Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry (belated) Christmas, everyone!

Yes, I'm a slacker. I have long since accepted this about myself, so it really should come as no surprise that it's taken me until 27 December to post my "Merry Christmas!" blog entry. Besides, we're still receiving (and mailing, but that's another story) packages filled with Christmas goodies, so I figure it's okay to prolong the merriment. Ho ho ho, dangit!

Our Christmas was filled with orange frosty rolls (a family tradition), stockings and presents piled so high you could barely see the Christmas trees. Yes, that's plural - we found the glowy, fiber-optic tree that Hubby and K#1 had in Houston oh-so-many years ago. We needed it for all of the ornaments we had, and we still ended up hanging some of them on the garland around the fireplace mantle and on the wall next to the big tree in the living room. Note to self for next year: find a way to pare down the ornaments, or discover a new and creative way to display them.

Pretty much everyone got what they wanted this year, even me - I got lots of fabulous yoga and pilates equipment for my morning workouts (and a promise from Hubby to get up and work out with me!), a gift card to Williams-Sonoma (which I'll spend on Monday, my CWS day), some books and a new TV to replace the one that has been slowly dying in my bedroom. Hooray for new technology!

I hope that everyone out there had a wonderful Christmas, though it appears that folks on Oahu had a bit of a bumpy holiday. What I think is funny is that the media only now finds this phenomenon a big deal since the President-Elect is staying in HI for the holidays. As anyone who has lived on Oahu in the last 5-10 years can tell you, power outages aren't exactly rare. I seem to recall scheduling time every third Sunday to be out of the house and doing something at the park or the beach since we knew that the power would go out at home. Oh, and the major outage after that earthquake - that was great fun. Ice cream for breakfast, being jealous of our neighbors for having the foresight to have a gas stove to cook bacon and eggs... Yeah, lots of fun.

Anyways: Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, or whatever else you celebrate - hope you had/have a great time!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Things I am thankful for this 27 November 2008: the world's greatest husband (who never complains when I have class or need to work late or travel); three adorable kids (who I love even when they make me crazy and leave Legos out for me to step on); extended family; amazing co-workers; my health, such as it is; the opportunity to attend grad school in Washington, DC; the batch of Joy the Baker's pumpkin pie bars that should be on their way back from Dayton at this very moment; fabulous friends all over the world; positive political change; crackling fires and hot chocolate; good books; Thanksgiving leftovers (which I won't get until Saturday!); one successful year in a job I love; tickets to GWU's Inaugural Ball; pancake breakfasts with my children every weekend; my newly discovered theme song; and the chance to keep on truckin' every day.

And here's a shout-out to Liz, who is thousands of miles from a homemade turkey feast (though at least she's in Germany, where the good beer floweth): I'm going to try and send a batch of these cookies your way. Not sure how, but I'll figure that out later. Hopefully Customs will let them through...

*Special thanks to Deb over at the Smitten Kitchen, whose recipes continually inspire me to try new things (and whose blog post gave me the inspiration for this entry)!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election status (10pm EST)

As of 10pm EST, Sen. Obama has a rather commanding lead over Sen. McCain in Electoral College votes (195-70 according to Politico). I find it interesting to compare the tallies between Politico, CNN and NBC. I don't even bother with Fox News since I know which way they're skewed.

I'm still keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be dancing in celebration of a Democratic win on 20 Jan...

;)

Voting

I took my 5-yr-old with me to cast my vote this morning! He didn't really understand; he said he had already voted (in his kindergarten class, where they voted for their favorite animal - he chose the "buffalo"), so he wasn't sure why Mom was going out to vote. He asked if he could vote with me, but they didn't have the "Kids Vote" at our polling place. There was an extremely nice and gracious older woman who offered to give her "I voted!" sticker to #2 - he was most pleased and did remember to say "thank you".

As for the lines, there was a really long line at the school where I voted - luckily, it was only for those voters with last names that started with L-R. There was absolutely NO line for any of the other letters, which suited me just fine. I didn't see any reporters or exit pollers at my polling place, but when I went to my daughter's school for a parent-teacher conference, there was a young woman there. She asked if I had just voted, and when I responded that I had voted earlier at another location, she blew me off. Honestly, as if I don't have anything important to say as a voter just because I live in a different precinct up the street! *end griping*

In any case, I feel terrific about getting out today to cast my vote. It truly is our civic duty to exercise our right to vote, and it kills me that so many people choose not to, particularly in this historic election. Here's hoping that my candidate of choice wins!

One last thing: I just bought tickets to GWU's Inaugural Ball (20 Jan @ 8pm). How freaking cool is that?!?!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wild week in Nashville

I flew in Friday afternoon from Nashville after a week at the 2008 GEOINT Symposium. It was a truly wild week - I had tons of fun, but I am sooooo exhausted!

I thought I'd post some pictures from the event for your enjoyment. You can view pictures from the three days it took to actually set-up the booth, as well as some photos of the booth and some of our exhibitors. I also took some random pictures throughout the week; as a quick background, Craig is one of my co-workers (we work in the same branch - Greg is our branch chief), and the other girls are either fellow co-workers from other branches or exhibitors invited to participate in the show.

