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Showing posts from 2008

Musings during the Alamo Bowl

Party planning is easier when you have a more solid number of RSVPs - though I am thrilled with the responses so far.
The commentators of the Alamo Bowl game (go Cats!) obviously pre-gamed at River Walk ... and it seems to be wearing off here in the 4th quarterFamilies that lose children of any age are incredibly strong. Please pray for their continued strengthFriends who can buy you shoes from many states away deserve massive kudos.Je souhaite mes amis francais une Bonne Annee!Not having to wear a jacket in late December is an interesting weather phenomenaWednesday is going to rock. my. socks off.
Distant friends who make an effort to be in touch are some of the best friends I'll ever haveI hope that the Jets are supposed to be my football disappointment of the week. Really, please let there only be one this week.6'3" is debatably tall.184 out of 185 is really good number 99 (Wolfert). That's a lot of kicks. I'm sorry about all the pressure though, that had to …

ABC Meme

I almost never do these both because I am rarely tagged and because I'm lame at remembering to do them even if I love the format. But I saw this survey form filled out on Facebook by my cousin. It struck me as funny that two people who barely see each other and rarely speak can have so much in common (though blood may have something to do with it).

I've been struggling with myself lately (actually, my whole life, but who doesn't) and as odd as it sounds it was nice to see my cousin, who is about 4.5 years younger than me, has similar concerns and favorite things. I pray he doesn't have to keep the concerns for as long as I have and that we can grow closer even as we get older. Hugs and kisses bud, this meme is for you!

[Bold responses are exact word responses from my cousin - though many of our sentiments on the others appear to be the same.]

A
- Available: Pretty much whenever you need me (though would prefer to see you when you want to see me too!)
- Age: is just a nu…

Countdowns Continued

First - bonne anniversaire de le (pas toujours) petit Martinus, qui j'adore. Il a quatre ans ce weekend passe et je suis tres heureuse pour le petit homme.

CeJay - Book Club - Fayetteville - CG - Clemson Sucks - SF3 - TH7 - ME8 - BP13 - New Years - Inaugural Ball!

So here's a little reveal on the countdowns (since I was told that probably no one would have the time or inclination to figure that out - which I don't understand, because I love "solving" mysteries).

I have some really serious details to work out for the next couple of days in terms of the upcoming events, but they are all pretty exciting. I'm going to try to get up the long lost pictures on Facebook tonight and then I'll do a bit of photoblogging before my next countdown item.

Just loved this quote from my scroll today: "Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten." ~B. F. Skinner

This reminds me of Skinner, which reminds me of the X-Files, which reminds me…

Countdowns

I am currently living in a series of countdowns. These can be seen in two ways:

1. Impending explosions
2. Launching new and exciting things

My current countdowns vary from work stuff (upcoming events, one single full work week until January, projects to be completed before 2009, etc.) to house stuff (two guests coming, multiple party/events, necessary winter cleaning/decorating, etc.) to personal stuff (travel, doctors appointments, choir rehearsals, etc.).

All in all, my life is about to become junior-year-at-USC-busy (when I was: coaching two volleyball teams, president of the Honors College student body, RA for the CMC, working in Columbia Hall, taking 18+ hours a semester, planning my senior thesis, teaching Sunday school and occasionally attempting to have a life - among other, regular college things).

I'm a little nervous about the impending schedule. There is so much going on in the next two months (which you'll be hearing about AFTER it happens for the most part) and I&…

Making Apple Butter

Or: Apples in Iowa Volume 2

See previous post for the first day of fun in Iowa.

So Saturday morning we got up early and were working in the apple butter by 8:30 a.m. Here are some groggy morning shots.

It was a bit foggy outside.


Over by the giant cauldron (seriously, Voldemort could have come out of that thing it is so big), Caroline's parents were already really absorbed in the apple butter.

Some interesting tidbits about making the apple butter in the cauldron (fine, giant copper kettle):
The flames need to be hot and high enough to get it boiling, but not high enough to scald the butter to the bottom.It needs to be constantly stirred to assure there is no burning or sticking to the sides or bottom, or it can mess up the flavor of the batch.We put pennies on the bottom of the kettle (from before they stopped making pennies out of things that weren't copper, so no worries), so the stir stick could really keep everything from cementing on the bottom.This process can take 4 to 8 ho…

And You Thought Iowa was all Corn

I finally made a trip out to see Caroline in Iowa, and this is the first of a couple of photoblogs to show you about my exciting vacation.

Caroline's sorority house at Palmer Chiropractic (above) and another sorority house across the street (below). Loving the architecture.

