I'm breaking the cardinal rule of my blog: telling a not so happy story.

So I went out to eat tonight with a friend from Florida, Josiah. We got a bunch of the Snack Hour specials at Uno Chicago Grill, but he had to rush back to work so we didn't get to eat all of the food we ordered. Well, since he's only here for work and is staying in a hotel he couldn't take any food with him, so I got to take all the leftovers home! :) So I walked my mile home through downtown with my two Styrofoam containers, excited about tomorrows lunch and dinner menus.

Well on my way home I saw a homeless man. Wanting to avoid the awkwardness I tried to cross the street before I got to him, but there was traffic and before I could cross he spotted me and implored, "Can you spare some food?! Can you spare some food?!"

"Of course I can," I responded without thought and then selected one of the containers for him and continued on my merry way.

Normally I would feel good about helping out a homeless person, instead of just lying and saying that I don't have any change, but about a half block away I realized that I should have given him both of them! That was the most selfish thing ever. He doesn't know when his next meal will be and I kept one for lunch tomorrow! I mean, my milk is sour and I've had leftover enchiladas for the past four days, but I at least have a stable food supply. Andrew tried to make me feel better by explaining that I was helping to sustain him and that he didn't need to gorge himself or keep meat overnight, but I just feel awful.

I was thinking that since I live in an urban area I could give a homeless person a granola bar or snack pack from my lunch (you know, in the carpet bag purse). I'd rather give a homeless person food instead of money. Don't worry though, I've got this city-gig under control. I'm not gonna feed them daily. The number one rule: Never stop walking. Just hand off and keep moving. Kind, but not making yourself vulnerable, hence why being prepared is best. If you're prepared it's safer that way--no stopping and shuffling through wallets, purses, etc. for money. Safety first!

The irony of it all was that as I boxed up my food, Josiah said, "Do you want this chicken quesadilla? I didn't even touch it?" I responded, "Sure! That will be great to take to work tomorrow for lunch." Then I jokingly added, "What if I have to give this great food away to a homeless person and never get to enjoy it?!" I said it all in complete jest since I've never encountered that situation before, but I think it really helped me to be mentally prepared. I would have been totally caught off guard. But now I'm thinking, what are the odds that I was walking home with two take-out containers of leftovers? I could easily have grabbed some food for dinner on my way home to eat at my apartment. That would have been a bigger test. Then what would I do? Give away my dinner and scrap something together or keep walking?



Just got back from a Fun, Family-Filled, weekend in Florida!


Split Second Decision

So I realize I'm a proponent of doing something fun and crazy daily or weekly, but what I did was just plain crazy. Not recommended.

Where do I begin... So I had a flight today at 4:20 in the evening to fly home for the weekend. I was on a roll at work and struggled to tear myself away. I had just made a break through on aggregating and analyzing my U.S. Census disability data and didn't want to quit (exhilarating, huh? Sadly, it actually is to me sometimes). Well I manage to pull myself away at 2:15. Walk home in the torrential downpour and scarf down a lunch. Well unfortunately I didn't "scarf" that fast, next thing I knew it was going on 3pm. I live 20 minutes from the airport, so I quickly finish packing my bag and dart out the door. I weave through traffic and rain and manage to make it there in a timely manner.

As I approach the airport I make a last minute decision to fork up a little extra cash and park in the long-term parking garage, instead of the long-term lot. Without much deliberation I make a quick left and pull into the garage, finding a spot right near the exit. Perfect. I jump out and start swiftly walking toward the terminal, passing people on my way. Luckily the security line was only a few snaking curves. I made it through security, found my gate number and got to Gate 15 just in time..."What time is it?" I thought to myself. I dug in my pursue to look at my phone...my phone was not there! Panic set in. I looked at the man standing next to me at the gate and asked the time. Thankfully he was precise, "3:36" he responded. Where is my phone?! In the bathroom? At security? In my car? I had a split second to decide if I search for it and risk missing my flight or just hope it's in my car waiting for me when I get home Sunday. I stopped, I thought, I ran. Can't live without my phone. How would my dad know to pick me up? How would I call Andrew? Ok, really, I didn't need the phone, but I know that if I didn't go back and at least check I would worry all weekend and wonder if it was there.

So I took off towards the exit, not sure if I could get back through security once they had already marked my ticket, but I didn't care. I felt a little awkward running past people exiting. I must have looked really eager to wait for my bag or really excited to see someone about to pick me up...unfortunately it was neither. I ran out the door back towards the garage. Now, I'm not the most in-shape person I know, but especially not when I'm running in jeans and Crocs, through the rain trying not to slip (Crocs=no traction), with a small tapestry suitcase tastefully decorated with a beach scene (the kind old people can't pass without complimenting), and a pursue over my shoulder that is more like a carpet bag (you know, the kind Mary Poppins had. The type that women pull things like full size umbrellas, coat racks, and furniture out of). So I ran/walked to my car.

