Monday, December 29, 2008

failure, pure and simple

so, clearly, i failed at nablopomo. but i'm a pretty stubborn kind of girl, so i'll try again next month. look for all sorts of resolutiony things, like typing with proper capitalization. and taking more photos. which shouldn't be hard because DRUMROLL PLEASE...

I GOT MY DREAM CAMERA FOR CHRISTMAS. well, sort of. what i actually unwrapped on christmas day (evening - a whole other story, but basically i work christmas so my family gets all millenial on things and time-shifts the whole affair to the evening. it's great. pajamas, coffee, waffles, bacon, presents, and adult beverages. plus my sister and her husband get the morning for his family, cam for his, and santa for last minute stage-setting.) was a block of wood in the shape of my camera, with a picture of my camera pasted to the front, and all sorts of switches and buttons and tripod mount and an sd card slot drawn on. it was freaking adorable, and nearly as awesome as the fact that though it is on backorder, at some point in the hopefully not-too-distant future, i will own a canon g10. thanks, cam, bbe!

in fact, a block of wood was not the only sorry/rad present i got. i also got a rock from my sister, on which she wrote "lump of coal." she buried this rock in the center of 8 layered boxes, each wrapped. it was a bit of subterfuge in case i remembered what she got me, which i didn't, so it came as a complete surprise when i unwrapped this badass watch in a nice normal watch-sized box. thanks, enna! fyi, winston has already chewed many little kitty teeth-holes into the strap. because he is a punk. but i love it (and him) anyway.

speaking of the cats (and don't pretend you aren't dying for an update), we had kitty christmas yesterday. winston and sweeney got a catnip lightning bolt, a new attachment for the fishing pole, cat grass, and new crunchy treats. it seems that in spite of the cereal-box-vampirism*, stinky butt problem*, and absolute refusal to sit for nail trims**, santa decided to visit. i tell you, winston must have been just a whisker from the naughty list.

*that's winston, and winston again.
*that's sweeney. she's actually really well-behaved.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

december, so far

12 hours driving
11 skipped workouts
10 dollar secret santa
09 yards of pine roping
08 hours baking
07 minor freakouts
06 out of town gifts
05 hours at the maaaall!
04 etsy shops
03 homemade treats
02 engagements
and a beautiful baby olivia!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

just killing time

nablopomo means one thing for sure: kitty neglect. all the time i spend with my laptop in my lap is time spent with winston staring at me from the coffee table, walking on the keyboard, or smooshing his head into my leg trying to shove the computer out of the way. sweeney's a little better at dealing because she's so small, and she likes being beside me as much as sitting on me anyway, so.

here i am blogging about my freaking cats again. it seems to come to this, because when cam's out of town (which is a lot), i spend much of time at home with them. and work's been kind of intense lately (in a good way, i'm learning a new job). and i haven't been reading enough. and when he's gone, i watch too much tv. and that's not conducive to the deep thoughts. i could do a blog about crappy tv, but that would necessitate admitting how much of it i'm conversant in. right now i'm watching some poor kid on true life (oh, how i love true life) take his date to the prom, chauffered by his dad in the family minivan, in which, of course, the air conditioning is broken. and they're the first to arrive. awkward. an observation: how come high school girls think that if their dress is long, it's ok that it's extraordinarily slutty on top? like, cut to the bellybutton, and exposing the inside half of each breast? not classy. my prom dress was short, but i'm grown and not embarassed when i see pictures, so i still think it was ok.

deep thoughts, people. deep thoughts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

the good good news!

ok so i know i said i was going to get all deep and thematic and organized on this blog, but i can't right now, there's too much good news! first of all, baby olivia is doing well! her surgery got moved up because she's so strong, and the hospital staff (and her wonderful parents) continue to be delighted and amazed with her recovery. so go o go!!!

secondly, aaaah! my bff hamm just got engaged! the details are incredible: a firetruck, a professional sports mascot, bobbleheads for all her students, and a beautiful ring: a row of pink sapphires. if you know my girl, you know how perfect this all is. i'm sooooo happy for her and her beloved - he's a great guy who moved down here to be with her, and i've never doubted his love for her for a second, nor hers for him. i'm just delighted for them. hooray! it's so nice to have some things to celebrate!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

taking stock

today's blog marks the halfway home point on this blogging-everyday-for-a-month experiment. in taking stock, i give myself credit for only missing one day so far. not bad! unfortunately, though, i'm not doing what i want to do most of the time. i don't want to just blog life updates. blah blah i did this last night. i think i'll be able to come up with more compelling things to write about when i don't have a daily deadline, but at the same time, i like the daily rigor and worry that without it, this blog will just languish. plus, i want this blog to be interesting to people who don't know me. and right now it's just like any of a million billion other blogs on the web - girl has cats, has job, has boyfriend. occasionally cooks an interesting meal. borrrrring. there's no theme, there's no drama. and i haven't figured out the public/private thing yet, either.

i have this idea for another blog. i even started it, to dibs the title. i was inspired, as so many have been, by dooce's blog. she makes you care about her life, with her wit and her honesty. her photography is gorgeous, and she has a strong point of view on design. i really admire her and her site, and i'd like to, on a teeny-tiny scale, emulate it in some ways. i'm thinking, to really do it, i'm going to need about three themes, three gimicks, three pieces. i don't even really know how to articulate it. i've got one in mind, and i think the other two are within reach. i just need to spend a bit of time with it. and, oh yeah, i need this. really, i need it! ok maybe need is too strong a word. does anyone know, if i put ads on my site, does that make it a business, so i could write the camera off? just wondering...

