Monday, December 15, 2008

Yeah, I KNOW, okay?

So a few of you have hinted that I've been more than remiss in posting the photos...which is totally true. I feel like I have perfectly good reasons for taking my time that I don't really need to explain - suffice to say, I am a busy girl that is looking forward to holidays. Holidays in which there will be no freaking soap orders to fill, or cookies to bake, or laundry to put away...all of that. Without further ado:

My sweatshirt, unworn:

Gina, posing:

Group shot, where you get my full ensemble.

Despite all the puff paint work, I think the furry Target socks are actually the highlight, no? Wella the puppy dog is clearly amazed at our holiday spiritedness. Note that my tinsel collar lasted about 15 minutes until the itchiness wasn't worth the kitsch factor at all.

I hope they lived up to the hype :).

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Party Like it's 1985

So as you may have gathered elsewhere, Gina and I have embarked on a lesser known (these days, anyway) art form known as "puff paint." Now, we didn't just take this up as a hobby (but truly, I spend enough time at the craft store trolling for yarn that it's not all that far out as a possibility), but because we are invited to an after-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Party/Ugly Holiday Sweater Party. We tried to just buy some hideously Christmasy sweaters at Kmart, but alas, they weren't out yet. Kandi later informed me that they would be out after Thanksgiving had passed, or at least that's when her mother buys them. So file that away for future reference.

Anyway, since I do spend a decent amount of time at the craft store, and was the proud owner of many a puff paint sweatshirt in grade school, I decided that this was the best route for the both of us. And boy, was I right. Turns out, Gina and I are puff paint artistes. Which is actually rather tragic, because there is really nothing less useful than to be good at puff painting a shirt. I mean, of all the things to have been innately good at, I probably would have gone with something else. Like the violin, or maybe oil painting, or even tap dancing...but I digress.

All this is to say, the shirts are in progress, and pictures will be posted. I just have to sew the tinsel trim on, and mine's all finished. Yes, you read correctly. I challenge anyone to come up with a more awfully cheesy Christmas sweatshirt than Gina or myself. Gauntlet, thrown.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Also, Unbearable Cuteness

Brianna and Daniel. Note that I'm acting as a spotter while taking the photo, not because Bri couldn't hang, but because he is so very chubby and heavy and still flails a bit every now and then, and we didn't want any dropped baby disasters.


Some of my favorite quotes from my unplanned trip to Texas:*

Me: And Jaime is coming you remember Ebony's friend Jaime?
Brianna: Yeah! She can stick out her tongue and touch her nose! And she has a house with stairs in it!
(Oh to be remembered for such awesome facts. Seven is a great age.)

Overheard from a lady nearby at the nail salon: Yeah, he thinned out my hair last time I went in for a cut.
Elly, later: What I don't understand is why are you going to thin out your hair if you're just going to poof it all up anyway?!
(One of the great Texan mysteries)

Lindsey, eyeing baby booties I knitted for friends: Oh my gosh, these are so cute! Make me something! What are you going to make me? Ooo, make me a hat! I would love a hat! Or socks! Make me socks! Wait, I hate socks. Don't make me socks.

*Perhaps to be updated as I remember more things.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Guest Blogger Through Paraphrase

Yeah, it's been a while since we've had one of these.

This comes from the fabulous flatmate, Gina (who I would refer to as a roommate, but that's kind of untrue, since we each have our own room, you know?). Gina was in a wedding last weekend, and had the following conversation with the groom, henceforth referred to as "F", the night before the wedding:

G: You know, it might not be a bad idea to get her a card or something tomorrow.

F: No! We agreed there would be no presents! No presents!

G: Yeah, but just a card! A card would be nice.

F: Fine. So, uh, do they make "I'm Going to Marry You Today" cards?!

G (muffling laughter): ... ... ... I think a regular "I Love You" one will do the trick.

F (relieved): Cool.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Are those cheeks edible or what?
(Baby Daniel, 8 weeks old)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Dire Warnings

I've been rather chuckly lately over the widely varying personal political views that I'm exposed to as a side effect of my life. The consistent theme that intrigues me the most is the need to impart the IMMEDIATE DANGER which I would face should _____ win the election. It comes from both sides in pretty equal amounts. So apparently it doesn't matter who I vote for, since the world's going to end either way.*

*Ha, kidding. I know it matters. But it's none of your business, that's for sure.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

And so it begins...

Me: What are you up to in there?
3 year old: Um...good?
Me: I believe the phrase is 'no good.' Nice try though.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fun Things to Do While on a Conference Call*

*But for me, "Fun Things to Do While Drinking Coffee and Having a Break Between Tasks"...lord knows I don't need anymore spaciness while on the phone.

Anne tagged me for this, and I aim to please. And I really like the idea of a quick break in an otherwise hectic day, so it's an easy sell.

Three Names You Go By
1. Rachel
2. Rach (or as Albert liked to spell it phonetically "Raytch")
3. Ellie

Three Parts of Your Heritage
1. Scottish (one assumes, based on the last name?)
2. German (SO MANY Germans)
3. Um...probably some English in there too, we'll go with that

Three Things That Scare You
1. Large rats (several hang around my workplace...shudder)
2. Heights (specifically those in which there is the slightest possibility I might fall off)
3. Most recently, the bad guys in Serenity (suggest not watching while your roommate is gone and it is very dark and quiet)

Three of Your Everyday Essentials
1. lotion
2. mascara
3. NPR

Three Things You Are Wearing Right Now
1. Lime green cardigan with white polka dots (today's "preppy" day, didn't you hear?)
2. Brown wedges
3. "Philosykos" by Diptyque (yum!)

