Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Mission: Pretty Much Accomplished

When I started this blog a month ago the goal was to make January my own personal NaBloPoMo. I pretty much achieved that. I'm ending the month with my 31st post, but did have a day with two posts and one where I skipped a post. Cause that's what happens when you end up going to bed at 8:30 pm. But, since I'm pretty sure I needed that sleep way more than you needed to read more of my ramblings, I'm ok with it.

This month taught me that I like blogging, but I don't like the pressure of having something to say daily. I felt rushed some days, like I just needed to say something and wasn't spending enough time working on what I wanted to say.

So far my audience seems to be mostly friends and family and a handful of other bloggers who I've been reading for ages. It will be interesting to see how that changes as time goes on.

Either way, I'm in this for the long haul. Even though I'm planning to take tomorrow off don't you worry, I've got a lot more posts already underway - some in my head and other in my drafts folder - and they'll be making their way onto this page pretty soon.

Thanks for reading and please... keep coming back for more!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Music Monday

I'm stuck on Memory Lane at the intersection of 1996 & 1997.

My freshman year of college and the year I was introduced to the song "Your One" by Imperial Teen.

Never heard of them? I'm shocked.

Ok, I'm not.

This is their only song that I know. It had a permanent place in the cd changer in my dorm room freshman year and we called it the happy bouncy song. Anyone having a bad day would walk in and hit disc 6, track 6 and like magic, the happy bouncy song provided the needed attitude adjustment.

Happy Bouncy Song, meet Music Monday. I think you're a perfect match!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Too many emotions, not enough words

I had a great weekend away, but one that stirred up a lot of emotions and I'm having a hard time sorting through them and coming up with words.

So I'm gonna stop trying.

For tonight the emotion and memories get to stay inside my busy, crowded head. But don't worry, they'll make there way out here sooner or later. That I'm sure of.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Memory Lane

I'm home this weekend.

Not my childhood home, but the adult one. The place where I went away to college and first lived as an adult and, wow, it feels nice.

It's unseasonably warm for January so I was driving around town this afternoon, after hanging out with a friend and her little boy this morning, on my way to meet up with another friend, and I had my windows down on my car and my sun roof open. The weird-for-January weather brought back memories of another unseasonably warm January day, from my first year in college.

My friends and I had the afternoon free and it was 70 degrees and gorgeous out. We decided we would venture from our sleepy suburban college town and check out downtown. We didn't have a specific destination in mind, just "downtown." So we got on the highway and headed south until we reached the tall buildings. We found a place to park and walked around, stumbling upon a large marketplace. After growing up outside of Baltimore I was expecting it to be like Harborplace. I was wrong.

We went in and found a largely deserted market, with a half empty food court and only a couple of small shops that were still operating.

This was it? This was what the city had to offer? Blah.

We ate lunch and returned to the car, deciding there had to be more to see and do. There just had to be.

As we drove past one of the universities in the city luck would have it my friend saw one of her high school friends outside, enjoying the day as well. We stopped to chat and he was much more city savvy than we were, so he pointed us in the direction of a great shopping district. A mix of boutiques, thrift stores, local book & music stores and restaurants, it was exactly what we wanted!

The afternoon ended with one of my friends purchasing a powder blue 70s style tux and a royal blue patterned smoking jacket. Neither of which he had any use for, but after seeing them he couldn't imagine leaving them behind. If I came home with any new finds I don't recall, but all in all I have such positive fun memories of that day.

So back to today, I'm in my car, remembering this day when all of the sudden I notice the song playing on the radio - Dust on the Bottle. A random country song, from the late 90s that for some unknown reason lead to another of my most memorable nights from that first year of college. A silly, fun, crazy night when my country music loving roommate hooked the rest of us non country fans in with this song. We listened to it again and again, singing loudly and dancing around my dorm room.

It all sounds like such little things. An afternoon of shopping, a song played over and over in a college dorm room, but wow, do those memories make me smile.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Best "Aunt" Ever

I'm a single, only child so the title of Aunt isn't one that I should have.

But, I've been lucky enough to be Aunt Stacy for 3 1/2 years now to an adorable little Bug and, for the past 10 months, to her equally adorable baby brother (who still needs a blogable nickname).

I don't recall if my friends decided I would be appointed "Aunt" before she was born or if I earned the title in part because I cut a vacation short to be waiting at the hospital when she arrived, but I do know that since day one I have been completely wrapped around her precious little finger.

This is even more evident to me now as I recently purchased tickets to take the little munchkin to see Imagination Movers, one of her favorites from the Disney Channel.

I've only watched the show with her once or twice, but have been part of many "Idea Emergencies" that require a brain storm to solve. When I heard they would be coming to the area in the spring I offered to take her. I asked her mom if she wanted to go too, or if it should just be a Bug & Aunt Stacy date. Her mommy passed on the opportunity, so I went ahead and ordered the tickets for the two of us.


