Saturday, September 20, 2008

More recent pics

A few more recent pics from the Museum of Life and Science

(this following one is from our house... ick)





Very similar to another pic

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Yearbook yourself!

At this website, Yearbook Yourself, you can upload a picture of yourself and then it will put your face on pictures of people from high school yearbooks ranging from the 1950s to 2000. Here are a few of my faves.

Here I am in 1956...


1962... (it took me ages to get my hair to do that!)





and 1992...

Obvs. I could not stop at myself, and I had to do Owen. You can see some of his stylin pics on his blog.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

pictures from this weekend

Owen and I had a busy weekend while Daddy worked on grant applications and job applications. More pics on his blog, but here are some of the pretty things we saw at the Museum of Life and Science or at Duke Gardens.

Hummingbird Clearwing Moth

pink rose

red rose





Sunday, August 24, 2008

Look who is in our wren house!

Yesterday (as we were getting ready for the Wiggles concert - see Owen's blog for deets) Brian called me outside to look at something. There was a little nose and hand sticking out of the hole in our wren house.

Flying Squirrel?
Flying Squirrel?
Flying Squirrel?

This flipped us out a little bit, because it looked sort of like a squirrel (although not really right - like, its eyes were too big for its head and too close to its nose) but we could not figure out how a squirrel could get out of that tiny hole. Later in the evening, after the concert, we went out to check to see if it was still there. I sort of shook the wren house (which is on a very tall pole), and the little squirrel came out.

It was VERY small. Had a thin, yet slightly bushy tail. It was on par with a chipmunk in size (at least it seemed like it was) but didn't have any lines on its back, and was really agouti (yes I am a mouse nerd) and not that sort of reddish color that chipmunks are.

Today I was trying to figure out what it was, and I think its a Southern Flying Squirrel. Cool!! Now we just need to catch it flying.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008


The Biggest Loser competition at work has finally ended, and I am celebrating with a piece of leftover (fabulous, and thank you Kara!) pie.

Oh, you didn't know I was a biggest loser AGAIN? Of course. Last time I was losing the pregnancy weight (easy). This time I was losing the pre-pregnancy fatness.

Things really went downhill when I was finishing up my Ph.D. I think that plus Ed's death (these two events were not that far from each other) really conspired against me, turning me into a total lard-ass. Also, even though I was not yet pregnant or even trying to be, we knew this was in the cards in the nearish future so I always thought, why bother? Why lose weight that I'm only going to put back on? I'll just wait and do it all at once.

Oh well.

So at the end of last years TBL competition (our team won due largely to the heroic efforts of two of the men on the team) I finished off the last of the baby poundage. Then I set about getting rid of the rest. It was hard while I was still nursing, but once that was all done and my body belonged to me again, I went back to work.

It hasn't gone quickly, for sure, but so far I'm 26 pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight. Woo! I lost 8 pounds during this years TBL competition, which I am happy with. I was much stricter with myself these last 8 weeks because my team was depending on me (and also our team captain is a slave, i'm kidding. mostly).

Of course my journey of deprivation... I mean lifestyle changes, and exercise does not end here - my goal is to lose 11 more pounds. %$#&.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

CSA week....9?

We are getting less leafy green food in our box and more of the kind of vegetables I actually use normally. This week we got a bag of red potatoes, a bag of green beans

(all of the potatoes and some of the beans are here)
some red cabbage (the savoy cabbage I bought at the Farmer's Market this weekend)

also carrots, scallions, more beets and two tomatoes. Okay, yes we did still get some leafyness in the form of braising greens (will be stirfried, most likely) and more chard. Brian is particularly excited about the chard and refuses to eat it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Another funny new comic in the paper

Our paper continues the comics trials. One that we have now I find particularly funny, 'Scary Gary'. It only recently started in our paper, but it appears to be about a vampire and a monster who now live in the suburbs, among normal people. You can read it here.

We also have another one that seems like it might be decent, Pooch Cafe.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Taken in our backyard and at Marbles Kids Museum.




stack four

Buggle in Japan take 2


Thursday, June 05, 2008


I still have two weeks of spinach in my fridge, and yet we are getting MORE SPINACH this week! And more swiss chard! Yow. Don't get me wrong, I like it, but I'm feeling like I'm drowning in greens. I have finally admitted defeat with two things (aka thrown them out) (and I wish I could say 'composted them' but I cannot):
a bunch of collards
a head of lettuce

We were planning a dinner with a friend who is also in a CSA. His wife is out of town this week, so he was telling me that he was feeling particularly overwhelmed by the greenery at his house and not knowing what to do with it. Here is an email exchange between us:

me: want to meet up for dinner tonight or tomorrow? i just can't do it on thursday.
Brian: Or D you're welcome to come over to ours and eat lots of leaf. We have lots of leaf, many shades of green leaf, some with yellow veins running through them.
D: far as leaf goes, thanks, but we are fighting our own losing battle. i can't be responsible for eating yours, too.

