Saturday, January 31, 2009

:::quote of the week -- january 31, 2009:::

{folger shakespeare library}

"Lord, what fools these mortals be!"

-- William Shakespeare, from A Midsummer Night's Dream

amen, brother.
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Friday, January 30, 2009

:::snapshots -- friday, january 30, 2009:::

1. it snowed this week, and, oh, mamma mia, people freaked out. this town.

i have learned that i can't handle a winter without snow; it's just too cruel. it's cold and gray, you never see the sun, but there's no lovely snow to wake-up to, to watch fall from a picture window, to cover the brown grass and dead trees...alas for mid-atlantic winters.

2. one of my favorite people at work left to start a new job this week, and i was invited to her farewell lunch along with some of my other favorite people at work. in total it was four of us staff members and one attorney who is only a few months older than i am. she provided the supervision (use air quotes with that one) and the company AmEx. we ended up staying at the restaurant for two hours and we laughed the entire time.

this is a picture looking out from our table. the main dining room had a row of tables running down the center that were set in little semi-rooms. the walls were made of dark wood panelling and stood about 7 feet high, and at the opening of the room there was a heavy green curtain on a brass rod that could be drawn to provide privacy. it provided such a nice atmosphere for our jovial (yep) group.

these are the doors leading out of the restaurant. aren't they pretty?

3. wednesday night while i was laying in bed i tried to see if i could watch my youtube videos on my phone.

score! british mysteries on the go, my life is complete.

4. i got my second issue of seeing the everday this week. i haven't read most of the first issue, but i still recommend it for the pretty pictures. there you go.

5. i'm so glad it's friday. i felt every minute passing by today at work. weekend, welcome! i've got my monkey slippers on and i'm not going anywhere.

6. today my mom had her last chemo treatment! more on that later. she'll be sick all weekend, and then, THEN, she'll be done, done, done with those horrible (but life-saving) treatments!! on to radiation...

7. my posts of late have only been these snapshots and then the weekly spt. admittedly, i haven't been in the mood for blogging this past week. i hope these snapshots work for you at least a fraction as well as they work for me. i like them because even when i have zero motivation to write i can still do one of these posts and get some documentation down.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

:::spt -- doing things i enjoy:::

tuesday, january 27: i resolve to take more self-portraits doing things i enjoy

my daily concert.

venue -- my bedroom
lead vocals -- miss rebekah s. and mr. freddie mercury
admission -- the cost of shame

inhibitions checked at door

you should try it, don't be shy. just shut your blinds, grab your fake mic, and go for it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

:::snapshots -- monday, january 26, 2009:::

{still loving macro mode}

1. first, roberts screws up the oath, now it turns out the musical number was prerecorded?! what's next? is W still president? is santa dead? yeah, yeah, i know it's hard to play in the cold. it's still a bit of a downer though.

i have to admit that i wasn't that impressed with what john williams composed. here is the concurring opinion of a smart person, lest you think i'm a philistine. my favorite quote from the article is, "Rather than write what he is good at, he corseted himself in a straitjacket of what he thought he was supposed to be doing." here, here.

2. i found another store to share:

not thoroughly inspiring, but still fun.

3. today started out as a 'serenity now' day at work. one of my new year's resolution is to go with the flow more. i think i can, i think i can, i think i can...

4. i did so much work this weekend. it really amazes me how many hours there are in the day when you don't mess around. this weekend alone i finished, stuffed, and addressed all of my valentine's cards, reorganized my closet and reorganized it again, hung a bulletin board using an ingenius system (i can't make holes in my walls), sorted through and folded more clothes for Goodwill, ran errands downtown, and solved a major computer issue, among other things.

i love my word for this year! i'm so glad i picked an action word and not something contemplative. i really need the motivation to actively do what needs to be done, as opposed to sitting around thinking, pondering, and philosophizing (a bad habit of mine).

5. this weekend i was contemplating (see!) what i would possibly do with my life after i felt that i was done in dc. go back to utah? the thought isn't as appealing as it used to be. i unashamedly love utah -- the glorious springs, the white winters, the mountains!!! -- but i'm afraid that i'd just be a nobody again if i moved back there, whereas out here i never feel that way. i'm not eager to be under that cloud again.

i also wonder if i would feel trapped (another feeling from the past), or disappointed that i didn't try other places. to be honest, if i ever went back to utah i don't think i would leave again, so i want to make sure i do all of my living before i settled down.

oh, i just felt a little nauseated when i typed 'settled down'. let's move on, quickly.

6. the heat in my office should really be called 'heat', since it blows cold air straight at me all day long. i've got a blanket draped over my front and have consumed two mugs of hot cocoa since 10 am in an effort to get warm. i might need to purchase a little heater. this is just ridiculous.

