Monthly Archives: January 2014

PSA after a week in the vortex

You know those weeks that make you feel like you’re living in a vortex, with no sense of which direction is up or down (much less what time or day it is) all week long? And you can’t really care either because regardless all you’ll do is wake up and race to work and (16-18 hrs later) return home and pass out, just to do it all again the next morning? That has been my week. There was no running no reading no knitting and no cooking (pb & j & coffee don’t count).

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If deciding to bring the whole damn French press to work at 4 am on a Sunday isn’t a red flag, I don’t know what is. (My appreciation for this t-shirt is equally worrisome.)

Why is the concept of a big picture so difficult for some people (smart people…really smart people) to recognize? At this point I’d be satisfied with recognition. Acceptance would be a gift from god, never mind understanding. Recognition of the space-time continuum would also be fantastic – not having to perpetually justify why I haven’t completed a +48 hr experiment in <24 hrs. Finally, a common perspective of sleep being a necessity rather than a luxury would be wonderful. Unfortunately, the current dictator of my life (one of aforementioned really smart people) struggles with all of the above. HARD.

With this in mind, my PSA for the weekend is directed towards anyone who:

  1. Doesn’t take the required 15 seconds and 12 brain cells to calculate how long it takes to do something, and then compare it to the time elapsed since asking your graduate student/postdoc/employee to do said something, before badgering  aforementioned brain-on-a-stick about having done it already
  2. Graduate student/postdoc/employee = brain-on-a-stick
  3. Sees no difference between 3 pm and 3 am…on any of the 7 days of the week
  4. NIH proposal and DARPA quarterly report deadlines slow the passage of time down to a screeching halt and put everything else that is happening in the world on hold

For anyone that the above 4 criteria apply (this is a digital assessment/step function, if you think >0 but <4 points pertain to you, you are in denial…all 4 apply) STOP IT!!

STOP IT NOW!! You are being irritating, exhausting, demotivating, and irrational!! 

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This t-shirt is awesome, until it literally applies to you. I highly suggest that you don’t let that happen (I’ll be making DAMN sure it doesn’t happen to me).

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Columbia Firehouse (Washington DC)

As anticipated, Dr. A and I ended our Saturday (American History Museum + massage day) with a most perfect dinner at the Columbia Firehouse in Alexandria. CF is owned by the same people who have ….

The menu

To start with the wine and beer list was a fun place to start with draught and bottle beer from all over the US (although mostly from the NE) and wine from all over the world. My DC Brau Pauncy oatmeal stout was a good choice. The dinner menu for actual food had a short list of petite snacks, mussels, raw bar items, sandwiches, salads, small plates, supper items, sides, chop-house pieces and daily plates. There were only about two to ten items under each section of the menu, but they ALL looked delicious! It was great to have a bunch of different options for how to approach dinner without being overwhelmed.

Dr. A and I decided to share a few smaller items on the menu so we didn’t have to pick just one thing. I strongly recommend this approach as everything we got was delicious and plenty of other things were also calling my name.

In no particular order…

We each got a bowl of the pumpkin basil soup which was fantastic!

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pumpkin basil soup

It wasn’t so much that it’d be a good stand alone dinner, but it worked great as one of our many dinner parts 🙂

We also go the anson mills roasted heirloom hominy off of the petite snacks –

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anson mills roasted heirloom hominy

And the cornbread panzanella with buttermilk vinaigrette off of the sides –

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cornbread panzanella with buttermilk vinaigrette

This was so so so good, despite looking like it was saturated in too much dressing, which it was not. If there was a gun to my head and I had to pick one favorite dish, this one would probably be it. Who doesn’t keep talking about food with a gun to their head?

We also got the buttermilk brined onion rings off of the small plates.

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buttermilk brined onion rings + cornbread muffins

Dinner also came with the best complementary corn bread muffins (they are hanging out with the onion rings above).

The staff

The waitress was nice and helpful enough. There was nothing remarkable about her and that was just fine. The rest of the staff were nice and helpful as well.

The ambiance

So I’m not sure what the building used to be that the CF has taken over, but now it’s damn cool. We were actually seated in what used to be a big hallway leading from a door to the outside to another room in the back (now a dining room). There were benches for the sides of the table against the wall and chairs for the other sides of the table. The ceiling was super high with interesting old light fixtures, dark wood and bras lined the walls, and the whole restaurant was cozy and warm. There was a bar in another large dining room off of the hallway and additional rooms upstairs. The background chatter/noise level was nice, and there was no problem holding a conversation.

$$

Considering the quality and quantity of food we got the prices were VERY reasonable. To be quite honest, we both ate more than we probably should have (what would be fun if we didn’t do that though?) and I was drinking (as usual) and the bill was still less than $30/person (including tip). Of course, this probably isn’t the best plan for dinner every night of the week (as I would be broke and needing an ever expanding – in the wrong direction – wardrobe) but it was most definitely a perfect plan for our Saturday night!

