Monday, December 31, 2007

Christine's Laws of the Universe

I was thinking the other day about what I would present if, say, I was creating a presidential platform or, say, I was controlling the universe. Here is a start to that list:


1.) I don't know why this comes to mind right now, but I would outlaw work for all non-essential personnel (which, let's face it, most people aren't and even those who are considered essential aren't really) between December 23 and January 2. As another rider to this law, I would make it illegal for any work to be due between December 15 and January 30.


I wish I could remember all the good ones I was thinking, probably as I was driving, but if you are at work today and reading this, I'm sure this first one hits home.

Christine's Laws of the Universe

I was thinking the other day about what I would present if, say, I was creating a presidential platform or, say, I was controlling the universe. Here is a start to that list:


1.) I don't know why this comes to mind right now, but I would outlaw work for all non-essential personnel (which, let's face it, most people aren't and even those who are considered essential aren't really) between December 23 and January 2. As another rider to this law, I would make it illegal for any work to be due between December 15 and January 30.


I wish I could remember all the good ones I was thinking, probably as I was driving, but if you are at work today and reading this, I'm sure this first one hits home.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas 2007: Cousins' Dinner

Jennifer started an excellent new tradition last year: getting all of our cousins together for a dinner. It's great to get together separate from our parents, because, well, let's just say, the Jencos are "vocally gifted," and it can often be difficult to get a word in edgewise.


We gathered last night at Woody's, a fine Italian establishment in Versailles, PA (that's pronounced Ver-SAILs, by the way, not to be confused with the French country retreat). I had some gnocchi, which though not in competition with that of my grandpap, was still very good. A few of us induldged in some fine Elmo Pio Chianti and chatted about what's been going on. Here are some  photo highlights!


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Cousins (and Alex) tucking into their meal


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Lauren giving a glamor pose with Kelly in the background. And, some curious fellow diners behind her.


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Leigh, with a fantastic plate of homemade spaghetti & a meatball.


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Leigh and Stephanie


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Lauren, me, and Jennifer


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My bro and Justin


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Kevin & Kathryn


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Part of the decor. It's been around for years. (Lauren said when she was little, she thought he was "Woody." :) )


All yunz have a Merry Christmas!

Christmas 2007: Cousins' Dinner

Jennifer started an excellent new tradition last year: getting all of our cousins together for a dinner. It's great to get together separate from our parents, because, well, let's just say, the Jencos are "vocally gifted," and it can often be difficult to get a word in edgewise.


We gathered last night at Woody's, a fine Italian establishment in Versailles, PA (that's pronounced Ver-SAILs, by the way, not to be confused with the French country retreat). I had some gnocchi, which though not in competition with that of my grandpap, was still very good. A few of us induldged in some fine Elmo Pio Chianti and chatted about what's been going on. Here are some  photo highlights!


Pc230058small


Cousins (and Alex) tucking into their meal


Pc230059small


Lauren giving a glamor pose with Kelly in the background. And, some curious fellow diners behind her.


Pc230060small


Leigh, with a fantastic plate of homemade spaghetti & a meatball.


Pc230062small


Leigh and Stephanie


Pc230061small


Lauren, me, and Jennifer


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My bro and Justin


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Kevin & Kathryn


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Part of the decor. It's been around for years. (Lauren said when she was little, she thought he was "Woody." :) )


All yunz have a Merry Christmas!

Christmas 2007: My Tree

Since I didn't share much of my apartment decor for the season, here's my "some might call it pathetic" faux tree. It was made in Thailand and looks very little like a real tree. I bought it about 9 or 10 years ago at Pool City, Pittsburgh's finest faux tree resource. You can't really see it, but I have many meaningful decorations on it, including crocheted lace snowflakes that belonged to "Grandma Tillie," my grandpap's third wife. I remember these from their little tree they would put up in their apartment. Now, I'm putting it on mine! I also have several crocheted and plastic needlepoint decorations that Catherine made. She was like a grandma to me and my brother and always kept us supplied with crafty things. We would go to her apartment every Christmas Eve day to exchange gifts, and we think of her every Christmas Eve.


Other special decorations of note are a blown glass bulb I bought in Prague when I was traveling in college, a glass pickle I got at Macy's in NYC when I was interviewing there in college, a handmade wooden decoration with a quote from St. Francis that I bought in Assisi, and a cheap plastic Empire State building that I got last year when Erin and I took the Greyhound for a daytrip to "Christmas shop" in New York. (We didn't really shop...we shuffled around from place to place in the crowds and laughed at how expensive stuff was in Saks). It was easily the coldest day in December and we went to the top of a skyscraper. 'Nuf said. Anyway, I have other ones that are also meaningful. That's why I love decorating my tree--I can resurrect memories every year!   