As I approached, fear set it, what if it wasn't there? What if I miss my flight? What if this was all in vain? I nervously approach the passenger's door and open it. Nothing. No phone in the console. "Ok, try the driver's side," I tell myself, "a different perspective may clear this up." Negative. I frantically start padding under the seat. Nothing. I make one last attempt and jump in the car and peer between the driver's seat and the console....like the golden ticket in a Wonka Bar, it glistens at me. I grabbed that phone, threw it in my carpet bag of a purse, zipped that sucker in a side pocket, and tore down the parking garage back to catch a flight to Florida. I ran so fast. Well let's be realistic, there was no miraculous boost of energy or oxygen. I ran. Walked. Ran. Walked. And got back to security just in time to see a line at least twice as long as the previous one I stood in. Guess I knew the answer to the "Please, don't let there be any line" prayer.

Now the fear has really set in. I am sweating bullets--this is unique coming from the girl who wasn't sure her sweat glands still worked or her pores still open. Oh, apparently they are and I didn't even need to go to a gym to figure that out. I'm hot, panting, sweating, nervous, stressed, and freaking out. I feel bad for the people all standing around me, what an awkward person to be in line with. Am I nervous about missing a flight? Nervous about flying? Just plain sketchy?

Ah yes, the random TSA agent is walking through the line, from the front to the back, not saying anything just making eye contact with people to signal his willingness to help. Good. He gets to me, I said to him, "I've already been through security and had to exit to run to my car," (still panting, I probably didn't have to tell him I'd been running, he knew). "Oh, well did you get a 'front of the line pass' on your way out?" he asked. Seriously? Would I be asking you for help if I had a pass to skip to the front of the line?! "No? Well you're just going to have to wait in this line then. Next time get a pass." 'Cause that was the first thing on my mind before my panicked run! Thanks.

Waiting, waiting, waiting. "I'm not gonna make it. I'm not gonna quit sweating. If I do make it, I'm gonna smell so bad no one is going to want to sit next to me," all happy thoughts running through my head, of course. I finally get to the front, as if my already marked ticket isn't sketchy enough I panic and drop my drivers license. Then when they ask if I have liquids, I balk. "No" I lie thinking I'll save time. I did. Luckily I make it to the next stage with no qualms. I get to the security line and toss my stuff into the bins. "Come on gramps" (my thought bubble). The old guy in front of me is a tad bit slow. I've already done this, I'm ready to go, I probably had my shoes and coat off before I even got to the ticket checkpoint, I do it. I am that pushy lady who is running late and asks to cut. He says, "sure," I say "great, my flight leaves at 4:20" (it's 4:00 by this point), he responds, "oh I leave at 4:15". Great, I can't cut a guy who has five minutes less than me before flight time. I patiently wait. He tries to small talk about how we spend so much time packing and making it neat only to tear stuff out when we go through security. Interestingly, the guy at the metal detector says, "Hey, weren't you just here?"
"Yes," I tell him, "I had to run back to my car."
"Didn't you have your hair down before?" he asks.
"Yes, that was before I went for a little jog to my car," I respond.
(Note: This man sees hundreds, maybe even thousands of people a day, and he not only recognizes me, but notices that my hair is different! Wow, hopefully he's scrutinizing our luggage that closely).

We make it through, and the old guy in front of me has the nerve to turn to me and say, "We've even got time left to grab a coffee!" I grab my stuff and again, take off running, still awkwardly and ineptly all the way back to Gate 15, just in time to see the previous flight deplane and my boarding begin.

What a stressful hour at the airport! Had I waited any longer to leave my apartment I wouldn't have had that extra time. Had I parked in the cheap-o economy lot I wouldn't have had time to wait for the shuttle to pick me up and drop me off. Had I just had the phone in my pursue in the first place I wouldn't have given myself an ulcer! So, I did make my flight, I do have my phone, and I can feel my legs tightening up from the unexpected work out.


Curious What I do All Day?

Probably not, but I'll give you the info just in case you are!:) 40% of my time is spent working on projects for and with neighborhood residents on a grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics. If you select the state of Rhode Island on the drop down list on the following website it will give you some links to read the brief project descriptions. The projects are pretty fun and very interesting.

1. http://www.aap.org/commpeds/grantsdatabase/grantsdb.cfm
2. Under "States, Territories, and Countries" select Rhode Island
3. Click, "Basic Submit"

Just a little snapshot about what I learned yesterday at work:


It's a Beautiful Day!

