Tuesday, January 27, 2009

At large

I'm so relieved. I'm on the board of my Home Owners' Association (HOA) and I have been the President for about 3 years (maybe longer). We just held our annual meeting and it went very well. I managed to pass on the presidency to one of my fellow board members. It feels so nice to know that at future board meetings I won't have to facilitate the meeting (it's a hell of a job trying to keep home owners on an agenda) and have the homeowners look at me and expect an answer. It won't be absolutely critical that I attend now because I am an At Large Officer. I haven't missed a board meeting in five years.

Don't get me wrong, I still want to be a good board member but with light duty! Although, these next few years will probably be a bit easier to be an officer - almost everything that could have broken did break in the last three years (the building boiler, the elevator, the water pressure, the sprinkler system, etc.) and we just replaced everything (the carpet, the landscaping, the hallway light fixtures, etc.).

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hot pot!

As one or two of you may know, I am not usually very adventurous when it comes to food. So, when I was invited to share a Chinese New Year celebration which includes having "hot pot," I mustered some adventurousness and accepted. I'm glad I did - it was great!

Here's the rundown. There's a pot with broth, pork meatballs, green onions and bamboo shoots and this is the foundation:

There are other foods provided to be cooked in the pot: tofu, cabbage, snapper, beef, tuna, mushrooms, shrimp, scallops, fish cakes, egg purses, and so on:

Each person has a basket to fill with the items they want. It's a bit like fondue. You set your basket in the broth and let it cook. Sandy had the biggest basket - the one on the right below. For comparison is the other basket size on the left below:

As the eating goes on mushrooms, cabbage, spinach, egg purses and other items are tossed into the broth to just generally cook and be fished out by whoever wants them. Here is the hot pot later into the meal as well as the in-basket cooking process:

This is our friend Nadine who, along with her husband Ted, hosted this dinner and is the hot pot mastermind!

I actually really enjoyed the process and ate a lot of food! Happy Chinese New Year!

on a side note, there actually would have been more pictures of the meal and the green tea after dinner our camera gave out! After I dropped it on its lens on xmas day, it was repaired and returned this week. However, it just stopped taking pictures after about 15 shots last night...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

During the historic inauguration today...

I was standing in the break room (the kitchen) at work with about 25 others (where was everyone else?). We were all watching the only TV on the floor and I don't know where they dug it up. When I entered the kitchen there was a fuzzy cello player scrolling up the screen. The 21 inch TV had rabbit ears taped to the side with foil on the span. You may be wondering "why didn't she just watch it on the internets?!" Excellent question. Unfortunately the network was jammed up with so many other people doing that (that's where they all were!).

It was truly an amazing 20 minutes and we all soaked up the well thoughtout speech. But at the end we all just filed out of the break room. I think somewhere in my dramatic imagination I imagined hugs and tears and double high fives and so on. It was still pretty awesome.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wow, a president with a functioning brain

I've just finished reading Obama's book Audacity of Hope. I sincerely recommend it. Not only was it an enjoyable read but also for some of the topics he covered he provided historical context. This makes the book more accessible to the average reader (or the reader that has forgotten some bits of political history). His straightforward style with which he walks you through his thought process on tough issues like abortion, race, and faith really conveys the message that he's a rational, reasonable person. I know the bar for what we expect in a president was set incredibly low with Bush in office but, really, Obama is quite impressive.

Oh and he has a grasp of what it means to be a responsible member of the global community! It seems like such a feat given many world leaders. Below is a short quote from the chapter entitled The World Beyond Our Borders:

"...for those who chafe at the prospect of working with our allies to solve the pressing global challenges we face, let me suggest at least one area where we can act unilaterally and improve our standing in the world - by perfecting our own democracy and leading by example...When we detain suspects indefinitely without trial or ship them off in the dead of night to countries where we know they'll be tortured, we weaken our ability to press for human rights and the rule of law in despotic regimes. When we, the richest country on earth and the consumers of 25% of the world's fossil fuels, can't bring ourselves to raise fuel-efficiency standards by even a small fraction so as to weaken our dependence on Saudi oil fields and slow global warming, we should expect to have a hard time convincing China not to deal with oil suppliers like Iran and Sudan - and shouldn't count on much cooperation in getting them to address environmental problems that visit our shores."

