Monthly Archives: August 2010

T.G.I.The Weekend.

So I actually wrote half of this yesterday, but never finished it…so here’s to some weekend blogging….

Finally. The week is over. What a week it has been…I won’t miss it one bit.

For most of the summer I’ve been obsessed with iced coffee, but this morning I had a bit of a brisk walk to the metro and my office has been even chillier than usual, so I opted for a nice cup of hot tea. I think part of me just wants to believe that Fall is closer than it actually is, but that’s okay.

Fall in a mug

That’s my trusty work mug. I love it. I bought it in Atlanta while I was on a work trip. While we were there, we went on a tour of the CNN studio. Ever since it has been my “work mug” and has even come to my new job. It makes me miss traveling for my old job, we had a lot of fun on those trips and we’d always manage to find a really good steak, mmm! (I skipped breakfast, can you tell?)

This past week hasn’t been all bad really. Last weekend was fantastic. My best friend, Jess, was in town from Colorado again…well technically she was in Williamsburg with her parents, but they invited me down for the weekend and I was more than happy to go. It had been years since I spent a weekend with the Lunsfords and her parents are amazing. Plus they’re all really into history too, so they’re my people 🙂

We went to Fort Monroe down in Hampton on Saturday afternoon. I had never been there before and really didn’t know anything about it, but they had all been there and thought I should check it out. It was beautiful! It’s a fort right along the Chesapeake Bay that was built in 1819 and used during the Civil War. It became a safe-haven for slaves during the war because slaves would escape from Virginia and go to the fort and the soldiers at the fort wouldn’t return the slaves to their owners in Virginia since Virginia was a foreign country to them. I thought that was really cool. Also, after the war, Jefferson Davis was held prisoner at Fort Monroe for about 2 years. The exhibit they had on Jefferson Davis was really interesting too (they hung a giant American flag in his room!) I could’ve stayed there all day. The area was gorgeous, there were plenty of picturesque buildings, an old lighthouse, and everything was right by the water. I didn’t take as many pictures as I would’ve liked, but I can definitely see myself going back and spending more time there.

Jefferson Davis' Cell

Then we went to a Norfolk Tides game and ate some good ballpark food and drank some beer…made for a pretty great evening. It was a great weekend with the Lunsfords and reminded me a lot of high school (minus the beer).

The other highlight of my week was meeting up for dinner with my friend Harry. He left for Somalia today for the next year and I’m so glad I got to spend a little time with him before he took off. I’m so excited for the adventure he’s going on (working at a school there) and I can’t wait to hear all about it, but I’ll definitely miss him being here. Harry is one of those people who I know I will have fun with no matter what we do. I talked to him some about blogging and I hope he’ll start one while he’s there, it’d be a great way to keep up with what he’s doing over there. Good luck buddy!!

Harry and me

Other than that, I spent most of the week being stressed out about work and not feeling very well…not the ideal way to spend my last week of “summer vacation.” Not that I had any kind of vacation. Classes start next week though, and I’m pretty excited about them, I think it’s going to be a great last semester!

Well, time to get some work done and get ready for dinner, it’s Restaurant Week in Alexandria! I’ll leave you with a picture of the “art” Mike created with our purchases from the farmer’s market the other day.

The pepper eyebrows are my favorite!

Have a great weekend!!


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Filed under Friends, History, Museums, School, Uncategorized

Grades don’t matter…except when they’re MIA

After weeks of wondering how I did in my dreadful summer class (History of Consumerism in Early America…fun, no?), our grades were finally posted today, and I got…a B. I couldn’t be more excited. In grad school, I’ve honestly tried so hard to get As in all of my classes and I’ve been pretty successful, but in this class I just hoped to get the hell out of there with a B and my sanity. The jury is still out on that last part. Grades don’t really matter anyway, not like they did in undergrad, which I told my friend Hannah, who shared the torture with me this summer (yay, we’re done!). A summer class is supposed to be a nice (fairly simple?) six-week course. Someone forgot to tell our professor.

