Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Winter Wonderland???

Like much of the country, the greater Baltimore region is not having the best of weather today. Yesterday was a nice snowy day and today there's a sheet of ice coming down. Not exactly the best mix of weather.

The ice was just thick enough that Jewels could saunter around and not break the ice. Jax, on the other hand, either walks too heavy or he's just that chubby that he broke through the ice and sunk into the snow. It really didn't bother him at all.

This morning was somewhat odd. The hubs and I went outside to clear off our cars and it seemed our entire street was doing the same thing. Our neighborhood isn't exactly Beaver Cleaver, so it was weird that everyone was outside at the same time. The lady across the street from me had her big Chesapeake Bay Retriever out with her and he came over to say hello. I have a giant sized paw print on my pant leg that can vouch for his enormous size. Jax and Jewels gave me a guilt trip when I came back inside. Yeah, I cheated on them.

My morning was made complete by witnessing the sheer idiocy exhibited by my other neighbors across the street. I call these two guys, "the Abercrombie & Fitch model wannabes." Model wannabe A comes running out of his house in shorts and flip flips. He runs across the street and falls square on his butt. It pained me not to laugh out loud. Then, after he picked himself up, he hopped in his Jeep and tried driving away. I think he figured out that he couldn't see out his windows, so he jumped out and used a CD case to scrap off his windows. The CD case lasted 45 seconds before it snapped into a hundred pieces. Model A muttered a few dozen curse words and then ran back across the street into his house (yes, he left his car running the entire time). Model A returned with Model B's car keys and took the ice scrapper out of Model B's Xterra. Model A finished cleaning off his car and then again tried to drive away. He spun his tires for a minute before Model B emerged from the house and helped push the Jeep away from the curb. I was really afraid that Model A was going to slam his Jeep into someone else's car.

Now, Model B is wearing shorts, a snow hat and sneakers. Seriously, what are these two guys doing that they are always in shorts? Anyway, Model B opens his Xterra and looks for his ice scrapper. He starts screaming at his car when he realizes Model A never returned his scrapper. Hilarious!!! I have to give Model B a bit of credit because he went inside and returned with another scrapper. I'm not sure why he didn't give that one to Model A, but that's another point. Model B asked me why I was shoveling off my neighbor's sidewalk. My response, "She's 79, on oxygen, and has two blood clots. I figure I can spend the five minutes and help her out." He mumbled that my reasoning made sense. Hahaha, victory is mine! Model B then drove his Xterra away without spinning his wheels at all. Maybe Model B is the brains of the operation.

What would I do without these two guys. They've provided quite the entertainment over the past year and a half. When they lit their grill on fire still takes the cake, but watching Model A try to run on an icy street in flip flops was still hilarious.

Monday, January 26, 2009

We survived another ski trip!

For six years the hubs and I always talked about going on a little ski trip. Nothing too lavish, just a simple weekend with a one day spot at the slopes. Last October, my mother-in-law moved out to Arizona and kept dropping hints that we should come visit her. Of course she tried to sweeten the deal by informing us that we could play golf and go skiing while in Arizona. Ski in Arizona??? I was intrigued.

Of course, there was just one little, tiny, detail that needed to be addressed -the hubs had never been skiing before. Hearing horror stories about my sister breaking her ankle while skiing probably helped keep the hubs off the slopes for a few years. But, he knew that if he married me he'd have to learn how to ski sooner or later. Maybe flying across the country to face the Rockies wasn't the best way to learn how to ski. It would have made for a heck of a story, but we decided to try something a little closer to home.

Enter Deep Creek, Maryland. It turns out that the brother of one of my hubs' coworkers owns a house near the Wisp Resort. Fantastic. Said brother had an open weekend last January and let the hubs and I tag along for few days.