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MLK weekend in DC

In stark contrast to what I’m sure Dr. MarkyMark wants me to doing this weekend (thanks to a surprise research project for which he wants data from me now/yesterday/last week, never mind that I found out about this little treat less than 48 hrs ago with an already full plate…yes…never mind that…), I am off to DC on the Amtrack!

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Apparently this isn’t the coolest thing to do at 6:40 am on a Saturday…

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I’m an Amtrak newbie, but so far this has been totally slick. Given that this continues and that I can capitalize on early/cheap (<$100) tickets, I could get used to taking the train as an alternative to driving (no offense Beetle). Of course the train is the way to go to NYC from P-ton, but the Amtrak can really get you to a hell of a lot of other places in the NE too (and otherwise…but at a certain point the cost and time factors become a bit rediculous)

The specific aims (sorry, I can’t help myself, and yes, I know that isn’t normal) for the weekend are as follows:
1. American History Museum (First Lady’s dresses and the Muppets) – this is one of my favorite Smithsonian museums and these are 2 of my favorite exhibits there! YAY!! 🙂
2. Apothecary Museum – I have been to a surgery museum in Chicago ages ago (and loved it in a creepy kind of way :-/) but never an apothecary museum, much less this one. I feel like the Smithsonian is a tough act to challenge in DC but my hopes are high.
3. Massages 😀
4. Walks with Sir Jack
5. Food!!! One of the many awesome things about Dr. Allison is her taste in food, ability to find/pick superb restaurants and bake like it’s her job (which it should be). Unfortunately this means I’ve basically been hungry since I packed my bags last night and I’ll return after only one weekend with extra padding to work off. Oh well!! Yummy DC restaurants and the best home baked goodies that you’ll ever have: HERE I COME!! 🙂

Any DC restaurant suggestions?
Any off-the-beaten-path sight seeing or touristy suggestions?
Any Amtrak advise?
Any fun/exciting plans for your weekend?

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The New Jersey Beetle

Yesterday was a big day for The Beetle, she officially became a legal resident of the state of New Jersey!

It was really quite the understated transformation:

Before...

Before…

...and after!

…and after!

For a mere $350 (for a new rear O2 sensor…and the $729 belt she bought herself for Christmas, but never mind…) she now has a set of lovely yellow plates that complement her vortex blue paint.

As much as I enjoy griping about the hassle and expense of the NJ state vehicle inspection (and the resulting required Beetle repairs), I have to admit that it’s nice to know the most densely populated state in the good old US-of-A is doing what it can to ensure safe and environmentally friendly vehicles are on the road. Never mind the bloated luxury SUVs that many a soccer mom/house wife drive around town or the hand-made Italian sports cars (think 0-60 in ~3 sec and requiring a change of shorts when your done sort of car) that their sons and husbands enjoy (when not being delivered to their destination by their driver of course). Yes, never mind those…

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Check out yet another reason why —

Mile Posts is great 🙂

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Filed under General, Trotting

The off-season workout schedule. FINALLY!

So there hasn’t been anything running-workout related on here lately simply because there haven’t been many runs 😦 First it was crazy F32 writing time, then it was persister metabolism review writing time and then it was getting sick in royal fashion over the holidays time. (note: time = insanity)

Since the start of the new year I have had a small handful of good runs:
1. 6 mi – nothing special about them, other than it being nice to get them in
2. 6 mi just after it snowed – a great total body workout, dare I say even better than trail running
3. 5 mi – partially on nice salted streets, partially baahaa-ing along the uncleared tow-path, a good work out beyond it just being good to be out
4. 4 mi – nothing special aside from the fact that I think I really am on the road to recovery now 🙂 knock on wood…

Soooo…with these under our belt and me (maybe prematurely) feeling like I’m ready to get back in the swing of things. I (uncharacteristically) made good use of my downtime and have drafted a training plan for the next few months that cuts back on the long run but includes a couple of speed days during the week, a run in my evil Vibrams and core strength training! Finally!

The initial plan is going to be roughly as follows:

M: rest
T: track
W: up to 3 mi Vibrams run
Th: ~4-5 mi tempo run
F: rest
Sa: long run (easy 8-12 mi)
Su: recovery run (easy 4-5 mi)

Track: I’m planing to rotate 4 interval workouts (short, mid, long and mixed), 1/wk, in the schedule. They will start off as:

Short = 6 x 400m
Middle = 4 x 800m
Long = 3 x 2000m
Mixed = 1 x 1600, 1000, 600, 200

Given that I don’t drop dead right there on the track from any of the above, I’ll continue and up the repeats as possible (max 1/distance) the next month. Each track workout will begin with a warm up jog to the track and a cool down jog back home to work (lets be honest)

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The current state of affairs under my desk.

