Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Positive Outliers

Dear Friends,

If you have a moment, please check out the Positive Outlier blog linked here (http://positiveoutlier.wordpress.com/).  Melanie Kau is my Mom's best friend and we have known the Kau family since before I can remember.

Melanie is an extraordinary friend, wife, mother, leader and all-around wonderful person.  She has four children (the youngest is only 10).

A couple of months ago, after a prolonged sickness (the doctor originally said it was acid reflux), Melanie was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of lung cancer.  Not only was the cancer in her lungs, but also in her brain and all over her body.  Although her lungs were inoperable, she attempted radiation therapy for the brain tumors.

She got sicker, thinner, and lost her gorgeous long red hair.

This week she found out that the radiation therapy did not reduce the brain tumors.  In fact, they're bigger, and there are several new ones.  She's trying an experimental medication, but even with insurance the medicine (as well as all other medical expenses) is extremely expensive. 

My Mom and some other friends have organized a fun-run to raise money for her medical bills.  It will take place in Provo on Saturday, September 25.  Please see the information and registration here (http://positiveoutlier.wordpress.com/2010/08/30/miles-for-melanie/). For those of you in Provo, if you have the time and energy, please go.  I'm not one to beg for money, but this is for a good cause. 

If you're looking for a worthy recipient for your charitable donations this year, I'd vote for this.

At the very least, I'd recommend reading her blog.  She truly is a positive outlier in the face of immeasurable pain and tragedy.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Call me Roald Dahl

And let me introduce to you: Rachel and the Doughnut Peach.

Sometimes the free food I scavenge at the Law Center is a bit suspect.

Friday, August 27, 2010

What Not to Wear

A middle-aged woman sits down kitty-corner to me (so our knees were almost touching) on the metro this morning.

Midway through a page of When You are Engulfed in Flames (my Sedaris favorite) I hear a loud, nasally "excuse me!  excuse me!" 

It's the knee-toucher. So I look up.

"Excuse me!"  "yes"  "Where did you get your shirt?"   "Uh, Banana Republic, I think."  "Is it a cowl neck" "Yes (reaching down to pull out neckline as a visual aid)"  "No, I mean, is it a COWL neck (looking at me like I'm the biggest idiot in commuting history)"  "yes, I think it is."  "Yes, well, shirts like that used to be in style once."

"Union Station, doors opening on the left"

Thank goodness.  Thank you, metro gods.  I escaped.  But not without many sympathetic looks from all females within a five foot radius.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Blake'n me Laugh.

My Blake likes to keep me entertained throughout the work day.  This one made me chuckle out loud at my desk...and maybe choke a little on the water I was drinking.  Just one of the many reasons why I love him.

Blake to me:

I'm sure glad we didn't lick the sidewalk by 1804 August this morning.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: XXXXXXX@comcast.net>
Date: Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 7:27 AM
Subject: Dying racoon found on sidewalk near 1804 August Dr (7:20 am)
To: XXXXXX@yahoogroups.com

Families with dogs, animal control advises to stay away from the sidewalk on the south side near 1804 August until 8:30 am or so today since the animal that was removed may have had rabies. Dogs licking the sidewalk there could be exposed.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rainforest blues.

Now that I'm old and wise (ha!), there are a number of things that no longer surprise me.

Such as yesterday's giant easter bunny at Union Station holding a sign advocating world peace.

Or ridiculous movies about Mark Zuckerberg.

Or, the fact that my pre-ordered copy of Mockingjay (Hunger Games #3) is still en route from whence it came...along with The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and Rebecca.  Darn you, corporate America.  (Shaking fist at heavens/Amazon.com in futility).

I hurriedly finished Peace Breaks Out yesterday at lunch in hopes that I'd arrive home to my Amazon delivery, but alas.  Now I'm stuck reading the paper on my commute and working on the crossword puzzle for lunch. 

What kind of life is that?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Signing in.

I don't say it enough, but my parents are really really great.

This is a picture I just came across of them at Ashton's wedding.  I know you can't see their faces, but you can still see that they're young and fun...and that I'm glad we're related.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Is it ok to recommend to someone only the second half of a book?

I just finished reading The Girl Who Played with Fire (by Steig Larsson...in case you've spent the past year living under a rock). 

