Let it be released from the mind

Monday, June 08, 2009

a few things environmental

New Prius features a solar-powered roof--wha wha???!!! I'm totally in. Anything that was holding me back before is now vanished.

And I learned today on the radio that leaving your DVR on all the time non-stop can cost you $36 a year in electricity bills. Something to think about with all that wasted energy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I cannot WAIT until Sunday night....you sexy flower...

jermaine flight of the conchords bust magazine

jermaine flight of the conchords bust magazine

[via FoxyTunes / Flight of the Conchords]

Monday, January 12, 2009

Home Economics 101

Yeah, that's right. I freaking made that! Anyone who made fun of me for learning how to sew can be quiet now :)
Yesterday I took my Beginning Sewing I class at G Street Fabrics. It took 5 hours, considering I don't know how to sew at all, but it is spectacular. Two initial mistakes I made included sewing one of the straps on turned, so I had to rip that out, and some bunching of the lining. In my defense the lining I chose was a jersey material--very stretchy and hard to sew with!
Can you believe it?!? I'm so freaking proud of myself!!!
The outside is brown corduroy; the lining is lime green with brown stripes. There is even a pocket on the outside!
Next Sunday from 11-5--pajama pants!!

Friday, January 09, 2009


A lot of men that i talked to thought I was silly last year for having a physical at the ripe old age of late 20-something. Well, after recently hearing about a friend of a friend who tragically was found dead at the age of 27 and afflicted with severe coronary artery disease (2 arteries completely blocked), I don't regret my decision.

If this doesn't promote you to be aware of your physical health, I don't know what would.

Take care of yourself, dangit!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

How many squirrels to fill a dinner plate?

I sit here anxiously. The anger is brooding in my temples, and I can feel my shoulders inching up toward my ears as the sound continues.

scratch scratch scratch.....scratch scratch.....thump thump thump thump thump

In August of last year we thought it had all been solved by replacing our roof. The contractor was sad as he ousted a nest of baby squirrels into the neighboring tree, surely to become the next meal for a local hawk or even crow. But he knows the damage and annoyance these tiny little woodland creatures can cause, and he acknowledged the need to oust them from MY home which they had been confusing as theirs.

But several months ago they ate through the shingles again in the front corner of our townhouse and made themselves a nice, warm, dry home in our attic. I thought it was just one because the scratching and running would seem solitary and tend to happen only in spurts. But yesterday, when my anger level hearing them demolish our attic, I definitely heard at least two scampering around. By the yipping and screeching it was hard to tell if they were trying to kill each other or mate.

Why haven't we taken care of this? Well, for one, we don't have a ladder that can reach the roof. I've often considered buying such a ladder, but they are very expensive and we also have nowhere to store it from the weather and vandals. The attic access that we have in our house happens to be on the opposite side of the house and in our closet so it's really difficult to get into without tearing everything up. And, apparently, we're lazy. I have said probably 15 times to D about how much those damn squirrels are pissing me off using our house as their personal space and he says I know and then continues doing whatever he was doing. You're right, I should be a stronger woman and just take care of it myself. Well, I can't get into the attic myself. And I also can't patch it, and it's scary up there with the potential of vermin contact and darkness. I'm making excuses, but so what.

It just so happens that in our White Elephant exchange this year at work, someone got a live animal trap as their gift. I have outsourced this gift, and this weekend it will be placed in the attic to catch that squirrel. Or if I'm lucky enough to get into the attic and realize that there is not a fiendish nut-eating rodent inside the attic, I will somehow work to patch it up before it comes back in.

In the meantime, I've been doing some brainstorming with the help of the NY Times and some crazy Brits...

