Friday, January 30, 2009


I totally stole this idea from Jenni's page. I just really liked it!! I am also going to download some of the songs she has on her iPod - they look good!

The Rules

1. Put your iPod on shuffle.

2. Hit “Next” and whatever pops up is the answer to your next question!

3. No cheating!

Here goes!

1. How am I feeling today? “Shoulda Woulda Coulda” by Beverley Knight

2. How far will I get in life? “’65 Love Affair” by Paul Davis … what does THAT mean? I’ll be 93 (in the year 2065) before I finally have a lasting love affair? GREAT. Still, living to 93 as "how far I will get in life" is pretty good, right?

3. What is my best friend’s theme song? “Fifteen Years” by Pearl Bailey – that’s really funny because ALL of my friends HATE Pearl Bailey. In fact, in college, Mo and Jennifer hid my Pearl Bailey cassette tape somewhere on campus and I had to go find it. I wasn’t pleased. :)

4. What was high school like? “Islands in the Stream” by Dolly and Kenny… definitely NOT what High School was like – unless, of course, it was me, Jenni, and Erin!! – but I was just talking about this song last night and how happy it makes me. I loves me some Dolly and Kenny.

5. How will today be? “Reunited” by Peaches and Herb … that would be fun! Maybe through Facebook?

6. What is in store for me this weekend? “Ants Marching” by Dave Matthews Band … YUCK. I hope not! I don’t think I have anything to worry about since it’s 30 degrees outside.

7. What is the best thing about me? “Ana Ng” by They Might Be Giants. “Make a hole with a gun perpendicular, to the name of this town in a desktop low….” Eh???

8. What song describes my parents? “When Your Mind’s Made Up” by the Swell Season (the Once soundtrack) … hahahaha!! That is TOTALLY my parents.

9. How is my life going? “Fishin’ Blues” by Taj Mahal… that’s pretty funny. I do like to go fishing, but I don’t go enough. I never thought of that as a parallel to my life, but it’s probably true. (Unless you consider “Fishing” my love life, in which it could NOT be further off… “Many fish bites if you got good bait … Ima goin’ fishin’, yes I’m goin’ fishin’, and my baby’s goin’ fishin” too!”)

10. What song will they play at my funeral? “Letting Go” by Joe Cocker… this is absolutely EERIE. I used to play this song over and over after my Dad died. Wow. So Jenni, if I get hit by a bus today, will you make sure my Mom knows to play this song? Thanks.

11. How does the world see me? “Many the Miles” by Sara Bareilles … I really like this. “There’s too many things I haven’t done yet … there’s too many sunsets, I haven’t seen.”

12. What do my friends think of me? “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi … really??

13. Do people secretly think I’m good looking? “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond … I don’t know what that means, but I believe it’s “people’s” way of skirting the topic, so the answer must be “no!”

14. How can I make myself happy? “Break My Stride” by Matthew Wilder … hahaha – this does make me happy!! Not as happy as “Brandy” by Looking Glass, but VERY happy.

15. What should I do with my life? “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye … actually, I’m afraid of heights, so I’m going to take this as something metaphorically inspiring.

16. What is some good advice? “I Don’t Wanna Be” by Gavin DeGraw “I don’t wanna be anything other me…” That really IS good advice!

17. Will I get married? “What’s My Name” by Snoop Dogg … hahahaha!! Well, that answers THAT question!! I love it.

18. Where will I go in life? “Oh, I Love You So” by Preston Smith. Hmmm… well, it’s from the Cocktail soundtrack, so maybe Jamaica? That would be cool!

19. Will I have kids? “Dance and Shout” by Shaggy … another evasion, perhaps?

20. What is my current theme song? “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” by Stevie Wonder. Ok, if the iPod says that’s my theme song, then THAT’S MY THEME SONG!

Jenni, you made ME smile, too!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ecstasy and Agony and Ecstasy

After a WONDERFUL Tuesday with the rest of the United States, celebrating the dawn of a new Presidency, the rest of my week really blew chunks. Nothing I want to blog about, but some ongoing issues with the Luals, a family I love very dearly.

My Dad used to use the expression "Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?" The rest of this blog makes me feel like that a bit, but honestly, it was a wonderful weekend. It started Friday night when I went to dinner with my friend Susan. She let me vent and cry... and she even picked up the tab, bless her little information librarian heart. We even had a giggle about a very odd Women's Leadership luncheon she had been to the day before, after which we came to the conclusion that people from American University are excessively touchy feely. If you have any information related to this topic, we would really love to hear it.

Then I went home and did a "Test Skype Conference Call" with my friends Mo (also in Richmond) and Jenna (Pittsburgh). At that time we realized that the "Virtual Baby Shower" we were planning for Jen Hen for Sunday was going to be a disaster - technology is not ready for 5 video participants across the globe! Oh well, Jenna had a blast, since she had "control" - as the Skype Host - to decide who she wanted to have on video at a time. Ah, the power. :)

Saturday morning I got up and headed to Yoga Source in Carytown to meet Susan for a Yoga Day USA - free classes all Saturday! We chose a Vinyasa Flow class, and it was HARD!! I spent a lot of the class in Downward Dog and Child's Pose while the other people had twisted their bodies up into all kinds of imposible positions. Pretty amazing.

