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.


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? 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? 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? in Laconia...yeah!

I. Favorite indulgence? sweets

J. January or July? 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 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:

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


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, 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 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 ( 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


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?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

too many groceries?

One day last week, I came home and found a note on my door. It was from the management office of my building, letting me know that they'd be entering apartments on my floor beginning today. Apparently there has been a mouse problem (eww, I know), so they are planning to come into every apartment and look for and then seal off the places where the mice are entering (I totally wrote mouses there, without thinking about it!).

The note asked us to be sure that kitchen cabinets are empty. Right.

I live in a Capitol Hill efficiency. I have a galley kitchen. I don't even have a kitchen table, because there is no room for one! I have exactly two cabinets above the sink, and then a built in shelf thingie across from it where my dishes live.

Last night when I got home, I began to clean out the cabinets. While doing so, I decided it would be a good idea to throw away food that may be past its sell/use by date.

I threw away about 1/3 of my food! Seriously! Apparently I buy food and then don't use it, which I knew, but I didn't think I was that bad! Sure, sometimes I will have a brilliant idea to make a new recipe, so I buy the needed ingredients and then lose interest by the time I get home (haha), but I found a box of pasta, that was unopened, but the date on the box was November 2004! I didn't even live in this apartment in 2004! That means that when I moved in there in June 2005, I took expired food with me from my old house up by CUA!

I felt awful; I had to throw away unopened boxes of pasta, cake and brownie mixes, several canned goods. Normally I would have just donated them to a local soup kitchen or the like, but some of them were so old, I didn't think they'd take them!

Am I an awful person?

What is the oldest thing you've found in your cabinet?

Monday, August 4, 2008

um, yum!

have you tried the new blueberry muffin frosted mini wheats?

no? please rush out to the nearest grocery store and pick up a box. it's well worth the trip.