Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Day 366: The end.

I started this project a year ago to have something to focus on and be happy. As a strong type A, obsessive compulsive, organizational freak, I needed a project that I could track and commit to and that would have me actively striving to do things that would keep me occupied and happy. And it worked. Obviously the project was only a small part of my 2008, but it helped me relax and take myself less seriously, and be happy for a sustained period.

So now my year of new finds me here, on new year's eve night, watching as 2008 ticks away and in its place comes 2009, and my birthday, 25. So my last new thing is making a list of 25 things I’m looking forward to in 2009, or about being 25. I can’t think of any year I’ve made a list of things to look forward to, or focused on those instead of things to dread.

In no order whatsoever:

  1. I can finally, legitimately, contribute any breakdowns, freak-outs, or major life decisions to a quarter-life crisis.
  2. One word: Obama. I’ll finally say it. I cried when he was elected. And not because he was a Democrat or black or a good speaker or because he wasn’t Sarah Palin. But because I truly believe he can improve things. Not fix everything all at one or perfectly, but I think he can do great things.
  3. Company cruise in March.
  4. Though an odd number, 25 is divisible by 5, so there is hope.
  5. The possibility of a certain sports team in a certain sport possibly winning a certain national title. (No jinx no jinx no jinx.)
  6. I can rent a car. I don’t drive, but can’t I still rent a car?
  7. New album by U2.
  8. Another year of group emails with three of my friends. 2008 saw us reach nearly 500. They keep me sane. Or insane, depending on how you look at it.
  9. Doctor Who specials and seeing who the new Doctor will be.
  10. Making a real list of “guidelines” to achieve for 2009.
  11. Watching my little brother graduate from college. (Ok, I might be dreading this one a little.)
  12. Still randomly doing new things, just because it’s a habit now.
  13. HP6 in theatres!
  14. Two new Ceclia Ahern books and one new Sarah Dessen.
  15. In London you had to be 25 to try speed dating. I’m hoping that applies here and I can find one because I think it would be great fodder for my novel.
  16. Two words: Sham Wow. I can resist no longer; I must have one.
  17. Playing with my new sewing machine.
  18. No more election coverage!
  19. Discovering what the deal is with the goat on How I Met Your Mother.
  20. Finally some plays I want to see coming to DC!
  21. 25=no longer getting carded?
  22. New book club members.
  23. New 30 Rock.
  24. February is a perfectly spaced month that starts on Sunday and ends on Saturday. It’s pretty.
  25. Figuring out what to do with this blog and keeping in touch with all my lovely family and friends.

Got lazy here and there but it wouldn't be my blog if it wasn't occasionally lame. It's nearly midnite and I don't want to welcome the new year on my laptop. Thanks very much to everyone who read and commented or just read. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Day 365: Scoot scoot

Hooray for young people in the family with new toys! Today I rode my niece Jordan's electric scooter, my first scooter ride. I have grand plans for finding one that folds so I can zip around DC and Old Town. Watch out.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Day 364: Hey macarena

Now that I have no hair I have more time in the shower. Thus in honor of my 7th grade self, who also happened to have short hair, I did the Macarena in the shower. Of all the things I've done this year, this one might just disturb me the most.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Day 363: Every little bit helps

Today's new thing is something I've been wanting to do for a long time. Specifically, the past year, as that's how long I've been growing out my hair. And tonite I cut 10 inches of my hair to donate to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths campaign.

Making sure it's long enough:
Mom starting to cut:
Still cutting:
My hair!:
And even shorter after I got it professionally trimmed:
I feel bald and am still experiencing phantom hair pangs, but I'm happy. And very light.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Day 362: So close

Ugh, I was trying so hard to consciously do something new every day this last month. Not frantically rush to do something at 11 or try and remember something new I did already. Today I kind of failed. I had hoped it would be watch UNC win a bowl game, but no such luck. Instead I guess it was shopping at Forever 21 with Mom at Independence Mall in Wilmington. Actually, it's my first time at Independence Mall with Mom since we moved when I was five, so that's new in a way too. I'm exhausted from the past perfect few days, let me be lame, one last time this year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Day 361: By the beautiful sea

Since 2006*, a momentous event has occurred once a year somewhere in North Carolina. A momentous event that comes at the end of a year of hundreds of emails, countless Gchat conversations, many Facebook wall and photo comments, and a few drunk dials and/or texts. A day where I and three of my most favorite people get to all hang out, together. This year on Ocean Isle beach, my first trip to the beach with them.

From seeing each other about every other day in college, to once a year now, sometimes I really really hate growing up. But at least I have people in my life that make it worth it.

