Friday, August 22, 2008

No more work - time to PLAY

Last weekend was chock-a-block with fun activities! I left work Friday night and drove to Washington, D.C. to have dinner with Sabrina, who I used to mentor ... ohhhhh so long ago. She doesn't need my mentoring now! She's the mother of these adorable twins. She's taking classes online and - for whatever reason - she was actually really looking forward to having dinner with me at our good ol' reliable Chinese restaurant, Hunan Dynasty on Capitol Hill.

Saying goodnight to baby Aliya
Aliya looks up at me cautiously
Andre and shy Grandma, Chinita

Sabrina and Andre ... he was not so cautious, he was downright giggly!

Sabrina at Hunan Dynasty

In addition to the Kung Pao Duet and the traditional Pu Pu Platter, we had California Rolls, Cucumber rolls, and - get this - Flying Fish Roe (Tablko). To me, it was really good, and it wasn't nearly as bad as Sabrina thought it would be!

After big hugs to Sabrina and her Mom, I headed downtown to Scott's house. We went right to sleep to prepare for our big day on Saturday!

Scott's House Saturday morning

I met the Spies family early Saturday morning at Garry's Grill in Severna Park, MD to catch up but also to pick up all of the stuff I'd left at their house from my last visit!

Samantha took this picture of Kennedy and Spies. Every time I've visited the twins - since they were old enough to speak, anyway - I have taught them something that their poor mother then had to spend months "unteaching" them. For example, these girls knew every single word to 4 verses of The Diarrhea Song when they were 3 years old.

During my last visit, we discussed the idiom "drop the kids off at the pool." Saturday morning, I explained to the girls that I had to use the bathroom before I went on Scott's boat, because it is standard boat etiquette not to go on the boat, if it can be helped.

Samantha called me Sunday night and left me a voicemail. This is the precise transcript from that call (which is still stored on my phone:)

"Hi Kennedy, It's Samantha. I just wanted to know if you ... um ...
dropped the kids off at the pool. I hope they had fun. Bye."
Those twins crack me up. I love them.

Spies family picture that they should frame

Spies family picture that I will frame!! Bill and Karen ("Spies" to me), Samantha and Lindsey.

So then I was off to the marina! I've been out on the last 2 boats Scott owned, most recently last June, but not this one! It was quite luxurious, and 4 people can fit nicely without being cramped at all.

I was meeting Scott and Matt, who I worked with in my last job. Also along was Tripp, who I hadn't met before but who I quickly learned to love!

We headed out from the Turkey Point marina in Annapolis and went across the Chesapeake Bay to Oxford, MD. The weather could NOT have been better!

Matt and Scott

Aunt Crazy on the dock at Mears Yacht Haven. I am curtsying because I was treated like an ABSOLUTE PRINCESS last weekend! Being the only chick in a group of three guys DEFINITELY has its advantages!

Tripp, Matt, Aunt Crazy and Scott with our rental bikes for our tour of Oxford, which is so small it takes 20 minutes, end to end!

Tripp, Matt and Scott with the shark at Schooners

Having cocktails on the bow (yes, Matt, the bow is the front!!)


Sunrise (What did you say? No, of course I didn't take it! Matt snuck out with my camera and took some phenomenal shots.)

After our continental breakfast and some minor preparations, we waved goodbye to our slip at Mears and headed back towards Annapolis. Actually, I wasn't waving at anything, to be honest. Matt had gone to get me some Gatorade and Scott made the bed while I laid on the couch in the back of the boat and nursed away my hangover with some Dramamine and a nap!

By lunch I was ready to roll. I felt much better. This is the place we chose to eat on Tilghman's Island, which Matt commented was like a metropolis compared to Oxford! :) Two Bloody Marys later (my Mom would have prescribed the hair of the dog!), I was healed!

The view of Scott's boat from our table. What a day!

That was the boat ride! We came back to Turkey Point, took a quick swim in the pool at the marina, then diligently unloaded the boat. THANK YOU, Scott, for a great couple of days!