7. the american history museum reopened a few months ago after being closed for an annoyingly long time. i plan on going this weekend to see the new lincoln exhibit and to revisit julia child's kitchen, which is my favorite museum exhibit of all time. i love seeing things in situ and supported by context. this is one of the reasons i struggle with traditional art museums -- white walls and little tags just don't do enough to pull me into the art. i always want to know more about where the piece was created, what the life of the artist was like, what his/her supplies looked like in their studio, what the political climate was like, what they ate...

i take the same approach to literature, which, if memory serves me correctly, lends me towards the school of new historicism. heidi? rachel? i feel that a piece of art or literature is just one little point on a larger spider web, that there are always lines of influence that have merged at that nexus to the point of creation.

spider webs are great visualization tools. my first critical theory teacher always used them to describe structuralism and deconstruction to our confused little minds. i miss my literature classes. i could almost be persuaded to pursue a career in academia but for the tales of politicking and infighting. oh well...

8. i'm going to ask my sister to cut my hair for my birthday. only a fellow texture-haired person can truly understand what you want and need from a hair cut.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

:::adventures in cameraship 2:::

1. lesson 2: using you view finder.

tonight i also learned that my camera has a view finder. yeah. i'm quick. i'm not sure what i thought that little window was before. maybe some kind of fancy light capturing box? oi.

there have been times i've wanted to center a shot and wished i had some kind of grid to work with.

again, i've had this camera for 3 years...i'm awesome.

:::adventures in cameraship 1:::

1. lesson 1: learn how to use macro mode.

i can't afford an slr, so one of my resolutions for 2009 was to learn how to push my little point-and-shoot to the max. it's only taken me 3 years to figure out that i could shoot macro shots. awesome.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

:::spt: new things:::

' i resolve to take more self-portraits while trying new things'

my new thing? well, today i saw a new president inaugurated. today i stood witness as a new page was written in the history books. i was far, far away on judea's plains, but i was there.

here are my best shots of the jumbo-tron near me...

{president-elect obama walking out to the swearing in area}

{VICE PRESIDENT biden being sworn in}

{PRESIDENT obama inspiring the crowd and the nation}

and now i need to go de-thaw.
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:::the day before inauguration:::

{this was initially going to be my spt post, but i wrote a new post after the inauguration}

yesterday i ventured out to take some photos of the inaugural sites.

now, i realize there are much, much better photos of these locals on the internet, but sometimes i think that professional photos are too perfect to convey the sense of realness that you would feel if you were there for yourself. rejoice in the point-and-shoot!

before we start, here are some things to ignore:

1. the total lack of makeup.
2. the smurf like hat sitting on top of my head.
3. my gigante cheeks. i like to think they're filled with hope, not fat.

and now we begin.

{the swearing in site -- the mall side of the capitol, technically the back side, which faces west.}

{ticketed seated seating. the rest of the millions get to stand.}

{you can see the corner of one of the jumbo-trons on the right side of this photo. i think there are going to be at least twenty of them on the mall, stretching all the way back to the tidal basin.}

from the capitol i walked down pennsylvania, which is the parade route, to the white house. it's like 2 miles, people. i walked two miles in the cold to get these photos for you.

{on pennsylvania at the white house near the end of the parade route.}

{still at the white house.}

{the bullet-proof viewing stand directly in front of the white house on penn. one of my life goals is to become so important that i have to be ensconced in bullet-proof glass.}

{now i'm standing directly north of the white house in lafayette square. can you see it in the background?}

{one more in lafayette square, and a shot of the other viewing stand across from the bullet-proof stand on penn. the people sitting there aren't important enough to be behind security glass. ha! schmucks...}

{across the street from lafayette park is the hay-adams, where the obamas had to stay for a short time because the blair house was 'full'. sure, georgie...}

{leaving the white house, walking to the metro on k street. do you check yourself out in windows?}

{metro may welcome the visitors, but rebekah says, 'go home, i want my city back, but thanks for your tax dollars.'}

{union station is the metro stop near my house. as i was coming home yesterday they were setting up for an event so i stopped to take pictures. aren't the linens and place settings wonderful?}

{turns out there was a dinner there last night honoring biden that was attended by the obamas. i bet the hot dog king from the food court catered it. that evening i could hear the motorcade sirens from my house, and there were some aircraft above as well. }

{really, i love these tables. i took quite a few pictures of them, much to the amusement of the catering staff.}

so, there you go. it's now 7:56 am. there are planes and helicopters going over my house like crazy, with the sound of their engines occasionally punctuated by sirens from the streets. i'm going to go take a shower, get dressed, grab every government id that i have, and start walking outside to see how close i can get to the mall. could be interesting, but more than likely i'll have a panic attack as soon as i see the crowds as turn back around.

the king is dead! long live the king!