Pc220053small

Christmas 2007: My Tree

Since I didn't share much of my apartment decor for the season, here's my "some might call it pathetic" faux tree. It was made in Thailand and looks very little like a real tree. I bought it about 9 or 10 years ago at Pool City, Pittsburgh's finest faux tree resource. You can't really see it, but I have many meaningful decorations on it, including crocheted lace snowflakes that belonged to "Grandma Tillie," my grandpap's third wife. I remember these from their little tree they would put up in their apartment. Now, I'm putting it on mine! I also have several crocheted and plastic needlepoint decorations that Catherine made. She was like a grandma to me and my brother and always kept us supplied with crafty things. We would go to her apartment every Christmas Eve day to exchange gifts, and we think of her every Christmas Eve.


Other special decorations of note are a blown glass bulb I bought in Prague when I was traveling in college, a glass pickle I got at Macy's in NYC when I was interviewing there in college, a handmade wooden decoration with a quote from St. Francis that I bought in Assisi, and a cheap plastic Empire State building that I got last year when Erin and I took the Greyhound for a daytrip to "Christmas shop" in New York. (We didn't really shop...we shuffled around from place to place in the crowds and laughed at how expensive stuff was in Saks). It was easily the coldest day in December and we went to the top of a skyscraper. 'Nuf said. Anyway, I have other ones that are also meaningful. That's why I love decorating my tree--I can resurrect memories every year!   


Pc220053small

Monday, December 17, 2007

I'm Sure This Will Be Gratifying At Some Point

I am not an extremely patient person. This is NOT an asset with DIY projects. Especially, you know, when you have that thing called "a job" that keeps getting in the way. I did another halfhearted attempt today at removing the rest of the stripper. It's not supposed to be on this long. Needless to say, my impatience to get started is costing me. I'm going to have to reapply some of the stripper...and will probably have to buy the special remover. Sigh. But, like any good but lazy DIYer, I bought more materials at Home Depot this weekend.


Paint


On the right, there's the stain that will eventually get put on said piece of furniture. On the left are materials for ANOTHER project...painting my Ikea dressers. I did not select a shade; I let it select me. I got the quart of paint from the "oops" shelf. It's a grey satin called Creek Bend. Hopefully it will look good. I did have to pony up for the primer. If you can't do it right, don't do it! Yeah, right...as if. More like hurry up and slap it on in an attempt to do it quickly and then be gravely disappointed!

Commuter Sentences: Walk Away The Pounds

As I stood shivering waiting for the bus after work (note to self: remember hat and scarf), I struck up a conversation with another waiting passenger. Or, rather, he struck it up with me. I have no reason NOT to believe him, though it seems rather incredible. Apparently, last year, he was a size 9x, had a 60 inch waist, and weighed 550 lbs. Now, he weighs 190 and walks, get this, 22 miles a day! Starting at 5:30, he walks up the Potomac to Great Falls every day, except for Wednesdays when he climbs the Monument steps. The trip takes him 3 hours. The first time he did it, it took him 18 hours. He has several seniors ranging up to 91 years old who he makes walk 1 mile each day (I didn't get into where these seniors are or how he makes them walk). He said he hasn't changed his diet at all. "It's not what you put in your mouth, it's what you do with it once it's there. Look at the bus drivers. They eat and it all just sits and they're all wide down the bottom." Once a month, in fact, he eats a dozen doughnuts, and he has an enormous breakfast each day. This whole story pointed to the fact that the only person who can change one's life is oneself. He said as much. He also said he has walked to 17th Street NE before the bus arrived there. I DEFINITELY believe that!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Commuter Sentences: Love Thy Neighbor

On the way to work this morning (okay, I'm blogging at work, but give me a break, it's lunchtime), I decided to walk to the metro, given that I skipped the gym. So, I walked past my homeless friend near Union Station who said "2 more days to the weekend--think positive!" I love him. I have the feeling many people do, because yesterday he had a pot of hot coffee there with him.


Well, on the metro, I went to sit down and had this guy rushing from the other end of the train to sit where I was sitting (2 seats available). I mean, he REALLY wanted that seat. As I watched him write a list on his daily planner pad, I was formulating ideas about what he was about. I was confidant that if he were a character in a made-for-TV feature-length film, he'd be either a.) a serial killer b.) the bumbling office eccentric who everyone makes fun of for being uptight and anal or c.) spy in the manner of Robert Hanssen (i.e. guy from Breach...the fedora helped in this regard).


He threw me for a loop when he pulled out Washington Hispanic. I didn't peg him as Hispanic. But then I thought maybe he just picked it up near the station for something to read, lest he have a moment with nothing to do.


Well, just shy of our stop, Farragut North, the train stops because--and I quote--"a wheelchair person is laid out on the edge of the track so trains are traveling at a reduced rate of speed." So, he says to me "What do you suppose that means?" Each announcement over the next 10 minutes clarified the situation a bit. It seems someone fell out of their wheelchair. No one really explained to us, however, why no one just helped them up and away from the edge. So, we had a bit of interaction over the whole ordeal--he felt it could be an attempted suicide. I felt it was Metro trying to get more creative with their excuses.


But, in the end, I don't think he's a serial killer or spy, though he may be a bit anal, who isn't. It just goes to show how jumping to conclusions about other people can cause irrational thoughts and behaviors--from road rage to simple snapping of a checkout person at a customer...in the end, we just need to be more sympathetic and have more interaction.