*It doesn't seem that long ago, but it is.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Day 360: Rockin' around the Christmas tree

Merry Christmas! One of the best times of the year is finally here. Gifts and wedding soup and naps and homemade rolls and a few more gifts and wedding soup. The perfect day. And this year we also added a bit of cutthroat competition with a game of electronic banking Monopoly, the first time I've played Monopoly with a debit card.
And thus was able to say, "Buy Hollywood? Charge it!" And thanks to an updated version, the prices are increased, the places are real, and the urge to crush your brother into the ground is even higher.
Sadly, despite my hotel on Times Square that upped the rent to about $10 million, I still lost to Joey by quite a large margin, probably thanks to his oft-repeated motto of "gotta spend money to make money." Over and over and over again. Hopefully next time I won't have to lease the White House to the Russians for some extra pocket money.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Day 359: Christmas Eve will find you

Time for everyone to meet Ed and Fred, the false eyelashes I've had for many months but finally wore tonite, briefly, at Christmas Eve dinner.

As they were itchy and freaking out the brother, I took them off and put them...somewhere. Probably should go find them before someone finds them in their cookies or soup tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day 358: I'll be home for Christmas

And the day has finally come. Finally. Just a few more hours of work and even more hours on the train, and home I shall be. But first I wore a hoodie to work. A combination of only being there a few hours, wanting to be comfortable on the train, and most importantly, not being able to fit it in my suitcase, led me to wearing one to this job for the first time. Such a slacker.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Day 357: Here comes Santa Claus

DC is empty. Everyone's gone, metro cars at rush hour are half full, but I'm still here. But only for another half day and then I'm leaving this ghost town behind. After a long day at my half empty work, followed by an accidental nap at home, 3+ hours of packing, cleaning, and organizing, I'm a bit punchy. So over to artist Keri Smith's blog, and a little fun with her seasonal secret spy disguise.
Hint: That's not really Santa, it's me. Or, am I really Santa? A conundrum.

Yeah, I think it's time to be around some people again.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Day 356: Joyful, joyful

I've actually had today's activities in mind for about a month now. Trying again to make sure I stay the December Doldrums, I've been looking for things to keep me happy and occupied.

First up, a trip to see the National Christmas Tree, National Menorah, and the official North Carolina tree.
(I thought I'd seen the National Tree last year, but appartently only from afar, as I realized I never got this close last year.)

I took some pictures along Pennsylvania, before heading to Barnes and Noble for some warmth.

Finally, I headed to the Kennedy Center to see Elisabeth von Trapp, granddaughter of THE von Trapps, perform for free on the Millennium Stage. I didn't eat much today and started feeling poorly, so I had to leave early. But I did get to hear a few stories about her family, hear her sing one of my new faves, "What Child is This?" and then a few Sound of Music songs.
All in all, a great day. And now only a few more to go before HOME.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Day 355: Had a very shiny nose

It has been an insane week, or actually, couple of weeks lately. Work, shop, craft, write, work, work, work, sleep, work, shop, shop. That pretty much sums it up. But staying busy has meant I haven't entered the Christmas funk that has plagued me the past six years, so that's good. And I somehow managed to get nearly all my shopping done, so that today I laid in bed until 3:30, enjoying the nothingness for the first time in awhile. But I did leave my apartment, when the roommate and I went to Dupont for some Thai food, and then drinks and desert at Kramer's. New: dinner at Thaiphoon with Brandie, I've always gone with other people. And an ice cream sundae at Kramer's, I've always gotten something else.

I really wanted my new thing to be ordering the Nutty Irishman drink, but it wasn't worth the $7 just to say a funny name for the coffee drink I wouldn't like.
(No, I don't know why my eyes are so squinty. I took three pictures and in all of them my eyes look like this.)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Day 354: Twas the night before Christmas...

"Dance of the sugarplum fairy." "While visions of sugarplums dance in their head." Words I've said or read or sung for years, but never knowing exactly what a sugarplum was. I just assumed it was an old-fashioned sugary candy, popular with Victorians and the like. But tonite I read a recipe for, and discovered exactly what, a sugarplum is.
3/4 c whole almonds or pistachios
1/2 c each finely chopped dried figs, dates, apricots
3 TB orange liqueur or orange juice
2 tsp grated orange zest
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves

Orange zest, almonds, dried figs, dates, and apricots? It's not a candy, it's granola! I feel so betrayed. All these years I think I subconsciously pictured cotton candy covered chocolate with sprinkles, and really, they were organic "treats" before they even knew what organic was! Did a dentist have a hand in this? Or a health food nut?

I feel like a little bit of my childhood is gone. Like when I realized Piglet was a boy or that Bambi's mother wasn't coming back. I think I may have to start substituting "sugarplum" for something a bit more inspiring next time.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 353: All I want for Christmas...

