Wednesday, February 28, 2007

when chicken upgrades to prime rib

I'm not a big red meat girl. I guess you could say this is something that's become more of the case since college. I'm always that girl who will go to the nice steakhouse and order the one chicken dish on the menu, and smile as the waiter nods their head in disbelief.

At the same time, once in a blue moon I like to go all out at one of these fine steakhouses. Perhaps it's the isolatedness of my red meat encounters that make them more special. Trust me, I've eaten round after round of fabulous meats at Brazillian churrascarias, from Porcao in Miami to Mineira in Sao Paolo. When so moved, I'm all in.

Today after a long day of my training course, I was tempted to stay as close to the hotel as possible and not really put forth a lot of effort. That idea didn't last long though. I'd sent a message to the Titan for ideas of restaurants to check out in the downtown area. I figured at least some familiar names based on the recommendations would make things easier, and then I'd return back to turn in and study.

It was not long before I saw Lawry's off in the distance. Perfect. Unlike my trip to Gino's, no one looked at me in shock when I came through the revolving doors and requested a table for one. Funny, but I knew from my simple conversation with the woman at the coat check that this was going to be a fabulous meal.

I was seated in the back center of the room, situated with a perfect view out over the remainder or the room. The great thing about dining solo is that it affords you the opportunity to really watch people. The couple next to me were so engrossed in conversation that I thought they were just that, a couple. At the tail end of their conversation, I happened to catch that he'd instead been recounting the intimate details of how he met his wife.

The restaurant is laid out so that the master carver brings around a large metal cart to your table, where they prepare your meat. I opted for the smallest cut and decided against my initial restraint that a nice glass of cabernet sauvignon might be the perfect compliment. I don't know that I've ever had wine with steak before, but I was not disappointed.

I was just finishing up when a tall dark-haired gentleman came over. "Well," he said, "I saw you come in earlier, and I was mighty impressed. I said here's an attractive young lady confident enough to come out to dinner and on her own accord has opted for a steakhouse as well."

Not always the best with flattery, I'm sure the color of my face and the nice crimson shade of the house cab sauv had something in common. He went on to state he traveled often to Chicago for business from Denver. He said, "I'm going around the corner to the piano bar. I'm sure you saw it. Once you finish up here, you should stop by. I'd love to buy the Southern girl a drink."

I smiled as he walked off, and finished settling the bill with the server. The funny thing was that I began to notice different things around the room. As I exited, I caught the intense stare of the red-headed gentleman at the adjacent table. I even noticed the lingering eyes of another gentleman who was clearly on a nice night on the town with his lady.

I couldn't help but wonder... does a steakhouse truly become a meat market when one's a solo carnivorous senorita? Never realized so many guys found that so appealing. Trust me, even if that's the case, I wouldn't let that keep me from doing it all over again.

And no. No piano bar for me. CO man was nice, but not quite my type. I had noticed the bar on the way to dinner and thought it would be a fun spot to visit with good friends.

And tomorrow, it's back to poultry and seafood for me. But what a great way to add to my experience in the windy city.


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

table for one, or why insulation ≠ art

My last visit to downtown Chicago was all about my training course. Training course along with the occasional post-course escape to the Miracle Mile. I was determined that this trip would include more than work courses, coffee breaks, and drooling over Marc Jacobs latest concoction.

Don't get me wrong. Today's adventures did include a trip to what I fondly used to refer to as the mother ship (AKA Bloomingdales). However, my focus was on other things I'd yet to experience in Chicago. Ironically, my last trip to Chicago did not include having real Chicago style pizza. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe I had something close, but not quite authentic. This time, I made sure to make time for a trip to Gino's East. As the host typically does, they tried to direct me to the bar, but I'm a table kind of girl. Yes, I want a table for one. A table. The pizza was quite good, although definitely much heavier than the thin crust variety I usually opt for. I know it would pain the Yankee to hear me refer to Chicago style pizza as great, but I think Chicago and NYC style are just so different. I don't want to commit to either. I'll take a slice of each please (with red pepper). Thanks.

So there are two museums that interested me. Each conveniently are open late one night a week. Today was the day that the Museum of Contemporary Art was open late, so I thought I'd start there. I'm hoping that the class wraps up early on Thursday as they usually do and then I can make stop number two at the Art Institute of Chicago, which is the museum I anticipate liking much more.

The Rudolf Stingel exhibit was not my favorite.. a hard time stretching to call some things art. Smooshed insulation just doesn't equal art to me. Anyone disagree? I'd really love some thoughts here if anyone has any. However, I really did enjoy the exhibit on the fourth floor that just opened on the 24th called "MCA Exposed: Defining Moments in Photography, 1967-2007". One of my favorite pieces was by Alfredo Jaar titled "Geography = War". It was a unique piece of these light boxes suspended above some 36 water filled oil barrels. They showed four photos of the faces of the inhabitants of a city in Nigeria. The placard explained that the motivation behind the work was an incident where 35 tons of toxic waste had been released into a city called Koko. The barrels were labeled as toxic, but the locals had agreed to house the chemicals in exchange for I believe it was $100 per barrel. It was a statement about the dumping of waste in Africa and parts of Latin America. Very visually impressive... and very interesting way of communicating the message.

After a bit of wandering up and down Michigan Avenue, it was back to the hotel for some downtime... some Sex and the City... some friends... good R&R. Tomorrow though it's time for class, since after all I guess that's why work sent me here. Although, I prefer to think it's because they wanted me to have the chance to dust back off my black heels, pull out a new formal, and pull an old friend out onto the dance floor. But that's just me.


metra, baby.

I wonder how old I will be before I stop fighting off a cringe when someone totally guesses down on my age. Perhaps I'll be that friend of yours who is seemingly eternally carded. Want to feel more youthful? Bring me along for the evening. It's almost guaranteed then you'll be carded by association, if for nothing else.

I'm on the Metra at the moment, headed into downtown Chicago. I can imagine the sight of me dragging two big (ok, big "ish") suitcases down Main Street in mad pursuit of the 11:02 am train I didn't really give myself enough time to make was amusing. There was a kind gentleman who (1) reaffirmed no, I had in fact not missed my train and (2) offered to carry one of my two big "ish" suitcases up to the platform.

I didn't think I'd be able to get my suitcase on the car, but the ticket salesman offered to help me to pull it aboard. He then came over to my seat to sell me my ticket. Couldn't help but feel a little more educated than when I typically ride public transportation for ther first time in a new city. The Titan (who's requested to be renamed... jury's still out there) had warned me it was fine to buy the ticket onboard when heading into Chicago, but not to do that when heading out to Evanston. The ticket salesman then made me feel ubercool as he asked me if my parents had decided it was time to kick me out. Nice. Realllll nice. That sorta negated any pride I had of being in "the know". Oh well.

Another day of vacation ahead though. So much time. Loving it. I enjoyed my low-key day yesterday. Can't remember ther last time I really relaxed like that on a day off. I need to learn to kick back and relax more like that. Off in the distance, I can see the skyline of Chicago. I do love the city life. Ah yes. I'm staying just a short walk from Michigan Avenue. There's some museums I want to check out. Where to begin?