Okay, this kumbaya moment is officially OVER.

Commuter Sentences: Love Thy Neighbor

On the way to work this morning (okay, I'm blogging at work, but give me a break, it's lunchtime), I decided to walk to the metro, given that I skipped the gym. So, I walked past my homeless friend near Union Station who said "2 more days to the weekend--think positive!" I love him. I have the feeling many people do, because yesterday he had a pot of hot coffee there with him.


Well, on the metro, I went to sit down and had this guy rushing from the other end of the train to sit where I was sitting (2 seats available). I mean, he REALLY wanted that seat. As I watched him write a list on his daily planner pad, I was formulating ideas about what he was about. I was confidant that if he were a character in a made-for-TV feature-length film, he'd be either a.) a serial killer b.) the bumbling office eccentric who everyone makes fun of for being uptight and anal or c.) spy in the manner of Robert Hanssen (i.e. guy from Breach...the fedora helped in this regard).


He threw me for a loop when he pulled out Washington Hispanic. I didn't peg him as Hispanic. But then I thought maybe he just picked it up near the station for something to read, lest he have a moment with nothing to do.


Well, just shy of our stop, Farragut North, the train stops because--and I quote--"a wheelchair person is laid out on the edge of the track so trains are traveling at a reduced rate of speed." So, he says to me "What do you suppose that means?" Each announcement over the next 10 minutes clarified the situation a bit. It seems someone fell out of their wheelchair. No one really explained to us, however, why no one just helped them up and away from the edge. So, we had a bit of interaction over the whole ordeal--he felt it could be an attempted suicide. I felt it was Metro trying to get more creative with their excuses.


But, in the end, I don't think he's a serial killer or spy, though he may be a bit anal, who isn't. It just goes to show how jumping to conclusions about other people can cause irrational thoughts and behaviors--from road rage to simple snapping of a checkout person at a customer...in the end, we just need to be more sympathetic and have more interaction.


Okay, this kumbaya moment is officially OVER.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Multifamily Living Out Loud

Tv_explode_cup_2 The neighbor thing hasn't really improved. I typed up a letter last night and intended to slip it on his door today. It was friendly, but I was still afraid of making things worse. My brother is of the opinion I should learn to put up with noise, but that if it bothers me, leave a post it signed "concerned neighbor." My friend Leslie thinks I should just knock. I did this evening discover an activty other than sleeping that keeps his TV quiet. I'm not quite sure how to put this in a family-friendly way. Getting some. Alone. Yes, I have to hear "that," but "that" is in some ways better--easier to avoid and drown out. So, I'm thinking a gift subscription to Hustler is in order... :) I'll sign the card "a concerned neighbor."


Image from http://www.motherfools.com

Monday, December 3, 2007

Refinishing Continued--but not Finished!

Okay, so here are some tips, probably if you want to use any stripper, but particularly if you use the one I did.


1.) Buy enough so you don't scrimp. I used nearly the whole container on my little night stand. And, I'm going to have to redo certain areas.


2.) Don't start Sunday afternoon. Unless you don't have a job. As it turns out (the package says it--I just didn't believe it) it takes between 4-24 hours for this stuff to work. You know this by the color. I started scraping before I was sure. Some of it came off, but I decided to let it sit overnight. I might even recommend making this a longer-term thing doing one surface at a time. This way, you can lay that surface parallel to the floor so that no product runs. They say it doesn't, but there were areas where the stripper moved away from the edge.


3.) Have a work area that is not your bedroom. The fumes went away and were not strong, so by the time I went to bed, I didn't smell much. However, I don't have much space. So, essentially, I was leaning over my nightstand with my butt against the bed. The result of this was that strips of the goop flew into places I didn't want it. I also see the advantage of having a workbench. Leaning over for extended periods is heck for your back.


4.) Wear gloves. Wear shoes. Don't step on the stuff. It's sticky. After work today I decided to tackle the rest of the scraping. I was in a t-shirt (only after my mom said "Christine, are you doing that in your work clothes?!" Answer: yes. "Take them off!") and bare feet. I ended up with caked-on paint/thinner goop on my feet. I still have residue on my hands and feet.


I couldn't handle doing it all. It was loud and the last thing I felt like doing before dinner. I managed to get most of the gunk off--the scrubbing with water to get the rest off will have to wait. And, like I said, I'm probably going to have to redo some areas if I can't get it off with a brush, scrubber or sand paper. So, I have a feeling the staining will happen later.


Here it is now. Don't know if you can actually see the mahogany peeking through on the second photo--in an already scrubbed clean area.


Stripper2


Almostmahogany


Needless to say, I'm reconsidering the "Hey, maybe I can redo my living room cabinet, and a dresser and my chair!" idea. I think this is kind of like childbirth--you need to wait a few years until you forget how painful it is. I know that, also like childbirth, it will all be worth it in the end, but right now, it's pretty painful.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Take it off, take it ALL off!

I have finally taken the plunge with my $12 Salvation Army nightstand. I was debating whether I wanted to paint or refinish with stain. I settled on staining, so I bought some stripper--the "eco-friendly" and supposedly fume-free kind.