Keeping the workout short but productive is the main goal. Working/strengthening different muscle groups will be great for getting a jump start on training in the spring. After a month we’ll evaluate how things have gone and adjust as necessary.

Vibrams: so I got these crazy probably great, barefoot running shoes like 4 yrs ago and haven’t quite mastered using them yet. (Dr. Trot really is a genius you know.) So far I have managed to over-run my calves to the point of not being able to walk properly for a week or run for a month, broken one toe and given myself generally too-sore-to-make-sense calves when I use them on any sort of a regular basis. I don’t know if it’s because I’m too heavy or I run funny (I run on grass or on trails in these things, definitely NOT on the sidewalk or the road) but I’m going to get to the bottom of it, slowly. Starting with as little as 1 or 1.5 miles and working my way slowly up to 3. At that point, however long that may take, I’ll reevaluate.

Tempo: Given that I’m not going to be putting in soooo many miles, I may as well get used running some of those miles faster, on tired legs. That’s what this tempo run (and its placement in the week) is hopefully going to do for me. Again, after a month or so I’ll reevaluate.

ALSO, I will be FINALLY incorporating much overdue strength training into each work outs! I want to focus on the “core muscles” (abs, back, obliques) and stretching out my old lady hip that is always tightening up on me. Hopefully, these guys will do the trick for me:

1. Kneeling hip-flexor stretch
2. Superman
3. Metronome
4. Crunches
5. Plank (+lift)
6. Side plank (+lift)
7. Supine plank
8. Pushups

In short I’ll be going through these 8 pains in my core little treasures (x2) after the Vibrams run, the long run and the recovery run (3x per week) and doing abs and pushups only on the other 4 days of the week (rest days included). More details on each of the 8 treasures will be posted soon.

Alrighty, I think/hope (for my sake and yours) that’s everything that I wanted to share for now. I’ll keep you posted on how we’re doing so wish the good doctor some luck! Again, this is with both of our best interests in mind…

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Pheona has been seriously pissing me off! HELP!

Since moving in with our new housemates, things have been a little rough. For both of us.

Has a human, I avoid being home, complain to my friends and eventually say nasty things to two particular individuals when living conditions plummet below what I am willing to endure.

As a cat, Pheona pees on things. Lots of things. On the roommates’ couches, laundry, cosmetics and bed. And on my bed. With or without me in it. x-(

As it is, I usually only get between 5 and 6 hrs of sleep a night. It isn’t much, but fine, this is what I signed up for at this point. However, having to sleep on the floor because my mattress is still wet with the vinegar solution I used to scrub it, or being chilly because I’m only covered with some fleece blankets I could scrounge up after she somehow manage to soil not one, but both of my down comforters, or when I’m already putting up with both of the above and I wake up to this blunt tool of an animal pissing ON ME in my crappy (and now pee-y), make-shift nest… Let’s just that I have never before been so close to owning a pair of beautiful grey fur mittens as I was that day.

After both surviving the immediate minutes, hours and few days following we have been taking steps to try to solve this problem.

1. The bed is now covered at all times (aside from when I am sleeping in it) with a most hideous plastic mattress cover from an equally hideous discount store from which I refuse to admit making this purchase…

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2. All items are kept off of the floor, bed, desk, chair or anything else that the princess could climb into and pee on and put in the closet or piled on the clothes drying rack…

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3. We have come to accept that the cheap down comforter will be washed on a weekly basis with no hopes of it lasting through to next winter.

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4. The precious German down comforter will not see the light of day once it returns from the cleaners.

5. Laundry detergent will be purchased on a monthly basis in volumes that I previously would not have been able to use in a year.

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6. The litter box is scooped twice a day and the litter is completely changed and box is washed once every 2 weeks

But wait? What? What is that Princess Pheona?… That still isn’t enough?!?!

It is in fact apparently not enough as this morning I again woke up to her peeing in my bed. x-(

SO, tonight a new mission has begun.

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So far we have done the following:

1. Cleaned the bathroom.
2. Cleaned the litter box.
3. Sprayed the litter box with some litter-box-freshener spray (the pet product market is seriously something else…but that is for another post…)
4. We have lined the litter box with a fresh sent litter box liner (for easy litter removal and replacement
5. We have changed to a new litter that is more clumping, does “DOUBLE DUTY! ELIMINATES BOTH! Feces odors and urine odors!” and is conveniently sold in value size boxes (typically bought by cat ladies with more cats than she can remember names for)

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Hopefully this will finally be enough for the princess. If it isn’t, hopefully she will grow some English language skills (or Spanish or German or Bengali or Russian … I’m not picky) and tells me WTF she needs!

In the mean time, if anyone is interested in consulting for the doctor, I’d love love love any suggestions/recommendations/tips to help put an end to this once and for all!

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HELP!

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