Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Eve of a New Year

I think I will be writing a post about bidding 2008 farewell and welcoming 2009, but I am currently going to go have a snack and decide what on Earth to wear this evening! I plan to attend a party with a group of church folks my age, in hopes of making new friends maybe?!, and then ring in the New Year with the gang from Nebraska. (Only three of them are actually from Nebraska, but the few that I met at the game watches introduced me to all of their friends, and I'm now a "gang-member").

Happy New Year to you all! I don't know about you, but it's with great anticipation that I'm celebrating tonight. Not sure what I'm anticipating exactly, but I have a pretty good feeling about '09.

When the government deserves a bad rap

An error on someone's server yesterday led them to sent out a blank email to hundreds of government employees. Rather than dismiss the email as a technical error, there were many 'reply all' responses that accomplished nothing other than to make those replying look like fools. It was so bad that our agency posted a bulletin titled "Email Storm", recommending that those receiving such emails simply erase them by hitting "SHIFT-DELETE".

Wow.

Here's just ONE example of some email traffic:

From: XXXX Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 10:01 AMSubject: RE:

Please stop these emails also. I would appreciate it. Thank you.

From: XXXX Sent: Wednesday, December 31, 2008 9:49 AMSubject: RE:

I would like for emails to stop also.

From: XX Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 4:23 PMSubject: RE:

Can you please stop these emails...I will really appreciate it.

From: XXXXX Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 4:07 PMSubject: RE:

What is going on with these emails? and why am I getting them?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Christmas!

It's nice to receive gifts you'd feel bad about buying for yourself. I couldn't justify purchasing a fun decor book to look pretty on my coffee table, so thanks to my sister for buying it for me!

I had one of the loveliest Christmases ever, I think. I don't know why it felt that way, but it did - despite the fact that we opened gifts on Christmas Eve (which was actually a great idea) and my grandma spent the week in the hospital (so sad).

The oddest part about my trip to Nebraska was that it didn't feel as much like home. I still love it to pieces and miss my family and friends, but I know it's not where I belong right now.

I belong in my crazy expensive apartment, eating my lazy pb&j three times a week, taking the metro to a job that pushes me out of my comfort zone every day, and investing in friendships I've gained over the past 2 1/2 years.

I can't wait to see what 2009 will bring!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Change

Things will be a bit different this Christmas. We'll open presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning, since my married siblings are holiday-splitting. We'll postpone the Christmas turkey until Saturday in hopes that Grandma will be home from the hospital. We'll have Christmas Eve service at home rather than church. We'll sit around the fire at Grandma's knowing it will be probably be the last time, since she plans to sell the house my grandpa built in the coming months.

But we'll all be together, enjoying one another and celebrating JESUS. Things change, but He never does.

I am so thankful that God revealed Himself to us through His Son - my Savior, my Lord, my Best Friend, the Healer of my heart, my Provider, my Protector, my Comforter, my Everything.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, December 22, 2008

They Just Keep Coming

In lieu of putting a little creative thought into my work product, I've written yet another round of haikus!! If you're lucky (or unlucky rather), I'll keep this up all week long, every time I sit down at a computer, because it's like a crazy new addiction. I may never write a regular blog post again!

What’s out of control?
The haiku-writing, but I
Just can’t help myself

I am daydreaming
Of flying home in three hours
Can’t focus on work

Re-decorated
My parents’ living room in
My mind, fun daydream

Keep the deep blue chairs
But lose the outdated couch
That would be Step 1

Home interiors
I’ve always had an interest
Just like my Grandma

Poor Gram is sick now
I can’t wait to give her hugs
And say I love you

Please Midwest Airlines
Be on time for once this year
And give me cookies!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

More Haikus!

Done, I'm almost done
Just a few more gifts for kids
My niece and nephew

I just ate my weight
In fresh Tex-Mex tortillas
Still no gym for me

Thinking of Monday
How will I focus at work?
Flying home at night

Too tired to pack now
Christmas shopping wore me out
*Sigh* but here I go

High of 1 back home
Pack your warmest, they all say
Some long underwear

Nebraska, you suck
When it comes to the weather
But I still can't wait

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Holiday Haikus

Whoorl inspired me:

More Christmas shopping
Let's be honest, I have not
Gotten much done yet

Overwhelmed I am,
Trying to find that perfect
Gift for so many

The mall at Christmas
Is the one place that I hate
To be, yes it's true

I would much rather
Be baking cookies at home
Or watching movies

Speaking of cookies,
I ate at least five of them
With ice cream last night

I need to do more
Than just go shopping, the gym
Needs to be hit too

Much to do today
And I am wasting my time
Writing these haikus

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Carrying On

The part I dread most about traveling: carry-ons. Because mine are never few, and Im incapable of traveling light. This Christmas its about to get worse. Not only do I need my big purse, which gets stuffed in my tote (full of iPod, books and magazines), I carry the MacBook in my computer case . . and now I have the big camera. And a winter coat. So annoying!

Please, tell me . . what do you carry on? Is there some way I could/should lighten my load?!

Christmas Morning

Just when I had gotten used to the idea of spending Christmas morning alone with my parents for the first time ever . . I find out my sister and new brother-in-law will be there after all. The part of me that loves traditions and family and togetherness is very, very excited. But the part of me that thought I might get a “single sympathy” secret extra present or super-stuffed stocking on Christmas morning is not. But the togetherness part of me is much, MUCH bigger. Now if I can only convince the BIL to let her sleep with me on Christmas Eve . .

