Most of you know by now that Ben and I are engaged. But most of you haven’t heard the story. I won’t say much, but I thought it would be good to show my four rings.

We got engaged on a walk by the lake with an insanely cold wind. Apparently, we were supposed to go on the walk a few nights earlier, when it was clear and warm, but I was stubborn and didn’t go. So it was cold and windy.

Ben proposed using a ring that I’d bought for $10 at Claire’s a few years ago. I bought it in order to have a ring when I went out dancing or traveling. Basically then I could pretend I was engaged and ward off loser dudes. My hand looks weird in this picture. Basically it was a ginormous fake diamond surrounded by little diamonds.

The next night we were watching a movie. Ben took a Lindt Dark Chocolate Truffle and peeled the tin foil off of the plastic. Then he made me another ring from the truffle wrapper.

During this time, we were looking at rings online, but had trouble finding things we liked. Then I saw Ben at his desk with a hot glue gun. He was making a ring out of a paper clip, blue bead, fishing line, and hot glue. When this picture was taken the fishing line had broken and the hot glue was peeling.

Then we went to our local jeweler and found out that you can color diamonds with magic markers. At the jewelers, since we were looking at sapphires, the lady whipped out a blue sharpie and started coloring diamonds. This was a radical notion to us. My Claire’s ring, it turns out, was much more palatable as a “sapphire.” But I didn’t take pictures of that. Every few days it needed touching up, so one day we just made it an emerald.

But none of these rings were supposed to be permanent. And, as much as I liked the rings from Knox Jewelers, I couldn’t see paying that much for a ring. And it seemed like even half that much (for a compromise ring) wasn’t that great an idea. So we got creative. Ben was sad that my finger wan’t size 5. There were size 5 rings on sale at Sears for $20. But alas, my finger was bigger than that.

Then we went to Etsy. Ah, etsy! Etsy had a perfect ring. Perfect size, perfect stone, perfect price (and sparkly!!). Yay for CavalierCreations!

And so that is the ring that I wear every day.

The end.

Random things from the internet

It’s Friday, 9pm and I haven’t had dinner. Plus I’m feeling a little lazy. So for my post, I’ll give you two random Obama related things I’ve run across today plus a bonus link. You must click through to the articles for the really amusing/interactive parts. (I am lazy, so you must do work!)

First: Obama sushi. This seems like a lot of work for sushi. Plus sushi with shrimp, black sesame, and fish paste just doesn’t sound all that appetizing to me.

Second: Obama weather predictor. Want to find out what the weather is like and what you should wear? Ask obama-weather.com. (You can also get Bender, House, or Angelina to model weather appropriate clothing for you.) Using this site will also tell you if you should wear sunglasses or lean on an umbrella like a cane. Very useful stuff.

Third: Not Obama related. Completely apolitical. But science-y. If you watch The Big Bang Theory, you may be interested to know that the science consultant behind the show, physics professor David Saltzberg, runs a blog called The Big Blog Theory which goes more in depth about the science for each episode. Interesting and scientific, but aimed at a mainstream audience.


I’ve been meaning to write something about my headaches & migraines on here for a while, then last night, when reading an old New Yorker, I came across this article in Talk of the Town. It’s a brief (1 page) story about Cindy McCain’s struggle with migraines and rings quite true for me. So true that I figured it covers almost everything I was going to write about, so we’ll start from there. READ ME.

McCain has decided to become an advocate for the disorder, which, in her view, is a disability. “I’ve missed part of my life. I’ve missed my children in many ways,” she said. “I’ve made every important event, but there’re times I’ve been throwing up out the car window.”
I haven’t thrown up in a while, thanks in great part to the wonder drug ondansetron (zofran), an anti nausea medication that makes my nausea manageable. I used to be skeptical of choir members who were frequently submitting excuses for absenses because they had migraines, but that was before I got them. Now, I understand. If they come early in the day, they usually start mildly. Today I took some excedrin (I was too late to start with sumatriptan) and am working from home. By working from home, I ensure that if I need to sleep it off later in the day, or need an extended break from a computer or words, I can take one. I also don’t have to worry about nausea as much as in the office. In contrast, though, if I decide I need to go to urgent care, it will take me 45 minutes to get there instead of 5. Recently though, I’ve been much better able to manage my headaches, a fact I am quite proud of. If a headache/migraine strikes later in the day, it’s usually too late to take anything that will help. Usually I just have to try my best to sleep it off.
I, too, have triggers, some of which I understand better than others. Caffeine, alcohol, and aspartame are some of my strong dietary triggers. I also think that I have some triggers outside my control, including hormonal triggers and changes in barometric pressure. Like McCain, I have some olfactory triggers that I don’t understand as well. Strobe lights and loud sounds (including driving for extended periods of time with rolled down windows) seem to be triggers as well.
To keep it in check I take 10 pills a day, mostly supplements (lots of riboflavin and magnesium gluconate) and an anti-seizure medication that has been FDA approved to reduce migraines. I also try to minimize triggers from my environment. Right now I’m also lucky in that, for the most part, I can work from home when I need to. So while I feel that I occasionally miss days of my life, at least I can miss them. Now I just need to work to get them even more under control so that by the time I’m out of grad school my days missed goes from 5% to .5%, so that I don’t have to miss days teaching.
So that’s a snippet of my life with headaches. There are some more aspects of this as well, but I won’t go into that now. Please feel free to ask questions or share comments. I realize that this is an issue that isn’t well understood and I’m obviously in a unique position to talk about it. (Reminder that I’m not a medical person, so I’m just sharing my personal experience, not any advice for others.)
State Fair Art is coming up next (should be within a day or so…have to finish writing about butter heads.)

