Monday, December 10, 2007

true love!

my beautiful sister and her amazing boyfriend are engaged! friday night, the evening of their 4th anniversary, he popped the question! i'm beyond excited! i couldn't ask for a better match for my sister - i mean, how lucky am i to wholeheartedly love the man she's going to marry? no one's ever supposed to be good enough for your sister, and lo and behold, he is. they have a beautiful life together already, and i can't wait to see what the future holds for them. plus, selfishly, they're two of my absolute favorite people in the world, and now i get to have them together forever, and the best brother-in-law a girl could ask for!

Friday, December 07, 2007

thanks, marian

what is WRONG with me? why don't i ever go to the library? it's the best flipping place in the world! you walk in, pick out anything and everything you like, and they let you walk out with it, for FREE. i finally went after ages and ages last night and i felt like a kid in a candy store. i got three books - THREE BOOKS! the only problem? now i have all these books waiting for me at home, tempting me, at odds with my mile-long to-do list. choices. choices must be made.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

prize winner

winning fish

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

men movies

snowflakes! this morning on my way to work, ditzy snowflakes bounced around in my path, just infrequently enough to make me search for the next, convinced the little flurry was over. nope! not over. and tomorrow they say more is on the way.

last night was date night, matchbox & a movie. we saw "no country for old men," and it was fantastic. i haven't read the cormac mccarthy story on which it's based so it was a complete surprise at every turn. and creepy as all hell. i had no idea josh brolin could act - really act - and when javier bardem appeared on screen, he looked like no one i've ever seen before, a face jarring in its new-ness, even though he's not new at all. haunting. i don't really know who/what the oscar contenders are, but if i had any say, i'd nominate them both.

the last movie we watched together was "children of men," so if you've seen it, you know it's been a very dark, violent, and spooky couple of weeks. i mean, not really - life's great! love and families and travel and almost too much food and drink, gifts and surprises and cuddles and the occasional inappropriate text message... maybe we've been seeing these disturbing movies for a bit of balance! even still, i think it's high time for my annual "elf" viewing... and i'm moving "waitress" to the top of my netflix queue!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

a public service announcement

ok. let me say first that i'm all for getting a flu shot. i've done it every year since i started my job (where we get it on-site, for free, if we want), and so far no flu, so that's good. that said, i had a particularly informative nurse this time around, so here's what she told me before the shot, in case your nurse isn't so informative:

1. the serum is thicker this year, so it's going to HURT. take four advils after your shot and stay on it.
2. don't exercise after your shot, it only makes things worse. something about your body making more antibodies or something. so take a night off from the gym.

DUDES. don't let me dissuade you from flu-shotting-it-up, but MAN. she was not lying. i was mocking everyone in my office who got it in the morning and then complained bitterly that their arms hurt. i know now the error of my ways and have eaten my words with gusto. this freaking thing HURTS. i took two advils and can barely type for the pain (ok, slight exaggeration, but only slight!). i see more advil and quantities of bourbon in my future... you know, since i can't go to the gym and all.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

a trick or a treat?

it's official... today, i got blackberried. i'm not really sure how i feel about it yet. first of all, it's going to be kind of annoying to have 2 cell phones (personal and work). second of all, there's always the, "who wants to be THAT in touch with work?" question. i love my job and my work, though, and i know i can always just ignore it, but there's a bit of a philosophical debate there even still. that said, it's pretty cool, and it'll be nice to go through my work emails on my way to work instead of wasting time doing that when i get here. plus, since i don't have internet at home, it'll be cool to be able to look up an address or directions or whatever if i need them.

and a little piece of me feels special that they think i rate one, even if i think it's a little silly.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


i've been waiting on a little extra cashflow to make a decision on a condo, and it's been put on hold... fingers crossed that it comes through! frustrating.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

home sweet home

when i have my new home, i will...
-sleep in a queen sized bed... thanks, cam!
-do jigsaw puzzles
-come up with fantastic pitches surfing wirelessly from my new laptop
-have a dv-r (thanks again)
-paint all the walls, whatever color i want
-go to antique shops and thrift stores to find furniture... modern furniture is far too oversized for whatever petite condo we choose
-really notice that my (current) roommate's the one with all the good kitchen stuff
-have fewer clothes and fewer books
-relinquish my oversized stereo system for a smaller set-up
-finally be able to get a new ipod

i'm going to add more as they come to me... what's been your favorite part of owning a home, or moving in with your loved one?

Friday, October 19, 2007

in a nutshell

i have total writer's block lately. not that what i jot here counts as writing. but anyway, here's an exercise in memory...

20 years ago I...
was nine years old. i don't remember much about it. i guess i was in fourth grade... ok it's coming back now. my hair was the shortest it's ever been, and so many people thought i was a boy i'll never ever do that again. i had a blue chambray shirt with silver studs on the pockets and a khaki skirt that i absolutely loved to wear together... i can still feel the fabric of the shirt, and how good i felt in that outfit. someone still referred to me as a boy, one day when i was wearing that outfit, and it never felt the same after that. it still makes me a little sad to think about. that, and that my grandfather died that year. i was so young i didn't really understand it. i mean, i knew what it meant, but it felt like something i reacted to in the way i felt i should. i loved him a ton, but whatever mourning i've done over his death has been a mellow missing him over the years, more than a tremendous display of emotion at the time.

10 years ago I...
was 19 years old. in college, a sophomore, naive and having the time of my life. i lived in river mill, tried my first cigarette, and dreamed of boys i didn't actually know. i also had my first boyfriend, though i have a hard time calling that since the entire thing was long-distance. i remember him with utmost fondness. we had a shared love of dental hygiene. we broke up when i was in cambridge visiting family, and i can still see him riding away on his bike. yikes. it was actually a huge year. one of my best friends went to prison - real, honest-to-god lock up, and my other grandfather died. that one was a lot harder... it wasn't a surprise, but i was so far from my family when it happened... it was strange.

Five years ago I...
entered my last year of grad school in dc. it was a very intellectual time period where i held down my dream internship and wrote my thesis. i had lots of fantastically smart friends, and graduated.

So far this year, I've...
done more than i can possibly distill. it's been the best ever, full of LOVE more than anything. friends, family, kitty, and the best boyfriend in the world. i even love my job, most of the time.

Yesterday I...
grilled top-notch steaks while cam made a flawless hollandaise to go with the asparagus.

Today I...
haven't done much, but a former crush did call me a "beautiful woman." in less than an hour, cam's picking me up so we can meet my agent and see some more condos.