I had such a blast at this show. It was extremely hard work (too bad there aren't any pictures of me climbing the truss!), but a terrific experience. I met some wonderful new friends and made great contacts that I hope will pan out for future opportunities. All in all, it was a great time - I hope I can do it all again next year!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Off to Nashville

I'm heading out to Nashville today to participate in the GEOINT 2008 conference. My agency has a massive booth, so even though the show doesn't start until Tuesday, I've got to be there early to help set-up. Should be an interesting time, though I don't particularly relish the drive up to Baltimore to catch my flight.

I'm a little worried about how Hubby and the kids will manage in my absence. Hubby never cooks, and will only grudgingly reheat leftovers if I'm not available. He's far more apt to hit the drive-thru at some artery-clogging fast food place. Bleh! I've tried my best to fill the fridge with leftovers, and I've given him instructions on how to prep some of the kids' favorite (and fast) dinners. He won't try to prepare flank steak, which is definitely a good thing. He might try my weeknight version of spaghetti (which is similar to my MIL's), or maybe tacos (which I make with shredded rotisserie chicken vs. ground beef). He's taking all of next week off to cope, so hopefully everything will be okay...

Hugs to all, and I'll blog when I get back!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Baking lesson learned

I tried making blueberry crumb bars last night. They turned out great, but I felt the need to add something. The crust on top wasn't enough - it needed a streusel topping.

So I whipped up a quick topping (flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter) and added it to the top of the mostly cooked bars.

Five minutes later, the topping wasn't crispy yet, and I was worried about over-baking my bars. So I changed to heat from 'bake' to 'broil', and set the timer for 3 minutes while I was folding laundry.

In hind sight, that was a really stupid idea.

Three minutes later, with my timer beeping at me, I emerged from the laundry room to a smoke-filled kitchen. I turned off the oven, scurried around the house opening windows, doors and calling Drew for help.

Did I mention that it was 9pm, 50-ish degrees outside and we were trying to get the kids in bed?

So my adventures in tinkering with a perfectly good recipe resulted in a freezing cold, smoke filled house. Lesson learned: Don't broil baked goods, even if you are trying to achieve a perfect crust without over-baking the rest of the item.

Monday, October 20, 2008

New iPod and other tidbits

I bought a new iPod yesterday. It's cute - one of those blue 8GB nano thingys. I guess it was some kind of defiant act of thumbing my nose at the world for having the last one stolen. Oh, and the fact that I'm flying to Nashville on Saturday for a show, and I hate flying without music (I need something to distract me from my hatred of flying). So while said new iPod is synchronizing and charging, I thought I'd post an update for everyone.

This weekend, I created a new family blog. I would like to add more pictures, but the battery in our digital camera has died and needs to be charged. I had to purchase a universal charger since we can't find the box with the original charger so.... yeah. I'm hoping to get it taken care of today so that I can drive around and take some pictures before all the leaves fall. The colors are just amazing!

We had our first frost last night, and let me tell you - it was dang cold this morning!! I had to go in search of all of our thick blankets last night, because it went down into the 20's. Brrrr!

iPod sync update: Finally done, and I still have 3.5GB left!

I'm off to buy new pants for Cameron, as he's grown more than an inch and all of his pants are too short for him now. Hugs to all!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Stolen iPod

At 3pm today, I went out to my car to retrieve the garage door opener so that Hubby could replace the battery for me.

Instead, I discovered that my 80GB video iPod had been stolen from my vehicle.

I'm angry, hurt and depressed. I know it's only an iPod, and I am incredibly grateful that they didn't invade my home and hurt my family. Still, it happened to have pictures of my family and information for some of my contacts on there (I'm always forgetting addresses when I mail packages, so I put the info on the iPod since I don't have a Blackberry or anything). I hate the idea that some low-life creep now has access to that information. I feel.... violated.

I was really enjoying my new home and our nice, quiet street. Now I'm scared and paranoid, and I won't go out to my car after dark anymore, even though it's just in the driveway.

I wish I could just curl up in my bed and cry.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Day out with Hubby

Hubby and I were able to get a babysitter today (due to my exquisite planning, of course), which allowed us to spend a child-free afternoon exploring the NOVA countryside. Well, we had planned to go into DC and visit the Library of Congress for the first time (I've been meaning to get my LOC card). However, after waiting 30min for the Orange line to arrive at Vienna, we decided to blow off our original plan and try something else. After all, this was our only chance for just the two of us to celebrate his 30th birthday next week (!!), so we didn't want to waste our time trying to transit into crowded DC.

Last night, we had briefly discussed going to Millwood, VA, because of an article that I found in the Washington Post this week. So, deciding to go with that idea, we swung by the gas station (where I was hit on by the clerk inside - weird!), filled up the tank, and off we went toward Fauquier County.

First of all, the changing colors of the fall foliage is GORGEOUS. Unfortunately, because we cannot find the charger for our digital camera, having moved three months ago and still surrounded by unpacked boxes, I do not have photos for you at this time. I'm sorry!!

OK - Back to our adventure.

