Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Calling Mom

I don't see my family a ton as I am sure you have all figured out. I try to shoot for two visits a year (!!! Wow, writing that is so so so sad to me, but it is what it is I suppose) with the hefty flight costs and the fact that I can't get over the idea that if I am spending that much money I refuse to go for just a long weekend. On top of that limited face to face phone skillz....well for whatever reason, they have slid way down hill. Perhaps it is that whole thing where I secretly resent cell phones (phones that take away from human interaction just about push me over the edge these days), but I have become a really bad "caller". The lovely time difference (ok ok ok, only a few hours, but STILL it is a time difference) also doesn't help my case. By the time I am wrapped up with my evening, dinner, dishes, answering work emails, etc. it is 9/10ish, which is prime dinner time for my west coast dwelling peeps. My family and I talk fairly often (I guess my definition of "often" is subjective as I have friends who talk to their parents everyday), about once every week and a half to two weeks, my friends and I...well we rely on gchat, texts and emails to keep us connected because of that pesky time difference, 20-something-jobs, and respective personal lives that really can make it hard.

However, as much as I can write all of these justifications to valid the infrequency of my interactions, I want to vow to be better.
Image via
Errrr. Or Dad, or Sister. Or Friends.

Perhaps I am feeling sentimental, or really getting homesick :), but I am craving that interaction. To not have to get the readers digest version of what has been going on with people. I want to be able to follow-up on conversations and know something is coming up with somone.

Erica is the queen of this. She remembers birthdays, anniversaries, big test days, presentations at work, interviews, dog birthdays, favorite foods, and the list goes on. About a month ago I came in to work to find an email in the morning asking me how something went. I was so touched to see that from her! I have good people in my life.

So on my list for April personal growth items: call people more.

I can't remember where I read it, but a blogger I read wrote about the 5 minute phone call. The understanding that friends and family are busy. We all are. So don't shoot for 30 minutes of uninterrupted conversation. Enjoy the five minutes, then hang up. Make it longer if you can, but if you need to cook dinner, tie a kids shoe, get the dog from the backyard, you can and there are no expectations. This is what I will focus on. Quick, but more frequent interaction.

Does anyone else find themselves making excuses for their lack of voice to voice communication with people? I also really like the idea of sending hand written notes (Erica does that as well :)!) which maybe I can also adopt, but what else to you do to stay connect with long distance family and friends?

A Return

My head is spinning tonight. My heart is going out to one of my very best friends. There is so much that can go wrong in this world. I want to say something that she hasn't heard, or something that will make her feel better, but deep down I know the presence of people's support is sometimes the greatest (and only) thing that can be done.

It brings perspective. Sobering, metaphorical face-slapping buck up buttercup perspective. I have perspective. It may be fleeting. It always seems to be, that sense of clarity: Where to invest your time. Ridding excuses that you have used as defaults to hide behind. Covering up raw emotional wounds that when exposed, just like a scab, finally start to clot and heal.

I am rambling. Not there is really a point here, but I just ache for someone I deeply care about. I want to make some good of the bad that is happening. Feeling this clarity and sense of taking the lifebull by the horns, I hope that I am making some food out of some bad.

Hug your loved ones, tell your poodles they are the best dogs, cuddle your nieces and nephews, and take these moments of clarity and run with them.


On a slightly less dramatic and rambling subject.

I had a crazy good week last week. I was home. Or rather where my heart feels at home. It felt so good. Like wearing your favorite sweats on the weekend good.

Whistler & Seattle put on a show.Whistler gave us snow, sunshine and mountain side lodging and fresh made pasta. Seattle brought its game with sunny days, dinner with friends, and acres of clams.

I love that coast.

I have some photos, so hopefully there will be a better post about the trip but the week away did my soul good. Seeing my "sistahs", getting my last tracks in for the year, and lots and lots of chocolate.

The biggest bummer about returning from a wonderful vacation....the fact that the work week following feels like a million years long! It is Tuesday  and I feel like it is at least Thursday. Save me!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

These are Some of My Favorite Things

  • I have to admit I am shamelessly obsessed with the Carrie Diaries
  • I am on the hunt for a bridesmaid dress for a beach wedding in September, and I am intrigued by etsy shops such as this one. (Really digging the one shoulder look!)
  • A mother's love always can make me tear up and this story made me really get emotional.
  • Sometimes life is just ironic. (and sad)
  • My dad sent me this game, and it can get oddly addicting, particularly when answering work emails in the evening. 
  • Anyone up for a cozy weekend away, complete with a historic skiing experience?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Girl Called Drew

Drew. Short for Andrea.

It is a "nickname" that is still following me around to a certain extent. Not one my parents gave me (we keep those under wraps for family members only!), or one my friends gave me per se, but rather a self elected "nickname" that was supposed to only be tried out for one evening.

