Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow (and more snow and more snow)

Since marrying a winter lover from the Midwest, I've developed a certain fondness for the season. Last year, I blogged about not enough proper winter. Not enough snow, sledding, hot cocoa, fire place opportunities. I should be so lucky this winter. Having survived the 16.8 inches Snowpocalypse in December, we just "enjoyed" the mind-numbing, back-breaking Snowmaggedon (26+ inches) this past weekend. And now, my beloved Capital Weather Gang tells me we're looking at another blizzard and possible additional foot tomorrow. Even Uncle Sam has panicked and shut down government for the second day in a row. It's been a long time since we've gotten consecutive days off (the Post thinks it was 2003 but I am 99.9% sure that isn't right since that Monday was a federal holiday and OPM closed us down on Tuesday as well.) Ugh.

I reached a certain desperation point on Sunday, vowing that come hell or high water I would leave the house on Monday. I am just not made out for full time housekeeping- three meals a day, endless loads of laundry, snow pants on, snow pants off. Thus, the girls and I escaped for some retail therapy this AM. Tysons Corner never looked so good. The indoor playground was enough to give somewhat sane parents nightmares. Kids who probably not been outside since Friday paced the perimeter of that damn place like the hounds of hell. In between you had ninny parents trying to capture that magic moment on film. Hello? Still, I was heartily grateful for this brief interlude with the rest of humanity especially since I came home to the dire warnings of more snow on the way. In fact, the forecast not only drove me out to shop just because, it also drove us to a restaurant for dinner since we probably won't see one of those again for days. SNOW (Imagine me raising my fists to the sky in a somewhat pointless gesture.)

For those curious about how we survived Snowmaggedon, OPM called a 4 hours early release on Friday so we were safely home as the snow began to really come down. We are gecko-sitting this week which makes the weather even more of a challenge, as we discovered to our peril on Saturday after we lost power. Geckos, being cold blooded creatures, require a heated tank. Only after wrapping the gecko tank in blankets and surrounding it most ritualistically in candles, we discovered that our elderly Dutch neighbors had power. Gecko was thus shipped next store after an extremely laborious explanation that when we said "gecko" we did actually seem small lizard. Power was restored in due course (we were one of the very lucky ones) and gecko was returned (I believe much to gecko's delight. Our neighbors are relatively quiet people unlike our two children and felines who spend the better part of any given day crawling around the kitchen counter to check on the lizard.) After 7 passes we liberated ourselves at least out of our driveway but are still waiting for our street to be entirely liberated.

And so we wait for the next wallop. Florida never sounded so good. And remind me to revisit the topic of trying to "make up" to my now three years old her birthday spent almost entirely indoors with her sister, gecko, and cats for company.

Monday, February 1, 2010

If you listen hard enough, you can almost hear the schuss

We did it! We finally made a real none VT ski trip this past weekend. Not that there's anything wrong with a VT ski trip. In fact, we've become spoiled rotten having a good mountain, free lodging and some Q-time with grandparents available to us whenever we say yes. (For the record, we're saying yes in a few weeks time.) But even though it requires a bit of a hike, going to VT is almost a mindless effort. We don't have to prep, explore, convince the girls that this is in fact fun. Some of this ease has made me feel like a bit less of an enthusiast. So buying a ski rack, packing a gear back, throwing the girls into the wagon as the first snow was beginning to fall in VA, and then making a slow but steady push towards WV made me feel a bit more legit. It was a LOOONG weekend- 5ish hours to get there, one half night of sleep, 6ish hours of skiing, 5 hours back (considering the Arbys stop) and back at work this AM. But still, we did it.

Best of all, Snowshoe was a decent mountain and definitely worth the trip and the girls loved it. After a skiddish start, Isabel was queen of the magic carpet, demonstrating that she could in fact do it all on her own. We're trying to encourage her to turn and the incredible, weird thing was, she was almost parallel ski turning at a few points. She could snow plow to stop herself when she needed to. Could she be that advanced? I doubt it but can you imagine?

We got Lottie up on skis as well. She was more fond of the lift than anything but she skied some between our knees and some being carried. Her favorite part was singing a wobbly rendition of the "Hokey Pokey" as we went down the hill. Isabel was the same at 3- a good "Wormin' Polka" (for you Backyardigan fans out there) could distract her from the cold. My question (for anyone out there) is how do you explain "don't sit on your skis" to a 3 years old? Please stand up wasn't doing the trick.