Three of Your Favorite Bands or Musical Artists (at the moment)
1. The Weepies (obvious, I know)
2. Coldplay (particularly Viva la Vida)
3. Feist

Three Things You Want in a Relationship (other than Real Love...
was the "Real Love" Anne's addition or in the original?...also, how dorky do I feel answering this one?)
1. Lots of laughing
2. Ability to be myself
3. Terrible, terrible poetry written in my honor (a song would work too, preferably on acoustic guitar, bringing us right back to #1).

Two Truths and a Lie
1. I have never been to Disney World.
2. I can scarf raw oysters by the plate load.
3. I really enjoy sappy love poems.

Things about the Opposite Sex that Appeal to You (again with the dorky teenage angst prompts...)
1. Friendly, open face (smiling helps)
2. Good cologne or smell in general
3. Oy, I don't know...having "the smarts" as Roxie would say...

Three of Your Favorite Hobbies
1. Knitting/crochet
2. Dancing
3. Movie watching

Three Things You want to do really badly right now
1. Leave as though it's Friday even though it's Wednesday
2. Find a quiet sunny place with a little breeze to finish my book
3. Eat lunch (tummy is growling)

Three Places You Want to Go
1. Boston (and more of the NE in general...Boston in November for sure though!)
2. Quebec (tentative 30th Birthday plans, who's in?)
3. Tunisia (or any of the other North African/French speaking countries, aka Maghreb)

Three Things You Want to Do Before You Die
1. Become conversant in a non-Western language
2. Visit the seven natural wonders of the world
3. Drive across the U.S.

Three Ways that you are stereotypically a Chick/Guy
1. Rarely leave the house without some form of makeup on
2. Scarily good at shopping
3. Can talk on the phone with other girls for HOURS about very little

Three people I would like to see take this quiz
1. Ebony (I'm totally going to guess at your answers ahead of time and see how many I get right)
2. Joi (because you tag me for everything, and turnabout is fair play :)
3. Stephanie (you haven't updated in a while...good excuse!)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Adventures in Cooking

I decided about a month ago to get a wine subscription from The idea was that I would have an opportunity to learn a little something about wine selection, what I like/don't like, what goes well with certain food, etc. I've only had two shipments so far (so 4 bottles of wine), and have only managed to drink one bottle, so I can't really give you any updates as to my budding career as a oenologist.

But each of the little sheets that come with the wine do have a list of food that would be a good match. In my first box, I got a bottle of pinot grigio that was recommended to go with fresh tomatoes or seafood. I immediately thought of a dish my dad makes that is excellent - shrimp with goatcheese on top of pasta and tomato coulis. I have yet to reach the stage in cooking where I can create a recipe, but I at least have excellent memory recall and my dad's phone number.

So the first step in this process was to buy shrimp that were large enough to butterfly. I was thwarted on several grocery store attempts due to my night-owl tendencies (did you know they empty the seafood counters after 9 pm or so?), but yesterday finally made it to the grocery store near work during my lunch hour. The only shrimp available where still fully shrimp - little alien looking buggers with the heads still on them and everything. But as shrimps go, they were quite large and on sale. We have a winner!

Last night I got them home and began the cleaning process. I was supposed to get help from the internet, but plans to google "how to clean whole shrimp" were thrown off by our wireless going on the fritz. Here they are, still intact and all:

(take me to your leader...)

I've spared you the photo details of what transpired next, but basically I had to remove their heads. And I was unclear where the body ended and the head started, and this innard stuff squished out and I had to do the "ewwwwwwwww" dance around the kitchen for a minute.

So here they are now, all nice and headless, though not totally clean just yet. I'm pretty meticulous about getting out all of the little black veins, because those sort of gross me out too. As I was sitting there with my paring knife, I thought about the interesting conversation possibilities this presented: "What did you do last night?" "I disemboweled some shrimp. You?"

All nice and butterflied and ready for the filling and the oven:

And ta-da! The final dish, with one shot of the wine as well:

I was pretty hungry by the time I was finished, so I'm not sure I fully appreciated the mix of the wine and the chosen meal...but I still have 6 more shrimp left, and now that I have a better idea of what I'm doing, I'm going to give it another try tonight.

Monday, August 25, 2008


You know those little moments that make you want to stretch out and sigh with content? These are mine lately:

1. Fresh, clean sheets on my bed.
2. Oscillating fans.
3. A growing pile of completed "to make" projects.
4. Fruit-infused herbal tea.
5. Pictures of Ginger's baby.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Foodie Post

A few days ago, on the way back from a co-worker going away party, a few of us stopped in a nearby Belgian chocolate cafe, Locolat. We really only wanted some iced coffee and had been drawn in by the sign outside, but I had also been wanting to check it out for a while. Not only was the coffee yummy and just the perfect way to counteract two glasses of sangria at lunch, the shop itself was full of gorgeous little chocolate candies. We had just STUFFED ourselves with pseudo-Mexican food, so sampling was not really going to happen, but I vowed to come back and play later on.

Fast forward to a few days later, when I'm off to get a little something for a friend for her birthday, and thought hmm, wouldn't a little box of Belgian chocolates be just lovely? I also needed to get some lunch, and was planning to wander around afterwards in the neighborhood to find something. But no need, as they had savory waffles on the menu, covered in all sorts of goodies. Behold, the waffle:

What you see above is prosciutto, parmesan, and arugula on top of a parsley and spinach waffle, drizzled with some sort of mayo/herb/dressing concoction. It was really good - not too heavy, perfect little lunch, and reasonably priced. I didn't get a sweet waffle (that filled me up just fine), but chances are good I'll be back.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

So Yesterday

I started off the morning with a little research on adoption in the U.S. - honestly nothing too interesting, mostly just how adoption agencies receive their licenses (still no idea, really). Somehow that led me to foster homes in the U.S., and then to the recent FLDS case in Texas (some of you will know of my ongoing fascination with this, I can't even explain why). Then I jumped to the Southern Poverty Law Center, because apparently they list FLDS as a "hate group," which struck me as sort of odd, not because I am any sort of fan of the FLDS and the underage marriage of vulnerable girls, but they always seem like the sort of folks who keep to themselves, and in my mind, a hate group implies at least some interaction with the hated groups in question.

