The T-Rex was fun and took me no time at all to complete.  I'm still working on my sewing technique but I'm fairly confident that the toy won't fall apart.  I had to do it on smaller needles so it may have ended up smaller than intended.  The next one I plan on doing on the right size needles so we'll see how much bigger it ends up being.  :)

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My Dad Cracks Me Up

From my sister . . .

"btw...have you called the house lately?! LOL i think tay accidentally recorded over the answering machine message and all it is, is this creepy sigh...and then breathing...and then you finally hear Tatay talking to himself in the guess is he was trying to check the messages and hit another button and then got should call...its pretty hilarious...hahaha..."

This is very much the epitome of my dad.  This is the same man who calls me randomly now that my mom gave him a cell phone to tell me a.) that he misses my dog or b.) when he is with my dog, that they are at the pier fishing together.  LOL

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So I recently signed up for StumbleUpon to help me fill some of the empty minutes I have while online.  Today I have some of those empty minutes so I'm telling it to Stumble! for me and just find me some random website based on my interests.  Being a woman, of course I have "women's interests" as a selection.  So it brings me to this:

I'm thinking this has to be some sort of joke but it isn't, at least I don't think.  I'm sure we've all, ladies, fantasized at not having to squat to pee when without a toilet but seriously?!

By the way, if you join StumbleUpon or are already on there, friend me!

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Carmen, my niece, in all her princess phase is also a big fan of dinosaurs, namely the Tyrannosaurus Rex.  Lion Brand Yarn sent me their newsletter with the CUTEST knit dinosaurs.  They look pretty easy and short enough that I won't get bored with them.  I should label myself a "short-attention span knitter." I ordered the yarn for the Tyrannosaurus (which in my opinion is the ugliest one) and the Brachiosaurus which I think is so cute.  I figured they were good to start with.  I'm aiming to give them as Christmas gifts to Carmen and I'll probably make one for our nephew, Benjamin as well.  I can't get over how cute they are!

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So the reunion was last weekend and it was a high-falutin' success if I must say so myself.  Really, it turned out way better than we could have expected.  We got about 120 or so people from a graduating class of just under 500.  The committee consisted of me and 4 other people: my two best friends and our class treasurer and class secretary.  The five of us committed our monies early on to help us get started.  The week of the reunion we were worried that we were going to have to put yet more money in.  Thankfully, it didn't come to that.  In fact, we were even able to give ourselves back money that night, not all of what we originally put in mind you, but a good chunk. 

I was really incredibly floored by how much gratitude our classmates showed us that night and the following days.  I guess it helped that the reunion didn't suck.  ;)  To help ourselves, we decided last-minute to do a cash raffle where the winner gets 25% of the pot.  So for $5 you could get two chances to win.  Many people, more than I was expecting, were more than willing to put money in knowing.  To quote one of our classmates, "I love you guys, of course I'll help you out.  Give me $20 worth."  At the end of the night the winner's take was $80.  The winner, bless his heart, gave us half of the money back.  I mean seriously . . wow.

So we cleared the Sandler Center that evening at 11PM and spilled out into the nearby bars, the majority of us ending up at the Red Star Tavern.  At 2 AM, a good number of us were basically closing down the bar.  I went home after that but many of our classmates went to the nearby IHOP-like diner.  I know there were a few that went to the oceanfront even after that and watched the sunrise.  I know I had a total blast even if I did have to work a good amount that night but everyone really seemed to be enjoying themselves.  Check out the pics for proof!

I daresay that I may even want to do the next reunion.  Please don't quote me on that but for now see you in 10 years Tallwood High School class of 1998!  ;)

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My friend who got me and Ryan the Steelers vs. 'Skins tickets was one of my best friends in high school.  We lost touch over the past 10 years but reconnected when he moved to the area.  Now the seats that he got us are great seats and I think that's awesome but I didn't ASK for nice seats.   It just so happens that his connection was just able to get us great seats.  Since he's gotten them for us he's been saying things like, "I know, I'm the man.  You should buy my two reunion tickets for me as compensation" in addition to paying him back for the tickets.  Or "Do you know how much I can get these tickets for on eBay?!?!"  It's not like I wanted to plan the reunion.  I hate planning things.  I'm doing this for my classmates, not for myself.  I'm doing this for my friends.  I've spent a lot of my own time and money trying to get this thing off the ground.  He claims he's just joking but you can only say that so many times before it's obvious you are not joking.  It isn't like he had to do much but work his connection.  Again, I didn't ask for NICE seats I just asked for any seats whatsoever. If the tickets weren't for me and Ryan, I'd be tempted to let him do what he wanted what the tickets but right now he's really, really pissing me off.

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Hi Angel,

Your account was disabled because you took repeated actions that could be construed as spam.  For instance, it is a violation of Facebook's Terms of Use to repeatedly send the same message or to make the same post.  Facebook prides itself in protecting users from spam, and we take this standard very seriously.

However, after reviewing your situation, we have reactivated your account, and you should now be able to log in.  Please refrain from sending the same message or repeating the same post, as further violations of our Terms will result in your account being permanently disabled. 

Please also be aware that when a warning message appears on your home page, it will generally be displayed for 24 hours.  It can be displayed for longer, however, if you continue to perform these actions.  We appreciate your cooperation going forward.

Thanks for your understanding,

User Operations
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As I've mentioned in the past, I have been helping plan my class' 10-year high school reunion.  So what would any tech-savvy person do who is trying to find 500 classmates?  Search for these people on MySpace and Facebook!  Isn't that what these social networking sites are for anyway?  There seems to have been a surge in people on Facebook that I'd been finding lately and since I hate MySpace's interface I started using Facebook to find my classmates and hit them up about the reunion. 