We drove through Middleburg, which I swear is a New England version of Carmel, CA. I love Carmel, so I think Middleburg is great. More on that later.

We finally made it out to Milltown, after much oooohing and aaaahing at the scenery and the amazing houses on the way. We passed a few quaint towns, a horse show and a roadside stand at 50 and 15 where they were selling live Maine lobsters. Seriously!

Milltown is very small (there's no website!), and there was no parking in sight. Apparently, quite a few people had seen the article in the Post. In any case, there were a couple of antique shops (one was so crowded with overpriced junk I'm surprised that we were able to move), a pottery shop and the Locke Modern Country Store. Going to the store was well worth the trip!! The sandwiches that we had (Turkey BLT with dill havarti, avocado and scallion mayo) were fabulous, and the store was packed with some amazing local goodies. They happened to be hosting a wine tasting, which Hubby and I enjoyed immensely. We purchased three bottles from the vineyards that were providing the tasting:

Fabbioli Cellars, Loudoun County, VA
- Chambourcin 2007
- Raspberry Merlot (Red Table Wine)
Pollak Vineyards, Monticello, VA
- Meritage 2005

We also picked up a new Bordeaux to try: Chateau Suau, Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux, 2005

I really enjoyed the Chambourcin; it was a Bordeaux-like blend with a nice spice to it. And the Raspberry Merlot was great; considering that I generally detest dessert wines, I thought this was a terrific apertif that would be great to have for the holidays. As for the Meritage, Hubby and I both really enjoyed that as well.

Hubby and I followed up the fabulous tasting with a stop at the deli counter, where we ordered our sandwiches, then picked up a couple of teas, chips, cranberry dark chocolate and some apple cake. All told, between lunch and the wines, I was surprised that I only threw down about $100 for everything!

We sat at a picnic table near the mill. Sunshine, good food, good company - it was a perfect lunch!

On our way back home, we stopped through Middleburg. We peeked into a couple of shops, but didn't find anything we wanted to buy. Then we steered toward the Boxwood Tasting Room, where we had a great time. It was a little odd that some of the customers brought their dogs with them (there was one woman with a puppy strapped to her chest with a Baby Bjorn - seriously!), but it made for an interesting atmosphere. We each purchased a "Bordeaux Flight", where we tried 1oz glasses of different types of Bordeaux. Here's a link to Hubby's blog with the details of our tastings that he dutifully typed up in his crackberry. Anyway, we discovered some new wines that we loved, and some that we hope never to encounter again. Either way, we had a great time!

It was actually a really terrific day. Hubby said that he enjoyed himself, and I know that I had a great time. I hope we can do it again soon - we passed some B&B's on our drive, so maybe I can find someone willing to babysit overnight so we can stay at one of them...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Thoughts on politics

It's the day after the VP debate, and I need to throw out a few thoughts on politics that have been nagging me for the last several weeks.

1. When did "intellectual discourse" become a dirty word? (Ok, it's a phrase, but you get the picture.) Seriously - I wasn't alive before the 1970's, but as a student of American history, I have always been inspired by the educated and thoughtful (and grammatically correct) speeches of FDR, Eisenhower and Kennedy. Hell, I even liked Reagan's speeches. Unfortunately, it appears that well-reasoned and inspiring political discourse no longer appeals to the voters. Instead, some political "masterminds" seem to think that America is populated by uneducated dullards that find "folksy" and "cute" to be the only qualities necessary to lead one of the most powerful governments on the planet. I miss the days where politicians were allowed to exercise their intellect and use "big words" to explain their policies...

2. With that in mind, everyone MUST READ this book. It will inspire you to consider the true definition of patriotism, regardless of your party affiliation.

3. Sarah Palin makes me crazy. Of all the women in politics, why on God's green earth did McCain have to choose her as his running mate? I'm sure she's a wonderful person, but I have been horribly disappointed with her as a VP candidate. She is uninformed about major issues (ranging from foreign affairs to the economy to basic human rights), and I find her inability to answer the questions in last night's debate to be highly disturbing. I was mortified with her response to the question regarding VP responsibilities. Did anyone else notice that she's for expanding the duties of the Vice President?? Considering what Cheney has done to the office (let alone his inability to decide which branch of government he belongs to), I am terrified at the possibility of further disregard for the Constitution. I could go on, but I'll leave it at that.

4. I was a little disappointed with Biden for not digging into Palin for more specifics. Unfortunately, he did the best he could with the pressures he was under. He really was in a no-win situation with regard to facing off with Palin. If he had handled her with kid gloves, he would have been railed for sexism because he "didn't treat her like an equal". If he had fought back at her, he would have been railed for being combative. Poor guy was screwed either way. I think he handled it very well, though I wish he had called her out for not answering the questions (seriously - did she actually answer any of the questions other than the one about not believing in gay marriage?) and for resorting to a bunch of irritating punchlines that came off as horribly fake. Blergh.

That said, I have been very impressed with the class and integrity with which Obama and Biden have conducted themselves during this presidential campaign. I tend to agree with some of my friends in that McCain has come across as doddering, inconsistent and cranky. Palin has come across as fake, oblivious and inexperienced. Of course, none of the candidates are perfect. But I'll be honest: I'd much rather have a constitutional lawyer as president over someone who has made a career of running for President.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Wha.....?

