Thursday, December 22, 2011

Georgetown's Christmas Generosity

There's really no better feeling in all the world than setting your out-of-office e-mail and knowing that you won't be back in the office for a week and a half.  Oh, and on top of that, knowing that the week and half is paid. 

Here's what I plan to spend the next week and a half getting paid to do:

- Going to the temple with my Blake and having a Cafe Rio lunch with old friends
- Going to a pre-Christmas kickoff
- Cooking and baking galore
- Eating, eating and more eating
- Wrapping and subsequently opening presents
- Watching my nieces and nephews perform the nativity
- Celebrating Christmas Eve and Christmas day with Blake's family
- Sharing in the kids' anticipation of Santa
- Chatting with my family on the phone
- Watching multiple movies at home and at the theater
- Painting my toenails (because it's vacation and I have time to be luxurious)
- Picking out and installing a new bathroom light fixture (hopefully)
- Painting the guest bathroom, guest room and downstairs puppet theater
- Staying in my pajamas for a long as I want to

Now if only I could figure out a way to get paid to do exactly what I want every day of the year.  THAT would be the life.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Crafting

We're staying in DC for Christmas this year (Blake's parents live 20 minutes from us) so we've been going all out with the decorations. 

Christmas is really the only holiday I decorate for, but my budget and lack of time prevent me from adding more than a couple new things every year.  During last night's viewing of NCIS: Los Angeles (LL Cool J and Chris O'Donnell? You know that's right!) I finished up my newest addition to our festive decor. 

Two dollars for the felt (with tons left over), four dollars for the faux cranberry garland, some leftover red thread and a couple hours of hacking away with my somewhat useless scissors, and voila:

Ok, so it's more like joy to France, Paris, Rome, London and DC...but close enough.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time.

It's been a glorious Christmas season so far.  Blake and I have been making the most of it. We picked out our Christmas tree at our traditional lot and decorated it with the ornaments that we collected together on our travels and throughout our childhoods.  Unpacking Christmas ornaments every year brings back so many fun memories.

We went to see/hear The Messiah at Strathmore on Saturday night with Blake's parents.  It was absolutely beautiful and especially fun for me because I got to see my old friend, Becky, who was in the choir.

We've also wrapped presents, hung garland and twinkle lights, stood in many a line at the mall, decorated the church for the ward Christmas party, crafted, baked, and watched all manner of traditional Christmas movies.  We've already checked off Love Actually, It's a Wonderful Life, Elf and Home Alone 1.  Next up are, naturally, Home Alone 2 and Miracle on 34th Street.  Christmas just isn't complete without the whole line-up. 

Between now and Christmas we've got work parties, parties with friends, The Nutcracker, and countless more cookies to bake and a stack of presents to wrap.  Yes, it's busy, but I don't want it to end. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


We had Thanksgiving with my family this year.  It didn't quite break the record of 2009 (28 people at dinner), but we almost made it with whopping total of 23 people around two long tables. 

My only contribution to Thanksgiving dinner (I know, the shame! the laziness!) was picking up flowers and candles and setting the tables.  I got to use a large portion of my Grandy's goblet collection.  Growing up the goblets were always one of my favorite parts of holiday meals and I was excited that we'd be keeping the tradition.  Arent' they beautiful?  I wish I'd gotten a close up of some of my favorites, but this view will have to do.

While my Mom and I worked in the kitchen, the boys "worked" hard in the family room.  Most families watch football over family watches soccer.  I secretly think that the only reason my parents have cable is so that my Dad and brothers can catch all of the exciting European soccer games.  (Notice Danny's look of disgust as they argue the various merits of the competing teams).

As a side note: here's the view from my parents' kitchen.  Not a bad way to spend the day: smelling roasting turkey and fresh cranberries while looking out over the valley. 

Here we all are sitting at Thanksgiving dinner together (and in various states of post-glutton stupor).  My brothers and cousins had a contest to see who could gain the most weight from dinner.  There was a pre-dinner weigh-in, a post-dinner weigh-in, and a post-pie weigh-in. 

Jimmy gained 4.5(!!!) pounds and briefly won the title of All-Conquering-Eater before having a reversal of fortune which cost him 3 pounds and the eternal glory.  Sad and gross all in one.

 And because apparently I wasn't as full after Thanksgiving as I thought I was (after my third piece of pie I promised myself I wouldn't eat again for another week), we added more food to the mix with a lunch date with old friends at Cafe Paysans. 

I've been friends with Ashton since the 4th grade and Meg since the 9th grade.  Other than my Mom, Grandy and Blake, I probably talk to these ladies more than anyone else in the world.  They're the sort of pals that I couldn't live without and even after not seeing them for a year, we're able to pick right back up where we left off as if it were the good ole' days in the Pink House. 