I can honestly say that teaching the hubs how to ski was among the most nerve racking minutes we encountered during that first year of marriage. Fortunately, the hubs is quite the natural athlete and picked up skiing rather quickly. There were a few dicey moments when he wasn't too pleased to see his klutz-prone wife gliding on top of the snow like a pro. He kept telling himself, "if she can do it, I can do it." Nice, right?

Anyway, we returned to the slopes this year and the hubs hoped to significantly improve upon his previous outing. He did much, much, much better. Granted, I don't think we'll be jetting off to the Alps for my birthday (a lifelong dream of mine), but we can start discussing a trip to a bigger mountain.

There were intermittent snow showers while we were on the slopes.

RUN!!!! It's a red headed monster!

Our lovely accommodations. Sigh... it really is a life goal of mine to have a little mountain cabin somewhere. Nothing fancy, just a simple place to hide out for the occasional weekend. Something near the slopes would be an additional bonus.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Snow + Jax = crazy shenanigans

It snowed here in the greater Baltimore area on Monday. It's just taken me a few days to upload a few pictures. I really need to become more efficient at taking pictures and then remembering to transfer them from the camera to the computer.

Oh well....

Anyway, there was just enough sunlight on Monday afternoon to take the dogs outside and capture a few moments. It must be stated that Jewels isn't a fan of the snow. She'll normally hobble around on three paws because she subscribes to the belief that all four of her paws can't be wet at the same time. It's rather entertaining.

Jax, on the other hand, loves the snow. He gets hyper just looking at snow. So as soon as I opened the door he was sprinting across the yard and running laps around a frozen Jewels.

And he's out of the gate!!!

See, I told you she rotates on three legs.

This is where the crazy shenanigans began. I started tossing snowballs out into the yard and Jax started fetching and catching them. Rather entertaining.

Seriously, if you don't get your butt over here so I can go inside... I'm going to eat you!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I can't wait...

I can't wait to tell my future children that I saw President Obama speak in person.

I can't wait to tell my future children that I was a part of what will most likely be the most historical election of my lifetime.

I can't wait to tell my future children that I voted in every presidential election where I was old enough to vote.

I can't wait to tell my future children that I got their father to register to vote.

I can't wait to tell my future children that I got their father to vote.

I can't wait to tell my future children that if they work hard enough, then they can achieve anything they can dream.

I can't wait to tell my future daughter, if I am so lucky to have a daughter, that she can grow up and become the president. For that is my greatest dream today, that as these barriers are coming down, the rest will continue to fall.

I can't wait to tell my future children that their world is better than mine. That they live in a world where it doesn't matter what religion you practice, the color of your skin, where you are born, what school you attend, the gender they were born, who they fall in love with, because in their world people are judged only on their merits.

The truth of the mater is this, I don't agree with President Obama on every issue. Actually, I have quite a few differences with his policies, but today isn't about me. Today will be remembered as a day that transcends normal politics. Today will be remembered as the day when America decided it was ready to take the next step. Also, today isn't just about President Obama, it's about the millions of people who voted for him. Those people said, "I trust this man to be the leader of my country." We used to live in a world where it was a common assumption that person with Obama's background couldn't be the President. Thank God we no longer live in that world.

Today is the day where I don't have to wait to tell someone they can do whatever they want. Today is the day when I can tell my nephew he can become the President. That reminds me... I really should call him and tell him that. He can stick with his dance career, but that's totally up to him.

Go Blue Hens!!! It's a Udel thing.

Mr. President

(Don't tell the hubs, but the new tv photographs much better than the old tv )

Jax and Jewels wanted to grab a piece of the political action:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

He loves me!

Today, was one of those days where I just have to remind myself of how lucky I am. Why? Well, because today, my hubs, accompanied me to an event that he had absolutely no desire to attend. He didn't complain, although he did ask that we go a bit later in the day, but he did not complain. He was also incredibly sick this morning and he didn't try to use that as an excuse not to go. I told him I would be fine going by myself, but he wouldn't hear of such a thing.