So then there is a map on the center's page where you can see where the groups they list are located, and of course I have to check out both Texas and Virginia. I get most of the categories, but was baffled by a few before reading (Christian identity? Radical traditionalist Catholic?). I'm also a little surprised by the apparent ideological differentiation in skinhead groups, although sadly not too shocked at the number of them.

Then I had a meeting, in which I found out that in Hot Springs, Arkansas, there's not only a gangster museum, but also a Mid-America Science Museum - a title which also puzzles me a bit. Because they're in the middle (sort of)? Because they present science in a manner to be understood by "middle" Americans?

To round out the day, I read this article, which then led me here, to look at the idea of "feral" children.

Then I got an email from my boss that included a link to a Congressional testimony in which the organization I work for is repeatedly mentioned, and not in a happy way. It's not a big thing really, but it's still a bit odd to be singled out, when normally we just lay low, do the work we do, and generally receive some occasional praise for the attempt to create better understanding between different cultures. We've also apparently been featured in a Robert Ludlum novel that alleges we train spies here along with other illicit activities and clandestine meetings, which while it would be cool, is unfortunately not at all true.

Such an odd day.

**Edit: It occurred to me later that the above wasn't terribly clear in a way: I think the SPLC is pretty awesome and does good work - I even heard one of their people give a speech when I was at a work conference in Huntsville, AL. So any of the confusion related to what exactly denotes a hate group would be my issues, not theirs :).

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Vegas: The Portraits

(Ridiculously good-looking, even in a tiny hat)

( Step off my shoes! Don't make me come over there...)

(There's a subtle difference in being danced WITH and being danced ON)

(Lobster paws!)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Vegas Saga Cont'd, Part III

I'm totally finishing the story with this one, I swear. I'm a little over writing about it...

We sleep in again (I think we rolled in around 3 am...4 am...? gah, I forget now) and as this has been designated the day o' shopping, go directly to the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. Coffee is procured (for me, anyway) and we hit the stores. Hard. After we wander and shop and such for a bit, we find a sports bar, and Ebony finally gets her hot wings (do you also hear the "Hallelujah Chorus" in the background?). We also get really awful other food, like potato skins, jalapeno poppers, and cheese fries. In hindsight, we're lucky we don't die of artery blockage on the spot. Delicious.

Back to shopping some more, and then we call it quits (after a good haul, mind you). As the Eiffel Tower (or "Tire" depending how Texan you're feeling that day) drinks were such a blurry hit last summer, we walk down to the Paris hotel to buy some, only to find they've been out of the drink holders for weeks. Sigh. We still head in and frolic a little in the coffee shop, where the sorbet is plentiful and tasty.

(At Ebony's request, we are being "silly." For instance, Aleta's pretending to drink coffee out of a creamer...)

For this evening, Aleta has elected to go to a Coldplay concert, and Ebony, Gina, and I decide to walk to the Bellagio and see the flowers and fountains. The fountains are so cool that we stay and watch four performances. We also play in the flowers and take lots of photos of the cool glass ceiling, but I can't remember which came first.

(The white fuzzies are the fountains)

We then head to the club at the Bellagio (since we're there already), where we are forced to wait an absurdly long time. To get into a rinky dink, wannabe cool Vegas club. I am super done with the whole thing, apparently standing there with a very peeved look on my face, when the bouncer freakin' finally points to me and hauls the four of us in. I guess the trick is to look like you're going to walk away at ANY MINUTE. And then when we're inside, it's sort of boring. And crowded. The most interesting action comes when a guy is totally passed on a sofa, two stories downstairs from the main entrance (right next to the dance floor). We watch the bouncers try to rouse him for a while, and all of us wonder, "How the heck are they getting him out of here?" He is definitely not going to be walking, and dragging would be a huge pain. Solution: they roll over a wheelchair, throw him in, and head to the elevators. Genius!

We head out after a while (I am limping due to a poor but yet totally awesome leg-enhancing shoe choice), play a few slots since we haven't gambled at all really, and we are in the capital of gambling, and eventually call it a night.

Well sort of a night, since Ebony and Aleta have to leave for the airport at 4 am...we all nap at around 3 am, they leave, and then Gina and I crash for real.

Gina and I decide to go to a Mexican place for lunch, since she's craving it all week, and I really don't have much preference. We decide to go to the few hotels we haven't seen - the Luxor, Excalibur, and a few others. Weirdly enough, it RAINS on us. In the middle of the desert. All of the outdoor escalators immediately stop working, which is bizarre. As we have basically an afternoon to kill before the flight leaves at midnight, we hatch a plan to see a movie. Actually two movies, one in the afternoon, and one after dinner. We see "Wanted" (blah...wants to be cool like "Fight Club," comes not even close), and "Mamma Mia" (hilariously wonderful, but you gotta love some ABBA). We eventually share a cab to the airport with these two stereotypical Canadians (eh?) that may still be a little drunk. They are very entertaining. We debate our options of travel pillows for purchase and then eventually catch the flight home. Just in time for me to grab my suitcase and head to work for an opening (brilliant timing, ruins the rest of my week, no lie).

And that's Vegas! One more part, solely picture oriented, is forthcoming.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Vegas, Part II

Okay, so where was I...

