Friday, January 30, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Open Letter to DC Area Residents and Governments

Dear Kind Folk,


You see that white stuff on the sidewalks and roads? That's called ice and snow. It happens every year. Some of you may be new to this, so let me help you out. If you don't remove it and it's below zero, it won't go away, and people will fall and hurt themselves.


Thanks.


Christine


Open letter to DC area residents and governments 


I had taken this photo last night as a positive Commuter Sentences because of the serenity of it. I of course forgot about the aftermath.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Blech...food to avoid

That is a Soyjoy bar in my trash. My mom bought it out of morbid curiosity I guess, after I told her my friend said they were gross. I really had no idea HOW gross she meant...until now. I'm not one to shy away from most foods. This one, I literally had to spit out. Gross! Just gross. I had to chase it with almonds and coffee just to get the taste out of my mouth. Tell me--Where is the joy in that?


Blech...food to avoid

Blech...food to avoid

That is a Soyjoy bar in my trash. My mom bought it out of morbid curiosity I guess, after I told her my friend said they were gross. I really had no idea HOW gross she meant...until now. I'm not one to shy away from most foods. This one, I literally had to spit out. Gross! Just gross. I had to chase it with almonds and coffee just to get the taste out of my mouth. Tell me--Where is the joy in that?


Blech...food to avoid

Seat Hogs

Listen, guy beside me on the bus...if you want private transport, take a cab.


I get seriously annoyed at seat hogs. Not people who need more than their share--as a person of a certain size, I understand that Metro seats designed in Italy don't necessarily fit American-sized butts. What irritates me are people who stake their claim on 2 seats, refuse to move over, keep their bag on the seat even after you sit and even with a full bus or train.


This points to a general annoyance..a feeling of entitlement. In my estimation, it's why so many drive in the left lane even when not passing.


There's actually a great website exposing that crime against humanity...I'll link to it here when I'm not "mobile."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Catch Up--What else have you been doing, Christine?

Glad you asked. I had my second annual Twelfth Night Tea party--a post-holiday holiday party--the weekend after New Years. It was so great to see people I haven't seen in awhile. It was open house style. I chose healthier recipes such as turkey burger sliders, low-fat cakes, low-fat spinach artichoke dip, and crudite. Someone remind me next year that making many appetizers is NOT easier than making a full-blown meal. Still, it was fun. My favorite part was the punch I made--"Steamy Passion" a passion-fruit based hot toddy. Yum!


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I've also been rooting the Steelers on to a Superbowl victory! Mom was here last Sunday for the playoff game where the "boys" as she calls them trampled the Ravens.


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Mom stayed for a whole week, so we had time for some other outings. I played hookie (well, not really because I TOLD them where I was going) from work on Friday afternoon, and we went to Georgetown. Hit up Georgetown Cupcake (the best ones I have had though Mom thinks perhaps they buy mix from King Arthur...doubt it).


Top Row--Coconut and Roasted Marshallow. Bottom Row--Lava Fudge and Carrot.


P1230002 


These were the flavors we still had left to share with Erin after she met us for dinner at Matchbox. We enjoyed a lemon one and red velvet at the Georgetown waterfront park.


I was shocked to find that Dean and Deluca did not carry Dutch process cocoa. Apparently, this stuff's hard to find these days. I did end up buying it this past weekend, at the German deli section of Cafe Mozart. Mom and I had some hearty German fare there after a tour of the Capitol on Saturday.


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Oh, back to the Capitol tour. The new visitors center is open, and it's gorgeous. I was most amazed at how simple it was to get in. Not from a security sense but from a ticket standpoint. I will save the views of the Capitol for professional photographers. I was most impressed with the wonderful restroom facilities.


P1240026


Digital cameras are dangerous things.

Catch Up--What else have you been doing, Christine?

Glad you asked. I had my second annual Twelfth Night Tea party--a post-holiday holiday party--the weekend after New Years. It was so great to see people I haven't seen in awhile. It was open house style. I chose healthier recipes such as turkey burger sliders, low-fat cakes, low-fat spinach artichoke dip, and crudite. Someone remind me next year that making many appetizers is NOT easier than making a full-blown meal. Still, it was fun. My favorite part was the punch I made--"Steamy Passion" a passion-fruit based hot toddy. Yum!


