Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So Long, 2008

Well, I did a terrible job of blogging during the end of the year, so as I am waiting for the boy to get home from work and getting all dolled up to go out for New Year's Eve (dinner at Rustico and dancing at the Kennedy Center), I thought I'd take a minute to tell you all that I love you and that I hope you had a great 2008 and I wish you an even better 2009.


Saturday, November 8, 2008


Jim had today off of work and it was way too glorious to stay inside, so we went letterboxing.

Letterboxing is kind of like a scavenger hunt for adults. Letterboxers hide small, weatherproof boxes in publicly-accessible places (like parks) and post clues to finding the box online on one of several Web sites. However, clues to finding some of the most highly-sought boxes are passed around by word of mouth. There are about 20,000 letterboxes hidden in North America alone. Individual letterboxes usually contain a log book, an often hand-carved rubber stamp and may contain an ink pad. Finders make an imprint of the letterbox's stamp on their personal log book, and leave an imprint of their personal stamp on the letterbox's logbook .

Here are some pictures of our letterboxing adventure. We printed out the clues for five letterboxes. Fortunately, they were all still in place. We found this one under a log. These are a spider stamp and Ariel that we collected today. We had so much fun that I am sure we will go again, although we may have to wait until spring.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Halloween Party

Jim and I went to a Halloween party on November 1. He was a great sport and said that he would dress up in whatever I wanted but to please be merciful. So, we dressed up like the 50s so he could wear his own clothes. Since we hadn't eaten dinner yet when we left the party, I suggested the Silver Diner, since we were dressed appropriately. I made the waiter take our picture. I'm just a little bummed that you can't see the poodle on my skirt. I think we were totally cute.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Here are the pumpkins we carved for Halloween. The pictures aren't that great since I took them with my phone, but the witch is at Jim's house and the cat in the window is at mine.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Jeopardy! Update

On Friday, I was in a taxi cab on my way to the Kennedy Center when I got "The Call." That's right, kids. I am going to LA to tape shows (I hope it's more than one show) on November 12 and they are scheduled to air in January. The Jeopardy! people continue to say on all the official paperwork that a call to come out is still not a guarantee of an appearance, so I suppose it's possible that I might not make it on the show, but they were pretty certain on the phone that I would get on. That's really all that I can tell you until after I tape the shows and even then I can't discuss the results.

In the meantime, I am watching a lot of Jeopardy! and studying. Yes, Katherine, I am using the placemat. Feel free to email me random trivia questions.

Monday, October 6, 2008

September 24, 2008

On September 24, I flew home to check on my family and help out my former co-workers at the Haven. They lost some staff and didn't get the new accountant trained before the old one left, so they asked me if I would come down and help her out for a couple of days. Like I would say no to a free plane ticket home. My sister says I am a 'rock star accountant' and is writing me a theme song.

If I didn't get to see you when I was home, I'm sorry that I missed you. I'll be back for a few days around Christmas.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Apple Pickin' Time

Ok, I know, I've been a bad blogger. I am way behind. Therefore, you are going to get three blog updates today covering the last three weeks or so. I'm trying to stay in chronological order.

September 20, 2008

We went to Stribling Orchard to pick apples. It was a great day - sunny and warm. The Macintosh and Jonathons were ready (there were other varieties ready as well, but I wanted cooking apples). We picked about 10 pounds of apples. I made a delicious apple crisp with some and turned the rest into homemade apple sauce. We also bought some apple butter and jam while we were there.

On the way back, we stopped at Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane to do some tasting. We bought a bottle of the Bowwow White, which tastes a lot like pineapples. The winery is gorgeous and they sometimes have entertainment on Friday nights.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Big Work News

So, here is the big news from the office. My immediate boss is leaving for 'greener pastures' at the Environmental Defense Fund. His last day is tomorrow. Since I already had the majority of the finance related things that he formerly dealt with, I am getting the remaining few - mostly long range planning and budgeting - and the board stuff, legal stuff, risk management stuff and some of the development stuff.

I am also getting a new title, Director of Finance and Administration, and a nice raise to go with it. Everybody say "Congratulations."