It was college. There was a huge group of girls from my sorority in Whistler for Greek Invasion Weekend, and it was a cold wintery February evening. After bar hopping, we all finally settled on a bar and ran into a group of guys from the fraternity across the street. In this group of guys was a guy I went to high school with, and oddly, whose mom was one of my elementary school teachers. He also wasn't too shabby looking ;) I gravitated towards him and struck up conversation. He "spatula-ed" me on to a fraternity brother of his which resulted in this:

"Hey, I'm Alex"
"Hey, I'm Drew"

So let's rewind. Prior to this moment I had NEVER introduced myself as Drew! Where this had come from, was sharing the same name with another sorority sister who was on the trip and 1) trying to keep us straight and 2) both of us agreeing that Andrea was just a "safe" name. We both talked about how our other friends had much more "adventurous" names. To prove a point, she retained Andrea for the evening, and I went with "Drew" (because that seemed so much more "edgier" ;))

So I introduced myself to a guy, in a bar, with a name I was using as a social experiment. What I learned:

1) You never know who you will end up dating for 4ish years, and that they will call you "Drew"
2) That first impressions really do stick
3) Years later I still have friends who call me Drew
4) A new-found appreciation for how much I like the name Andrea
5) If I do like a "nickname", it is An or Annie

These days. I go by Andrea. Just. Andrea

Monday, March 11, 2013

Daylight Savings Time & The Dreaded Monday

I dislike mornings. I really dislike mornings where I lose an hour or more of sleep. I don't care about the being lighter and more convenient times of the day. I love winter. I love dark mornings and early sunsets. I love cold air and heavy coats. I love sleeping in and waking up to the silence of the world, all snug and tucked in under a pile of blankets.

Birds chirping, people cutting grass, light streaming in my window. I'll take a pass. It usually just means that 4 months of unbearably hot, muggy, gross and unpleasant weather is going to happen here in DC.

This weekend was just the start of it with daylight savings time. That one hour knocked me for a loop. There is daylight at odd times, I missed an hour of sleep, and just feel whomp whomp today.

In my attempts to milk every precious moment out of my alarm this morning, I was running a bit late for work and didn't have time to make coffee to-go this morning. Lucky for me, the bus lets me off right at Krispy Kreme (this is a blessing and a curse as I am sure you can imagine) and I decided to just grab my coffee fix there. I walked in with my super human strength to not buy a doughnut to go with my coffee (remembering I had my non-fat raspberry yogurt in my purse) and was so excited when I was offered a "sample" doughnut hole. Just two sugary-sweet-chewy delightful bites, but it was so satisfying! It was just the pick-me up I need on this springiscomingpleaseshootmeandIreallydislikedaylightsavingstime Monday.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Snowquester- A Rain Day

True to DC form, the scare of some "major winter storm" cause the government offices to shut down for the day this past Wednesday. The result of this massive overreaction was a day off due to....rain.
Yep. There was less than 1/4" of snow. Instead there was rain. Lots and lots of rain. I wasn't complaining! I woke up thinking I was going to have to go to work, and instead I was greeted with an entire day to myself!

I did have to work a bit in the morning (but work in my jammies, is always much much more fun), but then I was free to go to the gym, read, watch the Food Network, annnnd get some much neglected baking done.

The SO passed along a recipe for cookies inspired by the flavor of s'mores the other day, which I knew I was going to have to make at some point. After a quick glance at the recipe, I kind of panicked thinking about my sub-par grocery store and their almost certain lack of "cookie butter". I found a similar recipe as backup in case I couldn't round-up the said "cookie butter", bundled myself up in rain gear and trucked to the store. Amazingly, the mysterious "cookie butter" was at my Safeway (for just a check $6. Sigh) and baking resumed without a hitch.

What resulted:

Oh goodness. I want more just looking at it! Yes that is a toasted marshmallow, with a kiss, atop a soft, chewy, grahamy flavored cookie. It was a perfect way to spend a rainy day. Particularly a rainy day that I was paid to stay home and bake!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

If I Were The Bachelorette

So I have to say I am not completely enamoured with this season's Bachelor. First of all...Blondes have never really done it for me. Sorry Sean, you can be all charming, sweet, and all about respect, but I just...don't think he is that hot. Ok, shoot me! Or love me that I am not one of the million of women who is gah-gah for this dude.

Second. Lindsey and Katheryn or is it Catherine? (I don't remember). Neither of them are doing it for me either. Not to say I don't like them. I actually kind of do, but not for Sean. Or rather I don't realllly see those sets of personalities really matching up.

Well on to the more important topic that I have been thinking about. Me. The Bachelorette. 25/30 men. Crazy dates. Testosterone filled challenges were the men practically punch each others teeth out just to have me notice their tie choice. Yup. Awesome.

