Just a little blog about me and mine.

A Raise? March 31, 2009

Filed under: finances — Katie @ 9:25 am

No actually. I didn’t get a raise. No one in my office is getting a raise this year, and even our retirement plan match was cut to keep us afloat. Fun times. I’m so not feeling like I should be a martyr by staying with an organization any more just to help keep it going in a tough time. But no one else seems to really be wanting to hire me so I take the liberty to hit snooze now and again and have mysterious Friday afternoon meetings at 3pm–out of the office of course.

But on my last paycheck on March 15th, and again in the pending bank direct deposit for tomorrow’s paycheck, I have $20 extra bucks or so. It’s a tax cut. Thanks federal government. That $40 is sure saving my family from foreclosure. Sadly enough for the size of my non-profit paycheck (see above re: martyr) $40 a month is a 1.7% yearly raise. So very very sad but that’s true.


30 to 30 March 30, 2009

Filed under: fitness,food — Katie @ 4:01 pm

I was counting weeks on the calendar recently for some vacation and work things (6 weeks until we take our just booked vacation!), and realized I will turn 30 in 30 weeks. So far I feel ok about turning 30, but ask me again as it gets closer. I will be 30 with a 26 year old girlfriend, so that makes it a little better 🙂

I do feel like turning 30 is a big deal (and I will have a big party to match) and I hope I can be fairly intentional and reflective about the fact that it is a milestone. I’m sort of always having a career existential crisis, so turning 30 won’t make that any better or worse. But I think the area I want to focus more on is improving my overall fitness and health levels since it’s all downhill from now on. My family has the most rockin’ genes ever: high blood pressure, diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer and more diabetes. A lot of that is prevented or made better by fitness and nutrition though.

Since I was about 10 I’ve been overweight and even though I played sports it didn’t get any better. In 2004 and 2005 I lost 38 pounds by making better food choices and learning more about healthy foods. I didn’t do any intentional exercise then, but I was living in DC and walking a bit everyday which helped I’m sure. Since moving back here I’ve gained 16 of that back, even though I’ve been a fairly consistent (maybe a little lazy) exerciser. To be a really healthy weight, I probably should lose that 16 pounds plus another 10 or so. Since losing about a pound a week seems to be ideal for doing it in a healthy way and being sure it’s long-term, and I also have about 30 weeks to go until I’m 30, it works out to be a pretty good plan. Thirty weeks would also be a little extra time too to make the goal since there’s some parties and holidays and vacation in there (which always includes lots of eating out and drinking–especially since PL wants me to go dancing, that’s even more drinking).

So, now my goals are public, and I have a deadline, so hopefully that will help me over the next 30 weeks. The end of Girl Scout cookie season will help too.

Since I’m a nerd I made a little Google docs spreadsheet with a list of the Monday’s between now and my birthday (October 15). I put a section for weight, and down the list I wrote goals according to weeks. For example, at 5 weeks, my goal is to lose 5 pounds. I also made a goal to focus on for each week, just to help break the overall project into smaller pieces. These goals are things like “run every other day this week” and some other things not as directly linked to weight loss, but are good for me like cutting down to 1 soda a day or less and eating vegetarian one day a week.

This week my goal to focus on is writing down what I’m eating. Just like when starting to budget your money, you first just write down what you spend to see where it goes, I want to start with writing down what I’m actually eating. Hopefully that will show me where I’m running into trouble and help me make the right changes. I don’t claim to be the most consistent exerciser, but I’ve been doing it and also gaining weight while doing it, so the formula is breaking down somewhere (beer? late night cereal? check, check).

I’m doing this on The Daily Plate, now hosted at It’s easy to enter foods and get accurate serving sizes, choose how much you actually ate, when you ate it, and see how many overall calories you’re eating. This seems helpful because we do fairly well with cooking healthy meals at home, but we don’t always eat just one serving of something and snacks really seem to be what do me in. I recognize that it’s not a controlled experiment just to write down what I’m eating, since I know that if I actually had to write down that I ate like 8 Girl Scout Samoas yesterday I probably would have stopped eating them at 1 or 2.


ATNTFTB: After a Memorable Shot, a Final One for Maryland Seniors

Filed under: in the news — Katie @ 12:49 pm

I generally try to not inflict my love of college basketball onto unsuspecting friends, but this article, and the game it’s referencing, were too good not to share.

While I don’t like the Maryland men’s basketball team, I do like their women’s team (maybe because we went to some home games while we lived in Maryland and they were fun to watch, even though we cheered for the other team they were playing-Georgia Tech and Duke). We were living just down the road from them in 2006 when they won the national championship–beating Duke with an insane last second 3 pointer. It was a team with lots of young players and a young coach. Those young players are now seniors and still some of the best players out there.