I don't know what I was expecting, but I didn't expect this.

The tickets were $25.75 each. Those were for the 'cheap seats.' Not exactly a cheap price, but not awful. But the fees... dear lord are there fees. $2.25 facility charge, each. $10.30 convenience charge, each. $6.20 processing fee. Bringing my grand total (including the $1.00 I donated to St. Judes, because well, because I'm me and it's a children's hospital) to $83.80.


Can you believe that? I still can't.

My favorite part of the receipt - the "no charge" next to the mailing line. Like I should be grateful they didn't throw in another $.44 or whatever stamps cost these days.

So this is the part when you get to the grand total of $83.80 and you think about the fact that this is for a 3 year old who doesn't even know you are planning this, one who very well could have moved on to a new favorite show for the 30 minutes a day she watches tv by the time the show comes around in May. That's when a mom or dad (who have sense) would decide nope, we're gonna skip this one.

But, when you're Aunt Stacy, well, you have no sense. And you think about how much she'll like it. And how fun it will be to have a Bug & Aunt Stacy date and so then you click the order button. Like a crazy person.

Or, like the best aunt ever.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

In Case You Missed it...

The latest adorable baby video sweeping the interwebz...


A member of the Australian government inadvertantly (I think/hope) stole a speech from one of my all time favorite movies - American President

Sorry dude, but it works better from Andrew Shepherd!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

If only I were a brave girl...

Tomorrow night there's an event downtown that sounds like fun. But, I don't have anyone to go with.

I wish I were that person who could just go alone and meet people there. It would be a good way to work on my goal of making new friends but...

that's really really hard to do.

I've tried in the past - with something actually along the same lines. It was the Young Adult group from the Jewish Federation. I went on a Birthright Israel trip years ago and when I got back I was motivated to get involved in the Jewish community. I met with someone that worked for them, got the info and fully intended to go to their happy hour event in my neighborhood. Like so fully intended to go that I drove there, parked my car and could not make myself get out to go in.

I'm ok going to a restaurant on my own, or even to a movie (daytime only, not night time) but that's so different than going to a social event where you have to interact with others.

Any tips on how I can become that brave girl in the next 24 hours?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Music Monday

I woke up with "When it Goes Down" by Something Corporate running through my head and while my first thought was to question the randomness of where that song came from, my second was - "oh good, that can be my Music Monday song!"

Except apparently that song doesn't exist anywhere except my iTunes. I can't find it on the SoCo site, on Amazon for sale or even on YouTube, well, except for a version with a car of girls singing along on the radio and I'm not going to subject you to that. Which means no Something Corporate today....

I guess I'll just have to give you more Ron Pope instead!

This one is Ron and his pals Zach Berkman and Alexis Babini covering "The Dark" back in September. The song is originally by a group called Romantica out of Minneapolis but they haven't recorded it yet, so Ron can't record it. But thank goodness he's covered it each time I've seen him and it has certainly become one of my absolute favorites!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Class Act

While my primary football allegiance is to the Redskins, I'm a pretty big Ravens fan as well.

I grew up in Baltimore, so the Ravens should be my number 1, especially if you ask my family, but they didn't come to town until the year I left for college and I didn't become a football fan until many years later while I was living deep in Redskins Country.

So the Redskins are my NFC team, the Ravens my AFC team and as long as they aren't playing each other I'm always rooting for both. At this point I do have more Redskins gear than Ravens, but my two favorite cozy, snuggly sweatshirts are Ravens so they get their fair share of wear during football season.

As I wrote about a few weeks back, the Redskins had another awful season and the Ravens had another great one. They made it to the AFC Championship game today and lost 23-20. They had a chance to tie at the end, but the kicker missed, leaving jaw-dropping shocked expressions on the face of the Ravens players and fans alike. It was a pretty heartbreaking way for their really good season to come to an end.

But today's game isn't why I'm blogging about the Ravens tonight. I was inspired by two things. First, because of what Ray Rice, the Ravens leading running back, posted on Facebook:

Left my heart out on that field today. To all the loyal fans, I wish we could have brought home a win...your support means more to me than you will ever know. I'm proud of my team.

And one more thing...games consist of SIXTY MINUTES, NOT 20 seconds so before y'all start bashing MY kicker on this page, let me say this is a TEAM sport, win or lose...so if you want to be negative, keep it to yourself.

As fans it is really easy to get upset when your team loses, but it drives me nuts when people bash the players for their mistakes. These guys are professional athletes who don't get to that level of play without being competitive, hardworking and talented. But being competitive and talented and all the hard work in the world still doesn't make them perfect. But boy do the fans seem to expect perfection from their teams.

I love what Ray Rice posted. It shows true class that he first and foremost thanked the fans and second that he supported his teammate.

My second thing was something that happened a few weeks ago, that also shows the class of the organization from the top down.

This story is a bit complicated, so stick with me here...

