Archive for the ‘relocating’ Category

Ben got the NRC (National Research Council) Fellowship! WOOHOO! That’s 2 years of funding, starting July 1! Sweet.

In my job news I’ve registered with a bunch of temp agencies, had work with one, as well as TWO interviews with the same firm. I’m waiting to hear back about the interviews, but WOOHOO, I might be employed soon. Sweet.

We bought our plane tickets to Austin, for WBF’s wedding later this month and will probably be renting a room through AirBnB or someone’s carriage house/in-law suite through VRBO. We’ll have Saturday daytime to explore as well as all day Sunday (we fly in Friday afternoon for the rehearsal and then fly out on Monday since it cost the same to stay overnight on Sunday or try and fly out on Sunday and the Monday flights had less crazy timing).

Today, it’s sunny, chilly, and WINDY, so I’m camping out on the couch with the classical radio channel, my laptop, and letting my plants soak up all the open curtain light they can.

Anyone out there have any advice about container gardening? My “full sun” plants don’t seem to be suffering in our reflected-light only corner unit, but I worry about food plants not getting enough oomph from reflected light. I’m thinking Rainbow Chard, and any herbs that I say they’re happiest in partial shade. What else does well in partial shade?

Last little piece of news, Weight Watchers works. Seriously, I’m fitting into my old clothes, feel like a rock star, and have lost over 10 lbs!

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Here’s the day-by-day of how our 10 day road trip from Denver to DC went:

Friday, December 28th: movers were 2 hours late, they got the truck loaded by 4 PM, we went out for pho, and then vacuumed and cleaned up a bit before we went to Becca’s for shabbat.

Saturday, December 29th: lots of nothing, Netflix, sleeping, and sitting in front of Becca’s faux fireplace, then we met up with some friends and went to Domo for dinner (where I had the BEST ramen I’ve ever had).

Sunday, December 30th: unpacked and reloaded the car, ate pie for lunch, and then got the tires checked at Costco before hitting the road around 1 PM. It started snowing around 8 PM, so we drove until 11 PM Central Time and stopped overnight at a highway hotel Junction City, Kansas because the snow was supposed to be worse the next day.

Monday, December 31st: It took us almost 5 hours to drive the remaining 3 hours of our drive to Leeland, KS, where Ben’s aunt lives. After a disappointing lunch we went to Whole Foods to stock up on ingredients and then visited Ben’s grandma for a bit. Then we blobbed out on the couch, made ourselves a big pot of pasta and some salad, did some laundry, and went to bed. We’re exciting people. Also, it was 12 F outside.

Tuesday, January 1: Had New Years Day brunch with Ben’s grandma and her friend at their retirement home, then hung out with his grandmother for a bit and went into Kansas City for the afternoon. The intention had been to go to LegoLand, but apparently you need kinder to go there, so we got our tickets refunded and wandered around the skybridges and visited Union Station where they had an awesome Lionel Trains exhibit about all the different gauges.

Wednesday, January 2: We hit the road around 10 AM after cleaning up the kitchen and reloading the car. Ben dropped me off at Walgreens to get a flu shot while he went to buy stamps at the Post Office. It’s a good thing we didn’t go very far though because I realized that I’d left my phone, plugged in and charging, in the kitchen at his aunt’s house. Oops. So we went back and picked it up before heading having lunch at a old timey bakery/cafe (Dave’s) in Independence, MO. Then we spent the afternoon at the Truman Library. Then we drove to St. Louis, stopping for dinner at Panera somewhere along the way. We used a Groupon I had for a convention center hotel that included parking, welcome drinks, and breakfast in the morning.

a funky church in Independence, MO

a funky church in Independence, MO

Thursday, January 3: Breakfast wasn’t exciting, but it was included in our Groupon so we made the best of it. Then we bundled up and walked over to the arch. It’s gorgeous! The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (museum) was OK, but I wasn’t into it. Frankly, I think the flu shot was making me feel like crap so I did a lot of staring at things without reading them and sitting on a bench with my brain turned off. Ben did most of the driving. After checking into IndyHostel, in Indianapolis, Indiana, we had dinner at Napolese, which was amazing (and not just because we were hungry).

Friday, January 4th: We met up with a classmate of mine from Interlochen for brunch at Zest, it was yummy! Then we hit the road and drove for a few hours, starting a new audiobook, Argo. We stopped in Columbus, OH for ice cream at Jeni’s and met up with a friend from Chicago, his wife, and their new baby. I had 1/2 a scoop of some AWESOME cherry chevre ice cream and 1/2 a scoop of cherry lambic sorbet. I think cherries make me think of warm weather and it was too cold to snow outside. We slogged on towards Pittsburgh, stopping no where memorable for a roadside dinner. Not the shabbat we were hoping for, but it gave us more time to listen to our audiobook!

