Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Eve 2010

This day has been pretty awesome. I'm dancing to Ryan Bingham in the kitchen as I wait for my ground beef to brown. Let me back up.

  • Slept late (for me). Woke up around 8:30am, sat in bed, drinking coffee and watching some Pride and Prejudice, the BBC version.
  • Put on a summery outfit with my new wedge espadrilles and headed to church. Thought I'd swing by the Rolling Thunder lineup, just to get a look-see. The Pentagon parking lot was swarming with hundreds of thousands of motorcycles and American flags. What's more, when driving past Arlington Cemetery, I forgot that the National Guardsmen place an American flag next to every gravestone. It was too much. I immediately drove back home and changed into something more comfortable.
  • Parked illegally between the Iwo Jima memorial and the cemetery, and walked. Happened upon an intimate ceremony at the 101st Airborne memorial, and again teared up when the WWII and Vietnam vets were honored, as well as the injured soldiers who are currently at Walter Reed (and are being treated there, but were able to come to this ceremony). I tell you what, there is nothing as honorable as serving your country. Gets me every time.
  • Made my way to the very edge of the Memorial Bridge - blast - it was fenced off. Stood at the edge and met some Vietnam vets who were very friendly and very tough-looking. It was spectacular. I stood there and waved and took pictures and conversated for nearly an hour, then decided to go home. The vets I met said that they rode last year, but didn't want to "melt the engines" this year. They said that to go 5 miles, they have to keep their hogs running at least 3 hours. Great blend of people: both people I would be terrified to encounter in a dark alley, and all-American patriots. Hippies who have outgrown their hippie gear, and accountants-by-day, Harley riders by night. I love America.
  • Home to get some grub, and made cojita cheese quesadillas (delish) before being enticed to go to the neighborhood pool (1 of 6!!) with Miss Richmond. Spend a good 2 hours there. Adequate sun, adequate sunblock, adequate dose of cynicism with the latest edition of World magazine.
  • Drove with Miss Richmond and friend Voix La to 7/11 for a slurpee. Flavors: Pina Colada and Coke. Awesome.
  • Finalized room rearrangements, sipped on a glass of sangria, organized photos and card stock, researched good quotes to use with aforementioned photos and card stock. If you're lucky, you might get one of 'em!
  • And here I stand, in the kitchen, reading a recipe for taco casserole on the laptop, and being serenaded by Ryan Bingham, my new favorite country artist. He's from Austin. Check him out.
Life is so good.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Things I learned today.

The census workers get paid $20/hour. How's that for lowering the unemployment in America?! I was interviewed by one such worker this evening, despite the fact that we already sent in the census thing for the household. I guess it's better/more accurate if you have two counters: one that goes door-to-door, one that stays in the office. Multiplied by... a million or so workers. I'm honestly too tired after the grueling interview to look up any facts.

I asked the guy (I really wanted to ask HIM 15 questions) how many interviews he's done so far, since the "beginning," and he said, "oh....well.... at LEAST a... hundred!" Not sure how long these peeps get paid to conduct these interviews, but I'm guessing there are a LOT of them sprinkled throughout these United States.

The guy was really sweet-looking. He was so eager to do the job well, and I could tell his new backpack and clean clothes were worn with much pride. He was really trying hard to get all the info right, and I can only image he's encountered some real mean people out there. He misspelled my name, and wrote down my roommate's year of birth as 1932 instead of 1983, but whatev.

Also, Rush Limbaugh didn't register to vote until he was 35.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Leaving the metro today...

..... a guy in uniform gets on the metro, and sits on the other side of the doors from me. A group of people got on at the next stop, and were loudly speaking in a foreign language. Russian? Armenian? Bulgarian? I couldn't tell. There were snorts and chortles, and it didn't seem like they were singing America's praises. I stood up to get off the metro, as did this group of unknowns, and so did Sgt. Uniform. He had some tactful yet terse words he said to one of the (very tough) ladies in the group - in their language - and the guys stood there dumbfounded, the girl said something back to the Sgt., and saluted him in a very patronizing way. The Sgt. smiled and sat back down.

