Monday, December 26, 2011

Good Riddance 2011. 2012 Bring it!

2011. You sucked. Straight up. Peace.

Goals for 2012:

1. Get rid of a huge portion of debt. Credit cards..here's looking at you. Student Loans..you too.

2. Lose weight. I spent my 20s bitching about being fat. I don't want to repeat that in my 30s.

3. Keep a positive attitude at work. People are idiots. This is a fact. I will accept it and work around them.

4. Read 30 books. I only read 10 in 2011. Which was actually an improvement and I thank my Kindle for that but I can do better.

5. Reddit less. The website is a time suck. I'll spend the time I was redditing and work out.

6. Eat less carbs and drink less pop (soda). The Fat Head movie was an eye opener and further studies personallu on how the USDA screwed us in the food pyramid is disheartening.

7. Try to find time to Volunteer. I'm no longer doing tours, therefore my evenings are free.

8. Focus on fleshing out the novel that I have been perennially talking about for years.

9. Leave the apartment and explore Richmond.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Hubs, I Don't Think We're in Yuppyland Anymore...

It's been three months since we moved to Richmond from the yuppy playgrounds of the DC Metro (Virginia side, represent!) and in this time, it's been made painfully obvious that we are definitely out of our comfort zone. While, I guess, techincally DC is below the Mason Dixon line, it always seemed more Yankee than Dixie. It was an eclectic mix of the young professionals walking their dogs holding little plastic baggies and foreign cab drivers, who would gladly run you over if it meant they got a better tip for being speedy. The pace was fast and you would get run down if you didn't move at the speed of the city. Richmond........yeah, not so much.

Here, people like to talk to their neighbors. When I first drove down here to get the keys, several of our soon to be neighbors were incredibly welcoming and introduced themselves. I lived in Alexandria for 4 years and I didn't know any of my neighbors. Which was probably a good thing since I called the police on them regularly. I didn't realize I had that many neighbors until an INS agent would show up in the building and people materialized out of the walls like roaches and ran. (Full Disclosure- I laughed my ass off every time). I did talk to one or two over the years but none I would actually want to hang out with in their apartment or have in mine. Understandably, I was quite confused when people spoke to me here. I actually looked around to see if anyone else was standing behind me because it was so disconcerting.'

It's not just the neighbors who talk. Every store you go to, cashiers talk to everyone around them. They will even greet friends and have a conversation while ringing you up. This actually happened at the Petco yesterday and I went to the manager and complained.I've noticed this trend at a lot of stores I go to here. Everyone likes to talk. Where I come from, you don't talk to anyone but the person you are waiting on. This is proper etiquette for a cashier. I know this. I got written up at Meijer quite a few times for saying hi to people not in my lane. You don't do it. This must be a northern mentality because down here, you're armless when you leave a store because it has literally been talked off. I however, leave irritated because I have stuff I need to do and I don't feel like talking to these people.(wow, I'm kind of a Midwestern bitch) This leads me to another thing I've noticed about the former Capital of the Confederate States: Everyone takes their sweet ass time.

I'm always in a hurry. I walk fast, talk fast and drive fast. I'm blunt and cut people off when they start to venture off their point because I'm busy and I have stuff to do. Up North, I was among my brothers and sisters. People in DC were always rushing. If you were sitting at a red light, the person behind you was honking their horn a second before the light was going to turn green and you definitely made sure you went because they would probably ram their car right up your ass if you delayed hitting the gas. When I worked in DC, everyone was walking as fast as possible with their blackberries glued to one hand and swigging a coffee in the other. The pace was quick and I liked it. Haha! Not in Richmond. People drive slow, walk slow and some even talk slow. It has been a severe learning curve to adjust to this pace. Working in construction at this speed, takes even more patience: A virtue that anyone who knows me, knows I lack. It's the way of life down here. It is one of things I loved about the South, when I was visited. Living here, it is going to take time to find that love again.

People have no shame down here. Especially when it comes to Christmas. I have seen cars with Reindeer antlers, bows, wreaths and lights-magnetic AND string. Christmas displays are over the top and tacky and I frakking love it! It makes me wish I owned a house so that I could join them in their tackiness with a gaudy display of my own. (someday..someday)When walking around any store, it is not unusual to see "Walcreatures" proudly strutting down the aisle in the crazy get up they have decided on for the day. Another interesting thing about having no shame: People are not afraid to spank their children right in the middle of store. They keep screaming and the parent keeps threatening. This makes my heart happy. Disipline still exists. God Bless Dixie.

As for the city itself, I sadly can't speak much about it. I haven't had the time to go out and explore the many cultural and historical treats that River City offers. They are on the list. I will have plenty of free time in the Spring now (I'm incredibly sad at this fact) so I'm sure I can start crossing some things off. I have seen sights in passing as I'm driving from one Construction site to another, but I haven't had the chance to stop or slow down and take it all in. I'm always in a hurry, you know.Maybe, I need to stop, breathe and reboot.

Perhaps, I should try to get in touch with my inner Scarlet. I'm sure she is somewhere inside this Yankee Michigander. But, first....need to go stick some Antlers on my car.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Holiday (?) Playlist

The selection below has made it painfully obvious that I have been stressed to the max and on an emotional roller coaster. Between getting two 20 million dollar schools out of the ground, punching out a vascular center and finishing up a National Guard Warehouse, I have been working quite a few hours. Also, moving down to Richmond and being put on no less than five cluster[blanks] made for a very moody me. I am trying to get into the Christmas spirit and I do love my Christmas music supply. So enjoy the eclectic Stress mix below.

1. Rammstein-"Mein Land"- German is a harsh language. Rammstein is hard music. Good when you are quite angry.

2. Rammstein- "Du Hast" Du Hast mich?

3. Casting Crowns- "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" Not one of the more common songs, but I love this arrangement.

4. Ashleigh Summerville, " The Huron Carol"- I prefer Leahy's version, but the only way to hear it is to pay $50 bucks to go to the concert as they failed to release a Christmas CD this year. Hopefully next year. Regardless, this song is a very pretty alternate version to the Christmas story. (Don't chase me with fire and pitchforks..it was written for a Canadian tribe in words they would understand so instead of the wise men bringing "Gold and merr", they brought "Bear and Beaver pelts")

5. Skillet- "Awake and Alive"- Skillet sucked when they first started. I don't even think that could describe it well. The change and improvement is impressive.

6. Pitbull- "Give me Everything Tonight" - Don't judge me.

7. Britney Spears- "Criminal"- Don't hold it against me.

8. System of a Down- "Chop Suey", "Toxicity"- Old School hard rock. Again, great when you're angry.

9. Cee-Lo Green- "Forget You"- yeah...you know I don't listen to this version. I won't even pretend that I do. But sing this at the top of your lungs in the car and tell me if you don't have a smile on your face at the end. Oh you can't, because you do.

10. Christine Peri- "Jar of Hearts". Stress for me equals melancholy when I'm not mad. This song is so simple and just gorgeous.

11. Adele- "21" Yeah I'm just going to put the whole CD. You can't just listen to one song. Best CD of the year straight up!

12. Christopher Titus- "Neverlution"- Titus for President, please. Buy this CD. Comedy Gold.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends

I think I have been in a state of denial that we are actually moving. The most I had done is pack, I hadn't really thought much about the actual moving part. Until Saturday. We drove down to Richmond to sign the lease on the new place and as soon as I started signing those papers, it hit me- Holy Shiz, we are moving to Richmond!

Last night allowed me to forget about that and have a good time. My dear friend Heidi (with the help of the sexy house boy Richard;) ) put together a fantastic dinner for me and our closest friends. I am so glad I decided to start doing The Alexandria Colonial Tours Ghost and Graveyard tour 4 years ago. I have had the extreme honor of working with the greatest boss one could have and I have worked the streets with the most talented, inspiring and fabulous people in Alexandria. Quite a few have become my dearest friends and I will miss them, although Richmond isn't that far so I'm sure I'll see them pretty regularly. Also, do not be alarmed when the reports of a huge unemployment boom among the Alexandria PD begins (however, as Larry has pointed out, they've probably already notified Richmond of my imminent arrival). Oh joy!

Anyways, I guess it's back to filling cardboard boxes and prepping two very anal brats ..err..cats..for a two hour car drive. Ugh..two hours of whining. Does anyone have some tranquilizers so I don't leave them on the side of I-95 somewhere?

Also, I would like to give a special shout out to a beautiful person who I've shared a lot with in the last two years: Don't stop believing and keep the faith.





Thursday, September 8, 2011

Change is Inevitable Except From a Vending Machine.

