Wednesday, April 30, 2008

wow

Holy cow. I've run 11 half marathons. I had no idea. Ha! I'm pretty cool.

No, wait! 12! I ran one as a bandit. Now I'm even cooler.

Enter in your name at www.athlinks.com to see what you've done.

Cool.

Thanks for the link, Kaylynn!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

brunette

(I promise--last hair post for a while.)

Well after my absolutely perfect hair day on Saturday, I decided to stay brunette for a while. I re-dyed my roots, but didn't do my hair super dark like before. It's just dark brown, not practically black. The nicer dye I got from Trinity sticks better, so I don't have to start out quite so dark.

Although after watching Baby Mama with Christian this weekend, I decided I want Amy Poehler Blonde.



That should be the name for her hair color. It was the perfect blonde (even less yellow than in the picture above). I know. It's pretty extreme from what I have now and would probably take me endless shades of orange to get there from my dark dye job, but some day I'll do it.

The only thing holding me back (besides the millions of dye jobs to get my hair that color) is my work. Yes, I can have blonde hair at my work. But I work with a ton of medical students and faculty. Many of whom I only see a couple times a year. It's hard enough for them to recognize me as it is. But I learned after going dark that anyone who might recognize me definitely doesn't after a drastic hair-color change. I really don't want to re-meet everyone again. That might sound kind of lame, but it really is frustrating to walk past a doctor or student whom I've worked with on committees for the last 2 years and have them give me that uh-sure-I'll-say-hi-as-we-walk-past-each-other-in-the-hall-but-I-have-no-idea-who-you-are
look. I get that enough as it is.

Such a dilemma. If I only worked with the people in my office, it wouldn't matter. But after working somewhere for over 3 years, I don't know if I want to add to the number of people around the medical school who still don't recognize me.

But if I quit my job, I could go blonde and not care who didn't recognize me. Is that a valid reason to quit a job? Unfortunately, I don't think it is.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

the perfect hair

I've discovered how to get the perfect hair. Pay close attention:

1. Sleep in until 10am
2. Do chores until 2pm
3. Shower and wash hair
4. Brush hair
5. Blow dry bangs only
6. Get the tiny last bit of BioSilk product out of the free sample bottle and rub into wet hair
7. Spray hair (and bangs) with Garnier Fructis hair spray
8. Let air dry in 88-degree weather while eating Baskin Robbins Love Potion #31 ice cream and looking for H20 products at Stanford Mall
9. Spend the afternoon relaxing in Half Moon Bay

By the end of your day, your hair will look better than it ever has before.

Hard to see, but it really was perfect.


My natural waves finally behaved.


Now if I could just do that every day.

Friday, April 25, 2008

face moisturizer

Anyone have suggestions for a light, non-greasy face moisturizer that has a high SPF protection? There are lots of moisturizers that advertise having SPF 15, but I'm looking for a great moizturizer that has an SPF rating higher than 30 with UVA/UVB protection.

I just came across this ~H20+ Waterwhite Brightening Lotion SPF 30.



My sister uses a lot of H2O products, so I think I might have to jump on her bandwagon. While I was hoping for something with an even higher SPF, I have lots of melasma splotches on my face. (Melasma is also called "The Mask of Pregnancy." No, I'm not pregnant, but I have heard that you can get it for other reasons including birth control.) So this lotion might just be the one for me. I think I'll go buy some this weekend and try it out.

What do you use?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

buzz cut

I've had a headache on and off for the past 3 days. I never get headaches. I'm just lucky like that. Growing up I always felt so bad for my sister. She always had headaches. I never did.

So of course what I consider to be a horrible headache is probably about a 2.0 on the richter scale. (For those of you who don't live in earthquake country, that's teeny weeny.) But to me it's huge.

And my reaction almost every time? It's my hair. I know it. My hair is too heavy. Take out the clip. Un-do my pony tail. Lay down so that my head doesn't have to carry the weight.

