Friday, March 28, 2008

Philly Driving

We really adore Philadelphia. There are so many things about it that make us extraordinarily happy, such as Boathouse Row, Reading Terminal, Scannicchio's, etc. Philly driving, however, tends to make me want to stick a fork in my ear and pulverize my left brain, the part that is rational and wants people to drive in straight lines and not stop in the middle of a single-lane road and use turn signals. For instance, here are some things that have happened in the last, I am not even kidding you, 12 hours.

  • This morning, as I was leaving for work, this man was pulling out of a parking spot in my lot. Now granted, it was a kind of tight spot, but presumably, if he's parked there, he must do it relatively regularly (considering it's a private lot). But he decided to turn slightly to get around the brick wall...very very very slowly. But okay, the brick wall is kind of intimidating, so all right, take your time. But then he stopped. In front of the gate. And didn't do anything. And continued to stand still. Not moving. For FIVE MINUTES. He just stood there! In case I wasn't clear, he continued to sit in his car unmovingly and not exiting through the gate. And then when I opened the gate from behind him since he wasn't, and he inched forward to the gate (was he scared of it?) and then nosed his hood through and then stood there again. Even though there was NO ONCOMING TRAFFIC. AHHHGG.

  • Yesterday, I was driving home from West Philly down South Street and I got to the 15th block (the same one where a guy rear-ended me and we got to witness a heroin addict jump on random cars and lie down in the middle of the road, and where, in a separate incident, a guy tried to climb into my car and started beating my windows when I wouldn't let him...but that's a subject for another post) and there was not one or two or three or four but FIVE buses parked in the middle of this single-lane road completely stopped with a random white blinky light on top. Mind you, this was not in the middle of the day for a potential school trip, but rather at ten-thirty at night. What were they doing there? No idea. How do people get through there? They don't.

  • Each day, I take Lincoln Drive to work. It's a super curvy and beautiful road that goes through parts of Fairmount Park. The cars in the morning tend to drive between 25 to 40 miles over the speed limit since it's a 25 zone and they drive it each and every day. There are also an abundance of blind turns so you really have no idea what's waiting for you around the bend. This morning it was a pair of geese just strolling along. The funniest part was that they didn't actually CROSS the road. Instead, they just hung out in the middle of it walking right along the white dividing line, going along their merry way. The best part was that it completely halted traffic as drivers waited for the geese to finish their morning promenade. It was rather cute.

Those are just the semi-unusual happenings - completely disregarding the normal throw-your-hazards-on-in-the-middle-of-the-street-and-leave-your-car-ness. (Which I was once encouraged to do. By a police officer.) It's going to be tough driving anywhere else - if I go on a trip, it's always so liberating to come back to Philly and feel like I speed and run blatantly red lights and park illegally again. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Unpicky Eaterhood

I am not even kidding when I say that one of my favorite things about Dan (amongst many others!) is that he is one of the least picky eaters I've ever met in my life. There are very few things that he actively dislikes, and even those aren't real dislikes. For instance, he convinced himself as a child that he dislikes baby corn. Mainly because he had recently learned the word "appetite" and wanted to use it in a sentence. "I've lost my appetite" (for the coincidentally served baby corn) seemed to fit.

I, on the other hand, never used to think I was a picky eater until I was around him. And I really do like pretty much all vegetables and fruits and good-for-you-things. It's only with the unhealthy things that I get choosy; sweets can't be TOO sweet, chocolate always defeats candy (and candy hardly ever wins even without chocolate as a contestant), nothing gummy (except the occasional Swedish fish), and plain chocolate must be dark. Processed foods tend to weird me out, and the fresh produce at Reading Terminal makes me hazardously ecstatic.

Dan's willingness to eat most anything is particularly exciting for me because it means that I can experiment with new and random and sometimes weird (but typically tasty, such as spaghetti squash casserole made with cottage cheese...I promise it tastes way better than it sounds) recipes and he'll always eat it, and usually like it. In fact, the problematic part is getting him to say which things he likes and which he really likes, so I can make them more frequently.

