Friday, December 29, 2006

Around the World

I don't even know where to start. I flew into Detroit on Christmas Eve, and when my suitcase hadn't arrived, I made a claim and was told that I could spend $50 on toiletries, etc. I was also told that my bag would most likely be delivered that night, "in the wee hours."

It wasn't.

My dad and I did take a lovely trip to Walgreen's at midnight, though, to buy deodorant and a toothbrush, among other embarrassing things that a girl doesn't necessarily want to buy with her father in tow.

Christmas Day came and went, and there was still no word. My spending limit was increased to $150, however. Not that I could buy anything like, say, UNDERWEAR, as nothing was open.

The enemy.

I called every day, four times a day, trying to get even a thread of information about my luggage. Each time, the operator was very apologetic (except for that one bitch on the 26th who hung up on me when I was being COMPLETELY PLEASANT, but whatever. No really, I was - ask my mom), but I always got the same response, "We're working on it. Just call back every few hours." Fantastic. Of course, that was when I could actually get through - the local number they gave me was constantly busy.

Wednesday - my departure day. I called Northwest's luggage center for a fourth time that afternoon, around 1:00 p.m. I was not expecting much. The woman I spoke to earlier that morning had me convinced that the suitcase had been stolen and to start listing its contents because it "didn't look good." This call was different. I was placed on hold several times, and the operator returned to the line time and again to assure me that they were "on to something." And then, a ray of hope:

NW: "Ma'am, you're not going to believe this, but we've got your bag. It went to Manila."

Donut: "In the Philippines!!??!?!?"

NW: "Yes, the Philippines. It was overhandled."

Donut: "Yeah, to say the least."

NW: "But it's in Detroit now, going through customs. We'll have it to you this evening."

Donut: "My flight back to DC is at 7:30."

NW: "Oh, well it got here just in time!" [laughter]

Donut: [silence]

NW: Just call back around 3 p.m., and we'll have a better idea of whether it'll be ready for you before your flight.

I am so not kidding. The Philippines.

We got to the airport early, as NO ONE ANSWERED THE PHONE, and sure enough, it was ready. I transferred the presents to another bag that we toted with us, so my parents got their presents after all! But then... I had no choice but to recheck my bag. I was nervous! The flight was fine, but as I waited at the carousal at Reagan, I became more and more antsy. But then, it emerged from the bowels of the airport! I welcomed my well-traveled friend and got the hell out of there.

Here's what a tag looks like from DC to Detroit (with a slight detour along the way):

And here's what a tag from Detroit to DC looks like (you know, with no unscheduled stops along the way):

The story ends here, and luckily, it's a happy one. It could have been worse: my suitcase could have ended up in a dumpster!
I'll be packing my carry-on suitcase in the future!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Merriest of Merry Christmases

K-10 should enjoy the title. Miss you!

Anyway, it was a great Christmas at home - it was a complete contrast to last year's, and for that, I am very very thankful. It really is amazing to see what can change in a year, as well as seeing yourself change - or return to who you really are.

I flew into Detroit on Christmas Eve, and after the luggage snafu, I called my dad and he whisked me away to my Grandpa's house in Dearborn, just ten minutes from the airport. The whole family was there, though you wouldn't know it from the pictures. What can I say? My niece is adorable:

My cousins and I have always had a soft spot for the annual A Christmas Story marathon, even before it was a marathon, so that was fun. We count down the minutes until the first one airs at 8 p.m., and everyone waits for Randy to show Mommy how the piggies eat (mostly because that's my aunt's favorite part and the part that my mom hates the most). Presents are over in less than five minutes, and then everyone plays pinochle or poker. This year, it was poker. Oh, and we played Atari:

Super Pitfall!

Christmas Day was a quiet affair, but very nice. It's strange how things change - my brother obviously no longer lives at home, so there is no more waking up early to get our stockings. I mean, I am twenty-six years old. I guess it had to end sometime... EmFace dropped by later in the day, and it was so good to see her - I just wish it could have been longer. Alexis got a few Elmo DVDs, including this gem, which was both hilarious and deeply disturbing at the same time. We were taking bets on how long it would take to drive my brother completely insane:

Oh sweet Lord, make it stop.

The 26th, or Boxing Day, was spent at the mall finding clothes to replace mine as they were probably gone forever in lost luggage land. And you know, the mall wasn't that bad! Later, after watching Super Troopers with the 'rents, I met Tonks for a drink - also too short of a visit (you hear me Kelly? One beer at the freaking Allen Park Wheat 'n' Rye is not "hanging out." Get your ass to DC stat!).

The 27th was spent saying goodbye to my niece and heading to the airport early to see if there was any new news on my luggage. And there was.* My flight took off late (because Northwest SUCKS), but I returned to DC in one piece.

