Thursday, December 31, 2009

100 in 2010

I am a fan of the grand gesture. In some ways, you can look at this list as a grand gesture-I do it every year, even though I know that there's a decent chance I won't be able to do all of these things in the coming year. But I do it anyway. And this year I've given a fair amount of thought to that. I considered not doing the list at all, because it could be seen as setting myself up to fail. But I don't see it as a failure, and I never seriously entertained the notion of not doing it. And I think I know why. It's my way of setting goals, of articulating what I would like to do. And I need to do that periodically.

So here we are again. And this year, contained within my grand gesture is another grand gesture. I'm calling it Project Hometown Tourist. I've lived in DC for almost ten years, and the number of things I've never done, never seen, is absurd. So this year, I will do it, one thing a week whenever possible. And while I don't usually record my progress on the Big List on my blog, this part of it I will. If you'd like to accompany me in this project, just let me know.

As always, there are a few things on the list that I've chosen not to share.

100 in 2010

Project Hometown Tourist
1. Go to the top of the Washington Monument
2. Tour the White House
3. Tour the Capitol
4. Ice skate at the Sculpture Garden
5. Go to Jazz in the Garden
6. Go to Screen on the Green
7. Visit the Hirshhorn
8. Visit the Natural History Museum
9. Visit the American History Museum
10. Visit the National Portrait Gallery
11. Visit the American Art Museum
12. Visit Mount Vernon
13. Take a Duck tour
14. Visit the Anacostia Community Museum
15. Visit the Alice Paul House
16. Visit the Udvar-Hazy Center
17. Visit the Supreme Court
18. Visit the African Art Museum
19. Visit the National Museum of Crime and Punishment
20. Ride my bike along the C&O Canal
21. Visit Eastern Market
22. Visit the Museum of Women in the Arts
23. Tour the National Cathedral
24. Visit the National Building Museum
25. Go to an event at an embassy
26. Visit Brookside Gardens
27. Visit Hillwood Museum and Gardens
28. Visit the Basilica at CUA
29. Visit Meridian Hill Park to see the drum circle
30. Visit the Franciscan Monastery
31. Go to a DC Rollergirls match
32. Go to a DC United game
33. Go to First Friday in Dupont Circle
34. Visit the Corcoran
35. Visit the Phillips Collection
36. Read a book on the National Mall
37. Have drinks at a rooftop bar
38. Eat at Ben’s Chili Bowl
39. Visit the US Botanic Garden
40. Visit Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens
41. Visit the Library of Congress
42. Visit the World War II Memorial
43. Visit Dumbarton Oaks
44. Visit Theodore Roosevelt Island
45. Visit the National Gallery of Art
46. Visit Arlington Cemetery
47. Visit the monuments at night
48. Attend at least one event during the Cherry Blossom Festival
49. Attend the Drag Races
50. Attend a performance at the Kennedy Center
51. Attend a play at a DC theater I’ve never visited before
52. Visit the Newseum

Professional Development/Learning/Work Related
53. Read one professional development book per month
54. Take at least three Arabic classes
55. Write two booktalks per week
56. Take an ASL class
57. Keep up with my work blog
58. Take the bus to work at least 3x per week
59. Get involved in a professional organization
60. Apply for certification in Maryland and Virginia

61. Buy a house or condo
62. Plant a garden
63. Waste less food

Health/Fitness/Personal Development
64. Do yoga at least 2x per week
65. Keep a food log
66. Personal
67. Take my lunch to work at least 4x per week
68. Limit fast food to 1x per week
69. Begin attending church
70. Read the entire Bible
71. Go kayaking
72. Take lessons in a musical instrument
73. Drink 48 oz. of water daily
74. Learn to salsa
75. Try krav maga
76. Take the Mensa test
77. See a dermatologist

78. Stick to a cash-based, zero-based budget
79. Pay off credit cards
80. Put all money from extra work into my savings account
81. Roll everything into AIG account
82. Increase the amount I contribute to my IRA.
83. Write a will and a living will

84. Have friends over for dinner at least 1x per month
85. Join WIN
86. Join Young Benefactors of the Smithsonian
87. Personal
88. Keep the book club going
89. Join or form a stitch and bitch group

90. Write a novel
91. Join or form a writing group
92. Post to my personal blog 2x per week
93. Write in my paper journal at least 3x per week
94. Personal

95. Visit at least two states I’ve never visited before
96. Spend time at Alexandria Bay
97. Go to Canada
98. Go camping

99. Buy as much as possible from a farmers market
100. Start composting

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Still here...sort of

I am still around, but my brain is not. I have two days left until winter break, and these next 48 hours just might kill me.