The one thing that he unreservedly adores is my vegetarian chili. Tasty, absurdly nutritious, and warm. MMM. So thanks, Danny, for helping me have a "specialty." :)

One, Two, Three, Stretch

Yet another reason I dislike the winter is that I always feel really out of shape. Since I like bullets, here's why:

a) It's way too cold to go running outside.

b) When it's not too cold, it's decidedly too windy. Which might even be worse than the cold.

c) I could get a gym membership, but by the time I get home and have to change, go over to the gym, etc. etc., I've completely lost my motivation to go. Plus, when I already get home at 6-6:30, I really have no desire to go to the gym at that point.

d) I go through a phase about once a year during which I tell myself that I'm going to get up at the crack of dawn and work out in the morning. Needless to say, my down comforter rudely wraps its tentacles around me and refuses to allow me to get out of bed. The gall.

e) On top of that, if I worked out in the morning, I'd have to shower at the gym, which I dislike, and I'd have to carry all my showering/work stuff with me, which I like even less.

f) I suppose I could go to the gym directly after work. But that would also involve me taking all my stuff with me in the morning, and I would still get home really late. And I sorta just like coming home. That was a lame excuse.

In any case, I really do love running and improving my endurance - when it's warm. For instance, I'd never really been a runner EVER in my life, and last summer, it was really neat to see that as I did it more, I IMPROVED! Who would've thought? So I ended up training for a half-marathon. Needless to say, I'm decidedly out of shape now.

So the other day, my friend Audrey lent me a workout video. Now typically, I feel like workout videos are nice for a sort of "day off" of working out, just for a nice, easy, get-your-heartrate-up-a-little sort of day. And yoga/Pilates is nice for, again, just sort of a slow day. So Roommate Julie and decided to try it out. Here's the sequence of events:

Monday, 6:30pm: Begin video.
M, 6:35pm: Okay, I thought this had several workouts - I guess it's just one long one with various segments. Let's do the whole thing.
M, 6:40pm: Hmm, this is nice, it's getting to the cardio part.
M, 6:45pm: Hello, kickboxing!
M, 6:55pm: I think this might make me a little sore tomorrow. But I'm going to go all out and do the advanced version of what she's doing.
M, 7:15pm: Entering abs Keep going...
Tuesday, 7:30am: I'm sore. Are you sore? I'm definitely sore.
T, 12:45pm: Noticing some more soreness.
Wednesday, 7:05am: Wow. Oh. My. I have to get up. And walk. All the way to the bathroom.
W, 9:10am: [text message] I'm way more sore than yesterday.
W, 9:15am: [reply text] Me too! I was going to text you the same. Ouch!
Wednesday, rest of day: Limping.

Pathetic, I know.

(For those of you curious about the title, think back to that old Saved by the Bell episode when they make that aerobics video. If only I had a leotard as cool as that.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Death by Invitation


How I despise this. And yet how cute they are. A certain young man very sweetly came over at 11pm last night after his group meeting to keep me and my nearly carpel-tunnelled wrist company. And gave me a wake-up call because he wasn't sure if in my soporific haze I'd remembered to set my alarm. :)

In other news, this weekend was nice and relaxing (x invitations, naturally) and beautiful out. We went for a run (outside!) and Dan proceeded to kindly not make fun of me as my side staged a protest. Why? I don't know. I mean, I'm out of shape, but not THAT out of shape. I can't WAIT for the weather to start being consistently nice so I can start consistently running on the consistently beautiful path to Boathouse Row. Oh blessed springtime, how I love thee and the scent of thy breath warms my frozen toes.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

Goodbye, Old Man Winter

I post this in honor of the disappearing drudgery that is the Philadelphia winter. I jokingly wrote it about a year and a half ago for a couple of co-workers who had recently moved to Philly from the South. Yippee for spring!

An Insider’s Guide to Winter in Philly

Who: Preethi Bettadapur

What: Newly-minted college freshman.

Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

When: Winter of 2002

Why: I enjoy masochism.

Having lived much of my life in the Deep South, I was terrified of moving to Utah before my junior year in high school. This was largely because my teenage self dreaded the thought of leaving my friends, house, and, importantly, my quick-witted boyfriend. Throw into the mix the fact that I knew virtually nothing about the Beehive state other than that a large, salty body of water was contained therein, a lot of “Mormons” lived there, and it, ya’ know, occasionally got a little bit snow (read: enough for the Winter Olympics), and you have a recipe for adolescent angst.

Despite my desperate dread of the cold, however, I found that it was surprisingly quite lovely. Utah cold is interesting in that it is brisk but not bitter, snowy but not unbearable. Rather, it was beautiful.

As a now-seasoned cold-weather aficionado, I had no fear of the impending Philadelphia winter; at least, until it hit. To my displeasure, Philly winters are far from pretty. Instead, they are blustery, damp, and dreary – that is, nothing like western cold. I quickly discovered that walking around campus in this weather necessitated a far different cold-weather regimen from that to which I was accustomed. So, having now completed my fourth year in the city, and having decided to remain here to work, I’ve decided to pass on the knowledge I’ve accumulated in hopes that it will bring others figurative and literal warmth. Or at the very least, hope in the fact that someone else has pulled through.