A girl I graduated from high school with lost her younger sister to cancer two weeks ago. She was 30 years old and had two young children. It's horribly sad. I knew their family had a connection to the Ravens and learned not to long ago what it was - her stepfather is the team's equipment manager and her mom is the team seamstress. You're surprised football teams need a seamstress too, huh? Apparently jerseys come standard and there is someone who sews for each team to customize them for the player's specifications/preferences /gigantic necks, etc. But I digress...

The services for the girl who passed away were held in the days leading up to the Ravens first playoff game, with the funeral on Friday, two days before. A pretty busy time for the team no doubt, but many of the front office staff, players and coaches attended to pay their respects to the family. And then last Sunday after they won that game, the head coach presented the game ball to the girl's mother.

The football itself I'm sure does nothing to make this time any easier for their family, but having that support from the Ravens organization, I know that meant a lot to them.

I don't know much about other football organizations, but I know the Ravens have a really good one. And I'm proud to call myself a Ravens fan.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Competitive Reading

Way back in 2005 one of my friends made a New Year's resolution to read 50 books that year. I knew I read a lot but had no clue how much so I decided to start keeping track and set a goal of 56 books in 2006.

I started a book blog where I recorded what I read and whether or not I liked the book. I kept up with it and in 2006 ended up reading 75 books, 2007 I got to 102, and 2008 was a big year with 133. Kinda wow, huh? {In full disclosure that was the year I left my full time job to be a full time graduate student to wrap up the seemingly never ending process of getting the degree as a part-time student. But since I was so close to finishing and the classes I needed were only in the fall, I enjoyed a lovely summer off and pretty much read a book a day. It was awesome.}

That was also the year another friend decided she'd keep track as well, as she was convinced she read more than I did. As the year went on we did seem to keep pace with each other. Trading the lead back and forth, but always being within a book or two. The problem came in with actually tracking the books. I was pretty good at it. My friend was not. In the end she lost count, but continued insisting she read more. I'd roll my eyes, say sure you do, too bad you can't prove it. It was our shtick.

It died down over the past few years, coming up occasionally in conversation. I kept tracking my books on blogger and then last year switching over to Good Reads. Last year I set more reasonable goal of 75 books and topped it by a few, reaching 78 books. This year's goal is 80 books.

This year my friend also found Good Reads and considered my Challenge to myself the gauntlet being thrown down to her. I still think she'll have trouble keeping up with tracking her books. But even with that in mind, the challenge has returned! I've read six books thus far in 2012, and am 2% ahead of my goal for the year. Woohoo! My friend has read eight. Boohoo!

It's so funny that I find myself feeling competitive over this. Usually I go through reading phases. Devouring a few books a week one week and then going several weeks before I pick up another. But now, I have the drumbeat of competition in the back of my mind and I'm super focused on making the most of my free time to read, read, read! I'm back to being a regular in the cafe at Barnes & Noble. Getting soup & a sandwich for dinner and staying til I finish a book. Yeah, I know, it's kinda ridiculous.

But also not something I see stopping anytime soon!

Friday, January 20, 2012

I miss Wiggles

My cousin lives on the other side of the country. I miss her a lot, but these days I miss her little munchkin more. I spent a week watching her last summer when her mommy went back to work and I gave her the incredibly appropriate nickname Wiggles.

Today she celebrated Purple Friday (and her first time in a playground swing!) from way way too far away.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

For the love of God just FOCUS

That's what I need to say to myself tonight.

I've started three different posts, writing anywhere from a few paragraphs to just a title, before getting another "better" idea and starting over.

So tonight you will not be hearing about

1. My travel plans, or lack thereof, for 2012
2. The uber awkward gathering I had to sit through at work today
3. The insanity of local news where tonight's top stories included a proposal in Virginia to start selling pot in ABC stores (state run liquor stores) or the legislation in Maryland to prevent people from DC from relocating DC rats into Maryland.

You get none of those, because I can't seem to focus long enough to write anything of substance. A carry over problem from my work day, where every few minutes I'd get distracted from one project and drawn into another.

Blocking out the "noise" and focusing is becoming more and more difficult. And apparently my attempts to do so just result in SO much tension built up in my back/shoulders/neck. I finally left the office around 7 tonight and as I was walking away from my desk I realized my back was killing. It just felt so tight and achy. I had zero interest in cooking dinner, so instead of heading straight home I drove towards an area with a bunch of restaurants.

But, that troubling lack of focus stayed with me and I couldn't decide what I wanted. I ended up just driving around for 15 minutes or so, taking in the charming historic neighborhood I was in and I realized, my back didn't hurt anymore. I could actually feel the tension melting away, just like that.

And... I have no clue where I was going with that story. UGH.

Ok, it is obviously time to put the laptop away because I don't know how to handle the extraordinary power that comes from having a blog. Instead of more rambles from me I'll just say goodnight and leave you with a picture of a super cute snuggly sleepy kitty cat, cause, well... I can.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


This afternoon I was on a work call listening to someone complain about just how busy she was. She couldn't possibly get to that project, because she had this, this, this and that which were all so much more important. She used over dramatic phrases like being "buried under work" and "drowning in projects."

