Leisure in Excess

So you would think having two weeks off would result in me posting regularly on my blog. Yeah, not so much. Something about not having to work makes me not want to do ANYTHING, or trying to catch up on EVERYTHING, and then you throw some holidays in there and, well, all this "lady of leisure" stuff turns into me not even wishing you people a Merry Christmas.

We also sucked at taking pictures of the Christmas festivities this year, so I haven't even bothered to upload those pics yet. But I vow to do so before I go back to work on Monday and tell you all about our holidays. At this point I just kind of figured I'd wait until New Year's Eve concludes and jam it all in one. :)

Ooh, and since I am actually posting on a day where it is timely...



Pre-Christmas List

1. Yesterday was my last day of work until January 5. Yes, people. TWO WEEKS OFF! And because I am a state employee who works at a university, I only have to use TWELVE HOURS OF LEAVE! The rest is all holiday pay! Well, wait, I *did* only have to use 12 hours of leave. But then the governor decided to give us an additional 8 hours of holiday leave, so now I only have to use 4. And can I just say, Tim Kaine, that those eight extra hours MORE THAN MAKE UP FOR the fact that you've decided not to give me a raise until 2010? Really.

Ok, not really. But I get that we're in shit shape as far as our state budget goes, so... whatevs, I guess.

2. I have not come close to finishing my Christmas shopping yet. But I had my work holiday party here at our house last weekend, so the week before that was spent frantically cleaning and decorating, then this past week I did get *some* stuff done, but I started realizing that I had this whole weekend plus Monday and Tuesday to get it done, so... my motivation waned. After I finish this I'm going downstairs to make another list, this one of who I have left to buy for and where I might find something awesome to give each of them. The good news is I do generally know what I want to get people. Except maybe 2 people. But it'll come to me! ;)

3. We are not pregnant yet, so please, no one expect baby related gifts this year. And that's all I'm going to say about that. I wasn't going to say anything, but enough people know now that we're trying that I'd rather just have you know ahead of time that there are no little Christmas miracles in my womb. Perhaps a Martin Luther King, Jr. day miracle will occur... or Valentine's Day... or maybe St. Patrick's Day... Easter???? :)

4. I realized yesterday that I am pissed at cnn.com. I was all excited to see the giant-ass moon last night, and when Bryan and I were trying to figure out if he had to stay home for our moon date or if he could go play poker with some of the guys, we looked up the article again and realized the freaking full moon was LAST Friday! And I saw that stupid article in my CNN QuickNews on MONDAY MORNING! Assholes.

Thankfully we realized that we WERE out on a date last Friday night and that we DID see the moon. And we even commented how huge and awesome it was. So... I guess that's alright. :)

5. I have the last three episodes of Dexter to watch at some point over this break. Last night I finished watching this season of True Blood, and thought I might launch right into Dexter, but then I realized that I wanted to watch all three at once, and I didn't want to stay up until 2am. And then now, I am considering turning it on, but Bryan will probably be up before I can get through all three episodes and he doesn't really watch Dexter, so I won't get through all three. The point of all this is that this show is so freaking good that I know I'll be an addict once it's on and so I have to schedule three hours of my life where I can have no interruptions and focus solely on the crazy homicidal life of Dexter Morgan. And even I can admit that's weird. But there's nothing I can do to change it! I'm thinking perhaps Monday... but then again, I doubt I'll be able to hold out that long.

6. Did I mention I have TWO WEEKS OFF?!?!!! Hooray!!!


Party Hoppers

The first weekend of December, Bryan and I were total party hoppers. We had three Christmas parties in two days! You'd think we are a lot more popular than we really are. ;-)

Party #1: Grandma's Annual Tree Trimming Party

Every year, the Grammer family gathers at Grandma's to undertake the giant task of decorating her tree. It's not that the tree is so big, it's that she has about a million ornaments. Okay, I'm exaggerating. No more than 100,000. This year, in spite of being sick and coming straight from work, Bryan was the one to get the ornament-placing moving. He put on three ornaments, starting the trend, and then stepped back and let everyone else do all the work. I thought he was just really motivated to decorate, but then I found out that he was really just trying to get everyone out of the kitchen so he had the table full of food all to himself. Clever, that one.

My dad took a picture with him even though he was wearing his Eagles Santa hat:

And, of course, had to get the Grammer Family Elders in a picture... here's Aunt Irma, Uncle George, and Grandma:

Party #2: Chesterfield Power Station Christmas Party

Saturday night we had two parties, the first of which was Bryan's work party. We figured we wouldn't stay long, because only one of our normal crew was going to be there. Everyone else was either just out of the hospital, home with their 3 month old, on their honeymoon, or not working there anymore. What we failed to remember, though, is that people who work at the power station know how to throw down. So I got caught up in the dancing and we ended up staying for quite a while.

Party #3: Todd & Sarah's Christmas Party

Thankfully, our last party of the weekend was just down the street from the work party. Todd & Sarah used to live in our neighborhood, and their Christmas party is always a good time. Usually it involves a fair bit of drinking and the night ending in Sarah and I (and whoever else we can drag in) dancing in the living room. This year was no different. Although I think it does get tamer and tamer the older we get...


PSA: Your Friday Night Plans

If you love an awesome full moon as much as I do, mark your calendar for this Friday evening and make plans to do a little moongazing.

According to this article on cnn.com, it's going to be an awesome spectacle. There's some scientific mumbo jumbo about why, but the gist is that the Earth and the Moon are going to be getting up close and personal Friday night, so the moon is going to look like a "cosmic flood lamp." (NASA's words, not mine.)

I, for one, am pretty excited. Hopefully by emailing that article to my husband and blogging about it, I'll remember it's happening on Friday! :) Or hell, the way it sounds, maybe it'll be hard to miss, even if I do forget!


Deep Thoughts from Lydia

Driving home from work today, I happened to glance at my inspection sticker and think, "Wow, the next one of those I get will say '10' for the year for renewal! How in the world is it already so close to 2010?!" And in my internal conversation, I pronounced that "two-thousand-ten." Which got me to thinkin'... 'cause that's what I do best...