I'm so glad that we've added Stephen, Stephen (yes, both their husbands are named Stephen), Blake, Sam, and soon, Ivy to the mix.  We make a good team.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

What are the odds in a city this big?

Blake was sick yesterday.  And when Blake is sick I ride the metro in to work alone.  And when I ride in alone I often end up sitting next to some weird and/or less-than-desirable folks.

At the station after mine someone with a vaguely familiar voice got on.  There were several open seats around me, but she came to sit by me on the inside seat near the window.  I had several bags near my feet (yes, I've become a bag lady.  I just always have so much to carry to work...) so I scootched sideways to let her pass by. 

She was carrying only one bag, but looked disapprovingly down at me and directed "you'll need to get up..can't you see I have all this stuff?" 

It was then that I realized exactly who I was dealing with: my fashion foe of yore.  I knew I recognized that voice!

So, somewhat out of spite, but mostly out of my inability to gather my bags and get up quickly enough, I just scootched a little more and she huffily sat down beside me.  Miffed though she was, it didn't stop her from immediately starting an inane conversation about the weather and fires on the metro. 

I answered quickly and just as quickly went back to reading.  There's no way I was going to let her criticize today's three-year-old Banana Republic Sweater.  I'm not sure if it's as out-of-style as my cowl neck sweater, but I'm not taking any chances.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Gatekeeper

Blake and I brought back a sinus infection (for Blake) and the stomach flu (for me) from our Thanksgiving vacation.  Our suitcases remain unpacked, we're still slowly recovering and we're missing our family, friends and the fun time we had in Utah. 

Later this week I'll get to the wonderful food and the 23 people we had at Thanksgiving dinner, but until I've transferred all the photos onto the computer and found a few minutes to write, I'll leave you with this photo of my family's cuddle-worthy dog, Noosa.

Noosa is 9 years old, arthritic and getting grey, but she still vigilantly guards the door any time she sees suitcases.  I love that dog. Hope to see you again soon, Noosa.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm probably the only one who thinks this is funny:

Lately I haven't been able to get enough Linguist Llama.  For all you other linguists out there, check it out.  You won't regret it.  For all you non-linguists, well, you probably won't like it and may regret it.  Who knows, it may even cause you to question my sense of humor and re-think our friendship.  Then I'll regret it, too.

You may have noticed that I tend to verb nouns, noun verbs and create all sorts of hybrid/non-existent words in between.  I've said it before: I'm a linguist and I do what I want. 

If you're like some of my non-linguist professors (what's with subtracting points for a nouned verb now and then?!) and you don't believe me, here's Linguist Llama to add his (her? its?) stamp of approval:

You can't argue with that face.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Weekend Tamalada

Until last week I never knew there was whole word devoted just to describing a tamale-making party: tamalada.  Thanks to my friend, Anna, I am now enlightened.  I am also now the proud owner of a freezer full of hand-made tamales. 

We got together a group of adventurous and epicurious souls at Anna's house on Saturday and set about making 350 (!) pork and chicken tamales.  None of us had attempted tamales before, but we came armed with spatulas, mixing bowls, and pre-assigned portions of the tamale.  Mine was a tomatillo sauce (which, incidentally, ended up taking me 3 hours to make...yikes!). 

We took over the kitchen and dining room at Anna's, banished her husband and boys outside to jump in the leaves, and organized an assembly line of sorts: unfold husks, mash masa onto husks, spread sauce onto masa, put mean over sauce, fold, tie, put in pile according to spiciness.  It was quite the process. 

It took us 4 hours to put together 350-ish tamales.  That meant I'd been on my feet cooking/preparing for seven hours that day and my back was completely spent. 

I didn't know cooking could be so painful.  When I got home, I took two Advil and complained the rest of the evening about my aches and pains (poor Blake!). 

53 tamales in my freezer = a lot of easy meals for the next couple months.  Not too shabby for a Saturday: a freezer full of dinners and a sore back.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My Secrets

Here's a secret that I'm ashamed of and proud to admit at the same time (kind of like my need to trim my eyebrows on a weekly basis): I am sometimes too cheap even for flea markets.

There.  It's out in the open. 

Take these vintage pool balls, for example:

I took this photo at the Brooklyn Flea a couple weeks ago.  I've been looking for something to put in these glass lamps for a while now.  I wanted something that would add color and visual interested to our mostly muted bedroom.  Vintage pool balls seem like just the thing.  I was hoping to take them home with me until the scraggly, bespectacled hipster running the booth told me the price: $3.00 each or 2 for $5.00. 

Picture my triumphant smile turning instantly into a frown.

I left without them.  But never fear, I found a large supply of vintage pool balls on ebay.  The best part is that they're $9.99 for an entire set.  That's like 1000% cheaper than at The Flea. (Pardon my math.  I exaggerate when I'm excited about home decor.  You can ask Blake.)