How could anyone not love this walk to work? I might not love that whole 9-5 thing, but I sure love living in a city!!


Saturday Morning Outrage

I don't know how to adequately display or explain this, but bear with me. So the cute little 1814 apartment I live in has some quirky 1800s characteristics accompanying it. One being, non-automotive features. At some point over the past 200 years a hill was created and a building erected on top of the hill directly to the north of my building. Well, my guess is that it happened at least 80 years ago because the driveway for our parking lot is barely wide enough for a car to get through.

Exhibit A
So basically every time, I, or anyone else from the 6-unit building enters or exits the parking lot, I fear for my life. There are a few things to fear. 1. I could scrape the nice rock foundation (on the right side of the picture) and mutilate the side of my car. 2. I could hit the side of the building and get mutilated by the landlord for structural damage (although I think it could somehow be his fault). 3. If someone else is pulling around the corner in their car, I fear that they will hit the side of the building, bringing my closet and bathtub raining down through the side of the insufficient structural support. Any way, I lose.

Well thus far, this has been no big deal. No one has died. No one has hit the wall. No one has decimated the side of the building. "Okay, then there is no problem," you think. Oh think again. Good, old, Walt, the landlord has gotten greedy. It only makes sense. Think about it: There are only 5 or 6 tenants in the building and only 5 or 6 cars. Nine cars could easily fit in the lot.

Yes, as if moving my car at 6:45 on a Saturday morning was not bad enough, I did it for this:
Mr. Greedy Landlord wanted to paint some lines and numbers. I realize that this cannot adequately represent the mayhem going on down there, but take my word for it, it's ridiculous. The spots are narrow and the turning radius is obsolete! One tenant has to park all the way to the right (spot 7, not shown) because the only way he can get out is by directly backing his Envoy straight out--none of that turning around the corner business. Well you've seen the narrow entry (it would be on the far lower right of this picture). There is no possible way for spots 8 and 9 to get out. They cannot turn around and do not have enough room to maneuver the required 180 degree arc turn in reverse. Lastly. Do you see the corner of the building on the top left of the picture? This is our laundry room. How in the world do you imagine someone pulling into spots 1 or 2?

So, the sad story is that we struggle to accommodate 6 cars and we may have to welcome some spot-renters up to 9 cars! The guy next door gets nervous just pulling his Schwinn in to the lot (ok, a little exaggeration).

Wow. Happy Saturday!


FYI: The Blue Font

It has been brought to my attention that it may not be too obvious that the words in blue are links. Some may be quite humorous, so please, indulge.

Apologies to Any Entomologists

You have a few less specimens to study and it's all my fault. Forgive me if this offends you, but I hate insects. All insects. From maggots to flies and fleas to mosquitoes. If it can crawl or fly and not tell me why it wants to bite or sting me, then I don't like it. Well, despite the fact that it was a crisp 62 degrees in my apartment when I woke up this morning there was a giant (ok, an oversize housefly) bug on my Joy dish soap. I couldn't tell if it could fly so instead of risking an escape from a missed swat I got out my trusty Eureka--appropriately named "The Boss" by the fine people at Eureka. I turned that cyclonic-powered vacuum on so fast that creepy crawly thing never saw it coming. Apparently 62 isn't cold enough to kill bugs. My thoughts are this: I can't wait for Winter. Not only because it's my favorite season or because it brings snow, lit fireplaces, winter hats, Christmas music, and a plethora of other amenities, but especially because Jack Frost nips the heck out of bugs. Last week there was a spider on my bed...I glory in the days when he is but a faded memory and not a reoccurring nightmare.


Tonight's Menu:

Filled-French Toast

I'd really rather not admit my snobbery and poor decision, but it's true. Andrew and I snobbishly passed over all the other breads at Whole Foods Friday night because the French bread was fresh...still warm in fact!! Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist, or even an urban planner, to realize that the bread currently (Tuesday) sitting unsliced on my counter is now the same temperature as all the other poor leavened loafs left on the shelves that fateful night. So to send my condolences, I will be making the Filled-French Toast for dinner, before it molds. The French toast was neglected on Saturday in lieu of a breakfast date at the Norquist's.

"Filled?" you think to yourself. Filled. It's true. "How's she gonna do that?" you say aloud. Well wonder no more. I'll just give you the recipe.