The last few weeks have been a blur. I've been spending my days packing and purging to prepare for our move to the real Virginia (Northern Virginia is a foreign country compared to the rest of the state) and I'm tired. I do have to say the temporary unemployment hasn't been too bad. I could get used to a life of leisure, despite the fact it has screwed up my sleep schedule. I've finished the entire series of both 70s show and 3rd Rock from The Sun and am now working on Mad Men. I've also become sadly addicted to the ultimate time suck, Reddit.com.

It's a huge change. If you asked me two months ago what I would be doing in two months, it definitely wouldn't be this. I was worried about possible unemployment and was so miserable, I left work one day and drove to one of the many strip malls along Gallows Rd and sat in the parking lot with my head buried in the steering wheel crying and basically just sobbed "Tell me what I'm supposed to do, God" and in a quick series of events that followed, I am now moving to Richmond. It's amazing how things just work out.

Anyways, short blog, I know, but I just haven't felt inspired to write about anything. I'm sure my new neighbors will provide me with fodder soon enough.
Until then, I'm out.





Things I Could Be Doing While Temporarily Laid Off

1. Going to the Smithsonian Museums
2. Walking All the Memorials
3. Georgetown Shopping
4. Visit Mt Vernon
5. Cleaning the apartment
6. Packing and purging stuff in the apartment
7. Geocaching
8. People watching

What I am doing:

Facebook, Netflix and making sure the couch does not float away

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

#WorstBuy

I expect a certain level of service. If I like a product enough, usually I will let people know. If I hate a product, I don't hesitate to acknowledge my disgust as well. I did not hate Best Buy. Granted, Target usually runs cheaper, but Best Buy always has a better selection. However,from now on, if I can't find it in Target, I'm going to Amazon.

Last year, we went to Best Buy for phone upgrades. They had a good deal of "BOGO" on the Droid and didn't have the rebate like our carrier did. It was a pretty good experience. The girl was nice, seemed to be competent (which in this area is a rarity) and we were pretty happy we got a great deal. We were going through the motions of the upgrade and we got to the insurance part. (Full disclosure, considering the field I work in, I SHOULD have read the fine print. I know better. This day was my blonde day.)

She rambled off about how expensive it is to have insurance through the phone carrier and that for 2 bucks more a month, we could have an insurance policy that covers everything except theft and loss. She informed us that if we had any problem with the phone at all, we could return it to the store and get a new one of the same model or one equivalent. No questions asked. It sounded pretty good. So we stupidly fell for the scam, left the store with our phones and life was good.

Fast forward to yesterday. Last week, before vacation, my camera just stopped working and now the phone won't recognize it. Even after a complete reset, it still won't work. Well, I figured, no big deal, I have the best buy insurance, I can just got get another one. WRONG! I went to the phone counter and found one of the techs, who directed me to the Geek Squad desk. (umm...what?) and I stood in line for days and finally made it to the "Geek". He proceeded to inform me that my phone had to be sent out to a third party and for a $150 refundable deposit, I could have a BASIC loaner phone. I have a phone that carries a data plan and is expensive...I am NOT about to use a basic cell phone, What really grinds me is that if I had insurance through my carrier, I could have had a new phone fed exed within a day. We got into a pretty heated verbal spar (mostly on my end) and I left. I got home and found the "insurance policy" and to my disgust, it wasn't an insurance policy, but an extended service plan for the Geek Squad "Black Tie Service". We had been flat out lied to by the girl.

After an angry email to the hubs, who was equally livid, I tried to calm down.....but then I got on Twitter. I fired off a very angry tweet to Best Buy (since deleted) Not even 2 minutes later I got a response. The chick was concerned (probably because it's her job to squelch negative publicity) and I emailed her privately to say my peace and left it. I am now cancelling the service agreement...I can upgrade again in 8 months, I can go without a camera that long.

I think the thing that irks me more than anything (and yes, I am going to sound like a hypocrite, but I've been out of retail 6 years so I have a fresh perspective) is that the virtue of "The Customer is Always right"no longer exists. It's almost as if these businesses don't really care about their customers, and why should they? People still go and buy their "manufactured in china" crap. They don't have to care because the money continues to roll in. and it's sad. We have even bought enough crap to be platinum rewards members and for what? 10% off? Not worth it anymore. I long for the days when you could go into a store and be treated as person (I will give a huge shout out to Kohls though, you guys are doing it right. LOVE the return policy)

So I write today, that I am done with @BestBuy. or in the words of the twitterverse " #worstbuy

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fat Head Diet Week 3

Hubs: 5 pounds
Me: 2 pounds

I'm proud of that 2...it's been a stressful week.

Friday, July 22, 2011

"Satan, Satan Lend Me a Dollar..."

The temps remain at 100 degrees outside at 9:00 PM. I'm trying to stay positive as I can pretty much stay in the AC all day but the minute I spent getting in and out of my car to reach a building was hell. The irritating thing for me is the loss of income due to the fact I can't physically do tours. My body can't physically function in temps over 90. I may sound whiny, but you try having heat stroke. Not fun. At all. (I had one last summer . I don't remember anything of that day except I walked a 5K that was followed by a migraine and black out..scary stuff)

I thought going to the pool would be refreshing, but one minute swimming in lava and I was done. Seriously, if I'm going to take a hot bath, I'd much prefer one in my clean tub and not in a cement hole with screaming kids and make out couples. (Side Note, I think the apartment should keep the pool "Swim at Own risk" after 8 for kid free enjoyment- at least then something would justify them raising the rent 100 bucks)

Heatapalooza continues through the weekend. I guess it's going to be a relaxing one of holding down the couch under my snuggie and laughing at my apartment complex who thought it would be cheaper to make us pay for gas and water instead of the central air that I (and probably several neighbors) have cranked at a soothing 60 degrees. Suckers.




Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Summer Reading List (Pool Edition)

The gift of the Kindle has been the greatest thing I've been given by my husband. I have made myself take time to read and learn to enjoy books and allow myself the escape. The following books are what I've read or been reading so far this summer by the pool.


This book angered me. I won't lie. I got it because I figured I might learn some new stories for tours and some new historical information. Holy hell was I wrong. I figured on reading about Laura Schaffer (the actual version) and the Female Stranger as they are well known stories, but I was not prepared to read my and my fellow guides freaking tours. I think he went on a tour and tape recorded someone....just not sure exactly which guide(s)..going to start shadowing to find out.


Ok, the next book is not anything I would ordinarily pick up. I don't do well with the Young Adult books (Twlight and Harry Potter are major suck fests) but something about this one made me download it. I'm glad I did! It was a fascinating book, I could barely put down. So different and the premise was interesting. I don't know if I will go see the movie version as they tend to ruin books, but maybe. I am going to get the next two books in the trilogy when I get paid. Highly recommend.


I'm currently reading this book. I heart Jen Lancaster. She's funny and snappy and when I read her books, I swear it's like reading myself. If you like light and fluffy reads and like to laugh at lot (I mean, the character moves into Jake Ryan's house..how can you not love 16 candles) this is great chick lit. Love her!

Monday, July 11, 2011

"Fat Head" Week 1 Tally

Total pounds lost: 5!

So only borderline fat now. This week should be fun. I'm working out of the corporate office so I will probably go downstairs to the free gym at lunch. Then go for a walk with the hubs when he gets home. No tours until Friday so I have the whole week to concentrate on me.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Playlist

I've been finding myself in my car more frequently with a jobsite in Chantilly and running back and forth from the Corporate Office to the field office so I've been getting to listen to all this fabulous music I've been downloading. So without further adieu, my summer jams.

1. 21, Adele- I can't even pick one song so I just listen to the entire CD over and over again. It is too fantastic not to.

2. Jar of Hearts, Christine Peri- This song is gorgeous.

3. I love You Like a Love Song, Selena Gomez.....I can't even justify this one. It's a shameful one.

4. I do, Colbie Colait- Such a light and fluffy feel. Perfect for summer when laying by the pool.

5. Femme Fatale, Britney Spears- Another CD I can't stop listening to. It usually follows Adele. Britney is back!

6. Unchained Melody, Laura Alaina. OK, I am happy with Scotty winning American Idol, but I think Laura may have a longer career. which is fine with me. I love her version of this song. It doesn't go off a tangent from the actual song.

7. Going out in Style, Dropkick Murphys. Love Irish punk. More fun music for summer. Very Bouncy.

8. Guitar Hero, Amanda Palmer. I love the Dresden Dolls and Amanda doesn't stray far from their sound on her solo stuff.

9. Float On, Modest Mouse- This song gets busted out every summer. First song I ever downloaded. I played it as loud as possible to drown out "Hyena" and "Amazon" in the dorm.

10. White Rabbit, Egypt Central. Love them. That is all.


Apparently in the summer I like Poppy music and fluff. Oh well. Off to the pool for me.