Monday, February 26, 2007

snow? formal? no problem.

let the vacationing begin...

Ahhh, vacation. Can there be any complaints from this direction? I arrived into Chicago at the bright hour of 7AM on Saturday morning, with all baggage in hand. I will admit to being a bit concerned as I was waiting patiently for my luggage to circle on the belt. Looking to each side of me, there were very few others doing the same. I thought I perhaps was in the wrong place. Or maybe that my luggage had not made it (in which case, I would be ok at least up through the formal, having -- yes, obsessed much? -- carried my formal, shoes, hose, etc. in a shopping bag on the plane). Turns out though that our plane was mostly carrying a group en route to Colorado to go skiing, so they were obviously not waiting to pick up their luggage but were instead connecting on to hit the slopes.

I'd only had a small cup of Diet Coke, so I was not exactly perky and ready for the day. The Titan had recommended a great driver to take for the ride from the airport to Evanston. Al was perfect... conversing from time to time, but also not pushing the sleepy-eyed Southerner to talk too much for the early hour. By the time we rolled up to the front of his place, I was slowly coming 'round. It was nice to see his place. It's funny to think about having known someone and never having seen their place. His place was not extremely decorated, which is pWe headed over to this coffeeshop around the corner (where I am conveniently now sitting typing away - although I learned a new trick on the way in - posting via email on the Blackberry), where a latte later I was certain I wasn't going to be crashing out for a nap anytime soon.

Our plans of heading to his friend's place prior to the ball didn't pan out. With the snowfall increasing (these big fat flakes definitely put the snow-induced madness in DC to shame), we ended up opting just to schedule a cab to take us to downtown Chicago for the main event. I did learn though that a wine opener is optional. Having left all of his dishes in Huntsville, we found ourselves with the two bottles of wine and no wine opener. One pair of pliers, a small mound of cork, and a lot of whittling away later, this 'bamian had managed to annihilate that issue. LH and I had decided over our Delaware weekend that the Sauv Blancs from New Zealand were the way to go, and this one did not disappoint as well (even with the few stray remnants of cork...)

shake it like a polaroid picture...

Doning my latest formal purchase, we made a dash for the cab. Times like this, I develop a momentary envy of the warmth of a man's suit. That alwats I'd been to a formal where it was cold out, but snow was a first. It was really beautiful to watch it falling around us though from the warmth of the taxi.

The event was Northwestern's Charity Auction Ball. There were all sorts of auctions -- both silent and live. Some of my faves were the Bollywood lessons (awesome), the wingman/wingwoman offerings, or any of the ethnic cuisines cooked for you at home (although the way some of them were phrased, it sounded a bit wrong... . It was understandably the focus of the center of the dance floor for the majority of the evening, but it was nice once the auctions wrapped up and the dance floor could focus on the dancing. I wasn't sure if the Titan was going to be down for some dancing. I was hoping I wasn't going to have to drag him out there, but when Sweet Home Alabama came on, there were no questions...

I love dancing, but I'll admit to not liking to dance as much to songs I don't know. Thankfully, to close out the evening for the final hour, the DJ was playing all of those great dance faves, from Bon Jovi and Michael Jackson to the perfect closer,
Journey (insert mental image here of me, listening to this file, head bobbing from side to side in the cafe window... oh yeah, I don't care. I've been making friends here in the cafe, haha). It was a perfect night. It was around 1:45 when we arrived back to his place. Even though it was a shorter night than New Year's, definitely doesn't mean less eventful. I'd definitely prefer hands down any day.

Yesterday it was still snowing... slush and snow galore. We'd discussed taking the Metra in to the city, but we ended up opting instead for a walk to downtown Evanston, a quick tour of part of the campus, and just chilling at Barnes and Noble. I managed to get interviewed by a Northwestern journalism student while at B&N (hopefully my views about anti-gay comments, comments on gay marriage, etc. won't make it to publication), get hit on by some guy who looked like a hobo (cracked me up... "hey beautiful" and "do you work out?"), and make friends with the cashiers who emphatically approved of my selection of David Sedaris' Me Talk Pretty One Day. We ended up discussing my current fave of his, "Six to Eight Black Men" in his book "Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim", a summary of my favorite Amsterdam tradition of Sinterklaas.

Ok side note here... I must admit, I'm very excited to have just found this version of David Sedaris reading this story... this is awesome. You have to check it out. Oh my gosh! My day is made. I think I'm going to cry (from laughter)...

back to present...

Ok, back to my book. Maybe I'll get inspired to head to downtown Chicago at some point. Right now, this vacationer is enjoying watching the snowfall from indoors, reading my book about an unorthodox childhood (Running With Scissors), and watching Oscar red carpet specials I opted not to watch last night since I was too engrossed in rounding out Season 2 of Scrubs.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

i'm leaving on a jet plane...

Well, I now understand why construction workers are scarfing down Subway sandwiches as I saunter into work at the late hour of 8:30. Might as well be lunchtime to their systems. I can now appreciate. My alarm first went off at 2AM (time to call for the flight change). Second time was 3:15. No better time for a shower, right?

Cab finally showed. Outlook was initially doubtful, since they didn't show for a good 15 minutes. I thought for a moment that the trip was going to be off to a bad start. The city was still sleeping as we passed by the Tidal Basin. The Jefferson Memorial was glowing, with the occasional shadow cast on it's facade by the interspersed surrounding trees. The effect of the statue of Jefferson himself in the midst of the memorial illuminated in the midst of the darkness was quite striking. I don't know that I've ever seen the city like this before. Although, I must admit that I don't know that I've ever been out and about in the city at this time of the morning. Once it warms up, I definitely want to make it a goal to do some early morning photography. The city truly takes on a different spirit when all of the residents rushing from point A to point B are taken out of the equation.

I'm off to Chi-town. No snow storm's gonna hold me back. The Titan's thrilled about such an early AM arrival (kidding), but that's what naps are for. And we're off...

Friday, February 23, 2007

did our christmas tree land in your yard? sorry.

This weather is driving me nuts. Highs in the 50's turns to lows in the teens. What gives? My clear head, I guess... I do not have regular migraines, but last night it was in full force. Ouch. I didn't let it stop me from packing, although it did nix my plans to join in for the Bama State Society.

I was worried I'd be too distracted by Grey's Anatomy last night to do anything productive, but turns out the episode was too random to matter. I understand it's been February sweeps week, but must they really take such a forced approach to try to highten the drama? I'm hoping that post-sweeps my favorite show (the only one I still regularly watch) will return to it's normal, delicious addictive self. Fingers crossed. At least they didn't kill off Meredith. Someone asked "what are they going to do? change the show's name to just 'Anatomy'?". I love that.

The winds last night were insane though -- just reinforcing the fact that our rowhouse, while extremely cute, is absolutley and completely not insulated. Period. I grew up where tornados were sadly a regular occurance. I moved a couple of years ago from hurricane mania. I only ready stayed put for one of the hurricanes (I'll own up to it -- I was known for running from the hurricanes, once having pricelined a ticket and hightailed it to the airport with only the clothes on my back). During none of the above did I hear the crazy winds, tree branches, and random things flying like I did last night. Creepy.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

how do you dress your starbucks?