  • 1 loaf French bread, sliced into 12
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam
  • 2 cup milk
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

  1. Mix together cream cheese and jam. [Really difficult without a mixer, trust me, the old fork doesn't do the job]
  2. Spray 13x9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Arrange 6 slices of bread in dish.
  4. Spread cream cheese mixture equally on slices of bread; top with remaining bread.
  5. Combine next milk, eggs, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Pour mixture over bread; sprinkle with pecans [Yuck, don't do it!]
  6. Bake uncovered, at 350 for 35 minutes.
  7. Enjoy!
I'm not sure if this helps make it look more appetizing, but it was divine! I should also mention that I didn't really follow the instructions (no surprise), so good luck if you do! That whole 5 eggs, 2 cups of milk thing kind of freaked me out. I was going for French toast, not quiche, so I just made it like regular french toast by dipping it into a smaller egg mixture.


Why I Love New England

So Saturday at 3 pm, Andrew and I had no plans for the next 24 hours and what plans we did have got canned! We were discussing the relocation of the Cubs vs Houston game as a result of Hurricane Ike, which naturally led to discussing the Cubs standing...which naturally led to discussing the Rays. Well, while checking the Rays lead we also noticed that they were playing in Yankee Stadium Saturday and Sunday. Andrew and his dad travel a lot to see baseball games all over the continent (including Canada!) and he mentioned that he had never seen Yankee Stadium, which will be demolished after this season.

Well I watched the Bucket List a couple weeks ago (courtesy of Redbox) and instead of waiting until the end to seize the day, I decided to conquer this world in a piecemeal fashion. My new life policy: do one thing everyday that is fun, crazy, or spontaneous. So far, I'm achieving about one a week. And generally, my extent of "craziness" involves splurging for take out or making a last minute decision to go out with friends in the evening. Well, not this time. This time doing something crazy and spontaneous meant throwing logic and planning to the wind.

At about 4:00 pm we purchased two tickets for Sunday's game and then rushed out the door to meet Fran and Dave for the Philharmonic Orchestra. We spent the evening with the Sadeehs and Norquists eating fancy Italian appetizers, enjoying Italy's delightful Chianti wine, and indulging in exquisite desserts--Pierson style, of course (we all shared and just passed the plates round and round til they were finished). Well, as is required with any spontaneous decision, planning is strictly prohibited, so naturally, the Internet was down Saturday night forcing all planning aspirations to be abandoned.

Sunday morning we set out for New York City! All we knew was that there was a train track that rain through Southern Connecticut and we would rely on Nigel (my British GPS) for the rest! With Nigel in hand we started randomly selecting train stations and calling to get the schedule and Park & Ride information. No surprise, I was late, so we couldn't make the New Haven train, but if we drove a little further to Stamford, we could be 20 minutes early for that same train!

We got to Stamford, grabbed a Boston creme donut at the train station and headed for Harlem! We walked a few blocks through Harlem to the subway station and then got off in the Bronx! We got roasted by the blazing sun and smoked by the Yankees, but it was nevertheless an historic and exciting game in the Stadium!

We left the Bronx and headed for Midtown. We strolled through Central Park, eating a stale and terrible cheese-filled soft pretzel, and laid in the meadow with hundreds of other people on what I believe was a field of poo and grass patches (Andrew assured me it was "dirt"). We then walked along the Mall (promenade) past all sorts of characters--creepy statue people, a crazy rollerblading club, and lots of European tourists who apparently were informed that all pictures in Central Park must be taken individually and seductively. Lastly we walked 30 blocks up 5th Avenue, past Radio City Music Hall, to Rockefeller Plaza where we sat outside my mecca (the Today show studio) eating some greasy pizza! We enjoyed a lively discussion about the proper age to take children on vacation (inspired by many annoying children who seemed too young to enjoy the city or even remember their trip and appeared to tirelessly wear their parents out and go through cash like it was toilet paper). We briskly walked through Grand Central Station directly onto our train and headed back home. All the while repeating how surreal the spontaneous trip was.

So as I sat at work today I texted Andrew to remind him that it wasn't a dream. Twenty-four hours prior we really were in Yankee Stadium, lounging in Central Park, and eating in Rockefeller Plaza. Unfortunately, he was also not dreaming that he was actually back in Champaign after a brief affair with the City and side trip through Chicago. This my friends is why I love New England. There are not many places where you can go to so many incredible destinations in such a short amount of time.



Who needs a dishwasher when your water comes in two temperatures: steaming and boiling? I didn't know that you could feel heat through rubber gloves til I moved here! I just hope this boiler matches the production of winter heat!


Urban Living

So finding time to blog while being the little urbanite that I am has proved to be more difficult than I thought it would be. After work last Wednesday I walked to the mall and did some shopping for baby Reagan. Thursday I walked to Wickenden to meet up with a friend in town from grad school. And Friday I went out to dinner downtown with co-workers.