Stripper


Well, when they say "odor-free," they don't really mean it. I think they mean in comparison with turpentine or more aggressive strippers. It's in my bedroom, so I'm thinking I might end up sleeping on the sofa tonight.  Here's the progress so far--I brushed it on, and it's doing its magic, which takes 4+ hours at which point you scrape. Bu-bye blonde!


Refinishingtable_2

Christmas Cosy

I got my second cosy--the Christmas pudding one--before leaving for Thanksgiving. I LOVE it, and it keeps my tea toasty warm! This one is from Manda Holden. I'm just upset that neither of my cosies were for the smaller teapot I have--this is my fault b/c I was too lazy to check out the ounceage before buying. I guess it just means I'll have to buy MORE! :)


Cosy

New Neighbor, New Annoyances

Shhhhh244x171 I guess I got a new neighbor downstairs sometime in the last week or so. The nice couple who lived there moved back to Austin. I have not seen him but I've heard him. But, more than hearing him, I've heard his TV. All day. I am far from critiquing ample TV viewing, being one to watch the TV myself. But, it is LOUD. Right now, it's tolerable, but barely. Yesterday, it was several notches louder and really out of control. I wanted to have quiet in the apartment, but even in my bedroom, I could hear the TV. I could hear actual conversations from the TV show...that loud. So, I had to turn on my stereo. This just ends up turning into a loudness competition. Oh, and did I mention he also has a TV in the bedroom? So, there have been some nights I have been awoken by a laugh track. Even with ear plugs. I have had to drag out my sound relaxer again.


I'm reasonable with noise, I think. I chalk some of the noise up to apartment living. I heard my other neighbors' televisions--just not this loudly. I tolerate occasional heavy bass stereo playing. I think part of the problem here is not just its volume but its consistency--there's rarely a break unless he's sleeping--and maybe not even then because I feel like it's 24 hours.


I don't exactly know how to handle these situations. Do I knock, introduce myself and mention the TV? Do you even approach neighbors in the city when they move in? I WANT to do this, but then I think "what if they're crazy?" Or, "maybe they want to be anonymous and will think that it's ME who's crazy."  I've always seen people in the hall and introduced myself...to this day I have not met my neighbor across the hall who moved in when the first guy moved out. It's been almost 2 years. Do I ask the first floor neighbor if she's similarly bothered?  I don't want it to turn into a situation like it was with the smoky neighbor...that turned ugly.


Advice?

It's beginning to look a lot like Advent!

I have always liked Advent, that "season" in the Church that occurs before Christmas. As a kid, of course, the Advent wreath counted down the weeks before Christmas, which were interminable. Now, I find that it helps me to slow down during an otherwise hectic time and mark each day/week and appreciate the positive aspects of the time before Christmas. My parents never had an Advent wreath, but I have one. It's kind of lame--I think I picked it up at Michaels or somehing--but it does the trick. This morning in church, I felt slightly like a kid feeling excited at the sight of the Advent wreath. And, I was super psyched that the opening hymn was "O Come O Come Emmanuel." It is my number one favorite because of its medievalness. It was from the 9th Century, so it reflects the tradition part of the Church that I like.


Here's my wreath...ignore the JD. :)


Adventwreath

Monday, November 19, 2007

Cosy Cosy!

I had a "moment" last week where I somehow found myself on Etsy and felt the compulsion to buy tea cosies. I know...some people are "shoe" people; I have my own compulsions. I bought two. One, is shaped like a strawberry and the other, like a figgy pudding (for Christmas, of course!). Well, today, the strawberry arrived via Royal Mail from England and I literally giggled with glee! (yes, I giggled with glee). It was from White Doll Arts.



Teacosy1_2 

Cosy Cosy!

I had a "moment" last week where I somehow found myself on Etsy and felt the compulsion to buy tea cosies. I know...some people are "shoe" people; I have my own compulsions. I bought two. One, is shaped like a strawberry and the other, like a figgy pudding (for Christmas, of course!). Well, today, the strawberry arrived via Royal Mail from England and I literally giggled with glee! (yes, I giggled with glee). It was from White Doll Arts.



Teacosy1_2 

At Long Last, My New Rug

My rug--Dash and Albert from Host in Chestnut Hill--that I wanted to post yesterday!


Rug

At Long Last, My New Rug

My rug--Dash and Albert from Host in Chestnut Hill--that I wanted to post yesterday!


Rug

Commuter Sentences: Sometimes a Short Distance is Actually Very Long

I left work around 6:30 and then got to Union Station around 6:45. I had about 10 minutes to wait for the 6:55 D6--or, around 40 minutes, which is what it actually took. So, it took me, all said, about an hour and a half to get home, which means, I probably could have walked home faster.

Commuter Sentences: Sometimes a Short Distance is Actually Very Long

I left work around 6:30 and then got to Union Station around 6:45. I had about 10 minutes to wait for the 6:55 D6--or, around 40 minutes, which is what it actually took. So, it took me, all said, about an hour and a half to get home, which means, I probably could have walked home faster.