On my way home, I met Moge and Emma at Hard Times Cafe, a chili joint in Springfield, VA. We had a great dinner and a short catch up. It was the perfect wind down before my trip back to Richmond.

Alison ("Moge") and Emma at Hard Times

As for last night, I'm proud to say I made the Knit Night blog! OK, barely.. that's me looking down in the back next to Kristen's face and the back of Susan's head, but it's definitely me!

As for today, well, two things.

1) You have to call this number: (650) 388 1117

2) You have to try this!!

I turned this:

Into these!

Isn't that a riot? What is really frightening is that there are some 80s pictures where I actually LOOK like that!!

My friends Brandon and Amy had some yearbook pictures done, too... incidently, Brandon was actually born in 1977. Hee hee!


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I got time!

WARNING TO PARENTS OF SMALL CHILDREN: You might not want to read this post. Why? Because this was the kind of weekend you probably only dream about. I had three full days to fill with whatever fun and productive activities I chose. Anything. Now, please consider that I KNOW a weekend like this is a luxury, and I am sincerely appreciative for it. I enjoyed the everlovingHeck out of it, quite honestly. But my nails are SHOT. Ick.

All in all, Aunt Crazy successfully...

  • Organized and cleaned her basement
  • Organized and cleaned her garage
  • Installed lights on her bike
  • Mowed the grass
  • Touched up paint throughout the house
  • Labeled paint cans in the basement
  • Changed various pieces of furniture throughout the house
  • Reorganized and cleaned guest room (including scrubbing floors and baseboards, which is my least favorite part of the cleaning process!)
  • Organized Greece pictures while watching Shirley Valentine
  • Cleaned the oven manually for an hour... then said "Screw Mother Earth" and put the oven on self-cleaning for another hour.
  • Organized, cleaned and painted downstairs closet
  • Cleaned outside window sills (but never got around to repainting them ... next time!)
  • Broke belt on vacuum... bought and fixed belt on vacuum (HASSLE!)
  • Cleaned out drains throughout house, including "baking soda & vinegar" trick
  • Had dinner with Cousins
  • Had lunch with other cousin
  • Turned in some less-loved books to used book store and used credit to buy books for the Luals
  • Made 8 back-to-school bags for Luals
  • Packed and mailed packages for brother, sister, returned GPS and defective Wenger watch

Less notable yet equally time consuming accomplishments:

  • Read the Sunday paper cover-to-cover
  • Grocery shopped
  • Did laundry, including comforter covers
  • Paid Bills
  • Downloaded Bend It Like Beckham soundtrack to iPod/iPhone


The pictures below represent some of the above-referenced activities, as well as some pics of Uncle Bill's new digs. Enjoy!

Grilling out at the Culkins' new house!
Kelly prepping the chicken

Kathie and I enjoy being told we can't help with anything :)

McKenna entertaining us ... I wish I'd gotten a shot of her big grin without the pacifier. She was so cute, especially when she was being silly.

McKenna looks on while Chuckie grills.

Any ideas? I didn't think so. This was Aunt Crazy's latest attempt at McGyvering a rolling tray for storing stuff in the back of the closet under the stairs. Yes, I did this myself! Can't you see the sloppy attempt at securing the wheels I found in my toolbox (from my Grandfather's old office chair) with Gorilla Glue?

What's that you say? Yes, I agree... Norm Abram and Bob Vila are probably shaking in their heads in horror right now.

After cleaning and painting the interior of the closet and the door, here is how my rolly tray fits in the back of the closet, tied to a handy dandy hook on the wall for easy retrieval!

Voila! Here is the final closet, hopefully more useful and functional than before.

Here's Bill's new place in San Diego - it's so cute!! Christie, Lauren and I are going to visit in November. I can't wait.

