Sunday, April 30, 2006


This weekend, Amanda and I left the city behind and headed to Shenandoah National Park. We had a hotel-ish room with an amazing view of the valley and of my feet:

For dinner, we headed to the Tap Room where we dined on bar food and some interesting drinks:

I had a few of the Prohibition Punches. And soon felt like I had been punched. IN THE FACE.


The walk back down the path to the room was slightly challenging after all of the "SHINE." Here's me posing on boulders. Yeah, because that's a smart thing to do when all liquored up: climb things:

We only stayed one night (probably for the best after our bar tab), and the drive back to DC on Sunday morning was one full of twists and turns. And deer just chillin' by the side of the road:

Finally, the colors were starting to emerge. Gorgeous!

I think that I might go back again this weekend. I just can't get enough!

Friday, April 28, 2006

ABC Family Movies

(This post is dedicated to K-10)

Ever since Saturday morning tv turned into Japanese robot anime hell on earth and primetime tv turned into 'Who Can Produce the Worst Reality Show,' I have lost my taste for most everything on television (except when it comes to Scrubs, the best written show on tv. And even though NBC treats it like the red-headed stepchild of all of its mediocre, poorly-written shows, I will continue to watch no matter how many times it changes time slots or days. I love me some Zach Braff).


It's nice to know that ABC Family has some amazing made-for-tv movies that you do NOT want to miss. Here are several of the most recent ones:

This Time Around
Basically, anything starring a former cast member from 90210 gets an 'A' from this reviewer... no matter how badly acted it may be. Bad acting it is not, however. Carly Pope plays Mel, an advertising guru in Chicago. She had a mad crush on Drew, played by
Mr. Brian A. Green (that's Brian Austin Green to most of the world who remembers him as David Silver) when they attended junior high together, but a mean prank by his then, and current, bitch of a girlfriend forced Mel and her best friend, Gabby, to switch to a different high school. As Drew struggles to open his restaurant on time, which advertising agency does he choose? Mel's, of course! But he has absolutely no clue who she is... Will they fall in love, even though she was a major nerd in middle school?

Lucky 7
Starring everyone's favorite
bride, Kimberly Williams and the always delicious Patrick Dempsey (oh how I love Can't Buy Me Love), this is a wonderful tale for those of us who think that they can plan everything - even the way that our lives will end up. Amy is only seven years old when her mother dies, but not without concocting a "timeline" for her young daughter to follow. Amy follows it religiously, from running for student office, going to summer camp, and becoming a lawyer. But she runs into a snag when it's about time for her to meet Lucky Number Seven - the man that she should marry. Will it be Daniel, Mr. Perfect, or Peter, Mr. Mysterious?

Celeste in the City
Borrowing a
former Buffy cast member and making him extremely gay, this film teaches us to be the person we are inside - but with a little help from our New York cousin and his FABULOUS friends. Celeste moves to NYC from Podunk, Middle America and soon comes to realize that people aren't as friendly in NYC. Imagine that! And adhering to gay stereotypes is not the way to learn about the cute boy who lives in your building above the kareoke club.

I Want to Marry Ryan Banks
This one takes the cake mostly because we have a 90210 cast-off as well as a Buffy cast-off. Ryan Banks (
Mr. Brandon Walsh himself, plus a few lbs.) is a C-list celebrity who makes good movies but can't help finding himself in the tabloids. Charlie is a gorgeous bartender/bookshop owner in Boston who ends up an unwilling pawn in a new Bachelor-esque reality show which is meant to find Ryan a wife. But don't forget about Ryan's best friend/manager, Todd (the super-cute Bradley Cooper). He's sacrificed everything to make Ryan a star. Will he ever be happy? A hilarious take on reality tv, for those of you who have ever been forced to watch The Bachelor/ette (which I refuse to link to because it's horrific).

If I had to choose, I would have to say that
This Time Around is the winner. Brian A. (seriously, who is he kidding?) Green has gotten HOT and it's a sweet, believeable storyline. But Lucky 7 runs a close second. Check them out!

Monday, April 24, 2006


My mom came to visit this weekend, and we headed to Shenandoah National Park on Sunday. It was raining when we got to Front Royal, VA (the site of the northern entrance to the park), and pouring when we got to the ranger booth. We were told that it was rainy and foggy and we wouldn't be able to see much of anything and that it was supposed to be like that all day. But we went ahead anyway.