We sleep in for real this day, although really we just give it the old college try and still roll out by 10, because we are 1) on east coast time, and 2) too damn old to be able to sleep until 1 pm our time (ain't it sad?). Ebony had the brilliant plan of renting a cabana by the pool that afternoon, but since we have a few hours to kill until then, we decide the best plan is to head to New York New York for some thick, cheesy pizza. Mmm, breakfast. Well in all honesty, I think I had some sort of coffee first, but maybe we really did just go straight for the pizza and beer. Did I mention we have beers? Yes.

So after that and a little browsing through the shops (Gina and I also pick up some Nathan's Hot Dogs for a later snack), we head to the pool. I of course cover myself in baby sunscreen (SPF 55, what's up!). We order cocktails and ice (water is included in our little mini-fridge, but it's not, and generally loaf away the afternoon. Aleta and Gina work in some actually tanning time out in direct sunlight. Ebony also avoids the sun - she doesn't want to get TOO brown, meanwhile were I to join we would all be headed down to the ER later that day for treatment. The shade and the pool and the misters are also very lovely.

We have reservations for dinner at Mesa Grill so eventually we head upstairs to shower and glam up. The meal at the restaurant is completely spectacular. I have the Green Chile Cioppino (I seriously wish, in hindsight, that I'd taken a picture of it. It was beautiful...and delicious). It comes with all sorts of gorgeous seafood, including a huge lobster claw. At some point, Ebony inexplicably refers to it as a lobster "paw" and we continue to refer to it as such for the rest of the trip. Just on the other side of the glass (as we are in a hotel) there's a huge statue of Joe Louis in fighting stance. No less than 20 guys of various ages stop to pose with him - we get in as many of their pictures as possible. Our obliging waiter takes our picture at the end of the night:

Poor man. We are lovely people to wait on (we are charming and like to eat, what's not to love?), but at the end of our meal, a trashy, trashy group is seated at the table next to us. By the time we leave, they have sent back a bottle of wine and a steak (to the tune of ~$150). I'm not sorry to leave them behind us.

So then we head to the bus, after having received detailed instructions earlier in the day about how to take it to the Hard Rock hotel. After riding the bus for about 45 minutes, and the getting dropped in the middle of absolutely nowhere, it becomes apparent that we have been misled. We hail a cab, and after 10 minutes of going in the totally opposite direction of where we originally headed, we arrive.
(Still on the bus)

(Gina and Ebony, too sexy for this bus)

Earlier we had read that they would giving away a ton of Betsey Johnson merchandise at the club, but by the time we arrive, we assume we've missed all that. As we wait in line, a girl walks up to Aleta and hands her a Betsey Johnson card with "6 1/2" written on it. She tells Aleta "Your name is Natalie Vaughn." Sweet. When we get inside, we grab drinks and start dancing. The music is pretty fun - the crowd is rather interesting. At whatever appointed time the shoe giveaway begins, Aleta heads to grab them. She comes back with the PINK platforms featured in my other post, which are sadly too small for her. Apparently several of the girls are going to trade later, so after a bit, we all head that way - Aleta for swapping shoes, and we could all use a little break from shakin' it. As we wait on her, Aleta informs us that they are just passing out the shoes to anyone, so of course we queue up, rattle off our various sizes, and walk away with FOUR pairs of crazy pink platforms. We have to dance with boxes the rest of the night, but it's totally worth it.

Nutty dance shots:
(I love how serious this guy is about his moves...Aleta and me, not so much).

Okay, this got way longer than I thought it would. Saturday and Sunday, coming in Part III!

Oh. My. Goodness.

Check this out. Maybe the most fabulous kitsch, ever.

Don't forget to look at the various room selection options.

Road trip, anyone?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vegas Trip, Part I

Okay, I can't quite figure out what to write, because so much happened. I'm going to just start with the general itinerary and then go from there.

We arrive at a late hour at the airport, all of us are starving. Grab a cab to our hotel, check-in takes about two years. Ebony is craving hot wings. We finally get to the room, decide on room service pizza, and make the call only to be informed that on Wednesdays only there is a reduced menu that does not include pizza. Curses. We eat in the greasy diner at the hotel and crash.

We get up early-ish to pick up our rental car for the Hoover Dam trip. We get to the rental car line to find that the guy has no paper on which to print contracts, and he's waiting for it to arrive. I wait in line (with my donut) while the others head to the bar for a little Vegas "breakfast."
Finally we get the car and head out of town. The drive is lovely - full of desert and mountains and blue skies. We get to the much-awaited Hoover Dam! Which is, if nothing else, super impressively huge. Also, we get hats as a part of our tour:

We spend an inordinate amount of time posing with them. We do all the educational touristy things, like watch the little movie, go to the observation deck, and finally take a tour through the dam itself. We also stop at Lake Mead on the way back to town.

We are, once again, starving. Ebony and Aleta still want hot wings. We end up eating in an adorable wine bar in Boulder City (no hot wings on the menu, unfortunately). We then head back to the hotel, all tuckered out from our field trip. Naps all around.

Later that evening, we decide to head to Fremont Street, which is not on the strip, but north (?) and full of older casinos and such. To me it looks much the same, except the buildings are shorter here. There's a huge light display on the roof that plays a cool montage of Queen music, but later in the evening plays a laughably suggestive number full of showgirls in various uniform costumes. Firewomen with hoses are included, if that gives you any idea. More hilarious than sexy in my mind, but that's veering off subject. We head back to the strip and top off in the evening in a piano bar. First full day is finished! More to come...

(Photo credits go to Ebony and Gina...I have some of Hoover Dam and environs, but then my batteries died, and they were both taking so many pictures I didn't see the need to replace them!).

