Thursday, March 29, 2012

An Open Letter to my favorite 3 1/2 year old

Dear Bug,

As we've discussed many times, you are an early bird and I am a night owl. I know, I know, you aren't a bird and I'm not an owl, but it's a figure of speech that means you like to wake up early and I like to go to sleep late. Which means I don't like to wake up early. Really, I don't.

So this morning when you accidentally called me at 6:49 I know you were already an hour into your day. You had eaten breakfast, watched an episode of Dora or Imagination Movers and were moving on to coloring. I on the other hand still had 56 minutes until my alarm was set to go off. 56 minutes is a long time Bug!

I tried to go back to sleep, but Emmy is an early bird like you and took notice that I was awake ever so briefly. She wanted some attention so she started headbutting me and tapping me with her paw until I got up. She is one persistent kitty cat!

So I gave in, and started my day before 7 am. Ick!

I'd like to make a deal with you, ok Bug? When I stay at your house, or we go to the beach, it's totally ok for you to wake me up early. Because while I may be just a touch grumpy about it then, at least I get to hang out with you, and play fun games like go fish or old maid or color pictures. But when you call and wake me up early then I'm just up. Without the fun part. So, no more early morning phone calls, ok? Tell mommy to keep that phone away from you. Or the screen on lock. Anything to keep it from dialing my number before 8 am M-F and... 9:30 on the weekends, just to be safe.

I'm glad we got that settled.

Aunt Stacy

Monday, March 26, 2012

Music Monday

I have a confession.

I'm not really an Adele fan.

I know, I know. I've heard it all, especially how crazy I am and how awesome she is. But for the most part her music just doesn't do it for me. The one exception is my recent obsession with Rumor Has It.

I feel like I hear it everywhere these days - one of the contestants sang it on The Voice, it was in an episode of Smash, it was playing in a store I was in the other day. And unlike a lot of times when a song is overplayed the more I hear it, the more I like it. And find myself with it stuck in my head!

So, now it can be in your head too!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Charm City Times Three

One of the nicest things about my move inside the Capitol Beltway is my proximity to my home town. I don't make it back to the Baltimore area all that much but this week proved to be the exception, with three trips in the past seven days.

Tonight was for a belated birthday dinner for my roommate at Blue Hill Tavern, which as usual was amazingly yummy. It was her first time eating there and she asked what number it was for me and at this point I think I've lost count!

Anyway, earlier this week was the best reason to go to Baltimore... my cousins were in town, most importantly - Wiggles!

She may be an Arizona Girl but she was pretty happy in the Oriole's nest!

We took her to the Baltimore Zoo, which they've renamed the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, which, I will never call it. I hadn't been there in years, like probably close to 10 years, and I was surprised by the changes. Apparently financial trouble caused them to close a number of exhibits and now there is quite a big gap from when you enter the zoo until you actually get to any animals.

Either way, we had a really fun day. Wiggles has just learned to wave, which is pretty much the cutest thing ever. Well, besides when she pouts when you tell her no. That's pretty darn cute too, and quite impressive. (Mommy friends - Do nine month olds typically have a perfect pout down pat or this one advanced in her manipulative skills?)

I loved getting to see her (and her mommy and aunts) this week, but it just makes me miss her even more! So, until my trip out west this summer I'll just have to spend lots of time looking at all of these adorable photos!

Such a cute little turtle!

Who cares about a goat when you can stare at your own toes?

Boy, the zoo sure is exhausting!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Missed Opportunity (aka My Luck Sucks)

I went to a briefing this afternoon on Capitol Hill and decided to stick around downtown and read the report released at the briefing rather than returning to work and getting sucked in to other things. I camped out at a Starbucks a few blocks from the Capitol for a bit and got my reading done and then decided to grab dinner around there before heading home.