ALmost

Well, we are almost through the first week of the diet. With little to no exercise and then limiting carbs...Aaron has so far lost 6 pounds and I have lost 4. Actual to be determined tomorrow.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Good Lord

This diet is already frustrating. I've never read so many food labels in my life. Do you know how many products have Soybean,corn or wheat in them??? Pretty much everything! This even applies to the healthy foods. guess Im going to have to puruse the Gluten Free section.

Sigh...guess it's all Farmer's Market for grocery shopping tomorrow......and Wegmans....I need my shopping porn.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Fat Head" Diet- Day 1 and 2

Not having my morning toast or bagel could kill me....

Day 1 wasn't too bad. I started off with some eggs and turkey bacon and lunch was the left over half of my burrito bowl from Qdoba. Dinenr was slightly carby and bad. I had 2 avocado rolls, that were dipped in soy sauce. The avocado and Nori are fine but the rice and soy sauce are carbariffic.

Today, my nemesis is my coffee addiction. I'm at 24 ounces for the day...so looks like it will be water for the rest. Have to run our to a job site so lunch may be on the go but I might sneak over and grab a salad real quick at the bufffet before I go. Breakfast was fruit (watermelon, honeydew, grape, cantalope and pineapple).

Unfortunately I have no idea on weight loss. this is the week that it's pretty much pointless to weigh myself since it isn't a real weight so we'll see Monday. I know Im fat so anythign less is an improvement :)

Since I will be out of work early, I will try to get a walk in at the gym before my tour since it's too hot for outside

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"Fat Head" and the Quest to see if Atkins was full of pie or actually right.

I love long weekends. I love them more with a Netflix subscription. Just lay on the sofa, turn on the Xbox 360 (for streaming....I still can't figure out the damn controller for it's actual use, plus I think that it's a conspiracy that allows guys to feel that they are, for once, the smarter mammal) and pick your movie.

This weekend, in between marathons of "Parking Wars" and cleaning, I decided to enhance my brain and check out a documentary. I ended up choosing "Fat Head" http://www.fathead-movie.com/ The basic premise of the film is that Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size me" was a load of crap and that what we have been taught by the food industry as a whole is completely wrong. Granted afterwards, I did lots of "fact checking" (Yeah Google) and indeed, many people were there refuting every claim made by this movie.

The biggest point, besides the fact that the guy LOST weight eating fast food, was that health is being destroyed by some of the things we are told we should eat. Our bodies are primed to crave sweet, salty and fat. However, nature's version of sweet equates to fruits and the salty and fat comes from meat. (mmm.... Bacon). We did not eat Grains or oils (corn and soy.....and what is in 95% of processed foods?) until the advent of argriculture. Our bodies are not made to process grains like corn and soy. A fun fact: "As heart-disease rates were skyrocketing in the mid-1900s, consumption of animal fat was going down, not up. Consumption of vegetable oils, however, was going up dramatically."

Well, the science about fat processes and the whole HDL /LDL cholestorol was interesting and we decided to go into the kitchen and see what we had that was healthy to eat. PS...pretty much 95% of our kitchen is carbs. Huh, that sucks.

However, the hubs and I have decided to take on the challenge of limiting our carbs for a month to test the theory presented in this documentary-that eating a low fat low calorie diet is not the way to go. Thank God cheese qualifies to be eaten because I just can't quit that creamy, delicious dairy. So for July, we are going to limit ourselves as much as we can to foods that would have been eaten by earlier people. We will eat Meat (salty and fatty), dairy(fatty), veggies(?) and fruits (sweet) and limit intake of breads, rice and pasta (this will suck). I will try to continue blogging on the process but I'm not promising...because it would be empty.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Summertime...and the Living is ...HECTIC

I've been neglecting the blog. I won't lie. It's been so busy here in VA that I have to remove one activity out of the equation. Since I usually don't have much worth blogging about. (what? you want to hear ALL about my working 6 AM to 6 PM and then rushing to tours for 7:00-9:30 PM???? You are glutton for boredom). It's the Pseudo-Government year end which pretty much means, we are the Govt's bitch until June 30. Lots of hours, not lots of fun. So I'll just give a small rundown.

-I do have some excitement lined up. Finally going to go see Wicked at Kennedy Center. I'm kind of glad for this one. I was late to the party on tickets and ended up getting the last remaining ticket under $100 and not $250. I wish I was exaggerating on this fact, but I'm really not. There was nothing left. I also have tockets to the LTA theater production of Hairspray. I'm fairly excited about this as well since Larry is performing the role of Wilbur Turnblad. I love my Larry :~)

-I have taken up rubber stamping and card making. We went down to Old Town and visited my now favorite store (after IKEA, of course...it will be hard to kill my absolute devotion to them), Paper Source. They were doing a demo on card making and embossing. Needless to say, I am interested in pretty much anything shiny so I decided to invest in some materials. Aaron, is also pretty into the process and has already made me a sweet card. Mellie of course spent the rest of her visit coming with different fun projects to create with the stamps......so Mellie..I blame you for this!!

-Exercise wise- still fat. Haven't seen much of a gym. Aaron and I had a talk amongst ourselves earlier this week and are going to make a joint effort to get off our asses and do stuff instead of staying home doing nothing or sitting on the internet.

-Have an exciting weekend lined up. Pedicure and Shellac-ing with Heidi and then some NPH on the big screen.


Deuces.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"Just a Small Town Girl...Living in a (Yuppy) World"

Well, it's official. I've lived in the DC Metro for 4 years. It seems like only yesterday I watched my family drive away, leaving me and the puppin alone in what would soon be known as Hell Apartment. It doesn't seem like long ago that I started my first construction job in tears, sitting on the side of the South Capitol street bridge, lost, and my van overheating, while screaming at my dad on the phone (like there was actually anything he could do.)

As a small town girl, the first few months were amazing. I filled my days with sightseeing and adjusting to life in the big city. The fact I could have anything delivered and drive most places in less than 5 minutes was pure heaven, especially after commuting between Jackson and East Lansing for the last 5 years prior. However, found myself longing for the days where I did have to drive a few minutes to get to the nearest house or restaurant. The day I can return to that world is far away.

I do have to say, a lot of pros come with city living.

1. Starbucks. Everywhere. On every corner, there is a starbucks. Granted after visiting each several times, you do find the preferred ones and those become your home. I do enjoy being able to walk into the E ST one by my office and my drink is already prepared for me. (I'm a creature of habit, don't judge me), then spend Saturday mornings in Old Town at my favorite one with good friends, right on the waterfront in a building built long before DC existed, (it was a huge swamp). Granted as you walk in DC or anywhere in the DC Metro, you will usually see 75% of the population holding a Starbucks cup...complete with new crappy logo.

2.Food Convienience. While I have not gone as far as Afghan Kabob just yet, the amount of food options is quite amazing. The king of all food is Chinese/Japanese and Mexican. The latter is great, as I have an incredibly unhealthy addiction to it. The former, while the Chinese part of it is delicious, the Japanese part was a new experience, ie Sushi. Granted you will never see my happy ass eating any sushi with fish in it, but the Avocado rolls are delicious and I am addicted. Special Shout out to Kels for starting the Ishiban addiction.
Also, pretty much everyone delivers. Yes, even the grocery stores. (I have NOT fallen to that level of lazy yet) If they don't personally deliver, services exist that you can pay to deliver food to you. Again, besides Chinese or Pizza, I have not yet sunk that far into laziness.

3.Public Transportation- I do admit that I am over the public transportation. Metro has proven itself to be extremely reliable (HA!) so I'm back to driving. However, if you find yourself wanting to go the Smithsonian with an excessive amount of people (family), the metro is the way to go. If you work at a place that is right off a stop, it is beneficial as well. If you are going alone, there are places you find that become your secret parking places that are free. Suck it, Colonial parking!

4. Good Movie Theaters/Entertainment-I do not indulge in the movie theater much, unless Groupon sends out good coupons, because you pay for nice theaters-$15 bucks a movie...plus concessions at their lowest start at 7 bucks. You pay it because popcorn with snow caps thrown in, is some damn good eatin'. There are theaters for actual performances everywhere. My personal favorites are "The Little theater of Alexandria" and "The Kennedy Center".

5.People watching-City living provides some gems. If you happen to live in a tourist city (like us) the possibilities of what you encounter are endless. My personal favs are- a. fanny packs with black socks worn with sandals and b. Foreigners. However, I do take some issue with the French. While at Mt Vernon, this past weekend, a few were talking and my Aunt in Law speaks French. Turns out they were dissing my man George's house. Oh hell no! You do not diss Washington. You can just get your "pepe" asses out of this country STAT! This also applies to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Don't be hatin'.

Now for all of it's greatness, there are cons to the city as well.

1. PEOPLE. Everywhere. People. You can't walk without seeing one. I am so sick of people. You can't escape. In our high rise alone ,we live among 900 people. There are always lines to check out in stores and grocery shopping has turned into pure hell unless you go at 3:00 am and even still lots of people are shopping.

