Sunday, January 30, 2011

Damn You Cold...

Growing up, I rarely got sick. Now, it seems I get sick more often than not. Our office is spreading a cold right now. I was one of the lucky ones who is now the proud owner of the cold virus. First, it was this annoying, hacking, dry cough that I was treating with lozenges. I can't think about having another one of those lozenges. Good thing I suppose as I now have this stuffy nose/runny nose/sneezing/Kathleen Turner voice action happening. This cold has totally derailed my training this week (thank goodness I have 4 weeks of fat built into this training schedule) and I decided to skip a cookie baking party today, in lieu of resting (no need to give the JMU girls my germs). I finally decided to pick up some meds today. Day and Night medicine, tissues (with Vick's vapor - highly recommend), my trusty Bert for my dry lips, Lysine to eliminate any cold sores, and Vaseline for my raw nose. Now its time to close this post, feed Ginger, climb back into my Snuggie and go back to the couch.

A Vienna Institution...

Saturday night, Joanie invited me to hang out with her and her family at the Vienna Inn. Known for their chili dogs, the Inn has been around since 1960. I'm finally proud to say that after seven and a half years of living here (oy has it really been that long?), I've gone to the Inn and tasted their chili dogs. I also recommend the basket of home made potato chips. Yummy!

A Blast From The Past...

Who doesn't love any book by Shel Silverstein? I thought I was going to be babysitting this week, so I headed to the library to check out a bunch of kids books. Due to the snow (see previous posts), I no longer needed to watch Zoe, but I still made a point to read this book before taking it back to the library. An oldie, but goodie.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The aftermath...

Remember last night when I said people were abandoning their cars....below are cars abandoned in the middle of my main subdivision road. There were actually 5 there early in the morning, but I wasn't able to snap a picture. This is what remained at 5:30 PM. They were towed sometime after that.

The 3rd Ring of Hell (also known as January 26 in Northern Virginia)...

Oh where or where do I begin. It  started out as a normal Wednesday. I had an early meeting in Springfield. Knowing I arrive everywhere early, decided to pack my ipad just in case I needed something to occupy me before my meeting. Meeting was short and got to the office around 10. Just a little dusting of snow on the ground.

Worked throughout the rainy morning and around 3PM, it began snowing forcefully and sticking pretty quickly. My boss told us to leave around 4 - so did every other boss in NoVA (as we will soon find out). I gathered my things, went to the bathroom (just in case my 25 minute commute took an hour) and went out to dig out my car. Below is what time I got in the car.

So, I head out and head North on 28. I noticed earlier that morning that I was pretty low on gas, but enough to make it home. I passed eight gas stations. By the time I got to the 9th (appx. 90 minutes later and after making the determination I was not getting home anytime soon), I made the decision to cross three lanes of traffic to get to the gas station. After refueling, grabbing food and taking care of business, I had to make my way back out across three lanes of traffic. Not easy when two lanes are moving and its not the ones you need to be in.

A couple hours later, we were basically stopped. Complete gridlock. Cars turned off and people walking around like the world was coming to an end. I humored myself by talking with Martta, posting to Facebook, reading a book on the ipad (thank goodness it was packed!) and drawing messages on my car window. This was probably around 8PM.

Finally around 9:30 we started moving. The rest of my trip home (appx. 8 miles) was spent going 10 MPH.  Below is what time I actually made it home. Ginger was starving, I was starving and tired and we pretty much went straight to bed. Unfortunately others in NoVA had abandoned their cars in hopes of walking home while some stuck it out with 13 hour commutes home. This was one to remember.

GG's Meds...

Ever since I've started this daily photo project, I've been trying to keep my eyes open for pictures to take that capture a portion of the day.

It was getting late on Wednesday night and I was about to give Ginger her monthly flea/tick/ear mite/parasite/etc medicine. We're on month seven of the medicine and I never noticed the "don't inject this orally" picture. Now, what's slightly disconcerting is that this message is on there because some poor sap has probably actually done this. While I administer as directed, my girl has these ridiculous flexible skills and can still reach behind and lick the medicine off anyways.