This week I made swiss chard rolls that I just sort of made up. Mixed a container of ricotta cheese with some pesto and a beaten egg, spread it on some chard leaves, rolled them up like enchiladas and put them in a baking pan. I also made some tomato sauce and put that over the top. It was good, but I think it would have helped to have at least blanched the chard before hand, to make it easier to work with and maybe not release quite so much water (made it a sort of soupy mess).

I also found that chard makes my teeth do the same funny thing that spinach does. They feel like they are dissolving.

I ate a lot of the broccoli in salads and I'm actually mostly caught up with the lettuce, finally. I saved the snow peas, a head of baby bok choi and some broccoli to stirfry, probably tonight. I also sort of made this, which was ADDICTIVE. I used 2x the soba, left out the mixed greens, used extra bok choi, went REALLY EASY on the oil (i think I only used maybe a tablespoon), didn't have any peanuts. It was fantastic. I am totally making it again. We are getting more bok choi this week.

We also had baby turnips cooked the way my boss likes them, in butter. They were tasty.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Going on a cruise!

Melissa and I just signed up for the Manic Mommies Escape 2008!

Manic Mommies is a podcast that is done by two working moms that live in the Boston suburbs. Tiffany got me into it to start with, right around the time I went back to work. The Manic Mommies kept me company on many lonely pumping sessions. Then Melissa had her baby and I got her listening to it too. She said "They remind me of us when we've been drinking." Totally.

Its funny listening to podcasts like this because you totally feel like you know the people, and yet they don't know you at all. One of the Manic Mommies, Erin, lost her sister last year. I sent her an email afterwards because I know what its like, and I sort of feel now like my mission in life is to help out other people who lost siblings. That's a whole other weird post for another time. Anyway, its just strange to feel like someone is one of your very good friends when they don't even know you.

They did the first MM Escape last year and I didn't go, but I totally wished that I had. So this year Melissa and I decided: We're GOING.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Mario Kart

We just got Mario Kart for our Wii. Let me know if you have it too so we can play each other online!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Yesterday I went out to lunch with the RTP working moms from my mommy group. We went to a new "contemporary mexican" restaurant in the area. When I got there the parking lot (it was in sort of a shopping center with other shops and restaurants) was already pretty full and I was worried that I would be driving around for ten years looking for a spot. I was super excited instead to see this:

Three spots right next to the restaurant! Reserved especially for me! Woo!

Of course when we finished lunch (it was yummy) and went back out to our cars I noticed that the other two spots were taken by non-hybrids (including 1 SUV, aka the anti-hybrid). Schmucks.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Win an Ergo

I kind of want an Ergo (a soft carrier), but I haven't spent the money on one. I have a hip carrier that is ALL RIGHT. And was cheap. But someone posted a link to this contest to win an Ergo, and you get a bonus entry if you put a link to the contest on your website!

Win a Free Ergo Baby Carrier from Along for the Ride

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Damn straight.

Apparently its World Vegetarian Week! So here are thetop ten reasons to go vegetarian.

Its true that it is so much easier now than it was when I stopped eating meat, lo these twenty years ago (approx). Then, going out for dinner meant eating a dinner salad and soup that you knew wasn't really vegetarian because it was made with beef broth, but at least it didn't have pieces of meat in it. Now I have choices between actual ENTREES at most places (not all, but most). Sometimes I have five or six things to choose from, that is hard! I don't know how meat eaters choose from a whole menu. I'm so used to not having a choice that I am overwhelmed by five or six options!

CSA week 3: Drowning in lettuce

I eat a huge salad every day at lunch, so I didn't think this would be a problem, but I am drowning in lettuce. I got behind last week on my salad consumption because I didn't go to work for lunch on two of the weekdays, and on the weekends I am less strict with my diet and eat leftovers and no salad. That put me one head of lettuce ahead on Thursday when our next box came, which contained another bag of spring mix and two more heads of lettuce. I can see now how this can get overwhelming!