My love of Christmas music has kind of reached new heights this year. Thanks to my commute and constant use of my iPod at work, I have a lot of time to listen. Which may explain why I have 250 joyful holiday songs. (Not at all excessive, as there are so many I still don't have.)

But anyway, I digress. For reasons I'll never know, I landed on , and took, a "What Christmas Carol Are You?" quiz on the web page of CosmoGirl. (Because even though this was my least favorite teen mag growing up, it's sure to know me better now that I'm nearing 25?)

So I took the quiz, and got Mariah Carey's "All I want for Christmas is You." And yes, I do really love this song, and actually listened to it a lot today, but I have to disagree. Particuarly with the description. Hopeless romantic really doesn't come close to describing me. At all. And I'm perfectly capable of staying warm on cold nights without a boy, thank you very much.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Day 352: Simply, having, a wonderful Christmastime

I tend to think I am quite knowledgeable of Christmas cookies and sweets, even the ones I don't like. But today someone brought in a Christmas goodie I have never had before, but must have again. Pecan+pretzel+caramel+chocolate=heaven, or a pretzel turtle, my new favorite treat. I did some research and discovered they're actually made with rolos, which makes them even simpler to make than I thought. And make them, I shall.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day 351: With love from Brussels

According to books, movies, and television, brussel sprouts are the scourge of children everywhere. I personally hated peas, but maybe that was because I never was around a brussel sprout, ever. But if you recall from my near death experience during the Duke game, I bought a bag awhile ago.* Now, many months later, I ate brussel sprouts for the first time. And, I didn't hate them! Not at all, they were actually quite good and interesting.

And, they just so happen to match my sweater tonite. (Your odd, but interesting fact for the day.)

*Yes, it's the same bag I used to ice my knee. But I have mutlipel reasons why this isn't gross. First, it's my knee, hardly a germ-centric body part. Second and third, I'm fairly certain that after so many months in the freezer, and then three minutes in the microwave, all the germs have been frozen and steamed out.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Day 350: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

There are a number of reasons I love my job and the people I work with. The latest reason is the incredible generosity and joy they are showing by "adopting" a number of families in the Alexandria area for Christmas. One of my contributions is buying books for an 8-year-old boy. Thus I spent an hour in the bookstore tonite, reliving my childhood and trying to narrow down all the amazing choices to four or five. This was really hard because of all the choices, because of the connections I have to so many of them, and the fact that I'm buying for a boy, which I'm more than proven I know nothing about. But I tried and I'll think he'll approve of my choices.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Day 349: And this Christmas, will be...

Pretty much, even more than carbs, my favorite food group is appetizers. Finger foods. Hors d'oeuvres. Bite-size, delectable treats. Little hot dogs, sausage balls, quiche, cheesball, I want it all. Including an English toffee ball, which I first had for my Olympic opening ceremonies viewing in August. Tonite I made another, and got to use my Mamaw's little covered dome dish. I like cute things like this and my toffee fit in it perfectly. Now I want to find other small things I can make to fit in it. A cupcake? Tiny, tiny brownies? World's smallest angel-food cake? I'll keep thinking.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Day 348: So this is Christmas

I told myself all week that I was going to get all my shopping done this weekend, so that I could relax and enjoy the season next week and weekend. Stop laughing, it could've happened. But seeing as how I have gifter's block and I've just needed sleep this week, I was a bit sluggish today. But I did get out and get a good start. And most shocking of all, I went to three of the best browsing stores: Barnes and Noble, Target, and Best Buy, and only spent about 20 minutes in each. I kid you not. Definitely a new thing, and definitely something that will never be repeated again. Ever.

Seriously, last decoration, my new angel. Mainly to show Mom, who was quite worried when I said she wasn't technically for a treetop and that I was going to have to lash her on. (Which I did, with part of her outfit, is that sacrilegious?)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 347: Holly and jolly

Today was my first foray to a mall this holiday season. It was far less painful than I thought, and there were enough sales and deals going on that it was less painful on my wallet as well. But still, a long, tiring week and a deadline today, meant once I did get home I unwound with a glass of wine, and a candy cane. I'm sure every wine enthusiast for 10 miles just died a little bit, but, oh well. It's not like it takes much to de-class my $4.99 bottle of red wine from Harris Teeter. Besdies, it was just a mini candy cane after all. And red and red go together, right?
And one last addition to the Christmas decorations, my first nativity scene, bought tonite. Oh, and another new thing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Day 346: Water, water everywhere

It rained all day today, yet again turning the alley beside my apartment into whitewater rapids. But since I worked from home today, I didn't have to be out in it. At all. (Hooray!) But I did still deal with water in another way, when I made a drinking cup, origami-style, out of computer paper.
It worked perfectly, no leaks or drips, and I am very impressed. No need to buy more glassware, just pick up a pack of paper at Staples and I'm good.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Day 345: Seriously?