So here is how I would do it.

via wikipedia

  • Men arriving in limos to the mansion? I think not. Men will be graded on creativity of their entrance. Each man is responsible for getting themselves to the manse. If they all arrive at the same time, so be it. Let the cluster begin. Also, no CA. I am thinking Denver?
  • First night will go something like this:
    • A random dog (most likely a poodle) will be released into a room where all the men are congregated (or groups of 5 at a time). Reactions and interactions with the dog will be judged. Not a dog person. Pack your bags sir.
    • After we have weeded out the non-dog lovers men will be corralled into one room with tape down the middle of the room.
    • If you ski, you can stand on the right side of the room. If you don't you can stand on the left.
    • If you are on the right side of the room, go get a cocktail and talk about names for our future poodles.
    • If you are on the left side of the room....Do you want to learn to ski? Yes? Move to the right side of the room. Men still on the left. Pack your bags. You are done.
    • Men now on the right...can you swim and ride a bike? No? Back your bags. You are done.Yes? Grab a cocktail.
  • First group date. Skiing outing with all schmucks who said they can swim, ride a bike and are willing to learn to ski.
  • First one on one date...with the dude who grew up in a mountain town
  • Crazy awesome travel locations. Well skiing in France, Switzerland and the indoor ski place in Dubai.
  • Group date challenge. Line dancing in small ski resort apres bar. Best moves...gets a yurt evening with moi.
  • Hometowns. I bring my sorority posse to evaluate the fams.
  • Meeting my parental units. One week and if you don't love my niece and nephew like you love skiing, you can say goodbye to those free cocktails.
  • Finally. I will break all of your hearts, by letting you know I planted my SO, and he has been on the show the entire time.
  • I'll let him propose at some ski resort. Complete with poodles.
And that is how I would do the Bachelorette. I am sure you would all watch.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Things I've Come To Appreciate as a Big Kid

It is the simple things right? A quiet evening at the ranch always reminds me of the simple pleasures in life. The things that you come to appreciate with adulthood. My cleaning and organization skills have clearly evolved over time, and I have clearly started to lean towards the side of an organized person. This past weekend I took an entire day to get my apartment in tip-top shape for the upcoming week.It has been so pleasant to come home to a clean space and to get to spend my evening debating if I should watch the Bachelor or the Carrie Diaries, rather than thinking about the dust bunnies that were rolling through like tumble weeds.

A few other little items I have been enjoying that I think come with the big kid territory:

A nice big bed with fresh clean sheets (and a few of the standby bears)
A antique dish to hold my earings that I wear on a frequent basis. This little dish was a graduation gift from my dad's secretary who is one of the nicest people in the world. I love unpacking this little dish each place I go.
Remember a childhood treat that my dad would bring on Saturdays to finish our ski lunch in the lodge. I have been on a nostalgic kick ever since I saw these near the checkout the other day.
What are some things you appreciate now? Does life really become all about excitement over new socks and steam mops? I may be ok with this. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Medium Rare

It is no secret that I love me a big piece of red meat with a side of potatoes in some form. Luckily the SO is just as enamoured with red meat and appreciates a fine meal complete with an ice cream sundae. Where did we have such a fantastic meal you ask?

Medium Rare.

With a prix fixe menu, you are guide exactly towards what is perfection:

Artisan Rustic Bread
Mixed Green Salad
Culotte Steak & Hand-Cut Fries w/ Secret Sauce

Sound simple? Simple, but downright scrumptious. Yes. I said scrumptious. That secret sauce is good enough to lick the plate. The bread is good enough to ask for a loaf to take home and smoother with nutella, and the salad....even the salad is so good you want seconds.

Best part is. You get seconds! After your first serving of fries and steak, you are served a second round from a hot pan, straight to your plate. Luckily, they bring a little extra sauce. Let's just say these are the worlds best left-overs.

Top this all of guessed it. Ice Cream Sundae, complete with a cherry on top.

Next time the parents roll into town, this place is a must-go. (Wink wink parents).

Monday, March 4, 2013

IBD ADPi Style

I am linking up with other fellow Greek bloggers over at The Unreal Life to talk about some of my personal thoughts and memories spurred by International Badge Day.

For all you greek version of muggles, International Badge Day is a day for Greek women to wear their badge (i.e. pin) with pride to celebrate their sisterhood.

To say what Greek life means to me, or my favorite memory, of even what I learned from my sisters, is something I can hardly start to scrape the surface on. One thing I do my house, my letters, ADPi.... picked me. My four years in 'the house' will probably always stand as four of the most memorable, and life changing years of my life. I made the most amazing friends, who will be "my people" for the rest of my life.

While ADPi was important to me in college, its importance has only grown since graduation. Living on the other side of the country from where I met all of the amazing women I call sisters, and having us spread out all over the country, some getting married, some living in foreign countries, and some not having facebook accounts, the definition of friendship has continued to evolve for me, but has always remained stable in knowing that I can always talk to one of these women, and instantly feel a sense of home.

My sisters, my chapter, the standards the ADPi holds me to, all shaped me, changed me and made me exactly who I am today. I know that going through that experience with the women in my chapter will always bind me to them, and they will always understand where I came from. Talking to my sisters (seeing them is even better!), is always a return to knowing what is true to me.

To borrow from ADPi's creed, some words I take with me wherever I go, and wherever my friends may be (as cliche as some may see them- they have always made me get chills)

I BELIEVE in Alpha Delta Pi. I BELIEVE that my sorority is more than a ritual or a symbol; that it is a way of life.
Happy International Badge Day Ladies!
First. Finest. Forever.