On the up side, I've finally wised up and stopped trying to read the nonfiction book about the bubonic plague. I took a long hot bath tonight with one of Laurell K. Hamilton's trashy novels. Turns out that was exactly what I needed.

I'll be back soon (if anyone is listening) with the roundup of last year's Big List and my Big List for 2010.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My good act for the day...

This afternoon, I gave $30 to a complete stranger. I'm not sure if it was the right thing to do, but I'm glad I did it anyway.

I don't consider myself one who is easily conned. I'm generally pretty skeptical. And I have very little trouble saying no to people who ask me for money. When this woman approached me in the parking lot of Home Depot, I had every intention of blowing her off.

But something in her story rang true. In a nutshell, she told me that she had moved to the area three months prior and had been looking for a job ever since. She said that she was due to start a job on Monday, but that she had to show a state-issued ID Monday morning, or the job would be given to someone else. She had scraped together the money necessary to get a copy of her birth certificate, but didn't have enough to pay for the ID.

Sounds like a scam, right? And who knows? It might have been. But there was something about her that made me believe her. She showed me a receipt proving that she'd paid $18 to get her birth certificate yesterday. And her mannerisms--she seemed so embarrassed, and so nervous. And desperate.

But I almost never have cash on me. I gave her what change I had--less than $1--and got in my car and drove away. And then I worried. By the time I arrived back home--where I did have cash--I'd decided to go back.

I changed my mind six or seven times as I drove back. By the time I pulled into the Home Depot parking lot for the second time, I'd decided that I was being an idiot. Part of me hoped that she would no longer be there. But she was. And as I watched her talking to other people, she became visibly more upset and panicked looking. As I walked up to her, she was in tears. So I gave her the money. And I'm glad I did.

Thirty dollars is no small amount of money, but it's also not a big deal to me. I could afford it without really thinking twice. And something that I kept thinking about during this whole experience was that once upon a time, I was in a precarious enough financial situation that I couldn't handle unexpected expenses. Waiting tables was perfect for my mental health, but it was hell on my bank account. While I made enough money to pay rent and other critical bills, it took very little to send me into financial crisis. But I had a safety net--while I don't know that my parents ever really understood what made their college-educated daughter take three years off to work in the food service industry, they were willing and able to help me out when necessary. If I hadn't had them to lean on when I had an unexpected medical bill, or on that memorable occasion when I accidently hit submit twice when paying my student loan (which paid it twice), I don't know what I would have done.

So maybe it was a scam. If so, so be it. I know that if I hadn't given her the money I'd still be worrying about it. And while I know that I'm not responsible for other people's lives, I also know that I don't do enough to help people who are less fortunate than I. And maybe--just maybe--I helped someone take a small step toward independence. I'll never really know. But I do know that I'll sleep better tonight.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Why I avoid doing things in DC in the summer, or letters to the assholes at the Holocaust museum

Dear college-age girls sitting on the floor just inside the entrance,

Perhaps you could find a more appropriate place to discuss the new shoes you bought yesterday. Or, perhaps you could discuss it quietly, and not so loud that you drown out the sound of the video playing in the exhibit.


Dear teenage kid who planted himself directly in front of every single display I was trying to read, *

If you happen to see a semicircle of people, standing a few feet back from a display, perhaps you should take into account that they have positioned themselves so that they can all read the sign at the same time. You do get points for saying excuse me as you cut through the group, but doing so and then standing six inches from the sign--leaving all of us staring at the back of your head--doesn't cut it. Neither does doing the same damn thing at every single display.

You are not the center of the universe,

*Also, the short woman who took over this role once I finally lost the teenage kid.

Dear Rebecca's dad,

I am not a parent, so some might say that I have no right to give parenting tips. But here are a few things you clearly need to know.

1. Common sense should tell you that little Rebecca should not be climbing on the displays. But even if common sense didn't tell you that, the nice woman with the walkie-talkie did. Four times. Now, of course I heard you relaying this to your little angel, but you seemed to be having some communication issues, since she ignored you.

