Thursday, January 24, 2013

Here and there

So, as it turns out, this little bloggy space got a shout out on for my noteworthy inauguration thoughts last week.

That is exciting.

You know what else is exciting?


And the fact that she looked amazing even though she apparently (it has yet to be confirmed or denied) lip synced her way through the National Anthem on Monday. All I have to say is this:

This little spectacle only ups the ante for Beyonce's Super Bowl performance next Sunday -- which requires not only singing while also looking amazing, but also dancing and not lip syncing because you better believe that America will be watching her. But don't worry, America will love her even if she does lip sync (as stated in the final paragraph of this article). And let's be honest, it will be pretty hard to top Bruce Springstein's knee slide into the camera during the Super Bowl XLIII halftime show.

Note his face after he gets up. Trust me, he's as shocked as you are.

I love it.

Michael actually asked for my hand in marriage on February 6, 2011, which happened to be the Super Bowl as well. So that bowl definitely takes the cake for me.

The engaged couple

I also can remember exactly where I was and who I was watching the Super Bowl with when Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" happened. Whatever that means.

WHY AM I TALKING ABOUT THE SUPER BOWL??? No idea. Let's go to France!

In other news, it was 16 degrees outside when I left my house yesterday morning. Oh wow. My hands are so chapped from being blasted by dry heat.

Hmm. Hand pictures are weird.

Like I said.

And today, we woke up to snow!

Q Street in Georgetown

Beautiful. Still cold out, but that is ok.

It's January! Odd month, don't you think?

Friday, January 18, 2013

January Funk

WHAT IS IT WITH THIS MONTH? January is so, so, so uhhh whatistheword.... humdrum. No offense to one of my dear friends (Tilly!) whose birthday is today, but everyone I've talked to lately has been a little glum. I swear we all need more Vitamin D, as mentioned in the previous post.

Lo and behold, today the sun came out! Despite the cold, it is sort of amazingly refreshing.

The sun. Oh man, how I love it.

I started a new daily devotional this year. Actually, it is old -- I read it each day while I was in Argentina six years ago (Side note: six [6] years ago?!? WHAT) and then it got lost in the back of my car until Michael organized the back of my car when we got married.

Oh dear, that was a long time to be sitting in the back of my car.

Anyway, after a few years of Jesus Calling, it was about time to switch it up. I've been reading Joy and Strength (shout out to Nehemiah 8:10) by Mary Wilder Tileston for all of 18 days now, and I can't believe I ever let this gem get lost.

It is amazing.

I was planning on typing this out to share, but my laziness got the better of me (surprise!) so a photo will have to do. This is the daily devo from a few days ago. I really don't have much to add, so please read it.

No doubt about it, I am that feeble invalid. Everyday single day.

So here I am, in the sunshine of His love.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Where is the sun?

I'm dying. No. I'm living. But I'm dying without the sun. I need to go to the beach.

Chain me to the wall! Take me to the beach!

Here we are last year in Belize. This is my kind of heaven. Except that we are in the shade -- but that's only because we are taking a sun break, which is important to do.

Yesterday during our staff meeting at work, the head of my department called me out on looking tired. Or perhaps disengaged? Ugh. This was the 2nd staff meeting in a row that this has happened. I think I need to work on my I-am-very-interested-in-what-you-are-saying face. The sad part is that I really was trying to pay attention. Cleary, it was a failure.

This week has proven to be impossibly hard to get out of bed. And even when I finally do, I am in some kind of zombie land for several hours. This song pretty much sums up the feeling, including the tie-dye desert look.

I repeat,

Take me to the beach! Mayday!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Inauguration: then and now

Inauguration Day on this coming January 21st (although technically inauguration is always on January 20th), will mark my four year anniversary in the District of Columbia. 

The early days

Holy cow! I am nearly a local. (You are a local if you have lived in DC for 7 years or more, so they say.) 

