Wednesday, March 28, 2007

spring haze

I love spring in DC. I think it's when DC is at its best... people finally seem to come out of their hiding places and the street-side cafes no longer look like a ghost town and are again buzzing with the chatter of the District's inhabitants, out and about - alive again after hibernating for the winter. Perhaps coming back to this helped to ease knowing that returning to DC also meant returning to the reality of work and the like. Or at least I'd like to think that...

I can't remember any other time where I've taken an extra day off of work just to unwind and reorganize. Monday (and Tuesday and today as well...) my eyes flew wide open at 3:30AM, with my body thinking it was time to start the day. No, no, no... I said. SLEEP! You want to SLEEP! Clearly not, as my eyes flipped open again at 4:30, and yet again at 5:30. Does jet lag worsen with age? It was a tad bit worse than usual for me last year when I went to Italy, but this year takes the cake thus far on the jet lag.

The rest of the day was laundry, grocery shopping, catching up on Grey's Anatomy (so important!), and watching the first disc of Season 4 of Scrubs. The bulk of the day was going through the some 300 photos from the trip, fixing them to be presentable and uploading them. It's always a bummer to come in from any shoot but particularly from an extended trip like this one and find the photos to be less than what you were hoping for... I'd committed to print at least five to use for the upcoming ANOM fundraiser, so there was a little added pressure to have some not only turn out well but in theme. I was pleased with how they came out, so think I'm good to go there. I'm looking forward to having the opportunity to put some of my work on display there.

Yesterday, my first full day back in the office, was super long. I hit a wall around 3pm that no amount of caffeine or chocolate could help me to hurdle. Thankfully, I'd made plans to head out a smidge early in honor of TxDem's birthday. She'd thrown out the royal treatment for me for my birthday at ACL in September. I missed her birthday soiree on Friday since I was in Europe, so jet lag wasn't keeping me from drinks at Lauriol Plaza to celebrate. No better day out of the week with the near 80 degree temps to sit on the patio and enjoy some of that famous frozen swirled! Mmmm.

Mexican food made me think of college, when my sorority house roomie, Dee, and I would routinely make a beeline for the local Mex spot we knew oh way too well, "the hat" (really El Sombrero, but we called it the hat). At the time, we thought Mexican food could be no finer. I remember the look on my parents faces when I took them there the first time. This place I'd spoken of so glowingly seemed to not be such a culinary delight in their eyes. I think your taste buds have a different acceptance level in college though. I remember then thinking that no drink could hold a candle to the offerings at Sonic's drive through. Although, I'll admit that sounds mighty fine right now as well.

Anyhow, the last time I saw Dee was back in April 2002, when I returned back to campus for our sorority's final IRD. We've emailed some since, but haven't spoken or seen each other since that weekend. Last night after LP margs, I decided it was time to give her a call. Minor snafu. Didn't have her number. Quick email on the blackberry and problem solved.

It's funny how some people you lose touch with you can't seem to find that commonality again once you reconnect. It's like without the continuity of the relationship, the substance that provided the foundation for your relationship has desolved - no hope of it being reconstructed. There are are other connections though where it seems that the connection never truly fades away. Once reconnected, those years in between seem to melt away. There's something comforting in those few, special individuals that you can experience that connection with. I've got a few others of those - you know who you are. Can't beat that.

Last night, chatting away with Dee, I remembered being 19 again like it was yesterday, with all of the ups and downs that came along with it. There's a closeness you have with someone when you've shared a living space, gosh, probably only amounting to somewhere in the neighborhood of 12 feet x 8 feet (estimation has never been my forte). It's fabulous to make new friends, but it's equally special to reconnect with those you lost touch with somehow along the way.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

fresh in from de hell

Finally, back in DC, baby. The return trip from overseas always seems to take an eternity. Must say though that when one barely makes it out with SNOW as an issue, sixty-something degree weather is just about as good of a welcome back greeting as a girl could hope for (other decent options would be instantaneous access to my bed or flowers - those never hurt, hah).

Our day almost began horribly... thankfully I set my phone's alarm since the front desk never elected too call for our wake-up call. After being so informative on the time chang, not too efficient to help guests "not miss breakfast, or even worse - flights" as promised by not following through there. Thumbs down.

We then had a MAD high speed drive to the Prague airport. The airport was waaaay out of time and we easily made it in some 15 minutes. How? Cause our crazed driver drove like a maniac winding around the roads, slinging my mom from side to side (even, yes, with seatbelts securely fastened). We especially liked the large skeleton/skull figure he had afixed to his dash. One point, we almost smashed into a truck. It was a great way to settle ones stomach at 7AM.

We had our usual marathon through De Gaulle (or as we renamed it, "De Hell"). We had to take a series of four different buses and go through two additional security checkpoints. Efficient? Not so much.

I especially loved the part where one worker laughed at us for trying to make our flight (ooooh I *so* bit my tongue) or when one of the security ladies rumaging through my stuff took waaaaay too long to ooh and ahhh over my Milka plush bag. Yes, it's cute. Yes, I can be a big kid sometimes. Now will you let me out of your country? Thanks.

Regardless somehow we made it through the secret maze of De Hell almost on time. Even caught some good movies on the flight... Dream Girls (good) and The Illusionist (LOVED it... so much, I watched it twice to see if I could get more out of the final 10-15 minutes the second time around).

I'm so crashing shortly... it's what, 11:05 PM in Prague? Man, it feels like it. I was hoping to start some laundry, but that fabulous non-concrete (like the hotel beds have been...) bed is so calling my name. Not sure which will win.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


a classic cseka finale

Between Mozart in Vienna and Dvorak in Prague, I'm feeling a classical kick coming on. It's funny... last night's concert took me back to my high school days, where life was filled with rehearsals, auditions, and competitions. Pulling out that black ensemble and heading in for warm-up.

Sometimes I really miss that. There was a time when that could have been my life. Although, the though of life as one giant audition was not the upside of the lifestyle. That was for sure. I guess though we do encounter our own form of audition in every aspect, just maquerading slightly under different packaging.

I've always had a competitive spirit. Guess it thrived in that environment. Principal flutist... that was the only acceptable place to be, be it in the symphonic band, youth symphony, or all-state band/orchestra.

