Earth Day: Better Late Than Never!

So, truth be told, I'm not really an environmentalist. I think the Earth has gone through all kinds of wacky cycles in its lifetime, most of which we humans had nothing at all to do with. I pay attention to stories on global warming and the diminishing ozone layer, but chances are a giant meteor could slam into our pretty little planet and send us the way of the dinosaurs before any of us can do anything about it anyway.

What I am is someone who, in spite of being born in the late 70's and growing up in the 80's when disposable just became more and more chic, finds the amount of waste in our world ridiculous. Even appliances are made to last for a short time and then be tossed, replaced by newer, fancier models. It is truly obnoxious how much crap we all get rid of each year. Crap that just goes in a giant pile somewhere, and that will sit there for eternity.

I don't claim not to be guilty of contributing, but a few years ago I decided that perhaps it was time for me to be less wasteful. And so a couple Earth Days ago, I took it upon myself to call Chesterfield County's waste management folks and get a recycling bin, and each Earth Day since I've made one small "green" change.

This year, I decided that it's time to jump on the reusable shopping bag bandwagon, so I bought two canvas bags that I'll keep in my car. I have been requesting paper at the grocery store for ages now (they make great receptacles for my overflow recycling!), but a lot of places don't have the paper option. And plastic bags? Well, how many of THOSE suckers do you think are piling up around the world? National Geographic did an article about their impact if you're interested, and several places around the United States have moved to ban them from their stores totally.

Don't get me wrong, if I see you with a plastic bag, I'm not going to chastise you or throw paint on you or anything. I get that they're convenient, and a lot of people use them for many different things. But they don't break down, they don't recycle easily, and someone's going to have to figure out what to do with gazillions of tons of them when my grandkids grow up.

So, if you're like me and think we humans are just plain wasteful, think about making a small change. My first step away from the plastic bag was to tell the bagger not to put my gallon of milk in one. Milk's easier to carry by the handle, anyway. Consider skipping just that one bag next time you're at the grocery store. We gotta start somewhere!

I am, indeed, a white people.

Over lunch I was browsing a few blogs that I put on a list of ones I like, but that I don't visit often. One of these is Stuff White People Like. It's meant to be ironic... obviously not ALL white people will like ALL the things they talk about. But for the most part, they're right on the money. And I think it's funny, but I've never been one to take racial references too seriously (unless they're truly derogatory, probably should clarify that).

So anyway, the latest thing they say white people like is New Balance sneakers. And you know why that's funny? Because ever since I had a massive crush on Ray Asianpimp (not his real name) in college, and he had the hottest legs and he wore those old school gray New Balance sneakers, I have loved them. And lately, they started making a ladies' models that are totally adorable. And a few years ago I decided I needed a pair. And last month I saw the sleekest version at Rack Room and decided the time had come! Of course, it's virtually IMPOSSIBLE to find a size 11 at a store, so I had to go online to find them. But I saved almost $15 over the Rack Room price, so :-P to Rack Room. (And YAY to shoes. com!)

And so I have some. And they are fabulous. And now I'm feeling extra white. And the fact that "Hey Jude" by the Beatles is what my iPod is playing right now makes me feel downright pasty.


Before I croak.

So whilst doing my usual blog trolling this morning, I came across the following video on dooce:

***The video was removed from YouTube, but it was Prince singing Radiohead's "Creep." I should probably be glad they got it off YouTube, because Prince does not like people distributing his work without his permission. Just trust me when I say it was awesome.***

My first thought was, "Jesus, I have GOT TO see Prince in concert before I die... or before HE dies!" And then, "I need to make me one of those lists... '100 Things to Do Before I Croak.'" And so I started it. I didn't get very far, but after a couple, I was like, "Shit! I'm at work! I can't sit here and philosophize about my life until I list 100 things!" And so I stopped. And I'm glad I did, because, really, one shouldn't come up with the most important things to accomplish in life on a whim. It should merit a little bit of thought and contemplation. So right now it's saved in my Google docs and I'll add to it whenever I think of something. Maybe one day it'll even be more than 100. Who knows.

But anyway, here's what I got so far. Please share your own "must do" items if you have some, I'm always interested in what other peeps aspire to. (Really, I want to steal your good ideas, but you know, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and all...)