That, my friends, is the question. Well, last night in honor of Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday, a group of us decided to head out to Clarendon for their annual Mardi Gras parade. I'd prefaced this with a warning to the Fashionista, who hails from Mobile, that this parade would be nothing like that of which she's accustomed to. Nothing close. And there would definitely (sadly) be no Moon Pies. Although, I must admit that sounds mighty fine 'round about now.

Sassy, the Fashionista, the Cajun, and JF met up at
Harry's Tap Room, which unlike what hazy memory I had from my prior visit (which was before having moved to the city), was disappointingly pretentious. I don't think I'll be back anytime soon. When the Cajun got there, I warned her I highly doubted they'd have any Abita to pass her way. There were these creepy older men there who had clearly plotted in advance to bring some nice beads in hope of finding some tipsy and pathetic girl who would be willing to pull New Orleans-esque Mardi Gras antics to get their beads. When they stated we had to earn our beads, we promptly squelched that thought and made our exit. Perhaps the creepy-mc-creeps were limited to being in enclosed spaces, so we hoped leaving would be an upgrade.

We then meandered our way down to Starbucks to grab some hot beverages for the parade. I had to laugh at the sign in the bathroom that said "how do you dress your Starbucks?". Why the bathroom of all places? It was ironically appropriate though as we made our Irish coffees. Mmm. Good stuff. It helped to ease our sorrow as it began to rain, but we somehow made it to the end of the parade. Well, let's be honest... the parade wasn't that long. The highlight I thought was this guy who was freestyle rapping off of the back of a blue pick-up. The music was great and he was impressive. If I have one complaint, it would be there should have been a lot more music.

The original plan was to head to Tallulah's for the official post-party. Last year I remember their being something in the vein of hurricanes there, which in retrospect maybe it's good to not have access to that... and they also had king cake, which I was sad to miss. However, the long walk and the rain made Whitlow's seem like a strong sudden plan B. After waiting in the first ever line I've seen at Whitlow's and being forced to surrender our now empty Starbucks cups, we finally made it to dry land. The bar was cracking me up though, highlighted by the beautiful neon glowing PBR sign. I told the Fashionista that is soooo blog-worthy. And voila, here it is... I told Sassy I think I'm gearing up already for our next house party (white trash themed).

There was a live band at Whitlow's, but we were sadly on the opposite side of the bar. Okay, so I understand servers are probably frustrated by patrons spilling over into their "turf". There were a couple of tables back in the bar area where we were standing. But c'mon. There was nowhere to go... I could feel the glare from her even when my back was to her and could definitely feel the angst the few times she elbowed her way past us. Not feeling the love, that's for sure.

The random things though that become amusing that late in the evening... such as once again contemplating the fact that three of us have three different shades of pink cellphones. I used to hate pink. Such a girly girl color... perhaps I've waved the white flag there... as I now have a pink wallet, pink phone, etc. Oh well. The Fashionista's plays "Public Affair" by Jessica Simpson. Mine plays the Sex and the City Theme. We're such girls. Thankfully when we collectively pulled out our pink phones, unlike one other evening, my phone was not swiped. Much appreciated. Anyhow, the line-up was just too funny.

It wasn't a late evening though... we maxed out around 10:30 and Sassy and I trudged through the heavier rain to the metro. Fun evening though. Time for some downtime to save steam for the weekend. I'm going to need some energy to fight off the cold Chicago winds. Brrrrrr... but today, I'm decorating my office with my beads. Mounds of beads. Beads I showed no bare skin, mind you, to attain. Gross dirty old men.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

american doll posse

Finally, an announcement. Looks like I'll be touring again soon. Woohoo. My silver Fit's ready to experience the Tori-induced road trip. Say good-bye, my friends. I'm out...

Top 10 Signs You Might Be a Crazed Tori Amos Fan
1) ... if you've ever dyed your hair red. (I'm guilty as charged)
2) ... you've been to multiple concerts in one city, or even one metro area.
3) ... you have a core group of friends you realize fondly you will be seeing more in the days ahead, and know the core "tour groupies" that you'll be seeing again all too soon.
4) ... you know who Y Kant Tori Read is, and are even willing to listen to things such as Heart Attack at 23 or Ode to the Banana King.
5) ... you prefer to attend concerts solo so you can take it all in and know that no one will interupt your experience.
6) ... you've hurdled chairs, poles, etc. to rush the stage for the encore performances.
7) ... you once bought every single you could get your hands on, even if you had all the songs elsewhere.
8) ... you appreciate that piano playing isn't the same without stilletos.
9) ... you've ever waited 4+ hours in weather extremes (heat, cold, rain, etc.) in hopes of getting something signed.
10) ... you've ever waited 4+ hours in weather extremes (heat, cold, rain, etc.) in hopes of getting something signed even after having had number 9 work out for you before... and you'd do it again.

this house is like russia
with eyes cold and grey
you got me moving in a circle
i dyed my hair red today
i just want a little passion
to hold me in the dark
i know i've got some magic
buried deep in my heart yeah...
... have a seat while i

Monday, February 19, 2007

fresh laundry

I have a few random, little known talents. Super marketable, I'm sure. I am great at shoe shopping. I can find a beautiful piece of clothing in the midst of a pile of rags in a consignment store. I've perfected the art of falling gracefully. I can remember lines to countless cinematographic gems (Dirty Dancing... the Cutting Edge... Good Will Hunting) and recite them alongside the actors.

This morning I went to pull out my dress I'm going to be wearing to a formal this upcoming weekend with the Titan. After having spent an hour in pouring down rain on U Street, I wanted to check one more time to make sure the dress had escaped unscathed. Hmmm. Doth I need glasses? I realized that along the bottom of the dress, there were a few small tears and quite a few areas where holes were in the process of forming. Grrrr. So much for wearing that one again.

So, let's add perfecting the art of the "disposable formal" to the list.

Granted, the other one (former formal -- RIP) fell victim to another "natural disaster" -- it didn't survive the commute home from the Lousiana State Society's Mardi Gras Ball a year ago. You'd think that formal creators would make them a bit sturdier... okay, just kidding. I am more realistic than that... I guess that's what you get when you buy a gingerly sewn together contraption of things like rhinestones, sequins, chiffon, and satin.

As I tried on dresses this morning, I discovered that BCBG's latest offerings clearly think that women have no rib cage. I also discovered that Shelli Segal gets me... Laundry. Fits like a glove. Within less than 20 minutes, problem solved. I'm sure I'll be posting next weekend about how I was freeeeeezing in said dress in the midst of the windy city, and I'm sure the Titan would divulge how much complaining there was due to said dress, but always nice to have a reason to head out in some fine, fresh formal attire.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

why i'll pass on being your muse

Initially, guess I would have said I thought it sounded a bit romantic to be thought of as someone's muse. The Fashionista and I were discussing on GChat on Friday. She said "their purpose is to purely inspire with no real happiness". My response was "oh well then nevermind... I'll keep the happiness portion".