So that's my secret. It pays to be cheaper than a flea market.  It also pays to keep my eyebrows trimmed (so I don't look like this guy) - but that's a story for another time.

Monday, November 7, 2011

At long last.

I've been looking for a hard-bound copy of My Name is Asher Lev - my favorite book - for over 10 years now.  I've searched high and low for a copy.  When I did actually find copies they were way out of my price range (being that it hasn't been printed in hard copy for a really long time).

I almost cried for joy when I struck literature gold on Saturday at the book sale at our local library.  We had wandered in to the basement of the library on my way up to find a copy of this month's book club book - The Alchemist.  And it was there, in the depths of library basement, after looking at every book on the fiction aisle for an hour, that I found it.  High on a shelf in the top corner.  At last.  My Name is Asher Lev.  And the price?  $1.00. 

It was serendipity!  I snatched it up and protectively (greedily even?) carried it around with me while Blake and I each collected a rather embarrassingly high stack of books. 

Over the next hour we filled an entire moving box with beautiful books for just $29.00 (!).  We picked up beautiful leather-bound copies of Virgil, Frost, Anderson and Hemingway along with newer (almost untouched) copies of Dan Brown, Michael Lewis and Cormac McCarthy.  The pretty books complete our living room bookshelves where we can enjoy their beauty and the recent best-sellers reside in the library where they'll become tomorrow's metro/commute entertainment. 

But my favorite?  It's up in the top corner of the shelf: a reminder of where I found it.  And though the spine is rather plain, I think it's the most beautiful of all.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NYC Hallow-eat'n

 Last Saturday we took a quick over-night trip up to NYC with Whitney & Rob and Logan & Janelle to see the sights, and more importantly, eat the eats.  Our whole trip, after all, was planned around food.

Early Saturday morning we piled into the family-sized SUV (generously lent to us by Whitney's parents) with a big bag of Trader Joes' treats and high spirits.  After making a quick stop at Chez Mac for some hash browns and egg mcmuffins we were on our way.

We may have made a wrong turn that took us trough Philadelphia and we may have gotten caught in a full-blown blizzard, but we adventurers were not discouraged. 

Our first stop was Grimaldi's in Brooklyn for the perfect slice.  I'd never been to Brooklyn before and was excited to spend some time under the snow-covered Brooklyn bridge.  The best part? The horrible weather was fabulously timed: no line at Grimaldi's! 

We gobbled a large pepperoni and a large garlic-and-basil and rolled off to SoHo to shop.  The miserable weather turned New York into a ghost town.  Well, as much of a ghost town as I've ever seen it.  Everyone was safely staying indoors.  After soaking our clothes freezing our hides off for an hour or so we decided to call it quits and go check into the hotel. 

Janelle snagged us a wonderful deal on a nice hotel in Midtown. It was perfectly located, very clean, roomy, and...freezing cold!  The heat was broken for the entire hotel!  I would have never thought that possible for a nice hotel...but alas.  Blake came to our rescue by finagling free hot coco, extra blankets, and a $200 credit to the hotel's restaurant - free of charge to compensate for the frigid temperatures in our rooms.  So that night we merrily drank our free hot chocolate and then dined like kings at the buffet the next morning.  (Thanks, Blake!)

We spent more time drying off and thawing out after a delicious Mexican dinner at Dos Cominos and then went to sleep fraught with anticipation for the next day, which promised to bring with it more sunshine and less/no snow. 

Sunday was chilly, but with clear and sunny skies.  We shopped and photographed around the city for several hours before heading to the Brooklyn Flea (a longtime dream of mine) where we, you guessed it, shopped some more. 

All this shopping was followed by more eating.  Specifically, lunch at Dumont Burger (after unsuccessfully trying to get into Pies n' time!) and then a quick stop at Dewey's before wistfully heading back to DC.

It was a grand (fattening) weekend.  Here's photographic proof:
 Above: 1. The Adventurers brave the blizzard.  2. A view of the NJ turnpike in the blizzard.  3.A clear, sunny view of the NY skyline on our way to the Brooklyn Flea.

Above: 1. The perfect chocolate bar at Dewey's.  I couldn't agree more.  2. Chocolate by the Bald man in Bryant Park.  3. The perfect slice at Grimaldi's under the Brooklyn Bridge.  4,  The Adventurers at Dumont Burger in Williamsburg.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Buy your own Beyonce.

One of my favorite blogs of late is The Bloggess.  Yes, she's irreverent, but she's oh so funny. 

While we were at the Brooklyn Flea last weekend I couldn't resist taking a photo of these horrific metal donkeys which were somewhat reminiscent of Beyonce on what has become my favorite blog post of all time.  Lucky for Blake I bought neither these nor a slew of new towels.  In fact, I left completely empty-handed.

