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Adopting in Ashburn

What began in France moved to Washington, DC and then the suburbs. Let the adventures in Ashburn continue.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Countdown

And so the countdown begins. 6. This is the number of days until my move, my new blog, my new life, my first apartment, my first subscription to an actual newspaper, etc. I can't wait to get started on it all, but as usual, am taking my leisurely time packing. I must say that I am leaps and bounds ahead of myself based on previous years - but nowhere near the goal.

I got alot accomplished this week though. I took the car in for inspection, went shopping for everything I need that isn't measurement or color reliant, ran errands, called family members, got all of the crates that are coming with me out of the attic, threw out two trash cans worth of old soaps and stuff from the bathroom, and filled that garbage bag in the garage to the top with clothes. For fun, I celebrated my parents' birthdays (Happy Birthday today for Dad), saw Miami Vice (quite good), watched a bunch of Firefly episodes, went to church, and took the dog for a walk. I even worked on Thursday night to earn the gas money for all the running around I did. It was a good full week.

This coming week is going to be an all new challenge. I am thrilled to be starting it on a good note and really looking forward to getting all of this behind me. That being said, according to an email I got from Marco and this interview with Eleanor Holmes Norton, I will be leaving the country again. Luckily though, as I pointed out to Marco, I will actually be living in Maryland and am therefore still officially a resident of the United States. Speaking of which, I don't have a home phone number yet, but I do have my new cellphone number and my address so ask if you want it.

I know this has been a short one, but Dad is napping downstairs and Mom is making eggplant parmigianna (sp?) so I have some quiet time to make a few more advances up here before dinner. I will not procrastinate. There are only 6 more days and about the same number of tons of things I need to drag downstairs to the garage. Love always, ~Heather

P.S. "When all is said and done, more is said than done." Lou Holtz
This is the quote of the day on my blog. Coincidence? I think not. I love you Lou, but I hope I can prove you wrong! ~HB

Friday, July 28, 2006

Goodwill

I spent a good part of this morning in the attic sorting through junk and throwing out old papers. Then I threw all the contents of the sweater boxes down the attic ladder so I could sort them in the AC. I went through one layer of my bookshelf and a crate of files from USC. All of this getting rid of stuff is going to make it easier to move - less stuff to haul around, cleaning up old baggage ... you know the drill. But sometimes, getting rid of things you've had forever can be difficult.

I have been approximately the same clothes size since the 8th grade. I have been the same shoe size since the 7th. So, when it comes to getting rid of clothes it is not usually a case of not fitting. Also, since I lack a certain element of apparel known as fashion, I don't usually chuck stuff because it is out of style. I'm not walking around in leg warmers or anything (though they sadly seem to be coming back) I just usually buy generic clothes that are a more classic look.

Anyway, today I am trying to fill one of those giant yard trash can black bags with clothes. I have one 3/4 full in the garage already, so now it is just a few outfits more until my goal. I have found that the biggest thing that helps me be okay with getting rid of things I seem to be sentimental about is knowing they are going to people who need them - or at least to someplace where the proceeds earned will benefit them.

My sister and I recently spoke about putting me on "What Not to Wear" as a method of eliminating the stuff I shouldn't have in there anymore, but I don't think I want that kind of a transition happening on national television. Instead, I am just going to weed through it one outfit at a time and hand it on to needier citizens. I have so many blessings ... and how many pairs of winter pajamas does a girl really need anyway?

(See, and here comes the sad part. I have so many winter pajamas because every Christmas I get a new pair on Christmas Eve as part of a family tradition. Who wants to get rid of traditional things???)

Getting rid of books is equally difficult. However, it must be done. They are just getting too heavy. Plus, there is always the library!

I'm sure this is pretty boring to most of you, but for you other pack rat or sentimental fools like me, I just had to document the difficulty of all of this. No one else will believe us, but at least you understand. Off to finish sorting - Goodwill is in for a treat this weekend! Love always, ~Heather

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Cake-tastrophy

Today was my mother's birthday. So, amongst the other things I did, I made her a birthday cake. Recently, I have been improving with my baking skills (my siblings will not agree to this, but I can make killer fruit, nut, and cake breads from scratch!). So, today I decided I would take on a new cake challenge. I made an ice cream cake.

