If you have ever held a piece of goose poop then you know that it is not like normal bird poop. This is mainly because you can hold goose poop as opposed to it running down your fingers. You know that it's really light and if dry, will crack apart like a Cheeto. It looks like a cylindrical piece of dirt, much like the little chapstick-size dirt clods left over on a lawn after aeration. In fact, if you have ever held a goose poop it was probably because you mistook it for one of those little dirt clods. And you rolled it around in your fingers and broke it apart and wondered why that little piece of dirt was so weightless and airy. And then you looked on the ground and pondered why some of the little clods were brown and green but others were also more of a black and white in color. You looked over at your kid inspecting those same nuggets with his tiny fingers and then you asked your husband why they were all different colors. In the same moment that your husband looked at you like you had lobsters crawling out of your ears, you began to notice the hundreds of geese roaming the grounds of Mount Vernon and you realized that George Washington probably never aerated his lawn. You both turned to your kid and, in unison, yelled "Drop the goose poop!"
Then again, if you haven't ever handled goose poop, you might not be paying special attention to the space underneath your fingernails every time you wash your hands (five days later) or double checking to make sure the Avian Flu hasn't reached North America yet.
My aunt Wendy and uncle Aaron from Utah came out to visit us last week. Wendy lived here years ago when she work on Capitol Hill. The last time she came to visit me here, she had just barely met Aaron. I had never seen her so happy before in my life and I hoped so much that he would be the one. Later that summer, I watched them while on vacation in Bear Lake and knew they were MFEO (figure it out - or go watch Sleepless in Seattle). Wendy is one of my best friends and getting to know Aaron was so much fun. We did so much, including a tour by Ali of the Capitol, so Wendy could re-live her time here. I had my camera at everything. Unfortunately, my SD card was at home, hibernating in this laptop. So I didn't get photos of much. I did, however, remember to grab the card for our Saturday outing to Mount Vernon. So here are a few memories of our fun time with Wendy and Aaron.
We will never get a normal-looking family photo. Ethan is sad that he can't follow those oxen (pictured below). Ryan struggles in the faking-a-smile-department. I am dreaming (eyes half closed) of one day living on grounds and garden like those of Mount Vernon. Growing up in field, with the wilderness as my neighbor makes apartment living less-than-desirable for me. I would kill for the 500-acres of Mount Vernon (and then they would probably kill me).
Washington was friendly enough but the guy taking our pictures was a little pushy ("General Washington doesn't have all day").
I love seeing farm animals this close to the city. So does my kid.
Tree planted by the General himself.
It always disappoints me to be reminded of the fact that the exterior of the mansion is faux stone. The colors of the building's interior walls make up for it, right Wend?
Come visit us again sometime, you guys! We miss you already!
Our apartment building is pretty old but it is located in a nice area. So I was surprised by this letter from my apartment building management, hand-delivered to our door the other day:
Recently, during a routine building inspection, management discovered evidence that someone may be sleeping in the stairwells of the 1300 building (yes, that's my building, and that stairwell is two doors down). The porters have found cigarette butts in the stairwells and beer bottles full of urine (good aim means it's a guy) in the recycling bin in the sixth floor trash room. Attempts to identify the person responsible have been unsuccessful. A notice was posted in the sixth floor trash advising the individual that this type of activity is a health hazard for the staff and residents and it must stop immediately. The notice was removed and now the person is pouring the urine down the trash chute.Did think the stairwell smelled a little bit like pee once. We're told to watch for suspicious people around the stairwells. I think I'm going to stay away completely.
A few weekends ago, Ryan and I decided to eat dinner at "Pike Pizza," a tiny Bolivian dive with loud, pipe-heavy music and what looks like old Subway restaurant seating. You, of course, do not order pizza there. You order large, meaty dishes like the one my husband got: a thin, plate-size piece of deep-fried beef with a sunny side up egg on top. He said it was what people fed him in Paraguay, so he was happy. I thought it tasted alright. I ordered saltenas (my friend told me to get them) and was disappointed when told they were all out for the night. I got an empanada that was spicy and delicious but I left the restaurant wanting more.I love a good hole-in-the-wall. I hate being left out of a good secret. So yesterday, as I was approaching George Mason Dr. on Columbia Pike, I felt my fingers tighten around the steering wheel and I knew that I had to stop to try the saltenas. I walked into the Pan American Bakery - a pastry shop adjoining the restaurant - and got three saltenas and one empanada.