I was pretty beat for some reason on Friday night. LH and I discussed venturing to see a movie, but it just wasn't lining up. She was wrapping up things in the office before an upcoming work trip and me, I was just itching to get out the door before I fell asleep on my keyboard. So, a little indie film watching ended up being the plan for the evening. The
Fashionista and crew were meeting up at HRC for a pre-movie dinner and then heading on to the E Street Cinema, the only theater in DC running Factory Girl.

Edie Sedgwick... she was not one I was familiar with. When the Fashionista mentioned heading to see the movie, at first I thought nah. I don't know anything about this person. This might be one I can sit out. I started looking a bit into the film though and was intrigued. Here was a story of someone who went from high society to drawn into this alternate universe that was Andy Warhol's factory. Someone who was a fashion icon. Someone who could have been destined for so much more in life. I decided I was in.

I can't remember the last time I went to HRC. I did remember instantly upon entering the restaurant that it was always some sort of mecca for middle and high school tour groups. If I didn't instantly remember, I would be reminded as I was surrounded by swarms of young girls taking photos in the restroom or the server telling us no, she could not turn down the music -- it had to be loud enough to drown out the swarms of children seated throughout the restaurant. It was fun though. The highlight was the bronze-ish sign pronouncing "embassy of rock". Nice.

The movie itself though left an impression. I'm always intrigued to learn more about the life of the different people in movies based on real life. I'm fascinated by how someone like an Edie Sedgwick could become so entranced with a character like Andy Warhol to the point of sacrificing everything for nothing in return. Perhaps it was just all that she'd been through in her family life that led her to want to see more there than perhaps was really there. And while Andy did idolize her in some way, I don't know that I could say he really and truly loved her. Disassociating yourself from someone like that when they bottom out in large part due to your contribution in my eyes just cannot equal love. If it does, that's one type of love I want none of.

I just couldn't get over the relationship between the two... the way he drew so much out of her in the way of inspiration and energy. The way he used her until the point where he could not draw anything else from her and then tossed her away for the next "source". I'm curious to read more on their relationship, since I know the movie doesn't necessarily capture all of the reality there. It made me think though that if that's what it means to be someones muse, I think I'll pass. It's romantic to think of being inspiring, but when it means your life turns out to be somewhat empty... sad... hopeless... yeah, not for me. I'm much more of a substance kind of girl.

[Just to note... the Fashionista and I were discussing and apparently the representation of the Edie/Andy relationship wasn't so true to life... I decided to leave up the post here regardless, but wanted to note]


Friday, February 16, 2007

another nod to the 'vegas

There are usually two standard conversations I have when I meet someone and tell them I'm from Huntsville, AL.

Conversation #1:
Person X - "Where are you from?"
Me - "Huntsville, Alabama"
Person X - Just your regular polite response. Either just a nod, etc. or the latest trend of "but you don't have an accent?"

Conversation #2:
Person X - "Where are you from?"
Me - "Huntsville, Alabama"
Person X - "Huntsville, Alabama! I went there once. I went to Space Camp!"

The funny thing is I never went to
Space Camp. I never really had a desire to. I do remember either my junior or senior year of high school going to the Space and Rocket Center as a United Way volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. It was the first time they let non-camp participants use the simulation equipment. I still feel like I got the most important part of Space Camp... getting to the 1/6 chair (simulates walking on the moon), the multi-access trainer (MAT -- where they strap you in and whirl you in all sort of crazy directions), and finishing the day off with the obligatory block of astronaut ice cream. Yum.

Ahhhhhh... sweet home Alabama. I decided to use my lunch hour to peruse the news on I felt the need to balance out my
Express-only news for the week. There were not too many stories on there it seemed and I was surprised that one of the few listed featured none other than Huntsville! Apparently, there was a recent movie filmed there titled Constellation. I had to check IMDB for this one, and there it was. And my Netflix queue goes up by one...

It was a good article though, I thought. It provided info on the movie and even went on to highlight some of the things to do in Huntsville, down to the Jazz Factory (where I finally made it to over Thanksgiving after some high school friends took me on a tour of Huntsville in search of some dive pool halls - good times). It goes on to state "nightlife is anything but dull". Hmmmm. That might be a bit strong, but it's definitely not the back woods. Just the same, you won't see me hightailing it out of DC anytime soon.

Earlier in the year, the Yankee'd sent me another
article on Huntsvegas, dubbing it the #1 hot spot of the Sunbelt (apparently defined as South of the 37th parallel). The article sings the praises of the educated level of the residents, a nice contrast to any stereotypes.

I miss Alabamy once again...
(Fashionista, karaoke again soon?? Hah)


Thursday, February 15, 2007

balmy days... sweet sangria...

As has been the annual tradition for some time now, I received a small package from my mom the day before Valentine's Day. I love it. She's always sent my sister and I something small on Valentine's Day along with a card. Mothers are just great like that. Just on cue, I received the package mid-day on Tuesday, which included a great turquoise/brown patterned top from Ann Taylor, the card, and the new Norah Jones CD from my Gramma. Love it! This was rounded out yesterday by the lovely Hersheys chocolate bar (with the Valentine's design, of course) my co-worker gave me. He brought in a bar for each of us ladies in the department, saying that every female should get chocolate from a male on Valentine's Day. So sweet! So my Valentine's Day chocolate fix was solved before I even started reading the day's email. Perfect.

Well, yesterday panned out to be a completely different day than was originally intended. The plan had been that last night I was to have traveled up to Boston with my boss so we would be there for an early morning meeting today. We were to have enjoyed a wonderful meal (not at our expense, of course, which was an added plus), stayed at a really nice hotel, and pretty successfully avoided the traditional Valentine's Day ballyhoo. Her husband is pretty adamantly anti-Valentine's, so we both thought it was a pretty good plan.

Unfortunately, the weather had other plans. With the mix of three different cities needing to line up for this meeting to work out (us coming in from DC, consultants coming in from NYC...), it seemed to be doomed quicker than the VA public schools closing down. So it was time to come up with a plan B.

KM had suggested to Sassy that they, along with her friend Bea, head to Dr. Dremo's (the perfect spot to avoid the descent of the creepy single guys on the hunt) and hit somewhere for dinner beforehand. I quickly checked to see if I could join in, and soon our group had expanded to include in the Fashionista and the Pea. For dinner, we ended up heading to
Guarapo. I'd never been before, but mention of tapas and sangria I was all about checking it out. We did have to joke about it being owned as the same folks as Gazuza. I've had no problems with Gazuza, but both Sassy and the DG have had a terrible track record with guys, dates, and Gazuza.

It was empty when we first arrived, but it didn't take long for it to become overrun with couples galore. They first brought us the Valentine's menu, which was $60 per couple. We just laughed and said um no. Where's the normal menu? Thanks. We stuck out a bit with our table for six, but we couldn't care less. It was a great spot though, and several tapas and some four carafes of sangria later, we were feeling a bit warmer. KM and I were discussing the health benefits of the sangria (since it did have at least enough OJ to give it a glowing yellowish orange tint). She mentioned she thought it had something in it that was good at warding off scurvy. Whew. We are all destined to be scurvy free then... they should so put that on the menu.