Monday, December 15, 2008

photo sesh

this is too funny not to share.

well, actually, i can't share it, exactly. i haven't really figured out the line between my blog life and my real life, and to do so would mean posting a picture of me and cam on the internetz, associated with my fake name. and then, if anyone really cared to do so - as if anyone reads this blog who doesn't know me, anyway - they could figure out who i am. i think my biggest impulse for anonymity exists because of my job. it's a pretty incredible job, and i'd like to keep it. i can't imagine ever saying something that could get me in trouble there, but since i blog as part of my job, too, completely publicly, it just seems sort of... weird. so, right. anyway. back to the funny.

today enna and i were chatting about what to give our grandmother, our dad's mom. she wants for nothing, and doesn't like stuff. you know, the stuff that clutters. anyway, enna's got a perfect gift for her - a picture of her and her new husband on their honeymoon. grandma loves photos. so the question became, what should i do? enna suggested a picture of cam and i and our kitties, kind of funny, but sweet, too. i was a little sketched about it - is it jinx-y, since we're not married? but i decided if cam was in, i was too. i gchatted him about it, and through the miracle that is gchat, i got no response, which of ocourse made me wonder, "does he think it's weird? is this just too too?" but when he picked me up, i asked him about it, and he said yeah, didn't you get my response? "should we get matching sweaters?" that's cam. hilarious!

so we sat down tonight with the camera on a 10-second delay, in front of the tree, and tried to grab the cats and make them face the camera, smiling all the while. cam and i did ok - our pictures were pretty good - but the cats... not so much. unsurprising, sure, but hilarious in that winston, who's generally pretty agreeable and completely photogenic, kept turning his head to the side, away from the camera, in every shot. he looked like a crazy no-eyed devil. sweeney, on the other hand, just exuded pain in every picture. she detests being held. she'll join you for a cuddle, or sit on your lap, but don't try to restrain her. the girl cannot be contained. so, instead of a hilarious outtake from the shoot, you get the cats, trying to compose themselves after we finally gave up (after about 20 photos). we got a decent one, and we'll tell grandma the story. and the cats? they've fully recovered.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

baby love

another weekend, another several hundred miles logged on scratch's odometer. but, as usual, it was worth it! i love philadelphia, and never have a bad time there. enna&her husband's party was every bit as fun as usual, and had a huge turnout of folks who drove hours to celebrate with them. they're so worth it! plus, they're incredible hosts. this morning i woke up and told cam i had a deam enna had a freezer full of eggo waffles for everyone's breakfast, and it wasn't a dream! we chowed on coffee, hash browns, and eggos, and slowly came back to life after a long, late night. squidpants came by to catch a ride home, and the three of us got back to dc by 3. cam and i decided we wanted steak for dinner and lucked into an amazing special - ny strip, $5.99/lb! we got enough for 2 meals each - actually, more like four, but when he set that beautiful piece of beef down in front of me, i knew there was no way i'd leave leftovers. i barely touched my potatoes, but i ate every bite of that steak!

and now the kitchen's clean, and we've got fresh flannel sheets on the bed, and the tree's glowing and we watched elf and all's right in the world. i'm so thankful for all of that, the little things, and for my wonderful cam and family. and every second my mind drifts, i'm thinking of just one thing, and if you all would too, i'd appreciate it. here she is:

she's beautiful olivia helen cheek, born a little too soon and spending some time growing and getting strong in the hospital. things are a bit touch and go for her, so if you have a spare second - staring out the kitchen window washing dishes, or folding laundry, or whatever - think of little olivia and her wonderful family and send them wishes of love, health, and strength. i know i am, as hard as i can.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

mea culpa

i goofed! i failed to blog last night. i have a good excuse, though - i'm not blogging from work, which is where i spent most of my day, and right after work i hopped a metro train to alexandria to meet cam. he was out of town all week, and made it back just in time for date night. and i certainly couldn't blog on welcome-home-cam-date-night, now could i? so, i think what i'll do is a make-up blog at some point before the month is over. i think that's fair, and i've been doing well so far so i'm not going to beat myself up for it (an accomplishment in itself).