McCain just called Iran an "existential threat to Israel".

What in the hell does that mean?!?!

Audience Reaction update: flat-lined at just above average for McCain - oh wait, just dipped about his stammering over the Middle East; generally flat-lined well above average for Obama

Points update: on the positive side for Obama, especially after his demonstration of understanding of ME politics (especially the tension between Iran and Iraq)

Wow, just saw McCain take some hits from the pundits/audience...

This is so much fun to watch!!

Watching the debate

Wow, I'm incredibly impressed with McCain - he managed to use every single tag line that he has in his (limited) arsenal, including his shout-out to his VP-nominee without answering the question! Way to go, John!

I'm pretty disappointed that McCain has not provided a single specified answer to any of the questions. Obama has done his fair share of question dodging for the sake of platform promotion, but at least he's provided some specifics. Sigh.

The numbers on CNN's "Analyst Scorecard" are really interesting. As of this moment (9:46EST), Obama's numbers are pretty damn high. Even the staunch conservatives at the analyst table are panning McCain...

BAM - Obama just served McCain for his lame attack re: the defense spending bill. It's starting to get ugly down in Ol' Miss...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

So it's almost my birthday...

... in about an hour. I'll be 29 this year.

Is it sad that my kids are more excited about my birthday than I am?

No, seriously - I really couldn't care less that it's my birthday. Even though it's my day off, I'll be spending it doing chores, editing a presentation and writing an 8-10 page paper. Oh yeah, and my daughter has field hockey at 7pm. So from my perspective, it's not much of a birthday. Then again, it isn't much different than past birthdays have been. At least it's better than last year, when I was in Hawaii with the boys and trying to finish checking out of the Navy, or the year before, when I worked late, had watch AND someone threw out my lunch when they spontaneously decided to clean out the office fridge.

Maybe that's why I'm feeling so apathetic about the whole thing. I hope next year is more interesting.

*sigh*

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

presentation ideas

I'm trying to come up with some ideas for a presentation I have to have ready in two weeks for one of my classes ("Cyber Threats to National Security"). Here's what I've got so far:

- classification of cyberspace as a battlefield for the purpose of drafting operational doctrine
- disparities between US and international cyber warfare policy (NATO, Estonia, etc.)
- foreign policy implications of classifying cyber attacks (on economic, government, commercial infrastructure, etc.) as an "act of war"
- foreign policy implications of pressing charges against foreign nations for cyber attacks (can we prove it? if so, how will that affect foreign relations? will it reveal too much about our capabilities/vulnerabilities?)

Hmmmm...

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Zombie Mom

I am SO tired. It doesn't help that my husband has come home from work after 9pm every day this week (last night it was around 1am when he finally returned). It also doesn't help that I'm determined to keep the kids on a regular schedule, which means getting them in bed around 8pm and having them wake up around 5am.

I am SO tired.

Today's plan is to clean, do laundry and run errands. Totally boring day, if you ask me. I need a boring day, but I doubt the kidlets will cooperate. I was hoping to go for a picnic today, except it's the weather that has it out for me at the moment. Le sigh.

OMG, I just moved to take a sip of my coffee and thought my arm was going to fall off. One of my co-workers is developing a workout routine for me (which I desperately need), but boy am I sore today. He had me doing modified crunches with the medicine ball, along with assisted dips/chin-ups and dumbbell presses.

Maybe that's another reason I'm SO tired... ;)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day off

Apparently, I bake on my days off.

No, seriously - I have been a baking fool today.

For whatever reason, I've been ridiculously inspired to bake today. I found a recipe last week for Mocha Rum Cake, and it is now cooling on my counter (and smells divine). More later on how it turns out (will add rum glaze eventually).

It occurred to me that I couldn't take the mocha rum cake to work. First of all, I don't have a convenient way to transport it, as it's almost a mile from the parking lot to my office. Second, if I make a baked item with rum in it (especially for the first time) and don't let my hubby have some, I may find some divorce papers on my desk. You can't take a slice out of a bundt cake and then try to take the rest to work - that just isn't kosher. So since I am out of options regarding the cake, I guess it's a good thing I went to Whole Foods today.

While I was at Whole Foods buying bread flour to make chocolate chip cookies (forgot the unsalted butter though, so I'm SOL there), I grabbed a 2lb container of some awesome looking blueberries. What do you do with a 2lb container of plump blueberries? Apparently, I make Blueberry Crumb Bars. There is currently a 9x13in pan of these babies in my oven, and boy, does my kitchen smell yummy.

Oh, and did I mention the 6.5lb Boston pork butt that's slow cookin' in my crock pot? Yay for pulled pork!!

It is a good day off. :D

Saturday, August 9, 2008

What happened to the national anthem???

What in the world happened to our national anthem at the Olympics tonight?

