#38 wearing a snuggie at work

reason number 23978 that virginia is not my favorite place: it is cold. okay, i realize that there are colder places one could live, and i also realize that i could learn to bundle up a whole lot better, and i also realize there are starving kids in africa, but i am a spoiled southern california girl in a foreign land. yesterday, it was 54 degrees here and i was filled with inordinate amounts of joy. i thought the winter was over! spring had sprung early! i could stop taking the vitamin d pills the doctor prescribed and start laying out in the sun any day now! buster and i took a leisurely walk at the park, where birds tweeted, the sun glimmered on the lake, and other cliche idyllic things happened. ah, yesterday! 

today it is 38 degrees with a wind chill factor that makes it feel like 25 degrees.

i've found that even if i wear a sweater and pants and leggings under my pants to work, i am still cold. always cold. so very cold. i end up working in my coat, which is kind of stiff and not really made for hours at a desk. i complained about this one day a few weeks ago, and one of my coworkers said she had an extra snuggie that i could use. two days later she brought it to me, and voila! 

it's a blanket with sleeves!
here i am, pretending to work. i highly recommend this (i mean wearing a snuggie at work, not pretending to work). i feel simultaneously warmer and...cooler. the valid excuse to wear a snuggie at work makes the cold much more bearable. that's a half point for virginia. way to go, you lame, lame state.

(photo credit: courtney cameron, who lives on the other side of my cubicle.)
(snuggie credit: megan comer, who lives on the other other side of my cubicle.)


guest post #4 going on a spur-of-the-moment vacation

and now, a post from erin matzen, my coworker and friend. check out her blog, which is tracking her weight loss journey, here: lbsdroppin.blogspot.com

I thought I was going to have a quiet Christmas this year...and I was wrong.  In late November, I called my mom to talk about holiday plans. We figured out we wouldn't get to spend Christmas together for various reasons, so she asked me if I wanted to use her hotel points since she had enough for a free room.  I gave her a cheerful “Maybe!” but I knew I really wouldn’t use them.  Joe and I had just gone on a honeymoon four months earlier…we didn’t need to go anywhere!  

Well, not three days later, I got an email from my cousin who had two flight vouchers that had to be used by 12/31/10. She didn’t have time to go anywhere and didn’t really have the money for lodging once she got somewhere, so she asked me if I wanted to buy them for $175. Total. For both. I flipped – of course I did! After a discussion with the husband, we decided to leap at the opportunity. We decided on a trip to the West Coast - Las Vegas and Phoenix, here we COME! Here are some highlights from an amazing, packed trip:

First, we flew into Vegas and used my mom’s hotel points to spend a free night in a moderately sketchy hotel several blocks off of the strip. After darting in the hotel sans our luggage because of a scary vagrant lingering near our car (what’s up, sketchy guy), we crashed into our moderately comfortable room. We woke up early the next day – my husband had planned a very intensive itinerary for us – and drove to the Hoover Dam. We took the “Dam Tour,” where we went into what used to be tunnels to re-direct the Colorado River, learned about how the dam was built, went into the room that housed the generators, and walked across the dam from Nevada into New Mexico and back.  All in all, we crossed the MST/PST time zone line about six times. At one point, I was standing in Arizona and the husband was in Nevada.  

After this adventure, we drove to the Valley of Fire. We drove across the flat desert, and then out of nowhere these giant rock formations appeared and it really did look like fire compared to everything else. I have never seen anything quite this color, and the photographs do nothing to capture how vivid these rocks are. We saw petrified logs and I climbed one of the “beehive” formations, further proving I am going to be a bad example to my children because four little boys followed me up there, much to their parents chagrin. Sorry, parents. We stayed until sunset and it was gorgeous seeing the sunset on the desert and behind monolithic rock formations. The coolest part was seeing the petroglyphs, which are ancient Indian drawing in the rocks. The entire trip I was silently praising the Lord – it’s amazing what He has created for us to enjoy.

After this excursion, we began the long drive to Phoenix.  For some reason, we decided not to go back into Vegas and stopped for gas on the outskirts.  We tried to find somewhere to eat.  The only place for miles and miles was the Hacienda casino, right across from the gas station.  We figured “might as well” and went in, ate a buffet, and blew some money gambling.  We then continued the long long long  boring drive through the desert in the pitch black night.  At 9 pm, Pacific time, we were sitting in an In-n-Out Burger (my first In-n-Out, and it met ALL expectations!) and I said “HAPPY NEW YEAR!  It’s 2011 in Virginia." I continued this for the next three hours until it was 2011 in all four time zones.  Yep, I’m a dork.

When we drove into Phoenix, I thought the city was burning down. Seriously. Turns out, Phnx has “the brown cloud,” a giant smog problem. I am so glad the east coast doesn’t have smog.  We went to a football game, which was a lot of fun even though I have no affiliation to either team. We went to the pre-game party and were given so many free bags of the new Artisan Tostitos I could’ve opened up a store. Instead I ate them and felt horribly sick afterwards. 

Day three, we drove to the Grand Canyon, which was breath-taking. Again, continual praises to God for this creation.   We drove along the canyon rim, stopped at each lookout point, and took ridiculous amounts of pictures.  It wasn’t quite what I expected, but it was so massive and impressive. Also, I wasn’t expecting snow. The snow made everything so peaceful and majestic; however, I had flimsy shoes and no socks.  Not a good combination, but I survived.

