Monday, December 29, 2008

crafty goodness

It seems that, in recent months, I've developed a new fondness for adorable fabrics. Along with that fondness, I've begun to purchase said adorable fabrics. No, I don't sew, quilt or do anything that would resemble coziness, so I think it's time to change that.

So, one of my new-years resolutions is to learn to quilt! I've found a quilt shop in Gaithersburg (bonus, it's metro accessable!) that will be offering a ten week course, teaching you to quilt!

Capital Quilts Complete Course click for photo Annette Burns 10 sessions/2 hrs. ea./$168 This is the ultimate quilt course! Annette will teach you everything you need to know about quiltmaking, from fabric selection to cutting, piecing, pressing, appliqué, set-ins, paper piecing, and so much more. You will make a sampler quilt incorporating all the major quilt techniques, and learn to sandwich, quilt, and bind your masterpiece. This is the perfect opportunity to start at the beginning and learn one step at a time—but it’s a great refresher course, too. You’ll be welcome whatever your background in quilting may be!A.) 2-4 pmB.) 7-9 pmJan. 21, 28, Feb. 4, 11, 18, 25, Mar. 4, 11, 25, April 1

http://www.capitalquilts.com/index.htm

Now, I can learn to make masterpieces! Anyone want to quilt with me?

books, books, everywhere!

I went into Barnes and Noble today and all Christmas books are 50% off...plus, an additional 10% off if you are a Barnes member, which of course, I am. Shocker...

So, I purchased the following-

Olivia Helps with Christmas (I love that pig!)
Madeline's Christmas (who doesn't adore Madeline?)
Librarian's Night Before Christmas (for my mother, next year!)
The Nutcracker (illustrations by Susan Jeffers, and they are gorgeous!)
Auntie Claus (had never seen this one before, but love it!)
A Very Marley Christmas (can't wait to see the movie...who wants to go with me?!)

Yes, they are all childrens books.

So, 60% off all hardcovers? Yes please! Now the hard part will be deciding which to keep for my collection and which to give as gifts!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

ackkkkkk

Apparently I'm dyslexic this month.

I got back to DC around midnight last night to find a week's worth of mail waiting for me...including my scarf swap and sweet treat exchange packages...unfortunately, they were mine, as in, the ones I sent to my swap partners!

They were returned to me because I'm an idiot. Meaning, when addressing the box/envelope, I switched zipcodes and wrote the IL zip on the package going to CA, and vice versa. I guess the post office didn't like that, because they both came back.

Oooops.

They both will be re-sent tomorrow...

PS. More on holidays later! I'm still unpacking....

Monday, December 22, 2008

white, white everywhere!

Oh hello! This is Lexi, live from New Hampshire, where I'll be ALL WEEK LONG! Yes, true bliss, right there.

My cousin also lives in DC, so he and I drove home Saturday. We were welcomed to the Granite State by at least a foot of snow and more to come. Today? There's close to two feet of white, fully wonderfulness.

My week so far? Yesterday- church with my parents, visiting my grandmother, home, lay around and read a book, homemade beef stew for dinner, ice cream for desert, more reading my book, bedtime. Today? Errands- went to post office to mail Christmas gifts to Steve's family (yes, I'm the jerk who forgot to send them home with him, so I had to pay $36.10 to express them to Iowa), license renewal and such.

My gifts are wrapped lovingly and under the tree, which is gorgeous, by the way. Note to seld- take a picture and post it. Maybe I will be a good daughter and go outside to shovel the back walkway. The dogs are outside frolicing in the snow.

I kinda want to go make snow angels...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

her small hand

I came home from work tonight and found in my mailbox two Christmas cards and two letters from Albania. Excited, I hurried up the stairs to open them. Both letters were from Majlinda. One thanked me for the jump rope I sent many months ago and told me how much Majlinda likes to "build the snowman," but it doesn't snow much there. She asked about my Christmas tree and what sort of decorations are on it (note to self: take a picture of my tree to send to Albania).

The second letter told me how much Majlinda loves going to kindergarten and how she wants to learn to read, so she can read my letters, and then learn to write, so she can write to me. Ahh, simple joys. Then she said "I am asking now Majlinda what she would like to send you and she says a hug and her small hand." When I looked at the second page of the letter (the first page is the English translation and the attached second page is the original, in Albanian), Majlinda had traced her hand, and written both our names inside the hand. She even colored at the end of the fingers and she has green nail polish, along with a pink bracelet.

I may frame that letter and hand.

I love coming home to mail from my girls and I love knowing that I am making a difference in their lives. Part of my Christmas shopping was done on the World Vision website. Ducks, chickens and seeds, oh my!

Really though, it's things like this that make my holidays happy.

What makes yours happy?

my green thumb?

I don't have much luck with plants, but I still have it in my head that I could have a gorgeous garden someday. Someday, just not this day. In the meanwhile, I practice on things that are supposedly impossible to kill, but this isn't always the case.

For instance, bamboo. I had a bamboo that I bought at Eastern Market more then two years ago. It was growing like a champ. In fact, so champ-like that it was getting too big for its container. So, I googled "how to transplant bamboo" and figured it wasn't too tricky. I had a larger container and bought a bag of those smooth, polished stones and lifted it out of the old to move to the new. Meanwhile, I noticed that the roots were a bit stinky, maybe from being so cramped together, so I decided to rinse them under the sink. Maybe that was the downfall, because soon after, the bamboo died an untimely death. The leaves were yellowing and falling off, and the stalk was black. It also was really stinky. I had to toss the entire thing.

Last spring, I bought one of those herb kits from Whole Foods. It came with four small pots and bits of soil, and four seed packets- rosemary, thyme, parsley and oregano. For the first few weeks, they too, grew like champs. Then, they dried out and died too. The same day I planted those, I also had two pots where I planted wildflowers. Same story.

Last October, while waiting for my flight back to DC at the Orlando airport, I found a palm tree plant in the gift shop. I thought I so desperately needed it, so back to DC it came. I can't tell how it's doing, it looks about the same it did then, but it could possibly grow to be five feet tall. I'd totally love having a five foot palm tree blowing in the spring breeze of DC. I also have a new bamboo plant that is okay so far.

Just now, I ate an avocado and "planted" the seed. We'll see if I end up with an avocado tree to add to my nursery.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

until we meet again

It's so strange to think that it was six years ago that my grandfather passed away. It's still such a shock, as it was so unexpected. He hadn't been sick, there was no big accident. Nothing unusual.

I had been in Poland since August, and I was coming home for Christmas. My flight landed in Boston late Friday night. That morning, Grampa had gone into the hospital for a few tests. Apparently, he had a slight case of peunomenia and spent a few nights there, just to be safe. Sunday morning, my sister and I went to see him and he was so good. He was in great spirits, happy and jovial, as he always was. Grammy was with him. He always got a big kick out of those scratch off lotery tickets, so I had brought a few from Poland with me. He scratched them off and won roughly 50 cents on one of them. He gave me the ticket and told me to buy myself something nice with it. I still have the ticket. He was to be released the next morning. Well, I'm not a doctor and I don't know how it happened, but my father woke me up very early Monday morning to tell me that he died suddenly from some complications with the medicines he was on, or the like. I couldn't believe it. I still can't.

My father took my sister, my brother and myself over to the hospital, where my mother and my aunt were already there of course with my grandmother. It was bad. I don't remember much of the day. I assume the wake was the following day, but I really don't remember the entire course of action, it was all such a blur. I think the wake was the next morning and the funeral was that afternoon maybe. We also had a ceremony at the cemetary. My cousin and I both did readings during the funeral mass, but I have no idea what I read. I don't know who was there and what was done. It wasn't the best Christmas we've ever had.

Grampa was my mother's father. My Meme, my father's mother, died six months later, of lung cancer. Somehow, that was much less tramatic for me, maybe because she'd been so sick for so long that it was expected and better for her so she wasn't suffering anymore.