Tomorrow I'll...
cook up a storm for the halloweiner! and hopefully come up with a halloween costume.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


this weekend i went on my first motorcycle ride. i am HOOKED!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

wires and waves

it's sad, but true... i just don't go to as many shows as i used to. i'm no less a fan of music, at least, and my xm has really gotten me back into it. but shows? maybe it's a function of aging and having the kind of job that i both MUST be sharp for and WANT to be sharp for. maybe it's because tickets in this fine city are so much more expensive than in athens. maybe i'm a bit jaded and tired of standing through less than stellar opening acts (and secretly mortified that i hadn't heard of them prior to arriving... when did i go from the kind of person who knows every band on the bill and actually prefers the opener to the headliner to the kind who doesn't recognize those kids up on stage?). it stresses me out a little. but last night i got off my lazy butt and saw rilo kiley with my sister. i've been a casual fan for a while, and my admiration jumped considerably with jenny lewis's rabbit fur coat. my sister loves rk, so going seemed like a decent idea. it was SO much more than that. trust me, rilo kiley puts on a hell of a show. they were incredibly tight - no wanking between songs, just the right amount of chatter, all equipment functional and tuned... and lewis is just luminous. i can't say anything about her that hasn't been said before, but i can give you this: the show we attended, courtesy of npr. it's wonderful, and it reminded me what i love about live music. thanks, rilo kiley.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


is it really only wednesday?
i've been having a really normal week, but somehow it's dragging on infinitely.
is anyone else having this problem?

rilo kiley with my sister tonight... maybe that will help! or maybe it'll just make me tired... and the week longer... bad attitude!

Monday, September 24, 2007

is it truly location, location, location?

an update: saw a ton of condos on wednesday with my lovely real estate agent. she definitely seems to 'get' me, and a lot of the places would be just fine, if not ideal. two really tickle my fancy: one in an awesome location that's very small (and i have two people and a LARGE cat to think about), another in a less-awesome location with more space. hmmmm. any thoughts? a recent first-time-homeowner friend of mine said the conventional wisdom is "whatever you buy, you can't pick it up and move it," so you better like the location. she quickly followed that with c.w. #2: you can't make more space. so, yeah. i have no idea what to do. and there's a third option: wait it out longer, see if more places pop up, and see if i have a bit more $ than i think to play with. it's possible i will. no matter what, i'm not buying anything RIGHT away, but there is a slim possibility next month will be my last paying rent. it blows my mind every time i think about it.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

on the prowl

well, it's official... i'm house-hunting. well, to be more accurate, condo-hunting. for two years or more i've been scanning listings, trying to get a grip on the local market and doing a lot of thinking about what i do and don't want. i do want to live somewhere where i can walk to the metro during the day without trepidation, and reasonably but more cautiously at night. i do want a one-bedroom... when i started the search, it was before the market dropped (or, i'd say, normalized), and a studio was the best i could hope for. fortunately, my patience seems to be paying off and now it's not out of the question that i could have a one-bedroom like a civilized person. it'd be nice to live somewhere with some sort of basic exercise room. i'd prefer a gas range. and no condo fees over $300 - that's just bananas. i don't want a place that needs a lot of work, and i don't want to live somewhere where i have to worry about leaving my car in the street.

the time finally came to stop observing and dig in when i saw a property listed that sounded perfect. it's a conversion in a great area, and though i know it'll probably sell out before i get it all together, it was the kick in the pants i needed. to that end, i've been preapproved for my loan, an unsettlingly easy process online with my credit union. and today i meet with the woman i hope will be my agent! i'm pretty pumped.

i've got an interesting and exciting variable in all of this... cam. we're going to move in together (it feels so strange to type that! it's a first for both of us.) once i've got my place. he wants to help financially, and while i'm definitely not going to buy a place i can't pay for 100% solo, it's intriguing to think about how his contributions will ease my financial situation.

and of course, much more intriguing than even that is the thought of combining our lives. we virtually live together now as nomads, crashing at his place or mine, and the thought of erasing all that commuting is like crack. i know the homebuying process is complex, frustrating, and expensive... but i feel like it's going to be worth it in the end. i can't wait to have a place of my own... and then to make it ours.

Monday, September 17, 2007

impromptu oc weekend

bests, in a random top-10 format...
1. chucking parachute men off the top of the ferris wheel
2. making out in the haunted house
3. 1.0000001, 1.0000002, and 1.000003
4. fisher's on the beach, dumser's on the boardwalk
5. reading cosmo aloud in the car on the way home
6. AAA discount on the last hotel room in the world
7. team whac-a-mole, peter's the prize
8. speed skee ball to procure the aforementioned parachute men
9. bike week: a bazillion motorcycles to ogle and matching his-and-hers black&orange outfits, turquoise fringe, and that psychedelic skull shirt
10. the irish band, getting called-out for drinking boh, and the last-song dedication of "fairytale of new york," though i may have been half-asleep.

and the bottom of the barrel (but i'd do it all again)...
47. the trip home on the drunk bus (but i was protected)
48. the traffic on the way home (but i had entertainment)
49. the constant roar of harleys (but they sure were pretty)
50. the "cuisine" (there MUST be a good seafood place in OC!).

all in all, a fantastic weekend, capped off with fresh eastern shore produce and salmon for dinner in front of a dismal chargers game and an incredible windows-open night of sleep.

one observation this morning... women with long pedicured toenails always make me pause. do they sleep alone? do they have king size beds with a line drawn in the middle? there are few things i dislike more than accidentally scratching or being scratched with a toenail, it gives me the shivers.

Friday, September 14, 2007

she lives in dreams

this morning i was looking at my cat, laying on the floor per usual. he's absolutely enormous - if you don't know winston, he's 16lbs of long, lean cat... which is HUGE. so huge that his vets (he has a couple he's seen recently for 1-year checkups) both exclaimed "oh my gosh, he's huge!" one had read his weight on his chart before actually seeing him, and she was like, "i expected this big fat cat, but he's not fat at all, he's just huge!" so yeah, winston's a monster. he's also the sweetest feline ever on 4 paws, but i digress.

anyway, this morning i was looking at him lounging, he never sits curled up or in a loaf, it's always an all-out sprawl. and it suddenly occurred to me how everyone always takes pictures of their babies on the floor next to their cats, and how when i have a baby someday it's going to be hilarious (ok, maybe not everyone takes those pictures, but i know there's one of me stretched out in front of the fire after a bath, our siamese suki next to me). so cam comes in from his shower and i'm just standing there laughing, and i tell him, "you know how people always take pictures of their babies and their cats on the floor? i hope win's still around when i have one, because that kid's going to be a toddler before he's bigger than winston!" cam just looked at me bemusedly and was like, this is what you're thinking about...? he laughs and counters with, "just picture our baby laid out beside our great dane!" so i guess we're getting a great dane, too. and then he said, well actually, maybe our baby won't be a shrimp, because babies in my family are BIG. he's talking like 10lbs big. yikes! babe, how do you feel about adoption?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

sad hangover

i have a sad hangover today. i had a long, difficult (but very good) conversation till late last night, then got zero sleep thanks to JB, the cat from hell (tho i love him so). then a dumb lady made me cry on the bus this morning - normally i'd have been fine, but after the aforementioned events, i was pretty fragile. work's been fine, and then cam called just to see how i was feeling and to tell that if the forecast is good, he's riding over to my place on the motorcycle tonight. now that's a thought to cheer me up! still sad hungover, but there's a break in the clouds.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

pretty mama

i have really got to do something about my ipod situation. my ol'workhorse, the 40gb 3rd generation (first with the click wheel!), has died. its battery has become increasingly unreliable (i can't really complain - i've had it since 2001 or 2002) and i feel like purchasing a new battery is just asking for it to fall ill with another ailment. my nano, which is not yet 2 years old, is on the fritz. i've always used it as my workout ipod (as opposed to my regular one, which was my commuting ipod... i know, the excess is... excessive), and one time i stuck it in my sports bra because i forgot my armband... i think the subsequent sweat may have jammed up the works. now, even after a full reset, i can only toggle forward unless i put it back on the charger. that means that i can't play it and use the timer to time my workouts at the same time, and that if i skip the "shuffle" screen, i have to just listen to all my songs in alphabetical order. it's annoying. i've carried it on some recent commutes, but mostly skip it. in the last couple of weeks, however, i've learned that commuting without an ipod isn't just annoying, it's infuriating... when i'm plugged in, i can't hear the lewd and "appreciative" remarks made by men i pass on the street. it's something pretty much all women have to deal with, and when i'm listening to my ipod i usually don't hear it, and if i do, it's easy to ignore because there's no way romeo knows if i heard it or not. and believe me, i do NOT need to hear "sexy" hissed at me as i pass you in the metro station, or "mmm look at that ass" when i walk by the bus stop. i really don't.*

*there are occasional exceptions, when the comments are original or humorous. my favorite? once i was walking past the dc public library and a guy there yelled up from his camp, "hey miss! nice legs!" and it had me laughing for the rest of the night.