Unfortunately the only real side effects are lethargy and decreased appetite....this latter effect has never impacted my girl.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Desperately Seeking: New Running Shoes...

These pathetic looking things are my current running shoes. To say they are outdated is an understatement. They are currently a year old and have many miles on them. When I'm wearing them to lift weights or use the eliptical or walk - my feet don't really hurt. It's when I run that I realize the padding and shock absorbers are gone. I just need to make it one more week and then I'll head out and buy some new ones, but until then - I got these guys.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Here we go...

In honor of the Steelers playoff game, I made lemon cupcakes for the party. They were the Sprinkles variety from Williams Sonoma.  I discovered prior to making them that I was out of milk. I learned that heavy cream cut with water does the trick.

Below was our mascot Tyson.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

One of my favorite things...

I heart popcorn cooked on the stove. I place a little oil in the popcorn designated pan, add the kernels and wait patiently for those little guys to pop. I love this so much that I refuse to buy or eat microwave popcorn.
I have been known to eat this as my dinner on a few occasions....ah the joys of being a grown up and making your own decisions.

Wizards Game...

Friday night, Rhonda and I headed down to the Verizon Center to watch the Wiz take on the Phoenix Suns. Unfortunately the Wiz lost, but we still had a great time. My company has courtside set as with all night access to free food and drinks. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and even caught a glimpse of Senator McCain and Wolf Blitzer. One last observation - Steve Nash is really short.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Big Dig - Tysons Style...

So we have this little project going on in Northern Virginia - the extension of Metro to Dulles Airport. To get there - it has to go through Tysons Corner, which is a mini metropolis with businesses, residences and the largest shopping mall in the area. This project is in the middle of construction simultaneously on the Beltway, within the two major roads in Tysons Corner, and the Dulles Toll Roll.
Tonight I was going to a League Meeting in Tysons and took a snapshot of the ongoing construction the median of Leesburg Pike. There will be an elevated track above this median. There was a big push to tunnel the entire line but the budget killed this. Instead of losing the project completely, there was finally consensus to tunnel a portion but surface/elevate a majority.

I saw this cool article on USA Today that shows some other great pictures of the massive construction, all while traffic continues. I should mention the Gannett Headquarters, which publishes USA Today, are in Tysons

"When life gives you lemons...

make a glass of lemonade and wash down a xanax."

This was the quote in this article in my "Better Homes and Gardens" magazine (thanks mom for the subscription).

To say I easily get stressed out is an understatement. I really really really get stressed out very very easily. Stress for me manifests itself in overeating, weight gain, and fever blisters. Not exactly attractive.

I've been trying to reduce my stress and one of my goals this year is to learn when to say "no." Sometimes I over commit to things or feel guilty about doing what I want, which leads to more stress. This carries over into my work life as well. I need to learn not to be so much of a people pleaser all the time.

I've been also trying to reduce the financial stress. Last year was an eye opener. I started seeing a real Financial Planner and was shocked by all the stupid stuff I was doing and shocked where all my money went. We focused last year on paying off my car loan and credit card. Now I'm actually saving some money every month to beef up the emergency fund. What a novel concept.

To combat the stress, I've been making a concerted effort to go to the gym (see previous 5K post), eat better and count my calories (to avoid overeating), getting a massage every month, and taking time for myself.

Maybe this time next year I'll be healthier, happier and maybe a little wealthier.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back to the vet we go...

Not a month after paying off my credit card, we find ourselves back at the vet. Fortunately, this bill was suprisingly light. Maybe it was because we didn't come in during emergency hours :-)

This weekend, I noticed blood around the house. Sure enough, it appeared again last night. The culprit - Miss GG. I took her in and the diagnosis was cystitis, which is an inflammation of the bladder. Apparently young kitties are prone to this...who knew? Remedy is pain meds, more wet food, less dry food and more water. Bonus is -  this diet should also help her lose that pound and half she has gained since October.

Looks like both Mommy and GG are on a diet....ugh, we can be in misery together.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Runner girl...

