Monday, December 31, 2012

2012: Year in Review

So much for my triumphant return to blogging - right?


As it turns out, I don't really have the time at work or the mental wear withal to blog after-hours at home. With that said, though, getting back up on the ole' blogging horse is near the top of my list of resolutions for 2013 - yes, I'm one of those annoying people who makes New Year's Resolutions - blogging is just below "keep my purse neat" and above "exercise regularly." Great priorities, eh?

But, I digress.

Tomorrow is the first day of 2013 and I CANNOT believe it. It feels like it was just New Year's Eve 2011 leading into 2012 (around 11 p.m. when I was falling asleep ((NOT DRUNK)) on my best friend's living room floor. A note: I was not the only one.) This year flew by and so many wonderfully amazing things have happened. I can't even remember them all, so here's my "Best of 2012" list for your enjoyment.

(Forgive the spastic listing - I came up with it in traffic.)

Favorite TV Show of 2012: Breaking Bad - I love you dearly, Jesse Pinkman, and being able to follow you on Instagram now, my obsession with you and jealousy of your perfect blonde fiance have both grown exponentially. Walt, you got anotha' thing comin'.

Favorite TV Quote: "Yeah, bitch, MAGNETS!! OH!" -Jesse Pinkman, Breaking Bad, Season 5 - 'Nuff said.

Favorite Song: Pyramids by Frank Ocean, Channel Orange - Probably listened to it 8,000 times.

Favorite City Visited: St. Louis, Missouri - Pretty city, lots of great food.
Favorite Movie: Argo (Or Lincoln - but Ben Affleck pushes me over. Don't judge.) This potentially could change after I see Zero Dark Thirty/Django Unchained/Silver Linings Playbook.

Snack of Choice: Chips & salsa - The problem is once I start, I can't stop.

Favorite Wine: 2010 Runquist R Petite Sirah, Clarksburg, California at The Tasting Room in Reston, VA - Smooth, buttery, flavorful.

Favorite Beer: Flying Dog Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout - Such incredible flavor, I could drink it all night.

Favorite Gift Received: J Crew dress from David for our two-year anniversary or hand-painted His-Hers wineglasses from my sister Mariah!

Favorite Quote: "In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present." -Lao Tzu

Favorite Moment: Walking out of the NRA for the last time ever ever ever - The angels flapped their wings and sang loudly. Also file this one under "Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me."

Funniest Moment: Any and all spent in/around the "Vangasm" in Nashville, Tennessee - Driven by none other than a Ron Jeremy look-alike and his Playboy bunny.

Favorite Outdoors-y Activity: Reaching the summit of Old Rag with my besties!

Favorite Nail Polish: OPI "Louvre Me, Louvre Me Not"


Most Hated Lifeguard: Mr. Cool from Lin's summer pool - I want to punch him this minute.

Favorite New Thang: Vinyasa yoga - OM.


Favorite Meal: Pork Belly and cocktails at Poste in Washington, DC. - I want it now.

Favorite Homemade Meal: BLT Pizza with Goat Cheese Sauce - Drool.

Favorite Book: Bloom by Kelle Hampton - By the time I die, bet I will have read this book 500,000 times.
Favorite Meme: Better put three rings on it.
Farthest Distance Traveled: 2,400 miles to Las Vegas, Nevada - Worst business trip ever!

Favorite Joke: What do you call a fake noodle? /// An impasta'   - ZING!

Favorite Reality Show: No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain - Wish he would adopt me.

Favorite Purchase: My red, new-to-me Toyota Yaris - Beep, beep.
 New Year's Resolutions:
-Keep my purse clean - I am a slob.
-Exercise more - join a gym!
-Blog more!
-Do a better job of keeping my house clean.
-More girl time!
-More traveling! - Would love a real vacay this year!
-Boundaries! - Always need improving.
-More of above - Say NO more - Mean it and stick to it.
-Volunteer more!
-Read at least a book a month - speed reader!
-Eat more toasted everything bagels with cream cheese, lox, tomato, capers, and red onion.
 -See more concerts.

Have fun tonight and be safe if you're venturing out. We're headed to a late beer pairing dinner with friends. Looking forward the fresh start of a New Year!

Party on, Wayne.

Best Hair Moments of 2012:




Friday, October 5, 2012

Minute Memory

Trying something different here, so bear with me. If it doesn't work, I owe you a beer.

It happened easily enough. Too early in the morning, too early to function let alone answer emails, I sat behind the wheel, steering myself to work. Simon and Garfunkel were singing about wanting to go home. I could relate. God, I love this song, I thought. It faded a minute or so later, the cover of the album sliding off of my screen. A new one appeared just as quickly and immediately, I recognized it. Doubt I’d ever really listened to the whole track before, doubt I’d heard it since hearing it for the first time six years ago, but instantly, it all came back to me.