1. See Prince in concert.
2. Get my teaching certificate.
3. At LEAST substitute teach French.
4. Become a mom.
5. Go on an African safari.
6. Take my mom to Paris.
7. Have a big anniversary party (10th? 15th? 20th?) and invite everyone we invited to the wedding. Recreate (to some degree) awesome wedding reception.
8. Learn to knit or crochet.
9. Give my personal testimony at another Arthritis Foundation event.
10. Become a millionaire.

At last, an A+ Weekend!

Yes, people, that + means what you think it does--my dear Bryan FINALLY got TWO DAYS OFF IN A ROW!! Wooohooo!!! Ah, blissful to have the man I love at home with me...

But that isn't all that made the weekend get such high marks...

Friday started things off well: I took the day off from work! I had much to do before the party on Saturday night, and also had agreed to help with some set up stuff for the Arthritis Walk. Got up early and headed out to get my hairs did, and then back home to do some cleaning and meet up with my dad. I had asked for his help on Thursday night, because I really did not want to have people getting lost in the grass and unable to find my house when they arrived for Grandma's birthday party on Saturday night, and since I had no idea if Bryan would have time to cut it before then, I called in backup. My dad was a trooper and cut the grass for us... THANKS DAD!!!! Our yard is about 3/4 of an acre and bumpy in spots, so it's no small job.

After setting up for the Walk Friday evening, Bryan called to say he was leaving work and what was I doing. I was headed to Costco, and it turns out he was, too! So we met there and had pizza and a hot dog... so romantic. :) Bryan finished up the purchasing, and I headed to the grocery store.

Saturday was the long, but wonderful day. I had to get up at 5:45am to head to the Arthritis Walk. As the Health Expo Coordinator, it's my job to direct the sponsors to their tables and make sure everything is set up properly and runs smoothly in that section. I've been on the volunteer committee for the event ever since I left the Foundation, and that job is the one that I remember always being the hardest to find someone to agree to and the biggest pain in the rear if you didn't have a volunteer covering it.

The Walk was great... a huge success! I love going there and seeing my big arthritis family and coming together for the cause.

Me and my friend Erica... those blue hats mean we have arthritis!

Just before the Walk began... it was a great turnout, and BEAUTIFUL weather!

Gryffin, my friend Traci's six-week-old son. Already doing Arthritis Foundation events!

After the Walk, it was home to get ready for the party. I cooked way too much food, but it's fun to cook these things that I usually have no other reason to cook! Spinach dip, buffalo chicken dip, cupcakes, chocolate chiffon pie, nana's pasta salad, apple dip... Can you tell I like dips?? :)

The fam began arriving around 7pm, and we settled in for some food, drinks and fun. It's always great to get everyone together, although we missed Aunt Elaine, who was at a conference, and everyone was bummed that the Klingers weren't able to make it down (next year, we will have the throwdown closer to the actual tri-birthday date of April 7 so that it's not warm enough for you Klingers to go anywhere on your motorcycles yet! :) ).

We had a great time, although much tamer than last year. :)

Uncle Bruce, Dad and Grandma

Aunt Lois, me and Heather

Amanda and me... my partner in crime when I used to visit Pop and Grandma (back then she was MANDY though)!

Amanda's children, Araya and David. Cutest kids ever.

Grandma opening her gifts... finally gave her our wedding album. Come on, it's only been a year and a half!! :)

And Sunday... rainy, nasty, gray, first Sunday the hubs has been off in I don't know how long... and so we slept in until past 10am (how I did that, I do not know) and then did a whole lotta nuttin'. We watched some tv, read the newspaper, took a little nap on the couch... Bryan at one point decided he was going to go out in the garage to work on his dirtbike, but he came back in after about 5 minutes. Now, if you know Bryan, you know that he MUST be worn out if he can't even muster up the energy to play in his garage!!!

Around 5:30pm, we decided we should do *something*, so we headed out to Oasis Sports Park and played a round of mini-golf, then went out to dinner at one of our local Mexican joints. It was really a great Sunday, especially considering how gloomy the weather was!

So hopefully the wacky hours are officially over for this Spring and life can get back to normal. Next weekend: a trip to Bath County to see Vic & Zech play soccer and then get Vic ready for PROM!! God, how is that girl a JUNIOR!??!


I need your support!

Me and my friend Stacy

Yes, friends and family, it's that time again, the time where I ask for your support in the battle against America's leading cause of disability!

By now, you know my story. You know that I've lived with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since I was 2. You know that it has affected practically every joint in my body, and you know that I have made many friends who are fighting this disease with me. Arthritis doesn't just affect old people, it affects people of all ages. It is not just aches and pains, it can be life altering. It can take away peoples' dreams, and sometimes, it can take their lives.