After class, Susan and I treated ourselves to a Honey Almond Latte and a pastry from Can Can, thus probably ruining all of the good effects of my limited Vinyasa Flow, but who cares! It was delicious. I went home, took a hot bath, packed an overnight bag and headed out to Short Pump to meet Mo for lunch! Mo knows the Luals really well, so she was a huge help in working through some of this junk. Unfortunately, she is also currently crippled by a very uncooporative ankle. I think her hot chocolate may have helped! I know my chai tea did!

Mo, with her Hot Chocolate and her "Polar Bears for Obama / Biden" shirt

(a gift from her man Geoff, who had to look hard to find one with Biden's name on it because Joe Biden is actually Mo's cousin)

After hanging out with Mo and heading to Best Buy so that she could use up a $5 coupon on the new Beyonce album (which I think I will also be downloading soon!), I jumped in the car and started heading toward Annapolis.

I met the Karen and Billy Spies and their Ocean City gang at Middleton's in Annapolis, MD for a last-minute night out. A band they know from Ocean City called "Tranzfusion" was playing at Mike's on Riva Rd.

Mike, Billy, and John were able to hold their vow to "No Shot Saturday" for about ... hmm, I guess it was about 4 and a half minutes into the evening. Well done, boys.

After dinner (steamed mussels - Mmmmm!), we headed over to Mike's


Karen, Erin, Sloane and Mike

Who to our wandering eyes should appear? Alison and Tom! We couldn't believe they made it. It was a HUGE surprise. I had already surprised Ted at Middleton's earlier in the night, so to have the Spies, Staeger, Lizas and Kennedy contingent all under the same roof was a pretty big deal. I cannot remember us all being together for probably 5 or 6 years. Quite a coup - especially since it wasn't planned in advance!

Ted's face was priceless - he kept gawking.

Billy, Tom, Spies, and Moge

Their friend Mary Paula was DECKED OUT, including these pumps with little fur bunny tails on top. (Mary Paula and I convinced ourselves that the bunnies were already dead when they decided to use the tail, but we really can't be certain.)

Michaela and Ted - Teddy is still gawking!

Aunt Crazy and Mike - Dori was on her way!
(Apparently Dori was a bit late, however, because we found out that on the way home, she had to make a few "unscheduled stops" for her darling hubby... hee hee!)

Billy and his cousin Sloane in the cab on the way home - what an example he sets. :)

After picking up the kids, the cars, and some McDonalds, we had a fabulous, lazy Sunday (watching Will Ferrell videos and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun) at the Spies house

Then it was time for me to leave Maryland and head down to my friend Kari's house in Manassas for ...
Jen Hen's Baby Shower!!

Darrin did this to is daughter Katelyn's hair while we were setting up ... it cracked me up! She is still so cute, even if she does look like a human dandelion.

Anna, Jen and Dave
Eleanor (Dave's Mom) was so great! She not only opened the box while Dave and Jen were running errands, decorated the room, decorated the cupcakes and lent Jen her cell phone with a speaker phone for the "conference," she also took pictures during the Shower! This is the Henderson family, kitted out with all of their Baby Shower paraphenalia!

Baby Anna and Mommy
The bibs I knitted for Anna - both organic cotton with multiple button holes, so they can be used as she grows and washed in the washing machine and drier! (The only thing I'm hoping is that the buttons themselves aren't choking hazzards - I didn't exactly have them approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission!)

I found that the bib is more attractive close up than from a distance. Who knows how long they will last, but it's the thought that counts! (I hope!)

A picture I took of Jen through Skype - this is what she looked like to us on the screen.

Virtual Baby Shower Aftermath:
Computer with Skype screen on the left and chat screen on the right, empty wine glass with used up Baby Bottle from the "how fast can you chuck apple sauce through a baby bottle" contest, candy bars with wrappers displaying Anna's stats, empty cupcake holder, and finally a Baby-shaped-Salt-Water-Taffy with timer, which was never used.

Hanging out seeing all of my friend's kids really made me miss my nieces, though. Lauren and Kyla, I really hope to see you soon!! Your Aunt Crazy misses you!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Powderly Road Trip

On Saturday, my friend Kerry brought her kids down to Richmond for the day from their home in Fairfax. It was billed and promoted as a "Road Trip" to her son Chris, so that's the title of this post!

We had lunch at my house (I have a LOT to learn about buying kid food!) After that, we piled into Kerry's car and headed up the street to the Children's Museum of Richmond. It was so much fun!

Chris and the self-entitled "That Yo-Yo Guy" ... Yo-Yo Guy was quite serious about Yo-Yo-ing. He even had his own Yo-Yo holster on his belt.

There were a MILLION things to do in this museum. What did Caitlin choose? To climb on a chair. You gotta love a woman who appreciates the simpler things in life!

The Children's Museum had all kinds of different areas ... a TV studio with real cameras, a grocery store, a cafe, etc. This is Chris in the classroom.

There was a huge water area where you could splash around with boats, ducks, and all kinds of other water toys. They even had a lock where you could practice lifting the boats to higher and lower water.