2. If you tell your child "Now, we talked about this," and she hits you, perhaps responding by repeating yourself isn't going to cut it. Especially since she hit you again every time you said it.

3. This may have escaped you, but the Holocaust Museum is a fairly emotionally taxing place. Most visitors spoke in whispers, when they spoke at all. There was an air of solemnity and reverence that I felt was very appropriate. But not your little Rebecca. She tried to lighten up the room by emitting ear-piercing shrieks and announcing "My name is Rebecca" every thirty seconds. I know that helped me truly grasp the horror of Birkenau.

Now, I don't want you to think I'm a monster. I'm not angry at Rebecca here. She's a kid, and she was acting like a (slightly spoiled) kid. I'm angry at her dumbass parents who didn't realize that taking a five-year-old to the Holocaust Museum is a bad idea. But maybe I'm being too harsh. I mean, they only warn that the exhibition isn't appropriate for children under 11 seven or eight times before you get in the door. And clearly your desire to see the exhibition under any circumstances trumps the right of the other fifty people in the room to see it peacefully. I mean, did you see that lady with the crying baby? She actually hustled the kid out the door as quickly as possible. What an idiot!

Really, I should probably thank you. I'd been planning to try to go to the top of the Washington Monument before I go back to work, but you've reminded me why that's a bad idea this month. I'll save the rest of my trips downtown for October, when you'll be back in Nebraska or wherever the fuck you come from.

Good riddance,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Perfect Accessory

You've got to love a purse in which you can carry an entire bottle of wine.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Eyeliner 1,000, Kate 0

I've been calling myself girl-impaired for ages. I can barely dress myself. I have approximately 3 different things I can do with my hair--if all the conditions are right. And I don't understand makeup. I seem to have missed that period in high school where girls experiment with makeup, make themselves look like hookers, and then finally get it right.

When I was invited to the Reading Is Fundamental Gala earlier this month, I paid someone to fix my hair, but I was determined to do the makeup part myself. I went to the M.A.C. store at Columbia mall and threw myself on the mercy of one of their salespeople, who was patient and wonderful and I wish I could remember her name, because you should all go and buy many, many things from her. She did what no one else has been able to do--she showed me how to use makeup, and made it simple enough that I could do it myself. She also sold me over $100 worth of makeup, so clearly she's good.

Well, mostly. I tried using the eyebrow pencil exactly once, made myself look like a clown, and decided that was a battle I wasn't going to fight. The eyeliner, though--that has been a problem. And I don't understand why. I mean, you're basically tracing your eye, right? I can trace. It's about the only art-related thing that I'm good at. I am not good at this.

Usually, I can get my right eye done without any problem. Then my left eye looks like a two-year-old scribbled on it. I don't understand why. I'm using the same hand to do both of them. I would just say screw it and give up, but I actually really like the way it looks, once I manage to get it right. (Usually this takes about 3 attempts.)

Sigh. I'm trying--but I'm still girl-impaired.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Embracing the cheese.

I hadn't even thought about the New Kids on the Block in at least a decade, but as soon as I heard last year that they were touring, I wanted to go.

Everyone laughed at me.

Even my sister, who was a New Kids freak bigger and longer than I was responded with "Yeah, have fun with that."

From the very beginning, I wanted to go as a nostalgia thing. When I hear one of their songs, which happens about once a year or so, I always smile and sing along, but it's not like I've been digging my old tapes out of boxes or anything. So when they came to DC last fall, I tried in vain to find someone--anyone--who would go with me.

I mentioned this to B. a few months ago, when I heard that they were touring again this spring/summer, and her eyes lit up. I had my concertgoing companion.

The show was last night, and it was AWESOME. Beyond awesome--it might have been the most entertaining concert I've ever been to. (Disclaimer: I don't generally like concerts. I find them extremely boring. This concert? Not boring.) First of all, let's get this out of the way:

This picture is courtesy of the lovely B., who took it while standing directly behind me. On an iPhone, no less--with no zoom. We were THAT CLOSE for a couple of songs, and yes, I turned into a 12-year-old girl for that fifteen minutes.

Actually, that's not true. I was a 12-year-old girl for the entire show, and I think that's part of why it was so awesome. Don't get me wrong--these guys do actually have talent--but the songs that were cheesy in 1989 do not get any less cheesy when the guy singing it is entering his fourth decade. That's kind of the point. This show could have been really, really lame, but they got up there and performed the hell out of two hours. Particularly when we were up close, it was easy to tell that they were having the time of their lives. And so was I.

