Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nanni Nanni Boo Boo

First, I'd like to start with an aside if I may, which started while I was contemplating a title for my blog post on the metro this afternoon. When I thought of the above beloved song from my childhood (she says sarcastically), I pondered for the first time in my life its disturbing end, in which one person forcibly reveals the private parts of the other. In case you don't remember or never sang it, allow me to enlighten you. I can't believe I'm about to type this, and spelling is not the least of my worries, but anyway, it goes something like the following (note--I didn't write these song lyrics, so don't blame the messenger): "Nanni nanni boo boo, sick your head in doo doo. If you don't, I don't care, I'll pull down your underwear."Becoming a parent changes the lens through which you view EVERYTHING....FOREVER. Suddenly, instead of a classic song in which one person taunts the other, we have a situation in which someone is trying to remove my daughter's undergarments. Who are these boys? Can we put them in prison? Don't even get me started on this new thing I've recently heard of called "sexting." I will simply say the decision about whether to one day give G her own phone is a new ball game. If you really want to know more, google it.
On to the reason I'm taunting you, which is probably really only a taunt in our current economic situation. Namely, I LOVE my job. LOVE IT!!! Not to say I wouldn't change a thing or two, I'm only human. In case you haven't noticed, humans don't want to change, they want everyone else to change to suit their needs...welcome to American politics. But I digress. I'm writing about loving my job in an odd week, since I'm completely swamped dealing with swine flu (aka. The Aporkalypse, my favorite Twitterese word of the week). And that's just the thing. I love being this busy, I crave the insane atmosphere of an Incident Command System (ICS is Emergency Manager lingo, for those who don't know). Of course after realizations like this, I always jump back to the idea that maybe I should pursue getting my nursing degree after all. I don't know how long I would practice clinically, if ever, but it would definitely give me the clout I need and the respect I (hopefully) deserve in the emergency preparedness/response field. As of right now, disaster managers don't completely trust public health experts. When you think about it, that lack of trust is at least partially realistic--many people in public health, though they may have training in emergency preparedness, have actually never been involved in a real incident.
If you step back further from emergency preparedness, I've come to another conclusion as to why I love public health. Have you ever noticed how much I love telling people what to do? I thrive on giving advice, which is probably why I've always studied psychology. Glorified advice giving! My problem is I love giving advice so much that I almost can't wait for a person to get their thought out before I interrupt them with what they should do. Hence, I've taken on a career in which instead of talking to one person, I get to tell EVERY AMERICAN what they should do. I've found my niche. Hallelujah!
Incidentally, since I love giving advice and happen to know a lot about the topic du jour, let me give you a few tips on how to deal with swine flu. As a matter of course, I recommend first viewing the CDC website on the subject, particularly the part on the right side called "What You Can Do to Stay Healthy." To summarize their points: 1) Wash your hands/Invest in hand-sanitizer (even you, Bogis); 2) Stay away from sick people if you can. And finally, the only treatment known for the swine flu is the liberal application of oinkment. Ha! Sorry, I had to do it. Don't worry too much. From what I've heard, this is one bad mama-jama of a flu, but so far in the US it's not a killer. Don't be too paranoid. Humor (hopefully better jokes than mine) is a great way to get yourself through a stressful situation of the "wait & see" game. Enjoy your life. And for goodness sake, don't wear a mask unless there's some kind of bad smell in the air. Geez-o-Pete, I would love to say some things to the crazies you see on the news buying up their masks and gloves. What are you going to do, perform surgery?
Since I started this post with a tangent, I think I'll end with one as well. Besides, how can I still call my blog "aimless digressions" if I don't still occasionally veer off course? In addition to loving my job, I love DC! I could do a huge post on the things I don't love, but that's not the theme today. While I don't have them numbered like the Washingtonian Magazine, let's just call this one #17, the Metro. There are many things to love about the metro, but today I'd like to focus on the many interesting people there are to gawk at, judge, and otherwise generally blankly stare at for the 20-or-so-minute ride home. People-watching is one of my all-time favorite hobbies. Today's winner: a man in his twenties wearing a very normal-looking outfit, who turned around and *surprise!* had handcuffs tucked into his pants...not his pocket, mind you, but the back of his pants above his butt. In the words of the oft-used expression around these parts, only in DC! So thank you, DC subway system, for providing such unique individuals for my viewing pleasure. That's all I got for today. Stay tuned for possible future posts on swine flu if important measures, like the case fatality rate, get worse. For now, I'll leave you with one last corny joke.
Q: When will there be an outbreak of swine flu?
A: When pigs fly.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Vivi turns 1!