On Wednesday, as part of my reunion planning tasks I started messaging people who graduated with us (according to their profile) who hadn't yet accepted my Friend Request.  I had already managed to message everyone who graduated with us who already was on my Friend List no problem.  Because of the speed in which I was messaging these people Facebook's algorithms said that I was spamming people.  After a few warnings, my account automatically became disabled.  All references to me on Facebook (including me as class officer of our high school group I created there) were nowhere to be found.  When I try to login I only get a link to some FAQs about abuse on Facebook.  I have sent an e-mail to and and  Truth be told, after reading what I have on Google about Facebook's customer support for such things and not being given an e-mail address directly to directly contact them I seriously doubt that a.) a human will contact me back much less actually READ my e-mails and  b.) I will get my account reinstated.

All of this is really a shame, the response or lack thereof from Facebook on not just my issue but others' as well.  i really like Facebook.  It's been a great tool for me thus far.  The fact that it is a great site and very easily integrated on lots of stuff on the web these days and that it is a better and easier site to navigate than MySpace made it a no-brainer for me to use.  But it looks like my problem isn't an isolated incident.  As much as I love Facebook I'm hesitant to create a new account using another e-mail address simply because of principle.  I also don't want to go through the trouble of having to add all my friends (and classmates) back and stuff.  So for now, I'm headed back to MySpace to try to contact the majority of my classmates.  At least there my account won't automatically be disabled.

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On NKOTB . . .

"Hahaha...sweet! Have you heard their new song? I saw the video the other day on MTV and it makes me feel weird. Like you shouldn't see men that old in matching outfits doing synchronized dances...its just wrong."
By the way, we were diehard NKOTB fans growing up. This is her reaction after I told her I bought their Greatest Hits album. . . which I am now listening to.
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Guess who's going to see the Monday night game on November 3rd to watch the Steelers play the Redskins?!?!

And did I mention on the 40-yard line?!

And for $130 a ticket?!

As much as I love the 'Skins when they're not playing the Steelers I will so be wearing my Hines Ward jersey to this one (gotta break it in proper after all) ... oh and I'm taking the following Tuesday off.  ;)

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We've been having some crazy weather here lately. Today, for example, there was downpours in the middle of sunshine. The following are the results of such weather:

"Everyone commutes in the Smith household, whether it's to school or work. Wanda Smith rides with their son William, 7, to Highlands Grove Elementary, and she began commuting to her job at FITniche at Lakeside Village in early May.The bike riding served as a way to expend some of William's energy before the school day started. He previously attended private school and was accused of having attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.After lots of money and testing, only to find that William was "all boy," Wanda Smith said she began walking, running and riding bikes to school with him to help burn some early-morning energy. Now he's a straight-A student who doesn't get in trouble."
Bike Commute Tips Blog: Florida: Bicycles more popular

Growing up, my siblings and friends and I were CONSTANTLY outside playing.  Whether it was rousing games of team tag once the sun had gone down or just playing baseball in the backyard, we were almost always outside.  I remember when I was away at college my younger sister who was still in high school yet not old enough to have her license was lamenting how she couldn't get around anywhere.  It got me to thinking about what we use to do around that time.  Then it hit me that we walked or biked everywhere.  We would ride our bikes to friends' neighborhoods miles away. I feel that somewhere in the time between I grew up and my sister followed suit, the NON-emphasis on walking and riding a bike seemed to emerge, if you will.  I will even go so far as to say "playing outside" was de-emphasized and I didn't really notice it because I was just getting older. We grew up with video game consoles too but they were things you played when you couldn't go outside like when it rained.  I fully believe that if you give a kid an outlet for all his energy you'll find yourself with one happy maybe even balanced kid.  I'm glad that Wanda Smith figured this out as well.  Don't medicate your kid, get him outdoors instead!
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Ryan and I went down to Va Beach this weekend to participate in our first ever metric century (100 km, approx. 62 miles) and to spend Mother's Day with my family.  We left DC around 3 PM only to have it take us about 4.5 hours to get home. If there is no traffic that drive usually only takes 3 hours.  We had dinner with my sister, her boyfriend, and Miss Carmie at Panera Bread to carb-load for our ride the next morning.

Saturday morning, Ryan and I were up at 6 am to get to the ride start by 7:30 am.  It was cloudy just as was predicted but it was surprisingly pleasant temperature ride.  Ryan and I are horrible when it comes to remembering things early in the morning.  I kept having to run back inside the house because I forgot things and we had to turn around about half-way to the ride start because I realized I hadn't forgotten my GPS and Ryan really wanted to have it on the ride.  So back we went.  We did get to the ride start at 7:30 and hit the road by around 7:45 am.  The first ferry (37 miles from us) was going to be leaving the dock at 10 am.  The ride was incredibly flat, the scenery was nice (buttercup-filled fields with horses grazing), and there were hardly any cars on the road.  We didn't make the 10 am ferry but made the 11:30 ferry that would take us to our next leg of the journey which was around 21 miles or so.  Because I didn't turn my GPS timer back on when we got off the ferry (even though I thought I did) there is some discrepancy as to how many miles and what our time was.  According to Ryan's bike computer, we rode 61 miles in 4 hours and 15 minutes of ride time.  I feel like the ride time was actually longer than that.  My Garmin calculates about 64 miles with 5 hours of ride time but I don't feel I can trust that since it wasn't on the whole time.  Either way, we ended the ride with a post-ride spaghetti meal thrown by the Tidewater Bicycle Association and a great sense of accomplishment. 

Some pics from the ride:

The rest are here.

