Thursday, December 31, 2009

friends to the end, not so much

Remember this post, where I talked about how I lost a friend? Since then, nothing has changed. She did one day reply to the facebook message I had sent, indicating that she removed me so that she wouldn't have to see photos of him in her news feed. This came after St. Patricks Day when a group of us went to a winery for an event there, an event that she was invited to as well. I told her that I understood, we exchanged a few messages and then they abruptly ended. We've had no contact since.

I decided to send her a Christmas card, just to let he know that I was thinking of her and hoping that she was doing well (I sent out a whopping four Christmas cards this year. Please don't hate me because you didn't get one! I'll be better next year, I promise).

While I was in NH and IA, I had the post office hold all of my mail and it was all delivered yesterday, most of it being Christmas cards. One of them was the card that I had sent her. It was unopened and on the front, she wrote "refused. return to sender."

Refused. My Christmas card was refused. Bah humbug indeed.

I couldn't believe it, and it made me a bit sad. Granted, I was not expecting a response from her, nor did I think we'd be friends again, but I certainly didn't think she would send it back. It just seemed a bit cold and harsh to me. I do understand that she's moved on and doesn't want to be reminded of him in any way, but regardless, I was still a bit hurt. If it were me, I would never refuse a card. I may not open it, I may hide it somewhere or just throw it away, but I would not refuse it.

Something like this happened to me once before, though I was on the other side. In college, I was good friends with a girl who shared the same name as me. We were good friends sophomore year and part of junior year and then something happened and we were no longer friends. I don't remember all of the details now, but it had to do with her lying to me and others, among other things. Just like that, we weren't friends. I went off to Luxembourg that spring and then I saw her sometimes during senior year, as we had the same major, so at least one class together. We didn't talk, but were cordial to one another. After graduation, I went off to Poland and when I came home for the holidays, I found that she had sent me a Christmas card. I remember being very surprised about it, but pleased, though I wasn't ready to reply to her at the time. I put it away somewhere with the intention of writing her later, but never did. I certainly didn't refuse the card. It just seems like extra effort to return it, instead of just letting it go.

Am I overreacting or taking this too personally? Have you ever been in a situation like this?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

a proposal, or lack thereof


Okay, I have a confession. I fear that I've turned into one of those girls. The ones that I scoffed at, thought were ridiculous and told myself that I would never become.

I'm talking about the girls who become crazy and obsessed with becoming engaged. You see, Steve and I have been together for more than five years and we are not engaged and do not live together. For a long time, it didn't bother me, because I knew it was coming. I said that I didn't want to live with him until we were married, but frankly, I never thought it would be five years later and no engagement. While I still do know that it is coming, I am beginning to get very frustrated with both him and myself, but mostly myself for letting myself get so crazy about it, because I swore I'd never let myself get this way (whoa, way too many "myselfs" in a row...).


Like I said, we talk about it, and I know it is coming, but I need to make myself stop focusing on this so much, the lack of a ring and keep in mind that he loves me and it will happen and that is the important thing. I tell myself not to bring it up, and sometimes I am very good. Sometimes though, I am not so good and something will pop out of my mouth before I realize it. Luckily, he doesn't seem to be bothered by this- he's so easy going, he just lets it slide, but I will admit, that sometimes I let it get the better of me and I turn into a crying, girly, ridiculous mess, and that my friends, isn't pretty and isn't the girl that I want to be.

So, any ideas on how I can stop the focusing on the bad and remember all of the good things about my relationship? There are plenty, and I know this. I know how much he loves and cares about me and that he does want to be with me when the time is right, which will be soon enough, when I stop acting like a crazy girl!

If you were together for a while before an engagement, did you act a little crazy sometimes? How did you keep your head together and not let your heart take over?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

swapping fun (again!)

After yesterday's post about a potential baking swap, I received an email from Jenna Z., who let me know about one of her blogs, where she indexes swaps that are going on. Check this out, it is called swapdex and right now, she has links to several ongoing swaps, including my possible swap. It looks like there are a few Valentine swaps on right now! I was pleased to be included, thank you Jenna!

Also, have a look at her personal blog, it is called CorgiPants and she has photos of her tri-colored fluffy called Sully. We all know about my great love for corgis :)

Come play in my swap, you know you want to!

Monday, December 28, 2009

want to swap?

I've been thinking about hosting a swap and am debating what the theme should be. For Christmas, I received several cookbooks and baking supplies, including the Great Cupcake Pan and the Sandwich Cookie Pan, both from Williams Sonoma. Along with those came a WS apron :) My sister also gave me a cupcake carrying case (it can hold three dozen!).

I am thinking of maybe a baking swap, something like that.

First, would you be interested? Please let me know if you'd want to play (if you say yes now, you can always change your mind later!). Also, do you know how to make those cute little buttons with the html inside that would link back to the post I'd make? You know what I mean, right? You could post the button on your blog and people could come to mine to sign up if they wanted to?

Just wondering if many people would want to participate! I know it is just after the holidays, so this wouldn't be right away or anything....

Sunday, December 27, 2009

what? December is over?


Hope your holidays were happy and magical.

I've been a bit out of it, as I left DC more than a week ago for Iowa and was then in NH for Christmas. During that time, I didn't look at blogs at all.

Steve graduated with his Master's from Iowa State last Friday (December 18) and then I flew to NH that next Monday, where he then met me on Christmas Eve. We drove back to DC Saturday, only to discover that the nearly two feet of snow that arrived last week is nearly gone. Booo. My apartment is a complete disaster and I am already feeling more than overwhelmed by everything that comes with the new year and all that jazz. I'm not sure why, but I lacked holiday spirit this week and have been feeling a bit out of sorts lately, to go along with that.

I think I need a vacation, an actual vacation. While I love going home and visiting family and friends, I don't consider that vacation (unlike Steve), because there is always so much to do and people to see in a short time, and I feel like I always disappoint some people who I don't get to see. It is moments like this when I wish I could move home, though I know that isn't the answer.

(more positive post later in the week, I promise)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

oh happy days!



The lovely lady behind Black Labs and Lilly tagged me with the Happy 101 Award a few days ago! Yay!

The Rules...

1. List 10 things that make you happy
2. Tag 10 Bloggers that brighten your day


My happy things-


1. Pita bread and garlic hummus....mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

2. Sangria! Coming to DC? I'll take you to one of my favorite spots for a pitcher or two!

3. My godson Jackson. He's too funny for words.

4. Puppies of all kind, especially corgis. My birthday is next month and I would love you forever if you wanted to give one to me.

5. Majlinda from Albania and Boikokobetso from South Africa, my World Vision babies. Seriously, getting a letter in the mail from one of them can put me in a good mood for the next three days. I'm really hoping to be able to go to Albania next year to see Majlinda, but we'll see if I can pull that off.

6. All things Poland. I lived in Krakow for two years, and miss it every day.

7. My family and friends, all of whom are pretty darn amazing

8. Steve, my boyfriend. though some days he makes me crazy, most days I am pretty glad to have him :)

9. Cupcakes. No explanation needed!

10. My sewing machine! Though I am still not very good, I am loving the little quilts and other things that I've been making! I need more practice, so if you want a pot holder, leave a note and I will make you one!


I'm going to break the rules, and not tag anyone, but play along if you wish, I'd love to see your list!








Monday, December 14, 2009

win!

I won two giveaways last week! So, so exciting :)

First, was from Sherri over at A Quilting Life, where I won the most adorable little bag and matching pin cushion!


Aren't they adorable!?! I saw them, and loved them, but never ever thought I'd win...she had more than 400 entries! I think that the bag will be perfect to keep some sewing supplies in and now I want to learn to make the pin cushions myself. I think my mother would love one! Sherri also has an etsy shop, where she sells these adorable pin cushions! Sherri is really talented, go have a look at her blog and some of the things that she's made!