  1. Invest in a good coat. For the first three years I lived in Philly, I had a black hip-length pea coat – you know, the kind that every other college girl in the country owns. Except in mine, the lining that wasn’t stellar from the beginning and by my junior year had long since worn out. For some reason, it never occurred to me that perhaps the reason I was always freezing had something to do with this coat, and not that I wasn’t eating enough spinach. Finally, in the fall of my senior year, I bought a new coat. I learned from this experience that there are two criteria for buying a winter coat:
    1. Buy a coat that you like.
    2. Buy a coat that is warm.

    These are, in fact, in order of importance. Because if you’re anything like me, you’ll get excited to put on your new, cute, and perfectly tailored pink knee-length wool coat, thereby making you (if only marginally) excited to run out and bear the frigidity that is Philadelphia. That will generate far more heat than any amount of down filling.

    Next to that, though, having a sufficiently lined coat is important – it’s amazing what a difference good fabric can actually make. So pony up the dough and consider your new coat an investment, much like my $160,000 education that brought me to the city in the first place.

  1. Learn the art of layering. Annoying as tights and undershirts may seem at first fitting, they will rapidly become your new best friends. Tank tops, short-sleeved shirts, long-sleeved shirts, thin sweaters, thick sweaters, toe socks, regular socks, gloves, scarves…DO NOT alienate any of these valuable allies in a cold, cold war. Do not say mean things to them or about them, and definitely do not disparage them behind their backs. You may not as yet fully appreciate this, but YOU NEED THEM.
  1. Consider a music-playing device. Again, consider this an investment. I am without a doubt convinced that my last winter was made immeasurably better by the fact that I acquired an iPod. Time passed unexpectedly quickly as I trudged through campus humming along to my favorite tunes. Obnoxiousness is a small price to pay for superior mental health.
  1. Stock up on warm drinks. Hot chocolate, tea (herbal, of course), Postum, hot water with honey and/or lemon – take your pick. If, for some odd reason, you like none of these, learn to.
  1. Buy a down comforter. My new best friend. There is nothing else to say.
  1. Acquire extra sets of cozy pajamas. Preferably, charmingly adorned with hearts, kittens, or both.
  1. Obtain copies of your favorite movies, books, and board games. This is particularly important if there is not a video store/library within oh, say, 3.7 feet of your building. You must also have a device on which to watch said movies (e.g. DVD or VCR player, computer, etc.). This way, others will have to come to you, Person Who Owns Indoor Entertainment.
  1. Wear good shoes. Do not be one of those crazies that wears flip-flops in the snow. Beloved Sister, that means you.
  1. Make a winter playlist. I, personally, love Christmas music (but only between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, thankyouverymuch). This is not exclusive to Jesus-believers, however. There is a lot of “warm” music for cold days (try Frank, Nat, Ella…).
  1. Look forward to the good things. No one likes a complainer. Try to look on the bright side and truly find ways to enjoy yourself during the winter. Philly has an abundance of beautiful light displays (try Longwood Gardens), music (seeing or participating in a performance of The Messiah is a must), and other wintry wonders. Also, look into normal fun winter things: ice skating, changing leaves, snow, snowman and snow angel making, pumpkin carving, snuggling...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Reese's Easter Commercial


Two different faces, but in tight places

First one to name the song (no googling!) gets a gold star.

My favorite sister turned 19 yesterday. And I'm writing about it today because I flew in from the below-freezing temperatures in Minneapolis last night and was sleepy. She, of all people, should understand that.

So, in honor of her entering her final teenage year, below are 10 of my favorite things about her. I'm even going to use numbers instead of letters.

11) (I'm making this 11 since I already mentioned it above.) She can fall asleep at absolutely any time in any place at any moment. And loves it so.

10) She admits to loving pink with me.

9) She writes better stories about potatoes than anyone I know (or don't know, for that matter).

8) For that matter, she's an incredible writer in general, and I love her style - concise, intelligent, but not ostentatiously or pretentiously so. And she likes alliteration.

7) She is wickedly fashionable.

6) She's hysterical and witty and sometimes spacey.

5) Her smile!

4) She's passionate, and throws herself fully into projects and values she cares about.

3) She loves people and cares for them and serves selflessly and ungrudgingly. And animals. She adores animals. Especially puppies. And penguins. And cooz linos.

2) She's super spiritual.

1) She likes her family best!

Happy birthday, Pri. :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Invitations Ahoy!

They came yesterday! They are just about as cute as imagined. Much stuffing will follow.

