Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Holiday Vacation

Happy holidays!

We ended up leaving DC the Saturday before Christmas so that we could avoid all the snow storms that were pounding the northeast. We arrived in NY fresh off the Friday storm that left everything blanketed in beautiful white snow. It snowed again that Sunday, adding to the already high piles. That snow has since melted as a result of a 50 degree heat wave from this past Saturday, but last night a new layer fell and all is white again. I have lots of pictures to share once we are back in DC.

As for what we have been doing....

We spent a few days at my parent's house, a couple nights at Alson's parent's house, a night visiting Alson's college roommate and his wife, and are now back at my parent's house. Busy busy! In between all our travels we have spent a lot of time reading, playing our new Wii games (on my parent's new Wii), learning Spanish (yay Rosetta Stone!), shopping, eating, sleeping, snuggling, and playing in the snow. So relaxing!

I hope everyone is enjoying their holidays as much as we are!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Espanol, Here I come!

Last night Alson and I invested in the Spanish version of Rosetta Stone. We have been wanting it for a while; especially after moving to DC and feeling like the only monolingual people in the city. I took Spanish in high school and for three semesters in college, but I am certainly not fluent.

Hopefully this will give us a boost when we are both applying for jobs in the coming year. As an intern, my contract is up at the end of the school year, so I have to apply to become a full-time employee in my district. In the past, interns are usually hired wherever they intern, but because of the tumbling economy and the serious budget and job cuts in my district, that may not be the case next school year. Looks like I will be applying to all the districts in Metro DC. I may even apply to some private and charter schools. So, anything to set myself apart is a plus! There are currently only 2 (out of 101) bilingual school psychologists in my district. That is not proportional to the number of Spanish speaking students! You get the idea..

Alson will be applying for summer associate positions in the fall, and the same idea applies...he has to set himself apart.

We saved a bundle by buying all three levels at once and by purchasing it through eBay. I can't wait until it arrives and I can get started. It will give me something to do in my free time and will up my stock!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Kids Say the Cutest Things...

I meant to post this last week, but forgot...

A small group of boys are coloring various pages from a take-home story book I was reading to them. One boy has a cow in his picture, and as he grabs a brown crayon, he asks the other boys...

Boy 1: "Can a cow be brown?"
Boy 2: "Duh, where do you think chocolate milk comes from."
Boy 3 and Boy 4: (nod heads in agreement)
Boy 1: "Oh yeah, I knew that."

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Weather Whoas

My parents were supposed to visit us this weekend, but they are currently getting socked with snow. The forecast is calling for 12 inches overnight and they probably will not be able to drive down from NY. Although I am sad they won't be making a winter trip to DC, at least I get to see them in less than two weeks when we are back in NY for Christmas!

ETA: The storm wasn't too terrible where they live (Northeast standards, of course) so they were able to leave later on Friday and make it down for the weekend!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You Know It is Finals Week in Law School When.....

A few months back I joined a gym. More for something to do rather than a necessity. I can probably count on two hands how many times I have been since joining. For someone who has suddenly become so frugal, this waste of money has really started to bother me. Especially after I received a notice in the mail letting me know an extra $25 would be tacked onto my membership fee this month because of money problems at the gym. I vowed to go at least 3 times this week so that I wasn't completely wasting our money. Plus, I am determined to not gain weight during my first year of marriage. So far, so good...but, it has only been 5 months. Okay, this whole paragraph is a digression...moving on.

Today I finally dragged my butt to the gym. I had no desire to go, but Alson said he would come with me, so I went. I was given 6 guest passes when I joined and they expire Dec. 31st, so we figure we might as well use them up and hit up the gym together while we can.

And now we venture into how you can tell it is finals week in law school.....

After Alson said he would come I told him to go get ready so we could leave right away. My window for being motivated to exercise is small, so I have to go when I am ready. I don't usually order him around like that. Okay, maybe I do. But, he still loves me. Anyway, he headed into the bedroom, and while changing, I heard him singing "All I Wanna Do" by Sheryl Crow. Like in a high pitched voice. It was quite amusing! And very out of character. He is more of a My Chemical Romance man than a Sheryl Crow man.

Once he was changed and his singing had subsided, I handed him the guest pass and asked him to fill it out. It has lines for the member name, the guest name, and the date. He put down my maiden name on the guest pass. He caught himself as he was doing it, and said something along the lines of "Oh man, my brain is fried...I just put down your maiden name". He then filled out his name without a problem. Next, the date. He said, "I don't even know what day it is anymore". I told him it was the 10th.