Last summer was amazing. I was in Archaeology Field School. Two weeks away from work. Two weeks out in the sun, digging around in the dirt for old “stuff” and I. loved. it. It was the best 3 credits of my Master’s (aside from Script Writing) and it was just an easy, care-free summer course. Then I took a summer class on how to “read” objects. Again, it was an easy class with a really fun, eccentric professor who seemed to know what it meant to teach summer classes. I was hoping for the same thing this summer, but it just didn’t work out. Instead I spent the summer feeling like this:

To be honest, I was really excited about the class going into it. It sounded like it could be really interesting, which made it hurt that much more when it was a major suckfest. Our professor was very vague about our assignments (which were plentiful) and early into the course I was already struggling to keep up with the reading (300-400 page books each week? No thanks.). Now two weeks into the class is when my dad passed away, so I was understandably a bit sidetracked. When I got back into town I had a really hard time focusing on the readings and the papers, but I got through it the best that I could. Apparently it wasn’t just me struggling with the class and the professor’s teaching methods, so at least it helped to have people to commiserate with.

Now a summer class is supposed to be short, six weeks and then you’re done. Not this one. Six weeks of torture and then you have a month to write a 15-page paper that you don’t truly understand even after asking. Then another 3 weeks to wonder if you did okay. I really don’t like to complain (that’s a lie, sometimes I really do), but this class just put me in a complete funk this summer…but today I can say: it’s over!

Side note: when I was looking for an image to use Google images came up with this (I searched for something about grad school):

I don't even want to eat it.

Pretty random, but gahhh, how lovely is that?? I don’t want to eat it at all, I don’t like chocolate. I want to put it on display. I mean I would probably eat that pink frosting. It is just too cute. I have strong feelings about the cupcake craze that seems to be going on, but that might be better saved for another post… besides it’s time to go home!


Filed under School is the pits

Times, they are a changin’

Oh my, I have got to get better about blogging regularly. Otherwise, I end up with 5 or 6 things I want to talk about at once. I’ll catch up eventually though. I don’t really have an excuse, I’ve been pretty lazy and kind of in a funk and I’m not sure why, but I’m working on getting out of it. I think a big part of it is this ridiculous heat! I’m really anxious for Fall to start, it always seems to put me in a good mood, so hopefully that will help lift my spirits for good. Admittedly it’s been a very rough summer, so to be where I am now, I feel like that’s pretty good. In general I’m usually a pretty happy person though and I haven’t always been feeling that way lately and when it starts affecting people around me, I know I need to change things.

Matt, me, and Jess

Last weekend, we had friends in town from Colorado. My best friend Jess and my old roommate (and her boyfriend), Matt. I loved having them in town, but in a way it helped fuel my funk (not that I regret them being here for a second!). I arranged for a big group of our friends to meet up Saturday night to hang out while they were visiting and it reminded me so much of the parties at our old house on Oak Street. What memories! I was talking to someone there who asked me if I was sad seeing everyone together again, and I said no, I was really happy to see people and catch up, but afterward I realized that it did make me sad. It took our two friends visiting from Colorado for me to see some of these people who live only 15 or 20 minutes away. I’m sad for friends that aren’t as close as they used to be and how much things have changed over the past year or two. It’s been 4 years since college and things are bound to change I know. People are getting married, having kids, moving; I just miss that tight-knit community that we had.

(I’m realizing this post is going nowhere near where I had intended. I guess I just got really reminiscent. Oops!)

It really was a fun night, I had so much fun catching up with people I hadn’t seen in a while. I loved getting to spend time with Matt and Jess, I hadn’t seen Matt since I was out in Colorado last August, so it was fantastic seeing him and his crazy face again 🙂 I even got to spend an extra day with Jess since she couldn’t get a flight out of Baltimore on Sunday as planned. So as sappy as I got later in the week, it really was an amazing weekend with amazing friends!

To get out of this funk, I think I just need to get out and be more active, but please, Mother Nature, just chill out a bit, because you’re not making me want to go outside. The sooner Fall gets here (and Halloween), the happier I’ll be, not to mention, it’ll be my last semester of grad school! Hooray!!

