Archive for November, 2010

Gratitude Day 10: Heat

Clearly, I’m playing catch up on this blog as I’m almost a week behind!  I had a wonderful trip to Seattle, and I’ll be writing about that more later.  In the meantime…

Last Wednesday I was thankful for heat.  Last week when it was so cold, I turned on the heat in my house and nothing happened.  Actually, my mind was playing tricks on me and I convinced myself that it was getting warmer, but Corby disagreed and she was right.  I briefly thought that it was just the pilot light since it worked perfectly when the house was inspected in April and the boiler is only five years old.  It took me a few days to remember that when the bathroom subfloor was put in they had to take out the radiator, so they shut the system down and didn’t make it right when they put the radiator back.  Why am I not surprised?

I learned that it’s probably good to get the boiler and heat checked out (a yearly physical of sorts) BEFORE everyone else turns on their heat, too.  I watched a few videos online and learned all about how a boiler works…which is pretty interesting stuff.  The videos were so clear and easy to understand that I actually thought I might try it, then came to my senses realizing I could blow my head off, so I called the professionals.

The heater guy, we’ll call him Glen since he came from Glenmont HVAC repair, was very good (I found him on Angie’s List, so props for an A+ score they have and for calling me back before anyone else).  I told him I was a new homeowner and that for this first time I really wanted to learn as much as I could, and he taught me!  He gave me pop quizzes, taught me about how the pieces and the system work, and most importantly, how to get the air out of the radiators.  I feel pretty confident that if something goes wrong with the boiler that I can at least accurately describe the problem when I call them again to have it fixed!

Yup, this is interesting stuff

Yup, this is interesting stuff

The heat is up and running and I am thankful for that.  I’m also pleased that while we didn’t have heat, the temperature hovered around 60 degrees because it’s a pretty well insulated brick house.  And man, that heat works!  I’m very excited about that.  The house is not drafty or leaking as much air as the last house.  It gets warm quickly (we’ll see what the heating bills end up being!).  I’m just very happy that it works and I’m looking forward to being snuggly warm all winter.

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Fall Dinner

A few days ago, I wrote about the dinner party we hosted last week.  My parents seemed particularly interested in this event and I received some photos from Salsa, so I decided to put up a few more to continue the Gratitude theme from yesterday.  This one is for you Ma and Pops…can you guess who everyone is?

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Gratitude Day 9: Photos

Man, I’ve had an exciting two months!  Nothing too unique about these months, other than I was really busy traveling for weddings, road tripping for fun, prepping for our house warming and nesting as the season turns colder.  I’m finally catching up.

Corey often tells me I live an amazing life, and he’s right.  Here are some favorite photos taken over the last two months…no time to label or catalog (if you want details, see my facebook album).  The following photos are of my house, Alice and Andrew’s wedding in NC, Cabin in the Woods weekend, Kevin and Beth’s wedding in Yosemite, playing with Maria in San Francisco, White House Tour, John Stewart’s Rally for Sanity, and Halloween.  Yes, I live an amazing life….off to Seattle tomorrow for Melissa’s baby shower!

So, I guess my gratitude goes out to my trusty phone that took all these photos so I can remember these moments.  I have a terrible memory, and sometimes these snapshots in time are all I have.  Thanks little Droid.

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Gratitude Day 8: Indie Coffee Shops in College Towns

For work on Monday I drove to Charlottesville, VA for the day.  (I love my job.) Charlottesville is the MOST beautiful this time of year.  I remember my Junior year of college, Kim Sharer, Jessica and one other (whose name escapes me now) took a trip to Richmond, Charlottesville, etc. in VA for fall break just because.  And now I get paid to do it!  How fun.

On my trip, I needed to work while I was on the road.  I brought my laptop so I could check in and get some writing done.  I found this cute little place called Shenandoah Joe.  I figured it was independent because it had the word ‘Shenandoah,’ but it’s probably owned by McDonald’s like everything else!  Based on my senses, I “discovered” this gem.  And by discovered, I mean I didn’t use a phone or GPS or any device but my eyes and brain and a couple of U-turns.  Oh, and a note:  The one thing that planning school really taught me was how to navigate successfully based on land use patterns.  I totally rock that skill, and it will serve me throughout my life trying to find any type of land use.   Definitely worth the debt.

Anyway, this place reminded me of my favorite study place in Los Angeles when I was at USC.  Actually, I had quite a few.  Ragazzi Room on Hoover for big tables and group meetings, Caffe Marco in West Hollywood where I asked a stranger – Todd Elliott – for a job and he gave me one, and which now has new owners and a different vibe than it used to, and that one I didn’t know the name of but found it every time I needed it.  Now, LA coffee shops are surreal, and this isn’t a post about them.  However, I should mention that there are some great spots in that large metropolis and the places were always full of writers and creative types at ALL hours of the day and night.  What a fun environment to study anything!

I love the feel of indie coffee houses this time of year.  My productivity picks up immensely when the weather turns just a bit cold.  I love the mismatched furniture, oversized community tables and board games sitting in the corner just waiting to be played.  I love that you can choose to tune out the world around you or gab with your neighbor (as long as he or she is giving you the sign that it’s okay, of course!).  I love that I can pretend to work while listening to people’s conversations.  I love that I can get hours of entertainment for a $2.00 cup of tea, though, if I stay long enough I will surely break down and buy some sort of pastry to go with the cold tea and mostly honey mixture left in my mug.