and now we're in the car flying up the interstate to philadelphia. we're late, of course. we have three parties to attend today, the most important of which is enna & her husband's annual bash, in philadelphia this year! it's always a great time, and i'm excited to hurry up and get there! we first made a (an enna-approved) stop by my cousin miche's annual open house. he's an incredible artist and architect - be sure to check out his work. it's a great event, and right up the road from where we live. and miche's wife bakes the most incredible bread... mmmm! this year he had a painting of some ibis in chincoteague that i particularly liked. he's also got an iconic sycamore that hangs in countless of my family's homes, including mine, dedicated to cam. i'll get a picture of that at some point. anyway, it was a lovely, if too-brief, gathering.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

getting back

work today was like a strangely familiar. coming in, it was still somber. colleagues who met in the hall asked, just like any day, "how are you?" but instead of the usual banter, responses were measured. "ok, but it's a weird day." "you know, well, ok." "fine... ish." the day after layoffs is kind of like the gathering after a funeral. the grand statements have been made, the departed has been laid to rest. then everyone comes together, to eat, to remember. and, generally, at some point the mood lightens. that's what today was like. when we got to work, things were still pretty dour. we got through our work day, and met, like we usually do, after our final deadline. after some business, my boss posed the question, "so, how are you feeling now? are you all doing ok?" she's good about that, about checking in on us. at first, the responses were reactive, raw. many people, including me, were still having lingering "it's not fair" feelings, and some resentment toward management. but as we talked through it, we started talking about other things, and then joking, and laughing. and by the end of the meeting, we'd organized a secret santa exchange, and we all left feeling lighter. and so i think i'm feeling better. even saying that feels so callous, so... bougie. i still have a job. but the fact of the matter is that i can't mourn for the laid off forever. i should be grateful and appreciate what i have, and do the best i can with what i've got. it's all you can really do. it's just not always the easiest thing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

say it ain't so

blogging just doesn't feel right tonight. this afternoon, swirling rumors were confirmed, and exceeded. more than 60 amazing people got laid off at work today. everyone knows blogging about work is a dicey proposition at best, but i have to say something. for one, i'm incredibly grateful i didn't get the axe. i love my job, and i'm not just saying that because heads are rolling. i seriously do. two, i'm grateful to my boss. she's done an amazing job of making my division do a lot with a little, and i think we were spared today because of how hard she's pushed us. and i know that the people who had to make the hard decisions about who to cut did so with no joy. i do hope they made decisions that will see us through this recession without cutting more jobs. and finally, i have yet to hear the name of one of the 64 without thinking, "wow. s/he's on the list?" because they're all amazing. i hope they go on to bigger and better places than here, wilder successes, more complete fulfillment.

there are small comforts tonight. i enjoyed my second to last pilates class. pilates is a fantastic mental break - a friend of mine told me it's the only thing that tames her ADD, because you're concentrating so hard on sucking in your belly/squeezing your butt/articulating your spine/and don't forget to breathe! she's right, and for a full hour i didn't think about it.

i wish i could take a picture of my #1 comfort tonight, but of course, still haven't charged my camera yet. kitty bellies. that's not one of my kitties, but that's the right pose. if you have a sweet cat, just walk up to her when she's like this and bury your face in her fur. or, if you have a winston, like i do, just pick him up by the armpits (you know, like a kid), lift him to your face, drape his front paws on the top of your head, and press your face into his tummy. he loves it, i promise, and it does your psyche so much good.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

called out

riding my bus home is rarely dull, and today was no exception. the driver had a virtually full bus, and as the riders started trying to convince him to skip stops because there wasn't any room left, he pulled into a packed one. he opened the door and hopeful commuters piled in, and he just kept imploring us to "move back! move to the back of the bus!" there truly wasn't any room, and it wasn't long till people started telling him about it. i should mention here that the bus is generally mostly full of african american folks, with a healthy dose of latinos, and, well, me. anyway, we've been sitting at the stop for what feels like ages, trying to invent room for more people, when one woman starts yelling out the bus's identification number, "twenty-eight-eleven," and directing people to call metro and report him. "stuff like this doesn't happen on connecticut avenue," she said, "because white people call. we can do that too! everyone call metro! twenty-eight-eleven!" she looked at me, then, and said "no offense! you can call too! you should call too!" i, of course, hadn't taken any offense, and soon enough the bus got going.

later in the trip i was thinking about how i could tell this story (i thought it was pretty funny, and i didn't even tell you about the little kid with the madagascar lemur toy that played "i like to move it move it" every five seconds), and describe how i've felt since i moved to my neighborhood, and how it's evolved. when i moved here - a neighborhood whose demographics mirror that of my bus line - i felt like everywhere i went, a spotlight was shining on my face. it wasn't that i got called out all the time or anything, though that has happened. but these days, i feel like most people who live here have gotten used to seeing me around, and i know quite a few of my neighbors on a first name basis. in reality, the dimming of the spotlight is probably much more about my comfort level than the way i'm actually perceived. i'll always be an anamoly, but i knew that coming in. anyway, i was thinking about all of this as i walked onto my block. there were three kids hanging out in front of what's known as "the bad house" - our lovely, busybody neighbor warned us about it soon after we moved. two, on bikes, looked to be third or fourth graders, and the third, maybe fifth or sixth. i gave them a pretty close look as i walked by to see if i knew any of them, didn't recognize anyone, and kept walking. in retrospect i know i could've said hello - i just tend to leave kids to their business - but i didn't, so they decided to. sort of. when i was just past their group, i hear, low and fast, "whitebitch." nice. i didn't really know how to react, so i just turned halfway around, still walking, and said, "funny."

so what should i have done, and what would you have done?

