primal scream

so we've been looking for a new house. casually, but still looking.

for over a year, now.

And there ain't nothing for us. Nothing in a neighborhood that we like , that is also a price we're willing to pay. (Caveat: we know that we're not going to get everything we want out of a house, but we're not willing to pay gajillions of dollars for an out-of-date rancher or split-level in a so-so part of town. We'd pay less than a gajillion for that. Period. And we're not looking for a gift. Well, maybe I have dreamt about someone willing us their mansion or winning the lottery, but that's a different post.)

Just spent another hour surfing the online listings, looking for open houses that are even remotely interesting.


If only I could move my i-love-my-job job to somewhere less expensive! But then, if I could, there probably wouldn't be enough demand to justify my job.


Drowning my stupid sorrow in diet pepsi and magazines.

Edit: Went into DC to look at a sleek townhouse...in a rough part of town. I am officially on hiatus from house-hunting. Stick a fork in me - I'm done.



a glass of white wine. [or two... and a splash]

good, good chocolate.

bad, bad t.v. [smallville anyone? oh, that young clark kent could be my pool boy any day.]

happy, happy girl.

wait....g spot?

No, it's not a porno or a sexual self-help book.

It's a quiz! Not graded! Open book! In fact, you're guaranteed to not fail!

Here 'tis.

And here's a picture of the site's mascot, appropriately named "Spot."
Cute little bugger, isn't he?

Anyway, it's a way of ranking your preferences and seeing where you fit best. Do you prefer being in a small town or a city? Do you love the plains, or does big sky make you agoraphobic? Do you lean towards the left or the right? Do you dig snow, or hate to shovel snow? The choice is yours!

It is a fabulous daydreaming aid. I'll enter my preferences for climate, terrain, and population level, tell you how much I'm willing to pay for cool digs, and good ol' Spot up there spits out a bunch of cities for me explore! With only a tiny amount of slobber - a small price to pay!

Granted, some of the picks may seem waaaaay off. They probably are. But hey! Spot can't even read! Cut him some freakin' slack!

My results have expired, so I'm going to take it again. You take it, too, and tell me what your top 3 places were. And the one spot that made you say "What? Really? Bad dog. Baaaaad dog!" Post it in the comments, or email it to me and I'll post it.

See you in...aw, man...Carlisle PA. BAD DOG.

EDIT: OK, here are my top spots:
1. Portland OR
2. Boston MA
3. Baltimore MD
4. Hartford CT
5. Providence RI
6. Seattle WA
7. New Haven CT
8. Norfolk VA
9. Long Island NY
10. Chesapeake VA
11. Honolulu HI
12.Carlisle [BAD DOG!}
13.Worchester, MA
14. Charlotte NC
15. Baton Rouge LA
16. Little Rock AR
17. Cape Cod MA
18. Eugene OR
19. Washington DC
20. San Francisco CA
21. Las Vegas NV
22. Charleston SC
23. Jacksonville FL
24. New York NY


the three best things about teaching...

...June, July, and August.

Alas, I no longer have 3 months of vegging [and, let's be honest, OC behavior...I need structure. And anyway, the re-entry almost killed me every year.] at my disposal. In fact, those three months are now my busiest, and most fun. We call it whack-a-mole - being free enough to deal with problems as they arise, rather than being bogged down in admin work and tied to a desk. I'm at the point where I'm not quite done with the background work, but I really, really, wish that I was! I know..."Patience, grasshopper.."

I would be remiss if I didn't let y'all know what's on the docket at work over the next few months... you can check out the big picture here, and check out my little corner of the world here. Hopefully I'll see some of you on the lawn!


Was up at the butt-crack of dawn - thanks, kitty - and am now ready for a mid-morning nap.
On today's to-do list:
  • wait for contractor to measure for shower doors
  • hope that the damn shower door I already bought will fit
  • finish translating/formating dialogue for one of the shows' supertitles
  • exercise (the easiest item to omit, sadly. must actually do this rather than just meaning to.)
  • muck out the car...'tis disgusting
OK - I'm up, organized, and ready to go!