Well, I guess it's "this morning" out in Beijing, but it's still only 11pm here (EST). We stayed up late to watch Phelps win (go USA!) in the 400IM, and then made it a point to watch the medal ceremony. When we heard the opening notes of the "Star Spangled Banner", my husband and I both looked at each other - something didn't sound right. Then the opening refrain repeated (you could see the confusion on Mama Phelps' face - I looked the same way). And then the unthinkable: at "o'er the land of the-", the song STOPPED.

That's right, the "Star Spangled Banner" got cut off at an Olympics medal ceremony.

I am, to say the least, horribly shocked. I might also be a bit offended - I haven't decided yet. Points to Phelps and Lochte, as they both handled the situation with grace. Same goes for the Phelps family and Bush delegation.

Still, what happened??

I rewound the footage (thanks to my trusty DVR) back to the beginning of the song. Sounds like someone had two tracks playing at once, then decided on just one. But that still doesn't explain why the song cut off.

And am I being overly paranoid about the fact that the song just happened to cut off at "free"?

Things that make you go "hmmmmm....."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Life coach or life insurance?

Two pieces of mail arrived today: the county "Adult and Community Education" catalog for Fall '08 and a "letter" from New York Life Insurance.

So now the hubby and I are torn between two opportunities to spend our money.

Do we sign up for "Visions: Live Your Possibilities"? How about "Change Your Energy - Change Your Life"?

Or do we pour our money into additional life insurance? New York Life makes the following compelling argument in their letter:

"Make sure your family can pay-off the $xxx,xxx mortgage should you die..."

Decisions, decisions...

;)

Painting

Painting the dining room today. Not the whole thing - just the 3ft space below the chair rail. The area above the chair rail is beige (the label on the paint cans left in the garage by the previous owners says "antique white"), while the chair rails and other borders are just plain old white (probably "snowflake" or some other lame moniker).

The color I'm painting, you ask?

"Cranberry bog"

:D

Hubby picked it out from the 10 colors I offered (which were, admittedly, pretty similar). He likes it, and he dictated that the color was to be plum or maroon or something. If it makes him happy, I'm good with it.

Off to commune with a paint brush!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

GAI on Capitol Hill

I've been attending a course with the Government Affairs Institute this week; the course is "Congress and the Intelligence Community".

Thus far, I've had the opportunity to interact with some of my peers, which is always a good experience (not to mention enlightening - for all of us!). Our speakers have ranged from scholars focused on governmental affairs to lobbyists to House and Senate committee staffers. This morning, I sat in on a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing ("China on the Eve of the Olympics"). I was scheduled to visit the House and/or Senate floor, but ran out of time before I had to fetch the children.

I have been incredibly impressed with this course, especially the quality of the speakers. Well, I wasn't a fan of the lobbyist, but what can you do? ;) I was already familiar with many of the concepts/issues covered throughout the course due to my own studies, but I have learned a great deal about the appropriations process and how the two intel committees tend view each other (which is less than favorable most of the time). The final day of the course should prove equally rewarding.

Overall, I've had a really terrific time in this course. I wish that my classmates were a little more engaged with the speakers (except for the Army guy who won't shut up, the Niles Frasier look-a-like [though not as cute and with a much bigger head], and the CI guy who keeps turning the conversation back to himself), and I feel bad for the counsel from Senate Judiciary who got slammed legislative decisions that were totally not his fault. But generally speaking, everything else has been extremely informative, professional and relevant.

Even though I got rejected from Georgetown (boo! hiss!!), I think I might pursue the Legislative Studies Certificate that this class is part of. I definitely want to pursue a Capitol Hill Fellowship when I'm done with my M.A.

Am I over-reaching here? Maybe I need to take a vacation and cool my jets a bit... ;)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Curly hair = problem child?

K3 is about to get kicked out of day care - for the second time. He's pushing the other kids in his class. Mind you, he's almost 3-4 inches taller than the rest of his class (he's HUGE for his age - he's 2 and about as tall as my 4-yr-old). The teacher's don't like him because he continues to defy authority. Heh, wonder where he got that from? ;)

Unfortunately, we're seeing a pattern here. We had the same problem with K1 when she was younger; turns out she has ADHD with Oppositional Defiant Disorder. We have a hard enough time dealing with her, though the summer is blessedly easy (no homework to fight over every night). I can't imagine how we're going to cope if we have the same problems with K3... Though he's showing the same defiance, he's demonstrating it about 2 years earlier than K1. He also has no problem sitting down with the class to listen to a story, or to eat his meal (especially when he's hungry, which is pretty much all the time). He doesn't demonstrate of the hyperactive, impulse control problems K1 had/has - just the problem with authority.

Hubby posed an interesting question: Does the fact that they both have curly hair have anything to do with their behavior? K2 has straight dirty blonde hair; K1 and K3 both have curly brownish-blonde hair. I was hoping we weren't the first people to come to this conclusion, so I did a little digging online. No dice.

My new hypothesis is as follows: Curly-haired children have more behavior problems than straight-haired children.

