Monday, July 27, 2009


One more happy thing...

We've had some violet leaves to eat, a bit of spinach, and some dill, but today we have something new from the garden:

A squash!

I'm so happy!

It will be dinner!

(If I'd done a better job at all this gardening, we'd have had lots of squash by now. Oh well... we should still have a harvest, if a late one, and I know a lot more for next year!)

Getting my exercise

I walked all the way to the library today, about a mile away, and back again. It was the first time in a while I took a walk so long -- but Joe is away, and I had some free time in the cool of evening. So I went out, pretty aware of my very pregnant walk. I have had a few people claim it is actually a waddle, but I'm not so sure...

Walking around the neighborhood in the evening is stressful because so many people are out, and so many of them are strangers. And I am not always sure whether I should make eye contact, smile, or just walk past. I hope people don't think I'm unfriendly sometimes! I get confused when I pass groups of people especially, and I am not sure if they are talking to me or each other.

Now that I have a big fat baby belly, though, people are less likely to ignore me as I pass. I didn't hear the girl on the playground the first time she said "Hello," though, so she tried "Hola!" So I turned around and said "Hi!" and then she asked if I speak English, which I don't get asked too often. But we had a nice time chatting about how we don't know the baby's gender yet and we have about a month until its due date. I think the girl was maybe in middle school.

I used to want a dog just to start conversations with people in the neighborhood. It's taken a little while, but I think it's pretty neat to have an even nicer conversation piece. I suppose people will be even more interested once the baby's born!

What if we moved here one day?

So one advantage to having an awesome sister-in-law who is also an accomplished civil engineer: we have a street named after our family!

It's in a neighborhood she helped plan in Brandywine, just a little ways north of us in southern Prince George's County, and we finally found it Sunday.

That's some sign

Joe giving directions

The excitable one



Everyone had their blinds closed against the sun and heat, so I don't think the neighbors even noticed us taking silly pictures on the street corner.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Learning to cook

We don't have many convenience foods at our house anymore, I've noticed.

We buy a few for sure, like the pink lemonade mix we drink down so often in the summer. We have a bunch of canned soups hidden away in a cupboard in the "sick stash," which was handy last week when we got colds and could just pop open a can of chicken soup for Joe's dinner. I had ramen with an egg in it.

But I eat a lot less ramen than I used to. I figured out that it's almost as quick to boil a bit of whole wheat spaghetti with some frozen peas, and then to pour off the water and sprinkle the noodles with olive oil and salt and pepper and herbs and maybe some parmesan cheese (mmm). I might have taken a picture had I not eaten it all just now.

Usually this approach to cooking is cheaper, too, though I am not sure any meal can beat the price of a ramen packet. I'm sure the spaghetti isn't too expensive, though, especially since our cupboards are stocked with sale-price pasta.

I still prefer ramen when I'm sick, though. Mmm.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Far from home

Maybe this interests me because it reminds me of the state-run ethnic mixing the Soviet Union did in Latvia and elsewhere, but I think it's interesting in any case: an article about China's not-entirely-voluntary (it seems) program to integrate Uighurs into the Han population.

A part that caught my attention:

Bi Wenqing, deputy head of the Shufu county office that oversees the Xinjiang labor export program, ... said that although the Uighur workers at the factories have the freedom to worship, the practice is not encouraged.

"We have been trying hard to educate them into disbelieving religion. The more they are addicted to religion, the more backwards they will be. And those separatists try to leverage religion to guide these innocent young Uighurs into evil ways," Bi said.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Feathering my nest

I think I may be nesting.

So far, I haven't had the near-superhuman bursts of energy that some other mothers say keep them up all night so they can rearrange closets and scrub all their floors with a toothbrush. But this building nervous wanting to do things -- cleaning things, preparing-for-the-baby things -- it is a bit out of the ordinary even for a binge-cleaner like me. I wouldn't mind being able to think a bit less about diapers and things!

Joe and I have been sharing a cold back and forth this week, but things are good overall. Here are a few nice ones:
  • The African violet on the dining table and the peace lily in the kitchen are blooming beautifully.
  • So is the clematis we just planted in the back yard.
  • Digging holes to plant things has become much easier now that I am 30-some pounds heavier. I just stand on the shovel and in it goes!
  • I've had a few nice chats with neighbors in the last few days while working outdoors.
  • A sweet friend is getting married tomorrow.
  • A family in church just had new baby.
  • The baby in me moves so much sometimes, Joe has asked whether it's having a party in there!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Hey, we did stuff

When Joe was out of town again, I did some work around the house and on errands, but I also saw my family and took a trip up to Harrisburg to see the American MusicFest with Rose.

People contra dancing (I joined in!)

A train passing directly over the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra concert

The Pennsylvania Capitol

Saturday I went to the La Plata 4th of July celebration and watermelon bash. There was free watermelon, mm, and more music.

I also did a lot of cooking. Unfortunately, I did not do a lot of dishes.

Today Joe is back home, and we went to the park I visited last week. It was still deserted.

Piney woods

Berry picking

Playing in the moss


The lakeside

A fishing bob stuck in a tree

And I will do a lot of dishes tomorrow.