I remember the thrill of winning the concerto competition to play with the Huntsville Symphony and then the Shoals Symphony as a guest soloist. Hungarian Pastorale Fantasie by Franz Doppler. Absolutely amazing piece. Or attending William Bennett's session at Wild Acres in the mountains in North Carolina and being selected to study with his wife, Michie.

There was a possible double major with music at the University of South Carolina, Rhodes, or FSU. How different things would be.

I don't regret the decision... that's for sure. But I also know I think this was the catalyst I needed to dust off that Haynes flute with the engraved Jack Moore headjoint I've always been so proud of, after a hiatus of some five years. What a shame. An instrument that beautiful is clearly meant to be played, and play I shall.

And as our plane is about to push back at the gate, farewell Praha. Next time, I'll definitely start with you to give you your due.

Bohemia Bagel
Masna 2, Praha 1
Bottomless soda (don't mind if I do!), if you can only find the place amidst the winding streets... beware of uber-spicy mustard! But fabulous bagels. Yum!

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


Saturday, March 24, 2007

day o' dvorak

Once upon a time in a little hotel in Praha over a fine breakfast...

Mom: "I still haven't had my Orangina. But it's just been too cold to care."
LJ: "Well, that hasn't stopped you from Coke."
Mom: "Well, Coke is like the nectar of life..."

Having had our plans to check out the Jewish Quarter squelched, we set off to the Dvorak Museum in the New Quarter area. We were able to see manuscripts, his desk, his viola, even his piano. A Bosendorfer. Who knew he had that in common with Tori Amos?

Dvorak has always been one of my favorites. Vienna boasted of Mozart at every turn. Mozart's nice... but give me Dvorak any day. Somehow I've yet to load my classical music onto my iPod. Will have to do that when I get back to DC.

We bought tickets to see the Prague Festival Philharmonic Orchestra at Smetana Hall at the Municipal House. The program includes Dvorak's New World Symphony and Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations, Op. 33. That's the nice thing about a classical music concert... the universal language.

On the way up to the room, we noticed that the time change arrives overnight to Praha. Props to our hotel for posting that in the elevator. We wouldn't have been too happy if we'd missed our flight for it. Yikes.

Oh yeah... finally got my Camper's I've been in pursuit of for 2+ years


Municipal House Cafe
Namesti Republiky 5 - Praha

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


Friday, March 23, 2007

every day is a winding road...

After some horribly incorrect directions from the hotel reception, we finally found our way to head up to the castle. It was a long series of winding steps up at last to the castle area. I'd heard from BG and the Titan that that was a great spot to catch an aerial view of Prague, and that it was.

The highlight there was St. Vitus's Cathedral. The Cathedral was very open, having much more light coming in through the window than most churches. The stained glass caught my attention especially due to its vivid colors as opposed to the more subdued hues more typical. Perhaps it is because it is from the 20th century.

I decided somewhat reluctantly to climb the some 287 steps to the top of the observation tower. The staircase was narrow and basically completely enclosed with no railing whatsoever, but just couldn't pass up the photo op.

En route to the top, I encountered two waves of groups... those offering encouraging comments, followed by those taunting the steps remaining to the top. There was a group who decided I was Italian (? clearly, see that...), cheering, "you can do it, bella!". They were followed by a group of punks (school group, I think) who barked "you're nowhere close to the top". Ergh. Thanks, punk.

The view from the top as absolutely amazing, though. I saw what my sister meant even more about Prague looking like you were walking around in a postcard. It really did not look real.

We'd planned on working our way over to the Jewish Quarter, where we'd noted quite a few sights on our daily hit list. Our parade was rained on (literally) when we finally found our way there at 4:30 to be tokd they'd just closed and (we *think*) would not open again until Sunday (when we leave out in the morning... argh). We're going to see... doesn't look too likely though. Big bummer.

I do wish Prague had been earlier in our agenda. I'm very glad I decided to add in an extra day of vacation the Monday after we get in. My body's maxing out and thinking the Euro-detox was a mighty fine plan. Mighty fine, indeed.

Sitting here, rain pounding down on the roof of our hotel room (deemed best in the hotel - hah), it's peaceful. Tomorrow's our final day. Much to be seen and done before crossing back to the other side of the water.

Restaurant U Kolowrata
Mala Strata, 118 - Praha (Little Quarter)
3 course lunch - good price, good food
Don't go if in a hurry though, cause they sure aren't!!!

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


Thursday, March 22, 2007

gypsies + praha + comfort food

Long, long day coming into Prague. Mom and I were feeling as gypsy-esque as the gypsey we encountered on the train as we were bumped from area to area on the train.

Figure this... the seats in the firsr car which were close together were deemed first class (AKA we can't sit there) but the third car we were banished to where you had a closed compartment and 6 seats to yourself was acceptable? Random. I guess in peak season that might be a downgrade, but was fine to us. Random.

There were some mighty unappealing cuisine options in our tour guide... and the information from BG and Coop didn't give us a clue on dishes to try. Is it lame to opt for pizza? Oh well. Sometimes the different food and time difference of traveling takes its toll. And the pizza was mighty tasty if I do say so myself. According to mom the hot chocolate at Fuzion was hands down the best she's ever had. Three cheers for comfort food.

Pizzerie Green Tomato
Jindrisska 18, Praha


Hotel Carlton
Taboritska 18

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

oh the places you'll go

I figured the Hofburg Palace would be impressive, but I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed it overall. The Silberkammer (silver collection) was fascinating. I cannot imagine having that many types of dishes! I don't know that it would have been as interesting were it not for the great audio guide they provided with the entrance fee. We decided the tour set up at Versailles needed to get a clue from the set-up here.

Over lunch, we pondered where to go. There's a lot which would be great to do, like the Prater or some of the gardens, which don't quite work in colder weather. One thing I really wanted to see was the Hundertwasserhaus. It was a bit further out of the city center, but was not too far on the subway for us to keep from going.

I love architecture. I love the fascinating and peculiar buildings produced by Gaudi. If I don't watch myself, my pictures following a trip like this one are filled wth architecture, accented strategically by flowers, people, or the like as a secondary feature.

The Hyndertwasserhaus was absolutely fantastic. Its bright colors were visible from afar and made me think somehow of Dr. Seuss. I think I shot some 30+ photos of the complex, which is some 50 apartments housing 200 or so residents. Time well-spent doing something other than museums, churches, etc.

