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1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
Went to Ecuador and the Galapagos.
Touched a whale shark.
Swam with hammerhead sharks.
Hiked to 16,000 feet up a volcano.
Threw a baby shower and became a sort-of (sort-of because we’re calling ourselves aunts, though we aren’t related at all) aunt to Nate and Shelly’s baby Owen.
Began to seriously contemplate giving Owen a sort-of cousin.
Earned my PhD. Officially became a Doctor!
Published a paper from my graduate work.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn’t make an official New Year’s Resolution for 2010. Rather, maybe, the nebulous get healthy/stay healthy goal. And I think I’ve done pretty well. Mentally, I’m in a much better place now than I was a year or even two years ago. Physically, I’ve taken care of some healthy issues, really started exercising more, and have even lost a decent amount of weight. So all in all, I’d say I did pretty well. And frankly, I’ll probably make the same resolution. There’s always room for improvement.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yep, Shelly did! To a beautiful little baby boy on Thanksgiving morning. This is also the thing I’m most thankful for in 2010–that two of my best friends became parents to a beautiful, healthy baby. And that Owen is a wonderful baby.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, though we worried a lot about John’s grandmother due to all the things that contributed to her prolonged hospital stay, which included a heart attack and a pulmonary embolism. But she’s doing much, much better now.

5. What countries did you visit?
Ecuador and the Galapagos (same country, but vastly different). Both were amazing.

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
Health care through my job.
More financial security.
A larger living space.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Owen’s birth.
My fifth wedding anniversary.
My dissertation defense date.
My graduation ceremony.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Earning my PhD.
Getting healthy.

9. What was your biggest failure?
With the goal of mental health, I’m not answering.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I threw my shoulder out again on December 26th, 2009, and thus spent the first 3-4 months of 2010 re-healing it.
I was diagnosed with a fairly non-serious medical disorder that is now under control.
Mild aches and pains at times, especially when I took up running again.
But in general, pretty healthy, especially right now!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Baby clothes for Owen.
A trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos.
Perfect Christmas presents for everyone. It took awhile to find just the right thing for each and every person, but I did! This is, quite honestly, my favorite part about Christmas.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Rent and groceries and utilities and boring adult things.
Paying for my own health care for the second half of the year. Maybe I should have re-thought that whole graduating and no-longer-a-student thing. But it was worth it.

13. What did you get really excited about?
Owen’s birth.
Graduating with my PhD.
My new job.
Elizabeth’s residency here in the Bay Area, meaning she and Mark will continue to live here and we can see them all the time.
The San Jose Sharks pummeling the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL Conference semi-finals.

14. What song will always remind you of 2010?
Black Eyed Peas “I gotta feeling”. (Was that even this year?) But it was a good year and a good song.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

A bit thinner. Maybe happier.
Overall about the same. And happy with that.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Scuba diving.
Exploring California like we always say we’re going to do.
But in general, it was a really good year just the way it was.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Not much. Complaining, maybe, but I think it was a good year. I like it how it was.

18. How did you spend Christmas?
In Iowa, surrounded by family, extended family, and in-law family. Laughing, cooking, taking pictures, sharing memories, gossiping, eating, staying warm.

19. What was your favorite TV program?
Um, I didn’t watch much TV this year, honestly. Except for sports, like Sharks hockey and college basketball. John’s new favorite show is “Wild Justice”, which is pretty good. “Better With You”. “Better Off Ted”.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?
“The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer. Love it. Highly recommend it.
Malcom Gladwell’s “Blink”, “Tipping Point” and “Outliers”.
Atul Gawande’s “Complications”.
I’m sure there were more, probably in the romance category, but none that come to mind.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Songs on the radio I could sing along with.
Handel’s Messiah, as always.
Christmas music, at least for the last month or so.
The group Cage the Elephant, who’s music is great for exercising.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?
I think I only went to see two movies this year. A chick flick with Elizabeth, though I can’t remember what it was. And “Eat, Pray, Love” with Shelly. Both were okay, neither were a favorite.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 28. My dissertation was due to my committee about a week later, so I probably spent the day working on it. Went to dinner with friends, if not on my birthday, then right around that time.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
It was great as it was. For others, better health for John’s grandmother. Less heartache in the beginning of the year for my sister. A Stanley Cup for the Sharks instead of for Chicago.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

26. What kept you sane?
John. My friends. My family. Scuba diving. Running. Graduating.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

Learn to be happy with who you are, or work to be who you can be happy being.