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Spirit

I went to a girls' cookie exchange last night, a very fun holiday party idea, and my Double Chocolate Peppermint cookies were a big hit. I just have to share the recipe with you.

I'm off to see The Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center! I'm hoping my friend realizes this is not a date! I am merely accompanying him to do something he's been wanting to do all season. It just so happens he bought my ticket, even though I told him not to. I'll be sure to do everything I can to make it clear that we're buddies. Just call a guy "buddy" and he'll know.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Free

Tonight I am thankful for friends that understand. Friends to walk through difficult decisions with. Friends to cry with and pray with. Friends to eat cookie dough with and read Scripture with. To remind each other of God's goodness and promises to those who are surrendered to Him. These friends are some of the sweetness in bittersweet moments, when letting go isn't easy to do, but it must be done . . and by God's grace and strength, it can be.

I am thankful that I know perfect peace because of my Lord, the One who saves me.

"I search for You God of strength
I bow to You in my brokenness

And no other King could have so humbly come
To save my soul and heal my heart

I have nothing more than all You offer me
There is nothing else that’s of worth to me

And I love You Lord
You rescued me
You are all that I want
You’re all that I need

I pray to You God of peace
I rest in You my cares released

I have nothing more than all You offer me
There is nothing else that’s of worth to me

In Your freedom I will live
I offer devotion"

I'm free, and I'm so excited for what's in store.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

a night at home!

Tonight, the thing I've been fantasizing about for the past two weeks has become a reality. I'm wearing my favorite sweatshirt while sitting in my favorite chair watching my favorite television show.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the dress

I went with the red pumps. This is the best picture I could get, and I'm feeling like it makes my hips look wider than they are. There is certainly plenty of room to spare around my tummy and hips, and I ran into an older woman wearing the same thing tonight! (Well, older as in six years.) But she said her mother had it, too! I just don't know if I'm ready for a cross-generational dress. I need to cling to my youth and pre-baby body as long as possible. It is a nice conservative, yet fun dress. I'm undecided.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Getting in the Christmas Spirit

Last night, Tim and I went to see the National Christmas Tree at the White House. I wish I could tell you that Tim was my new boyfriend, but it's only the name of my new camera. Yes, I took The Girl's advice and gave it a name. Whether it's named after that fantastic UF quarterback I wish was six years older and available, a fictional, and oh so hot, fullback, or a colleague and great photographer from my last job . . well, I'm not even sure. The name just seemed right.

So off we went, walking many, many blocks in 30 degree temps with no mittens, and all we got were these pictures, because my fingers hurt so bad I wanted to cry. I think I really did whimper right there in front of the tree, as I was fiddling with the different settings, and I finally decided to head home.
(If you click on this picture, you can see one of many little train sets at the forefront and the children singing off in the distance.)Nebraska's tree (every state and territory has one) was covered in dream catcher ornaments. Seriously?! I would've gone with ears of corn and footballs.

Tomorrow night is my old firm's holiday party. I'm so excited to see the New.seum and eat all the yummy food . . and see all my old co-workers, of course! It will also be fun to wear my new dress:
The question is: black peep toes or red pumps?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Kentucky and her Cowboy

I don't normally post pictures of friends that don't read my blog, but I just love this one. This is my friend, Kentucky, and her boyfriend, a guy she picked up at the country bar. She and I love to two-step and line dance, and this boy was a Friday night regular. It's funny, we had seen him a year prior, and she mentioned he was cute, but it wasn't until last Spring that they met and began seeing each other. He's trying out the bearded look, and I think he can really pull it off. During last night's football watch party, he offered to make the burgers - nice and bloody, just how I like it. :)
I was happy to see Tim Tebow lead the Gators to an SEC Championship win last night. Normally I don't root for UF, but they really were the better team this year. As for the Big XII, I think the Sooners deserve to play in the BCS game, as well. I can't wait to watch!

D60

I'm having so much fun with my new camera, the thing I've wanted for so many years and finally decided to purchase. After seeing so many talented photographer's blogs and all the wonderful pictures that can be taken of day-to-day life and special moments, I knew I had to have one someday. It's quite an investment, and I know it will take a long time to actually begin taking pictures I'm pleased with, but I'm excited to get started. I hope that with this camera, I will not necessarily take more pictures (because I'm not sure that's possible), but better ones.

I took the telephoto lens to the Lakers game on Friday, and the pictures aren't amazing, but it was still neat to be able to zoom and capture Kobe mid-air.

I feel as though I should make a disclaimer that any photos I post from now on will not be posted because I think they are amazing. I'm on a big learning curve with this camera, and hopefully over time, I'll improve.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Friday Night

It's 1:20am, and I am baking cookies.

The ladies' church brunch is tomorrow morning, and I'm determined to go. Too often I opt out of events where I could meet more like-minded women and be encouraged and challenged by time together. Instead of always asking myself what I plan to do every weekend, I should be asking the Lord what He thinks. How would He have me prioritize my life? I don't think He'd tell me to skip the brunch and hit the gym. I'm not saying that's never ok to do, I'm . . . you know what I'm saying. It's good to look at the way I'm spending my time and money and ask myself if I'm really investing in eternal things. It can be a tough question to ask.

