This weekend is not starting so well, exercise-wise. Yesterday, I didn’t run because it was raining when we got up. This morning, John looked out the window and said it wasn’t raining, so we got up and put on running clothes. He didn’t lie to me; he’s just blind. It was raining steadily, and has been since we got up. I don’t have any schedule restraints today, so I’m just going to stay in these clothes and wait (hope) for the rain to let up. But it’s not looking good. And we’re about to have breakfast. I’ve already sabotaged a healthy eating day by buying Entenmann’s glazed pop’ems (and planning on Indian food while John is at his gig tonight). On the other hand, there are exercise-type things I can do inside, so if it gets to late afternoon with no let-up, I’ll switch to one of my aerobics DVDs and then do resistance exercises. And probably other things. I will!
One more day and then I’ll be working on a new contract at work. My current project has caused me nothing but headaches (which is a shame, because I like that kind of work, but this one guy is pushing all my buttons and I can’t wait to stop having to deal with him), so I’m really looking forward to moving on.
I started reading Slaughterhouse 5 the other day. It’s weird, and I put it down. I might go back to it (I’m still carrying it around with me), but I’ve started and finished another Rosamunde Pilcher book (Snow in April) since then, and I just started Thornyhold (Mary Stewart) today. So I’m not in any hurry.
Speaking of Rosamunde Pilcher, I still really enjoy her books, but I’m starting to rank them now. I’ve read six of them. Three were really good (Coming Home, September, and The Shell Seekers) and the other three ranged from so-so (still entertaining but not good) to pretty good. Just in case anyone is thinking of trying them.
I completely forgot to mention the guy who ran in this past weekend’s 5K wearing long khaki pants and a plaid, short-sleeved button-down shirt. I’m annoyed to admit that, even dressed like that, he passed me. Easily and early. I mentioned it to John after the race (he didn’t see the guy), and he reminded me that we’d seen a bunch of kids dressed in costumes. This was an adult, but he did look very Forrest Gump-ish, so maybe it was a costume. Either way, it was strange. And now that I think about it, I remember seeing another runner in khakis back in that Falls Church 5K last spring. Maybe it was the same guy. Except I’m pretty sure I was faster than the guy in Falls Church.
I had a good time babysitting Colin last night. Christina and Will went to a concert, and I got to play with the baby. Who, for the first time ever, warmed up to me almost immediately. He was almost snuggly at times! We played with his matchbox cars and watched Kung Fu Panda. He snacked a bit, showed me all his books, and went to bed easily. He was asleep by 7:30 and Christina and Will got home around eleven, so I spent the rest of the evening watching random TV (early episodes of Scrubs and then a bunch of episodes of South Park) and reading. I was really tired, but I resisted napping ’cause I wanted to be able to fall asleep easily once I got home. Falling asleep was not a problem. Getting up to run was not so easy, but I managed. Just not early, so I didn’t run far.
I’m so happy this three-day weekend worked out so nicely.
Saturday morning, John and I got up a little before seven to go run a 5K in Reston. It was the 1st Annual Anthen Great Pumpkin 5K, starting and ending in Reston Town Center. We had perfect running weather; the temperature was about 60, it was overcast (so no sun to make it hotter), and while it was pretty windy at first, the wind died down once the race started. There were about 2000 runners registered, and we started in about the first third of the pack. Neither one of us really felt ready for this, so we weren’t really worrying about our race times. I would have been thrilled just to run the whole thing (I didn’t), but even that wasn’t going to bother me. Have I mentioned that I’ve been trying to take all the stress out of running? I’m running to lose weight, and when I’m not worrying about how fast I’m going or how far I’m running (before I have to walk for a while), I enjoy it. So I’ve decided to view these 5Ks as extra workouts with a whole bunch of strangers. Anyway, I figured I’d run the first mile for sure and then see what happened. My time at the first mile marker was 9:42, and I gave myself permission to walk whenever I felt like I needed to. But I wanted to see if I could at least make it to the water station at the halfway point. I’d just slow down a bit, since I did the first mile a little faster than I expected. A half-mile later, I had a couple of gulps of water (most of it was on my shirt) and we were heading downhill, so I figured I’d at least run to the bottom of the hill, still trying to consciously slow my pace down. I was in no hurry. And then it flattened out and I realized I must be close to the end of the second mile, so I decided to try not to walk until after the second mile. I managed that, but not much further. My time for the second mile was 9:37, which I just don’t get. I was deliberately slowing down during that mile, wasn’t I? Doesn’t matter much, though, ’cause I was ready to walk. For the third mile, I walked a little, jogged a little, walked a little, jogged a little, and then I jogged the last tenth to the finish line. Final race time: 32:11. I’m okay with that.
