Monday, November 29, 2010

Numbers Monday

  • it's been 6 days since I was in lab. I've been working from home, trying to write and photoshop and all that good stuff. It's amazing how much less stressed I feel.
  • I purchased 7 Christmas gifts this past weekend. I found something my mom will love on sale for nearly 50% off. I also found some good deals on some other things both my parents and Alex's parents will (hopefully) love and all those have been ordered and are heading my way soon.
  • I ordered nearly 100 "save the date" cards for our wedding. When I received them, they looked WAY different from what our sample looked like. Turns out the printer wasn't aligned properly, so the colors in the ink didn't overlap correctly. Our cards look kinda like we were going for a 3-D effect. I'm glad I ordered early, since they'll be shipping me a new set hopefully today.
  • This past weekend, we watched four movies, including Capitalism: A Love Story, The Soloist, The Family Stone, and When Harry Met Sally. Alex also watched some move involving Chuck Norris and terrorist ninjas. Can you tell we're both battling colds? No 35 mile bike rides for us, let me tell you!
  • On Thanksgiving, we biked through the horrendous rain and sleet to our friend's house for dinner. We spent the evening with 3 friends and 3 new friends, eating copious amounts of food. We then proceeded to play a lively round of Trivial Pursuit from circa 1981. A lovely time was had by all.
  • Today, I went to the dentist at 7am and he told me I have one cavity, which I will go get filled soon. Let me tell you what a pleasant experience I had. I used to go to the Penn Dental School, where each appointment would last at least 2 hours, if not more. I have had several fillings done and then re-done there, most of the time requiring extra doses of novicaine just to get through the 3 hour procedure. I never had the same student more than two or three times, and I was always on the edge of my seat with anxiety at having to go there. This year, our insurance switched, so I am able to go to a real dentist with real skills. I cannot tell you how thankful and pleasant my experience was. I was in and out in 1 hour, having my teeth cleaned and X-rays done and an exam. I even received a prescription for my sensitive teeth and a primer on flossing and brushing from my super awesome technician. Wow. It's amazing the difference in experiences! I'm almost excited to go back in a couple weeks to get my fillings done. Almost.
  • On Saturday, I ventured into the city for the day, heading down to City Hall via the 48 bus. Lucky me, the ticket taking machine was broken, so I got not one, but two free bus rides, since I managed to catch the same bus on the way back home. I am pretty confident that will never happen again!
  • This morning, at 6:30am, it was a frosty 30 degrees. There was frost everywhere, which was really lovely to see. I was also a bit of a cold bike ride, but I'm not complaining. Having the dentist visit out of the way by 8am was priceless.
  • And now, I'm settling in to work on my paper and my figures. We've put up the tree and several strings of lights and I am listening to some instrumental Christmas music. A hopefully lovely Monday awaits!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Things I've Learned: Body Edition

Since today I turn 33, I thought I would pontificate about things I have learned about my body. Don't worry, this won't be anything risque!
  • My body can do more things than I thought it could. My usual limitation is not bodily ability but mental ability. As in: My body is usually fine going for a run or a bike ride, but it's often my mind that will double think and double talk to convince me not to do it. That said, there are some things that I cannot physically do. Certain poses in yoga which require a lot of arm strength are my weakness. While these are things I could improve, I usually just accept my limitations and move on. Things will improve over time. And that's why they call it a "practice".
  • Being tired or hungry is not an excuse to not exercise. When I begin to do something, anything, that feeling usually goes away.
  • Similarly, not fueling my body in the right ways makes me feel like crap. For example, if I eat out at McDonald's, even though it's tasty, I feel like junk the next day (or even within a few hours!). 
  • Yoga class once a week is beneficial. Trying to go more than once a week gets stressful.
  • Anything is exercise, including cleaning the house, dance class, raking leaves or a walk around the block. Any time spent not on the couch is better than time spent sitting.
  • Exercise outdoors, no matter how bad the weather, is always better than the gym. The bad weather makes the shower afterwards that much better!
  • My feet are the most important things in the world. High heels and flip flops are not beneficial. As much as I love those kinds of shoes, I have to limit the amount of time I walk in them because any injury to my feet literally can sideline me for a good long time.
  • I'm over cellulite. I don't think it's that important in the grad scheme of things. And honestly, I don't care if it's showing when I wear my bathing suit. And if anyone else cares? Oh well.
  • Often sports apparel, although hideous, is actually functional. Spandex, for example, or bike shorts with the huge padding for the rear. All functional, yet ugly. I am OK with that. I no longer need to be fashionable when taking part in sports. Similarly, tighter yoga clothes, although perhaps unattractive, are extremely functional (especially when doing handstands or headstands, so my shirt doesn't go up). I'm going to wear them even thought I am in a room full of totally fit kids with amazing bodies. I just don't care.
  • I have big boobs. I always have. There is nothing I can really do about it. They're not like hair that I can magically dye or cut. They're a part of my body. I don't appreciate being stared at while I run. I don't appreciate commentary from bystanders. And I don't appreciate that clothing makers have not yet realized that women come in several shapes and sizes, and that perhaps some shirts and sweaters should come in chest sizes too. I hate having to buy the size Large shirt or sweater for the boob coverage, but then have to deal with extremely long arms and torso on my short body.
  • I have shockingly long femurs. 
  • I have been menstruating longer than I have not been menstruating.
  • While there are still days that I don't like myself or my body, those are fewer and further between than when I was a teenager. I appreciate my body more for it's functionality than for how it looks. And I can still learn new things, sometimes it's just a bit harder than it used to be. And the soreness tends to last longer than it used to. Thank god for ibuprofen.
  • I cannot drink more than two or three drinks in one day. And if it's 3 drinks, there needs to be copious amounts of food involved over a long period of time. Otherwise, the next day is completely shot for me. Honestly, it's just not worth it anymore.
  • No matter how many times you do something, like run, or ride your bike, there is always something new to learn. Always.
  • I don't like to exercise with music (unless it's yoga class). The earbuds bother me, and I actually get more relaxation and stress relief out of running without music than I get running with music. With music, I can't get my breathing right, I am always on the lookout for other runners or cyclists or other path users. And the repetitive pounding on the concrete is somewhat cathartic.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Monday Numbers