We got a lot of greens last week: two kinds of kale, more spring mix, more cilantro, more arugula and some bok choi. Other than greens we got some broccoli. Broccoli is mostly gone to salads, So now I've got arugula waiting to be used, cilantro (waiting for taco night which is tomorrow) and bok choi, which will be stirfried in much the same way that we did with the 6 heads of baby bok choi we got last week (yummy). I am saving the last bunch of kale at the moment hoping for another bunch in Thursday's box. This week we used kale in:
Lentil soup (Owen loved this - the things he likes just crack me up sometimes)
Mashed potatoes

Both of these were great, although Brian prefers regular mashed potatoes. I think its the olive oil flavor that he doesn't like.

We also signed up for strawberries, an extra, but they were very good.

Since we got a lot of greens and not much else, we went to the Farmers' Market on Saturday and got some extras: radishes, baby turnips (these came in our box in week 2 and were great! taste like horseradish without the bite) and cauliflower. Purple cauliflower. How could I pass that up??

Friday, May 16, 2008

Worst pet parents

We are the worst pet parents ever. We have a sheltie which means he has long hair and needs to be brushed regularly. We've had him for three years and have been doing the vast majority of his grooming on our own but honestly, once Owen came along we have not been as good. Consequently his fur has gotten matted in places and we were not able to brush it out. So Brian made an appointment to take him to the groomer. The groomer told him that he would not be able to brush him out either, so we really didn't have much of an option. So here's our new dog:

For reference, here's Milo before:
dad and milo

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Best blog ever...

...well, besides mine, of course.

In my mommy group we talk about parenting, yes, but we also talk about whatever. One thing that comes up a lot is the discussion of grammatical or spelling errors that DRIVE YOU INSANE. A perennial favorite is "irregardless", a non-word that you say when you really mean to say "regardless".

Something that drives me insane is when people use quotation marks incorrectly. They think, for some reason, that quotes around a word indicate a particular emphasis on that word, which is, of course, completely not true. I HATE THAT.

Anyway, someone else in the mommy group hates that too, and she sent me this blog which is hilarious. I present to you:

The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

CSA update

I also wanted to keep you posted on the progress of our first CSA box!

I have been rationing out the carrots and radishes for my daily lunch salads, but I used the last of the radishes today and will finish off the carrots tomorrow. Also gone are the salad greens (in salads... duh), the kale and part of the spinach (in Penne with Greens, olives and Feta from my April Bon Appetit), the braising mix (Stir-fried tofu with greens and peanuts - this was made unspicy though for Owen - not that he even ate any of it). I still have a bit of spinach and cilantro left, all of the parsley and the arugula. I have some ideas for the arugula (beets and gorgonzola being chief among them) but my boss, who is in the same CSA, can't stop talking about this recipe for roasted carrot salad, so I may hope for more carrots in the next box and try this out.

Amee's wedding Part I

Finally getting around to posting all about our trip to Pittsburgh for Amee's wedding! First of all, this was super exciting because we left Owen here. We just filled up a whole bunch of bowls with Cheerios and covered the floor with plastic, left him without a diaper on. It was all good. No, my parents came up from Florida to stay with him.

Anyway, no kid. That was exciting. We love him, but getting up at 6:30 on Saturday and Sunday has really lost its charm.

On Thursday we drove out to Pgh in my car so we could get better gas mileage. We didn't do as well as I normally do, I think we had about 40-41 mpg. Disappointing! Brian is not used to driving so low to the ground and with his legs so scrunched in. He managed though. We no sooner got to our hotel than I had to take off for Amee's house for the very exciting ritual of getting henna tattoos (mehndi).

Here's Amee starting out. She was sitting there for, I think, over THREE HOURS.
This is the start of a 3+ hour long mehndi session

Here's her hand afterwards (she got this on the front and back of both hands and on both feet)

and here is what she looked like the next day:
Amee's massive mehndi

Dan's family was also there and they got henna'd, and so did I. It was really exciting!
after my mehndi was put on
after my mehndi was put on

The artists just put the stuff on with a paper cone, sort of like they were decorating a cake. They were just coming up with the designs off of the top of their heads! It was really neat to watch. You let the henna dry until it gets sort of crackly and then you mop it with lemon juice. No idea what that is for, but I think it helps your skin take up the henna. Or something. Don't listen to me, I have no idea what I am talking about.

I learned a lot of exciting things about mehndi. First, the color comes from a reaction where something in the henna binds to the melanin in your skin. So it isn't like its on top of your skin and you can wash it off, it is sort of in your skin. Second, the darkness depends on the heat of your body. It is darker in warmer parts and lighter in cooler parts (see how the tone changes from Amee's hands to her arms).

