Monday, March 27, 2006

Grants from the JLW

I went to a meeting for the JLW tonight. Due to the fact that many of our functions are to raise money, one of the committees is devoted to giving out money. They solicit applications from non-profit organizations through DC. After a lengthy process, 2 are chosen for the league to vote on. If approved, each organization will receive $20,000. The first organization is Turn the Page. They do programs with underprivileged parents to help them understand the power of reading and communication with their children. The second organization is the Washington Middle School for Girls. They're mission is to help vulnerable young girls in SE DC get a good start in life by intervening around the 4th grade.

The other thing that the league offers is volunteers. We also give grants of people's time. The recipient this year is called Jubilee Jobs. It's an organization that helps vulnerable people (i.e. ex-convicts, immigrants, undereducated) find jobs. I'm thinking of working with this group next year. The specific program is called Move Up. It's for people who have been able to find entry level work and keep the job for a certain amount of time. Then, we'd help them with their resume and basically mentor them in trying to "move up" to a higher paying job with benefits.

A Productive Sunday

Yesterday turned out to be a great day. On Saturday night, we went out to dinner for a friend's birthday. The reason I start with that is that normally if I stay out late on a Saturday, then Sunday turns out to be at least a partially lost day if not a fully lost day. I did listen to that voice in the back of my head that reminded me I had been training for the upcoming 10 mile run and that my most important training run was on Sunday. So, I didn't end up going out dancing with them although we didn't end up leaving the restaurant until after 11pm (and remember, I'm old now!).

So, on Sunday, I was supposed to go running with my running group but the trail was 30 minutes away and the run started at 8am. I decided that I didn't want to waste an hour of driving so didn't get up until 8am and went for my run at 9am. I ran 8 miles in 74 minutes. I can't help myself - I have to brag a little. I'm so proud that I ran close to 9 minute miles (if there were no traffic lights, I was on pace to finish in 72 minutes). So, I actually have a chance of reaching my goal of running the race in 90 minutes!

After the run, I headed to the Corcoran to take another docent's tour. I give my first real tour next Saturday so I'm putting togehter what I'll say. The two main exhibits just opened within the last month. Therefore, I don't know them all that well yet. After the tour, I sat at Cosi eating my lunch and reading through the Cooking Light to figure out our dinner menu for the week. I've been horrible about cooking lately. With MTH working 10-12 hours per day EVERY day of the week, I don't have much motivation for cooking just for myself.

After creating my grocery list, I took a few pictures.
The main exhibit at the Corcoran is by Robert Bechtle. His art is very interesting to me. It's like looking at someone's family album. He paints mundane and ordinary scenes. The paintings are mostly based on photographs. And, they're so detailed, that photos of the paintings look like photos themselves. Even some of the paintings look like photos in person from a distance.

The Renwick Gallery (part of the Smithsonian)

The Corcoran Gallery of Art from afar

The Lion that meets you at the front door of the Corcoran. It's an interesting pose. The lion reminds me of Aslan from the Chronicles of Narnia. He's laying down and gives a sense of stillness but in looking closer, his face is scary. He looks like he could pounce at any moment.

After the pictures, I headed to Whole Foods to pick up the groceries. Then, back at home, I cleaned up a little, talked to MAK for over an hour and cooked dinner. MTH made it home around 8pm and we were able to actually eat a somewhat normal dinner.

Then, I was in bed by 10:30 and asleep soon after.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Young Women's Leadership Forum

Today was an interesting day. It's a Saturday but I got up at 6:25am to go to Richmond to volunteer as a mentor for the Young Women's Leadership Forum sponsored by my company. It was an inspiring day. Since my role was to be a mentor, I sat at a table with 5 girls ranging from 10th grade to 12th grade. We talked about what their plans were for the summer all the way through what they want to do in the future. It was very eye opening to hear about what some of these girls have already accomplished or want to accomplish. For example, one wants to put off her first year of college to live in Italy for a year. I would have never thought that possible when I was graduating from high school. Certainly, all the girls at the conference hadn't had these types of experiences. The key note speaker was a person named Liz Murrary. As a little background, she had a movie made about her life and it aired on Lifetime. You can read more about her here and here. The main theme of her message is that each day we need to listen to what she called the "what if" voice in the back of our heads. That is, what if I did what would really make me happy today (that is if you're not happy with what you're doing now). Her message was that life is about choices (I know, we've all heard that one) but she made the point that it's about all types, not just the big ones. I don't want to bore you with the entire story of her life. With that background, you'd understand better about what's so inspiring. So, I'll just say, try to see the Lifetime movie. In the afternoon, the girls went to workshops about leadership, budgeting and finding their paths. The mentors went to a networking session, a discussion about differences in communication between genders and a feedback session. All in all, it was a great day.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

