January 26, 2010


Wanted a cheap wine tonight but didn't want to drive all the way to the suburban sprawl-hole that is Short Pump. So I stopped at my local Kroger, which has a nice wine selection, and scored this Spanish wine on sale (about a dollar off) for $7.79. Because South American and Spanish wines are still almost a well-kept secret, I always feel like I'm in on something special when I buy those wines, especially as compared in price to the other more popular regions, like Italy, France, and California. Speaking of wines, there's an interesting dialogue happening in the comment thread of RVA Foodie's post about a Sideways-style wine duel at his house recently. He better invite me to the next one.

(yes, that's my tree still up in the bg, don't judge!)

I am a sucker for anything in Spanish, and this wine is very drinkable, a little--not sweet exactly, but notes of sweetness. A little dry, but still pleasant on its own. Good buy for sure. Speaking of my affinity for all things Spanish, one of my students, a supercute, immaculately dressed specimen from Guadalajara, Mexico came in today, and was interested in our GSA. I'm looking forward to lobby day.

I might have played hooky from my second job tonight to go to the grocery store, come home and relax, wash dishes, drink wine, and jam out to my iTunes. So far I've had some great Tom Petty, Wild Horses, The Fray, Michael Jackson, John Mellencamp, and now some Queen, one of my all-time favorite bands. Some photos of Freddie Mercury remind me of my dad when he was young.

Do you ever feel like you were born in the wrong era? I wish I could go back and experience the 4o's, the 60's, 70's disco, so many different times. My mom is at the young end of the Boomers, so she really didn't get to see the 60's, so no cool clothes and stories for me. Instead, I remember bad yellow/orange upholstery and bad design that characterized so much of the 1970's.

I plucked yet another grey hair from my part yesterday. Because my hair is so dark, the silverly strands just shout out for attention, such a contrast to the rest of my mane. I remember telling my mom she'd have to stop plucking eventually or she'd have no hair left. Sigh. We all turn into our mothers eventually? I look so much younger than I am, which often vexes me, because I don't like it assumed that I am young and therefore inexperienced and/or naive, though I guess I should appreciate it, because it allows me to bridge the gap of friendships between my much-younger early-20s friends and those in their late 20's and 30's who are closer in experience to me, at least those without kids.

I read a REALLY interesting article in the Chronicle about modern friendships and social media, and when I have some more time this week, I want to craft a thoughtful response.

January 25, 2010

Used to

Have some more Dear Old Loves.

Three Rings
You play video games and work a desk job. I’m joining the circus. Do you still wonder why we didn’t work out?

Lonely Tylenol
We were so good together. And not just because of our mutual affinity for palindromes.

Pick One
You will always be the man I love. But he’s the man who loves me.

Ugh, this one especially got at my heart:
Used To
I just referred to you as someone I used to know.

cats and cookies.

I can't say no to a funny cat video. If I were single, posting this would TOTALLY be getting me laid. (Video found from The Bloggess, which I found from The Checkout Girl)

I went to my local natural food grocer for the first time in like, 2 years last night because I was reminded they have an excellent, healthy hot bar (read: expensive). Every time I'm in that store, I crave refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup, and since I don't recognize any of the brands, I feel a bit like I did when I was studying abroad in Spain--no way to know if the product was any good or not.

So anyhoo, I do like healthy food, and was starved, and so I coughed up ELEVEN DOLLARS for like, 3 things. I must admit, I love this store because of the free samples. Grocery shopping makes a gal hungry, and I like to try before I buy. Well let me tell you about the heaven that was a gluten free cookie I found. I must have eaten 10 samples (self serve, baby) and finally went over and bought the pricey $2.47 or so cookie because it was the GREATEST THING I'VE TASTED. And get this, it's a Raspberry (just a tiny bit in the center) and Coconut cookie. Now not only does this sound like a cookie your grandma eats that's always the last one left on the plate, but I don't really like cookies, and I HATE coconut. The texture is odd, the flavor is not that good, but gosh darnit, this thing was amazing. Soft, sweet, probably about 5.5 inches in diameter.

(I just polished off this cookie as I write this and will plan to return to cough up some more cash for more later)

We're gonna party like it's 1989

I had a dream last night that I traveled to Ethiopia, except it didn't seem like Ethiopia, partly because I was surprised that people spoke Spanish there and was delighted how well I'd fit in. I think I was visiting an Anthony Bourdain-type traveller, and was staying in a run-down local motel and other people's houses, but the food was amazing and the company was fantastic.