In theory, making an ice cream cake is pretty easy. You make a cake and in place of the filling in between the two layers, you put ice cream. You should let the ice cream harden between the two layers before decorating, etc so that the cake has time to "bond" with the ice cream and become one solid dessert. This is one theory.

In practice, it is very simple (especially if you let Betty Crocker make the cake part). You bake. You slice ice cream and freeze it in the same shape as the cake. You place the ice cream between the two layers and apply a little frosting to stick it together around the outside. Place the cake in the freezer for 45 minutes to an hour and you are good to go!

It is a good thing I am an impatient cod. I checked on the cake at 5 minutes - very good, some slight drips on the sides, but five minutes is not enough to hard freeze anything in our freezer. I set a timer for 15 minutes and then did all the dishes. I cleaned the counters and got that kitchen sparking - just the way Mom likes it. Then I opened the freezer to grab the cake and add the finishing touches. I had premade a red rose and a yellow flower onto oreo cookies with the icing so I could just place them on the cake and add leaves without giving the cake too much time to melt; very practical I was.

This is about when I saw that my cake had half of it's intended height. The pool of ice cream had seeped out of the cake, down the sides and over the edge of the plates - dripping through the freezer racks and onto the other frozen foods below. It was a fudge ripple nightmare! I took the cake out and started sopping up the freezer. After about three minutes I realized that in addition to the mess in the freezer, I was now going to have a mess on the counter as the remaining frozen elements melted in the room temperature air. (This is like the time I caught on fire but wouldn't drop my plate to remove the sweater beccause I was afraid I would spill the food all over the floor.)

Anyway, if you were a regular reader you would guess that I wound up having to scrap the cake and just call Dad and have him pick up something (follow Lorien's sage advice, young padiwan). Instead, I did the amazing, the incredible, the daring - I tried to salvage it. I scraped off the remaining ice cream, whipped out a fresh can of frosting and filled the middle. I cleaned up the sides, added two candles with corresponding age numbers, placed the cookie flowers on and added a little greenery. Then I put the cake back in the freezer fearing that the cream soaked bottom might disintegrate if left to its own devices on the counter.

In the end I did twice as many dishes, but the cake was pretty darn good. My advice is to either, A.) Not engage in making ice cream cakes until in the presence of someone who has previously succeeded with this type of dairy infused pastry or B.) go for the gusto, but enclose your cake in something like aluminum foil, a cheesecake tin, or just put the ice cream in the center and surround it with cake - anything to prevent it from spilling everywhere.

Mom didn't notice a single mess and wasn't even angry about me basically wasting 3/4s of her fudge ripple ice cream. To make it up to her I had the pizza guy write "Happy Birthday" in black olives on her pizza tonight. A fun birthday cake adventure story told by one of the people on the planet least likely to get a syndicated cooking show on television.

Aside from that, nothing out of the ordinary happened today. But I guess one cake-tastrophy is enough for 24 hours. If too many exciting things happened, I might run out of stories! Until my next adventure ... (Dad's birthday is on Sunday ... should I try again???) Love always, ~Heather

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I'm Wearing Jeans

Alternate Title: Money Pretty Much Sucks

I know it seems like I am ranting about money lately. That is because I am. This is going to be the last paragraph of it though (probably). I cannot find a graduate student loan interest rate much less than 8%. I feel like I am being ripped off already and I haven't even taken out the money yet. Everything is based on the LIBOR rate, which has gone up 2% in the past year. It may go down again, making a variable interest rate loan look good. But if it goes up instead of down and there is no cap, then I skyrocket into dept until I'm 35 (or worse). So I'll probably stick with the Graduate PLUS loan, which has a rate just under 8% if I go with my bank. I figure it is one loan, for one year, and with any luck it will be paid back in the first five years. But then, as it turns out, I can get penalized for paying it back early if I am successful enough to do that. As someone once said (though I don't know from experience), it is like getting screwed with your pants on - and I'm wearing jeans.

In happy land, I went shopping today and got all of the absolutes on my shopping list for less than $60. I searched online and found myself an armoire for $119 and it might actually be big enough to hold a good portion of my wardrobe. This leaves me, after tax, with $115 for incidentals and other unexpected expenses. I am one happy girl.

And for the inexpensive cost of $28.90, I got bite-wings and a panoramic x-ray of my mouth done this morning at the dentist. I am happy to report no cavities (just 13 teeth on the watch list - only half serious here). For the first time ever, I was not scolded about my flossing - I was commended. And about three weeks ago I bought some flouride rinse for before bed, so I could honestly tell the dentist I was using it. This is all excellent news after a devastating 3 years since my last visit.