Monday, August 20, 2007

hot coffee

man! this weekend was one of those that just didn't seem long enough, even though it had a little something for everyone. friday night was quiet... a trip to the gym, and a fantastic batch of homemade red sauce, if i do say so. i froze most of it, so we'll see how i feel about it in time. saturday was absolutely gorgeous, though i slept till 11 so i didn't quite maximize it! but i ran, and then went to the nats/mets game that night, thanks to squidpants. it ruled - front row seats! when all the presidents ran by, TJ gave me a high five. now that's living. the game ended just in time for me to meet cam at the airport, just in at midnight from south bend. finally! sunday we had a big breakfast, then parted ways because i had a date with psmee for an urban hike! she and her love have a strong commitment to walking the city, and i adored taking part this weekend. we walked from eastern market to dupont circle, where we stopped for beers and greek food at zorba's, then all the way back to metro center where we hopped a train home. it was so much fun - the best possible quality time with a dear friend, and one of the best things about her is how she's so enthusiastic about her love for this city. it's infectious, and it makes me feel good about living here. it's a special time indeed. i returned home exhausted but happy, did a bunch of satisfying chores (these days, a to-do list is no match for me!), then grilled steaks, baked potatoes, and sauteed asparagus for cam&i for dinner. i make a mean steak, thanks to my mom. 5 minutes on a side, and set the timer - that's the secret!

and today is cool and rainy, a hot coffee day for the first time in months. cheers to that!

Friday, August 17, 2007

love is all around

ok, so the first round of the bad was pretty bad. even though cam was gone for 9 days instead of 10, i hit a low low spot around day 5. i love being alone, but this time, i was too alone. my best dc friend was out of town, my awesome roommate was out of town, and i just felt lonelier than patsy cline. after a fantastic phone date with cam i realized hey! i have the resources to fix this situation! and just a few hours later, my weekend was PACKED. friday after work i headed home to visit my bff, her hubby, and little evan, then dashed to my sister's and then to dinner downtown with her, her bf, and some other friends. we had two rounds of tapas at kyma, two bottles of wine, and more than two hours of good conversation. the funniest part came toward the end... i headed down the street to the atm to get a bit more cash for my share of the bill. the line took forever, and when i finally slipped my card into the slot, the brightest light shone straight on me from the street. what?! i shielded my eyes and checked it out - it was a cop car shining its spot on me. huh? i sort of glared and turned back to the atm. next, "ma'am: you there, at the atm, are you alright" boomed over the cop's pa. duh, of course i am. so i shot another glare over my shoulder and went back to the machine. again, "are you ok at the atm?" next thing i hear is my sister laughing, and i look over once more just in time to see her tumbling out of the backseat of the squad car - our friend, one of annapolis' finest, had picked her up as she trailed me to the atm to make sure i was ok (since i was taking so long). hilarious!

the next day was a doozy too - up early and over to newlywed ernie's new condo to hang out with her and her husband, over to mom's to say hello, then home for about 4 hours and off to a pig roast in brookland. it was fantastic - hosted by the parents of a former intern of ours who graduated from american this summer. they're latino, puerto rican and salvadoran, and man did they throw a feast! the pig was roasted slowly in a large box with coals on top, and accompanied by potato salad, spicy rice, and tons of beer. we dined under a large tent set up in the driveway at tables adorned with vases of flowers, and as soon as the sun set a variety of instruments emerged from the house, and soon thereafter the music began. it was so warm and inviting and fun, i had a hard time leaving.

sunday was another round of the good - more tubing! a different crew this time, and less drunken, but no less fun. and monday i dashed out of work and picked cam up and all was right in the world. he's gone again now, for a day or maybe two... the unpredictability is frustrating, but it's so important and his employer values him so highly that i know we'll make it work. and i'm so proud of him.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

the good, the bad, and the ugly

the good:
tubing! on saturday my birthday week continues with tubing at gunpowder falls state park with 10 of my favorite people! we found a rad place that lets you drink beer and float for 2 1/2 hours... the water will be ice-cold, but we have deluxe tubes and we will OWN that river.
the bad:
cam's new job starts sunday night... it's a great job, and i'm so proud of him for being such a superstar at work that they've essentially created a position for him, and it's what he's always wanted to do. the bad part is that he'll be on the road for 10 days at a time, then home for 5. i don't think i need to say any more about why that sucks, but i will say that we have a plan and i think we'll be a-ok... it's just a big adjustment.
the ugly:
i am FAT. fat fat fat. i don't quite have to buy new clothes or anything, but everything's riding a little high as the waistband tries to find a thinner place to rest... and fails... and then rolls/wrinkles a bit. it BLOWS. but i guess the good thing about cam's new job is that it'll mean i can get back to my exercise/eating routine, which keeps me very happily in shape. it'll be tough to get back to where i was, physically, but i'll have the time to do it now.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

happy birthday!

cam: "you know how that belt on your car's been squeaking? i can take it in to work today, i should have time to take a look at it..."
emma: "you really want to do that? i mean, that would be great - sure!"
cam: "no problem."

12 hours later, he picks me up at the metro station after work...

cam: "so, do you hear anything?"
emma: "nope! you fixed it! thanks! what was wrong with it?"
cam: "there wasn't anything really wrong with it, i checked everything out... atmospheric conditions... air conditioning... i fixed it by rubbing some dish soap on it."
emma: "that is so cool! thanks!"
cam: "ummm... that's not the only thing i did to your car..."
emma: "huh?"
cam: "yeah... check it out!"

dudes, he totally got me XM for my birthday and installed it in my car. it is SO pretty and fancy and it looks sooooo nice - he wired everything so that it looks like it's always been that way, and today we should be able to activate it and i should be in business! best. boyfriend. EVER.


Stolen from jbd's blog...


1. Where is your cell phone? desk

2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend? work.