I've been sad today, remembering. Just thinking about all the aspects of the day and the day before and the days after and how much we still miss Grandpa. I'm also thinking how all the memories still make me smile. There are so many smiles to remember and reasons to laugh out loud. My mother tells me how proud Grampa would be of me and of my sister and brother, and my two cousins. He loved politics and would be so thrilled by my being here, and working on the Hill and now for State. So many random make me think of Grandpa. The missing him never goes away, the thoughts of him will be with us always, but usually with a smile.

and until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand....love you always Grampa

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

it's the little things

I came home the other day to find two letters from Albania in my mailbox, one from each of my girls. Bliss! Both girls are only 6, so their mothers write. Majlinda's mother told me that everyday when she comes home from kindergarten, she takes my letters out and looks at them, every day. Inaete wants to know when my birthday is and she loves vegetables.

My heart melts each time I hear from them.

I love these girls, I do, I do.

Monday, December 8, 2008

picture this

A hodgepodge of pictures, from the last few weeks...



maybe my favorite new wine? vidal blanc from bluemont vineyard




snacks!



yeah, we're dorks :)


but sometimes cute!




really, really pretty



our Christmas tree!



me, on the ground, sawing down the tree...yes, really!



my favorite little Charlie Brown tree! we got a different one though...



Thanksgiving dinner!



my turkey!!!!!!






Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas, Balkan style

I just packaged up two puffy envelopes for my two favorite Albanian girls to be mailed in the morning! Happy Christmas, Majlinda and Inaete! Soon, in their mailboxes, they should be receiving each a book (in English and Albanian!), a small stuffed Care Bear, two little bracelets with wooden beads and one of the Wizard of Oz Madame Alexander dolls from the McDonalds Happy Meals (not the scary flying monkey!). In addition, I had also called World Vision a few weeks ago to set up a gift donation for their families. I'm hoping they'll use it for Christmas gifts for each other, and a turkey for dinner. Okay, if they don't like turkey, I don't mind if they get something else :)

I just hope their Christmas is happy.

all I want for Christmas is youuuuuuuuuuu

I have NO idea what to get Steve for Christmas.

Am I an awful girlfriend?

Yes? No? Maybe so?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Say Thanks

A friend forwarded me this website called Let's Say Thanks that I think is so lovely, I thought I'd pass it along to you all, with the hopes maybe you'll pass it further. It allows you to chose a design and send a note to a service person stationed overseas. Apparently Xerox is the company behind it, and they are printing out the postcards and sending them along. I think it is such a nice idea all year long, but especially during the holiday season when some may not receive much mail from home.


I've sent a few already...and plan to send more!

energizing mornings?

I love it when it's not until I'm in the shower that I realize I bought two conditioners and no shampoos the night before.

Oooops.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

end of the contest

So I really loved all your stories about the best thing you received in the mail. They all made me laugh and smile and I was glad to find that I'm not the only one who loves sending mail. Long live the US Postal System!

On that note, I decided that I couldn't possibly pick just one of you, so you all win! Keeping in the holiday spirit, I will send each of you who sent me a story a little love in the mail.

Comments are being moderated for this post, so please comment with your mailing address, so I can send your treats. I won't allow your address to show, but if you have something else to say, I may allow that to appear :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

are you a little cold?

If so, go check this out...what a fun idea, eh?



Friday, November 21, 2008

my new penpal!

A couple of months ago, I posted about an organization called In2Books, where I had signed up to be a penpal with a child and discuss books that we'd read "together." By that, I mean that we are nowhere near each other, but read books at the same time, and then discuss them via online letters. Tonight I got my first "letter" from my penpal- his name is Therrion and his favorite food is shrimp :) I don't know what book we'll be reading yet, but I am really excited about it. If you didn't before, go take a look! It seems like such a neat project, and I am really excited about getting involved with it.

In that previous post, Sara asked what happened to real life penpals, which I think is a very good question. As you may have gathered from my contest, I am a HUGE letter writer. I lovelovelove finding mail in my mailbox that isn't a credit card bill (or a birthday card to a friend that was returned to me for having the incorrect zipcode....oooops!), and I love sending notes to others. When I was younger, I LOVED penpals and I had many. I remember when I was in 4th grade, there was a trip to Lithuania by a group of high school students and they brought back some addresses for students and I got one and had her as a penpal. Her name was Vera and I loved hearing about her life and how different it was from mine. Sadly, as it happens, we lost touch, but I think of her and credit her for my love of letter writing!

So yes, while email and blogs take over the world, I proudly remain a loyal supporter of the US Postal System!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

question du jour

Okay, so facebook again (clearly I spend too much time on there...)

So when someone pops up on my "people you may know" area, does that mean that I'm showing up on theirs as well? At the same time? Or is it totally random?

Just curious!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

gahhhh

Um, if you know anything about Italy's stance on GMOs with regards to the WTO and the US, feel free to send it my way.

I'm so not a European Councelor, ughhh.

you know you love me, xoxo

So I'm a bit behind with my tv (LOVE tivo!) and just watched Monday's Gossip Girl. Is it just me or is Jenny really, really awful? She's horrible, horrid, horrific and hateful.

Oh, and her hair? Even worse.

Barf.

musica?

I've recently decided that I really like Rascall Flatts. Does anyone listen to them? What's your favorite song?

ohhh facebook

I've been acquiring many new facebook friends, most of them from days long ago. This is the point of facebook though, is it not? I like the search aspect (oh admit it, you totally stalk people too, don't lie to me!)

I'm amused by the "people you may know" aspect. I wonder how, just because I might know someone who also knows that someone, facebook assumes I know them. Yes, sometimes facebook gets it right, but sometimes, um, no, not at all. Tonight I was searching my high school (which I found out today totally has a wikipedia entry!) and was searching my graduating class, then each before me. I found that the love of my freshman life is on facebook. He was a senior when I was a freshman, and I loved him like any young freshman girl loves that senior boy they never really talk to. Okay, we talked very occasionally, but that is another post for another day.

Tonight I noticed that we had one mutual friend. Curious was I, so I clicked to see who. It was a girl who was in my class, but I don't know if they spoke much more then I did. She had friended me very recently, just a couple of weeks ago and I don't think we've spoken since graduation. Again, the joys of facebook come full force. Still though, since a lot of new people are popping up on facebook every day, I am just waiting for the day when that love of my life pops up on my people I may know, via many mutual friends.

Then, the big question will be, to poke or not to poke....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

in love

I've found a new love. It's called Better World Books. Go check it out.

They raise money to promote world literacy. They have book drives. They sell new and used books and the money is then sent to various organizations, including one of my personal favorites, Room to Read, which builds libraries in developing countries. They take donations of used books.

The best part? It was started by three college students who simply wanted to promote literacy.

I just purchased four books, two are used and two are new. The total for all four? $24.97. Shipping is free within the US and I had a code for 10% off my purchase.

If you ask nicely, I might just tell you that code too...

Go look, buy a book and help a child who needs it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

a contest? yes please!

So I've seen other bloggers run contests...and I thought maybe I'd do the same....why not?

Here we go. As you may or may not, I am a big writer. As in, among other things, letters. I love writing letters and sending love notes to people far away from me in DC (ha, I rhymed!). I love coming home and finding something special in my mailbox. It makes the day brighter, I really do think. I spend a lot at Hallmark and I have a lot of stationary. A lot. A lot a lot a lot, like a whole lot. I don't have room to store it all.

So this is where you come in. Do you like mail? Really, who doesn't? This drawing will have two parts. You can enter one, or both, if you like, but there will be two winners. One will be a random drawing. One will not. For the second, I want you to tell me the best thing you ever received in the mail. It can be a love note from an ex (or current!) significant other. It can be a letter from a penpal or a long lost friend. It can be a surprise package or something totally adorable that you ordered from etsy (post pics!). In that one, I will pick my favorite story as the winner.

The prize? Some stationary and notecards! I'll send out a large assortment of fun stationary. It might be a few cards from Hallmark, Papyrus or elsewhere. You'll also get random pieces of stationary and fun envelopes and maybe even some stickers and other random surprises.

The contest will end a week from today- Sunday, 23 November at midnight (eastern time). I'll pick the winners Monday and let them know :)

Questions? Ask!

Now, tell me stories!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I need a new project

Do you know how to knit? I think I want to learn.

I have a plan....