Does anyone say "twenty-oh-eight" for the current year? I don't. I hear people say that sometimes, but it is a very rare occurrence, and it makes me think they're weird (SORRY! Geez. I ask you to confess and then tell you I think you're weird...). But the thing is, when talking about history, I never say "one-thousand-nine-hundred-and-eight." I don't even say "nineteen-hundred-and-eight." So why the hell do I feel the need to be all formal with this decade?? And I mean, seriously, I'm not the only one.

So I wondered, when it's the tens decade, will we finally start saying "twenty-ten?" Because when I think it, I think "two-thousand-ten."

What do you guys think? Should we get back to our 1900's habit and start calling it "twenty-whatever"?

It just sounds so WEIRD that way to me. Wonder if I'll ever get used to it...


Morning Happiness: Cleaning?!

After the title of this entry, it's probably going to sound weird for me to tell you that I hate cleaning. I mean, you probably already knew that. Me and housekeeping is a constant battle. In the past I've found various tricks to coerce myself into doing it regularly (such as the 15 minutes a day stint), and then I get out of the routine and the whole house goes the way of frat houses across the nation. That is to say, we end up with crap everywhere except where it's supposed to be. And then I get all funky because I actually HATE a messy house, and then I get all overwhelmed because I have no interest in spending hours cleaning my house when I could be catching up on Dexter or True Blood.

Well, the day before my brother and I went to the Bahamas, I went in to work a little late because it made sense for me to stay at work later before going to pick him up from my mom's. I still got up with Bryan, because I hadn't finished packing or picking up around the house so my little brother wouldn't think it was okay to be a total slob as a grown person. I spent about an hour and a half either cleaning or packing, and something mildly miraculous occurred when I got in the car to go to work: I felt AWESOME. Like, wait a minute, what happened to that crabby woman that has just run around like a chicken with her head cut off trying to get ready for work in as little time as possible and wishes she was still in bed?! That wasn't me that day! I was "Woo, baby, I have just accomplished enough that I could just come home and veg out all evening if I wanted to!"

This revelation led me to the idea that perhaps I would start getting up a little early and cleaning for anywhere between 15-30 minutes before going to work. Bryan thought I was crazy. I thought he might be right, but it didn't hurt to try it out. Bryan has to leave for work typically about 20 minutes before I have to get up (for the chicken-sans-head routine... although that routine typically included anywhere between two and four whacks of the snooze button), so I decided my goal would be to get up when he left (or even when he got up) and do stuff around the house until my alarm went off, then I would proceed as usual.

Amazingly, I found that I really LIKED doing this. Apparently it's not being up early that I don't like, it's the actual GETTING UP part. Once I'm past that, I am good to go.

So this has only lasted for a week and a couple days so far, but it works so well that I'm hoping I can actually keep on doing this for a long time to come... only time will tell!


Morning Annoyance: Piss-Poor Parkers

Today I drove to work, and because I'm feeling under the weather, I came in late. Since I don't drive to work usually, I don't have parking here, so I'm forced to park with the masses in the giant pay parking deck.

The thing about this parking deck is all of the spots are laid out in a diagonal pattern. You know, like this: \ \ \ \ \ \. It's not that difficult. You just turn the wheel at a 45 degree angle instead of making a 90 degree turn.

And yet...

I had to drive around and around, down five levels before I could find a spot. And not because all of them were full--because 1) there are idiots who just get their vehicles in the general vicinity of "between the lines" and hop out, or 2) there are assholes who take up two spots without a second thought. This behavior pisses me off royally.

I was finally forced to squeeze my Eclipse between a minivan and an SUV. I had several bags to bring in, and as there was no way in hell I was getting my body AND those bags out at the same time, I opened the door and started swinging them out onto the pavement, trying to leave a foot or two of open space for me to crawl out onto. As I was reaching over into the passenger seat floorboard, I noticed that my side view mirror was basically directly across from where the person to my right would be opening their door. While I had already decided I didn't care that this person was going to have to squish into his or her vehicle, I realized that even a tiny child wouldn't be able to get in with the mirror right there. So I turned the car back on and backed up just a little bit. At least now they can open their door a good 10 or 12 inches. If they are wider than that, well... you shouldn't have parked over the yellow line, jerk.

I will end this with a plea. If you ever find yourself in a tight fitting parking deck, especially if it's one that will most likely fill up at some point during the day, park between the freaking lines. And by park between the lines I mean park your car, then open the door or get out and LOOK AT WHERE YOU HAVE PARKED. There should be roughly equal amounts of space between your car and the yellow lines on BOTH SIDES.

And those little white paint marks that might be on the minivan to the left of where my car is parked now? Dude, you asked for it. I tried to be gentle, but a girl has got to get her ass out of the car at some point.


Congratulations, Rich and Kristy!

Phew! Over the weekend, we attended the sixth and final wedding of our Whrilwind Wedding Tour, which commenced back at the beginning of August. We think we are done for a while, as we don't know any other engaged people right now.

This weekend's festivities were in celebration of the marriage of our friends Rich and Kristy. Rich and Bryan work together at Chesterfield Power Station, and we spent a few days with the two of them at Snowshoe last winter (you recall the skiing debacle?) and then again when we were in Vegas/the Grand Canyon this summer. They are adorable and totally smitten with each other, and both are just great people. It was truly a joy to see them say their vows!

Maria, another of Bryan's co-workers from CPS, was the only other person in the Dominion crew to make it up, so we banded together and enjoyed the evening. Possibly the best part was the homemade Amish peanut butter and homemade bread that Kristy's mom made for EVERYONE AT THE WEDDING to take home as our wedding favor. Let me tell you, those Amish know a thing or two about peanut butter!!!!!

Congratulations to the newlyweds! You can check out the rest of my pictures by clicking on this link.

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

I need to get a laptop. For reals. Because I hate posting so freaking long after things happen!

I hope everyone had a very nice Turkey Day. Mine was spent in Pennsylvania with my lovely in-laws. The food was great and the company excellent, too. (Although, of course, I missed seeing the rest of my VA family!)