Saturday, January 5th: We’d called ahead to one the of the synagogues in the area that had seemed worth visiting, to see if anyone might have hosted us for shabbat, the person who answered the phone had no idea what to do with that question and I was so shocked by her lack of welcoming that I forgot to leave my name and number. Oops. Instead, we had an AMAZING brunch at Square Cafe and the went to the Andy Warhol Museum, which is in what used to be a Jewish neighborhood that is now mostly black. Dinner was disappointing Chinese food downtown, about a mile from the convention center hotel Ben had found us a good deal on.

Pittsburgh Platform Plaque

Pittsburgh Platform Plaque

Sunday, January 6th: We had a quick breakfast at a bagel shop downtown and then we took the light rail to the the Carnegie Science Center. We spent most of the day there, then took the light rail back to the hotel, went to a bizzaro Turkish/pizza place, walked in and then left, then picked up some sandwiches for dinner, went back to the hotel and blobbed out to watch the season premier of Downton Abby on PBS.

Monday, January 7th: Ben paid and exorbitant fee to get the car out of the garage (stupid weekday vs. weekend pricing), and we headed off to Johnstown, PA, where we’d meant to go to the Johnstown Flood Museum, but it was closed (in spite of their website and the sign on the door saying that their open every day but Thanksgiving and Christmas Days). We wandered town for 20 minutes, got back in the car and drove in alternating shifts to my parents’ house, getting to Gaithersburg (where Ben will be working) around 5 PM. The rush hour traffic at that hour is heading OUT to the suburbs, not into the city, so we didn’t have any issues getting home in time to meet up with my dad for dinner.

Post Mortem of our trip: I think we’re foodies.

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Saturday we had a great lunch at Rabbi Marc’s to say goodbye and to greet Julie Geller before her channukah concert that evening. We skipped the concert and Jason and Diana invited a whole bunch of friends over to have a little going away get-together for us.

Skiing on Sunday was GREAT, I’m still sore; probably because I bruised my right calf pretty well, oops. I need to not tighten my boots as tight as they go just because I can.

I spent Monday (usually my quiet day off to do yoga) packing my office.

I’m moving on both ends, packing up the office at CBS, where I’ve been the temporary office assistant for about 2 months, for a renovation. They just finished the sanctuary/social hall renovations and are starting on the office today! New carpets, fresh paint, and rearranging the furniture, woohoo!

Ben was published in NATURE magazine yesterday!!! Here’s a link to the press release that he claims any college graduate should be able to understand (I don’t!): JILA Physicists Achieve Elusive ‘Evaporative Cooling’ of Molecules

Ben’s parents arrived last night, they both have a cold/cough thing of some sort :(

He is currently out for brunch with them while I have some quiet time and iron his gown and hood (he has a poofy, blue doctoral hat, it is not very flattering)

My dad should arrive around lunchtime today (my mom is currently posted in Germany)

Physics Department graduation is this afternoon, then we’re going out with all the parents and some friends to a fancy-ish Mediterranean restaurant (The Med)

University Convocation is tomorrow morning and then just the 5 of us are going to lunch at The Kitchen (a local farm-to-table restaurant) before his parents fly to Kansas

Packing is going kinda well, we mailed most of our books (about 400 lbs so far and another 150 still to be mailed) and sold our crummy Target furniture on Craig’s List

A friend Diana is adopting Mr. Fishy and taking him into her second grade classroom

We still need to give away a few pounds of butter, ice cream, frozen spinach, etc. from the fridge/freezer. We can only pack unopened pantry goods on the moving truck.

Still planning to move into my parents’ basement for a while we look for a house in Silver Spring/Takoma Park, MD (about an hour from McLean).

And that’s life for the moment. Pretty Ben-centric and surrounded by boxes!

PS- U-Haul has great boxes! They’re so much sturdier than the ones we stole from the recycling bin at the book store….

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Around the high holidays (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and for some people Sukkot too), I found out that the office I had been working at over the summer was closing. DOH! Laid off again!

I bummed around the house for a bit, getting REALLY into my yoga practice but still generally bored and baking too much. Then, about a month ago, the executive director at my synagogue contacted me and asked if I would work there until I moved and they hired a real office administrator. I said yes and I’ve been busy since then.

Between working 30 hours/week, going to yoga twice a week, and trying to get to at least one WeightWatchers meet per week I’ve kept myself busy. I wish I could say I’ve been skiing, but the weather has been unusually warm and I don’t have plans to go up until next week. Plus, I’ve been trying to make a big deal of shabbat so that Ben gets a real break in his week. About a week ago he successfully defended his thesis! Not that anyone ever doubted him, but it was nice to see a little note from his advisor and his approval of 72 credit hours of ‘A’ for his thesis work.

Now, we’re trying to get the house ready for Ben’s birthday party next week and then we’ll start packing. We’ve already been slowly purging things, a few paper bags full at a time, and dropping them at the Goodwill truck that parks behind the grocery store. After Ben’s party we’ll start unloading our storage closet and really packing.