3. Your hair? damp.

4. Work? distracted.

5. Your father? swimming.

6. Your favorite thing? friends.

7. Your dream last night? rats.

8. Your favorite drink? water.

9. Your dream car? scratch.

10. The room you're in? humming.

11. Your pet? enormous.

12. Your fears? dulled.

13. What do you want to be in 10 years? mom.

14. Where did you hang out last night? bars.

15. What you're not good at? criticism.

16. Eyebrow rings on the opposite sex? ew.

17. One of your wish list items? received.

18. Where you grew up? harbor.

19. The last thing you did? coffee.

20. What are you wearing? stripes.

21. What aren't you wearing? pants.

22. Your computer? overloaded.

23. Your life? exquisite.

24. Your mood? mellow.

25. Missing? kahlil.

26. What are you thinking about right now? future.

27. Your car? garaged.

28. Your work? manageable.

29. Your summer? unbelievable.

30. Your relationship status? loved.

31. Your favorite color? green.

32. When is the last time you laughed? bed.

33. Last time you cried? past.

34. School? completed.

Monday, July 30, 2007


ever since i returned from vacation (flickr photos soon, i promise!), i've been having the best time hanging out with friends i missed while i was gone. the past two weekends have been standout - last weekend i had psmee and her lovely love over for dinner, and it was one of those evenings that isn't special because of some amazing meal, or delicious gossip, or the announcement of good news (though there was some of that!)... it was just special for the intimate feel, the relaxing pace, and the quality guests. the meal was good, all thanks to TJ's - a variety of olives, followed by marinated pork loin on the grill, new potatoes with butter and parsley, salad in a bag with gorgonzola, spinach, and cranberries - but not at all difficult, and easy to make while chatting. it was just one of those nights that leaves you loving your friends even more than before.

this weekend was a total lovefest too, from start to finish. ernie got married, and all our high school friends made up the bridal party. friday night was the rehearsal dinner, a classy dress-up affair with mouthwatering food (i had rockfish over crab risotto, with lumps of crab... gorgeous) that made me wish my dress wasn't so tight. it was so fun to hang out with my girls, all dressed up - haven't done that since prom! - and meet their boyfriends, and see them all meeting one another. saturday was wedding day, which started with manicures and BLT's with my sister and her bf (well, just the BLT for him), followed by helping ernie into her wedding dress (an inexplicably joyful thing that made me almost hyper with anticipation), and then witnessing she and her betrothed exchanging vows. the reception was a ball of dancing and drinking and laughing and love. and sunday may have been the best day of all. after cam brought us all breakfast, my sister, her bf, cam, and i went to my best friend's house to visit her, her husband, and little evan. being a part of this family and this little guy's life is the most special thing, and he's so round and beautiful right now i never wanted to put him down. then the four of us had lunch and were joined for fishing and a swim by five more wonderful friends - quite a group! sister's bf launched plans to surprise the newly-27 twins with a birthday party, so he and my sister and i snuck around preparing tacos and cupcakes for everyone. it defies description... these are the events as they transpired, but i'm not nearly elegant enough a writer to get at the feeling, the warm, relaxed mood that pervaded the day. it was perfect.

Monday, June 25, 2007

vive la france!

last night was a celebration of the highest order: my sister, her boyfriend, his mom, cam, and i gathered at my parents' house to cook them dinner as a thank-you for our upcoming trip to france (full credit to cam for proposing the event). it was a party from the get-go: my dad had a cooler of beer and a bowl of homemade guac on the deck for us when we arrived and the celebration was underway. the dinner was a total collaboration - wine and beer and apps from mom and dad, i roasted zucchini, sister made a salad, her bf made lime roasted potatoes, cam grilled swordfish, and sister's bf's mom assembled the most amazing confection i have ever eaten... a cake decorated like the french flag, four layers of meringue and ground almonds with grand marnier infused custard between them, iced all over in homemade whipped cream, blueberries and raspberries in every layer and all over the top... served with veuve clicquot. 4 hours flew by in a flurry of jokes, anecdotes, and comradery. my favorite part, however, may have been the very end, when we divvied leftovers between my sister, her bf, and myself - delicious doggy bags for workday lunches today. i have leftover salad, topped with the roasted zucchini and a wedge of the swordfish... and so much cake for dessert that i had to send out an S.O.S. to my colleagues lest i attempt to finish it myself. eating my lunch was like a little piece of the warmth of last night here at my desk. i can't wait for the trip!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

a party in my mouth

note to self: eating pop rocks at your desk at work is not a great idea. they stick to everything, including your face, the front of your shirt, and your clothes.

Friday, June 15, 2007

5 of the 7 deadly sins

recipe for a mind-blowing weeknight:
1 4-pack piraat beer
5 eggs from grandma's farm
1 onion
baby broccoli
fresh basil
fresh spinach
goat cheese
fresh parmesan
toasted tuscan bread
herbed goat cheese

put recently-procured piraat in the freezer, then have a cheap beer with cam while you wait. listen to boxer, pour piraats. drink piraats and crack second round, then realize one should start cooking before downing second piraat, as they have 10.5% alcohol and cooking requires both knives and fire. chop and sautee the onion, then add broccoli, basil, spinach, and prosciutto. top with scrambled eggs. allow to set for a bit, then top with more goat cheese than seems prudent. toast bread and cut into thirds. pull pan off stovetop and put it under broiler for about 45 seconds. spread herbed goat cheese on toasts. slip frittata onto a plate, sit on the couch and share it on toasts along with the remaining piraat. loudly proclaim one another's culinary genius. then pull the blinds.

pink light

i have so little to say these days, and the only explanation for it that i can come up with is that i'm just too dang happy, and happy translates to boring, on paper anyway. i recently had an email exchange with psmee that gets to some of what's going on that's left me wordless. i mentioned, sort of off-handedly, that i'd stopped missing my loneliness and subsequently launched into this manic phase that continues today. she responded,
that's an interesting concept- you've stopped missing your lonliness. it's almost like you had so much time to be a single girl that lonliness was your "thing," your M.O., in a way.

to which i replied,
yeah, my loneliness was kind of my partner for so long - you put it well when you say that it was my "thing" - i owned it really well and was comfortable with it, so much so that when it was gone, it felt like losing a friend. it was a place i could always go in my head, and it was something i drew strength from. weird, but true. so i mourned the loss of it for quite some time.

i want to clarify, my loneliness was rarely something that got me down - VERY rarely. most of the time it fortified me, kicked me in the pants to attend this event where i wouldn't know many people, go out with that new friend even though i didn't really know what to say to her, and, in quieter times, write things and get all introspective. it's no secret that pain inspires art, and while NOTHING i have produced would be considered art, it's true for me too.
it's nice, though - now i've stopped mourning and get to more fully enjoy the fantastic things going on all over - the marriage of ernie, lots of quality time with my sister, my satisfying job, my fabulous cat, the beach with sara, the upcoming trip to france with my whole family AND my cam. i'm incredibly lucky, and at long last i can finally revel in it, and appreciate it fully.

Friday, June 08, 2007

look out!

it's bachelorette party weekend! more later... just in case the bachelorette's reading this!

the manatee has become the mento

i'm going to eat your family!