This week I heard sad news from my friend Stacy. She works at the Arthritis Foundation in Tennessee, and had just heard that the top fundraiser at last year's Chattanooga Arthritis Walk had passed away due to complications from rheumatoid arthritis, at the age of 51. This woman left behind a 16 year old daughter. Stacy also lost her mother to complications from rheumatoid arthritis when her mother was 51 and Stacy was just 16. It reminded me that, while there are some of us who will fight this disease for a long, long time, others have their battle time unfairly shortened because they have fought so hard.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support, especially to those of you who have been supporting me for many years now.

This year, I'm walking in memory of Stacy's mom, Kim Cohen, and others like them who have lost the battle with arthritis.

Please visit my webpage and donate if you are able. The Arthritis Walk is this Saturday, April 26 in Richmond. (Yes, I know, I am a procrastinator.) If you live in the area and would like to walk with me, please let me know, or you can go to my webpage and click on "Join this team."



All my love,


Congratulations, Jodie & Chuck!

My BFF Jodie got engaged! She and her fiance Chuck celebrated their one year anniversary last night with a dinner date and a proposal. :)

I am so happy for them. They both get starry eyed when they talk about each other, they truly have come together as a team in life, and each is willing to give to ensure the other's happiness. I was lucky enough to be Chuck's confidante in the process (alright, I admit, I sort of weaseled my way into that by offering my babysitting services if he wanted to do something romantic once they started talking about getting engaged). It was so much fun to be the person who helped buy the ring and keep it safe (i.e., away from their house and Jodie's prying eyes!) and who knew when the proposal was coming. Jodie was an anxious fiancee-to-be, so I almost had to whack her a time or two when she kept asking me what I knew and when it was going to happen and did he have a plan and did he have the ring and did he.... ;-) Us ladies can get a little impatient when it comes to true love. :)

I finally figured out a way on Friday to throw her off track. I truly did not want her going into dinner last night expecting to get engaged--I wanted it to be a surprise (as did Chuck... and of course, he matters more than me. :) ). I thought all last week about how I could make her think it was going to be ANOTHER day so that she would go into her anniversary convinced--and okay with the fact--that she wasn't getting proposed to that night. So at dinner on Friday with Jodie and her children, I tossed out a "mistake" and told Jordan that I was babysitting her and her brother twice this week, then made an "Oh shit!" face that told Jodie that I wasn't supposed to let that slip. The truth was that I was only on the babysitting schedule for last night, but I wanted Jodie to think that there was a second, secret date night planned. And, people, I am a good actress. :) She bought it hook, line and sinker. I was so proud!!!

So Jodie was truly surprised last night, and the happy couple had a lovely dinner at Hull Street's best--Bonefish Grill! :) I'm so glad they were able to celebrate their love, and I look forward to watching that love grow over the years to come!


Weekend Grade: A-

I can't keep grading my weekends with the elementary school grading scale... too limiting.

Can I start by saying that every spring I am amazed by how much the weather affects not only my mood, but my productivity and energy level? There is definitely something to be said for either Vitamin D or just plain sunlight... I seriously start to feel a few years younger by the time April rolls around.

Friday was a GORGEOUS day. It was quite roasty, but who cares. I'm SO over cold weather. After work, I met up with my friend Jodie and her kids at Mexico for dinner, and we even sat on the patio. Really it was too hot and sunny to sit out there, but I am famous for sitting outside at the first sign of sun without actually taking into consideration if eating there will be a comfortable dining experience. Whatever, I'm glad we did it! After dinner with Jodie, I made it home in time to throw something together for my overworked husband to eat when he got home around 7:30pm, and then we had our usual outage season tussle over whether 8pm was an appropriate bedtime for two adults on a Friday night (for him, yes, for me, no... I try to hold out until AT LEAST 9pm!). Typically this dispute ends with us going to bed, Bryan putting in earplugs and me turning the TV down low. It works. :)

Saturday I gave up sleeping in to head up to Charlottesville to hang out with my mom, brother and sister. Bryan had to get up just after 6am to go to work, so I just got up with him and then headed west to C'ville. I was super giddy as I drove up there, both because I was getting to see the fam AND because I was getting to see C'ville. I love that city. I have such wonderful memories of the time I lived there and then after college when my work took me there a few times a month... I would really not complain if for some reason we had to move there.