Monday, December 08, 2008

i've got my laptop to keep me warm

no, seriously. i just re-programmed the thermostat to a sensible 68 degrees when we're home, and the toes that froze on my way to work today still haven't thawed. i do have the most freakishly cold toes in history - ask cam - but i've got my laptop on my lap and toes tucked under my butt and seem to be making progress. because you asked.

the other thing that's going on right now is that both cats are sitting on one chair in the living room, staring up at this christmas ornament my favorite 8-year-old made - a little red clay heart looped with some raffia. the heat blowing on the raffia tie is making it flutter, and they're entranced. i better not get home from pilates tonight to find the tree toppled. i wish i'd charged my camera battery, it's pretty cute.

things have changed since my last make-do-with-a-smile post about the economy and a thriftier christmas. friday, 23 guys got laid off at cam's work, and today, rumors are swirling that my company's closing an entire office. it's too close to home, and i'm nervous. i think we'll be ok - cam and i both work hard to make ourselves indispensable to our companies - but there's no telling. it's weird. i've started worrying about the future (in a very priviliged person way, i know) like never before. for instance, it was always my intention to join a gym once i finished my session of pilates classes, but now, i'm worried it's a frivolity at a time like this. the contract's month-to-month, so i'm still thinking i'll join, but... it weighs on me (no pun intended).

ok now my foot's just plain old falling asleep. time to do some chores. the glamour!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

portland, pt.2

saturday was an amazing day in portland. i wasn't feeling so hot - i'm fighting some strange bug, or something - but i was determined not to let it get us down. my friend fed us a huge breakfast of oatmeal, fruit, and coffee, and we headed out to pleasant mountain for a hike. she's... pretty nordic. she's incredibly fit, and outdoorsy to the point that it doesn't surprise me in the least to hear she's doing something called "frosty sailing," or some such, sailing in maine till christmas for a team. seriously. she's TOUGH. and amazing. anyway, she said the planned hike was 2.5 miles each way, and i agreed. what we didn't count on, however, was snow! we didn't make it to the summit, but enjoyed a great (challenging for me, breezy for her) hike, stopping to chat every five seconds not just because i was panting, but because we couldn't converse over the crunching of our icy steps. we were out for almost 3 hours, and i think somewhere toward the beginning of the hike i may have sweated out a fever, because i felt quite a bit better by the time we got back to her car. (note to self: heated seats are pretty great, and probably essential in maine)

after a quick stop for groceries and chicken soup for a little snack, we went back to her place for super hot showers and a change of clothes, then headed over to her friend ryan's house for... wait for it... lobsters! when in maine, right? she and ryan and their friends alyssa and aaron and i had an incredible lobster feast (i'm proud to say i went joint for joint with this table of maine-ers, chowing down on the crustaceans like a pro. extra props to alyssa, though, for going for the body meat!), complete with lobster bibs. we followed up the meal with brownie sundays and a game of mexican train dominoes, and i kicked their booties soundly, mt. rainier represent! and, of course, on this perfect maine trip, it was snowing when we left that evening, big fat flakes that we also got to wake up to. just enough to be gorgeous, but not to cancel our trip to boston today.

poking around boston today brought back great memories of the last time she and i and our good friend heather visited boston, years ago. we walked newberry street in the snow, popping in and out of shops, and picking up amazing sandwiches to eat in the car en route to the airport. it was a fantastic trip, a lovely weekend getaway, and it's also so nice to be home with my kitties, my cam, and my christmas tree, ready for another week. if it's not obvious, i'm thankful for friends.

ps. picture to come... my camera seems to be out of batteries, and it's time for bed.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

portland, maine

what a night!  after a perfectly smooth day of travel yesterday (bus to metro to plane to bus - it was so luxurious not to drive anywhere!), i hopped into my friend's subaru and after a quick stop by her place, we hit portland.  i got to meet a ton of her friends - realllly nice people - and the boy turning her head right now.  i had a ball being the new girl in town, chatting with all her friends, and just seeing how my she lives here.  portland seems like a pretty sweet city (if FREEZING), and i'm looking forward to seeing more of it in the light today.  this afternoon we're going to hike at pleasant mountain (only time will tell if that's a misnomer or not... i'm in terrible shape!), and rumors continue to swirl about a big lobster dinner tonight.  the only thing i'm worried about right now is the snow in the forecast for tonight and sunday... don't want to have flight issues getting home!

finally, no word from cam yet on how the fishing tournament's going.  this means one of two things: either the stripers aren't biting, or no one's phone is working.  i think the latter's a bit more likely than the former, but we'll see.  fingers crossed for sunday rockfish dinner!

