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Sorry folks, but for the very few of you who visit via ducksandbooks.com you’re going to have to type in ducksandbooks.wordpress.com starting soon.

At $8.99/year, having a domain name was fine, then it was $9.99, now $11.99, and soon it will be $14.99 through 1&1 (the most bare-bones, cheapest domain name registration I’ve found). I just don’t see any value in it! That’ is two months of Nexflix or Hulu Plus and I actually USE those. Since I’m not even consistent in my self-branding (am I Violarulz or Ducksandbooks?), I’m just going to let both domains go.

Que sera. I’ve owned violarulz.com for 11 years, it was a personal blog, then this was and I turned that into forwarding to my Google+ account (does ANYONE use those?), and now I’m just letting it go. I suppose it matches with my “dumb phone” lifestyle, though I’m quite upset at Google for dumping 2 of my 4 favorite products (Google SMS, a service that lets me google via text message, and Google Reader, an RSS aggregator). They haven’t quit supporting Google Reader yet, I’ve backed up my subscription list but am otherwise in absolute denial that anything is going to change. Please, come hold my hand when it disappears on July 1?

Back to the stone ages!

Let me know if you have any issues with reading my blog, I’ll try and talk you through changing your RSS subscription or changing your bookmarks.

no distractions

1200 Calories

ducksandbooks:

ALL OF THIS.

Originally posted on Sophieologie:

I don’t know why “1200″ managed to be the magic number of calories women should consume if they want to lose weight.

I don’t even know how I know of this number. Only that I know it, and my friends know it, and my mom knows it. Somehow, somewhere along the road, I was taught that if I want to have a flat stomach and tight tushy, I need to limit my calories to 1200 a day and do cardio. I don’t know how it got in to all of our collective brains, but somehow it did (if any ladies remember how or when they first heard the 1200-calorie rule-of-thumb for losing weight, please let me know via comment box).

What I do know is that 1200 is the general number of calories health professionals say women cannot drop below without suffering negative health consequences.

Interesting, isn’t it? 1200 calories. The…

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Read my acquaintance Julie’s reasoning for not replacing her iPhone (which is virtually the same as my reasoning for NOT getting one in the first place). Neither of us wants to be plugged in and available ALL THE TIME, boundaries are good!

Why I am on an iPhone Detox.

ducksandbooks:

I hope to one day act and shop as mindfully as this woman sounds in this post :)

Originally posted on Radiant Yoga and Wellness:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Ever since a middle school assembly, I’ve been passionate about the environment.  I remember very little about the presentation itself, except the feeling of shock that the world was going to hell in a handbasket and none of the grownups I knew seemed very alarmed.

After reading 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth in high school, I pestered my parents to install a water-saving faucet in the shower.  I badgered classmates for contributions to buy an acre of rainforest in the Amazon.

In college I joined an environmental group.  Let’s just say that the University of South Carolina in 1992 was not exactly a hotbed of political activism.  Hootie and the Blowfish, yes.   Reusable coffee mugs, not so much.  Though I met like-minded souls (who turned into lifelong friends), I got frustrated with our lack of progress, quit the group, and dated a musician instead.

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Hi, world!

Sorry I’ve been quiet on the blog-o-sphere for so long. Busy + happy = no time to mope around and blog. Ben and I have been doing a lot of local exploring lately with friends, which means I’m shy about bringing my camera along and then using it when I do bring it and posts without photos are just dull.

Anyhow, I just wanted to let any remaining readers know that I haven’t abandoned you, I’ve just been busy. Also, I’m tired and cranky today and that seems to be my trigger to blog!

Why am I tired and cranky? The fire alarm in our apartment building went off THREE TIMES yesterday. Once at 3:30 PM (no big deal, we went for a walk). Then again at 11:10 PM (thankfully we were running late with the whole bed time thing and hadn’t gotten in the shower yet, though normally one of us would be all clean and brushing their teeth while the other showered right then. Than again at 12:45 AM this morning. BLECH! Apparently there is some sort of pressure issue with the sprinkler system in the parking deck next to/attached to our building (not the first time this has happened) and it was so drastic that it set off the alarm for the apartment building too!