I dug in. Every bite of the saltenas felt new and intense and delicious. The crust was crisp and sweet. The filling, which included chicken, potatoes, raisins and peas - among other things - was moist and hot and amazing.
When my mom came to visit, we planned this great scheme to take over New York City. Unfortunately, my kid got sick the night before and we had to cancel our insanely cheap (for NYC) hotel rooms. Anyway, the outside air was so cold it stung when she first arrived here in Arlington so we decided to stay inside and sew. One of the things we sewed was this skirt, made of a pattern I had purchased for 99 cents and fabric in the clearance pile for one dollar a yard. Since I am a sewing fledgling, this was going to be a practice run but my mom got here and took over (I think she was bored out of her mind, though she insisted it was "relaxing."). She did most of the hard labor. However, I did learn a few things along the way, like what interfacing is and how to baste (I already mentioned that I am a novice).
Thanks Mom for the cute skirt!
Oh, and pardon the photos. It's a little less bubbly than it looks but I suffered serious static cling during my photo shoot ;-) and I am not doing it again!
Remember my yard sale boots - or more appropriately, my murder boots? Well just after I stumbled upon those lovely boots, I found these old patterns. They are made by Advance, a company which ceased operations in 1966, according to cemetarian.com, totally boosting the vintage coolness of them ;-).
I am not much of a seamstress. To date, I have made two pairs of lounge pants (in 7th and 8th grade home economics), and a few Simplicity skirts (I'll post about one of them tomorrow). But, for some reason, I have this need to learn how to sew clothing.
It could be because my mother and I had so much fun designing and making (she did all the making) all of my high school dance dresses. Or because my aunt carefully created my wedding dress. It could be leftover genes from that French taylor that my mother insists is in our lineage. Or it could be blamed on my obsession with Project Runway and sewing's newfound popularity.
Regardless, I am longing to sew.
So when I spotted these patterns, I couldn't resist their fabulousness. They were 25 and 35 cents apiece originally, so I think the old lady selling them to me actually made money on them. The one above has been drawn on but if you look closely, the actual pattern is really cute.
I love this bow on the shoulder. I think I would add it to the short-sleeved version of this dress.
Now if I could just work up the courage to move away from Simplicity and to try these out...
On a depressing day in January, I snapped these photos when I noticed that my hands looked a lot like Ifelt: parched, cracked, worn and unkempt. It's weird how January can do that to my outsides and my insides.
I was going to blog about it but for some reason, I didn't. Maybe it was too dramatic (I heart drama - a little too much) or even a little personal to put out there on the World Wide Web.
But I'm glad I kept the photos so I could compare them to how I'm feeling today.
They may still be dry and are most definitely imperfect, but can you think of a happier nail color?
I figured out my sewing machine and finished my blanket. You would think I would be celebrating.
Instead, I am a little disappointed that it is not a rectangle - a trapezoid would be more acurate. But what really ruins this soft little blanket is the backwards "Anna" up and down the sides of the back of it. And no, I didn't think of that - the fact that the name would not be the same on both sides - until I was finished with the entire thing. Genius over here just thought that would be sooo cute.
Fortunately for me, the name Anna is a palindrome - a word or phrase that is the same backwards or forwards - and the Ns can sort of go either way (at least I am telling myself that).
January, I will never call us friends, but I guess we can be acquaintances after your tolerant treatment of me this year. Sure, you convinced me to shy away from cleaning my dirty shower all month and I cursed about at least one thing on each of your 31 days, but you actually offered a lot too. You invited my mother to come visit for a few days. You brought me some Utah snow and a great haircut. And your Inauguration day and temperamental weather canceled school and gave me more time with my man.
Sadly, this morning I woke up to this:And I wondered if February might become my new enemy.
And then I checked Aunt Spicy's blog and found out that I won this:
Thanks to the woman I like to call "The Queen of Craft;" the woman who has an entire bookshelf full of fabric - and then some; the woman who I bumped into at Michaels and felt unworthy to be there in her presence. Thanks to her, I won a fabulous Cath Kidston grocery bag. All I had to do was comment on her blog and I was one of the five she drew out of nearly 120 comments!