And as a Thanksgiving Day bonus, my brother-in-law Kevin managed to score tickets to the Philadelphia Eagles game that evening, so after we stuffed ourselves to beyond our gastrointestinal limits, we bundled up and headed south for some football!

I was a little worried that I was going to freeze my patootie off, so we stopped at K-Mart (perhaps the ONLY place open on T-giving?) and bought a stash of hand and foot warmers. What a great idea! Between those and the six layers of clothes I had on, I didn't get cold at all until the fourth quarter!

Of course, we may have warmed up a bit by singing the Eagles fight song EIGHT TIMES, after each score! Man, it's good to see my Birds win... 48-20. And the fact that our seats were on the 48 yard line at the very lowest part of the second section made the game all the better!

You can check out the rest of the photos from the Eagles game (and a few of my adorable niece and nephew!) here.


Bahama Mama... or rather, Bahama Sister. And brother.

My trip to the Bahamas over the weekend with my little brother is done, and I probably don't have to tell you that it sucked to come home from 75 degree weather to 40-something and rain! Luckily I had my husband waiting for me, who I missed a LOT, so that was some small comfort. :)

We started our trip early Saturday morning, and miraculously all of our flights were on time (through Atlanta, on DELTA!) and we even managed to haul ass quickly enough through the airport to make our connecting flight. We had about 12 minutes for a 20 minute walk. Yeah, exercise is always good...

Our flight landed in Nassau a little after noon, but we were quickly greeted with Island Time. That is, where nothing is hurried and we think they may have been taking one bag off the plane, bringing it over to the terminal, going back for another, repeating the process, one by one. Because it took, like, an hour or more for us to get our bags. Zech was getting surlier by the moment. Finally, though, they came, and we headed out to our shuttle to the hotel. Where we waited another 45 minutes before heading out.

When we finally got to the hotel, we were starved and I finally started to see some excitement on that teenager's face. (I felt like I was on that commercial most of the weekend... where the mom keeps snapping photos of her daughter looking all pouty and then FINALLY! She catches her smiling. Yeah, can't wait to have kids that are teenagers. :) ) The hotel we stayed at was nice--a three-star all-inclusive. We had a room with a view and a nice balcony, mini-bar in the room, fridge full of sodas... it was great!

Of course our first order of business was food, but then, you know Zech was ready for the ocean! The Caribbean was rowdier than I have ever seen it--usually it's nice and calm, hardly waves to speak of. Not this weekend. The waves were so big and fierce that on Sunday the lifeguard made Zech get out of the water! Thankfully Saturday was ocean-worthy, and we spent a little time down on the beach. Unfortunately, it was windier than hell, which made it a little chilly, so we tried the pool, which was a little warmer, but not much.

We spent the evening at Atlantis, the super-fancy resort that's right next door to where we stayed. Atlantis has a casino and lots of aquarium-type areas, so we amused ourselves there for a while. Zech got a kick out of the casino, and I played about $5 in the slot machines, then we watched craps for a while. I was proud at resisting the urge to gamble more. :)

Sunday we caught a cab over to Nassau and walked around and shopped some. We got offered reefer about 50 times, and Zech bought a purse for his girlfriend. We then decided to head back to our hotel, and for some reason thought it was a good idea to walk. It was a couple miles, but, hey, it was a nice day, so that was alright. Of course, once we got back to the beach and realized Zech couldn't go in the ocean, he decided he wanted to go back to Nassau to buy this "Rolex" he had been bartering for at the Straw Market. So this time, we hopped the ferry back, and of course had to wait another hour for that to leave!

After getting home with the prized watch, we got ready for dinner at the "gourmet restaurant," and then headed down to eat. I set up the camera to take our picture in the room, because I could not get the boy to act like he liked me for a picture anywhere else. As I suspected, everyone there assumed we were a couple, and Zech was a bit more freaked out about that than I was. :)

Our last night, we headed back over to Atlantis for a little bit of last minute shopping and another look at their grounds, then it was back to our hotel for our last night in the Caribbean.

We had a fun time, and I think it was good for us to get to spend a little time together. Although I still have no idea what to talk to a 16 year old boy about, we made do just fine. :)

You can check out my whole photo album here.



Well peeps, I'm off to the Bahamas tomorrow morning for a couple of days. My little brother turned 16 last month and this is his birthday gift--he gets to go somewhere with his big sister for a weekend! :) Lucky for him, he has a passport, so his trip is a bit more exotic than Victoria's Sweet Sixteen trip to San Diego last summer.

Had a small snafu last night when I realized my plane ticket was booked in my married name and my passport is still in my maiden name! Yeah, had to pop a couple Tylenol PMs to fall asleep after that little discovery! By some miracle, though, I got the most helpful and pleasant customer service rep on the line at Delta and she changed the name on my ticket with no hassle and--even better--NO CHARGE! I was so amazed that I got her name and sent in a compliment email through Delta's website.

Anyway, I'll be back late Monday night, and will share pictures hopefully next week before Turkey Day!!


How my day started.

We have one of these coffee makers in my office. I love it. So much so that I bought one for my house. It is very simple and quick to use. You just pop a little coffee pod in the top, stick a cup under it, push a button, and voila: a hot, steamy, fresh cup of coffee.

Typically the first thing I do after walking into my office and dropping my purse is make a cup of coffee while I chat with Sharon, whose office is connected to mine. Today was no different. I dropped my purse, went over to the coffee maker, put in the coffee pod, started chatting with Sharon, and pushed the button to brew my cuppa joe.

Except I forgot the cup.

What in the world.

Luckily Keurig expects people to be idiots on occasion and built the part the cup sits on over a nice little reservoir that caught the half a cup of coffee that poured in before I realized what a ditz I had been. (It's possible that reservoir is NOT for idiots but instead to catch drips, but... hey, I gotta cut myself some slack here, people.)

So... yeah. That's how my day started. I'm just praying I've gotten all the ridiculousness out of my system for today and the rest of my Tuesday will be smooth sailing. :)


You might be a grown up if...