What I’m wondering is that there are over 100 units in our building, most of which are 2 bedrooms, where were all those people!? There were about 40 people milling around outside the building for the afternoon alarm, then maybe 20 for the 11:10 PM alarm, and then only about a dozen people milling around the front door for the 12:45 AM alarm. Did people sleep through it? HOW!? Did they stay inside? WHY?! What kind of person ignores a fucking fire alarm and stays inside? I knew there was a 99% chance of it being a false alarm, but I still put on a coat, boots, hat, mittens, and grabbed my nook HD (it’s an awesome little Android tablet I bought myself for hannukah with leftover birthday money), cell phone, and purse each time. If I’d actually smelled smoke I may have made the stupid choice to grab a few choice items (change of clothes, meds, laptop, ketubah, jewelry, and viola). But the hallway was cool, smelled like curry (not usual in our building), and no one seemed panicked.

I suppose I can save this post from being whine-fest 2014 by summing up some of the awesome things we’ve done over the past few months, you can see why I say we’ve been busy:

  • Ben was on partial leave due to the shutdown (only allowed to work 5 hours/week “to preserve property”)
  • Becca came to visit from Calgary! They went and did touristy things and made me some awesome dinners while I continued to adjust to my new job
  • Visited the Maryland Renaissance Festival, where we met up with some friends to see an organ recital in the woods
  • Attended a CU alumni event focusing on the NASA/CU collaboration on MAVEN
  • Saw CAVALIA at the National Harbor with my dad and got a VIP tour of the stables after the show
  • Hosted a cooking party where we cooked fondue bread pudding in a pumpkin with vegan “bacon,” yum!

baked pumpkin

  • Visited the White House for the Fall Garden Tour (post forthcoming)
  • attended the National Kidney Foundation masquerade gala (sans masks, but with peacock feathers!)

Kidney Foundation Gala photo

  • watched a rocket launch from Wallops Island Spaceport from the roof of our apartment building
  • Cooked a vegetarian Thanksgiving feast (served with a side of turkey, for those who wanted it) at my parents house for my dad, my brothers, and a friend of ours
  • Went shopping for some very specific good deals on Black Friday, then stopped by my parents house to eat leftovers for lunch and finish my shopping online (new carry-on suitcases, nook HD and cover, etc.)
  • Hosted a friend for Shabbat Thanksgiving to help sooth her nerves before arguing before the Supreme Court
  • Attended a last-night-of-Hannukah holiday potluck (yum!)
  • Attended and helped deep fried a kosher turkey at “Friendsgivikkah” pot-luck feast
  • Attended my office holiday party and Secret Santa gift swap at a nice steak restaurant downtown (we each had a beautiful, huge, salmon steak)
  • Went out for pre-Christmas Dim Sum and a movie [the Hobbit, part 2 of 3] with my family (even Gramma came!)
  • Attended Ben’s uncle and family’s holiday party
  • Spent a whole day visiting the Newseum
  • Attended a potluck New Years Eve party at a friend’s apartment building’s party room downtown
  • Spent a whole day cooking party with Andrea and company preparing a Turcchetta with a sues-vide machine and then deep frying it and serving it with other modern-American Thanksgiving fare
  • Had pizza with an old friend and her family in McLean and then went to see the Capitol Steps show at the community center

What else…. My weight loss goal is going SLOOWLY, but mostly steadily down. It’s frustrating when you keep weighing in at -0.4 lbs per week, but then I realize that that adds up to almost -2 lbs/month, and that .4 lbs is just shy of two sticks of butter (eww!). Slow and steady supposedly stays off more easily and more permanently than binge dieting, but sometimes I just want to fool the scale and be done with all this meticulous attention to my food intake and exercise-earned flex points allowance. Re-learning proper portion and teaching myself to have self control and around tasty foods is HARD. F’ing cookies, salt water taffy, home made caramels, and other holiday treats. I’m just grateful that I’m allergic to most traditional treats (no nuts, peanuts, chocolate, or berries, plus lots of other things too). My allergies are a good reason not to try something and great and easy excuse as to why I’m not eating something at parties. SELTZER WATER IS MY FRIEND, but then I have to occasional be seen with an alcoholic beverage or folks start to stare and my mid-section (which is still kinda plumpy, but not in a baby-filled way, just a food-baby way).

Please remind me to post about the White House tour if I forget by the end of the week!