Monday, November 10, 2008

party this

How do you feel about in-home parties, ie, things such as Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Tupperware, Lia Sophia, etc?



Are you often invited to them by your friends? Do you go? Do you purchase anything? Do you find them annoying? Do you feel obligated to purchase something?



Me? I like them. I find them fun. I like learning about new products and trying new things. I don't seem to be invited to them often, but when I am, I usually go, assuming I can, and I often buy something, not out of obligation, but because I want to.



Tonight Steve and I went to a wine tasting party. I hadn't heard of this company, but we had a lot of fun. We tried a few new wines, had some munchies and met a few new people.

Always a good time.

We didn't purchase anything this time, but did sign up to host a party of our own. Want to come? :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

food please

Hey all-

Yesterday I bought about a pound and a half of sliced roast beef- as in deli sliced. I had plans to make it for this asparagus appetizer, but it didn't work out (long story!), so now I have all but two slices of it. For some reason, I've never been especially wild about a sliced roast beef sandwich.

Can you suggest anything I might do with it? I thought maybe of heating it up with gravy and then some mashed potatos or something, but what else might work? Maybe some sort of pie? Any thoughts would be appreciated! Thanks!

Monday, November 3, 2008

sleepytime please

Why am I so tired? It's not even 7pm and I can barely keep my eyes open. I have pierogi cooking for dinner and I'm afraid I may not last long to eat them. Booo.

How was your weekend? Mine was pretty low-key. Steve was excited to hand out candy at the house, but we got two groups of kids. The first group had about 10 kids; of them, maybe three were in costume. An hour later, two more kids showed up...older though, maybe 8th or 9th grade, also not on costume. They were nice though, and commented on how nice the house is. Just for that, they got extra candy. Also, the less leftover and within my reach, the better.

Really though, what was up with the lack of costumes? Did anyone else experience this? What do you make of it? I always spent weeks contemplating my costume, changing my mind many times. My favorite? I was a pink crayon one year, in a costume made by my mother. I should find a picture...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm pretty sure this is field hockey weather

This weekend reminded me of why I like fall so much. Cool, crisp and perfect, aside from the partial rain on Saturday. Depsite the forecast, Steve and I were out and about on Saturday with a few things in mind. First we stopped at the Arlington Library for their semi-annual used book sale. They do it in the fall and spring and I mark the day on my calendar because I love it so much. The books are mostly used, though I've scored new books before, including this weekend, finding a new hardcover of Sophie Kinsella's Remember Me for $4. Awesome. I spent $24 this weekend and came back with 14 books, four of those being brand-new coloring books marked .50 each to send to my Albanian babes.

Then we left and went out to Cox Farm for pumpkins. Unfortunately, it was pouring then, so we quickly got pumpkins and left. We went last year too, and went on a hay ride and played with baby goats.

On Sunday, Magda and I went to two wineries where we tasted several lovely blends. It was simply gorgeous- really, the weather couldn't have been better and the company was grand! At the first place, we bought a bottle and sat outside with it and enjoyed the sun, music and conversation. The second was decorated a bit for Halloween with spooky goblets on their mantle. I bought two bottles at each, I believe M bought one or two as well.

Today I began the new job, finally! I was off all last week, waiting on paperwork and whatnot, and it was all ready today. It went well, I think I'll be happy there. Unfortunately, I found out that my office is in fact open the day after Thanksgiving. Booooo. My boss did say that if I had plans to go home, it was okay, but honestly, I hadn't made any plans yet, because I thought I'd better wait. It was a good thing I did, because Dec 1-2, the Monday and Tuesday after the holiday, we have a big board meeting. She said I can take off an extended break at Christmas though, so I guess it makes up for it. Still, I'm disappointed, but I guess there isn't much I can do about it.

Here are a few pictures from the weekend---




This was a real pumpkin, made to look like a cheeseburger! So cool.


The wine, so delish.


Enjoying my wine, and some spinach artichoke dip!


He sang. He was good.

I think I want a winery of my own.


Still enjoying, maybe a bit too much by this point!



Inside La Grange


Halloween!



How was your weekend?


Friday, October 24, 2008

seven-ish-ness

So the lovely Lizzie recently posted the seven random things meme. She said that anyone who wants to do can, so I thought I would. I always like to entertain myself with such things, and why would you not want to learn crazy things about me?

  1. I once dated a guy who speaks no English. Seriously, not just a little bit of English, but none. It was while I was in Poland and he was the cousin of one of my friends there. My Polish was, um, okay. I was far from fluent, but I have to say, it got much better during the short time we were together. I will admit, that breaking up with him was insanely difficult, but that's another post for another day.
  2. I talk to myself in foreign languages, but mainly in the grocery store. Again, I am far from fluent in either Polish or Spanish, but find myself thinking gdzie jest mleko or donde esta la leche instead of where is the milk? Is this a good thing, or does it mean I am going crazy?
  3. Before I moved to DC four years ago, I had never been here, not even to visit. I moved to a city I had never stepped foot in, into a house I didn't see before moving in. At the time, I was in Canada running an election, and didn't have the luxury of being here to look at apartments, so I had to base my decisions on phone calls and photos. I got lucky, and moved into a great house with great people, including Steve.
  4. Yes, Steve, my boyfriend, was my roommate first. Le scandal! He lived in the basement apartment and I lived upstairs. He seduced me one day and the rest, as the say, is history.
  5. I hate tomatoes. I will, however, eat ketchup, tomato sauce, bruschetta, tomato soup, salsa and pretty much anything that contains tomato...but the actual fruit gives me the heebee jeebees. If it is a large chunk, or slice, like in a salad, I can't handle it. Small, cut up, in something? No problem! Yes, I am aware that I am ridiculous!
  6. I love writing letters and getting mail. While email is truly a wonderful thing (thanks Al Gore! hehe) I appreciate people taking the time to sit down and write down their thoughts to share. I have several friends all over that I write to, and I very often send random cards to friends for no reason other then to let them know that I am thinking of them. Coming home and finding a hand-written letter in my mailbox really can make my day. I really should buy stock in Hallmark.
  7. I consider it rude to use call-waiting. This drives Steve apples and bananas. If I am on the phone with someone, and my phone beeps, I look to see who it is, but 97% of the time, I ignore the beep, unless I am waiting for a call. If it is important, they will leave a message and I'll call back. If that person calls again right away, I assume it could be important, so I switch.
  8. BONUS!!! I don't understand sarcasm. At all. I never get jokes. Ever. I'm also gullible. Bad combination. Maybe someday I will tell the Christ with a K story.......

Thursday, October 23, 2008

hello lover

I think I need this coat....





How adorable would I be in that, in red? :)


cool, crisp and all of that

I know, I know. I shouldn't complain about having a week off randomly...it's nice, except my bank account is the one that will suffer. So, I will try not to think about that, and instead focus on the zillion things I have to do.

First, question- I am still a bit of a newbie with blogger. One of my profs has several blogs that he contributes to, and he has asked me, along with a few other students, to contribute to them as well. His blogs are also on blogger. I was sent an invitation to contribute to his, but if I login with my email address, won't it link it to my own blog? Meaning, if you look at my profile, you'd see my blog and that blog, as blogs I contribute to? Is there a way to prevent this linkage? I realize that I could just use a different email address, but I don't want to, bc the email I use for my blog is the same one that I use for things like that. Does this make sense?

Next, one more question- if you were serving bbq pulled pork for dinner, what would you serve with it? I know some of you are southern belles, and my New England roots fail me at this! I went into Trader Joes today and thought Steve might like that for dinner, so I grabbed it, along with some buns, but I have no idea what to have with it! Oh yeah, and Trader Joes at 2pm...sooooo much better then the usual 8pm when I get there!

I bought the November issue of Good Housekeeping magazine last night, mainly because the Gosselin Family of Jon & Kate + 8 fame were on the cover. Funny, I had tivoed a bunch of episodes while we were in FL and one was the photo shoot for the magazine story. Had I not watched the episode, I wouldn't have noticed the cover, but I bought it and now I fear I'm turning into a soccer mom, prematurely. There are some good recipes in there! Really though, their family is adorable and they have a new book coming out. You know it's on my Christmas list.