Sunday, August 31, 2008

An All Sports Weekend

On Saturday, Jim and I attended our first D.C. United game (that's soccer). The team plays at RFK stadium, which remains a dump. We weren't really sure what kind of crowd would be attending the game, but everyone we sat near was really nice, enjoying themselves without being too rowdy. We played the New York Red Bulls and the game ended in a tie at 0 to 0.

Even better, as we were on our way to the soccer match, we struck up a conversation with some folks in Braves gear, who were on their way to the baseball game. These folks offered us free tickets to Sunday's game. Good tickets, on the third baseline near the foul pole. These seats were awesome and the new ballpark is very nice. Great sight lines, tons of concession stands (local restaurants and the availability of a veggie burger are a huge improvement over RFK alone) and lots of bathrooms. We could not have asked for a better day for baseball - the weather was just gorgerous. I remembered the sunscreen and only got a little pink. And I was able to get a new pressed penny. Sadly, the Braves lost the game, but that is the only thing that would have made it a better day.

Friday, August 22, 2008

An Exciting Evening in my Neighborhood

So, as we were coming home last night at around 9:30 p.m., this is the scene we were greeted with directly across the street from my apartment.

If you want to see news coverage of the story, you can look at NBC or ABC. Also, there is video at FOX.

I just wish that I had gone back out with the camera for some pictures.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Restaurant Week - Part Two

Sorry it took so long for the review - I know you are all dying to know what we thought of Jackson 20.

First, Jackson 20 is the restaurant in the newly reopened Hotel Monaco (formerly the Holiday Inn) in Old Town Alexandria. And it helps if you remember that this is a hotel restaurant. That said, the restaurant itself is pretty, with dark wood and a black on gray flocked wallpaper. It is also a little on the noisy side. There is a large bronze pig right when you come inside and the napkin rings are pigs, too.

For restaurant week, Jackson 20 was offering a limited menu, which I don't like right off the bat. I much prefer a place that will let you select anything off the menu for your entree. I will say that they have a very nice list of bottles of wine for $20, a great deal if you want to share or want more than one glass with your meal.

When we sat down, we were brought a bread basket that had teeny tiny parker house rolls in it and the best corn muffins I've had in awhile. Both were served with honey butter.

For the starter, Jim order the Waldorf salad, which was dressed with an oniony dressing that was a nice complement to the grapes. I had the crab fritters, which were the best part of the whole meal.

For the entree, I ordered the salmon and green and yellow beans. The salmon was cooked just a hair over the done line, but not quite to dry. The spice mixture on top gave it a nice crispy touch. Jim ordered the pork belly and collards. This is the second time I had collards this week and these were good, as well. It might have something to do with the big chunks of bacon in them or the au jus from the pork belly (never met a pig I didn't like). Jim wished there was more actual meat on the belly and said that his meal wasn't very filling - my baby is a growing boy.

For dessert, we had the nougetine, which was a white chocolate mousse with nuts in it and a caramel sauce. It was lighter than I thougt it would be when the server described it. Jim had the other dessert, a peach cobbler with bourbon ice cream. Yes, bourbon ice cream and you could really taste it and when it melted into the cobbler it was yum.

Overall, we won't go back. The menu was a little overpriced for what it was, but it was nice to try something new.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Restaurant Week - Part One

Today, one of my co-workers and I went to lunch for Restaurant Week. We went to one of my very favorite restaurants, D.C. Coast. As always, I wasn't disappointed.

For my appetizer, I had the warm balsamic shrimp with wilted spinach, roasted peppers and a garlic toast point. It was three fairly large, tail on shrimp in a lovely balsamic reduction on a pile of wilted spinach.

I had the pecan crusted Idaho trout for the entree, since I love trout and you really don't see it on menus very often anymore. It came with sweet corn pudding, Benton bacon collard greens and a toasted pecan sauce. The corn puddling was very light - almost like a souffle. I don't generally like collards, but these were barely steamed and crisp, with a nice smoky flavor from the bacon.