Of course after a morning of squat skiing and cheering, by the time I was ready to take a few runs after lunch I was a bit shocked at the pitch of the run I chose. So shocked in fact I mini panicked and then face planted. Always a good way to warm up after a year of rusting. I was so tired I felt a bit like Derek Zoolander, only able to go to the left in this instance. I seriously paid for it today. My right calf muscle is in a knot and no amount of stretching or the two miles I jogged today will seem to pacify the beastly thing. I fear my Zumba performance may be impacted.

Oh well, it's too bad we couldn't pack a little more time off in this weekend. Now to just get myself through the next two weeks before my next fix.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Update! Phone Recovered!

A new me? An end to crabbiness? Oh come on now, people, it's too fun to mope. And I still have that management thing to contend with. But at least half of life is right with the world. Now, to figure how to reactivate that phone...


It's probably not the best idea to blog when you're crabby. And boy am I crabby. I lost my cell phone. To describe this as a small issue is probably an overstatement given how much I use my phone, but I am still incomprehensibly crabby all the same. That's because I hate to lose things. Don't get me wrong, I am no patron saint of my worldly possessions. I've been known to lose some major things in my time, but the thing is I AGONIZE over the loss for days, sometimes years. I've been known to get upset over losing an earring backing. I lost a necklace that someone gave me for my first communion when I was 22 years old, and I still get upset over it when I think about it. It may be the act of losing something more than the actual lose itself (although I mourn that necklace as much as my own stupidity if I am honest.) Losing something represents forgetfulness, lose of control, some sense of irresponsibility, and a measure of ungratefulness for what you have. Can you tell I am catholic? But it upsets me down to my core that I can and do lose things.

Back to the phone, I am fairly certain what may have transpired. I had the phone while grocery shopping with Lottie on Sunday. We had to go to Safeway after our TJs run because for some strange reason TJs does not carry garbage bags. Lottie walked in Safeway and I have a fairly good recollection that she asked for and I gave her my phone so she could "call" daddy. And that's the last I remember of the phone. Did she put it down somewhere and I failed to notice? Did I pocket it and lose it myself? Hard to say and of course Safeway says they don't have it. Ugh.

I am also crabby today because I've come to the realization that managing people is harder than managing yourself. Ok, so that's a no shit statement, but (and don't kill me for my arrogance) I have traditionally deluded myself into thinking that the manager whine about how hard a job it is was really just a whine. How hard is it to edit, attend meetings, and pretend to listen to people? But as I sat across from someone for the fourth time in a single day trying to explain to them that "there wasn't any there there" I was toast. Ready to yell, tear my hair out, or have a snack. I chose the last option which itself is defeating because I haven't emotionally eaten in ages. How is it that smart people can be so stupid? I cringe to think how many times my managers have thought the same of me. I've also begun to wonder if this little experiment is really worth what I thought it might get me, or perhaps better to say where it might get me professionally. Sadly not even Zumba was enough to break through the double dose of crabbiness.

So there's my little ray of sunshine on this Tuesday returning us to winter. I'll try and blog about something more cheerful next. We're heading to Snowshoe this weekend so at the very least, I should have some pictures again finally. That is, if I don't lose my camera before then!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Let's Dance!

The girls and I are in full dancing mode this winter. Both Isabel and Lottie have started ballet again. Since I haven't blogged in awhile, they both started in a "real" ballet class last autumn. We're still doing rec center classes, but this one is taught is taught by an instructor from Reston Conservatory. She is FABULOUS. She brings costumes and teaches the girls French. And of course they love her. She taught Isabel's class a small routine at the end of the class in the autumn. Lottie knows that chasse means "gallop." And both know the joys of magic boxes and dead bugs. (You have to have been there.) In fact, Isabel seems so devoted to ballet that I think we're going to enroll her in a full time program come autumn of 2010. What a difference from a year and a half ago when we couldn't get her to go into class!

As for me, I've started Zumba. Tonight was my first class. Lord, that can kick you butt. I am taking it through the fitness center at work and of course the instructor is tight and can shake her booty like no one's business. Doubly of course, she's 47 years old and looks more fabulous than I did at 27 (nevermind 36). I knew I was in for some trouble when I picked her up from the lobby- yes I am a brown-noser!- and noticed her her pants had "ZUMBA!" down one of the legs. On the way out, she casually informed me that she ran marathons. Of course I had just bragged that I ran 5K distances. I always suspected that fitness instructors were a different breed.