On Saturday Maryland was in a tournament game against Vanderbilt. In the early minutes of the game it was 12-2 (not Maryland), then 14-4 (still not Maryland), and then by the half they were down 18. That’s about the point I went to finish up some house cleaning and take a shower. In the second half they inched closer–almost all thanks to one single player. She scored point after point, jumped higher than anyone else on every rebound. It was as if she was willing her team to win and found extra energy and talent to force it to happen. She finished with 42 points, a career high to say the least.

Whether you like sports or not, it was cool to see someone that determined to succeed that they did so by sheer force of will and effort. It made me feel tired and lazy just to watch.


ATNTFTB: New Political Study Center? Turn Right at Berkeley March 26, 2009

Filed under: in the news — Katie @ 4:27 pm

When we lived in the hippie haven of Takoma Park, Maryland it was affectionately known as the Berkeley of the East. It has signs designating it as a nuclear free zone, the city council passed a resolution in solidarity with Tibet and when Michael Steele, our then Lt. Gov now the RNC Chair marched in the July 4th parade, he was booed for miles.

This article in today’s New York Times, combined with another recent Berkeley discovery of mine, makes me wonder what’s up in Berkeley these days. Berkeley: the Cobb County of the West Cost?

The University of California at Berkley is opening the Center for the Comparative Study of Right-Wing Movements. I suppose right-wing politics is a bit understudied, and academics tend to be a fairly liberal bunch. It’s just fairly incongruous, and amusing, that this will be at Berkeley–where students in the 60s…um, did lots of things that weren’t so right wing.

I learned something else strange about Berkeley recently. In the Bush Administration’s dealings with torture, a man named John Yoo was one of the attorney’s in the US Office of Legal Counsel that wrote memos claiming the possible legality of torture. While PL is the law student in the family, it doesn’t take an expert to know that taking something illegal (i.e. torture) and then writing a memo to try to make it legal, doesn’t really make it legal. After hearing about John Yoo several times, and hearing that he’s a law professor made PL and I gasp, “Where does he teach law? Constitutional Law with him must not teach you much about the Constitution!”

So, where does he teach law? Berkeley. He is on leave at least, and teaching somewhere in Orange County, which is probably a better fit.


A thumb that’s sort of green-ish

Filed under: gardening — Katie @ 9:53 am

I wanted to do a quick update of my recent gardening adventures–about the only thing I’ve done besides work, watch basketball and sit in meetings in the last couple of weeks.

A few weeks ago I got started on the Front Yard Garden Relocation Project. I dug up some grass, got some blisters, pulled some muscles, and then stopped and left the tools in the yard. They’re still there. In the rain. So here’s a before and an after, although it’s actually an “after I quit, but before I finished.”



If the rain clears up by this weekend I’ll actually have time to do some more work to get it ready for planting in mid-April. What’s exciting is since that picture was taken (March 6? wow, that’s a long time to leave my tools sitting out in the rain) some lilies and other unknown plants along with elephant ears have begun to sprout from the ground under the window.

I also started some plants from seed for the first time ever. I spent $19 on seeds and the planting greenhouse. Many of the seeds (carrots, sunflowers, squash, lettuces, peas) will be planted directly into the ground, and then probably promptly dug up by squirrels, but others are best to start as seed and plant as little seedlings. I’ll probably end up buying some actual plants later, but I thought this was a small investment of money and a good learning experience. If even one plant from each set of baby plants gives me some food, I figure that seed packet almost paid for itself at around $1 each.

Here’s what’s happened so far:

March 21st:
Roma Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Brussel Sprouts and Broccoli seeds planted, covered with the greenhouse lid and hanging out on the dining room table (a spot some sun coming through the curtain, but not much).



March 25th:


The broccoli and Brussels sprouts are the biggest so far, which is good since they like cooler weather and need to get planted sooner rather than later. It might already be a bit late, and those are also fall plants.  We had some beautiful broccoli plants last year, but we also had a cute bunny who liked them more.

In a few days I’ll move these seedlings into a spot with a bit more sun. And then move them outside, probably under a tree to toughen up a little. April 15th is usually our last frost date, so that’s my target for getting the first round of things in the ground.


Don’t Mind Me…I’m Invisible March 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 5:00 pm

As a blogger lately, that pretty much sums it up.

That said, I was actually referring to this little guy:


Our ottoman seems to be about 6 inches shorter than our dog, but only 3 inches if you split the difference and stick out both sides.


true confession March 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Katie @ 8:19 pm

The website has a feature called Dating Confessions where people post anonymous one-liners about love, sex and dating. Usually they are fairly mundane, albeit in a dirty way quite often, but this is the all time winner in my book…and so true for so many of us.

“I’m mainly attracted to you because you have the same glasses Ira Glass does.”