Cool things at the dentist office:

The power water cleaner for the plaque near my gums (you have it too, stop thinking it's gross). This thing cleans with some serious power!

My dental hygenist, who also cleaned with some serious power and was really considerate.

The something-that-starts-with-a-"c" tool. Also known as the baking soda intense spray gun (okay, tool). This thing sprays like the water power cleaner but releases baking soda instead to help with stains. It is kind of like using a loofa on your teeth. I had to wear safety goggles and the towel she draped over the regular thing they put on your neck was needed too. I literally had to wash my face afterwards because of the spray particles that had rebounded off of my teeth. This did not disturb me - I was still excited about the tool.

The only less than cool thing was having a trainee watching during the bite-wings and the woman who was doing the procedure had to put the little plate between my teeth, with the new digital sensor behind it, plus about 5 inches of the the cable (wrapped in a plastic bag) in my mouth with about three of her fingers to get it in place; at which point she said "Bite down" and I fearfully attempted to shut my trap without getting her fingers or losing the placement of the sensor (which only happened twice). I really hope they use the old method on kids.

I love the dentist. Getting my teeth cleaned is really fun for me. I think it is because I had teeth pulled starting at about age 8, and after that, nothing at the dentist could really be a bad experience. (And if you think having your teeth pulled isn't painful, just ask about the time I had a molar pulled with no novacaine. That was about as fun as (I imagine) laying on a bed of rusty nails without your tetanus shot and having an evil overweight child start jumping on you as if you were a boxspring and mattress.)

I guess that is about enough for now. I'll have more news tomorrow I'm sure. But in the meantime keep your chin up. I'm wearing the jeans my sister bought me and I'm feeling lucky. Maybe going to the bank to get my loan tomorrow won't be as painful as I imagine it will be. I might wear a skirt or sweatpants - just in case. Love always, ~Heather

Monday, July 24, 2006

Shopping

On the fourth of July it was about 100 degrees with the heat index. I played grass volleyball for somewhere near three hours and came home - not exhausted, just sweaty. Today I went shopping for three hours. I was so tired that when I stopped to pick up bread and peas for my mother on the way home I also grabbed a bottle of wine. I collapsed with a glass of Barefoot Chardonnay soon thereafter (not in the car, on the couch).

Under ordinary circumstances I detest shopping. The idea of spending my hard earned money freaks me out. When I am under the duress of necessity (this is relative, obviously food is mandatory while a quilt that isn't two sizes too small for the bed in my new apartment is just a practical idea) I calm down a little - but not much.

I am using my parents' old sheets, a duvet cover I am making myself, lamps and furniture from my current bedroom, and almost everything from my dorm room - so spending my budget of $300 to purchase supplies, an armoire (since my room doesn't have a closet), and a desk isn't really all that horrible. But that is about two weeks' salary and I have only worked about 5 weeks this summer. I'm not stressed about the money - I've been saving for this, it is just that it is a big step to go out and say, "I am going to buy this. I will not regret my purchase."

This brings me to how I got exhausted. In order to make that statement with the kind of psychological support it needs, I have to put in some effort. I looked through every flyer in the Sunday paper and all the catalogs that came this week and made a list of what was cheapest where (the two lowest price places). Then I made a list of everything I needed that wasn't in a flyer. I went to Walmart; Target; Linens & Things; KMart; Bed, Bath & Beyond; Circuit City; and Staples. I had a clipboard with my version of a comparison chart. I was organized and efficient as I checked on the price of each item in every (almost) store.

I didn't buy a single item on my list today though. I had to price everything so I would know what stores to go back to. That is tomorrow's mission. Then this weekend Mom and I are going to go to Sam's and get me some things in bulk I might need. Between now and the weekend I'll be visiting the dentist, doctor, Ford service center, and probably spending a bunch of time in the attic and garage organizing my stuff.

During this trying time I ask not for pity but for prayers. Mostly I would pray for my parents though, since they have to put up with me. I am determined to not procrastinate. I want going to get my MA to be a turning point in my life not only educationally but personally and hopefully socially. Spiritually would be a bonus item (not that this isn't as important, it just is something that seems to happen on its own while personal and social things take a concerted effort (and I know I should make the effort spiritually .... I know)). My first step is making this move as effortless and stress free as possible for everyone involved.

