Wednesday, September 29, 2010

i told you so.

I have been wanting to say that for weeeeeeks now. to our lead.

-I told you we should've revised the costs. In JULY.
-I told you we needed to make our reporting requirements align with the terms in our equations.
-I told you that people wouldn't like it if we changed that paragraph.
-I told you they needed numbers for the average HYBRID facility.


except, for the most part, I have managed to keep my "I told you so"s to myself. Or to Matt. Or occasionally to my project lead here at work. Except for yesterday, I did get to say it--when they said "wait, why didn't we change the costs in July?"

Oh and I'm also having a lot of this--I say that something should be such-and-such way, our lead says it should be such-and-such way and my project lead at my company says "yess'm. let's do it your way." and then we end up changing it to how I suggested in the first place. and THEN at some future point I hear an explanation of how we decided to do things the way that we did (the way I initially suggested) for this reason, this reason and that reason--that is, THE REASONS I SUGGESTED IT IN THE FIRST PLACE. Except they are presented as though they are totally new to me and I've never heard them before and couldn't possibly have been my suggestion.

this is the product of speedy deadlines and frazzled heads, and what we like to call "Brain Years"--that it's been, oh, 3 brain years since last january--that we've processed 3 years worth of info since then. which, um, might be totally true.

anyhoodle. now that I've got that out...

today I was thinking about my prolific basil. My basil which is now as tall as my middle and makes a circle bigger around than my arms. and while wondering what I can do with it. And I thought...I wonder if basil can be used as a tea? And you know what? It can and it's yummy! and furthermore, it is thought to be healthy. according to this site....

The following are the health benefits attributed to basil tea:

  • Basil Tea may help treat intestinal colics, gastric ulcer and bloating/swelling of the abdomen.

  • Basil Tea may help treat anorexia.

  • Basil Tea may help fight urinary tract infections.

  • Basil Tea may help against diarrhea.

  • Basil Tea may help fight insomnia.

  • As a throat wash, basil tea may help treat lesions and inflammations in the mouth.

I used Italian Basil and I really like it. Not as amazing as my mint tea from the farmer's market in decatur, but definitely yummy. Try it!

Friday, September 24, 2010

damn you, smallville.

on tonight's new episode Clark had a fleeting moment of life lesson-ness with his deceased father.

it was like that time in college when we watched frequency and someone said sarcastically "man, I wish I had a radio that could make MY dead father come back to life." and I cried. and then I think I locked myself in the bathroom at the KA house. and then I went to ihop at a crazy hour in the morning with turner and justin and we talked about things and life and all. because both of them felt SO BAD that I cried. and cried. and cried.

and that moment in smallville made me cry, too. more like, um, well, bawl. I'm still teary as I type this. about how if his dad could see him now, and how much his dad wishes he had a second chance, and how much his dad wishes he could be a part of his life...

because in addition to this remembrance, today marks three years since this.

oh, how I miss them both.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

it's kind of surreal...

I know that many people have experienced that strange feeling that creeps up when you find out that, say, your childhood home is for sale. It's been a lingering thing for me because my childhood home is not only for sale, but also can't manage to get sold. AND the people who bought it totally re-did the place in a pretty shoddy manner. they made the flow of the house awkward, blocked off access to most of the basement and did a lot of quick-fixes.

very bizarre.

but, this has been going on for years, so that's not really what I'm writing about...

yesterday one of the blogs I read had a post about this amazing, historic fixer-upper in durham. It had one of those awesome vintage kitchens and some crazy cool wooden detailing, and you could tell this house had been well-loved and then, eventually, not well kept. It made me want to look up homes since Matt and I have been talking about them a lot recently (even though we aren't buying for like another year or two or more). So I did.

and I found this gem.

a few of you might recognize it. imagine it with a big blue wall in the bedroom and a green kitchen. it is my old house. the first house I ever bought.