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Preview

I just finished watching "Juno" in an attempt to stay awake and get over lame west coast time jet lag. It did not disappoint, despite all of the hype.

So yeah, I went to Las Vegas for a few days. All in all, it was a pretty rockin' trip. Although my sleep schedule is now totally screwed...there's something about being there that makes you feel obligated to stay up until crazy hours (4 am, for instance), and combine that with three hour time difference (so really 7 am) and my poor inner clock has no freakin' clue what time it is supposed to be. Plus the red eye flight, which didn't help. And anyone that knows me also knows that I am girl that needs her sleep. So that's what I'm working on currently - re-entry.

There will be much, much more to come (I've already composed a "best of" portrait section in my head for the four of us that's going to be AWESOME). In the meantime, let me leave you with this:

Now what is this, you may ask? These are free shoes that were given to us in a club. They are very Elle Woods, and they make me about a foot taller. It's a rather ridiculous set up as to how we got them in the first place - honestly I'm still not really sure how it all went down in the end. But very PINK and fun.

So I'll leave you all with that as your tease for further updates...I'm off to bed for my second round of sleep today.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Whew, I've been away for a while. Sorry about that.

I made it back to Texas for a family get-together. It was a really good time - there were a couple of cousins that have babies that I've never even met before, and I hadn't seen most everyone else (that I had, in fact, met before) in ages. We are a loud, loud bunch, and I was feeling a little hoarse by Sunday, mainly because I'd spent all of Saturday shouting over everyone to join in the conversations. Crazy folks, but they are also good people.

Here we all are, in family portrait style glory.

My brother is still the tallest of the crew...not really sure how he managed that. Some highlights included eating and drinking lots and lots, cuddling with babies (well, really just the one in the red sleeves, the other one is a bit wiggly for cuddling, but still good for playing), and generally enjoying each other. The little guy in his dad's lap on the ground won the award for most injuries, the most spectacular of which was a header to the cement driveway. Luckily, he's three and feels little pain.

We're running into some issues with what the babies should call the older cousins. When I was little, all the adults were Aunt or Uncle So and So, but really I'm not an aunt to any of them, plus three of them already have an Aunt Rachel to confuse matters further. Any suggestions?

All in all, a very fun and worthwhile trip. Hopefully to be repeated next summer!

Monday, June 30, 2008

In my meeting this morning, the interpreter conveyed greetings from an artist I had done a program for last summer. Apparently they met up while she was in China. She said, "Oh yes! He very much remembers you - he said you're the one who looks like Venus in all the Renaissance paintings."

Ah yes, I'd forgotten about that one. Hell of a good compliment reminder with which to start my morning, though :).

Monday, June 23, 2008

As seen on the back of my ballet instructor's t-shirt, when she served as a stagehand for a production of Romeo and Juliet:

"If she would hurry up and stab herself, we could all go to the movies."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

[S]Oy vey

Do you ever have one of those days, where you've been running errands and then baking stuff for hours, and it's really late at night, and you've got everything put away and the dishwasher running, and you're in pajamas and all ready for bed, and decide that you'd like a glass of water, so you go into the dark kitchen without your glasses, and open up the fridge, and low and behold a jar of potsticker dipping sauce shoots out and explodes all over the floor? And the stuff in the jar is not quite liquid, so it won't absorb into towels, but not quite gooey enough to stay in one place for you to grab up? So you then go through like 20 paper towels and still end up with bits of sauce in every nook and cranny of the kitchen?

No? Hmm. Guess that's just me, then.

I even woke up smelling faintly of soy sauce and garlic, despite having thoroughly washed my hands (and feet...and ankles...).

Friday, June 20, 2008

Some random thoughts

I like online personality quizzes as much (okay, more) as the next person, but I've noticed two on facebook that I absolutely refuse to do: the "Which Jane Austen character are you?" and "Which Green Gables character are you?" I don't think I would ever truly recover if they told me I wasn't Elizabeth Bennet or Anne Shirley. I mean, I could probably engineer them to get the right answers since I've read both those books like 20 times each, but it's not really worth the risk, you know?

Gina watches Iron Chef America a lot. One thing that gets me every time is the beginning "Allez cuisine!" What the hell is he trying to say, exactly? Because "Go cook!" should be "Allez cuisiner!" and "Go the to the kitchens!" would be "Allez aux cuisines!" At least I think so. I have actually spent time looking for answers to this on the internet. If anyone has any help, I'd appreciate it. In other news, I'm still a giant dork, be it in English or French.

Anne and I signed up to take an Intro to Modern Technique class in July. Awesome blogging to come, promise. I'm excited at getting to throw myself around a la Martha Graham.

Friday, June 06, 2008

June 6, 2008, 10:15 pm, side yard

When was the last time YOU did a cartwheel?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Songs I've Been Rather Obsessive About Today

Great Lake Swimmers - Your Rocky Spine
The Weepies - Gotta Have You
The Weepies - Stars
Yann Tiersen - Comptine d'un autre: l'apres midi
Keren Ann - Liberty

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Took a hike

For my three day weekend, I ended up playing a whole lot and not at all catching up on sleep. It was totally great, but I needed to rest up from all the fun, and sadly I still had to come to work, so I was a leeetle tired on Tuesday. And drugged on sinus meds, which made for a very excellent combination that led to several sort of nonsensical work documents. Which I revised today.

My two most obvious weekend hangover issues are sore muscles and a mosquito bite on my ear (<-right?! but it itches like CRAZY!). Kandi and I (at my suggestion, mind you) went out to Front Royal and Skyline Drive and were very pumped about hiking a bit. I have a park pass, so entrance was free, and I was so excited about the whole thing that I even ended up buying a guide book of various hikes for the many, many return trips we would have. Kandi packed us a great little lunch (I contributed like two bananas and some's the thought that counts?), but we forgot one very, very crucial ingredient for a good hiking day.