"I am on my way. I can go the distance. I'll be there someday, if I can be strong. I know every mile will be worth my while. I would go most anywhere to feel like I belong."
~Hercules from Disney's Hercules
Best wishes to all of you out there venturing to school soon.
Aussi un petit mot pour Martin: Felicitations pour les cheveux plus courts!
Goodnight. I'll talk to you soon. Love always, ~Heather

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Creating Blogs


Here is a fabulous picture of my sister. I need it to create her marvelous new blog which has movie and television reviews. Check it out!

As it turns out though, I can't use this picture because the file is too big. I'll fix it tomorrow. Recently I have helped both my siblings start their own blogs. I kind of like this because now I have some more interesting (hopefully) things to read. Plus it is fun to be a trend setter in the family for once.

All this working has also encouraged me that even those inconsequential classes I took as an undergrad will come in handy some day. CSCE 102 has already filled its quota of usefulness. Only 140 more hours to validate!

I'm off now to stop procrastinating and get some things done. I am progressing on the packing (or at least the organization of the packing). I have many lists now - and I will really enjoy crossing them off. I wish I had a friend to go shopping for these things with me though. I feel like it would be easier if there were someone else in the car/stores with me to help make all these decisions. Even if they didn't give me any advice. I often need a sounding board.

But then all I have to do is look up at that picture ... my sister is such a fabulous support system - we have similar brain waves (Time Warp, Miss. Congeniality quotes, and Tide-to-Go sticks notwithstanding (I think I just used that word wrong)). Anyway, I really should get going - it isn't late but I have so much to do ... and a Sex and the City episode to watch. Love always, ~Heather

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Quatorze

Quatorze jours. Fourteen days.

Je vais demenager a DC, c'est vraiment proche maintenant. Si vous voulez mon nouveaux adress je peut vous envoyer (laissez moi un message par email ou une commentaire). J'ai pleine d'energie de fait mes cartons; rends les visites au medecin, dentist, mechanique (pour la voiture); et aussi pour les dernieres moments a Fayetteville avec ma famille (pour maintenant). Chaque jour j'efface quelquechose de le tableau dans ma chambre. Il y a plus et plus des cartons dans le garage (mon pauvre pere besoin garer dehors a cause des cartons). Je suis contente.

On a deja louer un van (parce que ma voiture est trop petite) et j'ai telephoner practicaliment tout le monde pour les rendez-vous necessaire. Je ne crois pas que j'ai seulement quatorze jours qui reste ici. C'est le treizieme fois que j'ai demenager pendant 5 ans. C'est jamais plus simple que le derniere fois - pour moi, c'est toujours un nouveaux adventure. Mon blog va changera le jour que je parts d'ici (n'inquiete pas, je vais creer un liens). Je vous remercie mon Dieu, parce que je ne peut pas faire le voyage (et le preparation) toute seule. Aussi un grand merci a mes amis qui sont toujours la pour moi. Je vous manque something fierce (expression = beaucoup * 100).

It is only fourteen days until I move. I have a van all ready. I am going to type a schedule of events for the weekend of move-in. I took care of all the insurance issues, the security deposit and lease, made appointments for doctors and dentists, got all of my junk out of the attic and into the garage, and have started the arrangements for going out and getting the rest of the stuff I need. This is move number thirteen in 5 years for me, and I can say that without a doubt it does not get easier. Everytime you think you have things under control and you aren't forgetting something, something new throws you for a loop.

The loop this time is what to bring. You might be thinking, if you move so much, you know exactly what to bring! Usually true. But this is my first apartment, and as such, it is the first time I am leaving home and will not be coming back to "my room." It is going to be refurnished into a guest room. That means that in addition to packing the things I am taking with me, I need my room to be in a condition that makes it accessible and neat to my mother as she attempts to convert it over the next few months, namely, packing all the things I am not taking and putting them in the attic. Plus, I have never had to decorate a commons area before. What if Dana doesn't like my stuff?

After living in France last year, I realized that you A) collect alot of junk in a year and B) can live off of two suitcases and a backpack if you really need to. That being said, this is going to be alot more like creating a home, and so I need things like, say, a vacuum cleaner (a broom just isn't going to cut it on wall to wall carpet) or actual cooking supplies (my very first year without a meal plan). But should I really bring my diploma? What about all of my books? Do I need my filing cabinet of papers from college? I know I was saving them so I could use them again, but will I actually be needing them in the next year? It is alot of questions I guess. Any suggestions are welcome.