There has been a lot of chatter recently on the Georgetown Neighborhood Listserv about the inauguration festivities, the crowds of people swarming the District, the impossibility of navigating the traffic so don't even try, the crazies who come in from out of town, and the general chaos that descends upon the city for the merry inauguration weekend. Here is my personal favorite comment:

"Lots of drunk people from out of town who assume that it will be ok if they go to a ball in a strapless gown and order their driver to drive in reverse down one way streets to get them to the door at the ball they are attending, since they forgot to bring a winter coat. Lots of near misses with pedestrians. I'd avoid it if I were you. Last time I went to Florida and am considering doing something like that again."

I happen to have been to one of these balls. When I first moved to DC in 2009 after 6 months in the test kitchens with Southern Living magazine, I was overweight and jobless. Ok, overweight may be an exaggeration, but I did pop the button off my jeans my last day at SL. True story. This is why I no longer work in the culinary industry. Enough said.

So I moved to DC jobless, but living with 6 girls in a house we affectionately dubbed The Blue Barn. That was enough for me! Until I needed to pay rent. So through a connection to the event planning world, I somehow ended up working the Pennsylvania State Society Inaguration Ball, and had to stand at the door that separated the regular Pennsylvania citizens from the VIP Pennsylvania citizens -- like Brian Dawkins, who played for the Eagles, and Sharon Stone. It was Stone who incidentally was the guest of honor and gave the weirdest speech I have ever heard.

"The Liberty Bell will ring again! We are Pennsylvania! Let me tell you about my childhood... The Liberty Bell!"

One word: wacko.

On Inauguration Day, I walked to the Mall with friends to watch Bono and BeyoncĂ© herald in Obama's first four years. 'Watch' is a loose term. I was about 50 yards behind the 7th row of jumbo trons that had been put up all over the Mall. But still, it was fun and definitely a thrill to be with hundreds of thousands of people getting super excited about a new president.

I just barely missed living in DC while Bush was president, and I would have loved to be here for another Republican president in office, but it looks like wishful thinking for now. So many people have told me how the vibe of the city was so different then. I mean let's be honest, Texas invaded DC during the Bush administration. It must have been amazing!

I am kidding. Not really. You decide.

So this year, I'm really not sure what we will do on Monday, January 21st. I'd love to see what Michelle wears for the parade, but since we frequent the same ice cream shop, we are already pretty much best friends. I may just hunker down in our little apartment with a blanket and Harry Potter and hot chocolate and the TV on mute. Sounds about right to me!

Oh how the times have changed. Like how this handsome man walked into my life:

I'll take another 4 more years with him.

And a lifetime. 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Brussels Sprouts for the Soul

One thing I have learned about my husband of 1.5 years (we hit that mark five days ago, although I am just now realizing it. Is that bad? Do you celebrate your "monthly" anniversary each month? What are the rules???? I must know!)

Ok I must start again. Too much in the parenthesis and I lost my train of thought. Happens all the time. 

One thing I have learned about my husband of 1.5 years is that he will eat anything. Not only eat but also truly enjoy anything I put in front of him. So it was sort of a happening when we once had steamed brussels sprouts served to us and Michael was less than thrilled about it. I think this was before we were even married. Perhaps. As a result, I never was that tempted to bring brussels sprouts home and try to make Michael eat them. In fact, I really wasn't that crazy about them myself. 

Until. Until that fateful day when we were with some dear friends who had us over for a salmon and brussels sprout dinner last May. We were actually at their house on the Hill the night that her baby was due. Wow! Talk about daring. But of course, babies like to stay put - there was little fear of any water breakage that evening. (It was her first child.)

Little did we know how that night would instantly and unexpectedly change our lives forever. Our friends made brussels sprouts (BRUSSELS SPROUTS, really??) taste like healthy candy. What's not to love about healthy candy. Why nothing, nothing at all. We sung their praises (both our friends and the sprouts) and we learned the art of roasting them up so nice (the sprouts, not our friends). 

