Friday, April 30, 2010

Update...happy now???

It's Friday and I've been told to get with the program and update my blog (You know who you are!) so here's a little recap on my week....

Monday - Tuesday: My sister Cara's 8th grade class visited DC these days and I met them for dinner both nights....imagine 100 8th graders all trying to outdo one another with the number of name brand clothing that a single person can wear at one time; I'm talking Abercrombie jeans, True Religion jeans, Seven for all Mankind jeans, Coach shoes, Coach wristlet purses, American Eagle shirts, Hollister shirts, Abercrombie shirts (lots of Abercrombie everywhere!), Lacoste shoes, Lacoste shirts, etc. I added up the total cost of one girls outfit and it was at least $450 worth of clothing. Ridiculous! Am I out of touch with fashion? Too much of a penny pincher? I think NOT! The difference between a $15 polo shirt from Target and an $89 polo shirt from Lacoste is a little green alligator on the front shoulder....or, the difference between a $50 pair of skinny leg jeans from Kohls and a $280 pair of skinny leg jeans from True Religion is a white stitched horse shoe-shaped letter U on the butt pocket. I don't understand why someone would spend 5x the amount of money for a horseshoe on their butt. Hanging out with Cara's class for those couple of nights made me even more proud of her because she is one of the few kids who doesn't have to have name brand clothing...her self-confidence doesn't depend on alligator emblems and horseshoe stitching. When she does receive a gift of something name-brand, it is special to her because it's not something expected ~ which makes it fun for me to shop for Cara :)

The rest of my week has pretty much been the usual routine - breakfast, work, lunch, work, dinner, painting, little tv, sleep, and repeat. My office is moving locations, so I have been packing and unpacking and re-organizing as well. Let's just say I'm glad it's Friday and I'm looking forward to the weekend!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tulip library card needed :)

Just when I thought I'd seen all the tulips in DC gardens, lo and behold I come across a Tulip Library! It's a beautiful stretch of garden along one of the roads by the monuments and has all different colors and varieties of tulips. It makes for a beautiful drive to and from work....especially when I'm stuck in traffic!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Earth Day - it's a big deal in DC

In anticipation for Earth Day on April 25th, giant earth sculptures now grace the stretch of lawn between the Capitol building and the Washington Monument outside the Smithsonian Castle. Very cool sculptures that are all between 5 and 7 feet tall. Each one has a different theme but they all revolve around global warming and the crisis facing the earth if we don't start decreasing our usage of natural resources. The entertainment lineup even includes a performance by Sting! This is some serious business! NASA set up a large inflatable "earth" with kid activities must be part of a week-long string of events leading up to the big day. The art installations are cool....however, isn't it a bit ironic that here we are trying to clean up the earth and yet it takes a whole lot of electricity to keep inflated an enormous earth for kids to play inside, Sting's band is going to use a whole lot of electricity playing, and what will happen to the artwork after Earth Day?? End up in a landfill somewhere?? This might be one of those cases of "nice thought; poor execution" type deals....

Words Escape Me...

While riding my bike around the mall the other night, I stumbled across this character who was all too willing to pose for a picture for my blog :) In case you can't read the sign, it says "FOX stop torturing America by having American Idol before Glee" Hilarious!! Guess this was his form of protest on tax day! As for the costume....???? It's like a cross between the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland and a scary funhouse carnival clown.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring in DC

Just thought I'd share some of the beautiful gardens growing around my neighborhood. It's great walking places now because there is so much to see. I love all the tulips!! There are not many yards living in the city, and the houses that have them have very tiny yards, but I'm quite impressed with all the gardens. Who needs grass when you can have flowers?!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Ya Ya bunch

It's time to introduce my readers to the Ya Ya bunch - Mary, Jennifer, me, and Kristen. We all got to know each other during the snow storm this winter, and we've not been apart since :) Mary, Kristen, and I all live in the same apartment building and Jen lives just a couple doors down the street. They are the best neighbors anyone could ever wish for! We are four completely different individuals yet we blend so nicely --- Mary is "Mama Ya Ya" because she takes care of us all ~ cooking dinner, making sure we are in safe every night, and that we behave ourselves :) Jennifer is "Ya Ya the Philosopher" because she knows the most obscure information in life and lives a very free and thought-provoking life. Kristen is "Captain Ya Ya" because she keeps us all in our place and takes charge of everyone and everything. And I am "Happy Ya Ya" because I'm the cheerful, happy-go-lucky one of the group that keeps everyone young and fresh. Ha!

