Sunday, November 29, 2009

So Much Giving

I'm still rolling myself around from all the Thanksgiving food I ate, but I have to say that it was one of the best holiday trips I've had. Didn't miss any flights. Wasn't delayed. No traffic. No drama. Just a lot of moving around.

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

It's getting weirder by the day

Two days ago, Tad and I received our first "Save the Date" wedding invitation that was addressed to both of us. They're good friends of mine. Tad has only met the couple one time.

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

Please remember to thaw your turkeys

I'll be filling in for James tomorrow on the Discovery News podcast, Friday News Feedbag.

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

Work Moving Day

My fourth desk move in my 19 months here at Discovery was completed this morning. I think I have the most moves among my coworkers if we're going by length of time spent sitting in a single place.

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

Mmm Mmm Good

This was full-fledged food weekend. And it was delicious.

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

Never gonna give you up...

I discovered today that several of my coworkers have never heard of being Rick Roll'd. "What's Rick Roll'd?" they ask me? As if the international phone pank and then internet pank sensation hasn't been out for years.

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." 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


This is the reason I've been too exhausted and drained to blog in the past week...

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.


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

Back in Business

Phew! Nothing like the flu to knock you and all your willpower to blog right out of you for a week.

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.