Ugh. It's just so annoying to listen to something like that.

And it's even worse when you realize you're the person saying it.

< insert shocked gasp here >

Yes, I was the self-important Whiny McWhinerson on that call.

Before I even hung up the phone I was so annoyed with myself for falling into the trap. You know the trap. The one where you feel like you're doing SO much and no one else can possibly understand everything on your plate. Blech. I hate being that person. Yeah, I've got a lot going on, but so does everyone. And since I like 90% of what I'm doing and love the people I work with and the cause I'm working for I'm a damn lucky girl.

What I can't figure out is how to remember that. How do I calm down, take things one task at a time and stay focused on all of the good in my day? How do I appreciate that I'd rather be busy doing good work than be stagnant and bored?

The person I was on the call with was pushing and not hearing what I was saying. But my reaction still wasn't what it should have been.

Tomorrow is another day, and one I hope I can handle better.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

WWF Overdose

If you think I'm talking World Wildlife Fund or World Wrestling Federation you obviously don't spend enough time on the internet.

No, this WWF is the oh so very addictive Words with Friends and I think I just might be reaching my breaking point.

I've seen it happen to others. Friends who have tweeted that they are on hiatus from the game. At the time I didn't really get it.

Now that I currently have 11 games going at the moment, in some cases multiple games with the same person, I think I agree with her.

Too many words.

Ha! I just jumped back over to facebook (because of course I saw it was my turn in WWF) and saw the following status update :

Damn you Words with Friends! So hopelessly addicted.....

So at least I'm not the only one!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Music Monday

I'm taking a bit of inspiration (aka flat out stealing the idea) for Music Monday from Herding Cats. She posts a favorite song each Monday and, while I don't know that I'll do it weekly I'm stuck on the idea today, so here I go.

If you know me in real life you know I'm a big fan of Ron Pope. I discovered his music thanks to my friend Shannon, a little over a year ago. Since then I've seen him in concert five times. Which is totally reasonable and not at all excessive. Right? I mean, we're talking over the course of a year.

Or, well... maybe the first show was at the very end of March and the last one could have been in October, so more like six months. And, ok fine, you got me. The second time was the night after the first. Where show #1 was in Baltimore and show #2 was in Richmond. And show #3 just might have required a trip to NYC. But four and five were totally local in DC & NoVA.

Though... did I mention that at show #5 RP not only recognized and remembered me, but also connected me to my twitter account. The twitter account that does not have my real name or photo on it? Yeah, there's that.

** side note there's a slight chance I may have done a bit of jumping up and down and OMGing like a tween meeting the Biebs in the parking lot after that conversation with him. Just maybe. **

So, big fan could be a bit of an understatement. I'll give you that. But it should also tell you he's well worth the effort!

For my inaugural Music Monday, I give you Shoot Out the Lights, performed by the fabulously talented Ron Pope and recorded by me and my trusty flip cam at Jammin' Java on 10/31/11.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old

Today marks the three year anniversary of my move inside the beltway.

Making this move was a BIG deal for me. I had considered moving here after college, I even spent a month of my senior year interning a few blocks from the White House. But in the end, I knew the timing wasn't right. I stayed in the metro area where I went to college, moving 15 miles from the suburban campus into the heart of the city.

A big part of the appeal for staying was because I had friends there. Lots of them. And it was so easy to make new friends then - friends from my new job, friends that I met through other friends. People I could call at the last minute and say "hey, what are you doing for dinner?" Weekend buddies as my friend Sarah called them - the friends you'd end up spending your entire weekend hanging out with whether you knew it going into the weekend or not.

Fast forward eight years and I felt like it was time for a change. A great new job opportunity presented itself in the DC area, timed perfectly with the conclusion of my master's program.

So I moved. And I started to meet some great new people, and slooowly started to make friends in the area. I've reconnected with some friends from high school and college and who live around here, made some great friends at work and a few in my neighborhood. One of my best friends relocated to this area a few months before I did which is great, but she's just far enough away, and traffic is just so very bad, that spontaneous plans can't happen and the only time we're weekend buddies an overnight stay and advanced planning is involved.

Things on the friendship front aren't awful when I sit down and really think about it. I'm a homebody, loner by nature, so it's not like I want to be out doing things every night of the week. But, it's also not the same. I want local friends who are the 'call just to say hi, wanna go for a walk or grab dinner after work' kinda friends.

I've talked to a few friends about this, especially ones who have also relocated and could relate, but in general it seems kinda whiny and pathetic as an adult to be complaining that you are having trouble making friends.

