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.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

:::Fall Under the Wire, Part 2:::

The intention of my outing was to hit the Paper Source in Old Town Alexandria. This is such a picturesque part of town, and it's even more charming in fall with all the leaves turning and everyone bundled up in coats and scarves.

There are so many cute shops along King Street, like this antique store above, and this cute little shop called The Christmas Attic.

So many shops had decorated in some way for Halloween. I especially loved the spider webs wrapped around these wrought iron banisters.

When the Potomac is this gray and the skies are so bleary, it's hard to imagine that it will ever be hot and humid again.

There was a little park with benches set towards this view, and I'm determined to go back there at some point to sit and look out over the water.

My drive back up King Street took for-e-ver, but at least I had the opportunity to admire more fall foliage.

{Masonic Temple}

I actually pulled into a pretty tract of homes to take some more leaf photos.

Fall is not my favorite season, but I have to admit that turning leaves are a special treat.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

:::Good Times at Good Stuff:::

A few weeks ago it was my friend Precyous's birthday. Presh works at the front desk during the day at the house, and I have taken her under my wing and forcibly made myself her mentor. I have always wanted to mentor a youth and impart my wisdom on one of the rising generation.

Presh turned 19 that day and wore a tiara to celebrate. She said that she got a few strange looks on the metro and felt somewhat embarrassed at first, but then she realized that she was a grown woman and could do whatever she wanted. Go on.

One of the housekeepers who is friends with Presh also came along. For most of the outing I was privvy to the, ahem, intriguing world views and conversation styles of two 19 year old girls. Wow, just, wow. They are such, such dorks.

We went to Good Stuff Eatery and enjoyed burgers, fries, and shakes. I felt so old being with them since I was totally in the doting supervisory role -- I talked them through the menu, ordered for them, and of course paid. Then I waited for the food, got condiments and napkins, and passed everything out and set up their little plates. Honestly though, it was fun and slightly humerous to be in that mom role.

Of course, the food was delicious, and Good Stuff had their A game on with the toasted marshmallow shakes that day. I am not a dessert person, but I would never turn one of these down.

After we walked back to the house -- saying hello to everyone we passed, especially the 'hot' policemen (girls!) -- we had brownies that my friend, and other resident manager, Carissa had made. Then I gave Presh here gifts, which were a grouping of little things that I had made or put together for her. I have to say, this was my most successful multi-present organizing/wrapping attempt ever.

But the good times continue. The next day Whitney, my old roommate from BYU, came through DC and stopped by my house. We walked over to Good Stuff in a classic torrential DC rain storm, and yes, I had another toasted marshmallow shake.

{Excuse our less than awesome self-portrait. We really did get soaked.}

It was great catching up with Whit again. She's still in her residency in Cleveland, and is stressed to the max but still doing well. I have no idea how anyone makes it through medical school and residency without losing their mind. Or their spouses and families. Seriously.

:::Fall Under the Wire, Part 1:::

Somewhere along the lines I forgot that the leaves were changing colors and failed to go out and take any pictures. Last weekend I finally got some shots just under the wire. My sister and brother-in-law went to Pennsylvania to see the leaves, so I went down to their apartment on Saturday to get their car and do some shopping.

On my short walk to Cap South I saw some great fall specimens. Oh, these colors!

This next photo is representative of that classic East Coast look -- brick sidewalks, row houses, street parking, fall leaves, and a church steeple in the background. There are a lot of old fashioned church buildings back here. That wasn't completely random.

These other photos may not be fall related, but I love, love them.

This fall grouping photo would have been perfect if not for the Texas flag in the background.

Oh, sorry, Sarah. I meant that the Texas flag makes the photo even better.

After some shenanigans involved with getting to my sister's apartment -- taking the wrong train (how is that possible now?), a missed bus, an emergency stop at a mall bathroom, and catching a cab outside of a Ritz in my tracksuit and Crocs -- I finally picked up the car and set out down King Street towards Old Town Alexandria.

On my way there I was a picture taking fiend. Look at these houses! Once the temperature and humidity drop I love this area and feel so happy to be here.

I was enamored with this long line of pumpkins interspersed with these lime green fruits/pods that I couldn't identify.

{This house was my favorite}

It stretched on for quite a few houses, and I wondered which family had come up with the idea, and who had taken the time to set it all up. I also wondered if the youths would go to town smashing it all later that night.