We left and walked to the gym. When we arrived we found that the gym was having an open house and he didn't need the guest pass to enter the gym; we could save it for another day. The manager asked if we already filled it out, because he would give us a new one. Alson pulled it out and handed it to me; I saw that it said 12/11/2008. Really? I just told him it was the 10th. Silly, silly Alson. They gave him a day pass so he could get a locker and we kept the guest pass...it basically locks us in to going to the gym tomorrow as well (I suppose that is a good thing).

We then ventured up the stairs. When we reached the doorway to the 2nd floor, where the men's locker room is housed, I stopped, figuring Alson would head into the locker room, while I vwent up to the 6th floor, where the women's locker room is housed. Our conversation went something like this:

J: Are you going to go get a locker?
A: What?
J: They gave you that card so you can get a locker if you want.
A: (no response)
J: Or you can just give me your jacket and I can put it in my locker.
A: (turning around in a circle) Okay.
J: I'll take your jacket. I'm not even sure if I should leave you unattended.

I can't wait until tomorrow night, when he has finished his last final and he will stop being a zombie. Really though, I am so proud of him for being a study machine and making it through the first three finals like a champ! I can take a scatter brained husband and some loopiness once every 6 months ;)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pumpkin Recipe Sneak Attack

My mom loves to grocery shop. My family jokes that she goes to the store at least once a day, always coming home with more food than she knows what to do with. There is always something she needs at the store.

When I was in college she would go grocery shopping for me about once a month, stocking my fridge and cupboards with healthy and easy to make food. Now that I live far away, this luxury only comes when we visit them or they visit us. She sent us back with lots of good stuff after Thanksgiving, including a box of Pillsbury Pumpkin Quick Bread. When I first unpacked it last Sunday I was less than excited. For me, pumpkin season ends with Thanksgiving. She gave us so much stuff I had to line it all up on our bar because we don't yet have room for it in our cupboard (yes only one) or on the two shelves in our closet. The other day as I was clearing room and trying to put some things away, I noticed a recipe on the side of the box. I immediately wanted to start baking up a storm.

The recipe is for Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins and is absolutely to die for. It requires a little bit of elbow grease, but nothing too difficult. Prep time takes about 30 minutes. I mean seriously, don't these look delicious?


I tweaked the recipe a little by adding some extra batter on top of the cream cheese filling (I had extra) and sprinkling a combo of nutmeg and ground cinnamon on top of the crumbles. Definitely try this recipe before the holidays are over!

Officially an Outlaw

I was planning to post about my second run in with the law over the weekend, but I was too busy feeling sorry for myself. Yes, that's right. I got ANOTHER ticket.

On Friday night I drove back from NC and was feeling less than fabulous after the school psychology Christmas party on Thursday night and a long internship meeting Friday morning. Luckily I made it back to DC safe and sound around 8 pm. Although Alson was home all evening following his 2nd final, he didn't check the mail until I got home. Smushed between a few catalogs and Christmas cards was a notice from the Metropolitan Police Department. According to the notice, there is a speed camera on New York Ave NE, a road that I drive twice a day, and it caught me going 48 MPH in a 35 MPH zone. Super, just what I needed to end a long and mostly terrible week.

Although I accept responsibility for speeding, I would like to provide an excuse: sooo many people speed on that road. I was just following the flow of traffic. I would feel better knowing that 3195301358 people also got tickets in the mail for doing the exact same thing that I did. UGH.

I have since been following speed limits and braking at yellow lights. Too bad for me, everyone else still drives like crazy people and I am the lone person (or one of the few people) following the laws. This makes me a target for lots of road rage. A honk, mouthed words I am glad I can't hear, a shaking fist, and/or finger are directed towards me once every few minutes. I wish I could put a sign in my window explaining my law abiding behavior, but I am pretty sure no one would see it as they fly by me going 50+ MPH.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Run-in With Scrooge

This afternoon I was sitting at a red light in NW DC while on my way home from work. On my right was a parked police car; two officers were standing beside the police car writing a ticket. One of the officers turned around and looked at me, so I gave a brief smile to acknowledge her. Next thing I know she is walking over to my driver side window. I roll down my window and she asks to see my license. She then tells me that it is a violation to wear a seat belt improperly.

Say what?

I had my seat belt on and buckled. However, instead of it cutting me across the neck, I had it tucked under my left arm. It basically hits me in all the same places, with the exception of my neck. I didn't know that this was against the law!

Well, apparently that doesn't matter. The officer wasn't feeling any holiday cheer. She wrote me a $50 ticket that tacks two points onto my license. I think a warning would have been appropriate. Especially since I have no tickets.