My mom had to work half a day at the dentist's office, so it was my job to entertain the siblings while she did this. And what better way to entertain two teenagers than to go shopping? The only hitch was that we got to the mall right around 9:30am--the majority of the stores don't open until 10am. Lucky for us, Sears was already open! So in we went.

Sears is strange. I usually only go there to shop for tools with Bryan, so I don't really have any concept of what goes on outside of that department. In the Charlottesville store, there were MANY senior citizens, MANY people wearing outfits that were better left in the early 90's, and several associates dressed in cowgirl attire. One lady, donned in tight jeans, pink flannel shirt, pink cowboy hat and sunglasses, accosted us and asked us if we had bathing suits yet. Uh... what the hell? It was very strange. I told her we were looking for shoes and hauled it to a shoe aisle where she couldn't talk to me anymore without seeming like a stalker. She weirded me out, mainly because I saw her before I saw all the other people working there dressed in rodeo outfits, but also because she was wearing sunglasses inside. I. Hate. That. Oh, and because she was really concerned with what we were going to wear to the pool this summer. Woman, I am still trying to wear my favorite winter clothes one more time! Don't hound me about swimwear!

We shopped for a while throughout the day, in between hair appointments and dental appointments. I love shopping with Victoria & Zech... it takes me back to my Barbie days, because I can dress them in all the things I'd be wearing if I were 16. Plus they both look like models, so they look good in pretty much anything you put on them. (Except no short skirts for the little sister--she's 5'11" and a good, decent girl... some of these skirts the teenagers are wearing barely cover their bottoms!!) And Vic got her hair cut that morning, too, so she looked even more modelicious... I swear, that girl could be a in a Pantene commercial. And while I love my curly locks, I do drool at the thought of having straight, luxurious hair like hers. Zech even got some of those plaid patchwork shorts the kids are wearing to further elevate his resemblance to an American Eagle catalog model... like I said, who needs Barbies when you have little brothers and sisters?!

We parted ways in the late afternoon, and I came home for my trip to Lowe's and some Crazy Lawnmower Lady antics. Bryan was beat when he got home just before the sun set, but managed to stay awake long enough to watch a few Discovery channel shows...

Sunday... oh, rainy Sunday... you would think I would have laid around all day like you're supposed to on a nasty day like that, but no... I was incredibly productive. Bryan got to sleep in a bit and then headed off to work at around 9am, and I got up and read the paper and made a plan for the day. I've found that doing things in 15-minute increments works well for me, so I mapped out all the things I wanted to get done, and did them. Including lots of cleaning, some organizing, some planning, some reading (yes, I timed it), some cooking and an ungodly amount of laundry. Unfortunately I have the bad habit of using every set of sheets and every towel I have before washing the used ones. Yes, I know this is awful. But it's true. And so after I got through the regular laundry, I started in on the loads of towels and sheets... I'm pretty sure I did seven or eight loads. (DO NOT even ask me to think about what laundry is going to be like when we get around to having children. Oh lord!) And then I went to Target and spent LESS THAN $50! YES! Miracle of miracles.

Finally, Bryan came home and reminded me why this weekend has the minus after the A: he works too much!!!! I can't wait for stupid outage season to be over.


The Crazy Lawnmower Lady

So, everyone knows that every neighborhood needs its Crazy Cat Lady. Well, my neighborhood now has a Crazy Lawnmower Lady. And guess who it is?

Yes, it's me.

Earlier this week, I learned that Home Depot sells those old fashioned lawnmowers... the kind that operate solely on human power. I was intrigued by this, and decided I should go to Lowe's and see if they carry them as well. And, I bought one. For only $90, I can now cut the grass under my own (wo)manpower.

You may be asking, "Why in the name of all that's holy would she want to mow her grass with one of THOSE?!"

Well, so is everyone in my neighborhood. In fact, neighbors I have never talked to last night stopped by as I was cutting the grass to ask what the hell was wrong with me. (Really, they were kind enough to disguise this question by offering to let me borrow their own mowers, but I could see the "Jesus, you're crazy, lady" look in their eyes.) And I will now tell you what I told them.

Bryan works ridiculous hours from March-May, sometimes upwards of 80 hours a week. This is, as you know, prime grass-growing season. Last year, I took it upon myself to try to mow the grass, with really poor results. I can't start the gas-powered mower, and even if I get it started, I have a swelling condition that is worsened by heat and vibration, so I end up with hands that resemble blown up latex gloves after a short time of mowing.

