Thursday, December 31, 2009

:::New Year's PSA, The Partners Smile On Us:::

If you're like me, you get a little annoyed about the puffed up nature of New Year's Eve. Don't feel like waxing poetic about auld lang syne? Neither do I. I've had many a depressing New Year's because I felt like I was the only one who's life hadn't come together within the neat confines of the past 12 months. Let me tell you something -- The Lord cares not a hoot about the Gregorian calendar.

Don't get me wrong, I believe in resolutions and celebrating life, it's just the New Year's overkill that needles me. You don't have to have any startling revelations about life tonight. You don't have to be a new person tomorrow. It's okay. It's o-bee-kay-bee.


This morning we woke up to the after effects of some freezing rain. When I was little we sang this song at school about Jack Frost skating all over the world and leaving tracks of ice behind him. Judging by the haphazard frosting of ice everywhere, it really did look like Jack Frost had been skating around the Hill last night.

There is a line of topiary bushes in raised planters outside of the Thurgood Marshall building on the way to Union Station. Every time I pass them I stick out my hand and brush the leaves as I pass by. Today the leaves were thick with ice, and as I brushed them they knocked together like heavy crystals on a chandelier.

So, there is absolutely no one in town the week after Christmas. No one. It's like a Washington tradition. Today there were only seven attorneys in the office and 14 staff members. Usually on the eve of a holiday they let us go at 2 pm, but since there was no one in the office, the gods (i.e., the partners) let us go at noon! Hot damn!

I was out. of. there. before the bells tolled 12. You have to escape before they change their minds, or before someone snags you for some last minute help. Yes, yes, I'm flying up the career ladder.

So, I had to buy some envelopes from the post office in Union Station, so I stopped by Johnny Rockets for lunch. Ha! Hello, early 90's! There was a stretch of time in my youth when Johnny Rockets was the coo-el place to go. The food isn't awesome, but I was in the mood for some nostalgia. I remember being obsessed with these tabletop jukeboxes when I was little.

Would you believe that there are at least 3 Johnny Rockets in the DC metro area? I don't understand the fascination. Truth be told, I do stop by once in a blue moon for a chocolate malt shake. Holla!

I'm off to sit under a bhodi tree to reach enlightement before midnight. Om...

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

:::I Succeed, and I Fail:::

There are some DC living battles that I just can't win -- the 10% tax on takeout and restaurant food, the new 5 cent tax on plastic bags at grocery stores*, the exorbitant amount of my money that the city spends on running ineffective and ill-aimed social programs -- but there are some battles that I can win, like finding an easier way to buy the things I need (without being taxed 5 cents per bag sohelpmeyoufascists).

I have long been a fan of online shopping, especially when I can get free shipping. My hope is that someday Amazon will sell everything that I buy online, and that all of these items will qualify for free Super Saver shipping. Ah...Utopia.

After an arm-breaking trip to the Target in Columbia Heights this summer, I hopped online to see if Amazon sold a product that we all need at regular intervals. This product is heavy and bulky, and absolutely necessary. I can buy a smaller size of this product at the corner store two blocks away, but in that scenario it costs just as much as the full-size version that I could buy at a regular store.

Well, it turns out that Amazon does sell this product, but in bulk. At the time I didn't think it was practical to buy so much of this product, but after growing tired of paying way too much for way too little of it, a few weeks ago I went ahead and placed my order. Any guesses what it is?

I was so happy when the box arrived. No more treks out to Target. No more high prices and little volume at the corner store. Victory!

Ok, enough with the teases...

Yep, I bought four big ole bottles of Tide online. Best 50$+ I've spent all year. I was so excited to take care of the nagging, reoccurring problem of stocking laundry detergent. I was so excited that I didn't have to carry anymore heavy, cumbersome bottles of detergent home. I was so excited that Amazon stocked Tide Free, since regular Tide has started irritating my skin.

I was so excited that I hoisted one of my bright, new bottles of beautiful Tide detergent into the air to celebrate my victory, only to find that...

I bought the wrong kind of Tide. Well, the right kind -- Tide Free -- and the wrong kind. Do you think that my 100 year old house has high efficiency, front-loading washing machines? No, and no. Oh-to-the-well, anything is better than just plain hot water.

