Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Save Second Base!*

October is (was) Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And as you all know, breast cancer research is my crusade, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation is my pet charity. So I got organized, and had all of the people at work wear pink and give $5 on the last Friday of the month. In fact, we asked everyone to wear pink every Friday, but only collected money and had a pink party on the 26th. [And in an organization that is 75% men, I offered them the option to pay $10 to not wear pink. It worked!] We had pink cupcakes, pink rice krispie treats, chocolate chip cookies with pink m&m's, and pink ribbon prizes! And we raised over $250! It was very exciting.

Then I left work and went to the gym (and wore a pink t-shirt, natch), and my trainer made me do an hour of squats and lunges and frog-jumps and crunches... needless to say, I couldn't walk much on Saturday! But I still went to the UT-Nebraska football game with Janie. And now I can say I've seen the "Godzillatron!" But it was chilly, so we left the stands and went to the Alumni Center. Where it was also chilly, but we watched most of the rest of the game on the big screens.

The whole day, I was tortured by the fact that I wasn't watching the USC-Oregon game, and was forced to wait for the scores to roll around on the side scoreboard, or at the bottom of the screen. And then I didn't really want to see the scores roll around at the bottom of the screen. It was sad. The Trojans, it seems, are fallible. Hard to swallow, but in some way it was inevitable. Last year was supposed to be a rebuilding year, and it was fantastic. Maybe this year is the rebuilding year? I sure hope so.

Monday night, after yet another business-related dinner where we ate great BBQ, Marcia and Rebeka and I went to the bar at the Four Seasons to have their "Batinis" -- named for the largest urban bat colony in the United States, living under the bridge that's just beyond the bar's patio. We were too late for the bat flight at sunset, but not for the drinks! But instead of the Batini (made with raspberries and champagne), I had a Pink Ribbon Martini (made with cranberry juice - almost a Cosmo) that came with a giant pink fondant ribbon in the middle. Half of the proceeds from the Pink Ribbon drinks go to the Seton Hospital Cancer Center. Hey, a new sport -- "Drink for the Cure"! Yay! (Ha ha, no, I only had one.) My cell phone camera doesn't take good pictures in the dark, but it was beautiful.

* Among the Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirt designs at CafePress was one with baseball gloves in the proper places that said, "Help save Second Base!" and another with a little pink owl that said "Save the Hooters." There are thousands of designs.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

More video

I don't usually just post video to my blog, but this is SO funny...

"300" meets 1776 --

I promise I will post more about Passionately Pink for the Cure, my pink ribbon martini at the Four Seasons, and various other tales. Soon. Really.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My triangle...

James Blunt teaches kids about that pointy little shape, with the help of his guitar, a popular song, and a Sesame Street muppet. Very cute.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Dead, and loving it!

That's it, I'm dead. In my previous post, I mentioned Sock Wars. The basic idea is, you become an "assassin", by knitting a pair of socks (everyone knits the same pattern) for your "target" and shipping them off, before your assassin sends you your socks. I managed to finish one sock -- took me an extra day to get the yarn, and then I messed up the sole and had to rip back a few inches, and in the meantime I was travelling all over the place -- so at least I was able to stave off my "death" for a few extra days. ;)

I finally gave up and went to the mailbox when I got home from work today [after I spent an hour getting a new tire on my car], and lo and behold, beautiful grey wool socks -- and a perfect day for them to arrive, too, it didn't even get to 60 degrees today! -- along with a cute little WIP bag (that's "work-in-progress" to you muggles) and a matching little pouch with stitch-markers! Wow! It's like Secret Santa for knitters!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Assassin! :)

So what happens now, you ask? Well, now I send my unfinished pair (I did finish one of them, see below) to my assassin, and she gets to try to kill my target, before getting killed herself.

I chose a lovely pink Linie ALPHA yarn, each little ball makes one sock. (well, my target has size 10 feet!) I'll be taking it to the post office tomorrow to pass it along.

Sunday, bloody Sunday

It was a long day. (Not actually bloody, but there was some sunburn involved.)

The day started with brunch with my DC friends. We hit Whitlow's for the buffet, and by the time we got a table, it was already 11am - time for the crab legs to come out! It's wonderful to have a plate covered in crab legs, with a side of waffles and eggs and bacon. :) And great conversation with my favorite people to boot! Thanks to Amy & Rob, Dani, Jen, and Elizabeth for making my day!

Then I headed for Bry's soccer game. It was a gorgeous day to be outside in DC - mid-70's and bright sunshine! In hindsight, when I noticed the soccer players putting on sunscreen, I probably should have asked to borrow some. My left upper-arm (I was facing north most of the game) is a nice bright pink color. My face and neck got a little color, too, with the v-neck shirt, but not as much -- although I now know why my chest felt like it was on fire when I was sitting in the airport.

Yes, Washington National Airport. Scene of my last big travel fiasco, back in June. This time, the weather wasn't the problem -- it was the fact that I was trying to fly out late on a Sunday afternoon. I tried to go standby on two earlier flights, but ended up on my previously ticketed 7:50pm flight. Unfortunately, this left me sitting at DCA for almost four hours - so thanks to Dani for chatting with me and keeping me sane, while she watched her guys win the race in Martinsville (and I tried to keep her from hyperventilating).