No clue what was said, but I could definitely feel the tension.

Enter Emily, Private Eye.

I followed these characters rather closely, pretending like I could understand what they were saying to each other. A careful blink of the eye here, a silent laugh there, a raised eyebrow now and then. Ever so subtly, very discrete. This continued for a minute, then I realized, Zoinks! What if they think I really CAN understand them and they're in the Russian mob (highly likely), and they kill me??! Then thankfully they went the other way when we got to the top of the escalators.

No, I haven't been watching too much 24.....

Confession

It's official. I joined Linked In today. Not because I wanted to, but because I had to. No, really. I needed an answer from this discussion group for work. I'm not proud of it. Especially after I determined I would not delve further into the technological world than a) facebook and b) DVDs (curse you, BlueRay - I'll have none of you). Yeah, yeah, I have a droid, but that's different...sort of. A walking contradiction, New York calls me. Whatever. Just wanted to confess this grave sin to you, my loyal listening audience.

Welcome, 21st century, to my life. It's about time I embrace the gadgets and gizmos of my generation.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Glycemic Index Diet....

...cuz every body needs it.

Or something to that effect. So I bought a book entitled, The GI Bikini Diet on a whim. It was on sale for $4.95. Besides the countless typos and grammatical errors (which made me lose all respect for this supposed doctor), it appears to be written by Scots, so in addition to spelling every other word "wrong," they measure using grams. Unhelpful for recipes. And no, I don't have time to recalculate all the measurements. I a) am an American, and thus shouldn't have to do this, and b) don't bother following recipes written using T and tsp. and c. and the like.

SO the book shall be returned.

In the meantime, I've researched into this whole glycemic index (GI) phenomenon, and it makes sense. It's a healthy version of Adkins. And they still let you have wine (red is best - hooray!).

I discovered, however, that my beloved corn tortillas of which I've been feasting for the past 2 weeks are super high on the GI chart. I am distraught. Dagnabbit.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Quotes for this day

It is often said that children are the wealth of the poor. This was not my experience. But books are without question the wealth of the poor’s children. Books are a guiding light out of the underworld, a secret passageway, an escape hatch. To the affluent, books are ornaments. To the poor, books are siege weapons.” — Joe Queenan

I have held many things in my hand and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess.”
— Martin Luther

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
— Helen Keller

"When you stop taking chances
You'll stay where you sit
You won't live any longer
But it'll feel like it"
- Bono, "Summer Rain"

And with these thoughts in mind, GO FORTH AND CONQUER. Happy Friday!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Zumba

After a particularly treacherous Zumba class tonight, I lay comatose on my bed, with just enough energy to watch 24.

I venture to say that Sarah the Substitute was far tougher than Diego the Man Who Can Move. And I swear she was snickering at me when I couldn't keep up with her insane beat.

For your viewing pleasure, here is a cheesy infomercial in espanol for zumba. This is pretty much what it looks like, except there are about 8 people at the gym, we are all wearing baggy gym clothes (except that tramp in the corner, who does she think she is) and sweating profusely. Our audience consists of old men between raquetball games, gawking as they pass by on their way to the water fountain. Oh, and there was one guy in the class today. He was cracking up more than even I was. And that's a lot.

I can't "shake it" like the instructor yells, and so effortlessly illustrates, but by golly I'm having fun. This is WAY better than running.

And now I can barely move. Thus, I'm watching Jack singlehandedly bring down terrorists, maintain his love life, interrogate traitors, and keep an open line with the POTUS. He's that good.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

the posting of a friend.

Jamesy. A dear friend from the ATX. A talented musician with a great take on life and an insightful blog. Here is his latest posting. Poignant.

It's a quick read, and very worth it.