I hung that little curtain in the window in front of the kitchen sink. And the rod over the dining room window, and those white curtains, too. That giant TV caused a HUGE argument at one point. And that dining room table was a sticking point in our separation agreement. A really big sticking point, actually. And do you see the ceiling fans? Yep, added those too.

I don't miss that house. I don't miss the vast majority of the memories that were created there. It was in that house that I painted the coolest bathroom ever. That house was where I learned that my ability to grow plants successfully is directly related to my emotional situation (everything I planted there either died or never even grew in the first place). (and while we're into parenthetical asides, I really need to show y'all a picture of my jungle off of my patio)

it's just. it's weird. it's a link to my past that I see fairly regularly (it's not super far from our current home, and it's near the closest grocery store) and sometimes it's like a whole other Carrie lived in that house.

I will be glad to see it sell. I know he will be, too.

at first I kind of wished I hadn't seen it for sale in the first place. but then dear sjg pointed out that perhaps I needed to, so I can know all of his ties to d-town are gone. which actually makes me relieved. and happy for j. and it kind of feels like I can forever shut the book on that period of my life, and re-visit it no more. :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


or, for those of you who don't need the phonetics, quinoa.

last may-ish I ate quinoa for the first time. jlee had me over to her home and made me dinner and sent me home with all sorts of food as she was preparing for camp. it was spectacular. and the quinoa was delish!

the next time I saw quinoa I snatched it up. and it sat, unused, in my pantry. my pantry that so doesn't look like that anymore.

so, a week and change ago, my friend jessica and I were exchanging recipes and she sent me to this. and I made it last night. and it was YUM. and it used up tomatoes. and zucchini. both of which I have in abundance. I also added a little squash and, although I love feta, I used less than recommended so it'd be healthier. Matt and I both LOVED it. I wish I had thought to take a picture.

next time I make it (and there will SO be a next time) I will absolutely be grilling the chicken instead or not including chicken at all. It definitely was more like I had boiled the chicken, ha! but it was still very, very good. and good for us. and there are leftovers. :D

Monday, September 20, 2010

migrating snow geese, a toxic lake and amazingness.

yesterday as I rode home from a family photography session I listened to NPR.

I have enjoyed NPR since I was in college--or parts of it, at least. I never really cared for the news (in audio or visual or print format, for the record) but I'd listen to it on the way to my internship at the Port of Catoosa. I'd listen to whatever was on, when I rocked my tyvek suit and respirator in the shaker room, where I would use this 35 pound series of concentric metal circles inside a big metal container for hours on end (and sweat off about 10 lb in the process) in order to pulverize the catalyst into uniformly super-small pieces.

On Fridays I was particularly grateful for NPR because I listened to Science Friday while I rocked the tyvek awesomeness. (ps, want a visual? I looked a little like this--picture found on google, couldn't find a way to reference it other than it's from a picasa album)

so, anyway, I was listening to the show that was on, radiolab. I caught the last ten minutes. I listened and enjoyed the view--the sun was setting, and it was beautiful. And as the program ended, I just kept thinking "wow. wow. WOW."

I called two friends that I thought would enjoy the story. And I called my granny because I knew she'd love it too. And now I'll share the abridged version with you. You can hear the full story here.

The gist is that there was this mine, and after the mined it they let it fill with water. And that water made a toxic lake, full of copper and other heavy metals from, you guessed it, the mine. It's an eyesore, sure, but it's also a serious hazard.

One winter some migrating snow geese landed on that toxic lake. Three hundred and forty-two of them. They know how many because they counted their carcasses. The geese were found dead the next morning, with lesions in their throat and insides. It was like the lake water was eating them from the inside. Gross and tragic.