Outrage followed by childish grins

So there’s a news story in the Minnesota papers that’s made it to national news. I first noticed it last week before it was such a big deal.

The basis of the story is this. There’s a 13 year old boy in a town called Sleepy Eye, MN who has Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His story was in the paper last week because he and his family are refusing chemotherapy. Chemo which would rid him of cancer with 85-90% liklihood. Without it, his doctors predict he will die within five years. Last week the court decided it was medical negligence and ruled that yesterday he get a chest x-ray. He got it and the cancer is back to the level it was before he got his single chemo treatment. Today they had a court hearing to determine what to do. BUT…he didn’t show up. And he and his mom are missing. (Which is why this is a national case now…)

From the Star Tribune article: “Anthony Hauser said he last spoke to his wife about 4 p.m. Monday as he milked cows at the family farm near Sleepy Eye. He said his wife told him she was going to leave and “That’s all you need to know.””

So now there’s a warrant for the mom’s arrest in any state and the prosecuter is working to see if he can get the dad put in jail until the child is found. The judge also found the mom in contempt of court and has ordered the boy to be put into a foster home as soon as he’s found where he will get medical treatment. “County officials had “kind of suspected this would happen,””

I read some of the court transcripts last week which fascinated me in a way. The boy is one of eight children in a Catholic household, but his family also subscribes to the belief that natural medicine will cure all.

This wouldn’t be quite so bad if it seemed like the boy was educated to the point where he would seem to understand the decision he’s making…BUT that is not the fact. Unfortunately he’s one of the people that gives “home-schooling” a bad name. From a Star Tribune opinion piece: “When tested by his teacher for entrance into a charter school, according to court documents, Daniel, who had been home-schooled, could not identify the following word: “The.” “

More info from the Star Tribune.

So hopefully the boy will be found and he’ll get his treatment and learn to make decisions for himself.

BUT I want to end this on a happy note, so I’ll send you off to watch this clip of a incredibly functional family. Matthew Amster-Burton is a fun food writer who became a stay at home dad when his daughter Iris was born. He has a new book out called “Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father’s Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater.” The book is fun, fast, and full of stories and recipes. Matthew and Iris were on CBS’ Early Show this morning. Check out the clip on his blog.

Misread Headline of the day

I read a lot of headlines on a daily basis (NY Times, Star Tribune, NPR, Slashdot, etc) and I often miss a letter or read something incorrectly. I thought it would be funny to post them

I read: Bacon Restored to Glamour of Vaudeville Days
I imagined an article about how bacon is in, as it once was. I was a little confused as to the tie between bacon and Vaudeville. Then I read it again.

Actual Title: Beacon Restored to Glamour of Vaudeville Days
A theatre is restored. Way less confusing and funny.


I’m a real Minnesotan now. Not only do I vote there, but I just got my real MN driver’s license earlier this week. I love living in the Midwest and Minneapolis is a great city. I’m definitely enjoying this phase of my life 🙂 Minnesota feels more like home, more of a fit for me, than anywhere else I’ve lived since I’ve been 17. So while my driver’s license photo is horrific, it will be nice to fit in.

Ironically, I’m writing today from Iowa, where I’m spending Thanksgiving. I’m headed to Kentucky for Christmas though, which I’m looking forward too. One problem about Minneapolis is that it’s too far from my family.
In other news, Simon the Great sent me a great link from the New York Times today. If you want to chip in to buy a piece of the London tunnels, let me know. We currently have 0 of the required 7.4 million dollars.
Simon and I exchange an average of eight emails a day, many including exciting stuff like the link above. (Simon is the recipiant of all hillarious blogs that appear in my Google Reader. If there’s a piece about spiders lost in space or “Paula Deen is trying to kill us: Thanksgiving edition,” Simon will get it in her inbox. These inevitably lead to threads of emails about space spiders that will take over the universe and links to video of Paula Deen deep-frying cheesecake…just so you have an idea of our communications.) But Simon’s blog, when they write on it (they being Simon and Ivan, her partner in crime), is fantastic. So while I’m busy writing up some of my recent cooking adventures, hop over to her site to read a hysterical piece on alpacas.