On the road as we turned towards the "farm" in Tiffin.

Once we arrived at the house, we got right to work making applesauce. We'd need it the next day for apple butter. I spent most of my time using the squeez-o and cranking boiled apple quarters (below).


We filled each and every one of those 3 and five gallon pots with sauce before the end of the day (above). Don't you just love the fashionable apron I got to wear? (below)

After all the saucing, it was time to kick back. Caroline's dad prepped the fire we'd use in the morning for the apple butter and Caroline and I had s'more fun (below).

Our marshmallows roasting on actual roasting sticks - as opposed to real sticks from the yard …

October Optics

And here now is a visually interesting version of October.

Mt. Vernon at twilight, before we had partaken of the fabulous wine tent.

The view of the Potomac from the back side of the mansion, still sunset, obviously.

My wine glass in front of the seasonal decorations at probably the fourth or fifth table.

And mid-month, Dana came to visit from Wisconsin.

We had lunch with Bill and Mason in the cemetery at Christ Church in Old Town. A favorite luncheon spot of mine (above). And then had a little photo-shoot afterwards because for some reason we are rarely in pictures together (below).



We went to the Sports Pub to watch the Gamecocks vs. LSU game. There weren't enough chairs for the twelve or so people who showed up for our table, so she was on my lap for a portion of the night (above). Below, she's with her friends from Madison who happened to be in DC the same time as her (from left to right, Scott, Dana, Luke, Damon).

Afterwards, we went back to the townhouse for a commiseration …

Boo, Malcolm Forbes, boo

The quote that just came up on my quote wheel was:

"Failure is success if we learn from it." ~Malcolm Forbes

I am currently on a campaign of resisting what has become (over the past couple years) a regular habit of mine. I would say that the most recent manifestation of this habit was a particularly large failure - and one that cost me many months of agonizing. I comforted myself primarily by reassuring myself that I had learned a lot in the process.

So, faced with falling into this habit (obviously not the best one ever), I'm doing my best to resist.

And, I don't really like it.

It's like resisting chocolate. Who wants to do that? Chocolate is pretty delicious.

So then I see quotes like Mr. Malcolm's and am reminded that I'm supposed to be resisting. Well boo to you Malcolm Forbes, boo to you being right and reminding me why I'm doing this anyway.

But I'm not giving up chocolate. At least not while doing this too.

Love always, ~Heather

September Shots

I feel pretty bad about not blogging consistently over the past couple of weeks (um, okay, months). But it is National Blog Posting Month and this is really my motivation to get blogging. So, I'm a few weeks late ... eh, I'm late with everything lately. This is not a characteristic I'm okay with, but I'm going to do my penance in a series of photoblogs over the next couple of days (finally having downloaded some of the pictures off my camera and from my email).

So here, from the superbly-stupendous September, I present, my missing blog posts in photos.


Foggy Bottom (above) and Georgetown University (below) while sitting in traffic on the Key Bridge on my way to rehearsal for the gospel choir concert mid-month. Foggy Bottom shot includes (left to right) the Watergate Hotel, Washington Monument and Kennedy Center.


The townhouse, with our (unintentional) front-yard-jungle. Over 10 foot tall sunflowers, zinnia at around 4 feet, morning glories taking over the gate, and a re…

Dorkus Heatherulus

dorkus heatherulus (door-kus hea-thra-lus) n. a being of a heather-ish nature who does dorky things. The twenty-something, dorkus heatherulus created a definition of herself using her own name as if she was a latin-based species.

So, tonight I wrote out this whole explanation/solution with all of the available side effects/repercussions/consequences outlined. A means of deciding on a plan. No better way then to read this to a trusted friend and advisor and have them praise you for your brilliant writing style and well-thought out arguments.

Yeah.

Or, they could take that nice flat manifesto (or whatever you want to call it), roll it up and whop you about the head with it.

Now, being that I read it on the phone, there wasn't much actual beating about the head. Also, because my masochism typically stops at a line far before physical abuse, I was not literally beating myself about the head. But I ought to have been.

Because when your life is basically on track and you have 97.65% of t…

Saturday Morning Update

Just a quick weekend update:

Last night was Paula's birthday party. Although we didn't get to Pictionary while I was there, just hanging out and meeting/talking to everyone was awesome. I ducked out a little early so i could get home to let Dana in, as she is staying with me this weekend.

I slept in exceptionally late this morning (wake-ups at 7:30 and 8:52, but not rolling out until 10:07) and then vegged on the couch with Dana, Brendan and Dave for awhile (the guys just coming in from a run).