Sydney and the sunset on Pacific Beach ... right at the end of Uncle Bill's street. Surfers in the background. Not too shabby.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Aug 9-10 Weekend in Richmond and Lake Gaston

Another EXCELLENT weekend to document! On Friday night (the 8th), I went for sushi with 2 of my 3 Richmond Girls, which was an excellent (and fairly healthy!) way to kick off a grand weekend of fun.

Saturday was dedicated mostly to one of two special trips for the Luals before it's time to go back to school. It was kind of funny, but when the kids voted on what trip they wanted to take, the split was strictly by age! None of the younger kids wanted to go to the beach because, as Deng said so eloquently, "We don't want to die." Well, I reassured them that although I was pretty sure they wouldn't die at the beach, that was OK because not everyone can fit in my car.

So what did the little kids want to do? Well, it was unanimous. Three things: Go to a movie, eat ice cream, and go to the Zoo. So that's what we did. I used my old video camera to record the day, so that's why these pictures are a bit grainy.

Duk, Adeng, Deng and Nyabol

The Orangutans

A Giant Tortoise

The Sky Ride! This was my view of Deng and Nyabol from my chair with Adeng and Duk.

This is the view of Nyabol and Deng after they turned the corner and came towards us. This is one of the moments I most wished I had my good camera for, because the look on Deng's face is priceless. Bless his little 6 year old heart! He was SOOOO looking forward to this ride, but when he got on, every muscle in his body was clenched and he couldn't utter a word. After we got off I gave him a big hug and asked if he was glad he went. He thought about it for a minute, then said "Yes, but I do not want to do it again."

View of the Giraffes

Duk, Adeng and Deng feeding the camels through the big pipe that dumped the food into a box on the other end. It was fun, but the camel kept freaking out Adeng. If the kids waited too long between feedings, the camel would bang his head against the tube, which of course would jerk the kids on the other end. Every time he did it, she would look at me with her mouth in the shape of a big "O", like she was expecting me to punish the camel for being rude or something.

One of the Warthogs... peee-EEEEW!!

Nyabol feeding the cow. One of my favorite parts of the Richmond Zoo is that they have farm animals in addition to traditional zoo animals. The best part, though, is that you get to interact with so many of them!

Duk feeds one of the Giraffes.

The Rhinos

The Lions

This one's for Susan... the Lemmies (Lemurs)!

Some Chimps

After a ride on the carousel, I was finally able to drag everyone out of the zoo, and all of the kids fell asleep in the ride home. Very cute, I thought, but I really wanted to join them! No can do, because a) I was driving, and b) I had plans Saturday night!

After three cups of coffee, I showered and headed out at 10:30 to BOLLYWOOD NIGHT at Cous Cous with my friend Nicole. It was a BLAST - I had so much fun! Too much fun, because when I got home at 2 AM I was completely wired and couldn't sleep until 4. Not such a great move since ...

I was then up at 6 to head down to Lake Gaston! (I told you this was a magnificent weekend!)

Friends of our family have a couple of houses on the lake and had invited us to come. Christie, Matt and the munchkins stayed overnight on Saturday, but Aunt Crazy didn't make an appearance until Sunday. It was so much fun. What a great lifestyle down there!

Macy and Squirt (Kyla)

Pipsqueak (Lauren)

Noah with Oreo mouth

Jake ... he really is a good lookin' kid, all evidence to the contrary in this photo!

Amanda, Chief, Kyla and Lauren

The Dock!

Adam and Jake out on the jet ski. I don't know if you've ever jet skied before, but just in case you haven't, DO IT. It is one of life's best pleasures (and probably biggest environmental offenders!) in my opinion! My first time was with Jenni in High School ... but fortunately this day ended better than THAT one! :) I got to take Jake out for one run, where we got up to 65 miles per hour! Then later I took Noah, and finally, Noah and Jake. We had such a great time.

Shannon, Noah and Matt on the dock.

View of the houses from the dock.

Noah and Amanda on the raft.

I did take a group picture, but I guess that was with Matt and Christie's camera. Thank you Geyer / Fischbaughs! We had SUCH a wonderful day!!