Friday, December 05, 2008


time to lighten things up a bit - today i'm thankful for brevity! in typical sarah fashion, i need to leave the house in 40 minutes, and before then, i need to shower, pack, take care of the kitties, and blog. guess which i'm doing?

i'm headed to maine this weekend to visit a dear friend. maine in december sounds a bit insane but hell, i've been there in july, so why not really do it right this time? she's got all kinds of plans for us - a bar tonight, where there's a party her friends will all be attending. i'm excited to meet them! we'll get some exercise tomorrow (she's totally nordic), then there's a possibility of a lobster bake tomorrow night! crazy. i'm flying out of boston, so sunday she and i plan to leave portland with enough time to walk around that city, too. it's a whirlwind, but it should be super fun.

i know i've committed to blog daily, and i WILL blog tomorrow, i'm just not sure it'll show up here till sunday. if she's got internet i can hop on, i will, but failing that, i'll blog on my blackberry and save it for posting sunday. have a great weekend, friends, and i'll see you on the flip!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

on a more serious note

whoa. tonight i'm thankful for life, and longevity. cam's grandmother has been staying with his parents for a couple weeks and we still hadn't been to see her, so tonight, we picked her up and took her to dinner. she's an amazing lady. she has some mobility issues, but other than that is at least as sharp as i am (she saved me from leaving my purse at the restaurant). she's incredibly kind and gentle, but at the same time, she's no fool and when she has an opinion to voice, she does. i admire her greatly, and the relationship she and cam have is wonderful. anyway, we had just begun to peruse our menus when we heard a horrible, gasping, gurgling noise from just a bit across the dining room. it was terrifying. cam, of course, knows the heimlich maneuver, so he immediately jumped up just in case the man who was admistering it needed backup. i freaked out, mostly, i think, because the sounds so closely resembled retching, and i'm incredibly (and insensibly) afraid of all things vomit. first my hands flew up to cover my ears, and then i remember thinking i needed to be calm, and i needed to figure out how to help. it seemed like the man was getting as much assistance as possible, though i couldn't quite see clearly, so i decided my best course of action was to get away, stay clear and out of the way. i did, and soon things seemed to improve, cam returned to the table, and i did too, shakily. the poor man who was choking spent a long time doubled over just staring at the ground. i'm sure his life must have flashed before his eyes - it was very, very serious there for a bit. but as cam reported, later in the car, the piece of steak exited the same way it entered, and while the man was shaken, he was fine.

it was so, so scary. much scarier, sure, for the man who could have died. i'm a little worried about my own overreaction, but since i don't know the heimlich, i guess the best thing to say is at least i didn't get in the way. we went on to have a really nice meal and conversation, and it all turned out ok in the end. it's a good reminder, though, to be thankful for the most obvious thing: life.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


it sounds awful, but it really isn't. cam and i had planned for awhile to do it up right for our first christmas living together, which meant going to a christmas tree farm to cut down our own tree. unfortunately, our ridiculous schedules have conspired against us, and tonight i convinced him that we just can't wait till the 14th... what we need to get us de-stressed and excited about the holidays is a tree, fragrant and glowing in our living room. so tonight we climbed into lucy (his old ford pickup, she's awesome) and headed to a lot just slightly out of town. not 10 minutes later we had a perfect tree in the back of the truck, and now the cats are chasing each other around it, we've got christmas carols on pandora, and all is right in the world. plus, after about an hour on the computer, i'm nearly done my christmas shopping.

the whole recession thing is making for a strange holiday season, in some ways. a week ago, my work sent out a notice about the so-called holiday happenings around the building. conspicuously absent? any mention of a holiday party. my work used to really do it up this time of year, with a huge party to which all our loved ones were invited. this year, there's a hot chocolate happy hour. that's it. no bands, no santa for the kids, no disco in the mail room, no booze. it's kind of depressing, and i'm not sad i'll be missing it. then, today, cam emailed me the notice from his work, announcing the all-out cancellation of their holiday party. and then i heard the promo for all things considered this evening: "the latest casualty of the recession? the office holiday party."

the weird thing is, even though i'm a little put out that work's not putting on the dog and plying me with cocktails this december, i'm not that upset about spending less on gifts. there are few things i love so much as finding the perfect gifts for friends and family that make each recipient feel pampered and understood, and working in tighter financial parameters just makes it a little more challenging. i know i'm fortunate - for some families santa's not coming at all, and that's true every year - but it's changed my focus a little, and so far, i'm making the best of it. i do wish i had more time for homemade gifts (or better follow-through?), and that i'd make some headway on my christmas cards, but for now, i'm happy with a cartful of etsy purchases and a tree in the living room.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

remember that theme?