You might be a grown up if it is Saturday morning and you get to sleep in and you sleep as long as you possibly can, knowing you have really gotten a looooong night's sleep this time, and you roll over and the clock says 7:03am.

(You also might be a grown up if you went to bed at 9pm on Friday night, thus meaning that you really DID get a long night's sleep!)

Yes, that was me this morning. Bryan was up and gone by 5am to go to work, and I got to sleep in as long as I wanted. And that was all I could do. :) The excellent thing about getting up that early on a Saturday is that it's not even 11:00 yet and I have gotten so much laundry and cleaning done that I feel like I can stop for the day.

Okay, maybe not STOP. But at least I feel accomplished already so if I slow down a bit, no big deal! :)

And yes, you read that right, Bryan is working. It's outage season at the power station, which means 7-day work weeks and 12+ hour days. BLAH. I miss him tons, but this schedule will be over come Thanksgiving and hopefully there will be no wacky problems at the power station for several months after that. :) For the past couple of weeks, except for at Sara's wedding, I have seen him for, like, an hour each night if I'm lucky, then we go to bed. Definitely not enough time with my man. :)

Anyway, so I think I'm going shopping today after I get a few more things done, and then this evening I'll be heading out with a couple of girlfriends for dinner and drinks. Bryan is *supposed* to go to his friend Rich's bachelor party, but something tells me that he won't be in party mode considering he'll have been at work all day and will have to be up again tomorrow morning to be in by 5:30...

Off to do more grown up things! :)



My best distance!

You have got to go try this game. I have paused a few times throughout the day today to try it after seeing the link at Made in Richmond, and I laugh so hard I cry every time I play it. Maybe I'm just a lunatic. But I think this game is HI-LARIOUS! :)


*For those not up on the txt-speak, LMAO=laughing my ass off. :)

Words of Wisdom

I get daily thoughts in my email from Real Simple magazine. Today's is incredibly wise, so I thought I would share.

"We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."
--Joseph Campbell


Congratulations, Sara and Jason!

Sara catching the bouquet at our wedding

While my Maid of Honor, Sara, wasn't the first person who attended my wedding to get married afterwards, she was the first person who was still there when I tossed the bouquet to get married. Which was appropriate, since she's the one who caught it. :) (Yeah, yeah, I know that doesn't really work, but still... :) ) She married her love, Jason, this past weekend in a beautiful ceremony in Richmond.

As one of Sara's bridesmaids, the wedding festivities began for me on Thursday evening with a pizza dinner at Sara's parents house. We (Sara's friends) call them Mama and Papa P for short. When we were in high school, and even in college, dinners at the Puhala's were frequent, and always a nice, relaxing time. This was the first time in many year that we've gathered at their home in Chester, and it was a lot of fun to catch up with everyone and just have a little downtime before the hustle and bustle of the wedding started.

Friday morning, up and at 'em to get to the bridal luncheon. First, though, I picked up Jen (another bridesmaid) at the hotel and we went and picked up Brooke (another bridesmaid!) from the airport in a covert operation. Sara though Brooke wasn't going to arrive until later in the day, so it was a big surprise for her when the three of us arrived at the luncheon. After some tasty grub provided by Judy, the Mistress of Ceremonies, we all made sure we had our schedules and knew what the next 48 hours would bring.

Sara and her girls (from left: Kelly, Sara, Allison, Chrystal, Jen, Brooke, me)

The rehearsal dinner was hosted by Jason's parents at Texas de Brazil. I'd never been there, but I had eaten at a similar place in San Diego, so I knew what to expect. And the restaurant certainly did not disappoint! Texas de Brazil is what they call a churrascaria, which basically means "meat party." Okay, that's probably not what it really means. But that's what it is. They have an AWESOME salad bar, but the main course is a bunch of dudes they call "gauchos" coming around with giant skewers of meat and sliding about a dozen different kinds of meat on your plate until you turn your little green circle over to the red side. Deeeee-licious! :)

Saturday morning, we were all up early to have our hair done and get to the Puhala's in time for photos and to get the bride (and ourselves) dressed and ready. Sara's new sister-in-law (and another bridesmaid), Kelly, joined me at my salon since the salon Sara was using was getting pretty full. If you check out the pictures, you'll see that we all turned out pretty good. :) I was impressed with the job my stylist did at Salon del Sol, as I have never seen my hair look like that before--and I liked it! :)

Sara's nieces Audrey and Natalie watch their Auntie become a princess

I got teary eyed for the first time when we went to help Sara into her dress... and then maybe a few times more throughout the day. :) Hey, I'm a girl... what do you expect? I certainly wasn't the one crying the most over the weekend! (MAMA P!!!!)

Getting the bride in her dress!

Bryan and me outside the church.

The ceremony at St. Augustine's Catholic Church was lovely, and afterwards we all headed to the Sheraton Park South for the reception. Unfortunately, the bride and groom were delayed just a tad when the limousine BROKE DOWN! Can you believe that?! Thankfully they were able to get a jump and make it to the reception, but, I mean, I guess something like that has to go wrong on every wedding day! :)
The bridesmaids (minus Chrystal, who was on Mommy duty by this point!)

The reception was a blast. The food was good, the wine was tasty, and the cake was heavenly. The music was fun, the dancing plentiful, and our shoes were changed to be comfy. :) One of the awesome things about Sara is that even though most of us in the wedding party hardly know each other, we have a GREAT time together. Heck, I was still worn out yesterday from all the good times! :)

Goofy. Yes.

Here's wishing the beautiful bride and the handsome groom a lifetime of happiness!

You can check out *all* of my photos from the weekend by clicking here.



I know there are people in this country who are upset about the results of Tuesday's election, but for the life of me I can't bring myself to worry about them. I think it's because of the amazing unity I feel with my fellow Americans, the inspiration I feel for us to all be better people, for us to be better citizens of the world, because of the HOPE that our new President stands for and believes in--I can see us all coming together, and yes, we can.