...back to bed...


that time of year...

Sunday was a perfect day to walk...the sun was out, the trees are starting to bloom...gorgeous!

This is Rockwood Manor, a park near my house. Pretty, huh?

This is the chute - one of the small overlooks on the Potomac near Olmstead Island. The water was running so fast that I was dizzy.

And this is the C&O canal just south of the falls. Blue water, blue skies, and the trees and red with buds.

I think Spring has officially sprung!


Flat Stanley!

Spring is in the air, and nothing signals the return of warm weather and longer days like the return of Flat Stanley! A year or two ago, my nephew T sent Stanley to us to spend Spring Break in the Nation's Capital. On a Sunday morning (are you sensing a theme? I LOVE Sunday mornings.) I took Stanley down to the Tidal Basin...we took pictures with Lincoln and FDR, went to the Jefferson Memorial and looked out over the Potomac River into Virginia. It was a lovely morning, and was pretty fun for both of us! My niece P is reading the book in school, so Stanley is en route to us again. But I'm wondering what my homey Stan and I are going to do this spring... we could go here...
but I think he probably gets enough nature out in western PA... Maybe I'll take him here or here... it's certainly easy enough! But is it cool enough?


old ball and chain

Two of my favorite people in the world are celebrating their ten year anniversary this evening!


K was my housemate freshman year...she took me in so I didn't have to live with The Exhibitionist and her skivvy boyfriend. We spent waaaaay too much time at a certain fraternity house first semester where - say it ain't so - they'd give us FREE BEER just for being GIRLS. As in the NOT GUYS kind of GIRLS. And, after getting shitty, we'd sing depressing duets all over campus. For fun.

And it was! Fun!

And she met T, who was not as into the singing depressing music all over campus in the middle of the night (although does a mean "Age of Aquarius"), but was a wonderful, sweet, totally-left-of-center kind of guy. (Left-of-center as in gets-the-singing-but-isn't-drunk-enough-to-play-along. )

They are fabulous individuals, and being able to spend time with both of them AT THE SAME TIME is like winning the lottery.

You wish you had friends this cool.

So, because I'm lame and in a different state than K and T, here's my toast: To all the lessons learned, all the new experiences that lie ahead, and, most importantly, to facing them together. Thanks for being great teachers, great role models, and mostly, great friends.

I love you guys. Here's to ten more! (and ten after that, and after that, and after that...)


happy hour

when i was teaching, happy hour started at 3:30pm. 'twas a beautiful thing...beers and darts and pub food until 7:30, and then it was time to head home, a good buzz going and the stress of the week over. Fall asleep by 9:00 in front of the tube. (unintentionally.) wake up early the next morning, refreshed and excited about the weekend.

i'm raising a pint to you [or, rather, a glass of pinot grigio....i'm a old woman now.] and toasting your excellent weekend. have fun!



Spent the better part of today running errands...trying to find someone brave enough to fix our little, unintentional water feature...rescheduling a piano tuning...buying a suit for the press club announcement of the summer season...visiting the allergist... going to the gym. It turns out that:

  • Our tiny little leak will take 3 people to fix: the plumber to fix the pipes, the Lowes installers to put in the new shower doors, and the contractor to close up the hole in the ceiling. One more and we'll have a flippin' barbershop quartet...
  • Piano tuner coming in April. no hurry, as it's really been 3 or 4 years and two moves since the last tuning. I'm in noooooo hurry.
  • Bought 2 "suits" - will probably keep the pants, but I'm not so sure about the jackets. Let's be honest: I'm just not really a suit-kinda-gal. I like the thought of them, but I'm always a little tenser - and sweatier - when I have one on.
  • Allergist, a shy, rumpled, very attractive man. And I feel totally safe in saying that he's HOT, because I have no allergies and will never see him again. Oh, the irony...
  • Went to the gym and remembered why I don't go to the gym at 5:00 after work. I had to FIGHT for a cardio machine, and Creepy Guy [ you know him, he's overly interested in your workout and never, never, wipes down the machine after he uses it. Disgusting.] and his evil twin took the machines on either side of me. I ellipticalled (is that a word?) until I was a one-woman oompah-band, with the bouncing of my flabby ass providing the syncopation to the right-left drum beat of my feet. Do I get extra points for hating it the whole time I was there and still sticking it out?
C'est tout. Do you hear that? It's a glass of pinot grigio and Seinfeld reruns calling my name...


pilates, part three

still flabby...