Love ya, James.

I have a grille.

Is is grill or grille? I never know.

In a burst of domesticity, I decided to cook tonight. Carrots and hummus and cheese quesadillas eaten while standing over the stove is getting a bit old (this has seriously been my dinner when eating at home the past 2 weeks or so).

AND SO, Richmond* showed me how to operate the awesome grill in our backyard. Yeah, the one I've never used after having lived here for nearly 10 months.

AND SO I grilled some corn (first time ever!) and chicken breast tenders (tequila lime. I had no idea what I was doing, but I sprinkled some Jose Cuervo and squeezed a lime over it. It worked.), and made red beans and rice.

And Richmond fixed the broken light outside, so now we can see. Life is good in the VA. Also, I need to have a party.

*I may have previously referred to Gretchen as Virginia, but since we are in Virginia, I don't want to confuse people. Gretchen will now be referred to as Richmond, the city of her family.

Pigs are flying.

It's true. New York* traded in her Prius for ......gasp......an SUV. I know. Shocking. I naturally attribute about 95% of this decision to me, as clearly she thinks RFW and I are awesome, and she desperately wants to be just like me and my big SUV self.

I like my cars like I like my men. Macho and manly. So there. I'll put up with the extra cost of gasoline any day.

I'm sure there are other reasons.... something about needing more space than what a sardine can can hold.....something about getting a bicycle.....but I didn't listen very intently.

And so the count in our house is:
Awesomeness/Texas = 2
Prius = 0

*and yes, this is the roommate that nearly cried when I opted for the $.77-for-a-4-pack incandescent light bulbs instead of the the fancy $6 per light bulb fluorescents.

Oh, Target, how I love thee.....

I saved a ton of money at Target yesterday. How, you ask? With a 10% discount card. How does one get one of these cards? By "earning" (spending) 1,000 points ($1,000) at Target. And yes, I had to buy a lot in order to save a "lot" (10%), but whatever. America. Capitalism. I'm keeping Target in business. I also tell myself that odds (?!?) are that I'll either live in a foreign country far away from modern American conveniences, or on a ranch a la Pioneer Woman, far away from a Target. I'll need to remember these times when I have to inevitably do without in the future.

Highlights of the trip:
  • They now have gluten free products!! This single glorious fact made me overlook that 95% of all merchandise is made in China. I bought gluten free cereal and chocolate chip cookie mix. Stoked.
  • This store (near my house) has a ton of grocery items, so I was able to buy wine and milk and frozen raspberries and other necessities. One stop shopping. How not-French of me.
  • I now impulsively buy those cute little juicebox-esque wine containers. I can't help it. they're so cute!
  • Best of all, they have cheap sandals. $19.99 for these things. I grew up wearing this style of sandal, only mine were from Wal-Mart and were made by Jordache or Gitano. With lightning quick reflexes, I lunged for them, thinking, "hey! just like when I was a kid!!" Welcome, summertime. Glad to have you here.

Facebook Purge

Quotes have a way of stacking up on my facebook profile in attempts to a) inspire others and b), let's be honest, to impress others. Every now and then, in a fit of longing for simplicity, I pare down the list to one.

That time is now.

Here are the great quotes that I'm taking down:

kindly control yourself.

this is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.
-(george bernard shaw)

our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
-(martin luther king, jr.)

god, who saved us and called us... not because of anything we have done,
but because of his own purpose and grace
-(2 timothy 1:9)

seek justice, protect the oppressed, defend the orphan,
plead for the widow.
-(isaiah 1:17)

forewarned and forearmed is half the day.
-(miguel de cervantes)

great necessities call out great virtues.
-(abigail adams)
life is a daring adventure, or nothing.
-(helen keller)

happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.
-(john barrymore)

"young misses whut frowns an' pushes out
dey chins an' says 'ah will' an' 'ah won' mos'
gener'ly doan ketch husbands," prophesied
mammy gloomily. "youn misses should cas'
down dey eyes an' say, 'well, suh, ah mout'
an' 'jes' as you say, suh.'"
-(mammy in gone with the wind)

Me: Man, I wish I were shorter.
Amy: No, I wish he were taller.
I am not willing to sacrifice my height.