Sunday after mass, we came home for a brief switch-out time (in which my sister and my mom opened their Mother's Day gifts) before hitting our 2:30 PM brunch reservation at The Lucky Star Restaurant.  The food at Lucky Star was really good but we believe they may have been a bit overwhelmed as there seemed to be a lot of waiting going on.  Our waitress, Erin, did however comp us a round of alcoholic drinks for being so patient with her.  It was a 4-course meal and dessert for $35.  My mimosas were only $4 a piece!  Ryan and I laughed because we're so use to DC prices where the meal would have probably cost $50 a person.  Poor Carmie was a bit cranky as she was tired.  Carmie is growing up so quickly.  She is 2 going on 13, we swear.  The amount of sass in such a little girl should really be illegal.  She used the potty several times on our visit but mostly for #1.  She is absolutely a ton of fun!  We took the following pics before heading to mass:

I so heart my family!  We decided that Aja would be coming home with us this trip since she seems to have gotten fatter since 'vacationing' with my dad.  That evening the three of us hit the road around 5:30 pm when a NASTY storm blew in and escorted us the whole way up to DC.  It took us a whopping 6 hours to get home!  That's like driving there and back when there is no traffic.  We decided to take a personal day yesterday so that we could catch up and rest since we didn't get in until 11:30 on Sunday.  The long drives aside it really was an awesome weekend!

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Ryan and I live in an older townhouse in a complex that is a mix of townhouses and apartments. These townhouses are more like multi-level condos more than anything. We've been living here a little over two years now and one of the townhouses next to us has been blissfully empty and quiet in the past few months. This after an interesting year of living next to people that kept odd hours and whom I could hear snoring through the wall in our bedroom. It turns out that that place was rented out to a school or a company and that's why every few months there are random people there. It was the oddest thing and really quite annoying as sometimes they would come home at like 12:30 AM and not fall asleep until it was time for us to get ready and go to work.

So for months after it was vacated it was empty and Ryan and I were enjoying the blissful silence. Since they moved in on Friday night there has been never-ending thumping. Granted, there is a small child that lives there now and a baby we woke up to at 6 am, and they DID just move in but the constant thumping is really annoying. I'm hoping all of this annoys Ryan to want to buy our own place now. I'm sure the guys downstairs are loving the noise from the family next door too. Right now we're listening to the little kid throw a temper tantrum and stomp his feet. Can we buy a house now or at the very least move? Oh by the way, we said we'd be renewing our lease for a year earlier in the week. Lovely . . I tell you.

Future self,

One day you will have kids and one day those kids will grow up and become adults and marry people you hope make them happy. Please refrain from making references to sex with their father especially in a current tense even if they are old enough to know you probably do still have sex. Don't do what your mom just did to you.

I am really digging that my old clothes fit me way better. I don't think I am QUITE to where I was when I bought these clothes in the first place but I am totally digging that I can wear these things and comfortably. Maybe it's my shorter hair but I also am surprised at the thinner me in the mirror whenever I see myself. AND it's still so early in the cycling season which means I'll only become more fit from here! W00t!

ETA: Oh, and I'd forgotten what a good movie "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" was.

So, I'm getting rid of a bunch of stuff via Craiglist. I've had a lot of people contact me about my stuff and so far only one of them so far has resulted in someone actually meeting me and exchanging money for said item. I have several e-mails since Sunday. I'm always very prompt and courteous when responding to people. So why do these people just leave me hanging? I had to e-mail one guy again today after he e-mailed me earlier today asking if he still wanted to meet to see the bike. Only after the 2nd e-mail, did he respond back saying that he was sorry and didn't realized that the bike was a woman's bike. I have a feeling a lot of the other guys who e-mailed me probably had the same reaction and just dropped me like a hot potato. Let's not even get me started on the couple that had me waiting 30 minutes outside the nearby mall after exchanging several e-mails and never showed and never e-mailed me back. . nothing. Have we really become this discourteous? Sheesh!

Friday - My award from work was a $100 AmEx gift cheque. Not too bad! I asked Ryan what I should do with it because part of me thinks I should just save it but he said I should buy myself something. Who doesn't like to hear that? Now, what to buy, what to buy?

Saturday - Rekindled my romance with photography today at my first Washington Photo Safari of the year and got to catch up with my friend, Julia, who joined me.

Sunday - Ryan and I went for a at-times hilly 25-mile bike ride from our house to the outskirts of DC, through Arlington, and back home. It was a great, exhausting ride and I'm glad that we were able to share it together.

My neighborhood is having a community yard sale this Saturday which is the perfect opportunity to purge. I probably won't be selling clothes per se since they don't typically sell well at yard sales anywhere but there are plenty of other things to get rid of. I wish they had given us more than a week's notice though. Going to be a busy week!

Today, I came to my office to find a voicemail waiting on my phone. I don't typically have very interesting voicemails but I am always curious so I dialed in. It turns out I had won a REALLY nice Saris Bones bike rack for transporting your bike on your car at a cycling event I went to yesterday. And the kicker is that it's pink! She's totally going to rock on the ol' Sentra. Ryan has already said he's not driving the car with that thing on it. He can drive the Camry with the hitch rack and I can drive the Sentra with the pink rack. I think it works out well! ;) I am still waiting to actually speak to someone about how to get this thing.

From Saris' website:
My other good news of the day was that I was nominated for an award at work. Several times a year, my team at work holds an awards ceremony which isn't as bad as you think because it's a fairly intimate gathering and only a few minutes are spent actually presenting the awards. Also, because we have it at Morton's Steakhouse and all food and drink are on the company. :D I'll let you know what I end up getting.

I Hate You, IRS

I started doing our taxes back in February (on Ryan's birthday, in fact) and stopped once I saw how much we were getting back (NADA) and how much we were going to have to pay (MUCHO). Note to self: don't do taxes on spouse's birthday ESPECIALLY if you have to pay. So I completed them today after we had transferred some money from our savings. I told Ryan that we either had to buy a house or have a baby to prevent this from happening next year. If you hadn't noticed, we're opting for the former.