Which is important always, but especially on May days that might be getting a bit hot and sticky and dehydration-inducing. But we were still optimistic about our abilities, and set off for what was supposed to be a 5-mile jaunt. Sadly we were not led very well by our lovely park ranger at the entrance, and missed one of our turns. This added some distance, which in my mind grew and grew in proportion to my thirstiness. At the time it felt as though we went roughly 12 miles out of our way, although in retrospect I think it probably added another mile at the absolute most. So I'm a little sore now, but not too terribly, and believe it or not, ready to try again soon-ish, before it gets unbearably hot. Besides, I still have like 40 more hikes to cross off in my little book!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Oh So Lovely

Hey kids, it's almost Memorial Day Weekend!

I know I should tell you that I have something patriotic or such planned, but mostly I'm looking forward to a relaxed weekend...a little shopping here, little seafood in Annapolis there, and hopefully lots and lots of sunshine. I need a little vitamin D in my life - this has been the winter that wasn't all that tough, but WILL NEVER END.

So no work on Monday! I'm heady with the riches of three days in front of me. What are your plans?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I Don't Consider Myself to Be a Super Feminist...

From a review of the upcoming Sex and the City:

"This movie will give female audiences a jolt of excitement in the same way that seeing Indiana Jones back in action will thrill male audiences this summer. City’s obsessed fans will force their husbands and boyfriends to take them to see the flick before catching it another couple times in theatres with friends."

...but um, screw you, dude. I'd much rather see Indiana Jones. As would many others. Perhaps I'm being a bit thin-skinned, but I resent female audiences being lumped in with Manolos and vacuous sex-obsessed tv-show-take-off movies. You sir, can suck it.

Friday, May 16, 2008

If the whole housing bubble crisis confuses you, check this out. It's a time investment, but totally worth it if you'd like to make heads or tails of what's going on.

**Addendum: It's a little scary though, so the result might make you want to curl into the fetal position and hide under the covers. Perhaps listening to this was not the *best* plan as I contemplate car loans?

Monday, May 12, 2008

So NOT kosher at the grocery store

As I looked down into my little basket, this combination made me chuckle:
I have clearly spent way too much time thinking about foreigners' dietary restrictions.

Friday, May 09, 2008


Okay y'all, so I tried to be all sly and just stick a little link off to the side there. But impatience is getting the better of me. It's a site for making your own mixtape! Online! Hurry up and get your domain name, and then email it to me. For real! Go go go!!

Overheard in my office...

A: "Hey, do you have a lighter?" (leaves, presumably to smoke)
B: "That's the curse of being a social smoker, everyone knows you have a lighter."
C: "Dude, you are not a social smoker."
B: "I am so."
C: "You spend most of the time smoking by yourself. That's the opposite of a social smoker."

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Texas Trip Wrap-Up

I made yet another pilgrimage to the Lone Star State, for yet another wedding. Based on current circumstances, this should be the last one I will need to go to for a while though - and actually I'm not whining, it's a great chance to see everyone and visit and have people ply me with wine and cake and yummy food. And because we're a bit over going to the clubs and such, it's a good opportunity to get a little dancing in :).

My first (very quick) stop was Houston, Texas. I know you're thinking, what? WHY? Yes, Houston is a bit gross and all, but it is the home of my lovely friend Ginger and her husband, James. She's all preggers and such now, so not only did I want to see their new house, but wanted to spend as much time with the typically tiny Ginger when she has a belly. She's still tiny everywhere else though, which I'm sure provokes much hatred in the waiting room at the doctor's office. At one point, we went to Target to register for things, which was a bit ridiculous, because we have absolutely no idea what babies need. I mean, we've both done some extensive babysitting, but when you do that, the mom already has all the necessities. There was a lot of "um, how many of these do you think we'll need?" "Beats me, just start zapping stuff..." Very productive trip, that.

We then drove to Austin for the wedding, all the while playing the "name that tune/artist challenge" for the 80's radio station. There were also wildflowers everywhere:
The wedding was very lovely - Sarah and Matt seemed very relaxed and happy...
and I got to put my wannabe seamstress skills to use in fixing bridesmaids' dresses. Brianna the flower girl was very cute (can you believe I babysat for her when she was two weeks old? Me neither...) and got to spend lots of quality time dancing with the big kids.

The next few days were mostly punctuated by lots of good meals and hanging out time. I finally broke down and bought myself some perfume. It was definitely time, since we calculated that Sarah gave me the least old perfume bottle I own about eight years ago...and I bought the others in college, so when I wear them, it's like eau de Rachel a 19 ans, which is an odd sort of throwback.

We celebrated cinco de mayo at Trudy's (north) with ridiculously cheap margaritas (at least, so it seemed to this DC gal - $3.50 each!? I'll take four! Wait...bad idea) and all of the yummy snacky Tex-Mex stuff I could squeeze in.

All in all a very lovely time. And now the crazies are planning a summer trip to Vegas, which I can state that I DO NOT HATE FOR THE FREAKIN' LAST TIME, because it's my blog. So there.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Critical Mass

On the train yesterday to BWI, cleaning out my purse to ensure it passes TSA's security standards:

A ziploc bag full to the brim of cancer sticks. This is my public record reminder that I do not need to even consider purchasing lip products for the next decade or so.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Conversation at the Dry Cleaner's

me, with one pant leg pinned: Yep, that looks good!

lady: Okay, ready Tuesday!

me: Do you need to pin the other one?

lady: Not unless you crooked!

me: ... good point.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Annapolis love (and kitsch)

Outside view of the staircase windows (mentally added in my dream house "to do" list).