I hit the downtown holiday market tonight, and it was exactly what I imagined it would be. Pretty lights and tents with handmade goodies, like jewelry and Peruvian scarves and photographs and hand-painted ornaments and toasted almonds. I didn't have much time to wander around, so I hope to go back soon.

KC (my best D.C. friend) and I stopped at little carryout place for delicious sandwiches, mine being thickly-sliced roast beef on a Kaiser roll (and dipped in ketchup). It's places like that, where you can duck in and grab a great bite to eat, that make me love it here so much.

The basketball game was fun, although I can't understand why some people pay $100/ticket. Fortunately I got a half-price deal from a guy whose wife was thinking the same thing I was (Who spends that much??!!) and made him get rid of them. I took my new Nikon D60 along with the zoom lens and got a few mid-air shots of Kobe. I also enjoyed a waffle twist cone at half time. It's nice to have friends who are always up for the same things you are. :)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Anticipating Good Times

It's been a good week, and now I'm ready for the fun weekend ahead! Hopefully I can fit it all in!
  • browsing the downtown holiday market
  • great seats at a Lakers game
  • a Christmas party "The Tree Isn't the Only Thing Getting Lit This Christmas" (although I will definitely not be "getting lit", you have to admit, it's funny :)
  • a Christmas brunch with the ladies from church
  • SEC and Big XII bowl games (Go Gators and Sooners!)
  • bowling with friends
  • a doubles tennis match
  • Handel's Messiah at National Pres
I need to go lay out my purple top for tomorrow's game!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Post-Thanksgiving notes

Hello, hello! I am here, alive and breathing, having not posted for over 10 days. Unbelievable!

I didn't even leave town for the holiday! (I stayed here in D.C. with Cousin J, his wife and kids. His brother (my other cousin-obvi), and his wife and kids flew up from Houston.)

I've been dog/house-sitting for the past week, and I'm about to go organize my room with a $20 bookcase from IKEA. Score!

I just bought a Nikon D60 that I'm in love with. The buyer's remorse only lasted for a few hours.
Then I took some pictures and got over it.

What a pretty Thanksgiving table, no?
Waldo, the turkey, was delicious! More delicious than Hermie II was last year down in Houston. Green beans, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, a salad with dijon/lemon juice dressing (made by me), and garlic mashed potatoes. So basically, I ate the same things you did. And I was really disappointed when no one went back for seconds! Which obviously meant that I couldn't, so instead I just sat there finishing my red wine with only a mostly full, not completely stuffed, tummy. I should've put more on my plate to begin with! We had pumpkin and pecan pies from Dean and DeLuca, but they can't touch Texas pecan pie. As my cousin says "In Texas, that's what they do." I think I need to go back next year.
And we ended the evening with football. Food, family, and football. Does life get better?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Spend an extra $3

. . and give a pretty card.

the job

I've really been loving my job lately - as in this week. I go back and forth between liking it and thinking I'm not cut out for it, but I always land on the reality that God wouldn't place me somewhere I shouldn't be. And I know He was definitely the one who opened this door. This week I've had a speech, a strategic plan, and a contract to put together. Rather than bite my nails all day and procrastinate, I've actually sat down and finished all three . . and enjoyed doing it! Believe me when I say that this is a blessing from above. And it's also been proof to me that when I surrender my personal life to the Lord, the peace overflows into all areas of my life. Not a new revelation, but a great reminder!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Call Me Tex

I can check something else off my list. I shot a handgun last weekend. I've shot a shotgun and actually hit a clay before, but this was new. I was a little nervous to be handling something so dangerous, but now that I've done it, I can't wait to go back. I seriously need to quit adding hobbies to my life!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Silver Bullet

That's what we call this guy. I went two-stepping last night, and I hoped this old man would be there. He spins you dizzy, and he knows what he's doing! I really should make the country bar a regular Friday night thing.

*Again, hair . . awful.

lovely day

Something about the weather yesterday just felt right. It was misty, mid-50s, and overcast, and I was loving it. Rather than catch a cab back to the office from a meeting on Pennsylvania Ave, I decided to walk the eight blocks or so.

I stopped in front of the South Lawn and asked a tourist to take a picture of me. Living here . . it really doesn't ever get old.

*The one negative about the weather? Just look at the hair.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I love Grandma

I was crying to my grandma on the phone last night, and she knew just how to cheer me up.

“Have you bought any new clothes lately?”

As a matter of fact, I have! And I went on to tell her about my animal print scarf, riding boots, wide belt, skinny jeans, and majorly on-sale Theory jean jacket. (So much for only allowing myself two “it” items this Fall.)

She begged me to send her pictures, and I got right on it.

She may be selling my favorite place in the whole wide world, but I’m so glad I still have her!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

losing

I'm sad. Puffy, swollen eyes sad.

Loss is hard. Change is hard.

Dreams that won't ever come true. That's a loss, too.

I was afraid of this, but I wasn't. I thought surely the timing would be different. I'd be ready to let go.

It's not a person, it's a place. And I don't feel ready. And I'm sad.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Fall in (love with) Virginia

I can't imagine a more perfect fall weekend . . unless I wasn't fighting off some kind of bug. I haven't felt 100% since Thursday - very draggy, waking up feeling the heaviness in my head, stuffed up, etc. But of course I haven't let it stop my fun. (I may be regretting it tomorrow.)