We've packed up for our third and final stop, Praha...

(a shoe lover's dream if it wasn't for that whole euro v. dollar thing. ergh.)

Kegelgasse/Lowengasse, Wien

Aera - Gonzagagasse, Wien
Simple neighborhood pub w/ great food

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

silver white winters that melt into spring

The small villages out from the big cities are often the highlights you overlook in visiting somewhere new. As we drove to Salzburg, our guide was explaining to us the small villages in Austria and their culture. The country has spent mllions of dollars to put up blockades along the freeway to keep the noise and pollution out and to preserve the peaceful nature of their community. Most are closed to buses, meaning obviously they were not an option.

However, one by the name of Mondsee ("moon lake"), is an exception. With the snow in full force, we made a brief stop to walk into the village. There we were able to visit the church where Maria and Captain Von Trapp are married in the Sound of Music.

The altar area and the aisle directly preceding it were closed for renovation. Even so, the church was striking. It was smaller. Certainly not pretentious. The coral pinkish ceiling was not edged in gold or any other material to attract attention. Perhaps it was the simplicity that really caught my eye.

That and I will say that as a child, I loved the Sound of Music. Probably the two movies I loved the most were the Sound of Music and Annie. I wanted nothing more than to dress in the Austrian dress the children wore, sing with the Alps as my backdrop, or to dance in Liesel's place with her handsome admirer. I still remember singing the final song the children sing with my sister, playing all the roles. To see the sites, the area in Salzburg where they sang "Do-Rei-Me", I'll admit, was pretty cool. It made me feel eight all over again.

These are a few of my favorite things...


Lunch: Zipfer Bierhaus
Salzburg (Old Town Area)

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


snow kissed austria

It's not but 7:30... we're pulling out of the city, as gentle but steady flakes fall on the city of Vienna. Our driver had promised as we went to meet the larger bus that the snow should intensify as we make our way up into Salzburg.

As we wind our way up the road (trying not to think of any possibility of sliding our way off of the road), the flakes become larger and the light dusting accumulates to a thick blanket, somehow balancing itself across each tree, branch-by-branch.

I've seen snow, but it was just stunning. Like nothing I've seen before. They had not had snow all winter. The men who clear the road our guide, perhaps halfway joking and halfway serious, noted were not likely available to clear the streets.

The snow began to fall more quickly as we continued our journey. Our guide turned on Mozart overhead and I just relaxed, letting the music and the white blanket overhead envelope me.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


Monday, March 19, 2007

vienna: best & wurst

Oh yes, Euro-puns. That's right.

So we might have escaped DC's snow, but the damp cold has set in as we made our way into Vienna. There's even snow forecasted for Salzburg, although since we're just going for the day I believe we will miss it. (Darn)

Today it was all about just wandering the streets a bit. After heading to the tabaq for tickets, we took the central ring which circles the city. The tram reminded me of Amsterdam. Although, the city does not have Amsterdam's bike presence. You could see the Parliament, the palaces, and some other places we plan to visit on Wednesday.

We walked up Kartner Strasse, stopping in and out a few of the shops along the way. We ended at the Stephansdom, a beautiful Gothic cathedral. It is an imposing structure, sadly in great need of some cleansing. There is scaffolding up, so hopefully that's in the works.

There was a service in progress, so we could only watch from the immediate entrance. The church was dark, solely illuminated by candles and the faint glimmer of the sinking sun through the stained glass windows. The exterior wouldn't have led me to expect a lot, but I found myself pleasantly surprised.

I wanted to try melange, their local coffee specialty. I tell you... after these restaurants, cafes, desserts, and the like, it's going to be hard to go back to the US.

Restaurant Fuhrich - Fuhrichgasse 6

Julius Meinl, cafe

Pizzeria - Ristorante Ferrari
Salzgries 15

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


the 3 terrors & pest

Sunday in Euorope is always a gamble. Usually next to nothing is open. The strategy is in choosing where you"ll be stuck on a Sunday. For us, it's what turned out to be our only real day in Budapest. We planned to start off with the "daily" tour of the Hungarian Parliament. Apparently, we learned that Sunday must not count as a day, as we found it to be closed. Who knew?

We decided to take the bus out to Statue Park (Szobobor Park), which was a park that displayed and preserved in one location all of the statues which had been located in public squares throughout Hungary during their time under Communist rule. My mom kept calling it Commie Park. The statues were fascinating and the gift shop a trip. I got a coffee mug with a pic of Lenin in the middle of a modified Starbucks logo. The other side says "I'm from the old school. I like my coffee black and my communism red". My mom bought a poster which had the 3 terrors instead of the 3 tenors (the terrors being Lenin, Stalin, and Mao).

We went back into the city center and went over to St. Stephen's Basilica. It was really beautiful, with an ornate gold ceiling and the most exquisite rose-colored. marble. I don't know that I've ever seen marble in that shade. The relic unique to the basilica was the mummified forearm of Saint Stephen, which I found simultaneously intruguing and creepy.

We then found our way over to Vaci Uta, one of the main streets, which is also a bit toutisty side. Our guess was it would be more likely to have things that were open. We had lunch at Cellar Central, where we had some of their traditional Hungarian goulash (chicken though, not beef). We walked on down to the Central Market Hall, still a bit bitter we wouldn't get to go. Seems like Sunday should be a logical time for people to go to the market, but perhaps no.

We took the metro over to the train station to check on our tickets for today. I'd joked about the metro system reminding me of Lisbon, where it seemed that you could have easily ridden for free since no one seemed to be monitoring things. When I was in Portugal, I don't think we had any concept of the stiff penalties we would face if caught. Well, I came face-to-face with the metro Nazis here. Yes, ticket in hand. Nyah!

Getting back to the hotel was another adventure, too long to explain. Tired, we opted to stroll back to Grand Cafe Oktogon for dinner.

Sitting in our nice train car here in Budapest, it's off to Vienna. I'm ready for the change, although I wish the currency change did not accompany. Here, the practice has been to drop two zeroes and divide by two. Translation? Good price... and now we're sadly going to the land o' Euros. More expensive, but looking forward to seeing Austria. Hope those hills are still alive...