photo by shannon hibberd

remember how the theme for this whole nablopomo nonsense is thanks? well my cup is overflowing at this moment. this has been a day jampacked with goodness. first, my sister is now blogging! check out her awesomeness. secondly, my evening went nothing like i anticipated. not knowing what to expect at my expecting friend's house, i sort of figured we'd stop in, heat up dinner, and make an exit, so as not to disrupt the calm. negative! the soon-to-be-papa assured us they'd love our company for a bit longer, so instead of ducking out, we joined our friends at the table, had a meal they swore they enjoyed, and then played a rousing game of parcheesi. it was a perfect night, and, selfishly, it was so good for me to see my friends doing so well. plus, i came in second at parcheesi, which sure didn't hurt.

riding home with the warmth of a great night with friends surrounding me, i didn't think this night could get much better, but my inbox held further delights. first, another baby! a good friend of mine just welcomed little arlo into the world with much fanfare and few complications, and i'm gushing with excitement for the new family. secondly, my sister forwarded the photos - nearly 600 of them - from her wedding, and cam and i just watched the complete slideshow. re-living that incredible, amazing, life-affirming event has me overwhelmed and overblessed. i have more to say, a good thing in a solid month of blogging, but for now, just look again at the picture above, of love.

Monday, December 01, 2008

food for thought

i may have officially lost my mind, but on this first day of december, i've decided to join national blog posting month. it's probably the worst month i could choose, given the hectic holiday schedule, but what the hell. if i really want to make a go of regular posting, why not start it off with a bang?

in a side note, cam's sitting beside me as i undertake this challenge. he just said, "i've never seen anyone blog before. do you need some alone time?" i assured him that i don't, but at the same time, we will probably each have some "alone time" as i'll likely have to stay up past his bedtime to post on occasion.

the theme of the month, as hosted by nablopomo (awkward!) is thanks. i don't even know where to begin on that, so i'll start small. tonight, i learned that green potatoes aren't as poisonous as i feared (apparently, a 100 lb person could get sick only if he/she ingested a pound of totally green potato), and i'm thankful for that, because the bag i bought today is full of tubers with a chartreuse hue. i bought the patoots to make another batch of julia's potato leek soup for a friend who's on bed rest till her due date. tomorrow evening, cam and i will take the soup, along with more buttermilk chive biscuits, to my friend and her husband and hope the food nourishes the three of them for a night... or, at the very least, doesn't give her heartburn!

Monday, November 24, 2008

julie, julia, potatoes, and leeks

like zillions of people before me, i'm sure, digging into Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen inspired me to cook. specifically, all i have been able to think about since i started the book two days ago is julia childs' potage parmentier, or potato soup. it's the first recipe in the first book julie ever wrote, as julie notes, and it's dead easy. so, tonight, potato and leek soup, plus buttermilk chive biscuits courtesy of smitten kitchen, and benton's prosciutto. simple, satisfying, and unbelievably delicious. dicing potatoes, slicing leeks (my first!), salting and simmering, immersion blending, butter melting, sipping. perfection. thank you, julie and julia.

i don't intend to cook my way through the legendary tome, like julie did, but it has piqued my interest in blogging with a purpose, setting an impossible goal and charting its progress, warts and all. cam and i have hatched a plan. it's a 5-year (or so) plan, but if we can get the right people to collaborate (one's already signed on, one's thinking about it, and one's oblivious but should be a cinch), it could be pretty great. it's colossal, life-changing, and possibly life-making. it's also just a pipe dream, for now...

Friday, November 14, 2008

10 cards for 10 people

i stumbled on something today i don't want to forget about on the decor8 blog. a challenge: make a list of 10 people who changed your 2008, and send each a card before the end of the year. i think it's a lovely idea, and intend to do it. if you don't get a card, it doesn't mean i don't love you, or you didn't change my year, of course - it's just been a big year! i could send two dozen cards and still not be through with it, but let's keep it simple. 10 people, 10 cards. to-do.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

dear blog,

i miss you. this 2-year-long election will soon be over. see you soon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Breeze

Last night when we got home from work, Cam got busy putting frosted film on the window in the shower, so we can bathe without shocking the neighbors. We had a pillowcase over it for a while, but the mildew was becoming unbearable. Anyway, in helping him, I learned how to open the windows in our place in such a way that you can flip them flat and wash the outsides. I knew they had this feature, but hadn't mastered it, but now I've got it. So while he finished the film and moved on to the blue room to hang shelves, I made my way from window to window, sliding, flipping, spraying, washing, wiping, and flipping again. Now they sparkle, the raindrop residue and the kitten noseprints are gone. In the bedroom, I left the tops open and propped myself up in the bed, listened to a great mix a friend passed along and enjoyed the breeze. Today's commute was cool and breezy, fall-like, and when I walked into work I remarked about it to my colleague, who has an infant son we call Pico. He too was moved by the breeze - last night, he scooped up Pico and headed outdoors, just so Pico could feel it ruffle his hair. "Pico," he said, "that's what a breeze feels like."

