This is my gym.

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Yeah, it’s awesome.
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Booooo in my room. Where’s the ac?

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Dear Centro Maria,
Seriously, this is ridiculous.
Love always,
Lauren

Boring, I know!

I’ve been thinking lately that I haven’t posted on my blog recently, but nothing really interesting has happened lately. So here’s a short rundown of all the kind-of interesting stuff that I’ve done in the past few weeks.

1. I installed the Japanese Tattoo Persona for my Firefox browser, which I really love.

2. I’ve watched a lot of movies with the other women here at Centro Maria. I finally found a friend who appreciates my taste for zombie and vampire movies! God bless you, Maritza! πŸ™‚ And I can usually bribe one or two other women with spinach dip (I’m looking at you, Sarah!) or cheese salsa. I really, really love spinach dip.

3. I’ve also interviewed for a temporary job at AU, but I wasn’t selected.

4. My Japanese professor had to go to Japan suddenly, and she was replaced by a professor who is much more strict with us. After we didn’t do so well on a task she gave us, she actually said “I’m disappointed in you. I feel sorry for Yoshiko-sensei.” ! I was so embarrassed! Although for me, it makes me want to work that much harder to prove to her that I’m capable. I made the sentence she assigned me more complicated, and she praised me. Hooray! πŸ™‚

5. My car’s steering wheel started jerking back and forth one day, making me think the power steering was going out, but then it suddenly stopped and hasn’t done it since.

6. My suitemate moved out, which means I have the bathroom all to myself, which is super nice! And it helped that she moved out the day before I got food poisoning, so I didn’t have to worry about disturbing her while I nearly died, lol! I’ve put a really cute new shower curtain up, I’ve thrown out the things she left, and I’ve got a really classy AirWick air freshener that puffs some vanilla scent out every 7.5, 15, or 30 minutes plus whenever its built-in motion sensor detects motion. Basically, my bathroom is now awesome. Since the aesthetics of my spaces are very important to me, I’m feeling pretty great about it!

7. I ran for the first time in a month two weeks ago, and was planning on not pushing myself too hard. But I was surprised to find that I could run for 50 minutes without stopping! My fitness level stayed much higher than I was expecting, considering that I read in Runner’s World that you lose over half in a month! I’ve run twice since then, and am feeling nice and strong. Which is good, considering I’m planning on running the American Red Cross “Out for Blood” 5K in June, and I want to get my time down!

And that’s pretty much it! My family’s coming into town on Wednesday, except for my sister Leslie, and we’re planning on going to touristy stuff. So you know what that means – a photo post is probably coming soon!

Hello, blog! (say like Faron Young)

Well, a lot’s happened since I last wrote here. Mostly blizzards, but also a terrible bout of food poisoning/stomach flu/being about to die. Seriously, never felt worse in my entire life. And I had swine flu for two weeks, and was in the demographic most likely to die from that! I’m beginning to think living at Centro Maria is bad for my immune system somehow…

Anyway, back on track. As most people with access to internet/news are aware, our nation’s capital has had a serious pile of crap dumped on us over the past week. Our dear city became enchanted, then incapacitated, then cranky1, then overly-confident2, then furious3, all in the span of a week and a half. Here, let me illustrate the blizzards through pictures (mostly of my beloved car-check out my Flickr photostream for pretty pics):

Friday morning (the day the blizzard hit) I went to Giant to pick up a prescription, having done my pre-snow loading up on groceries the night before. And BOY, was I glad I’d planned ahead! Here’s just one picture of the insanely long lines:

That's right, the line goes more than halfway into the long aisle. Every. single. checkout was this backed up.

Feb 5: It begins.

Two hours later, the ground is white.

Four hours after that, and the snow is still piling up.

Midday Feb 6: My car is disguised as a snowcar.

At this point, I decided to go out to take pictures. But I realized I’d left my earmuffs in my snowcar. No worries, I thought. I’ll just shovel a path to my car. And while I’m out there, why not clean the snow off the roof too?

Up to my knees!

The lonely road I shoveled.

Shoveling the snow was hard work! I never thought about it before (though it’s obvious if you do think about it for two seconds), but snow compresses the snow it lands on, meaning that the bottom is much harder to shovel than the top. But I am no quitter! I even cleared off my entire car, too!

Proof!

Feb 9th I ventured out to Target to stock up on some more groceries, since we were about to get hit by a second blizzard. The streets were not yet fully cleared, as you can see:

Slightly treacherous.

The Target parking lot was pretty bad. Being a former Chi-town res, I expected there’d be parts made unusable by huge piles of plowed snow, but I was a little surprised at just how bad it was:

One car could barely fit through here, much less two cars passing each other!

Luckily for me, I didn’t need milk, because Target was completely out. Not even the little 16oz bottles were left!

Plenty of soymilk, though.