From the race, John and I went to breakfast at this new diner in Ashburn. It’s on 7, over by the big church, and it’s pretty good. We’ll be back to check out the rest of the menu. John spent the rest of the afternoon playing his guitar, and I went to Babies-R-Us to shop for Amanda’s baby shower. John had rehearsal at Lloyd’s place starting at 6, so I ordered Indian food and watched Untraceable. It was okay. Not good, but watchable. I like Diane Lane. I think she looks like a normal person. A beautiful normal person.
Sunday, we slept in a little and had a leisurely breakfast (eggs, toast, banana nut muffins, tea), and then I walked the dogs (long walk) while John mowed the lawn. Then we rushed a little to get ready to go to the baby shower. Because Amanda and Greg are having a baby! Yay! Lisa, Greg’s sister, hosted the party at her apartment building in DC, and she did a great job. It wasn’t a particularly girly shower (which everyone appreciated), and John and I won the fill-in-the-blank nursery rhyme game! (That sounds girly, but really, it wasn’t. And the food was great. Not sure why I’m in parentheses for this.)
This morning, we got up and ran, and then after breakfast, John sat down for some serious studying and I went to run errands. I went to Wegman’s, rushed home to put the brisket in the oven (so it won’t be ridiculously late when we have dinner), and then went back out to buy new running shoes and firewood (Wegman’s didn’t have any). John built a fire and now we’re both on the couch in the family room. It’s very cozy. John has his textbook and I have my laptop (which I will soon be trading in for my book), and in a little while (because dinner won’t be ready until 7:30 and I’m feeling a bit peckish) we’ll probably have some cheese and wine.
That’s enough typing. Time for reading!
Roxy had another seizure today while we were at work. Oh, and apparently, I’m the meatball fairy. (Check out the latest entry in the Alabama Shiffmans’ blog.)
Busy day, right? Well, it wore me out. I have an early morning tomorrow at work and then a race Saturday morning, so I’m going to try to get a good night’s sleep.
I don’t have a lot to say today. I overreacted a couple of times (in the privacy of the house and then my office, and I only vented to John and Christina), about the same guy, but two different things, and I don’t want to talk about it anymore. But it’s uppermost in my mind (’cause I’m still really annoyed), so I’m having a hard time thinking of other things to write about. There are lots of random, half-finished thoughts rattling around in my head, but nothing worth writing an essay about. Not that I write essays. Want a sample? Okay.
The band is rehearsing. I’m in the bedroom, which is right next to the vent that carries sound awfully well up from the basement. They’re playing “In a Little While”, by U2, and I thought, “We should really consider sound-proofing the basement when we get around to finishing it. Of course, that probably won’t help with the vent issue, so maybe it’s not worth it.” They just switched to “Santeria”.
There’s a spider who keeps spinning a really big web from the lamppost by the driveway to the big bush on the other side of the front porch steps. It’s been there for almost a week now, and it keeps coming back even though I destroy the web almost every day. Give up already! Maybe more than a week. And maybe it’s not the same spider. But it’s freaking me out. I look carefully every day now, ’cause Saturday morning I walked right into it and screamed a little before dropping everything I was carrying. I ran back inside and made John check my hair and my back to make sure the spider wasn’t on me. That still makes me shudder. Stupid spider. There was another big one closer to the front door, but I drowned it in Raid.
I wish I hadn’t thought of that. Now I have to check the bed (a la Sound of Music).
Quick, think happy thoughts (with no bugs in them)! Ooh, I think I’ll give CSI: NY a try. (I’m hoping to see Gary Sinise. I like him.) There he is!
I finished reading Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi, this morning. That’s the second book of his I’ve read, and I’ve really liked them both. Original, entertaining, light, funny – all good things for science fiction.