Dread-ful

I finally watched my Netflix movies from 3 weeks ago this weekend. The first The Inheritance, by Danish director Per Fly was depressing and too much for me on a lazy Saturday (let's put it this way, it features an attempted rape by the main character and suicide and love lost...). The other was In July, a German flick. It was worth watching, but I had a hard time getting past the main actress's hair. She featured one of my biggest pet peeves: white people with dreads/cornrows/braids (and by this I don't mean little white girls with Pippi Longstocking hair...).


44757150_4I don't dislike those hairstyles in general, as in, when they're on the African-American hair for which the Good Lord intended them. I find it embarrassing when white people do it. Kind of like white people who say "Brother." These white people are typically privileged and trying too hard to be "anti-establishment." Give me a break! For African-Americans, it's a statement of pride and frankly, an easy way to wear your hair (which, living with frizzy curly hair myself, I can appreciate). For these freaks, it's saying "look, I'm so awesome and counter-culture. Power to the people! Aren't I cool?" And, after the protest against the World Bank, they all roll home in the BMWs Mom and Dad bought them and play Nintendo. Barf.

Technical Difficulties

My previous post is about half of what I'd planned to write. I had a nifty photo of my new rug, but when I put my card into its little slot on my laptop, windows explorer shut down and I was too lazy to reboot. I assumed all was lost.


Clearly, my laptop isn't the only thing having technical difficulties lately. Like, how about Metro? I seriously don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that there has not been one day that I have been without a delay on the Red Line in the past month! I'm going to start to take the bus the whole way again (which is really saying something).


Unionstation_metrobus (Photo on http://dctrans.blogspot.com)


What I would have said was that I had a good weekend--relaxing, which was what I needed. I also managed to sort out my apartment which had been an awful mess for several weeks, due to my out of control work schedule and weekends away. I also realized how much more I have to do with refinishing furniture, projects, etc. I'm sure that stuff won't get done until after the holidays.


Saturday, Erin and I went to Dos Gringos in Mt. Pleasant. So fun...I had never been there and who knew such a cute, "local" place existed in yuppiefied DC? Okay, I'm being unfair, but after being in Philly the weekend before, I was feeling like our city is just a bit lame. To fast forward, we walked a bit and looked at furniture and ate crepes at L'Enfant Cafe. We then checked out Greater Goods, an environmentally friendly goods store that just opened 3 days ago on U St. I hope they do well. I saw them on Friday after the Chi Cha lounge and assumed I'd just never seen them. Right now, they have a fairly good selection of reusable, compact bags, Sigg bottles, light bulbs, cleaning products, and other things to make your home more efficient.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Back from the Dead

My blog that is. I had a bit of a hiatus because I've been mondo busy at work and too brain dead in my off time to have adequate intelligence to type up a blog entry.


In the time between my last blog and now, aside from long hours working at home and at the office, I went up to Philly for a mini Planning class reunion. It was fun to see folks and to hang out with Angie a bit. I love her and Mike's house--so cozy! I wish I'd had my camera!


1362133374_c2fbbd1032We had the best brunch, too, up at Cake in Chestnut Hill (Pic from PhilaPhile). And, we luckily stopped at Host, a cute homegoods store, where I bought a new rug from Dash & Albert that I'd seen in a magazine once. Love it. Bright and cheery.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Erin_cg_halloween_2


This is Erin and me (nice, flattering angle there) at a party last Saturday. She was a Booda squeaky toy. I was a Magic 8-Ball. I really wanted to include the one of Erin holding doughnuts that someone brought to the party--they were the day-old Giant ones, so it was kind of funny--but I don't want her to kill me!

Happy Halloween!

Erin_cg_halloween_2


This is Erin and me (nice, flattering angle there) at a party last Saturday. She was a Booda squeaky toy. I was a Magic 8-Ball. I really wanted to include the one of Erin holding doughnuts that someone brought to the party--they were the day-old Giant ones, so it was kind of funny--but I don't want her to kill me!

Easy Fall Recipe

For my book club last week, our food theme was "fall food." Needless to say, our meeting featured a lot of pumpkin. I decided to make "mini caramel apple upside down cakes." I didn't have a recipe, so I went about improvising to make something as easy as possible. Here's what I did.


I took several fresh Pennsylvania apples and peeled and sliced them thinly. I then put them in muffin tins (I had to cut several of the slices in half for them to fit), drizzled them with caramel sauce, sprinkled a few pecan pieces in, and then filled the tins with some spice cake mix. Here are the results.


Cakes


They tasted pretty good. Next time, I'd put a little more caramel. I was worried about putting too much in, but the ones that had more were better. I wanted to use yellow cake, but it was sold out, so I'd probably try that next time too. They were fun for a fall gathering!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Another Weekend, Another Blog Entry

Well, busy busy lately. No bloggy bloggy. I went home to PA this past weekend to pick up my car. It is now shiny, all repainted, and fixed. AND, miracle of miracles, I passed my inspection on Tuesday, the whole reason for this car drama to begin with. I'm good for another 2 years.