I should pause here to share that I am not, in any way, a music snob. Miley Cyrus* and Metallica share space on my iPod. I actually own a song by Aly and AJ, which is something no adult should ever admit. I embrace the cheese, is what I'm trying to say. Those who do not may not have enjoyed themselves last night. But I did.

They played a pretty decent mix of old and new, which was great. (Though, a note to Joey M. Popsicle was a weird song back in the 80s. The years have not been kind to it, and while they have been kind to YOU, that little interlude was a little creepy.) I actually downloaded their new CD today, and there's at least one song I cannot get out of my head. They sang Tonight, which struck me as a song that is extremely appropriate for a reunion tour--moreso, perhaps than when it first came out. I also remember getting offended when it was first released, because of the line "We met a lot of people...and girls." "Aren't girls people?" I demanded to my mother. Aww. Bless my little proto-feminist heart. My favorite, though, was Hangin' Tough. That, of all their songs, could have been the most absurd as performed by guys pushing 40, but they knocked it out of the park.

If they come back into town, I'd go see them again. It was a good show. (B. and I did decide that driving to New Jersey this weekend to see them again would be overkill, but it was a serious debate for a good couple of minutes there.) Also, for the record, the soundtrack to this post was the New Kids Greatest Hits. Laugh away. I had the time of my life last night.

* One of these days, I will post my thoughts on why Miley Cyrus and her ilk, while often incomprehensible to adults, are very important in the grand scheme of things. NKOTB fits into this category too. Also, the Jonas Brothers.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes...

Today I was reading to a Pre-K class (4-year-olds). I got to the point in the book where one character was going to give another the BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER. So, I stopped and asked the kids to tell me what they thought that present would be. Most of the answers were fairly typical...a pony, a motorcycle, toys. And then another kid raised his hand. His answer?

"A machine that pops out hands to grab parents with."

The best part? Not even close to the oddest thing that I've heard this kid say.

Friday, April 3, 2009

How to know if you've completely lost control of a situation

If you walk into a dark room, flip on the light, and your cat raises her head and fixes you with a steely glare--and you hurry to finish what you're doing so you can turn the light off again--you are not the dominant personality in that relationship.

I was halfway downstairs before I realized what had just happened.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Success! And then some...

I didn't find flats I was interested in at Target, but I did find these:

I fell in love with them at DSW, and while they were slightly out of my self-imposed price range, I splurged a bit. I wore them tonight...let's hope they dry out well, because right now they're positively dripping. I hate rain. Thank God moving to Seattle is off the table.

I did find this at Target, which I also wore tonight. I was wearing a short-sleeved shirt, so this was absolutely perfect for this evening--a traditional wrap would have been far too dressy, but I needed something to keep myself warm.

I love this thing. I don't know how I lived without it. I actually bought two, one in grey and one in black, because I didn't know which would go better with my outfit. I was intending to return the black one, but I don't think I can resist keeping it. We may have figured out where all of my money goes...

I have better things to do than spend my afternoon waiting in line.

I wonder how much of our lives we spend waiting in the bank's drive-thru lane. I'm on about 15 minutes right now, and I'm still third in line. Don't these people know I have things to do? I need to run by Target (love that store!) to look for a pair of black flats--I'm broke but I desperately need new shoes. As an aside, can I just note how much I love the fact that broke these days means something completely different than it did five years ago? Having money that it is not prudent to spend is a million times better than legitimately not having the money at all.

But I digress. I've scrubbed the idea of going to the grocery store, but I'm bound and determined to go to the gym today. And I need to pick up my drycleaning, shower and be in DC to meet K. by 7.

Perhaps the bank needs to get a move on.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spring Break Randomness

On Spring Break...
Thank God it's here. I don't think I could have handled another week at work...this is perfect for letting me recharge my batteries and make it through the end of the year. This year has been absolutely brutal.

On television obsessions...
I watched six hours of Chuck last night, and another hour this morning. I love DVDs and online TV. Who wants to wait a week for a new episode? OD on it all at once.

On working out...
I seem to have turned over a new leaf all of a sudden. Today marks the third day in a row I've been to the gym, and the fifth day in a row I've gotten serious premeditated exercise. Let's see if I can keep it up...I went clothes shopping yesterday and I was not happy.