We had a good weekend, but any rest I earned was used up Monday morning. And there may not have been that much rest, now that I think about it. John’s band practiced until late (well, after ten, I think) Friday night, and I got up and hit the road relatively early Saturday morning to drive to Annapolis to hang out with Jess and Chuck (which was exactly what I needed – Jess and I had a yummy lunch, sitting outside in perfect weather, and then we picked up Chuck and hung out for a few more hours. Very relaxing and fun.).
Tip: From now on, if I need to get to the other side of DC, I will be taking the south side of the beltway. Not a single slow-down the whole way. That has NEVER happened to me going around the north side. I’m sure traffic sucks in rush hour, but it sucks everywhere then.
Anyway, I got home Saturday evening, John and I had a quick dinner, and then the band came back over for more rehearsal. I went back upstairs, watched some more TV on Hulu, and read until I fell asleep. They didn’t quit until around midnight.
Sunday, we slept in, got bagels for breakfast, and lounged around for a while. I did get done what I needed to do, though: laundry and grocery shopping. Oh, and I took the dogs to the new dog park in Leesburg.
Fascinating, I know.
Monday morning came WAY too early. I had to get up at 5am. I was ready on time, but Mark was late (he was supposed to pick me up at 6), and then he drove right by the house. That’s not his fault, though, since it was still really dark and the porch light doesn’t illuminate the house number. I saw a car go by slowly, so I called his cell phone and went outside. We got downtown with plenty of time to spare and went to Cosi for coffee, which I managed to spill on my knee (it was iced, thankfully). I was wearing a dark suit, so it wasn’t really obvious. But that reminds me – I should take that suit to be dry cleaned. And figure out what I’m wearing for the next meeting Friday morning. But this meeting first. Aside from being so early (and both of us stifling yawns the whole time), the meeting went fine. We had two hours and we managed to cover everything. And then the guy said he had another hour. We managed to fill it, but we were reaching by the end. Back to the office by 11:30, and I was wiped out. I could barely keep my eyes open the rest of the day (and I was at work until 6pm because John had to stay until then), and I had to ask John to drive home.
My point, I suppose, is that I’m tired. I ran today, and John wants to get to bed early (’cause he’s tired, too), and I’ll run tomorrow, and all of that should help me feel rested….I hope.
Stir fry tonight!
(Does this feel disjointed to anyone? Uneven, perhaps?)
I meant to post today (and here I am), but this won’t be all that substantial. I’ll get into the weekend and stuff tomorrow. (Promise.) Not that there’s a lot of exciting stuff, but at least there’s something. I was SO tired today and I didn’t get to go home early like I was hoping (since my day officially started at 6am – the commute counts).
Anyway, I’m going to watch some TV with John and then fall asleep. Riley is being especially clingy tonight. He tried to get in my lap earlier.
Ew. And he just drooled on my leg. Not so cute anymore.
The band is rehearsing, so I holed up in the bedroom with my computer tonight. I’m catching up on the TV shows John isn’t interested in. I spent quite a few hours on Hulu today.
I am so tired. I’m still trying to catch up on sleep, I think. And you know what? There is absolutely no reason I have to stay up tonight. My goal is to get up early tomorrow morning, maybe go for a quick jog (depends on when I wake up), and then drive to Annapolis to hang out with Jess.
And now that I’ve put the idea of going to bed in my head, I can’t keep my eyes open. The power of suggestion. Or maybe just the realization that the week is over and I can let myself relax again. Until Monday morning, which is going to suck. Big time. I have to be downtown at 7:30am that day. Okay, not going to think about that right now. Right now is about calming, relaxing thoughts and SLEEP.
I said yesterday that I want things to go back to normal. That got me thinking about what I really want normal to be and what (small things) it would take to make me happy (and what it will take to get there). Again, I’m talking small things.
1. Lose weight. A year ago this month, after six months of working really hard to do it, I had lost about 50 pounds. Then I slacked off, and I’ve put almost 20 of those pounds back on. They need to go away. I just need to do a few small things every day.
a. Exercise. Do it every day! Just get out and run! It’s not that hard. I don’t need to stress over a training schedule for the 5K we’re registered for, I just need to get outside and move.
b. Eat right (and less). This is easy when I go to the grocery store regularly, but I get lazy and say I’ll go tomorrow and then the next day, and in the meantime, we don’t have anything healthy in the house, and we get lazier and eat out. Eating out does not help me lose weight. Go to the grocery store! Maybe making shorter trips more often (like more than once a week) is the way to go.
c. Sleep well. Sleeping well makes it easier to get up in the morning to exercise, and exercising every day makes it easier to sleep well. I feel better in the morning when I actually get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, so I need to make that happen. Maybe ask John to use a booklight instead of his lamp to read by.
