Thursday, December 31, 2009
Still, this is why I'm going to gain 500 pounds before the end of the week, and then will be forced to make a New Years resolution to lose it all -- and I don't believe in New Years resolutions (can't stand the disappointment).
A good friend of mine made a New Years resolution as 2008 rolled over into 2009 that she would not spend money on new clothes for the whole year. She excluded essentials like new underwear and socks, seemed fair, and shoes -- I thought this was pushing it. She claims she broke her resolution while Christmas shopping, when buying something for family members turned into things marked "To: Me, From: Me," but I gave her a break. Fifty straight weeks of not buying any new clothes, from one girl to another, is commendable. Keeping a New Years resolution for 50 straight weeks, from one person to another, is commendable. In the end, although tempted constantly, she said she felt refreshed and proud of herself for resisting.
For me, it's easier to default to this life mantra a la Dad (or perhaps a fortune cookie) : Just keep going forward. Always seems to work.
Tad and I just got back from being out and about on this New Years Eve, which included a stop at our favorite coffeehouse, Mayorga in Silver Spring. They're closing their doors today because "recent building construction strongly hindered the foot traffic" for them to survive.
Even though they're a local chain (eight other locations in total) it's always sad to see a neighborhood staple close down. Even more said for me because there goes the convenience of good coffee, free live music and large, comfy leather chairs out my back door.
Still, 2010 is looking up for me. I'm already in discussions with various friends to plan trips to Savannah, San Diego, Outer Banks and Iceland. Hard to believe we're entering a new decade tomorrow -- perhaps I'll finally write my novel or paint something to hang in the living room. First things first, let's get drunk.
Happy New Year everyone!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Let's bypass that program altogether, slap in a thing, and allow producers to create their own stuff. Requirements for that would be easy peasy.
To: Project manager #1
To: Project manager #2
Monday, December 28, 2009
Another one of our puppies, Oliver, jealous of Holly's swanky Christmas sweater.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
On the shelf is the wine, foil still on, cut out in a perfect circle from where the cork came shooting out, and yes, beneath it is the cork and icy wine chunks.
I've heard of beer cans exploding in the freezer, but who knew a bottle of wine would too! I guess the alcohol content isn't high enough.
So we've had our spirits... how about some music? I thought this was hysterical, but I think mostly because it reminded me of Monty Python (Merry Christmas, Mom).
Can't forget about the gifts... and this story cutes me right out. What tops the list on most asked for item in letters to Santa this Christmas? Dinosaurs.
And finally, a story about the "baffling" evolution of elves from cute, woodland creatures to fully-armored, ripped soldiers (Merry Christmas, LOTR and Warcraft obsessives).
Working a short day today and then I'll be heading home to my parents house for the holiday. Merry Christmas!
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
This story began over the weekend but video was released this morning and it's blowing up everywhere.
First this happened, a cute, SWEET story about a D.C. snowball fight that was passed around via Twitter, sort of awesome if you think about it because over 200 people showed up: DC SNOWPOCALYPSE GUERRILLA SNOWBALL FIGHT 2009!!
and then this happened!!!!: D.C. snowball fight 'fun and games' until gun appears because a plain-clothed POLICE OFFICER got his nose bent out of shape when some kids threw snowballs at his Hummer.
Okay, look copper man, first of all, identify yourself as a cop!!! No one would have messed with you! Second, you're in a freakin' Hummer for goodness sake -- the closest thing to a civilian TANK. Is a powdery snowball really going to hurt your car so much that you felt compelled to leave your vehicle and get in their faces?
Hmm... I guess we'll just roll the tape...
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Snow angels -- me on the left, Tad on the right.
Tad tried to tackle me in the snow. I retaliated and he lost. Badly :)
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Speaking of Christmas... I learned from Twitter of all places that "Christmas is abbreviated to 'Xmas' because X is the Greek letter Chi, the first letter of Christos." Huh, interesting. And all this time I just thought someone at some point in time (I figured Hallmark) just got lazy.
Also for your enjoyment... Christmas lights gone wild! I don't know why but the snowmen make me laugh. One of our bloggers explains how it's done.
Monday, December 14, 2009
Like a banshee, I ran through the mall with a mental list of possible items: some nice kitchen things, maybe some exotic teas (does my brother drink tea?), chocolates? Having failed at Macy's -- it lacked a home section -- I was frantic to find something, any store that might sell thoughtful and appropriate "From sister, To brother," things before the mall closed.
An adorable boutique caught my eye as I ran past Borders Express. Cherry wood cabinets, glass bottles, adorable boxes tied up in ornate ribbon and flowers... in my shopping insanity, I thought maybe it was a chocolate shop, or a specialty cooking store and the glass bottles were full of olive oils from all over the world. It wasn't until after I walked in that I knew I was wrong, very wrong.
I found myself surrounded by lavender, chamomile, sensual massage oils (from all over the world, at least I got that part right), body scrubs, organic hair products... and more. I tried to back out but was caught by the shopkeeper, who had just run in overjoyed to see someone looking around (I was the only one in there).
"Hello, welcome to Said Store. I'm 'Tom,' are you looking for anything in particular?" said a man I would have never expected to work in a store like this. Picture Vernon Davis with Ne-yo's voice.
Freaking out and caught off guard, what I wanted to say was, "Nope, sorry, this isn't what I'm looking for," but what came out instead was something like, "I.. uhhh.. was.. um... looking for something for my brother... and his um... wife... but I don't think... um."
"Oh for your brother and his wife, well how about some nice massage oils. We have several different, sensual oils..." said the Ne-yo Vernon Davis, trying to be helpful.