Last night Steve and I returned the washer/dryer to buy a stackable set. Turns out they can deliver it tomorrow. Amazing. So, I'll be over there then to meet the delivery men. This domestic housewife thing is kinda fun. Shhh....don't tell Steve I said that :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

new job? not so much

Right, so I was supposed to start the new job Monday. Today is Wednesday and I'm still unemployed. Well, not unemployed unemployed, but not working. The thing with crazy federal jobs is that there is loads of paperwork, and apparently mine isn't finished yet. Booo. I called the office today, and it may not be ready until next Tuesday! Now, I'm all for a day or two off here and there, but a week and a half? Should I complain about this? Granted, I do have some work to catch up on for my classes (well, one class...I had to drop the other...long story, you don't want to hear it, and I might cry. seriously.)

I guess it has been okay, in some respects. Steve's house is still not all unpacked and put away. A few weeks ago, we had picked out furniture, and some of it (the rest is still in NC) was delivered yesterday. So, I was here to oversee the delivery of a loveseat and chair, three tables and two lamps. My being here also ensured that they were placed where I wanted them :) His washer and dryer were supposed to come today...they did....but were returned. It seems that we were a bit silly and didn't measure the closet first, and when they arrived, they're too big. Ooooops. So, back they went and back to the store we will go tonight.

Even though I have some schoolwork that I should be doing, I may have been spending a bit of time looking at reception venues. I'm not engaged, but there is nothing wrong with a little pre-planning, now is there? Like I said, I had to drop one of my classes, the one that I lovedlovedloved and my remaining class is not what I thought it was going to be. I seem to have no motivation at all to do the work I should be doing. It's not even like there is much...I have a few case studies to prepare, but each one is no more then a page...so essentially, I have to write about six pages on six different topics. Booo to school. Why did I think I needed another Masters?

I want to go back to Disney!

Monday, October 20, 2008

pictures!

Now that I've finally figured out how to post more then one picture at once (yeah, I'm slow), here are a few from Disney!


France/Epcot




I love English phone booths :)

As part of the International Food and Wine Show, there were stands everywhere, one of them being my beloved Krakow!

I love Canada too :) I had a conversation with the shopkeeper about the glories that is Tim Hortons!

This was not at Disney...but I love chalupas. A lot.

Loved this ride. Loved loved loved it.


I should have bought this hat...but didn't. This is currently my facebook picture :)

Epcot!

Bratwurst in Germany. Yummmm.

Lovely day for a stroll through the World Showcase!

All decorated for Halloween!



Mickey and Minnie!!!

Breakfast at Cinderella's Castle, with my magic wand :)

Jasmine was Steve's favorite princess....can you guess why?

The teacups ride is my favorite of all time!



The castle!






Sunday, October 19, 2008

DC is cold

I got home from Florida tonight to coldddddd weather. You know what? I liked it! I am sooooo a fall/winter weather kind of girl. Put me in a turtleneck sweater any day.

Florida? Lots of fun! Disney? Intense! I don't know how some people, including a friend of mine, can go there multiple times a year! I was a bit Mickeyed out after day two! Fort Meyers and the wedding was really nice.

I will write more later and post some pics too...but now, I must go to bed....I start the new job tomorrow! Eeeeek!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

how happy is it really?

I'm heading to Florida tomorrow! Well, technically today, since it's 1:09am and I am still packing, haha. We are spending a few days at Disney and then going to Fort Meyers for a wedding. So, I won't be back until Sunday, so expect stories and pictures then!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

of gifts and galore

How do you feel about the idea of a honeyfund? Essentially, it works like a registry, but couples can pick out aspects of their honeymoon that you can directly contribute to.

As I mentioned, we are going to Florida next weekend for a wedding. The couple registered at two stores (Macys & Bed, Bath and Beyond, I believe) and then opted for a honeyfund. To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about them. I'm a bit apprehensive about registries to begin with, but that's another post for another day. Remind me.

This couple lives in DC as well, so it seems a bit ridiculous to fly down with a gift and then have them fly back with it. We see them often, so to be, it makes far more sense to write them a lovely card to give them at the wedding and let them know a gift is waiting in DC. Is this a bad idea? Then I was toying with the idea of adding a little thing from their honeyfund to the card, but I still don't know if I am wild about the idea.

Thoughts? Do you know anyone who had honeyfunded? Would you honeyfund?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

debate, schemate

Want to know a secret? I'm not watching the debate tonight. Here's a whopper for you. I haven't watched any of the debates before this either. Maybe this makes me a bad citizen, but really, I'm just so sick of this election that I don't want to hear any more then I have to. I'm not exceptionally wild about either candidate and I don't really want to listen to them and their constant attacks on one another. It's becomming so painful, my ears bleed listening to either of them and I can't take it. November can't come soon enough.

Please don't think I am one of those uninformed people who just complains about what happens, but does nothing about it, because that couldn't be further from the truth. I've worked on several campaigns over the years in various capacities, both during and after college. I've voted in every election, always by absentee ballot, because I still vote in NH, rather then DC. In fact, my ballot is sitting next to me on my bed as I write.

Want to hear something crazy? There is an election in Canada going on right now! What? You had no idea? I know, it's hard when ours overshadows everyone elses. Canadians are set to head to the polls on October 14...that is just a few short days away! I think the Canadians are brilliant- their elections last 36 days. The Prime Minister drops the writ and then the election begins. Election Day is a Monday. Short and sweet.

(in 2004 when Canada had their Federal Elections, I was in Ontario running a campaign....this was the time when I fell in love with the glories that is Tim Hortons....what I would for a timbit right now.....)

I have this hope that October will fly by and Election Day will be here before we know it and I won't have to hear this anymore...or at least not for another year before people begin to campaign again...

Maybe I will vote for the Libertarian candidate...they have two on the ballot, believe it or not. How that works, I'm not sure...

Monday, October 6, 2008

merlot? chardonnay? what's your pleasure?

This is the top of my fridge....yes, all those bottles of wine? Yes, they are mine.

Should I be concerned? Am I turning into a wine-o?

PS. At least it's all local wine from VA...okay, with the exception of two bottles on the rack that are from a wine cellar in Bratislava....

Friday, October 3, 2008

lose your blues, everyone cut footloose

I just can't shake these blues I'm feeling.

What should be an extraordinarly happy time for me is being overwhelmed by stress that I don't know how to make go away.

As I mentioned earlier this week, I gave my boss my two weeks notice. My last day here is a week from today, 10 Oct. That next week I will be in Florida for a wedding, including a few days at Disney, which, if you can believe it, I've never been to. On Monday, 20 Oct, I start a new job. A new job at a place that has long been one of my goals to someday work at. I didn't think this someday would come so soon. I've accepted a position at the Department of State. That, along with the Library of Congress and NATO, are my Big Three.

Also, Steve closed on a house this week and moved in that same day. This weekend we'll do some furniture shopping, as he has little of his own (his former roommate seemed to get much of it in their "divorce," though I don't mind, since much of it is ugly). I'm going with him, as we both seem to be under the impression I'll be living there too, though not initially. I'd still rather have at least the sparkle come first. House today, ring tomorrow? One can hope.

Despite these happy things, I feel like there is a huge cloud of fog over me, because of school. I should clarify- not from school, per se, but from the tuition that goes along with it. Extremely long story short, I am taking six credits this fall as usual, three at the university I attend and three elsewhere. Since three of my credits are not where I am (technically), they seem to think that I am not a part-time student (which I am) and I am less then part-time. The oh so lovely federal gov't loan peeps canceled my loan because they don't think I am part-time and suddenly I owe $6k to two expensive DC universities.

I have $6k in my pocket that I don't know what to do with...don't you? Doesn't everyone?

Riiiiiiiiiight.

If I don't get this resolved in the next few weeks, it could spell t-r-o-u-b-l-e for me, because if I have a balance on my account, it gets frozen and then I can't register for spring semester.

Blargh.

I'm wishing I were independently wealthy.

PS. I'm not.

Maybe I will win the lottery this weekend? In that case, Mickey Mouse ears for everyone!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

100th post!

Big day, big post...