{please follow this hyperlink so that you'll understand that i'm not a terrorist.}

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Monday, January 19, 2009

:::in support of real trees:::

guess what i bought?!

a beautiful northfolk island pine tree. he came all taped up and already growing. isn't that precious?

by next year i should have a nice little 4"Christmas tree. at only $10, it was a small price to pay for keeping the true spirit of Christmas alive (every time you put up your fake tree an angel has its wings ripped off).

and, get this, these trees are originally from australia! a sign, to be sure. now i just have to keep the thing alive. i've killed cacti before, that's all i'm sayin'.
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Saturday, January 17, 2009


tonight i went to the adult session of stake conference.

ooh, that sounds kinky.

wow. ignore what i just said.

anyhow, when i got back home at 10 o'flippin-clock i ran over to the korean market two blocks away to get some health foods for the next three days.

i just told a lie, i bought stuff for nachos and an egg salad sandwich. also, some other items that i may or may not own up to. i'm so sorry.

anyhow, i told one of my friends that i was going to the korean market, and she said, 'the korean market? huh?' and i said, 'dude, the market on the corner,' and she said, 'oh, i guess the owners are asian, i just never thought of it that way.' that's when i realized that i should keep some of my nicknames to myself. but it's ok, i'm brown.

did i just say that?

i bought some chips at the market to eat with my egg salad sandwich. i had high hopes for these chips, as i do for all chips, really. anyhow, they tasted totally gross, like packing peanuts soaked in potato juice. here they are in my trash...

grandma utz, you should be ashamed of yourself. if my grandma made chips like that i'd slap her across the face. it wouldn't be elder abuse, though. people shouldn't make chips that nasty, no matter how old they are.

i saw a pigeon tucked into a corner on my way home from work yesterday. either it was dead or it was resting, but i guess being dead is like resting, just longer, and the next time you wake up it's the millennium.

i just drank two big cups of chocolate milk.


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:::necessity and invention:::

a couple of sundays ago i tried to do something creative with the Proclamation. didn't turn out so much. the Proclamation, which was thouroughly ruined, went into the trash and i saved the rest of the items that could be salvaged for some future use.

among these items was a thin piece of cardboard that i had decoupaged a strip of decorative paper onto. the wetness from the decoupage had bowed the cardstock, so i wasn't sure how i'd ever be able to use it and i just tossed it on my work table. i looked at it from time to time without much thought, until one day i suddenly realized this little piece of bowed cardboard was the solution to a household problem i've been trying to solve for a long time.

i swiffer dust my room at least once a week, as needed. the building i live in is very, very old so dust accumulates at an alarming rate. i use the swiffer duster instead of the swiffer broom because it does double duty on both my furniture and the floors, and i think it traps things better than the sweeper does.

the only problem is that i don't have a dustpan, so i'd always had a hard time getting whatever dust, etc. that i'd collected into the trashcan. well, one day when i saw this piece of cardboard left sitting on my desk, i realized it would make a perfect dustpan!

yes, that's dust from one week, if that. granted, there's also a lot of scraps from projects i've been working on lately.

anyhow, i'm really happy with this solution. i didn't want to spend money on a dustpan because i don't really need a full-sized one and i'd have to find someplace in my small room to store the ugly thing. this solution works out so well because it's functional and looks really good. i'll probably put a layer of decoupage on top of it to ensure it lasts longer and punch a hole in the top so i can hang it from a ribbon near my trash bin.
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Friday, January 16, 2009

:::snapshots -- friday, january 16, 2009:::

1. it's currently 12 degrees. the high today is 22. as i walked out of my building this morning i told myself, 'i can do hard things.' and cold things...

2. there have been planes and helicopters in the air space since last weekend. i live and work under restricted air space, so it's weird to hear engines and propellers above my head again.

3. i majorly spaced a commitment last night. majorly. woops.

4. i finally, finally got my dc license yesterday. did you know that legally you have to change your license within a few short months of becoming a residence of a new state? another woops. better late than never.

this was my second time going to this dmv to try and complete the process. thankfully, on this trip the only hitch was that my check card wouldn't go through so i had to go to the atm and get cash out. i know the woman behind the counter entered my numbers wrong, and i was annoyed that i had to pay a $2.50 fee to use another bank's atm, but i really didn't want to fight it. i'm just considering it a surcharge from the universe for having such a pleasant dmv experience on the whole. my sanity and not being rude to someone are well worth $2.50.