Do I think about taking medicine? Nope--that would be too logical. Do I think I need to drink more water? Nope--that would be too easy. Instead, I think about chopping my hair off. I know it's ridiculous. I don't have that much hair. But that's my thought every time. Chop it off. It can't cause a headache if it's only an inch long, right?

I came to my senses and I still have all my hair. And I just popped some tylenol and filled up my bottle of water. I guess I'll try that first. Wish me luck.

Oh! And speaking of hair, I'm torn. Blonde or Brunette?? After an entire year of being brunette, I'm finally starting to miss being blonde. I have no idea what to do. My blonde hair was a little blah, so I'd probably go a little more blonde than my natural color. But at the same time, I feel like my dark hair was more striking. (Not that I'm calling myself striking.)

What's your vote?









This just in: Maybe I should go RED! Hahaha. Sometimes when our medical students meet me face to face, they're surprised I'm young just like them. They just assume I'm old, because I work in the office, or because I'm nice in my emails. Yeah, one of them told me that. But last night one of our medical students said he always pictured me young and hot because my last name is like the bassist from Hole, Melissa Auf der Mauer:



Sure, you can compare me to a sassy rocker chick anytime!

It's so hard to decide!!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

name that tune

Growing up we listened to a lot of music. My parents have always loved music (as evidenced by the opera, Ray Charles, or Mexican ballads blasting out of my dad's barn). I grew up listening to the Mamas and the Papas, The Beatles, Porgy and Bess, or Peter, Paul and Mary on the record player.

Not to mention I'm the youngest in my family, so by the time I was paying attention to music, my older brothers and sisters knew all the good music. In our house, the music was always on: The Police, The Bangles, Violent Femmes, Tiffany, Cyndi Lauper, Talking Heads, Enya, The Cars, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, The Clash, The Cure, Depeche Mode, Erasure, Debbie Gibson, Journey, INXS, Howard Jones, Edie Brickell, Dolly Parton (yes, Dolly Parton), Garth Brooks, Bob Marley. The list could go on and on and on and on.

A common game in our family was name that tune.



Or more like name that artist. This was never actually planned. It would always just happen when we were in the car together. Everyone seemed to be able to guess who was on the radio--except me. I was HORRIBLE at this game! I never knew who was singing. I always knew the chorus of the song. Always. But never had any idea who it was.

So tonight on the way to Christian's soccer game, I asked him who was singing a song. Keep in mind that I knew almost all the words to the song, but couldn't remember who sang it. It turned into a game. Christian started flipping through the songs in his play list to see how fast I could guess the singer. These were the artists on the playlist:

The Killers
The Bravery
Kaiser Chiefs
Modest Mouse
White Stripes
Franz Ferdinand
We are Scientists
Hot Hot Heat
Gorillaz
Beck
Snow Patrol
Postal Service
Death Cab for Cutie

How did I do? I'm still horrible! I mixed up Modest Mouse and White Stripes half the time. Hot Hot Heat, Gorillaz, and Beck were easy because they don't sound like the others. Postal Service and Death Cab were easy, but I had to figure out which one it was. But the rest were pretty much a guessing game unless it was my favorite song by that artist.

I can sing all the songs, but that's about it. Maybe it's a direct reflection of my bad memory.

Now we're at home and playing Name that Commercial. Yep. Just as bad.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

i'm done!

I'm done, I'm done, I'm done, I'm done, I'm done, I'm done, I'm done, I'm done, I'm done, I'm done, I'm done, I'm done!

Today's paper only took me 7 hours! And that included a one-hour nap! How the heck is that possible? I know. It's because I went to church. I was going to skip church to do my paper, but I decided at the last minute to go. Ok, so I did spend part of the second hour out in the car looking for information for my last paper, but I was actually in church for most of the 3-hour block. Seriously, though. Each paper has taken me over 12 hours and suddenly this one only takes me 7? Definite blessings right there. Hahaha.