Saturday morning, Friend and I went to an estate sale, picking up a few vintage finds that we are in love with. I took home two pretty bowls and an old metal cake cover that says 'cake' on it. All for only $10, when originally the cover alone had been $25!

I watched football Saturday afternoon, of course. Go Huskers! That evening was spent with the boating boys and another girl friend around the firepit in their backyard (a forest) making hobo pies (campfire paninis, basically) and eating birthday cake. The cake fell on the ground, COVERED in leaves and dirt, and I attempted to save it by scraping off the top with a knife. Didn't work very well, but it made for a good laugh.
The boys live over an hour away, but I awoke this morning to head back to Virginia for some hiking with them in the mountains at Shenandoah National Park (Appalachian Trail). It was 45 degrees up there, quite chilly compared to the temperatures near D.C., and the trees had begun to lose their leaves at the top of the mountain, but there were still some spectacular views. The mountains are only about 2 1/2 hours from my house, and I've always wanted to visit in the fall!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Sweet Mama

I babysat for the little misses last night. Imagine my surprise when, during our regular sing and dance show, I got this spontaneous performance. Normally we just stick to songs like "Build Me Up Buttercup".

video
And then she proclaimed that she was a gigolo. I had a few words with her dad (my old colleague) that night. :)

Monday, November 03, 2008

My Vote

Tomorrow morning I'm voting for John McCain. Here are just a few reasons why (not necessarily in any particular order):

1. John McCain is a proven patriot. (Being a POW does not qualify you for the Presidency, but it does demonstrate love of country and a passion to win wars and defeat our enemies.)
2. McCain believes that evil exists and must be taken out. (Electing an African-American President with an Islamic name will not suddenly turn our enemies into kind, rational human beings.)
3. McCain won't raise taxes on anyone, a plan that he realizes would hurt our country, especially as we go through this recession.
4. McCain values life whereas Obama clearly does not. (Obama's vote against a bill that would've protected babies surviving late-term abortions is horrendous, as is his vote against a bill that would give unwanted babies surviving abortions and wanted babies born prematurely equal treatment. This is a bill not even NARAL Pro-Choice America opposed. In fact, only 15 House members did. He also supports the Freedom of Choice Act which would destroy limitations on abortion in all states, such as parental notification and waiting periods. He ALSO voted against a law banning partial-birth abortions.)
5. McCain has a better health care plan. His plan will take the most flawed aspect of our current system, the tax break for employers, and give that tax break to us. Obama prefers a plan like Canada's, where provinces are currently trying to ensure that cancer patients are treated within 4 weeks of diagnosis. Among many government-run health care plan flaws, long wait times is one of them. Guess what? The rich still get the best care.
6. McCain wants parents to be able to choose their own schools to see which school fits best for their child. School choice is the best solution for improving schools. This is how we weed out bad teachers.
7. McCain supports the Second Amendment. Obama does not.
8. McCain understands the issue of illegal immigration. He wants our borders to be secured, and he has a plan.
9. He has proven many times that he can bridge the gap of party lines. Obama has not. He has a 96% liberal voting record. His actions just don't match his words.
10. McCain has shown that he is committed to reform and cutting spending, which is exactly what we need. The spending has gotten out of control!
11. McCain wants to let us keep more of our money, all of us. Obama wants to take money from the rich and give it to the poor, just another form of welfare. His "tax cuts" are actually tax credits. He says he'll cut taxes for 95% of America when 30% don't even pay taxes. I'd rather keep my money in the first place than have it taken from me and then given back as some sort of "credit".
I could go on and on . . but it's past my bedtime, and I want to also list reasons I wouldn't vote for Obama in addition to the above.
1. Obama has a shady past. I can't understand how people can so easily dismiss his associations. He wouldn't even be able to get security clearance! (Trust me, I've been through the process.)
2. Obama supported his Muslim cousin in his run for the Presidency in Kenya. He ran against a Christian candidate and lost.
3. Obama's grandmother has been running around Kenya telling people that he was born there, and Obama has reluctantly shown two separate "birth certificates" from Hawaii that look nothing alike. I don't want to believe it's true, but why was he fighting so hard to produce the documents.
4. No one has seen any other documents Obama has produced. What about his school transcripts? What about papers he has written? These are normal things that should be public information.
5. I don't believe Obama wasn't aware of his pastor's anti-American attitude. Yet he was mentored by him, attended for years and years, and also gave him money.
6. Obama said he doesn't support marriage between same sex couples, yet he called California's Prop 8 "divisive". Whether you support Prop 8 or not, that is called a complete contradiction. What do you really believe, Mr. Obama?
7. Obama's comments about rural America were offensive, as were his wife's comments about America.
8. Obama's campaign has been run on a "unity" platform, but writings by his wife back at Princeton reveal her racial mindset/worldview. Scary.
9. Can you name a single accomplishment he has achieved?
10. He's been running for the Presidency ever since he got into the U.S. Senate.

Shoot, I want to keep writing, but it's past 11pm, and I'm waking up at 6am to vote for JOHN McCAIN. Good night. :)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Costume

My costume: microphone, ESPN mic flag, ESPN credentials on lanyard, blonde clip-on hair extensions, business attire.