NYC Timeline

5:30pm - Arrived Penn Station and head to 49th&5th to drop off my bags at EE's office
6:15pm - Headed to Saks to try out the hot chocolate in their new chocolate cafe on the 8th floor. It was wonderful - not too sweet, not too rich.
7pm - Sat down for dinner at Morrell's Wine Bar
8:30pm - Headed to Edgewater, NJ and turned in for the night
8:00am - Woke up
9:15am - Ate breakfast at Panera - tried out their new egg souffle pastries - nice change for a breakfast item
10:34am - Caught the bus to go into the city (it actually was late and didn't arrive until after 10:50am)
11:45am - Sat down for lunch at "good" - of course, EE and I weren't hungry since we'd just had breakfast at 9:30am!
12:45pm - Checked out KS and MDH's apt in Tribeca - very nice place with a view of the water and it's convenient to many subway lines
2:00pm - Arrived at the box office to find out that they don't open until 3pm - we decided we didn't want to stand in line for an hour so we head to the Whitney Museum
2:30pm - Arrived at the Whitney Museum to find a line out the door and we also realized that we were hungry so we decided to go to lunch - yes, we didn't plan this part of our day very well
3:00pm - Happened upon a wonderful place called Payard - I had a wonderful entree - Potato Tourte Layered with Goat's Milk Brie, Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions and Walnuts. EE had the three Mini Lamb Burgers in Olive-Fennel Fougasse Bread, Vegetable Bayaldi, Arugula Salad and Harissa-Yogurt Dipping. We were content after that meal.
5:00pm - Headed to Saks for shopping
7:00pm - Headed back to Edgewater after we figured out that we were very tired
8:30pm - Ordered Italian food from Noni's Italian Bistro - everything but the Eggplant Involtini was very good. We had discussed watching a movie but somehow ended up watching the story of Beyonce on E! It was interesting. We also watched a Chris Farley SNL Memorial show. I couldn't believe how many of the skits I remembered. That's KSD and MD's fault. We must have watched them when we lived together in Atlanta. They loved that show. I'm sure 2.718 must have watched it with us too.
11:30pm - Asleep
7am - Drank my bottle of water so that I could go for a run at 7:30am
7:45am - Left a little later as SA and EE decided to go for a walk while I went for my run
8:45am - Returned from my run
9:34am - EE and I caught the bus - very impressive that we were able to take showers, get dressed, dry my hair and both put on make up and walk to the bus stop in that short amount of time!
10:15am - Arrive at the Port Authority - there was traaffic in the Lincoln Tunnel so it took longer than on Saturday
11:00am - Arrived at Le Pain Quotidien
12:00pm - Shopped at the Lincoln Jazz Center
2:30pm - Headed to Penn Station
2:55pm - Arrived Penn Station
3:06pm - Train left on time for DC and my trip to NYC was over

As usual, the theme of my trip was eating. That's not a bad thing although ETK was very adamant that we should have eaten at least one Turkish meal. I guess that EE has enough Turkish food at home.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Am I Boring?

So, ETK hasn't posted for a while because she was told her blog is boring. Personally, I didn't find her blog boring but even if it was, who cares is what I say. I figure that more than half the people who read my blog probably don't make it through the entire posts because they're not very interesting. I guess you have to ask yourself "why am I posting to the blog". Is it for venting (getting out your thoughts), is it for gratification or something else? Whatever the answer, it's for you and that's what counts.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

American Goat Cheeses

I went to another cheese tasting this past week. It was on Thursday night. The theme was American goat cheeses. Some of you may be crinkling your nose right now because you think of goat cheeses as pungent and weird tasting. It turns out there's a reason you may have tasted goat cheeses like that. The owner of Cheesetique explained that goat's milk is very delicate and must be made into cheese almost immediately after it comes from the goats. If it's not, the cheese does not taste very good. Thus, it means that the cheese is from a lesser farm. The tasting included some very interesting cheeses. There was a hard cheese called Midnight Moon that's aged for almost a year. It did not taste like any goat cheese I'd ever had before. The Purple Haze does have that goat cheese taste but it also has an interesting flavor from the added lavender and fennel pollen. There were many others but I won't bore you with the descriptions. Basically, my favorite was the triple creme. We will have that one at our next party for sure.

The Grill Still Works

Due to the great weather, we were able to test out the grill this weekend. Originally, a group of us were going to a St. Patrick's Day festival in Arlington but it turned out to be so crowded that we would have had to wait at least an hour to get in. So, instead, we headed back to Alexandria, picked up some fresh made bratwurst at the Whole Foods and grilled them to perfection. It turns out the Whole Foods is the place to be on a Saturday afternoon. There were cheese tastings, wine tastings and even a beer tasting. The cheese tasting was for Irish cheeses. So, we ended up buying an Irish brie. It was really good. When I say "we" went to the grocery store, of course, that was the girls. So, what were the boys up to while we shopped? Bocce ball, of course. They played until they could no longer see the ball due to there being no sun or moon. All in all, the day turned out to be a lot of fun.