What a great day! We were exhuasted, but it was a successful celebration. She was definitely overwhelmed by the number of presents and probably would have been satisfied playing with the bags and wrapping paper all day. She loved the piano Babci got her...


Saturday, April 18, 2009

I miss Oundle in the springtime...

I am enjoying spring in DC, but I can't help comparing it to last year's wonderful English spring we experienced while living in Oundle. The two cities are so entirely different that a comparison is fruitless, but I can at least compare the seasons. The constant drizzle in England was a drag, but the great parts more than made up for it.
Spring in Oundle begins with a bang. Suddenly (and quite unexpectedly for us, as it was our first) fields that were once green explode in yellow blossoms of the rapeseed plant--incidentally, worst named plant ever. We later learned the farmers grow rapeseed to turn it into an oil much like canola. Our house was just on the edge of town and backed up to open farms, so I was able to see the rapeseed fields on my daily walks.
Soon after the rapeseed, cherry trees bloom and our town hangs flower baskets from the lampposts. Coffee houses put out tables and chairs on the sidewalks, and people flock to them for their daily tea. We had two favorite local meals in Oundle. The first was fish and chips from the "Chippie" in town, which we would take to the riverside to eat, and the second was a pub in Ashton, the village next to us, which served delicious sandwiches and great beer.
Since I didn't have a job while we were there, I was free to waddle around waiting for the baby to be born, putting out laundry on our outdoor line, doing yoga and talking long walks, and sitting on the bench in our backyard. Every day I would read more of my baby book as I listened to the newly born lambs, on the farm behind us, cry out to and be answered by their mother sheep. It seemed like the perfect time to have a baby!
We also took my favorite trip in the spring of my 6-month journey, to Paris. Though there was a cold spell that made it feel more like winter, it was a wonderful vacation that I'll never forget. Even though I was 8 1/2 months pregnant, I hustled around town covering 8 miles a day to see everything. What a fantastic place--you can really see what all the fuss is about.
Tonight I've been reminded of Oundle by two (admittedly pretty dumb) movies on TBS: The Wedding Date and The Holiday. Both take place in England in towns very similar to Oundle, so it's like I've been rushed back there for a few hours. I wish I could take the great parts of life there and bring them to the states. Of course it's silly to wish for impossible things like that, but I do hope at least that we can go visit there again some day.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Genevieve loves to eat, as usual. I think she really enjoys feeding herself. We started with shredded cheese because it's easy to eat--she still only has 4 front teeth. I discovered on our walk to the park today that when she's pointing at everything, she's actually saying "See!" because I always say "Look Vivi, see the _____?" She loves to say "Eeow" for "Meow" since I always ask "What do kitties say?" Today I experienced her first real temper tantrum at the park when I tried to remove her from the swing. She's as stubborn as her Daddy! Of course I continued what I was doing despite the protest, as every good parenting book tells me to do, but it was very hard not to laugh at her while she kicked and squealed.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Blog it forward

Hi all! In my quest to bring myself up to speed on web 2.0/social media tools (read: Facebook, Twitter, etc.) I occasionally unearth really cool projects using new technology. This fundraiser is my favorite so far, called "12 for 12k." It is an attempt to use social media to raise $12,000 per month for a year for 12 different charitable causes. As someone interested in the welfare of Kenyans as well as non-profit organizations, this month's cause,, spoke to me to contribute. If you cannot afford to help out every month (they ask that each person donate $10 for a goal of 1200 people), perhaps you can help out when your favorite cause is highlighted. In the spirit of web 2.0, they of course allow you to follow on Twitter, Facebook, or RSS (see right side of the webpage). Now go forth and socialize!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Triathlete? Me? Oh geez...

