Saturday, November 29, 2014


Museums, a great lunch, a performance at the Kennedy Center, a casual supper at home. 

Life is so good.  


Happy Thanksgiving from us to you!


Things I'm thankful for today:

1.  Despite a nasty, cold rain/snow mix all day, all the family made it!  Hurray!

2.  I got to leave work early today.  Double hurray!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


For the first time ever in my life (that I can remember), I am celebrating Thanksgiving this year with just my mom, my siblings and their families (and Jimmy and Mac, of course).  None of my cousins or aunts and uncles. And they're all coming to Northern Virginia to share the holiday with us here instead of us going to SC.  This all seems so unique and different to our holiday status quo, and I am irrationally excited about this.  

Some people are flying and some people are driving, and of course, now there's this ridiculous winter storm coming that could screw up everybody's travel. 

I would love for it to snow lots so the children could enjoy it, but I need for them all to get here tomorrow first. 

Sending up the prayers....


I got asked today on the Metro if I needed someone to give up his seat for me. 



Back in the spring, a former colleague of Jimmy's contracted some sort of bacterial infection that wasn't diagnosed properly and he ended up dying. One day he was an active, healthy man in his mid-50s and two weeks later, he was dead. 

His wife and their two teenaged children hosted a Friendsgiving today that Jimmy and I attended. This family is well-loved by so many interesting, engaging people as evidenced by the party's turnout, but their loss and grief are almost tangible. The wife said a few emotional words before asking their son to say the blessing. 

If I needed a poignant reminder about how much I have to be thankful for, all I had to do was listen to this young man offer a prayer for his parents, their friends and speak of how we are never alone. It was very moving and was a perfect start to a week of grateful Thanksgiving. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Today we had Mac's birthday party. Seven boys for an XBox Madden tournament, flag football in the park, make-your-own-pizzas, more Doritos than 7 boys should be able to consume, and chocolate cake. I think a good time was had by all. 


Okay, I hate to keep harping on Parenthood, but really, if you're not watching it, you just have no idea what you're missing. The good news for you is that since it's going off the air after this season, you won't have to be clueless for  much longer. More's the pity. 

This week's episode was so tough. All the story lines I love the most, most, most just piled into one hour of a soppy, sniffly, sad mess. 

Julia and Joel have to get back together. That's it. I cannot bear to think of Joel living in that sad bachelor apartment when he's so emotional about his love for Julia. "I will honor you for the rest of my days, if you'll have me."  For goodness' sake, Julia, yes, you'll have him. 

And then poor Zeke. Oh my poor, beloved Zeke. Are they going to kill Zeke with a heart attack?  I will cry for weeks if they do. Do you hear me, NBC?  You better not do that. 

If you are watching the show and you watched the trailer for next week, you know what I'm about to say. But if you didn't, here's my PSA of the week:

there's no new episode until January. 
- there are only four new episodes left. 

There are dark days coming, my friends. Dark days, I tell you. 


Today is Mac's 12 birthday. I just don't know how we already got to this age because I'm fairly convinced I just had him 2 years ago. 

I am so thankful for this precious child. He's smart and has a great sense of humor, he's empathetic and compassionate, he's an all-around great athlete, he makes friends easily, he's polite and uses good manners (most of the time), and he's adaptable (which is serving him well in our transient life). 

I need to savor this time that he's still in tweenhood, while he at least needs me to drive him places, because, as fast as time flies, all too soon he'll be going out with friends and dating. 

Can you hear me crying from here???

Thursday, November 20, 2014


Continuing with the millennial theme...

I can't quite put my finger on a consistent theme in female millennial clothing (except that they don't dress like me.) But I can tell you that they must not invest heavily in hairbrushes because their hairstyles look like they used their fingers as combs and brushes. 

I see young women on the train everyday and at work who just have messy hair. Not intentionally messy hair. Just messy hair. Like they didn't comb it, didn't blow dry it, but instead just pulled it back in a messy ponytail with bits and bobs sticking out. Forget a sleek chignon. They have lumps and bumps all over what should be smooth pulled-back hair. 

It drives me crazy at work to see hair like that. You're in an office, not the gym, for crying out loud. 

So invest in a cheap brush and use it. And while you're at it, buy a bear of tights and use them when it's 30 degrees outside. We all realize your spray-tanned legs are gorgeous in those 4" heels, but you're going to catch pneumonia walking in the polar vortex with all that skin exposed. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


I work in a dreary, windowless office in a basement. The office has been subdivided into 5 cubicles and a conference table area. Two other women and I are occupying three of the cubes until we move to a new office in another building that's currently being renovated. 

We've had discussions about the weather recently as the temperatures were forecast to drop dramatically. One of the ladies said she had bought fleece-lined sweatpants that she couldn't wait to use.  We all decided that could be the best invention since sliced bread. 

The next day I showed up at work to find a still-in-the-package pair of fleece-lined leggings on my desk. The sweatpant lady  said when she got home the night before, she remembered she had this pair of leggings she bought for a cold-weather trip that never happened. Then she decided they were too small for her anyway so they went in her Goodwill bag. 

Obviously she recognized my love of  cheap clothes and decided to save me the trip to Goodwill. 