*Yeah, I know I can get around this by bringing my own bags to the store, but it kills me that DC government is once again taking more money from its citizens and still doing a horrible job of running this town. The more money they take, the crappier job they do. How does that work?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

:::A Full Tithe:::

The goal for 2010 -- remember to pay every other week so I don't have to play catch-up on the last Sunday of the year.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

:::if i had my druthers:::

{This is a post that I wrote back on February 19th of this year after I had experienced one of those days at the office (I was still lower-casing at the time, so ignore just ignore it). I've had this post on the back burner since then, hemming and hawing about whether or not I should ever publish it, but I finally feel comfortable opening up and letting this out. I don't like to post much about being single -- it is what it is. I have a good life, I have a hard life, just like everyone else. }

i had a conversation with a friend today, the kind that you wish you could play back time and time again at the most opportune moments. our conversation made me think. my story starts out like this --

the power went out up and down our block this afternoon, and as soon as the initial excitement wore off people drifted away to various corners of the office to chat and wait things out. after wandering around, i found a friend of mine sitting in the office of an absent attorney taking advantage of the yellow sunlight and reading coursework for her master's program. she works full time, attends school at night, and goes home to a roommate.

i sought her out to talk about recent upheavals in our office that had blindsided more than a few of us. times like these -- these periods of work-related dramas -- always bring the reality of my singular situation to the forefront of my mind. this reality is that i am, despite my greatest wishes, devoting the majority of my life to this office, which is a place of no eternal significance. my worth is a resume and a work history, a skill set and some very feigned ambitions. i am an honest worker. i put forth great efforts. i strive, i adapt, i learn, i build, i contribute, but, truth be told, i could care less. how much less depends on the day.

i know the woman in my soul, and that woman is a wife and a mother. but, for some reason that extends beyond this mortal coil, i have been called to labor in this other vineyard. it is here that i sow and reap, but if i had my druthers, i'd be devoting my backbreaking work to my own patch of land. i know i've been commanded to appreciate the time i spend in this vineyard, and love the bounty of this harvest, and i can handle this on almost any given day...but on Sundays when the husbands sit with wives, on every holiday that i spend as an addendum, in temples where families are the key...i can feel empty, and i can almost feel invisible.

and then i can feel sad and lonely, defeated and unworthy because there won't be any rose-colored memoirs written about the hard lessons i learned as i stumbled blindly down this road not taken, this road that can be vastly different than the one traveled by women who were called to fill the measure of their creation right here, right now, while the rest of us wait, and wait some more, and pray and pray our way through alternative realities. i don't want to do this, i never wanted to do this. if you have any grand illusions about the single life, please, abandon them now.

anyhow, it made me think.

Monday, December 14, 2009

:::Gift Idea -- Printable Calendars:::

I am here to solve a holiday gift giving problem for you. You may thank me with cheese.

You know those groups of people that you always want to give a little something to during this season of festive merriment? I'm thinking coworkers, neighbors, church members, teachers, service workers, etc., etc. You know how you aren't made of money, but you don't want that to limit the thoughtfulness of your gifts nor the delight that they will bring to others?

{You don't want to be like her. She's stressed out and her sweater has nubbies on it.}

Well, my holiday advice is to you is to head on over the Etsy. All you have to do is find yourself a nice, printable 2010 calendar, pay a small fee for the PDF (usually $5), then print that bad boy off in batches. A little cutting, a little ribbon tying, and you're finished. Done and done. All the ones that I've seen have user agreements that allow for unlimited personal use. That means that you're only paying $5, plus the cost of ink and paper, for a nice little token of love and gratitude that you can hand out to the masses. Again, you pay $5 once for the PDF, then you can print it as many times as you want. If you need a bunch of them, send the job to Kinkos. If you only need a few, print them at home. Suh-weet.


1. An irreverant send-up ($5) by Little Brown Pen of the worn-out-your-welcome 'Keep Calm and Carry On' poster.

{Try to keep your morals about you in June and July}

2. Another great one from Little Brown Pen -- a delightful Petit Paris calendar ($5). I purchased this one and will be passing it out to everyone on my large group gift lists. It's so pretty!

{Jill and Michelle -- you could easily make these with your beautiful Paris photos!}

3. London Corners ($5) by Monjojo. I have to buy this one for myself --

4. The Simple Woodcuts calendar ($5) from empapers --

5. This beautifully simply version ($5) from Patricia Zapata of A Little Hut.

Now, wasn't that easy?

You're welcome.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

:::Best of 2009 -- Conference or Workshop:::

I'm going to go secular and say that the best workshop I took was Get Crafty through Elise Blaha. I so, so love her style, sensibility, and approach to crafting.

:::Best of 2009 -- Night Out:::

Thing is, I like to go straight home after work, and once I'm there I don't like to leave again. I do so love cab rides at dusk, however.

Friday, December 4, 2009

:::Best of 2009 -- Book:::

Listen, I went to co-llege and I read 3 newspapers a day, so I can read whatever I want. I'm comfortable with my genius.