P1040002 


I've also been rooting the Steelers on to a Superbowl victory! Mom was here last Sunday for the playoff game where the "boys" as she calls them trampled the Ravens.


P1180011 


Mom stayed for a whole week, so we had time for some other outings. I played hookie (well, not really because I TOLD them where I was going) from work on Friday afternoon, and we went to Georgetown. Hit up Georgetown Cupcake (the best ones I have had though Mom thinks perhaps they buy mix from King Arthur...doubt it).


Top Row--Coconut and Roasted Marshallow. Bottom Row--Lava Fudge and Carrot.


P1230002 


These were the flavors we still had left to share with Erin after she met us for dinner at Matchbox. We enjoyed a lemon one and red velvet at the Georgetown waterfront park.


I was shocked to find that Dean and Deluca did not carry Dutch process cocoa. Apparently, this stuff's hard to find these days. I did end up buying it this past weekend, at the German deli section of Cafe Mozart. Mom and I had some hearty German fare there after a tour of the Capitol on Saturday.


P1240028


Oh, back to the Capitol tour. The new visitors center is open, and it's gorgeous. I was most amazed at how simple it was to get in. Not from a security sense but from a ticket standpoint. I will save the views of the Capitol for professional photographers. I was most impressed with the wonderful restroom facilities.


P1240026


Digital cameras are dangerous things.

Catch up...Hope Springs

P1200006Wow, I've been so bad about blogging. Well, things have been busy...as you may have heard, the Inauguration of our 44th president happened last week. It was phenomenal. I was truly in awe about the number of people. The lead up to the event, though, was causing me stress. Well, probably in combination with everything else going on, but all the talk about crowds and traffic continuously for several weeks was causing me anxiety. I actually stocked up on groceries...like for a hurricane. Because of the expected gridlock and because my mom was visiting (Iwas also prepping to have an additional guest--Jennifer--for one night). Anyway, I now have food for this week too and enough toilet paper for probably another month.


The event itself was hectic. I had tickets for one of the standing areas. There was a huge foul up with the checkpoints. Long story short, we were pressed (literally) in line for 5 hours to get through the gate just as the main event was starting. It was certainly memorable, though at one point, I was certain I was going to die pressed up against a security fence. The picture above isn't even the worst part. Once we got in, I was happy to just be a part of it. I didn't do the campaign work that many of the people in "line" with me did...after all, I was a post-Dem convention convert to Obama... but I still felt like "we did it" with my measily donations and hopes. I was treated to inspiration by Obama's address--by his message of "hope not fear"--as well as by the hope I saw in those around me.


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The crowd held in rapt attention by the speech


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The stage view--sort of


I'd put up video I took, but honestly, you can get good video somewhere else!


My absolute favorite part of the day was what happened afterwards...we saw George W's helicopter fly close overhead. Everyone waved and cheered "SO LONG! GOOD RIDDANCE!" It was a fantastic feeling. I won't lie, and it's no secret, he represents everything I hate. Both his policies and peronally (his public persona...he and Laura never invited me over). At any rate, I could spew vitriol, but now it's past. What I did realize was that in the majority of my time living in the DC area, he was in office, and I think it contributed to a certain different kind of feeling. I can already feel a difference, I swear, even with the still fragile economic situation.  I'm hoping it sticks.

Catch up...Hope Springs

P1200006Wow, I've been so bad about blogging. Well, things have been busy...as you may have heard, the Inauguration of our 44th president happened last week. It was phenomenal. I was truly in awe about the number of people. The lead up to the event, though, was causing me stress. Well, probably in combination with everything else going on, but all the talk about crowds and traffic continuously for several weeks was causing me anxiety. I actually stocked up on groceries...like for a hurricane. Because of the expected gridlock and because my mom was visiting (Iwas also prepping to have an additional guest--Jennifer--for one night). Anyway, I now have food for this week too and enough toilet paper for probably another month.