So imagine my excitement when I came across a book about my exact plight! I saw MWF Seeking BFF: My Year Long Search for a New Best Friend featured on Good Reads as a 'soon to be released' title back in mid-December. And I'll admit, I basically started stalking the book. I read reviews, pre-ordered a copy for my Nook and eagerly awaited December 20 when I could start reading it. I also sent a copy to my former work bestie who relocated to a new city last spring (and is a MWF, so it was even more perfect for her!).

And let me tell you, it totally lived up to my expectations. Author Rachel Bertsche does such a good job of putting into words the feelings a late 20/early 30something has about finding friends, especially as a transplant to a new city.

After reading the book I'm inspired to make new friends. No, I won't be going on 52 friend dates like the she did, but I'm going to take advantage of new friend opportunities and not just kick myself after they pass me by. I'm going to be more proactive and try to make this new life feel more like the one I left. I want to be able to make the drive south on 95 to visit my friends without tearing up on the return trip over what I've just left behind. (Crying about the traffic I'm in getting back would still be acceptable.)

I hereby declare 2012 the year of making new friends.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Oh, Pinterest.

I joined Pinterest early last fall, when a few friends and I were hosting a bridal shower and one kept sharing all of her ideas via Pinterest. The two of us not on there couldn't see them without joining, so... I did.

I looked at her ideas, agreed they were cute and then never went back to Pinterest.

I honestly wouldn't have given it much of a second thought had I not started getting email notifications.

Beth is following you on Pinterest. Erin is following you on Pinterest. Amanda is following you on Pinterest. Samantha is following you on Pinterest. Amy is following you on Pinterest. Kara is following you on Pinterest. Ashley is following you on Pinterest. And on and on and on!

I started to feel guilty every time I'd get another one of these email notifications. I even posted about it on Facebook and got a bunch of likes and comments from others in the same boat.

That was in November. The guilt continued, but I didn't return to Pinterest.

Until today.

When the past two hours of my life were sucked away as I looked at things like Strawberry Heart Oreos and Garlic Cheesy Bread and the cutest most creative jello shots you could ever imagine! And I can't forget the earlaces for my earbuds, a cool photo family tree, cute love map, nifty wall art and pretty jewelry. And so. much. more.

So now I'm hungry, feel compelled to host a dinner party, get crafty and shop.

I think maybe I liked the guilt better.

Friday, January 13, 2012

In Case You Missed it...

For the first time, Tim Tebow and David Bowie together as one... ladies and gentlemen - Tebowie!!

My other favorite was from last month, on SNL...

So funny.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Big Waste

I love the Food Network. Chopped is my favorite, with many of the other competition shows following closely behind.

Last weekend they aired a special called The Big Waste. It was a cooking competition where Chefs Bobby Flay and Michael Symon competed against Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli to make a banquet meal for 100 foodies. Sounds simple, right?

Here's the twist: All of their ingredients had to be on their way to the trash.

Not being trashed because they are spoiled but because they aren't sell able. Some of it was produce that wasn't perfect - peaches with a spot or two, tomatoes with some cracks in the skin, cuts of meat that weren't center cut and therefore were less desirable, dairy products a day out from their sell by date, etc.

It was absolutely amazing how much perfectly good food they were able to find that was on its way to the trash can. At an orchard they visited the farmer commented that 40-50% of his crop is thrown away because it gets picked and discarded or just because the consumer doesn't think it's good enough.

I get the argument that as a consumer if I'm buying a product that I have every right to expect it to be a top quality one. But, after seeing just how much fresh, healthy food gets wasted, when there are SO many people who don't have access to healthy food, or any food at all, well, it was pretty shocking and disturbing.

In the end it was an eye opening experience for the chefs and the hundred New Yorkers they cooked for that evening as well, with them saying the experience will lead to changes in how they seek their ingredients. I hope you watch and let it change your perspective too.

Food Network re-airs the show this weekend, Saturday at 4 pm et and Sunday at 5 pm et.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Random musings

I have a cold.

It's just a cold. Nothing serious or life threatening. A minor thing. Not really worth mentioning.

But wow, it's annoying! And therefore I feel compelled to mention it.

My dad wants me to come visit this weekend. I can't decide if I'm up for a 2 1/2 hour drive each way just to sit in the house and watch football. Though, he does have a MUCH better tv for football watching. Anyway, I called my mom tonight and one of the first things I said was that I wasn't sure if I was coming this weekend, but if not maybe we could meet up on Monday so I could get the camera back that I left at my aunt's house. I even elaborated on my reasons for my uncertainty.

The conversation moved on to chatting about both our days, her usual favorite question of what I was having for dinner, etc. And then, not even 10 minutes later....

Mom: So did your father ask if you were coming to visit this weekend?
Me: huh?
Mom: He was going to see if you wanted to come watch football with him
Me: um... we already talked about that mom. In *this* phone conversation. Like, 5 minutes ago.
Mom: :: silence::
Me: I told you what I'm considering doing.
Mom: Really?
Me: Wow. You just weren't paying attention at all, huh?
Mom: Well, I guess not. So, are you coming?