:::Best of 2009 -- Article:::

Out of Cash and Forced to Dig Deep
By Brigid Schulte
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bad circumstances caused by bad, bad, stupid decisions. Part of me is sympathetic, but most of me is astounded and, I don't know, angry?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

:::Best of 2009 -- Restaurant moment:::

Fancy, schmancy. Original Pancake House -- gingerbread pancakes with E & B.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

:::Best Trip of 2009:::

My second time in Texas was the best. I hope next time there won't be a goodbye.

:::The Best of 2009 Blog Challenge:::

I'm joining in on this little end of the year journaling adventure that I read about on Jill's blog. I used to do a Best of 200_ thing on my old blogs, but this is much easier and more comprehensive, so I'm very excited.

In a nutshell, the challenge is to write something each day through the month of December about something that you did, saw, experienced, learned in 2009. Here's a list of all of the prompts --

December 1 Trip. What was your best trip in 2009?

December 2 Restaurant moment. Share the best restaurant experience you had this year. Who was there? What made it amazing? What taste stands out in your mind?

December 3 Article. What's an article that you read that blew you away? That you shared with all your friends. That you Delicious'd and reference throughout the year.

December 4 Book. What book - fiction or non - touched you? Where were you when you read it? Have you bought and given away multiple copies?

December 5 Night out. Did you have a night out with friends or a loved one that rocked your world? Who was there? What was the highlight of the night?

December 6 Workshop or conference. Was there a conference or workshop you attended that was especially beneficial? Where was it? What did you learn?

December 7 Blog find of the year. That gem of a blog you can't believe you didn't know about until this year.

December 8 Moment of peace. An hour or a day or a week of solitude. What was the quality of your breath? The state of your mind? How did you get there?

December 9 Challenge. Something that really made you grow this year. That made you go to your edge and then some. What made it the best challenge of the year for you?

December 10 Album of the year. What's rocking your world?

December 11 The best place. A coffee shop? A pub? A retreat center? A cubicle? A nook?

December 12 New food. You're now in love with Lebanese food and you didn't even know what it was in January of this year.

December 13 What's the best change you made to the place you live?

December 14 Rush. When did you get your best rush of the year?

December 15 Best packaging. Did your headphones come in a sweet case? See a bottle of tea in another country that stood off the shelves?

December 16 Tea of the year. I can taste my favorite tea right now. What's yours?

December 17 Word or phrase. A word that encapsulates your year. "2009 was _____."

December 18 Shop. Online or offline, where did you spend most of your mad money this year?

December 19 Car ride. What did you see? How did it smell? Did you eat anything as you drove there? Who were you with?

December 20 New person. She came into your life and turned it upside down. He went out of his way to provide incredible customer service. Who is your unsung hero of 2009?

December 21 Project. What did you start this year that you're proud of?

December 22 Startup. What's a business that you found this year that you love? Who thought it up? What makes it special?

December 23 Web tool. It came into your work flow this year and now you couldn't live without it. It has simplified or improved your online experience.

December 24 Learning experience. What was a lesson you learned this year that changed you?

December 25 Gift. What's a gift you gave yourself this year that has kept on giving?

December 26 Insight or aha! moment. What was your epiphany of the year?

December 27 Social web moment. Did you meet someone you used to only know from her blog? Did you discover Twitter?

December 28 Stationery. When you touch the paper, your heart melts. The ink flows from the pen. What was your stationery find of the year?

December 29 Laugh. What was your biggest belly laugh of the year?

December 30 Ad. What advertisement made you think this year?

December 31 Resolution you wish you'd stuck with. (You know, there's always next year...)

I'm tweaking the challenge a little and will only be posting one photo and no more than two sentences for each post. That's more my style, I excel at short and sweet. Bing, bang, boom.

Friday, November 27, 2009

:::Heart Shaped Bokeh:::

If you have an SLR, do me a favor and do this heart shaped bokeh tutorial. The holiday season with all of it's twinkling lights is prime time for some photography magic.

I read this tutorial late last night, then dreamed about it when I slept. When I woke up and turned my computer back on I was glad to see that it wasn't a figment of my imagination.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

:::Things I'm Thinking Of:::

For $1,000 a month I could rent this 4 br house in my sister's town in Texas.

Do you know what I could rent for $1,000 a month in my neighborhood?


Still struggling with the mental insanity part of being sick. I've got major cabin fever and am literally going in-sane from two weeks of on and off confinement. Heaven help me.