I stayed up late on Tuesday night waiting for the results, and then watching John McCain's gracious concession speech and Barack Obama's moving victory speech. I have never felt so proud to be an American, to be part of a country that has overcome such a hateful past and reached a point where this man has become our president because he represents what we want for our future, not because of his ethnic heritage. The majority of us have judged him as Martin Luther King hoped we would--not by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character. The United States is a beautiful place.

I'm grateful not to have grown up in the times of segregation or the civil rights movement. My generation has heard stories of the injustices committed against non-white Americans, but we were fortunate enough for those things to already be part of history, to be born in a time where progress and acceptance are the agenda of the day. For much of my life, I've heard people of all colors say that those old prejudices aren't gone, that we have not reached equality, and many times I've agreed. But Tuesday night, something amazing happened. A door was opened that can never be closed. Anyone can be anything, there are truly no limits to the American Dream.

Last night, I went with two girlfriends to see The Secret Life of Bees. It was a timely movie to see. It takes place in South Carolina in 1964. While it's not the focus of the movie, the Civil Rights Act is passed in the course of the movie. The black characters in the story are beaten and arrested as they attempt to go register to vote. One black young man is taken out of the movie theater and beaten for being with a white girl. This movie is fiction, but these things certainly happened during that time. Thinking of the battle fought by African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement has brought me to tears on numerous occasions, but last night those tears were different. They were tears of happiness that we have come so far in the past 45 years. We have a long way to go, but I'm so proud to be part of a time in history where we are truly moving forward towards unity. Towards togetherness.

We did it, America. And we can do so much more.


Didja vote yet?

Have you cast your vote yet? If not, don't worry, you can get in line up until the polls close in your state. Get out there!

I got to my polling place about 15 minutes after it opened and waited an hour and ten minutes. I was #490 to cast my vote, which means there were a good 400 people in front of me in line when I got there. Bryan came straight from his overnight shift at the power station and was about 130 people behind me. By the time he left at 7:45, the line had shortened to all be inside (I stood outside for a good 50 minutes.). Oh well... at least I made it to work at a decent hour!

I hope you'll all go vote today, regardless of who you vote for. Voting is a right that those who came before us fought hard to attain, and we owe it to them to stand up for what we believe.

John at Buttermilk & Molasses posted a portion of this article from the Washington Post that is a great piece about the importance of standing in those long lines today. Please take a minute to click the link (either one, although Buttermilk & Molasses sums it up nicely if you don't have a lot of time) and read it.

And I'll be keeping my eye out for your sticker. :)


Halloween Fun

This year, I had two Halloween parties to attend--how fun! What was not fun is that my husband started a week of night shift on Halloween night! BOOOOOO!!!! (And not in the scary ghost kind of way!) Lucky for me, my friend Leslie is awesome and she agreed to be my date to both of these events.

Friday night, Krystyna's house. I busted out the Goth Fairy costume from five years ago. I believe this is the last time I am allowed to wear this tiny, tiny skirt. (As a woman of 30, I did practice a little bit of modesty by wearing biker shorts underneath it. Which reminded me of seventh grade, when no matter WHAT length the skirt was, you wore biker shorts under it.) Leslie was Sookie, from the HBO show "True Blood," and Krystyna was a fabulous Geisha.

Saturday, Traci and Steven hosted their annual Halloween bash. I decided I wanted to be something different that night, and all I knew is I wanted to wear my cute auburn wig. And so about 30 minutes before I had to leave, I decided to be Ginger from Gilligan's Island. :) Traci, our hostess, was Michael Phelps. Complete with sock "package." Hilarious.

All in all, a fun Halloween weekend!

Me and a Velociraptor

This was on Sue's blog. HILARIOUS! You've gotta go take the quiz.

I could survive for 51 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor

Created by Bunk Beds.net


I've caught the Yankee.

Well, after basically living with one of two Northerners for the past 12 years (Frane, my college roommate, was from PA, as is the hubs), the Yankee has rubbed off. Grandma, please do not pass out.

This morning in the elevator, a woman asked me if I knew where the Physiology Department was. I replied, "No, I don't, I'm sorry." That's it. Just five little words.

"Are you from Pennsylvania?" she said.

"No, why?"

"Well, you sound just like someone I know from Pennsylvania..."

And then she got off the elevator.

In defense of my good Southern roots, I would like to say that my in-laws still tease me for the way I said "high school." Or "ha skewl" if you ask them.



How Bryan & Lydia end the weekend smiley.

UVA 24
Georgia Tech 17

Penn State 13
Ohio State 6

Philadelphia Phillies 5*
Tampa Bay Rays 4

Philadelphia Eagles 27
Atlanta Falcons 14

*Fingers crossed that they either win again Sunday night or we are already asleep before we know the outcome. :)


I need this.

Dooce likes to torture me with things I love but which are either too expensive for me to buy myself or which I can never find to purchase. Like today. I must have this peacock necklace. If you want to buy me an expensive Christmas present, buy me this. But tell my husband in case someone else has already bought it for me. Or buy me it now and I'll tell everyone I already have it before they go Christmas shopping. :)


Liberal Lydia Strikes Again

Yes, that's right, in an effort to make all of my conservative friends and family even more wary of me (or in some cases, I think, worried for me), I went and got political again today by attending the Obama rally at the Richmond Coliseum. I even used vacation time to do it! And as a state employee with less than five years in, that time ain't easy to come by! :)

I met up with Leslie (my partner in politics) and my friend Etienne, the husband of one of my co-workers. We waited in line for about two hours. I have to say, for a while I was nervous we wouldn't get in. Thankfully, though, we were among the last several hundred to make it through the doors, and while we were relegated to the nosebleed seats, it was still an electric experience, even before the speakers took the stage.

Nothing like the wave to get a crowd going!

Virginia's governor Tim Kaine kicked things off, followed by former governor and candidate for Senator Mark Warner, and then the man everyone came to see. And the crowd goes wild!

Barack Obama was inspiring. The thirteen thousand people in attendance inside (and the seven thousand outside) were from all walks of life--you think of a demographic, it was represented. The loudest cheers came when Obama talked about our country unifying to give everyone a chance to be better, when he talked about his plans to help the middle class, and ultimately when he talked about our responsibility to future generations to make a stand for what we believe in.