Tonight, MTH and I will have some chicken burgers and grilled asparagus. We'll probably just play Scrabble, no bocce for me.

Beautiful Weekend

We've had wonderful weather this weekend. Friday it was in the 70's. I worked from home in the afternoon with the windows and doors open. It was great to get so much fresh air. Yesterday, it was again in the 70's and today is more of the same. I'll write more later. I've got to go take advantage of the wonderful weather.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Weird Cheese

QY was definitely interested in the new cheese I brought up this past weekend. She was very worried about the ash in the middle of the cheese. So, I took a picture of it so that she could see what it looks like.

Mobay Cheese just before MMH finished it all!

The part of the cheese on the left is goat's milk and the part on the right is sheep's milk. The blue line in the middle is the ash. You can eat all of it and it tastes wonderful. It's not pungent like you might think of a goat cheese tasting. It's milder like a sheep's cheese but with more robustness.

Yes, I know, I'm crazy about cheese. It's my new chocolate.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

If a tree falls in a forest...

I was reading an article earlier this afternoon about the "millenials". Haven't heard of them yet? I hadn't either but it seems that people who were born between 1980 and 2000 have been tagged with that title. I guess I'm considered a Gen X-er but I'm actually not sure.

Anyway, the point of the article is that these people are extremely connected. They download their TV shows so that they can watch them at any time. They instant message, email and text message more than they talk on the phone. One of the people being interviewed summed it up very well - "It's like, if you don't check your email and you turn off your phone, it's almost like you don't exist"

That blurb definitely struck me. If you don't see a lot of the people that you email or text message very often, it is like they no longer exist if they stop.

Another interesting tidbit: It also said that only 9% of 30 somethings read or have blogs. I guess MTH and I are in the minority.

Spring is peeking through

In mid-February the daffodils in our front yard started peaking through the ground. Now, they've bloomed.

Close up of a daffodil bloom - Note that picture was taken with one hand with cell phone

Early St. Patrick's Day Celebration

The 2nd Annual St. Patrick's Day Brunch was a success. People stopped over for brunch yesterday morning. We enjoyed coffee, leprechaun breakfast and cinnamon rolls with mascarpone cheese mixed with orange marmalade. MTH made some great pots of coffee. And, of course, we had mimosa and Guinness - no green beer though.

Then, we headed out to Old Town to watch the parade. We missed part of it because we didn't leave the house when we should have. The next part of the day was supposed to have been spent in one of the Irish pubs in Old Town. We had decided to go to Murphy's. It has traditional Irish music and several Irish beers including Guinness on tap. But, it way too packed - we would have been miserable. So, we went to House of Klaus instead. It's a dive bar right beside Murphy's. They had Guinness - in a can. We spent the afternoon there - playing darts and hanging out. It turned out to be pretty lazy day. MTH and I arrived back at the house around 6pm where we promptly fell asleep for a few hours. We then ordered out pizza and went to bed around 11:30pm.

Here's some pictures of the day.

MTH and MMH before the party started - Yes, MTH's shirt says Made in Ireland and yes, my hair looks funny

Everyone wanted to pose with MTH before we headed out to the parade (look at those nice legs on MTH)

QY winning at darts

Friday, March 03, 2006

My New Favorite Cheese

I went to my favorite store, Cheesetique this evening. I was buying items for the St. Patrick's Day Brunch tomorrow but decided that I needed a snack for tonight. I tried a cheese called Mobay. You're probably asking yourself - what kind of cheese is that? Well, it's from Wisconsin (shout out to Loud). It's made from both sheep's milk and goat's milk but they're not mixed. It's actually two different cheeses separated by a very thin layer of ash. You eat them together along with the ash to create a new flavor. It's so awesome. I definitely recommend this cheese to everyone!

I also bought some Cashel Blue cheese in honor of St. Patrick's Day since it's an Irish cheese. Also a very nice cheese. MTH likes blues better than me so I actually bought it for him.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Why cats are like husbands

Phoebe and MTH have a lot in common. They can be needy. For example I was on the phone with ES of Baxley. Several times during my conversation, MTH would yell upstairs about something he needed. If hadn't been on the pohne and had wanted him to listen to something I had to say, he would have easily ignored me. Phoebe has this behavior down pat as well. Just a few minutes ago, I was trying to type on the computer. Phoebe decides that I really need her in my lap. Since this computer is a "lap"top, that means Phoebe was actually on the computer that I was trying to type on. Of course, if I wanted to pet her, she would run away and possibly even hiss at me.

I've been informed...

by MAK that the theme of my blog has morphed into "MTH working too much". Since that's not really supposed to be my theme - ok, ok, not sure what my theme is but I don't think that's a great theme - I'll put a moratorium on that talk.