...yet still too sore to get out of bed in the morning...

this movie sucks.

the first and second episodes were way better.

i want some popcorn.



I have probably said more than once that I married into a great family. Not that my own family isn't great - heck, they understand why windows are preferable to a/c, why cheesecake is God's way of telling you that you are loved, and why people who don't have pets (plural) don't quite get it. {mom, I'm working on that last point.}

But I have to say that I have totally lucked into a great, wonderful, fun clan on my hubby's side. Firstly, my in-laws are awesome. And I know that people only say that when they think their in-laws are reading their blog, but mine have limited access to the internet and I STILL THINK THEY'RE AWESOME. How's that for an endorsement?

Secondly, my hubby has a great group of cousins. They like each other, they hang out. One of the first family events that I accompanied Hubby to was Cousins Weekend. One Cousin, Big D, has a house on this beautiful lake, and opens it up to his wife's crazy Slovak family (of which I am now a part!) and their spouses. And they gave each other shit all weekend, and we ate and drank and swam and boated, and had a generally great time. They accepted me with open arms, with no reservations, and for that I will always be grateful.

So Saturday evening we met several cousins for dinner at this restaurant [great food, by the way...a lot like this restaurant, but in a different part of town] to celebrate little M, recently adopted by Cousins T and MJ. Cousin T [CT] helped us house-hunt when we first moved to the area, took us under his wing, and has been invaluable. And, to boot, he's a super nice guy. And MJ? Beautiful, wicked smaart, and sweet as posies. A great couple destined to be fabulous parents. I'm just bummed that between them and Cousins C and T [equally fabulous - wonderful people, successful, and moreover so warm and fun], the bar has been set WAY TOO HIGH. I may have to stick to raising cats, moss and bathroom mold rather than children. Ever.


Sunday evening

I spent the early part of 2007 on a diet. It was good - I dig structure, and because I wasn't "allowed" to eat every single bite of every foodstuff that I laid eyes on, it actually worked. But then I started slacking off, started not writing down what I was eating, rounding down portion sizes when I did write them down.


[And it's like cheating at solitaire. Worthless. If you're going to cheat, it should help you to win, not to lose. Wait...that didn't come out quite right.]

So I took last week off. Chinese food for lunch? Bring it - and make it crispy-fried. Scones for breakfast? I shouldn't but, well, why the hell not? Chocolate? Yes please. All of it. I know you're holding back some....PUT IT ON THE TABLE AND BACK AWAY.

To kick off this week's re-start I have totally stuffed my piehole with pasta, wine and chocolate. To the point where, I must admit, I'm feeling more than a little ill.

So here's to diet version 2.0. If I succeed, I think that I will have to add these to my little stable. Hello, lover....

Black Pants

Every girl needs a good pair of black pants. Late to work? No problem - black pants and a sweater set. Night out? Sexy camisole and black pants. Working backstage? Add a black shirt to the aforementioned pants. Good at any time of year - no one says you can't wear black after Memorial Day, right?

It is with sadness that I announce the demise of my favorite pair of black pants.

A former roomie and friend bought this particular pair of pants for me many years ago. [in 2000 maybe? 2001?] At the time I couldn't find anything I liked in the pants realm. A teacher and scientist with a different body type [not so Crisco - fat in the can], she must've tried on as many pairs as I would've. They were from the Express on Walnut Street in Pittsburgh, just a few blocks from our cutie apartment, and I have worn them faithfully for years. They've been to bars and concert halls, moved furniture, brunched with in-laws. They've been indispensable.