Then we were on a boat, cruising through Europe and then eventually ended up back at my childhood house in MD, where my mom and I were trying to climb out my parents' bedroom window, and my dad was still alive, and it felt like 1989 all over again. There was a mysteroius and powerful man in a white limo waiting for me, clearly designed to take us to something or somewhere important, but my mom couldn't get out of the window fast enough, so I kept telling the man he had to slow down so my mom could catch up.

I woke up to a dead limb--I had slept on my arm so hard that when I realized it was asleep, when I moved it, my brain did not even register that it was attached to me. It was a VERY odd feeling, like moving this heavy thing, and I didn't even know it was mine. Between my black-out, cold-blocking curtains and the cloud cover, the morning came too fast and I couldn't even tell it was time to get up.

Found this cool site for illustration, photos, art: batzy

January 22, 2010

Jewelry idea

Inspiration reminder to self

January 21, 2010

We're not gonna protest

Did anyone else see the cardboard sign yesterday on I-195 N after the Thompson entrance with WEBB on it and the E was the hammer&sickle communist symbol?

Am I the only one who thought it was kinda clever and not an insult at all? What's happened recently to ignite this protest about Webb specifically, I wonder? For you non-Virginians, Jim Webb is a newish, Democratic Senator, who ousted a long-time Republican. Fun fact: Did you know he speaks Vietnamese? And his wife has a possibly Vietnamese-sounding name.
Communism is not a dirty word. See also: feminism, socialism, abortion, atheism. It's an economic practice, with some smart ideas that don't always work out so well in practice, a bad history, and unfortunate consequences.

Dear Old Love

I haven't read Dear Old Love on my bloglines in awhile, and looking at them is so bittersweet.

From the site: "Dear Old Love" is short notes to people we've loved (or at least liked). Requited or unrequited.

Here are a few that especially made a mark. The titles are what make some of them so hillarious.

Smoke Signaling
I’m running out of social media to apologize with.

Human Nature?
I just don’t understand why after a year of loving me, you can’t at least be kind.

Party in the Back
I didn’t mind your mullet.

IM in Trouble
I really thought I was over you, until my computer broke and I realized I was going to lose all our old IM conversations. I cried in the middle of the Apple store.

In Spite of Me
I’d beg you to take me back, but I know you can do better than me.

Extra Quiet
We haven’t spoken in six months, so you probably won’t notice, but I’ve finally stopped speaking to you.

You know that thing you never, ever let me do? The new guy lets me do it.

Scrunchie Fetish?
If you never loved me, then why did you buy hair elastics to keep at your place because you knew I always lost mine when I came over?

Ryder Wrong
I had to find out from a Facebook wall post that you moved.

Duct Type
You came up with clever make-shift solutions for every home-repair, but when it was our relationship that needed mending you were suddenly out of ideas.

New Alphabet

What type (font) are you you?
This is a short, interactive with video quiz to determine the typeface that suits your personality. The video allows for a very, in-the-psychologist's-chair feeling. The password is "character."

I am New Alphabet, above, which I find absolutely aesthetically unpleasing. It is a Dutch font, designed in 1967, based on early computer screens.

(found via DDD)

January 20, 2010

Quotes and Content

This weekend my friend asked me what my New Years resolutions were, and seemed shocked when I told him that I don't really make resolutions. While I see the value in them, I don't think there's anything especially important about what I'll want in January that I won't want to do year round. I tend to make resolutions throughout the year as I need to.

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for.” --Epicurus

This is another nugget of wisdom from The Happiness Project. I like quotes, but only when they really strike me. Otherwise, they are just cliche (isn't this true about most things in life?) On my last job, I had written down several inspiring quotes and had them posted around my desk area, and it was nice to have them as reminders and markers of what I believed in. I think I'll try to do more of that here, not just posting the quotes (though that does satisfy my love for lists) but also explaining why they are important to me, and to generate discussion.

This quote above speaks to the "grass is always greener" mentality. Oh and how tempting it is! Blogs and twitter and insta-communication make it so easy to complain about things, and there's value in venting, but I try to remember quotes like this to be thankful for what I have.

I want to do more with this blog. I want more readers, I want the sense of community that I feel by reading my blogs and seeing all the commenters there. I know that to increase readership, I have to provide something unique, desirable, and interactive. I like posting photos and linking to pretty things, but I also need to contribute more--give you something to think about. I don't have strange yet funny happenings like Cafe Darkness, been on 100 bad dates like The Checkout Girl, but I love the Internets, journaling, connecting through social media, and sharing.