P.S. -- I've added a Glenn Beck impersonation to my repertoire. Goes something like this, 'I'm Glenn Beck, and I'm an idiot.' I do think I nailed that one.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

:::Mushrooms & Onions, or Just Cheese:::

I was so worried about my humidifier because I had been sick all week. Bad sick. Miss work sick. Take 7 hour naps in the middle of the day then sleep all night sick. Then I felt better for a few days, but then on Monday I started feeling worse. Today I went to the doctor, and guess what?


and also, sinusitis!

The pills I have to take are an inch long...

and more than a quarter of an inch thick.

Do you want to bring me some Gatorade? Send me a pizza? Come keep me company so I don't have to talk to myself anymore? Last week when I was home I had a bad case of sick induced musical tourrete syndrome. I left no less than 4 singing messages on my sister's voicemail which she claims she had to erase because the first one freaked the dog out. What-evs.

Recently, I've started doing impersonations of famous bloggers. Want to hear my Design Mom impersonation?

'I'm Design Mom! I live in New York, and I've got fiiiiive kids.'

Nailed it, right? I have no idea. I've never heard the woman speak before. I have no idea where I pulled that from. What is wrong with me?

Oh yeah, pneumonia. And also, sinusitis.

Here's a picture of me from last week when I was responding to attorney emails at home. I'm important, dang it!

{the day I stopped showering}

Actually, it was just one attorney. Apparently he had come into the library and wanted to know where the work was that I was supposed to do for him. Woops. So happy my boss has my cell phone number (not). Anyhow, I had to email the IT department and figure out how to log-on to our server, then forward the project to the attorney, yadda, yadda, yadda...hey, that's life in the fast lane, kids. I'm a career girl, I'm a career girl.

This is me on a day that I did shower...

That's my new warm mist personal humidifier. Yeah, boy. Add in the humidifier that I had to borrow from my sister's friend last week, and I've got a grand total of thu-ree humidifiers right now.

But, I still want one more...

I want to win this Crane penguin humidifier from Today's Give Away. These cute Crane humidifiers are the best in the world. Why? One, it's whisper quiet. You can't hear it at all. Two, it produces vapor that you can actually see. C, the dial lets you control exactly how much vapor comes out.

Sarah has the cow one for the kids and I've used it during both visits. I sleep with it at night, then in the morning I bring it downstairs and sit at the dining room table sucking that cool, sweet air in from the cow's ear. One morning Sophie walked passed me and I said, 'Hey, you wanna take a hit off of this?' Ha, ha! That joke is funny because it's inappropriate.

Is this post still going on?

To recap --

1. When I was little I had pneumonia and my mom checked on me every half hour to make sure that I was breathing.

2. I have been sick for 2 weeks now.

3. You can order the pizza online and have the driver leave it at the front desk. I will come down and pick it up from there, just make sure you pay the tip online when you place your order.

4. Attorneys think they're the most important people in the world. Guess who thinks this is true? Attorneys. Guess thinks this isn't true? Everyone else.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

:::Vaporizer Lovin':::

It is one year to the day that I bought my vaporizer, which is weird because I spent all of this week worrying about my vaporizer.

Insert funny stuff about how much I love my vaporizer.

I'm tired. I'm going to bed.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

:::I Won't Bring Up the Tapioca Because I Know That Hurts Your Feelings:::

{Posing for Scott}

Yesterday, my oldest sister turned fourty-three.

Woops, thirty-three. Sorry, Sarah.

Sarah is the oldest. I think you know what that means...Need I say more?

Woops, I keep forgetting that birthday posts are supposed to be nice.

Let me begin again.

Sarah is old.

Ha! Ok, ok. I'll stop. Honestly, mom. I'll stop.

Let me give you a small taste of Sarah's life right now.

{Working on numerous craft projects at the same time. In full disclosure, in this picture she's sewing the bag I made her make me the last time I visited. I kept telling her in my best Kathy Lee voice what a good little seamstress she was.}

{Diapering the child that will break her.}

{Feeling like a failure as a mother on a daily basis. Who knew motherhood was so rewarding!!}

{Cleaning up one mess as another is made.}

{Driving all over the town taking two kids to two different schools and running errands.}

{Taking care of the dog that everyone else wanted more than she did.}

{She takes care of the fish that I bought for Sophia. Ha! Sorry, dude.}

{She fixes real dinner every night and packs some for Donny's lunch the next day. One night I got hungry and ate part of his lunch by accident, but that's neither here nor there.}

But sometimes she has fun, too. Like when we went to the bounce house and she went down the slides with each of her kids.

And she's good at being nice to her kids even though they are taking years off her life.

And she's crazy. Also that.