But tearfully, I have to retire them. I've ripped and resewn both hems, replaced the hook, but finally there is a crotch tear that I can't fix. Or be seen in. ;)

And so I have to not only say goodbye to these faithful friends, but I also have to start a search for my new BFF black pants. A totally daunting task.

Many, many thanks to KLM for the wonderful, wonderful gift.


Lucky? Fuck, yeah.

So whenever my cat gets all uppity and shit, I think I'll just show him this picture and tell him that his life could be SO MUCH HARDER. Pony up, beeyatch.

[photo courtesty of Mom. Paddy O'Malley is belly-up. Gracie - all 112 pounds of her - is the other one.]

By the way, have you checked out Eddie Izzard on YouTube? If not, you totally should.

Especially since he's playing a con man on The Riches on some tv station, and while i hope that works out for him, I'll be sad to see him so bereft of eyeliner.


the calendar says friday...

...but the universe says Monday.

Weather? Craptastic. Rainy, cold, turning to sleet and snow. Lovely.

Work? Bouncing back and forth between intern interviews [fun] and payroll spreadsheets [not fun]. Colleagues ordered in Chinese food, which totally saved my life. Nothing wrong with me that a little bit of lo mein can't fix.
AND left work early, which would normally be good except that everyone else in DC, suburban Virginia AND suburban Maryland was also trying to get onto the beltway to get home early due to the craptastic weather. And because I left work early in order to take el gato to el vet.

The Vet? The cat got into the carrier with no problem "Hey, what's this? I think I remember this...this is my box! I love this box! But wait - why are you closing the door? What's going on? Oh God, NOW I remember!!!! AAAAUUUGGGHHH!!!" Which, in cat-ese, translates to Meow miaow, meeeeeOOOOOOW. For the whole ride to the vet. And the whole ride home. No guilt here, noooo sirreee...

I'm so happy to be home. Watching Scrubs, with a glass of wine and a half of a dark chocolate bar. Whew! Hope you're all enjoying your Friday night!


Signs of spring

When I woke up this morning, it was a balmy, blissful 65 degrees...and it went up to 70 degrees by lunch.

So a coworker and I took our lunch break, but skipped lunch in favor of some personal grooming...

It's a combination of luck-of-the-Irish green [in honor of St. Patrick's Day, because we all know that I'm a good Irish girl at heart!] and that crazy blue color that looks like the sea off the Florida Keys, or like that blue liquor that I drank way too much of the summer between freshman and sophmore years of college. Ugh...I get a headache just thinking about it.

When we left the salon, however, the wind had kicked up. When I left work this afternoon? Raining and in the 40's.

How unfair was that? To deny the world the beauty of my crazy tropical toes?!?



meditation sucks...

...because before you can get to the enlightened state you have to work through all of the icky, hard-to-wrap-your-mind-around stuff. I've actually never made it to the enlightened place... I've only made it to the really pissed off and frustrated place. Exercise, humming, none of it works. Sometimes a glass of wine or five works, but I don't usually remember the questions or the answers the next morning.

But here I am, trying to take stock of some big questions, and to separate out what I want from what I don't. As well as what I have control over from what I don't, which is really probably the bigger issue.

I can't control that hubby is unhappy with his job. And I can't really help with his process, other than being supportive and praying that the solution lets us stay in this town. But he's unhappy, and when daddy's unhappy, ain't nobody happy!

I'll add that to the karma pile, and try to do enough good stuff for others that it'll turn itself around and he'll find something fun and challenging. (Thanks for the tip, Earl.)

And, I'm sure like every childless woman whose friends are all pregnant or mothers, I'm struggling with this whole thing. Biological clock, yada yada. Every weekend is baby weekend, which would be totally awesome if I had kids. But when things aren't quite working out as you'd planned, it's just not as fun. To be totally honest, if it was working out right now it'd probably stress hubby out even more, so maybe I should just be patient.

And there's the rub: patience. These things will totally work themselves out in time. I just need to relax and have a little patience, right? I know that's true, but why is it still so damn hard?

deep breath....



i love DST part 2

I got home from work, and had enough time to go for a walk in the park!