Friday, June 01, 2007

vacation, all i ever wanted

last week's sojourn in tortola was both the most and least remarkable vacation i've ever been on. least remarkable because it was just that - when people come up to me and ask me "how was your vacation? what did you do?" the answer is very simple: it was amazing - i laid on a beach with a book and a pina colada every day... not much to tell! but most remarkable in that it's the first time in my life i've ever done just that, and only that, for an entire week. and let me tell you, it's well worth it. my mental state is vastly different than it was when i left. when i left, i was feeling dull around the edges - happy about happy things and sad about sad ones, but everything had lost its luster, and my job irritated me more than usual, and my road rage was more than was warranted (or healthy), and my physical health, or lack thereof, was a constant worry.

now, though nothing's actually changed, i like my job again, i shrug off the mcdonald's semi riding my ass for mile after mile on 395, and though i'm still not healthy, i'm handling it better. and the happy things? the happy things are that much happier. the thrill that you get in your chest, that happy bubbling when you're thinking about something good, or anticipating something exciting, has returned just when i was sure it never could. that, more than anything, was the best thing about my vacation.

Friday, May 18, 2007

on this day, six months ago

on this day six months ago i was slightly hungover. but i rose early, put on my green dress, and the brown flats i hated already, and you came to my door to pick me up. you were in a grey suit, borrowed, and looked more real than i was ready for. i put on my red coat and big sunglasses and got in your car. we stopped at 7-11 for coffee, and i liked that you did not take yours black.

sitting side-by-side waiting for the ceremony to begin we talked fairly easily, but i felt like i should have more to say. i was concentrating on staying in my chair.

during the reception, i hid out in a dark parlor catching up with a girlfriend. it was easier and i didn't have to think about the shoes i hated.

at the end of the day, we climbed the twisty staircase to the pool room. you stopped on the step ahead of me, turned, pulled me to you and kissed me. it was my favorite part of the day.

Monday, May 14, 2007

the best song you'll hear today

get monday started right! full of hope.
feist's i feel it all

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

welcome to the world, evan!

the last 24 hours have been absolutely incredible (i overuse the word absolutely, but i think i mean it every time... i'll have to go back and check. but i digress.). so right after the show yesterday i tore out of here and made my way to the hospital. i arrived just after baby evan was born - no one even knew his name yet! - and the nurse sent me up to G's room. i couldn't believe i was supposed to just go in - shouldn't i wait in a waiting area of some sort? but i've never done this before, and about four people told me to go right in, so after a nurse came out i sort of pushed the door open and peeped in. G's husband, M, saw me and gave me the "timeout" sign, so i just backed right out again. he came out a few minutes later - G had been given some oxygen and it had been a tense couple minutes in there - and let me know she was ok, evan was here and perfect and all was well. what a relief! we went down to the waiting area together (a-ha! i knew there must be one! but you don't walk by it to get to the rooms, so i never saw it) and he got to break the news to the gathered family. a couple hours later i got to see momma and baby myself, and it was staggering. my best friend, a mother, gave birth, produced this tiny little perfect person. i even held him for a while, sitting down because i was too nervous to hold him and stand. G and M were both pooped, but happy. i didn't stay long, but promised to return with breakfast in the morning.

this morning was great - no oaf walking into the wrong place at the wrong time! i picked up my sister and we stopped for bagel sandwiches, juice, and a biiiiig coffee for new daddy M. everyone was a lot more awake this morning, especially evan, who was looking around, responding to sounds and voices, stretching (while swaddled like a burrito - but you could feel him stretching his spine and legs), gurgling, and even sneezing (which i got on video - ADORABLE). this time i held him at length, standing, sitting, rocking, and even handed him off to the nurse and to G without freaking out. i WILL get better at it... i have to, i'm an aunt!

i love that little guy so much already... can't wait to see him again!

baby boy!

welcome to the world, EVAN MICHAEL! 8lbs, 8oz, 20.8" of perfection.

more later.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

baby love

aaaah!!!! my best friend in the world - i've known her since i was three - is in labor right now! i want to be there so badly... she called at 6am, with contractions still a long ways apart but getting more serious, and this is the one day i'm absolutely essential at work, so i can't leave till 4pm. nuts!!! i'm so excited i can barely sit still.

i met G in the summer of 1981. my family had just moved to a brand-new community, where the houses on our court were still being built as we settled into our little rancher. i spent time with my mom and baby sister, i guess, during the day, and went on adventures with my dad on weekends and in the evening, tramping around the woods, picking wild berries, and keeping tabs on the construction around us. then, one magical day, a car pulled up in front of the house across the street, and a little girl got out. i, apparently, pointed excitedly and squealed, "oh, a girl! and she looks my age!" and then i ran across the street, in the most socially-bold move of my life, and introduced myself. we became friends immediately - it's so easy when you're 3! - and have never had more than a "i'm not walking to school with you tomorrow!" gradeschool tiff. i love her like a sister, and, indeed, my dad calls her "#3," short for daughter number three. she has the kindest nature, the most infectious, spontaneous laugh, a near-obsessive respect for organization, and a wonderful husband. i just cannot wait to meet their brand new little boy!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

a fish tale

oh man! a couple weeks ago i went on my very first charter boat fishing trip, and it RULED. i was a little worried about committing to the trip - it was expensive, and i had no idea if i'd get seasick. but it was awesome.

we left out of deal island, maryland on the kingfish II with captain harry at 5 o'clock on sunday morning. it was still dark out, with barely a crack of light on the horizon.

while we motored out to the good fishing spots, the mate got busy setting up all the trolling lines.

apparently, rockfish like bait in shades of white and chartreuse.

lisa was first up, and she hooked a monster.

the boys were ready with the net.

you measure it on this to be sure. yup, it's a keeper!

when i was up, i got a biggie too. biggest fish i've ever caught, that's for sure!

even after 11 hours out, i was sad to say goodbye to the boat.

i was happy to eat my fish after capt. harry filleted it, though!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

we are all hokies

all week long i've been struggling, trying to figure out what to say about the massacre at virginia tech. i've finally realized that for me, what it comes down to is another near-miss story, much like my september 11 experience.

one of my very best friends - we'll call her ernie - is a student at tech. this university and this friend are forever linked for me. from the moment she decided to go to blacksburg for undergrad, she has been as committed a hokie as one can ever hope to find. when i visited her there it took no time for me to realize why she loved the place so much - i've never met nicer people (including my first boyfriend) anywhere, and the campus is sprawling and majestic... the scale makes it feel, in spite of hurrying and harried students everywhere, like you've got all the time in the world to meander across the drill field and among the buildings. i remember a duck pond a notoriously naked friend of hers jumped in, bowling in the student center, drinking coffee in town, and toasting her 21st at local haunt sharky's.

after a hiatus in the real world, ernie recently returned to school at va tech, and it turns out she was supposed to be sitting down for a class on the second floor of norris hall when the rampage began. luck of luck, a professor she was visiting for something else asked her what the heck she was doing on campus, after knowing about the first two shootings, and said, "i wouldn't be here if i didn't have to be - you should go home." so she did... though skipping class is definitely not her style. and she is unharmed, well, physically anyway. her good friend and lab partner was not so lucky, though thankfully we have just learned this afternoon that she is alive, in serious condition in a hospital in roanoke after withstanding (a shot? shots?) to the abdomen. another friend arrived at norris just after the shooting began - got off the bus, saw students jumping from second-story windows, and turned right around and got back on that bus.

i am so profoundly grateful that ernie is alive and in one piece. she's headed home to annapolis as i type, and i'm taking the day off friday to spend with her, doing whatever she wants to do. i'm so lucky to have that opportunity.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