And now, the end is near;
And so I face the final curtain.
My friend, I'll say it clear,
I'll state my case, of which I'm certain.

I've lived a life that's full.
I've traveled each and ev'ry highway;
But more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

The ship was long and sparkling white. I stood before it on the dock, feeling like Rose Dewitt Buckater, or some equally important person, also with three names but without the fashionable hat or look of dread. I was eager in a borrowed baseball cap.

Anxious to get away from the shoreline, to flee my life after a first year of college that brought other firsts, confusion, pain, growth. To establish myself outside of the boundaries that had been drawn for me and to rest there on my own two feet. I was ready to be reassured that I had made the right choice in my relationship. Ready to get to know the man my sister called her boyfriend. Ready to re-learn my sister, to catch up on all of our lost time. To slip back into the role of little sister, to be protected and spoiled, and to be the one who makes a few mistakes for a change.

When I leapt from the edge of the platform into the interior of the ship, I felt that I had been granted long-awaited access to “the big kids’ club.”

There were four of us—my sister and her boyfriend, me and mine. We settled into our rooms, and learned where we would sleep and eat, where adults would probably not want to go, where families with children were not allowed go, what to do if this ship went down, too. It was all far too much like Titanic. Like a dream, just the same.

Regrets, I've had a few;
But then again, too few to mention.
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption.

I planned each charted course;

Each careful step along the byway,
But more, much more than this,
I did it my way.

We ate stately dinners in the stately dining room. We toasted with wine, three of us, only my companion passed on the alcohol. It makes me laugh to look back now and see how he, this 20-year-old college student, turned down free alcohol for five whole days. An anomaly, for sure.

We walked the length of the ship late at night, peering overboard into the water rushing below, black and glassy. Thinking What if I just jumped? What if I slipped? We felt so powerful aboard the ship, but as the waves beat against the sides and the wind whipped hair across our faces, we tried to ignore how the water would ravage us, leaving nothing behind.

Deep inside our staterooms, without even the smallest thread of light shining from under the bathroom door, we felt the eternal darkness of death. Of invisibility. We acted accordingly—as if those were our final hours, breaths on earth. We fell heavily into sleep, the four of us emerging into the  piercing sunlight sometimes as late as noon the next day. Cursing ourselves for sleeping in on our one, glorious vacation, but just the same quietly satisfied. How deliciously adult we looked and felt—lounging by the pool on the top deck with hangover headaches, sipping beers and people watching.

Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall;
And did it my way.

I've loved, I've laughed and cried.

I've had my fill; my share of losing.
And now, as tears subside,
I find it all so amusing.

After dinner, we found seats at the back of a small theatre for karaoke night. My sister bought me drinks, enough to make up for lost time, to make us feel some manufactured sense of connection we would eventually grow into. Before long, I felt the warm burning of alcohol in my cheeks. The elevated silliness of a drink I only knew about from Carrie Bradshaw. With Cosmopolitan rolling down my throat, then my arms and legs and neck as liquid slipped over the edge of my glass, I felt just like her. So grown in the black halter dress that still hangs in my closet.

Ship guests traipsed on and off the stage, suffering (themselves and us, too) through renditions of songs by Aretha Franklin, The Village People, Cher. It was all a little cloudy, but sharply came to attention when a short, slim older gentleman sauntered onstage. Under a mess of white hair, he told us it was his 80th birthday. I cooed how cute he was. He wore a suit and called out to the crowd that he was sorry for the “old geyser” song, but he thought he’d sing us his favorite. The music began and he started slowly, eventually catching on to the flow of the lyrics, letting his voice deepen at the end of the each line, solidifying “I DID it my WAY.” Pleading with us to understand years of bad decisions, other women, missteps, loss, misplaced anger. “I did IT MY way.” He played around with the inflections as each verse came and went, and I believed him. He had done it his way.

By the end of it, tears were rolling down my cheeks. Lightweight, somebody joked.

To think I did all that;
And may I say - not in a shy way,
"No, oh no not me,
I did it my way."

For what is a man, what has he got?

If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows -

And did it my way!*


While the memory is as vibrant in my mind as it could be, it would be silly to suggest one sweet senior at karaoke night changed me forever. That sitting there, newly 19, with a cocktail buzz or more, curls in my hair, a man’s triumphant song of a life well—or at least defiantly enough—lived crawled inside my brain and started shaking things up. Pushing and pulling levers in my subconscious with the recklessness and randomness of youth.
But six months later, I walked away from the comfort of doing it one way—a good way, but not my way. I woke up in a panic, placed my feet on the floor and made a decision, my own, for the first in years. I scribbled out the plans that had been set for me; I gripped the pencil more tightly with my fingers and drew my own course. I will let others down, I told myself, accepting it. I will disappoint you to make myself happy. Scratching everything that came before, the roles I had stumbled into and stayed too long, and starting over. Refusing, like Rose, to hang on to something that had already been sunk—slowly drifting away at first, then more quickly, more steadily, slipping below the surface, down and down, further and darker, until it reached its final resting place on the ocean floor.