Now, we're prepping for a day out - lunch with Mason and Bill, a trip to Ross (our fave discount store) and then the game and cookie-bakeoff.

Shower's free. See you later!

Love always, ~Heather

Empower

I've had some personal craziness going on in my life lately and have been asking many of my friends and family for advice.

My family is always incredibly encouraging and their advice is predictable, but I need to hear it nonetheless. It's always the same thing: be yourself.

My friends have varying advice from playing games to having patience to hoping for a change to this last bit: empower.

To empower someone is to give them strength to do something. At HOBY, I spend a lot of time empowering high school sophomores to become leaders. Now, since the best form of leadership is leadership by example (I think), it can be a challenge to empower others to lead while you yourself are leading.

However, there is a way to do it that comes pretty naturally after awhile - you lead from behind. You are the cruise control as it were (if this was a car analogy, which it is) and you let them take the wheel. You have steady control over the speed of the situation - the velocity and acceleratio…

Patience

Je demande, en avance, votre pardon parce que je sais que le temps entre mes posts en francais est inexcuseable. Et aussi, parce que je vais me cache un peu en francais. (Pardon encore si mon francais est mal.)

La patience. Tout ma vie j'ai cherche, j'ai attende mais je n'arrive pas a la patience.

Comme prof, je pense que j'ai un peu plus de patience. Comme ami, bien sur. Mais comme humain ou femme, jamais.

Moi, je sais que je veux et je fais quelque chose. C'est mon personalite, et je ne le regrette jamais.

Maintenant que je commencais, je comprendre que c'est pas un probleme. Je commence les phrases encore et encore mais la verite, la verite a mon ame, est que quand je n'ai pas la patience, je suis souvent mieux si je sais ou si j'avais fais quelque chose que si j'avais attendu.

L'histoire arriere ces penses ...

Il etait une fois ... un festival de vin. Moi et un jeune homme qui on va appeller Cag (un acronyme) passait le soir ensemble et …

On a Cloud

I want to tell you about my absolutely fabulous week.

The wine festival at Mt. Vernon on Sunday evening was absolutely splendid. I'm not sure if I have already posted about this, or just talked about it enough to feel like I did. I'll check back and post about it later if I haven't. It can definitely fill its own post.

Monday started a busy week at work where everything that could go right did, and everything that could go wrong was able to be avoided or immediately counteracted. I got my whole to-do list finished and wasn't stressed about the occasional later evenings. I figured out how to do podcasting for our event on Tuesday with the help of two of my colleagues.

Monday night I made pie and ate it with my two neighbors Steve and Mike. I love that my neighbors and I get along and are able to hang out either on the front walk or around a pretty decent apple pie I baked from apples Steve and his family picked over the weekend.

Tuesday brought the pleasant surprise t…

Is this heaven?

No, it's Iowa.

And I'll be heading there to visit one of the greatest friends I've ever had, Caroline in a just a couple of weeks.

Caroline has been to visit me in basically* every place I have lived since we've known each other. Considering how frequently I move, that's a pretty big deal. (*She missed a place I lived in for less than 6 months, so it doesn't really count.) We've hung out in plenty of states and countries: North & South Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Connecticut, New York, Maryland, Indiana, France, Spain, Belgium, and Germany - to name a few.

So, to have a chance to visit her in Iowa, her home state, is pretty exciting. Plus, this gets me out of having to do something outrageous for Halloween - I can only travel with a carry-on.

More than getting to see her and get out of DC for a little bit, I'm totally pumped about having the freedom to just book a trip to the Midwest. I mean, financially I've had this money put away for two ye…

Dark Tunnels

Well, it seems that like most things you can't have one without the other. So before I could have an incredibly fun weekend I had to have a Friday that pretty much ranked in my worst 25 days ever.

It started out with work making me - actually, let's skip that and just know that this was certainly the dark tunnel. Now the thing about dark tunnels that make them SO different from, say, caves, is that there is bound to be light on the other end. My light came as I scrambled out of work 25 minutes late.

You know how you can see the glimmer before the good part ... that's where we are (or so I thought). I was on my way to see a movie with Cag, now assuredly going to be late as I had stopped home to grab an apple for dinner and change into jeans. Half way there I realize I have forgotten my phone - so I can't even call to say I am running late. An idiot decides to stop short on Glebe Road and I hydroplane through an intersection (lots of prayers of thanksgiving on the sa…

Autumn is Fall and Fall is Fabulous

I'm not sure how long this fascination with fall has been going on, but I LOVE fall. It is my absolute favorite season of the year. You can open all the windows and let in the fresh air. Everyone decorates in burnt oranges, sage, deep red, and golden yellow. Leaves come down. School starts again. Football plays every Saturday.