However,  if I were to buy one I'd buy the red one and name it Melvin.  Yes.  And Melvin could stand guard by Blake's clubhouse.

Hello, Melvin.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Freeze frame.

I give myself periodic mental breaks at work throughout the day to calm my frazzled nerves and to keep me sane.  I may be working late and working through lunch, but I try to at least get a couple two minute breaks in here or there.  I'll read the news, blog surf, blog compose, peruse mental floss for an interesting fact, or type a quick e-mail to a friend.

Today during my quick mental break my computer froze.  It froze right when my boss walked in and asked me to look up something for her in a database.  And what better photo to freeze on than this:

Perfect.  The article, of course, was titled "Best Dressed Penguins"  (you can find it here if you're interested in a mental break of your own).  How is it that the something that's helping me become un-crazy is also something that make other people think I am crazy.  Coincidence?  Or irony?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


A couple of weeks ago I set up Google Analytics on my blog.  This allows me to see who (roughly) is visiting my blog, how much they're visiting, where they're visiting from and the search terms they're using to get here.  It's fascinating information.

As it turns out, the most frequently searched term that people are using when they come across my blog is...wait for it...."old lady feet."  Yep, that's right, this post garners a large portion of my current readership.  Who would have thought I'd become an internet expert in something so important. 

Now you may be asking yourself: how does the foremost internet feet guru spend her weekends?

Well, since you're asking, I'll refer you to the photos below. 

I spent my time babysitting the cutest, nicest (etc. with all good superlatives) dog, Lucy and taking photos of Lucy alone and with her various canine pals.  It just so happened that Logan and Janelle were also dog sitting, so we brought Foxy and Lucy together.  It was love at first sniff.  Sure, Lucy thought Foxy was a squirrel and spent all evening trying to figure out why the squirrel was feistily batting her in the face with its small paws, but it was still love. 
We spent several unsuccessful minutes posing the dogs until we finally got the shot on the left below.  Big Lucy next to three-pound Foxy.  Gives me the giggles every time I look at it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

At the week's end.

It's been a really long week. In fact, it's been a really long month. The good news is that I only have 2 weeks left of working 2 jobs.  Dominique brought her baby (Dominic) in to the office yesterday to show him off.  He is darling.  So darling, in fact, that it almost makes me want to tell Dominique that she should take more time to be at home with him.  I said almost.  I'm not a masochist.  So, I'm counting down the days and hours until she returns and I'm back to one boss and one list of things to do.

I posted the below photo on instagram earlier this week with the caption "My office - a great physical representation of my current mental state."  And it truly is.  I've never felt so jumbled.

Not even chocolate cake for breakfast, pizza for lunch and a diet coke all day in between are doing it for me anymore. I'm in sore need of a relaxing weekend away from this place.

Thank goodness we get to have a weekend play date with Lucy while Rob and Whitney are out of town.  We are looking forward to walks in the park and pretending that we have our very own doodle.  You can't tell me that her face doesn't make all your stress melt away:

(Photo from Whitney's lovely blog.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sock Monkey

On our way up to Giant the other night to buy the essentials (apple cider and ice cream, of course!) we stopped at a red light and Blake started laughing hysterically.  So hard he was almost crying. 

I had no idea why, until, through his giggles, Blake pointed out that we were stuck behind and next to two Kia Sorentos.  Ahhh, Sock Monkey, I see.  Even just the thought of the sock monkey riding the mechanical bull was enough to make Blake laugh uncontrollably.

Never a dull or unhappy moment.  That's why he (Blake, not Sock Monkey) is the best.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cheery Chair

Blake and I had a restful, fun and productive long weekend.  I spent about 20 hours in the yard (for some of the results, hop on over to our house blog) doing fall cleaning, and also finally got around to photographing and uploading some of our latest projects. 

So, without further ado, I give you the throne:

I forgot to have Blake take a close-up of the nail-head detailing.  It looks really cool (pats-self-on-back).  The best part of it is that it came on a long spool and only requires that you nail in every fifth nail-head.  They're a pewter color and I think they show off the lines of the chair really well. 

The throne is going to permanently reside in the basement, but I haven't wanted to move it down there just yet.  I've kept it in our family room (where it doesn't match AT ALL) so that I can look at it just a little longer.

What do you think?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Golden Throne

Our neighborhood listserv is a wealth of information and furniture cast-offs.  Want to find an honest plumber or a dog sitter?  E-mail the list serv.  Want to get rid of a cat-pee stained wingback chair?  E-mail the list serv.