I gave my boss my two weeks notice yesterday!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

on sushi and books


They go together, right? Sushi and books? Like rama-dama-ding-dong? Okay, brief Grease moment there (I typed brief as breaf for a minute, and couldn't figure out how to spell it, though knew it was wrong!)


I am a baby when it comes to sushi. Really, I am. I try so hard to like it, I really do...but I always revert back to the California roll. Last night Steve and I were out celebrating a bit of goodness (no sparkle....) and I thought sushi would be good. He looked a bit surprised when I suggested it, but didn't question me. We went to this place in Fairfax called Todai, which is a sushi buffet. I like it, because along with dozens of different sushi rolls, it has soba noodles and all sorts of other things.


I nervously approached the buffet and found my California rolls. I looked down along the counter, where they get more colorful and more scary, and decided to be brave. I grabbed a few. I don't know what kind. As long as it's cooked and isn't eel, I thought I'd be okay.


I was wrong. I ate my California rolls and had a tiny bite of a second, and then lost my nerve. The more colorful they got, the less I wanted to eat them. I'm such a wuss.


At least I had my soba noodles!


In other newsworthy events, this weekend is the National Book Festival on the Mall, which is sponsored by the First Lady and the Library of Congress. If you are in the greater DC area, I highly suggest that you go. It's amazing. It's one of my favorite days of the year! Yes, I'm a dork, I realize this. I want to see Jan Brett. What? You don't know who she is? She's a childrens author who does the most beautiful illustrations. She designed this years poster! Love her. I want to buy a copy of her new book and have it signed for my mother for Christmas. Laura and Jenna (Bush- yes, we're on a first name basis!) will be there signing their book, Read All About It, so I may have them sign one for my mum too. My mother is a librarian, she eats this stuff up.
Anyway, if you are in DC on Saturday, please come. Look for me, I'll be the nerd with the checklist, making sure every author on my checklist has been visited. Yes, I am making my plan of attack tonight....

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

tea=bliss

I'm on my 4th cup of tea today. Earl Grey, from Harrods. I bought it in London last fall and it is so wonderful. It makes me sad that I am running low on it. I suppose that means another trip to London is in order?

What is your favorite kind of tea?

blarghhh

I'm home today, home sick. Okay, so I am not on my deathbed sick, but I feel like crud. I'm watching reruns of 90210, yes, old-school 9-oh. It's the episode where Donna and David and the girls sneak into the hotel to find Color Me Badd and she sees her mother there with another man. I always liked this episode. What was your favorite 9-oh episode?

How was your weekend? I didn't do much of excitement, mostly just helped Steve move. He closes on his new house a week from today, so we were packing and moving boxes. It wasn't exactly fun, but I suppose it must be done, right? I hate moving...it's the worst!

I made fruit bread last night. It was supposed to be strawberry bread, but I didn't have enough, so I had a bag of frozen mixed fruit in the freezer (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries) and used those. The bread is a lovely shade of purple and isn't bad :)

Okay, more later....must make more tea...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

don't call me Martha

Martha Stewart I am not.

I'm not the most organized person out there, which is no surprise, judging by the looks of my apartment, which, obviously, you can't see at the moment!

I do, however, love to cook. I don't as often as I'd like, due to the extremly small size of my kitchen! Despite that, I have a lot of cookbooks. Like, more then 150, in all seriousness. I have this kitchen hutch that my microwave sits on and the top part is shelves. It's full. I also have them on the kitchen cart next to the fridge, and then more on top of the fridge.

I have a lot of cookbooks. Remind me sometime to post a picture.

I do also have a few recipe boxes, where I copy down recipes onto cute cards and organize them according to food type (breads, appetizer, poultry, etc).

Even though I have enough cookbooks where I could probably cook a different recipe every night for the next five years without repeating, I buy cooking magazines. I subscribe to Racheal Ray, Bon Appetite and Food and Wine, and many months, I buy a few more, including Olive, a British cooking magazine that I picked up at Heathrow last year and now spend $10 a month for the imported copy at Barnes and Noble.

As you can imagine, these magazines are piling up. I'm debating what to do with them. I obviously can't keep them all, not at this rate.

What would you do? Rip out the recipes you like and organize them into some sort of binder? Copy the recipes you like onto cute recipe cards for aforementioned recipe boxes?

How do you organize your recipes?

for Jess and Torsten

A different sort of post....

I am a bit new to the blogging world, but in my short time doing so, I've found some great blogs that I enjoy reading. One of those happens to belong to Jess. If you don't read her blog, she's getting married very soon, to a great man called Torsten. From her posts, they are so happy and very much in love, which is such a refreshing thing to see.

I just wanted to send them a short note of congratulations and best wishes for a long lifetime of happiness together, from now until forever.

One of my favorites...

"I love you, not only for what you are, But for what I am when I am with you."--Roy Croft

Congratulations Jess and Torsten! May your wedding day be the beginning of your best adventure yet!

(this lovely bit of bloggy love was organized by Ms. Swistle, in case you were wondering)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

question du jour

Do you keep your receipts? You know, when at a restaurant and using plastic, do you keep the receipt and then file it away somewhere?

I have a bad habit of sticking them in my wallet with the intention of filing them...but really, who I am kidding...I don't file anything

I know, I'm bad.

This leads to my bonus question- what sort of wallet do you have? Do you like it? I need a new one and I'm not entirely sure what I want.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

how to make a meal happy...or not

I was planning to go to Subway for lunch, and get some fairly healthy. Unfortunately for me, the McDonalds is in my path and I was swayed by the thought of french fries.

In I went. I convinced myself that it was better to get a Happy Meal, since it's smaller, therefore, not as bad, right? So, that I did. Then I noticed that the current Happy Meal toys were Madame Alexander toys dressed as the characters from The Wizard of Oz. Fun!

I thought these would be really perfect, as I could send them to Majlinda and Inaete in Albania.
So, I bought my cheeseburger happy meal and waited for lunch.

My lemonade went to the tray. Then the cheeseburger, and then the fries.

She looked at me and said para nina?

I said si, por favor.

(yes, Spanish speaking McDonalds in Dupont=good practice for me!)

She rummaged through the box of toys under the counter. I was hoping, of course, for Dorothy or Glenda the Good Witch....but instead, I got a flying winged monkey.

Seriously, if you were a 6 year old Albanian girl who had probably never see The Wizard of Oz, wouldn't this scare the bejeebuses out of you?!





it's only Tuesday?

I just made a cup of tea, vanilla, if you were wondering, but it's awful. Boooo.

How was your weekend? Okay? Fun? Relaxing? Mine was...in a word, busy! Saturday we had to go to Steve's company picnic, which was up in Columbia, MD. They had pina colada slushies, which was clearly the thing that made the drive worth it. They were labeled "adults only," so there must have had a little somethin' somethin' in there. Afterwards, we drove down to Crystal City to watch the Iowa-Iowa State football game. I could care less about football of any kind, but Steve and his friends were there to support their alma matter (did I spell that right?), who lost. Oh well.

Then we had this weird wedding thing. I'll explain. Some acquaintences of ours were married in July in Turkey (they are both Turkish), so they had a "reception" here. It was at the clubhouse of the condo association they live in. We had very little details of the event, especially the attire. Since we'd been picnicing and gaming, I was in capris and a shirt...clearly not wedding-wear. They were having it out in McLean and we didn't want to go back to DC, so we stopped at Pentagon City...an obvious solution. I bought this dress at the Gap, but wore it like in the second picture, because I looked like an idiot when I belted it. Steve bought a pair of dark jeans and a button down shirt. Jeans you say? For a wedding? Yes, jeans. This is because when the bride was asked what the attire was, she said to wear what you wear when you go clubbing. Which I don't. So, needless to say, I had no idea what to wear. Luckily, the dress was on sale for a whopping $23.99, which I thought was fine for a weird wedding reception for a couple I barely know. I was surprised I was invited, to be honest. I've met her a few times, she's very nice, but I haven't seen her in at least a year and a half, and frankly, if I saw her on the street, I wouldn't recognize her.

At least the cake was good.