These days, however, in farmers’ markets, butcher shops, village pubs and elegant restaurants, squirrel is selling as fast as gamekeepers and hunters can bring it in.
“Part of the interest is curiosity and novelty,” said Barry Shaw of Shaw Meats, who sells squirrel meat at the Wirral Farmers Market near Liverpool. “It’s a great conversation starter for dinner parties.”
While some have difficulty with the cuteness versus deliciousness ratio — that adorable little face, those itty-bitty claws — many feel that eating squirrel is a way to do something good for the environment while enjoying a unique gastronomical experience.
With literally millions of squirrels rampaging throughout England, Scotland and Wales at any given time, squirrels need to be controlled by culls. This means that hunters, gamekeepers, trappers and the Forestry Commission (the British equivalent of forest rangers) provide a regular supply of the meat to British butchers, restaurants, pâté and pasty makers and so forth.
The situation is more than simply a matter of having too many squirrels. In fact, there is a war raging in Squirreltown: invading interlopers (gray squirrels introduced from North America over the past century or more) are crowding out a British icon, the indigenous red squirrel immortalized by Beatrix Potter and cherished by generations since. The grays take over the reds’ habitat, eat voraciously and harbor a virus named squirrel parapox (harmless to humans) that does not harm grays but can devastate reds. (Reports indicate, though, that the reds are developing resistance.)
“When the grays show up, it puts the reds out of business,” said Rufus Carter, managing director of the Patchwork Traditional Food Company, a company based in Wales that plans to offer squirrel and hazelnut pâté on its British Web site,
Enter the “Save Our Squirrels” campaign begun in 2006 to rescue Britain’s red squirrels by piquing the nation’s appetite for their marauding North American cousins. With a rallying motto of “Save a red, eat a gray!” the campaign created a market for culled squirrel meat.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Hearing about Obama's initiative to look at the American budget line by line and eliminate useless and wasteful spending makes me think of the movie Dave. I hope that the meeting ends with a song and dance routine to "Tomorrow".

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"Tonite is your night, bro"

sung by Danny Devito to Arnold Schwarzenegger in Twins. Well, let's hope that tonight is Barack's night.

As I stood in line for 2.5 hours today I thought to myself, " Why don't I just do an absentee ballot?" They don't ask you to prove why you're going to be absent. And it's a hell of a lot less time consuming. Standing around the energy that filled Charles Flowers high school today was the reason. It is an exciting day. You feel as though you are walking in to change history. At least I felt that way today. I was proud and hopeful. I was proud to see so many children around me who were experiencing their first ever presidential election and witnessing history. I was proud of the old people with walkers who stood in line, and the lady who brought in snacks and drinks for people to have while waiting.

I was on the other side of the globe when Bush was elected for his second term. While everyone at home was fighting back the sleeping dust from tiny demon fairies, my new husband and I were eating our dinner and watching the results. I am happy to be here and a part of this this year.


We only had about 15 kids come to our house for Halloween. Luckily, we had a killer party to go to so it didn't disappoint us too much. But even the kids that came lacked in the creativity department. Most just wore scary masks and regular street clothes. The little girls were cheerleaders. I found it odd that most of the people on my McScrooge court had their lights off. We have at least 5 kids that live in my culdesac. Where were they this Halloween?

At the party I had a few favorite costumes. I joked recently with a coworker that if I had been pregnant for Halloween I would've gone as Britney Spears or Jamie Lynn Spears. But one ingenious person made a duo-costume for Juno--being Juno and the main guy character which I'm forgetting right now. They both had the costumes down to a T, including wrist bands for running and Sunny D for the baby-momma. My favorite costume was Meg & Pall who went as Mario & Luigi. Best costume I've seen in a long time, but would expect that from the Kunchai's.

I went as Rachael Ray, and Daniel went as EVOO. If we had gone to a Senior Citizens party at the local nursing home, they would've been able to identify Daniel much easier as Olive Oil (Popeye's girlfriend). But given our youthful age, we had to tell everyone who he was. So he dressed in the black skirt and red sweater, pinned back a black wig, and wore a lock around his waist to be "extra virgin". I tucked in my shirt which was the exact style of a Rachael Ray shirt, made my lips extra Jokerish, stuffed a scarf in the butt of my jeans for extra cushion, and carried around a too full bowl of ingredients all around the house. Turns out that the Kunchai's and the Bramell's won for best costume! I was pretty surprised, but of course accepting :) And of course no party was complete this year without Sarah Palin and Joe 6-Pack. Thanks Wakefield's!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

hair oddities

We're still young enough that our hands should look completely normal. They are not old man hands, that have been scorned by years of labor, and have hair growing out of control on them. At this point we're still manicured and polished.