Then I found out that I won Anamarie's giveaway and won a $15 gift certificate to Red Envelope! I think I am going to use it for my sister's Christmas present. I am debating between this and this. Which do you vote for? She doesn't read (or know about!) my blog, so this isn't spoiling anything :)

So, many thanks to you both for these fabulous giveaways! I am so lucky!

Maybe once the new year comes, I will host another giveaway. I always find them to be so much fun. Or, maybe I should organize a swap? A Valentine swap? Or, a swap in honor of my 30th birthday (how did that happen?!)?

What do you vote for? Giveaway or swap?

Friday, December 11, 2009

I do love my brother (despite what Liz thinks)

This past weekend was the second annual holiday cookie swap. The lovely Liz posted a funny story about yours truly, from a conversation that happened there. Go read it, then come back here. I'm a bit goofy, but you already knew that!

For the record, I love my brother! He's fine. His car isn't fine, but he is, and so is his girlfriend, who was in the very mangled car with him. It wasn't as though I wasn't concerned about him; of course I was. My family seems to have a slight round-about way of relaying information to one another, so my mother told me towards the end of our phone conversation. Judging by her tone, it wasn't super serious, so I told the story in a light-hearted way. If it were serious, she would have called as soon as she found out. You know what I mean, right?

Oh, and I do adore Veggie Tales. If you don't know their 8 Polish Foods of Christmas, you are seriously missing out :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

schedule this

What sort of planner/agenda do you use? I know that many use blackberries/iphones/outlook, but I am a bit old school, and I like a book that I can write in, and flip through the pages. For some reason, it makes me feel more organized. I like that I can see the calendar for the month and then each week gets a page of its own.

For the last few years, I have used a Vera Bradley agenda, which I really like a lot. I think I first found it in 2007 and it has improved each year since! It is the perfect size to fit into the bags that I use for work, and has great features inside. It has pockets for notes, and room to list addresses and whatnot. I color coordinate too- on the calendar page, I use a pink pen for birthdays, green for anniversaries, purple for another day of significance that isn't a birthday or anniversary (more so a reminder to myself). Then, for random events or whatever, I usually use blue.

Of course, since it is mid-December, I am finding that now I have events coming up in January that I can't write down, and it is driving me nuts! I've been writing them on post-it notes and sticking them on the last page, so that I can write them down in my new agenda, when I get it! It's making me feel disorganized, and I am hardly the most organized, though I try!

I put the new VB agenda on my Christmas list, so I am hoping that Santa puts it in my stocking! If he doesn't, I will buy it for myself.

Anyone else crazy about their agenda, or am I the only crazy? :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

here comes the cold!

So while much of the country is being walloped with snow, here in DC, we got rain. Booooo. I want snow! My mother had her first snow day of the season. Jealous. Why am I not a teacher again?

Question for you wise ladies.

What sort of lotion do you use, especially in the winter? At this time of year, my hands get so dry, mostly around my knuckles, and they get red and chapped, and they hurt! I'm not sure how, because I use lotion, wear gloves outside, etc, but they still do. Can you suggest a great lotion that stays on, isn't greasy and doesn't rub off after being washed? What is your favorite?

In other news, Steve and I put up our Christmas tree this weekend and it is adorable. I hung the advent calendar my mother made me on our wine rack. Awesome. It pays to be a wino! I also hosted a holiday cookie swap on Sunday that was lovely. I didn't seem to take pictures, which is unusual, but oh well. Next year!

Have you begun your Christmas shopping? I have done a small amount, but not too much. I'm still considering what to get Steve. I have a few ideas, but nothing concrete, other than a book I picked up about two months ago on a whim.

I've been doing a lot of quilting the last few days, working on some nine-patch blocks. When I am home at Christmas, I am bringing a lot with me, I am needing some help from my mother!

What are you up to this week?

Monday, December 7, 2009

how to dress, what to wear

So later this month (the week before Christmas, to be exact), I am going back to Iowa for Steve's graduation. He's been working on a distance Master's program through Iowa State and graduates, finally.

Side note- why, oh why, would a school have a graduation ceremony the week before Christmas, at 7pm on a Friday night?! His graduation is Friday, December 18!!!

Of course, I've been to several graduation ceremonies before, but always in the spring, so I've worn a cute sundress. Obviously I won't be wearing a sundress in Iowa in December, and now I am a bit baffled at what to wear! Should I go with a sweater dress? Something like this from Loft? Or maybe this? I don't really seem to have much in the way of winter dresses. I have skirts, but I don't exactly want to wear a plaid skirt and turtleneck sweater.

Also, I don't want to go out and spend much, since I have yet to begin my holiday shopping, and still need to book flights! Ugh!

Suggestions? Thoughts?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Amana love

While we were in Iowa last week, we took a trip to the nearby Amana Colonies, which is one of my favorite places in Iowa. It is a collection of seven villages that were begun by German settlers in the 1860's or so. It was begun as a way of communal living and stayed that way until the 1930's. Today, the villages are part of the National Register of Historic Places and is a tourist destination, as the area is filled with shops and restaurants and is really just so adorable.

I'm pretty much in love with it, and insist on going every time we are in Iowa! It's a bit over an hour from Steve's parents house, so it isn't a bad drive at all. I took some pictures, and will post them later, but here is one of a few of my purchases, from the German bakery!





Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

If the words are too small to read, it is a loaf of old-fashioned Dutch dill bread, dill mustard and a jar of Amana seasoning, whatever that means! You know how much I love my spices, I wasn't going to leave that behind!

They have bakeries, meat shops, a basket shop, a quilt shop (of course I went in there!), chocolate shops, wineries, a woolen mill, and so much more! If you are nearby Iowa, or ever go, make sure to go to the Amanas!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

so much fun!

I thought I'd mention these two fun things I noticed yesterday. First, Mrs. Potts and Brown Eyed Girl are hosting a cookbook swap! There is a $25 limit and you must sign up by December 7 in order to get an exchange partner. Go here and have a look! Who knows, maybe you'll be matched up with me :)

Secondly, if you are a quilter and want to pass this along, please do. Rachel over at p.s. i quilt is looking for disappearing nine-patch blocks to be made into quilts for Irish flood victims. This is a really neat look, and something that I just recently made several of, and then haven't done anything with yet! Basically, you make a nine-patch square with nine different squares, and then cut it in two ways, and then flip the smaller squares to make a new pattern. It is very cool looking at the end. I'm planning to make a few more to send along, and then they will be made into a larger quilt!

Go here to have a look and help out, if you can!





Have you seen anything fun out there, that I should know about? Share your findings!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

quilted Advent love

My mother made me a quilted Advent calendar! Isn't it gorgeous?! She filled the pockets with chocolate, scratch tickets (haha!) and little nips!

(side note- what do you call those little tiny bottles of alcohol? you know, the ones that are on the counter at the liquor store, that are around a dollar or so? my family calls them nips, but Steve had no idea what I was talking about when I said that!)


Here is a close-up, where you can see the pockets with the numbers for the day!


Funny, because I'd been thinking about these, after seeing one on a blog, and I thought how much I'd love to make one, but thought they were too advanced for me right now. I hadn't even mentioned it to my mother, but somehow, she knew!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday wantings

Hello! Hope you had a most lovely Thanksgiving weekend. Mine was so nice, I was in Iowa with Steve and his family. As always, it was a whirl-wind weekend, but we did a lot, and I'll write about it later.

I'm exhausted. We left Iowa yesterday at 3am and didn't get back to DC until after 10pm. Yes, that is roughly 20 hours on the road, when it is normally around 13. It's a long drive, but easier then flying, we think. We were making really good time until PA, when it took six hours to get from the PA to MD border, and then a million more hours to get through Maryland. Ughhhh.