At the Dickey Ridge Visitor's Center, we were greeted by this little guy (though I think that he was annoyed that he couldn't get to the delicious honeycomb inside the tree):

When we stepped outside after spending only a few minutes in the center, it had stopped raining and the sun was out. This view, completely covered with fog only minutes before, welcomed us to the park:

As we drove along in our sweet rental car (I DRIVE A DODGE STRATUS! Seriously, that's what we had!), I would stop every so often to take pictures. I loved these trees:

As the fog lifted throughout the park, it was obvious that the rain had made everything seem so much brighter and alive:

But then the fog threatened to overcome us!
It didn't. And then I spotted the deer:

This little song sparrow was very brave:
There are so many lookouts and stopping points in the park. You can't possibly stop at them all, but they are well worth the time:

Interestingly, as the car climbed up through the mountains, we noticed that many trees had yet to POP! You can see from many of the shots (like above) the brown areas. Those are higher up, and the trees there were covered in buds - no leaves yet! We stopped to hike a few times. This place was about halfway up the mountain and had some leaves, but not all:

There were gorgeous trees (called Redbuds) all over the park:
As well as Flowering Dogwoods:
I really didn't want to leave, but I'll be back again this weekend, and this time, I'll be staying in the park overnight!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Monday, April 17, 2006

Happy Easter!

From a cute baby:

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Sunday Stroll

Took these pictures on the walk home from Eastern Market today:

It was a gorgeous day. I love that it's finally spring!

Bel Canto

A book about opera and terrorism, you say?

It's good, really!

I lent
Never Let Me Go to Amanda not just because of its amazing story, but because of its beautiful prose. She turned to her bookcase and handed me Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.

It was nice to read something so refreshingly different and at the same time so beautiful. Patchett's writing is addictive and pulled me in to the story, the characters, the themes, and the settings. While the story moves rather slowly at times, I never gave up on the book. In fact, I sometimes found myself wishing that my morning commute was a little longer just so I could finish a page or a chapter.

While I've never been one for opera, Patchett seemed to anticipate this. She made the music another character of sorts. You don't have to "get" opera to enjoy this book -- just think about the way that your favorite music makes you feel, and you'll understand.

A Japanese businessman is invited to celebrate his birthday in an "unnamed South American" country at a party hosted by the Vice President. This country is poor, and its leaders are hoping to convince the businessman to open one of his factories there. They lure him there with the promise of a performance by the famed American opera singer Roxanne Coss. It works. But the party is quickly interrupted by terrorists hoping to kidnap the President - but he's not there.

What follows is a story of survival, politics, and love.
Bel Canto is wonderful.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Rainy Saturday (Not to be confused with Lazy Sunday)

It's rainy and cold today -- kind of a bummer as it's the weekend, but what are you going to do? Besides metro all the way to Old Town just to get a lovely turkey tom sammich from Jimmy John's, that is. Because I've already done that. How about movie night!

I have found myself watching the same few dvds over and over again, which is comforting and fun, but at the same time a little pathetic considering the fact that I have a ton of dvds. Meh. And while I already have a few comfort movies (
The Princess Bride, Sixteen Candles, and Dumb and Dumber), these are soon to be joining that list:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I love it, and I'm not embarassed to admit it. It is the most innocent of the series and the least scary. The music is wonderful (as it is in all of them), and the kids are so young and cute. I love that I practically know it by heart and that the end still makes me cry a little. I mean, come on -- the photo album? So good.

Home Alone. Now that I have it on dvd, I have watched it more than a few times. I know that I've said it before, but when Kevin puts the tarantula on Marv's face and he screams like a little girl, I laugh like an idiot. Every time. I don't know what it is about this movie that keeps me watching it again and again, except that I know I would have never been so resourceful as Kevin when I was eight years old, that's for sure.

The Parent Trap. While I absolutely adore the original with Haley Mills, I think that I like the remake more. Perhaps that is blasphemous to some people, and maybe it's because I am from a different generation than my mother (well, obviously), but this update is adorable and also makes me cry. It's also nice to witness the impressive acting talents of Lindsay Lohan in her pre-skank years. "Sisters? Halley, we're like, twins!" And... scene.

I'm thinking that I might branch out and watch something else tonight, though.

Yeah, right.

Friday, April 07, 2006


Ah, Mount Fuji. Lovely, tranquil.

When is the last time you looked at yourself? I mean, really stopped to examine who you are? I've been doing a lot of stopping lately - call it soul-searching, examining, wondering, whatever. You never really know when you're going to start a journey of self-discovery, and I suppose you have to be ready to uncover things about yourself that you aren't all that proud of. I unearthed some things about myself, and for the most part, I'm happy with who I am. But I know that I have a long way to go to becoming the person who I'm meant to be.