We decided to head on to Dr. Dremo's, where we met up with some more of KM and Bea's friends. I'd only ever walked by Dremo's during the summertime when the patio was hopping so I'd asked Sassy earlier if there was an indoors portion. Well, now I know. Being a taphouse, Dremo's "menu" obviously highlights all things beer. The Fashionista, the Pea, and I were all not feeling it, so it was fun as always to walk up to the bar and bluntly state "um, what do you have that's not beer?". The bartender was really nice though and proceeded to name off the wines they had, their cider offerings, and then went into this long explanation about some sort of carbonated Hi-Cish beverage they had (and she kept stating "but it has alcohol in it" over and over). After her long explanation, sorry. Wine it was.

Next was the juke box, which we promptly loaded up with some fun girlie tunes. The Fashionista and I then noticed the multitude of guys (ok, and maybe one girl max) wearing these black t-shirts. We decided that of course we needed this t-shirt. Must have this t-shirt. The back read "the BEER set me up", which we thought was really funny. It was only after we went over to one group of guys and tried to get one from them that we saw the best line which was on the front of the shirt -- "made with Oregon crackberries". Those guys would have none of it though.

The Fashionista then saw this other group of guys who were playing GoldenTee. I know I've seen this out at other bars before. I'm not a big bar video game player, so I had no clue how to play. Suddenly though, she and I were participating in GoldenTee101... the fine details of choosing one's putter, the importance of back-spin... gee. Who knew? She was "FUK" (?) and I was AAA (hey, what can you say - I'm dependable). I think my GoldenTee game might be a notch up from my put-put capabilities, but that's definitely not saying much.

Anyhow, at the end of the night, we were in possession of two mighty fine black t-shirts as we hopped in cabs to head back into the city. This morning I'm remembering why I love going out in DC (the absence of smokey bars... sorry Arlington... this non-smoker's gotta give that thumbs down) and also remembering the essential role Starbucks can play after a long mid-week night out. It's been a long morning, but after my latte and now my Diet Mountain Dew I think this sleepy-eyed senorita is coming around.

Speaking of which, anyone able to catch the song reference in the title of this blog? I'm doubting so, but hey, a girl can dream. Take a gander!

So yeah... between the package in the mail, chocolates from a co-worker, valentine's wishes via email/text messaging from friends of all sorts, and a great night out with the ladies, can't complain about V'Day '07. Can't complain.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

snow cardio

Well, no need to go to the gym today. If this makes me sound like a weakling then, so be it - but the walk to the metro today in the midst of the crazy mounds of tightly packed snow was tiring! It's like taking that same principle about the health benefits of swimming due to the water resistance but transferred to the winter weather realm. I was thankful that Sassy and I headed out today at the same time. It's kind of like taking an exercise class... you can drag too much or just quit for a bit if someone is there urging you along.

I don't know that I've ever seen such firmly packed fine snow before. Even when the mound was tall, there was a lot of "stuff" to get through before taking your next step. It was beautiful to see though... with the exception of the lovely yellow streaks from time to time where Fido had beat us to that particular patch. Nice.

I'm not sure about the DG, but Sassy and I both had trouble sleeping last night. I learned that while the earplugs might not be helicopter proof, they did prove to be much more effective when it comes to the pinging sound of snow/sleet falling on our roof. Well, maybe half credit to the earplugs and the other half to Monsieur Benadryl. Wish I'd only realized that a tad earlier in the evening. I arrived into the office ready to do a quick keyboard power nap here, but I'll resist. I am however not changing out of my snow shoes until there's oh say some sort of sign of life in our office.

Yesterday afternoon though was a nice surprise (early release), which left time for a mentally stimulating episode of 90210 followed by the next from my Netflix queue, Sherrybaby. Sherrybaby was pretty good... more or less I saw it as a character study of someone getting out of prison. Even though the character was most definitely flawed, I couldn't help wanting her to better herself somehow. The movie's tagline was "no one makes it alone". I like that.

Well, co-workers are slowly starting to appear around me so back to work I go. Tonight it's V'day with the ladies, which I'll save for a later post. I just got a text from the DG... love it... "happy show your love once a year while mindlessly spending money day!". If someone wants to show me some sangria-esque love this evening, I won't turn that down ;-)

Oh and by the way, thanks for all the kind emails, comments, or even (ehem) photos... all much appreciated!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

duane reade is my boyfriend

"Soul mates only exist in the Hallmark aisle of Duane Reade Drugs." - Miranda, Sex and the City

Ohhhhh the Valentine's season is well-upon us. I'm all for people showing appreciation for their significant other, whatever the level of significance, but I do think it is such a Hallmark (or Duane Reade - love him... if I only lived in NYC, the Walgreens and CVSs of the world would lose me forever to the dark side) holiday. Don't couples already have a "special day" of sorts, AKA an anniversary? Does the world need one random universal day to commemorate relationships, or flaunt the lack-thereof to others?

I remember being young back in elementary school and loving Valentine's Day. It equaled conversation hearts, lots of cute little Valentines that had been torn apart lovingly at the perforations, pink + red galore, and but of course, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate...

But now, it's all about pressure... the guy trying to buy flowers at an inflated Valentine's Day only kinda rate (which, I'll admit, never go without being appreciated... just making a comment here...). Making reservations where there may be a special inflated multi-course rate (where even reservations on OpenTable require a credit card, for goodness sake). It's the time of year where the number of male customers in Victoria's Secret far outnumbers the female (very true - I just experienced it first-hand at VS yesterday). Or the day when all the singletons of the city unite for one day to just enjoy life. And chocolate. And wine. And um yeah. Ah me. Drama.

I got an email from (great service, if you've never checked it out) that included in some Valentine's-esque trivia. Interesting points (with some interjected commentary by yours truly) included:

  • Teachers will receive the most Valentine's Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, and then, sweethearts.

  • 15% of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day. (Wow, an expensive day to have a faux-beaux!)

  • More than 50% of cards are sold the week of the holiday, with the largest and most elaborate Valentine cards sold 48 hours before February 14.

  • About 3% of pet owners will give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets.

  • In the United States, 64% of men do not make plans in advance for a romantic Valentine's Day with their sweethearts. (No comment...)

  • 70% of those celebrating the holiday give a card, followed by a telephone call (49%), gift (48%), special dinner (37%), candy (33%) restaurant meal (30%), and flowers (19%).

Some V'day Superstitions:

  • To be awoken by a kiss on Valentine's Day is considered lucky. (Guess 2007 will not be LJ's year of luck)

  • In Great Britain, a woman would write the names of their sweethearts on small scraps of paper which would be placed on clay balls. The balls were dropped into water with the belief that whichever scrap of paper surfaced first would be the name of the man destined to be the future husband. (Hmmm... does that imply the remainder are just dead-weight?)

I've had good Valentine's Days myself, but even when I'm in a relationship, the need for that one random February Day always seems questionable. But celebrate we will... for life is short but sweet for certain...

