Life of Megan

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

What are the e-mail software designers thinking?

I've been using Eudora a lot more, and all I have to say is "Argh!" I am especially frustrated with Eudora. As far as I can tell, Eudora is exactly the same as it was six years ago when I started using it at Clemson, barring the addition of "mood watch" and the fact that their icons are supposed to be prettier now. The way Eudora handles the contact list is reprehensible. It's basically impossible to add someone to your address book without jumping through hoops. You can't just right click on a name and select "add to address book" like you can with Evolution. You can't even click on something like "More" and then add the person to your user book like you can with Gmail. No, you have to open the address book and then carefully copy and paste the e-mail address into it. To make matters worse, their name entry boxes are ridiculous. Why should I have to enter a person's full name, and then be forced to enter his first and last name?!! That's just stupid. How hard is it for them to figure that out and to give you the nickname slot?

Maybe I am just spoiled. Evolution really works pretty well. You can add someone to your contact list from any e-mail message, and you don't have to enter their names most of the time (if a name is attached to the e-mail address, as is usually the case these days, it just adds it for you. Then, from that screen, you have the option to edit the detailed information, adding nicknames, real addresses, and whatnot. It's a beautiful system.

Eudora should be ashamed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Death Cab for Cutie

How is it that I continue to like this group even now that they're becoming mainstream?

Adam, can you send me another list of music I'd like? I have the free Napster Premium account up through Cornell now. =)

Sneezing, pasta, etc

First, I want to give you some tips about sneezing:
  1. Do not sneeze while exercising vigorously on exercise equipment.
  2. Do not sneeze while taking something out of the oven.
  3. Do not sneeze while putting something in the oven.
  4. Try not to sneeze while driving
Okay, now that that's covered, I have a little updating to do. It has been a while since I've put up a real post, and it will probably take longer between posts, simply because I've been really busy lately. Working on my wedding website is taking me a lot more time than I had originally planned, and now classes are back in session, and I'm trying to do research. It all makes for a busy Megan.

I recently discovered a really good spaghetti sauce recipe and have been delighting my friends with it. The first batch, just for Jud and me, was a huge success, so I made a double batch (nearly a gallon of sauce) and fed my gaming buddies Sunday. We had spaghetti again tonight. I would feel like an undergrad again, but I served the spaghetti with a really nice chianti that only cost me $9 (Villa di Campobello Chianti 2003, DOCG). Not a chianti classico (those tend to start around $15), but delicious just the same. It complimented the tomatoes and garlic surprisingly well. The folks at Northside Wine have never let me down.

I made a strawberry-rhubarb pie last week that turned out really well. It had one of my best crusts to date. It's awfully late in the season for rhubarb (generally an early spring vegetable), and the filling wasn't quite as good as my last strawberry-rhubarb pie, but that's not my concern. The phrase "easy as pie" refers to the fillings, not the crust. I worry about the crust, and then I mix the fruit with some flour and sugar and top with butter, and that's it.

I also discovered that Jud loves the Cooking Light peach-dijon chicken recipe. Well, he likes apricot-dijon chicken. I didn't have peach preserves. Apricots are close enough. If you're intrigued, here's the recipe:

1/2 cup peach preserves
2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. water,
1 lb. chicken

Spray large skillet with Pam or coat with a little olive oil. Cook chicken ~5 min/side over medium-high heat. Remove from pan. Add preserves, mustard, and water. Mix well over low heat until preserves dissolve. Return chicken to pan. Cook over low several minutes and serve.

I like to serve this chicken with green beans and parmesan couscous (available from the Far East company in super-easy-to-cook form).

Well, this has been basically about food, and now I need to move on to other projects.

Here's one thing to think about: if you see a wine bottle with a house or mansion on the label, you can feel confident it will be good. This comes from a world-class wine selector who spoke to my wines class next semester and is supported by our experiences.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Tip of the Day

While it is a good idea to eat something high in carbs and simple to digest (such as a bagel) before heading out for a long run, it is not a good idea to eat a bagel that has a lot of garlic and onion on it (i.e. an everything bagel). Eating such a bagel puts you at risk for a lingering and particularly unpleasant form of heartburn. So remember: plain or sesame bagel, good; everything bagel, bad.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


I finally gave in and bought Jud a French press coffee maker. It makes awesome coffee, but we haven't quite figured out how many grounds to add yet. But still, Tweak would be proud.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

For all of you who need updates

I'm sorry I haven't posted for a while. I've been pretty busy with school, the wedding, and life in general since I got back from Martha's Vineyard.