The key: Resist the urge to stir. One of my best friends and old roommates never really liked to cook, but she always loved to stir whatever I was cooking. So these sprouts wouldn't be fun for her.

Resist. The urge. To stir! 

Who knew so much could be written about this weird cabbage-like vegetable. Leave it up to yours truly. Here is how it goes:

First, you want to cut the ends off. And then slice them in half length-wise. 

Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat and put a lot of olive oil in it. Like enough to cover the whole skillet and then a little extra just for fun. And add a scoop of crushed or chopped garlic (I do the store bought jars although that is probably terrible and I am losing points as we speak. Oh well.) 

Ew. Oh dear. That picture is like looking at your face in a magnifying mirror and seeing all of your blemishes that you didn't know existed. Or in this case, the dirty skillet marks. But I think this is ok because you are never supposed to use soap on a cast-iron skillet. Or something like that. 

After the pan and the garlic get super hot but before the garlic starts to burn, add your brussels to the skillet and stir them around just enough to get coated in garlic and olive oil. 

It is good if you get them all to lay flat so that the flat sided "face" of the brussels sprout is against the skillet to get browned, but that is sort of tedious so don't worry about it. But definitely add some salt... a little goes a long way. 

Ok once they are coated in olive oil, here is where the "don't stir" part comes in. Just don't stir. Just let them sizzle! For at least 4 minutes or something crazy like that. 

Resist the urge to stir.

After a good long time, you can finally stir them around just a bit, and then let them sit again. Oooo starting to brown...

After letting them sit for another 3ish minutes, give them another stir. See how they get sort of charred? That is perfect! 

As soon as they are done, get them on your plate. Or if you have to wait a few minutes, cover them with a lid. At this point, you can do whatever you want to add some pizazz to your brussels, although they taste good just as is. I added some parmesan this time around. Delicious. You can also add pinenuts, walnuts, almonds etc into the mix. And bacon! And pomegrantes! And coconut flakes! And seriously anything. If you do decide to add something, throw it in toward the very end of the roasting just to warm it up.

This dish is perfect with just about anything. Chicken. Beef. Sweet potatoes. Watching football. Like the BCS National Championship. Which is tonight!




Jk, roll tide!

Jk, I don't know who to cheer for. Just make the brussels sprouts. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year

Our last hours of 2012 were spent partying our brains out!


Our last hours of 2012 were spent doing quite possibly my favorite thing ever: dinner and a movie.

Pho 75 with my main squeeze. If you live in DC or Arlington or anywhere thereabouts, this is your place for pho.

I never tell a lie.

Pho was followed by Les Miserables at the Gtown cinemas.

Vietnamese and then the French Revolution in song??!?

You heard it first here, folks.

The walk home

And after a lovely walk home, we hit the hay. I won't tell you what time. But I will tell you that it wasn't before I read chapter one of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It seems I just can't get away from English writers these days. Because I just read a good one. No, a GREAT one: Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Oh so much could be said about that book, but most has already been said (I googled it.) I also want to write a lot about Les Miserables but so much has already been written about the screen adaptation that my analysis is most likely unwanted and you wouldn't agree with me anyway. Why is that? Because everything I have read about it is different than the next thing I read about it, and people generally have different opinions about who sang what song well or not well or why that actor was so terrible or simply the best. So. Just go and see it! If you have seen the play and know the music, I really do think it will be a treat for you. If you haven't (Michael hadn't) then it may seem a bit tedious. But still go see it. There is so much to talk about even if musicals aren't really your thang.

One tidbit: the theme of grace. Jean Valjean is shown grace and accepts it and it changes his life. Javert is shown grace and can't bear it and ends his life.

So much could be said. I wish I was in high school English class with Mr. Lindsay doing an inner-outer circle. Those were the days.

So that was the end of 2012. I'm a lover of new years resolutions and although I'm still sorting mine out, I love this line from Wuthering Heights:

This is the truth. Get to work, sleepyhead. It's a new year!