"Um. No. Definitely.. ew. No, they like cooking? Yeah ... so I don't think... umm." I frantically looked around, picking up various items, trying to make small talk, all the while pounding on my brain to think of a way out without being completely rude. I somehow settled on one of the bottles that looked safe (it was in a spray bottle and turned out to be hair conditioner). "Oh this smells nice."
"Yes do you know what sort of hair texture your brother and his wife have? Because these products are excellent for..."
Okay, now that's just weird. "Haaa, no. Um. Well. This is a lovely store. I'm going to.. um.. give this some more thought. Thanks. Bye!" I stammered before turning on my heel and running away. I think the guy tried to give me a card or something as I was rushing out but I'll never know for sure.
It was then I knew I was done Christmas shopping. Done.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Watch it HERE.
It's... ummm... cute.
I like how you have the option to download this song to your ipod or to your cell phone for a ringtone. I also enjoyed the alternating shots of Maryland celebs with random students: Maryland celeb... random student... Maryland celeb... random student...
Monday, December 7, 2009
"Plaid? Really? That’s the hot new thing? Lumberjack chic? Are we all gonna get together this year and make pancakes? I’m not buying a plaid shirt for $45, not when I have 37 plaid shirts that I owned back in 1992 sitting comfortably in my attic."
Now Is the Winter of GAP’s Very Plaid Discontent, NBC Philadelphia
Now I don't know much about advertising, but I completely agree with Magray because I remember John Krasinski for rainbow scarfs and 'Mellow Yellow' cords. Sad.
But even those weren't as bad as GAP's 2009 theme, 'GET CHEER! C-H-E-E-R! WOOO.' Not to mention that the "how cute are these boots? How cute are these boots?" song gets stuck in my head all the time like I'm a substitute teacher being held captive by a preppy private school Kindergarten class.
Ahhhhh make it stop!!! Also, I never in a million years would have known they were saying 'moose' had I not looked up this video.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
I decorated our apartment for Christmas for $6. SIX DOLLARS!!! That's gotta be some sort of record. Just excuse that the artificial tree was a hand-me-down from Tad's parents, and the adorable plush snowman holding the wreath was a gift from a neighbor, and the snowflake ornaments were made from printer paper I had lying around that was probably about $5.95 a pack at some point... but still... SIX DOLLARS!!!
Who knew Dollar Tree could be such a treasure trove of cheap but half-decent christmas ribbon, decorative balls, garland, even Christmas lights!?! And then they had Santa bells, and wreaths and gift wrap paper for your front door... it can get dangerous when everything is marked down for $1 each.
When I began contemplating buying an entire village of ceramic cookie cutter houses and ice skater figurines -- not to mention my mom was at my side, encouraging me and saying "oh my goodness, how cute!" -- that's when I knew I had to get out of there.
I think the end result wasn't so Christmas-on-your-face as I had envisioned, still a few steps up from last year though.
Paper snowflake and ribbon made into bows are my ornaments. I'm such a crafty little girl scout.
Garland on our balcony. Along with our poor tomato and herb garden
And finally, I couldn't let the wine rack feel left out.
Wasn't it appropriate that the day I finally got around to taking these pictures was also the day it snowed? Tad heard somewhere it has snowed in the D.C. area every Dec. 5 for the past 5 years. Crazy right?
It's been a nice weekend too. I met up with Erin, Simone and Allie after work at Mayorga Coffee on Friday to hear one of Allie's coworkers, Juliet Lloyd, perform. I was a nice way to unwind. Juliet is a singer/songwriter who has had her music featured on a few tv shows, including The Hills, and I thought she had a similar sound to Sara Bareilles, only sweeter.
Saturday was spent playing in the snow and braving the elements to head over to Nick's Christmas party extravaganza in Ballston (my homemade cheese ball shaped like a pineapple was a huge hit). I know, so domestic. But certainly, Christmas is in full swing around here.
Friday, December 4, 2009
For the first time ever, I was able to not only attend the National Christmas Tree Lighting in front of the White House this year, but I was able to see the national tree up close, in person. A D.C. holiday staple I had never experienced until last night and it was spectacular.
Work graciously let me work an early shift to go to the event -- we had to be through the security gates by 4:30 p.m., crazy right? Who is usually off work and available to head down Pennsylvania Ave. at 4:30 p.m. a Thursday? -- and it was a sight to behold. Over 7,000 people showed up!
Everything looks better on JumboTron, don't you think?
Our friend Daozhong got very lucky and won five tickets online a few weeks ago, but was unable to go so Nick and I gathered some old friends and coworkers to watch the show.
Randy Jackson (one of the judges from American Idol) MC'ed the event -- he said 'dawg' at least twice -- and the show included performances from Sheryl Crow, Common and a few others.
Not to mention the Obama family were the ones to 'get down to business' as the president put it, and flip the light switch.
WATCH IT HERE (you can hear me counting down):
It was a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit because the show was silly with holiday cheer -- Michelle Obama read T'was the Night Before Christmas on stage, a chosen 5-year-old read her letter to Santa... then Santa showed up to finish the show with a sing-a-long (and then that's when we left to go to dinner).
I was really impressed with how many lights and ornaments were on the tree. So many, that you almost couldn't see anything but a cone-shaped white blur. The night overall was a fun and different way to spend an evening, and it certainly put me in the Christmas spirit.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
He says it makes it easier to type. The rest of us suspect it makes it easier for him to read.