Here's what's happened since then:
  • Isabelle returned to France. =(
  • I had a few more medical tests to find the source of my smurfiness.
  • All the tests confirmed that I am in excellent health.
  • I started doing a lot more wedding planning and hope to get the skeleton of a wedding website up on my Cornell space soon.
  • I'm back to running. =)
  • I've had a magnificent Alsace Grand Cru gewurztraminer. It was absolutely sublime.
  • I discovered another fabulous winery in the Finger Lakes.
  • I finished the loan process to buy my car from my father. I could have paid for it outright, but because of the interest rate I was able to get and the rate of return on my investments, it is better economically to get the loan. People tell me it's good for my credit rating, but I found out that my credit rating is already excellent. I think there's something fishy about the banks' statements that you need to be in debt to prove you can pay it off responsibly.
We still don't know what's causing my lips to turn blue when I go for long and/or hard runs. The doctors now seem to think that it may just be a strange variation of a benign phenomenon called Reynaud's disease or that it's something related to my migraines. I have learned in this whole process that arterial blood gas tests really hurt. They feel like something between a broken bone and a tetanus shot. My whole wrist it bruised and aches frequently. I also learned that I may have set a new endurance record for the stress test. Of course, my competition is mainly middle-aged people in poor health, but I'll take what I can get.

Finally, wedding plans are going pretty well. I mentioned that I was able to reserve the chapel a few weeks ago. Here you can see some pictures of it:

I am taking suggestions for wedding cake flavors! Just post them as comments. =) If you need flavor suggestions, check out this bakery.

So that just about wraps up my update. Things should calm down a little in the next few weeks.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Massachusetts drivers and a love story

The two topics mentioned in the title of this post are unrelated, but I don't feel like making separate posts for them, so you'll all have to deal with it. I'll cover the love story first because I have no clue what attention spans I'm dealing with here, and that story is cuter and better than my rant about driving in Mass.

A while ago on the news, I saw a story about this little old couple who had been married 74 years. Both the husband and wife seemed to be quite mobile and lucid for people who, at minimum, were in their very late 80s. Then, I recently saw a Reuters Oddly Enough article about a Japanese couple claiming that they, not Herbert and Magda Brown, are the world's oldest couple. Somehow, the Browns caught my attention, and I assumed they were the couple featured in the previous news piece. Googling the Browns confirmed my suspicions. Herbert and Magda are 105 and 100 years old, respectively. They were born in Austria and married in 1930. In 1938, the couple became victims of the Nazis. Their valuables were stolen, and Herbert was sent to Dachau. With the help of some local Christians and a Jewish charity, Magda raised enough money to release Herbert from the camp. From that point on, Herbert was forced to report to a government office each day. On one day, he came face to face with Eichmann. Soon after that, the couple fled to England. They emigrated to the US in 1940. Today, the two share a one-bedroom apartment in an assisted-living complex in Philadelphia. Magda still puts on all her makeup and even wears pearls each day. Herbert's hearing is failing, and he has suffered through melanoma, but he is content. Asked the secret of longevity, Magda responded, "You have to be happy all the time. Think of life as you want it to be." Those are good words to live by. You can read a longer version of this story here.

Now for the rant. I believe the drivers of Massachusetts have narrowly edged out those of South Carolina for the distinction of worst drivers in the states I've visited. They are not slow, but they are likely to move erratically at any moment. They seem to have a natural aversion to turn signals. They make parking lots scary and dangerous places. They occasionally stop and say via body language "Why aren't you going?" when you are the one with the stop sign. There are more qualities that are simply indescribable. You'd have to witness them for yourself. So if you have to go to Mass. sometime soon, keep an eye out for these weirdos, and look out for the cops on the Turnpike.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Martha's Vineyard

I spent the last six days at Martha's Vineyard with Jud and his parents, staying at his aunt's barn. Jud's aunt Diane and great aunt Mickey live on the Island year round, and I got to visit with them a bit. Grandma Powers was also there and is always fun, even if she already knew about the great Scrabble word "kopje."

I never realized how beautiful Martha's Vineyard is. The beaches were gorgeous, and the surrounding landscape was also lovely. There's a lot more open space than I thought. I learned Jaws was filmed entirely on the Island, and so I got to see a lot of key areas, such as Chief Brody's house and the various beaches near which the shark attacks occured. Curiously, Diane was supposed to be the girl who dies at the beginning of the movie, but a stunt woman was finally chosen instead because of safety concerns.

Jud's family worked quite hard to teach me the art of doing nothing. I have to say that this art of theirs is utterly exhausting. I could barely stay awake until midnight some nights, and I didn't wake up until 10:00 or later most days. We would go out to the beach, and then I would attempt to read quietly and enjoy the sun. I made occasional trips into the overly calm water (too smooth to jump waves or body surf) and to collect neat rocks and sea glass (sea glass is glass that's made its way into the ocean, been beaten into smooth and frosty pebbles, and then spit up onto the shore again for bored vacationers to collect). Over the course of my vacation, I finished The Plague and read War of the Worlds. My dad recommended War of the Worlds to me when I was 12 or so, and I didn't enjoy it then, but this time around, I found it thrilling. I bought the newly rereleased hardback version illustrated by Edward Gorey, and the illustrations really added to the story. Overall, it was much better than the movie.