2.Bad Driving. Here me now. I will never again say a derogatory comment about Michigan drivers. Frankly, I wish people here drove like the Bats out of Hell that reside in Michigan. The people that drive here are seriously a step below ass clown. Most are foreigners who pretty much will never be able to drive. Cab drivers are idiots and if you see a Dioplomat plate....just move out of the way and let them go as they do what they want, which, I guess, is nice when you have no fear of being arrested.

3.Traffic. Here, I always though that Detroit had horrible traffic. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA...Detroit traffic. 3 lanes of back up does not provide the joy of 6 or 7 lanes of cars sitting with no where to go. Granted I've yet to figure out where the roots of these back ups start but it's pretty much everyday. Also, if you see any flashing lights ANYWHERE...just pull over and nap because it's going to be a long commute.

I guess, in looking above, for our situation, the pros outweigh the cons. Some people were made for the country and some where made for the city. Some move to the city just to get by when the job market sucks and pay off the student loans so they can go back home someday. That, my friends, is where this small town girl's heart lies.

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's Manda, Bitch!

Wow. I really wanted to stay on the blogging this year. However, working 6am to 10 pm tends to kill the ability and the will to want to blog. So maybe in May I'll recommit Not a whole lot to report. Just working and tours. working and tours. The tours will be worth it at the end when I buy my new ugly ass UGG boots. HEAVEN on the feet. Also, paying off more stuff...love the getting out of debt feeling. Deuces.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Trying to brainstorm a Book

The phone rings. Sigh.


"This is Manda."


"Amanda," that all familliar Irish brogue that makes my entire body tighten in rage says, "when do you think you will be done with the conference room. The AV guys need to do their work."


"Well, Graham*, we plan to start tomorrow and are planning on being done by Wednesday."


"That's fine. When will you be done?"


"Um, Wednesday?"


"Ok, very good"


Click.


I place the phone back down and sigh. Just another usual day in the nut house. Sometimes I think I should look to see if I have a bushy tail growing out of my ass. I'm surrounded by enough nuts, literally and figuratively. What? It's construction. It's all men. I'm female. Therefore, I'm the stupid one at all times...........


*name changed to protect the stupid.

Monday, March 7, 2011

March Madness

So, I went to the gym twice in February. But I maintained so there's that I guess. I just have had no energy and the stress level has been so damn high at work, I just want to come home and do nothing but sleep.

Tours have started so I get to add that on top of my already packed schedule of 70 hours a week. So going to try to fit the gym in when possible. Sadly, I'm just at a point right now where I don't care. I'm still losing weight by just being careful with what I eat so I'll go with that until I hit the wall.

This weather really needs to make up it's mind what it wants to do. Hot or cold, just pick a damn temp

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Winter/Early Spring Reading List

My husband got me a Kindle for our anniversary. It is the best gift I have ever been given. So much easier to maneuver than a book. It also renewed my willingness to actually read a "book". I went ape shit on Amazon downloading stuff to read and created a reading list for myself.

The first download ever was this book. I'm a ho for good Chick Lit and The title sold me. I'm glad I bought this book. Jen Lancaster is my author soul mate. So much voice in her writing and while at first you want to hate her, the book is so damn funny, it's hard to believe it's a memoir and you love her.


After I finished Jen's First Book, I downloaded her Third book. I definitely identified with "Pretty Fat" as she described her quest to lose weight, trying every fad diet on the market. Plus again, she is such an ass, it's hysterical. Her descriptions of wanting to die from the beating she gets from her personal trainer is a universal pain we all share.



Next on my list is the companion book to the show we have been watching on Science Channel called "An Idiot Abroad". I heart Ricky Gervais and everything he does. He is the definitive office person, Steve Carell can only hope to emmulate. This whole experiment he did is hilarious and Karl does nothing but complain. I can't wait to read his journal entries.
Once I finish "Idiot" I'm going to start reading "Water for Elephants" I started it a long time ago but things happened and I never finished it. Now, since it's going to be a movie, I would like to see how it ends in the book before Hollywood ruins the ending.


'Til Next Time

The Soul With a Sunny Heart

God bless the soul with sunny heart
Who brightens up each day
By spreading seeds of cheerfulness
While traveling on life's way.
God bless him for the stars of hope
He sets in each one's sky;
For the encouragement he gives
That causes folk to try...
With stronger faith to press ahead,
With courage for a mate,
And reach for goals, and build anew,
And smile and challenge fate.
God bless his laughter and his song
That drives dark clouds away
From troubled minds, and paints instead
A rosy-tinted day.
God bless the soul with sunny heart
Who's found in life his place,
And serves his God and fellow man
With humble, gentle grace.
The world has need of such a man
Who lifts the heart from gloom,
And in life's barren places plants
Sweet flowers of love to bloom.
He may serve as some men serve
With fame or high degree...
But his good deeds will ever shine
Throughout eternity.




Beverly J. Anderson

Monday, February 28, 2011

Marriage

*Please know I didn't write this story, but I thought it was something that should be shown and understood!*


- MARRIAGE

When I got home that night as my wife served dinner, I held her hand and said, I've got something to tell you. She sat down and ate quietly. Again I observed the hurt in her eyes.

Suddenly I didn't know how to open my mouth. But I had to let her know what I was thinking. I want a divorce. I raised the topic calmly.
She didn't seem to be annoyed by my words, instead she asked me softly, why?

I avoided her question. This made her angry. She threw away the chopsticks and shouted at me, you are not a man! That night, we didn't talk to each other. She was weeping. I knew she wanted to find out what had happened to our marriage. But I could hardly give her a satisfactory answer; she had lost my heart to Jane. I didn't love her anymore. I just pitied her!

With a deep sense of guilt, I drafted a divorce agreement which stated that she could own our house, our car, and 30% stake of my company.
She glanced at it and then tore it into pieces. The woman who had spent ten years of her life with me had become a stranger. I felt sorry for her wasted time, resources and energy but I could not take back what I had said for I loved Jane so dearly. Finally she cried loudly in front of me, which was what I had expected to see. To me her cry was actually a kind of release. The idea of divorce which had obsessed me for several weeks seemed to be firmer and clearer now.

The next day, I came back home very late and found her writing something at the table. I didn't have supper but went straight to sleep and fell asleep very fast because I was tired after an eventful day with Jane.

When I woke up, she was still there at the table writing. I just did not care so I turned over and was asleep again.

In the morning she presented her divorce conditions: she didn't want anything from me, but needed a month's notice before the divorce. She requested that in that one month we both struggle to live as normal a life as possible. Her reasons were simple: our son had his exams in a month's time and she didn't want to disrupt him with our broken marriage.

This was agreeable to me. But she had something more, she asked me to recall how I had carried her into out bridal room on our wedding day.
She requested that every day for the month's duration I carry her out of our bedroom to the front door ever morning. I thought she was going crazy. Just to make our last days together bearable I accepted her odd request.

I told Jane about my wife's divorce conditions. . She laughed loudly and thought it was absurd. No matter what tricks she applies, she has to face the divorce, she said scornfully.

My wife and I hadn't had any body contact since my divorce intention was explicitly expressed. So when I carried her out on the first day, we both appeared clumsy. Our son clapped behind us, daddy is holding mommy in his arms. His words brought me a sense of pain. From the bedroom to the sitting room, then to the door, I walked over ten meters with her in my arms. She closed her eyes and said softly; don't tell our son about the divorce. I nodded, feeling somewhat upset. I put her down outsidethe door. She went to wait for the bus to work. I drove alone to the office.

On the second day, both of us acted much more easily. She leaned on my chest. I could smell the fragrance of her blouse. I realized that I hadn't looked at this woman carefully for a long time. I realized she was not young any more. There were fine wrinkles on her face, her hair was graying! Our marriage had taken its toll on her. For a minute I wondered what I had done to her.

On the fourth day, when I lifted her up, I felt a sense of intimacy returning. This was the woman who had given ten years of her life to me.
On the fifth and sixth day, I realized that our sense of intimacy was growing again. I didn't tell Jane about this. It became easier to carry her as the month slipped by. Perhaps the everyday workout made me stronger.

She was choosing what to wear one morning. She tried on quite a few dresses but could not find a suitable one. Then she sighed, all my dresses have grown bigger. I suddenly realized that she had grown so thin, that was the reason why I could carry her more easily.

Suddenly it hit me... she had buried so much pain and bitterness in her heart. Subconsciously I reached out and touched her head.

Our son came in at the moment and said, Dad, it's time to carry mom out. To him, seeing his father carrying his mother out had become an essential part of his life. My wife gestured to our son to come closer and hugged him tightly. I turned my face away because I was afraid I might change my mind at this last minute. I then held her in my arms, walking from the bedroom, through the sitting room, to the hallway. Her hand surrounded my neck softly and naturally. I held her body tightly; it was just like our wedding day.