Grand Café Oktogon, VI Teréz körút 23

Radisson SAS Beke Hotel
Terez Korut 43, Budapest 1067

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


Saturday, March 17, 2007

nem beszelek magyarul

If there was any doubt (and I'm sure there was not), that translates out to "I don't speak Hungarian". It looks a little bit Russian, a little bit Polish, and a lot about the city's overall feel seems to remind me a tad of Germany.

We had a small delay out of Paris to Budapest. It was around 6:45 by the time we reached our hotel. We ended up splurging for a cab in. The prospect of the whole bus/train tango was not too appealing. I think we were just so relieved that our baggage successfully seemed to follow our zigzag trip here that we would have probably agreed to basically whatever cab fare was quoted.

We just got back from a fabulous dinner. I checked with the Yankee for suggestions from De Gaulle and he replied back noting chicken paprikash. So mom and I headed off on a chicken hunt.

Most definitely did not disappoint. It came with a side of egg noodles, which looked identical to German spaetzle. After a day of airport and Air France food (big yuck), it was a welcomed change.

At the suggestion of our server, we tried some Hungarian sponge cake. Very different from what we'd call sponge cake in the US. In a good way. I'll have to read what that's all about.

Yeah so it's 9:30. We're wiped out and planning to hit the ground running for a full day (now truly our *only* day in Budapest) tomorrow. Think we're turning in. Been a long one, for sure.

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


30 minute plane teases

... or why I love to hate Charles De Gaulle. (Have your pick. I'm bored, so you get options)

Oh what a night...

DC. Sweet DC. N'er was I so happy to bid thee adieu. Last night, I swear... thought that moment would never arrive. With the bad weather coming shortly, we thought it was all but cemented that we were soon to be herded like cattle back into the gate from which we came.

They came out to de-ice the plane, a process we were advised would take 20-30 minutes. The funky salmon-colored substance was soon shooting out onto the wing from a gun thing which looked like a water gun on steroids. Steam came off the wing. No A/C allowed during the process, so the cabin became hot and sticky for a good 45 min.

Success, right? Wrong. The machine ran out of the de-icing goo, and some hour later, the captain would come on to say that the process would move quickly, once they figured out where the de-icing guy was. Wing re-iced, so we went back to step one. We were finally de-iced (hallelujah). I thought if I heard one more 20-30 minute promise though, I just might lose it.

Total DC delay? Close to 3 hours.
Happily airborn passengers en route to Budapest? 2

We dashed to the gate here in Paris to have it shut in our face. Air France does get props for meal vouchers, even though we curtly were informed that the croque monsieur was not included. Charles De Gaulle does not get props on layout though. Seriously, whomever set up this place must have been on crack!

So now we've got 4 hours we're stuck here. Nothing interesting to look at here... but at least we're this side of the ocean. I'm bummed we'll have to miss the market, since it's not open on Sunday. But if that's the biggest concern we're left with, guess we're doing fine!

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


Friday, March 16, 2007

par avion? oui!

It's a nice change to not travel solo. Don't get me wrong. I'm usually on my way to meet someone or go somewhere where others will be. It's just the time roaming around in the airport where it's usually just me.

My mom met me here at Dulles. We've had a great relaxing afternoon to kick off our trip. He had a nice lunch at Harry's Tap Room since international check-in had yet to open. We've perused the fine offerings of the Duty Free shop (and mom didn't disappoint - pointing to the shelves of rum, vodka, and gin and stating we could stock up our stash of "booze" - always cracks me up when she pulls out the booze term... classic mom).

We're flying Air France. It's Dulles to Paris and Paris on to Budapest. Our hope is that Air France means croissants and brie for breakfast ;-)

Well, boarding's about to begin... in an appropriate fashion for our airline, au revoir!

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile


Thursday, March 15, 2007

i am extraordinary

I'd originally planned to go home and pack last night. I'm glad I changed my mind. Around noon, I received an email from Dr. P seeing if anyone would be interested to join in for a dinner last night at the Willard for a non-profit called the Green Door. Dr. P gets invites to some pretty interesting events... the last time I joined in was I believe a soiree of sorts on the roof-top of the Hotel Washington for a congressman. It was quite the event. I decided I could choose to yet again skip out on the packing with most definitely needs some attention for yet another evening.

I was concerned about attire (and rightfully so, many dressed in their business best with the House in session and others coming from, gasp, black tie events... my business casual was most definitely screaming that... casual...), but opted to join in just the same. I was curious if there would be any notable people in attendance, which was greeted by a resounding "yes" as I found myself about a foot from Donald Rumsfeld. Definitely not an everyday occurrence in 'bama, nor in Mississippi. Sometimes you just know you are in DC.

All of the bells and whistles though faded in the context of the overall reason behind the evening. Last evening was to celebrate the organization's 30th anniversary in a grand fashion. It was also to raise awareness about their cause and about legislation coming to the forefront to support more insurance coverage towards mental illness. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I sadly do not know as much on political issues as I wish I did. It was interesting to learn more about the cause, about the possible changes they're supporting, and about an organization that so many people passionately support that until this evening was unknown to me.

I loved the closing comments by Will Ris. He said that we all strive in our daily lives to reach such great goals, to challenge ourselves, to be extraordinary. It's neat how sometimes someone can say something that makes you sit straight up. Makes the hairs on your arms stand straight up. My song these days has been Liz Phair's

I love it. It's what I turn on, full blast, and take to the front steps of our row house to greet the day. I usually listen to it 2-3 times en route to the metro. It gets me going. This morning was not an exception. It takes every ounce of restraint in me not to dance the whole way to the metro. Sometimes, I break... I'll admit hah.

But anyhow, it really struck me for him to say that we all strive to be extraordinary, when the people that come to Green Door with varying forms of mental illnesses just hope to be able to be ordinary. To be able to get up each day and go to a regular job. To be "normal". That really hit me. I don't know that I've ever thought about it from that angle.

My hopes to leave at a "decent hour" paled even further as I realized the reference to Mary Chapin Carpenter at the bottom of the program was not stating that the song would be played over the sound system but instead indicating that she would be performing live. I'm not an avid fan, but I was in awe that she was there just the same. She's a name I know well... respect well... she played a small set of three songs, and I sat quietly and listened.

The first song she played off of her new album was beautiful. The words were just amazing... I had to go home and find it on iTunes...