On that note, we ARE still buying this year but I heard Ryan saying that we were "out of the market." What he means is that we're not buying in the next couple of months. Our lease ends at the end of May and we're thinking to renew it for 6 months with the intention of breaking it if need be. We're looking at buying at the end of the summer thereabouts. It is hard to be patient but that is what I'm trying to do. In the meantime, I dream of my future house and bikes.

I really should start purging our 'house' of crap. We have craploads of crap from clothes to shoes to bags to electronics and monitors and you name it. The theme of Spring will be purge, purge, purge!

Positive note for today: Ryan and I took a great 'leisurely' bike ride for a couple of hours today that was great and a lot of fun. He is in great shape and looks great in his spandex and cycling jersey! ;)

Inspired by dear T . . .

Friday's Positive Thought - I really love date night with hubby on Friday nights. You would think that with us living and working together that we would be sick of each other and wouldn't need to reconnect but Friday Night Date Night always allows us to do that. We spend most of our evenings unwinding in our own ways not really sharing with each other. We went to Ruth's Chris for the first time and finally used that $25 gift card from there that I got from MyPoints.

Saturday's Positive Thought - It would seem that we have upped our price range for our house-hunting foray. Woo hoo! Heck, I'm not complaining! Ryan does not come to decisions like this without a lot of research and foresight and heckling of our realtor so I am happy that he has finally come to the realization that I've had for months.

Sunday's Positive Thought - Our internet and cable went down for a few hours. This allowed quiet time without the TV blaring and a couple hours of reading before the internet came back up. I suggested to Ryan that we have one night where we don't turn the TV on and he said just name the night. I will really have to consider this.

So I have mentioned in passing that Ryan and I are finally getting serious about looking for our first home. We started the process by getting pre-approved which was no problem. We are incredibly ideal candidates in that our credit scores are very, very high and even at the high-end of our first-home budget we'll still be in a very low debt-to-income ratio. We found our realtor and actually our pre-approval guy through a friend of Ryan's from college that is a realtor down in Richmond, VA.

We've been out two or three times with her. We know what general area that we want to live in. We pretty much want to stay in the area we currently live in now because of it's fairly central location. We live between two major highways which gives us easy access to the whole area and we're very close to downtown DC. We are also a highway away from our work place. We have a reverse commute since we live closer to the city and our workplace is further out. All that being said, we are going to be sacrificing space and price for location.

We have figured out 2 neighborhoods that we really like. One is the one across the street. The other is a bit further South from here but in a great area. When I ride my bike on the W&OD trail I pass through this area and neighborhood all the time on the way to work. The houses in both areas are essentially the same. None of them are new but many of them are re-done. Some of them are foreclosures. The biggest difference between the areas are the neighborhoods themselves. The further one is in a bike and walk-friendly area close to a main street and businesses. The people there can afford to maintain their properties better than the people in the other neighborhood. That neighborhood, however, has a prime location.

We are essentially looking for a detached, single-family home with at least 3 bedrooms and at least 2 bedrooms. It would be nice to have a basement or work area for me really. We want at least 1100 square feet since that's what we live in now and Ryan wants lots of storage since he seems to think I have too much "stuff." We've seen a lot of great houses and some potentials but nothing yet we're ready to make an offer on. I can't wait till we find our house and we make it our home.

Back from Vegas

Ryan and I were in Vegas Saturday through Wednesday of this past week. We took advantage of my parent's timeshare there but did not stay the whole week like they did. The place is really nice and is one block back from the strip at the Marriott Grande Chateau. They are right next to the Planet Hollywood which use to be the Alladin. All the rumors you've heard that Alladin/Planet Hollywood has the best buffet are true. Even if it is now the Planet Hollywood, the buffet is still the same. I didn't get to partake as many buffets as I wanted as my dad insisted on eating on the cheap at times and cooked breakfast for us most mornings. God bless Ryan as this was his first vacation with my dad. My mom has a point when she says that I'm the only child of the three siblings that will vacation with my dad. My infinite (well almost infinite) patience comes from having to deal with my dad growing up.

The first night we went walking along the strip and into the Bellagio. We went to see the very small American post-modernism exhibit in their art gallery where my dad tried to strike up a conversation with every Mexican and Asian man we came across, especially if they were about his age. He likes to attempt to talk to them in their native tongues never mind that his vocabulary in it might be limited. It was obvious the Asian man working the exhibit did not appreciate my dad's attempts at conversation with him.

On Sunday, Ryan and I spent the day getting tickets for the evening. We got discounted meal tickets at the Brazilian steakhouse in Planet Hollywood, Pampas. It was no where near as our favorite local Brazilian steakhouse here at home, Chima, but at $22 Pampas was forgivable. We took my parents there more for the experience than anything and they enjoyed it despite that my dad didn't listen to my mom's attempts to tell him that we were having dinner at 5 PM that evening so we could catch the 7:30 PM Mamma Mia! that we had tickets for. My mom and dad really enjoyed it. My dad didn't even fall asleep once! I enjoyed it too and I'm pretty sure that Ryan that did despite the fact that he said that it was "girly." The fact that the music was all Abba really made the show. My mom and I couldn't stop dancing. I didn't enjoy the ending of the story line as much but it was still definitely worth seeing.

