Sunday, April 29, 2007

the living room can now be described as cozy

For the past ten months, I have loved my apartment but hated the lack of color, ugly furniture (none of which is mine), and dorm-room feel. I couldn't do anything about the couches. I didn't want to invest in decorating a temporary place. And I didn't think we could paint the walls.

This week, I found out different. We are allowed to paint as long as the color is light and doesn't require more than two coats of paint.

So yesterday, my bedroommate EB and I decided to paint the living room. And within six hours of that decision, the living room was painted with two coats of a beautiful taupe/beige color. Covering those ugly white walls that were smudged and scuffed and boring was an exhilarating experience. EB and I kept pausing in the middle of our work just to bask in the beauty of it. We left the base boards and door and window frames white, which is the perfect accent. Ever since finishing, we've been spending every moment in that room, breathing in the fresh paint smell and deciding what to hang on the walls.

The living room can now be described as cozy. And all because of a little paint.

(I know, I know - your toaster is bigger than my television.)

(Forgive the messy entryway! See the box? We finally got a vacuum cleaner!)

I'll take "entire-room" pictures when we actually hang things up.

The Restaurant

So the restaurant I picked was amazing. The three of us ate so much food that we all wanted to puke when it was over. I literally left my pants unbuttoned under my long shirt after visiting the restroom. I wanted to think back and remember the deliciousness I'd just consumed during the last hour, but each time I even thought about food, I felt ill. Still, it was great!

We each ordered a cocktail. Mine was a Flaming Hurricane and came out with an actual flame on top. They brought us complimentary bread with two spreads. One was a jalapeno white bean spread. The other was more solid and also had some jalapeno in it. So unique and so good! The girls ordered gumbo, which I tasted (a few times) and wow!, very good. For the main course, I ordered Chilean sea bass that was specially crisped and baked on top of garlic mashed potatoes and sitting in a plate of jalapeno-infused black beans and greens and topped with salsa and guac. Upon finishing the entire plate, I decided dessert was going to make me sick, but how could I pass it up? So I ordered the bananas foster and it was the best bananas foster I've ever had! It didn't taste like rum at all, but was fantastic! I, again, cleaned my plate.

So, if you're ever in Philly, check out Crescent City. You won't regret it.

Friday, April 27, 2007

when separated, there's always email

New Girl and I split up at the big dinner last night to meet more people. We exchanged the following emails:

NG: I think the boy next to me loves me.

Me: Can you see me? Where are you sitting?

NG: I'm looking but I can't find you.
NG: So there's a dessert spoon but no dessert fork. What do you think that means?

Me: Good observation. Hmm. Did you eat your first plate? Interesting.

NG: A fig and a beet I think. The creme fresh was delish. I'm thinking the dessert will be chocolate mouse.

Me: Good guess. You're probably right. I'm cool with that. I wondered what I just ate. It was unique for sure.

NG: Wasn't the creme fresh perfect! Just like a light yogurt! Maybe it'll be creme brulee?

Me: Now that would be yummy!

NG: OMG! You love _____ ! (the speaker)

Me: Well he's right.

Me: I found you. Does the priest love you???

NG: I laughed out loud on that one. No, it's the bald guy.

Me: New Girl! He's married! Stop flirting with the bald guy!

NG: What? It's over? No dessert??!


I've left the hotel only once to have dinner at a nearby pub, but in a few hours, the three of us will escape the world of policy wonks to have dinner on South Street. I've been given a very important task this afternoon; much more amusing than listening to speakers or emailing folks back at the office. The task is to pick a restaurant. My pleasure! So I've chosen South Street, of course - famous for its eclectic shops and diversity. And we'll be eating gourmet Southern cuisine. The menu looks delicious!
At the moment, I'm hanging out in New Girl's room. It's not fair that she got a chaise lounge and I didn't, so she's letting me hang out in here while she takes a nap . . pantless of course. The second we get back to our rooms, her pants are off in a flash. She likes to sit around in her underwear. And she calls me weird. I suppose you can do whatever you want in your own room. Don't let me stop you. And it's true that when I'm alone, it's usually not just my pants that come off. I always like to take advantage of my room's amenities (which is why I was so upset about no chaise lounge). I use the robe, the hair dryer, and the TV even when I'm not watching it, simply because I can choose the channel. I eat every single Hershey's kiss they leave on my pillow, and I use the provided toiletries too, although I never take them home with me. If my room is especially nice, I even take a picture . . but that should come as no surprise. I've taken a picture here . . . and then kicked myself when I realized my battery was dying, and I just wasted my last photo on a couple of beds!
If it wasn't pouring outside, I'd be sightseeing right now. It's much more fun than working. And besides, it's Friday. We're leaving early and heading home tonight. I'm enjoying the food and change of surroundings so much that I'm a little disappointed. Home may be home, but I don't have a television in my room, and I can't order room service, leave my towels on the floor or walk around without any clothes on.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Maybe Don Johnson would've been cooler