I hope this doesn't sound too gushing - I was just impressed again by the president-elect.

Monday, January 12, 2009


So, Sandy googled his name (just Sandy, without the last name) for images and was surprised to find that most of the results were either scantily clad female Sandys or female Sandys involved in sex acts. Well, what did he think? :) [note: we don't have an adult filter or whatever set up]

The next thing he does is google my name for images. This was a humorous find:

The main reason this is funny is because of the whole motherhood theme and a magazine with my name! Oh golly, the internet, the gift that keeps on giving (see below).

Sunday, January 11, 2009


In the past few days I have been discussing the Israeli-Palestine/Hamas conflict with a variety of people. A good 70% know very little about the topic in general. About 29% are sympathetic to Israel. The remaining 1% are sympathetic to Palestine. I came across a New York Times op-ed that gave a brief but informative rundown of some key points most people are unaware of:

What You Don’t Know About Gaza


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Mellow Saturday morning

Phew! What a crazy few days.

Friday was especially long and hectic. We had a 9am flight out of National Airport but spent the night in Fredericksburg (about an hour south of the airport). We got a ride to the VRE (Virginia Railway Express) commuter rail station (I looove the train) and hopped the 6:15. We arrived at the Metro station at the end of the Blue line (Springfield) at 7:05 and hopped a train to the airport. The Metro farecards are pretty cool right now. They're all set for the inauguration:

Our flight left at 9am. We got home around noon. It is a 3.75 hour flight but with the gain of two hours for the time change it comes out that way. We ate lunch and then slept until 4pm.

I had a "girls night out" planned with tickets to a show and dinner reservations and the whole deal. Me and two other ladies (Kara and Trisha) ate a fabulous dinner at the 9th Door - a great tapas place. We then went to "Girls Only" and had two bottles of champagne!! Needless to say, I'm feeling a tad groggy this morning. I did make it to yoga with the help of extra strength Tylenol.

Anyway, I feel like the new year is starting all over again.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I've just had one of the worst nights of disturbed sleep. We are at SAndy's sister's house, which is great. However, it contains a 1 1/2 year old who cried nearly nonstop. Reason #735 that I'm glad I do not have children.

Now I have to get dressed and spend the first half of the day in various vehicles going south on I 95 for at least two hours.

But I am not really complaining. I mean my home isn't being bombed and I have heat in my house and food to eat. Not complaining is a challenge though :)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Travel day again...

So were at the airport again. Sandy's grandmother passed and we're headed back to VA. You might be thinking to yourself - didn't they just get back last Thursday? If so, you'd be correct.

Anyway, I got out to a movie last night with my friend Lisa. We saw Revolutionary Road. Though it is definitely NOT a date movie, I recommend it. The music, a mix of low key blues and jazz with a background of melancholy piano, sort of guides you through the rough terrain. I say rough terrain because the topics are not easy (marriage, love, how having many children limited the possibilities for women in an era of spotty contraception, etc.). I'd go on but I have to get food before boarding the 3+ hour flight.

Oh, anyone else freaked out about the sh*t going down in the middle east?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Travel day

We were in transit getting ourselves from Northern VA to Denver for nine hours today. That is just the normal time it takes, there were no delays and everything went fairly smoothly. We are extremely happy to be home as is our little feline, Yota. Sandy is still a little sick (99.7* fever) but feels relatively healthy compared to the past few days. On the other hand, I have a burning in the top of my throat and one nostril is completely clogged. I won't go into much more but I'm desperately trying to ward off whatever it is. Thankfully I have tomorrow off but that means I do the laundry and other post-"vacation" stuff.