I had a pretty eventful weekend as well. I finally got to go to the grocery store, now that my car is out of the shop, and got much needed groceries. It must have looked like I was feeding a large family! Ha! I did get a little extra because Andrew will be coming in town this weekend. I bought some stuff to make chicken Alfredo, chicken enchiladas, and chocolate cheesecake bars.

I also went to a surprise birthday party for a friend from church. It was a lot of fun and I am starting to get to know people and make friends. I even have a date! I'm meeting up with a gal Emily for ice cream on Tuesday night when her husband has class...sneaky!



Well, yesterday's post was a bit too long for me, so I'll make today's shorter to make up for it. My goal is an easy-read, short-updates, type blog to keep friends and family updated on the little details of my life. Again, inspired by the reader-friendliness of my friend in Brooklyn.

Well, I'm sensing a trend in my apartment: things that fall and make loud crashing noises when I'm alone and sleeping. So, I may or may not have mentioned that my 1814 abode is a bit slanted. I'm going with a 7% grade, but that could be underestimating it (way underestimating it). Well last night at about 4:30 my roller blades just up and went for a short spin. They rolled a little and then crashed to the ground! I was pretty sure it was someone coming through the wall or the door, but luckily that was just my judgment impaired by the fact that it was only in the 4 o'clock hour!

All is well. I have promised the blades a nice outing over the upcoming week. We will thoroughly take advantage of the crisp almost-fall weather (well unless Gustav, Hanna, or Ike stop by for a visit).


Labor on Labor Day

Well this has been quiet the "bachelor" weekend. It started with me making a trip to the hardware store Friday night to fix my closest (unsuccessfully, of course); eating pizza and bread sticks for dinner Saturday night (super unhealthy for me); attempting to fix my car on Sunday (ok, just watching as Sam worked on it); and using a plunger on something besides a toilet on Sunday.

So I apparently have too much stuff in my closet for the shelf and pole to carry the weight. No surprise for anyone that knows me, so I have to buy a 66.25 inch pole support it. No problem, they sell them at Adler's right down the street. No one's gonna mess with a dame with a five and a half foot pole in her hands. For all they know it's a giant nun chuck or saber or a joust--something to be feared either way.

I have so little food right now that I ordered in Dominos. I sat around in a messy, foodless apartment and watched a movie with greasy pizza hands in my bed! I definitely put it promptly in the fridge though, unlike some bachelors who leave it out all weekend and still eat it! I won't lie, I have eaten pizza left out for days before, and I'm still alive, so I guess I can't hate on those who do that. Having car problems definitely doesn't help me get to the grocery store any quicker. I have everything I need within walking distance (gas station, a Redbox, my hair lady, my dentist, a dozen restaurants, a movie theater, a mall, work, pretty much anything...except a grocery).

My battery light on my car is flashing...and when I accelerate, well my airbag light, oil light and check engine light, come on to join the party as well. So going for a spin results in a light show, what are you gonna do? It'll get fixed. There's also a car mechanic within walking distance too! So my car is broke, no biggie. It's only the second time she's let me down. She's a good car. Reliable, honest, and smitten with good looks.

And the last event in my weekend saga, the plunger. Well about once a week my razor holder likes to de-suction from the wall and the heavy, metal-garnished razor make an incredibly loud and unnecessarily frightening sound at about 3AM. Well last week took the cake. The clear, plastic, blade protector committed suicide. Sick of plummeting 5 feet, it jumped ship. Right down the drain. Well, luckily apartments built in 1814 don't have fancy drain covers, so it succeeded. I searched endlessly, but to my avail, it was gone for good. Well the combination of narrow piping, years of hair/debris and a razor cover lodged in the pipe create what I like to refer to as the "foot wash"...you know a 6 inch retention of water to soak your feet and make them nice and clean...or coated with the previous tenants' germs, skin cells and hair. Now, I don't like to call myself a genius, and I may quickly discover I'm not, but I just purchased a new plunger, which has yet to be christened by my commode. I took a risk and plunged my tub. Not only did it bring the razor cover back from the dead (like Lazarus), but it cleared up all drainage slow downs. It wasn't until just now that I realized the possibility that my tub-plunging could have burst pipes and flooded the guy's apartment below me...in the kitchen, during dinner time, of course (apologies to Andy).

Well, having spent the weekend basking in bacheloresque glory, I made sure to end the weekend by using my floral tools to hang a girly picture, organize my recipe cards, and do lots of domestic chores around the apartment all while dancing to my latest 80's and country favorites, of course. None of which would you find a guy volunteering to do.

Happy Labor Day! Hope you enjoyed your labor-free holiday!