Everyone seemed to love it, and several people knew who I was right away. Here I am covering a competitive game of beer pong. My reporting revealed a bit of a bias, but the other team really was cheating.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Just Tampax

When I realized I needed tampons today, I took a brisk walk right over the hotel's little convenience shop hoping desperately that they'd have some. Sure enough, there was a little ten-pack hiding in the corner. But when I turned to the checkout counter, I saw that a man would be checking me out. Suddenly I couldn't buy only a box of tampons. I may as well have walked right up to him and said "I just started my period today!" So I looked around to see what else I could buy. Advil? Yes, I happened to be in a little *ahem* pain, as well. Gum? I could always use some of that. So I took the three items and placed them on the counter, hoping he wouldn't notice the tampons.

"That will be $24.95," he said.

"What?! But I only have a $10 Canadian bill. Umm, take out the Advil then."

"Ok, $15.34."

"Seriously?! Fine, then . . take out the gum. How much now?"

"Eight ninety-nine."

"Ok . . *sigh* . .then I'll just take those."

At least I tried.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

pretty in pink



Earliest Bedtime Ever, Seriously

I came upstairs to my hotel room a little early tonight. Instead of going to dinner I'm going to bed. Although I got eight hours of sleep last night and a 20 minutes power nap this afternoon, I am still extremely tired. And I have a slight sore throat. Uh oh. It's not even 9 o'clock yet, but I'm out.

Tired of Travel

Is it possible to get tired of traveling and seeing new things? I never thought it would happen! But after ten days of running around Los Angeles and San Francisco, I am ready to go home! Only I can't. I'm in Vancouver for work until Friday. It's a lovely city with a lot to see, yet somehow I don't care . . as much as I normally would. I did force myself to go for a walk and a mini-ferry ride to an island, though. I predict that I'll be locked up in this hotel for the next two days trying not to fall asleep through technical discussions and talking points. There should be fancy dinners at night, though. But wait, I've already spent so much money (including my work per diems) that I don't even care about that anymore. And I know I've been consuming crazy amounts of calories! I wonder if I'll have enough willpower to grab a Subway sandwich and stay in for dinner. I didn't tonight. We all went out for Indian food at an already-tried restaurant. It was the best Indian food I've ever had! Wow! I've had some great Indian food before, but this was just different, giving me new flavors I'd never tried before. But I winced when I got the check. I'm tired of spending money, tired of traveling. I can't wait to go home!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Jam-Packed

My brief time in L.A. could not have been more productive. That's how I like to do it when I'm visiting someplace new.

What I fit in:

- domino Bazaar, where I browsed some home goods, learned how to create two indoor succulent arrangements, and took a plant and organic tote home with me. That organic tote saved my life because my suitcase was already 51 pounds, and we all know it's not getting any lighter after 14 days of travel.
- visiting the beach in Santa Monica at sunset
- walking through the Third Street Promenade, eating a crepe for dinner and a delicious Nutella-filled, white chocolate-covered churro for dessert!
- driving through Hollywood after dark
- a drive to Malibu at sunrise, early brunch on the beach, views from the Pepperdine campus
- church in Bel Air with a friend's friend
- lunch at In-N-Out in Westwood, and an ice cream sandwich at Diddy Riese!, plus a stroll around the UCLA campus
- shopping on Melrose (just missed Scarlett Johannson)
- cupcakes at Sprinkles (peanut butter chocolate chip, red velvet, cinnamon sugar, and chocolate marshmallow)
- a stroll on Rodeo Drive
- a beer and calamari at a local place in Malibu as the sun set out the window behind me, and I made friends with my bartenders
- a fun night in West Hollywood with a new friend
- breakfast outside in Venice and some quiet time on the beach

THE END.

I just arrived in San Francisco, and tonight's dinner, although more expensive than last night's, was delicious and worth it! Scallops, lobster, swordfish, and shrimp sauteed with onions and mushrooms in white wine and garlic on rice, served with penne pasta and vegetables. Followed by vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate sauce. . . followed by a trip to the exercise room!

My view at dinner.
One block from my hotel.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bye Bye L.A., Hello San Jose

the view from my friends' church in Bel Air
Hollywood Blvd
Malibu, Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu
Santa Monica, Ocean Ave.

a painful expenditure

Trying hard not to be irritated, as I just spent $35 on so-so salmon and a glass of red wine. My colleagues and I went to dinner, and I was under the impression that I would not be paying. Maybe because one of the gentlemen with us mentioned last week that he would pay for dinners, plural, the nights of our events. He paid last night, but apparently wasn't planning to expense another meal tonight. However, nearly everything on the menu was pricey, so even if I had tried to save money, I would've only saved about $6. Just knowing that I could've had a much better meal for the same price is what bugs me.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

alone on the beach


I spent yesterday morning in Venice. A healthy and delicious brunch and a walk on the soft sandy beach. I did not want to leave. Really. I DID NOT WANT TO LEAVE, could've sat there all day doing nothing but breathing in the ocean air. It was so peaceful, so quiet sitting there alone, listening to the huge waves crash against the shore. The weather has been perfect here - just enough breeze and plenty of sun. I'm not sure I've ever enjoyed the ocean as much as I did today. Maybe because I enjoyed it alone. I didn't have to talk to anyone or proclaim how beautiful it was, just delight in God's creation without saying a word.

Today I fly to Silicon Valley. Tomorrow it's up to San Francisco for five days! Then on to Vancouver, BC.