I still have to go through my papers and do any necessary revisions, but it's 8:20pm on Sunday and I'm done! My papers aren't even due for another 20 hours! This has got to be a record for me. I have never ever ever ever finished an assignment 20 hours before it was due.

Woohoo! I'm done!

I was going to suggest that we go celebrate by going out to dessert, but it's Sunday, so I think I'll just get some ice cream out of our freezer. Close enough!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

two down

Two down. Well, kind of. I'm starting to second guess my first paper. The nice thing about regular class assignments is that I do them right before, turn them in, and don't have time to second guess them. Now, I have papers that are done but just sitting there waiting to be messed with. Tonight's paper? I won't be messing with that. Yesterday's paper? It's just not right.

Well, for now--two down, one to go.

I almost went crazy today. I've pretty much been sitting at the kitchen table for 13 hours. Once again, I ate everything and anything. I went out on a walk for about 20 minutes a couple hours ago and chatted with my parents on the phone, but it was so cold outside that all I wanted to do was come back in!

Christian is in San Francisco with our friends. It's funny. We never see anyone. But since I'm being the most unentertaining wife in the world, Christian has to get his kicks elsewhere. So he's off living it up. He even went shopping today.

Well, it's 10 o'clock. I could do the dishes. I could go to bed. Or I could get started on my third paper. Hmmmm. I think I'll do the dishes. I've been enjoying the wonderful scent of bacon, barbeque sauce, and corndogs all day, because neither of us has bothered to do any dishes. Starting to gross me out. Sorry, Christian. I said I'd leave them for you, but I just can't do it.

one down

One down. Two to go. It took me 12 hours to do my first one. But then again, I'm not the best at concentrating. I think I ate almost everything in our cupboards (I eat when I'm bored). I put some plants in pots. I took a cat nap. I ate more. Yeah, I guess that's about it.

And do you know what Christian got to do while I typed? He went and had dinner with all our friends and played Rock Band! Lucky!

One down. Two to go.

If I stay on track, we're definitely going to the beach on Monday, ladies. I'll keep you updated.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

post-its

It's a good life. I think I love being at home during the day. Especially since Christian works at home. He worked, I worked. I watered my plants. We talked about the bumble bee that visits our plants every day. I ate my strawberry. We had lunch together. He worked. I worked. It was nice.

So want to see what I did all day? Can you say post-its?

Yep. I used a lot of little post-its today.





And I did some yoga.



Judging by my glowing legs, I probably should have been out in the sun getting a tan instead of sitting inside. Hmmm. Maybe that will be my next goal--buy some self tanner so my legs won't glow in pictures.

I realized this morning why I'm not nervous about these papers I have to write this weekend. I have been in this program for 3 years. After 3 years, I'd better know how to write a paper. After 3 years, I'd better know this material well enough to write something sensible. After 3 years, I have no reason to be nervous. Granted, if for some strange reason I don't pass I'll have to rethink that logic. But I'm 99.9% sure I'll pass. Let me tell you why.

Anyone who does well in this (or any) graduate program should be able to pass the final exam. Now, this may sound prideful, but I need to make a point. I have received an A in all my MA classes (well, with the exception of a B in an elective course in a different department, and an F in an elective course that I thought I dropped before the semester even started and didn't realize it until the semester was over. Oops!). But back to the A's. Here's where the educator in me comes out. If you give a student A's throughout their entire education, you are providing the student with feedback that says they are doing an exceptional job. If at the end of everything you give them a comprehensive exam and they do not pass, who failed?

Of course, there are many variables, but let's look at the three most likely reasons in the situation of a consistent A student: 1) The student failed--due to external and most likely uncontrollable circumstances, the student was distracted and performed poorly and out of character, 2) The exam failed--the exam did not accurately assess what the student was taught throughout the program, or 3) The program failed the student by not giving accurate feedback along the way, giving the student the impression that his/her work was up to par. If you're going to test a student, you'd better prepare that student well for the test, right? Right.

