Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Simple Holidays: The Ultimate Oxymoron

Perhaps this holiday season seemed especially busy given that our last Christmas was spent by ourselves in Prague. We visited PA and spent Christmas morning watching little pumpkin open gifts...everyone's gifts. She was perfectly content to stop opening gifts after her first toy--An old school Barbie, but the present blitz continued with a guitar, a doll house, bath toys, a tent (that was me), clothes, furry cat, games, and more that I may have repressed. I really enjoyed visiting with my sisters and extended family whom I see very rarely. My mom is still residing in little-pumpkin land, but she came back down after little pumpkin went to her dad's. We played Trivial Pursuit (sis and I got our butts kicked), and then Pictionary (sis and I kicked butt!). My sissies liked their German hats, and mom and dad liked their German jackets! I do love giving good presents :)

Christmas with hubby's parents was simpler. Just the four of us eating Christmas dinner followed by egg nog and ice cream. Oh, the holidays :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12 Best of Frederick at the Holidays

In the spirit of the 12 days of Christmas, here is a list of the 12 best things about being in Frederick for the holidays.
12. Beautifully decorated historic homes and businesses
11. Snow dusting the church steeples
10. Rosy cheeks of passersby
9. Smoke billowing out of brick chimneys
8. The smell of Christmas cookies wafting from the bakery
7. The Kris Kringle Parade
6. The National Lampoon-esque failed lighting of the Baker Park tree (which did not dampen any holiday cheer)
5. Free holiday events all over town
4. Drinks with new friends before A Christmas Twist at the MET
3. The Nutracker at the Weinberg
2. The "Take Grandma Fudge for Christmas" sign on the corner
1. The hundreds of white-light covered trees lining Patrick and Market Streets provided by the generous donations of Frederick city-dwellers (after last year's Snowmageddon destroyed the old lights)

Simple food

One of the best perks of working from home is that if I happen to get a craving for home-made tomoato soup with fresh basil, sprinkled with organic blue corn chips (which was excactly what I had to have at 1100 today), then I can make it. And I did. And it was delightful and warm on this sub 20 degree day.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


I ran out at lunch today to pick up dried apricots and walnuts at Costco...half the price of Target! Costco was a zoo...noon on a Thursday...must be the pre-holiday rush. As I was searching for the apricots, I passed the canned meat section just in time to hear a mid-50s woman telling her mid-70s mother, "No, mom. I don't like SPAM. I just ate it because you bought it." Mid-70s mom says, "What??? All of these years, I thought that you loved it." She was clearly hurt. I was biting my lip to hide the chuckle.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Simple living is an aspiration. Yesterday, the clutter and disorganization put me over the edge. It began this weekend. It was a busy weekend...I got a haircut, we did errands, in-laws came out for lunch and the holiday home tour, we volunteered in the frigid night air to break pieces of a 7 foot candycane and pass them to passersby as part of our downtown volunteering, acquired Christmas gifts, wrapped Christmas gifts, and then watched the Ravens! Yesterday, I drove to APG and spent the day NOT getting the things done that I needed to due to power loss, people being out of the office, unexpected meetings, etc. Anyway, finally arriving home in the frigid dark winter air, I made my way through the alley when I realized that I had forgotten my latop. So, I trudge back to the car, load up my arms, and head for the alley again. As a gust of wind whipped me, my TJs bag broke and my food fell to the ground. So, with my giant gloves, I clumisly loaded the displaced goods into the other bags. I navigated my way through the two alley doors to find a police officer at the doorstep. I was just relieved to see someone who might help me with the bags! I must have looked quite disheveled. He was asking about a's so strange to learn about neighbors from the police. Anway, I made it inside, dropped the bags and called Matt. Then, the clutter really hit me. Tiny apartment already filled with owner's junk (er, I mean stuff). Add to that all of our stuff, plus our growing pile of wrapped and unwrapped Christmas gifts, plus the groceries now in a messy heap on the threshold of the kitchen/dining area, plus my laptop, two work bags, folders, and dishes still in the sink (major pet peeve), I lost it!! Too much clutter. I couldn't think. I didn't feel well. Everything was chaotic. I managed to pull it together and start dinner where things just got worse. Nothing fit right in the tiny refrigerator and the cauliflower that I was cooking seemed to spontaneously explode everywhere! Matt tried to console me, but I was too agitated. He convinced me to go for a walk with him in the 20 degree weather (before factoring in the icy wind). The walk helped. I came back and went to bed.

I spent time before work (from home!!!) straightening the house and cleaning up. Much better. Work has been very productive so far. Clutter (house and mind) has been effectively least until the next episode.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Yoga Groove

Hubby is playing video games, eating meat, and drinking beer with a buddy tonight. So, I took a class called Yoga Groove tonight, primarily because the cost was the donation of a canned good. It was an awesome class. On the top floor of an historic townhouse, the classroom contained floor to ceiling windows overlooking the lights of the businesses along the creek. I chatted with the only guy in the class who was very well traveled, especially for someone whose occupation is a house-painter.

The class was taught by a sweet-voiced young Italian girl. It started out like any other class; however, the last 20 minutes were spent dancing. First slowly, then the music grew louder and faster as did our movements. Everyone really got into it, with the exception of one woman who jsut wasn't ready to let go. I thought that it felt great. I left energized, refreshed, and calm. Trying to carry the lessons I learned in that class will be a continual challenge because it opposes the habits that I've used (structure, logic, control) to get to where I am.

Oh, I should also note that I ate turkey bacon today. I was in TJs, saw it, and could think of nothing else.

Things that go boom in the night

Hubby and I were awakened at 3:00 AM this morning by the loud sound of glass breaking. Hubby stumbled to the living room, looked out the window, and groggily announced, "Some chic just ran into a parked car right outside our door." I made my way to the window, pulled the shade to reveal an older model Volvo with a crumpled hood. The new Audi that stopped the speeding Volvo had no visible damage. Soon, a hysterical early 20s blonde girl ran screaming to the car and tried to reverse the car. A bystander (who Hubby said came out of the house and asked the girl if she needed help) tried to simultaneously console and protect the girl from doing further damage to herself or the car. He took her inside, and a few minutes later, the police arrived. Next, we heard a sobriety test being administered. I don't think she passed. Less than 40 minutes later, all was cleaned up.
It could have been much worse. If the car hadn't been parked on the street, she and the Volvo would have careened into the next door building. How sad, though. Her life will be forever changed by one decision.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pan Predicament

My sister asked me for a Christmas list.
I've been wanting new, high quality cookware but I hadn't taken the time to research and review the best, healthy options.

So, because I am obsessive with research, I spent the evening scouring reviews of healthy cookware to find that La Creuset's enameled cast iron skillets are the best for cooking without sticking and without the potential for later acquisition of Alzheimers from aluminum or a rare disease from Teflon. Now, the European me says, "Go for it. It will last forever." The US me is lured by the "better deals" and the "more is better mentality" which offer 6 stainless pans for the same price as my one, beloved La Creuset cookware.

I pulled the trigger, and sent my sis the link to La Crueset.
European quality: 1
American consumerism: 0