Meanwhile. Does anyone have a Christmas cactus? Where did you get it? I really want one, but I have no idea where to buy them! Ideas?

Friday, November 27, 2009

two giveaways!




I thought I'd post about these two lovely giveaways you might be interested in.

First, over at Pink Pincushion, you could win the following---




This giveaway includes a handmade loyalty wallet, to keep your punch cards in. A pincushion out of Rouenneries fabrics using the Sugar Pumpkin pattern by Fig Tree Quilts, and the wonderful French Inspired Home book by Kaari Meng.

Love it!

Read more about the giveaway, and a story, here. This is a quilting blog that I enjoy. She's so talented and has pictures of some of her creations. Inspiring!

The second giveaway is being hosted by Jennifer over at The Pink Chick and she is giving away a gorgeous scarf by TDM Designs. I will definitely be looking into this company. This is a company that makes Nepali scarves and looks to "create opportunities for poverty-stricken women to generate sustainable income in Nepal." They are also "invested in a literacy and education campaign throughout the country."

I think you all know how I feel about literacy causes :)

So, go have a look at them, and maybe you'll get lucky!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

a big winner



I've seen many gratitude posts in the last few weeks, and I intended to play along, but clearly, that hasn't happened, so I thought I'd do them all in one today, since Thanksgiving is a mere two days away. I do try to be thankful year-round, but like most others, I get a bit wrapped up in life and sometimes don't remember how blessed I am.

I came home today and found a Thanksgiving card from my grandmother in my mailbox. Years and years ago, she and my Grandfather began what has become a silly and beloved family tradition of sending five scratch-off lottery tickets to each of us for holidays. Usually, one of us (the five grandchildren) will maybe win a dollar or two. Occasionally I win $2, and it is an exciting moment. Tonight, I scratched off ticket one, and came up empty. Ticket two brought me $2, followed by another $2 on ticket three. Ticket four was another loser, but I was pretty thrilled with my big $4 win, until I got to ticket five.

$25!!!!

That means $29 total. So, so exciting.

So, in addition to being thankful for the NH lottery, some of the many thing that I am thankful for include cupcakes and Albanian babies, the DC public library and my sewing machine.

Of course, I am so thankful for my amazing family, friends and boyfriend, but really, I think that goes without saying.

I'm heading to Iowa this afternoon to spend the holiday with Steve's family. I haven't actually been out there in more than a year. We'll go to the Festival of the Trees and visit the Amana Colonies, both of which I adore.

I'm excited.

How will you spend your holiday? What are you thankful for this year?

Monday, November 23, 2009

she's an ex for a reason


I survived Friday night and meeting the ex.

(note that I didn't write MHE)

Yup, that's right. I didn't totally hate her.

I don't think that we are going to be holding hands and singing kumbayah anytime soon, but she wasn't completely awful and I was my usual sweet-as-pie self.

She hugged me and told me how nice it was to finally meet me. Hmmmm.

Since this is the first time in five years that I've met her, and in that time, Steve has only seen her a handful of times, I suppose I can be a big girl and be nice, right?

It may have also helped that she brought funfetti cupcakes with pink frosting.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

case of the ex, part two

I am not looking forward to tomorrow.

I am meeting her.

The ex.

The most hated ex (MHE).

Apparently she and her boyfriend are passing through DC tomorrow on their way to North Carolina, and are staying over for the night. At Steve's house, in the guest room. Yes, clearly I will be there too, ensuring that the bedroom doors are securely locked from the inside.

As I've said before, I have no desire whatsoever to know or even meet this girl. None. Yes, she's a friend of his, but I don't need anymore friends, especially not ones who have a past with my boyfriend. I know that I am hardly alone in feeling this way. I don't really want her staying over, but since it is his house, not mine, and I don't even live there, I really don't have much say in the matter.

Apparently she's really looking forward to meeting me.

Sorry, the feeling is not mutual.

Have you ever been in this situation? Any words of wisdom or advice for me?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

happy baptismaversary Jackson!

I'm not sure if Hallmark makes a card for this, but two years ago today my best friend Renee's son Jackson was baptised and she and her husband asked me to be his godmother.

Of course, I was thrilled and honored.

Look at this guy, how could I not?!



I remember the day when Renee called me and told me that she was pregnant; I was in Iowa and Steve and I were driving to visit some friends of his. It was mid-morning, I think the day before Thanksgiving. He was born the following summer, on July 4th. When I got off the phone with Renee, I called my mother at school to tell her the news, and then I think I called my father, my grandmother and my sister, haha. Of course, we were all so excited and happy.

Now, two and a half years later, Jackson is really the funniest boy I know. He's a rascal, he's rambunctious and just hilarious. The stories that Renee tells never fails to make me laugh and my biggest regret is that I live so far from him and can't see him every day or every week or even once a month. Despite that, he knows me and remembers me and every time he does see me, I get big hugs and kisses, and really, what is better than that?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

now's the time that we need to share



I know I'm not the only one who can't believe how quickly the holidays are approaching. Even my darling sister, who begins her Christmas countdown in September set her facebook status today to "what has happened to November?" or something similar.

Of course, with the holidays come buying gifts for friends and loved ones (side note- is it just me, or is that phrase slightly odd? friends and loved ones? are my friends not loved?). Along with those gifts, I always like to do some extra donations to charity. While I complain about my tiny apartment, or how I wish I had an iphone, I need to remember how blessed I really am. I have an amazing family and really wonderful friends. I have a loving boyfriend, an education and a job, a roof over my head, a fridge full of food and legs/metro card to get me where I need to go. There are a lot, a lot, of people in this world who are not as fortunate as I am, so I like to try to do what I can to help. By no means am I wealthy, but I can help in small ways, and I think that is an important thing to do. I know that the economy isn't great right now, and people are struggling everywhere, so I like to think that the little that I do, makes a tiny difference in someone's life.

As you know, I sponsor two little girls through World Vision. At the holidays, I send them an extra donation, which I do a few times throughout the year as well. $75 can buy a lot more in Albania than it can here, and since I just began sponsoring Boikokobetso in South Africa, I haven't done this yet for her, but I imagine it is more than in Albania (am I wrong?). Also, around the holidays, World Vision has a gift catalog where you can donate things like sheep, ducks, chickens, tree seedlings, soccer balls and so much more to needy families in developing nations. $25 will buy two chickens, and $30? Five ducks! Both will have lots of eggs, something that can both be eaten and also sold. Both good things. Last year, I sent along some chickens, ducks and seeds. Oh, and two soccer balls for $16! I don't know where they went, but I know they were well received.

The last few years, I also did the Angel Tree program. A friend had a tree at her office, so she brought me an angel. It listed the name, age and sizes of a child, and I went out and bought a few things for the child. I think I had to wrap them, and then my friend took them back to her office for me and they were delivered. She and I are no longer friends, so this won't happen this year, but maybe I will try it through the website. I have to have a better look at their site, but I like to pick out the gifts myself, rather than just donate money directly (am I strange?).

One year, I also did the Letter to Santa, which was local to DC, though they seem to have it elsewhere. I only did this once, several years ago, and it was a bit hard. I say that, because I went to the post office and picked through a basket full of letters to Santa. Most were written by the mothers, and the majority of them had five or six children (or more) of various ages, most asking for things like ipods or a wii. At the time, I didn't really have the extra cash for an ipod for myself, much less a family of eight. I finally found a letter from a mother of two children, one around eight and one around three. I bought them each a fleecie pullover, a toy and a book.