Amy: I am closet granola.

Me: I wonder how they got all these old
telephone poles out here in the middle
of the forest....

whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt
the universe is unfolding as it should.
-(max ehrmann)

the trouble with resisting temptation
is you may not get another chance.
-(edwin chapin)

out of clutter, find simplicity. from discord,
find harmony. in the middle of difficulties
lies opportunity.
-(albert einstein)

there are things you do because they
feel right and they may make no sense
and they make no money and it may be
the real reason we are here: to love each
other and eat each other's cooking and
say it was good.
-(brian andreas)

and so I can't decide: should i go for it
and screw it up immediately? or wait to?
-(amy)

remember as far as everyone else is concerned,
we are a nice normal family.

today is your day! your mountain is waiting
so get on your way!
-(seuss)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Farewell brunch for Ashley

Annnnnd these photos are small, too. Sunday, I played hooky from church (shame, shame) and had brunch with six other lovely ladies as a semi-final farewell to Ashley.... who is leaving us for College Station. Tears. She's pretty cool.

We went to the Warehouse in Old Towne Alexandria. I feasted on crawfish and shrimp etoufee, in honor of Treme, my new fave (only) show this season.



We met the Pioneer Woman!

This photo might appear really small.... but here we are with Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman! The five of us braved the insane traffic (took 1.25 hours to get there, but 15 minutes to return), and stood in line for around 2.5 hours next to spoiled rotten, screaming children.... BUT we got to meet our hero, and even got a photo with her!

Her life is my second tier dream life.

Here is her blog. She is hilarious.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tara in the ER

After church at Grace DC tonight, I sat on a bench at the base of the Washington Monument, reading a good book. A precious Filipino couple asked me to take their picture with the Lincoln Memorial in the background. They asked for another picture up close, then the woman asked if it was alright if her husband took a picture of the two of us. We had a lovely conversation about the work IJM does in Cebu City (where they're from). Very cool to connect with them.

Minutes later, I get a frantic call from Tara. She has nearly sliced off her entire finger, and needs to go to the ER. I'm on it. Will be home in 15 minutes. One of the many benefits of my stressful job is the ability to handle stressful situations relatively calmly. Found out where the closest quality hospital is, made it home, got her to the ER quickly, and sat for a whopping 5 minutes before she was admitted. Phenomenal. Gonzales Memorial Hospital has nothing on the Alexandria Inova Emergency Room (I spent many hours in the Gonzales hospital with my accident-prone kid brother back in the day).

I sat in the waiting room for a few minutes, catching up with Daddo via phone, then joined Tara in her room. I was totally fine, totally strong amidst all the blood and gore. Then the needle.... Earlier shot didn't deaden the pain enough, so the PA had to attack her fingertip with a needle. Emmy-Lou is still strong. Then the stitches. I was expecting a needle, but it more closely resembled a staple, semi stretched out, and sutured to some dental floss. Stitch one, stich two... all is well. THEN stitch three goes THROUGH THE FINGERNAIL and I couldn't feel my legs. The room started getting dark. I stepped outside, and propped myself up against a beam, and put my head between my legs. PRAISE JESUS I had a Larabar in my purse. I ate a bite, and decided not to ask the nurse for some water.

Lo and behold, the entire ordeal took an hour and a half. Tara and I were home in just enough time to have her delicious mussels and a Hoegaarden beer, and minutes before Treme, our fave new show (set in few-months-post Katrina New Orleans. Fantastic show.).

I SO want to go to New Orleans. Tara just informed me that there's a train that runs between here and New Orleans. Dude, I'm so in.