It was a fun weekend in Western PA. I wish I'd remembered my camera. Angela came home with me on Amtrak. The train was actually on time (do the miracles never cease!), though it takes longer than driving. The last hour was a little unbearable to me.


On Saturday, Mom, Angela and I went on a short hike in Linn Run State Park. Since I did not take my camera, here's someone else's rendition of Adams Falls.


We, however, saw no water over the falls because of the lack of rain lately. We just had the pleasure of scrambling over a seemingly endless pile of rocks on the trail.


Lots of water coming over Adam's Falls

After the hike, we drove around Forbes State Park/Laurel Summit looking at the lovely fall leaves. This conveniently took us in a loop and past the Laughlintown Pie Shoppe where we took a number and got some "nourishment."


I did get to see my Nakashima exhibit at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art. Great. I decided that if they were to decide to allow me to bring one piece home, it would be the chest of drawers. I like to do that when I'm in an exhibit--to pick the one thing I'd take with me if given the opportunity. I also liked the "Amoeba Tables," but needed a chest, so...


Our day there ended in downtown Ligonier looking at froo froo shops with tchotchkes and the like.


Falldiam


I continued my busy Saturday with the annual Jenco sauerkraut-making (recipe-cabbage, salt and lots of love. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette did a feature on it once.). I got to see much of my extended family, which was really nice. I was impressed by my brother's adroit skill at shredding cabbage (it's much harder than it looks) and by the perseverence of my family in doing this annually. But, when you taste the sauerkraut on New Year's Day, it's worth it!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fall Fabulous!

I apologize for the lag in postings. Work has been very busy. Even though I've been complaining about all the work I have to do, in some ways it's invigorating to be so busy.


So, what else have I been up to? Well, 2 weeks (or was it 3) ago, I went on 2 Walking Tour DC tours and went to the Barracks Row Octoberfest Festival.


October_2


(That's a building at Navy Yard, the view from the deck of the Conservation Corps, and the Octoberfest entertainment--check out the liederhosen!).


I also got some lovely sunflowers recently (Trying to live up to the Apartment Cure edict to buy flowers...it's true, it totally changes your perspective!).


Sunflowers


This past weekend, Erin and I ventured up to Central PA--to our alma mater and to Carlisle's "Octubafest" art/crafts fair. Loads of fun. It's really hard to believe that we're approaching our TENTH reunion next year!



Dickinsonweekend_2


We felt like we spent a LONG time in Carlisle, but it was only a few hours. When we felt like we'd covered the entire town, we set on our merry way. Between Carlisle and Gettysburg, in Adams County, we did one of my favorite Fall activities: went to a fruit stand for Apples! Yay! I got a HUGE bag of my favorites: Jonagold, Honey Crisp..and a few new ones. Something like "banana somethings" (spotted like bananas) and another one I don't remember. I got 11 lbs (approximately) for $6.


Applesstand


Aside from apples, I got some other lovely things. A soy candle in "Autumn Harvest" scent, a pillow at a boutique in Gettysburg that is hand loomed in a Pennsylvania town, intricate paper cutouts, and--my favorite--a piece of molding from a Carlisle building, sold for the benefit of a historical preservation group.


Fallgoodies


Well, I hope you enjoyed my little foray into fall!


This weekend, I'm off to pick up my car. So, those who had bets on whether or not I'd keep my car (that's you, J & Rob! :), I'm keeping it for now!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Commuter Sentences: Another Day, Another Commute

Another classic commute...this morning, on the bus, I said "excuse me" to a guy who was taking up 1 3/4 seat...all sprawled out. Well, you'd think I'd asked him to donate a kidney to me rather than to move his legs over and pick up the bag off of the seat.  Jerk.


On the metro home, I was behind a black guy who was humming. This is a variety of a musical commuting species which includes "black guy with loud headphones" and "black woman singing." Now, I'm not being racist here, just factual. It's simply that the only white people who ever have the nerve to sing in public are either a.) Britney Spears--and we can see that doesn't always work out well, er. b.) crazy. The closest any white person comes to entering this species is "White guy tapping his foot and grooving his head," which is just embarrassing. Both the "black guy with headphones" and "black guy humming" are generally being on the quiet side, more or less asserting to the rest of us that they indeed have rhythm. "Black woman singing" is rarer, but you can't help but notice because they don't hold back. It's like an audition for American Idol.


I missed the bus on the way home by a fraction of a second. I was literally standing on the median of Massachusetts Avenue waiting for traffic to let up or for the light to change. No luck. I should have followed the guy who cut in front of traffic, but I was too little a risk taker. The bus was mere feet in front of me as I crossed the street. What a let down. I decided to walk, but had horrible shoes on...c'est la vie. C'est la commute.

Commuter Sentences: Another Day, Another Commute

Another classic commute...this morning, on the bus, I said "excuse me" to a guy who was taking up 1 3/4 seat...all sprawled out. Well, you'd think I'd asked him to donate a kidney to me rather than to move his legs over and pick up the bag off of the seat.  Jerk.