This is sort of funny because he writes in all caps all the time naturally when he writes notes and such, but it also comes off as his yelling at you via text, even when he's obviously not.
"WHAT TIME ARE YOU MEETING US AT THE AIRPORT?"
"NO HEAT UPSTAIRS SO I TURNED ON THE SPACE HEATER - REPAIR GUY COMING TOMORROW."
"GREAT TO SEE YOU! SO GLAD YOU COULD MAKE IT DOWN. LOVE YOU"
It's like my very own Dad News Ticker!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I was in Chattanooga, TN with my dad's side of the family again this year for the big turkey day. We kicked off the feasting Wednesday night at a BBQ place downtown called Sticky Fingers (my little sister, Leslie, bought a tshirt that says "Come Lick Our Bones" to prove it) before heading over to Aunt Doris' (Dad's sister) for coffee and way, way too much decadent dessert.
My parents don't believe in sleeping in, so up we were with the sun on Thanksgiving day, back over to Doris' with our cousins Mark and his daughter Sydney for a light breakfast and to watch the Macy's parade - one of my sister's high school friends was in the Towson marching band this year. For the big meal, we were joined by a bunch of Doris and my Uncle Ival's sisters and friends for Thanksgiving, Southern Style: Turkey, beef brisket, ham, creamed spinach, sweet potatoes, three different kinds of rolls, stuffing, green beans, and so on and so forth. Not to mention two countertops of desserts. All chocolate.
At one point in the afternoon, I was charged with playing with my 5-year old cousin Syndey, who I convinced coloring quietly was much more fun than playing 'loud growling cats.' Here are snippets of our conversation for your enjoyment...
"It's a French bear. You can tell because it has a mustache."
Sydney: "I don't like pink. It's waayy too girly."
Me: "I don't like pink either."
Sydney: "Well then you can't use the pink marker because you don't like it either."
"I want to practice writing now. Tell me what to write. Only three-letter words please."
"How about... 'cat'?"
"That's to easy!"
"How about... 'dog'?"
"That's too easy!"
"How about... 'cow'?"
"That's too easy! Here, I will write them so I can teach you things."
"I want to show you my hair ties! (She pulls out a huge box of hair ties and sorts them by color and amount of sparkles. She picks up a extra frilly hair tie). This one is my favorite even though it's way too pretty and fancy."
"Sydney, how old are you?"
"I'm 5 and a half."
"Oh yeah? Well, I'm 23 and a half."
"Uhh that's not a real number. You're too old."
Our last full day in Chattanooga was on Friday. No, we did not go Black Friday shopping, I mean not really. We did see people camping out the night before in front of Best Buy, and two car wrecks outside of the Wal*Mart parking lot. Insanity.
We spent the day at my older sister Kate's house with her husband Brian and my niece Sara Jane, who is only 6 and already reading Harry Potter (I know because I was asked to 'please, please, please' sit and listen to her read. I was actually really impressed). We eventually loaded up and meandered down to a sort of art district where we "Black Friday shopped" a small street fair and a few boutiques. The evening was wrapped up with eating dinner at the (prepare the snooty accent) fabulous Chattanooga Country Club and watching the Christmas-light decorated boat competition on the Tennessee River.
I think Leslie said, "We never said what we're thankful for," half a dozen times this weekend, but we never did. I'll tell you that I'm thankful we came home on Saturday and not tonight so I had all day to lay around, eat Thanksgiving Take 2 (my mother couldn't resist cooking her own T-day dinner and we weren't complaining) and help my parents get the house ready for Christmas.
No, in all seriousness, it's been a hectic year for me and I couldn't have gotten through it without my fabulous, and always supportive friends, and forever loving family. It's hard to believe we're pretty much half way through the holiday season and it's only going to get fuller, faster and crazier from here and I'm grateful for it all.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
A few days ago, a coworker asked me at a work happy hour, "So what does your husband do?"
Two weeks ago, Tad asked his mother to please send me this recipe for one of his favorite dishes so I could learn how to make it, to which she replied, "No way! Not until you put a ring on her finger!"
A few weeks ago, my mother asked me, "Would you and Tad like to host Thanksgiving this year at your place?" and when I responded, "Uhh, are you out of your mind?!" she said, "Oh okay, well will you be spending Thanksgiving with his family or with us?"
We're thinking we're just going to hold out as long as possible -- at least until we win the $100 bet with Erin that Tad will propose to me by my 25th birthday. She says yes, I say no way -- then elope and tell everyone a few years later.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I setup an interview with a chemistry professor from Georgetown to explain to us on the show why a turkey will explode in a huge fire ball if you put it in a deep fryer before it's completely thawed.
Tad promptly told me tonight that his family bought a turkey deep fryer today because they thought it might be fun and interesting to try it out.
I'll be in Tennessee for Thanksgiving so I get zero say in this and my protests are mute.
Monday, November 16, 2009
A move entails having everything on and around your desk -- including your chair, computer(s) and cabinets -- moved to a new location and I have to say I've continued to be impressed with how I've never had anything misplaced. I will also say that I think this move was for the better because finally the entire digital team is on one single floor, making it much easier to track down people and things.
Most of my desk stuff is still in bins -- and I have a lot of crap. I basically took anything that I had in my old dorm room that didn't go in my apartment I brought into work to decorate my desk with. Think the flamingo lamp and Margaritaville sign.
So far I've only dived in to unpack the essentials: tissues, coffee cup, pen.