2. Clean house. John will have all kinds of sarcastic remarks about this one, but I’m going to ignore them. I really do feel better, more relaxed, when the house is picked up, uncluttered, and basically clean. I’m totally okay with it looking like we live there (I’m not aiming for magazine-perfect), but we still have stuff that doesn’t have a place to live. Not just books, either. We’ve been doing a pretty good job of getting rid of stuff, but we could do better. And we need more bookshelves. And (aside from buying bookshelves), that’s all free!
3. Stable job. Maybe that’s asking too much. I’m not asking for a guarantee that I’ll be employed forever, but I would like to know if my next position (that starts in a little over two weeks) is only going to be for three months or not.
Okay, so maybe the last thing isn’t that small. And it’s something I have no control over, so it really doesn’t belong in this list. But the other things are so easy for me to do that it’s stupid not to do them. And that’s what I’ll tell myself when I try to slack off. “Don’t be stupid! It’s so easy!” Maybe I should find a more positive way of saying that.
Good concert. Really good. Bono got a little preachy (like he does), and his voice was really tired by the end (but that was kinda cool rather than disappointing), but it was fun. The best part was when they started “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and about one line in, Bono just stopped singing. The crowd (about 80,000 people is what I heard somewhere) sang the whole first verse and chorus alone, and it was SO COOL. I love that. And then from that song, he (and we) sang a verse and chorus of “Stand By Me”. U2 isn’t my favorite band, but even the songs I’m not crazy about are really cool live.
Joe and Megan were supposed to come with us, but at the last minute they couldn’t. Lloyd and Maggie were going, too, so we traded some tickets around and arranged to sit with them. We carpooled to FedEx Field (which is where we saw Paul McCartney (I liked that concert better)) by going through DC instead of around it via the Beltway, so we didn’t have to deal with taking three hours to get there. We left around 4:30 and got to the parking lot some time after six. Getting home was hard, too, but it happened eventually. It was about 2am.
Christina took care of the dogs for us yesterday evening (Thank you, Christina!), so we didn’t have to worry about them. They were very confused about why we were all up in the middle of the night, though. We crashed and slept in. Got up a little before 10 and went to Bob Evans for brunch before getting to work around noon.
I am so ready for life to get back to normal. I want normal bedtimes, normal getting up times, normal exercise, normal eating…healthier than normal is probably better to shoot for.
Whirlwind weekends wear me out. Weather. Water. Whoosh. And other words that start with W. Whatever. I need sleep! John and I got up at 4:30 Friday morning so we could leave the house by 5:15 (it was closer to 5:30) to get to the airport by 6 to catch our 6:55 flight. No problems. We got breakfast at a place near the gate and ate it on the plane to Atlanta. We had more than enough time to eat on the plane because we were delayed half an hour on the runway before take-off. Fun. We barely made our flight in Atlanta after running across the airport (naturally, our connection was leaving from the next terminal over from the one we landed in). We were almost the last people on the plane, but we made it. Starting then, whirlwind stress was over and we could just have whirlwind fun. Except we didn’t realize it was going to be whirlwind fun. We were expecting, you know, regular fun.
Dad and Mindy picked us up at the airport and we all went to get Mom and go for lunch at Lynn’s Paradise Cafe. With Mark. Who took Mindy home after lunch and left the rest of us to do some Bardstown Rd browsing and shopping. Several hours later, John and I were shopped out and ready to drop, so we headed to Mom and Dad’s new house for the tour. I like the house. It doesn’t feel like Mom and Dad’s house yet, but I’m sure it will eventually. We had brisket for dinner (yay! – and Mom, your gravy/reduction/whatever was good) and then we collapsed. John and I actually got up to run Saturday morning (and it’s Tuesday now and that was the last time I ran – I am so not ready for our race next weekend). We stayed together for a while and then split up to take separate jogging tours of historic Shelbyville. Breakfast turned into brunch (yummy frittata) and then the four of us went antiquing. Hmm. That looks like an-ti-kyu-ing. We went to antique stores to look at antiques. We got back from that just to turn around and go back to Louisville for Mark’s stepmother’s birthday cookout. Hot dogs, burgers, crab legs, shrimp, and lots of family (of Mark’s) I hadn’t met before. It was fun. I spent much of the evening entertaining (and being entertained by) Mark’s seven-year-old niece. People kept trying to rescue me, but she kept right on coming back. I didn’t really need to be rescued. Anyway, we headed home after ten and collapsed again. Got up early Sunday morning (7ish) and got back in the car to drive back to Louisville to get on the plane to come home. Another rushed connection in Atlanta, but boarding had only just started when we got to the gate, so we had plenty of time. Got home, picked up the dogs, and refused to do anything else that evening.