Inside my head

Here are the things I’m thinking about/looking at today:

  • Being a food snob is one thing. Being an ice snob is something else entirely…
  • Peter Sagal had a piece on NPR today about email addiction. I understand completely where he’s coming from! Although I think my fantasy email is less Justice League of America and more that someone wants to offer me a immense fellowship to travel the world or wants to put me on NPR.
  • Ben’s flying in tomorrow and so we’re going to spend some time in San Francisco. Just in time, this piece on “farmer’s market fast food” appeared on Mark Bittman’s NYTimes blog, Bitten. I think that we’ll be making a stop at the Ferry Building market as well as a dim sum place. In addition, Bittman posted a recipe for Pasta with Corn, Zucchini, and Tomatoes. Personally, I like my corn best fresh, briefly boiled and eaten with either salt and butter or lime and chili. But if there’s an overabundance I’m ok with eating it other ways as well.
  • The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest has posted its winners. If you enjoy bad writing you will love this. (The people are purposely writing poorly, it’s not an accidental occurrence.) Here are my favorites: Bill swore the affair had ended, but Louise knew he was lying, after discovering Tupperware containers under the seat of his car, which were not the off-brand containers that she bought to save money, but authentic, burpable, lidded Tupperware; and she knew he would see that woman again, because unlike the flimsy, fake containers that should always be recycled responsibly, real Tupperware must be returned to its rightful owner. – Jeanne Villa (Novato, CA)
    Dorothy had reasons to be nervous: a young girl alone in a strange land, traveling with three weird, insecure males badly in need of psychiatric help; she tucked her feet under her skirt to keep the night’s chill (and lewd stares) away and made sure one more time that the gun was secured in her yet-to-develop bosom. – Domingo Pestano (Alto Prado, Caracas, Venezuela)
  • I get the headlines from The Independent (from the UK) every night. They often have highly amusing headlines that I send on to Simon. Today’s was “Cocaine use trebles in a decade.” I had never heard the word treble used as verb. Apparently it means triples. I had to look it up in the OED because Google’s define feature didn’t define it in it’s verb sense and you can’t tell exactly what they mean by the first paragraph
  • I generally miss out on tv shows. When I was little I didn’t watch tv much at all, and most of it was PBS. So since I’ve been enjoying NPH in How I Met Your Mother and Dr. Horrible I figured I should go back and watch Doogie Howser, M.D. Hulu had the first two seasons online and so I watched them. When I get into a show I watch all the episodes fairly quickly, so it was good when I finished seasons 1 & 2 and moved on with my life. Now, however, they have posted seasons 3 & 4…
  • Speaking of TV: I’ve been thinking a lot about the 2004 Olympics. This is primarily because I’m not watching the 2008 Olympics. It’s not that I’m protesting China, not at all, it’s a convenience thing. I don’t have a tv here and I have a 40+ hour a week job. In 2004, I had just finished my job in Letcher County and I was sitting at home in front of the TV working on my scrapbook while watching the Olympics. I even remember watching the opening ceremonies with a group of college friends that I didn’t usually hang out with. It’s strange to think how much my life has changed since then.

That’s it for today folks. I’ll probably not post this weekend, but should be back to normal next week. I’ve got 11 more days of my internship and then it’s back to grad school.

Update: I added a bonus picture for those of you who made it this whole way! Here’s a picture from back in 2004 during my terms in York. This was taken from my dorm room window during exam week in April.

Old News

I’ve been delaying writing because I have been dreading going back and reading the 200+ articles in Google Reader. So today I finally went through the StarTribune, NYTimes, and Slashdot articles from the past week that I thought might be interesting. The range from the absurd to the more serious. Serious items are starred.

From Slashdot

From the NYTimes

  • *Why the $2500 car could be too cheap to succeed
  • *Six rules doctors should know

Also from the NYTimes are two more articles. These deserve a little more space and time. First, many of you will know that Randy Pausch passed away on July 25. He was the leader of the research team behind Alice and a remarkable person. If you missed his “Last Lecture” recorded at CMU last fall, give your self 1.5 hours to watch it. I also highly recommend his book, The Last Lecture. He had pancreatic cancer but fought long and hard against it. I came across an article in the NYTimes linked to by one of the memorial columns. It’s a list of advice from NYTimes readers of what they wanted their children to know if they were terminally ill. I adored this list.

“The top five things kids need to know are:

Don’t be rude to the wait staff.
If you need help, ask for help.
It’s okay to go up the slide, even though the rules say you may only go down.
Learn the words “Thank You.” How to say it. How to receive it.
Always go outside when the sun is out. “

I was going to end on a goofier note, but I don’t think I can follow that list, so I’ll save the goofy for tomorrow.

Greetings and new post

I use Google Reader on a daily basis to read through a bunch of news and headlines, marking the ones of interest to come back to. Often I feel the need to share these with a wider audience and end up sending them to my parents, brother, Ben, or Simon the Anglophile. So I thought I could just make my own blog and link to the really interesting/bizzare/cool/crazy news of the day. I won’t necessarily have read the article, but the headline caught my eye.

This isn’t NPR on the hour, this is my own personal mix generally from the NY Times, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune and the wonder that is Slashdot.

Headlines for August 6
The company that makes Mr. Bubble Bubble Bath has filed for bankruptcy
Odd aside: Mr. Bubble used to be owned by Playtex :/

Fighting Crime with Text Messages

A Mountain Lion who “snatched” a dog from the owner’s bedroom and then left it (dead) outside

And from Slashdot and Wait Wait Don’t Tell me comes the technology mistake of the week: Don’t let computers translate your restaurant for you