Photos due to arrive in a couple of days.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Yeh, Morph It!

Subtitle: Ode to Sme and Sleigh

My sister and her friend (slash mine!) came to visit last Thursday night. They were on Spring Break from UVA/William & Mary, respectively. So most collegiate Spring Breakers can be found bikini-clad (or less) on the shores of Cancun and the like. For these two, Spring Break involved no boys, no booze, and no boorishness (okay, I just needed a 3rd "b" I like alliteration, sue me). Instead, they traveled to visit quite possibly the most fully-clothed people on the planet - the AMISH!

The Amish are cool for a number of reasons:

a) Many of them live in Pennsylvania.
b) They have cute homemade dresses and bonnets.
c) They have the best jam and ice cream known to mankind. MMM
d) Amish children are particularly adorable in the aforementioned dresses and bonnets.
e) They ride in buggies.

So Pri and Ash spent a couple of delightful nights in a cutecutecute little house in Amishland (aka Lancaster...LENKester, not LAN-CAS-TER), complete with Amish quilt and Amish fudge and Amish crackers waiting for them upon arrival, all for $79 a night (Dan and I fully intend to take a weekend trip there this summer). After traversing the Amish countryside they came to Philadelphia for a night. Yay!

Philadelphia is also cool for a number of reasons:
a) It is in Pennsylvania, thus sharing land with the Amish.
b) It serves as the home to the Philadelphia Orchestra.
c) There are tons of super awesome theaters and restaurants and museums, etc.
d) Penn.
d) Scannicchio's!

Scannicchio's is a remarkably wonderfully fantastic little gem that Kelly and I discovered a year and a half ago when we were on a quest for an authentic South Philly Itailian restaurant. Dan & I have since made it a habit to take every single visitor there. After just a few visits, our waiter remembered what I order every time (eggplant rollantini) and always welcomes us "back." We mentioned to the hostess the last time we were there that we had gotten engaged over the holidays, and she promptly congratulated us about 14 times, which was also the first and last thing she said to us this time. :)

Anyway, needless to say, it was glorious. Dan very wonderfully accompanied us even though he had a midterm and a mega-enormous project due the next day. Since I know you're dying to know the details of our food extravaganza, we ordered the stuffed whole artichoke (a new experience for the Virginians...mmm garlic) and bruschetta for appetizers, and tried the eggplant, penne alla vodka, and fettucini alfredo with chicken for entrees. Then dessert (even though we were all beyond bursting...except ash...): we got the peanut butter tartufo. mmm. The best part is that it is so perfectly cut and all cute (it looks like a cut apple) and I told them we were there for Priya's birthday (this week) and the brought it out with a candle with "Happy Birthday" written in caramel all along the sides. Oh, and Mark (the waiter) sang with us. It was super cute, and very delicious.

So then we went on a little tour of Philadelphia, and Ashleigh has decided to move here. Glad you loved it, Ash. :) Philly misses you.

Thanks for visiting, girls! And happy birthday, sis!

(If you're wondering about the title, we had a little fun that night at MorphThing.)

Friday, March 7, 2008


Dan: Don't you think vent of death is a little harsh?
Preethi: You try sitting under it.
D: Wow! Ouch!
P: I mean, I'm sure it has good intentions and it's not its
fault and all. Still, it is rather deathlike.
D: Maybe it was cute when it was a baby vent.
D: Pre-death inducing.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Office (Temperature) Olympics

I really just don't get it.

Every morning, I walk into my office and it is absolutely frigid. Not like, okay, it's a little cool in here this morning, but like I'm-going-to-keep-wearing-my-down-coat-so-my fingers-don't-freeze-to-my-morning-breakfast-spoon cold. It's really rather annoying.

But even this could be overcome through layers, sweaters, tights, camel-skin overcoats and the like. I mean, my parents' house never seems to warm up in the wintertime no matter how high you turn on the heat (stupid beautiful lots of windows) and I've managed to survive. The worst part is how it fluctuates like crazy. So every SINGLE afternoon, I have to rip off almost every article of clothing from my overheating my body (eh, modesty) to prevent myself from sweating into a sweaty pool of General Mills sweat-infused goo. It's not fun.

The exception is when it rains, in which case the sun doesn't stream in with its hotsweatinducingradiation rays in the afternoon, so I freeze to death the entire day, instead of just half the day.

And the WORST is today. We have this "planning" session (if you're really that interested in the GMI world of AAWT...abbreviations, acronyms, and weird terminology, let me know...or maybe I'll do a post on that...hmm...) today and we're a conference room. With no windows. And a giant air conditioning Vent of Death.