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Adopting in Ashburn

What began in France moved to Washington, DC and then the suburbs. Let the adventures in Ashburn continue.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Invent America!

So, way back in the fourth grade, I invented this "thing" for Invent America!.

I wanted to help eliminate pollution from big rig trucks on the highway, so I made a prototype of a box that could be put on the end of exhaust pipes that would clean the air before expelling it into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, as I was 10, it was made primarily of cardstock, popsicle sticks, glue, and brads (those little metal things so that the doors could move).

I knew that the little assembly line-filter system I had in my brain wasn't feasibly possible then (this was the beginning of the time I was thinking of becoming an engineer). And, as my project failed considerably in comparison to the tactile, and practical applications of my classmates' projects - an ice cream scoop with an internal heating coil (actually got sent in for a patent!), a plexiglass box with gloves inside so you could read a book in the shower without messing up the book (by my former roommate), and homemade, streak-free glass cleaner - I lost the competition by far.

However, my idea was redeemed (in my mind) as I read this article about crystals that can pull the CO2 out of the air. Since getting a tree in the "magic exhaust pipe box" is out of the question, these crystals could mean the beginning of a whole new invention.

All I need now are some popsicle sticks to build a model with.

Love always, ~Heather

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Attn: Political Soapbox

For those of you who think universal health care or government-sponsored medical insurance are practical solutions to the messed up U.S. health system, may I present one of the models we hope to follow: the United Kingdom.

Because we all want to wait until our condition is worse to get life saving drugs!

(can you hear the sarcasm dripping?)

Stepping down (for the moment) ...

~Heather

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Montage "Dollop"

I will do my best to never submit you to the bizarre sequence that would come from me doing a post in stream of consciousness. However, I have been keeping some interesting and completely unrelated items in a draft document that may or may not interest you.

One dollop of Heather's personality, coming right up!




I can't remember when I wrote this, but:
  • On my way into work this morning I passed a girl, who I kid you not, smelled exactly like a jelly doughnut.
Because we all love Harry Potter (and if you don't, I think I may be able to persuade you!):



And I quoth: "Despite all efforts to discourage me, I refuse to believe in anything less than attempting perfection."



One particularly good (accurate??) description of me based on my astrological sign.
TAURUS - The Enduring One (April 20 - May 20) Charming but aggressive. Can come off as boring, but they are not. Hard workers. Warm-hearted. Strong, has endurance. Solid beings that are stable and secure in their ways. Not looking for shortcuts. Take pride in their beauty. Patient and reliable. Make great friends and give good advice. Loving and kind. Loves hard - passionate. Express themselves emotionally. Prone to ferocious temper-tantrums. Determined. Indulge themselves often. Very generous.
Hope everyone is having a glorious weekend!

~Heather

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So far today

I have:
  • - Been told that I don't hide the disdain in my face when I disagree with things
  • - Messed up the Javascript coding on a website for work that I just had fixed yesterday
  • - Made myself available for ridiculous busy work
  • + Had a good salad for lunch
  • + Finished reading Damn Yankees, which I am stage managing next week
  • - Blogged at work
  • + Been told that my face looks smaller
  • + Confiscated two more boxes for packing
Looking for more + signs ....

~Heather

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Forgiveness

This weekend a friend came to town. We had a blast and I promise to go into the excellent DC adventures we had in detail in a later post. However, tonight I really want to tell a short (knowing me, probably not) story about how big change can happen in a brief visit.

So P came down for a school/job fair in DC and we got to hang out Friday night through Sunday AM. On Saturday she had us meet up with an old friend from USC. This person and I have a history (which you may recall from any of the heartsick, very occasionally gleeful, or angry posts for about nine months between 2006-07). To summarize, we were never really together - though there was significant leading on (*Guilty admission: perhaps on both sides). It "ended" when he decided to take time off from being my friend and I finally stood up for myself, and let him know that if he wanted to be friends he would need to initiate it. I haven't heard from him since.

I thought that I forgave him a long time ago. But, every time I mention him or something that we did together, I prefaced it in my mind - or out loud - with some negative adjective to help myself remember that I wasn't supposed to care or like him anymore. Which, if nothing else, was evidence that I hadn't forgotten.

So he met us out by the FDR memorial and then walked and chatted with us for awhile. And without getting into the details of the discussion, I recognized both the things I remember liking about him and the things that I really didn't. Using my much clearer hindsight, it was obvious we were never right for each other. When he left us to go have the rest of his day, I didn't know what to feel.

I wasn't sad about it, angry about it, it hadn't been awkward, there was nothing. It was nothing. And in that moment, I finally felt the forgiveness I thought I'd already granted.

I won't ever forget what happened, but like everything, it was a learning experience. Negative ending or not, we did have fun together. I don't have to like what he did, or even him, but I don't have to not like him anymore either. I can get that yucky mean-ness out of my heart.

And forgiveness is a wonderful feeling.

Catch you up on the actual adventures a bit later. Love always, ~Heather

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

1-2-3 tag

Thanks to St. Elizabeth for the tag on this one!

Here are the rules:
  • Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. (No cheating!)
  • Find Page 123.
  • Find the first 5 sentences.
  • Post the next 3 sentences.
  • Tag 5 people.
Before I give you the three sentences, I want to say that I moderately cheated on this, because I originally read that I was tagged at work on my Reader and waited until I got home to respond. That being said, the closest book at hand is Stephen Colbert's I Am America (and so can you!). I intentionally left it out in my family room this past week because I wanted to have something left to read once my "library" was packed up for the move.