One of the things I like best about Obama is that while he makes promises like every politician, he also stresses the importance of individual responsibility. It's not enough for the government to spend more on education--parents have to spend more time with their kids, and turn the TV off. It's not enough for the government to spend more money on fighting crime--fathers have to be there and be good role models for their sons. And the one I loved, but chuckled at a bit: It's not enough for the government to work towards energy independence--we each have to turn off the lights when we leave a room! :)

Two weeks from today, our new president will have been elected. I. Can't. Wait.

Does the stand come with those?

The way some people display items for sale on Craigslist amuses me. Today, though, one person totally cracked me up.

Here is how NOT to display curtains:



I just tried to install the new software I got for work. It's Dreamweaver, which I use to maintain our residency website.

When I put it in the CD drive, nothing happened. After much clicking around and perplexed looks from me to the PC, I looked at the box.

I bought the freaking Mac version.

Oh, good grief. I hope the company I bought it from will exchange it for me! For someone that is pretty proficient with computers, that was such a moron move.


RIP Nacho Mama

(Image courtesy of http://www.savorygourmets.com)

As I drove in to work today, I heard on NPR that Carmen Rocha, a retired Los Angeles waitress, had passed away. In itself, that doesn't seem particularly newsworthy. Carmen was, however, the woman who introduced nachos to LA. While she brought the recipe of tortilla chips covered in cheese and jalapenos from her hometown of San Antonio, Texas, we all know that Los Angeles is where trends are introduced to the United States.

As a woman who can't imagine life without the bliss of warm cheese on fried tortillas, I salute Carmen Rocha, and think I might have to go to my favorite Mexican food cart for nachos for lunch today.

Rest in peace, Nacho Mama!


Happy Chin-iversary to me!

Five years ago today, I had chin augmentation surgery. I finally got around to sending my plastic surgeon a thank you letter a few months ago, and I've decided to share that with all of you. My experience is probably unique in a lot of ways, but in many ways it is not. We all have things about ourselves that hold us back from being our best. Eventually, a solution will come. There ARE answers to your problems, you just have to keep looking. And instead of seeing tough times as obstacles to your goals, learn from the hardships in your life--they are the best lessons for how you can be a better you.

Hello Dr. DuFresne,

It will be five years in October since you changed my life with a chin augmentation. I think of you often and have been meaning to send you some decent "after" photos for the past five years. I can remember the impact other before/after photos made on me in your office, and would like for you to have these photos in case you ever encounter someone else like me.

The photo I've attached of my husband and I during our first dance is my favorite of the 700+ photos our photographer took on September 30, 2006. I think it embodies perfectly the love we have for each other, but, as I write this, I realize it is more than that. Before I met you and before my surgery, I would have shuddered at the thought of a profile picture. Now, though, it's not even something I have to think about. And I think that is the most beautiful result of the surgery you performed, and part of the beauty of this photo. I can enjoy my life without a second thought at whether or not someone is catching my "bad side."

In spite of growing up with a physical feature that incited endless teasing and mocking from my peers, I managed to enter my twenties as a decently well-adjusted adult with confidence in herself and a genuine love of the person I am. There was always something hanging over me, though... a weight on my shoulders that prevented me from truly loving all of me. I was constantly wondering if people thought I looked like a freak, if, when they passed by me, they wondered what made me look so weird. I was outgoing, yet inhibited. I was willing to give of myself, but only to the point that I thought I would safely avoid being hurt when I discovered that I wasn't good enough. It is strange to me to look back now and realize just how much my appearance impacted me, as I often thought I had managed to overcome it.

I came to you anticipating the same old story--braces, breaking my jaw to move it forward, months of rough recovery, maybe a little improvement but probably not what I really was looking for. Instead, I got a simple solution. The joy I felt after seeing you for my initial consultation is something I'll always remember. The idea that what I always called "the bane of my existence" could be remedied in an easy outpatient surgery was overwhelming and invigorating. I couldn't really imagine what life would be like afterwards, but I was anxious to find out. Surgery was exactly what you said it would be, and to this day people are amazed to find out how little pain and recovery there was. In fact, people who didn't know me pre-chin are amazed to find out I've had surgery at all!

When I went back to work after the surgery and as my swelling went down and my face settled into its new configuration, I heard the same compliment time and time again: "You were always beautiful, but now, you glow." I glow. Still, five years later, people tell me this. And I have realized that the reason for that is there's nothing to darken my spirit. No worry that I'm not good enough. No physical flaw that I wish I could hide but know I can't. I don't flatter myself that I'm the most beautiful woman in the room, but I no longer insult myself by thinking I'm the ugliest, either. I am comfortable being average, or maybe pretty... it doesn't matter. What matters is that I don't even think about it anymore. And when there's no negative self-image, a positive self-image is free to blossom... to glow.

I've been meaning to thank you all these years, and I apologize that it has taken me so long. Know that I've sent my gratitude many, many times--especially at my annual "Chin-iversary" parties. :) I know that you have performed many, many surgeries that were much more complex and involved than mine, and probably even more life-changing. I want you to know, though, that I am eternally grateful that you chose plastic surgery as your profession, that you dedicated yourself to being one of the best in your field, and that I had the privilege to call you my surgeon. I am certain that I would not be where I am right now--in a happier place than I could have ever dreamed--were it not for you.

A million thanks,

lydia eve


Congratulations, Jen & Billy!

We spent the weekend in Pennsylvania for Jen & Billy's wedding. I call Jen Bryan's cousin. I can not make my brain follow the family tree long enough to be sure this is correct. Whatever their relation, Jen is part of the extended family who come to all of the summer family picnics. :)

Jen & Billy were married at the Stroudsmore Inn, a beautiful place in the Poconos. The day couldn't have been more perfect, the setting couldn't have been more beautiful. The food was great, the drinks were flowing, the DJ was awesome, and a great time was had by all! (I especially liked the DJ's touch of props, which you can see in some of the photos in the collage. Yes, I was the Indian in the Village People when he played YMCA. And the answer to the question you will ask after reading that is: white russians and a few captain & gingers.)