We have been talking about buying a riding lawnmower, because our property is about 3/4 of an acre, so it's no small job. Our garage, however, is completely occupied by Bryan's toys, so we need a shed before we can get the riding mower, and, well, we don't have a shed. Ironically, I found out about this push mower in a conversation with a friend wherein I was complaining about NOT having a riding lawnmower. So... I am whining about wanting to mow the grass by sitting on my butt, and as a result I go buy the lawnmower that requires the most physical exertion. Yeah, I know I don't make a lot of sense sometimes.

So after our grass got up to about thigh-height last spring, our homeowner's association implemented a rule stating that if your grass gets over 8 inches high, they will send someone out to cut it and you'll have to pay for it. This actually doesn't sound so bad to me, even though it's supposed to scare us into grass cutting submission, because I always think it'd be nice to just have someone cut it and pay them to do it but can never find someone like this. Still, I know that law was at least partially created because of our yard, and I am a bit humbled by that.

On top of all this, I've always actually wanted to be able to cut the grass, at least sometimes. The OCD in me loves the whole part where you take something that looks all messy and make it look neat and clean. And I am always thinking that I need to get some more exercise, and always thinking that since both Bryan and I have crazy grass allergies I should share the grass cutting duties. So the push mower seemed the perfect solution!

And the amazing thing is that IT WORKS! Granted, one neighbor told me I'm just ruining my grass, but WHATEVER. It's not like we have a golf-course lawn anyway. And it is much easier to go over the shorter grass than the 7 inch tall (by next week the homeowner's association would have sent someone out) grass, but, again, WHATEVER! IT WORKS!

I only got the law in front of the house done, but it gave me such a sense of accomplishment and it looks so nice... and I even can feel the exercise in my arms today. I mean, that's what I call a good time, right?!

This is not to say that I won't either send Bryan out with the gas-powered mower or take our neighbors up on their offer to borrow their riding mower for the other .70 acres. 'Cause we all know I'm not *that much* of an outdoors kinda girl.

It's raining today, though, so the rest of the yard will have to wait regardless. It'll give the neighbors time to spread the word about the Crazy Lawnmower Lady, and maybe next time I'll have people gathered in the street to watch the *amazing spectacle of the pushmower!*


This is why I hate shoes.

Today, one of the interns who is starting our residency program in July came by with his girlfriend. Neither of them had ever been here before, so, like a good southern lady, I took them on a tour of MCV, and even walked across the street and showed them the nice gardens at the Capitol. This took about an hour.

I actually really enjoyed it. It is weird to me how much I love this city, because I grew up thinking I must immediately move away as soon as I was old enough to support myself--for no other reason than the fact that I had decided I was a woman of the world! No way in hell I'm staying in my home town!


So anyway. Back to the shoes and today.

So we walked around for an hour, and I could feel my feet getting all hot and sweaty in my shoes as we walked, but I did not let this deter me from extending the tour until I had covered all the good parts of this area. When we stopped on the corner before we parted ways, I could feel the slow, steady "whom whom whom" of my feet developing blisters. Ah, damn.

I came back up to my office and took a seat and contemplated what to do next (besides work). I could take my shoes off, but then they'll have room to swell and when I have to put my shoes back on to go home it'll be even worse. And so I left them on. And now I have all these hot spots on my tootsies. Poor things.

Do people with non-arthritic feet have this problem? I feel like they don't. But I really don't know. I see girls in the CU-TEST shoes and I get so freaking jealous. *I* want to wear cute shoes every day! *I* want to put on a pair of hot, hot high heels and not feel like I have just inserted my feet into medieval torture devices! *I* want to go shoe shopping and actually FIND SHOES THAT FIT! *I* want to wear the same size shoes on both feet, not an 11 on one and a 9.5 on the other (yes, true story).

This, people, is why I get so stupidly excited when the time comes that I can put on my flip flops and not give it a second thought. Because in flip flops, my feet have room to expand and contract and sweat and do whatever they want. My rheumatologist gets real mad at me that I don't wear proper orthopaedic footwear, but, come on, I'm 29 years old (for another 4 months)! I do not want to wear ugly shoes!


I wish I had thought to bring my flip flops with me today.


Don't MESS with Chipotle.

People, I love Chipotle so much that I was just reading this article on the Washington Post about how awesome they are (really it's about how they're using some local pork in VA) and I almost had a heart attack. I was clicking through the pictures and the caption on the second one says:

Above, Lilia Sotelo and David Rivas assemble wraps at the restaurant, where a sign announces the alliance.