On the metro home, I was behind a black guy who was humming. This is a variety of a musical commuting species which includes "black guy with loud headphones" and "black woman singing." Now, I'm not being racist here, just factual. It's simply that the only white people who ever have the nerve to sing in public are either a.) Britney Spears--and we can see that doesn't always work out well, er. b.) crazy. The closest any white person comes to entering this species is "White guy tapping his foot and grooving his head," which is just embarrassing. Both the "black guy with headphones" and "black guy humming" are generally being on the quiet side, more or less asserting to the rest of us that they indeed have rhythm. "Black woman singing" is rarer, but you can't help but notice because they don't hold back. It's like an audition for American Idol.


I missed the bus on the way home by a fraction of a second. I was literally standing on the median of Massachusetts Avenue waiting for traffic to let up or for the light to change. No luck. I should have followed the guy who cut in front of traffic, but I was too little a risk taker. The bus was mere feet in front of me as I crossed the street. What a let down. I decided to walk, but had horrible shoes on...c'est la vie. C'est la commute.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Carless Update

Just a little update. I've now been without a car a little over a week. I have definitely been feeling the absence. A few times I considered going shopping somewhere, but decided against it (this is probably a good thing). I got groceries for the first time on Sunday evening.  I strained my back a bit carrying them home...definitely would bring a backpack next time! On the upside, I have gotten a lot more walking in!  The weekend bus service stinks...I waited over 40 minutes for one on Saturday. That's a major deterrent when you don't feel like walking 20 min to the metro.


I won't be deciding for now whether this will be permanent. My dad took my car to a local guy in Western PA who works on specifically electrical issue. The problem Curtis Chevrolet on GA Avenue in DC assessed to be a $2035 repair was...$279 to fix! I can understand a little geographic discrepancy as well as a dealer versus independent difference, but that's RIDICULOUS! The same guy is going to fix the other minor issues with my car (air conditioning and a flickering odometer) for $700 or under. I'd like to also point out I spent $372 for Curtis to tell me that it would take $2035 to fix it. Oh, and the wiring specialist said that whoever worked on the car really screwed it up and actually did a different fix to the car than the dealer had prescribed. Personally, I don't trust the dealer. I feel as if they thought "hey, here's a girl, under the gun with the inspection" and thought they could dupe me. Either that, or they're incompetent. Either way, it's not good. But, I'm happy to be getting the car back...for now. It should be good for another 2 years at least when this is done, if not longer. Phew.

Carless Update

Just a little update. I've now been without a car a little over a week. I have definitely been feeling the absence. A few times I considered going shopping somewhere, but decided against it (this is probably a good thing). I got groceries for the first time on Sunday evening.  I strained my back a bit carrying them home...definitely would bring a backpack next time! On the upside, I have gotten a lot more walking in!  The weekend bus service stinks...I waited over 40 minutes for one on Saturday. That's a major deterrent when you don't feel like walking 20 min to the metro.


I won't be deciding for now whether this will be permanent. My dad took my car to a local guy in Western PA who works on specifically electrical issue. The problem Curtis Chevrolet on GA Avenue in DC assessed to be a $2035 repair was...$279 to fix! I can understand a little geographic discrepancy as well as a dealer versus independent difference, but that's RIDICULOUS! The same guy is going to fix the other minor issues with my car (air conditioning and a flickering odometer) for $700 or under. I'd like to also point out I spent $372 for Curtis to tell me that it would take $2035 to fix it. Oh, and the wiring specialist said that whoever worked on the car really screwed it up and actually did a different fix to the car than the dealer had prescribed. Personally, I don't trust the dealer. I feel as if they thought "hey, here's a girl, under the gun with the inspection" and thought they could dupe me. Either that, or they're incompetent. Either way, it's not good. But, I'm happy to be getting the car back...for now. It should be good for another 2 years at least when this is done, if not longer. Phew.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Going Carless: to Car or Not to Car, That is the Question

I got rid of my car this weekend. Well, not really, it's just visiting its grandparents because it has some issues that prevents it from being reinspected in DC. I'm hoping Dad and Philip, whizzes of mechanics that they are, can fix it. If not, I have some decisions to make.


I've considered going carless. Legions of people out there talk of how great it is--for the environment, for their lives, for budget. I've had a car since I was 21, which frankly, in America is a little late. I have my doubts about whether I could do it or not.


My parents think it's NUTS to even think about it. It's as if I suggested I was going to forego clothes or oxygen (though I might have to do the latter if everyone keeps driving like they do...). I think I *could* do it. I have fairly okay access to transit--via metro within a 15-20 minute walk and via the bus down the block. Joining a car share service would expand my options more.


Ask.com has a cool feature where you can now calculate driving directions and distances, by the way--check it out.


Walking distances from my home to:


  • Work--3 miles, 57 minutes

  • Union Station (metro, Amtrak)--1 mile, 20 minutes (that estimate was dead on by the way)

  • Gym--1.3 miles, 27 minutes

  • Safeway--0.9 miles, 17 minutes

Other shopping and services are within a 15-20 minute walk. I have a coffee shop, library, 7-11, and restaurant within a 5 minute walk or so and there is one mini mart with erratic hours a little closer than that.