  • This weekend, I went to one dance show, called Forever Tango. I thought it was a lot of fun, although it showcased pretty standard tango, with a lot of emphasis on a small orchestra and just a couple of people on the stage. The shows we normally go to are more modern and tend to highlight the athletic abilities of the performers, while this show focused mostly on the couple dancing a fairly complex tango. Alex thought the show was a little boring, and I would agree with him on that. He was also annoyed by the ridiculous cockiness of the performers, which I kind of loved. I thought it really embraced the idea of the Argentinian Tango to the nth degree. 
  • We went for a lovely 15 mile bike ride on Saturday. It was a bit chilly out, but the path was clear and there were very few people out. It was great to get out on the new road bike again (not in the rain), knowing that my time on it (at least outdoors) is quite limited. 
  • On Friday, I worked until nearly 9pm! There were lots of dramatic things happening in lab which I had to take care of. Thankfully, Alex was there to help me out with some of the more complex things. Sadly, I had to miss 2 thesis defenses and 3 parties because of the work situation. Bummer.
  • Tomorrow, I turn 33! I must admit, it's always been tough having a birthday right around a holiday. I'd love to go out and get some drinks with some friends, but most people are out of town, or heading that way. Therefore, Alex and I are heading to Buca di Beppo, the most ridiculous place for dinner. I've got a coupon for a free appetizer, so you can bet I am going to eat my stomach's worth (and then some!). 
  • I've already received several birthday presents, including a new yoga outfit, a coffee cup holder for my bike, a bit of makeup and some muffins. Pretty good haul, eh?
  • Honestly, I am most looking forward to having 4 days off! Woohoo!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Philly State of Mind

I love the original of this song (with JayZ and Alicia Keyes), but this one is kinda fun because it's about Phill-ay!

Monday Numbers

  • This weekend I did a lot of preparations. I ordered our "save the date" cards for the wedding and I ordered our Christmas cards, and I must say I had a lot of fun putting together these things online. There are so many resources that I just love! So, now we get to put together nearly 80 save the dates and nearly 60 Christmas cards over the next few weeks. Should be fun!
  • I received another early birthday present from my parents. They sent me a lovely box of 4 different types of muffins and 2 different kinds of crumpets and 1 jar of pumpkin butter. Yum!
  • This weekend was absolutely gorgeous weather, hanging in the 60s during the day and drooping to the 40s at night. The trees are still changing and the leaves are beginning to fall, which makes a lovely noise. I also love the crunching sound under my feet when I walk over the leaves. Just lovely.
  • We went for a 13 mile bike ride on Saturday. Unfortunately, I forced us to turn around because I am not comfortable riding my new road bike on the actual road. There are too many things to pay attention to, since everything on the bike is new to me. The traffic was pretty light, but between the unknown terrain and the newness of the bike, I don't think I'm Lance Armstrong yet :)
  • I bought my wedding dress last week. After making 2 trips to 2 different bridal stores, I found a dress that I really like. The best thing about it is that it was a sample dress, so I took it home with me that day. I must admit, I've walked around this city with all kinds of things (including dressers and couches) but walking around carrying a 20lb dress was probably the weirdest. I got lunch at a local restaurant and I had to get an extra seat for my dress! I finally got it home after a cab ride to work, and a cab ride home. That was a lot of work for a silly dress :)
  • I spent some time watching 2 episodes of Parenthood, the TV show. I love that show. It makes me want to have at least 4 kids and live in Berkeley. Haha!
  • Today I have listened to my cousin Adrian's album at least 2 times. I might go for 2 more :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Numbers