DC vacation

a good friend of mine went out of town this week and asked me to housesit for her at her gorgeous place in dupont circle. i greeted this invitation with glee - her condo is in an incredibly desirable neighborhood, and her home itself is stunning - high ceilings, hardwood floors, beautiful kitchen, two bedrooms and full baths... including a shower for two... so, basically, in return for taking care of her adorable kitty, i got to pretend i was a lucky girl living in the city for a couple days. so sunday evening i parked my car in her spot behind the building and gave myself over to the life, however briefly.

i wasn't feeling so hot that night, but once cam arrived he easily talked me into walking around the neighborhood in search of dinner. we ended up at one of my favorite spots, thai chef, and ordered up a tablefull of food - miso soup, salad with ginger dressing, and sushi for me, green curry for cam. between the warm weather and good food and perfect company, i started to feel a bit better. we wandered home and curled up on the couch for an episode of entourage - special, since i don't have hbo! the next morning i got to walk to work (instead of my usual walk to bus stop - bus to train - train to work trip), an incredible treat, and i arrived at work refreshed and sunny, rather than harried and commute-beaten. walking home from work was equally pleasant, and when i got "home" i cracked open a beer and awaited cam's arrival. he's been dying to take me out for ethiopian food, a cuisine i have shunned after 2 less-than-delicious outings, and that night i relented. after a quick stop at the hardware store to pick up a hostess gift of sorts (a lightbulb for my friend's refrigerator, which had gone dark), we walked over to dukem on u street and it was magical. i truly felt like we were on vacation in an exotic locale - not africa, necessarily, just anywhere that isn't here, that isn't the states. the food was delicious, there was a live band and dancers, the waitstaff all wore gauzy white dresses, and i didn't ever want to leave.

packing up the next morning was tough... hopefully we left the place as good or better than we found it, and will be invited back!

Friday, March 23, 2007

more than anyone ever

man. sometimes i like to say "i can't cook," but that's sort of a lie. it's more complicated than that - i really enjoy cooking, but it's a pain in the butt for one person, and i so often put work and working out ahead of making a meal from scratch. it's just so much easier to boil some pasta or throw a salad together. the other reason i say it is that i don't like to, as a smart person once put it, "show stuff." i don't like to show stuff means i get shy about things like singing in public, playing sports, and cooking. anything that i could flop at i get nervous about. i know a certain level of performance anxiety is normal - it, hopefully, keeps us from doing things we really ought not do (like trying out for american idol, or hosting a dinner party for 12 on a weeknight). but mine's a bit more acute like that, to the point that i haven't really cooked for cam, and i told him i can't really cook. i mean, he's had a couple meals i've made, but one was a "stoup" i've made before and was totally confident about, and another time i just steamed shrimp and served it with fresh veggies. no rocket science there. plus, he cooks so well and easily that i haven't really needed to step up my game.

something changed, though, and i finally felt like i wanted to show my ability, and felt creative for the first time in a while. so last night i made stuffed pork chops (haha! just kidding! they were from trader joe's!), and two veggies that took some doing, even if they were simple. i made roasted sweet potatoes from psmee's bon appetit and snow pea linguini from this week's washington post food section. they were both simple, but foreign, and somehow i managed to get it all together and bring it all to the table hot. the potatoes were an absolute dream - roasted in a reduction of balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and butter, then given a once over of fresh pepper. they literally melted in my mouth. the snow peas were fresh and so springy, with a crunch and a tang from the parmesan that set the sweet potatoes off perfectly. i really felt capable and creative and, well, proud.

so i guess my cover's blown. it was worth it!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


my roommate got sweet tickets to the caps game last night - she's a high school teacher, and the owner visited her school and left them with 2500 lower-level seats. she snagged a pair, so she met me at work, we parked the jeep, and headed down to the verizon center... to discover, much to our mutual dismay, that said tickets were nowhere to be found. we retraced our steps to no avail, and in a last-ditch effort, headed to will call, just in case some good soul had turned them in. alas, no. we pretty much thought the night was a bust, since the tickets weren't in her name, or anyone's, but the will call woman sent us to another window to talk to a guy pounding away at a laptop. he listened to our story, told us to hang on a sec, and produced two new tickets to (different) sweet seats. just like that. charmed!

the other best part of the night was a video they showed during a timeout of the caps' mascot, slapshot, taking on the exorcist steps in a jackass parody. it was called something funny (somehow jack shot and slap ass don't sound right, but it was something like that), complete with imitative logo, and featured slapshot sledding down the exorcist steps. it was hilarious.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


president's day weekend was one of the best times of my life.

i realize what a huge statement that is, but it's absolutely true. maybe there are better times to come, and there have been comparable times gone by, but i feel confident this one will stand firm in the timeline of my personal history. i mean, what could be better than this?

cam and i went to buxton in cape hatteras, on the outer banks of north carolina. we'd been planning a friday-sunday trip to a local cabin, but when that fell through, we brainstormed a plan b over duke kebabs and my trusty road atlas. we started out looking west, but since that was the direction of the cabin we still plan to visit, we entertained other options. north, in february, didn't sound appealing, so we both cast our eyes south. cam said, "what about hatteras? ever been there?" and that was all it took. hatteras is the reason i cannot live without the ocean, the place i learned to swim, the site of my earliest memories of what a vacation should be. and i haven't been there in 20 years. every spring for at least a decade after our two visits my sister and i would pester my parents to reserve "our" cottage at the beach, and every year it didn't happen, for reasons i'd probably understand now but couldn't possibly at the time. so hatteras became a treasured memory and the template for my ideal vacation, even as an adult - a cottage on the beach in a sleepy town, where the sand is steps away and the crashing waves lull me to sleep and ease me awake.
clearly, i was in, and cam too had fond memories of fishing and camping on the cape, so we consulted my AAA guide, selected some potential motels, and started talking about a longer trip. up friday night after work and back late sunday morning became taking friday off, leaving early that morning, and not returning till late monday. i told him that since he was driving, i'd take care of our lodging. after a quick call to my dad, i got all the information for the place i'd stayed as a little girl, and when the proprietor of the outer banks motel picked up the line in buxton, i hardly needed to hear the rates - i was sold. i secretly booked a cottage instead of a room, and told cam we were all set.
the entire trip felt charmed, from the call i received with good news i was already too blessed to need , to the elderly gentleman dispensing mints and kind wishes to the diners at the chick-fil-a where we lunched, to the call from a friend offering a chance to see one of my favorite bands. as we drove down the outer banks i got a little anxious, hoping the place would be like i remembered, that cam would like it. we pulled into the lot and i knew everything would be ok - it looked exactly the same, a tidy, well-maintained (if larger) group of small buildings and cottages right on the beach. we checked in and the office smelled exactly like i remembered, and when we got our keys and directions to our cottage i knew we had the best one. 107 was all the way on the end, secluded, beachfront. perfect.
everything was just like i pictured my dream vacation - the ocean a constant companion, drinks on the porch under the stars, dolphins and pelicans always in view, sunrises over sparkly waves, sand underfoot, seafood dinners and warm coffee and swedish fish. and the best part: cam, whose idea of a perfect vacation so closely matched my own. it was incredibly difficult to leave (as evidenced by the splitting headache that hit cam as soon as we hit the district), and we've already made plans to return. i can't imagine it'll ever be as amazing as this first, revelatory trip, but i can't wait to find out.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

snow & dopamine

well, snow and sleet have been falling past my office window all day, reminding me of the past two snowstorms we've had so far this year.

the first started in the late morning on a sunday, big soft flakes that started slow, then came down in earnest. the draft from the french doors was almost welcome, since it gave cam and i a legitimate reason to pile like puppies while watching the bears school the cinderella saints. later we headed into the city for the second game, tires crunching on the soft bed of snow. when it looked like the colts had no chance of recovery, we walked to a bodega for some ice cream and bonded with the regulars over their dramatic about-face.

the second was altogether different - small flakes falling hard in the evening, but difficult to make out even in the streetlights. i peeked out cam's front door to assess their hardiness, but quickly shut it against the cold. by morning an inch coated roofs and roads, trees and sidewalks... everything but my car. even though cam had to leave nearly two hours before i, in the dark and ever more daunting cold, he had still cleared the snow from all my car's windows.

i am a lucky girl.