God that enrages me. I truly feel like I need to write a letter to the author of this article or to the editor of the Washington Post and point out their error. But I know if I write it right now I'll be really rude and, well, we just can't have that. Because then I'd be the laughing stock of the entire staff of the Washington Post. "Hahahaha! Did you see that letter from that FREAK girl who got pissed because we called it a wrap instead of a burrito? Boy, she really has some issues!!!" Yeah, no thanks. I'm not that girl. At least, I don't want to be that girl to people who don't already know that I have issues and love me in spite of them. :) (Thanks, readers! :) )

"Wraps." What the hell. That's like going to a gourmet Italian restaurant and having handmade pasta and made from scratch Bolognese sauce and coming home and telling someone you had Spaghetti-O's!


Finally, N'awlins!

So I came back from the good ol' NOLA with a wicked cold/cough/nastiness, and then my six year old computer at home was being mean and wouldn't let me upload my pictures. I finally got them onto my Picasaweb, though, and I owe you people a New Orleans post!

We got into New Orleans late Friday night (March 28, gosh, three weeks ago!). Bryan wasn't sure until two days before that if he was going to be able to get away from work, so we ended up on different flights. He actually left Richmond about two hours after me, but he flew US Air through Charlotte and I flew Delta through Atlanta, so he arrived in New Orleans about 15 minutes BEFORE me. (If you've forgotten how I feel about Delta, I direct you to this post from last year, when I attended this same conference only in Toronto.)

Anyway, normally neither of us is the going out type anymore. We did a lot of partying in our college days and even into our early twenties, but since we moved to the 'burbs, we just don't go out much. But we were in New Orleans. Three blocks from Bourbon Street. And so, we went out.

Can I just say that Bourbon Street is out of control? I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like during Mardi Gras. I mean, the only thing I can compare it to is being in a giant club, and having lots of big clubs all around it that you can go into, too. We wandered to the end (well, almost the end--we stopped at the gay clubs, figured we didn't need to go down that way being straight and all...) and bought ourselves some Hand Grenades, one of the signature drinks of Bourbon Street. Then we made our way back towards our hotel and towards what has now become my favorite place ever, the Blues Club.

And let me tell you why it's my favorite place. It's because one of my all time favorite scenes from a movie is when Chris sings the "Babysittin' Blues" in Adventures in Babysitting. Here's the clip:

THIS WAS THAT PLACE! Aw, man, it was SO FUN!!! I was soooooo tempted to ask if I could sing the Babysittin' Blues, but I resisted...

Saturday we got up and began to wander. It wasn't a pretty day... really humid and overcast. Before we left the hotel I washed and blow dried my hair as usual. This was a huge mistake. As we walked out onto Canal Street, I could literally feel my hair turning into an afro. Oh, it was bad. But there was nothing I could do about it except try to smooth it down, which resulted in non-existent curls. Whatever. We still had fun.

We tried to get beignets (a type of doughnut) from this famous place, Cafe du Monde, but we were not the only tourists in New Orleans on Saturday morning who were told that was the place to get them, so out of starvation/desperation we went to another place down the street and got them instead. Maybe they weren't as good as they would have been had we gotten them from THE place, but they were still damn good.

We went and watched the IMAX movie about Katrina's effect on the area, and wandered around some more, and then it was time for lunch. We found a great outdoor cafe with a band (there's bands EVERYWHERE down there) and ordered the Louisiana sampler platter, complete with gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice and crawfish etoufee.

We ate the hell out of it... it was SO GOOD!
After lunch we went back to the room for a nap before hopping on the St. Charles Ave streetcar. We wanted to check out a different part of the city (and the streetcar experience), and this gave us the chance to see all sorts of beautiful homes. We stopped along the way and had some yummy barbecue, and then it was time to turn in for the evening.

NOT! Of course it was time to head back out to Bourbon Street. And yes, we did manage to revert to 23 year olds for the weekend (but I did take care of the business I was there for, I promise!).

A few shots from our evening:

First things first: more Hand Grenades:
After one of these and a shot or two, I can't remember if we had this club in the background on purpose or by accident... because you really can't avoid having these places in the background:

We eventually ended up back at my FAVORITE PLACE EVER (yes, it deserves all caps), the Blues Club. I made some friends:

By 1am or so, I had decided I needed a boa--and a picture with this suave dude who had just come from his high school prom....