We believe in things we cannot see
Why shouldn't we?
Why shouldn't we...

Come on darling
Feel your spirits rise
Come on children
Open up your eyes

God is all around
Buddha's at the gate
Allah hears our prayers
It's not too late

Why shouldn't we...

She closed down the evening by an upbeat well-known fave from her repertoire, "Shut Up and Kiss Me". Dr. P and I especially loved this part:

"Come closer baby I can't hear you,
just another whisper if you please
Don't worry 'bout the details darlin',
you've got the kind of mind I love to read
Talk is cheap and baby time's expensive,
so why waste another minute more
Life's too short to be so apprehensive,
love's as much the symptom darlin' as the cure"

But what a great cause. And left an impression for sure. Left me thinking.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

shed my skin

The countdown's winding down. Less than two work days until vacation. Two days until I can board that plane at Dulles and head off on my way to disconnect. I know technically vacation is a luxury. There are people somewhere that are envious of all of the lucky group that view vacation as a part of life that is filed away as "to be done" regularly, almost as a sense of entitlement. I know that... and I appreciate that. I think though that since we see it as entitlement, our body comes to expect that period to escape away, and mine's ready for it.

I know, I know... it has not been too long since I was in Chicago, in part for work but in large part for a mini-vacation. And yes, here I go again. This time it's for longer... seven work days plus two weekends in the middle.

To me, there's something liberating about traveling to another country. I used to think it would be terrifying to travel somewhere where you did not speak the language. What if something awful happened? What if you couldn't figure out to order the meal you wanted to purchase? What if you couldn't explain to the store vendor that the pair of shoes that you just had to buy were in fact on sale and they'd rung you up incorrectly? I guess after my first trip, I saw that wasn't such a problem. Maybe it's my inability to communicate sans-hands, but I learned the universality of most gestures can be a life saver. And that if speaking in English doesn't work, in a crunch my body will always default to Spanish as an alternative, no matter how impractical of a solution it may be. I'm sure this trip will be more of the same...

But it's this liberation that I'm so ready for. I need that escape. There's so much going on around me... work-related stress, obligations to organizations of all types, things to think through, and just in general so many things left unanswered weighing on my mind that keep my mind racing when it's time to wind down at the end of the day that makes it hard to flick the power switch over fully to "off". For that time period, those things can wait another day... or two... or three... they'll be waiting for me to think through when I return back to DC, but for now, they're just on pause for another day.

Something about traveling overseas helps me to do that. It's comforting to let the sea of unfamiliar faces engulf you in the masses and to momentarily disappear. To sit at that cafe on an unknown street corner and just watch what it means to exist on an average day in that city that until then was unknown to you. To walk through the market and see what it would be like to do the daily essentials within a different culture. To walk down that back alley, camera in hand, and capture the solace of the archway there above the cobblestone road.

I'm getting chills... and I'm ready.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

welcome to the trailer, cap hill style

Shamrockfest started at noon, but it was closer to 2pm that Sassy, the Fashionista, and the DG headed over to RFK. The walk was great, considering the weather at long last didn't have the frosty sting as of late. As Ballston learned last year though, good weather can equate to trouble for Shamrockfest. We lost the Fashionista at the gate, who was not having a good start to the day. The bigger bands were to play later in the evening (so we knew we wouldn't be seeing any of those). We did manage to hear some good Irish Jigs along with some not half-bad cover bands... a little Journey, some Blink 182, even some Dave Matthews Band.

We did not even have to enter the gates to begin to experience some of the fine people watching we knew the event would include... people dressed as leprechauns, inappropriate t-shirts galore, mohawks, people with their hair dyed bright green, and the list goes on. Also, amidst the unknown faces we managed to encounter a whole slew of familiar ones sprinkled across the pavement at RFK. First of all, who knew there were so many different types of people throughout the city that we never encounter day-to-day? And second, funny to see those we do know mixed in with the ecclectic crowd. We were there a couple of hours before we decided to check out to get ready for the big party. The fun crowd that was warming up when we arrived was kicking into full swing around about then. Perhaps the umph of that green beer was kicking into overdrive at that point.

The party started at 8, but it was closer to 9 when it really got going. Our place was jazzed up right proper for the event. I'd made signs the night before. Originally, I'd planned on buying posterboard to make them, but realized that it was much more appropriate to just rip up the cardboard boxes we'd been meaning to recycle and put them to proper use.

I had not tried on my outfit altogether, but somehow the shirt (which I kept cutting shorter and shorter - haha) paying homage to the late Dale Earnhart, skirt, random yellow capri leggings, socks and sandals managed to come together looking appropriately hideous. I had comments all night long that my shirt should say "I loved (past tense) Dale" rather than just I heart Dale. My response? He's still alive in my heart... followed by fake sobs and a frown. Awww. And of course the twig of hair along with bring hot pink lipstick sealed the deal. My roommates were looking smashing as well. I'm definitely thinking theme parties are the way to go.

It was hilarious to watch the people come in, one by one, dressed in their costumes and carrying their props, beverages, and culinary contributions. Favorite food items have to be the Slim Jim corn dogs homemade by D, the potted meat Dr. P brought, and the plethora of Funyuns. Favorite beverages would be the Boones Farm and the 40s brought as props (classy!). For costumes, loved the couple dressed as KFed and Britney. And then there was Paris Hilton. There was teased hair a'plenty, lacey capris, bras showing, John Deere hats, the list goes on and on. Tackiness flowing from every direction.

So some of the attendees thought it wouldn't be a true trailer trash party without some hickeys. Hmmmm... let's just say some of them may be wearing their wardrobe's entire turtleneck collection during what hopefully will still remain to be a warmer week ahead here in DC. Sassy said someone was commenting on how some of the people had put on fake hickeys. Oh no, no my dear. No fake here, we assure you.

For a party where we were expecting not as many people, it ended up being quite the throw down. Our party stash of alcohol, which really goes untouched with the exception of our parties, is basically non-existent. Guess my parents will no longer think my roommates are alcoholics when they come to visit (hah - long story). The DG reported the neighbor came over today to officially complain about the noise from last night. Oooops. That's a first. She didn't give us a chance to counter her complaint with complaints about her obnoxious child (the one I complain about ehem a few times here... the one who thinks 5AM is the new 7AM... "special" he is). Maybe it was the DG and my version of Cyndi Lauper's Girl's Just Wanna Have Fun that was the final straw... but in the trailer, shouldn't be a dern thing wrong with a little late night karaoke.