Thanks Scrooge, you ruined my day!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Curious Incident of the Smell in the Car

Warning! The next story is not for the faint stomached....it is funny though.

It started on Tuesday. We drove up to NY around 2pm, and were immediately hit with heavy traffic. We thought we were being crafty (and safe...winter storms were forecast for Wednesday) by leaving after work instead of waiting until Wednesday morning. Wrong. Apparently other people had that idea too. It was thick and slow for almost 4 hours. Once we got into the mountains of PA it thinned out, but then traffic jammed up again in Northern PA. Boo!

Of course, we brought Kona with us on our trip. She has a harness that hooks onto the seat belt that prevents her from roaming around the car. She usually does okay when we are cruising along the highway, but in stop and go traffic she gets antsy and whines/sighs a lot. I decided to pull her into the front seat and hook her onto my seat belt, hoping that a little snuggle time and a few belly rubs were make her happy. Next thing I know Alson and I are sniffing the air. Something smelled awful. We thought maybe it was her breath, it had been a little stinky the last few days. We kept trying to smell her breath, but it didn't seem to stink. But, we were stumped (or were perhaps subconsciously blocking) as to where else the stink would come from and concluded it must be her breath. After about 30 minutes the stink became so intoxicating that we exited off the highway and found the nearest Petsmart. I went into the store to buy some breath freshening bones while Alson took Kona to go to the bathroom. While I am standing in an aisle examining the many different fresh breath options, Alson comes running in telling me to smell his pants. In the middle of the store. I looked around to make sure no one would see me bend over and smell my husband's crotch. As soon as I did I could smell concentrated stink. He then started sniffing my crotch and midsection. He almost gagged. I really hope no one saw us. Anyway, all this sniffing helped us realize that Kona's behind was probably the problem. We then headed over to the cleaning section to grab some bath wipes and deodorizing/disinfecting spray. I also bought some breath freshening bones just in case her breath was also an issue. We then stand in the parking lot while we both strip off our coats (luckily we both had fleeces in our bags) and douse them in the cleanser, wipe the seats and center console, and then get to work on Kona. Alson lifts her in the air while I wipe her stinky behind. During this process I find a little surprise stuck in her hair. Luckily I had a pair of scissors from a (human) grooming kit I brought in my make-up bag. I cut a few pieces of her hair and thankfully got the poo off her. At this point three or four people had walked by laughing, some encouraging us with "I do that too!". Lovely. We left the store 38 dollars poorer and with a little less dignity. Anyway, we were convinced that it would smell better in the car, but to no avail. More on this story to come....

We stopped at my parents house (it is closer) instead of driving up to Alson's parents as planned, so that we could give Kona a bath and schedule a grooming appointment for the next day. She smelled much better after the bath, but her long hair could again be an issue after any potty break. Luckily there was an opening for a hair cut the next day, and all problems would soon be resolved. In regards to Kona that is.

After dropping Kona off at the groomer on Wednesday morning, we drove up to Ithaca to visit Alson's parents. The hour long trip was again plagued with the stink, but we could not figure out where it was coming from. I have leather seats in my car so they are easy to clean and usually do not hold smells. We had cleaned and wiped down the car about 4 times at this point...it should not smell anymore! We were stumped. I decided to drive to Ithaca because I was convinced it smelled in the passenger seat, whereas Alson, the initial driver claimed it was in my head when we got in the car that morning. When he got in the passenger side he finally agreed that it smelled over there, but we still couldn't figure out why. I digress...so I am driving, and of course the weather got bad. It was snowing/sleeting and my windshield wipers just weren't cutting it. We had to stop at an Auto Zone and buy new windshield wipers; another 30 dollars gone.

After an uneventful (thankfully) afternoon and evening with Alson's parents, we decided to drive Alson's mom to the drugstore so that she could pick up her pictures from a recent trip to Hawaii, and so she could be an unbiased "smeller". I was in the passenger seat this time, and went to reach down and button my coat when I was overwhelmed by the scent. I finally figured it out. The only fabric part of my car....the seat belt! Kona must have rubbed her behind on it while she was strapped in. Of course we never could identify the smell when we were out of the car sniffing around and cleaning because the seat belt was inside the side of the car (the cloth part of my seat belts disappear, basically) and not buckled.

Once we started disinfecting and cleaning the seat belt every couple of hours, the smell finally disappeared, but not without a 36 hour fight.

On Thursday morning we drove back to my parent's house and greeted Kona with lots of hugs and kisses because she looked so cute with her new haircut and smelled so fresh and so clean. Good thing we don't hold grudges!