After this amazing experience, we trudged back to Vegas. We got into the city around 9:30, cruised the strip people watching for a moment, and then arrived at the Mirage, where we were staying. We parked in time to see the volcano erupt…COOL!  When we got back to the hotel we were exhausted. We set the alarm for 2 am – Vegas never sleeps and we figured we’d explore the casino downstairs then. Negative, my friend. The alarm went off, we hit the OFF button, and slept until 9:30 am. We went to the breakfast buffet at the Flamingo and sat next to a window where cool water fowl and giant koi swim in a moat surrounding the actual flamingo habitat.  Then we headed back to the Mirage and went to Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and see dolphins, lions, tigers, and a panther! Joe played in a poker tournament and I wandered around the slot machines. We bet money on the Virginia Tech game, went to the buffet at the Bellagio (aMAZing) and went back to the room to watch the Orange Bowl to see our team get smashed. Then we spent several more hours downstairs feeding the slot machine our money. Overall our time in Vegas was pretty lame because we were so tired from our other adventures. We plan to go back to Vegas and do it “right” next year.  Haha!

So, very long story short, I love the desert. And I love the western part of this country. My trip was fun and I wish more people will sell me ridiculously cheap tickets to go somewhere I’ve never been before and write about it. Maybe I need to write a letter to the Travel Channel……..


#37 hibachi!

last night i went to hibachi for the first time. the occasions were plentiful: arabella's little brother was in town, shep's pals were in town, chadley was hungry, and shep and arab wanted to celebrate squirmy mcgee (our fetus). we ended up at wasabi, a hibachi grill in norfolk. from the outside, it looked like one of those shady restaurants that i tend to always suspect are fronts for drug circles or brothels, but once inside, it was more spacious and classy than i'd have imagined. (i am still 98% certain that this discount bread shop by our apartment is drug central though - i mean, the place has a huge property, is open approximately 40 hours a week, employs at least three ladies for those whole 40 hours, and sells $1 bread. it just doesn't add up.)

since we had a group of eight, we had our own table/grill, which was nice because then we wouldn't have to stare across the table/grill at strangers. except our table/grill was facing another table/grill, and at one point i looked up and felt like we should perform something for the audience over there. we didn't. 

the waitress came and i ordered the teriyaki chicken. then she brought onion soup, which was just some weird broth, but i liked the shape of the spoon so much that i ate a lot of it. next was a house salad, which had the most amazing dressing on it. i really could have had that to drink. it would have tasted better than the water i had picked. i just hate water.

then the hibachi chef arrived. he flipped his utensils around like nun-chucks, and i was mesmerized. he poured the rice onto the grill and did some fancy egg cracking, and i was in awe. then he lit the whole thing on fire and i was amazed. he also made a little tower out of rings of onions, then made fire spurt out of that and shouted "JAPANESE VOLCANO!"

then he cooked some meat, which is something i could have done myself. not impressive. 

finally, he cooked some shrimp and tossed it into people's mouths. i didn't really want him to toss any at me, and my reasons were threefold: 1. i don't really like shrimp, as you may recall. 2. i've never really been good at catching even smaller things - like m&ms or popcorn - in my mouth, so shrimp seemed impossible. 3. i was a little afraid it would be super hot.

well, chadley caught some, no problem. arabella looked like a little seal catching hers, no problem. so i decided sure, why not? he tossed a shrimp at me and it bounced off the corner of my mouth and splatted on the floor. he tried again and it hit my teeth and plopped on the table. lame. i did not wish to further subject myself to this takahirofoolery (that's tomfoolery with tom replaced by a common male japanese name, in case you're wondering), so the chef moved on. 

in conclusion, the food was delicious (except i wish i'd picked the steak and i still don't like shrimp), the chef was entertaining, and i do not have a future in catching food in my mouth, though i'm not sure that anyone really does. this is a first worth repeating. 
(i don't know why i'm making that face.)


#36 peeing on a stick

i have peed in a forest on a camping trip. i have peed in the ocean, both atlantic and pacific (oh shut up, you have too). i have peed in a cup for a physical for high school sports. but never before had i peed on a stick.

i won't go into what really started this stick adventure (i encourage you to read a biology book or ask your mom about that), but i'll tell you what triggered me wanting to take the test. you may recall my speeding ticket in the beginning of november. if not, here's a refresher: http://fazawesome.blogspot.com/2010/11/34-getting-speeding-ticket.html. my description of my breakdown after getting the ticket was not in any way an exaggeration, and it made me wonder if there were extra hormones going on. seemed the only likely explanation.

the next week, jeff and i were out to dinner with some friends and someone made a joke about me getting pregnant some time. that did it - i wanted to clear my mind and find out for sure. after dinner that night, i went to walgreens and bought a pregnancy test.

when i took the test, this is what came up:

can't tell what the response is? yeah, neither could i. when jeff got home, i rushed him upstairs and showed it to him, and both of us were confused. what did a faint line mean?! we decided not to react until we figured out what it meant.

the next day, i googled "faint pregnancy test line" (i am a brilliant researcher), and discovered that any little hint of a line meant i was pregnant and it's pretty freaking accurate. in conclusion, we're having a baby, due july 9th! (arabella would like to add, "jeff shot, he scored!" which i thought was rather crass and did not see fit to include.) 

and that's the story of the first time i peed on a stick.

the end.