Enthusiasm as courage

I've written before about my affinity for The Happiness Project. Gretchen just published a book and is on tour with it now. I must admit, I do judge a book by its cover, and was disappointed to see that the cover was done in a very childlike, cartoon-y manner, which I don't think is befitting to the subject matter.

Gretchen writes:

Confidence has an overtone of posture; also it relates to the way I’m seen by others, or the way I feel about myself. Enthusiasm, on the other hand, has to do with the way I feel about something or someone else. Enthusiasm is a form of social courage; it’s safer to criticize and scoff than to praise and embrace.
I think she's got a great point here, one I never really considered before. This also goes along with my mantra of choosing happiness. You can choose to be enthusiastic. You can choose to be harpy. Which one of these is going to make you happier? I tend to evaluate the world with a critical eye, so I have to catch myself not to go too far that direction. Gretchen writes that she is not naturally an enthusiastic person, which surprises me, probably because I very naturally am. It's easy for me to be enthusiastic, so I should definitely use the traits I already have.

There’s a dark tendency in human nature to mock or attack other people’s enthusiasms.

This is so true. As I especially found over the past year, negative people only bring you down, and make you become a more negative person. I've cut those people out of my life now, and don't need to apologize for it. In wanting everyone to like us, we can be blinded to the quality of the people whose attention we are vying for, or relationships we are trying to nurture or salvage.

What about you? Do you have enthusiasm attackers in your life?

January 19, 2010


I am not a spontaneous person. I think a lot of people like to use that as one of the words to describe them, but I am NOT one of them. I am a planner, I like itineraries, and planning ahead, and lists, and the giddy anticipation of looking forward to something.

That said, I do appreciate when friends call for a last minute get together, or people who actually follow through on the rare case that I ask them to do something last-minute. This is also why I love having friends within walking distance.

Sunday night was like another weekend night for me because I was off Monday (the only holiday we get until Memorial day-notwoot). I didn't have plans, and wanted to go out after watching the Golden Globes and drinking wine.

Thanks to the magic of Twitter and Facebook (didn't we use to use IM for this?), 2 friends responded, one who was traveling via bike, and the other who lives just a few blocks away. Bike friend had showed his penchant for impromptu meetups before. I walked the 6 blocks to my friend's house, and then another 6 to White Dog, which turned out to be closed. Through the magic of my friend's iPhone (I don't have a data phone), we found out RVAFoodie had ended up at Bamboo, where I happily go now that there is no smoking. Johnny ordered the fries, which were thin and abundant and AMAZING. We chatted, I drank $4.50/glass Merlot, and then walked/biked our respective ways home. The warmer weather made the walking bearable. Now that I add it up, it is a lot of blocks, but didn't feel that far away.

January 13, 2010


Can you tell my blood sugar bottomed out? After work I needed candy, so I stopped by the Dollar Tree and ended up with this. I've always wanted to try that bagged Beef Jerky. I liked Slim Jims as a kid and was intrigued by the texture of this stuff, but was always a little wary to try it bc clearly it is not good for you. The package was thin, and it tasted okay, but was sweeter than I expected. In the car on the way home I also had a handful of the wasabi rice things (they all taste terrible/bland except for the wasabi balls), a reese's cup, 1/2 the coke, and now am eating cheese and crackers. Please call and check that I haven't gone into a gluten coma.

The GayRVA fake matchbook wasn't gotten at the store, I just threw it in my still life here as a plug for my friend's blog.

January 9, 2010

Gotta love RVA

Nights like tonight make me love Richmond. I had an impromptu meetup with RVAfoodie tonight at new restaurant, Garnett's in the Fan. The nice thing about 2 degrees of separation in Richmond is that it's easy to get to know people. Had a lovely chat with the owner, Kendra Feather, who was manning (womanning?) the bar. We talked about community blogs, gluten allergies, and her other restaurant, Ipanema, which I love even though I am so not a hipster. I will go there so much more now that the smoking ban is in effect. I will be going to Garnett's for dinner tomorrow with my Church Hill restaurant owner friend.

RVAfoodie and I discussed anonymity on the Internets, online learning and higher education, and local food and food blogs, since he writes about food on his blog and organizes Richmond food blogs over at Eating Richmond. We even discussed this post here, where he calls-out the concept of "Best Of" restaurant lists. Go see for yourself and chime in.

Garnett's had gotten great reviews, from all over, but mainly from blogger I Could Go On and On, who writes so eloquently and descriptively about restaurants and fun things in RVA. This being Richmond, we've not met yet, but of course have 900 friends in common, and have just narrowly missed each other, including just this weekend at First Fridays.