The rest will soon follow.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Tad and I make an effort to try a new place to eat around our neighborhood at least once a week. We've lived in our new apartment for a few months now, but we have yet to repeat a restaurant or cafe. Usually, we try to meet up for lunch on Fridays to have this "try a new thing" date, but with the past two weeks being so crazy for both of us, we waited until today and did brunch instead.
Jackie's in Silver Spring was the place we tried. With its enormous heart-shaped, lime green and bubble gum pink sign, and thick orange curtains, Tad and I had avoided it until today. Especially after my mother had declared, "that place looks like a gay bar," when she came to visit.
It took a recent "Top 100 Restaurants Around D.C." review to change our minds and look them up online. Come to find out, Jackie's had been named a top 100 restaurant in the area three years in a row now. And, according to their website, the owners of Jackie's also own my favorite dive bar, Quarry House, so really, how could we go wrong?
What was formerly a car garage turned restaurant, Jackie's was wall-to-wall covered in the same lime green and bubble gum pink as their sign, so god help anyone with a hang over that ventures over there, but the brunch menu was rather reasonable. I sprung for an Eggs Benedict, which I never get, but was enticed with their substitution of prosciutto for regular sliced ham and toasted rye bread for the English muffin. Tad ordered a delicious mushroom, onion and some sort of exotic, tantalizing cheese omelette.
Not meaning to turn this post into a complete restaurant review, I'll just say that we'll probably end up back there again sometime in the future, once we finish making our rounds.
Aside from brunch, I spent my weekend at a sushi/karaoke bar in Dupont on Friday night for Simone's birthday -- which was sort of funny and ironic because Simone works for the KidSafe Seafood campaign -- and while it may sound like a horrible idea, it was actually pretty fun. Saturday, I met up with Sam Laz and headed out towards Eastern Market for another new food experience and farmer's/flea market fun.
We went to Spike from Top Chef's burger joint, Good Stuff Eatery, (my first time) and man oh man was it ever the best burger I've ever had. I'm not big food snob when it comes to organic vs. non... but let me tell you, there was nothing more incredible about this burger than the taste of organic beef, lettuce, tomato, onion on a soft buttery roll.
Top it off with fries served with several different kinds of mayo dips -- including Old Bay, ahh home -- and the thickest chocolate milk shake ever... oh goodness. I never wanted it to end and I was full for the rest of the day. Seriously, you know me. I eat constantly, but after that meal, the only thing I had before bed was a salad at home and only because I felt like I had to.
To sum up the weekend would be for me to say that it was calm and full-filling. I committed several deadly sins -- gluttony, drink, etc. -- and yet still feel refreshed and relaxed. Job well done, weekend.
Photos are from their respective restaurant websites. I forgot my camera :(
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
It was even in the news today for goodness sakes... yet another justification not to have an iPhone. Sigh. Just keep telling yourself its okay not to have an iPhone.
What to do with this glorious gem of information? Become that girl who sends out horrible spam emails? Nahh, needed to be more sneaky and less annoying than that.
Being too busy to go nuts with it, and not wanting to break key work relationships, I ended up just IMing two coworkers individually saying, "Hey, can you check out this story and see if you think it's a good idea? We're having a heated debate on my team about it right now: Find out how scientists got lost in an ice cave trying to find the world's coldest spot. http://tinyurl.com/2su3q3" and then of course they said "uhh wtf!?!?" and I immediately followed it up with a classy: "YOU'VE JUST BEEN RICK ROLL'D!!!! Have a nice day."
BTW if you clicked on that link, you're a total sucker. Not you, Mom and Dad. I'll explain it to you some other time.
Oh the things that get me through the work day...
Monday, November 9, 2009
It's the Discovery News site redesign! Yay! I've been in meetings, discussions, arguments, training sessions and revisions on this very product for several months now and it all came to a head at last night's launch. It officially went live at around 1 a.m., but I didn't get home until 3 a.m-ish so I apologize again for not having a more meaty post.
BUT PLEASE CLICK AROUND!
Despite my 4 a.m. bedtime, I still had to be in the office at my normal scheduled time this morning and just to give you a taste as to how exhausted I am, when I went to get dressed this morning, I spent 10 minutes staring at my clothes and asking myself, "what are these things in front of me?" Yeah, two cups of coffee and some spicy Thai food later, I'm doing much better.
I want to send out a big thank you and infinite love to my patient parents, my dear and always understanding boyfriend Tad, Kasey, Smur and the rest of my friends and colleagues who nodded along sympathetically as I bitched and moaned about how all this redesign craziness was going to kill me. It was well worth it. THANK YOU!!!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
No, I did not have the swine flu, thank goodness, just the regular kind. Bizarre that a virus that didn't even give me a fever still managed to keep me bedridden for two days and make normal breathing difficult for seven. Today is the first day I can breathe out of my nose. Gross, I know. Sorry.
In other news, the Discovery Store at work had their big end-of-the-year blow out sale open to employees today and it was PACKED. Coworkers came by the droves with IKEA BAGS, you know those ginormous blue ones (and that's bags, plural), and snatched up handfuls of items. All I wanted was a mug to complete my collection of "Mugs From Media Places I Have Worked and/or Visited." Most of the stuff was for kids though -- books, games and such -- so I ended up not buying anything.
The event did get me thinking about Christmas shopping... and then made me anxious thinking about Christmas shopping. Why is it that family, those lovely people you HAVE to (and usually want to) get gifts for, are the hardest to shop for? I know a great gift idea for a former roommate of mine, or for one of my coworkers, but what to get MOM?
Sigh, this would be so much easier if I could have just brought everyone a mug.