The event itself was hectic. I had tickets for one of the standing areas. There was a huge foul up with the checkpoints. Long story short, we were pressed (literally) in line for 5 hours to get through the gate just as the main event was starting. It was certainly memorable, though at one point, I was certain I was going to die pressed up against a security fence. The picture above isn't even the worst part. Once we got in, I was happy to just be a part of it. I didn't do the campaign work that many of the people in "line" with me did...after all, I was a post-Dem convention convert to Obama... but I still felt like "we did it" with my measily donations and hopes. I was treated to inspiration by Obama's address--by his message of "hope not fear"--as well as by the hope I saw in those around me.


P1200017     


The crowd held in rapt attention by the speech


P1200023


The stage view--sort of


I'd put up video I took, but honestly, you can get good video somewhere else!


My absolute favorite part of the day was what happened afterwards...we saw George W's helicopter fly close overhead. Everyone waved and cheered "SO LONG! GOOD RIDDANCE!" It was a fantastic feeling. I won't lie, and it's no secret, he represents everything I hate. Both his policies and peronally (his public persona...he and Laura never invited me over). At any rate, I could spew vitriol, but now it's past. What I did realize was that in the majority of my time living in the DC area, he was in office, and I think it contributed to a certain different kind of feeling. I can already feel a difference, I swear, even with the still fragile economic situation.  I'm hoping it sticks.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration Madness

Here's the scene at Union Station just before 6 pm...a madhouse. This is a mobile post...hence the poor quality!Inauguration Madness

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

79KingGrave Well, it's 6:54 am and I am getting ready for work. For those of you with the day off, enjoy it, and if you're planning on participating in the day of service, good for you! It's a fitting tribute for a man who truly gave his life for bettering the lives of others. Of course, serving year-round is also important.


I was a little disturbed to discover that in many parts of the country (i.e. the south), King shares the holiday with...Robert E. Lee. Or confederate soldiers. Um, could you be any more obviously racist? Seriously. I don't know why I'm surprised, but I couldn't help but laugh about it because of how pathetic it is.


Tomorrow, the country will take another step toward King's vision of equality when Barak Obama is sworn in as President of the United States. The concert yesterday went well, and there was a definite vibe of hope and inspiration. I'm praying tomorrow goes as smoothly.  


The picture above is King's gravesite in Atlanta. I took that during a work trip. You can see that I've tested out the mobile Typepad in my first Inauguration post...it's not without glitches! Also, I'll be doing a catch-up post sometime soon!!! Stay tuned!

Inaugural Weekend

This is a pic I took near the We are one concert that I thought I'd share. Lots of busy activity going on!! More posts to follow!Inaugural Weekend

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Resolve to Resolve

I didn't make any dramatic resolutions this year. I either go all or nothing--like pages of lists of things I'd like to do or nothing at all. Though there are many things I feel I need to examine in my life and work on, looking at them on January 1 is not necessary. There's always time. (Okay, resolution one: "Stop procrastinating.")


However, I always have one resolution that sort of goes without saying. Losing weight. It's been a goal of mine since, oh, I was eight. Usually, I end up not only not losing weight, but gaining it. Those kinds of goals become less goal and more like a disheartening attack on one's self esteem. Without going into the complexities of nutrition, genetics, stress, emotional overeating, habit, etc, suffice to say that losing weight is difficult. Changing one's lifestyle is difficult. Despite that, I am going to make a change this year. I don't want to look like Paris Hilton or something. My main concern is health. My second concern is clothing. Shopping for several years in plus sizes can be boring and sometimes demeaning.


Last night, I was watching (at 1:30 am--resolution two: "Go to bed earlier") Intervention on A&E about a Type I diabetic who didn't monitor his diet, blood sugar, or insulin. I found myself mentally judging him "Oh, how stupid," I thought, "How can someone be so careless and thoughtless about his family" But then I self-examined. I'm sure strangers could think the same of me. Hell, we already know my doctor does. It reminded me of another analogy I thought of once, when I had an ant problem. Hundreds of ants swarmed on the sticky sweet goo that contained enough poison to kill them. Again, I thought "Ha! How stupid are they? Enjoy that now, because you're not long for the world." Still, I can pound back a dozen cookies if I am feeling down or stressed. Hypocrite.