Every morning and most afternoons, I see Marines at my metro stop, holding a sign for Toys for Tots. I'm thinking that I may go with this one this year. I have a daily reminder to buy a few toys, and there are several drop-off locations in DC, so I think this will be fun. Maybe I will buy a Cabbage Patch Doll! Of course, I'll buy books. Every child needs books. Oh yes, oh yes they do.

There is also a food drive going on at work, it will run through December 31. I've gone through my cabinets and picked out several things to bring in. Also, when I've gone grocery shopping, I've made it a habit to pick up a few extra cans to donate. Many canned goods are less than a dollar each, so picking out a few cans of beans or the like won't put a huge dent in my grocery bill, and local soup kitchens really need the goods. I know that my office is hardly the only one doing this, it is all over the country. I'm sure the Salvation Army takes year-round donations too.

Do you do anything like this at the holidays? What is your favorite organization to support? Please share with me, I'd love to see more!

Monday, November 16, 2009

in my life, I've loved them all

I've been listening to a lot of music by the Beatles lately. Maybe I've been feeling nostalgic, but the song "In My Life" always seems to make me a bit misty-eyed. It's a lovely song, wouldn't you say?

There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I've loved them all

But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I'll love you more

Though I know I'll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I'll often stop and think about them
In my life, I'll love you more

Apparently it is a very popular wedding song, for the bride and groom's first dance. I can see that, as the song really is lovely, especially "there is no one compares with you" and "these memories lose their meaning." At the same time though, the song repeats that one will never lose affection for people before...and frankly, at my wedding, I don't think I'd want a song sung about past lovers! I'd rather my husband forget all those before me, and he certainly doesn't need to have any affection for them :)

What do you think of the song? Would you use it? Am I being silly?

Probably :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Waldorf education

I know that many of you are in the education field, and I am curious about something. What do you know about Waldorf education? I have a friend who is very into incorporating many aspects of Waldorf philosophies and teachings into her family, and I don't know a lot about it. I've read a bit, but should read more before I form my opinion, but I thought I'd ask, in case anyone has experience in this field.

Some distinctive features of Waldorf education include the following:


  • Academics are de-emphasized in the early years of schooling. There is no academic content in the Waldorf kindergarten experience (although there is a good deal of cultivation of pre-academic skills), and minimal academics in first grade. Literacy readiness begins in kindergarten with formal reading instruction beginning in grade one. Most children are reading independently by the middle or end of second grade. (note- I think you are all well-aware of my feelings towards early literacy, so I don't totally agree with this and would certainly be teaching my children from a very early age to read and hope to give them a love of reading. I want my children reading before second grade! )

  • During the elementary school years (grades 1-8) the students have a class (or "main lesson") teacher. The ideal and goal is that the class teacher stays with the same class for the entire eight years of elementary school. This, however, is not always the case, for many different reasons, one being the high demand this puts on the versatility of the teacher

  • Certain activities which are often considered "frills" at mainstream schools are central at Waldorf schools: art, music, gardening, and foreign languages (usually two in elementary grades), to name a few. In the younger grades, all subjects are introduced through artistic mediums, use the children respond better to this medium than to dry lecturing and rote learning. All children learn to play recorder and to knit. (I love this! I want my children learning other languages from an early age, and I love the idea of them learning to knit!)
  • There are no "textbooks" as such in the first through fifth grades. All children have "main lesson books", which are their own workbooks which they fill in during the course of the year. They essentially produce their own "textbooks" which record their experiences and what they've learned. In some schools upper grades may use textbooks to supplement skills development, especially in math and grammar.
  • Learning in a Waldorf school is a noncompetitive activity. There are no grades given at the elementary level; the teacher writes a detailed evaluation of the child at the end of each school year.
  • The use of electronic media, particularly television, by young children is strongly discouraged in Waldorf schools.

With regards to the first point, they specifically mention reading...

9. How is reading taught in a Waldorf school? Why do Waldorf students wait until 2nd grade to begin learning to read?

Waldorf education is deeply bound up with the oral tradition, typically beginning with the teacher telling the children fairy tales throughout kindergarten and first grade. The oral approach is used all through Waldorf education: mastery of oral communication is seen as being integral to all learning.

Reading instruction, as such, is deferred. Instead, writing is taught first. During the first grade year the children explore how our alphabet came about, discovering, as the ancients did, how each letter's form evolved out of a pictograph. Writing thus evolves out of the children's art, and their ability to read likewise evolves as a natural and, indeed, comparatively effortless stage of their mastery of language.

Interesting approach, wouldn't you say? I still want my children reading well before then...

Thoughts? Opinions?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

one of those days

I am exhausted. I was up until after 2am last night because my upstairs neighbor was blaring her tv. I am so sick of this, I've complained about it and nothing seems to happen. I left a note on her mailbox this morning on my way out, but I was late to work in the process (mainly because it took so long to fall asleep, not because I was leaving the note!). Ugh, I despise rude people, and this girl sure isn't very considerate. The rain isn't helping my mood either.

Funny related story. Last week, I came home and found my Glamour magazine in my mailbox. I skimmed it that night. The next day, I came home to find another Glamour in my mailbox. I looked at the label, it was addressed to me. I looked at the label from the one that arrived the day before, and it belongs to my upstairs neighbor. Ooops. I was going to bring her mine with a note on it, apologizing, but since she's so loud and obnoxious, I don't think I will. No Michelle Obama as Woman of the Year for her. Ha! That's my attempt at revenge :)

Hope you had a nice day off yesterday. I called my favorite vet last night, my best friend. She spent a year in Kuwait and her husband in Iraq back in 2003 and 2004. Funny, because when she was in Kuwait, I was in Poland. I'd write her letters and used her military address, of course, whatever it was, APO AE, etc. I'd take these letters to the Polish post office and had the hardest time trying to mail them...since they didn't list a country destination, the postal clerk could never figure out where they went! In my terrible Polish, I tried to explain that it was a military address, but they never got it. I finally began writing USA at the bottom, and it worked. It always amused me that the letters would come back here to the States before crossing the Atlantic again!

The other night, I went to a volunteer info session for different opportunities here in DC. I was sent a calendar of possibilities, and it seems nearly endless. I was thrilled to see that there is a horse rescue league nearby, so I may try to volunteer there once a month. It's a bit far, so Steve would need to drive me. I used to ride, and have been really missing it lately, so I think this might be a great opportunity. I don't know if they'd let me work the horses, it might just be grooming them and such, but still, just being around them again would really be wonderful. There are many other volunteer needs, of course, such as working in food kitchens or reading to children, or playing with puppies at adoption fairs (!!!), so I really want to try a few different things, to see what I like best.

This Saturday, I am going to a sewing lounge, put on by DC Threads, which seems pretty neat. There will be people there to help with the projects that you are working on, which is great, because I need someone to show me how to bind my quilts! I've read tutorials and watched online, but I think I need to see it in real life, because my bindings aren't coming out too well! It is all free too, which is really nice. I am looking forward to it, and hopefully, will come home with a finished project!

In other exciting news, I discovered a Christmas Tree Shop not too far away, in Hagerstown, MD, which was thrilling. I love that store, and if you don't have one near you, you are missing out! I found pens with my name on it, which was so exciting. I rarely find things with my name on it, so I usually buy them when I do!

How are things with you?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

assault on Maryland Ave


Yesterday morning, I left my apartment to head to the metro for work. It was cool and crisp, and I was just thinking how nice it was and reminded myself that it is now November, and how much I love November.

I was crossing the street and saw acorns falling all around me. I then thought how funny it would be to get hit in the head with a falling acorn. Next thing I knew,

BONK!

I got hit in the head with a falling acorn! I couldn't believe it, it was literally ten seconds after I had that thought! It really hurt too.

Clearly I jinxed myself, eh?