So I know this is week-old news, and I also know that I should be working on my post for the lovely Abby over at Bright Yellow World (I promise I’ll get to it soon!), but I’ve had this comparison in my head for awhile now.

And I didn’t mean to abruptly quit when November ended. It was more like work snowballed me under, plus I had a job interview yesterday to prep for (I’ll find out Monday, cross your fingers for me!), plus I only had spare time to sleep and maybe eat.

But! Here I am! Home from work after almost 10 hours, so I didn’t make it to the gym, which magically means I have some extra time! Not sure how that math works out, but nonetheless!

So, last week, as most of you probably know (unless you’re living under a rock that is buried under the tundra somewhere under the dead moose carcasses that SP The Horrible is leaving in her wake), LeBron James went back to Cleveland with his new team. Apparently the crowd had some signs, and there was a fair bit of booing, but overall the Sports Center commentators thought the fans were pretty well-behaved and tasteful.

I’ll admit, we watched the much more important (to us, anyway) San Jose Sharks v. Ottawa Senators game the same night.

And so, um, tasteful and well-behaved? Not so much the hockey fans that night. To the point where the Sports Center people even pointed it out! And there’s almost never any hockey love on Sports Center!

It was the game in which Dany Heatley returned to his old rink to play against his old team.

Back in 2009, Dany basically (so I understand it) requested/demanded a trade since he wasn’t happy with the way things were in Ottawa. They arranged a deal to send him to the Edmonton Oilers. Well, if you watch hockey, you know the Edmonton Oilers, especially last year, were/are not particularly great. They didn’t win a single game in January of 2010 (I think).

Dany said no. Flat-out refused.

So a new deal was constructed, one that sent him to us in San Jose in trade for Milan Michalek and Jonathan Cheechoo. James F actually had a hat signed by Michalek and Cheechoo, which we referred to for most of last year as the “I’ll give you this hat for Heatley hat”.

And Dany Heatley really shined last year. He scored 39 goals for us, I think, and played excellently on the first line with Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. We had a great year, and made it to the conference finals, losing to the Blackhawks. (Grrrr.)

So the game last Thursday was the first time that Heatley had returned to Ottawa. They came here to San Jose to play last year, and we skunked them. But he hadn’t been back to play them.

The booing apparently started 20 minutes before the players even made it onto the ice. During the game, anytime Heatley stepped onto the ice, there was loud and continuous booing. It was actually kind of useful to signal when line changes were happening! And the booing never really diminished. It lasted the whole 60 minute game. Every time Heatley was out there.

At one point in the third, when we were up several goals, a big group of guys came down to the rink and all threw their old Heatley jerseys onto the ice. Pretty well orchestrated, to tell you the truth.

There were also a lot of “Traitor” chants throughout the game, and a lot of signs using “H(e)ATE(ly)” in various phrases.

And finally, at the end of the game, which we won 4-0, the fans who were still left started throwing things at our players (that’s a bit too far, in my opinion). Heatley all but dived off the bench toward the dressing room the minute the horn sounded.

So really, for all the hype and fanfare of LeBron leaving Cleveland, for all the broohaha over his return, when it comes to commitment, be it for your team or against the other team, hockey fans can take basektball fans any day.

Oh, and two nights later when we played in the somewhat-neighboring city of Montreal? Heatley got booed there, too.

I’ve gotta give credit to fans that are that dedicated to their teams. Hockey is a great sport.

1. I gave John the recipe for dutch babies, and thus he made me breakfast. Delicious, and he gets all the credit! Chivalry is alive and well!

2. Purchased and/or planned out the last of our Christmas presents. Including an incredible wallet on Etsy for Cara that should match her purse. Can’t wait to see if she likes it. Also, I’m thinking Etsy is going to be a very, very slippery slope.