My hubs may not have the best taste in O's paraphernalia or give the perfect blow-out, but he does keep his word. He promised me weeks ago that he would brave the crowds and see President-Elect Obama today when he gave a speech in Baltimore. I really thought the sub-freezing temperatures would be a deal-breaker. I should know better by now than to underestimate him.

The hubs and I are avoiding D.C. this week due to the sheer craziness expected with Obama's inauguration. While the hubs and I don't agree on politics, we both realized that we should go to hear Obama speak while he was in Baltimore. Ultimately, it came down to us thinking, "Will we feel comfortable telling our (potential) children that we were too lazy to see Obama while he was 20 minutes away?" We put aside our differences and hopped on the light rail heading for downtown (side-note: way to go MTA. Tons of people on the light rail today and there wasn't a single person checking tickets. The state wonders why its budget is in trouble).

Frozen solid, sick, tired, and somehow still awake.

Okay, he's not a saint. He refused to smile for a picture.

I'm not usually one to share personal politics, but I think many people understand the significance of this week's events. I hope all of us can put aside our differences and just be proud of the boundaries that are being broken down, one day at a time. I'll have more pictures posted on my Flickr site, that way those of you who want to see them can and no one is forced to see them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"You're killing me Smalls!"

I must confess, when the hubs and I first moved in together I had my concerns regarding his decorating abilities. I recalled his beloved ugly sweater, which to his best friend and myself, looked more like a third-graders attempt at painting the Middle East. Then, there was his comfortable reading pillow which had the obvious nickname, "big, orange and fluffy." To his credit, he never had those standard college posters tacked up in his dorm room. I didn't have to compete with any Playboy Bunnies or swimsuit models.

Finally, after three and a half years of dating, we moved in together. I was living on a poor graduate student's stipend and the hubs was struggling to pay his student loans on a fresh out of college salary. At the time we were saving up for our wedding, so our decorating budget was practically non-existent. All of our furniture was either of the hand-me-down variety or from Ikea (and we're not talking the pretty stuff you can find at Ikea, I mean the dirt cheap Ikea finds). We still haven't upgraded our furniture because it makes sense to do so when we finally have a house. I followed the hubs' bouncing ball logic on that one (ha! he does win an argument once a blue moon).

This past weekend I decided that our basement needed a solid cleaning and organizing. Our basement is "technically" finished, but I would never subject any company to spending more than 30 seconds down there. It has that creepy, fake wood paneling from the 70s and it doesn't look like the carpet has been replaced since the wood paneling went up. The most charming quality is our half-bath. Yes, it's a random toilet located next to our utility sink. There is no wall, no door, no curtain even to section off the half-bath from the rest of the basement. To this day, I have never used that toilet.

There will be no before and after pictures of our basement. Really, I could be charged with endangering the welfare of humanity by broadcasting the mess that was (and still is) our basement. But, I can (and will) share a few photos of some of my hubs' more questionable trinkets. Yes, they are all O's related. No, I do not hate them because I am a Yankees fan. I like the O's. They're the home team and I do root for the home team.

Exhibit A:

(view from the top)

WTF????? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my husband is the proud owner of the world's ugliest side table. There are no words to describe this table. What makes it worse is that when we lived in our first apartment my hubs tried to use this table as his night stand. Thankfully, he figured out I wasn't a fan when he found his precious table hidden away in our utility closet. When we moved to our current rental he again tried to use it as a nightstand. That's when I chucked it in the basement and haven't seen it since. I seriously draped a sheet over it so I wouldn't have to look at it when I was changing my laundry.

He refuses to get rid of this thing. You know that scene in the last episode of Friends, when Monica offers to pay the movers to destroy Chandler's dog statue? I would gladly pay for someone to take this thing out of my house. I was really hoping Jax and Jewels would chew on it and rip it to shreds, but even they claimed it was too ugly to chew on. That's saying something!