As I've mentioned before, I like to troll the listserv and our neighborhood streets for free finds.  I'd wanted to learn how to re-uphoster a chair for a while, but didn't want to spend much money acquiring the chair (seeing as I'd have to fork it over for fabric and other supplies).

A couple of months ago I hit the jackpot.  A neighbor a couple of streets over posted that they'd left a free wingback chair in their front yard for any takers.  I took it.  

We got it home and looked it over.  It was slip covered in a frilly yellow with blue piping.  Ugly.  And underneath was a thick creamy fabric stained with cat pee and who-knows-what-else.  Uglier.  In fact, the cushion was so gross that I threw it out alltoghter rather than keeping it to use as a pattern.

I should have taken pictures, but for some reason I never got around to it, so you'll have to take my word for it. 

When my mom came to visit we tackled the beast, or as I like to call it, the Throne.

We stripped away all of the old, disgusting, cat-dander infested fabric and batting.

And got it down to the bare bones:

 Then we used the old fabric as a template to cut out fabric from the new yellow and grey suzani Blake picked (he has really great taste!).  My mom is an engineer and is absolutely meticulous about having things line up exactly right.  This is great for me because I'm more of a "we'll see how it goes" sort of crafter.  So we agonized over every centimeter of the fabric to make it line up correctly through all of the seems. 

With our pieces cut, we began stapling and nailing the fabric to the hardwood frame.  My parents got me a staple gun for Christmas last year.  It's been invaluable and I consider it to be my version of Blake's power drill.  Who says women can't love power tools as much as the next guy?

As we neared completion we were both exhausted (and Blake, too, who we'd enlisted to help with our particularly difficult stapling needs). I now know why people pay hundreds of dollars to have someone else recover their furniture. It's backbreaking and tedious work. But it is so worth it. I've never done a project where I was more suprised at the results. The before and after were shockingliy different.

I am so happy with the way it turned out.  But you'll have to wait to see the finished product until I can get Blake to take a photo of it with his fancy camera.  The iPhone photo I took doesn't do it justice.   

Friday, September 30, 2011

Lockdown: the Georgetown Sequel

Back in April of the windowless era of Hogan & Hartson I wrote about my woes of the possibility of missing my lunch or dinner plans due to a bomb threat.

Fast forward three + years to an exterior office with windows.  And here I am  in the new-and-improved era of Georgetown Law sitting at my desk grateful for the fact today's lockdown didn't disturb my lunch plans (Friday is Craft Circle, which is very important you know). 

I got the pre-recorded phone message in the middle of a knitted stitch, looked around to see that everyone else was looking at their various electronic devices and comparing notes, thought, "hmm, a man on campus with a rifle, hmm, maybe I should get away from the windows....these booties are cute," and then went back to knitting and eating my cheesy baked macaroni. 

And I think I have to agree with my 2008 self.  Yes, everything really is about food.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Great Falls

My Mom was here visiting over the weekend.  It had been 9 months since we'd last seen here and it was wonderful to be able to spend time with her (even if it was only 4 short days!).

Our main project was recovering a Queen Anne Wingback chair that I'd snagged from one of our neighbors discard (read: trash) pile a while ago.  My Mom is nothing if not industrious and is brilliant at figuring things out - even how to correctly situate patterned fabric on a curved chair so that it all comes out right.  In a word, she's amazing. 

I'll post pictures of that transformation later.  But for now, here's a couple of photos from our visit to Great Falls on Sunday.  The weather was unseasonably hot and humid and you can tell from the pictures below that I was also unseasonably hot and humid as a result.

Speaking of Great Falls.  I saw one of the best I've ever seen last week.  I still get a giggle fit now and again thinking about it.  But before I tell you, please make an effort not to judge me.  Yes, I'm mean.  But it was so funny.

I walked out of the metro last week and saw a girl get ot her vespa and begin to pull away from the bike racks.  As she started slowly riding off, I noticed that her sweater was still caught in the bike rack and was unraveling as she went. 

Unravelling, unravelling, unravelling, until it hit a snag (or maybe a knot in the fabric).  And - I swear this was in slow motion- the snag snagged the girl and pulled her to the ground with her vespa on top of her.  It was a situation straight out of the Three Stooges.  And here I was thinking that that type of slap-stick situational comedy didn't actually happen in real life.

I wanted to burst out laughing on the spot.

But before you think me totally depraved and indecent, I can assure you that I held my giggle and ran up to her to make sure she was ok.  She was fine.  Not a scratch on her even.  She was, however, extremely embarrassed and a little huffy that I'd asked her if she wanted help in righting her scooter.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Reality TV

This photo is making the rounds online and I couldn't agree with it more.  Though, I'd probably change it to say: "A book commits suicide every time you watch reality TV."

And no, Jeopardy does not count as reality TV.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A reason to pat myself on the back.