The appropriate passage for the tag:

The easiest way for college professor "bees" to administer their "idea poison" is through their "thought-stingers," commonly called "books."

[Sidebar]
WakeUp Call:
Think books aren't scary? Well, think about this: You can't spell "Book" without "Boo!"
[/Sidebar]
And in case the sidebar doesn't count, the following two sentences are also quite good:
The only good book is the Good Book. Come on, the word "Good" is right there in the title.
I tag: Alice, Hugues, Melissa, Dave, (not Dana because of her Lenten promise!), and that regular reader (whoever you are) to please post in the comments box. Looking forward to the sentences!

Et pour mes amis francais, il ne faut pas que vous choisiez un livre en anglais - n'importe quelle langue, francais, latin, espagnol! Vous me manquez beaucoup!

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Quite a Day

I woke up this morning fully aware that my cold was here to stay. I have probably used an entire box of tissues today. But, cold or not, today was going to be a busy day.

I went to Ash Wednesday services at St. Mary's. I have to say that I am a little confused about the timing of today's gospel. It's the letter to the Corinthians (I think) that talks about not being a hypocrite, praying for ourselves, giving charitably in quiet, etc. And we read it on a day when they put ashes on our foreheads as an outward expression of our faith. It just seems a bit ill-timed.

I understand it is the beginning of Lent, and we don't want our days of abstinence and fasting to appear to be so. Our spiritual journey is internal. I get that. But how is wearing ashes all day not "showing off" your prayer? Doesn't everyone in my office now know I went to church this morning before work? I know I'm not prostrating myself on the street, but it is pretty obvious when you have a black cross on your forehead that something is going on today.

Back to my day. I worked through the morning with some ferocity and ate lunch at my desk (which I have a personal policy against) to make up for the fact that I was leaving early to meet with the stage crew for the Janney show. If I haven't mentioned it, this is an elementary school production of Damn Yankees that I am stage managing. The girls are all very sweet and should be excellent help backstage on the show. I feel a bit odd not being available to help them next week (since I can't just keep taking off from work to be there with them), but the director told me it isn't necessary - and to be honest, I don't want to take advantage of the flex time my boss is letting me use.

The drive home went pretty quickly considering it was almost rush hour. I spent a bit of time working once I got home - as this is how flex time works - and will do a bit more tonight after I get home from our volleyball game. It's hard to build the roster for the game in advance, since we're never sure who's going to show until we get there, so I'm heading over early to warm up my arms so that as the team gets there we can make some decisions.

That's all I've got for now. Love always, ~Heather

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Almost a 5k

So tonight I ran 2.9 miles in 30 minutes, a personal record. There is something about having almost run three consecutive 10 minute miles that I absolutely love. It's true, you never look back and say, "Boy, I wish I hadn't gone to the gym."

After today, I needed a good run.

Reason #1 for a run: too much sugar yesterday.
I woke up with a "sugar hangover" from having too many peanut butter cookies last night during the Superbowl party (thanks Katie!). It seems that if you avoid sugary food and then let yourself splurge, your body can literally forget how to handle sugar. Good to remember, yet so easy to forget.

Reason #2 for a run: delectable fried food today.
I wound up driving to work, but this turned out to be a really good twist of fate, as I needed my car for an early out. I started feeling odd a bit before lunch. Then we took out the new policy intern for lunch. I ordered a delicious sandwich that unexpectedly came with this huge pile of perfectly cooked and seasoned fries. It turns out that any ability to resist the temptation of french fries is removed when they are on your lunch plate. Perhaps the first time I've had fries in six months, and it was a bit of heaven.

After lunch we had a meeting with a woman, during which the heaviness of my lunch made me exceptionally sleepy. I did everything I could, but as the one hour meeting dragged on past an hour and a half, my eyes were shutting themselves. I pinched myself, poked myself, I was wiggling so much in my chair it probably looked like I was being bitten by ants. I have never been more embarrassed about my inability to stay awake - especially considering the topic was actually pretty interesting.

Reason #3 for a run: absolutely, ridiculously, icky feeling body.
My boss, and probably the other two women in the meeting, noticed my sleepy and fidgety antics. My boss mentioned to me, I guess jokingly, that she had invited me to the meeting because she thought I'd be interested. I tried to explain, but she blew it off light-heartedly. I guess that could have been worse. But then the icky feeling from before lunch waved over the rest of my body. It got so bad I literally had to leave work (luckily it was 5:30, but still, I wanted to work late today).

I came home and crashed on the couch through the news. After supper, I hit the gym and my body finally started to feel like my own again. So, considering I haven't gone running for at least two weeks and wasn't at my best, the fact that I had my best run ever is pretty exciting.

Tomorrow is my Super Fat Tuesday party. We're going to have pancakes for dinner (note: don't forget the sugar thing!) and all sorts of other goodies as we watch the election returns. Only inside the beltway would Super Tuesday be considered as big a holiday as Mardi Gras. I love them both! I'll have to beat today's running record to make up for all those calories, but it will be absolutely worth it!

Okay. I need to pack two boxes and do some dishes before bed. My apartment is, thankfully, still clean from yesterday's party, so I don't have to worry about too much cleaning before tomorrow's get-together. If you're close by, give me a call. I'd love to see you!

Have a good one - and remember that Lent is almost upon us!

Love always, ~Heather

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