Ok. Time for bed. I have to go pick up the questions in the morning so I can get started. My goal is a paper a day in order to be done Sunday night. Christian said I should try to be done with all 3 by Saturday night. I just laughed at him. It sounds nice, but I'm the slowest paper-writer ever. So aiming for Sunday night (instead of the 5pm deadline on Monday) is pretty ambitious for me.

Sally, if you read this--GOOD LUCK! See you in the morning! Let's do this!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

quite the chef

I worked my butt off at work today, drove straight to East Palo Alto, taught a 2-hour ESL class, drove home, and just sat down to eat something. It's 10 o'clock at night. I'm tired. I could be going through class materials right now, but seriously--who wants to start studying at 10 at night? Not me. So I'm blogging and going to bed.

I had to blog tonight, because I gave myself a good laugh. Not as good as the stoplight incedent, but funny. I had a little too much sugar today (hmmm, could it be the gummy candy?), so I definitely needed real food tonight. I noticed we had frozen chicken breast tenders from Costco in the freezer. Perfect.

The tenders are the easiest things ever. Thanks to the advice of my good friend Jennifer (who is so far away in Alabama!), I now stick them in the microwave for a minute, then throw them in the oven. So easy. So I pulled out a couple pieces, put them on a plate, and turned around to stick them in the microwave.

What? Where did the microwave go??

It moved. A few months ago.

This, people, is what I mean when I say that I don't cook. I mean that I really never cook. You see, this proves that the last time I pulled out chicken breast tenders, stuck them on a plate, and nuked them for a minute was before we moved the microwave. No joke. The process was pure habit. I could do it in my sleep. Only in my sleep the microwave would have been in the right place.

Crisis averted. I turned around again, walked to where the microwave really is, and went on with my evening. Then I baked some yams (yes, from a can), and steamed some broccoli. The broccoli was fresh, thank you very much.



For dessert I'm considering eating my first strawberry of the year. Thanks for the strawberry plants, Ashley!



Speaking of Ashley, if you want to see some real cooking, check out her blog. Yummy!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

a little too much

I'm deep into studying for comps. What that really means is that I'm organizing all the stuff I've collected from my 6 core classes over the last 3 years. I'm literally going through every page of notes, handouts, reading packets, etc. and labeling them with post-its. Sounds very exciting, huh? The point is to be able to find information easily this weekend. I have to write 3 papers in 4 days. My plan is to write 3 papers in 3 days and sleep on the fourth. Or maybe go hiking. Or maybe go to the beach. And stay-at-home-moms want to join me? It's not often I have a weekday open.

So this is what my couch looks like. While I was setting everything out, I thought, "Wow! It looks like Christmas!" immediately followed by, "Nevermind. It looks like Hell."



Christian was sweet and came home with an entire bag of salt water taffy for me. It's hard to moderate my intake while sitting on my butt for hours at a time.

Tonight I went to Walgreens for bleach and hit the jackpot--a 2.4-pound bag of gummy candy.

So here is what I have sitting next to me while I study. I know. It's horrible. But soooooo good.



Ok. I have to go write a lesson plan. 6 more days til I'm done with comps!!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

can you say walk/run/walk/walk/walk?

So I know some of you are curious about how my half marathon went. Well, don't expect any sub-2-hour reports here. Three weeks ago that would have happened, but it didn't, and that's totally fine with me. I ended up having the best day.

5:00am -- Ok, ok. I'll get up.

5:58am -- I actually made it to Los Gatos early. I know. That never happens.

6:10am -- Still no Deirdre. By this point I was really hoping that she had accidentally slept in and we didn't have to run the race.

6:15am -- No such luck.

6:45am -- We arrived at the Boardwalk for the start of the race.



7:00am -- We were in the porta potties when the start gun went off. Good thing it was chip timing because half the race participants were still in line to use the bathroom and there was no warning whatsoever before the gun went off. I took my time.