I guess you could say I met two famous people last night. The first is not so well-known, but his office is right next door to someone very well-known, so I'm gonna go ahead and call him famous. He was extremely nice, and I am so excited to be working with him on a project that takes something I love (that is usually mostly bad) and incorporates a whole lot of good into it. He is anything but nuts. He is light amongst a heck of a lot of darkness.

The second person I met was bad skin, lips loudly parting Edward J@mes Olmos. I, of course, told him I'd watched Miami Vice as a child with Dad. He made some comment about how long ago that was, and then he was stolen away by someone else. He was on the dinner agenda, and I was looking forward to hearing him speak . . until he started speaking. I found myself wondering if someone hadn't challenged him to see how many offensive and irrelevant things he could say in a half hour. Or dared him to embarass the very people that asked him to speak in front of hundreds of stakeholders. I've never felt so uncomfortable. I think the general consensus on his "speech" was . . . WTF???!!!!

Although it was painful hearing him speak, at least I got to sit there in my black dress that I got loads of compliments on. Unfortunately there was no picture taking to be done. Because "Work L___" can't be touristy and star-struck because she is working. Sad.

Now "Work L___" is in Philadelphia for three days in a hotel that is (as my co-worker Bourbon calls it) "pretty money". I can see the river from my 17th story room and right outside the front door is City Hall. I wish I had time to sightsee while I'm here. I really like this city with all its unique neighborhoods, and although I've seen quite a bit of it before, I know there's so much more to discover.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Setting myself up for disappointment

I’m going with the black tie part of “black tie optional”. But I’m afraid I’ll be out of place. To be more specific, I’m afraid I’ll be the only one with jersey knit sticking to every curve of my body! I have packed on a little more insulation since the last time I wore the dress. It would be one thing if I simply had to wear the dress to the dinner. But I have to put it on at work during business hours and catch a cab on the street corner. Like my colleague says, “You just have to put on your game face and be ‘Work L____’.

I have a few hopes and dreams for tonight. I’ll be seated at a table with P. D!ddy’s right hand man and I have oh so much I want to talk to him about (not even P. D!ddy and the fact that their offices are adjacent). On top of that, an actor from an 80s show Dad and I used to watch together – he’ll be there. Seeing him would be nice. Even nicer would be shaking his hand, telling him how much I loved M@rty Castillo and thanking him for his work with inner-city kids (I hear he likes to be known more for being an activist than an actor).

So basically I’ve set tonight up to be just an ordinary dinner where nothing extraordinary happens simply because I hope it will.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Midnight craving

It's 12:30 in the morning, and I WANT SOME ICE CREAM. The problem is that once my roomie TM comes home, junk food is out of the question. TM is a med student who keeps to herself, a sweetheart but frequently won't respond when you try talking to her (read: awkward), and a total health nut. All of this equals: I just can't bring myself to eat sweets around her. Not only does the uncomfortable silence and the fact that she's munching on veggies make me feel guilty, she closes the door to the kitchen (off her room) as soon as she comes home making you feel as though its off limits!

Update: I snuck a few bites while she went to the bathroom. Craving satisfied!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

How to be the boss of me

I volunteered to baby-sit for one of my firm's VPs tonight. New Girl, a past baby-sitter of theirs, was a bit jealous that I was about to spend the evening with the two little girls. And I planned to do just what she feared . . make them like me better, of course (heheh). The 4- and 1-year old girls were just as adorable as she'd said they were, and I was confident that the night would go well. VP and wife mentioned that New Girl hadn't been able to get 4-year-old to bed before 10 p.m. when she baby-sat, so I also decided that not only would I be more fun, I would get that little girl in bed by her bedtime!! Just watch!

Two hours later, after watching only one episode of "Diego", putting the 1-year-old to bed and making a beaded necklace and bracelet, I began to prepare 4-year-old for our next activity - going to bed. I let her know that we'd have time to read just two books and encouraged her to begin thinking about which books she wanted to read. Ten minutes prior to bedtime, I led her up the stairs anticipating the challenge that lie before me.