52 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Been up and down since 3 a.m. this morning with congestion, sore throat, aches in my muscles and joints and dizziness. Needless to say, I stayed home from work today and of course it was Pet Adoption Day, of all days!
(see end of previous blog post to understand what I'm talking about)
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday night, Tad and I went out to a bar in Adams Morgan called Reef. I. KNOW. We went out!!! My friend Kelvin's birthday was the occasion, but when Tad was pumped for going out just to go out, I was very excited. We don't go out together at night much. Many of you remember/know what your bank account looks like while you're putting yourself through school.
Saturday was spent at the Silver Spring farmers market, and then ducking into Redrock Cafe for lunch to escape the rain. Then I left at 3:30 to meet up with Sara to see Where The Wild Things Are. Sorry fans of WTWTA, we hated it. Well, maybe 'hate' is too strong of a word. We strongly disliked it and thought it was weird. To describe it in a word would be to say it was 'angry' and I thought it ended without conflict resolution. I did get my first Mongolian BBQ experience afterwards though (again, I. KNOW. I'm way behind on trying that staple Bethesda restaurant).
Sunday, I rose early (so early that when I said good-bye to Tad, he said, 'have a good day at work') and headed out to Foggy Bottom to watch the Marine Corps. Marathon. It was the first time I had ever seen it -- first year I knew so many people running in it -- and I was completely blown away by the amount of runners (over 20,000!) and people dressed in costumes.
Best sign by far! So hilarious.
Kasey and Betty. GO SHARKRUNNERS! (Discovery's team)
Afterwards, I headed out to Ballston to meet my friend Nick for lunch, then eventually made it back to my apartment for a two hour nap. I was so exhausted from all the marathon watching and cheering, phew! Okay, so I need to go to the gym more. Followed by more TV watching and shouting later -- damn you, Darren Sproles for being so inconsistent and ruining my fantasy score!!!
In other news, I still haven't decided whether or not I'm going to get a swine flu shot. The TV says I should, my coworkers say I should, the doctor says I should... part of me feels that as a young, healthy adult, there are people out there who need the vaccine more than I do. The other part of me doesn't want to be sorry for saying that later. The internal debate continues.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Me: This is going to be some party!
Friend: Ha. I'm not sure everyone will come ( I hope not, my apartment is teeny).
Me: Word to the wise... buy lots of newspaper for people to carve the pumpkins on, like one Sunday NYT is perfect.
Friend: Good point. I've never carved one before. I have NO idea how to do this.
Me: Ha I know. Pumpkin, knife, newspaper, candle. That's all you need.
Friend: A candle?!!?!?!? For what?!
Me: Umm to make the pumpkin glow?
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Happy hour + getting lunch out + getting dinner out (note: this was different than the happy hour outing) + cooking and hosting THREE meals for three different groups of friends on three separate days + going to the grocery store + going back to the grocery store twice for things forgotten + attending a Caps game + sickness + horrible Maryland/Redskins football + Tad having a late night class last night + going to the gym for the first time in three weeks last night.
And that is why last night's dinner equaled this: some pretzels + about a cup and a half of Chicken Voila + a bowl of spinach with olive oil + a slice of peanut butter toast + four stripes of bacon + a piece of cheese and a cookie.
Did you notice how I became lazier and more desperate exponentially as the night wore on...
Monday, October 19, 2009
I miss our place in Kentucky more than ever this time of year, when the leaves are at their peak yellows, oranges and reds. The air is crisp and cold. More importantly, the bugs are gone.
My family owns a plot of land in the mountains of eastern Kentucky and I have many childhood memories of visiting our cabin our there.
It's where I learned to fish, spent hours hiking, searching for arrowheads, discovering Civil War cemeteries and old coal mines, and hearing stories over orange juice cake and coffee made by Ms. Belva.
I did take this one last year though.
Swan Pond is a place you would think was a writer's imaginary mountain getaway, or a painter's vision because it's certainly a place to relax and clear your head. So remote, Google Earth couldn't find it until this year. The cabin, with it's real wooden log walls and wrap-around porch, is so cozy and overlooks a large pond that sits at the bottom of sweeping Applicachian mountains.
It's also one of those places that I didn't appreciate enough as a kid when we went twice a year or so, but I certainly long to get away to there now.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
In one specific case, the simple, yet DEADLY phrase, "if you want," was the culprit.
While at happy hour with some college friends of mine yesterday, we all learned some rare, yet valuable insight into what men mean when they say this phrase to women, and in turn why women get upset.
A girl in our group came back to the table after an extended phone call with her boyfriend who, after she had asked "can I come over," had said, "you can come over IF YOU WANT." The girl took it as the guy meaning "I don't want you there," and was trying to be nice about, but then the girl was confused when later, Boyfriend got mad and said, "why aren't you coming over?" and buddy, it's just digging a hole from there.
So we put the question to the guys at the table. What do you all mean when you say "if you want"?
We, the women, attest that we've already put ourselves out there by asking in the first place, now it's your turn to respond. The "if you want" response makes us feel like we have to say 'no' so we're not crazy, clingy girlfriend. We want you to want us there. More importantly, we want you to say, "I would be happy to have you come over." There. Done. Clean, cut message delivered. Not looking for Shakespeare, just a 'yes' or 'no.'
The guys at our table broke it down. We, the men, do not care either way if you come over or not. Sure, it's fine if you do, but we're trying to make you happy here by giving you the option of choosing for yourself. And how do we know that you all aren't playing games with us by making us give in to you? We're not going to give in. Then you get all emotional and try to analyze the deep alternative meaning of our words. We don't give it a second thought.