That’s not entirely true. We picked up our room (which is mostly me cleaning off the top of my dresser and bedside table) and sorted through John’s closet looking for things to donate.
I just need a full day off. I need a good night’s sleep with no alarm clock at the far end. I had to get up early Monday for my follow-up with the cornea specialist in Tyson’s Corner (no change – see him in a year), and I had to be at work at 8 this morning. Tonight is going to be a late night (U2 concert at FedEx Field), and while I don’t have to get up early tomorrow, I won’t get to bed until after two (probably), so that doesn’t count as a good night’s sleep.
Oh, stop whining already. Look what I have to put up with. Poor me, I got to go see my family and go to a U2 concert. That’s so sad.
Errands 1 and 2 (vet and dentist – no cavities!) are done. I can’t do laundry tonight (or not until late, anyway), since the washer and dryer are in the basement and that would disturb the band rehearsal (also in the basement). Oh, and they’re meeting the new drummer tonight. He works with Joe, I guess, and he’s about 25 or so. Nice guy, I think.
I might have to find somewhere to go on rehearsal nights – they are LOUD. Not so much from outside, though. You can hear them, but only from pretty close to the house. They certainly aren’t disturbing the neighbors. But it’s loud enough in the house (upstairs, too) that it’s hard for me to concentrate on anything. I’m heading to the bedroom to read, but there’s a vent that goes straight from the basement to the hallway right outside our room, so it’s only a little quieter than the family room. Tonight I went to get a haircut and pick up cereal, so there’s an hour of rehearsal down, but I can’t get my hair cut every week.
I sound like I don’t like them. I do, and I don’t mind listening to the rehearsals, but two hours of them repeating songs at the volume necessary to carry over the drums is a bit much. Every week. So I’m going upstairs. It’s probably a lot better up there than I think.
I’m doing that thing where I have too many things crammed into just a couple of days. This isn’t going to be much fun. I have to have the dogs at the vet by 8 and me at the dentist by 9:50. So I probably won’t run tomorrow morning. But I want to get to work early on Thursday so I can leave early and have the dogs at the kennel by 6pm Thursday. So…possibly no running Thursday morning…and Friday’s out because we’re getting on a plane very early…I need to work this out. If I actually get up when the alarm goes off, both mornings, I can get 3 miles in…too many ellipses.
And that’s not really as many things as I thought. Although I do have to add in laundry and packing, but that’s not really that hard. If I’m really getting up early tomorrow, I should head to bed.
Also, I finished The Magicians the other day. I’m really not sure how I feel about it. It was interesting, but I didn’t love it. I was into it, and happy to be reading it, but it took some turns I wasn’t expecting (which is usually a good thing) and pulled too much from other books (Narnia in particular), which I wasn’t crazy about, mostly because it forces me to look at them in a completely different way. Which, again, is usually a good thing, but I’m not so sure. So I don’t know if I liked it.
I started The Story of Edgar Sawtelle this weekend. I like it, but I’m not making time to read it. I keep putting it down to play with the dogs. (Again again, usually a good thing. And I agree in this case.) Anyway, it’s taking me longer to get into it, but I like it, and I’ll get there.
So now I can say I’ve played paintball. I have paintballed. It was fun, but I don’t need to do it again. Six of us went out for Will’s birthday, and we had a good time, went home bruised, and got some good pictures out of it. Poor John got hit in the forehead in the first or second game – he was actually bleeding! It looks like a scrape, and he’s doing fine, but still. Must have been painful. And I think Will got the prize for most vicious-looking bruise, on both arms. I got off pretty light in comparison. My sweatshirt protected me from a couple, and I got hit on the shoe and the front of my mask, so nothing too painful. Anyway, paintball. Yay.
