Monday, November 30, 2009

Some thoughts and random ramblings...

Two Friday's ago, I went to post a Five for Friday and just as I had the whole thing written, I lost my browser connection and it all went away. Then last Tuesday, I wrote an entire Ten for Tuesday (feeling bad that I had missed Friday) and I got to the end of that and my whole computer went ka-put. So here I am, trying again. No format this time, just some random thoughts from the past two weeks.

I would be remiss if I didn't start this by paying tribute to my dear great-grandmother, who passed away at the age of 100 on Saturday afternoon. Her passing is bittersweet and while we are all sad, we know she's partying in heaven with her husband and daughter. I'm extraordinarily thankful to have had her in my life for the past 27 years, something most people my age don't get the fortune of having, and will always be honored to carry on her name as my middle name (and probably the middle name of one of my far-off-in-the-future daughter). I'm also very thankful for having been able to celebrate her 100th birthday with her, just over a month ago. She always had wise advice and a witty story ready at any given time. My favorite piece of advice? Not long after I was married, she told me to "be sure and hug my husband goodbye every morning and kiss him goodnight every evening" - advice I always think of often when we head off to work in the morning! You'll be missed Grandma Frances, but we know you're looking down on us, probably with a pot meatballs and homemade tomato sauce bubbling along side :)

We spent Thanksgiving in the Big Apple, with some of my extended family. It was really fun to be in the city during the holidays and to see some family who I haven't seen in 10+ years. I promise a separate blog post full of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons, midnight pretzels and kabobs, Broadway show antics and some hanging around in Chelsea. (One of) the highlights of the trip? Not having to sit in traffic on I-95 or deal with the airport - we took the train! Again, I argue, the greatest form of transportation known to man (with maybe the exception of the blimp... or the Segway). Stress-free, relaxing, quiet and no strip security searches.

Can you believe Christmas is in four weeks? I mean, seriously? What happened to 2009? It really defies logic. However, I'm happy that I can now embrace the Christmas season, since Thanksgiving is over. I don't believe in this whole "start celebrating Christmas before Halloween thing." I even boycotted Starbucks for about a month, due to the early roll out of their holiday cups. But that boycott ended on Friday, I'm happy to report :)

Babies. Lots of them. Everywhere. A coworker of mine gave birth to twins on Friday. One of my cousins gave birth to her second on Sunday. Another cousin is 16 weeks pregnant. Another coworker is due in the spring with twins. Another coworker comes back Wednesday from her maternity leave. Every day, another friend pops up on Facebook announcing the bun in the oven. And yet the only internal clock I hear ticking is the one that tells me it's time to go on another trip :)

My ten year high school reunion has been officially scheduled for July 31, 2010. This makes me feel incredibly old. Who knows if I'll actually go. I think it largely depends on who else goes. So far those expressing excitement about the event in our Facebook group aren't exactly the core group I would drag my husband to Tampa to see. Yet, it might make me feel better about life to go. You know, since 90% of my class is living in a studio apartment, still in Tampa, still trying to get their undergrad degree... I'm just sayin'.

See? I told you it would be random ramblings! Happy last day of November everyone!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Five for Friday

1. I'm bad. I blogged so much last week and then this week? Nodda. I think my New Year's resolution will be to be a better blogger (how many "b" words can you fit in one sentence? seriously.)

2. Holiday commercials have started already. This makes me want to puke, as I am distinctly anti-Christina until after Thanksgiving. Preferably not until the first week of December. But then I saw this Walmart commercial the other day, my heart melted and the tears started. I am a sucker for anything military, thanks to my brother who is serving overseas, and this one is just perfect.

3. Speaking of military, Wednesday was Veterans Day. SO a big shout out, and a big THANK YOU, to all our nation's military, both active duty and veterans. You give up so much to make us free. Special shout outs to my brother, whose serving in the Air Force in South Korea, and my grandfather, who served in Korea.

4. Last week's "five for Friday" was fun, with the Muppets, wasn't it? Since this week we honored Veterans, thought I'd share this clip, which was floating around Facebook and my office this week and I think is absolutely hilarious.

5. The weather here is horrid. Horrid. Nor'easter my friends. But instead of snow we have rain. And wind. And 45 degree high temperatures. For four days straight now. Super.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Five for Friday

1. My heart goes out to those affected by the shootings that happened yesterday at Ft. Hood. It's unfortunate that things like this happen anywhere in America, let alone on one of the nation's largest military bases. It is a reminder of the constant stress and danger that America's brave men and women in uniform face on a daily basis, both at home and abroad. As we come up on Veterans Day next week, my mind turns to the sacrifice that they and their families make on a daily basis, and especially to David, who continues to serve in the Air Force in South Korea. A special thank you today, and every day, to all the men and women who serve our nation.

2. On a lighter note, my Dad comes to visit this weekend for a short trip. It's always good to see him and I am especially excited for this trip when he plans on using his excellent decorating skills to help us hang our ridiculous amounts of art in our house! I promise to post pictures soon, as soon as we get the place decorated.

3. Have you seen the cuteness that has been going on over at the last few days? First of all, I love that they decorate the word "Google" on their homepage to fit a theme of the day. I think my dream job is to be the person who gets to pick out the theme and design for the day. Anyway, the last few days, they have been posting ridiculous cute Sesame Street characters - Big Bird was earlier in the week, Cookie Monster yesterday, Bert and Ernie today. This celebrates the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street, which is coming up soon, and also to celebrate the first few seasons being released on DVD. Hmmm... I think I just added something to my Christmas list?