3. Used the turkey carcass that Mark gave us (Elizabeth, being vegetarian, was uninterested in keeping any turkey leftovers) to make an amazing Post-Thanksgiving Turkey Soup. I found the recipe on, and let me tell you: it’s DELICIOUS! No extra salt or pepper or anything needed. Perfect as is. Though we did add some minced garlic. We’re already trying to figure out how to make it into a chicken curry soup. I’m thinking substitute chicken for turkey, half of the half-and-half for coconut milk, and add some curry powder and fish sauce. Should hopefully be equally amazing.

4. Made gallons of chili, also, and portioned out both soups into manageable portions. Enough for two meals for us, and several meals for Nate and Shelly, too, since we’ll take them half of each tomorrow. No sense in them having to worry about cooking meals when they have a new baby to occupy them! (Thanks again for the tip, Brat!)

5. Combed through all my recipes to come up with other things that make large portions so next weekend I can make them. I’m thinking chicken pot pie and enchiladas are next on the “bake and take” list.

Really, it was a productive yet fairly lazy Saturday. Just about perfect, especially when combined with wins by the Sharks hockey team and Stanford football team. Sadly, Arizona’s basketball team lost. Can’t have it all, I suppose.

Hope you’re having a great long weekend too!

Trivia questions:

There are three hockey teams in the NHL who’s names are not plural. Can you name them? (Admittedly, I got started on this from some blog a week or so ago that I can’t now remember, sorry.)

How about the NBA? How many and can you name them?

Or the NFL? How many and who are they?

And here’s some fun trivia for you, or possible trivia answers:

Hockey-related: Recently, the New Jersey Devils recorded the first home shutout since 1997 for a goaltender NOT named Martin Brodeur.

Men’s NCAA basketball-related:

The longest Division I men’s basketball game went five overtimes (Cincinnati defeated Bradley in 1981). The longest DII game went seven overtimes (Black Hills beat Yankton in 1956 for DII).

The record for DIII schools was just set by Skidmore v. Southern Vermont.

Here are some facts from it:

Skidmore set an NCAA all-division record with 69 points after regulation.

The combined total of 133 points in overtime is the most ever in a men’s NCAA game.

And finally…

The game had more rebounds than fans. 142 people came to watch, but the teams had a combined 166 rebounds. Another NCAA record.

Good for Skidmore and Southern Vermont. What a hell of a game.

I just planned out the next six-ish weeks at work, and it includes working about four of those six weekends. Including Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week. Including Thursday this week. Not for long, but still.

I feel like I’ve been focusing so much on finishing up at the current job, and spending my free time either exercising or sleeping, that I haven’t had much time for myself lately. Probably why I’m also throwing posts together before collapsing in bed.

But here are some things I want to do, little things, when I have time time:

1. Finally write up my trip stories about Papua New Guinea, as well as Ecuador and the Galapagos.

2. Make an indentation on the stack of unread books on my bedside table. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of John’s comic books because the (a) don’t take brain power, and (b) I can read a few pages and put it down instead of getting sucked in and reading all night.

3. Work on some of the recipes that I’ve been reading and drooling over in the Fine Cooking that my parents send John for his birthday. They all look so fabulous and tasty, but the last thing I want to do when I get home at 7:45, sweaty from the gym and exhausted from the day, is start in on a big meal.

4. Find some new running routes, either by poking around online or by driving to some different locales and then just running. I know this kind of falls into exercising, but I’m thinking more in terms of the long, casual runs on the weekends. The ones that are about time and distance rather than speed, that are about getting out and enjoying the day rather than making it through a workout before the gym closes. Same goes for bike routes, though it’s getting cold so those are maybe a bit limited by weather, seeing as how they’re longer than a run.

5. This sounds silly, but catch up to where John is on a couple video games. He has a bunch, and I play a few of them, and it would be nice to, say, finish editions I and II so I can start on III, which looks awesome.