Yesterday on the metro I saw a man pick his eye with his pinky and then eat what he'd found there.

And I thought to myself: I may not be in shape, and I may never do my hair, but at least I'm not eating my own bodily excretions on the metro.  I'm doing alright.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Land of the Living

I am back in the land of the living (sort of) and back to a mile-high stack of work in the office. 

I'm trying to de-stress by periodically looking at photos from our Labor Day weekend at the lake.  The first day we were there the weather was perfect for a sunset ski.  Lest you get the wrong idea: I do not ski.  Blake skis.  And I am in charge of the photo-taking (in this case, with Blake's iPod).  I'm not one for being dragged behind a machine at high speeds (i.e. I'm a chicken), but it sure is fun to watch a pro. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Other than the horrible things - like the constant coughing, the fatigue, and the I-might-be-dying sentiment, there are two definitive perks to having bronchitis:

1.  My abs are now rock hard.  I've coughed enough to get a great workout and tight abs...just in time for the end of swimsuit season.

2.  I made it through my entire "instant queue" on Netflix.  I am now very familiar with every classic-novel-turned-movie-or-BBC-miniseries ever made.  And after watching so much Jane Austen, at least I could be grateful that I had only bronchitis and not consumption.

Here's to a new week...without any manner of itis.

Friday, September 2, 2011

An Ecological Quandary

Lately, Georgetown has really stepped up its so-called Green Initiative.  I like to think of it as more of a Guilt Initiative.

Three weeks ago they changed the signage on all garbage bins.  There are double-bin units all over the place that used to say - discreetly- "garbage" and "recycling."  Now those same bins read in big, bold letters, "RECYCLING" and "LANDFILL." 

Geeze.  That's enough to make me want to wear a nylon stocking over my face to mask my identity every time I throw something in there. 

And just when I'm recovering from the guilt at having contributed to the landfill problem and the eventual ecological downfall of our entire planet, I wander into the bathroom where the towel dispenser is stocked with horrible, thin, useless paper towels.  The type where you have grab a handful in order to do any true hand-drying. 

But three weeks ago, along with the landfill signage, came stickers on every paper towel dispenser that says, authoritatively, "Remember, these come from trees!" 

Now, I'm all in favor of saving trees, preserving the rain forests and whatnot, but I also need to have dry hands after I used the restroom at work.  I do not want to wipe my hands on my business casual, and I definitely don't want to leave droplets on my keyboard. 

Sometimes, when I'm in a really spiteful mood and feeling particularly emotionally manipulated by the Guilt Initiative, I'm tempted to take my large handful of used paper towels out into the hall to throw them specifically into the LANDFILL.  But I don't.  Because, gosh darn it, the Guilt Initiative actually works.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Everybody's Workin' for the Weekend

I enjoy rewards.  Like a big milkshake on a Friday if I've eaten healthily all week, or a sprite zero break after mowing the front lawn. 

But I especially love rewards when they come in the form of a weekend at the lake.  The only thing standing between me and Winni is this horrendous first week of classes.

I think I can, I think I can....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

25 going on 15

Just a snippet from the conversation I had with the RCN salesman when I answered my door last night:

Him: "Hi hun, are your Mom or Dad home?"

Me:  pause pause.  trying to give him the stink eye, but mostly just embarrassed...  Ummm.  I own this house.

Him:  laughing   Really?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5.9 on 8.23

I knew today was going to be an interesting day right after I'd finished my sugar cookie-and-diet coke breakfast.  Usually I have granola with yogurt and keep it at that, but today was special.  (Any day with free treats is special in my book).

I made it through a large portion of my morning to-do list and headed off to a lunch of leftover pot stickers and rice.  After my pot stickers, three sips into my seltzer water, and mid-way in chapter 7 of Cold Sassy Tree, I started to get motion sick.  This happens to me more often than I'd like to admit, and I thought it was just the large man that happened to be walking by me at the time.  I couldn't believe how hard he was walking.  And how much vertigo I was experiencing.

Then he walked away and the booming didn't stop.  Then the booming did stop and the swaying started.

Note to future self: when the walls of the office look like jello, don't spend 20 seconds looking around and above you to see what, if anything, could fall on you before hiding under your lunch table.   Just hide under your lunch table.  Even if it means your slip shows because you're wearing one-of-those dresses today.

Instead of hiding under the desk, I did what any other seasick-stricken person would do and became a lemming and followed the crowds outside.

Georgetown evacuated and shut down its buildings.

So we spent half an hour in the hot sun, vying for shade and listening to the people from California tell us what pansies we all are.  Then we got the good news (well, good for me) that those who already had their belongings could leave for the day.  Those who didn't have their necessities and/or who had a car parked in the underground garage, were not let back into the building and had to stick around to wait until it was declared safe to enter.