I was a block away from We, The Pizza and Good Stuff Eatery, both owned by Spike Mendelsohn of Top Chef fame and right next door to one another. So I headed that way and was torn between the two, but went with Good Stuff because, well, their Toasted Marshmallow milkshake is truly AMAZING. Definitely the best ice cream treat I've ever had and quite possibly the best dessert ever. Seriously.

So, I ordered my milkshake and the Michelle Melt (Turkey burger, caramelized onions, swiss, lettuce, tomato and "southlawn herb garden mayo"). Of course, I ordered the Michelle Melt because...

Michelle Obama arrived a few minutes later!!!

Oh, no, not at Good Stuff.

At We, the Pizza!

SERIOUSLY?!?! SO close, and so eating a burger named after her but noooooo... yet another near miss.

I moved to town the day before the Obama's. I went to their welcome party (aka the inauguration). They seem to like hanging out in my neighborhood* Yet all I get are near misses. Lots of them. And really, I'm quite tired of them! I mean come on people, I live inside the beltway -isn't a first family sighting like a right around here, to make up for the traffic and the tourists and the fact that DC was built on a swamp and it's already ridiculously humid and it's only March?!?!?

Is that really too much to ask?

For me, I guess it is.

(*Near Miss #1, 2, 3 & 4!)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Music Monday

Obla Di Obla Da is what popped into my head tonight as I was trying to decide on a good Music Monday tune.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

I love a good book event

One of the best parts of moving to the DC area is that so many authors I love make this a stop on their book tours.

(Yes, I know you are thinking really? that's one of the best parts about living in DC? Really?!? I'm a dork, I know this, you know this, move on.)

Even better is when they realize they are just too popular for said event to be crammed into a book store. I've been to a bunch of those held in bookstores in the past three years and really, they rarely work well. The book store staff pushes shelves out of the way, brings out a wobbly platform and the microphone that's occasionally used and barely functions and they set up in the midst of some random section of the store, filling in as may chairs they can into a limited area that inevitably has the worst sight lines ever and blocking a good portion of their stock. It's annoying as an attendee and I'm sure even more annoying for the person coming in trying to buy a cook book that evening, only to find a well known author blocking their way to "Cake Doctor" or "365 more ways to cook chicken."

So of course, when your book debuts at #1 on the New York Times best seller list you realize doing your book singing in the neighborhood B&N just won't do. That's where Sixth & I Synagogue comes into play. It's a functioning synagogue, but also happens to be a great event space. I've been there for three events now - two book signings and a Jack's Mannequin concert. :-)

This book signing was Jodi Picoult's. I've been reading her books for almost a decade now and am a huge fan. This is the third time I've heard her speak and was by far the best. The event was structured as an interview, with Ron Charles, the book editor of the Washington Post conducting an interview with Jodi on stage. He really did his homework and asked her really good questions. Unlike the sterotypical introverted behavior you'd expect from an author, Jodi describes herself as a frustrated actress. She really came alive on the stage and seemed so excited to be about to tell the audience about everything she learned while researching the book.

Each of her books tackle major social issues and she does an impressive amount of research for her topic, whether it be medical, legal or in this case medical and legal and all about wolf packs. Random yes, but quite cool.

I'm only a few pages in to Lone Wolf, so I'll report back on my thoughts when I finish it, but in the mean time, do you read Jodi Picoult? If so, which is your favorite?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Would you rather be trapped in a monument or trapped on a plane with teenagers?

The answer is monument.

Trust me.

I experienced both this week and I'd much rather be stuck at 620 feet in The Arch than stuck at 30,000 feet with a bunch of 16 year olds.

I was in St. Louis for work and at the conclusion of our conference I had about 3 hours before I had to go to the airport, so I set out for the Arch. It had been a big topic of conversation all week - with the question always being "are you going to go up in it?" I'll admit, I did no real research before going. And because of that, I went.

Had I realized that the trip to the top happens inside a "capsule" I may have stayed on the ground. Five people sit in the capsules, we were in Capsule 5, which operate like a cross between an elevator and a ferris wheel. The door that you climb in is 4 feet tall and not incredibly wide and is glass, so that's the only window in the pod.