It is like shedding an old skin every year - you get to let go of the summer and cuddle up for the winter. It is a truly amazing deal.

This fall has brought me a number of wonderful things already. However, I fear I must restrict myself (at least momentarily) to this weekend. You'll see why when you realize the length of this post.

Not an awesome week at work, I was happy to duck out at exactly 5:30p.m. on Friday. One of my interns was celebrating her birthday, so she came by the house and I cut her some fresh sunflowers for her apartment as a gift. Then I went inside to make supper.

My new fellow from work and Paula came over for dinner (they'…

Not Quite Singing in the Rain

Note that this was originally written two weeks ago, but it has been in draft mode ... trying to catch up tonight ....

It has been a pretty eventful weekend here in DC, starting Thursday evening with the Carolina - Vanderbilt. Paula and I went to the Crystal City Sports Pub, where the Gamecock alumni club meets. We caught up with a few friends and made some new ones. Oh, yeah, we also watched our beloved Gamecocks lose a second straight match-up to Vanderbilt. I mean seriously Spurrier (and team), I know you're trying to make a name for yourselves, but competing for the "door mat" title is not what your fans had in mind.

Friday at work was relatively uneventful, but I was full of energy all day - ready to do something fun, like go out dancing, as soon as I got off. Alas, no one wanted to go out. So I pulled some homemade zucchini-eggplant parmesan out of the freezer and settled down for a little Charmed marathon.

.... filling in from a slightly more distant memory ..…

Non/Bi-partisan

Has anyone else noticed that there are all sorts of people who are claiming to be independent of political affiliation who are hard core getting behind one candidate or another?

Maybe it is in the photos they choose, or where and how they place them. It may be in the frequency of posting or their terminology, but let's be clear:

There is a heck of a lot of framing and spinning and posturing going on and the absolute truth is no one is presenting it without bias.

And, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that - if you admit that you have a bias. It doesn't seem fair to those who don't have training in recognizing these tactics ...

I'm just saying.

I should be announcing my bias soon enough - I have to watch my recordings of the Republican speeches first.

Love always, ~Heather

C-SPAN anyone?

Well, I’ve never watched more C-SPAN in my life.Not that I mind too much, considering that convention coverage on these channels means I don’t have to listen to the talking heads on some of the other stations.I’m a bit disappointed in fact, because after all this Democratic propaganda, I wish I’d be able to fully follow the Republican convention next week. It was easy to predict that McCain will announce on Friday – it must be killing him to sit out of the media cycle for so long.I really hope that the liberal leaning stations at least pretend to be as interested in replaying coverage of Republican speeches as they are in the Democratic ones.Then again, there’s a little less drama planned for Minnesota and it looks like Gustav (the storm) is going to be drawing some media attention all on its own.In non-television or political news, my scarf is coming along well.I’m hoping to knock out another huge chunk tonight during the USC vs. NC State game.I’m sure there will be a lot of yelling …

Florida Sun

I'm hanging out in a pretty cool room, looking out the windows at a blue sky with lots of Florida sunshine. I came down to visit with my grandparents during my Pop Pop's surgery. He is doing well - snoring like a champ in his bed down the hall. Grandma and I are in the family waiting area so she can take a nap. It seems like this whole ordeal has been harder on her than on the poor guy who had the surgery.

Luckily she's resting now though. I'm working from here for a couple of days, which is interesting since there isn't much wireless access in their retirement condo complex. Being at the hospital has helped that though, since they have a really good connection here. So, I'm trying to get as much work in as I can now.

To that effect, I'm signing off. But, before I do, a really happy anniversary wish to my grandparents who were married 60 years on Friday at 4:30 pm. We had a nice little shindig for them (pictures coming soon) Friday night and I'm …

400

Well, this is my 400th post. Considering the Adventures blog is coming up on its third birthday, that isn't really all that many posts, but it is a benchmark (and probably the first one I've noticed). Also, keeping in mind that I am rather long winded in my posts, 400 is, if nothing else, a volume benchmark.

So here on this most inauspicious of days*, I am going to go through the top labels I've attached to my posts (based on sheer numbers) to see what it is I've been talking about this whole time.