People pay money to take these things home with them. Really?

View from the Bay Bridge, on the way to eat at the crab shack.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Better Than a Dog, Anyhow

See here for Charles Darwin's oh so awesome "to marry or not to marry" pro/con list.

(Via NPR, comme d'habitude.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why Knowing Some History is Important.

(Original here, via Sean)

If nothing else, let the fact that others will think you're an idiot be your motivation.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I just bought, for the first time in my entire life, a pack of cigarettes. I'm 28.

They were of course for someone else. Still the feelings of guilt and shame are setting in. Trying to think up some good deed to counteract the purchase.

I love the whole wide world!

I've been meaning to post this for a while. I love the Discovery Channel!

I also realized that, coincidentally, it's Earth Day, which I'm sort of indifferent to, but hey, I do like the Earth!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Reminder to Stop and Smell the Roses (or Listen to the Busker, as it were...)

Yesterday all the Pulitzers were announced, with one going to the Washington Post article, "Pearls Before Breakfast." The gist of it is that a Post reporter asked one of the world's greatest violinist to play classic concertos and such on his Stradivarius violin in a crowded Metro station during rush hour. I don't take the Metro these days, but if I did, I would go right through L'Enfant Plaza. Would I have stopped? Who can know...

(via NPR)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Sarah's list, published without permission :).

opening credits: "Maybe We Should Just Sleep On It" by Tim McGraw
waking up: "Winter Wonderland" by Johnny Mathis
first day at school: "Pennies from Heaven" by Billie Holiday
falling in love: "My Place" by Nelly featuring Jaheim (AWESOME!)
breaking up: "Covered in Rain" by John Mayer (so, the love songs are good)
prom: "Peace of Mind" by Boston
life’s okay: "Don’t Miss You at All" by Norah Jones
breakdown: "Holy, Holy, Etc” by Sufjan Stevens
driving: "I’m Gonna Love You Anyway" by Trace Adkins
flashback: "Slow and Low" by Beastie Boys
getting back together: "Someone Like You" by Van Morrison (appropriate)
wedding: "The Tiding" by Blues Traveler (not so appropriate)
birth of child: "We Carry On" by Tim McGraw (I hope not)
final battle: "Kokomo" by The Beach Boys (I can’t make that up)
death scene: "Typical Situation" by Dave Matthews Band
credits: "Thunder Road" by Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band (has a rockin’ harmonica intro)

This set up reminds me of something, but I can't put my finger on it...sort of like MASH meets iPod?

Self-Tagged Meme - Soundtrack

No one tagged me for this, I just came across it while playing. But it's fun, so I'm going to do it. Clearly I have a penchant for listing songs, so you all just going to have to bear with me.

Here’s how it works:
1. open your library (iTunes, winamp, media player, iPod)
2. put it on shuffle
3. press play
4. for every question, type the song that’s playing
5. new question — press the next button
6. don’t lie

opening credits: "Almost Like Being in Love"- Gene Kelly from Brigadoon (Aw, love this song!)
waking up: "Walking on Broken Glass" - Annie Lennox (also my 4th grade jazz class warm up song)
first day at school: "Canceled Check" - Beck (er, no idea...good song though)
falling in love: "Never Gonna Dance Again" - Wham! (not so much)
breaking up: "Adding to the Noise" - Switchfoot (okay...)
prom: "Schlindler's List Theme" - Williams (seriously messed up, category wise)
life’s okay: "The First Song" - Band of Horses (spot on)
breakdown: "A Good Man is Easy to Kill" - Beulah (awesome)
driving: "We Got the Beat" - Go Gos (I could drive to this)
flashback: "Let it Snow!" - Bing Crosby (no more snow, please)
getting back together: "Save Me From Myself" - Christina Aguilera (appropriate)
wedding: Black Wave/Bad Vibrations - The Arcade Fire (not so appropriate)
birth of child: Coming Home - Caedmon's Call (I love this whole CD, so yes)
final battle: The Little Things You Do Together - Sondheim from Company (so great)
death scene: Rocket Man - Elton John (why not?)
end credits: I Ran (So Far Away) - Flock of Seagulls (lots of 80's...)

Kind of stupid, in retrospect. But then I already spent all this time typing, so it's going up.

Since I wasn't tagged, I'm not going to tag anyone either. Play along if you're feeling it...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

2 bits, 4 bits...

I recently was sent a video on you tube that featured a woman explaining how to put on make up. The model appeared to be around 6, and the whole thing was part of some series about throwing a "modeling birthday party." Pretty stupid, if you ask me.

I was also recently working on compiling a little list (that will come by later, never you fear) inspired by this one. It's not as easy to do as you might imagine. While pondering moments that are truly happy standouts, especially when I was younger, I really remember unhappy ones more - times when I was sad or embarrassed.

For some reason I have a distinct memory of going to a particular birthday party. The party must have been for both a boy and a girl, because we were divided into groups. And what was the activity? Well, the boys played some sort of sport (baseball, maybe) and we were the cheerleaders. For real. They passed out little pom-poms and had cheers printed out for us, the whole works. I think I was maybe 6 or 7. To this day I think of it all with a little cringe. And I'm not entirely sure why, to be honest. Nothing terrible happened, and I actually don't have any problems with cheerleaders generally. Perhaps even at that age, I knew these were not my people. And not cheerleaders, because some of them are DEFINITELY my people, but maybe folks that thought a birthday party that introduced defined gender roles to first graders (with props!) was a good plan.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Gray and sleepy weather

Why oh why didn't I appreciate nap time back when it was both required and encouraged?