Don't you hate it when you look down at your hand and see one really out of whack hair? This could pertain to multiple things, including color and length. I just found a black hair on my pointer finger (between my knuckle and that first digit where there's a few light and soft hairs) just hanging out all by itself. Why is it there? Why is it trying to make such a strong statement?

D finds giant long hairs all the time on his hands that he marvels over. He usually plays with them a little bit before ripping them out. How did that one hair accelerate its growth so much? It's like the Andre of hand hairs.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ray Lamontagne last night

If you don't know him, you should. His breathy and soulful voice fills my arms with goosebumps as I lean over the balcony rail. I am 20 feet above him, in box 2 at Strathmore Music center, tapping my hand in triplets to his music. As we look down on to the stage, we are wooed by the melancholy of the slide guitar, and the rhythmic tapping of Ray's right foot.

The whole center of his set list was all new music from the just-released album "Gossip in the Grain", which seems more folkish and rooted than his other two albums.

A person screams "Would you like us to stand up Ray" and he says "Of course, do whatever you'd like, you're just in time to stand up for a ballad". And that, in essence, is Ray.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Weddings of late

A couple of close friends have just tied the knot!
Meg & Pall, post-jet-setting to Alaska to get married on a glacier complete with cramp-ons, returned and had a bash with friends and family in Bethesda. We had a very filling dinner at Mon Ami Gabi before heading to a straight-up dance party at Black Finn bar. I don't think hubby was prepared for the "Step Up 2" dance party but the girls had a kicking time losing our minds with the club music! As you can see, this is apparently the face I make when dancingin group situations...
And this past sunday, Mark Wakefield & Alison Bishop were married at the University of Maryland chapel. Their reception was picturesque at the bumper car pavilion of the historic Glen Echo Park. Alison looked completely angelic in her dress, and Mark wasn't half bad himself :) Honeymoon is postponed until January, so send them a message if you know them!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I am NOT currently digging the Jenny Lewis/Elvis Costello song about carpet baggers.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Danes unite!

What's this? Chris Cooley has now become the coolest Redskin ever as he shares my Danish heritage!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Google eyes

I consistently squinch the same eye when I am avoiding the bright sunlight. I always close my left eye. I began noticing when I was at the pool this summer and usually in the direct sunlight that when I would shut my right eye the colors that I saw were actually a little lighter in color than what I could see out of my left eye. It's hard to tell unless you're in direct sunlight--for instance, I'm trying it right now and not really noticing the difference.

And I know I always squint with the same eye because my left eye stays closed much easier than the right does.

So in the bathroom today at work I happened to catch a view of my face in the mirror as I was turning away. It was sort of a side view of my features and I instantly began to whig out. I think the left eye looks a bit smaller than the right eye. Do you think I've inflicted this on myself by always squinting the same eye?!?!

I'm going to work on both eyes from now on and see if I can't reverse this potential google eye status. Ahhh!

All this and I'm trying to prepare for two really big meetings tomorrow. Priorities,priorities :)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I have a question

When you sit in a room for three days with the same 20 people you begin to develop little peeves and quirks about how they act in social situations. It doesn't take longer than the first day to notice the tendencies that some people have while in a group setting.

I'll be the first to admit that sometimes I have trouble keeping my mouth shut. Someone once told me that you should never speak at a group meeting because that is a sign of weakness. Rather you should observe and note, but sit to the side as an esteemed individual. I don't agree with this either, but as my husband always points out, I could use more of a mouth/brain filter than I currently possess. I don't like to leave a room silent. If someone is asking for feedback and no one else wants to respond, I'll take the brave stance and broadcast my opinions. This is not always the smartest decision for me because I am a strong-willed and independent woman. But, I think at least half the people respect me for it. Or at least that's what I understand from drunken conversations post meetings!