The screen changed again; another song came on. Alone in the car, I awoke to the sound of Leonard Cohen’s voice.

*Frank Sinatra “My Way,”1969



Monday, October 1, 2012

Back in the Saddle

End radio silence.

I'm back, snitches.

By my count, it's been at least 8 months since I last wrote an entry. SURPRISE! I'm 8 months pregnant right now and about to pop any minute! We're naming him David Junior. Just kidding. But, hey, it could be true and that's how sad my blog abandonment has been. Side note: I don't have the stomach for juniors, seniors, teen-years, etc.

Here is a list of things that could be to blame for not writing:
-Pregnancy (see above) Also, an aside--I apologize for all of this pregnancy talk. I promise you I'm not pregnant, nor am I ready to be, but--YES--everyone else and their mother (BUT NOT MY MOTHER) is, in fact, pregnant. Lawd.
-Broken bones
-World traveling
-Loss of fingers
-Writing a NYTimes Best-Seller
-Too tired
-New life in my brownstone in NYC
-Amnesia, forgot how to type
-Aliens landed and zapped all computers
-Mid-life crisis

Look, it's all somewhat true. Somewhat. But in reality it's the same as everyone else says: I've been busayy. 

On the wings of angels with trumpeters trumpeting and cherubs slapping their roll-y thighs with glee, I departed the NRA for the very last time in early April, and changed gears with a new position as Managing Editor for an association publisher in Alexandria, Va. 

I wish I could tell you it's been wonderful.

But, really, it's been FABULOUS. It feels so refreshing to be challenged again, to be pushed beyond my skill set, to be told "figure it out, and let me know how it goes." I feel I've grown more professionally in the last few months than ever before. I feel energized to be working with a close-knit team and to be already receiving positive feedback from clients. I'm thankful, so thankful.

The rest of it was pretty much a quiet, home-bound summer. Pups that get crazier by the day. Wedding planning and celebration with a dear friend. Date nights. A new car. Family time. Yoga. Beers. Lots of take out. David grew a beard. I turned a quarter-century old.  Simple and sweet.

Also, David gained some major weight. Just kidding. #iwish

The new job kept us at home a lot this summer, and the lack of vacation after a long year and lots of long days was hard but good for us. We were able to take a step back and realize just how lucky we were to be able to take trips and travel, get a little break, in the past, and we look forward to future trips now more than ever. Ideally, we will get to do some traveling in early spring (Spring Break '13, anyone?!?!) but we will just have to wait and see.

Cabin fever, much?!

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness month, and Breast Cancer Awareness month, and hubby's birth month, and my dear friend's wedding month. It will be busy, busy but I'm looking forward to this last breath of the year, before the craziness of the holidays washes in over us and consumes every waking hour. I'm hoping to steal away for a few hours to help support and raise awareness for these two causes that are very near and dear to my heart. Oh and that little thing about the election being one month away. A few things to do about that too.

If you made it this far, I want you to know I'm glad to be back here again. I hope you are too. Who know's where we'll go from here, but I'm thinking, as always, it'll be a wild, wild ride.

Stay tuned.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

All Things Good & Holy

I don't have much to say these days, all I can do is show you things I love. That's where I'm at, folks. Sorry for the radio silence.

This is hautemamasfaves on tumblr. Love the name, love the mama, love the sensuality, colors, vibrance. Love it all and want it all. (Beware: Sometimes boobies make an appearance. Breathe, my fellow Americans, just breathe.)
Essentially hautemama just posts everything she loves in long streams, and I, in response, die.

And this SONG. You haven't heard it until you've heard it from Bonnie. Keep playing it over and over and over again.

Prepare yourselves for me to have these glasses (and another pair, too): (But not this orange, I don't believe in this orange)

If you're sick of hearing me talk about Anthony Bourdain, please go away. I love him too much to appropriately convey with words. I want to watch his show in bed forever. Here he is eating a 'dog. I want to be eating a 'dog with him. He has made me a more aware and more adventurous eater. He's pushed me out of the same old, routine foods I always order, and enlightened my whole approach to food. Also, hello, we are both obsessed with pork. SO, if you asked me today what my dying wish would be, I think it would have to be sharing a meal somewhere exotic with D and Anthony Bourdain. Then, I could surely die a happy, happy gal.

This photo. I can't stop looking at it. It says so much in such a sweet, quiet way. Quiet intimacy. So breathtaking.