Thursday, March 27, 2008


(via Mighty Girl)


I knew that this ballet class thing was going to have an eventual result: one day, I would wake up, and every inch of me would hurt. So far I've only had the pleasant soreness of having done something active and slightly strenuous, but I hadn't really minded, because it wasn't that bad, and also I felt a sense of accomplishment, like "I've done something good for myself! Yay me!"

Class number seven was the magic one. I woke up this morning, and my first thought was "ouch." And that was before I had actually moved at all. So instead of "Yay me!" this morning was "Yay Tylenol!"

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Don't you just love when you buy stuff online and then a week later, you get presents delivered to your door?

Like lovely new spring clothes on sale at Banana Republic.

And new fun shoes from Old Navy.

And boxes and boxes of grains you bought in bulk because they don't sell them in stores.

(Wait, what was that last one?)

I'm all set on this stuff for the next year. Okay, three years. Yay!

Monday, March 24, 2008


A friend in grad school once mentioned that her uncle had made her a CD that was a compilation of all of the Top 40 #1 Songs on her birthday through the years. Being a professed mixed CD addict and loving the sure to come cheesiness of such an endeavor, I made my own list:

1. My Sharona - The Knack (1979)
2. Upside Down - Diana Ross (1980)
3. Endless Love - Diana Ross and Lionel Richie (1981)
4. Hard to Say I'm Sorry - Chicago (1982)
5. Maniac - Michael Sembello (1983)
6. What's Love Got to Do with It? - Tina Turner (1984)
7. St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion) - John Parr (1985)
8. Take My Breath Away - Berlin (1986)
9. La Bamba - Los Lobos (1987)
10. Sweet Child O' Mine - Guns 'N' Roses (1988)
11. Hanging Tough - New Kids on the Block (1989)
12. Blaze of Glory - Jon Bon Jovi (1990)
13. Promise of a New Day - Paula Abdul (1991)
14. End of the Road - Boyz II Men (1992)
15. Dreamlover - Mariah Carey (1993)
16. I'll Make Love to You - Boyz II Men (1994)
17. Gangsta's Paradise - Coolio (1995)
18. Macarena - Los Del Rio (1996)
19. Honey - Mariah Carey (1997)
20. I Don't Want to Miss a Thing - Aerosmith (1998)
21. Bailamos - Enrique Iglesias (1999)
22. Doesn't Really Matter - Janet (2000)
23. I'm Real - Jennifer Lopez/Ja Rule (2001)
24. Dilemma - Nelly (2002)
25. Shake Ya Tailfeather - Nelly (2003)
26. Lean Back - The Terror Squad (2004)
27. We Belong Together - Mariah Carey (200)5
28. SexyBack - Justin Timberlake (2006)
29. Big Girls Don't Cry - Fergie (2007)

I particularly love the multiple appearances by Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey. Find yours here!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Things That Continue to Baffle Me About the East Coast

1. The fact that the mulch that is used by everyone from little old ladies to companies with sidewalk flowerbeds is really, really pungent and foul smelling. I know they don't have to use this stuff, because other places also mulch their flower beds with far less terrible odors.

2. The need for all drivers to back into parking spots as though some sort of quick get-a-way is imminent.

3. The incredulous response you will receive when explaining you'll be driving 3+ hours "just to get away for the weekend."

Thursday, March 20, 2008

You would be shocked to find out how many people make it to my blog while looking for John Denver lyrics. Awwwwesooommmme.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Number 2 is my favorite.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

new food obsession

I've always found rice to be a bit boring. And I also rather despise frozen dinners for many reasons, not the least of which includes the fact that it's not even close to enough food to fill me up (the real reason behind the "lean" of Lean Cuisines). However, I've tried the Kashi frozen ones recently, and let me tell you, they are delicious. They are also mostly served over Kashi 7 Whole Grain Pilaf, which is pretty much the best thing ever. And of course it's not sold in grocery stores, at least not that I could find.

But it is sold in bulk at Amazon. Thank goodness, because I'm now convinced that everything I make from now until whenever NEEDS this to be good. Yum.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Is this one of the signs of Spring?

Along with the cherry blossoms peaking out and temperatures staying above freezing, the Wolf Trap Summer Season is released!

And, I have to admit, it's a smidge lackluster this year. Oh well.

Definites include Candide, the Gilbert and Sullivan players, and maybe Pilobolus (why are the dance shows always on effing Tuesday nights, the ONE night I am committed for the foreseeable future?!).

I'll be there with wine and cheese, if any of you care to join.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Adieu, sponge paint.

Ever since Kandi explained her many house painting plans to me, I have been on a mission to my paint my own kitchen. Until yesterday, it was sponge painted yellow. For three and a half years, I have lived in a place where at least one room was sponge painted. This is not okay.

At our last house, it was only the downstairs half bath, and it was dark blue. The girls who lived there before us said that the dining room used to also be sponge painted maroon, and it looked as though someone had been violently murdered there. Then we moved to this place, with the yellow spattered kitchen. Blech.

Here it is, in all its glory:

Do note the fact that whoever painted it didn't even try to get close to the edges. Also note that Gina and I had bacon for breakfast that day. Yum.

So then, off to Home Depot! To wander around for awhile because we don't really even know what we're looking for! Eventually we made it home and got down to painting:

We even taped stuff up and everything. We're practically professionals.

Isn't it just lovely? I have no comments about some small blue smudges that may or may not be on various surfaces including countertops, cabinets, and/or the ceiling. However, I will admit to the small incident where I was painting the edge up near the ceiling, and Gina was painting the side next to the cabinets (see diagram below), and I might have dripped a blob of paint down the little space in between her shirt and the top of her paints. Um, oops? Pretty impressive aim though.

I get really happy every time I walk by.