But what really gets my in a tizzy is when I am sitting in a meeting and every person that asks a question starts by saying "Can I ask a question?" Or "I've got a question" and then proceeds to ask it. Don't you think that if we're in this meeting learning new material that any comment that's coming out of your mouth would technically be a question. Even comments can be construed as questions in this type of setting, so what exactly is the point of wasting the time to state that you have a question before actually asking it.

Now I will also plead guilty on this case, but in different format. If I'm not in a meeting where someone is just talking AT us and dispensing information, I have done this before. If I'm standing in a group of friends and someone says something that is noteworthy I actually might say "Wait--I have a question for ya..." I make this disclaimer so that if you catch me one day in the future doing this you won't be able to jump on the Kristin bashing-wagon. I will allow you to make fun of me once or point your finger as if to say "I know you wrote a blog about this and you're living your own social awkwardness peeve", but only for a limited time. Then you must move past the ridiculing :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm loving the new Ben Folds/Regina spektor song.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

drowned rat!

Holy crap. Look what literally washed out of a storm drain and into a mud pile while I was walking Laika tonight. Great, now what am I going to do...

After he dried off, he looks a lot like a Himalayan. Creamy tan body, with brown ears/tail/feet, and bright blue eyes. Who wants him??

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Has anyone ever thought about how gazpacho is just like eating salsa? It's kinda weird when you think about it that way, and changes your whole perspective on lunch.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Cooking is life

My friends were recently hosted for the last time at Kelly's condo in Gaithersburg for our July cooking club. Theme: finger foods. I made stuffed mushrooms and mini pecan pie/derby tartlets. For the mushrooms I pulled off the stems and chopped them, and then sauteed with garlic, green onions, butter and seasonings. I then added a little bit of breadcrumbs and some cheddar cheese and baked them for about 20 minutes at 350. Despite making my own dough for the tartlets, it was a bit chewier than I had hoped for. But who can go wrong with Karo corn syrup, chocolate chips and chopped pecans!
Meg stuffed dried dates with pistachios, manchego (?) cheese and then wrapped them in bacon. They were delectable and definitely had toothpicks for the finger-eating.
Jenna wins for most spectacular presentation with her zucchini roll-ups. Zucchinis, better known by Jamie Oliver and the Brits as Courgettes, were sliced thin with a Mandoline, grilled on a grill pan and then slathered with herbed goat cheese before being rolled up around a fresh red pepper piece and tied with a chive stem. I totally need to work on my presentation skills and this should be encouragement enough!

Last night I cooked the two pattypan squash that our garden produced. Most people laugh when I say pattypan squash and think I must be lying about the name. I have never bought these summer squash from the store before, but yet I knew the name. I'm not quite sure why such useless knowledge fills my brain cavity. I feel like most people probably buy these in their baby form, overpriced and in a plastic contained with baby zucchinis from Whole Foods. I have done this at least once before and enjoyed their baby-ishness fully.

We cut out the center and seeded the patty pan squash, leaving some of the bottom still intact to hold in the "stuffing". Then i combined most things that were in my fridge, including the following:

sliced zucchini and onion from grilled veggie sandwiches (did I mention they were marinated with balsamic vin and oil and rosemary?)

frozen sausage, parmesan cheese

fresh chopped roma tomatoes from the garden, along with fresh basil and swiss chard

garlic and a dash of cayenne pepper, ala chef Daniel.

So the oven wouldn't be on for eternity, wasting precious gas and heating our home in the middle of August, I steam-microwaved the squash for about 7 minutes with a bit of water before baking them in the over for another 20 minutes with the stuffing. The result was fabulous and totally delicious! I love using up everything in the fridge!