7:04am -- Here goes nothing. Cross the start line, start my watch timer, and head up the hill.

7:08am -- Listen? Can you hear the sea lions barking from under the pier? I think they're laughing at us.



7:21am -- Are you kidding me? We've only gone 2 miles?? Wow. It has already felt like 4. Sun is shining. We're running North along West Cliff Drive. The ocean is beautiful. It's not cold. If only I wanted to be running. Then it would be absolutely perfect.

7:30am -- 10k turnaround. I could turn around here. I really could just turn around and meet Deirdre at the end.

7:37am -- First up hill. I let Deirdre pull ahead. She's going to have a great race. At least I like hills.

7:45am -- 5 mile mark. We're on a beautiful bike path paralleling Highway 1. I'm running a 9-minute pace but I'm exhausted. Deirdre has disappeared toward Wilder Park, and I decide to walk. I have never ever walked so early in a race. But boy did it feel good. Turn on my ipod. Accept the fact that it's just not my day. Ok. Downhill. I guess I should start running again.

8:02am -- 6 mile mark. Wow. Running around Wilder Park is beautiful. Zig-zagging along the coastline on a dirt path, looking down at little inaccessible beaches, spotting sea lions out in the water, enjoying the birds flying by, laughing when "Reach Out, I'll be There" starts playing on my ipod: Now when you feel like you can't go on, Because all your hope is gone, And your life is filled with much confusion, Until happiness is just an illusion, Darling, Reach out, Reach out... I had visions of reaching out and grabbing onto the person in front of me and letting them pull me. I don't think they would have liked that.



8:19am -- Walk again? Sure! Why not?

8:22am -- Uphill. Ha! I may not be able to run on flat ground, but I can do the hills. So I run up the hill. The wildflowers are beautiful. I let the weeds brush up against my legs thinking I'll check for ticks later. Besides, it's not quite tick season yet.



8:34am -- Downhill. Shade. Wow. It's nice and cool down here. I didn't realize it was getting so hot. Uphill! Why do I like uphills? Water stop. Did someone say stop? Don't mind if I do. Half a cup for my mouth, half a cup dumped down my back. Oooh. That's nice.

8:42am -- She's going the distance, She's going for speed... Once again, I have to laugh at my iPod's random selection. More like She's going to run down the hill at Natural Bridges and hang out at the beach instead of running those blasted last 3 miles. Hey--this is where I could have turned around for the 10k. I wonder why I didn't.



Run, run.

Walk. Check out the view.

Run, run, run.

Walk. Dump water down my back.

Run, run, run, run.

Walk. Check out the sea lion playing in the water.

9:09am: One mile left. It is the most amazing day in Santa Cruz. It is totally warm already. People are out walking their dogs. There's a crazy lady running in front of me with big frizzy pigtails. I'm secretly kicking myself in the butt for the fact that I'm back here running behind the crazy pigtail lady and not already done with the race.



9:16am: I can see the finish line. Just around the corner, down the hill, and onto the beach. Should I push it? Nah, how about another walking break? Sounds great!

9:18am: Ok, ok, ok. I'll run. Around the corner, down the hill, right-hand turn, across the sand, and Ta-Da! Out of my way, people--I'm headed to the beach!



So for all the walking I did, I'd have to say that a 2:17 time isn't too bad. Yeah, I was disappointed to not run a sub-2-hour race, but it wasn't a race-day disappointment. I knew long before race day that it just wasn't happening. But that's running for you. Sometimes your body just decides on its own that you're trying to do too much. When you have too much on your plate, something has got to give.

So after hanging out on the beach for a while with Deirdre, we went out to a very yummy breakfast. I may not have pounded the race, but I sure pounded that French Toast!

All in all, the day was very fun. I love hanging out with Deirdre, the warm weather made me so happy, I had so much energy the rest of the day, Christian and I went to the mall and visited Denise, I bought myself a nice big bag of gummy candy, and we watched 5 hours of Lost while I did online traffic school.