I love that I am a passionate person. I cry at movies (okay, almost
all movies, some TV shows, and a few commercials here and there), I believe in my work, I let music guide me, and I love when the guy gets the girl. When I feel strongly about something, I want people to feel as I feel. But being passionate has its drawbacks, too. I tend to assume that things should be perfect. They're not. Neither are people. It's ridiculous to think that everything is going to end up exactly as you planned. Maybe once in a while, things end up just great. Just peachy. But you know that there were variations, you know that something went wrong before something better went right. Learning to accept that is something that I know I need to work on.

I love that I worked my ass off to get where I am. Sure, school was tough, but I made a few amazing friends - friends that are spread out all over the place. Moving to DC was ballsy, especially not knowing anyone. And yes, I work for one of the most famous institutions in the world. Things are good, right? You'd think. I'm getting to be too complacent. I'm starting to wonder what else is out there. What am I really accomplishing from 8-5:30 every day? Taking risks has never been something that I've been all about, but I have definitely come to the realization that making things happen for yourself is just as big of a risk as not doing anything at all. Michigan, I'm coming back. I hope you're ready.

I am waaaay too serious sometimes. Man, you should have seen me in high school. You think that I'm uptight now? Good LORD. I've always been petite, but I had glasses and braces (and several other fantastic torture devices from my orthodontist. Wow, did I despise him) to boot. Oh, and I think that my forehead is ginormous. I grew up as the butt of jokes, starting in elementary school. Short jokes, forehead jokes (my favorite was being called Steven Seagal in sixth grade. GET IT?), braces jokes, etc. I soon built up a defense. Well, what I thought was a defense. Being a kid hurts, and I got angry. Now? I wish I hadn't worn my emotions on my sleeve as much. I got so defensive, it's all I really knew. And I think that I got mean. The worst result of this was that I had a hard time learning how to take a joke. That has really followed me to this day. Taking things so damn seriously impacts everyone around me. And really - isn't life too short for that?

Patience. Here's a big one. I am so NOT the poster child for patience. Add that one to the list.

But I like so many other things about myself. I love unconditionally, without question. I trust people. I try to treasure each moment. I believe in people - I really think that most people will come through for you in the end. And I believe in myself. I know that I have a lot to give and I want to make people happy. I want people to be proud of me. I want to be proud of myself.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

This is a Good One, Too

Blogger's Block?

I always thought that writer's block was something that only afflicted college students and magazine writers. I never anticipated having such a long break between posts -- it just happened. I just haven't wanted to write. Now, that annoys me a little. It's like saying that I just haven't wanted to read. Or *gasp* that I haven't wanted to do a sudoku puzzle (I love them. So addicted). I think that the culprit is my mind-numbingly dull completely bored-off-my-ass job. So the job search has begun. And it's not going well AT ALL. Did you know that the Michigan economy is probably the worst in the country right now? Yep. Trying to find a job there is a great move, Heather. Good plan.

I also seem to be stuck in a daily routine. Wake up, hit snooze three times, shower, get ready, work, come home, eat, sleep. It's dull and I think that it's making me cranky. But I am tired of bars and happy hours and I am trying to save money, so shopping and such is basically out. I think that I might start walking to work and changing when I get here. It's gorgeous in the mornings, and I hopefully won't feel like such a slug. Maybe take some more pictures too (of things other than my niece). I need to get my mind back in order!

Not that I have too many pictures of my niece - I only take about forty pictures each weekend that I see her. That's not that many. It could be worse. I could be officially dubbed, "Crazy Picture Aunt." Oh wait. That already happened. Well then, I feel that is my right - nay DUTY - to post pictures of my niece. She's almost a year old and it's freaking me out!

I'd bet that bowl tastes amazing. Mmmm... molded plastic...

And here's a random picture! Pine trees pop up in the unlikeliest of places. Unless you meant to plant it behind the garage next to the neighbor's fence. Which is true in this case. I suppose that when my dad and brother were planting it there over ten years ago, he figured that he or my brother would mow it down eventually. Huh.

I braved the crowds down at the Tidal Basin just to get some pictures. And it was worth it. I walked from the American History Museum past the Washington Monument and strolled over to the Tidal Basin. Crawling with tourists, I was expecting to move about four feet a minute. Not true! If someone wished to take a picture of the pink and white flowers, they simply moved to the side of the walk. SERIOUSLY. What do you mean, Heather? They didn't stop in their tracks in the middle of the sidewalk causing a backup of khaki shorts and black socks? Well, a few did. But not enough to cause a full-blown traffic jam. It was kind of weird, though, moving along at a snail’s pace like an amoeba. But it was a beautiful day with a slight breeze and everyone seemed to have a smile on their face.
It's really a lovely picture, no?