Thursday, January 27, 2011


I'm really grumpy today. 

We had a blizzard last night that left us without power from 7:00 p.m. until 9:45 a.m. 

Along with the power and heat, the storm also took with it:

1.  Two large tree branches from our yard.  One across our walkway.  One across the entirety of our yard.  We have now (in the year we've lived in the house) lost significant branches on every single one of the large trees in our yard.

2.  A night of sleep.  You try sleeping when it's freezing cold, the sky is lighting up as transformers are exploding, lightning is, well, lightninging, and thunder is thundering.  Also, the power loss made our Verizon cable box beep incessantly until I took drastic measures and unplugged everything in sight.

3.  My clean hair and make-up.  We spent half the night outside shaking off trees, shoveling, and trying to save branches.  It was windy, freezing, and so snowy that I couldn't see three feet in front of me.  Coming inside afterwards to a cold house was no treat either.

4.  My good mood.  I was in a good mood about the snow until I realized that I'd still have to make my way to work in it.  8 inches closes the metro.  We got 7.5.  And now I'm grumpy.

What really gets my grumpy goat, though, is this:

At 7:20 a.m. I got a phone call from Georgetown saying that all classes were cancelled until 1:10 p.m.  I promptly got back under the covers (it was the only place warm enough to be remotely comfortable) and continued listening to the cracking and tremendous thudding of the trees breaking around our neighborhood. 

At 9:30 Blake and I were desperate and thinking of asking Blake's parents to come pick us up in their SUV and whisk us away to warmth.  Then Blake could work from "home" (no Internet at our house = total isolation) and I could stay warm until going to work after 1:00.

At 9:43 we got power back.  We were ecstatic. 

At 9:46 I checked my work e-mail and saw that, although classes has been cancelled, administrative offices were still opened.  Any late arrivals would count against our leave time. 

Perfect.  The important message doesn't reach me because I didn't have power.  How unfair.

So now it's lunch.  And I'm grumpy because I now have three less leave hours that I could have otherwise used for a much-more-rewarding/warm vacation.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Joy Beyond Measure

It's Monday.  But, unlike most Mondays, I have very little to complain about.

One of the assistant deans from my office left the office (permanently) and I've commandeered her ergonomic chair. It's made a world of difference to my back and has helped my Monday outlook significantly.  Now I can truly say sitting down is a pleasure, a joy beyond measure, a blessing of Kim having left. 

Ok, so that may be a bit overdramatic, but I'm not kidding, this chair has changed my life.  I'm going to have to do some serious lobbying to keep this chair when we find Kim's replacement.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hello, Mr. Cellulose

January's always a productive month for me.  I get the urge to re-organize the house (new year = new storage shelves in the basement), work is busy and productive (because it has to be), and we end up getting a lot of other projects done, too.

Last year we had our kitchen re-done in January.

This year (last Friday) we had insulation installed in our attic and 2nd floor.  Blake had a flex day and generously stayed home to orchestrate the intense insulation procedure.  He also was there to accept the delivery of our new dining room chairs.  At one point, he said, there were three vans parked outside our house, tubes running in through the windows, and several delivery men coming in and out.  What a circus!

Blake's flex day has proven to be a great gift.  We wouldn't get nearly as many projects done if he weren't so able/willing to stick around the house and direct the chaos. (Thanks, lover!)

Anyhow, I came home Friday night to plastic covering all of our furniture, clumps of old fiberglass strewn across our walkway and stairs, and half an inch of black-ish dust covering everything.  It was a sight to behold.  And a dirty soup to breath.

It was safe to breath, though, because we used only green materials: cellulose and closed-cell foam.  Cellulose is made from recycled newspapers, so although it creates a dusty mess as it's going in, it won't harm you to breath and it won't lodge pesky little fiberglass shards in your feet.  We were so excited to get rid of the mildewy fiberglass batting that previously resided in our attic.  I can't tell you what a difference it's made.

Let me tell you folks, it was worth it.

After we finished cleaning everything up the next day - the vacuuming, oh the vacuuming! - we measured the upstairs temperature and it had risen by 12 degrees!  12 DEGREES!  That took it from the Arctic Tundra to sunny San Diego in less than a day.  In fact, our upstairs may even be warmer than our main floor now. 

Miracle of miracles!  Why didn't we do this before (or at least prior to December 31st when the good tax credits were viable)?!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Not Urgent per se

To approve, or not to approve, that is the age-old question:

Other comparably urgent reason - Dear Georgetown, I have been planning to attend a Lady Gaga concert on February 24, 2011 for months. [The ticket was part of my 30th birthday present back in September 2010.] I see that unfortunately I will miss 2 classes because of the concert. While this isn't a medical emergency, or "urgent" per se, I just thought I'd ask to see if there is any way I could please have these two classes recorded. ["Other comparably urgent reason" was the best fit I found under "Reason for Request."] Thank you very much for your consideration.