It was a gift to myself after finally making it through Moll Flanders (by Daniel Defoe, in case you've been hiding under a rock since the 1600's).  That makes it sound like I was working on Moll Flanders for a long time.  Well, I wasn't.  It was probably only a week.  But it felt like eternity.  Eternity, I tell you.  In fact, if I had to think of a personalized version of hell, it would be that I'd be forced to read Defoe unceasingly.

It'd remained on my list for a while, and I took it as a sign when I found it in a stack of Blake's high school English books at his parents' house.  A sign that I needed to cross it off my list once and for all (for cultural and intellectual value, you see).  I asked Blake what he thought of it, but he said he couldn't remember it much (I realize now that it was due to terrible repressed memories).  So I started in.

About three Sentences in I realized I'd made a horrible Mistake.  That's right.  Other than teaching me that I have the right to Randomly capitalize Words, it was an Absolute Mess.  But since I've never let myself stop in the middle of a book, I kept going.  This was much to Blake's chagrin, seeing as this meant that I complained every time we commuted to work because I know that metro time is usually my reading time, and I dreaded reading about Moll and her Amoral, Uninteresting, Eye-Roll Inducing life. Such literary punishment I have never known.

Well, as Blake would say, let me tell you how I really feel.

I hated it. 

So I bought myself The Girl Who Played with Fire as a sort of reward (I also let myself have a large bowl of ice cream on the night I finished Moll Flanders...but that's a differerent story). 

And, well, I liked it.  The Girl Who Played with Fire, I mean.  Not Moll Flanders (in case you've spent the last couple minutes hiding under a rock). I'm not sure if I'd really feel comfortable recommending it to other people due to the language and explicit content, but I liked it.  Well, I really enjoyed the second half where the story picked up (and the fact that I've actually been to a lot of the places mentioned in the book helped, too). Not so much the first half where the characters were developed (um, let's say, explicitly).

I'll admit it, I got so hooked that I read it straight through SALT last night.  But it all worked out for me because the plot lines ended up being quite similar, so I don't feel like I missed out on either by dividing my cognitive time between them.

It was a good reward.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I'm thinking of building an ark.


From: Alert Montgomery

Date: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 7:42 AM
To: Alert Montgomery Users rsan@alertmc.info

The National Weather Service has issued a FLOOD WARNING for Montgomery County until 10:15pm. At 7:39am Doppler radar indicated a line of storms over Southern Montgomery County that will be capable of producing flooding rains.

Residents should expect extremely heavy rain that may flood low lying areas, and streets with slow drainage. Do not try to cross flooded roads. Flooded areas may be harder to identify at night. Use caution while driving.

SKYWARN spotters are requested to relay all flood reports to the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and the NWS office in Sterling.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'll bring you a figgy pudding.

Actually, I'll bring you a figgy anything.  Just find me a recipe. 

Our fig tree is producing at a stupendous rate.  We've got figs ripening faster than we can pick them. And squirrels strewing half-eaten figs around faster than we can pick them up.

So, if you're in the D.C. area and you're in to figs.  Let me know.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The one in which Friday the 13th becomes Thursday the 12th.

Downed trees.
Downed (live) power wires.
Crushed cars.
Police tape.
Fire engines.
Power outages.
No metro.
Basement flood.
Stairwell waterfall.
Crickets heading for higher ground.
Silty floors.
Quarter-sized hail.
60 mph winds.
Possible tornado.

Shop vac.
Entire contents of towel closet.
Duct tape.
Garbage bags.
Kitchen sieve.
Plastic pitcher (for bailing).
Chain saw.
Dripping clothes.
Wet hair.

Let's hope tomorrow gets a little better.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A word to the wise

Yesterday a crazy man clapped loudly for me as I crossed North Capitol and Mass Ave.  Then he yelled (complete with arm waving) at me to clean at my desk and go home.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Just some photos from the lake

Just a couple of photos and a video (courtesy of Blake) from our vacation to Winnipesaukee.  I like to think that one of the reasons that Blake has such an attachment to the lake is because lake is part of his name.  Just a thought...

Here is his in his element: Captain Blake at the Lake.

And here we are, posing for our yearly "front of the boat at sunset" picture.  You can tell we've been eating a lot of sweets since 2008.  Also, please don't judge.  The first trip in 2008 I still wore make-up at the lake because I was still trying to impress Blake.  Now that he's manacled to me through marriage, I have completely forgone all make-up at the lake.

And here's a little public service announcement from Captain Blake.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I'm no Joker, but...

I have a cut at the side of my mouth that just won't go away.