Caitlin enjoyed crawling around on the mat...

... and riding a brontosaurus!

I could say that Chris enjoyed digging for dinosaur fossils, but really what happened is he discoverd that the plastic dinosaur bones could be split open and work like a construction grab truck.

Kerry pointed out the expressions on the faces of the parents around us in the younger children's area ... they looked utterly BEATEN DOWN. Once she pointed it out, I was cracking up. You could see it everywhere. I had to take a picture.

Cait liked to sit on the floor of the car while driving. I envision a low-rider in her future.

Chris coming down the treehouse slide

I'll tell you a secret - Kerry likes to play with the toys, too! She's not ashamed to admit it!

Caitie and Ducks
There was one exhibit at the museum that surprised us the most ... SNOW! They actually made it snow in the Backyard, and there were all kinds of snow toys to play with. Kerry thought this was great, because apparently Chris has been asking for snow all winter.
The Powderly family (sans Dave, who is in DC with every other Police officer in the country, preparing for the Inauguration)

Chris didn't have any gloves (who'd have anticipated SNOW??), but he still had fun playing with the trucks and shovels.

Well, the Children's Museum was more stimulating than we ever thought it would be. We were pretty exhausted when we left! (Kerry even attempted to put Chris in Caitlin's carseat - uh oh!)
Thanks for visiting guys! I had a GREAT Saturday!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Miscellanea in Gennaio

Here are a few odds and ends from my January so far.

The first weekend of the year, I brought lunch for the Luals. It was a negotiation, actually, because I'd told them I'd visit on New Year's Day but it was so cold and I was so warm in my blanket on my couch that I bailed. In a vigorous negotiation, we settled on a Saturday visit including lunch. Here are the kids all hyped up on salad, pizza and ice cream.

Duk, Deng, Adeng, Achan, Anger, Ayak and Nyabol

Duk loves having his picture taken. He thinks it's really funny.

Achan and Deng

Anger and Adeng in the woods behind their apartment.

Ayak in an unusually silly mood.

Awut - The Negotiator - in the kitchen... in a TYPICAL silly mood.

Muloh asleep on the couch.

The girls bedroom - SOOO clean! I'm pretty proud of them for this. Does this look like the typical bedroom of 5 girls, ages 8-17?

On Saturday, January 10th, I drove up to Tyson's to have dinner with the folks I used to work with at the Census Bureau.

I have known these cats for 13 years! Wow, that's pretty amazing. I'm getting pretty darn old.

Cezarina, Lori and Jackie, with the beautiful lunch Keith and Hui prepared!

Austin, Keith's oldest son, was really good at using my camera! Here is a picture he took of his Dad.

Here is a picture he took of all of his family (using the timer, of course!)

Here is the "Art Shot" of the tiramisu, Cezarina and Lori.

Keith and Alex, who is probably thinking "Why are all these strange women in my house??"

Tiramisu-a-la-Keith... apparently this was for Jackie, who did not believe he could really make one! You have to know Keith to understand her disbelief. You see, Keith is a practical joker. He is also a liar, and I mean this in the most flattering sense. For those of you who remember my political blogs from last Fall, you may remember me having to "close up" my blog to anonymous comments because some random joker posted some inflamatory comments without identifying himself. With regret, I made it so that people can now only comment when they have logged in.

Well, I learned on Saturday, that this was KEITH. He was quite proud of himself for getting my knickers in a twist!! :)

Keith serves his tiramisu, thus forcing Jackie to not only acknowledge that indeed he is capable of producing such a gourmet dessert, but that in fact it was REALLY REALLY delicious!

Austin and Cezarina. Austin is very serious about the movie Cars. He knows it extremely well, and is - we found out! - capable of discussing it for hours. (It was adorable.)

Cezarina hasn't worked this hard since retirement! :-)

THANK YOU Hui, Alex, Keith and Austin! We had a blast!!

That evening I met Torsten, who I also worked with a shorter 10 years ago, for dinner in Reston.
Torsten quickly discovered what a nuisance I am with my camera.

I subsequently discovered that paybacks are Hell.

Eeesh. That's a lot of chins.

Good people-watching vantage point.

Finally, the least pleasant part of January: putting my great-uncle to rest. He passed away the day after Christmas. His family had a Memorial service for him on Tuesday. I'll miss you, Uncle Bob.

Robert Laughlin Park, 1919-2008

Bob's niece Kathy and son, Tim (my cousin)

A Grandfather clock hand-made by my Great-Grandfather, Charles Park, or "Be-Pa." It was partially made (side panels) with wood from the original Bank of Alexandria (built in 1792 as the first financial institution authorized by the General Assembly of Virginia), with authentic Black Forest clock parts.

Amy, Nancy, Betsy, Chrissie and Kathie - all of Uncle Bob's Park nieces.

Aunt Crazy (Anne), Amy, Kathie, Betsy, and Katy (Amy's daughter) and Nancy (Mom)
Katy and her dad, Pat ("Pook") look at family pictures

Uncle Bob's grandsons Shawn and Chris, and his daughter (my cousin) Lucy