John did a lot of homework this weekend, and we’re trying to figure out how to rearrange his days and weekends so he can study more and do other stuff less. Actually, that’s basically the solution: study more and do other stuff less. Kinda sucks, and he’ll probably have to do homework while we’re visiting Mom and Dad this weekend, but what can you do?
Roxy had a seizure tonight. It’s the first one in more than a month, and I didn’t actually see it, but I’m sure of it. We banished the dogs to the backyard while we ate tonight, and when I went to let them in, she didn’t come. I looked out, and she was standing right at the top of the stairs on the deck, with her head between the bench and the railing. Not stuck, but not moving. Not normal. I got her in the house, and now she’s wandering the first floor in recovery mode. She’s not herself yet.
Wegman’s makes a mean broccoli quiche. I just thought you should know.
I got to play with MS Project today at work. I’ve seen it before, but never really used it. I like playing with new (to me) applications, figuring them out. I’m not sure I like Project, but it’s still fun to mess around.
Yeah, that was exciting. Sorry, audience, that’s all I can share tonight.
I’ve skipped a lot of days. They weren’t particularly exciting days. I had a very quiet, very nice weekend. John went to PA for his brother’s birthday. My plans fell through at the last minute, so I had some time to kill. I finally made it to the Ashburn farmers market (bought some yummy apple cinnamon pound cake), and then I went to the Loudoun County Animal Shelter. Big place. (They have horses, too.) No new pets for us, though. Two dogs are enough, it seems.
Saturday was mostly overcast and rainy, so I spent the rest of the day inside with the dogs, reading my book and keeping Riley from licking his paw. He doesn’t seem to understand that it won’t heal (just a little scratch) if he won’t leave it alone. I FINALLY finished the Mars trilogy. I thought it would never end. I liked it, I really did, but I was SO ready for something else. I started the third Inda book (fantasy – love these books) Saturday afternoon and finished it before dinner Sunday night. (I really did almost nothing but read this weekend.) Tried the new Indian restaurant in Ashburn for dinner. It was okay. I like our regular one better.
Sunday was a BEAUtiful day. I spent most of it outside. Reading, but outside. I had breakfast on the deck, and then I blocked off the front steps of the porch so the dogs could join me and sat out on the porch swing (reading). Riley got a little anxious (I have no idea why) and climbed up in the swing with me. When I got tired of that (and of Riley’s restlessness), I moved us all into the backyard. Grabbed a blanket, spread it out in the shade of the little trees in the back corner, ran back inside to get the bug spray, and then I settled down to read some more.
It was perfect weather. Warm enough for shorts, perfectly blue sky, and Roxy hung out with me next to the blanket (and on it, when I brought my pb&J outside for lunch). And I couldn’t put my book down. Finally, I was reading something I was excited about. Unfortunately, it was the third book in a four-book series. The fourth book came out last month, but only in hardcover. Unless I can find it at the library, I’m waiting for the paperback. Sadly.
While I’m waiting for that, though, I have plenty of other books to read. I just started The Magicians, by Lev Grossman. The plot so far (I’m only a few chapters in) seems to be a cross between The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and Harry Potter. But with older kids. And I like it. Yay!
Riley barely waited for me to let go of the bowl before he attacked his food tonight. Poor guy. We’ve caught Roxy eating out of his bowl lately instead of hers, so maybe he just hasn’t been eating regularly. Of course, if she eats his food, hers is still there, so if he were hungry enough, I’m sure he’d eat it.
I hate mosquitoes. They don’t just ruin your day when they bite you; they ruin your WHOLE WEEK. Seriously, I got bitten five or six times on Saturday, and I’m still fighting it. Do they have any redeeming value? I mean, I REALLY don’t like spiders, but at least they eat other bugs I don’t like (like flies and maybe mosquitoes, right?). Do mosquitoes do any good?
Google to the rescue: mosquitoes work as population control, by carrying diseases, for people and animals. They’re also food for birds, bats, frogs, etc, so they might starve if we got rid of mosquitoes. And apparently, they’re pollinators. So not enTIREly useless. But I still hate them.
One last thing: the microwave works like a champ. I steamed broccoli in it last night and it came out just right.