But her much lighter weight made me sad. On the last day, when I held her in my arms I could hardly move a step. Our son had gone to school. I held her tightly and said, I hadn't noticed that our life lacked intimacy.
I drove to office.... jumped out of the car swiftly without locking the door. I was afraid any delay would make me change my mind...I walked upstairs. Jane opened the door and I said to her, Sorry, Jane, I do not want the divorce anymore.

She looked at me, astonished, and then touched my forehead. Do you have a fever? She said. I moved her hand off my head. Sorry, Jane, I said, I won't divorce. My marriage life was boring probably because she and I didn't value the details of our lives, not because we didn't love each other anymore. Now I realize that since I carried her into my home on our wedding day I am supposed to hold her until death do us apart.
Jane seemed to suddenly wake up. She gave me a loud slap and then slammed the door and burst into tears. I walked downstairs and drove away.

At the floral shop on the way, I ordered a bouquet of flowers for my wife. The salesgirl asked me what to write on the card. I smiled and wrote, I'll carry you out every morning until death do us apart.

That evening I arrived home, flowers in my hands, a smile on my face, I run up stairs, only to find my wife in the bed - dead.
My wife had been fighting CANCER for months and I was so busy with Jane to even notice. She knew that she would die soon and she wanted to save me from the whatever negative reaction from our son, in case we push thru with the divorce.-- At least, in the eyes of our son--- I'm a loving husband....

The small details of your lives are what really matter in a relationship. It is not the mansion, the car, property, the money in the bank. These create an environment conducive for happiness but cannot give happiness in themselves. So find time to be your spouse's friend and do those little things for each other that build intimacy. Do have a real happy marriage!

If you don't share this, nothing will happen to you.

If you do, you just might save a marriage.
Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's been a long Month

It's been stressful and just bad. No matter what though, this video makes me laugh hysterically!





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpMPFGBtE7Q

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Things I can't stand

Entitlement.
Acting like you are better than everyone else.
Entitlement.
One Uppers.
Throwing people under a bus because you're trying to save your own ass.
Entitlement.
Taking credit for work that is not your own, especially when the person who actually did the work saved your ass.
Entitlement.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

For you Weight watchers

Found a good online food and activity tracker.


And you can brag about your progress at the gym from your phone :)

Spring, Oh where Art Thou

I can't wait for Spring. I am over this weather.
Bring on the Cherry Blossums and Spring Allergies



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February Playlist

By now, I'm done with Winter. I'm tired of my skin being drier than a sponge. I'm sick of being cold and I'm sick of snow and idiots in snow.......

Luckily my ipod keeps me entertained with Angry Birds and these songs. Indulge!

1. Someone Like You, Adele- Newest song. Added it today. I've listened to it over and over at least 12 times now waiting for Biggest Loser to come on.

2. Snuff, Slipknot- An older song that is seeing a revival. Mostly because I've journeyed up to the top of my Itunes Purchase playlist.

3. Heartless, The Fray- Ok, How to Save a Life got on my nerves as it was played constantly. I hated the Fray...until they took Kanye and made him not as annoying with this song.

4. Forget You , Cee Lo Green- The past few weeks of February have been hell and stressful at work. Then I sing this while sitting in traffic over and over again and I feel a little better.

5. Drunken Lullabies, Flogging Molly- Fantastic Irish Punk. Great to work out to.

6. Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffet- In honor of Margarita Day today. I wonder if he ever did find his lost shaker and salt....

7. Familiar Taste of Poison, Halestorm- Another revival on the ipod. I love this song. I love the video. I love that they have finally gotten recognition for how awesome they are. However, you MUST see them live.

8. Strawberry Wine, Deana Carter- Another song I love to sing in traffic.

9. You Spin me Round, Dope- Yeah, I've been in a bad mood lately..then I sing along to this. Tell me you aren't smiling by the end. Loves me some 80s remakes.

10. My Little Secret, Cavo- Yet another revival on the purchased playlist.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Conversations of the Marrieds, Last Night

Me: " I want to go to Wegmans and shop for groceries."

Aaron: "Well, you'll have to make another stop since you're down there!"

Me: " You're going too. And where? IKEA?"

Aaron: "Nope, I've noticed you might or might not be out of yarn"

Me: picking up a huge ball of it, "Um..I don't think so. Perhaps someone else may be or may not be out of yarn?"

Aaron:"Maybe..."

Me: "Wait a minute. Are you watching Youtube videos on knitting?"

Aaron: "Don't judge me."

Me: "Oh, I'm judging, and I'm laughing at you, and pointing."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

It's Tour Time.

In honor of Tour season, a ghost story by yours truly. It seems to be one of the hits of my tour.
(just be honest, The trolley actually ran down St Asaph, but since my tour doesn't go down St Asaph, the tracks have been moved per creative license)


Across the street in the Yellow Townhouse with the red roof, there lived a young couple with a five year old little boy. There was a trolley system that ran from Washington DC, came through Alexandria down Fairfax and continued on South to Mt Vernon. That little boy loved that trolley. Every night, 8:30 PM, he would be out there at the edge of the street to watch it go by. Being that he did this every night and it was the same men driving the trolley, they would throw candy to him or wave at him and he would get so excited! Then we would run inside, show his parents what he had received, then go upstairs, take his bath and go to sleep. His nightly ritual.

Well, one night, he was there waiting, the trolley was coming, but a tan kitten jumped out into the middle of the tracks. The little boy was terrified that the kitten could be ran over, so he ran out and scooped the kitten up in his arms, not realizing the trolley was upon him and the trolley ran right over him- The kitten managed to jump from his arms and scramble across the street. The little boy lay in the middle of the street, screaming bloody murder, his parents ran out and the neighbors surrounded him and they desperately tried to get him out from under the trolley. Being that 911 didn't exist back then- the doctor came to you or you went to him and either way, you were waiting a while-the boy lost so much blood, he ended up dying in the middle of the street.

The parents were devastated, of course, and the townspeople were angry! They refused to believe that this had been an accident, so in 1907, there was a trial held at the courthouse on King St, accusing the trolley drivers of murdering this little boy. They were acquitted, but the trolley company was found to be at fault and they paid the parents a nice sum of money for their suffering. Then another new story tore across the headlines and everyone forgot about this little boy who had died so tragically.

Two years later. Dad was in the kitchen, making himself a pot of tea. It was about 8:30. The plates on the wall began to tremble as the trolley drew near and for the first time in a long time, he thought of his little boy. He stared in a trance at the pot as the trolley began to pass by the house. A loud scream rang out- that of a child, a child that sounded like his son. He thought he was crazy, but ran outside and watched the trolley pass. The scream fell silent and there, staring at him across the street was a tan cat.

Three weeks later, mom was in the living right by the windows knitting and she looked up to see the trolley start past the house. That same scream rang out. She threw down her needles and ran outside and watched as the trolley passed on. Again, across the street, sat a tan cat staring back at her. This became a frequent occurance. The parents could handle it no more and moved on and another family moved in, but the screams continued and every time people saw this tan cat staring from across the street.

The mental institution down the street ended up burning down and the patients were relocated to other places, but one of them escaped and then two months later, turned up at the corner of Fairfax and king streets, where we began the tour, and would jump out at people and scream random gibberish to them. After a short time, the townspeople ignored him, as they knew he was nuts. He got word of the screams and the cat sighting down Fairfax and changed his tune. He began chanting day in and day out, "The boy's spirit is stuck inside the cat. You must kill the cat and set the boy free!". Insteading of ignoring him like usual, the town folk began going through town tryng to hunt down this tan cat to kill it and free the boy's spirit. However, they never caught the cat and in 1932, the tracks were pulled up and bricks laid in place and it simply became Fairfax street. The cat disappeared and no one heard the scream again.....until 2007, a hundred years to the date of the boy's death.

There was a huge party (in the garden behind us) going on. The parents were dancing, filled to the brim with spirits and the kids stayed out here on the sidewalk playing a game of ball. A cat came down the street towards the kids and naturally they all had to pet the cat. It weaved it's way through them and continued on down the street and the kids went back to their game. Back in the garden, the parents were having a great time and then a loud scream came from the street drowning out the music. Of course they thought a child had been ran over by a car. Hearts dropping, they all poured out onto the sidewalk where all the kids were gathered, all accounted for, all fine. They were crying, but OK. One of the parents finally asked, "what happened?" The kids all fell silent and together pointed across the street. Staring back at them was a tan cat.

***Story inspired by the following actual event: http://www.gendisasters.com/data1/va/trains/alexandria-trolleymay1907.htm ***


Story written by me. Any copying or distribution is forbidden without explicit permission from me.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

So...

I was going to continue the previous post but I'm , you know, lazy, so just enjoy this awesome accoustical Rev Theory

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HB3YQywtg8A&feature=related

Dude, We're going to Die in the Baltimore Ghetto...

