Friday Love List: Combatting the BLAH and the GRRR Edition

April 18, 2014

It's been a frustrating week, Internet. So it felt like time for another Friday Love List to get myself into a more Pollyanna state of mind.

1. Ingrid Michaelson's new album, Lights Out came out on Wednesday. I was able to buy and download it in about two minutes from my kitchen while baking cookies. I love living in the future.

2. Sunshine! We are having beautiful weather these days in Okinawa and I'm doing my best to get out and enjoy it before we're back to perpetual crazy stupid heat and humidity.

3. Spinach artichoke quinoa casserole. The missing word in the name of it is cheese, which it's full of, thank goodness. 

4. Godiva chocolate coffee. You guys. Seriously. I had told Raj that we didn't need to do Valentine gifts this year, but then he saw the coffee when he was at the exchange around that time and got it for me. It's the gift that's still giving (me delicious coffee).

5. In this interview, Mindy Kaling calls herself an "avid slow jogger" which is just a perfect way of phrasing it. Me too, Mindy Kaling, me too. I also enjoyed the book she suggests there, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

6. The ability to laugh about having perhaps the stupidest injury ever. I've got a knot around the top of my left shoulder blade that's giving me a lot of trouble. I'd been thinking it was a holdover from practice last Sunday, but I'm realizing it's not. At least not directly. I think it's the result of reading and typing while sitting in a weird position to avoid putting pressure on the sore left side of my butt. Yup.

7. This guy, who should be home soon-ish, though still not soon enough for my taste, i.e., right this very minute.

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I do feel a bit better already. But you could help improve my mood further by telling me some things you love this week. Or in general.

Dragon Boat, you're cruising for a spot on my Murtaugh List

April 16, 2014

"It's the butt chafing that's actually bothering me more" is a thought I just had. 

Naturally, I thought I should probably share it with you.

See, we had our first dragon boat practice in an actual boat on Sunday. I tell you what: OW. We were scheduled for an hour in the boat, but lucky us, it was available half an hour early! So we got a practice and a half! I had followed the suggestion to bring a dish towel to shove into my sports bra on one side to cushion my body against the side of the boat. This turned out to be insufficient.

By Sunday night, I thought I may have cracked a rib from repeately smashing the area under my left arm into the side of the boat. I'd love to show you the bruise so you may all be suitably impressed, but said bruise extends into territory that is not family-friendly, so you'll just have to take my word that for once in my entire life, I am actually not exaggerating. It's roughly the size and shape of an index card. A small one, so I guess 3x5. So I guess I could have just told you that my bruise was roughly 3x5 inches, but my mind works in picture analogies, not measurements, alright? I iced it (well, I didn't use ice so much as a bag of frozen green beans, but you can't say I frozen green beaned it without confusing people) Sunday night and a couple of times on Monday and it's gotten better.

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I took this to send to Raj on the ship. Hard to imagine how he can stand to be away from me when I send him such sexy photos.

I was well aware by the time we exited the boat that my side, as well as my less impressively-bruised left knee and basically all of the muscles in my body were going to cause me pain later. It wasn't until I got in the shower after getting home from practice though that I discovered the more distressing problem. The water hit the spot right where the edge of my butt had met the edge of the boat seat where I rocked back and forth while rowing for an hour and a half, causing me to think VERY BAD WORDS while executing a quick 180.

The skin there is just gone. Not in terribly big spots, but it really doesn't take much to make life pretty uncomfortable. Some of the other women have been dealing with this for weeks now as a result of our practices sitting on the dock, so I suppose I should be glad to have escaped it for so long. Apparently it happens a lot to people in Crossfit who do crazy amounts of sit ups. Meaning I just added another item to Lori's Giant List of Reasons to Never Do Crossfit.

I will, however, be back in the dragon boat this Saturday, though I plan to have a lot more padding this time. That's our last practice in the boat before the race, which is less than three weeks away now. Our Okinawan rudder guy thinks we've got a good shot at winning our heat based on what he saw Sunday.

Here's a picture a teammate's husband took of us rowing backward when we were just getting started and leaving the dock.