(If you live in the San Fran area, I should be free Wednesday evening to possibly meet up. I'm staying in the Fisherman's Wharf area.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

La La Land

Less than 36 hours in L.A., and I've already fallen in love with the city. It's possible that in another 36 hours I will have fallen out of love, but right now I'm nuts about it. There are a few things I could foresee being an issue if we were to enter into a serious relationship, but I guess this is a just a fling. And what a fun fling it's been so far.

I flew in yesterday, giving me a full 48 hours to discover L.A. before I have to work. I rented a Chevy Equinox (in love with that, too), filled up the tank, and put the GPS to work. Traveling alone certainly has its perks . . for instance, you can do WHATEVER YOU WANT. I'm an extremely social person who likes to share every moment with someone else, but traveling alone doesn't necessarily mean I can't. I get to make friends! And so far, I've made friends on the plane, friends at the beach, friends in line, friends at church, and friends at a bar in Malibu. The one downside to traveling solo is that I have to ask strangers to take ridiculous pictures of me. You know, like pictures of me eating my ice cream and pictures of me at a restaurant, just so I never forget that I ate that or visited that place.

I've just checked into my hotel (after staying with a friend's friend last night), and I'm venturing out to West Hollywood, meeting up with new friends. (My mother won't be able to fall asleep after reading that. She doesn't like me walking outside alone after dark. Ever. Anywhere.)

It feels so good to be in California again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

'Tis the Season

Election season. I'm about to go there. Much more I could say, but I will save it for another day. Aren't you so excited? ;) Either way, I hope you'll still love me. :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Waiting for a Wedding

My friend recently asked me to be a bridesmaid in her fabulous wedding. I can't believe I have to wait an entire year for this:

“We’re going to have the wedding at sunset with Lake Michigan as the backdrop! So the wedding will be at about 5 ending at about 5:30. Cocktail hour from 5:30 to 7 (but we are going to have to do pictures during that time) with dinner at 7! We haven’t decided the menu yet (of course) but we have decided that we are going to have signature cocktails! So cocktail hour will feature the signature cocktails and hors d'oeuvres in the aquarium (which is tunnel with aquarium all around – floor and ceiling). Then on to the all glass roof-top venue for the reception. It’s going to be black-tie so the dinner will be longish and formalish. Dancing will begin around 8 and during that time we are going to have a wine and cheese pairing/tasting and flights of local beer to try (ode to Wisconsin!). Then at 10 we are going to bring out a dessert buffet with 5-8 different mini-desserts. Then at midnight, when the evening is over, everyone is going to leave with homemade cookies and milk for a “midnight snack.” So hopefully it’ll be the foodie event that we have always talked about!”

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Anticipation

Guess who's going to be in L.A. for this?! As if my itinerary wasn't packed enough! But I cannot miss this event. I absolutely love this magazine, pour over its pages about ten times before setting it aside. This event looks fantastic.

Oh man, this California trip ain't gonna be cheap. But I've already scored my first good deal. I reserved a mid-size SUV with GPS, two days for only $108 (including tax)!

It's all I can do to not sit here daydreaming about ten days in California, Southern and Northern. Only ten more days before I'm there!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Twelve Weeks 'til Christmas!

I enjoyed my friend's post today:

This has been on my mind lately. I don't have children, but I have plenty of people I'd like to buy gifts for. I love buying gifts! And I'd be lying if I said I've never used my credit card at Christmas time. But even if I could afford to, what is necessary? What is too much? There is such a thing as generosity, but there is also such a thing as encouraging materialism and over-indulgence. My family has always kept it very simple at Christmas, and although it hasn't always been easy to watch the majority of my peers rake in the cash and prizes, I've grown to appreciate my parents' way of doing things. Although I'll probably always be tempted to overspend in the name of generosity, I'd like to follow their model of 'giving in moderation'. It's nice to see other families keeping it simple, too.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Days of my Life

Sometimes I stop and just look around at this life I'm able to experience. I'm so thankful for it, every day of it, knowing God has me here for a purpose, and He's equipped me to do His will. I'm surrounded by people (at work specifically) who don't share my world view. At all. And I know it's no mistake. Although I sometimes miss being surrounded by at least a few like-minded people. :)

Today I found myself on the top floor of the S.tate Department building in an Un.der Se.cretary's office having cocktails, looking out at the Lin.coln Memorial, right there, just a couple of blocks away. I watched as three P.residential helicopters came in for a landing right down the street at the Wh.ite House. We toasted to a newly-titled Am.bassador, appointed by the Pr.esident. And this reception was after a ceremony led by Se.cretary Rice giving a Disti.nguished Service award to General P.etraus.

What a cool day.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September Love*

Football season, football season, football season . . oh wait, sorry, there are a few other things, too. Blue Moon, mushrooms on everything, mini corndogs, Ghirardelli dark chocolate brownies, eggs benedict on fried green tomatoes . . Mr. Greengenes, lululemon, season premieres, getting organized, seeing family, and making new friends**.

I could write an entire post on each of these things!

But we all know I won’t.

*I'm stealing Slice of Pink's idea.