For now, I am off to type my moving schedule and to make plans to go to my grandmother's house sometime right after I move in. Oh, and perhaps fly down to see my other grandparents too. Lots to do and only fourteen days to do it. Why do I think moving day is going to be here before I know it? Love always, ~Heather

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Lameness

While scanning my other recent posts I realized that the phrase "got it" had been used in at least all the ones on the page. Pretty exciting news I guess. And if you don't think that is exciting, consider that I got to vacuum my entire house today including ALL of the baseboards (along the floor and on top of the molding) and wash sheets and reorganize my room. Makes repetitive phrases look a whole bunch more fun, doesn't it?

Aside from cleaning I indulged in a little Dawson's Creek, West Wing, and (for Kevin) Boy Meets World. I feel like one of those housewives people make fun of who sit and eat bonbons and do nothing else. If I hadn't broken a sweat doing the other activities of the day I might have put myself into that category.

So this is my lame life. Tomorrow it gets significantly less lame as I start packing up my bedroom and consolidating the boxes in the garage (not too heavy, but not too many either). I also need to see the doctor, register for some AU stuff online, rent a small moving van or truck, make a dentist appointment, mail my security deposit and lease, and make arrangements to have my car checked (oil change, tire rotation, fluids, brakes, etc) before I make the big drive back up to DC. I guess it may still be lame, but it will certainly be busy too.

All that being said, I am going downstairs to spend time with my parents. Family is extremely important! I got to see Travis this weekend and today is Lorien's birthday. A week of celebration! Hurray! Okay, more news (and perhaps pictures) soon. Love always, ~Heather

Monday, July 17, 2006

Loathing

Sing yourself the song from Wicked. Think about your mortal enemy. Basically contemplate one of the highest levels of disdain known to man.

Got it?

Now you can feel the concentrated loathing I have for AOL and the absolutely, bad word worthy, frustrating way it has of shutting down in the middle of what I am doing. Oh yeah, and losing tonight's long, bilingual, picture accented blog. Sorry, I just don't think I have the strength to do it again.

A appreciate my parents allowing me to have unfettered access to the internet while living with them for the summer. I can't wait to not have to use AOL again. Godd thing I am opposed to profanity.

I still love you guys though. Always. "Goodnight and Good Luck" if you have AOL too. Hugs, ~Heather

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Got It

We finally got word today that we officially have an apartment for August 1st. In less than one month I will be living in my very first non-parent, non-school residence. I can decorate and do as I choose (within roommate approval, obviously). If I post pictures tomorrow, you'll see an awful lot of the current tenants stuff, but it is going to be our place.

I'll be signing a lease and expediting a security deposit. I can start packing and inventory and imagining what I'll do with the place (actually already started that). How good can it get with a washer/dryer, full kitchen, great room with wood-burning fireplace, small sitting area, storage, and all utilities - cable and internet too - included? It didn't even break my miniscule (for DC) budget.

I am going to bed now. But the good news plus Batman Begins made tonight an excellent success. Love always, ~Heather

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Limbo

I find myself once again asking the question, "Why can people not get back to you when they say they will?" I think this knowing that I have five phone calls I still haven't made to people I promised phone calls to as long ago as Friday. I feel like a terrible person because someone else's incompetence is creating a worrisome situation for a large number of people, and they probably all think that it is me causing the trouble.

I know that things come up, which is why I haven't become a complete basket case yet, but this is just unending. It feels longer because I spent two months searching before this, and fear having to recommence the search if she responds in the negative. I don't want to think about my reaction if that were to happen. It probably ...

Dana just called. She thinks we've got it. Reference checking and then a phone call. This could be it. No high hopes yet (obviously I already have them though). OKay. Limbo doesn't seem so bad when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Fingers crossed. Love always, ~Heather

Monday, July 10, 2006

Waiting

D'abord je veux dire un grand merci a Charlotte qui a m'ecrit une carte postale - et felicitations sur le BAC - je suis fier de toi! J'attends, avec impatience, le reponse de la propriatrice (?) pour mon apartement pour l'annee prochaine. J'espere qu'elle dit OUI. Et, j'attends. Aussi, j'ai pensee et apres beaucoup de reflection, "je suis desolee et merci pour le sentiment."