I got to try a lot of new (or maybe forgotten) things while I was on vacation: poached eggs, flounder, lobster (by itself--not in pasta, a stew, bisque, a casserole, etc), stuffed scallops, and anadama bread. I wasn't a big fan of the stuffed scallops, but everything else was great.

Grandma Powers treated us to one of the better restaurants on the Island, and we had a great meal there. Because all their salads had carrots, they let me choose an extra appetizer (this was a prix fixe place), so I got to have clam chowder and steamed mussels. Mmm... Not moules frites, but I'll take it.

I also got to know Mocha, Jud's parents' dog, a lot better. He's a really sweet chocolate lab who's afraid to jump in a pool. He fell in once and seemed panicked. I think that with time and increased familiarity with pools (he'll be able to visit one any time now that the Powers live in Florida in a house with a pool).

Well, that's about all I have to report for now. Sorry this was so random!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

My patience is waning

I know medical professionals do not have some magical eye implants that allow them to instantly assess you and determine how you should be treated, but I expect that sort of treatment just the same. I have not run for two weeks while I wait to find out what is causing my cyanosis, despite the fact that I was running just fine (despite the cyanosis) just before my first doctor's appointment. I am doing my best to be a good patient. I'm cheerfully (for the most part) getting their tests completed, filling out the same medical and family history on forms and then patiently repeating the same information when the doctors go in, and giving up tons of my time to see them. But they are starting to try my patience. I don't really understand why it would be such a bad idea for me to run 3-4 miles once or twice a week, and they haven't explained their concerns well enough for me to see this decision as a necessary safety precaution. We know my heart is fine. I've never run so hard that I threw up--how could I possibly run so hard that my faltering lungs would lead to cardio collapse?

It's really frustrating to me that I'm not even getting estimates of when I'll be back on track. I know this is partially my fault--I should think to ask these things--but I feel they should hear how many times I mention running and marathon training and get the idea that it's extremely important to me and to make me feel that they care about my running too. ASICS stands for "anima sana in corpore sano"--"a sound mind in a sound body." Without my running, I don't think my mind is quite so sound. I find myself feeling irritable and moody, and I don't know how to deal with my stress in another healthy way. Basically all hard exercise is out of the question. I can walk, but it's just not the same. I understand that the doctors' primary concern is for me, not my running. But they should also understand that running is part of who I am. I have been a runner for ten years. It's hard to give it up for a month when I am not in physical pain.

At any rate, despite my growing frustration, I really liked Dr. Kaplan, the pulmonologist I saw today. Most of our appointment consisted of us sitting in two chairs, just talking to each other. I felt like he was really paying attention to my family history and to how my running had been going and how my allergy and asthma symptoms have been over the years. After I finished, he repeated to me how he interpreted my recent runs, and he was right. Then he talked about how we was considering several possibilities, one that I have a strange type of hemoglobin that appears more bluish than normal, another that this may be related to my migraines--that another word for migraines is a something-vaso headache, and a similar phenomenon may be happening away from my extremities as I run, causing there to be less blood for my fingernails and lips. He didn't discuss other possibilities, but they seemed to exist. He listened to my breathing and heart, looked down my throat, in my eyes, and up my nose, and then developed a whole slew of new medical tests.

Now I get to have a chest CT scan with contrast, a post-exertion arterial blood gas study and pulmonary function test, and a meth hemoglobin and hemoglobin electrophoresis test. The last two are just blood tests. The blood gas will be unpleasant because they draw blood from an artery, meaning they usually go for the wrist, which tends to hurt. The CT scan should be fine, but the radioactive contrast dye feels strange as it gushes through the system. I'm glad I'm not claustrophobic though.

The best news I received today is that my blood pressure is back to normal (117/70). I guess it was the decongestant and stress after all. Let's hope it's similar when I visit the cardiologist tomorrow.

I'm starting to wonder how much I am costing my insurance companies, but I think I'd rather not know. I'm just glad that this isn't really costing me anything.

Tomorrow after the appointment, I get to go to Martha's Vineyard for the first time. That should be a nice break from all this.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Wedding update!

Today, I reserved the chapel, so our wedding date and time are now official. Jud and I will be getting married Sat. Aug. 5, 2006 at 10:30 am at the Anabel Taylor Hall Chapel at Cornell University.

The reception site, the Statler Hotel is on hold and will be formally reserved tomorrow when the wedding coordinator there is back in the office (she works the weekends, so she takes Mondays off).

Time to start looking for florists, photographers, etc.

I'm so excited!!!