On Monday, my mom tried to take my dad to see Phantom of the Opera but he had drank most of the day and pretty much slept through the whole thing. Meanwhile, Ryan and I saw Blue Man Group. (We couldn't get tickets to Cirque du Soleil's Ka). We had seen a documentary on PBS about their show and it was pretty much the same show but the show is phenomenal in person. We sat in the very back middle of the floor and got to start the paper trail to the stage. Their show is unlike any out there. It is incredibly original and about as interactive with an audience as you can get. They even came out to mingle and take pictures with the audience afterwards. Their show is truly an assault on your senses and is amazing. Yeah, the Blue Men kinda creep me out too but seriously the show is awesome.

Tuesday, Ryan and I and my mom went to spend the day at Mandalay Bay after getting a referral from one of my friends at work. His suggestion definitely did not disappoint. They split the men and the women at the spa so we each have our own facilities. Ryan and I both got hot stone body massages (not together since they only do Couple Massages on Thursdays and Sundays) and I opted for a deep pore cleansing facial. I was, however, talked into a $35 upgrade on the facial that I don't regret. My mom just got a regular facial. The nice thing about getting services at their spa is that you have access to all their facilities for the day even if you get one service. The only thing we didn't get access to was their many swimming pools but we were only really interested in their fitness centers and their spas. After that we had the steak lunch my dad had waiting for us back at the timeshare and we were all starving. Mom and I then went to the local Ross for some discount shopping at the northern end of the strip. I scored two pairs of black shoes (one pointy-toed and heeled and one peep-toed and heeled), two shirts, a khaki summer dress, and a white "leather" bag for my friend, Hannah, (who was also keeping Aja for us while we were gone), and some lingerie for a little over $100. That evening Ryan, me, and my mom went to the Planet Hollywood buffet after waiting for my dad to return from wherever it is he was. I've realized that I was bound to be an independent soul with two parents who don't like to answer to each other. :P

We left Wednesday morning and I slept most of the way home. We left sunny weather in the 70s to return to Baltimore's low 60's, grey, wet weather. It is now Saturday and I'm still incredibly exhausted. It wasn't like we spent a lot of late nights out or anything like that but definitely the walking can get to you. Plus, I think I was probably a bit overstimulated. Being an introvert will subject me to such exhaustion. My parents returned to Baltimore this morning and stopped at our place to pick up Aja who is now officially on vacation. They stayed most of the day which I wasn't really expecting and we had to cancel our appointment with our realtor. She did tell me though that the house we had been wanting to see, a great deal on a foreclosure in the neighborhood across the street from us, was already under contract. We had tried to see that house before we left for Vegas to no avail. I guess it just wasn't meant to be. Ah well, we keep trying, right?

Tomorrow we have no real big plans. We're going to mass in the morning. Yes, I'm aware we've become those "ChrEaster" Catholics that only go to mass on the big holidays but that will change once we have kids. It's holidays like these actually where I wish we had kids to do all these fun holiday, traditional things.

I've got a lot of work to do at work this week and will probably get a head start tomorrow. I hope I'm well-rested before Monday.

On another note, I finally kicked my butt into gear and got myself to the mall since I wanted to hit the Sephora and return something at Ann Taylor Loft. I love living so close to such a big mall open till 9:30 PM. I read up on reviews on Boscia Clear Complexion Kit and decided to get it a try. I'm really excited about it as it's preservative-free and pretty natural. After my facial at Mandalay Bay, I've been on this natural beauty product kick. I'll let you all know how it goes!

Labrador Retriever

The Caretaker

Your family is what makes you tick, and you never "flea" from an opportunity to hang out with the whole gang. A family picnic complete with hot dogs, deviled eggs and a refreshing swim in the lake is hard for you to stray from. Your sparky temperament and dogged intelligence mean you are not only a blast to hang out with, but great to work with as well. Your close pals appreciate your patience and forgiveness, knowing you'd rather let sleeping dogs lie than dwell on the mishaps of the past. Your dashing good looks may one day lead to a modelling career, if only you can tame the unfortunate clumsiness that sometimes causes you to go flailing from the catwalk.
What dog breed are you? I'm a Labrador Retriever! Find out at

Bad Dog!

This weekend, Nicole came to visit but had made plans with one of her friends in the area for today. I scheduled an appointment with our realtor since we didn't have next weekend to look at houses. More on Nicole's visit and our time with the realtor in another post. Anyway, I had made me, Ryan, and Nicole some breakfast and left it on our dining table. We left Nicole to lock up since her plans had changed and left Aja behind. When we came home this afternoon we found two pieces of bread that HAD been on the table when we left that morning strewn on the floor. I hadn't seen the table and I asked Ryan if all the food was gone and sure enough it was licked clean. She helped herself to half a bowl of scrambled eggs, a few strips of turkey bacon, and some turkey cold cuts. A feast for dogs!

Nicole left a note saying that Aja had gotten into the food while she was upstairs blowdrying her hair so even though it was pretty evident what had happened with the incredibly "clean" dishes with a few dog hairs in it Nicole told us everything. This is the first time that Aja has ever actually gone up on the table that I know of. We had been cutting back her food to help her lose some weight and I think temptation was just too great. Needless to say, Aja has not been in our good graces all day.

Two weekends ago, Ryan and I went to see my best friend's 'little' sister performance at GWU. Their family is incredibly musically-inclined. My best friend is an amateur tenor and she has an amazing voice as well. She sang my wedding and together they did a duet. I took video of her performance during their very-entertaining one-hour cabaret. My best friend took video the night before. He then combined both our videos to produce the following below. Hope you enjoy it!

My Independence

My dad knew when I was young that I was going to be an independent one. I think it was about the time I started walking. Growing up, my mom would always get mad that I would never check in with her when I was out. When I turned 16 and could drive, I got a job at the Sbarro in the mall so that I wouldn't have to answer to my parents as to how I was spending my money (not that I'm frivolous by any means, my mom taught me to shop the sales well.) I don't like being micromanaged at work (thankfully I'm not) and like to come and go as I please. I knew I had outgrown my ex when I knew he would start questioning why lately I seemed to want to do something or not.

