Thursday, May 29, 2008

A brief aside

One of my advisers told me that I need to learn about styles. She was referring to this nifty part of Word that lets you format titles and headings more efficiently. And she was right, I did need to learn about styles. But I didn't need the tutorial where Word promised that it would help me make my documents more stylish. My writing already drips with style, thank you very much.

Now, if only it dripped with clarity and persuasiveness as well. Sigh... Back to my editing.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Summer is here

For my two non-American readers, Memorial Day weekend is considered the start of summer. And it feels like summer in DC this weekend.

Every Saturday from May to November we climb out of bed and head to the farmer's market. We buy the veggies we need for the week, and I always get a bouquet of flowers there because the flower lady sells the delicate, not-bred-for-commercial-sales flowers that you can't get anywhere else. This week there were peonies.

Another Saturday tradition is listening to a Prairie Home Companion, a radio variety show. Yesterday we went to hear a live performance, because sometimes they take the show on the road. The performance took place in an outdoor amphitheater and we picniced beforehand on cheeses and homemade bread and strawberries and Cointreau (one of my newest food obsessions). The weather was perfect (which of course shows that it's not really summer in DC, because that would mean humidity approaching 100%), the beer was cold, and the impressions of McCain and Clinton were spot-on.

Hope you're all having a great weekend too.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Next to Godliness

It gives me such a thrill to have a tidy, well-organized environment. And if you can find enjoyment in an activity that doesn't involve drugs (mmm, Merlot) or spending money, then it's my opinion that this pursuit should be encouraged. Andrew, I'm afraid, does not get this some thrill, and when I start organizing he generally flings himself over his belongings in an (often) vain attempt to protect them from my purging.
As a break/reward for my writing thus far today, I just tidied my desk. This also included the introduction of a new file cabinet for the rapidly growing collection of research papers I've read. Now a lot of things that were right out in the open, offending my eyes, are tucked away neatly, and I'm basking in the shine of newly dusted shelves.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I've got a big work deadline this week, so writing a coherent post just seems too daunting of a task. Instead, I provide the scrolling news ticker of my life (which, sadly, does not actually scroll).
Andrew is having his wisdom teeth out tomorrow. He was scheduled to have them out two weeks ago, but when we arrived they decided that he was seriously dehydrated and the operation had to be postponed. Under questioning, he admitted that he had primarily been drinking coffee and beer for the previous week. He has since been reintroduced to the substance known as water.
I've been freaking out a bit because I washed my intended wedding dress last week. (It hadn't been washed in sixty years; it seemed like a reasonable idea.) The fabric survived but the net overlay shrunk a great deal. After an emergency consultation with the mother of the bride, we've decided to show it to a seamstress and see if a new net overlay could be added. The fabric is rather fragile, so it may yet be that I end up thrifting a wedding dress.
For Christmas, Andrew bought be an incredibly lovely fountain pen. It makes writing research papers almost fun. Recently I lost it, and I've been missing it absurdly. No one should care about a material object that much, but I did. I'd think about its weight in my hand, how the ink flowed, the color of the casing. I finally broke down and bought a replacement, but I couldn't afford the same quality as last time. It's nice to write with, but it's not the transcendent experience that I had before.
My basil has finally sprouted. Each seedling is tinier than a grain of rice, but there's definitely life there. I had planted it twice and both times we'd receive days and days of rain immediately afterwards. I thought nothing would survive, but no, there will be pesto this year! The miracle of life and pasta, what a great combination.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The bright lights of the city

On Friday, Andrew and I spent our date night doing three things: eating homemade gnocci (which he adored), thrift shopping for new T-shirts for him (which he hated), and visiting the National Cathedral (which he grudgingly enjoyed).

This weekend, the National Cathedral was lit by various slides designed by Gerry Hofstetter. I think he's lit a lot of monuments this way, although this was the first he had done in the US. Although it's the kind of thing that makes cynics say, "And that counts as art?", it was a lot of fun to just stand and watch with dozens of other people as the slides slowly changed. I've included a photo from the National Cathedral's website to better show what my words are failing to describe.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Garage Sale!

Summer is fast approaching.  That means it's time for barbecues, beaches and garage sales!  To help you prepare for this American summer tradition, Renee Michelle explains about different garage saling cultures. 

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Yeah, I'm still here. And I've got no news... I'm supposed to have a draft of part of a paper done by Tuesday and it's so far from done it's not funny. Every time I think about writing a post, I think, "If you're going to be sitting at the computer writing, you'd better be writing your paper..."

In the meantime, it's beautiful. Returning to Maryland after arid Colorado just blew me away. I kept exclaiming, "It's so green and verdant!" (Well, okay, I didn't really say verdant; I just wish I had.) It turns out I live in a rain forest. The rock gardens of Boulder have been replaced with grass and fully-leafed trees and azaleas and a million other chlorophyll-laden organisms. Although I had to work today, I dragged the laptop outside and soaked in the springy bursting-with-life feeling.

And that makes the work a bit more bearable.