Monday, September 15, 2008

dinner!

if you had a little piece of salmon and a few baby scallops, how would you prepare them for dinner?

Friday, September 12, 2008

reading anything good?

What are you reading right now? Need something new?

Go over to Britt's blog and sign up for her Book Exchange! I've signed up and I think it will be really fun. While there, check out some pics of her son Nicky- he's adorable!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Albania...again...shocker


I'm having inner turmoil. I have this habit of looking at World Vision's website, probably too often. Two-ish weeks ago, I found a little boy named Klaudjo, he lives in the same village in Albania as Majlinda and Inaete. He's adorable...like Bobby Brady, from the first season of The Brady Bunch....kinda like this picture, but younger still...like from the very first episode, if you watched it. He's the same age (five) as my two girls too. He likes to color and play with toy cars.
So when I found him, I told Steve about him and said I wanted to sponsor him too. Like the wise person he is, Steve said "can you do three Albanian babies? would that be too much for you? you like to send them little packages too, and three can get expensive."
He's smart, that guy.
That night, Steve was at my apartment, and I wanted to show him the picture of Klaudjo, but when I logged in, I couldn't find him. Maybe he was sponsored already?
I just looked again now, and there he is! I haven't been able to get him out of my mind for the last two weeks!
I'm now debating if three Albanian babies is too much....

Do I talk about my Albanian babies too much? Tell me if I need to stop!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

election day!

On another note, want to hear something funny? So yesterday was the primary in many states, including my own home state of NH. Since I moved to DC four years ago, I've always voted absentee ballot and continued to vote there. At first, it was because I worked on the Hill for one of my Congressman and when doing so, you maintain your home state residency (loved that, bc I didn't pay DC income tax and NH has no income tax!). Since I left the Hill, I've continued to vote absentee, since I have no voting representative in Congress by living in DC.

So a few weeks ago, I got my absentee ballot in the mail. I began my vote, and noticed that in several categories, it said "vote no more then five" and there were only two or three people running. This was for the local things- state rep in Concord and such. So, I wrote myself in, hehe. My father is really involved in local politics and was actually a state rep from my town for six years when I was really young. He helps out on election day, working in the polls and counting ballots.

My mother texted me last night to tell me that I got three votes!!!! Mine, my best friend who wrote me in, and one more...likely my mother, hahaha.

I told Steve that this is a sign from God that we should move back to NH :)

I retract my statement

Okay, perhaps yesterday's post was a bit harsh on my end. I apologize if I offended anyone. I saw the article on cnn and for some reason, it hit a nerve with me, and I wrote that post rather quickly, without necessarily thinking it through. As I saw people's comments, I thought about it a bit more and decided I made a rash decision.

Like I said, education is one of the most important issues to me, and yes, I agree with some that it is a very personal decision, one that cannot be made lightly. So, if he thinks that that school is best for his daughters, then it must be. If he wins the Presidency, I hope he follows through with what he says and really does something for public schools, because so many of them really need an overhaul.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

excuse me, Senator?

Okay, so I have not discussed politics on here much, nor do I especially want to. I know this election has people really fired up, which is always a good thing, in my opinion. It is good to have people involved, especially when they are passionate.

I tend not always to voice my opinions about such matters, and certain issues are more important to me then others. For me, education is one of the most important issues. You may know, I am currently working on a second Masters degree, in International Education and I am giving very serious thought to teaching. DC public schools are amoung the worst in the country, as you may know and there is always talk of how to improve them.

I've been curious about McCain and Obama's views on education and what they planned to do about it. Of course, educational issues have been overshadowed by Iraq and the economy, amoung other things. So, when I saw this article, I read it, and became curious about Obama's two daughters. I did a bit of google work and found this article.

From said article-

It was the first day of classes for 10-year-old Malia, a fifth grader, and 7-year-old Sasha, in second grade. They’d spent some of their summer on the campaign trail with their dad.

So dear little Malia and Sasha go to the University of Chicago Lab School.

From their webpage-

Schedule of Tuition 2008-09 School Year

Grade
2008-09 Tuition & Fees
Nursery School (Half Day)
$11,442
Nursery/Kindergarten (Full Day)
$16,674
Grades 1 - 4
$18,492
Grades 5 - 8
$20,286
Grades 9 - 12
$21,480


So the Senator and Mrs. Obama are paying nearly $40K a year for their daughters education.

I am not anti private school in the least, I went to Catholic elementary and high school, public school for grades 6-8.

What bothers me? When a candidate tells me what he might do for public schools, but doesn't send his own there. I find that quite ironic.

Thoughts?

trashy tv!

So I joined twitter. Follow me, if you want to :)

Does anyone watch the show on MTV called Exiled? It comes on right after The Hills, and I won't lie, I've been watching it! Last night's girl, Chelsi, was really the worst. I hated that she's from NH too! Ugh! Now this was my confusion...last time I checked, Norway wasn't exactly a developing nation. Yes, I know that she went to the frozen tundra of the Arctic Circle and herded reindeer, but still- the family lives in a large city most of the time! Strange.

Speaking of trashy tv, how was Gossip Girl? I got home last night and a breaker in my apartment blew, and maintenence, of course, is useless. So, Steve rigged up an extension cord from my kitchen, haha, to plug in my AC and tv. I saw the last ten minutes of GG.

How is it only Tuesday?!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

back to reality

I'm back at home in my little apartment. Steve and I had a nice weekend. I should point out that when he called Friday and told me to be ready at 8am, I wasn't entirely surprised, because we had been talking about going away for a night, but we never really made a decision about it. Our anniversary is this week (four years- ridiculous!), so we thought a night away might be nice- and it was!

As I pointed out,to him, I was ready at 7:50am (like this ever happens on work days!). He picked me up and we drove west. There was, of course, a hurricane heading this way, but we didn't let that discourage us. So, off we went, with a stop at Dunkin Donuts along the way.

Steve had made a reservation at a really nice b&b called Stone Manor in Lovettsville, VA, about an hour from DC. It's out past Leesburg, very close to the WV border. We stopped at several wineries along the way, trying reds and whites and roses at each, and of course, buying a few bottles at each! When we were out there, it was really raining for a while, and quite windy. At several of the wineries, we were the only ones there and the proprietors seemed surprised to hear that we made the trip out! A tree fell and brought some power lines down with it right by the b&b, which made getting there a bit tricky! Later in the afternoon, the rain had stopped and it wasn't so bad. Two of the wineries we went to had weddings there later! For dinner, we went to a really great restaurant called Magnolia's, in an old mill. It was really great. I had the fillet mignon, it was delish. We didn't get desert, because Steve had ordered champagne and chocolate for the room, which was nice! This morning, we had an AMAZING breakfast, prepared by Beth and Spencer, the owners. They had chocolate chip pancakes, buttescotch pancakes, quiche, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, carrot cake muffins, fruit salad and loads more! We left, and went to another vineyard (at 11am, haha!) and drove by a llama farm. We stopped by the outlets in Leesburg, but I didn't buy a single thing. There was nothing that I couldn't live without.

All in all, it was a really nice weekend. It's nice to get out of the city sometimes. You don't even need to go far to enjoy yourself. I highly recommend both the b&b and Magnolia's. If you ever need a getaway, take a look at Stone Manor. The prices are so reasonable too.

I'll be honest, I was hoping he had something sparkly tucked into his pocket, but not so much. Like I said, four years this week, so it's not like we've been together five minutes or anything! We do talk about it, and I know it's coming, but I'm beginning (or maybe not exactly beginning...) to get a bit impatient. I never wanted to be one of those girls who obsessed over when a ring was coming, but sometime I feel like I am becoming that girl that I used to hate, because I don't want to be her.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it here, but Steve is in the process of buying a house. He actually closes on the house on 30 September. I have always been of the opinion that it is best (for me) to wait until marriage to live together. Again, I mean this for me personally. I think I am the only one of my friends who doesn't live with her boyfriend, and I am okay with that, this is what works for us and what is best. However, at this point, four years later, I'm not sure I want to wait at least another year, if not more, to live with him. I mean, even if we were engaged this week, it isn't like the wedding would be for another year, likely more. So, we decided that we may live together when we get engaged. I just hope that's soon.