Fast forward a few decades...and a scientist brings two other scientists a sample of this green slimy stuff on a stick that he saw growing about a foot under the surface of the lake. They go to check it out, and this green stuff is ALIVE. and growing! Alive and growing in the toxic lake!

they go check out the water there and find this black gunk that is also thriving in the lake. and it's like a little metal vacuum of a microorganism. it absorbs 85-95% of the metal, which is HUGE. (most are 15%-ish)

so they look into the origin of this black gunk that is cleaning up this toxic pit--the toxic pit whose water will eventually pollute all of the surrounding water sources once it reaches groundwater levels (sidenote, I guess I did learn something in that class I took last fall. although I'm envisioning groundwater scenarios in excel form with highlighted cells. weird. anyway.) except this black goo, could clean it up!

but the coolest part, to me, is that they searched for where this black goo came from, and it has only been found in one other place, ever. in the rectal swabs of geese.

yes, in geese.

geese like the ones who landed in the lake.

maybe this seems like an "oh, cool." moment to you. but to me it's much, much bigger. maybe I'm a sap, maybe it's my scientific inclinations, maybe I just like to make mountains out of molehills (okay, sometimes that happens. this isn't it.). I mean, geese land on bodies of water all the time, this isn't new.

but really? I guess it's just amazing to me that geese with that particular microorganism landed in that body of water. And that the only creature that could serve as a carrier for that microorganism happens to be the kind of creature that hangs out in lakes when they need shelter. It wasn't in a squirrel or a robin. It was geese. And it amazes me too that that particular microorganism can not only clean up that water, but that research suggests it might actually help us fight cancer. Which is particularly interesting, because if it hadn't been carried by geese, and it hadn't been exposed to this intensely toxic environment, the microorganism might not have evolved into its cancer-fighting form.

My granny also pointed out that, to her, one of the biggest "wow" factors of all was that we now know enough about science to actually understand all of this. That these kind of things have been happening on our planet and we haven't been aware at all--but now we have evolved and we understand.

To me, this falls squarely under a phrase I don't generally like--to me "it's a God thing." But this time I think it's really, really is.

I will definitely be checking in on the findings from this toxic lake in Montana. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

i was going to go on a talking-about-work hiatus and share some things that are making me happy today...

last night at dinner with the fabulous karen & rich we were talking about my blog and all the work talk. so I thought I'd take a work-talk hiatus. but, um, no hiatus. which is okay, I pinkie swear. but first....the things that are making me happy...

I, Carrie who makes pumpkin pie from scratch, who cooks a delicate and delicious creme brulee and who can whip, chop, fold and measure with the best of them, cannot successfully cook rice that is not burned. I am a freak of nature, I know. And no method has yet worked--not letting it boil then turning off the stove, not setting a timer, not anything else. Until, behold:

the rice cooker that Kara gave us for our wedding. I love it. It makes me so happy. it cooks rice beautifully every time, and I have to put in almost no effort.

I also looooooove my happy green french press that mj & christine gave us. I use it every day. It makes lots of coffee. And it is WAY better than using little filters on a daily basis.

next up--my new monitor. I bought it back in MARCH when it was on super-duper sale. We have yet to make the upstairs bedroom into a true "office" so I'd never opened the box. Until Friday, when I worked from home. My photos look AMAZING on this kid. And I love, love LOVE the wireless keyboard. And the rechargeable batteries that power it.

I love my chair from Ikea, too. Matt and I bought it on the 5th of July, and he assembled it the weekend before last. Hazel thinks it's the most comfy chair ever. It, too, will go in my office.

And last, but not least, huge props to Aveeno's 70spf sunblock today. When I went to go take the clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer this morning I felt like a mom because of the sundry items I found stashed in my "clean" laundry--including a tube of sunblock, a yellow velcro roller and a hairclip. And although this sunblock keeps my super-fair skin from burning when I do go outside, today it gets props for staying tightly shut throughout the entire wash cycle. THAT makes me pleased.

oh yeah, and about work?

today I got a "spot award" at our meeting for the work we did getting the proposal out in April. and now I have a nice little $100 v!sa gift card with my name on it. and that makes my currently-overworked self smile. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

"just keep swimming. just keep swimming. just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."