On dinner...
I'm supposed to be in Annapolis in an hour and 15 minutes, and I have not yet showered from the gym. Perhaps I will be late.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another bubble burst...

I've been reading a LOT lately, and much of it has centered on fiction set in England (or among English people) between about 1850 and 1920. I read the descriptions of the parties and such, and every once in awhile I think that it might have been fun to live back then.

Then I remember. I'm Irish. I would have been the parlormaid.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Better Days

I don't write often about work. At least once every couple of days, something happens that I think would make a great blog post, but I'm a pretty lazy blogger. I'm trying to get better, but usually I just forget.

Today, I had a bad day at work. And as I was thinking about the fact that teaching has such high highs and such low lows, I thought about the fact that I should probably write down some of the things that aren't bad so that I can look to them when I have a day like today.**

This story actually happened last Friday. In celebration of Black History Month, we had a troupe of African drummers and dancers in for an assembly. I attended with class made up of 3- and 4-year-olds, since the assembly fell during their library time. The program was pretty great--all of the kids, regardless of age, were engaged, and it's hard to find something that will do that with kids ranging from 3-11. And then the stiltwalker came out.

I'd heard that there was a stiltwalker, and I had pictured...a guy on stilts. In fact, he was a guy on stilts dressed in a raffia skirt, pants that covered the stilts, a brightly colored shirt and what basically amounted to a hood over his head, with a hat on top. When I first saw him, he made me jump a bit. So naturally he scared the bejesus out of the younger kids.

As soon as he passed by me, one of the girls from the class I was with made a beeline for me, tears streaming down her cheeks. She crawled up into my lap and cried. Then I looked behind me and saw two little girls from another class clinging to each other and sobbing, so I had them come over. There was no room on my lap, so they stood next to my chair, pressed up against my side. All three of them were quite upset.

The stiltwalker made one circuit of the multi-purpose room then sat down on an upright piano in the corner. The kids calmed down a bit, but would not take their eyes off him or sit back down in their seats. They relaxed a little after about ten minutes, and I had just gotten them sitting down when he stood up again. I saw the girl who'd been on my lap stiffen and reach out and clutch the side of the bench she sat on, so I put my hand on her shoulder. She turned around and dove for my lap.

You may be thinking "But this is a terrible story! Those kids were terrified!" And yes, they were. And I'd prefer that they hadn't been. But one of the things that I like about my job--the thing that keeps me going through the bad days--is those moments when I know I've had an impact on a kid. And in this case, I could make a scary situation a little less scary. It's different from having a student tell me that the book I suggested for them was perfect, but still hits the same spot.

**Nothing catastrophic happened today. I just had a class that refused to get it together, and turned what should have been a pretty awesome lesson into total crap.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge

So I've decided to participate in the 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge. I'm a little late, but I do have my reading journal which gives me a partial list of what I've read so far this year. (I'm not good at keeping up) I'm modifying the challenge a little bit--it includes all books from the library, including children's books. I check out on average 10 children's books from the public library a week for use with my classes; it doesn't seem sporting, so I won't include them. I will, however, include young adult books--but not books that I read from my own school library. And instead of doing 50 books, I'm shooting for 100. I get most of my books from the library these days, so it seems like it won't be a problem.

So, without further ado, the list so far:

1. Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
2. The War Within by Bob Woodward
3. The Hippopotamus Pool by Elizabeth Peters
4. Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris
5. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
6. A Bone to Pick by Charlaine Harris

7. Seeing a Large Cat by Elizabeth Peters
8. Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima by Stephen Walker
9. The Ape Who Guards the Balance by Elizabeth Peters
10. The Falcon at the Portal by Elizabeth Peters
11. Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich
12. Three Bedrooms, One Corpse by Charlaine Harris
13. From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
14. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
15. The Devils of Bakersfield by John Shannon

16. He Shall Thunder in the Sky by Elizabeth Peters
17. Lord of the Silent by Elizabeth Peters
18. The Golden King by Zahi Hawass
19. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

20. Affinity by Sarah Waters
21. Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar
22. Blue Bloods by Melissa De la Cruz
23. The Last Undercover by Bob Hamer
24. Don't Get Too Comfortable by David Rakoff

25. No Angel by Jay Dobyns

26. The Name of This Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
27. The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman
28. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

29. The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
30. The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
31. Spy Mice: The Black Paw by Heather Vogel Frederick
32. Children of the Storm by Elizabeth Peters
33. Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman
34. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
35. Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
36. Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke
37. The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets by Nancy Springer
38. Guardian of the Horizon by Elizabeth Peters

39. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

When geeks attack...

