Friday, July 31, 2009


Our vacation started and ended in Seattle. Neither of us had been to the Pacific northwest, so it a really nice addition to our cruise. We had almost three days in Seattle (one before and two after the cruise).

Since we typically go 99mph, we opted to keep our vacation schedule-less and move at our own pace. This included some TV time at the hotel, as well as a couple of hours lounging at the park near the Space Needle...

Our first stop: The Seattle Aquarium. Quite nice. Bigger than it looks, and has a variety of sea mammals smiling at you, as well as a tank diver who talks all about sea life while underwater! AND there's starfish (live!) to touch at the inside tank!
Next up: Who can skip going up the tallest structure in a city to see the view? Especially when that view includes snow-covered peaks on a beautiful 85 degree day? And there's some novelty to the fact the Space Needle (and monorail) were built for the World's Fair!

At some point, we made it to the Pike's Place Market (home of fabulous $10 & $15 bouquets of flowers...if we lived in Seattle I'd have flowers in the dining room ALL the time!). Awesome seasonal fruit too.One night, we were treated to dinner by a HS friend of Princess Charming's mom. We got a tour of a residential city neighborhood (cute little bungalows with fab flora and fauna all around) and....the troll under a bridge in the neighborhood. It took a poor little VW beetle hostage.
While the last day of our trip was rudely interrupted, we did see some high fashion over in Pioneer Square...the UTILIKILT. A garment for all your cargo-carrying, hike-withstanding, free-breezing bagpiping needs.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

new layout

thoughts? I added some links and my Goodreads!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

fun in the fake sun

Check out the new skin cancer article...
While I'd love to see the primary research, I'm glad this is making the front page of MSNBC. Since I wasn't one of those kids who was outside ALL the time and certainly didn't suffer numerous blistering sunburns as a child, there's a pretty good chance (besides the luck of genetics) my melanoma is related to the two or three periods of a couple of months in college and during my brief stint in IL (hey, there's not much to do in Peoria when you don't know a soul!) when I used tanning beds regularly.

(sidebar: That is embarrassing to admit. Really embarrassing.)

In a nutshell:

"A new analysis of about 20 studies concludes the risk of skin cancer jumps by 75 percent when people start using tanning beds before age 30....Most lights used in tanning beds give off mainly ultraviolet radiation, which cause skin and eye cancer, according to the International Agency for Cancer use of tanning beds has increased among people under 30, doctors have seen a parallel rise in the numbers of young people with skin cancer. In Britain, melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer, is now the leading cancer diagnosed in women in their 20s. Normally, skin cancer rates are highest in people over 75."

I have a suspicious spot on my left shin that's my prime focus for my check up in September. Let's hope it doesn't turn into another 4 inch scar.

Monday, July 27, 2009

things that are hard

getting to the gym when you can't do any valuable cardio.

eating well when there's no workout to be mindful of.

making a souffle.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

taking a breather

Today, I had an 8 am appointment, spent 45 minutes running errands, 3 hrs gardening, then about 7 hrs with my parents who came to visit. We didn't do a dang thing on the house. Poor folks, every time they come over, we work for 6+ hours (electric, shed demo, etc.), so Princess Charming and I decided today we'd suprise them - take my dad's loaner tools hostage in the garage (we do need them for tomorrow) and spend the afternoon having lunch, shoe shopping and discussing fitness. I know that sounds bizarre, but since his triple bypass my dad's entered a major health "kick," so he really NEEDED good shoes for all the walking he's doing and a good lesson on proper lifting...and exercises besides shoulder raises and bicep curls.

Its nearly 9 and since we cleaned like nuts this AM, there's nothing pressing to do except for tomorrow's projects, which can wait till tomorrow. I've decided to remote into work only on worknights, as I am becoming on of "those" people, so today I will not. But mostly, its weird AND relieving not to having schoolwork hanging over my head. Since I'm not taking class Summer II, this is my longest "break" since fall 07, when I didn't take anything. There's 5 more blissful, school-free weeks. Although I am still too busy to mop more than once a month or so, it is nice to not realize I forgot to do something and nearly hyperventialate...the camel's back breaks pretty easily at certain times during the semester.

Sadly, now that I have the time to really get back to exercising, I can't. My foot is STILL puffy, and while it only hurts after exercise, a series of semi-related doctors appointments has determined its still broken. Treatment TBD. So no running, and as my parents didn't leave till 8, I didn't make it to the gym tonight. Maybe tomorrow. I should take the pup for a walk, but I've been trying to keep even those to 1/2 mile, as (since I've been paying more attention now instead of ignoring the nagging pain) more than that does up the pain level somewhat...and I'd like my foot to work properly again sooner rather than later. Sigh.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm in love

Still talking about vacation backwards. We stayed in Seattle for a night after the cruise at the Sheraton downtown (thanks credit card rewards!). It was a nice hotel, with a surprisingly plush gym and sheets and pillows that were quite the treat after the ones on the boat. (Our accommodations were fine, but did leave me wondering if thread count and pillow fluffiness goes up with cabin grade.)

My favorite part of the Sheraton (besides the digital cable with TLC and HGTV?)....the bathroom.