So, I don't know about you, but that sounds WAY more convoluted than how the women had it. Perhaps I'm biased and it's true, being a woman I really can only related to one side of the argument, but also as someone who has AGONIZED over what "if you want" meant, I couldn't help but raise an eyebrow at hearing this (okay, I shrieked something more like "Wha?! Wha?! What!!").
To me, it seems simple. Women say, "can I come over?" meaning "can I come over," your turn, fellas, to say, "yes, please do" or "no, not tonight." It would save so much time and tears. Perhaps even stop a nuclear war. Am I right here?
Readers, where do you stand in the "if you want" dance?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
And the day so fine / Pennsylvania towns / Sort of slip right by
In a soft line south / Under purple skies..." -- Cheryl Wheeler
Phew! What a whirlwind of a week and what a tornado of a week this will be too. Things continue to be busy for me as my department gets closer to launching a huge project at work and this dinner or that event with friends... so much going on! I'm much more busy now than I ever was over the summer.
I was able to take some time this weekend to leave the apartment (gasp! I know) and enjoy the gorgeous weather we had. Even as busy as I was over the weekend, I came back into work Monday morning feeling light and refreshed.
Friday night was calm with Tad and I substituting our usual Friday lunch date for a dinner date with his sister and her boyfriend at McGinty's. Nothing like homemade beef stew and a few pints of Guinness to set us all at ease after a rough week.
Saturday was spent staying in bed until roughly 3 p.m. (only to get up to make a small breakfast at 11:30. God, those mornings are the best and way too infrequent). By 3:15, I hauled my lazy butt out of bed and met Daozhong at Harp and Fiddle in Bethesda to watch the Ireland vs. Italy and Portugal vs. Hungary games (I wasn't trying to go for an Irish-themed weekend here, honest). Neither games had the outcomes Dao and I were rooting for (Ireland and Italy tied, Portugal crushed Hungary 3-0), but it was wonderful to chat it up with my old friend and former roommate.
Leaving the bar around 6 p.m., we headed over to our friend Ben's house where he graciously fed a whole group of us a delicious spinach and pastry dish and taught us how to make our own sushi -- a surprisingly easier task than I thought it would be.
Preparing to roll up our California roll. Photo by Ben Johnson.
After several reminders to continue to keep our fingers moist so the rice wouldn't pull apart, laying on layers of faux crab (Ben did apologize in advance to me for not having Blue crab), Ben's homemade spicy mayonnaise (excuse me for not remembering the proper name of this exquisite sauce), seaweed sheets (a completely new and foreign thing to me. It felt and looked like a poncho), and fish eggs. Yes, fish eggs. Who knew this came in a plastic tub like it was as natural to buy a tub of fish eggs as it is to buy strawberries.
My hands cutting the California roll Dao and I made. Photo by Ben Johnson.
Sunday was extra special because Tad and I took a day trip up to Gettysburg, Pa. with the intent to bike the entire battlefield - a leftover part of my birthday gift. Only an hour and a half away, we reached the visitor's center around noon and spent two hours exploring the museum, watching a brief movie about the war, seeing a century-old cyclorama painting of the battle of Gettysburg and eating lunch on the grass outside. Sunny, warm, with a nice crisp fall breeze -- we couldn't have planned it better.
With our bike rentals secure, we hit the 24-mile trail around the site, although it wasn't much of a ride because we kept stopping every 5 minutes to read this plaque or see this monument (and of course I was taking pictures, which I promise to add in here later). I hadn't been there since I was 8 or 9 so I didn't recall much, and so I was astounded at how littered the place was with monuments and tributes, each in the exact location where this general fell or this turning point in the three day battle occurred. It was so striking to me to know I was walking on places that had once been stained with blood and bullets, or gazing over the same vantage points where General Lee had once stood, knowing he was nearing the end.
Pennsylvania's monument was the largest one - by far. With marble pillars, a giant platform, enormous statues, it was the only monument you could see from any point on the trail. We rode through turning woods, down hills, past the Angle, Little Round Top, Devil's Den, Wheat Field, Peach Orchard, but I'm sorry to say we didn't make it round the whole track. Not that we didn't want to, but by 5:30 p.m. the time on our bike rental was running out.
After dropping the bikes off, we strolled through the Gettysburg National Cemetery where Lincoln had given his famous Gettysburg Address in dedication of the site (something I didn't know until then). I didn't take any pictures here because I'm uncomfortable, maybe even a little superstitious about that. I feel its disrespectful to the dead and I can't exactly explain why. If I had taken pictures, you would have seen hundreds upon hundreds of graves simply marked "Unknown" and only identified by the state emblems on their uniform buttons, if at all.
Driving home, I couldn't help but feel refreshed and accomplished with the weekend. I was outdoors, had exercised, left town for a while, yet still kept a leisurely pace. It was a great, uplifting feeling of satisfying some of that need for adventure that I hadn't had in a long time. Future trips are certainly in the works as far as I'm concerned. Understanding my time is getting short, I'm hoping to still get out to a pumpkin patch farm, or even an orchard to pick my own fruit before the season is over. My next free fall weekend can't come fast enough.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Why? Today is the 57th anniversary of the invention of the bar code patent. Seriously! Read the story HERE.
And while I find that to be a very odd anniversary number to celebrate (why not wait until the big 6-0) you can still have fun turning your name into a bar code. There's a website that will let you take any word, phrase and generate it into a bar code, just for fun.