6. Declutter my house. It needs it and I need it. But then again, we’re looking to move in the next six months, so maybe I leave the decluttering for the packing and unpacking process? But I feel like I need some change in my living environment.

7. Spend some quality one-on-one time with various friends. For example, Cara. We see each other fairly often, but mostly with John and James in tow. It’d be nice to get in a girl’s night. Throw in Shelly and subtract one-third of the alcohol (she’s pregnant) and it’d be a pretty awesome time.

8. Go scuba dive for fun. I haven’t done this in Monterey in forever. It’s all been classes, which have their own rewards, but are not about me, underwater, blowing bubbles and making friends with fish.

9. Watch more hockey and college basketball. I’ve got to soak it all in for the next however many months before the summer drought (and baseball) settle in.

That’s it, off the top of my head, but I’m thinking I need to make some time to do some of this. Even if it maybe means a few less workouts. Or a few days longer at the current job. My mental health could probably use some or all of the above, just to make me feel happier and more centered and more grounded in my life.

The tiredness and stress headache (probably more that than a migraine) were probably just the culmination of a bunch of small things stressing me out.

But my parents arrive in town tonight and I get the next three days basically off, until I have to go into work on Sunday afternoon.

It’ll be some good family times to kick off the holidays, which I’m really looking forward to.


Today I got some awesome news on the job front. I’m not going to jinx it, but things are looking really rosy.

And the Sharks are winning 4-2, possibly 5-2 if this goal is good. Never mind, just 4-2. But still, winning 4-2. (Okay, on a side note, that’s the 4th disallowed goal we’ve had in the last 4-5 games. WTF?)

Off to the airport and listening to the rest of the broadcast on the radio, then a celebratory dinner for the good news.

1. My cat, who was the biggest Mama’s Boy until a couple days ago, suddenly wants nothing more than to cuddle with John. Instead of me. In someways it’s a relief from his constant neediness the moment I sit down, but it’s also a bit sad. My baby doesn’t love me anymore!

2. Work is making me so angry these days, mostly because I’m spending a ton of time correcting/working on some stuff that theoretically the person I asked for help should have done. And they’re the sort of person who you can’t yell at, or even tell them you’re angry, because they’ll take it personally and take retribution. And they’re in a position to take retribution.

3. Brussel sprouts baked in a bit of olive oil, some pepper and some salt are delicious.

4. My grandmother-in-law is back in the hospital, but doing much better, and they aren’t going to send her anywhere for awhile. Glad they’re keeping an eye on her!

5. John is going to Las Vegas for the day Saturday. I’m going to see family. We both win, in very different ways.

6. I need a good savory stuffing recipe for Thanksgiving. My mom makes the best stuffing, but she says uses a different recipe every year. They all seem the same to me, and are so good.

7. I’ve been reading the comic Fable (highly recommended as a great comic story for adults), mixed in with the writings of Malcom Gladwell (interesting guy, great at getting a point across). Both a commentary on society in their own way. Both very good.

8. Tina Fey is really funny. Really, really, really funny.

9. In all the years I’ve bought running shoes, I’ve always bought them in some form of blue. My new ones are tangeriny-pinkish. I’m loving them.

10. (Geez, c’mon, I can get to 10, can’t I?) (Ummmmm…..) Peach tea is yummy.

11. Oh! Wait! Today officially opened the Stanford men’s basketball season, and Arizona opens tomorrow. Hockey and basketball are both back in my life–I love this time of year.

We’re at a Sharks game. They’re playing the New York Islanders, and the score is 0-0 after the first period.

And I’m test blogging from my phone. Let’s see if this works.

Go Sharks!


1-1 after the second

Should have been a goal for us in the third but the refs are apparently playing for the Islanders.

1-1 at the end of the third.


No score, still 1-1.


One of the most nervewracking events in sports, as far as I’m concerned. And the most exciting.

Couture scores for us with a beautiful deke!

They miss! Nitty (our goalie) with the save!

Pavelski misses for us. Nice try.

They miss! Beautiful save by Nitty!

Boyle scores! We’re 2-0 in the shootout!


You’d have thought that growing up in the midwest, with all that cold and snow, might have made me a hockey fan.