Friday, February 09, 2007

road trippin' - delaware or bust

Busting outside District lines
What a fabulous weekend. To celebrate Dr P's birthday, we'd planned out a girls weekend to the Delaware coast. Dr P's friend was out of town and had offered to allow us to come and stay at her place for the weekend. We were so in. It ended up being a total of five of us, in TXDem's Honda Accord (lovingly named Molly, a tribute to Molly Ivins). The trunk was maxed out for sure. It barely shut, but we were committed to being able to road trip as a single crew in one car - and proudly we succeeded. The original plan was to hit the hot tub as soon as we arrived, but a quick temp check nixed that idea. We opted instead for changing into our PJs and some good old-fashioned girl chat, complete with TXDem recreating cheers from her days as her high school's mascot. You go class reporter ;-) We capped off the evening with some Sex and the City episodes (ahhh the Aidan years... good old Green Goblin!) before turning in.

I carried a watermelon?
Saturday was just the perfect day. We woke up sans-alarm, the proper beginning to any weekend away. The house was so peaceful and quiet. And spacious... all of us currently live in the city, so such spacious square footage is not the daily norm for us by any means. We quickly tested the water to see if it had warmed up overnight and, thankfully, it did not disappoint. We were hoping to watch SATC from the hot tub, but were sad to discover that there was a VCR in the room, but no DVD player. We checked out their movie selection and were pleased to see that their video collection included such priceless gems as
Dirty Dancing and Pretty Woman. The Oscars might have snubbed the acting in Dirty Dancing, but we're proud supporters for sure.

With mimosa ingredients in tow and our video, we headed back out to the hot tub. With it all of twenty something degrees outside, it was just fabulous to be in ninety degree plus water in nothing but a bikini, sipping mimosas and singing to the top of our lungs to "I've Had the Time of My Life". Ever realize what a fabulous microphone a champagne flute can become? We do. We retired in for some facials. LH had brought along a tube of mint julep facial. Oh lawdy! We then indulged in some post-tub napping since, sigh, sitting in a hot tub and becoming a prune can really be taxing on one's energy level, right? We felt like such bums but, then again, that's what vacation is all about. The house had the most fabulous bay window which had it's own mini-matress padding. It made for the perfect nap nook. I wish I could have smuggled it back to DC with me, but alas, in DE it remains.

Pâté for me? No way...
We finally got ourselves moving and headed out to the Buttery in Lewes to begin our night on the town. We sat at the bar and enjoyed some fabulous appetizers. The birthday girl was able to get her signature Buttery selection of pâté. We enjoyed the best part of coming during off-peak season ... the lack of crowds. We were able to all five sit together with no problem. We were sad to learn our normal bartender had moved on to managing another establishment, but our bartender for the evening, John/Jay, proved to be a great one as well, quickly reminding LH of the wine she'd enjoyed so much last time. The citusy crispness of a New Zealand savignon blanc. Ahhh. Superb. One of the servers took a fancy to our group and kept joking he'd gladly run off his table of patrons in the corner if we could sit there. We smiled but held to our seats at the bar.

In contrast to the classy atmosphere of the Buttery, our next stop was a Rehoboth staple, Dogfish Head (DFH). They typically have live music on the weekend. Last time I was there, the music was a bit on the loud and edgy side, but this time it was more mellow and bluesy. Melody Gardot was the performer, and we all agreed it was a nice change. DFH is best known for its brews. For just $5, they have a sampler where you can try their different beers. This visit though, they'd made an addition to the menu -- the spirit sampler! This included a 1/2 shot tasting of their Blue Hen vodka, Dogfish gin, brown honey rum, and the best of the four - chocolate infused vodka. Fabulous. We decided around 11 to head back to the house, since we were sitting close to the door and each time the door came open, the crisp burst of air reminded us of the fabulous hot tub which was awaiting our return. I've got no intention of divulging our dicussion here, but lots of things are going on with lots of people and I think it was great for us all to be able to just sit, relax, and discuss. Ponder the complications and rejoice in some of the resolutions that have come our way.

Sunday it was time to clean up our borrowed residence and gear up for the return trip to DC. We opted to quickly grab brunch at the Rehoboth Diner before packing the car down for the reverse trip. After loading the car up, we wanted to make a quick stop to the beach to take a few so-what-if-it's-the-winter-we're-still-gonna-beach-it-up pics. Dr. P recommended Broadkill Beach, a very quiet, rustic, and secluded beach. Absolutely beautiful. I still think the best was when Dr. P turned her camera on timer, propped it up on the car, and ran back over as we situated ourselves in the perfect group pose. Just as the final strobe light flashed to indicate the photo would soon follow, the camera tilted down. It was like something out of a movie and we couldn't help but laugh and take another shot.

I'm a shadowboxer, baby...
The trip home was quality time bonding with B. B. King and Lauren Hill, learning childhood road trip games of other travelers (HEY COW!), and all of us clinging to the hope that we'd never have to cross back into the lines of reality. But alas, it was not too long before we were pulling up to the door of my humble rented row house. What a fabulous weekend. I hope Dr. P had as great of a time during the birthday festivities as I did participating in them. I can't wait until the weather warms back up and I can make a trip down those winding highways yet again. I'm ready to cross to the other side of the Bay Bridge... look down over the Cheasapeake Bay. Soon and very soon.

Much thanks Dr. P for the beautiful photos...

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where's the name from, you ask?

I had a lot of questions from friends on my selection of names for the blog back when I took my blog out of he MySpace bubble into the view of the general public. Why? Why District Belle, they asked. One of the first things I'll tell people I meet is that I'm a Bama girl. Period. I ended up in DC with layovers in the great states of Mississippi and Florida.

I've lost a bit of the Southern accent along the way, but I'm still a Southern girl at heart... I love grits. I blush during really racy parts in movies (I know, shocking that I am a Sex and the City fan, right?). I rarely curse. If I do, you know I'm really angry (and the accent's about to flare), or that I'm about to turn red of embarrassment. It's that mix though between all things Southern and city that brought on the substitution of district in lieu of Southern.

The below post I found on Urban Dictionary the other day was just great. I had to repost and share it here. Not all of it still applies, but a lot still does. It made me smile anyhow. Humor me. You don't want to be working on a Friday afternoon anyhow, do you?

Southern women appreciate their natural assets:

  • Clean skin.
  • A winning smile.
  • That unforgettable Southern drawl.
Southern women know their manners:
  • "Yes, ma'am."
  • "Yes, sir."
  • "Why, no, Billy!"