Driving home yesterday, we took the longer way and spent a few hours in the mountains. The leaves are already peaking there and they were gorgeous. We also made a little pit stop at Penn State Hazleton, where Bryan spent the first two years of college. When he kept remarking about all of the things that are different, my response was, "Honey, you were here 13 years ago..." And then I fell over in shock at the idea that either of us was doing anything besides playing with Barbie dolls or GI Joes that long ago.

More pictures of Jen & Billy's wedding are here if you're interested.

Gettin' Political.

(Crappy picture of us, I know... but that's Bill in the background on stage!)

Normally, while I have very strong opinions on politics, I'm not one to get into a big political discussion or get involved in campaigns or any of that business. I am happy to talk politics with people who either 1) feel the same way as me or 2) feel differently but are willing to consider another point of view (i.e., don't shout at me or get shrill or we will not be discussing the election).

Last week, though, I got an email that former president Bill Clinton would be speaking at an Obama rally in Richmond last night. And I thought, "How cool would it be to see a president in real life?!" And then, "I actually care a LOT about this election, maybe it's not such a bad idea to go to a rally."

So, my friend Leslie and I went. I can not tell you if Bryan would have gone or not if he didn't have to be up at the crack of dawn today because the man will not discuss politics and I don't think he'd want me telling everybody his leanings. :)

It was interesting... Clinton is certainly a great speaker and had a lot of insightful things to say. The rally was held in the courtyard of the VCU Student Commons, so they had a VCU student introduce him. I thought it was incredibly classy of him when he came out WITH her and stood next to her as she told her own story, rather than hang out behind the curtain and make a grand entrance after she spoke. Sure, it is a move any good politician would make, but I was still impressed. Way to stand next to the little guy (or girl, in this case), Bill.

The crowd was large and diverse. The mood was excited and hopeful. Everyone was respectful and paid attention to what was being said.

Wouldn't it be nice if the state of our Union was just like that?

Maybe next year. :-)


Our Anniversary Weekend

To celebrate our anniversary, we spent last weekend in Virginia Beach. My cousin Shane had his wedding celebration near there on Saturday, so we did get in some family and friends time, too, but overall it was a nice little getaway for us where we did a lot of relaxing, some visiting, some eating, and a little sightseeing.

I was reminded why I love Virginia when we were able to spend much of the day on Saturday--in October--just lounging on the beach. The weather was beautiful and just the right temperature, with a little breeze.

Saturday afternoon we went to celebrate Shane and his new wife Cortie. They were married on the beach in August, and were just able to get back home to have their reception with everyone now. Cortie is in school in Atlanta, so her schedule is hectic! It was great to see them, and lots of peeps from the fam.

After the reception, we spent a few hours hanging out with my college roomie Frane and her husband Tim. I forgot to take pictures, though. :( I don't get to see Frane nearly enough, and it was fun to spend some time with her! (And for the record, her name is actually Jen. I have called her Frane since 1996, though. Long story.)

Sunday we got up early and watched the sunrise from our balcony, then had a quick breakfast and headed out to see the Fort Story lighthouse before we made our way home. Call me crazy, but before going to this lighthouse, I did not make the connection that we were going to an active military base (FORT Story). I was therefore incredibly taken aback when they made us get out of the car and open all of its orifices to be searched! I don't know, I guess I've watched one too many movies, but I was terrified the drug dog was going to find something we didn't know was there... like, say someone at the hotel had stashed their coke supply in our wheel wells. Yes, I know this is ludicrous, but, I mean, didn't you see Brokedown Palace? That stuff happens.

Anyway, after a long climb to the top of the original lighthouse and a couple of pictures ("You may take pictures of the lighthouses ONLY. Do NOT take pictures of anything else. The lighthouses ONLY."), we made our way west only to watch our dear Philadelphia Eagles lose AGAIN. Jesus. Oh well, at least UVA won last weekend. I will cherish that 31-0 score for another year, I'm guessing.

If you'd like to check out all of my photos from the weekend, you can see them here.


Two years.

Two years ago today, I married the love of my life. In some ways, it seems like just yesterday, in others, it seems like he's been by my side forever.

He makes me laugh, he dazzles me with his smarts, he holds me close, he handles my rough days with ease, and he always knows the perfect thing to say to make it better.

He is my best friend, and I send up grateful prayers every day that he came into my life more than seven and a half years ago.


Mixed Bag Weekend

The Good:

Bryan's Birthday
Friday was my dear hubby's birthday. He was off that day (he has every other Friday off), and I was shocked to come home to find he had not only cleaned up the house, but he had also done laundry, and gotten his hair cut, AND fixed my car! Um, honey, can we pretend it's your birthday every day? :) To celebrate, we met up with some of our friends for Mexican in Chester. Normally I avoid embarassing server-led birthday songs, but since I hadn't made Bryan a cake, I figured he needed some kind of birthday dessert, so I told the servers. Well, they got into it. After serenading him while moving his chair in time to their beat, the one dude even fed him a bite, getting whipped cream all over him. Bryan pretended to be amused.

Kim's Farewell Party
My friend Kim and her boyfriend Guillermo are heading back to Guillermo's home country of Mexico to live for a while, so their going away party was Saturday. Kim was, believe it or not, my French teacher in 9th and 10th grades. She had just finished college at JMU and got a job at Bath County High School, and we bonded over being Richmond girls in a very, very small town. Kim became a big sister/mentor to me in the early years, but as we have gotten older, we have become great friends. Kim introduced the whole wide world to me at a time when my world seemed very small, and I credit her with my love of travel and my open-armed perspective of all things foreign. We usually manage to get together at least once every few months, but I guess now Bryan and I will have to work her into our travel plans. :)

Heather's Birthday
My cousin Heather turns 26 today, and she invited us over to celebrate with her and her pals on Saturday, too. We were only able to make a short appearance because we got there late and all the spring chickens were getting ready to go out downtown. We are so far removed from the bar scene that we bowed out and headed home. It was fun to see Heather in her own setting, since usually when we see each other the gatherings are family oriented. Not that she was any different than she is around family, it was just cute to see her being a grown up. Because I still think of her as my "little cousin" Heather most times. :)

Finishing Invitations
Yesterday morning, after what I calculated to be about 12 hours of writing, I finished Sara's invitations! Woohoo!! I handed them off to her mom yesterday evening, and won't mess with that calligraphy pen again until... well, until I do her place cards. Ha! It was funny, though, last night my hand didn't know what to do with itself... I picked up my journal to write and found myself having little internal freak outs when my letters weren't formed perfectly. Took me about five minutes to settle into "normal" handwriting!