Friday, September 5, 2008

oooh boy!

Steve called me at work this afternoon. He said he'd pick me up tomorrow morning at 8am and I should have an overnight bag with me, as I wouldn't be home until Sunday.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Clearly, as preparation, the thing for me to do was stop at the new cupcake place by my office to get snacks.

Happy Friday to you!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hello from New England

With regards to my last post, I hope I didn't come off as sounding preachy or self-righteous, because that wasn't my intention at all. There are so many times where I spend money (that I don't have!) like it's my job and I know my credit card bills could be lower. I also just commented on Ashley's blog about the pretty new Coach purse she bought (on sale!!!) and how much I want one too. I think my point was just that it is small moments like that that help me keep things in check and realize just how lucky I am to have the things that I do. I know I've taken things for granted in the past, so I suppose I am trying to do less of that now.

I am home in NH for the long weekend. A high school friend is getting married tomorrow (wedding no. 3 of 5 this year...). I flew home yesterday afternoon. My father picked me up at the airport and home we drove. This morning I met my best friend and godson for breakfast and then went to the park for some quality swing and slide time. My camera is acting a little funny, so I hope I can get it back to normal before the wedding tomorrow. Steve flies up today, so I'll get him at the airport later today.

What do you think of McCain's VP pick?

Happy long weekend! Big plans?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

something to consider

What would you do with $75? If someone offered you $75, as a gift, what might you do?

Me? Let's see....I may swing through Ann Taylor Loft and see what I could find there. I may also look at Barnes and Noble and see what I could find there. Or, I may run into Sephora and go a little crazy.

Last month I gave someone $75 and you know what she bought?

A table.

As you likely know if you've been reading for a while, I sponsor two little girls in Albania through World Vision. My regular sponsorship is $30 a month, which seems like very little to me, when you think about it. They also have something that is completely optional, called a direct donation, where the entire amount you send goes directly to your child, whereas my monthly gift also goes partly to the community as a whole. One of my girls, Majlinda, had a birthday in May. I had wanted to do a direct donation for her birthday, but I got sidetracked by final papers for school and such, so it never happened.

I had a letter from her in early July. In it, her mother (Majlinda is five, and too young to write) told me that Majlinda loves the seashore. She said they live nearby, but it isn't possible for them to go there. I had just come back from a week at home in NH with my family, where we spent a day at the ocean. I thought that maybe if I did the direct donation then, maybe, just maybe, her family could spend a day at the ocean as well.

I called to make the arrangements over the phone and the girl I spoke with explained the process. I could certainly "suggest" things that I'd like them to do, but there were no guarentees that this would happen, as maybe there was something that the family really needed, like a goat, or similar. So, I suggested a trip to the seaside, or some books, or really anything. I was anxious to hear what happened.

I came home today to find three letters from Albania in my mailbox. One from Inaete, my new little girl, and two from Majlinda. One thanked me for the book and stickers I had sent a while ago, and the second, I about cried when I opened.

My dear friend,

This is Majlinda's elder sister writing to you. We thank you very much for the gift and the humanity you show towards Majlinda. Thank you for making my sister happy with such beautiful presents. The books, stickers and the colors (crayons!) you sent are ready for the fall when she will go to the kindergarten. She is very happy with your presents. God bless you! With the money you sent we bought a table.

Kisses,

Majlinda's family

With the letter, was a photo of Majlinda standing in front of the table in a pink ballerina tutu. With all of the things in the world that $75 can purchase in Albania, Majlinda's family bought a beautiful kitchen table.

Things like this help me to put things into perspective. I don't need to go into Ann Taylor or Barnes and Noble. I have a closet full of clothes and more books then I have time to read. Majlinda has few of these things, and with the option to buy some, she buys a table for her family.

Makes you think, eh?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

survey fun!

I was tagged last week by the lovely Carmen, one of my favorite bloggers! Do you read her blog? No? Hurry, go check her out! She's hilarious!

We all know our alphabet, right? Well here are the ABC's of Lexiloo!



A. Attached or Single?Attached...to Steve...he's pretty great...most days ;)

B. Best Friend? Renee, since the first day of field hockey practice freshman year of high school. Ironically, her parents own an amazing restaurant in my hometown that my parents have been going to since forever, so it is bizarre that we never met before then! Her son Jackson is my godson!

C. Cake or pie? Toughie...my grandmother makes the best cherry pie in the world!

D. Day of choice? Friday, obviously.

E. Essential item? lip gloss, ipod, cell phone, earrings (I HATE not having earrings in! I don't wear a lot of jewelry, but forgetting earrings makes me crazy!)

F. Favorite color? red pr pink, though I've been wearing a lot of yellow and purple lately

G. Gummy bears or worms? gummy bears are my favorite and my best

H. Hometown? LA..as in Laconia...yeah!

I. Favorite indulgence? sweets

J. January or July? January...my birthday! besides, I am a winter girl...always

K. Kids? yes, eventually

L. Life isn’t complete without? puppies!

M. Marriage date? not yet...but one of my non-negotiables in it must be in October...Oct in NH is the most gorgeous thing you've ever seen!

N. Number of brothers and sisters? I have one of each, both are younger

O. Oranges or Apples? apples...I don't like to eat the actual orange, but I love orange juice and most orange flavored things...am I weird?

P. Phobias? moths and dragonflies freak me out

Q. Quotes? there are many...

R. Reasons to smile? puppies!

S. Season of choice? fall and winter

T. Tag 5 people:
Jackie
Katie
Katelin
Lauren
Ashley


U. Unknown fact about me? I took chemistry three times; twice in high school and once in college. I failed it the first time and had to repeat it, and then got a D the second time. In college, I needed a science class, so I decided on chem, to prove to myself that I could do it. I passed, with a B- and emailed my high school teacher to tell him. He was so happy to hear that "the chemistry demons had been listed from my soul." Despite that, I really liked chemistry! I thought it was so interesting, I just couldn't understand it to save my life!

V. Vegetable? asparagus!

W. Worst habit? twirling/playing with my hair

X. X-ray or Ultrasound? I LOVE x-rays! I wanted to be a radiologist for the longest time...until I realized that med school was not a good place for me!

Y. Your favorite food? Mexican...yummmmmmm

Z. Zodiac sign? Aquarius

Monday, August 25, 2008

the soundtrack of my soul

This morning while on my way to work (booo!) I had on my ipod as usual, and the song "Daylight in your Eyes" by No Angels (a German girl pop-band) came on. Immediately my mind drifted to Luxembourg, as that is where I first heard the song and it was one of my favorites while there. I have it on the soundtrack to my life in Luxembourg.

The rest of my commute was consumed by memories of time spent in the Duchy; my 21st birthday when nobody cared how old I was when I ordered a glass of wine, a weekend trip to Paris in February, a trip to London and Cambridge to visit my friend Denis in March, my parents visiting, trips to Brussels, doing the shaky-shaky at the clubs, paella, the Grund, picnics in the parks, walking across the border to Germany with Mishellie, Jose my Spaniard who constantly proposed, my week in Berlin and my attempts to speak German, the first time I saw Krakow and fell in love with the city and so much more.

Now I'm missing it. It's interesting, because I tend to think more of my time in Krakow, maybe because I was there longer and felt more integrated, but Luxembourg was the most amazing time. It was my first trip abroad, my first time really on my own. It was a completely new experience, unlike anything I had ever done or seen before. It was unlike Krakow in so many way and I had some really wonderful people there to share the experience with.

Isn't it funny how a few notes of a song can make you so nostalgic for a place that holds a piece of your heart?

Do you have a song that brings you back to another time?

Friday, August 22, 2008

penpals!

I've just signed up to become a penpal with an organization called In2Books!

I'm really excited, this looks like a great program. I'm looking forward to sharing my love of reading with a child...and hopefully they'll love it as much as I do!

Go check it out!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

survey fun

I was tagged a few weeks ago by Stephanie and am just getting around to it...so, enjoy!

I'm supposed to write about 8 things I'd like to accomplish before I die. So, here I go in no particular order..