I am waiting like crazy for a response from my potential future landlord. I have about 5 calls to make based on the response she gives me. Although she has unofficially said she is choosing us to live in the apartment, "no verbal agreement is the same as a written one." Mr. Dudenhefer reminded me before I set out looking for places and he is absolutely right. God has granted me patience though - at least more than I had.

Hurrah! Because I got a card from Caroline today and I cannot wait to start planning my trip out there. Also, AU has been contacting me and I am starting to have things to do for that. Plus last night I drew out final plans for my quilt and tonight I will start the sorting and labelling. I found out that my new roommate has star lights - which thrills me because I love those and have a fabulous star shaped lantern I haven't gotten to hang in a single place I have lived yet!

Work today was interesting. It being my first day, I had the usual things to overcome: whining, crying, hitting, impolite behavior, and inability to follow directions. I am certain that I will be able to correct some of these things by the end of the week. I said it was my first day, but I have been babysitting for these boys for a long time, but never as a daytime nanny.

Last night I used one of the french cookbooks people gave me to make dinner for my family. Actually, Dad made most of it. We had couscous with leeks and a creme sauce with salmon and a tomato based vinagrette creme sauce. (Couscous, les poireaux a la creme, saumon avec un sauce de vinaigre balsamic, les tomates, le beurre, et bouillon de poulet) Very good.

But, I wasn't good at figuring out how long it was going to take and we set a pot on fire in the kitchen! Dad put it out and then it flamed up again and the smoke detectors were going off like crazy and there was so much stuff in the air that I couldn't even hang out downstairs for the rest of the evening. It tasted delicious though, really. (We didn't wind up using the pot that caught fire, luckily we hadn't put the food in it yet!)

As my mother said, she should never leave other people alone in her kitchen. I don't know if her being there would have made it any better, but there certainly would have been more (well deserved) yelling and scolding! OKay, I need to take a shower so I can recuperate from today and then get ready to do some fun stuff tonight. I'll be going to bed early again because work starts at 7am. Good thing I only have to walk next door. Love always, ~Heather

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Jiggety Jig

I'm home again. I hope the searching is finally over. I refuse to jinx myself and will let you know tomorrow. But in the meantime I have some advice for anyone in the DC area.

If ever you are driving along I-95 and it is your last chance to get in the HOV lanes and they look like they are going slower than the regular traffic ... GET IN THE HOV! About a mile later you will find yourself spending 2 hours and 15 minutes to go 20 miles and still having to get off one exist too early and take an alternate route to your destination.

If you are thinking about driving up Connecticut Avenue from south DC about half way up you will discover that it becomes one way in the south bound direction for approximately two blocks. You will have to take a detour - I hope you have a map handy.

Unless the signs are orange and there are little men waving you in the other direction, consider all signage intentional "get you lost" devices.

If it sounds like the housing is a great deal, it is either 1. renovated as early as 1950 - very modern or 2. in the most god-awful neighborhood. Otherwise it is just out of your price range.

Honking is a sign of love. Those other drivers are so friendly!!

Take a parkway. They are beautifully landscaped, have almost no traffic (because they have low speed limits), and mostly have all the exits you'd ever need well posted.

If the ad is spelled wrong, don't respond.

These are my small wisdoms for now. I'm sure I'll have more. It is a darn good thing I love that city - otherwise I might have backed out entirely by now! Okay, off to finish the day. Very excited! Love always, ~Heather

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Searching...

I am still looking. Day two going to Day three tomorrow. I emailed about five people tonight. I have at least eleven phone calls to make in the morning. Some of the places look promising, others just look like they might work. I'll see everyone of them that I can though until I find us the perfect apartment. I am just not willing to settle yet. I was this morning and again in the car this afternoon - ready to just quit and take what I could. I'm not going to be okay with that.

In other news, I think I have memorized alot of the grid of streets in the NW area between Connecticut, Massachusetts Avenue and Wisconsin. That is what driving around in presumable circles will do to you. Oh, and I only got honked at twice today (down from yesterday's six), I didn't "block the box" once, and I was never so lost that I didn't know where I was. I even survived Dupont Circle (I took the tunnel under it the second time though). Overall stress level while driving was a 3/10 today as opposed to an 8/10 yesterday (3 being cursing, but only loud enough I can hear it in my car and 8 being crying in futility (I think a 10/10 would just be pulling over and calling someone else to drive my car for me or just outright having some minor heart attack in the car (knock on wood, I meant figuatively))).