Man Robs Convenience Stores With Klingon Sword

What's especially awesome is that when I saw the headline on, I immediately thought, "Oh, a Batleth." It may be time to stop giving O. such a hard time about being a geek.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I don't know what the problem is, but this school year has been brutal. Every time we have a day off, I need another one even more badly. I feel like I never quite settled into the rhythm of the year, so I've been struggling from day one. I thought things were supposed to get better after your first year...

On a brighter note, my diploma arrived in the mail today. I officially have my Masters degree, which prompted the happy dance of joy. (Yes, I know that's redundant. The level of joy seemed to warrant it.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Hell has apparently frozen over...

...I have a two hour delay.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Things I love

The following things made my life better today:

The Magic Pants

My parents gave me these pajama pants for Christmas, and they are without a doubt the most comfortable pants I've ever worn in my life. I look forward to getting home just so I can put these pants on, and I fervently wish they were not so obviously pajama pants, because I would wear them everywhere.


I first discovered Lush on a trip to Toronto, back when their only store in the US was in California. Their bath bombs are awesome, and none so much as the Butterball. I can't even describe how soft my skin feels when I get out of the tub after using one of these. They're amazing.


Back when I worked at Ruby Tuesday, I had my bar. I could walk into Champions and the bartender would have my drink ready before I even sat down. There was always someone to talk to, and it was a very comfortable place for me to be. Things change, obviously. I don't work at Ruby Tuesday anymore, Champions has gotten progressively rougher, and I don't have a bar to call my own anymore. But I suspect that McGinty's could become mine. Good food, good drinks and good friends--a lovely night was had by all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gnudi. Yes, pronounced Nudie. Get your chuckles out now.

I am not known for my culinary prowess, so when I actually manage to cook--and make it taste good--I am usually very proud of myself. Sometimes I take pictures, like tonight.

During the inaugural speech, I was clicking around the Internet, because these days watching something on TV just isn't enough. I found my way to Big Red Kitchen, (I have no idea how. I don't even remember what I was searching for) and found Robin Sue's post about Gnudi. I followed that over to the Food Network. All of a sudden, I was inspired. Also, intimidated. I went into this with the assumption that it would be a godawful mess.

Instead, voila. Gnudi.

It is basically described as the inside of a ravioli, without the outside. O. and I agreed that it tasted very much like the filling of a spanakopita. Best of all, it was easy. Prep time was only about fifteen minutes, and the biggest problem I had was timing everything, which is an ongoing issue for me. The gnudi was finished before I'd even thought about boiling my pasta. As a time saver, I boiled the pasta in the same water as the gnudi, which worked out perfectly. This is definitely one I'll try again.

The finished product:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In case you were wondering...

No heat in the 5. Or 7, counting the weekend.

DCPS rocks!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Things that irritated the ever-loving crap out of me today

1. The schoolbus. It was not the bus itself that irritated me. Rather, it was certain inhabitants of said bus. The bus was pulling up as I was getting ready to leave my house this morning. No problem. The kids load, then the bus turns right and I turn left. It's a delay of about two minutes. Well, not this morning. This morning the bus loaded, then the driver waited for a kid who was running for it. As that kid boarded, another kid appeared over the crest of the hill, also running for it. As he boarded the bus, a girl appeared over the crest of the hill, casually strolling like she had not a care in the world. By the time Her Highness finally boarded the bus, I'd been waiting for about six minutes, and the line of cars behind the bus stretched all the way around the curve.

2. No heat in the library, day 2. I would imagine most people reading this would be in the DC metro area, but in case you're not familiar with our weather conditions, I offer the following math problem. DC + January = f@&!ing cold. I had preschoolers in there turning blue. By midway through the day, I was inventing reasons to go into the teachers lounge. There, the heat worked so well all the windows were open to make it bearable. (Your tax dollars at work, DC residents.)