I love my husband incredibly and I think there is no one better for me than him but my inner independence struggles sometimes with the fact that I do have to run things by someone else. If I want to buy something significant, say a very nice bike, I can't just pay for it and take it home. Well, I mean, I could but my guilt gets the best of me. (There goes our favorite "G" word, T!) I'd say that we are a fairly independent couple. Even at home we do our own things and we have no problem with the other one going out and being social without the other one but again I feel rather guilty if I'm out too long (unless it's one of those things that is understood will take a while) or I'm buying something as I'm clearly the shopper in this relationship. He's never complained about these things either but I feel guilty anyway.

It's not that I don't love my parents and my husband and everyone else I should answer to, it's just that answering to people is not something I think of right off the bat. I could see it being rather discourteous that I don't think of these people while making decisions. I'm not use to having to negotiate and I realize that's been fairly selfish of me. How did I manage to go this long without having to do so? Well, to the point that I actually notice it? But I'm not inconsiderate truly, I am just use to doing things my way and not being questioned. I am truly blessed to be with people that allow me to be who I am and to be able to afford to do the things that I like to do. I guess the fact that I do feel guilty means that I'm not a horrible, inconsiderate person after all . . . at least a little bit.

I'm sure generally people have this opinion about being sick. It's a double-edged sword because there are tons of things I'd like to get down outside of my job that need to get done. So today, I am home so as to not spread my germs around and all I want to do is get things done around the house. Yet, I can't! I'm definitely not 100% as I feel I get winded easily. I also can't stop blowing my nose or sneezing. The achiness I was feeling yesterday morning has subsided greatly. Yet, I'm home. I should be taking care of all this stuff like laundry and things I didn't get to do over the weekend because I was too sick to. We have a houseguest coming this weekend too so you know the place has to be clean before that. She comes on Friday. Doesn't really leave a whole lot of time. I think I may have to tear Ryan away from his nightly video games to clean the bathroom. I hate being sick.

Angel[10:34 AM]:
i'm going downstairs to get osme breakfast
Angel[10:34 AM]:
do you want anything?
Ryan[10:36 AM]:
oh haha, yeah get me an egg sandwhich please, on a bagel
Ryan[10:36 AM]:
no bacon, no cheese
Angel[10:36 AM]:
what kind of bagel?
Ryan[10:36 AM]:
Ryan[10:36 AM]:
Ryan[10:36 AM]:
Ryan[10:36 AM]:
Ryan[10:36 AM]:
in that order
Ryan[10:37 AM]:

Angel[10:37 AM]:
lol ok
Angel[10:37 AM]:
mr i'm not picky
Angel[10:37 AM]:
good lord
Ryan[10:37 AM]:
You asked
Ryan[10:37 AM]:

Ryan[10:37 AM]:
Don't ask
Angel[10:37 AM]:
because you're picky!
Ryan[10:37 AM]:
I am picky because you ask
Angel[10:37 AM]:
i ask because you're picky
Ryan[10:37 AM]:
Angel[10:37 AM]:

What a Weekend!

Friday evening, Ryan and I made our way to Dupont Circle to pick up Lori and Kurt from their hotel so we could meet Char for dinner at Heritage in Georgetown. We took Lori and Kurt on the scenic route to the restaurant since we got lost several times on the way there and at one point were totally going in the wrong direction. But, alas, we got there and even gave Char time to hit up the nearby Whole Foods. Char had never had Indian food but was such a trooper with an open mind. She got the grilled chicken kabobs and you just can't go wrong that route. We probably sat down at the table at around 8 PM because we were late and didn't leave till almost 11 PM that night. I had NO idea that much time had passed. We girls just kept talking and talking. Kurt and Ryan were such great sports with our topics of conversations and I felt like I could have sat there longer just chatting the night away had the one busboy not kept giving us ugly looks towards the end. All in all, it was a fun night. Lori and Kurt were a great couple and all three of us couples (including the missing Carl, of course) had a lot in common I thought.

Saturday, I spent most of the afternoon getting highlights from my stylist. This is the first time I've had her do it. Some parts are definitely lighter than others but all in all I do like it. I don't think it's much of a drastic change but I will look into getting a picture up. I also had to exchange my size 12 Sweetheart jeans from Old Navy (found on for size 10s after realizing I could pull them down over my butt with them zipped and buttoned up.

Sunday was Ryan's birthday as well as Superbowl Sunday. It was a pretty low-key night. We grilled out since it was beautiful out not that bad weather has ever stopped us from grilling before. He blew candles out over a big piece of tiramisu I had bought him at Whole Foods and he opened his presents from me. He got a lot less for his birthday this year from me since he had such a great Christmas. I couldn't think of a whole lot of gifts for him.

Then we watched the best Superbowl ever! For years, I have been having high hopes for Eli only to be disappointed year after year. I, like many Americans out there, never dreamed they would make it as far as they did and then at that I didn't really have high hopes they'd beat the Patriots. As a Steelers fan you automatically hate the Patriots. I try to keep an open mind about them but the Patriots' personality just rubs me the wrong way. Brady is a good QB, a great QB in fact as much as I hate to admit it but the Patriots were beatable and won a lot of games within a hair's breadth. The Giants knew what to do by bringing pressure and by keeping Brady off the field that first drive for as long as they did. They did everything right. I was a ball of nerves those last few minutes of the game even worse than when the Steelers won the Superbowl a couple of years ago. I just wanted them to win so bad! I never wanted anyone to win a Superbowl against a team so badly but it was just the best story ever. Patriots 18-0 with a near-perfect season going against a long-shot team that almost beat them in the regular season. If Eli lead his team to victory, the Patriots would not get the perfect season the wanted, the '72 Dolphins would remain the only team to have a perfect season, and the Patriots would be knocked off their high horse. True David and Goliath story. And it happened! Sweet Geezus, it happened! And it was wonderful!