As we always seem to do, we're already thinking of ideas for themes for the next one. We always contemplate not doing one for a while, and inevitably we break down for another round. I think we skipped the contemplation phase this time around though.

Tales of what happened at and after the party are still coming in, and the fine photos are mounting up. Countless photos with WT's uber-classy white trash wig (love it... love it a little too much) and also with D's fantastic Miller Lite hat (see left here for a glimpse of its splendor). The Fashionista and I think he could get a good side business going on these. Guess we ladies at the row house with the purple door can't do anything other than call this one a trailer trash success. I'm now back to my Nascar hatin' self. And now I'm crawling into my bed. ASAP.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

cmt gems

When I was younger, CMT was a station I knew well. You wouldn't perhaps know it to see my music collection now, but I grew up on almost solely country music. My first concert was Randy Travis. Many a mullet and a rat-tail were running around that event. Other favorites were Alabama, but I remember listening to my Gramma's faves endlessly... Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash. It wasn't until I was in high school that I really picked up on pop/rock music. Now, I can't remember the last time I watched CMT... with the exception of last night.

I was working on my t-shirt for tonight, so I was flipping through the guide on the TV. I came across the Dukes of Hazzard. Perfect! I loved the Dukes of Hazzard growing up. I was so into Luke. I had a Luke doll. At that time, I think I would have opted for Luke over Ken (as in Barbie and Ken) any day. He was my ideal. Hah. I used to have audio cassette tapes I'd recorded of the shows that I would replay as I fell asleep. I was really into it. So it was just too fun to turn it on last night.

I didn't realize there would be more in store though. As opposed to MTV's Pimp My Ride, CMT apparently has Trick My Truck! No disrespect meant here, but it was seriously cracking me up. What cracked me up even more was that I left it on to cycle through two episodes, which were followed by some karaoke show, and then they repeated the episodes. How can you tell you've had too much CMT? Yeah, 'round about then. It was a perfect way to hang in though the night before the party and finish up my shirt and some decorations.

As a side note, this is post number 125. Wow. Perhaps there should be more fireworks here? Oh well. Next to tackle? Shamrockfest!

Friday, March 09, 2007

just carolina all around

Yesterday about 3:30 it hit me like a Mack truck, like it always seems to. I thought I'd managed to escape getting sick. I felt it coming on in Chicago and had been downing the max dosage per day of Emergen-C. I'd sung Emergen-C's praise to darn near everyone with whom it had come up in conversation. I should get comission. But my song died late yesterday afternoon.

I scrambled to finish up what I absolutley had to wrap up at work last night so that I could be out today if necessary. I'd committed to do dinner with the Tour Guide and company to meet her new boyfriend, in from Michigan for a job interview. I managed to make it through dinner successfully (along with Duke, who was also sick). We were surrounded by people drinking all sorts of fancy mojitos and our request was to please keep the water and iced teas coming!

Today for the first time since I think I've started work in DC (gosh, will be two years at the end of the month since I moved here!), I took a sick day. I was sleeping in wonderfully until our landlord called around 7:30ish. Open cell phone. Click "decline". Zzzzzz... (Last night, the repairman came downstairs to repair the downstairs tenant's water heater. Did we know he was coming? No. How did we find out? NO RUNNING WATER! Ahhhh, the joys of renting. At least the problem was limited to an hour or so.)

I hit the road to Arlington after the morning rush with the help of Carolina (sweet sweet
Garmin). After the doctor's office, I ran to Giant with prescriptions in tow. Sinus infection. Blah. I left out of Giant with not only prescriptions but also a 2 liter of RC Cola (success!), pork rinds, and Funyuns. They probably thought I should throw in a bottle of Pepcid for good measure. Hah. I was going to pick up a box of Franzia or other fabulous boxed wine, but never knew the stuff cost $11-$14. Isn't the point of boxed wine that it's supposed to be mega-busted and uber-cheap? After a quick run for Peruvian pollo a la brasa and a Diet Inca Kola, I found myself back in the District.

Sadly, my plans of being culturally enlightened this evening at the
Hirshorn seem to be a no-go. I'm all about saving up my energy and recouping for tomorrow's festivities... since one must maximize their right to be trailer-iffic. So instead of wine and art, right here I'll be. I've got my velour track suit on, am sacked out in the bed watching my latest Netflix acquisition, a smaller film called Carolina, and gnoshing on some serious chocolate (darn you Cadbury and your fabulous mini-eggs). I'm going to enjoy my sick day though... as a "grown up", these don't seem to come along often so while no one wants to be sick, there's a somewhat of a silver lining there somewhere.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

5 signs your neighbor might be from 'bama

(winter edition)

1 - When you see her walk out in the morning, she refuses to wear a hat. Might mess up the freshly fixed hair, which would be an absolute travesty. At the end of the day though, she's lost in the midst of her faux-fur lined hood. Neighbor? Neighbor who? Nothing to see. Only faux-fur here...

2 - She's oblivious of the city requirement to shovel off the sidewalk in front of ones place of residence. When deciding to be in compliance with said requirement, she decides that (clearly) shoveling with a shovel oh say a foot tall is the way to go. Until, of course, she wakes up the next day with a throbbing lower back. OUCH. (But on the upside, what a lovely clean walk she has in front of her... until she realizes today that you can hardly tell she shoveled... grumble).

3 - A continuation to point two, she leaves the snow shoes inside and decides it's a smart idea to shovel said snow in her nice work boots and nice Ann Taylor wool pants. Feeling in ones toes? Completely optional. Just a suggestion. Superfluous.

4 - Taking things inside the row house, what should you find on her bed? But of course none other than a simplistic array of the bare essentials... a thick comforter, a thermal blanket, a fleece "TV" blanket (AKA one you can stick your feet in and stay super cozy in), a sheet, and a nighttime wardrobe consisting of snowflake fleece pajama bottoms, a long-sleeved t-shirt, a thick, fuzzy Florida Gators sweatshirt (in obnoxious orange - of course), and fleece slipper socks.