I had a headache the rest of the day...do you think it was related?

Monday, November 2, 2009

crafty UFO challenge!

I just discovered a new blog, called Tallgrass Prairie Studio. She is a quilter, and posts amazing photos of her creations. She is having a challenge to finish all of your UFO's...of course, since I am a quilting newbie, I asked exactly what that meant, and she replied with this---

ufo's are whatever unfinished objects you have. for me they are quilt tops, but feel free to include whatever unfinished things are at your house. folks are trying to finish dresses, christmas gifts, knitting...all sorts of things. we are bad about using all those acronyms...you'll see WIP too...works in progress.

I think this sounds like fun, and will be good for me! I've started several projects, but haven't been good about finishing them and this challenge gives people two months to finish as many current projects as you can.

So, if you are a quilter, or knitter or crafter, go here to read about how to be involved!

all the world at rest


I spent some time yesterday reading through a folder full of emails from my time in Krakow. My father actually saved every single email I sent to him and burned them onto a cd for me. I saved them to my laptop, in case the cd ever goes missing! They will come in handy when I finally write my book, but that is another story!

I found this one, and it struck me, as I wrote it six years ago this weekend. Like the expression says, it seems like just yesterday. I can still remember the feeling I had that evening in the cemetery and I can feel the goosebumps I had. It was such a moving experience and I wanted to try to share it with my parents and aunt (my aunt and mother are sisters, and their mother, my grandmother is Polish- her father, my great-grandfather was born in the Krakow area and moved to the U.S. at a young age).


From : Lexilooo
Sent : Saturday, November 1, 2003 2:45 PM
To : Mum, Daddy, Auntie
Subject : All Soul's Day

So today is All Souls Day in Poland. Well, I guess it is
everywhere, but here, it's a big deal and a national holiday.
People go to the cemetery and light candles on the graves of
their loved ones. I hadn't gone last year, because I didn't
quite realize the significance of the day, but we decided to
go today. We waited until dusk, because then you can see all
the lit candles and all. We went to Rackowicki, the biggest
cemetery in Krakow. It's actually not too far from the flat I
lived in all year. As we were getting closer, you could see
the candles burning in the different colored holders. It
really was incredible. There were little kiosks along the way
set up so you could buy candles if you didn't have any with
you. There were so many people there, I couldn't believe it.
Because of the burning candles and since it was dark, there
were shadows everywhere and it was hard to see where you were
walking and I was afraid I was going to fall. We just walked
around for a while, looking at the different gravestones. Some
were so old and falling over, some were brand new. There were
also large ones for families, then ones with just one or two
people on the stone. I was looking at names, and I saw one
that could have been Grammy's family, but I am not sure. The
problem is that I am not sure exactly how she spelled her
maiden name, but also, there are variations in spelling. It
was Komoszinski, but the sz makes a sh sound, or it could be
just an s with an accent, which also makes that sound. It
looked pretty old and I couldn't make out any of the dates on
it. Plus, of course, the lighting was very poor, as we were
relying on candle flames to read inscriptions. There is a
chapel inside, and there was a priest inside who was reading
names off a list. When you walked in the gates, you could give
money to someone and they'd add your loved ones name to the
list that would be read. I guess it's like when people dedicate
masses at home, but there are so many people, that they can't
do that. It was so eerie though, hearing this voice boom down
from what seemed like the Heavens, listing out name after name
after name..."Stanslawa, Agnieszka, Irena, Francuszka,
Wiktoria, Magdalena, Przemyslaw, etc..." After so many names,
he would stop, and you'd hear this bell ringing, and I had
chills going up and down my spine. I wish I could adequately
describe the feeling and the mood, but there is no way. You'd
look around and there were candles burning for what seemed
like miles around you. They were in those little plastic
holders that were different colors, so in a weird way, it
seemed like Christmas, because you could see the different
colors surrounding the flames. I would have taken a picture,
but it wouldn't have come out and also, it seemed a bit
disrespectful to me. It was like how at Auschwitz, you are
allowed, but the first two times I was there, I couldn't bring
myself to do it, but the third time I went, I took a few. I'd
like to go there once more before I come home, I think.
Anyway. Really though, it was such an incredible feeling and I
wish that you could have seen it. I wish Grammy could be here.
How was she yesterday? I was thinking of her all day and
wanted to call, but I don't have a phone, so I couldn't. She
was in my thoughts though, please let her know that. I sent a
note, but it may not have arrived on time.

I'm going home now. I'm tired. I didn't do much all day, but I
am still exhausted. I think the the nights of staying up
working on the thesis are catching up with me and now that I
am done, I can reward myself with extra sleep.

Much love,

Lexilooo



I remember the feeling I had when I saw the grave marker with what could have been my family name. As I said in the email, I wasn't sure, because of the possible spelling variations, in addition to the stone being quite old. I wanted to go back the next day, to see it in the daylight, but I knew that there was no way I'd ever find it again, because we made so many turns, I had no idea where it was.

This weekend would also be my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary. My grandfather passed away very suddenly the December prior to this, so that was their first anniversary for my grandmother without him. They had the most amazing love, like no other I've ever seen. I can only hope that my marriage will emulate theirs, but I'm not sure that anything else ever could. The love they shared was like none other.

Many of my memories of Krakow have been tucked back into a corner of my heart, to be kept safe for always. There are some moments, like this one, that I don't want to ever forget.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

feeling like poo


Ughhh. I'm a sick Lexi. When I am sick, I get a bit whiny (ask Steve!), and I am a bit of a baby about it too. I don't mean to be, but I am. I stayed home today, as I was up all night, not feeling well. I'm a bit better now, though my head still hurts, a lot. I actually slept from 8am until almost 2pm and am still exhausted, but if I sleep more, I'll never fall asleep tonight. I hate that too, that is the worst, when you can't fall asleep at night. I have trouble sleeping enough as it is, so I don't want to make it worse.

This isn't good, as I have a lot going on this week. Last night I was supposed to go the the info session for the teaching fellows program that I mentioned, but I didn't go. I just didn't feel like metroing all the way to Hyattsville and then finding their library. There will be others, I will go to another one. I have dinner plans tomorrow night with some of my favorite girls and then an old friend from home is in DC on business, so I am supposed to see her later in the week. I haven't seen her in years, so it will be nice to catch up. Oh, and I decided not to go to Iowa this weekend for the pirate wedding. I'll be there for Thanksgiving, which will be fine, but this weekend, I really just need a quiet weekend to myself. I have several things to do, so I'll be busy.

This past weekend I went to the used book sale at the Arlington Library that I'm sure I've mentioned before. We went Sunday afternoon, and on Sunday, everything is half-price. I bought 19 books for a whopping $25. I found two great quilting books and several Christmas-y books about holiday recipes, crafts, etc, so those will be nice. I also found a few children's books and two different copies of A Christmas Carol by Dickens, which is something I collect, along with 'Twas The Night Before Christmas. They are both on my favorites list and of course, supporting the library is fun. Funny though, when I was packing up my books, I had brought along a canvas tote bag from my library at home in NH. The girl ringing me up saw it, and asked if I was from NH...I said yes, and turned out, she is from a town about five towns away! Small world, this city sure is.

I bought a super cute pair of shoe from Target too. I will have to post a picture, but I am waiting, because I may have ordered a pair of boots from there too, so I will post them all at once. I am really hard on shoes. I don't know why, but I end up destroying them, so I find myself often needing shoes. It's an actual legitimate need too; not just me saying how much I need a puppy (which I do too!) My mother even notices and tells me to go shoe shopping, haha.

