:  Reading for school.  All the time.  And then I fall asleep.  Or I sit up late chatting online, and THEN fall asleep.  Oh, and also I brush my teeth and take out my contacts.  Most of the time.

Early 2006: Stay up late with SB and occasionally with Basil being a romance liability.  Also teeth brushing and contact removal occurs.

2006-8: Stay up until I want to fall over.  Brush, floss and put on moisturizer when I’m good, take out contacts, take vitamin, put in night guard (that I HATE OMG).  SB tucks me in, and he often stays up reading or playing video games.  I apparently twitch or wiggle while falling asleep.

13 November 2008

This post on Jezebel provided today’s blog topic: the morning routine.

Lo these many years ago, back when I worked at the bank and had about a 15 minute commute, I had my morning routine down to a science.  A SCIENCE, I tell you.  I would put on the teakettle and a sauce pan of water before I got in the shower, and by the time I was done, the water would be boiling.  I’d start my cup of tea brewing, slip in my egg to poach, and pop my toast in the toaster, and by the time i was done getting dressed, breakfast would be ready for me to devour while checking my email, getting me out the door just in time to get to work.

In the intervening years, my schedule got weirder, I changed from driving to the bus to biking to the bus to the train, and I went through a phase of working 14 hour days and also closing out the bars with my coworkers, meaning that there was no morning routine – I was lucky to just get out the door in (mostly) clean clothes and get to work something resembling on time.

Jezebel readers were asked for their ideal routine – and their actual routine.  Here’s mine:

Ideal: Wake up at 6:30 and either run or have a cup of coffee waiting.  Shower, then get back in bed and cuddle for awhile.  Breakfast with SB, then off to work, getting in around 8:30.  Believe it or not, this is actually possible.

Actual: Alarm goes off at 6:30.  I hit snooze until 7:15 or later, as SB and I take turns groaning at the morning, pushing the cats out of our faces (I’m talking about you, BASIL.), and cuddling in our very warm and soft bed.  I drag myself out of bed and turn on both heaters in the bathroom, where the tiles have turned into ice cubes overnight.  Feed the cats, who get into a fight and then either 1) refuse to eat or 2) eat everything and then beg for more or 3) both.  Quick shower, then breakfast (yogurt + granola) while waiting for SB to get up/ready to go.  Out the door any time between 8:15-8:30, getting me to work right at 9 with coffee in hand (if I’m lucky).

What’s your morning routine?

12 November 2008

I just seriously had the most productive 3 hours of my day.  Between 6-9pm, I:

  • Made (and then ate) almost from-scratch chicken noodle soup (almost = store-bought broth & noodles).
  • Simmered last night’s store-bought chicken with some vegetables to make stock.
  • Re-pickled the pickled beans.
  • Made a batch of hardboiled eggs for SB.
  • Made from-scratch tomato bisque to freeze (I’ll add the cream when I warm it up).
  • Baked magical coconut oatmeal raisin cookies for Paola’s going-away party.

All that – and the dishes are done as well!  I feel terribly accomplished.

ETA: I also made pesto.  I forgot.

11 November 2008

I had to work today, but that in no way decreases my thankfulness for the various veterans in my life – my friends Mark and Matt, my grandfather – as well as all others in current military service.  It’s a tremendous thing that you’ve done or are doing, and I’m thankful for you, even if I don’t agree with the decisions our government has often made with regard to military deployment.

A quiet chilly day.  Data collection marches on, and I had a research appointment with a student about parasites.  SB brought home dinner, which was incredibly sweet and much needed.  Now, time for bed.

10 November 2008

Pumpkin Protein Bread

adapted from Mollie Katzen’s Sunlight Cafe

Nonstick spray

1 C all-purpose flour

1 C soy protein powder (we’ve used cinnamon bun and chocolate powders, both with excellent results)

1 t salt

2 t baking powder

1/2 C sugar

2 C pumpkin

2 large eggs

2 T vanilla extract

3 T unsalted butter, melted (optional)

1 C chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350.  Lightly spray a loaf pan with nonstick spray.  Stir together the flour, protein powder, salt, baking powder, and sugar until thoroughly combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips (if using).  In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, and butter (if using) and stir until uniform.  Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly blended.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, and bake in the center of the oven for 45-50 minutes.  Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then cool on a rack for another 20 minutes.  Bread should be golden – almost caramelized – on the outside, but rich, dense, and moist inside.  With a little whipped cream, you can almost pretend you’re eating a big slice of pumpkin pie – except with protein!

9 November 2008

Home safe.  Sarah summarized our weekend nicely here.  In the car on the way home I told Shane that it felt more like old times in Champaign than anything else, and I think that’s what I needed much more than just a weekend with friends.  We delivered Hannah safely to Dulles, and got home about half an hour ago.

Also, and unrelated to the above, today is my dad’s 56th birthday.  Thanks, Pop, for 50% of my genes and also for being awesome!

8 November 2008

It’s late, and I’m tired, and I’m not actually online, so this post will be delayed.  I’m hoping that a kitten will come sleep with me soon.  Had a nice day with the girls – got my nails done, ate Sarah’s excellent stew, and watched a LOT of The West Wing.  More of the same tomorrow, I have no doubt!  A nice weekend.

7 November 2008

It was apparently in the 70s today, though I spent my entire day indoors in my windowless office, emerging only to meet Hannah to get her luggage.  It’s a shame, though I think we’ll have good weather for at least part of next week.

Tomorrow we’re going to head down to Harrisonburg, then spend the weekend with our respective genders.  Sarah, Hannah, and I will do girlie things, and Shane, Greg, Andy, Mike, Dan, and Claire will be camping.  OK, Claire’s a girl, but she gets to hang out with the dudes.  Right now, though, Hannah’s asleep on the couch and is probably being molested by cats, while I wind down quickly in the bedroom.  It’s been a nice day.

Someone remind me to post my pumpkin bread recipe in the next couple of days if I don’t do so myself.  It’s So. Damned. Good. and also freezes well.