If you like Rock, you might like the song below. Fantastic band and very nice guys.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfhkXpz-E9E

My first New Years here, my fabulously awesome friend, April flew out to spend my first DC metro New Years weekend with me. Also, she had booked us tickets to not one but 2 concerts (like I said, fabulously awesome) to 2 bands...Egypt Central and Bobaflex.

The first concert was the Friday she flew in. I scrambled out of work over to Reagan Airport. We rushed to the apartment of hell (another blog for later) and got ready. April decided I had to rock it up a bit so I put on a black shirt, cuz you, know, that's totally rock chic and my, what only can be described as hooker heels...4 inches of additional height for my short, squaty butt. However, as I was looking in the mirror deciding the shows look fabulous (20 bucks at Target..boo yah!) there were two things that had not dawned on me. A) I haven't worn heels in a long time and B) last time I wore heels I was 50 pounds lighter...all that weight on the balls of my feet for 4 hours of concert? If you are imagining how this is going to turn out? Yes, I'm in the future with you also.

We jumped in the Roller Skate Van (RIP 9/30/10) and headed towards the Otto Bar in Baltimore @ 5:00 PM on the Baltimore Washington Parkway, another bright idea, but hey, the GPS told us to do it. Plus we were too busy getting caught up so we didn't notice that snails and turtles were passing us laughing. Then we got to the outskirts of Baltimore (still following the GPS) and got off on the exit she claimed was correct. We continued through a beautiful neighborhood and after about 20 minutes realized the housing was getting more and more desolate as we drove on. We were lost. To make matters worse, the GPS biotch decided that she was lazy and didn't feel like giving us directions anymore. Yup. Thanks. Thanks a lot. We drove in circles, two white girls in a sweet van with moon rims, and saw, I think 2 drug deals going down on corners and probably 5 or 6 prostitutes.

To make the fantastic fun of being lost extra special, we were starving. I hadn't eaten lunch and we hadn't had time to stop on the way. However, there was no effing way we were leaving this van until we found this bar. That is, until we saw the golden arches in the distance, shining brightly among the abandoned buildings, a beacon of hope and happiness for our poor stomachs. Granted we tried in vain to get the GPS to cooperate enough to find us an Applebees but again, FAIL. We pulled in and were greeted with a Mcdonalds counter behind bullet proof glass. 2 white girls. Sweet van. One dressed like a groupie (don't be rolling your eyes over there, April, you know it's true ;~) ) and the other in Black shirt rocker chic with a ghetto booty. To answer your question, yes, we were the action in the Mickey D's. I thought my ass was on fire at one point from all the eye balls beaming towards it. I did look around...yup, that is definitely a gun in the pocket. "Dude...we're going to die in the Baltimore Ghetto." My voice kind of carries because I'm partially deaf, so it came out a little louder. April jabbed me in the ribs, hissing "Shut Up!"

I guess I should interrupt and say that April and I are extremely paranoid. Painfully paranoid. So, an innocent bullet proof McDonalds might not have been as scary as we thought but paranoia kind of heightened our fear. Once our stomachs got taste of that delicious grease though, it was all good. We got back into the van and started up the GP Ho again. I guess she felt sorry for us because she started working correctly again and we made it to Otto Bar.....a hour early. W T F???

To Be continued (probably during American Idol)


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday Night Randomness

Me: What do you want for dinner?

Aaron: I don't know.

Me: Well, it is Biggest Loser Tuesday. Might as well keep up tradition with Taco Bell.

Aaron: I like how Biggest Loser got associated with Taco Bell

Me: Do you want to go get some?

Aaron: Not really. I'm always the goer.

Me: Well, that's your designated position.

Aaron: I''m tired of being the goer. I'm hiring a temp. Set your own work hours, company car, free taco bell, but you pay for it. You're hired.

Me:*hysterical laughter*


***UPDATE*** We ended up ordering Chinese...lazy city dwellers are we.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Tomorrow, everyone else will be celebrating (or hating) Valentine's Day. I will be celebrating 2 years with my best friend. Happy Anniversary to my Hun Bun. I love you!





Saturday, February 12, 2011

Heaven does exist on Earth

Today was Woodbridge Day. A day where we aren't lazy and actually venture down I-95 to shopping Mecca, otherwise known as Potomac Mills Outlet Stores. Usually this trip entails Starbucks, IKEA and JoAnn Fabrics. (and let me just say that my husband is one of the only guys I know who can walk into a JoAnn and actually want to get stuff for crafts- Good job Mellie and Sue)

This trip was a little different. I keep hearing about this mythical grocery store called Wegmans. I had never been and found that there was one right down the road from the Outlet Mall. Since we had nothing better to do, after the JoAnn stop, we decided to journey over there.
Sweet Jesus! The place is amazing!! We walked in and were right smack into the biggest produce section I have ever seen in a store...and this includes Whole Foods. I literally just stood there paralyzed, not knowing which way to look or where to go. Plus, the colors were just so gorgeous and the fruit and veggies just reeked of freshness. It was nose paradise.

After the shock of the produce section, we ventured on into the Bakery section. Breads and cheeses and cakes Oh my! Just everywhere you look, delicious food. Of course, about the time we got through the cheese, Aaron kindly told me to shut my mouth, I would be catching flies soon.

I didn't really hear him though. I was too busy looking at 30 different kinds of gouda....mmm....gouda. I loves me some cheese. Perhaps I was a mouse in a previous life. That wouldn't explain the sick attachment to Mexican food though.

Then my eyes beheld the candy and nuts bulk section....

..two entire aisles just filled to the brim
with sweetness. It took everything I had to not buy any. The place has a ready made section with a nice cafe to eat the food. Asian, Indian, Good Ol American Cuisine and every drink you could think of. It was all a feast for my eyes.









If you've ever been to World Market, surely you have beheld the amazing and worldly wine section. Yeah.....pretty sure Wegmans alcohol area just owned World Market, took it out behind the bleachers and got it pregnant. (Go me for the 30 Rock reference, which if you don't watch it, you are missing out)I have never seen an $800 bottle of wine. Apparently true ballers shop here. By the way, we are not said Ballers. Didn't see any Jay Z juice either, so, I guess we aren't ganstas either.

After wondering through the store, hyperventilating, we finally got out and went over to Uncle Julio's Rio Grande Cafe...probably the best chicken I've ever tasted for a Fajita..and Don Pablos has set a pretty high bar so, if you've had their chicken, this place's chicken just made Don pablos chicken it's biotch. This was just a cherry on top of Wegmans frosting.


I never made to IKEA.



The Mysterious Attack of the Utility Bill

We've lived in this apartment since May of last year. Our utility bill usually runs around 50 bucks ( we have to pay trash, water and gas) The AC is electric so we don't have to pay that...which I'm sure somewhere Home Properties is cursing the record 71 days over 90 degrees last summer. We do pay our heat though.

We are cheap and tend to leave the heat off. We're on the 6th floor, and heat rises. However, the last 3 months, despite keeping the thermostat set to a toasty 55-60 degrees, our bill keeps rising. We started at around 30 bucks and this month is 106. Wth?! Now I know there are those of you who want to beat me considering what they pay for heat, but for us, this is unusual when the heat never runs.

Also, I know I'm a little shower obsessed, but how the hell did we end up spending 50 bucks on water?!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hmm...

To Turn on water or Not Turn on Water. That, my friends, is the question I'm pondering right now.......

If only I could Commit to them

Joyce Dover Forman, LICSW, of Forman & Associates's 4 Steps for Stress management


1. Make the steps to change what’s needed to reduce stress, even if they are difficult. If you need to see a counselor for coaching during this process, then make it a priority.

2. Clean your environment. Throw out what you haven’t used in a year and organize to suit your own efficiency. This helps clear the air and frees up the juice so everything flows more easily.

3. Remember you can only be responsible for yourself. When you say ‘no’ to others, allow kindness, genuineness and quiet firmness to live in your words.

4. Unless you take care of and respect your body, you’ve shot yourself in the foot before you've started. It’s basic. Stress affects every cell in your body. Over time, it is overwhelmed with the toxins that build up until the cells are unable to clean themselves and can’t function as they were meant to do. Stress also depletes minerals and trace minerals that are necessary for every cell to function.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Furry Satan Being Cute

Yeah....don't be fooled...she's just resting up and dreaming of new tortures for us.

Conversations of the Marrieds**

Me: "We're getting some good money back on taxes! Yeah! It's all for me and my bills this year. ALL about ME!"

Aaron:" I need 500 to fix my truck. I also want 100 bucks then you can pay bills. "

Me: "You should have thought about that when you decided to re-end someone. You can have the 500 but the 100 is mine. I just did our taxes so consider it payment to your accountant. It's Manda, b**ch!" *starts singing Gimme, Gimme More* (hey, I like Britney...No judging)

Aaron: I'm running to the store, you ain't right. Do you have any money? I literally have less than a dollar to my name until tomorrow."

