Thursday, December 31, 2009

Entering a new decade tomorrow

Well, I finally made a decent dent in the four cakes and pies my mother sent me home with post-Christmas. We're talking cheesecakes and pounds of buttercream icing. Thank god for hungry co-workers and friends.

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

So much love for coworkers

Abridged work email chain...

To: Digital producers
From: Project manager #1
Subject: video process ideas

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.


WHO'S DOWN?!?!?!


==========================================================


To: Project manager #1

From: Project manager #2
CC: Digital producers
Subject: video process ideas



==========================================================


To: Project manager #2

From: Project manager #1
CC: Digital producers
Subject: video process ideas


Monday, December 28, 2009

I [Was] Home For Christmas

I promised my mom and sister I wouldn't put Christmas morning pictures of them on my blog since they were taken pre-bedhead fixing, so here's what I can offer to recap the holiday.

It's a gingerbread puppy! Actually, Holly is about 18 years old, no exaggeration.

Another one of our puppies, Oliver, jealous of Holly's swanky Christmas sweater.

Christmas breakfast, pancake puffs with chunky apple jelly from the famous SaraBeth's.



Now that us kids are grown, my mom banished the handmade preschool ornaments to our boxes and mostly Old World ornaments are the only ones allowed. Makes for a pretty tree, nonetheless.

My favorite photo, table setting for Christmas dinner with Grandma's china.
I was sad to see the deluge of rain we got on the shore washed away most of the 'white' in our white Christmas, but it was still wonderful to escape D.C. for a few days to catch up with family and old friends.
I spent Saturday night, the day after Christmas, at a local bar in my hometown with some old high school buddies, catching up on who had bought property, who had gotten engaged over Christmas, who was already married, who was pregnant and who was trying to get pregnant. It's a whole other world back where I'm from than what I've grown accustomed to living here, and yet, life seems normal in both places.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Everywhere there's a feeling of Christmas...

You want to know something that's not smart? Sticking a brand new, unopened bottle of wine in the freezer, then going to bed and completely forgetting about it until the next morning, because this is what happens...


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

Actual AP News Alert, Dec. 22

Oy, slow news days.

BREAKING: "President Barack Obama says the only Christmas presents he needs from his daughters are hugs." -- Gawker.com

(Thanks Emily!)

Monday, December 21, 2009

'Who brings a gun to a snowball fight?'

Apparently, that's how they roll on 14th Street and U in D.C.

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

Snownomenon 2009

Total accumulation in our area reached about 20 inches in under 24 hours, with three-foot snow drifts, making this one of the top five worst snow storms in D.C. history, and breaking the all-time record snowfall for a single calendar day in December. We still managed to have some fun though.






Snow angels -- me on the left, Tad on the right.

Snow on the ivy.

Tad tried to tackle me in the snow. I retaliated and he lost. Badly :)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

And a BIG Xmas to you too!

Betty thought I needed a Dr. Pepper lipsmacker upgrade for Christmas.



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

The Massage Oil Store

While scouring Wheaton Mall yesterday, I tried desperately to find a Christmas gift for my brother and his wife. I'm seeing them on Thursday night so I thought it would be easier to give them their gift then, instead of shipping it to them for Christmas, which didn't give me a lot of time to spare.

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

Macgyver Lunch

Wooden coffee stirrers make semi-usable okay chopsticks...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

GLOW! Love, UMD

University of Maryland put out its annual holiday greeting video: 'Let Your Inner Turtle Glow".

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

Ugh, GAP carolers

Thank you, Tad for finding this holiday jem. Best line of the article by far...

"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

A Dollar Tree Christmas

Speaking of Christmas trees...

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

National Christmas Tree Lighting


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

Parents and Technology Part III

Recently, my dad discovered that you can set your text messages to type in all caps all the time.

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!