...and Bryan had decided the best place for his excess beads was on his ears:
Somehow we made it up and out the door by a fairly decent hour on Sunday. I had learned that there was no hair drying allowed in NOLA and double the hair gunk was required, so unfortunately my photos with Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral have me lookin' like a drowned rat:

It was a beautiful day for sightseeing, and we spent part of it on a tour of the areas hit hardest by Katrina. A few lowlights, if you will:

The markings on this home show that two peoples' bodies were found on the right side. Their bodies were not recovered until about a month after Katrina. :(

Many homes still have the flood line. You can see it here, it's kind of orange:
And finally, FEMA trailers were still EVERYWHERE:

There were so many homes and businesses that were still boarded up... in some cases because people couldn't afford to come back and rebuild, in other cases because people chose not to since others in their neighborhoods weren't coming back. It was really sad. We were a little unsure about paying a tour company to show us the devastation, but I'm glad we did. I felt it was important to see the remnants of the worst natural disaster of our lifetime. There is still so much work to be done.

Of course, parts of the city are still beautiful, like the good ol' Mississippi River!

Sunday night we needed a break from the partying, so we went to the casino and played poker for a few hours. Monday, Bryan headed home and I headed to my conference. After the conference, I did get to go out with some coworkers, and guess what we drank?

And Tuesday, it was home again home again jiggity jig... besides the cold I came home with, it was really a great weekend!!!


A completely satisfactory weekend.

If this weekend went to elementary school, I'd give it a nice solid S on its report card. Maybe even an S+.

It started on Friday, when I left work and headed to Short Pump to get my toes did. They needed it. Any time you're telling someone you need a pedicure and you refer to your toes as "talons," that is a good indicator it's time to pamper your feet. Of course, once I got off 64 onto Broad Street right around 5pm, I wondered what in god's name I had been thinking, going there on a Friday evening. How do people live out there? I mean, traffic on Hull Street is bad, but it's like a country road compared to Broad Street!

After many complaints to myself about the impossible number of things they're building out there, I made it to the mall. There I found that they are building a hotel ONTO the mall. Jesus. Have we become such creatures of consumption that we can't shop enough in one day, we have to stay overnight to get it all done?! Wow.

The pedicure was good. There's a nice faux-spa in Short Pump called Avalon. Really it's a regular ol' Asian nail salon, but they put on a good show and there's not a lot of neon, so I like it better. After that, I weighed either going right back to my car and going home or going to H&M. Take a guess which I chose.

$90 and 5 pieces of clothing later, I headed back down 288 towards home. Bryan was still at work, so I decided I deserved Chipotle. It had been, like, two weeks since I had had my steak taco fix, and, wow, what bliss. I ate my tacos and watched Top Chef and American Idol and finally my husband came home.

Yesterday was productive... I probably cleaned for a good three hours, did quite a few loads of laundry, and made a trip to Target for razors and Swiffer Wet Jet juice. I left with razors, Swiffer Wet Jet juice, shampoo, headbands, a shirt, a sweatshirt, two pairs of leggings, some socks, two books, milk and some Ziploc containers. Yeah. Target'll do that to a girl. Since my dear husband was STILL working, I asked myself what I was treating me to for dinner on this lovely Saturday evening, and the answer was Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Where I decided that I do not drink enough smoothies. YUM. Then, home to read and watch TV and wait for my husband...

Today I have done umpteen loads of laundry, spent an hour and a half cleaning, gone to the Chesterfield Berry Farm farmer's market (I'm trying to use more local products) and gone to Costco, read a good chunk of my current book, All the Pretty Horses, and now it's time to finally do my taxes while I yet again wait for my husband to come home from work.

So, in case you haven't noticed, the thing that's keeping this weekend from getting an E on its report card is the working husband. :( Every spring, there's maintenance galore to do at the power station where he works and he ends up working these damned 80 hour work weeks. It blows. All I can say is I'm glad I did spend a few years of my adult life as a single girl, because I still remember what to do with myself without him around.

But I sure do miss him.



The weirdest thoughts strike me sometimes.

For example, I was just looking at www.celebritybabyscoop.com, and there's a picture of Britney Spears' kids in a stroller. Here was my thought process:

Huh. Those are nice looking kids, but they're not BEAUTIFUL. Just cute regular looking boys.

You would have thought Britney Spears and Kevin Federline would have made prettier children, they're pretty nice looking.

I wonder if they will turn into hot young men.

What will they look like as teenagers?