5 - And looking to her social agenda, she's got something which could be connected with the mother land in store for the weekend. She's pretty PUMPED for her and her roommate's trailer trash party and whether it's 60 degrees or 20, will be proudly donning her finest redneck apparel and shortest denim skirt possible ;-) Yeehaw!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

sam's choice is my choice, just for today

What do you get when you take two 'bamians and put them out on a snowy DC evening before a theme party? Perhaps sadly, entirely too much fun at a fine establishment more commonly known as Wal-Mart. I know, I know... terrible, terrible things at the hands of the evil Wal-Mart empire. But when you're planning a Trailer Trash party and there's not a single Dollar General reasonably closeby, what's a girl to do? Seriously, if I were to go to somewhere more expensive, it would just be inappropriate.

My JLW committee meeting was nixed this evening due to snow, so of course what did we decide to do but hop in the car and trek out to Alexandria for some retail therapy, Sam's style (since when does a cancelled meeting indicate you might should opt to not drive?). The original plan was actually to go to Michael's. The Fashionista was headed out there and once I heard my meeting was cancelled, I high-tailed it downstairs to catch a ride with her out to Michael's. We ended up scrapping that plan though and instead opting for Wal-Mart, since it just had it all. I won't divulge all of the absolutley fantastic items I purchased... I'll save that for the weekend wrap. But I'm pretty pleased. Hah.

Somehow though, I did not get quite the looks this evening as I did yesterday shopping in H&M. Yesterday as I carried around the "assortment" of items which would comprise a fraction of my Saturday ensemble, I noticed the gazes of many other shoppers looking me up and down as if to say poor, sad pathetic thing. She thinks that's fashionable. I fought off a grin though and looked as serious as could be. Remember, I'm serious about this now. No half-way now. License to dress hideous? Mission accepted.

Anyhow, the Fashionista and I spent a good two hours wandering up and down the aisles at Wal-Mart. We tried on some of the clothing they had and were actually sad that we had to scrounge a bit to come up with something we could turn into a hideous outfit. When did Wal-Mart become trendy? And when did their supply of trucker-esque hats become so limited? Who knew? We had the obligatory run in with the mother who has waaaaay too many children than should be legally permissible and saw a monstrous supply of Spam conveniently placed at that prime location of eye-level. Ah yes. Our cart was a hilarious hodge-podge between the supplies for the Trailer Trash party, items for A Night of Mystique, and the multiple bags of 48 plastic easter eggs I bought for my JLW project.

We are now ready for Saturday, for sure. I bought some supplies to finish up my shirt, so I'm almost set. The anticipation is killing me, and it's taken every ounce of restraint to keep from diving into the box of chocolate Moon Pies. I'm so close to caving...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

her name was lola....

Seriously, I thought I was never going to get a dress off of eBay. C'mon. It's not supposed to be rocket science. There's a flood of leftover crapola. Someone else's trash instantly (POOF) becomes your treasure. Or ideally, anyhow. The Fashionista and crew had been stalking dresses on eBay for a while. Searching on sequins. Mucho sequins. I was a bit envious as they were all getting these sweet dresses coming in... some of them even had back-up dresses. I, on the other hand, was getting constantly outbid. I was in love with this all sequin dress that had been worn in a Vegas show. The F went to bed and come morning, it was gone.

I learned perhaps eBay and I weren't such good friends after all... I was getting a bit bummed as nothing was working out and I sadly found myself skimming through transvestite dresses. Um, no. Finally though, one came through.

Tonight we all rounded up to discuss the plans for the upcoming fundraising event. The Fashionista cooked us her signature dinner party pasta dish and showed us her spread, from hand-painted decorations (which were quite impressive) to her Oriental Trading Company stash. My dress had come in, so finally had the chance to try it on and model along with the Fashionista. Very cute... very sequined and uber-low V in the back. Hmmm. Interesting. I'll be visiting my kind alteration ladies shortly. They won't know what to do though when I come in with a normal dress versus oh say a mid-thigh length pink and black spotted Pebbles costume. They can't say I'm a dull customer. We are each going to be performing magic tricks so we were all playing around with the different ones the Fashionista had picked up. I felt like I was 10, but it was great!!

So from one theme to the next, I've been pondering this trailer trash theme some more. Still thinking on the perfect outfit for the occasion. I'm getting close... whatever it is, it's going to be paired with my short, pleated denim skirt. Yep. The one Sassy said was too much for the Jungle Bash. Time to dust it off. In looking around for ideas, I've found a whole slew of fun, themed images, so I'll be throwing those out here and there on the blog, just for kicks. On tap for tomorrow? Find some prizes... at the Dollar Store, of course. Nothing but the classiest will do for our attendees. Oh, and also need to pull out the Christmas lights. Time to re-string those for sure!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

call me daisy duke

The stress of planning a high-class soiree like a Trailer themed party. Today I made a Safeway run to stock up on some "supplies" for our upcoming "Trailer Trash Throw Down". My contributions thus far consist of Ding Dongs, Twinkies, Ritz crackers, and E-Z Cheese. The snack foods of champions. I was going to try to find some busted boxed wine a la Franzia. Still to be purchased are such fineries as pork rinds, RC Cola, and perhaps some Spam, cause why not? The line-up of food on our kitchen table is looking mighty classy. I had to take a picture, just because it was amusing me way too much.

I'm very sad to be going back into work tomorrow. I thought a week away would set me up to be ready to dive back into things tomorrow, but I find myself feeling anything but. The upside is that there's only now two weeks until I'm headed out yet again, this time for Europe. I realized today I've been slipping on my travel planning duties. I had to dust out my Prague travel guide and I'm trying to get my act together to sketch out plans for the days we'll be spending there. Gotta be that perfect balance between churches, museums, and the ever-present shopping.

Today it is Sassy's birthday. Happy birthday, Ms. Sassy! We roommates just celebrated by eating the last three pieces of Sassy's faaaabulous chocolate cake. We had a pre-celebration last night, which included a fantastic dinner at Starfish Cafe (which, you'll recall, I was worried about making -- I managed to shower and only be 30 minutes late, an accomplishment I was very proud of) and then on to meet up with others at Finn Mac Cool's. The band at Finn's was a bit overpowering. It was pretty funny though that all the band members were short. As tends to happen after a few drinks, we were teasing a bit and were joking that the band came with a height requirement... sorta like a reverse of the signs on roller coasters. D had been at a St. Patty's bar crawl, so was donning his finest in primary green, including the top hat and glasses, which photographed as mega-bright green with an eerie glow. There were a couple of other parties there as well. We mingled with the parties upstairs, but were feeling the need for a shift.