AFTER work!

Granted, I had to haul ass to make it home before dark, but that was the purpose of the walk, right?


Tomorrow I have an appointment with a dermatologist - my first one ever. I'm hoping that they can cure this weird allergic reaction I'm having, as well as look over my skin to see if it's OK. While I'm not technically a sun-worshipper, I have caught more than my fair share of rays. I like to be tan! The appointment means that I have a little extra time in the morning... the appointment is on my side of the river, so I'm going in to work late. Which means I'm going to hopefully hit the trail again tomorrow morning!

Hats off to good weather, good sneakers, and a little bit of stolen time! {let's just hope the sneakers win...the bed has evil powers...}


my real list is even longer...

ok, so after bitching yesterday about losing an hour to daylight saving time, i have to say that it was super nice to get out of my class tonight and drive home in the daylight. so Yesterday-Rahree, shut yer yap. Today-Rahree is so much cooler that you'll ever be.

To do:
  • wash car
  • clean the inside of the car
  • twice [it's really grubby]
  • mani-pedi
  • garbage out
  • update my pretty, fancy-schmancy new pink leather calendar [I know. Pink! Crazy.]
  • daydream about taking a vacation here or here or here
  • buy a lightweight sweater that'll transition from now to summer. That's not black.
  • think about buying a suit for the season announcement press conference.
  • spend the money on these instead.
  • get a part-time job to cover my spending spree. s. plural.
Boy, that's a lot of things to do. I may have to call in sick tomorrow...


i want that hour BACK!

taking stock on Sunday...

...lost an hour.
it's officially daylight saving time!

And it's a beautiful day, to boot. And, due to the lost hour, a late show last evening and a fun morning brunch with J and L, I am finally firmly ensconced in the Sunday paper. I should be tidying up the house, doing some laundry, culling my wardrobe of all the crap that is-too-good-to-toss-but-makes-me-look-like-Crisco. [fat in the can] but no, I am pretending that it's raining outside, and am reading about the Catholic Archbishop turned Moon Cult Groom. A strange story...even for someone who considers herself somewhere on the Catholic continuum [somewhere between trying to be a good person and yeah, the crusades...I'm totally going to hell already, aren't i?]. The story is here, if you're interested. Why do I feel like this story, while weird, isn't all that weird? And that maybe the weird thing is that the Church still requires priests to be celibate? Maybe there'd be fewer problems if they were? Call me crazy...

OK, that took a more serious turn than I wanted. Sorry.

In other, lame news, I am allergic to something. I'm not sure what, but am thinking it's the new, super swanky hair goop to go with my new swanky 'do. Dammit. My mother is allergic to everything - mold, pet hair, grass, tree pollen, strawberries, tomatoes...and it seems that I might be, too. You'd think that, after getting both her figure and gray hair that I might actually luck out and not inherit her scabby skin condition. But nooooooo....I totally inherited leprosy. Ew.


Wild Thang!

One of the great things about working outside the beltway is the chance to run into wild creatures. And while, during the summer, most of the "wild creatures" are middle aged, zinfandelled yuppies stumbling around the lawn trying to find their blanket and singing at the top of their lungs, at this time of year the creatures are much more serious, and more beautiful.

(Although I totally think he's telling me to get off Drudge and back to work. )

But one of the things I really love about both the place I live and the place I work is that they're both across-the-street (literally) from National Parks. And yet they're both enough to DC that it's no big deal to grab dinner in Van Ness or Georgetown. So I get the best of both worlds - the access to culture and, hello, awesome food - while still being able to see deer and rabbits in my yard and hawks outside my office window.