She made no objection to the two book limit, and I was feeling pretty good about how things were going. After finishing the second Dr. Suess story I turned to explain that bedtime had indeed come. And that's when it happened.

She offered to brush my hair.

Now there are plenty of offers I could've easily turned down. Playing house. Making another bracelet. Reading another story. But I never turn down the opportunity to have my hair brushed.

And actually, she didn't just offer; she told me she was going to do it. And far be it for me to stop her. I immediately pulled the elastic out of my hair, held the mirror as instructed and let her brush away. About five seconds into the brushing and I was in a completely different state.

Oh, now you need to [pretend to] cut my hair? Go right ahead.

Oh and of course you can [pretend to] wash it. And dry it.

You need to brush again? By all means.

The girl owned me. I tried to tell her that we only had time for "one more thing", but she sweetly explained that "Honey, we're not done yet." And I simply answered, "Ok".

It's a miracle that she was laying down, head on pillow only ten minutes after 9pm. (Bedtime was 8:30-9.) I still beat New Girl's time by 50 minutes!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Feel the Love

Family rocks.

The two on the left are my cousins. My sister is to my right. This is a picture of us full from ham, cheesy potato casserole, Grandma's famous baked beans, a Jello dish, deviled eggs, bread . . . and also angel food cake and Grandma's special German chocolate cake with ice cream and hot fudge. Oh yeah.

This is also a picture of us oh so happy to be together. Cousins reunited. You can almost feel the love just looking at us.

This is a picture of why I love home.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Wednesday Night

Very strange that an entire paragraph of my last post has gone missing! Yet the whole thing still reads normal. Weird. So we actually did more during Shae's visit, but the shopping and eating - those are the most important parts anyway.

All the excitement about going home was building and building until I realized that the temperatures would be even colder than those forecasted here. Forty degrees!? It's because I put away my sweaters, that's why. I was hesitant to do it and now that I have, my dream of open-toed shoes and skirts has been snatched away from me. I'm tempted to defy reality and pack my flip flops anyway.

My week is creeping by at a snail's pace, but it's certainly not been boring. Monday evening, BSG and I took advantage of all 80 degrees outside by grabbing a bite at Clyde's on the Walk and eating it on her rooftop in the middle of the city. We then watched the local news, which by the way I am never doing again. This place is dangerous. If I don't get taken out by a terrorist taxi cab driver, I'll either get mugged or worse by a Salvadoran gang member or hit by a bus while crossing the street. On my walk home from the metro that night I was positive the man behind me was following me, and I jogged the two blocks in heels. There's no place like home, there's no place like home . . (Nebraska, that is).

Last night, my old roommate KC had fourth row tickets to the Capitals hockey game. More fun than watching the game was flirting with hot guy in the row behind me. It's not often I see someone attractive in this city, and I like to take advantage of each and every opportunity to get to know someone new. Thanks to KC for shouting "He's not for you" loud enough for him to hear . . because for a moment there I thought random boy at the hockey game might have been my next boyfriend.

Tonight I am writing on this blog because I want to avoid working for since I escaped my desk today for all of five minutes, and I NEED A BREAK. If I don't write again before the weekend, know that there will be many pictures to come!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Another Visitor!

Counting down hours to an event (namely “going home”) that is several days away can really wear on a person . . . which is why a visit from my good friend, Shae, last weekend was just what I needed to break up the anticipation. In Baltimore for business, she extended her stay through the weekend so she could come down and spend time with me. My bedroommate was in Boston, so the other bed in my room was available just for her, and after picking her up on Thursday night, we were able to lay there until way past my bedtime just gabbing about life. It was “one more thing” after “one more thing” until finally dozing off. I still worked on Friday, but she came in to the office to meet my co-workers, and we all headed to Papa R@zzi (probably one of my most frequently visited restaurants) and ordered Pollo e Spinaci pizza and gnocchi with mozzarella.

The unfortunate part of having a non-basketball liking friend visit on the weekend of the Final Four is that you’ll clearly feel bad if you force that friend to watch the games. So we had a compromise of sorts: shopping during the Georgetown game in Georgetown (painful), but later meeting up with my UCLA girls for that game. We ended the night with two pieces of cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory. I highly recommend Banana Cream! . . the only thing it needed was mayybe a drizzle of chocolate, because I’m convinced that anything would taste a little bit better with a smidge (or a cup) of chocolate.

So Shae’s trip flew by, just like all of my favorite moments in life that involve people I love, shopping, and eating good food. And there are more of those great moments to come as I travel home to Omaha on Friday. I can’t wait!