I need to do some quilting over the weekend too. I have several quilt tops that are finished, but I need to finish them! I've still been finding some great fabrics from etsy and have been reading many quilting blogs for ideas. Several people post patterns and tutorials, which is nice, since most of the time, I don't know what I am doing :) When I finish some things, I will post pictures, though right now, I don't have too much to show for myself. I did organize my fabric last weekend, and I found a great basket in my closet that is perfect for scraps, so that was an excellent thing.

Oh yes, and I have a new World Vision baby! She's a two-year old from South Africa called Boikokobetso and she's just the sweetest thing you've ever seen. I know a bit about South Africa and their educational system. They have 11 national languages (!!!), so I wondered which one she speaks. I wrote to WV and they responded and said that she speaks Northern Sotho, so I will need to find some books written in N.S. to send to her! She lives with her single mother, three sisters and one brother. I don't know the ages of her siblings, I hope to find out. I'm excited to get to know my new family member! Does anyone have any insight about South Africa that they could share?

How was your weekend? What did you do? Are you doing anything for Halloween? Want to bring over some ginger ale and rye toast for me?


Thursday, October 22, 2009

you are an obsession, you're my obsession

I find that I often get addicted to certain things and am a bit obsessed with them for a while, then moving on without looking back. Strange? Yes. It has often been that way, I think, though some obsessions are carried on.


Here is what I am currently loving.


  • zinnias--- so bright and fun and colorful, they brighten up a room with just a glance. there is a flower stand at Eastern Market and I often stop and buy myself a bunch (or two!)
  • Red Velvet cupcakes--- no explanation necessary :)
  • English muffin pizzas--- last week, I bought a package of English muffins while grocery shopping, mostly on a whim. the next day at work, I couldn't stop thinking about them, and suddenly had a craving for English muffin pizzas. so, I stopped at Trader Joe's on my way home for some pizza sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese and was so happy at dinnertime. there is something that is just so nostalgic and so good about English muffin pizzas!
  • dark chocolate covered blueberries from Trader Joe's--- just delish!
  • Victoria Magazine--- it is so classic, elegant and lovely and makes me yearn for a home of my own to decorate any way I wish. I've also been loving Southern Living magazine. NH isn't exactly the south, but this northerner is a bit enamored by all things sweet tea and southern. I really want to go to Charleston too! I think I need a subscription to both magazines....
  • making baby quilts--- I have about four in the works right now, since I find myself constantly making quilt tops before binding them! (this is an obsession that I hope doesn't go away anytime soon!)
  • notecards from English Tea Paperie--- Chloe, the owner and designer, is SO talented. I hosted a giveaway from here earlier this summer and have bought a few sets of note cards for myself since. they can be personalized however you like and are absolutely lovely, and I plan to order some for Christmas presents too, I think! if you are a stationary lover, go check them out!
  • red beaded necklaces--- I am on the hunt for one or two. I am IN LOVE with this one (feel free to buy it for me for Christmas or my birthday!) and might like another more casual one. I saw a woman on the metro the other day in a white button down blouse, black dress pants and a simple red beaded necklace. she looked gorgeous.
  • thimbles--- there is just something so lovely and adorable about thimbles, in my opinion. I have a few, one that I especially love that is shaped like a little babushka! I am thinking of collecting antique thimbles and pin cushions, because I love them both so much. I actually saw a really cute photo of a sewing room where there was a shelf on the wall with three large jars; one filled with thimbles, one with those pin cushions shaped like a tomato and one filled with spools of thread. it looked so pretty, I am thinking of trying something similar!

What are you loving right now?

do you praxis?

Have you taken the praxis? I know some of you are teachers, and I'd like to hear more about the praxis, if you can offer any advice.

I just signed up to attend an info session for the PG County Teaching Fellows program and am reading the requirements. If I am reading it correctly, I may not have to take the first part of the praxis, because my SAT scores are high enough that I can opt out (ha, funny, since they weren't even that high, from how it appeared then!) (maybe that was because I had friends who scored a 1510 and a 1490...). Also, I have two Master's, and they may allow me to not have to do the GRE, which was the case before.

I'm not sure about the details, hence the reason to go to the info session. Still though...as I've said, teaching has always been in the back of my mind, so I am excited about learning more about this opportunity.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

arrivederci Inaete


Last week, I posted about my learning that Inaete left the World Vision program. At the end of last week, I spoke to someone in the Seattle office about the situation and yesterday's mail brought a letter from them as well. It seems that Inaete and her family has left Albania and moved to Italy. The Italy part surprised me, because, as I mentioned, her grandparents live in Greece, so I would assume they'd go there. At the same time though, it is easier to get to Italy from Albania, as the Albanian-Greek border is tough, from what I understand.

As I said, I'm sad to lose my sponsorship with her, but I am looking at it in a way that it is partly because of my sponsorship that her family was able to move. They'll have new and better opportunities in Italy and Inaete will have new experiences that will only better her later in life. She'll continue to be in my thoughts and prayers and I'm thankful that I had her in my life for this short time.

Now, the question remains is what to do next. I will continue my relationship with World Vision (I still have Majlinda, after all!), but I am debating where to sponsor this time. I could, of course, continue with Albania. Or, maybe I should sponsor a child in a new country? If I sponsored someone in Latin America, I could practice my Spanish when writing, and that would be a good thing. In case you are curious, here is a list of the countries that World Vision serves. As you can see, there are quite a few to chose from.

What would you do? Stick with Albania, or branch out into the world a bit?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

top heavy!

Apparently my blog is over the top, so says Lacey! So, she gave me this lovely award!



Hooray!


In order to accept this award I have to answer the following questions and then pass the love onto six other bloggers, so here goes:
1.Where is your cell phone: in my purse on the floor, because I don't get reception in my new building...boooo! send me emails!
2.Your hair: is a bit crazy today, because of the rain
3.Your mother: is so amazing and encouraging
4.Your father: is so supportive and wise
5.Your favorite food: clam chowdah, deviled eggs (I will so serve them at my wedding!) and snowballs from the William Tell
6.Your dream from last night: I can't remember one
7.Your favorite drink: orange juice, Earl Grey tea
8.Your dream/goal: publish a book or two, live abroad again for an extended time (with my children, so they experience it too), adopt internationally, and have a corgi and a Polish puppy that I am obsessed with, called owczarek podhalanski (they are HUGE dogs!)
9.What room are you in: my little cubicle, three stories underground
10.What is your hobby: cooking/baking, visiting wineries, quilting
11.What is your fear: moth and dragonflies. they freak me out. a lot. silly, I know.
12.Where do you want to be in 6 years: married, baby or two, corgi (or two!), house, career, book in the works!
13.Where were you last night: dinner at Uno's with Steve and his parents who are visiting. Steve and I tried their new lobster blt pizza. it sounds bizarre, I know, but it was very good!
14.Something you are not: fearless
15.Muffins: lemon poppyseed
16.Wish list items: puppy, engagement, salary increase, Martha's Encyclopedia of Crafts, a new pair of Uggs
17.Where did you grow up: Lakes Region of NH...so, so lovely!
18.Last thing you did: chatted with my boss about a reception Monday night that I am volunteering at
20.Your TV: I got rid of cable a year ago and I don't use the tv at all. I should get rid of it.
21.Your pets: I want a corgi. we know this :)
22.Your friends: so wonderful
23.Your life: is a bit crazy sometimes
24.Your mood: not feeling too hot right now
25.Missing someone: always
26.Vehicle: I take the metro
27.Something you're not wearing: sweater, but wishing I had one! it's cold!
28.Your favorite store: Williams Sonoma, Barnes and Noble, Target, Gap
29.Your favorite color: red
30.When's the last time you laughed: earlier, during a staff meeting
31.When's the last time you cried: a couple days ago
32.Your best friend: She's too far away (distance-wise) :(
33.One place you go over and over: Target, Borders
34.One person who emails me regularly: my mum, a few friends, my sister, my dad
35.Favorite place to eat: the William Tell, Elephant & Castle, Matchbox
I am supposed to tag six of you, but I'd rather you all do it, so I can see your answers :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I lied

Apparently I was wrong. Wedding season is not over. I have one more to attend. In Iowa. On Halloween.