Friday, June 27, 2008

this time, with feeling

ohhhh life. so we had internet and phone for one day. one day. and now we've got it back. so seriously, for real this time i mean it (but does our isp?), i'm back. changes a'comin.

Monday, June 23, 2008

a true sign of the apocalypse

i am not even kidding you. batten down the hatches, folks, because the horsemen approach, and a million other mixed references. as of RIGHT NOW i am typing on these here internets from HOME. on MY COMPUTER. on WIRELESS INTERNET. as of this moment on june 23rd, we have television, phone, AND INTERNET. it's a miracle, i swear.

ok enough. gotta go make out with the man who got it all configured.

more more more to come!

Monday, April 21, 2008

oh, EW.

ew ew ew ewww ew. so i'm working on this new project at work (very exciting fun project, it'll be on the internets soon), and one of the less exciting things about it is working at a new desk. said new desk has the keyboard on an extender arm, an arm which doesn't fully support the weight of the keyboard so i have to sort of reinforce it by balancing it on my legs. i just now touched my leg and found something on my pants. thinking it was some creme from the joe-joe i ate a bit ago, i absentmindedly picked it off then looked at it. it was SO A BOOGER. SOMEONE ELSE'S BOOGER that i scraped off the bottom of the keyboard shelf with my supportive leg. now that, my friends, is NASTY.

nastier still? i didn't wash my hand. instead i'm typing on the nasty nasty keyboard.

ok must go wash now.


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

cam and the jay desk: a story of heroism

seriously? having a cam RULES. here's how today went.
6:45 alarm goes off for first time, for me. i snooze.
6:52 awesome coffee grinds and brews itself.
7:06 after hitting the snooze button for the 5th time, i finally get up.
7:10 in the bathroom i hear the alarm go off again. oops i forgot to turn it off. sorry cam!!!
7:32 i bring cam coffee in bed and finally leave.
8:46 place emergency call to cam. "have you left yet? i forgot to bring the camera i freecycled to work. you'll bring it? oh my gosh thanks! see you soon."
8:57 cam arrives, hands me camera with a kiss.
11:30 west elm calls, the desk we ordered is in. come and get it!
3:30 catch cam on his way home from work. "guess what, the desk's in! you'll pick it up? but i have the claim check. you'll come by? you rule. we still have to order the hutch, but maybe i can do it on the phone, but can you try? if you can't i'll go later. you rule."
3:40 cam arrives at my work for second time today. hand cam the claim check. more kiss. my friend at the front desk says, "i'm going to tell your boyfriend you got into someone's truck!" heehee, my boyfriend's driving his dad's truck, so it's ok. but cam'll be glad to know he's looking out.
3:45 cam calls - they won't let him have the desk until i call and authorize. i do so immediately.
3:57 cam calls - "i have the desk and ordered the hutch." sweet!
4:38 cam calls - "the desk is built! see you soon."

seriously? in a cam-less world, i'd have had to bus it home after work, get in my car, drive back into the city, pick up the desk, return home, and probably leave it in the trunk till someone could help me move it into the house. and then i'd have tried to build it, oh, maybe this weekend. instead, none of the guts but all of the glory, i get to go home just once tonight and organize said desk. sometimes life is just too good!

faster horses

oh life is so good. last night i was a first-rate grump, looking forward to an evening of hiding under the covers and riding it out. i got home, grabbed my book and a snack, and settled in, comforted by the knowledge that cam was cooking dinner that night. he got home a bit after i did with our friend matt and called me out of my down duvet cave... he had flowers and a bourbon for me. um, how well does he know me? i watered the flowers and set them out, then retreated again, bourbon in hand, and read for hours while periodically eavesdropping on the boys, who were drinking whiskey and talking mostly about tom t. hall. a little while after matt left the delicious smells coming from the kitchen coaxed me one last time from my cave... whole roasted trout, caught by matt and cleaned by cam, stuffed with lemon slices and sauteed onions and garnished with a slice of jalapeno; modified "stovies," improved with cream and fingerling potatoes, sans meat; and steamed broccoli. needless to say, my dark mood had disappeared completely by then! we really feel like our home's a home now, alive with friends and food and family... and it's such a trip to think that THIS is our new normal, not some lovely vacation...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

here it is: the less-good

yeah. remember how i said there'd be less-good days? a man was shot about 3 blocks from my home last night, at 5:30 pm. it doesn't sound random, and doesn't happen much, but that only goes so far to make me feel better about walking home from work tonight...