**Specifically two guys that actually love Jesus with their whole hearts! My good friend KC and I are having fun watching football and golfing with them.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

my weekend

I've been dog-sitting for friends this weekend . . and I hope they never come back. Their home is the perfect distance from the city (4 miles, although if I'm honest, I love being one block away). It's cozy and inviting, and the fridge is perfectly stocked with the best snacks I could imagine. I invited friends over Friday night. We ordered our favorite pizzas and played Wii Golf on the flat screen. Every night I climb into their King size bed with the little shih tzu and sink into the mattress. It's difficult to get up in the morning. Living with three girls, I am loving the time ALONE, no distractions, no getting frustrated with messes that aren't mine. It's been a lovely little retreat.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

daydreaming

Whenever I get overwhelmed at work, I start biting my nails down to nothing and daydreaming about another life. Why can't I just be an unemployed homeowner who spends her days baking and decorating? That sounds totally realistic to me!

Monday, September 22, 2008

I'm getting there

Weekend Full of Fun

So the first thing I think when I sit down to write about my weekend is: YUM. It was a delicious, high-calorie weekend. Oh, and I also think *yawn*. So exhausting!

My weekend began a day earlier than usual as I headed out for Thursday night dinner with some girlfriends. We sat on the patio at Sette Bello drinking our favorite wines and eating caprese salad and penne with salmon in vodka and cream sauce. (I also gave in and had a dense chocolate mousse cake with vanilla bean ice cream.) I had every intention of heading home early and hopping in the sack at 10pm, but one fun moment led to another and before I knew it, I was dancing to a live cover band, and it was 1:30am. Oops.

Friday evening was a repeat of dinner and dancing, but with a different group of friends. This time my salmon was covered in bbq sauce and served atop a pile of mashed potatoes with asparagus and corn salsa on the side.

Saturday, despite a high of 70 degrees, was spent on the lake. No football game for my team, so I opted out of game-watching altogether. My comfort on the slalom ski has reached a new high, as I continue to set bigger goals for myself each time I go out. My shoulder is not touching the water yet (let’s be honest, not even close) but I’m pretty impressed with how far I’ve come. After boating, the boys and I stopped by their friend’s block party BBQ. He’d been up since 4am smoking the meat, and it was fantastic! He even got the local newspaper to come by and snap a few pictures – too funny.

Yesterday’s highlight was golfing on a new course! I’m not sure I can go back to my regular course after that! It was a gorgeous afternoon surrounded by ponds, geese honking, and tons of deer roaming onto the course. We had dinner at our favorite sandwich/pizza place (my meal: pita stuffed with chicken, tomato sauce, parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, and garlic), and I stayed up way too late playing the new Scrabble Beta on facebook. Seriously addicting!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

dinner

I went over to Cousin J and K's tonight for yummy asparagus ravioli, spring mix salads with dried cranberries, walnuts, and feta . . and a glass of wine. She sure knows how to throw together a great dinner! I've been a little homesick lately, and it's times like these that I'm even more thankful to have family in town.

Monday, September 15, 2008

flag on the play

In the past couple of weeks, I have had a very surprising revelation about the male species. All this time I have thought that we, women, were the emotional ones who said things we didn't mean, things we thought about later and wanted to take back. But oh no, compared to the last couple of guys I've hung out with, I am practically ALL LOGIC. I think about things before they come out of my mouth, and I don't change my mind THE VERY NEXT DAY.

In the past couple of weeks, I've had someone, from a different Big 12 school, promise to come to every Nebraska game watch this season, and he even said he was looking forward to it - ha!

Then I had a guy offer me his frequent flyer miles AND a football ticket. AND he tried to convince me that he had the most important quality I look for in a guy. And no, that quality is not "likes nice restaurants" or "will buy me a boat", although I would take both of those, too.

Both of these guys said these things and had the audacity to change their minds! How dare they? I mean, I was practically packing my bags already! And I saved a seat for Dude #1 at the Pub. Ugh!

My friend and I decided yesterday that nearly every relationship situation could be summed up in a football penalty. And in these cases, I'm calling a false start!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

GBR!

For the past two football seasons, I've thought the Pub was fantastic. How lucky was I to be halfway across the country yet have a Nebraska bar where I could cheer on the *best* team in college football every Saturday? Very fortunate.

But now that I've been back to Lincoln, tailgated pre- and post-game, sat amongst the Sea of Red . . I'm completely discontent. My heart is in Memorial Stadium, but tonight my body will be cheering at the Pub.

GO BIG RED!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Home Sweet Home

This past weekend, I was able to fly home to Nebraska for 48 hours before driving down to Kansas for a three day conference, starting today. It was a very fun two days . . delicious food, game night with family, and a Nebraska football game, of course!It was twenty degrees colder in Nebraska than D.C. on Friday, which meant no water-skiing for this kid. But we did enjoy a nice boat ride around the island.As requested, we grilled out steaks, had sweet corn on the cob, twice baked potatoes, green beans, asparagus, tomatoes, fruit, cinnamon rolls, and my favorite dessert - triple chocolate bundt cake.Farmtown Grandma came and brought a ton of kolaches (Czech pastry). Unfortunately I'm not a fan of fruit-stuffed anything, but everyone else was excited. :)
I invited a few extended family members to join us in a game of Loaded Questions. We had a lot of laughs!I was blessed to have two sets of tickets given to me, the second set much better than the first. My brother-in-law was kind enough to give me some yummy-smelling hand soap in exchange for the other set! :) . . . My cousin Ashley and I had enjoyed Nebraska food favorites, Valentino's pizza and Runza, before the first quarter was even over.