Relaxing day? Absolutely. I needed it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

time flies

Oh my goodness. I can't believe it's the weekend again. If time keeps flying by this fast, I will be 80 years old tomorrow!

Speaking of tomorrow--It's Saturday. Saturday will be my relax day. Sadly, this is what my relax day looks like: get up at 5:00am, meet Deirdre at 6:00am in Los Gatos, drive to Santa Cruz, start the half marathon at 7:00am, hopefully be done by 9:00am (ok, ok, it will be more like 9:10am--my butt just won't go any faster at this point), go out to a big breakfast with D, come home, plop myself in front of the TV with my laptop, and watch TV the rest of the day while doing online traffic school (for my stupid ticket for turning left).

Do you consider that relaxing? Because at this point I'm not so sure...

Wish me luck tomorrow!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

goodbye weekends

Today I spent 12 hours straight sitting on our couch. Doing work. Ok, I was asleep for 1 1/2 hours, but I was still on the couch.

Next weekend I will probably spend 20 hours sitting on the couch or at the table doing work and getting ready for my comprehensive exam.

The weekend after that (Friday thru Monday) I will probably spend 40 hours sitting on my couch, at the table, on the floor, and on my bed writing essays for my comprehensive exam.

The weekend after that I will be in my bed asleep.

So don't expect to see my face for about a month.

And then let's party!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

springtime in my garden

My balcony garden makes me happy, so I thought I'd share the love...

New wisteria growth. I started this little plant from a seed from my friend's HUGE wisteria arbor. Some day it will be big.


First delphinium bud to pop open.


Baby leaves on my Japanese Maple.


This delphinium had a traumatic week. A bike fell on it (not mine) and I found it with the top completely hanging. Delphiniums only get one stalk with one bloom. Last year the caterpillars ate off the top of one of mine, and I wasn't going to lose one this year. So I broke out the scotch tape (look closely) and it actually worked. Just call me an Orthopedic Surgeon.


Someday this little guy will be a big raspberry bush.


Snapdragons.


My toad hides in my strawberry plants.


Speaking of strawberries...


The succulents Ashley gave me are growing nice and big.


Sunset over the park. Not bad.

lungs

Breathing can be both a voluntary and an involuntary muscle movement. Most of the time it's involuntary--it just happens on its own, kind of like our heart beating. So unless you have problems with your lungs or unless your lungs are "burning" from exercise, you rarely notice them.

Last week I noticed my lungs. I was just watching TV with Christian and I noticed breathing seemed to take more effort and I felt slightly short of breath. Imagine the adrenaline feeling you get in your chest when someone startles you. Couple that with feeling slightly short of breath. Yeah--it was wierd.

The feeling kept up on and off for a couple days. I had a hard run on Wednesday--my lungs felt like they were going to pop. I was so confused. But then I had an absolutely horrible run on Saturday. I felt like I was running up a big hill the entire 10 miles, even though the trail is relatively flat. It was too much to handle. I was completely useless the rest of the day.

I've been afraid to run since. It was that bad.

When I started to get out of breath on Sunday just talking to my friend, April, she said, "You should go see the doctor about it." April is such a genious.

You know? Sometimes I forget doctors exist. And I work at a School of Medicine.

The doctor told me it may be due to allergies (nooooo!) or a congested sinus. So he prescribed me an antihistimine/degongestant and... an inhaler! (Noooooooooo!) (PS--the inhaler has done nothing for me. I've used it twice.)

But this morning I decided I couldn't sit on my butt and watch my 2-hour half marathon slip away. So I laced up my shoes and went running. And do you know what? I was fine. My lungs are still bothering me off and on, but I think it will pass. Perhaps the decongestant is fixing the problem. Perhaps it's just something my body is working through.

So for now, I'm back in the game. And I have a new appreciation for my lungs, which work tirelessly day in and day out to let me enjoy my crazy life.