5. i need to be better at carrying cab fare with me for unplanned trips. like today -- it's so stinking cold and i may not feel like walking home tonight. my preferred denomination of cab fare money is two fives and ten ones. it costs about $7-$8 every time i ride a cab, so i can either give the driver $10 or a five and some ones. i'm sure that seems like a lot of money to spend for a ride home, but cabs will save your sanity, i'm telling you. plus, that's how much it costs to eat lunch around here and i've been bringing a lean cuisine every day for a few weeks. the average cost of a lean cuisine is $2.50 (yes, as i was getting money out of the atm yesterday i thought of that), so i'm saving little bits of money every day.

you don't care...why am i telling you this?

6. my thoughts on the outgoing president -- eight years, wow. there's so much being said, so much that's been said about bush. in all, i'm not a fan, mainly because i don't appreciate his leadership style, i.e., his attitude, outlooks, communication styles, etc., the presence of his presidential office.

7. my thoughts on the incoming president -- i want the hoopla to calm down. i expect obama to very shortly prove himself to this country, and to the world. to me, at least, the wave of popularity that he rode into office on no longer matters. it's time to earn your keep, buddy.

8. today i am alone in the library. i find that these days are some of my most productive. i have so much to catch up on and i'm hoping that i can lop a chunk off of all the projects sitting on my desk right now.

9. my patience with personalities has been worn thin this week. t-h-i-n. the weekend couldn't come at a better time.

10. some people at work are spending the night in the office on monday since we're so close to the white house and the parade route. i want to spend the night in the office, not because i want to see anything, but because it's been a dream of mine ever since i read from the mixed from the mixed-up files of mrs. basil e. frankweiler. that's the best book, isn't it?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

:::let's pretend it isn't happening:::

i am not going to any inaugural events. sorry. i like pomp and circumstance, but this is all way too crazy for me.

but let me say this, i guarantee you, absolutely, that there isn't a person in the world who lives closer to the inaugural site than myself and my neighbors on my street. i could literally stand outside my building and hear the ceremony. i'm never in the right place at the right time. feels kinda neat, even if it is giving me a panic attack. the stories about the security measures in place are adding more and more stress to my already beleaguered mind. i don't want to get sniped. i've got no food supply. if something goes down next week, if i meet my end next tuesday...

remeber, loved ones, scott gets everything.

edited to add: ok, there are some residents near the capitol south metro stop who could beat me out by a measly block, but i'm still closer than close.

Monday, January 12, 2009

:::God speed the right:::

in my ward, every member counts. every single one. there is no thinning out of callings here (why, we need someone to pass out the hymn books, and then another saint to earn their salvation by collecting the hymn books at the end of the hour!), we don't have time for that. every week people are working hard to perfect the saints and proclaim the gospel to the plethora of investigators and newly Mormonized in our congregation (redeem the dead on your own time). if you want to see the real inner workings of the church -- no fluff, no dog and pony show, no weepy testimonials about wonderful roommates or hot wives -- come to my ward. it gets gritty sometimes, be ye warned.

so far, my contributions have been small. i worked out a way to bring dinner to the missionaries though i have no car and no kitchen. i've said a few prayers and led some songs. i tried my hand at wrangling a baby. easy-peasy. nothing compared to trying to teach your sunday school lesson less than four weeks after having surprise quadruple bypass (yeah), but i do what i can.

i'm telling you all this great stuff about my ward to lead up to this fact -- we're understaffed sometimes. which means that sometimes we don't have anyone who can play the piano in relief society.

yes, mom, yes.

today i accompanied the singing in our blessed meeting of sisters for the first time in my life. it wasn't great, but i wasn't expecting a miracle. my standard prayer before exams at byu was, 'Lord, help me insomuch as i've helped myself. i probably didn't study enough, but i ask Thee to help me remember what i did study. please bring back all the things i learned when i was actually paying attention...and a little bit more, if i've earned it.' i haven't seriously practiced the piano in more than a decade. there's only so much angels can do for you.

my playing was far below virtuoso level. i didn't have my contacts in so i could barely see the music, i was too busy working out fingering to count beats properly, and the poor conductor was probably wondering who's lead i was following. but, i got the job done. that's all that matters, right? certainly not that i fumbled my way through chords, not that i lost my place at the end of 'sweet hour of prayer', and definitely not that i downsized my performance to right-handed playing. when i got up to play the closing hymn -- a rousing rendition of 'God speed the right' -- i told my fellow sisters, 'when i make mistakes, just keep singing -- loudly.'

we made it through, and that was that.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

i found another great website this week -- while i was looking around i fell in love with so many things...

{come on, damask packing tape?! so pretty.}

{sold out, but i still want it}

{ben, er, santa put this in my stocking and i love it. the milk actually rests inside the ring, which you freeze ahead of time.}

their shipping rates aren't that great though, so i'd try to find their more generic items someplace else first.
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