The reason I'm posting all this here is that I read this article in the Washington Post over lunch (when I was supposed to go to the gym) about hypocrisy being a powerful tool. I want everyone in blogland to know that  1.) I believe a healthy lifestyle is important and 2.) I plan to do everything in my power this year to take steps to be healthier. That sounds wishy washy, but I don't want to put a number on it. Making a number goal is making the result of the goal the goal rather than the actual achievement; kind of like winning an olympic medal--it's a symbol of the win, but the true goal is passing the finish line or having the shortest time. I'm going to monitor calories, nutrition, fitness, and feelings. I'm going to work out more and make health a priority. I hope to post successes here (and challenges too).


Anyone out there have resolutions they want to post???

Resolve to Resolve

I didn't make any dramatic resolutions this year. I either go all or nothing--like pages of lists of things I'd like to do or nothing at all. Though there are many things I feel I need to examine in my life and work on, looking at them on January 1 is not necessary. There's always time. (Okay, resolution one: "Stop procrastinating.")


However, I always have one resolution that sort of goes without saying. Losing weight. It's been a goal of mine since, oh, I was eight. Usually, I end up not only not losing weight, but gaining it. Those kinds of goals become less goal and more like a disheartening attack on one's self esteem. Without going into the complexities of nutrition, genetics, stress, emotional overeating, habit, etc, suffice to say that losing weight is difficult. Changing one's lifestyle is difficult. Despite that, I am going to make a change this year. I don't want to look like Paris Hilton or something. My main concern is health. My second concern is clothing. Shopping for several years in plus sizes can be boring and sometimes demeaning.


Last night, I was watching (at 1:30 am--resolution two: "Go to bed earlier") Intervention on A&E about a Type I diabetic who didn't monitor his diet, blood sugar, or insulin. I found myself mentally judging him "Oh, how stupid," I thought, "How can someone be so careless and thoughtless about his family" But then I self-examined. I'm sure strangers could think the same of me. Hell, we already know my doctor does. It reminded me of another analogy I thought of once, when I had an ant problem. Hundreds of ants swarmed on the sticky sweet goo that contained enough poison to kill them. Again, I thought "Ha! How stupid are they? Enjoy that now, because you're not long for the world." Still, I can pound back a dozen cookies if I am feeling down or stressed. Hypocrite.


The reason I'm posting all this here is that I read this article in the Washington Post over lunch (when I was supposed to go to the gym) about hypocrisy being a powerful tool. I want everyone in blogland to know that  1.) I believe a healthy lifestyle is important and 2.) I plan to do everything in my power this year to take steps to be healthier. That sounds wishy washy, but I don't want to put a number on it. Making a number goal is making the result of the goal the goal rather than the actual achievement; kind of like winning an olympic medal--it's a symbol of the win, but the true goal is passing the finish line or having the shortest time. I'm going to monitor calories, nutrition, fitness, and feelings. I'm going to work out more and make health a priority. I hope to post successes here (and challenges too).


Anyone out there have resolutions they want to post???

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Twelve Days of Christmas Ornaments Day Twelve: Ghost of Christmas Past

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This is me, circa 1978 or 79. My brother is on the other side, but I didn't take a picture of that--though it's really cute because he has on a Burger King paper crown. My Aunt Helen gave this to me (and a version to all my cousins, I think). 

The Twelve Days of Christmas Ornaments Day Twelve: Ghost of Christmas Past

PC210094

This is me, circa 1978 or 79. My brother is on the other side, but I didn't take a picture of that--though it's really cute because he has on a Burger King paper crown. My Aunt Helen gave this to me (and a version to all my cousins, I think). 