I also picked a true knitting project since last year. Details can be found on my knitting blog.

I think I was reading up on Picasa's API the other day and stumbled upon a couple of websites that I thought were just too awesome not to share. is an online photo-editing website. You don't have to download anything to your computer. You can upload pictures from your computer or other websites. It has fairly basic but pretty powerful tools that will allow you to edit your pictures. You can even put texts and little clip art around them, frame them, and then save them back to your computer or have them saved directly to your favorite photo storage website like or can upgrade to Premium for a small yearly fee which gives you more advanced effects and tools. It is great for really quick edits like fixing red-eye on a picture you want to send out to someone really quick. Or say, you are on your work computer and aren't allowed to download anything to your machine but you need to edit a picture. Granting of course you can get to you should be golden. Have fun! - I haven't yet actually tried this one but it seems really, really cool. It claims to be the website that will put an end to the slideshow as you currently know it. As I understand it, you pick a song and a bunch of your photos and it will create a 'show' to the beat of your song using your photos. They've got some pretty cool demos on there and it seems intriguing. One day I'll test it once I actually have something I want to make into a show. Actually, I think finding the right music would be harder for me. Anyway, if you do check it out let me know what you end up with.

Amazon Mp3s

I don't know why I haven't mentioned this before. I am one of those with an awesome Mp3 player that is NOT an iPod. It's the 'old school' iRiver H340, RockBoxed the heck out. I am really disappointed that most Mp3 manufacturers that supported a hard-drive-based player like the iPod and the H340 have stopped making them. One of my coworkers was in the market for a large-capacity Mp3 hard-drive player before Christmas and brought it to my attention that only Creative, Microsoft, and Apple (I'm sure I'm missing some) really make hard drive players anymore. iRiver, what gives?! You had an awesome product with a great community behind it. I dread the day that my H340 dies but so far it has done well for me the past 3 years. I basically just want a hard drive that plays music. I don't want to be tied to any software. I just want to plug it in, have my computer recognize it, and drag and drop the music onto it. Is that too much to ask?

But I digress, the reason for this post was to bring attention to Amazon Mp3s. In order to compete with iTunes, Amazon has been selling DRM-free 256 kbs Mp3s on their website. I discovered this quite by accident as I am on Amazon once a day and we order from there all the time. They make it so easy especially with Amazon Prime and their free shipping. Anywho, you can download whole albums for way less than buying the CD version and singly most downloads are $.89. A savings of $.10 a song from iTunes. Basically, you download their Amazon Mp3 Installer which basically unzips the *.amz file you download from Amazon when you make a purchase. You have 12 hours to have the Mp3 installer unzip the file for you. I learned this the hard way and had to call their technical support (which was awesome by the way.) You can download the songs up to 3 times and they are DRM-free so you can use them as you see fit. I use to buy my music (aside from CDs) on but it made things difficult for me because of the DRM. I'd essentially end up burning it to CD and ripping it as Mp3 anyway. At least this way, I don't have to do that whole burning to CD step. Anyway, check out Amazon Mp3s. To me, it's the greatest thing since sliced bread . . or at least RockBox.

I feel really bad that my husband has to deal with me most mornings. I am the CRABBIEST thing in the world in the mornings especially if I wake up before 9 AM. I need a few hours for me to get out of my morning funk and become a hospitable human being. Ryan likes to get into the office early and since we carpool, I oblige. But seriously, don't expect me to have the liveliest conversations and don't expect me to chuckle at anything on Howard Stern. You should just pretend like I'm not even there. Because that's pretty much what I'm doing. My freshman college roommate really got that about me. But then again she was also the same way. If we had 8 AMs across campus we'd get ready together in silence and no one would utter a word until we actually hit the Drill Field.

So today I was probably incredibly bitchy to Ryan who decided that I should try to attend that 9 AM informal 30-minute meeting that he had going on with a colleague. Yeah, it would have probably been a good idea for me to go but don't spring it on me with less than 15 minutes till start of the meeting and BEFORE I'd had breakfast. He waits till we get to the office to tell me I should 'stop by.' "No!" my mind and body yelled. I wasn't mentally prepared to turn my mind on so early and I hadn't eaten. Anything I am feeling is automatically exacerbated if I am hungry. He's like, "Grab something real quick and come down." My feeling is if you wanted me at that meeting so early you should have let me know ahead of time. At least even before we left the house. I would have planned my morning differently.

So we argued about it a bit this morning. He thought it wasn't a big deal. And it probably sounds really petty and bitchy but to me it WAS a big deal and I am crabby in the mornings. I just don't function like that. I need time to prepare. Don't worry, I've finally had breakfast and I'm about to start on my cup of coffee. I'll be much more agreeable soon.

. . . I graduated from high school. That means . . 10-Year Reunion! BUT . . I was also class Vice President. So what does this all mean? Basically, that I'm begrudgingly planning our 10-year high school reunion. I'm not doing it alone though. I was coerced by my two best guy friends (aside from Ryan) and one very motivated class Treasurer. Also, my mother and Ryan. Yes, I said my mother. We had our first kick-off conference call about it last night and it went well.

I'm just glad I'm not doing this alone. See, as class VP I was kinda in the background, which I have no problem with. I'm glad that I planned my wedding over a year ago because I don't think I'd be up for much more "in the limelight" planning. Where is the President you may ask? Good question. Well, she and I were best friends growing up but the last time we really spoke (which was a few years ago) she said that she wasn't really interested in planning the reunion. I think life before college did not exist for her. I was one of the very few links she kept to that life. Anyway, she has an almost 1-year old now and is probably busy. Either way, I'm not making that phone call for several reasons.