Exhibit B:

Sweet! An O's hammer. Again, WTF? Somehow I don't see my hubs throwing this bad boy in his tool chest and taking it out to show off to his manly friends. I would hope that his friends would laugh their butts off over the sight of this thing. It's one thing to have a fuzzy animal golf club cover, but a sports themed hammer? I didn't even see that in the tacky NFL Shop commercial (if he ever brings home a Tiffany inspired O's lamp, I don't know what I'll do).

Exhibit C:

Apparently, this is some type of commemorative Coke product from 1995. Yes, that's when Cal broke Lou Gehrig's record. I know this, I've always loved baseball and I watched 2131-feast on tv.

But, growing up in NY, I didn't know that there were all these specialty products that came out to celebrate Cal's achievement. Boy, you can imagine my surprise when I went to open a bottle of soda and my hubs dove across the kitchen to stop me. Again, why are we keeping these soda bottles?

Really, I'm not hateful. I'm not trying to make my hubs purge all of his baseball trinkets. It's just that I wish he would do something with them. If he wanted to display his little Coke bottles somewhere, I'd be okay. The table is a whole different story- it's butt ugly! My hubs keeps these things buried away and never even looks at them. He has a game bat signed by Cal Ripken and it's in the back of his closet. Dude, you've taken over the basement. Make it into your own little mancave and decorate how you will.

I'm just crying foul because the hubs told me to lose my Led Zeppelin poster when we moved in together. Come on, that bad boy was way cooler than that stupid O's table. Right????

(In case you didn't know, today's title is from "The Sandlot." It's one of my favorite movies.)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dear Pottery Barn

Just when my confidence in mass marketing was being questioned, thank you J.Crew, my trust was momentarily restored by this month's Pottery Barn catalog. This is how you sell overpriced home furnishings. J.Crew, please take note.

It's January and in my little world it also happens to be freezing cold outside. What does Pottery Barn do to ease my frustration? Oh, they happen to put the cutest bedding on their cover. It's such a happy yellow color that screams "spring is here!" and yet, at the same time it looks so warm and inviting that it's positive energy would be able to fend off any wind chill. Granted I am a sucker for anything yellow (my ultimate vision is to have a white office with tons of yellow accessories), but still I think this bedding could persuade those who are fans of other colors to jump on in and snuggle under the covers.

Pottery Barn also gets that it's still winter out. Hello, that's why they advertise on their cover that they are having a winter sale. A sale on things you might actually be able to use in January. Shocking, I know.

Take note J.Crew. This is how you sell stuff in January. You don't ignore spring and jump right into the summer details. You don't see Pottery Barn advertising their outdoor slumber chairs in January, do you? No, instead they ease their way into spring (the forgotten season it appears), while still reminding you that it is indeed still January.

The final point, the tag line, "A fresh start" kicks "It's always warm somewhere..." to curb. Game. Set. Match. Pottery Barn. Better luck next month J.Crew.

(Yes, I do realize I am over analyzing these things, but I had a freak out in the grocery store over the weekend. Little Christmas hadn't even come and the grocery store was already stocked full of Valentine's Day decorations. I about fainted.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Dear J.Crew

Sigh.... The January 2009 J.Crew catalog came in the mail yesterday. Normally, I get excited when the J.Crew catalog arrives. I can't wait to see all the pretty and preppy things that they've come up with now. I will wear pants if J.Crew says the color is Jasmine, but if it says pink, well then no dice.

Anyway, yesterday's catalog didn't produce that normal glee that comes when I find a new catalog to flip through. Why not? It was because of the cover.

Forgive me in advance, but I tried scanning a picture in of the cover and found out that my printer is broken. Fan-f'ing-tastic!!! My negative mood could have been slightly enhanced by the broken printer, but that's a rant for another day.

Back to J.Crew. I have two major issues with this new cover.