1.) I want to find a way to open libraries in Albania. I've read a lot of research that makes me so sad, about the lack of libraries in Albania. UNESCO has a report detailing further, but there are some statistics saying that many homes in rural areas of the nation have no books at all in their house. As the daughter of a librarian, I've always had so many books, sometimes I take it for granted. I have no problem walking into Barnes and Noble and dropping $50 on a few new books. I have piles of them in my apartment that I haven't read yet. It really saddens me to think that some children don't have this opportunity. As you may know, I sponsor two girls in Albania through World Vision, and I often send them little packages. I almost always find a way to send a book...whether it be a childrens book written in Albanian, or a book without words...I just want my girls to know the joys of reading, and I want all children to love reading as much as I do.

2.) I want an owczarek podhalanski. They are a breed of Polish dogs that I fell in love with when I lived in Krakow. They are beautiful and they are huge. I adore them and their soft fluffy fur. Remind me to post some pictures of them sometimes. They'll make you cry because they are so adorable and you'll want one. I need to wait until I have a house with a big yard. Seriously, they are bigger then St.Bernards!

3.) I'd like to have children. Two, maybe three. For some reason, I think it would be fantastic to have twins named Olivia and Owen (my two favorite names), but I don't think twins run in my family. Boooo.

4.) Visit Norway and Iceland. While I was in Krakow, I wrote my Masters thesis on Norway and Iceland and didn't visit. I really want to.

5.) Find a job that I really, really love. Something that makes me happy and want to get out of bed each morning, not hit the snooze button another eight times and debate if I can call in sick, like the one I have now. I know what I want to be doing, I just need to figure out how to get there.

6.) I'd like to be fluent in at least one other language. Now, I speak some Polish, Spanish and French, and small amounts of German and Norwegian....but I am far from fluent in any of them. I think it is so important to have the ability to speak other languages, and I want my children to be bilingual. I am seriously considering sending them to one of the international schools here in DC, assuming I am still in DC when I have children. I would also like to learn Albanian, for obvious reasons.

7.) I want to do some family tree research. My great-grandfather, my grandmother's father came over from Poland many years ago. He died long before I was born, but I have heard many stories about him. Unfortunately, my grandmother no longer has his old paperwork, so I don't have a lot of information to work with, but I'd really love to learn more. I know he was from the Krakow area, where I lived, but that is about all I know. I think it is important to know where you came from and how you got where you are today.

8.) I want to go on an African safari. I just think it would be an amazing adventure!

Monday, August 18, 2008

happy trails to you

Many people run, yes? Yes. Me? No. I don't run. Ever. I am not a runner. At all. No. Not me.

In high school, I played field hockey. Yes, this required running. However, because I had a big stick in my hands and was chasing a small ball around a large field in a short plaid skirt, I didn't think about the running. I thought about getting the ball past the big bad goalie.

Throughout the four years of high school field hockey, I wore a brace on my knee, because of knee pain when running. This was/is not uncommon. I even saw a doctor who told me that surgery was really my best option. I declined this option, realizing that I wasn't going to be making a career of field hockey or be recruited to play field hockey for a D-1 school. I stuck to wearing the brace and taking a lot of advil before practices and games.

Now, several years after high school has ended, so has my field hockey "career" and I use the term career very loosely there. Since then, I don't think I've run. Seriously. I don't run. I always blamed it on my knees, more specifically my right knee.

This weekend, I had lunch with a few lady friends and the conversation turned to new sneakers and running. One mentioned that when picking out her new sneakers recently, the sales guy asked her to run around the store. I asked why, and she said that by doing that, he could tell what sort of runner she was and what sneakers would be best for her.

Maybe my problem all these years were bad sneakers! Maybe it's not my knee(s) after all, and I was just wearing poor footwear. Ironically, my aunt used to work for Nike, so I got free Nikes for years, but she worked in the office, having nothing to do with the actual sneakers.

Maybe I should go and find this place and do a run around, and have the sales guy tell me which sneaks might be best for me. Then I could buy some cute running shorts. Then maybe you'd want to go for a run with me.

Friday, August 15, 2008

more dinner

I just ran down to Whole Foods with the intention of grabbing sushi for lunch. While I walked by the seafood section, I saw a lovely piece of salmon that was just the perfect size for my dinner tonight. Steve's in Indianapolis, so it's just me.

If you were me, how would you cook the salmon? I've cooked salmon many times before, I'm just looking for new inspiration :)

dinner anyone?













Last night I got home from work and all I wanted was blueberry muffins...so logically, I baked! Yum!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

le sigh

Why is it when this dress is finally on sale, they don't have my size?

Boooo to the Gap! I've been stalking this dress for WEEKS, literally!!!

Monday, August 11, 2008




Oh hello! How might you be?


My busy weekend has come to an end...quick recap in bullets---




  • Friday night Steve offered to take me to see The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2!!! I was shocked, but quickly agreed, before he changed his mind! It was cute! Each girl had their own separate story line, but of course, they were intertwined by the pants. I liked it a lot. There were some interesting things I wasn't expecting that seemed slightly forced, but overall, very enjoyable. Once again, it made me want to go to Greece! I'm excited to see it again this weekend with the girls.


  • On Saturday we went to Mount Vernon which is one of my top five favorite places in DC. I'm seriously in love with Washington's estate, I can't help it! They were having Whiskey Rebellion festivities, so we thought it would be fun to go to. Turns out, there was no whiskey! They had people walking around in the period costumes, and a woman making corn bread with homemade butter, which was delish, by the way, but no whiskey! Boooo!


  • After leaving Mount Vernon, sans whiskey, we found a winery! It was called Potomac Point Winery (http://www.potomacpointwinery.com/) and if you are in the DC area, I highly recommend a visit. It was about an hour or so away (same exit as Quantico off 395), so it wasn't bad. The place is GORGEOUS! We tried about 15 kinds of wine there. The La Belle Vie was my favorite- La Belle Vie (2007) - Smooth and refreshing white wine that is perfect for sipping on the patio. This slightly sweet white has hints of citrus and melons. (see photo at top of page...) They have an outdoor bistro, where we enjoyed a bottle with our dinner. I had lentil soup and pita with hummus. Random combination? Perhaps? So worth it? Absolutely! Steve may have purchased about 6 bottles too! Now I may join one of their wine clubs....

  • Sunday we looked at houses! We went to two open houses. Both were adorable, but smaller then what we are looking for. We saw a third that Steve had seen once before, but I hadn't. It's really nice, and Steve may put an offer in. Exciting!

How was your weekend?




Thursday, August 7, 2008

dilemma!

Okay, so on Tuesday, I mentioned that I had to clean out my cabinets because pest control was coming through my building to spray for mice. Ugh, yes.

When I got home from work, I found a note from the fumigator (is that a word?) saying that he had partially sprayed, but not completely, because I hadn't emptied one of my cabinets. The cabinet I didn't clear out is one I rarely use. There are about four things in there. The reason I don't use it is because it's at the base of this built-into-the wall cabinet, and the door sticks, and it nearly impossible to open, so its not worth the struggle. Apparently it needed to be sprayed too though.

I left my cabinets empty, assuming they'd return on Wednesday to finish the job. I was wrong. I got home from work last night and nothing had been touched. Booo. I just called the management office and the fumigator only comes on Tuesdays. So he'll be back next week. He wants to spray again, since he missed parts.

So the question is. Do I put everything back in the cabinets until Monday and then remove it again? Or, keep the cabinets empty, saving myself the task of putting away-emptying-putting away again?

What would you do?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

question du jour

Hmmm, so I have a reply card for a wedding invite that I need to send in. I can't go to the wedding, it's the same day as a good friend of Steve's in Iowa. The wedding is an old high school friend that I've barely seen since, and we talk mostly thru facebook/myspace, so frankly, even if we didn't have Steve's wedding, I probably wouldn't go. I was quite surprised I was invited, to be honest.

When sending back the card, I marked "decline with regrets" but wanted to write a little note to the bride. Should I say "wish I could come, but we have another wedding" or is that rude to say, making it sound like hers is less important? I just don't want her to think I am blowing off the wedding or anything! Is there a nice way to say I'll be out of town? Can I just say that I have a family event?