Why, you ask?
This is our bathroom at home...modest size aside (not change-able at this point), I'm itching to get rid of the mint-green-with-black-trim standard 1957 issue tile. At least the previous owner swapped out the toilet and sink (our neighbors have original blue and pink ones, respectively) and we've changed out the light-cum-outlet for a normal light and GFCI outlet on the wall where it belongs.
This is the Sheraton bathroom.
Love. Love the color scheme, the subway title in the tub, the sorta-paisley-subtle-non-slip-stuff on the floor of the tub, the sleek marble counter top and inset sink, the lighting, even the wall paper. Only thing it needs are some brown leather (maybe? not sure, but I don't like those wicker basket numbers) under the sink for storage of the bath product stuff!

Monday, July 20, 2009

vacation, day 10

Lets start at the end. The last day of our fabulous vacation. (FYI, this is probably TMI for some readers and pretty unpleasant).

After sleeping in, popping by the (quite nice) hotel gym to lift, and watching some HGTV (mmm) we walked over to the Public Market for lunch. I got a chicken sandwich. It came with mayo. I put some on. Now, let's note, I rarely eat mayo, and when I do, it is usually horseradish mayo.

Fast forward 90 minutes. Rumble in the tummy. Odd. I can't even tell you the last time I had an upset stomach so I didn't know what to make of this. I'll spare you the details of the ensuring bathroom trips, but it was getting worse and worse. I spent most of our Underground tour keeping an eye on the exits in case I needed to make a run for it. By 5 pm, I just didn't want to move anymore so we headed to the bus to the airport for our 10:30 pm flight.

Within 2 minutes after deboarding the bus, I was getting acquainted with the trash can. Have you ever looked inside a public trashcan on the sidewalk at the airport? Gross. Really gross. A lovely Port of Seattle Police officer asked if I needed the fire company (I assume he meant ambulance by that) but my claim of food poisoning was enough to send him on his way (by this point, I have decided it was the mayo that caused this).

So inside we go...I got some Pepto from the little stand and was thinking about dinner since I was feeling a little better (seeing as all I'd eaten all day was the chicken sandwich, some fries, and a bite of chocolate). 7:30 ish, I got acquainted with the airport bathroom. A passerby knocked on the stall to check on me, which was sort of nice. Then it occurred to me I needed to stay on the DL so no one quarantined me for Swine Flu (I have no idea if this was a realistic fear, but at the time it seemed reasonable).

That should be it right? There can't be anything left in my stomach. Right? Since I never got to dinner? Ok. Over the next hour and a half, I had a tortilla to help settle my stomach and ease the cramping...and 9:30ish, I got to run down the hall (since the closer one had a line) to visit the porcelain god again. Shoot me. At this point, tortilla aside, its just dry heaving, so I decided to just stop trying to eat anything despite my headache from not eating for over 9 hours. Ignoring my thirst, I tried to sleep through the flight (no bueno).

By the time we landed in Philly, got home, napped for 4 hours, and made it to the grocery store, I was completely lightheaded from the lack of nutrients. Not to make light of eating disorders, but I don't know how bulimics do it. A bowl of pineapple, a slice of bread, some jelly beans, and a bit of cereal later, I finally feel functional. (Though am still parked on the couch since my back is so sore, I surmise from fighting my stomach convulsions for 10 hours, tons of slouching while felt crummy, and "sleeping" awkwardly on the plane).


More cheery vacation updates to come.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

anticlimatic & strange

Two very different topics:

Sort of. I'm not really into birthdays, but there is something a little weird about being in a hotel room in a strange city by yourself on your birthday. It was a pleasant enough day for being at a Boring (yes, capital) conference, and I did get about a million facebook happy bdays, a couple of texts, 2 emails, and, not to be forgotten, a phone call from my parents about an hour ago. Lets note that its almost 9 pm. And we're in the same time zone. But whatever...I obviously got my ambivalence about birthdays (and holidays in general) from somewhere :)

This hotel. Its nice. Its kind of fancy-smancy, the kind of place where people who can't afford the Ritz (which is pretty much next door) have fancy-smancy downtown weddings. High ceilings and crystal chandeliers.
And the smallest hotel rooms I've ever seen. As a disclaimer, most of the hotels I stay in are conveniently located outside of a city, near the airport and a large park with uprights, so I'm not sure how big "city" rooms usually are. That said, the towels here are rougher than those at the ComfortInn. Ugh.

But check out my door. Weird box protruding off of it...its on both sides, on every door to a room. What do you think it is?

I initially thought perhaps it was a fire-door upgrade (since this building is quite can tell in the molding, besides the architecture). But there's a little lock/knob thing...

I guess not every hotel guest feels the need to unlock it, because it took about 5 minutes of jiggling (plus moving the regular handle to the deadbolt-locked position) to open it.
So, what is it?

Answer: Its a Servidoor. Apparently this structure at one time was common enough in fancy-smancy hotels (see above) to have a brand name. The sign inside of it basically instructs you to leave your clothes in there for the Laundry or Valet. There's even a clamp on the right for your sleeve (also labeled, not a random guess), presumably so it doesn't get stuck in the door.

Wikipedia says a valet (besides the car driving kind) is a male servant that deals with your personal goods...but that doesn't really explain for me why I'd leave my clothes (well, if I was a male living 80 or 100 years ago) hanging in my door at the hotel for him...