For now, other than Ben’s thesis defense (all my photos came out HORRIBLY), the only fun photos I have to share are from Shabbat Hodu, our made-up name for the shabbat following Thanksgiving.

Happy thanksgiving, everyone! I could list a million things I’m thankful for, but I’m going to be lazy and just give everyone a virtual hug >______☺_______<

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Ben is stranded in DC, at my parents house, with no power. Oh well. He was supposed to give a talk to at JQI yesterday, but the Metro and University of Maryland were both closed due to hurricane Sandy. Whoops. Ben braved the early fingers of the storm and drove my dad’s car to College Park for an interview with his potential (now future) PI and got a draft offer letter! WOOHOO! Then scurried back to McLean before lunch and hunkered down for the storm (they lost power around 3:30 PM).

I’ve been doing a lot of nothing lately. Some babysitting, going to yoga classes, and trying to resist the siren songs of internet shopping. Also, a lot of looking at home for sale in the area we want to move to (Silver Spring/Tacoma Park, inside the Beltway) and house porn in general. Some day, we’ll find a home and I’ll get to decorate it!

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Flatirons (Photo credit: Zach Dischner)

Remember when you were 17/18 years old and waiting to hear back from colleges? I know I certainly had a lot of trouble sleeping and spent a lot of nights staying up reading until my vision went blurry (around 1:30 AM) to avoid thinking about it (yes, I’m starting to do that again, libraries are a very good thing for my budget).

Now, instead of  worrying about if/where -I- will get into college, I’m wondering where Ben will accept a PostDoc position! Last week it was for-sure College Park, now it looks like Harvard might be a contender again. Close-in, old-school suburban Maryland (Silver Spring/Tacoma Park) OR old-school urban Cambridge/Somerville.

I’ll let you in on a secret: I’m not entirely sure that I care. What I do care about it having fewer shared walls with neighbors (top floor unit, townhouse, end unit, whatever!), having a place to build our own sukkah (or even one on the roof that’s shared with our building!), having hardwood or other non-crappy rental carpeting, and maybe getting to paint walls!

In Silver Spring/Tacoma Park, MD we can afford to buy a townhouse (skwee, ownership! veggie garden! picking paint colors! dishwasher! washer/dryer!) but then we have to budget for interior and emergency maintenance, taxes, and HOA fees. In Cambridge/Somerville we can afford bupkiss. Instead of buying a 3 bedroom, 2 bath townhouse with a spacious patio,laundry closet , and garage (or at least assigned parking), we can afford to rent a two bedroom, 1 bath apartment for the same price. Womp, whomp. Older, charming, urban-ish apartment vs. modern air handling system in a townhouse with a laundry closet. Honestly, both are appealing in their own way! Urban living in a walkable neighborhood or suburban shleps to the grocery store every week? I hope to avoid needing to go to a laundromat, I might have become too princessy to be OK with shlepping my dirty laundry down the block and then folding it in public (though having a folding table IS a nice thing). The idea with doing that with future potential offspring in tow is entirely unappealing.

This is really Ben’s choice. Where will he make the most progress as a physicist? Which advisor is more understanding about taking off work for most of the Jewish holidays AND every Saturday (as well as coming home at a reasonable hour on Fridays, especially once we have a munchkin who is old enough to keep a schedule)?

We only know a few friends in each location. My family is mostly in the DC area and Ben’s parents are in the Boston area. Either way we’d be living at least 30 minutes from either set of parents (a good thing IMHO, I am NOT a fan of drop-in visits). But then my brain gets stuck on the fact that cost-of-living in DC is not much higher than Boulder, being at least 1/3 less than the Boston area. Ugh. So much money squandered on renting (again), rather than buying and just existing in general (milk and gas are both $1 more per gallon in both locations, but insurance and parking will cost more in MA and then my brain just gets stuck running on the hamster wheel and I want to retreat into a book or start trolling townhouses/apartments online and planning for my ever-fluxuating future in my head.

All I know for sure is that I will miss getting to see the flatirons everyday and being able to ski on a world-class mountain for >$45 per day, will less than a 2 hour drive to get there (shout out to: Loveland). Yeah, I’m spoiled, but someday I’ll have a sukkah I can invite people over to share a meal in and then I’ll feel spoiled in a different way!

cartoon sukkah (temporary structure or booth with >2 walls and branches for a roof, many city dwellers use bamboo mats)

PS- I sincerely hope, more than having my own sukkah, that next year I will still be able to invite President Obama into my spiritual sukkah. Otherwise, we might be looking at trying to emigrate to Canada. Ben’s mentioned, with all seriousness, that he would like to find out what the logistics would be of having a Canadian “anchor baby” some day. I kid you not!

END braindump.

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