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I'm on the near side of the boat, near the middle, wearing a white hat. Next to me in the pink is a woman who came along to translate for our rudder guy who was giving us lots of helpful tips. She won't be in the boat on race day, nor will we have our two alternates or the second of the two race officials standing in the boat, so that will help some. And we'll only row for about five and a half minutes (though hopefully less) one time, then potentially one more time later in the day if we make the finals.

Also? We'll have our tutus. Last year they wore tutus and were the first all women's team ever to make it to the finals. Probably it was the hard work and dedication that made the difference, but we can't take the chance of assuming it wasn't the tutus that did it. Gotta cover all your bases. And all areas of my body that make contact with the boat. Lesson learned.

Stream of (semi)consciousness

April 03, 2014

My parents are arriving in just a couple of days. I'm excited to see them and to play Okinawa tour guide and to have company. Raj has been gone for over a month now, though he did get to stop home briefly one day last week. Which was 99% wonderful because I got to see and touch him and 1% awful because then I had to say goodbye to him again. But, you know, 1% awful is hardly very awful at all.

I've got two papers and a couple of other assignments to get done, one of which is a group assignment with the same very unmotivated group I've already had and the professor gave us 99% freedom and 1% direction, which is far from ideal. At least nobody has emailed yet to let us know she'll be late contributing because she'll be on vacation. This time.

I also need to grocery shop and clean my house. It's a disaster in here. Which, yes, is partly grad school. The house has been a mess throughout most of this semseter. But now it's more of a mess because when Raj leaves, I turn into a teenager who no longer picks up after herself or goes to bed at a reasonable hour (Oh, hey 1:34am!) or cooks food. String cheese, edamame, and yogurt - it's what's for dinner. Plus I recently discovered some Ghirardelli dark chocolate squares in the pantry that I'd forgotten I bought. Let that sink in for a moment. There was chocolate here and I forgot to eat it. I don't know who I am anymore. I mean, sure, the forgetting part sounds a lot like me. But some things are important.

To be fair, I did cook once this week. I made a quiche. Which might sound impressive, except it was really a product of finding a roll out pie crust in the freezer and thinking how the spinach and tomatoes in the fridge were about on their last legs. I googled a recipe to find out temperature and time for quiche baking and noticed that it wanted me to cook my spinach and tomatoes first. This sounded like more work (come on, I already chopped them and unrolled a pie crust, which I had also defrosted with my own two hands by moving it from the freezer to the fridge) so instead I just threw them in the crust, poured in my eggs beaten with milk (the recipe wanted me to add chopped fresh parsley, which I didn't have so I was going to add dried parsley but I found dried basil first, so I threw some of that in). Then I got out my container of bleu cheese. How much should I add? Well, probably my quiche was going to need a lot of extra flavor to make up for all of the steps I skipped and things I didn't put in. Also bleu cheese is amazing, but I don't think my parents like it so if there was extra it might go to waste and WHAT THEN? So I dumped all of it right on top of my quiche, which I covered in foil and cooked for the stated time (40 minutes on 400) removing the foil for the last ten minutes. Then I cooked it for an additional ten minutes because it wasn't set. Then another ten minutes. This always happens to me with quiche. Maybe I put too much stuff in it? It did turn out to be delicious (Too bleu cheesey? Nope.) though maybe a little liquidy since I didn't cook the liquid off the tomatoes or even bother to salt them when straining. I didn't mind though.

I'm not going in to work tomorrow since the teacher I work with is showing a movie because next week is spring break and the children are nutty and this teacher was already, by Tuesday IN NO MOOD. When a teacher as laid back as this guy begins to speak in all caps, it's clearly desperate times. So tomorrow I'll write two papers and vacuum and put away the clean laundry that's been sitting on Raj's side of the bed for...a while. And carry ten pairs of shoes upstairs and clean the sinks and all of that. And email my group members to say No, seriously guys, what are we doing for this? and also figure out where I need to go to get passes for my parents to get on base for a week.

But first? Sleep. Then coffee. Amen.

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My name is Lori. I write. I teach. I run. I enjoy intelligent conversation, professional football, big government and the public library. I married a libertarian. We live in Okinawa, Japan.

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