Friday, January 26, 2007

so i've been thinking about my next tattoo. i absolutely love the one i have, and i think i'm ready for another. being around them all the time just makes me love them more, since they say so much about the people who have them, and they can truly be beautiful.

the first question for me was where to get it, and i'm pretty sure my lower back/rear is the answer. NOT in the center - no offense to anyone who has one there, but the "tramp stamp" label is not one to which i aspire, and i don't want it used in reference to me. i want it on my right side.

the second question is what. naturally, it has to be timeless and personal - something that has meaning for me, but not meaning for now, if that makes sense. my most permanent interest/preference is the water - if i can't get to the ocean, there better be a bay or at least a river nearby. large bodies of water center me, and the ocean, in particular, is such a part of my makeup that it's like a finger or a kneecap - essential, non-negotiable. i feel a pressure in me that grows and grows until i'm on a beach or a dock, when a feeling of calm immediately takes over. it's weird, but it's not unique. it's just me. that's one of the reasons i chose seagulls for my wrist. obnoxious as they may be, snatching sandwiches and dropping unwelcome missives from above, their presence means i've nearly reached my destination.

so what signifies the ocean? dolphins? no thanks - completely played out. i went through my dolphin phase just like many girls, and i still love seeing them at the beach, but it's done. fish? i don't fish, and i don't swim (much) in tropical waters. and so i'm back to birds. i'm thinking a pelican - my mom loves them and they make me think of her, plus they're incredibly fun to watch. so i found two photos. the first is from the world book (so hopefully posting it here is like posting it in a report?) and the second is from a photographer named riddimmaker:

any opinons on which is a better silhouette? i think this one's going to be full-color, if that makes any difference...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

the last three months in flickr

i finally uploaded a bunch of stuff to flickr from the last couple of months. i know you're excited! here's a preview.
my only photo from boston.

post-thanksgiving sopas, delicious!


cookie night!


peach bowl!

unfortunately, nothing yet from new years, though i know there are some cute photos out there...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

country music fisherwoman nascar chick

psmee warns me not to become her. i won't, but it's getting more attractive all the time!

Monday, January 08, 2007

top 10 albums of 2006

10. belle and sebastian: the life pursuit - finally, the belle and sebastian i used to love is back! they tested my patience with their 30-minute set at the 40 watt in college, then lost me completely with "fold your hands," but it seems the isobel scourge has finally lifted and the band has finally remembered how to have fun. "another sunny day" is classic b&s, "white collar boy" is swinging and a little grimy, and if you ever laid in your dormroom bed and listened to "if you're feeling sinister" feeling wistful, "dress up in you" will take you right back to that place. not that i ever did that. and that doesn't even touch the remaining 2/3 of the album, packed with songs sure to keep b&s dancenights well stocked for years to come (not that i've ever been to one... ok, busted again.).
09. tapes n tapes: the loon - noisy and unpredictable, this is probably the most straight-ahead "indie rock" album on my list. my sister first played me "insistor" early in the year (her smart BF put it on a cd for her) and the "i'll be your badger" refrain stuck in my head for months, but the album didn't really take with me, as a whole, till after i saw them live and realized i was bouncing along and chiming in with virtually everything they played. the relentless "cowbell" and soft "omaha" are other standouts that aptly demonstrate the range of the tapes' sound.
08. the weepies: say i am you - this is absolutely the album on this list about which i am most embarassed, but i couldn't honestly leave it off. i first heard the weepies on npr's "weekend edition saturday." in the interview, deb talan - half of the weepies - describes how she and her bandmate/husband, steve tannen, got the name from old movies that guaranteed a good cry - weepies. she says, "we want to be able to provide that for people. we want to make music that touches them and moves them in that way; the place where tears come from, for joy and for sorrow." barf, right? i mean, can you get any more sappy? but there's something incredibly honest in that objective that carries me past the cringe factor, and while the songs don't make me cry, they're definitely affecting. the production is rich and warm, and songs like "take it from me" and "world spins madly on" make me crave a rainy day and a fireplace. the round-like refrain from "gotta have you" (no amount of coffee/no amount of crying/no amount of whiskey/no amount of wine, no no no no no, nothing else will do, i gotta have you) wound through my brain for weeks on end this fall. there are two real duds - "suicide blonde" and "love doesn't last too long" - and this record is DEFINITELY not for everyone. but i'm going to stop apologizing for liking it and move on to what some people will consider an even more embarassing pick...
07. justin timberlake: futuresex/lovesounds - i don't care that he was on the mickey mouse club. i don't care that he was in a boy band. i don't care who he's dating and i don't care about his clothing line. i DO care about this record. it's everything you want from the pinnacle of industry music - incredible collaborations (t.i., three 6 mafia), incredible production (timbaland, rick rubin), and hooks hooks hooks. when i first heard "sexyback," i thought justin had blown his load but i bought the cd just in case. then i heard "my love" and knew this release is for REAL for real.
06. toumani diabate's symmetric orchestra: boulevard de l'independance - often when i see international music (other than british isles artists) on critics' lists i think "oh SURE tengir-too's "mountain music of kyrgyzstan" made your list*... i'm SO sure you listen to that," but this is not my stab at elitism - it really is a great album that i came across simply because of the free cds i get at work. i didn't search it out because i'm some music archeologist, but i sure am glad it crossed my desk. diabate is music royalty in mali, and he's joined by an all-star band of 50 on this cd. they open with the exuberant "toumani" and then take it down a couple notches with the slower-paced title track and "mali sadio." "africa challenge" picks the pace back up, and the mounting storm of horns and percussion on "tapha nang" are sure to find their way onto a rap record in the not-too-distant future.
05. regina spektor: begin to hope - regina crept up on me this year. credit to my sister (and her BF) again - she first played "fidelity" for me early this year, singing along with this impossible-to-sing song, and shortly thereafter that song was cemented for me as the girl-anthem of 2006. i bought the album late in the summer, gave it a cursory listen, and forgot about it for a few months. i'm glad i did, because when i rediscovered it the timing was finally right.
04. jenny lewis and the watson twins: rabbit fur coat - i listened to this album almost exclusively last winter. lewis on her own is talented, but backed by the watson twins' harmonies she really shines. it seems everyone's searching out their alt-country roots these days, and lewis's sad stories and voice lend themselves well to this cross-pollenation. the titular "rabbit fur coat" seems an obvious nod to dolly parton's "coat of many colors" but transcends pure imitation, and the "handle with care" cover (originally performed by the all-star traveling wilburys [george harrison, roy orbison, tom petty, bob dylan, and jeff lynne], it's a classic in my family) is suprising and fun - not even an appearnce by conor oberst can keep it down. standout songs include "charging sky, the," "you are what you love," and "rise up with fists!!!"
03. gnarls barkley: st. elsewhere - what can i say that hasn't been said? maybe, for anyone who doesn't know, that there's a lot more than just "crazy" here. so wait for a sunny, warm day, get in your car, roll down the windows, and start driving. start with "go go gadget gospel" and sing with cee-lo "i'm freeeee! look at me!" scroll past "crazy" to track 5, "smiley faces." make sure you're at a stoplight or stop sign, because you will need to snap your fingers on both hands to swing with this one. get rolling again with #7, "feng shui," followed by #8 "just a thought," the contemplative part of your journey. then break out of your head, pull over, and open all the windows and doors of your vehicle: you're starting a block party with #9, "transformer." it's official!
02. eric bachmann: to the races - the love of my life hits another one out of the park. this record is a clear departure from his most recent crooked fingers album (my #1 of last year - "dignity and shame"), and at first i missed the horns and dark vitality of that release. but with further listening, i realized this may be his best yet. its sparse instrumentation pushes his voice and lyrics to the fore in a way the more produced crooked fingers records can't, and the occasional vocal harmonies, provided on the record by miranda brown, ease his talents into sharper focus. the soaring "man-o-war" makes my heart ache, and in spite of all his warnings (you ain't my woman, and woman, i am not your man), i just want to be his "carrboro woman."
01. mates of state: bring it back - i haven't seen this on a single "best of '06" list anywhere on the internet, a criminal oversight! it probably wouldn't be my number 1 if not for this gross negligence, but it really is a gorgeous, crazy-fun record. the refrains of "think long," "beautiful dreamer," and "for the actor" are tailor-made for screaming along to with a ridiculous smile on your face (which i did with my friend sara at the state theater, and many times in the car throughout the summer). it really is a great album, too, with highs and lows but no songs to skip (even if i do play "think long" three times in a row before moving on).