Southern women have a distinct way with fond expressions:

  • "Y'all come back!"
  • "Well, bless your heart."
  • "Drop by when you can."
  • "How's your Momma?"
Southern women know their summer weather report:
  • Humidity
  • Humidity
  • Humidity
Southern women know their vacation spots:
  • The beach
  • The beach
  • The beach
Southern women know the joys of June, July, and August:
  • Summer tans
  • Colorful hi-heel sandals
  • Strapless sun dresses
Southern women know everybody's first name:
  • Honey
  • Darlin'
  • Shugah

Southern women know the movies that speak to their hearts:

  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Driving Miss Daisy
  • Steel Magnolias
  • Gone With The Wind
Southern women know their religions:
  • Baptist
  • Methodist
  • Football

Southern women know their country breakfasts:

  • Red-eye gravy
  • Grits
  • Country ham
  • Mouth-watering homemade biscuits with momma's homemade jelly
Southern women know their cities dripping with Southern charm:
  • Charleston(Chawl'stn)
  • Savannah (S'vanah)
  • New Orleans (N'awlins)
  • Atlanta (Addlanna)
Southern women know their elegant gentlemen:
  • Men in uniform.
  • Men in tuxedos.
  • Rhett Butler, of course!
Southern women know their prime real estate:
  • The Mall
  • The Country Club
  • The Beauty Salon
Southern women know the four deadly sins:
  1. Having bad hair and nails
  2. Having bad manners
  3. Cooking bad food
  4. Wearing too much makeup in the summer

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undercover karaoke queen

Last night, Sassy organized a group happy hour excursion to Saki. She'd read a recent review on the Washington Post website and thought we should give it a go. Half price sushi and $5 martinis. Can't be half-bad, right? Thankfully, I was messaging with the Fashionista before leaving work, as I'd totally misplaced where it was. How Adams Morgan became Cleveland Park in my head, I still don't know.

I really liked the place. The martinis were good (although you have to come prepared to ask for certain ones -- ask what kind they have, and all you get in return is a blank stare) and the sushi did not disappoint. Although as I came into work today, I remembered why sushi's always characterized as being so light. I was starving! The DG and her friend KA joined up with us shortly thereafter.

Following sushi, the Fashionista and I opted to continue on. When in Adams Morgan, why not, right? Our goal was karaoke at Millie and Al's, however we ended up learning we were still a bit early for that to be underway. We settled on Tom Tom, where at first we thought we were crashing a Washington City Paper party. We then learned it was in fact a singles event which they sponsored. Great! Those types of things always make me feel like there's a big target over my head with hungry salivating guys just ready to aim. It wasn't too bad though... and there were some amusing characters to be encountered for sure.

We then decided to give Millie and Al's another go. According to Sassy's old boss, Millie and Al's is where you go when you're serious and ready to meet that special someone (he met his wife there). I don't know. We've all yet to see anything remotely close to that. But, luckily, what we did find was karaoke in full swing. One of the most amusing parts of going there is the co-ed line to the restroom upstairs. It never fails that you meet someone you know, someone you only wish you knew, or someone you were hoping never to see. The girl I ran into was actually in DJ's recent plays, so at least not a bad encounter there.

We made friends with a group of guys at the door and then made our way back over to put our name in to sing some karaoke. Two Bama girls just have to do Sweet Home Alabama. I love me some karaoke! When we finally got called up, we ended up with some random guy singing along with us. Thanks, dude. We needed a little help in the lower octave. I think I would have sung far superior if the Titan's text messages hadn't been so distracting... we took quite a few obligatory random photos too to add to the collection, and the Fashionista should soon have some new friends on Facebook...

The cab ride home was productive as well. The driver couldn't figure out how to turn off his phone defaulting to words rather than letters. Before I knew it, I was working on his phone as I headed home. He was so excited when I fixed his settings. Sadly, still had to pay my fare when I exited. Hey, a girl can dream, right?


Monday, February 05, 2007

jenny says it's the weekend in review

the name of the band is COWBOY MOUTH!

I was joking on Saturday morning that it should be called the 9:30 Sports Club. Great calf work-out I tell you... Friday night we went to the Cowboy Mouth concert, with a pre-concert stop at
Cue Bar. I thought the bar was a bit hidden (um am I going to 7-11?) but once I found it, pretty cool spot. It was just a short walk around the corner to 9/V. I'd been curious to check out 9:30. The only other general admission venue I'd been to before was Rick's in none other than Starkvegas, where I'd seen fabulous band such as the Charlie Mars Band, Better Than Ezra, and the Velcro Pygmies.

We had a good sized group as we went over to the venue. I first heard of Cowboy Mouth when I was in college. I remember sitting at one of the fraternity houses listening as an on-and-off-again crush strummed a guitar and sang one of their songs. I was hooked. This was back in the hey-day of Napster, so of course I had to go back to my room and download the song (Jenny Says). Up until a few weeks ago, that was self-admittedly the extent of my Cowboy Mouth repertoire. They're really a Southern rock band and after having seen them live I agree with the hype that they are definitely a live act. They played a really long set and we were all ready to collapse I think at the close. I'm so glad that the Fashionista extended the invite from her Southern Jewish cluster to include this Southerner.

pass me that pom pom mister...

Saturday began a bit slowly... I first rolled over at 11 (the beauty of waking up sans-alarm clock). The evening began with a trip to my fave, Lauriol Plaza. I spent dinner catching up with the Tour Guide, who I haven't seen since New Year's. I know when I first moved to the Hill, I'd said the move across the city wouldn't make it harder for us to hang out, but sadly I think it's made it so we see each other a little less frequently. Something I'll have to work on. We'd aimed for an early dinner since I wanted to be at my party by 8. We were so committed to the cause that when they said an hour wait or the heated patio out front, we opted for the heated patio - twenty-something degrees and all. We kept on our jackets and enjoyed our frozen margaritas just the same. It was great to hear though that things are going so well with her and her new beaux, who she met randomly at a bachelorette party in Michigan. Love stories like that.

The Fashionista and I were worn out from the concert, but rallied anyhow for a trek out to Adams Morgan. I usually don't make the trip unless I'm planning on spending a lot of time there to make the most out of the trouble to get there. Saturday was definitely an exception. We met up at Lauriol Plaza and headed to Nolan's for MH's "Flip Cup Fiesta" party (love the name). The Fashionista was to have been my co-cheerleader, but we sadly missed most of the big tournament. Have no fear though, there was more flip cupping that would be done. One of the guys there was pretty cute, but I think we lost our lustre when we weren't down with flip cupping with the rest of them.

We then headed over to Adams Mill for one of Viv's friend's birthday celebration, but we were just too mellow for AM. We were hoping to rally for another party at 18th Street Lounge, but we just didn't have it in us. As I was riding in the cab, I must say it never ceases to be annoying that cabbies talk on their cellphones the whole time they drive you home on their headless earpieces. The whole time home I kept thinking that the driver was talking to me in non-decipherable English only to realize he was mumbling in some other language to someone on the phone. I kept politely saying "what?" only to realize he was not talking to me. Very obnoxious!

crock-pot chili craziness

The Domestic Goddess had suggested doing a Super Bowl party when I ran into her in the hallway at home Friday morning. Sure, why not? She was all excited to make chili and I decided I'd make some homemade salsa and guacamole. We ended up with this whole TexMex theme, which worked well. Our guests teased that guys needed to get on the bandwagon with our approach to Super Bowl foods.