Dessert was a tough choice, but I finally settled on the key lime cheesecake. This wasn't the traditional cheesecake you might expect. There was no crust, rather it looked like it was unmolded onto the plate from a little ramekin. It was served with a little cookie.

In case you were curious, my co-worker had the mixed greens salad, the pan seared scallops with morel mushroom ravioli (very rich) and the almond creme brulee (which was also yummy).

Friday, August 1, 2008

Jeopardy! Update

Today was the day of my follow-up audition for Jeopardy! I had an appointment for 9:00 this morning at a hotel in downtown Washington, the first of two sessions they were doing today.

Let me tell you, they are really using the online test to weed out the people that have no business being on Jeopardy! The first time I auditioned, I took the written test with about 80 people. After they scored it, they sent 70 of them home and kept about 10 of us to play the mock game.

When I arrived today, there were only 19 of us. We all filled out the audition sheet, had a Polaroid taken, took another 50 question/50 category test and played a mock game and did a little "getting to know you" interview. For the mock game, they give you a real buzzer and let each group go through about a dozen questions to get a sense of how you would be on t.v. I went in the first group of three, which was exciting. I had a big smile in my picture, was assertive when I answered questions, and I was able to ring in first several times, so I think I made a good impression.

All 19 0f us made it into the contestant pool, so I could get a call anytime in the next 18 months to come out to L.A. to tape the show. They try to give you at least three weeks notice; if I hear from Maggie, the contestant wrangler, I'll let you all know.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Top 20 Albums of All Time (to Americans)

My boyfriend sent me this link to an interesting blog post, in which a guy used the following mathematical formula to determine the Top 20 Albums of All Time.

He based his ranking on sales, resales value, critical review and Grammy wins and came up with the following list. Please note that NOT ONE SINGLE ONE of these albums was produced after 1991, providing more support for my theory that everything written after I graduated from UGA the first time stinks.

#20. Faith - George Michael
Play Album
Year: 1987 Units Sold: 10 Million
SPV: $9.19 Rating (Stars): 4 Grammys Won: 1
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $9.79

#19. Appetite For Destruction - Guns N' Roses
Play Album
Year: 1987 Units Sold: 15 Million
SPV: $8.81 Rating (Stars): 4 Grammys Won: 0
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $9.81

#18. Purple Rain - Prince
Play Album
Year: 1984 Units Sold: 13 Million
SPV: $8.74 Rating (Stars): 4.75 Grammys Won: 2
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $9.82

#17. Houses Of The Holy - Led Zeppelin
Play Album
Year: 1973 Units Sold: 11 Million
SPV: $9.10 Rating (Stars): 4.5 Grammys Won: 0
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $9.93

#16. Born In The U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen
Play Album
Year: 1984 Units Sold: 15 Million
SPV: $8.91 Rating (Stars): 5 Grammys Won: 0
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $10.29

#15. Nevermind - Nirvana
Play Album
Year: 1991 Units Sold: 10 Million
SPV: $10.07 Rating (Stars): 4 Grammys Won: 0
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $10.67

#14. Van Halen - Van Halen
Play Album
Year: 1978 Units Sold: 10 Million
SPV: $10.23 Rating (Stars): 4.25 Grammys Won: 0
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $10.84

#13. Rumours - Fleetwood Mac
Play Album
Year: 1977 Units Sold: 19 Million
SPV: $9.52 Rating (Stars): 5 Grammys Won: 1
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $11.47