We opted to check out the Mug next door once our eardrums were maxed out. There we found the comfortable usual chill environment, which was a nice way to round out the evening. The DG was fading, having given up alcohol for Lent (still need to ask her if that means that she, the wine connoisseur, will be wineless as well!). She soon checked out along with D (and his crazy sparkly green hat) and the Fashionista. Sassy and I hung out a bit longer. She made friends with some guy from Dakota (can't remember if it was North or South). The highlight was when he tried to offer her part of his stuffed pepperoni roll... which was this big fat long calzone-ish looking thing. Did he have silverware? Nahhhh, clearly optional when dealing with something large, greasy, and oozing with cheese. The look on Sassy's face was classic as she informed him no, she would not be taking him up on that. There was also one guy solo dancing at the bar, which was pretty awesome. Hope Sassy had a good birthday... we definitely had a fun night as always on 8th.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

don't walk. fly.

After I made it out of O'Hare on time, it was supposed to be smooth sailing. It wasn't really snowing, so no issues initially. However, if I was going to be stuck anywhere it was supposed to be on the Chi-leg of the trip. I guess I should be ready to return back to normal life, but I'll own up to loving the break from reality. I'd happily put back on my snow shoes for another day and have stayed put. After all, never did get that Chi-hot dog. There was definitely no desire for quality bonding time with the airport here in Philly.

Last night in Chicago (well, Evanston I guess, if we're getting technical) was a perfect end to my half-vacation. In keeping with my anti-chain theme, the Titan took me to dinner at a local restaurant, the
Davis Street Fish Market. He'd never been before. Excellent seafood! I've definitely been on a seafood kick to balance out my prime rib a couple of days back. Afterwards we checked out the new Jim Carey movie, the Number 23. Very interesting movie... still contemplating that one. Wasn't quite what I was expecting, but did make me think.

Learned some important lessons on the trip. All of those "don't walk" signs? Yeah, just suggestions. In terms of IL math, seis just might equate to cuatro. The song "Sweet Home Alabama" does in fact follow me everywhere I go (and I'm okay with that). When it's cold and you have on a hood, seeing is a distant second to keeping the snow out of ones eyes... at least in my book. And most importantly, it's never too late to finally get the chance at that first dance.

And now here I am, hanging in Philly. Not even a second Chick-Fil-A sweet tea or actually getting to go outside into that fifty something degree weather supposedly in full force would make me want to be hanging out here at the moment. iPod is dead and wireless seems to be held hostage by someone somewhere, so options are limited to pass the time. I'd much rather be chilling on the Titan's fine rented couch watching season 4 of Scrubs, but alas, here I sit. Sigh.

Will I make it to Sassy's pre-birthday party dinner this evening as originally planned? Magic 8 ball would say outlook doubtful. But a girl can dream.


Friday, March 02, 2007

windy city it is

Okay, so if there was ever any doubt that Chicago knows how to put out some killer winds, doubt no mas. Today as I was trying (note the use of the word trying) to make my way into the Metra station, pulling two suitcases, a big binder, a large purse, and a laptop bag into the station in the snow, I realized I was putting forth a whole heck of a lot of effort and my net distance accomplished (man, I've been sitting in an accounting/finance class too long... I'm using net when it's not even really applicable!) was almost zero. Nice.

My last day in downtown included two faaaaabulous exams, which I begrudgingly voluntarily began promptly at 7:30AM. Diet Coke was annihilated by 7:45AM. I think I did fine on the exams though. I had until noon to complete them and was headed out into the snow by 10:30. Not half-bad. I went to the indoor mall with the Nordstrom, just you know to balance out a little of the post-test tension. Thankfully Femme De Carriere was having a sale... would hate to end that tradition (having bought something there now on each of my work trips to Chicago). After lunch at Grand Lux Cafe, it was back to Evanston for me.

For the record, I hear it's a high of sixty in DC. I'm chillin' (literally) in the Chicago temps here, with snow and all. It's all good though... DC will be there when I get back.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

'L' viejo and el loop

I have a fascination with public transportation. It's always been one of the main ways I instantly compare one large city with the next. The only other recent trip I've had to Chicago was conducted on foot or via taxi. I definitely didn't feel like I really saw the city. To me, taxis are a luxury, and if that's all I'm using, I haven't truly had the local experience.

I had my heart set on seeing the
Cézanne to Picasso exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. After a long day of gazing longingly at enticing things like balance sheets, income statements, and financial ratios, I bolted as our class wrapped up early and hightailed it to the L. Thursday is the one night the museum is open late. Admission is actually free unless you, like me, opt for the special exhibit.

Chicago's system is definitely not the most modern. It almost reminded me of Boston's (with the obvious difference being that Boston has those funky cars rather than trains, and Chicago definitely has trains). The Loop almost beat me... for something that connects in to so many of the key tourist sights, I was amazed at how confusing it was! I made it to the museum with no problems, but it was thanks to a kind-hearted Chi-resident that I didn't loop the wrong direction as I headed back out.

The exhibit was fantastic. It was kind of an interesting approach. It focused on Abroise Vollard and the different artists he'd featured in his galleries. Cézanne's works had originally drawn me to the exhibition... he's one of my favorite impressionists. I love his landscapes and portrait work. Not so much his still lifes. The exhibit also had works by Matisse, Gauguin, and some others I'm drawing a blank on (one I really want to remember that was a new one to me). It was interesting to see what a role the art dealer plays in enabling an artist's work to really reach the public.

I was fading fast, but did make a quick stroll through the other modern works in their permanent collection. I loved Picasso's Old Guitarist. There was a lady walking through who was telling her friend of the painting actually on the layer underneath the main painting. Sure enough, you can see the eyes of another person on the layer underneath. Very cool. I was very excited to see some of Georgia O'Keefe's works. She's always been one of my favorites.

I'm just waiting for the bill here at Weber's Grill. The Titan's two for two in the recommendation department. Well, now that I've seen the two museums on my to-do list, guess I can curl up with my books (grumble) for the evening.


Powered by WebRing.