Category Archives: Uncategorized

Motivation for Hydration on a Hot Summer Day

If I dined out on a daily basis, I would have no problem keeping properly hydrated. If there is water in front of me, I will drink it. If a waiter comments on how much water you’re drinking, or gives up on trying to keep your glass full and just hands you the pitcher, you’re probably in the 90th percentile for water consumption, at least.

When I worked in an office full-time, I also drank a decent amount of water, and at school my water bottle is essentially my security blanket. But when I’m at home, my water intake is often not what it should be.

One trick that tends to work for me is to have a carafe of water on hand, especially if I am settling in to read or write for a couple hours. I’ve never been one to need to flavor water out of boredom, but I enjoy the flash of color of a few slices of citrus or cucumber.


This was especially useful back in May, when we had a few unseasonably hot days before we had installed the air conditioning units for the summer.  To be fair, Nick offered to bring the AC units up from the basement, but I have a tendency to be a bit stubborn when it comes to caving in to using the air conditioning for the first time every year. So I stoically sat next to an open window for several days, trying to catch whatever trace of a breeze there was outside (but mostly just sweating), before finally admitting to Nick that, yes, it was miserable in our apartment.

The upside is that I most certainly reached my daily recommended water intake. And I got to take some pretty pictures to share with you.*



*Which, to be honest, was the whole reason I came up with a rather weak blog post about water consumption.





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Call to All Foodies (on a Budget): Olive Oil Recommendations?

I don’t have a bucket list.  Probably because I am not particularly fond of the word “bucket.”*

But if I did have a bucket list, do you know what would be on there, most likely higher up than it should be?

Attending an olive oil tasting.

Yes, such a thing exists, and conveniently it seems to often occur near vineyards, where you can engage in other sorts of tastings.

Ideally, I will do this somewhere in California, because going to California in general is also on my life to-do list (I hear they have some decent zoos and aquariums there…).

But for now, I have a smaller goal – to find a good, reasonably priced olive oil.  Not for cooking, but to be used as more of a finishing oil.  You know, salad dressings, for dipping bread, etc.  I seem to end up with ones that are either flavorless or bitter.  I’ve read that bitterness is sometimes considered a good thing with olive oil, but I’ve had ones where that was all I tasted, even when mixed with other foods.

I suppose I could do more research on my own, but I spend enough of my time doing research.  So I decided to take the lazy way out and ask for recommendations from others.  Please remember, I am a grad student, so while I am suspect there are some incredible olive oils out there with a price tag to match, for now I’m looking for a good value.

Suggestions?  If I try one you suggest and like it, I might just give you some recognition….

*The more words I add to this list of words I don’t like, the more I wonder if I have some bizarre, lexical variation of a sensory processing disorder, where I have extreme sensitivity and aversion to certain words just based on the way they sound.  Is there such a thing??


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Happy Birthday to Me

Originally, I intended to write some deep, witty reflections about turning 30. But then the first two weeks of December happened, and life and responsibilities got in the way. (Because that’s what happens when you’re a grownup, right?) And then I wanted to write 30 things I’ve learned in 30 years.  But again, life is getting in the way of me sitting down and thinking of 30 things.  Or maybe I just haven’t learned that much…

21 Things I’ve Learned In My Thirty Years

1. It’s fine to have a life plan, or a time line for how you want your life to go.  Just don’t be surprised or distressed if you don’t adhere to it.

2. Look down before you sit on wooden playground equipment. If you need further proof of this, see the two-inch splinter that my mom has in my baby book.

3. Don’t dangle beloved stuffed animals out the car window.

4. Give people a chance, but listen to your instincts when it’s time to let someone go.

5. Life is too short to watch other people’s “must-see” movies, especially when you have hundreds in your own Netflix queue.

6. Any experience can be relevant experience if you put the right spin on it.

7. Exercise really does make you feel better.  So does sunshine.  And kittens.

8. Grades are only grades.  Money is only money.  Neither is worth too much stress.

9. Don’t eat raw scallops.

10. Ask for help when you need it.

11. If you can afford it, hire a moving company. You will thank yourself.  And your friends will thank you, too.  Save offers of beer and pizza for more fun occasions.

12. When it comes to relationships, education doesn’t matter. Intelligence does.

13. Fresh herbs are far superior to dried herbs.

14. Drink lots of water.

15. As an adult, revisit vegetables you hated as a child.

16. There is absolutely no reason, as a peripubescent girl, to be so eager about getting your first period.

17. Do not underestimate the wonders of a high-fiber breakfast.

18. The best friends are the ones with whom you can do absolutely nothing and still have a great time.

19. Allowing yourself to trust and feel secure does wonders for your relationship.  So does having alone time.

20. Sneaking a peek at your birthday or Christmas presents really does ruin the surprise.*

21. Everything you think you know is subject to change.

*Mom, before you ask: No, I did not peek at my gifts this year.

And 5 Things I’m Still Learning:

1. Never trim your own bangs when your blood sugar is low and your hands are shaky.  Actually, never trim your own bangs.

2. Drinking coffee when you’re already feeling anxious is not a good idea.

3. You probably know more than you think you do.  And you are probably more capable than you think are.

4. There is such a thing as having too much gift wrap.

5. Cats don’t always want to snuggle at the same times you do. Forcing them doesn’t help.


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Technological “Advancements”

Things that are supposed to improve the quality of our lives but, in reality, just suck:

  • Any container/package labeled “Easy Open.”  They never are.  They either tear so easily that the “New, Resealable Package!” is no longer able to be resealed or they require a box cutter.  At the very least, they make me feel like an incompetent idiot.  That “Pull here to open” tab is mocking me, I know it.  If it’s labeled, “E Z Open,” anticipate a particularly frustrating experience.
  • The huge digital traffic signs popping up every mile or so on I-95.  You know why it’s taking 20 minutes to get 6 miles down the road?  Because everyone is slowing down to read these signs telling them it will take 20 minutes to get to an exit 6 miles away.
  • The super-convenient “unsubscribe” links at the bottoms of the emails I receive from every store where I have ever shopped or browsed.  Actually, the links themselves are great.  It’s the emails you then receive confirming that they have received your request to no longer receive emails from them.
  • Captchas.  I had my vision checked last year.  I was told (much to my disappointment) that I still have no need for glasses.  The MVA seems to have no concerns about me operating a vehicle.  So why does the internet demand that I decode partially obscured pseudowords before I can share something on Facebook?


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Getting on the Blogwagon

I often find myself – usually while driving – composing stories that I want to share with people: finding a way to relate a funny experience or reflecting on something I’ve recently learned.  I compile lists in my head- songs I’m into at the moment or things I regret in life (such as teaching my parents what “cougar” means when it does not refer to the big cat species).  I always want to expand upon my frequent Facebook status updates that involve what I cooked for dinner.  I mean, doesn’t anyone want to know about my favorite way of preparing asparagus, or my method for cooking chickpeas which prompted my fiance to state that it was “like eating steak”?

So, it seemed like a good time to start a blog.  I know they (as in the people behind “How to Write a Blog” websites) recommend keeping a narrow focus and sticking to one topic.  Well… that one topic is Things That I Like to Talk About.  And there are a lot of topics that fall under that umbrella.  There is a good chance there will be a lot of entries about food and cats and everyday experiences that I think are worth talking about (potentially involving food and/or cats).   And, if I’m in the right mood, I might reflect upon the wisdom I’ve gained in my almost-30 years and the things I am still trying to figure out.

And, on that note, I need to go feed the cat.


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