Me: "Yeah in my work bag. Hey, can you stop by my car and see if my phone is down there?"

Aaron: "I'll just take your car to the store."

Me: "NO! I have a good parking spot and I leave when it's dark out! I don't want to trounce across the scary parking lot in the back."

Aaron: "I have to leave in the dark too"(LIE)

Me: "But you're a man. They don't bug you. "

Aaron: "Yeah I guess so. Alright I'll be back. Can you start dinner?"

Me: "Hey, Aaron! (he turns around) that's I'll be back, Manda...b**ch".

**Yes, I'm aware that this is probably only funny to us

*** My phone was in the car

**** Instead of starting Dinner in his absence, I continued to hold down the couch watching "Clean House"

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

On the Way to Work..and Back Home

I do find DC to be a beautiful city. However, while when I first moved here, the monuments and the buildings were a huge deal. Now, sadly, I'm so used to passing them that I barely think about it. Also, the constant threat of a terrorist attack sits in the back of your mind, but ultimately to make it through the day, you just don't even go there. Until a bomb threat, but that's just a paid day off work :) (love those Suspicious Packages....until it closes down a metro station I need)

So, for fun, this morning, I decided to pay attention to what I drive by on the way to work and home. Below is some of my highlights (random pics I've taken over the last almost 4 years)


Going to Work:


The Bureau of Engraving (next to the Holocaust Museum):


The Department of Agriculture (and the Smithsonian Castle):

Self explanatory (also the National Mall and American History Museum in this area):

Also self explanatory (the black thing in the middle of the roof is a sniper):
Where I work:


Street I work on:

On the Way Home:


Lincoln Memorial (also Vietnam Memorial and Memorial Bridge)

Arlington National Cemetery:

The Pentagon (Shown is the 9/11 memorial. The benches pointing towards camera are for the people who died in the pentagon and the benches pointing towards the pentagon honor the people who died on the plane. This is side I pass along Columbia Pike)














Monday, February 7, 2011

Just a Shout Out

To you. Though you will never read this.
Courtesy of the Dresden Dolls

Backstabber! hope grabber!
Greedy little fit haver!
God I feel for you fool
Shit lover! off-brusher!
Jaded bitter joy crusher!
Failure has made you so cruel

Rotten to the core!!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Song to Add to the List

Let me start by saying, I was not a fan of Stone Sour. Something happened between their last horrible album and the new album, "Audio Secrecy". I heard Say You'll Haunt Me on Octane (which is pretty much the only channel ever playing in the car except for Kane Show in the morning on 99.5) and I liked it. I was actually shocked to find out it was Stone Sour. Well, I heard this song a few weeks ago and it is now on the "Obession Playlist" on my ipod. Yes, that list exists and it is awesome.



(I just linked it because the new blogger upload thing is taking forever)

The Swedish are Coming! Hide yo Kids, Hide yo Wife!

The DC area is a melting pot of high fashion. Walk down the streets of Georgetown or around the football field sized mall in Tyson Corner (VA) and the rows of stores read like fashion magazines: Chanel, COACH, Nicole Miller, Tiffany's, Marc Jacobs, Armani, Neiman Marcus and Louis Vuitton. Louis was an exciting day. I walked into the store and all the "LV"'s just looked at me, begging me to take them home. I wanted to and pulled out the credit card, but reality set in andwith a sigh, put the card back in the wallet, put the speedy back on it's shelf and walked out.

I'm kind of poor. I do make a lot of money, but after the credit cards get their piece, the student loans show up at my door like mafia bosses demanding their piece and the rent, there isn't much left.
However, I do go out and shop at my Holy Trinity of stores: Target, Kohl's and IKEA. I tithe at least some of my money to one of them at least once a week and attend their service faithfully.

However, I don't think IKEA is so holy. In fact, IKEA may be the antichrist, placed here by the Swedes to keep us busy with Allen wrenches while the few souls who have avoided it's Blue and yellow temptation rise up to heaven. My God, it is paradise. They have everything you could ever need for your home and a lot you didn't even know you needed. I like dazzling and shiny and they have it in
spades. Part of me wonders if they took a page out of a Vegas Casino. Make it a maze so people keep wondering and keep playing and never leave until broke. Anyone, even those with bad taste, can be an interior designer here.

Their items are also cheap. Which was a good thing last year for us. Our furniture had started to eat me (I kid you not. I have the ER bills and the pictures of the bites to prove it). We assumed spiders at first, but with the consistency, found it to be bed bugs. I still have nightmares and couldn't sleep for a year without waking up thinking something was biting me. We had to throw out our living room furniture. Everything: Couch, desk, table, and TV stand. We kind of needed these things so we waited until we moved to the new place and went shopping to replace what we threw out. (Thank you, Wellington, for the many tours you give me so I have lots of money at the end of every month) We ended up getting our sofa and chair at Art Van, but everything else in our apartment is IKEA.

We tend to make a lot of trips to IKEA. For us, we always try to keep our shopping in check. Emphasis on try. A usual IKEA trip for us goes something like this:

" We need to run down to IKEA for (insert item) here" Me.
"Ok, write it down. I am also going to get (item)" Aaron
Drive down to Woodbridge. Arrive, park and walk in.

"OK, we don't get anything else besides the what's on the list"- Aaron
"Exactly, in and out. 50 bucks, 15 minutes"- Me
"Rock on"- Aaron
We are confident as we fist bump at the top of the escalator. Look down at the list and start our shopping trip, confident that we are not going to let this place get us down. Bring it, Sweden! 5o bucks, 15 minutes, no problem ........3 hours and 350 bucks later, we leave IKEA.






Saturday, February 5, 2011

Grace, Thy name is NOT Manda

I am not a graceful person. Many women walk this earth and can walk into the room, well put together and everyone turns to say how graceful she is. Not me. Nope. I'm the one who walks into the room and people laugh after I trip over a non existant obstacle and collapse to the floor with the contents of my purse scattering about. Add high heels to this event and it's quite possible there will be a high chance of broken ankles.

Even as a little girl in ballet glass, it was quite obvious that was not a path I was going to take. Most of the girls in class were very lean and tall, while I was short round and tanky. Oh yeah i'm built like a tank. Big boned to the core. Also, no ounce of grace at all. If you don't believe me, ask my mom to show you the videos (I have no shame) It looked like a moose plopping around the stage. But I was into it. I gave it everything. That showed.

In middle school I decided that I just had to run from the High school back to the middle school after band. Managed to find the one raised spot in the sidewalk and fell, breaking my middle finger in front of most of the middle school. I think the slap to my pride was worse pain though.

It's not uncommon for me to run into walls or run into doors and working in an office enviornment, there is ample opportunity for this to occur. At home I can trip over nothing or open the freezer door and the glass syrup bottle will fall down and crack me on the head knocking me out for a second (true story!). The most common home obstacle is the cats. They trip me quite a bit. I think it's their conspiracy against me though. They are a satanic tag team and it's no wonder demons fear them...

My husband has given up hope and accepts that I'm going to trip or get hurt somehow. It's almost funny to a point. I will walk down the hall and hit something, cry "ouch" and he just shakes his head and sighs. He knows it's pointless to tell me to be careful. Because I'm just not.

Grace I am not....Bull in a china shop? Yes I am.

Friday, February 4, 2011

It's a Man's World and Intend to Crash it (Pt 2)

Being from Michigan, I was used to cheap. Cheap gas, cheap movies, cheap rent and I had always assumed places like New York or Boston would be expensive but it never crossed my mind that DC would be expemsive.....and then I moved here.

The most expensive place I had ever seen was the townhouses off Robinson, where Aaron had lived for a bit with his "Guy Love" he had met at Spring Arbor University (they aren't gay, but if they were, at least he'd be leaving me for some one who was a genius) which was around 900 a month, but this was two stories with a finished basement and everything. 900 bucks here? That will get you a studio in the ghetto with drug dealers on the corner (which actually exists and I looked at one place way down Richmond Highway towards Ft Belvoir....one look around and Sarah turned and looked at me and said, "I FORBID you to live here!") Ugh...so I settled for a 1300 a month place in Alexandria right off the highway. It seemed OK in the daylight, but you know how people say you should check it out at night as well? Yeah, those people are smart. More about that later.