Well, let me just tell you: these things are amazing. I had a lot of meetings today that required walking to and from other buildings out in the bitter elements. When I say bitter, I mean this:

My legs were toasty the whole day. My toes didn't even get cold and that's a miracle. 

God bless the creator and the giver of my newest and best accessory. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


Prayers were answered!

Sunday, November 16, 2014


My goals while the boys were away overnight were to a) clean the apartment and b) veg on the couch and binge-watch tv shows and movies. 

Both goals were accomplished. The apartment is clean (for the moment) and I watched lots of tv. I caught up on The Amazing Race and Parenthood and watched the movies Everybody's FineChef, and Love Actually, one of my favorite holiday-time movies. 

I probably needed about 3 more days to watch everything I wanted to watch, but I enjoyed my respite. 


The boys are on a camping trip in the Shenandoah, so Leo and I are hanging out on our own. This afternoon I took him to the local dog park so he could wear himself out. 

When we first arrive at the dog park, he's always a little timid because there are always big, fast, seemingly aggressive dogs who immediately swarm him. We sit in the same place every time - a bench in the sun that he can hide under as his safe spot because the big dogs can't get under it like he can. 

Today I was sitting on the bench and he was wandering around in the general vicinity. A lady sat down on the bench next to mine, and Leo went over to her. He jumped up and put one paw, which is the size of a quarter, on her knee. (This area of the park is cement so he wasn't traipsing through the sandy part.)

I reflexively apologized to her and told him to get down (which he did). The lady made a dramatic show of pulling out a pack of wet wipes from her handbag so she could blot her knee off. 

1.  Who brings a full-size handbag to the dog park?


2.  Don't come to the dog park (which is packed on a Saturday afternoon) if you don't want any dogs around you. 

I was feeling awful, like I had the worst-behaved dog on the planet. 

But the universe is often kind. 

Before she could throw her wet wipe in the trashcan, her large dog came over and slobbered wet drool all over my thigh. 

My only regret was that I hadn't hauled my handbag to the dog park and couldn't whip out my wet wipes (imaginary, of course, since I only carry wet wipes in my handbag if I'm traveling by plane) to make a dramatic show of cleaning my pants of her dog's slobber. 

She didn't even apologize. 

Arlingtonians sometimes drive me a little crazy. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014


The next ten days. This makes me very, very sad 

Friday, November 14, 2014


In other Metro-riding news...

I am fascinated by how millennial-generation men dress.  They make a fashion statement very unique to their age bracket. 

You may be a millennial man if you wear the following (by my observation on the Washington, DC Metro for the last month):  

Skinny suit pants, no cuff, and hemmed to barely skim the top of your shoe. 

A suit jacket that always looks a little snug to me. You may, but this is not a definite, also have a dress shirt on that's a little too snug as evidenced by the pulled buttons. Regardless, you wear a tighter, fitted dress shirt. 

You do not wear Johnston and Murphy or Florsheim dress shoes. There's nary a wingtip in sight. And you definitely aren't bothered by the quaint notion of wearing black shoes with a dark suit. You invariably wear brown shoes with a long pointy toe that may curl up slightly (see top picture) with your skinny suit. There may be buckles involved but rarely do I see laces. 

You generally have scruffy facial hair. I'm not sure what the purpose of that is. You still have to groom it and I would assume it takes longer to keep it tidy than to just shave it all off. 

Your fingers are permanently attached to an iPhone and I believe earbuds grow from your ears. You either are conducting all sorts of business all the time or you play a mean game of Candy Crush. 

For the next month I will study millennial women as part of my anthropological discourse. 


I commute to and from work everyday by subway. There are certain Metro rules I follow, like when riding the escalator down into or up out of the stations, i always stand on the right side and let people who walk the escalators use the left side. 

And then there are general life etiquette rules that I also try to follow on the Metro. For instance, if I'm sitting on the Metro and an older person gets on, I stand and offer my seat. 

The quandary I find myself in time and again is deciding whether the person is really older than me or not. The problem is that in my mind, I'm still about 26 and so I must look like I'm 26 when in fact, I have 729 wrinkles and double that in gray hair, my midsection jiggles, and I wear Naturalizers on the train.  People are probably in the same quandary when they see me. 

I don't want to offend anyone and people seem so easily offended now so my rule of the thumb is that the person has to look really old and then, I give up my seat. Really old simply means they have at least 730 wrinkles and their hair is mostly gray or even white. 

In the meantime, I wait for someone to offer up their seat to me. 


I love a holiday in the middle of the week. In fact, now that I'm back in the daily slog of work, I've decided I'm much better suited to work a day, rest a day, work a day, rest a day. Then take a 3-day weekend, rinse and repeat. 

Do you know anyone who's hiring?


On Saturday night, newly engaged (and younger) friends came over for dinner. Since nearly all of our friends our age are well and truly married, we don't get to celebrate many engagements or hear many engagement stories anymore. 

I love a good engagement story, and our friends' story was great. It was a fun night. 


Today we went to PF Changs for lunch after church. 

Mac's fortune cookie said:

We've been praying and praying about something, and I take the fortune as a lightning bolt from God that he's heard the prayer. 