Since putting together my list of RVA food/drink specials, patio dining, brunch, and cheap drinks early in 2009, I've gotten interest from other parties to continue this, so I'm going to make an effort to keep updating my list.

At Garnett's tonight, I discovered they have happy hour from 4-6 nightly, which means their already-affordable beer and wines are $3. Tonight I enjoyed the Sallies Malbec (I do love a Malbec) and my drinking companion had the San Vito Organic Chianti, though mentioned it was dry.

Tonight I will be walking to a friend's birthday party to hang out with a bunch of 22yr olds. This will make me feel even more old, especially since I found a new grey hair just this morning :) The friend, turns out, lives in an apt I drive by every day on my way home, so I will happily get drunkitydrunkdrunk if I so desire, and walk home in my chic, flat boots. I hate cold weather, but wine makes it a little more bearable.

January 5, 2010

Cold, drab, dreary

Especially in cold, dark winter, I have a lot of trouble dressing myself in the morning. Today I actually woke up on time and showered but when I had to put an outfit together, I just didn't want to. It was too much effort, too many choices. I get like this when it's cold or I feel rushed. I ended up just laying half under the covers and mini napping for 15 minutes, which made me late to work. Much as I love having a week and a half off, and spending most of those days being lazy, it makes the realization that you have to get up early and go to work for the rest of your life pretty daunting.

All of the twitterverse is complaining about how cold and dreadful it is outside, but I never get tired of complaining about the cold. If I didn't like Richmond so much, I'd think I'd have moved someplace more temperate by now.

I did end up putting a very cool and colorful outfit together with my new patterned Twenty By Twelve thrifted skirt. The NP at job 2 tonight said it looked like a Monet.

America's Funniest Videos has been on longer than Seinfeld, Friends, and many other TV shows, they declared this evening. It never gets old, even though people don't really videotape anything anymore, and they still show tapes from 1990. I'm amazed it's stayed on the air as long as it has. My favorite clip of all time is from years ago when Bob Saget did the show and he narrates "Billy said they had a man-eating bush at Mr. Wilson's" as a boy on his bike rides right into a bush that fully envelops him.

A coworker not in my department invited me to lunch today and it was really nice to catch up. I found out she plays in a newly-formed, all female, rock cover band. How cool! She was also very excited to hear about the newly-formed GSA I started and advise for.

January 4, 2010

odd combo

Having a full fridge after grocery shopping is very satisfying. My problem then is always, What to eat first? I was having a craving for a dark, frothy winter beer and lo, and behold, Kroger had my favorite Stout, Young's Double Chocolate Stout. Drunk out of my hometown brewery glass.

I'm glad to know I'm not the only one with her tree still up

And then I made these little tortillas with corn, black beans (though Kroger brand are more like brown beans, lime, pepper, and lettuce). I know these 2 things don't really go together, but I had a craving.

The Mexico episode of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (new episode, Jan 11--about time!) is on and I'm watching it for the 3rd or 4th time. I do love anything Latino and really want to go to Mexico again, and I want to do it right, with a native speaker. I've really got to stop letting my Spanish go by the wayside. Any time I have a student with a Spanish accent, I get all wistful. Had a Brazilian student today with a lovely Portuguese/Spanish accent.

Wore this to my first day of work after vacation. You can't see them, but I'm wearing my new thrifted tan/yellow wedges. They are def old, but they are leather and in great shape, and Nine West. It felt like a fun combination to do browns with greys. The outfit was comfy, until I wore it for 12 hours (work+rehearsal+grocery shopping).

January 2, 2010

Sliding cars

Found this from Your Team, which I found from HeyItsPhil.

Your Team cleverly noted that watching this was like being in your very own pinball machine.

when comics are true

Click for bigger

I saved this who-knows-when but it is SO true. Had this dream just the other night, actually.

(source: XKCD)

New Years was dark

My camera is so crappy and only takes acid-camera or dark/blurry shots. Attended a lovely party, were light sabers involved. Also, salsa dancing which I just don't do enough. As I type this, suddenly, there is a cat in my lap.

I did have a rockin outfit though, with my grandmother jewels.

This photo ended up looking like something from a scary movie. It was foggy on NYE, and these people are standing at the edge of an overlook over the city. I couldn't walk outside without breaking into the song The Fog. I sang it in 6th grade chorus. It's a canon, in minor key, and the lyrics are from a Carl Sandburg poem. I'm sure everyone else thought I was just strange. Disappointingly, I just looked all over the Internet and can't find an audio or video of it.

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967)

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbour and city.
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

I've been off since before Christmas, and a lot of my holiday has been spent lazily, starting with mornings that look like this.