Monday, October 31, 2005

Never a dull moment with the Fratkins

So, it's 3:00 on Sunday, and I'm getting ready to go to my room and relax before getting dressed for the big shindig at the Fox Theatre. I'm amazingly calm, because everything is done and ready. Then my cell phone rings. It's my mom:

"I fell down and I'm bleeding all over the place. I'm up by the music and arts center. Come get me."

... Because I really needed some more excitement in my day!

So I grab Greg K. from SURA and I run to the rental car, and we drive up there. A nice group of people had gathered to help her, so they brought her water and ice. We took her up to Piedmont Hospital's ER. They looked at her right away, but then they said it was going to be 3 hours before a doctor could see her. And of course she had to play Jewish mother, so she made us leave her there! (and she made me promise not to call Dad...) She finally got back to the hotel at about 9:15pm, with five stitches in her eyebrow. She seems fine, I was the one who almost had a heart attack! :) (Greg took a picture of us in the ER waiting area, I'll have to post it.)

Can't wait to get home to DC tonight. I'm exhausted!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Welcome to Hot-lanta!

Well, ok, it's not that hot. It's only 51 now, it'll go up to 65 tomorrow. We have tickets to the Georgia Tech homecoming football game against Clemson... but it's on at the same time as the USC game! Bummer! I'll have to have my mom send me text messages. :)

Went for a tour of the CDC today... didn't actually get to see anything except the inside of one of the office buildings, but then again, do you really expect them to take the tourists on a tour of the high security labs where the guys run around in bunny suits? I don't think so. But they have a beautiful brand new multi-million-dollar campus (just opened this month) with a waterfall and nice stone steps... I guess if the people who work there get too stressed out, they can go sit outside for a calming experience. heh.

My friend Michelle from business school lives here, so I got to see her for the first time in... three years! She looks gorgeous, she's lost 40 lbs! :) We went to dinner at Murphy's Restaurant in the Virginia Highlands area. It was yummy! (if only the kitchen had been able to cook Michelle's filets properly - medium well means NOT PINK! ugh.)

I wish I had brought something to knit or crochet, but I'm too afraid to breathe my cold germs on the sweater I'm making for Samantha, so I haven't touched that in a week. But I'd better get a move on, it has to be finished by Nov 23rd!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My big brother thinks he's funny...

... so he sent an email to his joke-of-the-day list, with my blog URL and some text from the Dilbert Newsletter about why people start blogs: (my responses in blue italics)

People who are trying to decide whether to create a blog or not go through a thought process much like this:

1. The world sure needs more of ME. (NO, I don't think that at all.)
2. Maybe Ill shout more often so that people nearby can experience the joy of knowing my thoughts.
3. No, wait, shouting looks too crazy. (and I shout enough already :))
4. I know Ill write down my daily thoughts and badger people to read them. (I haven't badgered anyone! If I were badgering you, you'd know!)
5. If only there was a description for this process that doesnt involve the words egomaniac or unnecessary.
6. What? Its called a blog? I'm there! (For the record, I have been thinking about starting a blog for a long time, but when I finally got around to doing it, nothing interesting was going on in my life. That will hopefully change soon.)

I just wanted a way to share goofy stuff with my friends, and tell stories once so I don't have to keep telling them over and over. (Plus, my brother doesn't like football, so half my posts probably seem pointless to him) :P

I am working toward a theme on this blog, but I haven't decided what it should be. If you have any ideas...

Saturday, October 22, 2005

The Trojans did it again!

... and this time, with far more flair and much better passing yards. Leinart had been a bit off his game for two weeks, since he got that hard hit at the start of the Arizona State game. But he's back now, and set the new Pac-10 record for career TDs! (Hadn't thrown a TD in two weeks!) He threw three to Dwayne Jarret (#8, see pic.)

So between Leinart and Reggie Bush, who ran 84yds for a TD on a punt return, the Heisman voting is going to be very interesting! :)

As Sports Illustrated put it, USC is "back to normal." Phew!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

They should call it "nightmare" football

I was doing so well. My brother was helping me (shhh... he's a ringer) and I was 4-0 in my fantasy football league, and in second place.

That was two weeks ago.

Now I'm 4-2, fifth in the league, and my QB, Marc Bulger of the St. Louis Rams -- who has been putting up GREAT numbers -- got hurt in the game last night, and it looks like he'll be out for TWO WEEKS! UGH.

How did I get roped into this, anyway? Well, I do have this small competitive streak... ;)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Happy Halloween!

Ok, I know it's early for Halloween, but check out the creative carving that this guy does -

My favorite has to be the Mount Rushmore group.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

the bigger the kitchen mess, the better the food. really.