I did start the day right by catching up with my absolutely fabulous friend Jen and eating at Bob Evans for breakfast. I love hanging out with her because she is so different than me but seems to totally get me. She has already made som really big decisions in her life and dealt with some very random and difficult situations and only seems the stronger. Kudos for her cool job and her own office!

Yucky fast food lunch and good meatloaf, homemade by Becca for dinner and that rounds out meals and the only thing I've really done but house hunt all day. Oh and watching President Bush on Larry King Live. Did anyone else notice that the Blue Room doesn't look out on the Jefferson Memorial (I'm pretty sure anyway) and that it appeared to be daylight in DC at 9:46 pm? They should really work on their interpretation of "live," because live-to-tape isn't the same thing, nor does it work if it is nighttime when you play it.

Live from the hunting grounds (or 52 miles nearby anyway), this is Heather saying, "Goodnight and happy hunting (for housing, not animals you taxidermy loving freaks). Love always, ~Heather

Monday, July 03, 2006

Good Things

After my earlier post it seems that all has basically taken care of itself. (Sorry if you couldn't read it due to all the french - I'll translate the important parts if you need me too.) Dana is going to be an awesome roommate, no questions. Roommate #2 seems enthusiastic and I'm hoping they will open up and get along with everyone. Roommate #3 is growing on me, and hopefully everyone else.

I am very excited to be having breakfast with a new friend Wednesday before what I hope will be my last trip to DC until I move! Two exciting things on Wednesday, right after a really super 4th of July!!! Michelle is coming down to spend the day with us, I might get to meet up with the lifeguard, playing grass volleyball in the field is a bright prospect .... the next two days are going to be really good. I can feel it. Plus, some really wonderful family friends in Virginia are going to put me up during my visit. I don't think I could ask for better luck than that.

Tonight I hung out with my family (no shocker there). We had a really good dinner, chicken with tomatoes and other interesting spices, rice, and veggies. I beat my Dad at 500 rummy (I keep telling him to stop letting me win, but he is insistent!) and then we all settled down to watch Jarhead. It was a really interesting movie about the life of a Marine during Desert Storm. I would recommend it to anyone thinking about a career in the military.

During the film I took an ice cream break. Let me just say that my new favorite ice cream is the Harris Teeter brand Peanut Butter Cup. If you live near a Harris Teeter, you need to pick this up. It is marvelous. If you like Reese's cups - you should just buy two gallons to save yourself the second trip to the store. I seriously have to ration myself and not allow myself to eat dessert until later in the evening because it is possible I would eat way too much or go back for seconds. Yes, it is that good.

I am once again making appointments. I getting excited. I will even have the money thing figured out this time. My camera will have new batteries. My maps will not get me lost. This is going to be a fantastic experience. But this is not the best thing. No sirree Bob (don't want to get lost on "Bob's road" during my trip, as a side note).

I was talking to Amber today. I met Amber while playing volleyball at USC. I have trouble placing the very first time I met her, but I have extremely vivid memories of the first time we actually had a conversation. She was working on a biology class project with another girl named Heather and I was going to help them. As time past after this Amber and I talked about alot of other things: her major, her roommates, volleyball - lots of stuff.

She played for the club volleyball team I coached, played with me on the intramural squad, helped as an officer for v-ball, became a mentor in the Carolina Mentoring Community, and even took the position as stage manager for Ecifircas (my senior thesis musical with Pam). We had our minor bumps in the road - and one big one in class one day - but this girl always amazed me with her amazing outlook on life and incredible smile. She was a good listener, even though as her RA my job was to listen to her. She even taught me all the ridiculous phrases in Napolean Dynamite. "Gosh, idiot!" being our favorite.

We were talking today and I cannot explain how much I think she has grown in the past few years. More than that, she really took the idea from the mentoring community with her and even though she didn't live in this year, she "adopted" three freshmen and helped them out. They'll be living together next year. I was so proud, happy, all sorts of emotions. The Community was my baby (as any of my USC friends could probably tell you) and I cherished it. It is almost gone now - at least our version of it. And of all close to 100 people who had been involved in it while I was there, she took it with her. She was the one.