My cat is snoring. Quite loud for as tiny as she is. Right now she's sleeping at the foot of the bed. As soon as I go to sleep she'll move and place her self half on my pillow, directly between the air from the fan and my face.

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night, basically hugging the wall because she had moved herself to the middle of the bed. Did I move her? Nope.

Cause apparently she's in charge around here.


This morning it took me 25 minutes to get to work. Not bad for an inside the beltway commute, I know, but the norm is more like 10 -12 minutes, including my stop at Starbucks. (Side note: I am a lucky, lucky girl.) A construction crew has taken to parking in the usually clear spots near my Starbucks, and this morning everyone else needed their caffeine at the EXACT SAME TIME so I drove around the block twice before finding a spot.

Needless to say (yet I'll say it), I approached the store with just a touch of grumpiness.

As I was approaching the door, maybe about 10 steps away, the woman going in stopped and held it for me. I was definitely still several steps out from the expect holding the door zone, so that was really nice. We got in line together and she started chatting with me. She was on her way to Baltimore for a meeting, hoping to make it on time, but she was not at all stressed by the line. Just super friendly. We slowly made our way to the front and were waiting for our drinks, when friendly gal struck up a conversation with another patron, an older woman who was using a walker and lugging a large suitcase. She asked her where she was headed and I genuinely think that she was about to offer her a ride. The woman said she was just trying to get a cab and friendly gal (whose drink had already been called by the way) gave her advice on the nearest place she'd likely find a cab, then offered to look up the number for a cab company for her. The woman was trying to balance a pen and paper on her walker, while keeping her suitcase upright and then friendly gal just offered to call the cab for her. Friendly gal didn't leave until the cab was on it's way and the woman knew exactly where to go to wait for it. It all took a good bit of time really, especially considering she was worried about making it to an out of town meeting on time.

Totally a random act of kindness that was great to see this morning.

I'm going to sleep before midnight tonight. Even though Jack's Mannequin is on Leno and I heart them. Because when you are sick you do the responsible thing and get extra sleep. You don't stay up and watch late night tv. Nope, not staying up.

Going to sleep. Before midnight.

For serious.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Power of the Internet

I love the internet. Seriously.

It's filled with fun and entertainment sure, but it's the amazing way it can bring people together, perfect strangers from all of the world can share and connect and find the support they need, all on these tangled interwebz.

It rocks.

I can think of a lot of examples, and probably will end up with countless posts along these lines over the lifetime of this blog, but here's the one that has me so very moved right now.

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been reading the blog An Acorn Dreaming, for awhile now, thanks to a post the author, Megan, had that went viral. One day last week Megan posted about a family friend, a 13 year old girl, who was going through treatment for lymphoma. The little girl's family was struggling with the medical bills and needed some help. So, I made a small donation and began reading her story on her family's blog.

She hasn't had the easiest of times, but the good news is she's 3/4 of the way through her 12 weeks of chemo and is doing well. Her type of cancer is curable and there's an 87% success rate of chemo working on it's own. Which is awesome. But here are the two things that I loved reading the most.

First, the way her family and friends have responded to this life altering news. I loved reading about the parties that took place in her hospital room and even better, the flash mob that was organized on her front lawn on her a birthday, a few days after she came home from the hospital. So cool.

But the other thing that I just loved was the response the family got when they shared their plea for help. On January 2nd they posted that they needed to raise $8,000 to cover the remaining medical costs. By the time I saw the link on the 4th they were half way there. By January 5th they had their $8,000 and a little more. And, while I'm not sure what the final statistics were, the mom shared that as of 8 pm on January 4, 59% of the donations were from people they didn't know, including donations from all over the U.S., Canada, Ireland and Surinam (gotta be honest, I don't even know where Surinam is but I think it's super cool someone there donated to a little girl here!)

I know this means so much to the family (I got a really nice thank you email from them) but it means a lot to me too, a total stranger, who stumbled upon their story and had the chance to see how much of an impact the internet can have.

Love it!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Going Viral

As I was setting up my "Blogs I Read" list I started thinking about how I found them.

A few participated in a big campaign I was involved in at work a few years ago, a few were linked at one point from those first few, one I found via twitter, one is written by one of my best friends and the rest I found when they had a post go viral.

As a new blogger the thought of going viral seems a bit horrifying. But, I'm glad that they did, because I really enjoy reading their blogs.

So in an effort to share what originally hooked me, here are those viral posts:

Happy Reading!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ok subconscious, that was a little bizarre

I had the strangest dream this morning.

I woke up around 7:30 and decided I wasn't ready to be awake and proceeded to go back to sleep. During that return to sleep I dreamt I was at my parent's house (though it wasn't really their house) but it must have been attached to my office (which wasn't really my office) because I kept being back and forth between the two. We were celebrating Christmas, with the house all decorated (weird because I primarily celebrate Hanukkah, though we exchange presents on Christmas since my dad isn't Jewish) and two of my (Jewish) cousins were present, one with her daughter and her dog (they live on the other side of the country).