This month, Cooking Light magazine had a recipe for pretzels. I thought, what the heck, I've never made anything like that before. So I bought some yeast, and got down to business. It turns out it's very labor-intensive... but that's not the first recipe I've made recently that required a lot more work than I expected.

[I have to say, having watched the pretzel-makers at Auntie Anne's helped a bit, I knew how to spin the dough to make it the right shape. See, all that time at the mall pays off!]

I started at 8:30pm (that's a bit misleading, because you have to let the yeast set up for 5 minutes and then let the dough rise for 40...) So at 9:15 I started actually making pretzels. By 10:15, I had about 15 of them all done!

Here's a picture of the finished product. The second batch is in front, they're darker. They're all YUMMY! I might have to make these again... but maybe at mom's house where there's more counter space. :) Better talk to me soon if you want one, I might have to eat them all!!!!! (and in case you're wondering, they're only 2 WW points each.)

USC WINS 34-31!!

USC WINS 34-31!!

It was an epic battle. They'll be talking about it for WEEKS. I have no voice left, but boy, it was worth it! Phew. That's the kind of ending that gives people heart attacks!

Made it a happy birthday for mom, too. :)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Good thing nobody sends snail mail anymore...

DRAT! I just realized that the one file I didn't copy before I re-installed Windows was the data from my Palm III. Now, mind you, I haven't actually used the Palm handheld or synched it with the computer in about two years, but I was keeping everyone's addresses, birthdays, anniversaries, baby birthdays, etc. in there... and now it's all gone. :(

I sent out a pleading email... we'll see who responds. On the upside, I guess it'll make sending Xmas/Chanuka cards a lot simpler!

Fight On!

Saturday is the USC-Notre Dame football game! It's a biggie. (It's also my mom's birthday, but she decided that she's ok with watching football "as a family" -- in a sports bar -- as her birthday dinner. She's so cool!)

I have been a USC fan since birth, basically - and I didn't even go there! My dad did. He graduated... a few years ago. ;) So we all go to Bailey's at Ballston to watch the USC games with the DC Alumni club. It's a nice big crowd, too. (I'm going to have to go to the USC Bookstore when I go out there at Thanksgiving and get myself some new t-shirts and such.)

I have two "real" alma maters - Rutgers (undergrad) and Maryland (MBA), but really, Rutgers football sucks. It hasn't improved since I went there a decade ago. Maryland is much better at basketball, although they're not doing badly so far this year. But the USC crowd is just so much fun! So that's where my loyalty is.

So come one come all, Fight On at Bailey's on Saturday! Now if only we could figure out if the game's at 2:30 or 3:30...

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Chatimah Tovah

... is the official greeting for Yom Kippur - it basically means "May you be sealed [in the Book of Life] for a happy year"(Technically, of course, I'm not supposed to be online tonight because of the holiday, but I'm still working on completely reinstalling everything on my computer after the big crash two weeks ago.)

The big crash happened, strangely enough, while I was at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for a conference with a bunch of supercomputing geeks. It's a really cool lab (if you're a science geek) -- they do all kinds of amazing research. They took us on a tour of the site where the Spallation Neutron Source is being built. They explained it to us, but I couldn't possibly explain it here... I'm not a scientist! Read their website. If you look at the picture, under the word "Linac" in the top center is a water tower. That's where they took us to look over the site. It's HUGE.

Anyway. That fateful afternoon, I got a weird error message. Apparently my Windows XP decided enough was enough (this laptop is 3 years old, after all...) and died. Boom. [when my brother looked it up, he found that it was a common problem in 2002, which is when I got my machine.] The wonderful IT people at Oak Ridge gave me a Windows install disk and tried to help me with a parallel install, but that didn't work. (must remember to send them a thank you note!) To make a long story short, I paid Dell $99 to help me -- not under warranty any more -- and they did NOTHING! ZIP! SQUAT! (Note to self: BACKUP! BACKUP! BACKUP!) Eventually, I figured out that my stuff was still there (phew!), and my office sysadmin figured out how to burn it off to disk(s) - 5 of them in all. After a tedious reinstall, I now have a working laptop again! :)

What does all of this have to do with the High Holidays? Well, I'm truly thankful for the assistance of my friends and family: Jae, who suggested Knoppix, and Jeff, who burned me the CD, and Mohamed, who saved my stuff!!! I hope to be able to do something nice to repay them in the coming year.

And to the rest of you, if I have offended you or otherwise caused you harm in the past year (intentionally or unintentionally), I apologize. I wish us all a year of peace, health and happiness.