Watch this space. 


I have nothing more to add..,

Sunday, November 9, 2014


You may have thought I was joking about Jimmy get a meat slicer for his birthday. 

I was not. 

It was either a meat slicer or these ridiculously priced Bose noise-canceling headphones and I couldn't afford those. 

Besides, I knew the meat slicer would make him happier. 

And it's actually a food slicer, and not just a meat slicer. 

He is now a slicing maniac. 

Instead of buying Boars Head turkey from the deli, we bought a turkey breast so he could slice it. 

Instead of cutting salami by hand, he sliced it. 

Instead of using the handheld cheese slicer to cut cheddar off the 2-block of cheese we had to buy (Susan, it's more economical to buy the block of cheese and slice it than to keep buying those little packs like normal.), he sliced it. 

If this foreign service thing doesn't work out, he's going to be highly qualified to work in a nice deli as the slicer guy. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014


Oh my gosh, are you people watching the farewell season of Parenthood?

If not, WHY NOT??  What is wrong with you?  Get thee to a tv and start watching. NOW.  

Every single episode is nearly more than I can bear. 

The latest one?  Did you see it? The whole Julia/Joel divorce is so sad and unnecessary. Why is she even wasting her time with that ridiculous millennial ex-boyfriend. 

The ending of tonight's episode with Joel at Julia's door?  The declaration of his love? Honestly if she doesn't let him move back in in the next episode, I'm going to boycott. 

Or not. 

I understand wanting to end a show before it jumps the shark, but I just think it's too early to end Parenthood. Why is NBC ending it now?  It's too soon to lose the Bravermans. What am I going to do without them?  NBC, are you listening to me?


If I could choose a superpower, it wouldn't be flying or being invisible. No, it would be something much more life-changing because I could use it every single day. 

The superpower I would choose is the ability to fall back asleep once I'm awakened in the middle of night by, say, a dog that decides waking up at 4:30 every single day is a good idea or a husband who snores. 

I am sure I could set the world on fire if I got good sleeps ever night. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Today is Jimmy's birthday so we celebrated by having our good friends over for dinner. Because nothing screams "I am 44, hear me roar" like a nice pot roast. 

Well, that and a meat slicer as your gift. 

A meat slicer is a true sign of maturity. 

Here's to the next 44!! 

Monday, November 3, 2014


The stack of toilet paper in our bathroom cabinet has been falling over for months. It didn't bother me enough to really investigate. It was just one of life's minor annoyances and after the stack fell over, I'd halfheartedly restack the rolls. 

And then this morning, I found the reason. One roll should not have passed quality control, but it made it into a pack I purchased. 

Skinny roll that caused the stack to be out of balance:

Regular-sized roll:

Mystery solved. Balance has been restored to the toilet paper universe. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Normally you can use the Storys as the counterargument to "everybody has it". 


Claim: Everybody has a new car. We need one, too. 

Argument:  Everybody does not have a new car. The Storys drive a 2003 Toyota Corolla that looks and sounds like it should it be condemned. We're not getting a new car. 

Claim:  Everybody gets to buy new clothes every season at the fancy stores at Tysons Corner.  I need to buy new clothes every season, too. 

Argument:  Everybody does not get to buy new clothes every season at the fancy mall. I just saw Susan Story and between her vintage Gap jeans and her Costco sweater, I'm pretty sure she doesn't even know where the fancy mall is. Besides, her old car probably isn't even allowed in the parking garage at the fancy mall. 

Claim: Everybody at school has an iPhone. I need an iPhone, too. 

Argument: Everybody does not have an iPhone. In fact, I know Mac has a rechargeable Tracfone that they bought at the CVS. 

Oh except, wait a minute...

In breaking news, Mac finally has an iPhone and I don't think he's the last kid on earth to get one. He's thrilled. 

This purchase today definitely goes against my oft-expressed list of "things my child will never have". Sigh. But now that I'm working and Mac is home for a bit by himself (and we don't have a home phone although we really do have a Tracfone), the time felt right. 

So you can still use our car, clothes and a million other things as your counterargument, but you may not use Mac's lack of a real smartphone. We've checked that box! 


Today while out running errands, I thought I'd pick up some Halloween things on a cheap sale at Target. I even went to the fancier Target, thinking there would be more options. 

Um, no. 

It looked like the Halloween aisles had been ransacked and looted. Like there was a mad dash through there the night before, just to frantically snatch up stuff. 

I came home with Halloween Goldfish crackers and some candy corn. 


Happy Halloween from Mac, the creepy clown; his friend Max, the CDC guy; and Leo, the J Crew dog model. 

Some scenes from our trick-or-treating this year (one street near us was totally transformed for Halloween):


We're checking the box on fall sports. 

Tonight was the first round of play-offs for Mac's flag football team. The Lions lost by one point (I think) and were eliminated. 

Since the beginning of September, between baseball and football, we've had at least three practices per week and sometimes up to three games per week. I'm pooped from keeping it all straight. I totally understand now why American parents are so eager for their children to get drivers licenses so they can drive themselves and younger siblings around to all these events. Whew.