Okay, so after we got our henna (and while Amee was still sitting) we had dinner. Lots of Amee's family and friends were there, and it was a buffet of wonderful Indian goodness. More Southern Indian (I think) and ALL VEGETARIAN. This is like my heaven. There was even a guy there making dosa and uttapam on a portable griddle. I love dosa. Of course, my hands were covered in sticky henna and lemon juice, so Brian (who had joined us by this point) had to help me eat. The food was fantastic though (this is going to be a theme here, I'm just warning you).

Here's what my mehndi looked like the next morning.
my mehndi
my mehndi

The next day we went back to Amee's house for a ceremony of some sort, where they are basically getting the bride ready for the wedding and doing a lot of blessing of things, or making offerings, or something like that. Basically we all sat on the floor (all women) with Amee and her family at the front, in front of an altar type thing.

Then the priest talked or chanted a lot (it turns out that he was speaking Sanskrit) and put things on various places on the altar (like money, food, flowers, a coconut, some other stuff). Then he lit a fire in this little bowl (that sort of freaked me out - fire in Amee's living room!) and Amee and her family would throw things in the fire. This all had meaning and stuff, but I can't really help you with any of that. It was neat to watch though. One of our other sorority sisters, Lis, was a bridesmaid and was there for all of this too. We were the only two non-Indians in the room, and we were totally confused. But at least we were confused together.

Then we did something else very exciting: Amee got all dressed up in another nice sari and we smeared turmeric paste (my friend Archana tells me it is turmeric and sandalwood) all over her. She sat on a stool in the middle of the room and everyone took a turn. It was awesome.
Rajvee and Amee

Lis and I took a turn as well (like we would miss out on this!).
Lis, Amee and I + turmeric paste

This post is getting long, so I will break it into two.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Poor put upon Republicans.

I have been punished for being a Republican and, in particular, not caring about Obama. Because he is here today (well, in Carrboro) and having a rally or something and ARCADE FIRE is playing at it.

I didn't even know about it because - how would I? Boo hoo.

I am in a serious Arcade Fire rut right now, for which I have my friend Kathy to thank. Funeral is such a great album, and 'Neighborhood 1-Tunnels' is in serious, heated competition for Wilco's 'I Am Trying To Break Your Heart' for best song ever written, ever (so funny too because I'm really not a huge Wilco fan overall, but that song is nearly perfect). Neon Bible is good too but it (except maybe 'Intervention') has not grabbed me in the same way, although Owen quite likes it. He sits in the back of the car and claps all the way through 'Keep the Car Running'.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

First day, CSA.

This year we joined a CSA. CSA = Community supported agriculture. We paid a certain amount to a local farm for a 'share' in the farm, and every week they deliver a box of goodies to our door. I wanted to do this last year when I was all making baby food for Owen and wanted him to eat only fresh, organic produce (now I am happy if he eats ANYTHING), but I thought about it too late and we weren't able to get in.

We are doing this through Timberwood Organics. They sell at some local farmers markets, but not at the Durham one, I don't think. Unless I missed it.

Anyway, today our first box came and it was super exciting. We got kale, spinach, salad mix, braising greens (a mix of greens), parsley (curly parsley though. I am really a flat parsley kinda girl) and cilantro, and carrots and radishes.

I am going to be eating some awesome salads this week! I have been hoarding recipes for kale as well, in anticipation.

Brush with death

In my endless effort to lose 20 pounds (er... more than 20, but I've already lost 20 so now I've got ANOTHER 20), I have been trying to go for a walk around the lake at work when I have a short experimental break. It takes me about 25 minutes to get around, going at a decent pace, and I usually listen to podcasts or call my mom or Melissa and catch up.

(And people always think I'm sort of strange when this happens because it just looks like I'm listening to my iPod, but I'm talking to myself as well - remember the iPhone has a little microphone on the earbuds!)

Anyway, today I was on the phone with Mel having a convo about whatever when all of a sudden - PANIC! Because I spotted this in my path:

When I first saw it it was on one side of the path, just starting to head across. I had to wait for it to go. I wouldn't say that I'm afraid of snakes the way that I am afraid of bugs, but I still was picturing this snake rearing up and biting me, or constricting me, or whatever it is that they do. When it was fully crossed over the path, I RAN past.

Once I finally got past the snake and settled back into a normal conversation, we were again interrupted by my second brush with death:

This looks like an innocent pair of geese with their three, cute, puffy, little babies. If you are a long time reader of this blog, however, you will remember this fateful day, the day that I found out that geese are not all cute and innocent but are ATTACK BEASTS. Their tendency to attack is even higher when they have babies with them, so I sort of tiptoed along quietly behind them until I thought I could get around. The one goose totally came for me, hissing. Gack. I had to wait a little bit longer but I was able to run fast and make it, unharmed.

You're not even safe at work.