We ended up with three different types of chili -- enough chili for a small army. We had a nice small group and cranked up the surround sound to it's max. Not too shabby! Loved seeing Billy Joel sing the national anthem. I'll have to admit, I was not too into the idea of Prince doing the half-time show. I was really surprised though... he really did put on a show. I think Dr P. even put down her arts and crafts project (she was adding fringe to a curtain throughout the game) to watch him do his thing. It never ceases to amuse me to see a guy in platforms. Blue ones, nonetheless. We did have some interesting conversations. If anyone's reading this and played football at some point, do the players wear underwear? This was a big point of contention we'd like to clear up.

Overall, gotta say I was not very impressed with the commercials. In fact, I was so bored with them I almost found myself watching the game. Kidding, but seriously, not the same as I remember they used to be say five years back. Definitely not money well-spent. I did love the Bud Light one featuring Carlos Mencia (hey feller... give me a Buuuuuud Light!) did really like CareerBuilder's ones featuring office survival of the fittest (it's like the movie Office Space... how can anyone working in an office not appreciate it?).

After the game wrapped up, the DG and I went to town cleaning up the place. Sadly, since the city has yet to deliver our third, bright shiny lovely blue recycling bin (still a sore spot there), the saddest part of the evening was watching our "make do" bin fill to the brim (there's more elsewhere in the kitchen), making our kitchen area look oh so frat-boyish even once clean. Argh. We're beyond the point of being able to drop a bottle in a neighbor's bin here and there. Most definitely way past that. If only the trash pick up crew would be open to picking up recycling in another container. Are they? Not so much.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

my name is cain and i am now unable

The love of my life is a shady lady...

It's been a restless Friday. I've been listening to lots of Cowboy Mouth, courtesy of the Titan, with the concert coming shortly. It's been a long time since I've gone to what's essentially a seat-less concert (gosh, I think the last one was Better than Ezra in none other than Starkvegas!). Should be a good time. I'm hoping my second wind kicks in soon, although it always seems to turn up from somewhere anytime there's music involved. A bunch of co-workers of mine are going to see Justin Timberlake... sorta as a joke, but I really think deep down they're for real, which has sort of fueled massive Friday-itis in the office. I just don't get the fuss on Justin. If anyone's bringing sexy back, sorry bud... don't think it's you. I honestly wish he would join SNL. I think that's his forte.

With all the build up with will-it-or-won't-it on the weather last night, I was relieved to see it was a "won't" kind of morning. We've had such a mild winter though that I almost forgot to watch out for slick spots this morning en route to the metro. This is my first winter on the Hill, so I realized it's even trickier with the broken sidewalks from tree roots. Uneven ground + slick ice = potential catastrophe. If anyone saw me though, they could have been nothing but amazed at my wonderful recovery skills. No busting it this AM.

I had some great pick-me-up music this morning though. The Titan had shared some indie hard rock with me - a group called Skirt. Very edgy and boy can the lead singer wail. It made great walking music, although I have a feeling it would have made for some dangerous, road ragey kind of music if I were behind the wheel.

When the world keeps coming down on me, I let it go
I let it go, let it go, let it go...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

single & in the "red"

This'll be quick... lots going on at work, but these were too amusing not to post here. Sassy sent me a link via email to a US map that shows clusters as to where there is a higher ratio of guys and where there's a higher ratio of gals. Clearly, everywhere I have lived, where I now live, and anywhere I would potentially consider living (not that I'm looking for a move anytime remotely soon) is a red zone. Thought that was noteworthy. I'm not moving to Cali anytime soon. But the Fashionista thought a road trip to Houson might be in order!

To counter that, MH just shared an article all about the fabulous-ness of being single and the perks. Hmmm. Says means I have a better body, will travel more, be less stressed, have more money... hmmmm. Interesting.

On another note, I finally found out what the ruckus was last night. As Sassy and I were walking home last night, we came across so many police cars and there were swarms of helicopters hovering in our general vicinity. Always pleasant to see in your own neighborhood, right? We didn't know the deal and were so cold... thankfully since we were in a team, we didn't feel quite as uncomfortable.

But I did feel uncomfortable as I slept with my neon orange earplugs in. Argh. They should say on the box that they are only mildly soundproof when it comes to hovering helicopters. Anyhow, the scoop on the story is here. Robbery + injured bicyclist + standoff at his home. Interesting. Glad I was able to find the details behind all the commotion.

kick off your sunday shoes

Last night, Sassy, KM, MH and I headed out to Old Town to catch DJ's performance in Footloose at the LTA. We decided to make an evening of it, and hit up a nearby Italian restaurant that came highly recommended, Trattoria da Franco. It was a quaint little place. We sat down and started talking and soon felt like those four girls as we were somewhat loudly chatting it up in the corner. Perhaps one entering from the street would not have known we'd opted out of any wine and were good to go with our water, thanks. I'm rarely in that area, but I'd definitely go back again. Portion sizes were definitely not overwhelming like many Italian places, which was nice.

The food came out so quickly that we were a bit taken aback. We saw it was almost an hour to show time and we didn't have anything to do. Our server asked if we wanted coffee... cappuccino... desserts... it was funny that Sassy replied "no, just the check" and our server apparently heard something like "we'll check", so all of the sudden dessert menus appeared at our fingertips. I must say I agree with the two reviews I'd read before dinner which said that the pasta was superb (absolutely - fabulous) but that the desserts didn't live up to the price tag. The white chocolate cheesecake was pretty good (although Sassy said "is this chocolate?" - I believe she felt that the white chocolate was just a mere poser in comparison to the "real thing") but the cannoli didn't quite deliver, in my opinion. The cannoli left me with a craving for some cannoli from Boston's North End. Mmmm. Anyhow, the point is we went from having an hour to kill to frantically making a dash to the theatre, with some ten minutes to show time. We thought we were never going to make it across Washington though... those drivers down there are so not pedestrian friendly. Thank goodness for KM's "woah woah woah woah!!!!!" proclamation, or we might have easily been 4 pancakes who never made it to the production.

I would highly recommend the show. It was really good... unfortunately though there are only 3 performances left, all of which I understand are sold out. I'll admit, I think I've only ever seen the movie version once growing up. Sometimes I think I must have lived under a rock in the 80's/early 90's. I've spent the years since and my Netflix subscription trying to make up for lost time. MH was bummed out about our seats. She'd warned us that we were going to be in the back of the theatre... second to last row. As we walked in, we couldn't quite visually place our seats since most people were already seated. We were quite surprised to realize that in fact the theatre map had been displayed opposite of the norm and we were in fact on the second row. Upgrade!

Anyhow, DJ was absolutley superb as boy-crazed Urleen. I don't know... it was hard to be convinced that DJ could ever be that into boys... just kidding. The two that played Rusty and Willard were my favorites. Man, did Rusty have a voice! Favorite eye-candy of the evening had to be the gentleman playing Chuck. We walked out of the theatre with an itch to go dancing. Not sure if that's on the horizon for the weekend, but definitely something I miss about Miami. As KM drove us back to the metro (much thanks again), we were in awe that there are so many people in the production who work full-time jobs like us and still make time to do a two week production like this. Very impressive.

Well there's nothing to lose
And there's nothing to prove
I'll be dancing with myself...

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