I knew before my plane took off from DC to Dallas that I didn't have an assigned seat on the flight from Dallas to Austin - it was waaaay oversold. When we landed in Dallas, our gate was still in use, so we had to sit for a while. Then I had to run (laptop, backpack and all!) from C-22 to D-38. I think I was the only person on the sky-link tram at that hour (10:30pm), but I just couldn't get it to go any faster! Fortunately, the gate agent had a ticket waiting for me. (I think I would have cried if she hadn't - there were 24 people already on the standby list, and the next flight wasn't until this morning at 7:30am!) Phew! Got on the plane, finished knitting my SockWars sock (more on that later), and made it to Austin @ midnight. One good thing did happen: my suitcase had flown standby on an earlier flight, so it was waiting for me. Amazing how busy the Austin airport is at midnight on a Sunday!

Went straight to the car, loaded up, and started to drive out of the lot. Thump, thump, thump. FLAT TIRE. Seriously?!? At 12:15am?!?! *Sigh* I suppose I could have called AAA, but I didn't feel like waiting for them to find me. So I drove out, slowly, and went to the nearest gas station to fill up the tire. So far, so good. I'll take it to the tire shop to get it patched this week.

By the time I got home, it was 12:40am. Had to resuscitate the dying basil and parsley in the kitchen window, but I think they'll survive. (somebody remind me to ask the landlady to water them when I go to CA for Thanksgiving...) After unpacking and cleaning up a bit, I finally made it to bed at 1:15am. Exhausted!

Lessons learned: Get a confirmed seat. Don't schedule short connections in Dallas. And wear sunscreen!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Fight on!

In the past, USC has been a strong second half team. This year, we've been a passable team, waking up in the 4th Qtr with a few flashes of brilliance. Until this week. Benching John David Booty in favor of backup QB Mark Sanchez, the Trojans were able to (as CNN-SI put it) "Spank" Notre Dame 38-0 this weekend. Awesome!

I was a little worried before the game with the story of the Trojans' bumpy flight into South Bend, but the jostling they got seems to have toughened them up a bit. :) Another part of the improvement is definitely Sanchez. Booty was pushing as hard as he could, trying to live up to the legacy of Palmer and Leinart, throwing passes that would have been miracles even for those two stellar QBs. Sanchez, on the other hand, is playing with what he has -- he's completing passes to the whole stable of RBs, who are making sometimes incredible catches that make him look good. It seems to be working.

The stats from yesterday's game are shocking --
  • Largest margin of victory in the 79-game history of the USC-ND rivalry.
  • Worst Irish home loss since they were beaten 40-0 by top-ranked Oklahoma in 1956.
  • at one point in the 3rd Qtr, ND had as many first downs as the Trojans had touchdowns.
  • Fourth consecutive home loss, tied a school record.
Fight on, Trojans! and go Scarlet Knights -- my alma mater's team knocked off the #2 USF Bulls on Thursday, too!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bush v. Gore redux

Yes, Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize this year. A little unexpected, and possibly controversial, but he will still not run for President -- nor should he, IMHO. And every time he wins an award (Oscar - check! Emmy - check!) it becomes even more painfully obvious that the wrong man is in the White House. I am not the only one who thinks this way, of course, but here's the best description of the situation that I have seen recently -- in today's NYT, Bob Herbert writes,
... for all of the obvious vulnerabilities [GWB] exhibited in 2000, it was not him but Mr. Gore who was mocked unmercifully by the national media. And the mockery had nothing to do with the former vice president’s positions on important policy issues. He was mocked because of his personality.

In the race for the highest office in the land, we showed the collective maturity of 3-year-olds.

Mr. Gore was taken to task for his taste in clothing and for such grievous offenses as sighing or, allegedly, rolling his eyes. It was a given that at a barbecue everyone would rush to be with his opponent.

We’ve paid a heavy price. The president who got such high marks as a barbecue companion doesn’t seem to know up from down. He’s hurled the nation into a ruinous war that has cost countless lives and spawned a whole new generation of terrorists. He continues to sit idly by as a historic American city, New Orleans, remains wounded and on its knees. He’s blithely steered the nation into a bottomless pit of debt.

I always said the country voted for the guy they would most like to have a beer with. (That is, if he drank alcohol. And please, no pretzels!) Given my choice of Dem candidates, I'd choose Obama, but I'm afraid that he doesn't have a chance -- both from a "maybe America's not quite ready" standpoint, and a "watch out for the Hillary juggernaut" angle.

Of course, when I went to the "Select your candidate" site at MPR, it told me my best candidate was Dennis Kucinich. hmmm....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Chocolate-loving is in my blood - literally!

A study in Switzerland (commissioned by Nestle, natch) has just found that the desire for chocolate -- or indifference to it -- is in our metabolism. And it turns out that eating some chocolate is good for you.
"This is the first demonstration that a dietary preference has an imprinted effect on your metabolism and that might link to all sorts of long term health implications- interestingly the chocolate preferring people had a better gut microbial metabolite profile than the people that don't like chocs," said Prof Nicholson.


"It is known that by eating chocolate, catechin and epicatechin can reach the bloodstream where they can be transported around the body, helping to prevent oxidation so the body can stay healthier," said Kochhar.
Of course, the study only included men, and a small number of them at that. I will wait to see the results of the study when they ask a bunch of women. In the meantime, I will do my best to add catechin and epicatechin to my bloodstream. ;)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Welcome, Rachel Frances!

I wish I had a picture, but at least I can tell you that at 10:21 this morning (EDT), little miss Rachel Frances D. came into the world, at 6.9 lbs and 20.5" long. :)

YAY! Mazel tov! Can't wait to meet her in two weeks.