Here's what "Lauren Effron" looks like:
Try it out for yourself HERE.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I've blogged about her several times before, as my good friend who was teaching English in South Korea for an entire year. She came back late last week and through meeting up for lunch and then a dinner together, you would have never known she was gone at all just by watching us.
How fast a year can fly for one thing, but the other thing is without current technology, I don't know if I would have felt this same feeling of, "oh hey Erin, it's nice to see you again, now it's just a bonus that it's in person" when we talk. It's been amazing to see her, but we kept in constant conversation through email, Facebook, blogging, video chat and out joint photo blog project, 3 p.m. on Sunday, (which we've decided to keep going for now, even though we're no longer 7,000 miles apart) throughout the year, that I don't feel such a drastic change.
She's even all up-to-date on my work and recent outings, just as I know that the last class she taught was a cooking class and she's still getting over jetlag (13 hour time difference can be quite difficult to handle, even after a short trip).
When Erin first went abroad for an extended time, we were still in college and I was very upset, thinking I was losing a dear friend and therefore a dear part of me. But emails and facebook posts and blogging flowed then and since, and now that she's already talking about leaving again for New Zealand in February, my "please don't go's" have turned into "once again, I'm jealous, but bon voyage!"
I don't even need to say, "don't forget to write." I know she will. It's what we do best.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
This is not to be confused with the statement, "I love lazy Sundays" because this would imply that I love all lazy Sundays and that is certainly not true. Sometimes I get mad at myself for spending an entire Sunday, where I don't have to be sitting in the office, sitting in my apartment. Sometimes I wish I lived in Dupont or Georgetown so DC would be just outside my door and I wouldn't have to make the effort to get on the Metro (The DC border that kicks off the Northeast quadrant is one block away from my apartment, I 'can see it from my house' er, balcony). In both cases -- especially when it's a gorgeous, 70-something degree day.
Today though, I don't mind so much, even though it is Sunday, and it is a gorgeous, 70-something degree day, and I'm currently sitting in my apartment. Sometimes, we need these days. I certainly do after a week like I've had at work and a week I could possibly have, starting tomorrow.
That's not to say I've been lazy today. For those of you who know me well, know that I cannot sit still. That I have to be constantly doing something productive. I am ADD for productivity. This comes in quite handy when I have nothing planned for a lazy Sunday because then that lazy Sunday turns into productive Sunday: usually cleaning, reading, cooking and baking. I know, I know. Not the incredibly fabulous life you envisioned for me, right?
Sometimes I imagine myself using my lazy Sunday time to do something super creative, like paint or draw something to finally fill that large white space on my living room wall. Or maybe create a tile mosaic on this boring, faux-wooden table that sits in front of the large white space on my living room wall. I have yet to break out the paint brush or the putty, but I did vacuum the apartment, take out the trash and clean the bathroom -- tub and all -- so far today.
Sundays are usually big cooking days for me and sometimes Tad too. Our upbringings were way different but the one thing we share is our mothers usually made big, special dinners on Sundays. Sometimes, like tonight, we make plans to go to our local Whole Foods to buy fresh ingredients -- usually just for the fish -- for a nice, Sunday dinner later. Sometimes, Sundays are big breakfast days for us too. I made omelets stuffed with turkey, cheese, spinach, tomato, onion and herbs this morning. All we need is the Sunday Times and for Tad to like coffee, and we would be officially retired people.
Baking too, takes up another piece of a typical lazy Sunday for me -- I already have plans to make banana pudding, I mean, come on, I have to do something with these going-bad bananas.
And reading. I've rediscovered my love for it after getting my degree and no longer having to read for anyone but myself anymore. I do have a confession to make. I book-cheated on Catch-22 and then dumped him all together to read The Lost Symbol (I had to know what all the hype was about) and then a friend recently gave me Eat, Pray, Love (I know, I'm way behind on the curve with that one, but I can understand why it's so popular. More on that in a future post), and I'm 20 pages away from finishing that, which I will do today. Thing is, I don't plan on ever going back to Catch-22. I got to page 68, I learned what the meaning of Catch-22 was, didn't I get out of it all that I came to get out of it? Plus, it just bores me. Sorry people who decide when a book is a "classic must-read for all generations."
The next few Sundays, I'm packed with plans and stuff to do so I've decided to let myself have this one without remorse and without going to DC or really going much of anywhere. Although, I may have to go play tennis later... just to get out of the apartment, you know.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
--- Dr. Maya Angelou
I had the distinct pleasure of listening to a lecture from Dr. Maya Angelou last night in the Stamp Student Union at the University of Maryland.
So elegant in a long black, silk gown, her Arkansas drawl told us of her travels, life growing up in the heat of segregation and the quirkiness of herself and others. Her storytelling melted through you, is the only was I could describe it.
Dr. Angelou spoke about being a "composer" of your own life, people to people connections and how she mistakenly walked into a vegetarian diner as a carnivore. Tad and I both agreed it was extremely refreshing to hear someone so refined and respected be so open, laid back and laughing.
"I stopped going to airports. After Air France and all, but also I stopped going to airports because people would grab me. In all other places, people will just point and whisper 'that looks like Maya Angelou' or come up to me and say 'I like your work,' but in airports, they lose all that. They tug at me and hand me their babies, 'excuse me, would you like to change them first?' So now I have a bus, and coming from Des Moines, I mean it when I say I'm very happy to be here."
The other thing that struck me was Dr. Angelou's discussion of the "N-word" and any other words used to degrade people of all color and type. She called those words "poison" and said she leaves the room if anyone, even her own kin, use those words because "then it goes into the carpets, the flooring, the walls, the drapes, then it's on my clothes, and on my skin, and into my body, and through my heart and it's poison."I completely agree with that.