I was a little apprehensive since I was somewhat convinced I'd be in a class of white women decades older desperate to look sexy and fit. Is that mean? I apologize but 36 is close enough to middle age that my inclination is to want to be hip to people 15 years younger rather than 15 years older. I guess it's my mid-life crisis. My only experience with zumba prior to this class was watching one with the girls next to our local pizza place while waiting for Ryan to show up for dinner. In that class, the only ones looking sexy (and boy did they) were the instructor and her assistant. Everyone else was really lame. Our class was a good mix of age ranges and fitness abilities, but even with that, I couldn't bring myself to look at myself in the mirror. Fitness clothes always look so much cuter in Lucy than they do when I am panting trying to keep up with hip thrusts. (There were of course lots of hip thrusts in Zumba.) And, for the record, it is next to impossible to gracefully salsa in running sneakers. We did have one superstar student who was good but not sexy. She did manage to catch the eye of the other "slower" students, tho, probably b/c she could salsa along with the instructor.

So, hopefully at the end of the 10 weeks, Lottie's chasse will actually meet the spirit of the music, Isabel's plie will be stronger, and my bootie will be firmer.

Au revoir

Monday, January 4, 2010


As nanny might say, it's cold, cold cold here in Virginia. Despite assurances from the ever cheerful Capital Weather Gang at the Post, I'd argue that arctic winds is still an apt descriptor for the weather, especially as I was blown around a bit on my way out the door from work tonight. And, of course, since it's January and frigid, Lottie is sick, sick, sick- wildly congested and probably a little feverish. I wonder if all those antioxidants I've been shoving down my throat will work to stave off the cooties she is likely sharing with me even as I type and she instructs me to get my "uter" so I can "work."

In between creaming, chapping, blowing, and whooping (in the wind), we're trying to figure out how to enjoy winter. We spent the better part of Sunday chasing down ski racks and trying to locate Lottie's strap-on skis. We took Ryan to the Ski Chalet in Arlington just so he could go inhale some hot wax. We also discovered that the Drafthouse is hosting one (?) Warren Miller movie next week for all you bunnies out there.

Part of our existential dilemma is how to become more regular bunnies ourselves. We went to WVA this autumn for a peak at Snowshoe Mtn and were almost instantly drawn to the image of the S4 in a log cabin of their own. In an ideal world, we might be able to pull off a vacation house nestled in the mountains but not without some serious reordering of our finances. And, being us, we tend to be much bigger talkers/dreamers than we do actualizers. Ryan assures me it's a family legacy. So for now, we enjoy hot wax in Arlington and grainy Warren images with beer in hand.

Rest assured, we will ski (we already have our VT plans firmly mapped out) and with any luck, we'll do it more than once.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hello 2010

Is it weird that part of me actually looks forward to the post holidays period almost more than than I do to Christmas itself? I love the relative emptiness of the house after the decorations come down. I like the smell of citrus candles and pomegranate juice and water. Getting back to the gym and reading health magazines. All of this is especially refreshing after my almost clockwork over-indulgent tendencies throughout the month of December. Too many cookies, too much champagne, too little sleep, too much wrapping paper.

I've decided this year that my New Years resolution would in fact be nothing new at all. I am going to go back and try and actually live up to all of my resolutions of New Years past. I started off ok last year- I did in fact buy a sewing machine and made some pillows. I started doing small volunteer projects with the kids and at least for the first half of the year I ran routinely, making 4 miles a few times. Things totally deteriorated in the second half of the year, as they are wont to do.

So I am back to a fresh start. I pulled at the sewing machine yesterday, went back to the gym last Monday, threw out the rest of the cookies, took down the tree, and I going to try my very best to let things come instead of dwelling on what does or doesn't happen.

And with all of this, I'd like to blog again. I've actually missed Pinkerbelle these past few seasons. So, welcome 2010. We have big hopes for you!

Some scenes from Christmas-

GS Christmas Party 2009

Baking cookies

The Great Blizzard of Christmas 2009

Tea at the Mayflower, Christmas Eve


Happy New Years!