I'd love to hear opinions from people out in cyberspace--is this something you've tried? Where do you live?

Going Carless: to Car or Not to Car, That is the Question

I got rid of my car this weekend. Well, not really, it's just visiting its grandparents because it has some issues that prevents it from being reinspected in DC. I'm hoping Dad and Philip, whizzes of mechanics that they are, can fix it. If not, I have some decisions to make.


I've considered going carless. Legions of people out there talk of how great it is--for the environment, for their lives, for budget. I've had a car since I was 21, which frankly, in America is a little late. I have my doubts about whether I could do it or not.


My parents think it's NUTS to even think about it. It's as if I suggested I was going to forego clothes or oxygen (though I might have to do the latter if everyone keeps driving like they do...). I think I *could* do it. I have fairly okay access to transit--via metro within a 15-20 minute walk and via the bus down the block. Joining a car share service would expand my options more.


Ask.com has a cool feature where you can now calculate driving directions and distances, by the way--check it out.


Walking distances from my home to:


  • Work--3 miles, 57 minutes

  • Union Station (metro, Amtrak)--1 mile, 20 minutes (that estimate was dead on by the way)

  • Gym--1.3 miles, 27 minutes

  • Safeway--0.9 miles, 17 minutes

Other shopping and services are within a 15-20 minute walk. I have a coffee shop, library, 7-11, and restaurant within a 5 minute walk or so and there is one mini mart with erratic hours a little closer than that.


I'd love to hear opinions from people out in cyberspace--is this something you've tried? Where do you live?

Bargain Weekend!

I went home to Western PA this weekend. My Aunt Jean had a 70th birthday party for my Aunt Shirle who is battling cancer. It was a nice simple affair with some delicious crescent roll-wrapped breakfasty things and great cake.  After driving Shirle home, I implored my mom to stop at the Salvation Army thrift shop. Boy, was I glad I did. I ended up with some great finds:


New_finds


I found the pottery pieces first. I've been envying cool pictures in design magazines of groups of white pottery. It's been trendy, like this from West Elm, but I love how fresh it looks. I spent a whopping $4 on all 3 pieces. One is a Royal Haeger.


I've also been eyeing some white pottery lamps on Ebay...good thing I held out for this gem--4.99! I have to get a shade for it, but it's still a bargain.


And, last but certainly not least, this solid mahogany nightstand for $12.99. I am thinking of either stripping the blonde finish and staining it a dark ebony or painting it black. I've never done the stripping and staining thing so I'm not sure about that.


I rounded out my purchases with a set of 4 juice glasses with oranges on them for my mom at $1.99 and this mod thin scarf for $0.99.


Mod


I'm planning on using it in my hair or on a bag.


Mom and I also went to Marshalls, where I nabbed a set of Ralph Lauren floral pillowcases for $5, and to the Dollar Tree where I got a "pierced porcelain" looking votive.


Dollar_store


I wish they'd had more of them, because I would have bought a few.


Now for the not-so-bargain. I got this alarm clock on ebay. It's very vintage and cute, but c'mon. It was one of those "in the moment" lapse of judgement things...



Clock_2


I tested the alarm--it works, though I doubt it would get me out of bed. And the ticking would probably drive me bonkers, so as ugly as my digital is, I guess I'll keep on using it!

Bargain Weekend!

I went home to Western PA this weekend. My Aunt Jean had a 70th birthday party for my Aunt Shirle who is battling cancer. It was a nice simple affair with some delicious crescent roll-wrapped breakfasty things and great cake.  After driving Shirle home, I implored my mom to stop at the Salvation Army thrift shop. Boy, was I glad I did. I ended up with some great finds:


New_finds


I found the pottery pieces first. I've been envying cool pictures in design magazines of groups of white pottery. It's been trendy, like this from West Elm, but I love how fresh it looks. I spent a whopping $4 on all 3 pieces. One is a Royal Haeger.


I've also been eyeing some white pottery lamps on Ebay...good thing I held out for this gem--4.99! I have to get a shade for it, but it's still a bargain.


And, last but certainly not least, this solid mahogany nightstand for $12.99. I am thinking of either stripping the blonde finish and staining it a dark ebony or painting it black. I've never done the stripping and staining thing so I'm not sure about that.


I rounded out my purchases with a set of 4 juice glasses with oranges on them for my mom at $1.99 and this mod thin scarf for $0.99.


Mod


I'm planning on using it in my hair or on a bag.


Mom and I also went to Marshalls, where I nabbed a set of Ralph Lauren floral pillowcases for $5, and to the Dollar Tree where I got a "pierced porcelain" looking votive.


Dollar_store


I wish they'd had more of them, because I would have bought a few.


Now for the not-so-bargain. I got this alarm clock on ebay. It's very vintage and cute, but c'mon. It was one of those "in the moment" lapse of judgement things...



Clock_2


I tested the alarm--it works, though I doubt it would get me out of bed. And the ticking would probably drive me bonkers, so as ugly as my digital is, I guess I'll keep on using it!