The picture seriously doesn't do it justice. I mean, look how close together the seats are and remember that we have legs. Legs which require room. Room, which is lacking. Severely.

So, we rode to the top, which takes 4 minutes, looked around for a few minutes, chatted with the ranger and then lined up to take the next tram down. We were assigned Capsule 4 for the return trip, which, I guess thanks to gravity, only takes 3 minutes. After waiting for the incoming folks to get out five of us climbed back in to our pod and waited. And... waited.

That's when we heard the people waiting to get into pod 5 say that the door wasn't opening. Yup, the people sitting where I had been a few short minutes before were stuck in their capsule. Yikes! Everyone else got out of their pods and returned to the observation area, which was a touch crowded. After a few more failed attempts at opening the door they lowered the pod down a slot so the stuck folks could get out at door 6. Yay!

25 minutes later, after a helpful engineer came to the rescue and they did a few test runs, we loaded back in to pod 4 and made our way back to the ground.

It wasn't awful, but not necessarily something I'd wish to repeat. Well, until later that evening that is...


My flight back should have been calm and laid back. It was only an hour and 40 minutes and I was seated next to a co-worker who agreed that talking was overrated, especially after a week of being in conference-land. She had ear plugs and a magazine, I had my iPod and Nook.

Unfortunately what we also had was a group of teenagers seated beside and behind us.

Give me young children on a plane any day, but never, ever, ever again do I want to be seated near a group of adolescents whose chaperones (quite smartly) were sitting at the opposite end of the plane.

They were almost 16 and almost 17. I know this because at one point they all shared their ages and birthdays and detailed stories about why they didn't skip a grade like maybe they should have. Although really, none of them should have skipped a grade. In fact, I seriously question the effectiveness of whatever school they are attending because:

  1. One thought DC was a state
  2. Another argued that it was DC city in Virginia
  3. They were shocked to find out their visit to DC wouldn't include going in the Oval Office
  4. They'd be going to the Mall, but, it's not, like, ya know, an actual mall so it's really annoying it's called that
  5. Oh, and some S thing. What's that? Oh, it's called the Smithsonian. Yeah, that's probably it.

Combine that with flirting, giggling, silly photo taking, seat pushing and countless other ditzy comments that really made me question their intelligence NON STOP for the entire flight.

The last 20 minutes when I couldn't have my iPod on was especially painful. And, kinda made me wish I was still stuck in that stupid Arch!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Music Monday


Night two of crappy hotel sleep. So of course, today's Music Monday has to be Who Needs Sleep by Barenaked Ladies. I mean really, I had no choice on this one.

Of course, my answer to the question Ed poses here is... I DO!

Wish me luck... about to kick off day 2 of the 12+ hour schmooze-fest otherwise known as your own organization's conference, on very little sleep.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Who Needs Sleep?

I'm traveling for work this week, staying in a lovely hotel room with a super cozy king sized bed. The bed is well stocked with pillows the way I like them (kinda squishy), the thermostat in the room actually worked well so the temperature was perfect and my hallway and neighbors were quiet throughout the night.

So why did I get crappy, crappy sleep?

I kept waking up and checking the clock. The best was at 3:32 when I looked, went back to sleep and then woke up again, convinced hours had gone by and it was 3:51. Not happy! I wasn't paranoid about oversleeping - this is the one morning of the four I'll be here where I don't really have to be anywhere until around 11.

The actual worst part is I should have expected this. It's my usual travel pattern. No matter where I go the first night of sleep away from home is ick. I was just sooo tired, and the bed was sooo comfy.... I kinda thought all would be well.

Ugh. So, now I'm off to yawn my way through day one while thinking only 3 more sleeps til I'm home!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Music Monday - Birthday Edition Part II

I'm wrapping up Samantha's birthday week with another Music Monday tribute, this time with her favorite song.