~finding nemo

that quote is what keeps running through my head today. or, y'know, swimming. ;)

because I am having a bit of emotional overload/breakdown, and I have bitten off more than is chewable, and I need to just keep on keepin' on so I can get through this. It's kind of like a lot of things have come to a head in the past week. My work deadline moved to two weeks later, which is both a blessing and a curse, because instead of meaning we can work at a more reasonable pace, it means they will expect us to do more.

And I had a horrid encounter with the man who owns the restaurant I visited & held an event at on Thursday night (in short: he refused to honor the prices, then after we agreed on a price ten minutes later her refused to honor that either, and THEN told me I was being aggressive and insulting and all sorts of other negative things. it was peachy. I cried in the bathroom. and then more at home. yeesh.)

and my to-edit list is astonishing. which, again, is totally awesome and then also stress-inducing.

so, I shall just keep swimming. and I shall apologize to my readership for like 75% of my blog posts the past 6 months that complain about the work that I need to do, or how redonk my work is, or whatever. it's on my mind, it's fair game on my blog, I suppose. I also figure that if I ever need motivation to really, really put my foot down, these posts will help me have it. :D

however, on a happier note:

it is FALL outside. okay, so the highs are still in the low 80s because I live in north carolina, but there are changing trees--with RED leaves. and today I am wearing shoes with socks and a 1/2 sleeve shirt because I can.

speaking of which--I also got to go to a durham bulls game on friday night with my faboo sisters and matt--and I did not have to wear sunblock or feel like I might be leaving a puddle of sweat in my seat. I love the durham bulls. I LOVE living so close to their stadium. and, as y'all already know, I sure do love my kaydee sisters.

oh and one more (kind of two more) thing (s)...

I talked a little about it here, and about my goals, but I have made another change to my diet I'm excited to share. So, y'all have heard about my deep love for my CSA. It makes me happy. And it keeps me well-stocked in produce. And right now, there is lots of lots and lots of squash/zucchini in my fridge and house. Oodles.

So one day the week before last I decided to steam some for lunch. And to eat it with some brown rice. It's like a 300 calorie lunch packed with veggies and whole grains and 9 grams of protein. And with a pinch of cayenne pepper and some black pepper, quite yummy! and filling!

and do not fret, I know a 300 calorie lunch sounds very small--but I eat plenty, I swear. and if I were being really honest, I would tell you that eating this kind of lunch just offsets the two beers I'll be having tonight when we have the-knock-off, nc version of something approximating mexican food with karen and rich later tonight. :)

and, I am pleased that my larger pair of jeans is now simply too big to wear, and I must stick with smaller ones. previously the larger ones were great for the first day of wear and not so great for the second day. and the smaller ones were a little too snug the first day and comfy the second. but now they are comfy at all times, even when I'm in a hurry to dry them and they're fresh from the dryer. yay!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

further proof that green bags work.

I opted not to take a picture. but yesterday, while cleaning out my fridge, and looking at the back of our middle shelf on the right, I noticed a green bag. a small one. I pulled it out and it contained CHERRIES.

now, friends, I do my darnedest to buy my food in season (and sometimes splurge) and when it's cherry season, I BUY CHERRIES. I freaking love them. I'd never had a fresh cherry until like 5 years ago, and I am hooked. But I refuse to buy them except for during that short period in the middle of the summer when they are like $2 a pound and then I go hog wild.

which I did.

this picture of cherries is old, but it still makes me want some now. and some gouda. and hawaiian bread. a favorite snack of mine. anyway.

and speaking of old cherries--that's precisely what was occupying this little green bag. I'm going to guesstimate that these cherries were, roughly, four-fice weeks old. (ps, cleaning out your fridge is for the birds, did I mention that?) and though they did look a little not-right, overall they were still relatively firm and they were not molding, rotten or anything else.

I did not taste them, but they looked pretty awesome for being four weeks old. especially since cherries usually go bad, like, almost instantaneously. so that made me pleased :)

so, in summary--these things really, really work. if you've been thinking about trying them, definitely do. they are worth the mulah.
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