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 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"


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!!


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.


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
- 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.