  • This weekend, we had 4 celebrations to attend. We went to a bar mitzvah, a friend's birthday and then visiting with some friends from out of town. Busy weekend! We hit up one synagogue, one community center, and three bars.
  • On Saturday alone, we took 2 trips on the high speed line, 2 trips on the subway, and 3 trips on the bus. It was a serious public transportation kind of day. It took us about an hour to go about 7 miles. Slightly ridiculous, methinks.
  • Shabbat services were interesting, but nearly 3 hours long. The people in the know told us that they even skipped some parts of the services since there were a lot of speeches and commemorations. There was a man there who survived the Holocaust and was turning 90 years old! I am becoming more and more convinced that no matter what religion you are, services are long and boring. Ha!
  • Yesterday was our errands and working day. It was lovely to fall back one hour! I woke up early, went for a 12 mile bike ride and the headed to brunch with about 20 other people. It's been very cold and blustery lately, so I was thankful to have on my gloves and ear warmers. I spent about 2 hours in lab, setting things up for today and then we headed home to make a huge pot of soup and an apple cake (seriously, I am getting SO sick of apples and apple related items! Ugh!).
  • Today, there is a talk by a famous guy named Mark Tessier-Lavigne at 12:15. Should be interesting, although it will likely be PACKED!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Haiku Friday

At home sick with a
cold; not surprising with the
November cold snap.


Tomorrow is the
bar mitzvah of the son of
my boss. Should be cool.


Am hoping to rest
up, work on my thesis, and
take down Halloween.

and now, for your viewing pleasure, a bit of Yellowstone...

 Jenny Lake

View from the road.

Lewis Falls.

More river views

He's a buff.

Here's another buff.

 The elk and deer were in the rut. This is what they do to trees.

Lower Yellowstone Falls.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Some of my favorites from the Rally

We were standing next to this guy for a while. It was super amusing to watch him "Hug it out"!


Seriously? Please stop getting "facts" from Fox!

Watch out for that dangerous Mexican food!

In fact, we are currently working on disrupting the space/time's just a HUGE secret, only known to the scientific community...whoops! Guess the secret's out!

It's odd that most of us know the difference, yet the media doesn't?

Love it!

I don't want the government in charge of my Medicare!

'Nuff said...

 Yay for the scientific method!

 It's true - we do need more cowbell!

Hmmm...conclusions based on FACTS? Wha?

I got these from the Huffington Post. There's way more here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thanks to Obama

We live in a "up and coming" neighborhood. We are in between a really nice, gentrified neighborhood near the Art Museum, with lots of young, mostly white couples and college age students, and a really, really poor urban neighborhood consisting mostly of minorities. The gentrification is moving through our area, but it's slow going since the whole economic disaster started. Our block is about 50% African American and 50% white, give or take a few percentages. Our block has abandoned houses on it (although nobody seems to use them), and we live one block from Girard. If you cross over Girard, you are in a pretty poor, nearly all African American neighborhood with high crime rates and very bad schools. There are very few restaurants in our area and the ones that are there are the cheap pizza or Chinese food places. We do have a Rita's Water Ice and a nice coffee shop is moving in, but the area is definitely depressed. Also, there are no grocery stores. There are corner stores, but no real grocery, with milk, fresh fruit and veggies, etc. We moved here because it's cheaper to live here. We've got a really nice house that was recently redone and a nice big backyard. The kids play on the streets and most of the neighbors are friendly. There's plenty of parking (if you drive) and it's close to Fairmount Park and the Schuylkill Trail and a quick bike ride to school. The neighbors all look out for each other, help sweep the streets, hand out candy to the kids on Halloween, take care of each other's sidewalks in the winter, etc. A real nice community. Surrounded by a mostly minority neighborhood. As a consequence, the people who send out the fliers and the information about voting tend to think we are African American. I've had phone calls from Jesse Jackson, talking about Dr. King's sacrifice so we can vote (technically true, but I'm pretty sure not entirely meant for me). I've received fliers telling me not to vote for Pat Toomey because he's against the Civil Rights Act and does not support minority owned businesses (yes, these are things I am concerned with, but again, not entirely my demographic - also, seriously? How can you be AGAINST the CIVIL RIGHTS ACT?). I've received other fliers of people running pictured with Obama, and other fliers featuring smiling African American families (which appear to include Mom, Kids, Grandma, but no Dad) talking about how they support a particular candidate. Granted, none of this bothers me in any way. It's just interesting to be considered to be part of a group that I am normally not in. I guess I've never been inundated with fliers that aren't aimed at my demographic (and, from what I hear, it's the African Americans and minorities who voted for Obama that are desperately needed to turn out in this election). And I wonder how much things have changed because we have an African American President. I've noticed more black men in advertisements for fine clothes or designer watches (like in the Macy's ads). I've noticed more billboards and more bus stop signs with African American men and women on it, advertising a large number of products, not just minority aimed products. I've noticed more commercials with African American men or women in professions (such as playing a doctor or a lawyer). I've noticed more groups on the news or reality TV having more that just one or two people representing minorities. I wonder if there really are more minorities being represented on TV, or if I am just more aware of it? Perhaps I've just been paying attention more lately. But I do have to say, being considered to be part of a coveted demographic (even if I am not one) is an interesting thing. It's interesting to see a glimpse of what urban African Americans might be looking for in a candidate. Gun control is emphasized a lot, for example. The bank bailouts are not. What I can say is that there is a HUGE push to Get Out the Vote in my neighborhood. I hope it works.