I’m not sure what I was setting out to accomplish with this post. I guess, first, friends who I don’t see often: let’s change that. I miss you. Let’s grab some dinner, some coffee, go to a museum, anything. Second, this is me saying I vow to be more motivated to not just sit around and do nothing (that should be easier now that I’m done watching Veronica Mars!). I want to get out and be more active, go exploring, exercise, cook…blog! Wish me luck!

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Filed under Friends, Motivation

Another muggy day in the district…

It’s humid as can be outside (as usual), and just when I’m about to get off work to go home and jump in the pool, the clouds roll in and spoil my plans. I swear I’m gonna get to the pool one of these days. Maybe I’ll start working on my new project instead (mwahaha) just kidding, not at all close to evil. It’s more domestic stuff…who knew, right Gretch?

As mad as the storm is making me, except not really because I love a good thunderstorm, this video just made my day, so I’ll leave you with it:

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Filed under DC, Thunderstorms, Uncategorized

Finally back in the kitchen

Seriously, if I could trade writing papers for cooking, you’d find me in the kitchen 7 days a week. I spent the last month stressing out over a paper that I only spent the last week writing. I’m not sure how that works out, but at least it’s over with. That awful, awful class is over and behind me and I finally have some free time.

I had the apartment to myself last night and decided to do a bit of cooking (in between episodes of Veronica Mars…my new addiction). First I made about 2 pounds of spaghetti. It was way too much, but I know what I’m eating for the rest of the week. My stepmom sweetens her spaghetti sauce and after eating her spaghetti, I can’t eat regular sauce. It’s so good. So I browned some beef, added some spices, the sauce, and some sugar. It was delicious! 🙂
Next on my list were blueberry muffins. Mmm. I had some blueberries that I needed to use and I really wanted a healthy breakfast food that I could stick in my bag on the way to the metro. I found a recipe online and tweaked it a bit. The original recipe is here. I wanted something a little bit healthier than that though. I had read about using applesauce in place of vegetable oil, so I decided to try that. I also used whole wheat flour. Super-healthy!

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 cup (or more!) fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and grease the muffin cups or use paper liners. I ran out of regular liners and had to use some of our stockpile of Halloween cups.

Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Then in a separate dish, combine the applesauce, egg, and milk. Mix the wet and dry mixtures.

Now it’s time to add the blueberries. Now I was actually using blueberries that I had previously frozen. I would’ve preferred to use fresh ones, but I wanted to use up what I had. It would’ve made for a better picture too.

I love blueberries. They’re one of my favorite fruits. My grandma used to pick blueberries and freeze them and I would eat tons of them when we visited. As soon as I opened the bag that I thawed, I was right there in her kitchen eating blueberries. It’s funny where the sense of smell takes us. I digress…

Fold the blueberries into the mixture. I definitely used more than a cup…I think. I didn’t measure, I just threw them in. Once they’re mixed, fill the muffin cups to the top!

The recipe also included a crumb topping. It’s delicious, but took away from healthy muffin plan. I would maybe change that a bit next time (maybe walnuts instead?), but it sounded too good not to try. Now, the recipe says it makes 8 muffins. I ended up with 10. I also liberally applied the crumb topping and still had at least half of it left over, so that was a huge waste. Here are the ingredients, halved:

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/6 cup whole wheat flour (now where did I put my 1/6 measuring cup?)
  • 1/8 cup butter, cubed
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Mix together the ingredients with a fork until it is crumbly. The butter can be annoying, but eventually it just turns out like it’s supposed to. Sprinkle on top of the muffins.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Don’t pull an “Amanda” and burn your finger taking them out of the oven either. Oops.

I took two to work this morning and I can report that they are delicious! My boss tried part of one and he approved too, and I think he would honestly tell me if it tasted like crap. I’ll probably force Evan and Mike to at least each eat one too, but the rest are mine. All Mine!

It was so nice to do some cooking last night. Hopefully I’ll try out some other new recipes before classes start up again. Last semester! Thank goodness. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with blog better too.  =)


Filed under Muffins, Recipes, School is the pits