The winners are ...
Friends (48)Daily events (43)Family (17)Feelings (15)Work & En Francais (11)Movie (7)Rolling in at 6 mentions are: homework, HOBY, God, musicalWrapping up the big numbers game at 5 mentions: school, cooking, football, moving, packing, and ThanksgivingI probably could have guessed that really, but it is interesting to see that both moving and packing have 5 mentions (I must have whined about those a bunch) and that I've posted in French only 11 time…

Reasons to be Cheerful

Well, the Olympics have started and it was a glorious weekend. Lots of things to be cheerful about!
Farmer's Market purchases: fabulous produce, seven grain bread, fresh ricotta cheese
Garden box measured, cut, and stained (pending construction which should happen tomorrow night)Vegetables "hardening" (definition: to make hardy-er so they can sustain the outdoors) in giant backyard tubBluegrass magic
Goodbye party for Dana (sad to see her go, but still a nice outing)Good song at church today, if not a particularly friendly atmosphere (not sure what was going on, probably just an off week for us)Purchased plane tickets to visit the grandparents in FloridaRead through a huge chunk of the Sunday Washington Post
Driving tour of Fairfax county as we tried to avoid I-95 traffic on twilight zone style roads that all seemed to intersect with each other inextricablyFun afternoon browsing at IKEAChipolte deliciousness
And did I mention the Olympics???I'm off to make a CD.

Lots of l…

Lazy Laundry Day

This morning I slept in, which was rather nice. I pulled weeds in the front garden, had breakfast, went for a swim (and soaked up some needed much needed vitamin D), optimized my computer, and uploaded all the pictures Facebook wouldn't let me post last night.

Now I am putzing about the house because the BBQ I thought was this afternoon has turned into a going out extravaganza after 10pm. This is probably okay because my eyes are trying to close themselves (though I'm not tired) because the chlorine in the pool really did them in.

I love community pools (and the fact that mine is about one block from the house), but I don't love how much chlorine and acid they put in to kill the germs and make them safe for public use. I suppose this would be the appropriate time to buy some goggles, but I've never loved goggles - even when I was on the swim team I despised the cap and goggles, because they didn't feel natural or right (since I swam at home without goggles for ho…

Moroccan Milkshakes

Tonight was Girls Night. We went out to Moroccan food on King Street in Alexandria. Tagines (j'adore!) de poulet (tres bien) et de mouton (mal cuisiner). There was a belly dancer (who was not really that great) but the conversation and Moldovan server made the experience.

On the way back to my place we stopped by a local park and swung on the swings for a couple minutes. The other girls didn't have quite as strong of stomachs (elles faisaient mals a cause des balances apres le diner; dommage) so we didn't stay long.

Back home we took pictures, I perfected the use of my camera timer, and then we settled into watching the late-middle school-classic Cruel Intentions. This led to brownies and Kahluha milkshakes (which took Rachel's immersion blender since my regular blender motor doesn't love me).

Then we spent the next hour and a half swapping stories about boys and other girly subjects (pro or con: cuddling while sleeping; actor we all agree we're into - George…

Home Sweet Home?

As I sit here watching Sweet Home Alabama I'm thinking about life as I currently know it. I'll be heading back to the place where I did most of my growing up at the end of the month. My grandfather is having heart surgery (prayers please) so I'm going down to be with him and my grandma during the pre-surgery work-up and then through the surgery. My mother and uncle may or may not be joining me down there before the actual surgery, but we're not sure yet.

I am surprisingly calm (though full of butterflies). I work better in emergency situations, or ones that need direct leadership. Also, I like that I am in a place in my life where I can be there for my family - as they have been there for me so often. Best of all, I'll get to be there before and after to spend time with him and pep him up before and to help him recover after. Most of that is going to be taking care of my grandma who is already stressed (understandably).

Today I also helped celebrate the retire…

Power? Check.

I apologize (as I keep doing) about my hiatus. I do not have the same wonderful excuses as some of my blogging pals (newborns, new jobs, vacations, etc.), but I do have an explanation. It appears as if my computer took a little too much stress while I was living in France. I always had a power converter on it when it was plugged in, but alas, those were some big jolts.

So over the past couple weeks I had to go and figure out what was wrong (the battery and the power source died simultaneously, which made the computer rather difficult to turn on) and then acquire the pieces I needed for a solution (which resulted in a rather long call relayed to India where the respondent seemed to only hear one or two words of my response at a time and was reading off a sheet of paper).

But, I have my computer again. And yes, I know I could have blogged from some place else like a borrowed computer or work, but I feel like I am inconveniencing someone or else creating a mighty big window of opportuni…