Prove me wrong, world! I dare ya!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Need plants to block view

Note to self:

We need a fence, but it can't extend in front of the neighbor's house (which is difficult, since it's situated almost entirely behind our house, since we live on the corner of a cul-de-sac). The HOA says we can put up the fence, but it can't be viewed from the street. So, I've done some research and come up with some plant options:

Old-fashioned Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Eastern white cedar (arborvitae)

I need a plant/shrub/tree that grows quickly, can handle partial sun (mostly shade, frankly) and will probably grow when I forget to water/fertilize/prune it.

Any suggestions?

Recipe success!

Pulled pork turned out AWESOME - I'm so proud of myself!!! :D

Here is the recipe I pilfered for last night's dinner. My family isn't fond of onions (bleh!), so I added onion powder to the sauce instead of layering onions underneath the pork shoulder. I forgot to add the water to the sauce mixture before I poured it (half as the recipe suggests) into my crock pot, so I added all of the water into the pot without thinking - oops! Luckily it wasn't a disaster - in fact, the pork was incredibly juicy.

As for the sauce: I didn't want the pork to be overpowered by the sauce, so I only added a little to each sandwich. Turned out that the sauce was so good that everyone asked for extra - didn't overpower the pork at all! Mind you, this was the half of the sauce that I didn't use in the crock pot, so it was lacking the water I dumped into the pot at the last minute. I think I prefer it that way, because it was deliciously tangy and thick. I also didn't have any tomato paste (which I properly scolded myself for not having, because it's a kitchen necessity!), so I used a little extra ketchup in the sauce. I don't care about my flubs - I think it made the sauce (and the pork) turn out fantastic!

Hubby and I just had pulled pork sandwiches for lunch, and they were even better today. I think it's just one of those foods that gets better after a day one or two. YUM!!

:D

Saturday, July 12, 2008

5 minutes of peace....

Hubby, K1 and K2 are out at a movie...

... that started at 2pm.

It is now 6pm, and my blood sugar is crashing. Must eat soon. Food in crock pot (pulled pork - 1st attempt) is ready to go, just can't eat it without rest of family. K3 is happily watching "Hercules" (Disney movie) in the family room, and I'm standing in the kitchen staring at the chaos that is my counter.

I have absolutely no motivation to do anything. Bleh.

Maybe I'd feel differently if I had even the tiniest inkling where the rest of my clan was, but as Hubby left his cell phone here (which is clearly doing him a world of good).... Yeah.

So instead, I'll catch you up on the latest happenings:

- moved into new house, which is still in a painful state of chaos. I'm lucky to get one box unpacked a week at this point.
- Hubby's relatives stopped by last week with tools and a chainsaw (swEET!). Had fun "pruning" the trees in the backyard. Up-side: yard doesn't feel claustrophobic and how have pile of firewood for winter. Down-side: huge pile of broken twigs to bundle for pick-up is sitting in back of yard.
- quiet week at work. Managed to score job shadowing with Congressional starting in Sept when things ramp up after summer break.
- scheduled to attend class on Capitol Hill in two weeks (cool!).
- hung 12 pictures today! Go me!
- trying to make pulled pork for the first time. Been craving it for weeks. Wish me luck!

That's.... about it. I'm ridiculously boring, I know. I don't even have any funny stories to share.

Blergh.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Put a fork in me....

... I'm done!!

What am I done with:

- children who refuse to watch any movie other than "Sleeping Beauty" and "Shrek"
- bosses who take more time off in a month than I do in a year
- bills
- laundry
- cooking dinner for an unappreciative brood
and
- neighbors who prefer to park in front of your house rather than their own (and let their yappy little ankle-biters roam the street without leashes and poop in your yard)

I can't explain why I'm in such a funk. Honestly, I really don't have that much to complain about. I've just bought an awesome house (even though the husband has already managed to chip my granite counter top), and I've got NOTHING to do at work at the moment. I've even managed to score a 2 week job shadowing with our congressional team. All in all, things are going fairly well. So why am I in such a funk?


I'm going to blame my mood on hormones. That's what the husband does, and it seems to work for him.

:P

Friday, June 6, 2008

Where did May go?

So I just realized that May completely passed me by without a single post.

Wow.


Where the hell was I?!?!
.
.
.
.
So anyways, we're about to buy a house. The day is nearly upon us - 16 June is the day I sign my life over for a ridiculous sum of money to purchase the home that (hopefully) my children will grow up in.

Considering I've already been through this "signing your life over" thing once (thx, USN), I figure this won't be as terrifying as everyone keeps telling me it will be.

Just in case, however, I will be baking cookies this weekend to help me cope. I figure I can justify 2-3 cookies per box that I pack. Now I just need to decide: chocolate chip or snickerdoodles??

:D

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Noisemakers

Hubby just came up with a brilliant marketing and counter-insurgency idea. Ever heard of the Annoy-a-tron on ThinkGeek? We've got a new tool that has this sucker beat.

Do you have coworkers that make you crazy?

Are those pesky insurgents holing up in your village and need to be exterminated?

Is your mother-in-law or that good-for-nothing ex-significant other constantly dropping by unannounced?

Well, your troubles are over. Just purchase your very own noisemaker! Cloned from day care-tested toddlers, these tiny wonders are sure to clear a room in record time. Simply provide these amazing feats of nature with some sugar, stand back and enjoy the show!