Because I'd been at lunch, I had my purse and quickly left to try to beat the masses to Union Station.

Well, I didn't beat the masses.  There was a seething 40-foot-deep wall of humanity surrounding Union Station when I got there.  The entrance to the station was closed and not one of the 50 or so police providing crowd control could tell us anything about the state of the metro.  Blake reported by phone that the metro was still open, though operating under "Emergency" protocol and not going above 15 mph.  Still, they didn't give any information about station closures etc.

So I waited there in the hot sun with 10,000 other sweaty Washingtonians and a street preacher who, carrying a large bible, screamed in my ear that the end is 'nigh and I need to repent.

After 15 minutes or so, I'd had quite enough of the "you're going to hell" business, so I walked back to Georgetown where I could at least sit in the shade with people I knew.

When I did finally make it on the metro an hour later, it was packed cheek-to-cheek and face to sweaty face.  You know what though?  People were fairly pleasant.  I am always impressed at how well people come together when disaster strikes.

A man who works facilities at the White House was standing near me giving some tourists a lengthy and wordy virtual tour of the White House: "so, when you walk in past the situation room and on the way to the oval office, you'll see two Andy Warhol paintings...and I've always thought that in the event of a natural disaster, I'd sneak in and steal those two...and oh, I carved my name in the ceiling next to the stained glass, but I won't tell you what my name is because I don't want to get in any trouble."  And, my personal favorite anecdote from the ride: "I was at an inaugural dinner and was seated next to Tom Selleck.  We were all drinking red wine and having a good time.  But ol' Tom, he tucked the whole table cloth into his shirt when he tucked in his napkin and when he stood up to give a toast, he brought the whole table cloth with wine and all."

In between his verbose stories, two people next to me on the train collapsed from heat exhaustion and had to be dragged off the train and resuscitated.

Good times on the metro.  Good times.

I got home to my Blake just 45 minutes before I would have normally gotten home. It was a long, sweaty, foot-blistered afternoon and I've never been happier to be sitting safely on the couch resting my feet with my Blake.

Monday, August 22, 2011

1 week down, 11 to go.

Georgetown gives 12 weeks paid maternity leave.  This is great for my (don't get any ideas here) future, but not so great for my present.

While my colleague is on her much-deserved maternity leave, I'm covering two jobs.  Unfortunately for my stress-level, it makes the most sense for me to do so.  I know the databases that she works with and am familiar with a lot of her job duties.  However, I am now tasked with working with adjuncts and full-time and visiting faculty (think: Lions and Tigers and Bears! Oh My!).

Last week was crazy.  Several new and unanticipated projects reared their ugly heads.  We made it through the new faculty orientation luncheon that I'd been planning for months.  And Jimmy left.  It was all such a blur.

I'm trying really hard to stay sane and take it a day at a time.  I survived last week (barely) and after sleeping in on Saturday and a three-hour nap yesterday, I think I'm ready to face the week. 

Speaking of yesterday.  We had a horrific thunder storm.  Lighting struck just down the street from us accompanied by thunder so loud that it shook the house and set off all of the car alarms.  We watched nature's violence and House Hunters from the comfort of our couch...until that Goliath lighting took out our power for the rest of the afternoon. 

But have no fear, staring at a blank TV screen gave me the push I needed to get up and get productive.  Productivity in general makes me smile, and I can't help but grin from ear-to-ear when I look at the progress below. 

The wall above our couch has been blank for the past (almost) two years since we moved into the house.  Wow! Has it really been that long?  We've been busily collecting antique maps with a gallery wall in mind.  Two weeks ago, when our collection was complete thanks to the Courthouse Flea, we went to pick out frames and matting.  Two weeks later, here is the finished product:

In case you were wondering:
Top (left to right): Paris circa 1910, France circa 1871, Rome circa 1910
Bottom (left to right): London circa 1870, Washington DC circa 1890.

There is nothing better than seeing a project come together even better than you'd imagined. 

I'll be posting more (real/ non iPhone) photos on our house blog, but for now I'll enjoying looking at this photo every time I get stressed. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Linguistics v. English

I will never regret getting a degree in Linguistics, but it's times like these when I wish I'd put more emphasis on spelling and less on theoretical syntax.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Old Lady Feet

Blake and I finally got around to spending some of our birthday money.  We purchased ourselves the gift that keeps on giving (or taking, if you're counting personal poundage): running shoes.  I haven't had new running shoes in more than five years (don't judge me).  My old running shoes should have been retired several years ago and weren't doing my terrible feet any favors.

So, after much research and without further ado, I present to you my newest shoe acquisition: the Asics Gel Foundation.