Things in my office were a bit out of the norm as well, with Jason Gideon (character from Criminal Minds) as one of my coworkers and some big meeting/conference call involving the former D.C. Superintendent of Schools happening (I don't work in education). It was chaotic and weird, and then I'd walk down the stairs and be back in my "parent's house" where my mom was giving my cousins checkbooks for a joint checking account with her "in case they ever needed money". Um.... ok.

So... to unpack the weirdness and figure out where my subconscious got these things...

1. I did talk to and/or email with both cousins yesterday
2. I also talked to my dad, about my mom's job - she's a teacher
3. Work is pretty much always a part of my dreams and...
4. As we established yesterday, I watch WAY too much Criminal Minds.

Kinda glad to be awake now, as this is a much less confusing state of mind.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Where's Agent Morgan* when I need him?

I slept in a bit this morning and then had a fairly lazy afternoon planned.

I left the house around noon, went to B&N to have lunch in the cafe and finish reading a book I had started there yesterday. After that I ran a few errands and then got home a little after 3 to get ready for an afternoon/evening of playoff football viewing.

All seems innocent and not at all a day that would require a (fictional) FBI Agent to come to the rescue, right?

Well, here's where it gets sketchy. I took the trash out, seemingly an innocuous act, and I am 100% positive I unlocked the door handle before walking around the building to the dumpster. I got back, climbed the stairs and... the door was locked.

Um, how in the world did a door I know I unlocked get locked unless a psycho unsub* was in my apartment waiting for me? (Totally your first thought as well, right?)

So, I let myself back in, grabbed my phone and dialed (but did not hit send) on 911 and picked up the fireplace poker. I looked around the living room and kitchen before walking down the hall to check my bedroom, hand hovering over the "send" button the whole time.

My room was clear, as was the bathroom. I didn't open my roommate's room, just came into my room, still clutching the fire place poker and turned to twitter to calm me down. I shared my concerns (to the amusement of others) and then, finally had the light bulb moment that the disorganized unsub in the midst of a psychotic break (the first profile to come to mind) would not have locked the door to keep me out, he would have snuck in and left the door unlocked so I could get back in easier.


It's a good thing too, because at this point the cat was sleeping on the fireplace poker so it wouldn't have done me much good anyway.

(*For those of you non-Criminal Minds fans, first, I scoff at you and your poor taste in TV shows. And second, Agent Morgan is hottie Shemar Moore and an unsub is the unknown subject, aka the bad guy.)

New look

So... things look a little different around here, huh?

I should have saved the old design before posting this. Not sure if it's my forever design, but I think I'm happy with it for now.

What do you think?

Friday, January 6, 2012

To Do

My weekend 'to-do' list involves the usual - laundry, grocery shopping, football watching and a few other errands.

But this biggest things I'd like to accomplish this weekend revolve around this blog. The goal is to:

1. Improve the look.
Cause really, it definitely needs to be more me. I love the name, but the design leaves much to be desired, so I'm going to see what I can do about that.

2. Start stockpiling posts.
My goal is to give myself a strong start at this whole blogging thing by making January my own personal NaBloPoMo. (Kinda like NaNoWriMo but for blogging. It happens in November. I didn't have a blog in November so... January it is.) I want to post daily, but most of the things I have in my head that I want to get out on here are a bit on the long and complex side. Or just take a lot of effort in tracking things down to link to, etc. So, a weekend of prepping some posts is needed. Is that cheating? I should ask some of the established bloggers I read that question (side note - the blog roll on the side will point you to many of them. They are wonderful. All of them in their own unique way).

3. Figure out my stat tracking options
Right now the built-in stat tracker seems to think only 4 people have read my first post and no one has read any of the others. As I haven't really shared the blog much that could be believed but... I know for a fact two friends have been reading. So, which gives stat tracker?!?! From my early blogging days of the past I know how much I enjoyed stalking the stats so, I'm gonna need them to be functional. ASAP.

4. Sharing is caring. {or Sharing is Scary}
Yeah, so far two friends are aware that I have my own little corner of the internet and I've included the link a few other times when commenting on blogs but, I have to decide how widely I want to share this space with my real life and virtual networks.

So, a blog makeover and some more in-depth posts are shortly coming your way! Get excited dear readers. All two of you. :-)


My goal tonight was to go to sleep by midnight. It's 12:37 am as I'm typing this and I don't know that sleep is imminent.

But, I napped from 8:45ish til 11. Which has to count for something, right?

Tonight was one of those nights where I just could not stay awake. Before taking the long(ish) nap I cat napped several times while watching the evening news. Actually, since I can't say I remember much between hanging up the phone with my mom around 8 and actually turning off the lights at 8:45, I can probably roll back that start time on the nap by a bit.

Naps, are good. Sleep is good. Being perpetually awake til 1 am or later, well, that's bad.