best random find: tarkio: omnibus - tarkio was colin meloy of the decemberists former band. i randomly picked up the 2-cd "omnibus" ages ago, didn't know anything about it, and didn't listen to it till just a couple weeks ago, when i realized i liked every song and was moved to actually take a look at the liner notes. no wonder i like it!
best album i have yet to purchase: the clipse: hell hath no fury - i know i'm going to like it. i just need to buy it!

*i actually own this, but only because i got it at work - i'm sure i won't listen to it till i need some music from krgyzstan. and i really did see it on someone's list on metacritic. whatEVER!

Friday, January 05, 2007

stupid cupid

i was at a hallmark store the other day picking up thankyou notes for my christmas gifts. of course, the place is completely turned over to items already - yuck! - and of course i studiously ignored it all. i go up to the counter to pay for my cards and there's a display of those cards that play music when you open them, and right there in front is a freaking johnny cash valentine's day card - it plays "ring of fire" when you open it. cam idolizes cash. he's got "a boy named sue" as his ringtone. no i did NOT buy it - it's freaking january! - but if the time comes and i need one, it's nice to know it's there. the card itself is ugly, though, so i might have to get 2. IF i even need to, of course.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

in like a lion...

ok, back to business.
MARCH: things started to pick up in march. i went to a bunch of shows - belle and sebastian, reggie and the full effect, matt pond PA (by myself!), the go! team. that last one was the first test of life in the same city as my former friend, and while i felt stabbed every time i glimpsed her, it was completely manageable and i fully enjoyed the show. a visit from my ex was another milestone and test that i passed with flying colors, feeling no pangs of regret. slowly but surely i rebuilt my personal resources, surrounded by incredibly supportive friends and family. a whirlwind trip to boston capped off the month - lunch at the pru, the hockney exhibit, sambucca in the north end.

APRIL: in april i finally regained the ability to take full deep breaths without thinking about the former friend. i think the thing that finally brought me completely around was volunteering for my sister at the spca of annapolis. there's something about socializing cats, walking dogs around the trails, and matching up eager families with the perfect pets that is so rewarding, and really restored my faith in the order of things, and myself.

MAY: glasses! i finally saw an optometrist for the first time in my life, and lo and behold, i now have glasses. this month also saw the inception of SURIs - friday evening cookouts with friends from work (who are actual, true friends) in a wonderful backyard nearby, and a reconnection with some amazing old friends i thought i may have lost in the january apocalypse.

JUNE: mission accomplished, new year's resolution: race for the cure, DONE. ran it in its entirety. my time was pretty crappy, but the whole first mile we could really only shuffle due to the congestion on the road. didn't bother me a bit, though - it was a complete success. the following weekend i watched two dear friends marry one another, a gorgeous ceremony and fantastic party weekend. highlights included shutting down locos and inventing the honey huddle, a slideshow of the couple's lives, and catching up with everyone. the day after i returned i headed to ft. lauderdale for work (got to dip my toes in the ocean, hurrah!), and the following weekend psmee flew in, fabulous! in continued non-stop style, the following weekend my roommate and i drove to philadelphia to attend a BFF's housewarming. we got to meet her man, indulge in multiple pimms cups, and play kickball in the middle of the night. it was a month that really felt like summer.

JULY: ohhhh yeah, atlanta bachelorette party!!! stretch explorer, inappropriate party favors, custom-made mix, dancing and laughing and just the right level of debauchery. later that month my whole family attended a paul simon concert, complete with pre-show tailgating, singing, and dancing on a grassy hill. also attended a WUOG reunion for jocks in this area - wild! - followed by karaoke and a hungover day at work friday. worth every minute. the lowest point was saying goodbye to a friend headed for bigger and better things in chicago - i miss her still, and am awful about keeping in touch with her. there might be a new year's resolution in there for this year. fortunately, that low was quickly followed by the high of adopting my kitten, winston! i could only resist the wiles of the spca for so long.

to be continued...

happy new year!

in what has become a bit of an annual tradition, i rang in the new year with the mt. ranier crew, this time at their (cam's) place. it was a blast - dress-up (i wore this and these in rust - hands down the hottest shoes i've ever owned), friends new and old, plenty to drink but not too much. my sister and her BF breezed in just before the ball dropped, sparkly and fun, the life of the party as ever. i sent and received a billion texts, smooched cam, missed psmee, and got to sleep around 4. work was rough the next day, but i soldiered through and managed to get to the annual black-eyed-peas-and-collard-greens (peas for luck, greens for wealth) new year's day party in annapolis, hosted by my sister's BF's mom. she's an incredible woman... fabulous mom, former caterer, current elementary school teacher, and enduring the radiation stage of cancer treatment with humor and grace. this has become a can't-miss event for me. the food is delicious and inventive (black eyed peazza, peanakopita...), and the combination really seems to work, as last year was filled with both luck and wealth. i think i got a speeding ticket on the way home, but even that couldn't kill the evening for me.