Picture taken by KPW.
(Kool PianoWoman, my boss!)


c'mere, lover

Ok, cheesy Dirty Dancing reference aside, I have found one of the most expensive (well, compared to a Hershey's bar, expensive. But Hershey's is still kinda the standard measurement of a satisfactory chocolate experience, right? Maybe not a ohmigod-I-need-a-cigarette-that-was-so-awesome experience, but a ohmigod-i-need-chocolate-or-i-will-shave-my-head-NO-shave-YOUR-head experience. Right?) most incredible new candy bars. Curse you, Whole Foods!


i am totally in love with these bad boys. the Red Fire is actually spicy-hot. But chocolate. Spicy-hot chocolate. And how much fun is it to say Wolloomoolloo over and over again with a mouthful of macadamia-chocolaty goodness? REALLY FUN.

Here's the link to my favorite one. You can find them cheaper, but they are totally worth the arm-and-a leg.

And when I'm out on my soapbox, running for office (HAH!), telling people that I cannot be bought, that I am a woman of integrity who will not sell out, please do not bring any of these over.

I'd hate to be called a liar, too.


random notes on a midwinter evening

Not much going on today...it's still too cold and too dark to be brilliant. Or witty, even. So here's the placeholder.

  • Took my first Pilates mat class last night. Did you know that you use your abs to sit up? Sit down? Climb stairs? Get in and out of the car? Carry heavy bags? I know. Oh, boy, do I know...

  • Was passed on the beltway by a 1990-something Honda 4 door that was painted a bright pinkish-mauveish color. Turned off the highway before I had a chance to see who was driving it...anyone hazard a guess? Drag queen? Old School Avon Saleswoman?

  • I missed 9 on this... damn you Iowa...

  • Hubby is lying on the floor in front of the tube, and the Cat-Shark is cruising around the coffee table, stopping to bite his toes or - better yet - jumping on his belly. Better than tv, I'll tell ya.

  • I always aspired to play Rachmaninov well, and the c minor is one of my favorite pieces. I wish I had help like this.

  • It's supposed to snow 1-3" tomorrow. Which means that we'll get .5", and the news will hype the event so much that Montgomery County will close the schools. Wimps. That being said, I would totally take another snow day.

OK. This was lame. I'll try to string a few more-better thoughts together tomorrow.


i love heroes.

the tv show. i am totally addicted, to the point of making-sure-i-get-home-before-it-comes-on. I am a slave to the boob tube.

in other, equally worthless news, kitty has a new toy....a stick with a string tied to it and a multicolored mylar pompom attached to it. it is kitty crack cocaine...even better than catnip. It whistles through the air with a rustle that Mr. Sir finds totally irresistable. Even this very minute he is hovering by my leg, willing me to pick up the stick and whip it around.

but, as you know, there will be no whipping...Heroes is on. And Syler is about to go crazy. Gotta go!



my hairdresser sheared me. i have no hair left.

i think i'll like it when summer rolls around...

...but right now it's pretty cold, and my butt is still disproportionately big. grrrr.

time to put on the running shoes....

Oh, Virginia...

Being originally from north of the Mason-Dixon line, at times I have to reorient myself to Southern life. But this is one of those things that I can't make sense of...

If you're a young woman in Virginia, the state has decided that you must be vaccinated against a sexually transmitted disease. Let me go on the record and say that I think that being vaccinated against HPV is a good idea, as the link between it and cervical cancer is well-documented. However, I'm not sure that 1.) it's not sexist to say that only girls need to have the vaccine...I mean, guys can get the virus , even if they can't get cervical cancer - and how do these folks think that it's spread to women? Hello?!? and 2.)I'm not a huge fan of old men issuing mandatory anything pertaining to reproductive health. Hands off my equipment, boys - I'll make those choices for myself.

In seemingly non-related news, you can still smoke indoors in Virginia restaurants and bars. You can have dinner in DC or Maryland without encountering a cigarette, but not in Virginny. Yes, I'd like my sea bass smoked with essence of Marlboro, please.

So here's my question: if the Good ol' boys in the VA government feel so strongly about reducing cancer rates that they'll vaccinate young girls, and since the effects of secondhand smoke on women are documented, why don't they make smoking indoors in public places illegal?

C'mon Jimmy-Bobby-Joe, iffn yer really goin' to take care of yer womenfolk, do it right or leave us alone.