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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