4. All this Sesame Street got us talking in the office the other day about shows that were great when we were kids and how today's kids just don't get anything nearly as good, especially when it comes to Saturday morning cartoons! I still have a soft spot in my heart for ThunderCats, Fraggle Rock, the Muppet Show, Punky Brewster and, of course, the original Looney Tunes (those links to the YouTube videos of the show intros. You may now sing along in your office.). Luckily, for those of us who are a bit nostalgic, many of these things are now found in DVD box sets. Hmmm... my Christmas list is just getting longer. Fraggle Rock marathon, anyone?

5. I noticed while I was walking to work today that the CVS by my office has Santa's in the window. Seeing as how it's the first week of November, am I wrong in thinking it's a bit early for that sort of thing? This may make me hypocritical, since I shared on Tuesday that I had ordered our Christmas cards. I think ordering and being prepared and actually decorating are two totally different things though, don't you?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Autumn leaves

It would come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I love fall. I love everything about fall - the leaves, the pumpkin-flavored everything, the crisp cool days, the sweaters - everything. It is one of the things I missed most when I lived in Florida, and I think most Floridians who have lived elsewhere would tell you the same thing.

So imagine my delight when we dropped out of the clouds as our plane was landing in Seattle and there were beautiful, rolling hills of multi-colored leaves as far as the eye can see. I believe I actually squeeled outloud "Look at the pretty leaves!" (I'm sure to the amusement of those sitting around me). I tried not to be too obsessive about taking pictures of trees and leaves while we were walking around, but honestly, it was hard.

the whole side of this building was covered in leaves!
aren't the reflections in the water of Lake Union beautiful?
ferry-ing into Bainbridge Island
the glass archways of Pioneer Square were covered in fallen leaves

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I have never seen a city more in love with their signs, especially neon signs, than Seattle. All the neon almost gave things an "old fashioned" feel, especially at night when they could practically do away with street lights and just have the reds, greens, blues and oranges of their signs light the streets. You hardly see any neon signs in D.C.... and being in Seattle made me realize that I kind of miss that!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Pike Place Market

While in Seattle, we stayed at a charming hotel, located less than one block from Pike Place Market (definitely more on this great hotel in another post!) I absolutely loved the Market itself, and it's surrounding neighborhood. All the produce, flower and seafood vendors provided tons of colorful photographs and what is there not to love about a place where you can have breakfast sitting on the same stool that Tom Hanks sat on in Sleepless in Seattle?!

Some colorful photos from the Market to share:

Ten for Tuesday

(since I didn't do my five for Friday last Friday, I figured I better make up for it!)

1. I ordered our Christmas cards today. How the heck is it only a month and a half until Christmas?!

2. Last weekend was super fun. My friend Mark was in town. We've been friends since 7th grade, which means there's lots of history to go over when we get together (he lives in Florida, so that's less often that I would like). There's also lots of giggles. And teasing. And laughter. And love. He just left Sunday and I miss him already. Sometimes I wish this country of ours wasn't so darn big!

3. Mark and I have this sort of tradition where we play Trivial Pursuit (the Millennium Edition, purchased in 1999, though... we attempted the Genus Edition once and gave up after about five minutes because neither one of us had a clue about any of the answers). Mark swears that I have never won Trivial Pursuit, that he has beaten me three times in a row. I think this is debatable, but I'll let him continue to make up these lies. Anyway, he beat me three times in a row... until last Saturday night. When I had a come from behind win to beat him and Brad. Victory, the sweet smell of victory my friends!

4. Halloween, while being Bradley's favorite holiday, was pretty low key at our house. We all went to dinner at one of our favorite Italian places here, came home, opened a bottle of wine, and I kicked the boys butt's in Trivial Pursuit. You know, just a normal Saturday night.

5. The weather has finally turned cooler. I think it's permanent this time (although it was 72 degrees on Saturday!). I love crisp fall air.

6. And I love fall foliage. I loved the fall foliage in Seattle so much while we were there and we're finally getting some of our own here. This made Mark especially giddy, since there is zero fall foliage in southern Florida. I think at least 50% of the pictures he took while he was here were of leaves... of course about 50% of the pictures I took in Seattle were of leaves, so who can really blame the guy?

7. Since the weather is so lovely today, Bradley and I decided to walk down to our polling place to vote this morning. If you haven't heard, we have a little election going on in Virginia today for Governor and a bunch of other statewide and statehouse seats. I was pretty undecided until I was literally standing in the polling booth this morning. Anyone who knows me, knows that's pretty unusual. But I cast my ballot, which is the most important thing. And I feel like I made an informed decision, which is almost as important as voting in the first place.

8. Mark and I played some mega tourist while he was here. We did more on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning/early afternoon than most people do in a week here. We did: the National Archives, Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian American History Museum, Washington Monument, White House (north and south sides!), Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, World War II Memorial, a tour of the Capitol, walked through Chinatown and Dupont Circle, Iwo Jima Marine Corps Memorial AND still found time to have some awesome pumpkin custard at the Dairy Godmother. Whew, I'm tired just writing it!

9. Last Friday, I was feeling extremely domestic and decided to make chocolate chip pumpkin bread from scratch. After an interesting start (including breaking open an entire cup of sugar packets until I realized we had a box of it in the cupboard), all went smoothly and I think the bread turned out great! We had some for breakfast Sunday morning, and also have been grazing on it. I brought it into work today for a meeting and everyone, including my boss, at least pretended to like it. I'm going to bake up another loaf on Thursday night in anticipation of my Dad's arrival on Friday. Since they don't have too many pumpkin-flavored items in Barbados (or really anything autumn), I'll send half the loaf back with him.

10. I was reading in a magazine yesterday about "Thanksgiving activities" (as if cooking, entertaining and cleaning weren't enough!) and one of them was to make a list of all the people you're thankful for and write them a letter telling them why you're thankful for them. I think this sounds like a neat idea and something I might try this fall. If you don't receive one, don't be offended... this good idea probably went uncompleted!