The location is such that every time I open my mouth to eat, it re-opens the wound (you can stop reading here if you like).

And today at lunch with Destiny in our usual spot at Union Station, it started bleeding.  I guess I didn't cut the watermelon small enough.

It was gross.  Sorry, Destiny.

It's getting to the point where I look in the mirror and think to myself, "Why so serious?"

Solidarity, brother.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Staff Picnic

We know how to party here at Georgetown Law.

Here's what I had for lunch:

1 slider
3 mini crab cakes
1 chicken satay skewer
1 small salad
1 fried chicken tender with BBQ sauce
2 egg rolls
1 small plate of southern style mac n' cheese
1 handful of french fries
2 scoops of gelato
3 diet cokes

No wonder I'm gaining some padunk-a-dunk....

...it's from eating all this, well, junk-a-junk.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Leave it to Beaver

Because we were feeling surprisingly social, and also because there is nothing on TV in the summer, Blake and I went to our neighborhood ice cream social in the park last night.

And so Blake enjoyed the last bowl of cookies n'cream and I enjoyed the first plate of cookies n'cream while we discussed the welcome wagon, the necessity of speed bumps (especially after what happened to Noah on Monday) and various items of Neighborhood Theater with Tim, the resident neighborhood guru and keeper of the listserv.

And we looked at all the pretty horses (that's a really good book, by the way) that the cops were riding and watched their tails swat away at the flies and curious little kids.

That's right. We live in 1954.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The one in which Blake and I feel really guilty

I'll start from the beginning.

Two weeks ago tilapia was on a great sale at Giant.  So I bought some.  A lot, actually.  And I put it in the freezer with my other discount meats.

Around this same time we also worked out a deal with our 12-year-old neighbor boy, Noah (grandson of this guy...remember him?), to water our plants while we were at the Lake.

Then, last Thursday night, we went to the lake.

It turns out that it was a great week to be gone.  Not only was the heat index a nice roasty 115 - 119, but there was also a rather large and destructive storm on Sunday night.

....(This is where I start to hear things second hand from our neighbor, Dianne, whose chief employment seems to consist of watching Neighborhood Theater)....

Sunday is when a massive tree in my neighbor's yard blew over.  And it took the power lines with it..and it blocked the street (this was a big tree).  And so the power went out on my street.

Can I just mention that this didn't stop Dianne?  A street over from us- the street whose backyards back to our backyards- didn't lose power, so Dianne bought a lengthy orange extension cord, and strung it over the back fence and into the other neighbor's house.  So her fans worked.

Back to the downed power lines.  They were laying on our grass, so that when the power finally came back on on Thursday night (again, so glad we weren't there to experience that sort of indoor heat and humidity), they started a fire.  There are snaking burn marks all over the grass.

So the fire trucks came.  And they put cautionary yellow tape all over our yard.  In fact, there's still some stuck in our bushes).  And Dianne's dog (Ava) had to miss her beauty appointment because the street was blocked off.

And Dianne told me all of this when she came over to warn me not to eat anything from our fridge or freezer.  Don't worry, we'd found out as soon as we entered our house that we had a problem.  Remember all that tilapia I bought?  Well, it didn't fare so well in the power outage. 

Let me tell you, it was not fun to clean out the re-frozen tilapia juice from all corners of the freezer.  And it smelled (smells?) awful.

I thanked Dianne for letting us know what went on, and mentioned how glad I was that at least our flowers and garden were still doing great thanks to Noah.  "Wait, you didn't know?"

"Know what?"

"Noah got hit by a car this morning!"


I should mention here that he's ok.  Just banged up and tired.  But wait, there's more.

Noah had forgotten that we'd be back on Sunday night.  So, he was on his way across the street (we're talking literally 60 yards from his front door to ours) to check on our plants on Monday morning.  And another neighbor hit him.  And kept going because she was on a cell phone and didn't notice.

What type of person doesn't notice when they've hit a 12-year-old?  A 12-year-old who happens to be sprawled out in the middle of the street after you feel a bump on your car.

And then (this is a first-hand account from Noah and his mom) she blamed Noah for running into her car.  Yeah, lady, like a 12-year-old is going to viciously run into you at a high enough speed to leave a dent and rip off your side-view mirror.

The police came.  And the ambulance came.  And Noah's brand new iPod, which he had dropped on the road when he was hit (but up to this point was unharmed), was crunched under the ambulance's tire.

It was not a good day for Noah.

And all because we asked him to water our plants.