As an added bonus, these noisemakers also come with a variety of smells and bodily functions for you to choose from in case you have a particularly nasty visitor. These features also prove effective when combined with other interrogation techniques, ranging from sleep deprivation to Chinese water torture.

Call now to order your very own noisemaker! Act now - supplies are limited!

Disclaimer: Cloned children must be fed and cleaned daily. Failure to do so will result in mass hysteria, destruction of property and possible incarceration.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Best $12.12 ever spent?

As it's raining, the kids can't go outside. However, I did need to swing by the bank to deposit one of our tax refunds (wheee!), and there just happened to be a McD's next door. As I am a mother who does not let an opportunity for quiet, happy children pass by easily, I pulled through the drive-thru for some instant sanity.

30 minutes and $12.12 later, my three wild children are now bounding around the living room with identical "Idol" musical toys.

Remind me to implicate Simon Cowell as a Leatherman-carrying maniac the next time I'm behind him in the airport security line.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Catching up

I offer the following excuses for why I have neglected to update in recent weeks:

1. Got accepted to GWU and *squeeee!!!*'d my way through life for several days. I'm still recovering.
2. Lost attempted bid on a house (someone else threw down as we were signing the bid paperwork).
3. Went to St. Louis for several days during massive flooding. Reconfirmed my theory that people who drive into areas marked "Do not enter when flooded" are continuing to reproduce at record rates and must be stopped through innovative sterilization program. Still working out the kinks in my plan.
4. Put in for a new job (which would mean a promotion).
5. Consoled buddy who didn't get job he applied for when office politics took over and the least qualified person got the job.
6. Worked two conferences with long hours, including a last-minute show up in Baltimore on a Saturday. Blergh.
7. Put in bid on another house.
8. Countered the counter bid (same price, earlier close date requested by sellers).
9. Worked another conference that was a total waste of time. Confirmed belief that conferences are merely an excuse for slackers to scam out of work for free swag.
10. Found out that aforementioned counter bid was accepted. We will soon own a house worth half a million dollars. *faints*
11. Interviewed for aforementioned job that I applied for. Hauled arse home to fetch children after hubby left for FL.
12. Took Friday off to attend open house at GWU. Missed out on free cocktail reception to fetch children while hubby is in FL.
13. Still wondering how it's fair that hubby gets to party at Walt Disney World for 6 days while I get to wrangle three children, work full-time and plan for next St. Louis trip.

So.... yeah. Those are my excuses. Take 'em or leave 'em.

Must go deal with whining/crying/hungry children. Hope no one else is having as many problems with their brood as I seem to be having today.

Blergh.




Sunday, March 16, 2008

Final Score: 1-1

Ok, so I didn't get accepted to Georgetown. Honestly, it was a long shot - my GRE scores were abysmal at best, so I really wasn't holding out much hope of competing against thousands of applicants. Hey, at least I can say I tried, right?

The good news is that I did get accepted at GWU, which really does have a great program. I've been looking over the course offerings (many of which I knew I wanted before I even applied), and I feel good about the coursework opportunities. I sent back my "Declaration of Intent" yesterday, along with the $500 deposit (OUCH!). Guess that clinches it.

Eeeeek!

I can't quite wrap my brain around the fact that I'm going to grad school. It really is very exciting. I suppose it will sink in sometime next week while I'm in St. Louis on TDY.

Eeeeek!!

In other news, house hunting is not going well. I'm frustrated at the current house prices and the lack of offerings. My Realtor says that we're entering prime house shopping season, so we should see the available inventory grow exponentially soon. (Come on, be impressed I can use the word "exponentially"!) As soon as the weather started warming up a bit this past week, we saw no less than 5 "For Sale" signs pop up on our street. Here's hoping that more people put their places up for sale in the neighborhood we like!

How are you today? ;)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

1-0-1

After many days and hours of shaking fists in frustration at the unyielding mailbox, the following arrived in today's mail:

"Dear ___:

Congratulations on your admission to the Master of Arts program in Security Policy Studies, effective fall semester, 2008, at The George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs."

**SQUEEE!**

No funding, but that's ok - my GI Bill will help cover my costs. I finally discovered something good about serving in the Navy. ;)

So - one down, one to go. Wish me luck!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Blergh to the mailbox

Still nothing.

Nada.

没有。

Toooooootally empty.



ARGH!

Friday, March 7, 2008

I am not a patient woman.

I somehow managed to last 7 hours in labor before asking for an epidural.

I waited until our daughter was three before finally getting a proposal from the hubby.

I even lasted 8 YEARS in the Navy before returning to the real world.

So why is it that I can't wait 2 measly months between submitting my graduate school applications and receiving decision letters?

:|

It's Friday and I still haven't heard anything about my apps. I've had a very busy week at work, during which many props were received for doing good things. I also applied for a promotion at work (it would be a new job in a different office, hence the need to "apply"). I even booked my hotel and plane tickets for the TDY that (sort of) starts next week. I feel rather proud of myself for being so productive.

So why is it that I'm so wigged out about not receiving letters?

ARGH!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

And thus it begins...