Early October recap

In early October we celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary! We started with brunch on our awesome patio, where we discovered the biggest, most evil looking caterpillar EVER had been causing our tomato plants to look leggy and bedraggled. Stupid tomato hornworm! Ben didn’t want to get stabbed, touch it, or have much of anything to do with it, so he put on his heavy work gloves (also helpful to assembling and disassembling the sukkah), grabbed a water glass and a flat-head screwdriver, and pried that big thing off and flushed it down the toilet (we don’t have a compost pile to bury it in, as my grandmother suggested and were afraid to open the garbage bin and see it crawling around in there later).

That was our relaxing morning at home…. Oops.

We made up for it with a lovely drive to Brunswick, Maryland, for Brunswick Train Days. Brunswick is a cute little town, about 1/2 way to Harpers Ferry. We didn’t get tickets to ride on the train, but wondered around a bunch of antique stores and had a rootbeer float instead. Then we stopped at the Wegmans off 270 on the way home and bought lots of goodies.

Apparently it is NaBoloPoMo, yeah, I didn’t know what that meant either until I looked it up. National Blog Posting Month, where folks challenge themselves to blog everyday to get [back] into the habit of it. I’m not sure I can come up with something worth sharing EVERYDAY, but I can go for 2-3x week (at most).

Sunrise in Boulder, CO

Between my new job, (which I started after returning from Labor Day/Rosh Hashanah week Boulder, during in the middle of the High Holidays), commuting, and general house chores I am exhausted most of the time. Thankfully the major holidays are over and things have settled down to our new normal. We attend Segulah Minyan every other week, and blob out at home and maybe stock up on local produce and other items at the farmers market on the alternate weeks. Ben has been keeping me sane by packing my lunch every morning, otherwise I’d be spending all my hard-earned on lunches (plus I’d be breaking my personal policy of not eating out more than 1x week).

Here are a few photos from our week in Boulder. It was SO nice to spend time with friends (and their baby bellies and babies), as well as have some time with Ben where I didn’t feel like I was keeping him from work or where either of us were competing with a laptop for the others attention. Sometimes we have trouble putting our gadgets down, it’s a work-in-progress.

Yom Kippur was a Segulah Minyan event, at a rented church social hall in Sheppard Park/Silver Spring. Services were great and I actually felt present for most of them, but it really punctuated how much we miss CBS in Boulder. Speaking of Congregation Bonai Shalom, the synagogue was CRIPPLED by the flooding in Boulder in mid-September (it started 2 days before Yom Kippur, which was thankfully held at nearby Naropa University’s East Campus). Reading the news out of Boulder in mid-September was terrifying and sad. If you have any pennies to share, I’m sure Bonai would appreciate them (instructions on how to donate via email or phone are on their website).

You’ve already seen our photos of the AMAZING sukkah Ben built on the patio, and my friend Jennifer came down from NY for the day for the first day of sukkot (we dwelled with dinner, brunch over the news paper in the AM, and general lazy lounging in the afternoon after a nice walk exploring my neighborhoof) before she had to head back to the city for work the next day. Boo. We don’t see each other enough. I guess I need to take a turn and go to New York again!

What else is going on….

Weight Watchers as a program is great, but my progress has been glacially slow. lately I’ve either hit a plateau or gotten lazier at tracking than I thought. Blergh. Soon it will be cold enough to blame it on heavy winter clothes, but that trick only works once!

Now that we’ve moved past the craziness of ALL the Jewish holidays feeling like they are ALL AT ONCE (it always feels like that when they swallow Shabbat whole, or turn it into a virtual 3-day chag), and I’ve gotten more used to my 8 hour + lunch day, things are settling down.

In more upbeat news:

In late September we helped my friend Andrea, from way-back-when at IAC, move from her temporary furnished apartment into a gorgeous flat in Adams Morgan. She’s pregnant and her husband was traveling for work and Ben and I didn’t want her trying to unpack without help! We also explored her neighborhood a little (all new to all of us) and ate some awesome falafel and fries for lunch and pizza for dinner, YUM! It was the first real fall-weather day we’d had and it was crisp and beautiful. It was a bit of a shame we spent it unpacking, washing bedding, installing a new printer, and buying what felt like ALL THE THINGS at Target, but it showed off how great her apartment is that the windows really let in the light and air and it was still nice and quiet even though she’s 1/2 a block from a major urban shopping/dining area (think Pearl Street in Boulder). I’m kinda jealous.

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