Breaking Bad en ce moment: Jesse is sober and I am loving it. Favorite character, for sure. Sober looks good on you—hubba, hubba, little man. <3

This hair. I need it now. Chop chop, shorter on top. 

Funk Investigation, also on tumblr. I am so taken with the visual-only approach to social reporting right now. The style of here is what's "right now." I have always loved the power of a photograph, and it seems more and more they are being used on the Web in a flash-bang style to make you feel something as soon as you look at it—a chill up the spine, a tightening of the stomach, a deep swoon at the very core of you. This is all very new to me and I grow more and more obsessed with it everyday. This is the coffee table book of my generation, with pictures that rotate off the page as quickly as they roll on. (Beware the F-bomb)

Lastly, here's another song you need to listen to immediately. Adele covering Bonnie Rait's "I Can't Make You Love Me." Dammit it, Adele. Dammit. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

An Airing of the Grievances

The time has come for an airing of the grievances, and answers to the questions that keep flowing in.

Q: Are you guys really thinking of moving?
Q: Why am I just finding out about this?
Q: If not here, where?
Q: Do you know there are, like, NO jobs anywhere else?
Q: Why?

A: Yes
A: Because it just sort of happened
A: We don't know—if David has any say it will be south, south, south
A: Yes–likeohmygod
A: Because NoVa just doesn't feel like home—it's too busy, impersonal, congested, plain, busy

We don't want to move because we're lonely or don't have anyone to talk to—in reality we have a number of really great friends who live nearby and who are very dear to us. We go to dinner parties with them, we see movies with them, we go to karaoke and out for drinks and ice skating and afternoon shopping trips with them. We watch football with them, when there's football to watch. We even have a small group that we see and have dinner with once a week. We have a church that we attend regularly. We have some family less than an hour away. We are surrounded by love, plans circled on the calendar, things to do, people to talk to. So that's not the problem.

We don't want to move because we think we can find better jobs somewhere else. The truth is there probably isn't a better place in the country right now to find and obtain a job. This place is teeming with them, in many different fields. We are confident that we could find other positions in this area—whether or not they would be exactly what we want to be doing—but it's just that we're not sure that we want them. We know that. We know we can't, theoretically, make as much money somewhere else, or be as career-driven, or as busy. And we don't want those things, we've realized. We don't need to be living in a gated community or driving luxury cars. We want to earn enough to provide for our little family.

We don't want to move because we think it's impossible for us to be happy here. That's silly. What makes us happy is being together, bottom line. No we don't live in an ideal area, or an ideal house, or have the most earth shatteringly exciting jobs right now, but none of that is it. The busyness, the congestion, the weather, the isolation of NoVa is just what we've come to find about it. It is nice to have every store imaginable nearby. It is nice to live 5 minutes from the airport. It is nice to be able to "do city" one day and "do mountains" the next. I know. Plenty of people are happy here. Even we are happy here in our own little way, because at night we snuggle up on our couch and go places—in board games, in conversations, in movies, in our favorite shows, in documentaries. We travel together, and talk along the way, we talk falling into bed at night, we talk in our sleep. We talk, nose-to-nose, when we wake up in the morning. We're happy, we're just not sure we want to be here right now.

That's it. We think we want something different for a while. A change.

Last week my mother told me: Geographical cures rarely work...

I know that. I thought. Don't you think I know that?

The problem is ... there is no problem. Doesn't a cure require an ailment of some sort that needs fixing?

No, it's not fixing, mending, that we need. It's adventure.

You told me we needed that, too, mama. Do you remember?

Not why. Why not? We don't have children or plans to have children for at least a few more years. We have three dogs—they are our biggest handicap. We don't own a house—we would be happy to leave our cute little dumpy townhouse. We are in a position where we can save up money over the next few months. We have work experience. Plus, we're young'ns. At every possible opportunity, someone reminds us of how young we are, how much life we have left to live, how little we really understand of what's really going on. And we know you're right, we're not offended by that.

We just see it as an "If, Then" conditional concept.

IF we are so young, with so much life left to live, with so much time to screw up and put it all back together and figure it all out, THEN why not go? Why not move to a city, a state where neither of us has ever lived before? Why not meet new neighbors, walk the streets completely blind to what is the norm, what is expected of us? Why not live somewhere that has a climate we enjoy—no snow, warm temps, sunshine. A place that has its own culture, not just lots of diversity in place of an actual culture. A place where people are kind and welcoming. Where we know the names of the people who live next to us. Where there is a sense of community that is greater than just knowing where the local community center is. What is it—what is it exactly that we want? Why not just go and find out? Free, for once, of the burden of knowing everything. Free to get lost. It sounds so good, doesn't it?

It's not a complicated thing, I get that. It's just most people only talk about it and never do it. We think we want to do it. We are talking about doing it. Whatever happens after that is all up to the man upstairs.

Stay tuned.