Someone (not me) got their rejection letter for the SPS program at GWU this week. That means that the letters have been released...


Why do I hear "Jaws" music in the background?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mailbox anxiety

Every day (except Sunday, so at least I get a break), I walk to the mailbox with a combination of dread and excitement.

Will it arrive today?

Will it be an acceptance letter? (Yay!!)

Will it be a rejection letter? (Ok, don't cry in public...)
.
.
.
.

As of today, my mailbox remains, as always, full of junk mail, bills and letters from family. It remains empty of the two items I so anxiously await.

Blergh.


In other news, we might buy a house.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Is no news really good news?

My mailbox continues to refuse to spit out any notifications from Georgetown or George Washington. I am greatly annoyed at it's insolence.

At least I can generally take comfort in the knowledge that no one else appears to have heard anything either. Ok, I take that back - lots of people have received the dreaded "letter", but no one with my academic focus. At least, as far as I know.

*squirms nervously*

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Date Night Review

Hubby and I went out to dinner in DC last night.

We had planned on taking the Metro, but that fell through when we discovered (online, thankfully) that Metro Center was experiencing serious delays for maintenance. Blergh. Good thing it's only $10 to park at the Ronald Reagan Building on the weekends.

The restaurant wasn't bad, but frankly, it was overpriced. The server was nice enough, but you could tell that he wasn't terribly interested in us (we weren't dressed to the nines like some of the clientèle). Hubby's lamb loin was pretty yummy, but my risotto was somehow over- and under-cooked at the same time. Don't ask how that happened, because I don't seem to have that problem with my risotto. In any case, dessert was the highlight of the meal - I had a "modernized" tiramisu that was fabulous! I enjoyed my toscana, but hubby was less impressed with his chianti. As we were leaving, we had to make our way through a packed bar populated with a bunch of sorority/fraternity alumni that clearly needed to learn that choosing fashion over survival (it was 20-something degrees outside!) is simply not attractive. Watching two scantily clad blondes try to defrost by the bathrooms was mildly entertaining.

Following dinner, we went for a walk outside. We were only a couple of blocks from the Mall, and I had hoped to see the various monuments romantically lit up. Unfortunately, poor hubby is still recovering from the flu and it was just too dang cold outside to do much walking. We ended up getting in the car and attempting to find a parking spot close to the Lincoln Memorial.

What a total bust that was.

Washington Monument parking? Bust.

WWII Memorial parking? Bust.

Jefferson Memorial parking? Nice view across the water, but too dang far to walk. Bust.

We did get good (probably illegal) parking outside the US Capitol, but the digital camera kept trying to focus on the closest source of light (nearby lamp post). So decent pictures? Yeah, that was a bust too.

The monuments were beautiful, and I'm really sorry that we couldn't see them up close. My hoped-for night of romantic walks in the moonlight didn't turn out as planned.

Sigh.

On the upside, we came home to discover two out of three children asleep on the couch. The babysitter, hubby's cousin, got handsomely rewarded for that amazing feat.

Maybe I'll get a chance to try this again next month when it's a bit warmer. However, notes for next time:

- don't waste time at "highly reviewed" but completely overrated restaurants - we're hittin' the pubs
- wait until the Metro isn't experiencing delays so we don't have to drive (but thank heavens for GPS!)
- screw dressing up, I'm wearing jeans and sneakers
- think about buying cheap disposable camera that won't try to auto-focus

Sigh.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Waiting for graduate school rejection letters = stress

I know it's only 21 Feb, and technically notifications aren't sent out until mid-March, but I'm starting to feel like I'm in a constant state of anxiety about my graduate school applications. Why? Here are a few reasons:

1. My GRE scores were atrocious.
2. I still worry about my personal statement.
3. Reading about other people and their qualifications makes me feel horribly inadequate.

I haven't heard anything yet, but neither have many of the other folks I've chatted with on various forums. I don't feel so alone, but I'm still neurotic about the whole blasted thing. I think I'd feel better if I just got the rejections in the mail and it was over with. This waiting is horrible - it's like being pregnant and waiting to go into labor. You know this painful, miserable thing is going to happen, and you can't wait for it to be over. Still, there's that bit of hope that it will all go smoothly and the 40-billion complications that might pop up never will materialize.

So just tell me already! Quit messing with my head!

*shakes fist at The Man*

However, looking at the list of things "to do" from my last post makes me feel ever so slightly better about myself. I've actually accomplished most of them.

Go me!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Coffee is a beautiful thing.

Things I've accomplished recently:

1. Submitted applications to Georgetown and George Washington University.
2. Finally hung up pictures and degrees.

Things I still need to accomplish:

1. Consolidate cookie orders and figure out how many cases to order for booth sales.
2. Organize personal files.
3. Do laundry. Lots of it.
4. Gather and drop off dry cleaning.
5. Send thank you notes to people for writing reference letters.
6. Make Costco run to order glasses and pick up food/supplies.
7. File taxes. (Joy.)
8. Get Christmas stuff back in the garage.
9. Clean out garage and put up shelves so we can put everything else away.

Looking at these lists depresses me. Guess I should get started on that stuff rather than wasting my time here.

HA!