But the group of people we have are great and are very motivated and on board so I think that everything will be ok. We've been using Google Docs for collaboration and it is seriously so awesome. You can watch and interact with the documents in real-time. It's really impressive and you should check it out sometime. I don't know how people did this kinda stuff without all that technology before. ;)

Anyway, so that's another thing going on in my life.

Whine Alert Ahead

So, I want to buy a house already. The husband is making me wait. Well, he's not being as active as I want to be with the whole process. We already know what area we want to buy in which is basically the surrounding area to where we live now. I've watched the houses in that area for months now. I have also watched a lot of great houses sell at great prices and they weren't to me! I have watched the number of houses in that area up for sell dwindle because they've either sold or been taken off the market. And yet, I must still wait. I have a feeling this may just come back to bite us in the ass. Then again, maybe it'll be good to wait. Everyone asks what he's waiting for, etc., etc. Basically, he doesn't want to buy a house only to lose money on it. Our options are to buy a smaller house within a decent price range that we will probably outgrow and want to sell in a few years or bite the bullet and buy a bigger house that will be more expensive and sit on it for many more years. Either way, I'm just frustrated. I really want a house and I'm getting impatient.

Chicken Thighs Braised in White Wine

I didn't have any lemons on hand. I did have lemon juice and it worked really well. I also used boneless thighs no problem. Yum!

Chicken Thighs Braised in White Wine


Everyday Food

Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes


Serves 4

  • 8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs (about 2 3/4 pounds)
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 thin slices, plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • Cooked rice, for serving (optional)


  1. In a 12-inch skillet with a tight-fitting lid, arrange thighs, bone side up; season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, wine, and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook, 30 minutes.
  2. Turn chicken over. Place a lemon slice on each piece; cover and continue simmering until tender, about 15 minutes. Leaving garlic and liquid in skillet, transfer chicken and lemon slices to a platter. Cover tightly with foil to keep warm.
  3. Bring liquid in skillet to a boil; cook until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Add butter, parsley, and lemon juice; stir until butter has softened and sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve chicken with sauce and, if desired, rice.

Productive Day

I got to sleep in today and then we proceeded to take Christmas down which made both of us a little sad. The big window where our Christmas tree once stood looks so empty now. It was a beautiful day for bringing it down though. I straightened out our junk closet and our little camera/printer section. After showering, I went and took the car for an oil change and to run some errands to exchange and return a few Christmas gifts. If you haven't been to the mall lately, there are some really good sales going on right now. The nice thing about Ryan not paying attention to price when he goes shopping for Christmas is that in January when everything goes on sale I get A LOT more bang for my buck. At several stores I was able to turn one thing into at least two and sometimes three while getting money back or paying just a little bit more. It was freakin' awesome! Barnes and Noble is having a sale through the end of the month where DVDs are Buy 2, Get 1 free. I have a bunch of new workout DVDs now. ;)

Right now, I'm going through all the pictures we've ever taken and currently our honeymoon pictures. I haven't ever finished post-processing them and I found a bunch more that we had on other devices around the house. I've moved all our pictures to one big external hard drive and use Picasa for post-processing. My goal is to get all those taken care of and re-uploaded to SmugMug by the end of the year. I've made good progress and this has been my ongoing project since we got back from Italy. At least all those pictures are taken care of. I just need to get these honeymoon pictures done now. Slowly but surely . . .

Augh, and I'm breaking out a lot these past two days. It's driving me nuts!

. . . for idiots hitting it while it sits in a parking lot!! Since moving up here in December 2004 my car has been hit while parked outside of our home THREE times, the most recent one being sometime earlier today or in the past few days. Luckily for us, there was a witness who left us a nice little note with what they think was the license plate number, a piece of the car that they left behind (maroon), and his phone number. We took pictures (which I'll post later along with some shots from our other 'accidents') and then called the cops for a police report.

Mr. Officer was a young guy and really nice. They tracked the license plate number (which was off by one) and found that it belonged to a guy in Woodbridge which is like 30 minutes from here. They called him and it turns out his daughter may have been driving the car and she has friends up here in this area. Bingo! Ryan doesn't think it's worth pressing charges for unless she ends up being a pain in the ass. She has 24 hours to contact us. We shall see. Mr. Officer said she's already in violation since she basically hit and run us. Just be responsible and take care of your business and pay for your mistakes.

The poor Sentra has been such a trooper. She has been reduced to a lowly 2nd car that barely gets driven around these days only when Ryan and I are on different schedules or have to be in different parts of the DC Metro area for work. She definitely does not deserve the kind of treatment she has been getting since moving up here. When we got the Camry we were so leery because of all the stuff the Sentra went through. We thought that by moving to a place that didn't have on-street parking we'd be ok. Apparently not. Ah, I can't wait to have a driveway or better yet a garage. One day . . .

By the way, Mr. Officer asked Ryan if he was an Ozzy Osbourne fan. Ryan replied with, "Sometimes." Apparently, he's right up the road at the Tysons Corner mall launching a new clothing line. Some of the guys on the force were doing security for him in plain clothes. It ain't Britney but I figured it was newsworthy. ;)

Augh, we lost 21-24 to Kansas. We always have such trouble winning the big games and we don't do all that well in Bowl games. It's so disheartening. I don't get why we didn't run the ball more. "Give more to Ore" was my mantra all game and I don't get why we were throwing when the run was doing so well. At least it was a close game but the Hokies could have won .. always coulda', shoulda', woulda, right? Sighh . . . .

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