Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Deck the Halls with Gingerbread. Houses on Display.

Here are some of the Gingerbread Houses from this year's festivities. As you can tell, we have multiple levels of talent :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

New Widget

Look to the right and you'll see a great new widget I've added. Thanks to BookJetty I can now catalog, keep, and display recent reads and wants. And no, I haven't cataloged any books yet - but the widget is up and working!

Very cool!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Great Christmas Tree Hunt 2007

I pretty much have the best family ever. I mean check out the Santa hats. This family loves traditions and Christmas. Not sure how I ever managed to move away.
Every year around this time my Uncle Mark drives over with his big truck, picks everyone up for breakfast, and then we head out to Christmas Tree Hunt. It's the job of all of the cousins to pick out the best Christmas Tree for Oma & Opa and deliver it to them. Well if it isn't Santa's little helpers themselves...
Have you been naughty or nice??All the trees piled up on the truck ready to be delivered to all our families and Oma.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Things Explained.

I've blinked and it's winter. The yellow and brown of the leaves is now obscured by the white crisp snow. I sit in the living room, looking out through the porch screen as large white flakes fall to the ground. My eyes follow each snowflake as they spin before finding a final resting place. A view straight from inside a snow globe. Welcome winter, I say to myself.

I'd be fooling someone if I said I loved winter. The first snowfall is always magical, but the unyieldly wind and rushing to and from is tiresome on my body. It's hard to believe it has been nearly two years since I've traveled wintery streets filled with the sounds of snowplows and the smell of salt. But I still find myself eager to haul out a sled and a shovel. Last year it was fall and the beginning of winter that brought out some of the sharpest of edges last year, now it's like riding a horse you had been bucked off of before as you slip back into the cold mornings and grey skies that greet the sun for a few hours. Last year at this time was when it felt like my relationship with C was imploding, as it underwent the fierce growth of a relationship that was moving past a life hurt.

If you sift back through moments and memories you can count how many times conversations may have gone amiss. We can all reaccount times when two people were talking but they were talking about two different things. This happened last winter, with the fine brush strokes of different agendas and feelings and work being done. There's no use in trying to figure out what the reason for the pain was or why. Almost all of it was a product of external stresses: from work and life, that had become distilled in the small orbit of our love, although some was internal - new dreams being realized, a heart casualty, sleep deprivation, and a lack of time to ourselves.

So the trepidation is there. Only faintly visible in my pulse. Little snafus, a snag, it bears an undue weight even though we are so far from there; our love more like an aging merlot becoming integrated, refined, and full of rich spices and aroma.

Seasons are funny like this in their ability to conjure up accounts of change and growth, and reflect pivotal moments in life when unsteady ground turned into a rock foundation. Last season was marked with an angst, but a hope and steady drive toward betterment, and I am thrilled to no end to say that this season the angst has been bucked and that an effervescent confidence is flooding all branches of life.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving happens to be one of my favorite holidays. It's a time to reflect and recount your blessings. There are so many things to be thankful for, like - health, safety, the troops, faith, relationships, and opportunities. Besides being full of blessings it's a time to gather with family, and if yours is anything like mine you are always in for a great time. My family certainly got into the holiday spirit - funny as they always are - we caught a great moment on video.
Prelude: My sister is completing a photography project for college and the theme is "Family Feet." You'll quickly see below what makes my family so special and unique - they are always game for helping someone makes it so easy to love them. (One of my uncle's volunteering).

The greatest dog ever. Sam, after Uncle Sam, since they got him near the 4th of July. We just naturally look good together. It's a yellow lab thing.

Being studious or being three stooges? Turkey morning.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The First Snow of Winter

The first snow of winter started to fall this evening. From the inside I could see it was lightly covering the ground with a blanket of white. From the kitchen the scent of gingerbread filled the air. Wine, snow, and gingerbread - great way to welcome the holiday season.

Home for the Holidays and Guitar Lessons

I flew into Chicago with no problem, amen, and was even able to catch an earlier flight. It's definately a bit colder up here, right now it's 37 degrees outside and a light rain is coming down possible chance of turning into flurries.

Woke up this morning and headed over to my aunt and uncle's house with some oven baked apple pancakes. I also picked up the guitar and attempted to learn few chords and frets with my cousin (who happens to be a born guitar genious) seen in pictures below -
Cousin placing my fingers on the strings & right frets. Learning point 1: Little fingers make this much more difficult...note this is a smaller guitar already.

Got a chord! Jam time! (I did try to sing while playing 2 chords in a row...yeah. Ha.)

Monday, November 19, 2007

Texting Thank You to Troops

On my drive to work this morning, I had the radio on. There was a report on about texting troops Happy Thanksgiving and reminding them that we are thankful for their service. After I heard the message and managed to remember the number, 89279, I texted a short message of thanks and blessings for their service this Thanksgiving. Within about fifty seconds I received a message back saying thank you for remembering us.

I went onto the internet when I got into the office to check out this text messaging the troops a bit further and to make sure it was legitamate. And sure enough it was. I was happy to see that a student at Chapman University organized the texting after her brother was shortly shipped out. Check out Texting Thank You - Sending Thanks to Troops and let them know you are thankful for them this Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

NSO Performance and Filomena's in DC

This past weekend the Boy came in for a visit and we went to the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to see Mark Evans, of the National Symphony Orchestra on Friday night. A truly gifted cellist, Evans performed two Cello Suites by Bach. One in G Major and the other in D Major. A special highlight goes out to Target and Fannie Mae, who sponsor a free performance each Friday evening, on the Millennium Stage, where the entire city has the opportunity to enjoy great performances such as the one we saw.