It was a great time at home, even without snow :)

*Story of the lost luggage to follow soon. Keep posted!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Northwest can SUCK IT

I flew to Detroit on Sunday - Christmas Eve, for those of you paying attention. Long story short, my suitcase never made it. You know, my suitcase with all of my CHRISTMAS PRESENTS all up in it? Yeah. And now it's Wednesday and they still haven't found it. It's not looking good. And I never check my bags. Figures!

I'm not even all that upset anymore. Frustrated, yes. Oh, yes. I even made a list of everything that I packed. That just depressed me.

So my family didn't get presents and I no longer have my glasses, tall sexy boots, or winter coat -- among many other things. OBVIOUSLY this is far from the worst thing that could have happened, but it still definitely sucks.

I know one thing for certain: I won't be flying Northwest again. Jerks.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dinosaur What Now? Where? Ahhhhhh......

How have I never heard of this?

And this is why it's going to be awesome:

"Dinosaur Land is not a place for a serious scientist. To enjoy it, visitors must be capable of suspending belief in favor of savoring the experience of having dinosaurs share a prehistoric forest with King Kong, a 20 foot coiled cobra and an inexplicably huge octopus."
Paula Gray Hunker, Washington Times, Tues. Oct. 14, 1997

Holy crap, I must go there. The need is inexplicable.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Rosa Mexicano

Amanda planned a lovely Happy Hour at Rosa Mexicano, a Mexican bar in the heart of Penn Quarter. I arrived early to grab a table and ordered their special pomegranate margarita and homemade guacamole.

The margarita was tart, like a regular lime version, but with a hint of sweetness. And as pomegranates are all the rage these days, it seems fitting for a hip bar like Rosa. Plus, it was pink, so it scored well with me.

The guacamole was excellent, if slightly bland. I could have used a touch more cilantro or perhaps a dash of salt. I loved the huge hunks of avocado sprinkled throughout, though. I didn't get to have much, as it was gobbled up so quickly.

(I wish I could find out where it is that restaurants buy their avocados in the winter - the ones at the grocery store are severely lacking in taste and quality. I'm sure that they have them delivered straight from Argentina or something. I'm jealous!).

We later moved on to the red wine sangria. It was lighter than what I'm used to from Mike at Ella's, but very good. Get a pitcher because it goes fast!

And the company was good times - it'd been a while since our last Happy Hour, so it was nice to celebrate with everyone before Christmas descended upon us. I guess that's what Sunday's upcoming party is for!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Crack This

A month ago, Amanda and I bought tickets to see The Washington Ballet's The Nutcracker at the Warner Theater, and as the day inched near, we got more and more excited.

I don't know if you lovely people are aware of this little fact, but I studied classical ballet for twelve years. If I hadn't been more interested in school, I probably would have pursued a career in dance. But then I discovered history and museums, and it was all books and nerdiness from then on. Plus, high school was super fun with student council, track, band (have I mentioned I'm a nerd?), and boys, and I wouldn't have made time for dance - I made the decision after ninth grade.

Anyway, even with my dance background, I had never seen a professional ballet performance. The Warner Theater is absolutely beautiful, and the acoustics were very good.

I was ready: good seats and tissues for the tears of excitement. We had a great view on the main floor with fairly short people sitting in front of us. That is, until the grandma-perfume woman with a huge bouffant switched seats as the curtain was going up on the first act, and blocked both of our views. Awesome.

And the children. The children. 7 p.m. on a Friday night is probably okay for some kids, and the majority of them were fine for the first act, but after 45 minutes of sitting still, they were not amused with the second act - mostly ballet and not much else. I lost track of the amount of times the little girl behind me sneezed on my neck, and the little 2-year-old boy in front of us, now sitting on his father's lap, was squirming so much, I think that I saw about 7% of the performance.

I know that I need to be more assertive, and should have asked the people in front of us to stay in their original seats, but then maybe their children wouldn't have been able to see (not that they were watching anyway). Yes, we all paid the same amount for our tickets, but I guess it's a bit of a slippery subject. I was there for the music and the dance and was completely mesmerized by the dancers' feet alone - when I could see the stage, and they were there to see a Christmas-y performance.

And I'm short, so I've accepted that I'm not going to be able to see things. From football games to concerts, I'm usually fine with peeking through the crowd or just watching the action on the big screen. Unless I shell out for front row or aisle seats, I have to expect that I am probably not going to see much. It's not tall guy's fault that he's tall!

I'll just have to go back to see another ballet. Maybe on a weeknight. If Sleeping Beauty is ever performed here, I'll be first in line for tickets.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Old and New

My office, once located in a non-descript building on the edge of Chinatown, just moved... to a hotel! Well, we're renting space from the L'Enfant Plaza Hotel, and though my own personal office is probably the size of one of their rooms (seriously, it's huge), there's not that much "hotelish" about it. Just office space. Let's compare though, shall we?

Old office - in the midst of packing.