PS--we roasted the squash seeds. Well, doesn't that sound easy--except it wasn't at all. We tossed them with regrettably too much oil, as well as salt and chili powder. I thought Daniel was trying to deep-fry them with the amount of oil he added. So that made them nice and chewy so we drained them and then put them in the toaster. Except then I went upstairs to change into comfy clothes and Daniel forgot they were in the toaster oven. I could smell them burning upstairs. Toasting nuts must be the single hardest thing in cooking to do :)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

evaluating expenses

I love the technology and programs that Bank of America has put together for managing finances. They recently answered my prayers in re: to managing my "portfolio". So in the recent past you have been able to allocate any debits from the checking account to the type of expense it is--restaurants/dining, groceries, gasoline, paychecks, entertainment, mortgage, utilities, etc. This would then roll up into a budgeting analysis in pie graph form (and who doesn't love pie graphs?!?) to show you how your money was being spent over the course of time. You could analyze your expenses over 3 months, 6 months, one year, etc.

Now they've added a new component to this to make it even more efficient. You can now split your transactions to more accurately reflect the expenses. Before I would pay $670 on a credit card bill, and I would just allocate it towards whatever the greatest single expense was on that bill. Now I can split the transaction to say that $200 went to groceries, $150 to gasoline and the remainder to entertainment. This system is really only effective if you can link your credit cards to your checking account, and if you use your debit card a lot to take directly from yoru checking.

Because of our recent purchase of a used canoe, and having 1.4 million tickets to college football games, our entertainment expenses have now pummeled two former champion categories including mortgage. It's interesting when you look at expenses for a whole year.
Some interesting things I found looking at our expenses for ONE YEAR:

  • my gasoline bill was the same as the amount we spent on clothes and shoes for one year--3.34% of our total expenses for each

  • We spent close to the same amount on our travel as we did on our groceries, 7.11% and 8.11% respectively.

  • We are very giving people, and spent the same on gifts to others as we did on dining out for a whole year--6.36% and 6.29% respectively

  • All expenses related to our house totalled 9.42%, largely because of our expensive cable and telephone bills. When you combine this with our mortgage expenses of 31% we are living above what an acceptable range is for living expenses.

  • My gasoline costs have increased recently by .91% of our total expenses (from 3.34 to 4.25%) in the last three months despite me carpooling 2-3 days a week religiously.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

a few things that have been bothering me

Why do people write WVA? Virginians, stop claiming West Virginia as yours too. The abbreviation is WV.

This afternoon my tire abdominal muscles hurt. You know, those ones that encircle my lower abdomen? I have not felt the "burn" from my african dance class before, but it must be from that. So is it possible for you to exercise a muscle literally by just shaking it really hard? We have this one dance move in the Koko (I think this is what it's called--it's from Guinea) where we bend our knees slightly in a plie (plee-ay) put our hands in front of us and run with our feet as fast as possible. This not only shakes your bum uncontrollably, but basically everything else on your body that wants to move. This moves my tire a lot and I think I'll give another example which luckily doesn't suit me. Imagine a woman with giant bye-bye arms and her waving incessantly for a straight hour. Would that actually work her arm muscles, or does it just hurt from the sheer movement of said fat back and forth? I'm hoping that it's actually working my fat tire (hooray, beer) and not just fatiguing it. Amy has brought up the excellent point of those rubber fat jiggler machines that were in the 1950's that they'd show working people up in a huffy. I guess they were on to something.

With the release of Dark Knight there have been some incredible programs on cable channels like looking into the psyche of Batman, understanding the Dark Knight philosophy, the science behind his gadgets, etc. etc. I hope that you are understanding my sarcasm now... What D & I find interesting after watching about 20 minutes of the technology of Batman's suit was how thought out this was. Here's an interesting point--Batman is not actually fighting criminals. It's a movie. He doesn't have to have a special plate developed to stop bullets but still allow him to be light as a feather. He is not actually flying when they show him flying. He is not actually evading real bullets when they are shot at him.