Cleaning House
After the invitations were done, it was cleaning time. Luckily Bryan had done the pre-cleaning on Friday, so I was able to zip around and get quite a bit done. I'm so much more at peace when my house is clean!

The Bad:

Philadelphia Eagles
My Eagles just could not pull out a win against the Bears last night. This made me sad, so I went to sleep all grumpy. I mean, seriously, I need at least ONE of my teams to win, because...

The Ugly:

UVA Football
Oh, dear Lord. Being beat 31-3 is horribly embarassing. But when you are beat 31-3 by DUKE?! Who hadn't won an ACC game since 2004?! I can not tell you enough how glad I am that I did not see this game. My husband thought he was being cute yesterday when he handed me a late summer issue of Maxim magazine that listed the worst teams in college football. "Look, honey, see, your team isn't one of the worst ones!" Yes, this sounds cute when I tell you that UVA did not appear on this list. But when I turned the page and saw that the #1 worst team was Duke? Yeah, not so cute. In fact, worthy of a kick in the shin. I am officially joining the "Fire Al Groh" bandwagon. Who's with me?


Calligraphy Central

My living room has become Calligraphy Central this week. About eight years ago, I was recruited to address my friend Sara's wedding invitations, even though she was single. :) I guess my handwriting has a bit of a reputation amongst some of my friends (although some have handwriting that is just as beautiful if not moreso than mine).

So, Sara's Prince Charming finally came along and I'm now knee-deep in ink and invitations. Sara wanted something more scripty than what I did for my own invitations, so since it turns out the scripty kinds of calligraphy are the hardest, I sort of created my own style, copying the Copperplate the best I could with no formal training. :)

I think they're looking pretty good, and Sara likes them, which is really all that matters!

Eight sheets of addresses down, five to go by Sunday!


Economic Commentary. Because I am confused.

So earlier this morning, I get this breaking news alert from CNN:

Treasury Secretary Paulson says "hundreds of billions" of dollars are needed to resolve U.S. financial crisis.

I can't get my head around our giant ass economy. Here are the things I do understand:
  • Our national debt is about $9.6 trillion.
  • Part of the economic crisis is that a lot of people in the US borrowed a lot of money they could not afford to pay back.
  • When people borrow money they can not pay back, that means they are in debt.
So tell me if I've got this straight:

PROBLEM: Too many people in the US in debt up to their eyeballs.
SOLUTION: Make US government in debt up to the top of its head.

Boy, I tell ya, the government is setting a GREAT example to all the citizens that got us into this mess.

I also saw on the news last night that we are going to loan a boatload of cash to a few countries--like, hundreds of billions or something? (Don't quote me on that figure.) And here is what I know about that:
  • We as a country have almost $10 trillion in debt.
  • If you're in debt, that means you don't have any positive cash flow to pay your debt off.
  • We are loaning (or planning to loan) money to other countries.
What in the hell?

PROBLEM: US has so much debt it can't pay its own bills.
SOLUTION: US gives money to other countries.

This is why I got a D+ in Macro Economics in college. Because this crap makes absolutely NO SENSE.

Anyone with a firm grasp of how any of this actually works, please, do share. But in layman's terms, because economic mumbo jumbo will go straight over my head.



Whether it's that old adage that a woman becomes her mother, or my hormones, or something else entirely, my body's desire to create has become overwhelming lately.

It started a while ago, but lately has been manifesting itself outwardly. I am overcome by the need to make something... art, calligraphy, a journal (handwritten... blogging doesn't satisfy the itch for some reason), a baby... hell, the other night I even dreamed up a piece of jewelry that I am now DYING to own (and can't find anywhere online).

For Jodie's wedding, I volunteered to be her florist and site decorator. Partially because I had a lot of stuff leftover from my wedding and knew where to get pretty flowers cheap, partially because I loved the idea of taking a blank community hall and making it something beautiful for her special day.

So I took this:

And made it into this:
And then this:

And then this:
And it was incredibly satisfying. Wore me slam out (thank you, arthritis), but it was worth it. Granted, it was nothing over-the-top amazing or skillful--I'm not very experienced at this at all, and was on a budget. But it was enough that my mom said to me, "What is it that makes you just volunteer to do stuff like that? That makes you feel confident you can just do something like that?"

Truthfully, I don't know. My Nana was an amazing artist, and my mom is too, and my sister is too... and my Dad, on the rare occasions he shows it, is pretty artsy too. So I know it's in me. Apparently, though, as a child, I used to cry when my mom would try to teach me all of these wonderful domestic/artistic skills she has, like flower arranging, and announce loudly, "I WILL NEVER BE A DOMESTIC ENGINEER!"

Obviously she knew something I didn't. Because in my adult life, I take more pleasure out of those things than I ever imagined I would.

I have been thinking about giving painting a go. And then sometime in the next week I'll be expressing my artistic side by addressing my friend Sara's wedding invitations in a style of calligraphy I've never tried, but am psyched to do. (This endeavor was a great excuse to buy a couple of awesome calligraphy books at Barnes & Noble!)

I can't decide if I am just coming into who I was destined to be, or if this is part of our readiness to start a family and that not happening as quickly as we would like. Like, if really I just want to create life, but since that is taking so damned long, instead I need to create SOMETHING, ANYTHING.

Ultimately, I suspect I'm craving a bit of both... becoming a mother and becoming an artist. Which basically means becoming my mother on many levels. And really, this whole "domestic engineer" bit is pretty comfortable for me. :)