3. No cable or internet at home, day 2. I am currently blogging via iPhone, which is not the most efficient method of writing lengthy messages. We came home yesterday and our front lawn looked like someone had driven heavy machinery through it. We suspect that this is because someone did indeed drive heavy machinery through it, and cut our cable wire while they were at it. Comcast is coming to look at the problem, which means it should be fixed sometime in early 2011. Meanwhile, the series finale of Stargate: Atlantis is airing right now, and I'm not watching it. Dammit.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

99 in 2009

I downsized this year. 109 in 2009 seemed very daunting, so I scaled back to 99. Which is still daunting, but less so. It's under 100, anyway. In a day or so, I'll post a 2008 roundup, but here's a preview: I did a whole lot of nothing last year. It ain't pretty, folks.

I have great hopes for this year, however. Bring it on. Happy New Year, everyone.

Health/Personal Care

1. Develop a workout regimen.
2. Develop a skincare regimen.
3. Get braces.
4. Learn to apply makeup.
5. Ride the Sligo Creek Trail.
6. Go kayaking.
7. Ride my bike at least once a week during the months of May-September.
8. Take my lunch at least four days a week.
9. Drink 48 oz. of water daily.
10. Limit Diet Coke intake to meals.
11. Play tennis at least once.
12. Do yoga often enough for it to have a cumulative effect.
13. Go skiing.
14. Get tested for hypoglycemia.
15. Personal
16. Floss daily.


17. Cut up all credit cards except one, which will only be used for work-related purposes that will be reimbursed immediately.
18. Save at least $250 per month.
19. Pay all credit cards on time.
20. Stick to a zero-based budget.
21. Pay cash as often as possible.
22. Consolidate IRAs.
23. Do my taxes before March 1.
24. Make $2,000 during the summer.
25. Write a will and a living will.
26. Get renters insurance.

Career/Professional Development

27. Get my certification in DC
28. Apply for certification in Virginia and Maryland.
29. Take one Spanish class.
30. Take one professional development class through WTU.
31. Read one professional development book per month.
32. Plan for the week by Saturday night.
33. Get involved in a professional organization.
34. Write two booktalks per week.
35. Do not leave for the day with unshelved books.


36. Hire an organizational consultant for the house.
37. Redecorate the bedroom.
38. Implement the FlyLady strategies and make a serious effort for at least a month.
39. Plant a garden and keep it tidy.
40. Rent a community garden plot and plant a vegetable garden.
41. Make sushi.
42. Make salsa.
43. Waste less food.


44. Visit Rochester.
45. Visit one state I’ve never visited before.
46. Take a road trip.
47. Visit the Thousand Islands.
48. Go camping.
49. Visit Chapel House at Colgate University.


50. Have friends over to visit at least once a month.
51. Plan a wine club meeting for at least ten months of the year.
52. Join WIN.
53. Join the Young Benefactors of the Smithsonian.
54. Send birthday cards.
55. Send Christmas cards.
56. Have all Christmas shopping finished by December 1st.
57. Personal
58. Read the entire Bible.
59. Attend church services from four different denominations.
60. Take lessons in a musical instrument.
61. Write a novel.


62. January - Use a reusable bag for all purchases.
63. February - Begin recycling at work.
64. March - Eat vegetarian three nights a week.
65. April - Take public transportation to work at least twice per week.
66. May - Plant vegetables.
67. June - Plant a tree.
68. July - Develop a strategy for recycling more.
69. August - Eat locally for one week.
70. September - Buy as much as possible from farmers markets.
71. October - Eliminate all single-serving food purchases.
72. November - Switch to environmentally friendly cleaning products.
73. December - Calculate my carbon footprint and develop a strategy for reducing it further

Culture and Local Attractions

74. Go to the top of the Washington Monument
75. Take a tour of the White House
76. Tour the Holocaust Museum
77. Visit Mount Vernon
78. Visit Harpers Ferry
79. Go to a movie at the AFI Silver Theatre
80. Take a duck tour
81. Attend an event at the Kennedy Center
82. Attend a formal gala
83. Go to a DC United game
84. Go to a Nationals game.
85. Got to a Capitals game.
86. Visit the Anacostia Community Museum.
87. Try a new restaurant (January)
88. Try a new restaurant (February)
89. Try a new restaurant (March)
90. Try a new restaurant (April)
91. Try a new restaurant (May)
92. Try a new restaurant (June)
93. Try a new restaurant (July)
94. Try a new restaurant (August)
95. Try a new restaurant (September)
96. Try a new restaurant (October)
97. Try a new restaurant (November)
98. Try a new restaurant (December)
99. Go stargazing.