Happy Monday everyone and feel free to sing along... you know you want to! ;-)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Missing a friend

At the beginning of my sophomore year in college I struck up quite an unexpected friendship.

It started in a class, when I turned to the senior sitting next to me and commented, "I heard you were feeling artistic this weekend."

My roommate was dating one of his fraternity brothers and she came back from a party at their house and reported that this guy had taken to spray painting some of their walls on Saturday night, just... because.

I certainly knew who he was before that class. He had a larger than life personality and was known by everyone on the campus. He had no clue who I was, other than the girl who sat next to him three mornings a week for a few weeks at that point.

Somehow that simple sentence during a lull before class began one Monday morning opened the door to a strong friendship. We started studying and working on projects for the class together. I received an open invitation to parties at his fraternity house, as he was confused why I wasn't there to witness his artistic endeavors with my roommate. Coincidence threw us together for an admissions recruiting event in his hometown, and then because we had so much fun, we volunteered to do another together a few weeks later in Northern Virginia.

Looking back I'd say it was during those two road trips that I got to know the real him. The performance personality that people saw most of the time was evident during our presentation, but the person behind the persona was who I got to talk to during our drives to and from campus. It's also where several absolutely pointless inside jokes began that still come back to me every single time I drive that stretch of I-95.

By the end of the semester we were talking or spending time together daily, but I still saw it as connected to our class. When it ended, I figured the friendship would end.

I was wrong.

We stayed close that spring, taking a few more road trips together, spending lots of time with our fairly large group of mutual friends, getting to know each other's families and just becoming pretty integral parts of each other's lives.

He graduated that spring and I thought our friendship would end once he left campus.

I was wrong.

Over the next few years our friendship grew stronger and he truly became my best friend. He didn't always get me, the whole Men are from Mars, Women from Venus thing I suppose, but he really tried, and wanted to know what was going on, support me when I needed it and vice versa. And during that time, there was lots of need for that support. Graduating from college and starting a grown up life, serious illness among family members, death of grandparents - we shared all of those things together and were there for each other.

I couldn't fathom that there'd be time when we wouldn't be in each other's lives.

I was wrong.

About a year after I graduated from college we started to drift apart. Our friendship became pretty unbalanced and for a while, I told him I didn't want to be in his life anymore. That lasted a few years (and one absolutely ridiculous 'hiding behind a poll in a shopping center to avoid running into him' moment. What can I say, I panicked and just didn't want to deal). And then, out of the blue, we started talking again.

That became the pattern (though without the drama) over the past decade we'd been in touch on and off. Each time we'd end up back in each others lives it would feel exactly the same - the banter would pick up in the same place, we'd catch up on each others families, reminisce over old times, find out what the other was up to and be in touch for a few months and then... time would go by again.

He still popped into my head often - a song or a place or a line from a movie would trigger a funny memory. He was no longer part of my daily life, but I knew without a doubt, if I needed him, he would have been there for me. That I was still important to him as he was to me, and that not being in touch at the moment was just a temporary thing.

I was wrong.

Last April I got a shocking phone call, that he died. It was somewhat sudden, medical complications from a prior surgery. He had been sick, but seemed to be improving. And then, he was gone.

I still think about him all of the time. And because we hadn't talked recently, it almost doesn't seem real still. I forget sometimes that I can't just pick up the phone or send an email and bring him back into my life.

I know things were never going to be the way they were in college. Life gets in the way. Those inseparable friendships from your early 20s just don't work the same way when you're in your mid-30s.

But I also know, how much it sucks to lose that sliver of hope that maybe, just maybe, it could have been that way again.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

"Yes, Rush Limbaugh is a jerk, but more importantly Rush Limbaugh is a dummy"

The Rush Limbaugh thing is ridiculous on so many levels and Rachel Maddow did a long segment on it last night. The whole thing is worth watching, but if you don't want to watch 20 minutes just watch this clip where she explains why he's a dummy. :-)

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