Sigh. Just when I thought I was done...

It's not a real wedding...it's a vow renewal ceremony. The kicker? It is Halloween themed and I am supposed to dress like a pirate. For a wedding.

Seriously.

I have no idea how I get myself into these things.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

and it's over!

I'm sitting at my new desk, feeling a bit unsure of myself. No, I don't have a new job, just a new office in a new building. My department moved to a new building on the other side of town. I now have another 15 minutes on the metro. Booooo. I'm also now in a cubicle, where I wasn't before, so I am hearing a whole lot of background noise that I'm not used to. It takes some time to get settled, so I'm sure everything will be fine in a week or so!

The weekend went really well, but I am exhausted! We drove to NH on Friday, leaving about 2pm. We were making great time until NJ. I hate the dirty jerz and this was no exception! We ended up getting lost in New Brunswick and hit major traffic. It took us three hours from there to get through the Cross Bronx Expressway into CT. I like NY, I don't like NJ. We finally rolled into my parents driveway just before 2am. Ugh. I had breakfast plans Saturday morning with my best friend, her husband and son (my godson), and my Pepe, aunt and uncle, so that was really nice. My godson is as adorable as ever and is now talking up a storm. The best? He told me that he loves me and gave me several big kisses :)

Both weddings were really very nice. I will post pictures later, once they are uploaded from my camera. For the second wedding, where I was a bridesmaid, my hair was straight! It's naturally curly, as you've seen, and I did straighten it for a few years, but have kept it curly lately. The hair stylist straightened my hair, and it was long (for me!), hitting me a few inches past my shoulders! I was pleased. I was not pleased, however, with the dress. It was still too big. The alterations didn't come out too well, which is disappointing, since they were rather costly. I spent far too much time tugging at the dress, keeping it up. Grrr. We left CT around 6:30 yesterday and made amazing time back. Once we got into DC, we stopped at the grocery store to grab a few things, and I was in my apartment by 12:30pm. Also, I fell asleep and snoozed for a while, missing Jersey entirely :)

I was in bed by 9:30 last night and I am still exhausted. I am just so glad that wedding season is over for the year! Actually, I don't have any weddings on the agenda (so far!) for 2010 either, so this is a good thing. Of course, I wouldn't mind there being one wedding in 2010, mainly my wedding, but we'll see about that ;)

Steve's parents are in town this weekend and also this Saturday night is one of the Room to Read events, which I am very much looking forward to. How is it already halfway through October? I am so confused about that :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

swapping fun!

So I am currently involved with three swaps and have just signed up for another one! They are a lot of fun, wouldn't you agree?

I will post about two of them at the end of the week. One was a crafty swap and the other, a fall swap. The third one, relates to quilting, where we swap fabric squares!

Here is the link for the last one, as this one is still open to signups. It's a Spooky Sugar Swap, hosted by Beantown Prepster. How can you not love a Halloween themed swap?! Sign up by this Friday!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

bittersweet


One day last week, I came home to find three letters from World Vision Albania in my mailbox, which of course, thrilled me to pieces. One was from Majlinda, two were from Inaete. In the letters from Inaete, her mother wrote how happy her birthday celebration was last month and how much she was looking forward to beginning school on September 15. I was amazed at how fast these letters arrived, as her birthday was September 8, and they had already celebrated with cake and singing. Less than a month for the letters to find their way to me!


The next day, when I got home, I found yet another letter from Inaete in my mailbox, this one, very different from the other two.

My dear friend,

This is Inaete's mother Enkeleda writing you. This is a thank you letter that I am writing on behalf of Inaete and all of the family, because we are leaving Albania. All our family is moving to another country. It is hard for me to write this letter, as we became good friends. You gave us the joy of a new friendship and we really appreciate the support that you have given us, as well as the community. Inaete has kept all the presents, the letters and the cards you sent her and will take them all with herself. She is going to keep them as something very precious for the rest of her life. The house we have bought will be preserved with much love as a bridge of our friendship. I hope you are well. May God bless you in every step of your life.

With love and respect,

Inaete and family



I didn't know what to think when I read this letter. It just seemed to sudden, since the previous letters were talking about the new school year and all! Of course, I knew that something like this could happen. One of World Vision's goal is to help each family become self-sufficient, which is a really wonderful thing, but I assumed that if this were the case, I would first be contacted by the World Vision office itself. When I got this letter, I called them to find out what was happening, but they didn't have record of Inaete's family moving. They said that the family hadn't notified them of this change. They are looking into it for me and will let me know when they find out.

I know that Inaete's grandparents live in Greece, so I assume this is where they are moving to, but of course, I could be wrong. I am so happy for them; that they can sustain themselves and will be closer to their family, but I can't help being a bit wistful too, because now, I will no longer have any contact with Inaete and I won't be able to watch her grow up and hear her stories. I know how wonderful this is, and how many new and wonderful opportunities that Inaete and her family will have. Greece is a member of the European Union, whereas Albania has a long way to go before that might happen. She will likely learn Greek now too, and probably English later and will have new experiences that she may not have been able to have in Albania. I just wish that there was still a way that I could keep in touch with Inaete and her family.

I'll miss her.


Monday, October 5, 2009

weddingweddingweddings

This coming weekend should be interesting.

Two weddings, two states, one weekend. One Lexi as a bridesmaid.

Saturday is a wedding in NH, Sunday in CT. Roughly three hours between the two. The wedding on Sunday isn't until 5pm, which is nice!

I had figured we'd fly to Boston, rent a car, drive to NH, drive to CT, drive back to Boston to fly back here. Of course, because I am an idiot sometimes, I failed to look for flights until this past weekend and they were literally about $600 to fly from here to Boston! Looks like we'll be driving. Friday is a busy day at work, so I can't leave early, so we will be leaving DC Friday afternoon during rush hour on a holiday weekend. Awesome. It's a good nine hour drive to NH from DC too. At least Monday is the holiday, so we can drive back then, and since we'll be coming from CT, it will be shorter. Plus, Steve is excited because there are a few White Castles in NJ that we will stop at. His favorite, not mine...I think they are kinda gross!

I still don't know what to wear to the Saturday wedding. I am still totally and utterly in love with this dress and reallyreallyreally want it, but since the bridesmaid dress will cost at least $75 in alterations, that is a priority, right? I have several dresses I could wear, of course, but I feel like I wear the same three dresses to all the weddings I go to, and I want a pretty new one! Blargh.

Anyone want to buy me the dreamy dress for Saturday? I'll wear it to your wedding too :)

After this weekend, no more weddings. I think I am going to put a freeze on all things wedding until my own comes along. Am I wrong in feeling this way? :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Room to Read in DC events!

I've mentioned my recent involvement with Room to Read before and am so excited that things are getting off the ground. There are three upcoming events here in DC and I'd love it if you came to one! I'll be at two of them, the second and third dates.

For some reason, blogger won't let me place the actual invitation into this post, so I can't link to it. If you are interested in attending, please let me know and I will email it to you, as you do need to register for the events. There will be wine and hors d'oeurves served and space is limited. There are some really exciting things happening and you may love being involved! There are many ways to be a part of it, so come and check things out!


Join the DC Chapter of Room to Read for a 90-minute event to learn more about Room to Read's recent accomplishments, future expansion plans, and how you can be a part of this worldwide movement.