Today I started training for the League's 5K this upcoming April. I have approximately twelve weeks to train for this race. My goal is to run the entire 5K but we'll see how that goes. You have to have a goal in sight! I'm doing this in part to step up my gym routine, but I also like having a goal to work towards.

Tonight was day one and the schedule included 5 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking - 5 times. I ended up running (actually running) almost 2 miles. Not too bad. It's been about an hour since I left the gym and my legs are starting to hurt. I go back to the gym tomorrow for the same and then back Saturday for 6 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking - 5 times. Sunday is 45 minutes of cross training and I should receive week two's schedule. Wish me luck!

Oh GG...

Sunday was a low key day. Slept in, went to the gym and ran some errands. I shot this picture of Ginger late Sunday night. This table is her new favorite perching place, much to my dismay.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

All you need is love...

I saw this cute little block at my favorite store in Lucketts, VA...I love this phrase and the Beatles song!


Tonight I dog sat for Chloe. Tonight is also the first time I've ventured out of our secure area in the kitchen and into the living room. After playing with the toys and going on long walks, she finally went to sleep...about 10 minutes before I was scheduled to leave.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The good and the bad...

For the past month, I've seen this sign outside Whole Foods "Three Wishes Chardonnay, Merlot, Cab. Sav. - $3.29". I "finally" found this wine hidden in the produce section last week (as opposed to its logical place - with the rest of the wines). I love a cheap bottle of wine, especially if I'm just drinking it with a normal evening meal - nothing fancy.

The good part I discovered - its $3.29.
The bad part I discovered - it doesn't hold up well.

Recommendation: I would buy and drink the bottle within a day of opening. So if you have a party - good wine. I'll let you know how the Merlot and Cab. Sav. taste.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This is what happens when I get bored during lunch...

I took this picture Wednesday 1.12.11. Every now and then, I like to clean our work fridge of all the leftover food no one wants to take responsibility for and throw away themselves. (I used to also do this when I lived in the sorority house and it was shocking how gross a fridge can get when 36 women use it). Today's bounty found me with 5 pounds of spoiled bacon and 6 yogurts that were WAY past expiration. I get that yogurt is already "spoiled" to a point when you eat it; however there is no excuse for eating yogurt from August 2010. How did the fridge not smell?

1.11.11 - The Impending Snow...

Forgive the quality of this picture as it was taken while driving 60 mph on I-66. After last years Snowageddon and the inability to keep up with all the snow, VDOT has now taken the "over cautious" position. We were forecasted (in our immediate area) to get about an inch of snow beginning around Rush Hour. This picture was taken around noon - the forces are already deployed. I will admit, however, that driving home from my Hearing that evening, the salt trucks were much appreciated as we received an unexpected layer of ice prior to the snow. It was a long, slow drive home that night.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A few of my favorite things...

These are a few of Ginger's favorite toys. Every couple of days I have to go on a Search and Rescue Mission and find these little guys. They usually end up under the couch and under dressers. As long as it makes her happy, I'll keep searching.

Sunday, January 9, 2011's what's for dinner...

I've been on a Pasta kick recently so when I saw a recipe on for a Bacon and Leek Pasta recipe, I decided to try it. The ingredients and recipe are relatively simple.

1. Boil water and cook the Farfalle pasta.
2. Brown some Bacon. The recipe actually called for Pancetta, but shockingly I could not find this at Whole Foods.
3. Add some cut up leeks and cook for about 8 minutes until the leeks are tender. You may also add a few pats of butter.
4. Add 1/2 cup white wine and cook off for about 2 minutes.
5. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream and cook til a little thick.
6. Drain pasta and pour sauce over top. Add salt and pepper to taste as well as some Parmesan shavings.

I enjoyed this with a glass of white wine. Yummy!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The first real snowfall...

Overnight, we had our first real snowfall. It came sometime between 5AM and 9AM....I was up rehydrating around 2:30 and 4:30 AM and there was no snow at those hours. It's a little after 2 PM now and most of the snow is gone. It's pretty to look at and I don't mind small batches. Let's see what the remainder of 2011 holds for snow totals.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Yappie Hour #1 of 2011...