Monday Numbers

  • On Friday, we learned the Thriller dance in a class that was 1.5 hours long. The dance was really fun to try, but it's so hard to remember the different parts and to make your body move in a certain way. Even so, I had a blast! We even got 2 of our friends to joins us. At the last minute, I decided to dress like a newsboy, while Alex was a mountaineer. Random? I know.
  • We got up super early to head down to Washington, DC on the Chinatown Bus. The drive took nearly 4 hours, so we got to DC a little bit before the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear started. We headed to the mall with thousands upon thousands of people. Shockingly, everyone was quite civil and well behaved. We did witness one Segway group tour trying to head through the mall. That might have been a bad idea. Other than that, we saw lots of signs, many people in costumes, and had a great time. Mostly, it was awesome to see so many people out, asking for some temperance and sanity in the fear-mongering that the media gets away with. Some of my favorite signs: "I may disagree with you, but I don't think you're Hitler", "Free Hugs from a left wing liberal with a gay agenda", "All the words on this sign are spelled correctly", "Trust women", "The only thing to fear is Fox News". Most of the signs were funny or catchy, most were reasonable, some were silly or dumb. The people at the rally were quite polite, saying "Excuse me" to get past you, and trying not to bump into people. Most people cleaned up after themselves, such that, after the rally, the trash cans were full and the trash was piled neatly around the cans, not everywhere else. 
  • We hit 2 museums and 2 fast food joints while in DC. We checked out the Air & Space Museum, which is always a great time. And we checked out the National Portrait Gallery, which was super cool. We saw the original Obama "Hope" poster, and all the interesting portraits of the Presidents of the United States. Some things I learned at the National Portrait Gallery? Walt Whitman was gay. A display of pictures and writings by artists who are gay requires a sign in the room warning patrons that this art display explores ideas of sexuality. Odd. There was a president named Andrew Johnson, who became president after Lincoln was assassinated. While the room with writings and artifacts about gay people (but no nudity) required warning about "gay themes", the room next to the Hall of Presidents, which contained, nudity, pictures of same sex couples kissing, or engaging in vague sex acts, or pictures of people who are dying or have died of AIDS required no "warning". You just walked seamlessly from pictures of the Bushes and Reagan to pictures of naked men. The disparity was bizarre since, (methinks) its the "act" of being gay that really bothers people, not the words and letters from gay artists. Oh well, both displays were still really cool.
  • Our trip back to Philly was much shorter (2.5 hrs) since the traffic had thinned considerably. We sat in front of a group of college kids who talked incessantly for the last hour of the bus ride back. There were two boys who sang showtunes, and then discussed awkwardly how one of them liked somebody and what to do about it. It made me nostalgic for those days of college, but glad that I am where I am. When we got into Philly, we bought one bottle of Gatorade and one bottle of water and waited about 6 minutes for our bus home. Long day!
  • Alex visited two different stores in order to find Halloween candy yesterday. Apparently, there was a candy shortage in Philly because it was nowhere. He finally found three bags of candy and came home. We got about 12 trick or treaters last night.
  • I did about 6 loads of laundry yesterday, along with making one pork roast in the slow cooker and baking one loaf of banana bread. Sometimes, it's really lovely to be home on a Sunday and not have to work.