You might be wondering how we decided to call ourselves the Ya Yas.....that was all the Captain's doing. During the snow, Mama Ya Ya and I were outside smashing the stems of Magnolia branches in front of the apartment when Captain came outside and said, "Now what are the Ya Ya sisters up to this time?" And since then the name stuck!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cherry Blossom Festival

When you think of DC in the spring, one of the things that immediately comes to mind are Cherry Blossom trees. After living in DC during this time of year, I acknowledge that the trees are pretty, but I don't quite see what all the fuss is...certainly not worth the traffic jams and massive numbers of people making my drive to and from work even more of a headache than what it already is. The tidal basin around the Jefferson Memorial is definitely the most well-known spot to see the 2,000+ trees, but it's also the absolute LAST place you want to be during the festival...for views void of tourist heads and obnoxious cameras flashing from all angles, I recommend meandering through DC neighborhoods. Many people now plant Cherry trees in their yards, so you can get some great photographs of the trees without the hassle of a zillion people all running into each other at the tidal basin because they are too busy looking up at the blossoms to watch where they are going. But, as you can see from my photo of the Jefferson Memorial and Cherry trees, I did NOT learn this important information until AFTER I was sucked into the festival madness! I can only pass my suggestions to future DC tourists for next year's Cherry Blossom festival :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Christ is Risen!

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen! Blessed Easter to everyone! This year was the first year I have ever been away from family on a holiday. It was an odd I suddenly aged over the course of a weekend because I was on my own making plans for a holiday and not able to spend it with family. Growing up, holidays have always been about traditions and spending time with family, but this year, the only traditions I had involved making food and my "family" consisted of nuns, friends, and strangers I just met today. It was a nice Easter and I of course enjoyed celebrating Christ's resurrection, since that is what Easter is truly about, but I still wish I was home with family.

So here's a rundown of what my weekend looked like:

Saturday, I went to the driving range and taught a friend how to play golf. It was "demo day" at the course, so since I broke my 3 wood club during the winter, I tested for free a Nike and a Ping club. Wow! Nice clubs! I had to keep reminding myself that that single club cost more money than my entire set of golf clubs but oh I really wanted to fork over my credit card. It was tempting. Anyways, it was a gorgeous day outside and great being at the range. That evening, I went to Easter Vigil for the first time ever. I went with a couple people to a church across the street from me and it was a beautiful mass. It started with the blessing of fire outside the church from which the Easter candle was lit and will remain lit throughout the church year. 7 people came into the Catholic faith through baptism, first holy communion, and confirmation. It really was a moving service and I intend to go from now on to Vigil. It lasted from 8-11pm and then I went back with a couple nuns to their convent to celebrate Easter and eat empanadas. Yum! The nuns are wonderful women of God and I feel very blessed that they invited me to share Easter with them. All young women studying to go out into the mission field and evangelize the Gospel....inspiring! My friends and I were at the convent until 12:45am at which point one of them left, and the other friend and I decided to go back to church and experience the Ethiopian/Eritrean mass going on. Very cool to hear Vigil being said in their native language. We stayed there until 2am and then I finally went to bed :)

Today (Easter Sunday), I woke up and went to the convent to have morning liturgy, breakfast, and then on to the National Basilica for mass at noon. It was the chorale mass broadcast live on EWTN. I sat with the nuns and had a great view of everything! Plus, apparently I was on tv a bit during mass! Yippee! A movie star for God! Mass lasted about 2 hours and then I came back home and started cooking for another group of people who were coming at 4pm for a potluck Easter dinner. Half were Jen's coworkers, so they were strangers turned friends by the end of the evening :) We played frisbee and a little kickball with CJ's birthday ball and ate our dinner on a card table outside because the weather was just wonderful. I bought a spiral ham and made corn pudding and a potato casserole so I would have some traditional Easter food, and the other people brought lamb burgers, spinach salad, potato salad, hummus, red velvet cake, and a brilliant blue cake with pretty green and pink frosting and Easter gummies - thank you Andrew for the "creative" Easter cake....I can only wonder how much food coloring it took to turn cake batter that intense of a blue!

I'm exhausted after this weekend but it was a nice time...different not being home, but nice nevertheless.