(Sigh) 30 and still googoo for Gaga

Friday, January 14, 2011


Recently some friends and I were talking about sexism in the workplace (specifically on the Hill). 

And I was thinking: if sexism is a bias against gender, then is sexy-ism a bias against good looks?

And if so, is there sexy-ism on the Hill, too? 

Seeing the number of staffer-representative sex scandals, my guess would be no.  Maybe sexy-ism should be instigated in certain offices on the Hill...just a thought...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Voir Dire

It's going to be a long week.

You know how I know that?  Because it's Tuesday and it's already been a long week. 

But at least I have an interesting professorial interaction to look forward to tonight.  Last year this professor initiated the following conversation with me (in front of his students as they were settling in to their desks at the beginning of class):

-Oh, hi Rachel, your last name changed.  Did you get married?

-Yes, I got married in February.

-Well, congratulations.  Now, I'm not saying your husband isn't a great guy, or that he isn't THE guy, but I do hope you got a pre-nup.

-No, actually we didn't. (What?!)

-Well, are you planning to have kids soon? I at least hope you're waiting to have kids.  Kids can cause a lot of stress on a marriage.

-I've heard that.  Kids are definitely a handful. (No, seriously, what am I supposed to say to this?) Well, it was good to see you again, Professor, good luck with your class this week.

I left the classroom and had a good laugh on the way back to my office.  It makes me wonder which of his marital problems he'll unwittingly reveal to me this year.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Now you Sees me, now you don't

My Mom once told me that she was in line at Sees Candy behind a woman that asked for her pound-and-a-half of candy to be put in a bag rather than a box.

When my Mom asked her why, she sheepishly answered that it was because that way she couldn't see how many she'd eaten.  There weren't those horrible little empty spaces reminding her each time she ate another.

I used to think that was pretty silly.

That is, until we finished off a pound-and-a-half of Sees on our own in the past week.

Remind me to get a bag next time instead of a box.  Those little empty spaces are haunting me.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A few pictures from December

Blake got me a new camera for Christmas (that seemed to be the theme...I got him one, too - different kinds though).  So, I'm dumping the photos from our old camera before I start using the new one.  Be prepared for better pictures in the future.  I declare 2011 to be the year of decent photos.

 This year's Christmas tree was a beauty.  As I mentioned before, it was like a scene out of Christmas Vacation: we turned the corner at the lot and it was like a beacon of light was shining upon it.  Too perfect to pass up.

Here we are at our annual ugly sweater party (I couldn't find an ugly sweater...whoops) playing a revival of girls v. boys Pictionary.  The girls won.  As usual.  

Special props go to Lindsey and her delightful thrifted Christmas cape.

Here I am prior to the party preparing some goodies.  

And here is part of the spread.  We forgot to take a picture of the complete set-up, but it was lovely (pats-self-on-back).

And here is a group shot (minus Lindsey) of me and the fatties at Cafe Rio in Provo over the break.  We got together for a quick lunch while everyone was in town (minus Gretchen, Erin and Jenny).  It was really fun to see everyone and catch up and ooh/ah over new babies, new jobs, new puppies etc.  

Note to self: don't try to hide gum at the side of your mouth for a picture.  It isn't actually hiding and it isn't actually doing you any favors.  Square smile?

Christmas Crud

So far this year I've escaped the physical Christmas Crud (you know, that Christmas-time sickness that hits you when you're finally ready to relax?), but Blake wasn't so lucky. Poor guy.

We had a great Christmas.  Blake triumphed over "bad tummy" for a day of sub-zero skiing at the Canyons. We enjoyed lots of family time, lots of food, lots of treats (it wouldn't be a true family Christmas without the whole kitchen island covered in goodies), lots of Noosa (the family dog), lots of presents, lots of Wii, lots of cracking up at the mall while watching my Dad get accosted celebrity-style, lots of Band of Brothers, lots of catching up and lots of making up for lost time. 

I also enjoyed a stellar 7-pound love-handle gain (um, actually, no, I'm not sure on that one...I've been too scared to even step on the scale, I'm just going by touch here...), but that's a different story.

Sunday's plane ride was melancholy to say the least.  It's hard to leave family/vacation world and head back to real life.  Alas.  I drowned my sorrows in two and a half hours of a behind-the-scenes, making-of-harry-potter show on Delta's satellite TV offering.

Talk about Christmas Crud.  I've got it emotionally.  I'm not ready for Christmas to be over.  It's so fun to look forward to something so grand.  And now all I've got to look forward to is the possibility of new insulation in our second floor/attic spaces.  Geeze, that's boring.  Is it too early to bask in the distant glow of Christmas 2011?  Only 50 weeks...