I'll miss the view, but...


Not my furniture, actually (that's the old tenant's stuff).

I love the blue accent walls.

One of the coolest things is that the metro empties into the building, so once I get to Union Station to begin my commute, I don't have to go outside again (unless I want to). Plus, the mall is this whole "city" underneath the building: a Post Office, CVS, tailor, dry cleaner, SMOOTHIE PLACE, and restaurants. Granted, there are some really scary places (that's a whole different post altogether - I think that I'll call it "A Walking Tour of L'Enfant Promenade." Oh, just you wait), but all-in-all, it's pretty neat.

The Hotel has a gym - with a pool - and I can join for a ridiculously low monthly rate. A pool?!?!? I can't wait to swim laps. As for the gym, I'm going to have to think back to high school track practice to remember how to use some of the machines. I did hear that they have yoga classes though... Because really, can you picture me lifting weights? Heh.

Change is good, and I'm excited.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Smoke Free? Finally!

I cannot WAIT for the smoking ban to take effect - less than a month and counting. I'll be able to go to a restaurant, bar, or club and not get a headache! (I don't know why smoke has been affecting me so adversely lately, but I am excited to sit in a non-smoking section and not have smoke wafting over from three tables away. The whole place will be a non-smoking section!)

I understand the argument from those who oppose the ban: it's limiting their personal choices and freedoms, etc. But isn't it also my choice to breathe clean air? I know it's tricky, but if my rights end where another's begin, then the smoking should probably be banned.

I know that the ban will force smokers outside and it may not be pleasant - especially in crazy nightlife areas like Adams Morgan. Will "smoke gardens" replace beer gardens so that their smoking patrons don't have to leave the bar completely when they need a fix? Will dining outside at a restaurant mean choosing the smoking section, or will smoking be banned there as well? It's going to be an interesting transition.

I feel bad for those who are addicted, but someone who cannot wait five seconds to get to street level from the metro and sparks up as he's stepping onto the escalators? Needs help. Outside, I can walk away from a smoker. In a poorly ventilated bar, I only have the choice to leave. I will definitely frequent DC's smoke-free bars rather than the smoking-permitted bars in Virginia. Who knows? Maybe Northern Virginia bars will follow suit. Here's hoping.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cookie Party

What an amazing idea - have your friends come over, homemade cookies in tow, and swap.

The first batches to arrive...

Here's how it works - everyone bakes a different kind of cookie and brings two to three dozen along. Everyone samples some from each batch, and then goes home with a huge variety. It's fool proof! Have milk, hot chocolate, and hot cider on hand. Enjoy!

Mine. Pretty!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

You Could EAT Off Of It

Really, you could.

We've made some improvements over here in the Little Rowhouse on the Hill. Remember our old kitchen floor?


We surmised, very correctly, that the grime-encrusted floor was too dark, too old, and too disgusting. I love to cook, but that the floor made me sad and (seriously) took away from the whole cooking experience.

A quick trip to the Depot, and a few hours later... voila! New floor!

It's so beautiful I could cry. And I would eat off of it. I even took off my shoes and walked around on it - something that I never did before, no matter how hard we swiffered and scrubbed.

The glorious floor was unveiled to the masses on Thanksgiving to rave reviews:

Now that's yum.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I sent Em one of the best shirts ever, but she has yet to post a picture of herself wearing it! What gives, EmFace?

But for reals, check out Threadless - their shirts are original and definitely hilarious (I have way too many, though I think that this one is my favorite. Or this one. Or...). Oh, and they're all on sale right now. What are you waiting for??

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Banana Blueberry Bread

I made the mistake of buying too many bananas, and I like them when they are slightly green. The brown spotted ones? Too sweet. Cold day, mushy bananas... banana bread!


Here's the recipe I used from my awesome Betty Crocker cookbook (thanks Lady!). I used whole milk instead of buttermilk and replaced the chopped nuts with a cup of fresh blueberries.

The result?


Monday, December 04, 2006

Hobbits are Hirsute. Apparently.

Over four years ago, I ordered a gorgeous set of The Lord of the Rings through my fabulous book club and until just about a week ago, they sat on my shelf. In my defense, I did have two years of grad school occupying my time, but I know now that that was no excuse.

I'd tried to start the trilogy a few months ago, but got sidetracked by other books. The first chapter didn't really do it fo me, and I lost interest. So instead, I read The Hobbit and loved it. I knew that it was only a matter of time before I would try again. Lots of people had been pestering me to read them for a while now, and before heading to the metro one day, I grabbed the first book in the trilogy.

And now, here I am in the same situation that I've discovered myself several times before: I just want to read it all of the time. I tried reading at work today, but The Boss kept waltzing on in. It's a good thing that I can recognize her walk... Okay, enough of this posting - I'm going to go read.

I am such a nerd!

Friday, December 01, 2006