You know its a good Yappie Hour when the dogs are all tuckered out before the guests leave. Every other Friday or so, Joan and Steve have Yappie Hour. The neighborhood folks come over, with or without dogs, and we share good food, good margaritas and good conversation.

Nightly Observation...

A little observation on the way to my Junior League meeting...everyone needs a Sunoco Gas Station on both sides of the intersection!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What I do all day...

People ask me what I do for a living and I often have a hard time explaining it. It's not like being a teacher, doctor or lawyer. I'm a Land Use Planner, formally. Informally, I do a bunch of stuff that keeps me busy all day long (minus some minor distractions such as Gchat, Facebook, TMZ, texting...) and really cannot easily be explained.

Here is one facet of my job that I enjoy and thanks to the market turning around, I am getting to do more often. Sometimes when you have a piece of land zoned for low density, you can rezone it to a higher density (and build more houses - always a good thing). I have a great client who loves doing this (despite the added cost and time) and he lets me process the whole thing, rather than hiring an attorney. Here is how the above picture, which contains a single house now, came to be:

1. John found the property.
2. Kelly completed a feasibility study to identify any problems - none found!  I also completed a layout that looks nothing like what you see up there.
3. LDC completed Boundary and Topographic Surveys,  Preliminary Engineering and submitted an application to rezone the property.
4. John and I meet with lots and lots and lots of people over lots and lots and lots of months and the project completely changes into what you see above.
5. Next week the Planning Commission will hopefully recommend approval and then the Board of Supervisors will hopefully approve the application to rezone the property.
6. The plan then goes to our engineers to design something that can actually be built.
7. The construction plan gets approved at the County.
8. We stake the proposed houses and improvements for construction.
9. The plan comes back to me so I can have my guys prepare the individual house grading plans for approval.
10. Houses get built and sold for lots of money. :-)
11. People move in and live happily ever after.

The End.

I Heart All Things Monogrammed...

The easiest thing in the world to buy me is something with my initials, the letter K or the letter A on it. Everyday I wear a silver bracelet with my initials on it as well as a silver necklace with an A on it. I'm not sure where or when this obsession with all things monogrammed started, but it goes back to at least college. I love the simplicity and the class.

Today, this nifty velvet bag (with a smaller, matching sister) arrived from the Pottery Barn. I had my heart set on a monogrammed pillow case, but after closer inspection decided it wouldn't work. Enter these cute little bags. They arrived today and I can't wait to use them on my next trip somewhere.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hokie, Hokie, Hokie Hi...

Tonight Virginia Tech plays Stanford in the Orange Bowl...since the game starts at 9PM E.S.T., we won't be watching the whole game, but GG and I have our game day gear on anyways! Go Hokies!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Until we meet again...

Note to those who have never been to my house - it's a third floor walkup consisting of approximately 700 square feet. While I am great about cleaning out my house once or twice a year, I still accumulate a lot of junk. I have this nifty storage area off the porch. When I first moved in, Dad haphazardly threw boxes in here and proclaimed "there's no more room." I, being a child of the Nintendo age and proficient at Tetris, knew there was a better method. Since that time, I have precariously stacked things "just so". About half this pile is Christmas decorations - mainly the two containers at the bottom (the three trees - yes three trees) are stacked on top. This makes getting the decorations out and putting them away a chore. Literally, everything must come out to get to the Golden Ticket. Knowing I have  busy week ahead and a Type A Personality, the decorations were put away today. Ginger is upset as she needs to find something else to knock over when she's mad.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Problem With Being Single on New Year's...

Is that someone (meaning you and only you) has to drink the entire bottle of sparkling wine. Sounds easy enough, right? Well not so much when you've been cutting back on your alcohol consumption and trying to fit back into the skinny jeans. See, I value my hard earned dollars and since I'm the one who has to pay for the sparkling wine, skinny jeans, whatever it may be, I find it really hard to not finish something I started (like buy new clothes when they stop fitting). Therefore, I am enjoying my second glass of sparkling wine today and will work those calories off somehow tomorrow. Maybe take the Christmas Decorations down and another walk around the neighborhod. Cheers!