I was appreciative that I found Shenandoah Joe at the right time and it could provide me with free wi-fi and a roof over my head and a relaxing atmosphere to settle in and get some work done for a bit.  Thanks to all those indie coffee houses.  Let’s continue to support the small guy, okay?

Closing time at Shenandoah Joe

Closing time at Shenandoah Joe

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Gratitude Day 7: Subsidized Corn

I love Subsidized Corn (our improv group, in case there is any confusion before I begin).  I am so thankful that I have this group of friends that I can spend time with each week playing and laughing.  Through the laughter, we are learning and pushing our boundaries and getting to know each other better and becoming better individuals.  Sunday evening, we had our first practice with a coach (who was a one-time deal because we like that we are self coached for now) and it went really well.  We worked for three hours with Mark and it was so much fun that time flew by.  I’m also thankful that Mark agreed to work with us!

This is such a supportive group, both on stage and off, and I am thankful that they are in my life.  We work well together and our strengths and weaknesses complement each other.  We are very much like a family unit, which each of us playing a specific role.  I remember the day we formed and Nick said that we should each agree that the minute it stops being fun that we have to communicate that immediately.  Just like any relationship, you need to let people know how you feel and if you need support for anything, you need to voice it because people are not mind readers.  Since then it has been a lot of fun, and we’ve been very good about voicing concerns, issues and even praise.  As a whole, we’re very innocent and have good clean fun.  We’re the underdogs you want to pull for because you relate to them.  Individually, we’re average, but together, we’re super stars.  We are the 2010 WIT Cagematch Champs, after all!

I know I have a tendency to go on and on about them, so I’ll stop there today.  I just wanted to be clear to them, in case I don’t tell them enough, how special they are to me.  I am thankful that we have SubCo practice each week as an excuse to catch up with them (even though some weeks I’m more excited than others).  And I’m still not ready to talk about Goli leaving us for Sydney, so I won’t.  However, I will be seeing her next spring.  Stay tuned for details.

Lizzie's SubCo design for the last show

Lizzie's SubCo design for the last show

So, thank you Nick, Darnell, Steve, Lizzzie, Goli and Laura for all the laughs and support!!

(And readers, if you have a minute and haven’t seen our interview for the last run we did, take a moment and read it.  That will help you understand how our personalities, and spreadsheet skills, work together.)

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Gratitude Day 6: Lounge Days

Yesterday, I did nothing.  Seriously, nothing.  I would not have gotten out of my pjs had Corby not introduced the idea to take a walk (we didn’t end up going).  My schedule is usually slammed, so I don’t get days like that often.  I haven’t lounged like this for at least a few months.

Luckily, I had help on lounge day from Corby.  She came over and hung out all day.  We watched The Tudors, college football and some HIMYM.   Good stuff.

Today, I am thankful that I had an entire day that I could spend how I wanted to.  I didn’t have to feed anyone other than myself.  I didn’t have to make up lame excuses why I couldn’t do something with my significant other.  I didn’t have to make any excuses to anyone because it was lounge day and I only wanted to lounge.  It was so nice to just chill after the last few weeks.  And I’m thankful that I have the personality enough to slow down and take advantage of such a fun, do nothing day.  Of course, I had to do other stuff on Sunday and didn’t get to all the work I had intended to.  I’ll pay for that this week, but I don’t mind.  Lounge days are worth it.

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Gratitude Day 5: Self expression through dance

Friday, I took a dance class.  Actually, I took a dance class on Wednesday, too.  And I am thankful that I have the gusto and humility to walk into these classes not knowing anything. A little background: when I was younger I took tap, ballet, jazz and all the dance classes you could imagine.  About once a week until I was 12, I was going to classes and performing in recitals like all the other little girls.  I’m sure it was my mother’s way of trying to keep me from being an ungraceful ogre as I was much bigger (taller and wider) than most kids my age.  It mostly worked and I am, to this day, graceful enough that I don’t trip over my own feet when I walk.

I bought a one-week pass at BTI for $20.  On Wednesday, I took an Advanced Beginner ballet class.  They told me on the phone I could handle it, but they were mostly wrong.  It’s been over 20 years since my last ballet class.  As much as I was behind, I actually held my own in a class that has been practicing week after week.  I did more than okay for a 20 year hiatus.  And the steps came back to me quickly…in my head if not my body.  What they failed to tell me was that there was an intro class and a beginner’s class that I could have taken.  Nothing like a challenge!

Last night, I took another dance class, and this one was based on Glee!  The teacher takes the moves from the previous show and by Friday comes up with the choreography to teach.  This class was a beginner class, and I could totally hang.  Plus, since this week was a re-run, we got to do steps from the Britnay/Britney show a few weeks ago.  There were only five of us and it was really fun.

I am appreciative that my body can still move like that.  I am also thankful that I have friends who like to go dancing and who throw great weddings and parties with dance included.  Although I am never the first one on the dance floor, I will eventually get there.  And thank you to my friends who usually coax me out there because sometimes all I need is a little push.  I also dance around the house, especially when Corey sings the magic phrase, and that always put me in a good mood.  I like dancing when no one is looking.  I didn’t like dancing in front of the full-length mirror in class though!

I am even more appreciative of people who make their livelihood this way because it is hard work.  I bet the cast of Glee has a blast each day learning the new steps and I can only imagine how hard it is to do that all day, every day.  So, I am thankful that I am physically able to partake, ignorant to my limitations and humble to enough to walk into a class where I have no idea what is going on.

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