Check out the description:

Looking for a motion control shoe that can deliver the goods? Well look no further as you have come to the right place. The Foundation 9 is similar to its predecessor with minor updates. With an increased midsole density, the Foundation 9 provides better support and durability for runners. To sweeten the deal, Asics has added a bunion widow to provide the runner with a little extra room. This is the shoe of choice for runners with low to flat arches. You can count on the Foundation 9 to get you though all your daily runs.

Low to flat arches? Check.

Bunion?  Check.

Feet of a 75-year-old?  Check.

(sigh) They had me at bunion widow. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Taste of Georgetown

Yesterday was the Georgetown Law staff BBQ.  Jimmy and I spent an hour and a half eating to our hearts' content and chatting with some of our fun colleagues.  This year's theme was  "On the Boardwalk."  Complete with ice cream, salt water taffy, mounds of fudge (which, note to caterers, is not the best dessert to serve outside in 95 degree weather), and a photo booth. 

In hindsight - and in the sight of the below pictures - it may have been better for me not to eat that extra slab of fudge and the snickers ice cream bar. 

Jimmy and I made use of the photo booth.  I thought that black-and-white would hide some of my imperfections, but unfortunately it couldn't quite hide the double-chinned frumpiness that was yesterday.  Apparently we were supposed to be making silly faces in the first one.  I didn't get the memo, and decided to just have chipmunk face.  Oh well.

As Jimmy said, "this is the best day of the summer.  I just ate for an hour and a half straight!"  That's right, Jimmy.  Georgetown will miss you, too.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Case FOR the Mondays.

My day started off ugly.  I woke up late-ish, dropped my phone down the stairs, tipped over my box of toiletries in my closet, trudged sweatily to work in the oppressive heat, and then rolled my desk chair over my big toe as I sat down at my desk. 

You could say that things were not looking so good for me.

But then I opened my email and saw an email from Emily Henderson's (yes, the very same Emily Henderson from Secrets from a Stylist!)Media Manager informing me that I'd won the Jane Marvel jet-setter bag that Emily was giving away on her blog. 

This is a pretty big deal for me.  I've never won anything before.  Ever.  Never ever.  And, as I mentioned above, I wasn't exactly having what I'd call a lucky day.

I felt like standing up and screaming "curse broken! curse broken, people!" (a la Michael Scott in The Office), but instead I called Blake and emoted about the beautiful new purse heading my way - free of charge.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Do Baptists have more fun?

We walk by this church every morning on our commute.  And I always look forward to seeing its entertaining message. 

Some of my past favorites have been:
"God answers knee-mail"
"Seven days without prayer make one weak"

But the current one isn't too shabby either:

Just adding to the many reasons why we love where we live.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lessons in Home Ownership

Lesson #6,571:

When there is 20-year-old rust involved, just hire the plumber.  Spend the money and consider it a sunk cost. 

Alternatively, you could spend six precious hours of your Saturday hammering, sawing, destroying your skin with chemicals, screaming obscenities, and acquiring an intense back ache. 

I'll let you decide.

Friday, July 22, 2011

About how I feel today.

With the current heat index at 114 (!) I can't go outside for three minutes without becoming a sticky mess. 

Confession: our house is a 6 minute walk from the metro.  I drove to the metro today.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Don't Mess with Texas

On Saturday night we helped these lovely folks:

throw a going away party for these lovely folks:

 Chris and Maeve are moving to Dallas for business school and we couldn't let them go without having the best (and most delicious) Texas-themed party this side of the Pecos.  Parting is bitter, but partying is sweet.

Logan and Janelle hosted in their brand new and beautiful party room.  Janelle made the most delicious pulled pork (with root beer no less!) that I have ever tasted. 

I was in charge of the desserts...which is pretty dangerous considering I have a serious sweet tooth and don't have a stop-gap when it comes to treats.  The sweeter the better.  The fattier the better.   Mmmm...calories. 

 You can see the pastry cream parfaits in the left corner of the above photo next to the cupcakes.  And, because everyone loves a little food porn now and again: here's a close up of my "lone star" cupcakes. 

 Janelle came up with a delightful game of pin-the-star-on-Dallas.  This was especially exciting for me because Blake had never played pin-the-tail on anything and I had to explain it to him on the way to the party.  I was shocked as was Janelle, who asked "what? Was he never six years old?" (side note: I think I played pin-the-tail games at my birthday parties until I was about 14).

As luck would have it, Blake beat me by a long shot and I spent the rest of the night pouting and wishing that I'd told everyone that I hadn't played pin-the-tail before.  Oh well, so it goes: Blake wins some, I lose some.

I'm still having a hard time believing that Chris and Maeve are leaving.  We've tried our best to talk them into staying...and even considered calling SMU to ask them to create a satellite campus in DC...but no dice.  Luckily Dallas is only a short plane ride away and skype is only a short click away.  We'll miss you guys!