It was a fantastic weekend! And once again, I am feeling a bit homesick.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Holiday!

Here I sit, pants-less in my bed on the morning of Labor Day, because I can. My bedroommate is in Brazil for the next ten days, and you know I like to take full advantage of having the room all to myself, which really only means that I don't have to be modest.

The possibilities for this holiday today seem endless. I have no definite plans as of yet. I only know that KC (a girl friend) and I want to be active and outside this afternoon. Around here, that could mean a lot of things.

I spent yesterday on the boat, trying a new trick on the slalom ski. I'm taking baby steps to being a rockstar on that thing, as I am still overcoming my fear of slicing through the wake at a very fast speed. I tend to hang out on either side of the wake, practicing my rooster tail. These new ski gloves, a birthday present from the boating boys, were fun (and cute) to try out. So much for fingerless gloves since my hands are so small!Skiing on water with just enough ripple on a beautiful 85 degree day after eating a fresh crab cake sandwich while country music blasts from the speakers and fun friends cheer you on . . could anything really be better?

Have a great holiday!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Football Season is Here

Here I sit, in front of the television on a Saturday afternoon.

That will be the opening sentence of every Saturday blog post from now through the 15th of November.

This weekend I turned down a weekend trip to the Jersey Shore with all my girlfriends just to watch the first game of the season at the bar. Had it been on national television, thus able to be watched from the beach house, I still would've stayed in D.C. There's just something about being with 300 Hus.ker fans on football Saturdays.

I have been elected the Game Wa.tch Coordinator this year, so my duty is to handle the raffle every weekend. It's a fun way to get people excited, although the prizes are sometimes less than desirable. And the money goes toward a scholarship fund that sends a D.C. kid to school at the University.

I'm about to paint my toenails red and start playing the fight song.

Happy Game Day!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Boston Harbor

Miss her!

Summer Weekend

Not wanting to blog is not the issue. It's wanting to blog at the wrong times. I only feel like blogging at work, and I refuse to do it. Yet when I get home, my life seems much less interesting to write about. But I will write anyway . .

My birthday par-tay last weekend was pretty fantastic, I must say. Not only was it held at a pretty sweet rowhouse in D.C., the food was delicious. One of the hosts made smoked ribs, corn on the cob, two types of salad, beans, and more. My music mixes provided the perfect background noise on the patio, and I had a wonderful time flitting from one guest to the next. I felt very blessed that so many people would come just to celebrate my day . . and I especially loved the ones that brought a bottle of wine! :)

I can't believe my party hosts were people I met at a bar just one year ago (the ones the Texan introduced me to). I can't wait to be back at that bar with them this Saturday for the first football game of the season!

On Saturday, I went to a BBQ hosted by my boating boys and received a new pair of ski gloves for a birthday gift. I hope to try them out next weekend! We played many games of Cornhole (bean bag toss), (in which I consistently kicked some serious butt), threw around the football, and just relaxed. We filled our stomachs with seasoned, boiled shrimp, grilled pork loin, bbq beans, potato salad, pasta salad, and chips and dip. And dessert? was s'mores around the firepit after dark. The perfect summer BBQ.

This summer has been wonderful, and I'm a little sad to see it winding down, but football season will be totally worth it!

Friday, August 22, 2008

mix-making

I've been back from a wonderful birthday weekend in New England, and I haven't said a word about it! My initial thoughts:
  • My best friend and her husband are so fun to be with!
  • Most delicious weekend I've had maybe ever! I can't believe my pants still fit!
  • So much fun packed into three days! And loads of pictures, of course.
  • I miss them already!

Currently I am up too late (as usual!) putting together a few mixes for my birthday BBQ tomorrow night. Making a good mix is harder than one would think! Does anyone have any ideas? I need one semi-chill mix for the BBQ and one "groove/funk" mix for later on (not my words). What artists/songs would you put in a mix?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Birthday Celebration #2

Typically my birthday is celebrated only once per year , on my birthday. But this year, I'm totally banking on good food and fun times. Tonight my roommate Lyn, the fabulous cook, made an extravagant meal that has me stuffed to the brim.

On the menu:
Gewurztraminer white wine
caprese salad (tomatoes with bufalo mozzarella and balsamic vinegar/olive oil)
Bul go gi (beef marinated in soy sauce, sugar, garlic, pepper, sherry wine etc.)
Dak bul go gi (chicken marinated in the same)
mushrooms in same oil
white rice
crab cakes with chipotle aioli
cupcakes fresh from a bakery (served with milk)

I know . . you're so jealous. She is amazing!

I'm letting the food settle and going back for another cupcake! I think I'll have the strawberry shortcake.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Birthday Celebration #1

And what a gorgeous night to celebrate!  My friend and I met up on Capitol Hill for Mexican at Tort.illa Coast.  BBQ fajitas and chips and salsa filled my tummy . . but not enough that I didn't have room for dessert.  We headed to Capit.al Grille for one of my favorite desserts, and a stoli doli (pineapple-infused vodka; drink slowly!) for each of us.  On our long walk to the restaurant, I exclaimed (as usual) how much I love it here and tried to snap a few pictures to show why.
And here is the coconut cream pie with its macaroon-style crust, coconut cream, and caramel rum sauce!