Friday, March 07, 2008

this must be the place

oh wow! this week has been pretty incredible as cam and i settle into our new home. we painted our hearts out, and now have a beautiful green bedroom, in which now sits, as of 1pm today, the bed. it's enormous and extravagant and i can imagine spending all my waking AND sleeping hours in it. last night we walked to dinner in our neighborhood. do you hear me? walked. it's a delightful restaurant owned by a salvadoran couple - they met while working at a gourmet pizza place in dupont circle, and have now opened their own place just blocks from where we live. the pizza was out of sight, the restaurant was cozy, and the flan was so good we finished our first serving and had to order another. i know there will be days that are less-good, but this, this is why i moved back to the city.

Friday, February 29, 2008

the big time

well, it's official! i'm a homeowner. it was kind of... easy. ok, so making a billion phonecalls and getting my financial ducks in a row and stressing about what my final number needed at closing were kind of sucky (especially that last one... i was so stressed i temporarily turned into a monster. seriously. i think it's over now, though). and now i own a beautiful condo in which i am currently sitting... leggy oak floors everwhere, sparkly dark green granite countertops, shiny stainless and black appliances, two bedrooms, tiny bath. cam and i spent our first night here last night (after the easiest mattress delivery ever, i swear - nice guys, on time, efficient, awesome) on our fancy new mattress with luxurious sheets and down duvet. sure, it was on the floor in a blank room, but it was so cozy! there's a window over the sink in the kitchen... and another in the bathroom... two things i love. we ran the dishwasher with all our new dishes last night, and i've already placed them in the cabinets. i found the most beautiful, perfect, ME shower curtain last night - i know, of all things to get excited about, but really, check it: gorgeous.

oh, and in case i didn't mention it, i bit the bullet and ordered the bed. i can't wait for it to arrive!

ok, time to get painting! right now the whole place is this awful neutral cream, and i hate it. so the ceilings are going to be white, trim white, and color everywhere else. which means... i need to get cracking on the ceiling.

so everyone... come visit!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

nesting, and fleeing the nest

whoa. this condo thing is getting serious! $5k has changed hands... with much more to come. my agent has advised me to get the utilities transferred. cam and i have selected a paint color for our bedroom (happy camper, a green). i'm seriously considering a really expensive bed. last weekend, cam and i rocked a series of home store outlets (the crate, the w-s, the pb, the restoration... you know the drill) AND an ikea, all in a matter of hours. we now own things like silverware, a hanging basket for produce, plates, hooks. and yet... friday we return to hatteras, the site of all things wonderful, a return to our cottage on the beach. a respite from faxing and transferring funds and signing documents. we're back monday, and wednesday, if all goes according to plan, i close on my own little piece of DC. our new home. crazy!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

two pieces of winter fashion advice... which may come too late for most

here it is, folks: how to wear a winter coat in two steps.
1. carefully snip off the oblong label on the left sleeve that says "fabric made in italy," or "100% cashmere" in fancy script. note how it's sewn on with a few spare threads, rather than the intensive stitching featured elsewhere on the garment. that's because it's not meant to be permanent. cut it off.
2. keep those scissors handy. flip the coat over, and cast your eyes upon the vent(s) - the flap(s) in the back. note how they're sewn closed, generally with a big X-shaped stitch. again, the light stitch is a pretty good sign: it's not permanent either. read the sign, snip the thread, let your vents flap freely.

thanks. and i can take it as well as i can dish it - anyone with solutions for gross dry peely face skin or static-filled flyaway winter hair, please help!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


verbal counter-offer received, my agent's calling to discuss later this evening... exciting!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

home sweet home?

i know i've been talking about it for nearly six months now, but there's finally progress to report: i've found a condo i want. it's tiny - about 660 square feet - and it's a ways out of the fun parts of town. but it's on a beautiful, quiet, residential street with tall trees and lots of parking, and it's got something i never imagined: two bedrooms. it's a conversion, so the whole unit's brand new, with granite countertops, oak floors, and black appliances. it's got a full-sized stacked washer and dryer. lots of pretty windows with sills deep enough for winston to sit on. a couple closets. basement storage. cam and i saw it first a couple months ago, together, and both though hmmm... this could be the one. and friday he and i and my agent took my parents by, and they liked it too. it's all started to feel really good, so friday we put together my offer. turns out we didn't have the proper contract, so i haven't actually signed anything yet, but tomorrow at 4:30, i'll get my pen ready and this will enter a much more serious phase. window shopping was fun, but now it's time for action. i can't afford the place, but we're hoping that the volatile market and glut of units on the market will mean i can lowball the hell out of the developer and get in at something i can afford. cross your fingers!

in other news, i've got my assignment for super tuesday: i'm headed to nyc and the giuliani event. should be exciting, since i've pretty much never been to new york... i only wish i was going to have time to see jbd and my cousin and everyone's favorite millionaire...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

dude, you got a dell

woo! new laptop, and soon, new ipod! get ready, as soon as i ascertain my internet situation, for more frequent and increasingly more mundane updates and thoughts! you're shivering with anticipation, right? thought so.