That'll be weird... when they're teenagers Britney Spears will be old.

Wait a minute, if I ever get to see what these kids look like as teenagers, that will mean *I'm* old, too!

Holy crap.

I'm going to be old one day. Like, Madonna's age.

How is this possible that I'm going to watch Britney Spears' kids grow up?

What is Britney Spears going to look like at 40?

What am *I* going to look like when I'm 40?


Oh my god, I have got to go write a blog about this.

Spring has sprung, now spring me from this joint.

Oh, people. It's spring outside. And I am stuck in this office, high up on the 12th floor with not a window in sight. Torture.

This morning I had to go by our financial planner's office to drop off a check so we can get some money in our 2007 IRAs, and they don't open until 9am. So by the time I was headed there, the morning chill was gone and the sun was shining to beat the band and it is so freaking perfect outside that it seems like a crime to go to work. I am always reminded of college on days like this, because those first few days of spring were perfect days to hang out on The Lawn with everyone and their cousin... reading a book, chatting, doing work... man, those were the days. Back when responsibility was just turning in research projects on time and spending a few hours a week at your job...

I found out through a friend this morning that Crayola recently held a contest to allow kids to rename some of the crayons in honor of the 50th anniversary of the 64-crayon box. My favorite? Turquoise blue will, for a limited time, be renamed "Happy Ever After." That has always been my favorite crayon, and I actually think that is the perfect name for it! How fun is that? Here are some others, and a link to the press release:

I think those are awesome, personally. Yay kids.

Anyway, guess I'll get back to work now... at least I can't SEE how beautiful it is. Maybe I'll just pretend that it's actually stormy and nasty outside. Yeah, that's what I'll do... nobody better come in here and say, "Man, it's SUCH a BEAUTIFUL day!!!" If they do, I'll have to kick 'em.


My feet are planted firmly in the past. It's high time they move on.

This morning as I walked from the bus to McDonald's to get a hot cuppa joe, I had a very peculiar sensation in the area of my left ankle and foot. Slowly but surely, my sock was creeping down into my shoe. They're cute socks I'm wearing--dark gray with some nice dark colored flowers on them. Not boring, but not noticeable really either. This is the type of sock I prefer (although truth be told, I don't care for socks, I'd rather be barefoot).

Anyway, Mr. Left Sock had decided that maybe it would be warmer for him if ALL of him was down around the arch of my foot, and so that's where he went. This was not a comfortable situation for me. While I knew that no one could see this, since my socks were covered by my pants, I found myself a bit embarassed. Because I knew why Mr. Left Sock was doing this as soon as I got over the discomfort of the whole thing.

Mr. & Mrs. Gray Flowered Sock have been with me since, oh, my first year of college. And for those of you not keeping track, that would make Mr. & Mrs. GFS about TWELVE YEARS OLD.

Oh jesus. How did I become this woman who wears socks that are old enough to be in seventh grade?! I mean, they're not holey or anything... I have enough socks that none of them get worn *that* often. But obviously they've been worn and washed enough times that there's no such thing as elastic in them anymore. They have no interest in staying up a couple inches above my ankles where they belong. Mr. & Mrs. Gray Flowered Sock have done their duty, dammit, and they are REFUSING to stay up so that I am forced to finally put them to rest, give them the peace they deserve.

And so, since my day is done and I'm home where there are younger, more spry socks for me to warm my toes with, I will now be sending Mr. & Mrs. GFS to Sock Heaven. I intend to go through my sock drawer and lay all of my socks from college to rest, as a matter of fact. Because I'm a working woman. I can afford to buy myself new socks at least every ten years.

So long, dear friends, you've served me well.


Fun times in NOLA result in temperature of 100.6.

Monday, I had a conference to attend in New Orleans, so Bryan and I decided to make a weekend getaway out of the trip. We flew in on Friday, then Bryan left Monday morning and we both went to work that day. I have to say, what a city! We had such a great time!!!

Of course, now I'm paying for it. I have no idea what I caught or how I caught it, but I came home with a wicked cough and this evening, when my head started feeling swimmy, discovered I have a temperature of 100.6. HOW ANNOYING! I got in super late last night, so decided to work half a day from home and take half a personal day. Considering I spent the second half of my day taking a 3.5 hour nap, I'm thinking that personal time might come out of sick time instead. I even skipped the second week of my new "advanced" belly dancing class. :(

Anyway, I'll be updating with pictures of our trip sometime soon!