It's 11 p.m. now. Time to brush my teeth, pick out clothes for tomorrow, and wind down with a book or music or a Will and Grace re-run. Or I could try and smash my head open against the wall to escape the jack-hammering and construction work that has been going on outside my apartment since 5:30!!! Yes, I know from my FHWA work that there are numerous reasons why some roadwork is done at night. But, I don't care! I want to sleep without feeling like I am living on an airstrip and the enemy is attacking. I'm a pacifist! But instead I took a cue from an episode of How I Met Your Mother, where the girls, tormented by a car alarm, attempt to hum along. Thus I hummed along to the construction noises outside my appointment. Yeah, so not working. A better distraction? Decorations! My non-ornament snowpeople from my collection.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Day 344: Oh adult life

I have client meetings today and tomorrow for work, which means I have to look nice and presentable, i.e., no jeans and no wrinkles. Thus, ironing. Oh the ironing. But this morning when I tried to iron my nice white dress shirt, I got black gunk on it. Not good. Thus I had to clean my iron tonite with a special cream thing. I don't know why it seems strange to me that irons get dirty. I mean, they're just hot things getting the wrinkles out of clean clothes. I don't understand it. Anyway, I had to use way more than the recommend dosage on the back but I finally got the mysterious black gunk off. Now I don't have to worry about looking like Cinderella at my meeting tomorrow.

And, not related at all, but more decorations.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Day 343: Oh Monday

This week is the week of shopping, beginning with tonite, with, no details, I bought a remnant computer part. I know, you're probably thinking "gosh, I hope that's not for me," but trust me, it makes sense, and it's not for you.

And to make this a bit more interesting, finally a picture of my tree.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Day 342: The most wonderful time of the year!

The past two days in DC have been unseasonably, bitterly, unbearably cold. So naturally we decided to go to the open air, completely exposed to the elements, Eastern Market. But of course it was worth it as Mom and Melissa really enjoyed it and we found some good finds. I managed to find a gift for a friend and held out as long as I could without buying something for myself, but caved in the end and I bought, and wore, a hat with ear flaps on it. Kind of Elmer Fudd like, but I don't care. I must wear a hat in the winter for my ears, as after less than a minute in the cold and wind they hurt so bad I feel like I'll explode, and this covers them more securely than all my others.

Later, after I said goodbye to the guests and contemplated taking a nap, I began decorating for Christmas. Though Brandie thinks the apartment looks like Christmas threw up, I think it's warm and cheery and just what we need. Besides, no one ever died of Christmas cheer, except for maybe the roommate if she gets to close to the tinsel. This is also the first time I've had a full size tree for myself.

I'll post more pictures later, I have to get an angel for the top before it's official.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Day 341: Great Scot!

A large reason that the fam chose this weekend to come up was the Scottish Christmas parade being held in Old Town Alexandria as part of the annual Scottish Christmas Walk weekend. It has been two years since Mom and I went to Edinburgh and its environs, and we've missed it a bit. Thus the opportunity to hear bagpipers and see a dozen breeds of Scottish dogs, could not be missed. Thus I went to my first Scottish parade in Alexandria.

Despite the freezing numbness that consumed our bodies, it was a great parade. And a pretty big deal considering the number of Virginia politicians and (Scottish) clansmen from across the country. And of course, Alexandria-born Willard Scott, and two kilt-clad, UNC hat wearing and loving Tar Heels, that were the only ones to give us candy. (Next time, we will rent a kid and then steal its candy.)

Grand Marshall Willard Scott:
I want their socks:Cutest picture ever:
Scottish people are tall:One of a bajillion beautiful dogs:
Bagpipers:They carry swords. I think since my first name is Scottish, I should get to carry a sword in the next parade.

We also visited the newly renovated National Museum of History. This is my favorite DC museum, and though a bit disappointing, I have hopes that once all the exhibits open and the crowd dwindles down, I will love it again.

Outside Star Spangled Banner exhibit:
A button I liked:
I happened to have bought a miniature of this the night before at Mount Vernon:Barbie! And who Mom and Melissa claim is GI Joe, but who I think is Fidel Castro. (As I told them, of course Barbie's a communist. No one could get that many clothes in a free market economy. Though Melissa is correct, she had a lot of jobs.)
And finally, we ate at the Elephant and Castle pub on Pennsylvania. I've been eyeing this for awhile as it's also the name of London Tube stop, and it was a good choice. Best hot spinach artichoke dip ever.


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