So I went to back to the DC Triathlon website, which said it's 98% sold out, and I (gulp) took the leap of faith and registered. $200 poorer, how do I feel? Very excited...and like I'm going to barf, which believe it or not makes me very happy. This is quite like I felt preparing for Dad Vail, and I wasn't sure I would ever get that feeling again. It's kind of like going into labor because you are pretty sure what's coming is going to be beyond painful and possibly impossible. I suppose one big difference is that at the end instead of a baby you get endorphins. And much as I did during my pregnancy, I plan to seek out a group to train with along the way.
I guess next up is finding the right equipment. Shoes? Check. Goggles? Check. Swim cap? Check. Special swim suit thingy? Nope. Bike? Nope. Time to surf Craig's List. Anyone crazy enough to try a Triathlon with me? Pretty please?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Home again

Nate and I both had good trips last week. Nate's trip to South Carolina with his rowing team made him wish he could coach full time. Maybe when we retire? I enjoyed my work trip, but I definitely won't be moving to Texas any time soon. My favorite part of the trip was visiting with family friends. I spent the first night in Dallas with my mom's best friend Jeannie, her husband, and their three beautiful girls. They took great care of me, and I had a wonderful time. On my second night I got to eat dinner with my sister-in-law Katie while she was in town for a bachelorette party. Even though they were all dolled up and I was just in jeans & a t-shirt, it was a fun evening. After dinner I attempted to walk the 2 miles from the restaurant to the hotel, only to discover the 2nd non-walkable city I've been to on a recent work trip (the first being Jacksonville, FL). It's no wonder obesity is such a huge problem in the South! I missed Nate after just a week of being away from each other, which reminded me of how difficult it was to be apart for 6 months, as well as prepared me for his potential upcoming 2-month overseas work trip. We were planning to get some things done over the weekend, but we were so tired we spent most of the time lying around. Next Saturday Nate has a regatta at Princeton, and then the following weekend we are throwing Vivi a birthday party. I can't believe she's already a year old!

Vivi is developing so quickly these days. She began to crawl forward this week using a half crawl, half crab walk. She says 4 words already! Daddy, kitty, bye-bye, and uh-oh. She uses "uh-oh" usually as a warning to us when she's about to drop a toy on purpose. She points at everything she likes and says "kitty!" (except it sounds more like "Tshee!"). She also feeds herself now, and her favorite is shredded cheese. As soon as she started crawling she was immediately into everything of course, so we went out and bought a bunch of safety gates and latches. She loves to open doors and pull items off shelves, so I can see we have our work cut out for us already. Careful what you wish for!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


The cherry blossoms are out in DC, and unfortunately we're going to be gone next week. Nate is taking his high school crew to South Carolina for spring break training, and I will be in Dallas for a work conference. Babci (my mom) is watching Genevieve. We will miss her! Yesterday she said her second word, kitty (which sounds more like "she"). She also points at interesting things (mostly the kitties), and she waves bye-bye whenever she guesses we're about to leave our current location.

I'm enjoying my job a lot these days. I'm being given a lot of autonomy, which I appreciate so much. Nate also likes his job, and he is considering deployment to a foreign country on a temporary assignment as part of his work. I would miss him a lot, but according to his coworkers it's a highly satisfying trip. Anyone want to come stay with me for the summer? Speaking of temporary summer activities, I'm almost sure I want to do the DC triathlon. I found a club that trains with each other--I'm interested in doing "team in training" with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, but I don't think I can make that commitment.

The end of this month is Vivi's first birthday! We're having friends over for adult fun, and as I always say, NO clowns. If you didn't already know, I have coulrophobia, which is officially the fear of clowns. Actually, I think it's totally normal to despise clowns, so I wouldn't call it a psychopathology at all! Moving on, I must say that we just had new carpet installed last weekend! It is such an incredible improvement. Nate summed it up well when he said that it doubled our usable square footage. In other happy house news, we got new neighbors! We sighed with relief to see that the foreclosure next door to us finally sold to a nice couple who own a second home in Reston (la di dah). They seem cool and are about our age, maybe a little older. We can't wait to have people over! Please come visit! Our good friend Laura is coming at the beginning of May, and we're going to see Brian Regan! Yay! Then Nate's sister Katie and her boyfriend Jason are coming at the end of May. Some time during those months my Dad is coming to see the house and visit his grandbaby.


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