Whenever I engage in a project I think to myself, "Self, (I don't really say self, I say Heather) if even one person is helped by this, than it is worth it; worth whatever comes this way." I am so glad I dealt with all of the obstacles because it is worth it now. And even better, I have a lifelong friend. Thank God for people like Amber.

Those are the good things from today. I can't wait for tomorrow! Love always, ~Heather

Mon coeur

Mon coeur, il se battre rapidment. Je sais que je suis un peu obsessif sur le sujet, mais encore j'attend les autres. Mon hebergement pour l'annee prochaine - ugh. Je peut pas dire mes sentiments au moment. Peut-etre je triche un peu aussi, parce que j'ecris dans un langue etranger que les gens de qui je parle.

J'envoi les emails sur le sujet de l'apartment, la maison, les autres endroits et j'attend pendant plusiers jours pour les reponses. C'est pas juste ca. C'est mon travail a trouver un logement parfait et mes colacs ne m'aident pas. Normalement je suis sur que je peut faire tous les choses moi-meme; et c'est vrai cette fois aussi. Mais je besoin leur argent pour le cheque, leur idees et questions pour mon tour de residence ... c'est mon job de la trouver, mais pas a faire le decision toute seule.

Parce que, franchement je ne veux pas que un mois apres le demenagement que quelqu'un va quiter l'endroit et on a besoin de trouver leur partie des additions. Il m'enerve beaucoup. Je vais attendre jusqu'au 11h - s'ils ne repondent pas je vais leur appeller et apres, c'est fini. Je ne vais pas chercher pour eux plus.

Les autres nouvelles:
Mon travail d'ete a fini maintenant. C'est triste parce que j'adore les deux garcons - et leur famille. Apres je trouve un apartement pour l'annee prochaine, je vais faire tous les choses interessant que j'adore: faire le patchwork, rendre les visites a ma famille, etc. Je vais aller aussi au Iowa a la maison de Caroline. C'est depuis France qu'on n'a pas vu l'autre et elle me manque beaucoup.

Je suis presque toujours a la bibliotheque. Pendant mon sejour en France j'ai lu beaucoup du CDI. Ici je peut emprunter (le bon mot?) plus des livres, films, etc. C'est super. Sauf ca, je ne sort pas souvent. Je n'ai pas les amis ici a Fayetteville parce que j'habite ici seulement pendant l'ete avec ma famille.

Et quand je parle de la famille ... ma cousine va venir ce soir! Ses parents sont sorti pour le weekend et alors ... une visite! Ce soir peut-etre on va aller au cinema et demain il y a un celebration a la piscine de communaute et apres beaucoup de temps a la base militaire. J'adore le 4 juillet. Un celebration d'independence. L'annee prochaine a Washington, le capitol .... oh, j'attends avec impatience.

Je sais que j'ai dit que cette blog va continuer tout en francais apres je suis parti de France. Je vais essayer, mais j'ecris quand j'ai les grands emotions et pendant le temps comme ca, l'anglais et beaucoup plus simple! Mais pense pas que j'ai vous oublie!

Pour mes amis a Chanzy, j'espere que le bac etait bien passe et vous profitez bien des vacances d'ete.

Mes amis d'eglise: je pense a vous souvent. Ici, c'est pas normal a garder les enfants des autres pendant la messe ni a donner les bisous a tout un groupe au commencement d'une soiree - alors quand je donne juste un petit bise, je pense a vous.

Les filles de volley, j'espere que apres les repetitions d'ete vous aller gagner quelques matchs l'annee prochaine - vous etes vraiment fortes!

Et tous les autres - je pense a vous souvent. Trop souvent je souhaite que j'avais pris vos contacts aussi - parce que j'attends vous a m'ecrivent!

Je vais ranger la chambre pour ma cousine et ma chambre aussi. J'attends vos nouvelles avec plus de patience que j'attends mes colacs. Bonne journee a tous. Bisous, ~Heather

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Browsing

My sister said the other day that if she had a blog she would put alot of pictures and then a blurb. Example: "This is me when I got drunk and fell down." Now you know I am not the type of person to get drunk (though I am the type to fall down). So in honor of this "use more pictures" idea, I am going to post a few random images I got from friends websites and blogs.

From Arizona

"Children need to understand..."




From Soon to be Connecticut




And .. it is time for dinner. More later. Love always, ~Heather

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Location: Washington, D.C., United States

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