Beef #1: J.Crew, darlings, it's January. Today in my area there was a winter storm warning. That doesn't scream, "hey, let's put on a bikini and run around outside!" Also along with this line of reasoning, it's January!!! I just packed on a few pounds over the holidays. The very last thing I want to do this month is fit into a bikini. Now, if you have a slimming tankini that will magically take 5lbs off of my abs, then you might have a deal. I know the fashion world moves at a different pace than the normal world, but I'm in the mood for your yummy cashmere turtlenecks and not skimpy bathing suits! The final nail in the coffin was the tag line, "It's always warm somewhere." That's about as logical as the line, "it's five o'clock somewhere."

Beef #2: I get it, I don't have the body of a supermodel and I never will. I'm 5'7" and in the supermodel/fashion world that makes me the size of a mini-human. The one obvious and glaring exception to this rule is Kate Moss and I, unfortunately, do not have her fantastic bone structure. I get that models are these "perfect" glamazons, but I still think your cover art is stretching that to a whole new level. I'm going to throw it out there, but I'm guessing that this woman is about 8ft tall. She very well could be gorgeous, most of her face is covered so it's hard to tell, but she's too darn tall and skinny that she looks out of this world. The woman is making the rest of your models look short and stubbly. That's messed up!

Now, J.Crew, I love you. I do, you know it and my bank account can confirm this relationship. I outfitted my wedding party in cute and adorable outfits from your collection (and totally re-wearable I might add!). My husband knows you are my go to place for a cute dress and that I will never give up my magic wallet. Your flip flops got me through college! I will never let go of you.

Please, pretty please, make next month's catalog cover better.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Are you ready for some football???


Although my beloved New York Football Giants aren't playing this weekend, I'm still in playoffs mode. The hubs and I are having a few friends over for today's games. Of course I took this as an excuse to bake a new dessert. I was completely inspired by The Good Wife and made a batch of Buckeyes. I didn't use her recipe because I didn't think I needed 8 dozen and I balked at the idea of 6 cups of powered sugar. I love sugar as much as the next person, but my teeth hurt just thinking of all that powdered sugar.

Besides the tasty Buckeyes (four were sampled today and earned high praise from the hubs and that definitely wasn't one of those white lie moments), we'll have the normal football fare- bacon cheese fries, pizza, chicken wings, beer, chips, dip, veggies and whatever my brother-in-law decides to bring. Good thing the I started up running again, I'm going to need to run a marathon every day just so I can continue to fit into my clothes!
The Buckeyes

M & T Bank Stadium during last week's Ravens game

a few more pictures from the game over on my Flickr photostream

Friday, January 2, 2009

My 2009 to-do list

Alright, I feared sharing my to-do list for a variety of reasons. The major rational was of course, what would I say to others if I didn't achieve all of the goals I desired to meet? Could I handle having others know that I didn't meet all of my objectives? Would someone think less of me? How would I defend myself? Did I set out on an all too ambitious track?


I'm not really a fan of "New Year's Resolutions." I guess for two main reasons. One, everyone makes them and I hate following the pack. Secondly, it seems that people make the same resolutions every year and never keep them, "lose five pounds, quit smoking, call my mom more..." so I don't really see the point of making a list of unlikely resolutions every year. It's like setting yourself up for failure and that isn't a promising way to start off a new year in my mind.

But here we are again, the beginning of a New Year and I'm getting caught up in all the resolution madness. Because I have a negative connotation to the term resolution, I'm going to ignore the term and instead call my annual list of things a to-do list instead. Point me.

In complete random order, here is a few things I would like to do in the upcoming year:

Musically challenged:

You can certainly laugh, but most people would pick me as a clarinet player in high school. I'm not really sure what that says about me. The truth- I played the tuba in high school. [insert gut wrenching laughter here] It's actually quite a comical tale how I was stuck with the tuba. It included a year of playing the baritone when I was in the fourth grade because I was physically too small to carry the tuba. Then, there was a brief two months where my orangutan-esque arms demanded that I should be at least tested to master the trombone. I could have stayed with the trombone, but there was a guy who played the trombone and let's just say he pushed me over on the play ground one day. I figured I could at least drop a tuba on him and inflict some damage. Did I mention I was a major tom-boy growing up????