Happy Birthday Sarah! We all love you and hope that sometime soon you'll take a well-deserved break. You just hang in there, just hang in there...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

:::Where I Live, 20 Years, and a Little Fella:::

My aversion to writing out details has stopped me from explaining my living situation. Here's the short and sweet version.

{Most of my house photos are on my old computer. This is from last summer.}

I live in an all female boarding house on Capitol Hill. We get breakfast and dinner Monday through Saturday, and breakfast on Sunday. The food is standard cafeteria fare. Think Morris Center, circa 1990.

There are about 100+ girls in the house, and almost everyone has a private room. There are two sets of communal bathrooms on each floor, a laundry room, and a tv room and a workout area in the basement. .

Our rent (which is ridiculously low for this area) includes food and utilities.

Last year in September the executive director of the home asked me to be one of the assistant resident managers. This means that about once a week I come home from work and am in charge, so to speak, of the house. I give the front desk person (there is someone at the desk 24/7) her break, have office hours for an hour and a half, deal with resident issues, attend to minor maintenance issues, count the money, close the books, and do whatever else is required of me. I am technically on duty through the night until the next morning at 9 am (I think it's 9 am). I also work one Saturday a month doing the same thing, except it involves more time at the desk, and I can't leave the house the entire time I'm on duty.

Sometimes being on duty is smooth sailing. Nothing happens, the money balances out, and I can get upstairs at the end of the night without any problems. Other times it is a living hell. Residents come in complaining, people don't want to pay their rent, copy bills, etc., guests don't check in at the desk like they're supposed to, people try to smuggle food out of the dining room, skirmishes break out over the tv, toilets clog (fun times!), people don't check-out when they're supposed to and I have to go kick them out of their room, the money doesn't balance, and on, and on.

My worst duty shifts have included vomit cleanup; standing in the boiler room one cold winter night from 12 am - 2 am with another resident manager and the furnace guy waiting for the heater to kick on; the overnight desk person calling in sick and scrambling to split up the hours between all of us managers; filling in at the last minute for another resident manager who had become deathly ill in the night while at the same time taking care of them; dealing with 8 check-ins who came at sporadic intervals throughout the morning and early afternoon...I'll stop. The times that I have to enforce rules can stink, but oddly enough being the enforcer hasn't been too difficult. I'm older than most of these girls and I don't have time for their bidness.

In exchange for my hard work and dedication, I get a credit on my rent based on the amount of hours that I work every moth. Because I'm one of the newer managers I don't get as many hours, but it's still a good deal. Also, I got to move into a big room with my own bathroom. Score!

Residents get to stay for two years, but managers get an extra year. That gives me until 5/15/11 to come up with my next step.

Why did I move here?

1. To get out of Colonial. It's not a bad ward, it's just very much not the ward for me.

2. To get away from having roommates.

3. To not cohabit with Mormons. My roommates were the best, most awesome roommates that I could have asked for when I lived in Arlington. It wasn't them, I just don't handle living with Mormons well. I can't mentally deal with mixing the social side of my life with my religion. I have to keep them separate to some degree so that I am not pressuring myself with the demands of a culture over the demands of a gospel, or letting the former skew/taint my understanding of the latter.

4. I don't have a car. Though I'll probably never stop complaining about public transportation, it's available more widely in the District and is used regularly by many people as their every day means of getting around. I felt stranded out in Virginia and felt like a tool walking places there.

Also, I had to rely on people for rides to church since our building was like 30 minutes away. That made me nervous. I hated feeling stuck out there with no means of escape.

5. At a certain point I just felt like I was wasting my time living on the rim of the city. I didn't move out here to live across the river from DC in a run-of-the-mill Northern Virginia suburb. I wanted to be in the city city experiencing what life here would be like.

Aaand that took forever. If you have any questions I can answer them in a subsequent post.

So, the back story was all so that I could tell you that a couple of weeks ago we had a reception at the house to celebrate our executive director's 20th anniversary of working here. All of her family came to the party, and I spent most of my time adoring her little nephew that is perhaps the cutest baby I have ever seen.

Look at that hair! It was soft, like duck down. And those big cheeks, that yittle wittle neck, and that sweet pouchy mouth of his!

He was such a sweet heart, such a sweet heart. He had this nasty little fistful of food and he kept cramming it in his mouth. He just sat on my lap while I cooed at him and tickled him and babbled on and on about what a cute little sir he was and how 'him so strong, yes him is! I'm-a gonna get him bell-wy, yes I am!'

Is this picture not classic? The look on his face is priceless. 'Uh, lady, you're straight crazy.' I know it, little man. You don't have to tell me.