The next day we got more snow, this time accompanied by strong winds and whiteout conditions. Hooray! All the hard work put into plowing our parking lot, decimated!

My car's totally hating me for bringing her here right now.

So, to sum up – I really hate snow (although it can be pretty). There’s way too much of it, and it’s hard to stay positive as there’s yet another storm coming today – 4-8 more inches predicted. Ugh. May, where are you?!

1 cranky, as the streets weren’t plowed immediately and perfectly, and people were stuck inside homes (sometimes without power)

2 overly-confident when the government re-opened on Friday the 12th, despite anyone with sense knowing that the city wasn’t cleaned up enough yet

3 furious when workers trying to go home Friday night sat in traffic that took 20 minutes to go one block, because only two lanes of four (or four of six, etc) had been plowed, and congestion got so terrible AAA called it one of the worst commutes in history; also when a red-line train derailed during morning rush hour, causing some passengers to be stuck underground for over an hour

My Holiday Decorations

I’m a nester. The aesthetics of my living space are very important to my happiness and well-being. Whenever I move into a new space, I am unable to sleep until I have arranged the furniture in the optimal configuration, and have all of my lamps/rugs/pictures in the right place. Yeah, this is weird, I know. But, being a nester also means I love holiday decorations! And, with a little help from my mom, I’ve got great ones.

I LOVE window clings. One year my mom bought me a set that remains unparalled in its awesomeness. It was a Christmas tree, with individual ornaments, a star, and presents. Fantastic! After hearing me reminisce about that cling for the umpteenth time, my mom surprised me with these sweet clings. Now Santa and Frosty are hanging out in my room!

Stocking (and crucifix).

Mom also bought me this great stocking from Old Navy. I love it! There are deer, birds, and a Christmas tree made out of the deers’ antlers. Sweet!

I got Christmas lights at Home Depot to complete my decorations. I put a strand around the outside so I could see them with the blinds closed, and a strand around the inside so they could be seen from outside with the blinds closed. Covering all my bases!

It looks pretty festive at night, if I do say so myself!

You can kind of see the stocking from outside, too!

Snow!

I woke up this morning to snow! We’re forecast to get 1-3 inches of snow today, but so far it’s not sticking to the roads so they’re in good shape. It’s just piling up on lawns and trees and cars! I wish I could post some good pictures, but I left my camera charger at home over Thanksgiving and it’s still in the mail. So I’ll have to make do with camera phone pictures.

Snow seen through my window. Check out my Christmas lights! I'll post about those later.

My car. Do you think my car missed snow after being in Nashville a few winters, or is it thinking, "Oh crap, not this stuff again!" I know which one I'm thinking.

I read today that it has snowed on December 5th in five of the last seven years. I also read a lot of posts about the snow forecast. Alert DC has now sent me five emails about it, all the major DC blogs I read have posted about it, and the WaPo’s transportation blog has posted several warnings, along with tips for how to drive around without dying. All of this fuss made me seriously overestimate the mayhem that might occur today. I know 1-3 inches is not that much, but maybe DC is totally lacking in the infrastructure necessary to handle even such a small snowfall? What if the DC drivers lose their minds and have no idea how to drive in snow? What if the roads are covered and there are no salt trucks for a couple days? In short – what if DC handles snow like Nashville, instead of like Chicago?

So, I freaked out a little. I have to admit, I was one of the ones at Giant last night, loading up on food. Although, instead of a cartload of groceries, six gallons of milk, five loaves of bread, and thirty cans of food, stocking up for me meant two frozen dinners, another half gallon of milk, and another box of Cocoa Pebbles. Oh, and some wintergreen Tic-Tacs as a treat.

Short side story: I was behind two people in line to check out. The woman who was checking out had a huge amount of stuff. AND she had to pay for it in three separate orders. AND she had like a thousand coupons. AND she was a slow mover. Seriously, it was unbelievable how long it took for her to check out. She was mostly done when I got in line, and I must have stood there for fifteen minutes! And then the woman who was next had a big order as well, but I was STILL in my car leaving before the first woman put her cart in the cart corral! What the heck, lady?

Anyway, after getting groceries I filled up my tank with gas. I also decided not to go to a tea thrown by a woman at Mosaic, since it was at noon which was when the snow was supposed to start. And I did not want to get stuck out with a spare tire if the roads went bad! So I came back to Centro Maria ready to hunker down and feeling pretty prepared for anything DC weather could throw at me. And then when I woke up and saw that the snow wasn’t sticking to the roads, I realized I should have trusted my instincts that it was going to be no big deal. I lived in Chicagoland for three years, for goodness’ sake! I can handle some wintry mix!

Good news!

The interview I had today went really well I think! I was able to remember examples from my life to answer the questions they asked, and I think I had a good rapport with the four women who were interviewing me. I think it would be a fun place to work, and I’m feeling positively about my chances for getting the job.