After that I begged my parents to pay for piano lessons. Unfortunately, I never gave the instrument the time, dedication and respect it deserved. I've had serious intentions to "permanently borrow" my sister's old keyboard, just so I could play again. I somehow doubt I could ever move my parents' piano and I don't exactly have room for it in my house.

Then, in college I took a leap of faith, bought a guitar and signed up for classes. A few Pearl Jam and Green Day tunes later I stopped playing. Guess where my guitar is now? Why, it's used as a decorative piece in the corner of my bedroom. It sits there and stares at me every day, beckoning me to pick it up and strum a few notes.

So this year, I intend to dust the bad boy off, buy some new strings and annoy the crap out of hubs. I need to have some type of musical outlet. It's one of my biggest regrets that I hardly ever practiced when I was a kid. I should have practiced more. So instead of saying, "I should have," I'm going to change things around to "I will."

Buy a new camera:
Yeah, this one is definitely going to happen. A new DSLR has escaped me for far too long and if another year goes by without one, well, I don't know what I'm going to do. I had every intention to buy one on Black Friday 2008, but the $1k spent on the new tv completely depleted the fun electronics bank account.

Finish the wedding projects:

HAHAHA! I got married oh, back in August 2007. Guess how many wedding pictures are framed and hung in my house? Wait for it.... TWO! Thankfully, I realized I'm not alone in ignoring those post-wedding tasks. A post on my local Nest board made me realize that I'm not the only one who intended to make some type of scrapbook with all of my wedding cards and never got around to it. Whoops. Oh, that totally goes for doing something with our invitations, programs, rehearsal dinner invites, OOT guest cards, custom napkins and all that other crap the Knot tricked me into thinking I needed to have (okay, I knew I needed invitations and should have programs). Maybe I can finally reclaim that cluttered corner in my basement where all of those wedding related items currently call home.

Drastic, I know. The hubs and I have a plan to buy a house, but at the moment that has been pushed back a bit. We're still getting to know the area and if we buy we're actually hoping to buy south of Baltimore. That's uncharted territory for us, so we're going to rent for a year before we buy. Our lease is up in July and then it's peace out, cub scouts to our little ol' duplex.

Adult education:
I'd love to take some type of enrichment class this year. Personally, I'd like to take a photography, cooking, painting, or sculpture course. The hubs said he'd take a class with me, but shot down the dance class idea the moment I thought it (seriously, I didn't have to say it and he said, "no dance class!"). Fine. I'll even allow for a golf course to warrant a check mark on my list.

Send out birthday cards:
Ugh, I have a box full of cards that I've never addressed and sent out. It's a nasty little habit of mine, but this year I intend to break it and spread joy to family and friends. My brother-in-law's birthday is the first one up for this year. I can't drop the ball on this one.

Walking the walk:
Well, actually, it's more like running the marathon. For years I've talked about running a marathon. I think the idea further cemented in my head last May when I finally persuaded the hubs to run a race with me. I don't have a problem running by myself, but it'd be comforting to have a running buddy. He's said he'll never run a marathon, but I've at least got him to think about running a half-marathon.

As of right now, I have October 24th penciled in for my first marathon. That should give me plenty of time to get in shape and have a solid base in for my first marathon. I don't have any time or speed goals in mind, rather instead, I'd just like to be able to move across the finish line by my own free will. I'll save a time goal for the next one. I hear marathons are like tattoos, once you finish one, you're already planning your next one.

So there you go. I hope to check this post on December 31, 2009 and cross everything off the list. That would be such an incredible feeling.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone. I wish nothing but the best for all of you.