I've read an abundance of articles about how to get better sleep - set a routine, only use your bedroom for sleep, don't watch TV in bed, etc. The problem is, I pretty much live in my room. Sure, there are other rooms in my apartment, and I'll occasionally spend an evening reading or watching TV from the living room but... 90% of the time that I'm home, it's spent in my room.

Changing the things that could (would?) impact my sleep habits means changing my life habits as a whole. And, well, we all know just how well I do with change.

For tonight, I'm still chalking this one up as a win as I may not have gone to sleep before midnight, but I still got sleep prior to midnight. And that my friends, is what they call a small victory.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Laughter is THE best medicine

Have you been to http://damnyouautocorrect.com/

If you haven't you must.


I mean it.

So damn funny. I've been reading through the posts for the past thirty minutes and I'm laughing so much I can barely breathe.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Trying to come up with a name for a blog is hard.

Especially when it isn't really a themed blog (food, kids, etc) and is more going to be a brain dump kinda place. I was going through combinations of my name, where I live, what I like to do and nothing seemed right. I couldn't go with anything inside the beltwayish because this is certainly not going to be an overtly political space. I like reading, and football and music, but since I'm not writing about any one thing that didn't work for me either.

I didn't want to just use my name or a variation of it so I started thinking about nicknames I've had over the years. There really weren't many memorable ones, and none I liked all that much with the exception of two - SG & CP.

SG was coined by an old roommate years ago. It stands for Stacy Gracie. It's been eight years since we were roommates and about five since we were regularly in touch, but whenever I hear from her the greeting is always the same - "Hi SG!" And it always puts such a smile on my face.

CP is something a few good friends came up with a couple of years ago and it stands for Cutie Pie. When I asked why cutie pie they said because I am one. {Insert dramatic eye roll here} I by no means agree with their opinion, but I do love being called CP.

So here's the question, what's up with my love of initial nicknames? I'm not sure what about them makes them so appealing. But they are. So. Damn. Appealing.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Football Giveth and Football Taketh Away

Yesterday was the end of the regular NFL season.

My beloved Redskins ended the season 5-11. It was the Head Coach's worst record in his lengthy and esteemed career (his second worst was last season. Also with the Redskins). Over the past three seasons they've won 15 games. Some perspective for the non-football fans among you, some teams won 14 or 15 games THIS season.

But, I still love the team. I watch the games, while wearing the merchandise and clapping and cheering for each and every touchdown. Even in these hard times I can recognize the effort the players are putting forward and celebrate the individual performances which in many cases are impressive.

My dad is a football fan too. Planning his schedule around the games and staying up well beyond his normal bedtime when his team plays a night game.

And... that's where the similarities end.

His team is the Ravens. My hometown team who didn't move to town until I left for college. A team who won the super bowl a few years after coming to town and has been in the playoffs for the past 4 years, this year ending their season with a 12-4 record, winning their division and landing a second seed playoff spot.

When I called my dad yesterday at the close of the game, when they clinched that wonderful playoff spot, his response was filled with grumbles and complaints. I got a litany of each and every misstep, missed catch and fumbled play. I just rolled my eyes and listened. Really, it was the theme of the season. Apparently perfection is what my dad seeks in his football team and the Ravens just aren't perfect.

So tonight I was quite surprised when my dad called to talk football again. He was talking to his brother today and it clicked for him. My team finished 5-11, his 12-4. My team needs major rebuilding and changes to have any hope of seeing the playoffs next year or the year after. His team has a decent shot of making it to the Superbowl this year. He said from now on he's going to try and be more positive about the Ravens when he's talking to me.

{You got that, right? Not more positive in general about this darn good team, just more positive when talking to me.}


As another sad season of Redskins fandom came to a close, I did have a pretty happy football moment. I placed third in my fantasy football league! I'm up to three leagues these days, but this is the original league. The one that kicked off the obsession back in 2007. My record thus far was 7th place (twice), 6th and then 5th last year. Miracle upon miracles I skipped the expected 4th place ranking and jumped right to third! Score!

That meant winning $40. Money that I was happy to go spend today on super cute new red shoes and a fun coin purse. Totally what you're supposed to spend money you won betting on football on, right?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Flambe is fun... and Yum!

I went to dinner with some of my favorite family members last night. A yummy four-course tasting menu at Blue Hill Tavern that ended with bananas foster, flambeed table side. By that point in the meal I was completely stuffed and only ate a few bites of the dessert. I feel like I really missed out (note to self: next time only have a few bites of salad so you are still hungry for dessert.) so I'm thinking I might try it at home.

It looked easy enough. Melt a little butter in the pan, add a few spoonfuls of brown sugar, put in the bananas and then some rum and... WOOSH!

Granted, the woosh part is a tad bit scary. Especially since I have a history of kitchen experiments leading to a visit from my friendly neighborhood firefighters.

So what do you think? Should I go for it and give flambeing a try?