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Twelve Days of Christmas Ornaments Day Eleven: Childhood Pals

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My brother bought me this Hallmark Mr. Potato Head ornament because it was fun and reminded him of being kids. I think it is so cute! I remember putting some of the money I saved in my piggy bank as a kid toward buying a real Mr. Potato Head. It's kind of a funny toy if you think about it, and my Mr. Potato Head wasn't as cute as this. It was kind of strange looking if I remember correctly. Other childhood memories on my tree are the Poky Little Puppy and Pat the Bunny ornaments my mom bought me. They definitely bring back some memories of childhood books and toys! I can't help but chuckle...

The Twelve Days of Christmas Ornaments Day Ten: Asian Influence

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Day 10--Again, LATE!

This doo dad (sorry, I have no idea what it technically is) was from my cousin Leigh--a memento from Taiwan. I was lucky enough to visit her when she and her now husband Perry lived there a few years ago (can't believe that was in 2004--FOUR years ago!). I bought a similar doo dad which was a darma wheel (I think) made of one of the very cool rocks on the island. What struck me in Taiwan was how much they LOVED Christmas. Most Taiwanese aren't Christian, but one thing they DO get is commerce and decoration. They especially love Christmas music. Though it was Thanksgiving when I visited and not an odd time to hear Christmas music, Leigh and Perry said that it was customary to hear it even in summer. Though these symbols on my tree have nothing to do with Christmas, they remind me of one of the most memorable trips I've been on as well as the Taiwanese affinity for the season's joyousness!

The Twelve Days of Christmas Ornaments Day Nine: A Cup of Christmas Tea

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Woah--I'm way behind!!!! Here's Day 9!

This ceramic tea cup was made by my Aunt Shirle, who died of cancer about a year ago. Shirle had a ceramics shop for many years, which as a kid, I thought was one of the coolest things ever. When we visited her house when I was young, she and her husband Bob, who just passed away a month ago, would give me various scrap pieces to paint in their basement ceramics studio. The entire family has had many lovely pieces over the years--either painted by Shirle or by themselves--though oddly, I think this is the only ornament I have. It's a nice reminder of my aunt, as well as a cute ornament!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome 2009!

Happy New Year! I hope this year is happy and prosperous--in all ways--for everyone who stops by here! 

Me on NYE


The Twelve Days of Christmas Ornaments Day Eight: Assisi

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I purchased this wooden ornament in Assisi, Italy when I visited in 1997 from an artisan/souvenir seller up one of the old streets. It says "Laudato si, mi Signore per sora Luna e le Stelle" which translates "Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars" from Saint Francis of Assisi's Canticle of the Sun. While at the Franciscan Basilica there--which subsequently suffered serious damage during an earthquake later that same year--I overheard a Franciscan monk giving a tour. My ear perked up because I clearly recognized the accent. He was from Western Pennsylvania. So, after he was done, I approached him. Sure enough, he was from Somerset, PA. He was a character--simultaneously very brusque and comedic. He asked me, when I returned home to Pittsburgh, to call a family for him. They had a Polish last name, and he called them the "chickies" after their name. I never got to speak with them, but I did leave a message for them from him on their answering machine.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Ornaments Day Eight: Assisi

PC210085

I purchased this wooden ornament in Assisi, Italy when I visited in 1997 from an artisan/souvenir seller up one of the old streets. It says "Laudato si, mi Signore per sora Luna e le Stelle" which translates "Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars" from Saint Francis of Assisi's Canticle of the Sun. While at the Franciscan Basilica there--which subsequently suffered serious damage during an earthquake later that same year--I overheard a Franciscan monk giving a tour. My ear perked up because I clearly recognized the accent. He was from Western Pennsylvania. So, after he was done, I approached him. Sure enough, he was from Somerset, PA. He was a character--simultaneously very brusque and comedic. He asked me, when I returned home to Pittsburgh, to call a family for him. They had a Polish last name, and he called them the "chickies" after their name. I never got to speak with them, but I did leave a message for them from him on their answering machine.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Ornaments Day Seven: White Christmas

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This is one of the crocheted snowflakes that my grandpap's wife Tillie put on their tree. Someone made them for her.When her kids came to take her away after my grandfather's death and rummaged through for the "valuables," they left these. I love them, and think of her and my grandpap when I use them!