I got all moved in and stood there with my puppin and watched my parents drive away back to Michigan, mom bawling hysterically in the front seat. I settled in and called the hiring girl at my new job who was very excited I got in early so I went over and had my drug test and prepared for my first day of work. I seriously should have drove to find the place before hand. I left at 7:00 am (way too late for 395) and sat...and sat..and sat. Damn traffic. Finally got across the bridge into DC and got off at the correct exit but ended up going the wrong way and crossing ANOTHER bridge back out of DC....and suddenly looked down and saw the van was overheating. I was lost, stuck in traffic and my van was dying. I did what any new city girl would do. Pulled over, started crying hysterically and called my dad. Dad of course frustrated because, really, what could he do? Not much, but dammit I needed sympathy. Hung up from him, composed myself,called my new boss and told him I was lost. Luckily, Bill , which was his name, grew up in DC so he directed me back to where I needed to be. I am a person who HATES people being late and am terrified to show up late. My very first day at my new construction job, I was 4 hours late.




Thursday, February 3, 2011

My 2011 Playlist (Jan/Feb)

1. Muse, Uprising. I love them. That is all. This is a carry over from 2010,

2. Florence and the Machine, Dog Days are Over- I listen to the Kane Show in the morning and I swear to God that all the music sounds the same. It's nothing but poppy,dance auto tune crap. I was very excited when this band came on the scene last summer. It's refreshing.

3. Britney Spears, Hold it Against Me-I can't help it. I still loves me some Britney. Her new CD coincidently comes out 5 days before my birthday..hint, hint ;) (Don't be judging. We all have our things)

4. The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow-When you need to chill, bust out this CD. You won't be disappointed. Unless you love the auto tune drivel mentioned above only...then you won't.

5. Journey, Don't Stop Believing/Faithfully- Admit it, you all rock out to Journey. Get those fists pumping in the air and raise up the lighters. I listen to both of these and sing at the top of my lungs. My poor car is probably glad it has no sense of sound.

6. Maria Mena, All This Time- I have an obsession with Scandinavian bands and singers. This song is simple, the lyrics are great and if you aren't smiling by the time it's over, you are too stressed, grab a drink.

7. Dresden Dolls, My Alcoholic Friends- I love the whole German Cabaret vibe of the Dolls. They are different and that is a good thing.

8. Hurt, Wars- Found this gem on Octane (Sirius Channel). I am a sucker for epic rock (the kind with the strings or orchestras or just full in sound) and this song delivers. Can't say that for the rest of their CD though. Sure glad we live in the age of downloading a single track.

9. Melody Gardot, Les Etoiles-Lite Jazz. Sometimes Jazz tends to suck, (Kenny G) but this does not.

10. Taylor Swift, Back to December- The thing I like about Taylor, besides the fact she creates good music, is the fact that she sings about what she should be singing about. She remains appropriate to her age and I think it will give her longevity.

11. Erykah Badu, Tyrone- I love Ms. Badu. This is an older song discovered in my old Itunes folder and it's on the list for 2011. Plus, it's funny

12. Cee-Lo Green, F**k You- Stress reliever for the car or home only. Do not sing to clients.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day in the Life of Manda (before work)

5:00 AM- Alarm rudely decides to go off.

5:01 AM- still in bed whining in head about rude alarm. Cats have now jumped up on bed and demanding Iget up.

5:05AM- Have stumbled into and out of the bathroom and gathering up clothing for the day. Good lord, I need some new clothes..so sick of the same ones every week, but that's what I get for getting fat. No new clothes for me. I'm my own clothes Nazi. Guess i better stay motivated.

5:10 AM- Dressed. Have now turned on News and checking email on phone. Damn, My Facebook gets a lot of action AFTER I go to bed. WTH?

5:15AM- gathering up lunch. Bitchy cats meowing and demanding food. Look down at them smile and say, "not until your Dad gets up" and walk out...I usually pay for this when I get home.

5:20 AM- Walking down the hall towards the elevator. Neighbor is also leaving for work for the day. Small talk while waiting for the elevator.

5:21 AM- Downstairs and walking towards the car. Oh hell, where did I freaking park yesterday?

5:25AM- Located car parked on opposite side of apartment that I went out. FML.

5:30 Am- On the way to work. Merging onto I-395. Why the hell are all these cars already on the road? Slam on brakes as dumb ass cabbie cuts me off to get over in lane. Sigh, Where is the NIS when you need them. They seriously need to start checking for green cards.

5:35 AM- Slamming brakes again as idiots who CLEARLY know that they have to get into the far left lane to exit towards Pentagon, come across 4 lanes of traffic.

5:35 AM-5:37 AM drive across 14th Street bridge, still cussing about idiot drivers. If my car could speak, I'd be in serious trouble with the things I shout out.

5:40 AM- Pull into Parking Garage. Oh dammit, wtf is my badge. Dump purse in seat to locate said badge. Find badge and wave to Security Guard. Person in car behind honks horn. I slam on brakes and sit.

5:42 AM- Finally decide to move after the car behind me has throughly had their day ruined. I smile and wave.

5:45 Am- Walk up the ramp and across the street to work after parking.

5:50AM- Computer has finally logged in (damn Federal comps) and open email.

5:50-6:00AM- Check and answer email, read news and obtain coffee.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

Eff you Roberta!

I was cleaning out my closet this evening and I pulled out my huge art portfolio that had been collecting dust for the past 8 years. I kind of sat there on the floor looking at it. I never realized that I had blocked most of my time in the MSU Interior Design program from my mind (It was hell, sheer hell) but tonight, I was sitting there looking at the huge black mass and, hey, since I'm glutton for punishment, decided to open it up.

Dammit. That was stupid. Floods of memories came back instantly and as I flipped through the decaying presentation boards. I suddenly had visions of each class and all the emotions of doing each of these projects overwhelmed me as they came rushing back. I remembered every single night sitting until 2 am in the Human Ecology building hunched over a drafting table and the tears shed from misery as if I had done it yesterday. I recalled the day I was rushing for Roberta's class in the rain and the project I had worked on for TWO MONTHS, falling out of it's plastic into a huge puddle (which subsequently had me on my knees in the puddle cradling the mushy pulp that had once been a house
plan, crying hysterically, screaming, "why God!?") On a separate note, I still extremely dislike Roberta- I won't say hate as it's a strong word, but if I were to see her today, I'd probably trip her snooty artistic ass down some stairs.

Well, there is the saying misery loves company. So please allow me to share with you the wasted 2 years of my life, I'll never get back.


This was a project on different floor finishes. My partner and I drew Tile. As the different types of tile is an immense catalog, we decided to focus on Quarry and Resilent Tile. We spent quite a bit of time coordinating work and school schedules to work on this project but ultimately it ended up being done at midnight the day before it was due with help from several cans of Bud Light.
The awesome thing about summer classes is they are usually taught by a grad student and they usually are just there for the credit and don't give rat's ass so you get pretty good grades. We did pretty well on this one.


The next project was in Roberta's class. The concept was to take a letter of the alphabet and create a business utilizing only x amount of floor space. My concept (which, I still think is awesome since the witch nixed my gentlemen's club
using the letter "B"The concept would have been the round parts of the B would be the stage and the in the center would be strategically placed poles, which would have great creative innuendo on the plan view) was to have a travel agency. The main part of it was the buiding was located in Las Vegas, and in Vegas, it's go big or go home. So, since it was a travel agency, I concocted the idea of a huge globe that actually mimicked a puzzle since most people had no idea where they wanted to go on vacation to "Find their Peace" (ha! get it?) The globe sat on top of a circular building ( "O"). I thought it was
pretty damn creative. But not for the Nazi, Roberta.

The 3rd project was actually my very first project. We had to take a building and design a fountain in front of it. I choose the Walt Disney theater in Los Angeles ( the epitomy of modern theater architecture) The building is sleek and shiny steel flowing as if it had music coursing through it.
My fountain was a silver steel fountain, polished to stainless perfection, with abstract Mickey Ears in the centerpiece. Quite clever and the first teacher absolutely loved my concept. Too bad she didn't teach HED 242.




I was and still am proud of this presentation board.










The 4th and actually the final project was a FOUR MONTH undertaking. I worked hard and in the last week, spent 56 hours on the finishing touches with only maybe 8 hours of sleep. I was proud. All the lettering was by hand. I spent days working out the fabulous concept and the color scheme was freaking amazing and had I been an male Interior Designer looking at the boards, I totally would have done me. (I kind of have a high opinion of my work and genius...until Aaron knocks me down off my pedestal...he keeps me humble) This project was also what culminated in my tearful throwing of the white towel and jumping ship to Construction Management...I literally had a nervous breakdown due to lack of sleep and since I've gone back to this dark place, I would like to ask forgiveness to the poor souls along Grand River I might have viciously lashed verbally. Also I ask forgiveness from the Beaners chicks (and yes I'm saying Beaners, eff Bigby's, it will always be Beaners..PC Police be damned) who I might have thrown coffee at across the counter. Kind of poetic that this project was for Roberta's class. She was the final straw. As you will see in the following pictures, a lot of yellow post it notes from her...and after all the time, tears, hard work over the last two years.....bitch gave me a 2.5.