Instead, it took sunny California and the San Jose Sharks.

James F is a huge fan, and we watched him watch the SJ Sharks in the play offs a couple years ago. It was agonizing to him, and to us watching him agonize over it. In the past two years now, we’ve gone from watching hockey only with him to watching hockey.

It’s definitely a sport that fits me. It’s fast paced. It’s a team sport. It’s always interesting. S%^& happens. Fights happen. I love that! What other sport are you allowed to fight in? Well, not allowed, but still. It’s pretty awesome.

And now we own jerseys, and are always on the lookout for cheap tickets for games.

It’s taken me a while to learn the game, the rules, following the puck. But it’s always exciting.I’m not sure I would have said this two years ago, but there’s no longer a debate for me when it comes to sports. If Arizona basketball and the Sharks are playing at the same time, I’ll be watching the Sharks. Sure, I’ll flip over and check scores, but my heart belongs to those boys on the ice just a bit more than those kids on the court.

We’ve even met some of the players at the open public skates they have every once in awhile. I’ve got a couple signed pucks. They always seem so friendly, and definitely are good with the kids at the rinks.

One of my favorite games, if I had to pick, happened last year.

We whooped the Vancouver Canucks by a good number of goals. And the game was chippy. Towards the end of the game, it took nearly 15 minutes to play about 10 seconds of game time. Why? Because there were so many fights going on. At one point, two of our guys had been tossed and sent to the locker room, and about seven were in the penalty box.

The paper the next morning reported the following exchange:

Ref, to the players in the penalty box standing up: Sit down!
Ryan Clowe (one of our players): There’s no room!
Ref: Sit on their laps!

Ha! Gotta love it, everything about it.

I’d forgotten that one of the toughest things about NaBloPoMo wasn’t necessarily remembering to blog every day, but rather coming up with something to blog ABOUT every day.

Plus, today was a long day at work, though things are moving forward, so I’m not necessarily feeling motivated to do anything other than sit on my couch and eat dinner when John’s done making it. But I had a good meeting with my boss and some experiments are looking good.

Not much happened today. So some random thoughts as they drift through my overextended brain:

I didn’t make it to the gym today. I’d planned to run a couple miles. I blame work. Why is work-life-exercise balance never easy? And missing today means, since I skipped Sunday, I have to go every day for the rest of this week to hit five of seven days. Man, I wanted Saturday off too! But I’ve rediscovered a love of running that is really helping the process.

I did vote. Just not today. By mail. Several weeks ago. I wish there was a way to let the campaigns know you voted so they would stop calling and emailing and snail mailing and putting ads on TV and the radio and just leave you alone! I’m fed up with a lot of politicians in this country, but I voted, and I voted the way I always vote. Millions and billions of dollars in advertising didn’t change my mind. My party may not be the best, but I still think it’s way better than the other party. I’m sure you probably feel the same way too. So long as you’re reasonable about it, I have no issue with you, regardless of the side you’re on.

Mmmm, steak and asparagus for dinner. Made by John. For me. Mmmmm.

The Sharks lost to Minnesota tonight. On a 5-on-3 power play goal. But I’m still impressed with Nitty, our new goalie.

Our neighbor, whom we already suspected was certifiably crazy, apparently has a warrant out for her arrest. A policeman stopped us last Saturday to ask if we could verify that the warrant picture he had was, indeed, for our neighbor. Sadly, I wasn’t quick enough to look it over and determine why. WHY??? This is now a vague obsession of mine. And it would be really nice if she were kicked out. Or just moved. So I may or may not have mentioned this to our apartment manager. Whoops. Does that make me a bad person? Oh well. Maybe our neighbor shouldn’t have been so annoying at all hours of the day and night.

My cats are getting old. One is in the early stages of kidney failure. The other has diabetes. They’re both doing okay on a new wet food, high protein cat diet. I’m not ready for them to be anything else. They’re ten years old, but I still want them to be around for awhile.

Except, maybe can I get a dog too? Puh-lease???

So maybe can we move and get a dog? That’s the plan!


May 2018
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