It was obvious why this woman had won so many awards for her writing and I felt honored to have been able to hear her speak.
Image credit: Jaclyn Borowski/The Diamondback
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Coworker: Yeah, it was great. Beautiful. Relaxing. Took tons of photos.
Me: Sounds awesome.
CNN on coworker's office TV pops up with a story: 'Yellowstone remains open despite wildfiles.'
Coworker: Wow, yeah, we just missed all of that! Hey, do you remember that devistating fire they had out there back in '89?
Me: Ummm... no.
Coworker: Really? It was all over the news?
Me: You don't want to know how old I was in '89.
Coworker: Oh, that's right, you were like 12 or something, right?
Me: I was 3.
Coworker: Get out of my office.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
How about an ex.
For those of you who read my bagged salad post from last Monday, you know I have a subscription to Vogue (It's certainly not Tad's or Roberto's). I signed on to receiving this lofty magazine every month for two reasons: 1.) I like to see seasonal fashion trends, for an appearance sense, NOT a label sense, and 2.) I would have probably signed up for Cigar Connoisseur if it was offered to me at $18 for 40 issues. Now that I'm deep into said subscription and long ago realized the fashion had to be way over my head for me to "get it" and think anyone would buy that, I just read it for the articles now. Seriously.
From time to time the commentary and subject matter infuriate me. I'll never get over the issue from a few months back during the heat of the economic crisis that ran an op-ed from a woman, who would have just DIED if she wasn't wearing at least Chanel, Gucci and Oscar all at once, but was laid off. She continued to struggle for weeks without being able to buy that new Vera Wang shirt or Dior belt, but then landed an op-ed piece prospect from Vogue and and a few other free lance writing gigs and bought herself a $1,200 snake ring to celebrate. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Really, Vogue? That was the best insider's view to how the mighty have fallen you could find?
But in the recent October issue, there was an article I read all the way though. While researching for writing his memoir, this author called up a number of ex-girlfriends and took them out to lunch to get a clear, honest opinion of what kind of a man he was in different stages of his life in order to be true to the book.
Now, I've heard about honest self-reflection but... whoa.
We've all been on the other side -- hating and loving and reflecting on past relationships -- I've even blogged about ex-boyfriends before, but never did it occur to me to think about what they thought how I acted or what kind of person I might have been back when given boyfriend and I were dating. It really struck me as an unique exercise. Unique... and terrifying.
Would I ever do this? My answer is immediately absolutely not. I have no need to open those doors I slammed shut so long ago, also, I would be too scared, to be honest with you, but this article did make stop and think for a while how I have evolved, how past relationships may have shaped me. Can't be all bad.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Made final updates to Fantasy Football team
Went to the Maryland vs. Middle Tennessee home game
Watched Tad play Madden on xBox
Made final tweaks to Fantasy Football team
Went to the Orioles vs. Boston Red Sox home game
Stole glaces at the Redskins vs. Rams at the bar at Camden Yards
Watched Tad play Madden on xBox
That was this past weekend. It was almost identical to my previous weekend and this coming weekend will also be an exact repeat minus going to Baltimore for an O's game.
Fall is sports season, no escape. Even my 3p.m. on Sunday blog has been infiltrated (okay so not my most glorious picture, but there really isn't a lot you can take a picture of discreetly in a ball park that isn't the usual zoom of an outfielder or batter).
I even caved and joined my first fantasy football league. I have no idea what I'm doing but for now, the "What the Effs" are 1-1.
Don't get me wrong, who doesn't love a good tailgate to gear up before a collective chant of "Hey, You Suck!" or the child-like hopefulness of catching a foul ball -- we actually came pretty close, the woman two rows in front of us caught one -- I know I do. But my heart can't help but sink a little knowing that come this weekend, and every weekend for the next few months, when the prospect of going to Eastern Market, or kayaking, or touring the Capitol again, or going to a museum is dropped because "oh yeah, there's a game on."
Given this, starting this week, I've made an effort to try to go to a museum or something equally uplifting outside the usual happy hour during the week after work. The snag is it can be limiting given that I usually get off work between 5:30-6pm and live minimum 30 minutes from any of the D.C. museums, which almost all close at 5. I did make a note of three that stay open until 7 p.m. -- National Portrait Gallery, American Art Museum, Gallery at 1111 -- thank you, Washington Post Going Out Guide, but that's as far as I've gotten for now.
Calling all D.C. gurus, any other suggestions you might have for me are definitely appreciated, especially if you'd like to join me.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
See it in full here: Picture Show - You Are What You Eat.
Here's what the inside of my fridge looks like... and this was taken right after I had gone to the store.
So what does my fridge say about me?
Occupation: Associate News Producer, Digital Media, Discovery Channel.
City: Washington, DC
I have an eclectic taste in alcohol as you can see from my one corona, one bottle of wine, one PBR. I like to cook because who else but a cooking machine would have both chicken and beef stock in their fridge at the same time (see white and blue boxes in the bottom left). The big blue bowl is full of freshly made gazpacho, by the way. And finally, everyone in my apartment is obviously big fans of condiments.
What does your fridge say about you?
In other photo news... Erin updated our 3 p.m. on Sunday photo blog earlier this week and I just kept forgetting to post it. Mine was taken when Tad was counting change to put into coin rolls. Her's was taken when her laundry was drying. Both of us, clearly, had exciting Sundays, but I do think it's one of our best Sunday tandem photo yet.