ARLINGTON, VA \ OCTOBER 10TH \ 7:00 PMNRECA Conference Center, 4301 Wilson Boulevard



BETHESDA, MD \ OCTOBER 17TH \ 7:00 PM Sharon Fine Gallery, 5504 Cornish Road


WASHINGTON, DC \ OCTOBER 22ND \ 6:00 PMThe Law Offices of Seyfarth Shaw, 975 F Street NW



Thursday, October 1, 2009

what book got you hooked?

There was an interesting article in the New York Times recently, called "Where Does a Love of Reading Come From?" I saw the link on Mel's blog and wanted to share it, as I agreed with many of the points that were brought up. The article discusses responses to another article, called "A New Assignment: Pick Books You Like," where a seventh and eighth grade teacher outside of Atlanta, GA didn't assign books as usual, but instead, let her students pick what they'd like to read. This approach is "part of a movement to revolutionize the way literature is taught in America’s schools." There are similar workshops going on in other schools across the country, of varying degrees. Many say that having the entire class all read the same book, can bore students, some being unable to understand the theme, etc. Instead, if they can choose what they'd like to read, it can help them to build a lifetime love of reading, something that is very important, in my humble opinion!

Of course, critics argue that students are unlikely to pick the classics, and are more likely to gravitate towards the trendy books, such as the Twilight series (which I have avoided, for the record!). In high school, I remember assigned reading lists for the summer. I can't recall everything that I had to read, though I can remember a few of them. I know I had to read 1984 for freshman year and I hated it. I had to read The Scarlett Letter at one point too. At the moment, the others are escaping me, but there were at least three books each summer. I liked some and disliked others, which is common, I would think.

I can certainly see both sides of this article. I think that it is important to find a balance. Reading can be fun, but should also be a challenge. I feel as though I read a fairly wide range of things, but still try to look outside of my normal finds, in order to read something new, something I don't know much about. I have a few books by Carl Sagan, one of my heroes, and though I don't understand much about cosmology and astronomy, I find his work fascinating and try to interpret what I can. Side note- I cried when I learned that he had passed away. It was my junior year of high school and I remember running into my chemistry teacher's classroom to tell him the news. My point here is, that reading can be enjoyable, when the effort is made.

I do think that it is so, so important to encourage children to read and to develop a love for books and reading. Related to this, one of my favorite shows, Reading Rainbow, went off the air recently, which I find to be tragic. Too many children will miss the opportunity to watch this amazing show.

I will be following this story, to see where it goes and if many other schools try this approach. It could have some really positive results, if implemented properly, and I hope that teachers can pull it off.

What did you have to read for summer reading? Did you enjoy the books or not? If you had a choice, what would you have read? Where did you get your love of reading and what was your favorite book growing up?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

the cat next door


Several weeks ago, my neighbor asked me to watch her cat while she was away. She's lived here most of the time that I have, and we've become friendly; sometimes borrowing a wine bottle opener from the other, things like that. She's my age, and while we are friendly and chat when we see each other, we aren't really friends and don't hang out or anything.

She has a cat and told me that she was going away for a week and could I feed him while she was gone. I told her I didn't mind at all. She said I simply needed to go in once a day, feed and water the cat and scoop the poo from the litter box and put it into a plastic bag that she had in the closet. She gave me a key.

So each day when I got home from work, I'd go next door and play with the cat for a minute or two, and make sure he had water and refill the food. I'd scoop the poo, put it into one of the plastic grocery bags that she left and then put that small bag into a large garbage bag that she left there. She said to just put all the small bags into the large one and then I could take it out at the end of the week. Thursday night when I went in, I couldn't see the cat and he didn't come right out when I came in, so I turned on one of the lamps to find him. He came out a few minutes later. Later that night, I realized that I left the lamp on, but figured I'd turn it out the next day and didn't think too much of it.

She never said exactly which day she was coming home, but I wasn't too concerned. I had her cell number, just in case. I came home Friday night and came into my apartment. I took my shoes off and changed out of work clothes. I sat down to look at my mail, planning to go over in just a few minutes. As I was about to go over, I heard her at her door. I could hear her opening her door and calling out for the cat, so I knew she was home. I didn't want to rush over as soon as she walked in the door, so a little while later, I went over and knocked, but she didn't answer the door. I figured she was tired from the trip and went to bed early.

Now it's a month later and I haven't heard from her at all! I saw her once in the hallway just the other day, and she said "hey, how are you?!" and I replied "great! you?" and that was it. There was no mention of watching the cat, her vacation or anything. She hasn't asked for her key back.

I'm feeling bad about it, like I upset her somehow, though I am unsure as to how! I hope it isn't because of the poo! I had planned to take it out with me and throw it away that last night, but she came home before I could. She had indicated that that is what I should do with it, put it all in a big bag, and she said to make sure to hang it up high in the closet, so that the cat couldn't get at it, which is what I did.

Should I write her a little note and apologize? Should I ignore it all together? What would you do?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

trimming the fat

My parents came down to visit for a few days last weekend. They didn't stay with me, as my apartment is tiny; they stayed at a B&B over by the National Zoo. They had to check out before noon, but their flight wasn't until around dinnertime, so they metroed over to my place to leave their bags here while we were out. They had been to my apartment before, but it had been a while and my mother was horrified when stepping through the door.

I have a bit of clutter. One might call this a packrat, but I am not sure it's the same exactly. It isn't as though I have an excess of things, it is more like an excess of room to keep my things. I live in a studio/efficiency. I don't know the square footage, but it isn't much. It's fine for just me and my bamboo plant, but two people here wouldn't work. Even a corgi wouldn't work too well (hence the reason that I still don't have one).

I really need to do something about the clutter. I guess I hadn't realized it, since I live here every day and don't see it the way my mother did, stepping in for the first time in a while. My sewing table now takes up a large spot, which is pretty much the middle of the floor. It is actually blocking a bookshelf, though the shelf is also blocked by piles of books on the floor, because the bookshelf is full. In front of the radiator, there is another huge pile of books. I have three bookshelves; one tall and two short, all of which are full. There are piles of books everywhere else.

I need to go through my life and decide what I actually need to keep. Books can be donated to the library and clothes can go to Salvation Army. Let's be honest; I don't wear all of them or the shoes! I may get rid of the ugly blue love seat that I acquired from the girl who lived here before me. I don't need all of these things, I really don't.

I don't have people over, with the exception of Steve, because, honestly? I am embarrassed by my apartment. The building itself has certainly seen better days and my apartment just doesn't have the space. The love seat is usually piled with magazines, Vera Bradley bags and random pieces of mail that I decided not to open that day. There is really nowhere to sit, other than my bed. I don't have a kitchen table, because the galley kitchen is too small!

It's a cute little place, and it does have some nice features (large windows that face the front of the building, two closets with built-in shelves and a large built-in cabinet in the kitchen), I just need to figure out how to work it to my best advantage.

Do you live in a small space? How do you decorate it, to make the most of it?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

oooh, what a cute top!




I recently began reading Miss Polka dot's blog and if you do, you'll know that she is often wearing really cute tops and dresses. Turns out, she makes them herself! Here I am, all excited about making pot holders, and she's making her own clothes :)

She also recently opened a shop where she will custom make dresses and tops for you! Hems and Hers is linked from her blog, as well as right here for you. She was so great to work with; she sent me a page full of links to fabrics that I could choose from, and I went with an Amy Butler print called Fresh Poppies in Fuchsia, from her Midwest Modern line.

I was so excited to see this post, indicating that my top was finished! I came home one day last week and found it waiting at my door! Hurrah! Have a look at the finished product :)

(please ignore my poor self-photographing skills!)




How much do you love the bow on the shoulder? I'm pretty sure I'll be buying a dress or two next spring :)