.#12. The Wall - Pink Floyd
Play Album
Year: 1979 Units Sold: 23 Million
SPV: $10.20 Rating (Stars): 4.75 Grammys Won: 1
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $12.51
.#11. The Joshua Tree - U2
Play Album
Year: 1987 Units Sold: 10 Million
SPV: $11.50 Rating (Stars): 4.5 Grammys Won: 2
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $12.54
.#10. Metallica - Metallica
Play Album
Year: 1991 Units Sold: 14 Million
SPV: $12.08 Rating (Stars): 4.25 Grammys Won: 1
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $13.38
.#9. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
Play Album
Year: 1969 Units Sold: 10 Million
SPV: $12.83 Rating (Stars): 4 Grammys Won: 0
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $13.60
.#8. Hotel California - Eagles
Play Album
Year: 1976 Units Sold: 16 Million
SPV: $12.00 Rating (Stars): 4.75 Grammys Won: 0
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $13.81
.#7. The White Album - The Beatles
Play Album
Year: 1968 Units Sold: 19 Million
SPV: $12.00 Rating (Stars): 5 Grammys Won: 0
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $14.39
.#6. Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin
Play Album
Year: 1971 Units Sold: 23 Million
SPV: $12.42 Rating (Stars): 5 Grammys Won: 0
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $15.44
.#5. Abbey Road - The Beatles
Play Album
Year: 1968 Units Sold: 12 Million
SPV: $14.94 Rating (Stars): 4.25 Grammys Won: 1
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $16.23
.#4. Physical Graffiti - Led Zeppelin
Play Album
Year: 1975 Units Sold: 16 Million
SPV: $14.31 Rating (Stars): 4.75 Grammys Won: 0
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $16.38
.#3. Thriller - Michael Jackson
Play Album
Year: 1982 Units Sold: 27 Million
SPV: $13.49 Rating (Stars): 4.5 Grammys Won: 4
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $17.39
.#2. Dark Side Of The Moon - Pink Floyd
Play Album
Year: 1973 Units Sold: 15 Million
SPV: $16.08 Rating (Stars): 5 Grammys Won: 0
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $18.57
.#1. Songs In The Key Of Life - Stevie Wonder
Play Album
Year: 1976 Units Sold: 10 Million
SPV: $16.84 Rating (Stars): 5 Grammys Won: 2
Calculated value per unit based on the formula: $18.71

Friday, July 25, 2008

Restaurant Week

Finally, finally, they listed the restaurants that are participating in Restaurant Week for August 11 - 17. I am somewhat disappointed that they increased the price for dinner to $35.08 for the three course fixed price menus. I am sure that this is due to the rising price of fuel - everything else is.

Anyway, we thought it would be nice to try something new for dinner this time around. We usually go to D.C. Coast, because I love it and that is the only way I can afford to eat there. I'm still going, just for lunch on Wednesday. For dinner on Saturday, we are going to try Jackson 20 which is in the Hotel Monaco in Old Town. It has been getting good reviews, so I'll be sure to report back on what we try.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere...

I know you think that I forgot to blog about our final day in New York, but I actually had to do 'real work' yesterday.

Sunday didn't go exactly according to plan. We did get up, get checked out of the hotel (leaving our luggage with the concierge) and get breakfast. Then we took a taxi up to Central Park. The plan was to walk around for about an hour, then go to the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. It is a part of the Smithsonian, but it is not free like the museums in Washington, which is a bummer.

We did have a very nice, if sweaty, walk through the Park. We saw tons of people with their dogs, the statue of Alice in Wonderland, Cleopatra's Needle, the Great Lawn and the Reservoir. We were wandering from 72nd up to 91st. There was also a triathlon finishing up the run in the park, so we stopped to cheer people on for a few minutes, too.

When we got to the museum, it was not open yet. This was my fault. I misread the days - I thought it opened at 10:00, which is did Monday - Saturday, but Sunday was noon. I really wanted to see this museum and have for a long time, so we walked a few blocks over to a Starbucks to get something to drink, cool off and wait.

After about a hour, we went back to the museum, which was now open, BUT most of it was closed for rennvations. This was NOT my fault - I double checked the website and nowhere does it say that it is undergoing renovations. If I had known that, I would have elected to take a pass on the whole thing and go to the American Museum of Natural History. At least they were doing 'pay what you want' admissions, since it was mostly closed.

However, by this time it was too late to get all the way across the park and have anytime to see the dinosaurs, so we walked a couple of blocks to the Guggenheim Museum and spent an hour or so there looking a really odd art. Then we taxied back to the hotel for the luggage and down to Penn Station to get the bus back to D.C.

While we were waiting for the bus, I did the last thing left on my list of stuff to do in NYC. I ate a chicken gyro from a guy with a cart and it was really good.