We were in awe of Evans' animated playing and passion put into every note. In addition to a fantastic performance, we followed the concert with an amazing dinner at Filomena's Ristorante in Georgetown. This is one of the Boy's top restaurants in DC. Honoring an upcoming birthday of mine, we started the evening at Mr. Smith's piano bar around the corner until our table was ready. Beginning with delectable calamari that melted our mouths, we dined upon the best Italian lasagna and smoked chicken ravioli ever created. At the end of our courses, we made the decision to not resist dessert. A two page menu of the photographed homemade desserts made this pretty easy. Tempting our palettes with cheesecake and raspberry mouse` we toasted the night with the restaurant's signature Peppermint Schnapps and 3 coffee beans: 1 for health, 1 for luck, and 1 for love. Okay, and maybe a few kisses.

This was an amazing evening, and only the start of our weekend. Great music, great food, and the best company ever. Many thanks to the Boy for such a special night!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


It was good to be able to finally put a name to what had been bothering me the past few days. It was one of those so happy that she cries moments -except happened a few days later. Life is funny this way.

And everything lately seems to point me back in one direction; a voice reminding me of all to be thankful for.

...thankful for having a strong shoulder to cry on. For the steadyness & strength. And for the willingness to always dream with me, however wild me ideas may be. For the ability to wrap me in kind words even after reluctance to say goodnight, with the distance still hanging in the air, but because of him feels so much less.
...thankful for earl grey tea in the morning. The first sip feeling romantic. And the way the sun shines through the windows. For the ability to write anytime, anywhere, anyplace lately and letting things come and go in whole new ways. For honesty and truth and expression.
...thankful for sisters and girlfriends and chats that string life together in simple ways.

Monday, November 12, 2007


I had originally started drafting a post about Fiedler's leadership theory, but found my mind wandering to my own situational awareness. Prompted by dinner conversation that made my mind blink twice before coming up with the right response, I've become strikingly more aware lately of who I am and who I'm not.

While others may be considering where to go to eat after work I can usually be found at my desk in the office, preparing for another night's worth of classes. I've traded the drinks in (as if I ever really liked beer..haha) for a cup of tea or diet coke and when daring a coffee. I like reading the Wall Street Journal, and trying to work all the new vocab words from my studies into my daily existence.

And it's through my interests, hobbies, and decisions that make it really interesting to navigate this so called phase of life. Many of those who are my age seem to be doing quite different things, or yet almost speaking different languages. Okay, so maybe not everyone. But, somehow talking about personal intimacies or the latest star gossip doesn't put my engine in first.

But while I may be making less then a handful of good friends out here, and battling the occasional awkward conversation and getting weird looks because yes it's a Friday night and I am staying in - because a) I'm either exhausted or b) need to work on some things, it makes me really appreciate those who I keep close to me in my life - namely a Boy that I seem to find more complimentary to who I am everyday.

Friday, November 09, 2007

she was comforted by the knowledge that they were helpless without her.

- We all need this magnet every now and then :)

Painting Project.

For today's Friday project I painted the an accent wall in the apt.'s family room. After waking up in a semi-crabbish mood (I wouldn't have even wanted to talk to me but my nicest boy did), pmsing, and feeling blah some good manual labor was just what the doctor ordered. Here are the results!
People don't actually paint w/ their hand touching the wall...Pictures hung, looking snazzy...
And here she is. If you look hard enough you may spot a pair of the famous granny shoes. Work wouldn't be as good without em'

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Path-Goal Theory

We all know there are tons of different theories and ideas floating out there about leadership and decision-making. Some are more touchy-feely, while others rely on more statistical models and numbers. For our reader's sake and my own, I will be highlighting these different theories throughout the next few months.

I read up on the Path-Goal Theory and thought I would share a little bit about it.

Developed by: Robert House

Based on: Expectancy Theory of Motivation and Situational Leadership

Basis: The manager's job is to coach and guide workers so that they choose the best path to help them reach their goal.

Defined by the Path-Goal Theory, leaders are expected to change leadership roles based on the situation. They are to clarify the path for employees so they know which way to achieve their goal best. In addition, the leader is expected to remove obstacles that may get into the subordinates way and also increase the level of rewards along the way as the employee achieves more.

Four Leadership Styles Used in Path-Goal:

  • Supportive Leadership - the guide, coach, cheerleader

  • Directive Leadership - telling what is to be done and at what time

  • Participative Leadership - taking others opinion and using it to help make the decision

  • Achievement-oriented Leadership - setting standards for both work and self improvement

Weaknesses I Found:

  • Assumes leader knows what situation is appropriate for each leadership style

  • Assumes leader can easily adapt and adjust to be a different leadership style

  • Assumes that only a leader can see the correct path to reach the goal and the follower cannot

  • Assumes there is only one correct way to reach a certain goal

Ambassador for a Week

Russian delegate and I All in a Good Day's Work!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My Dad Waiting For Me

I finally saw Him today for what had almost been a year. He ended up meeting me at school since I had a lot of work related things going on and couldn't find time to escape. I was in the middle of wrapping up a guest speaker for the delegation when my phone rang and I stepped out to take the call.

"Hi M" he said. He told me he was downstairs in the lobby of the building waiting for me. I told him I'd be five minutes and he said that was fine. Excited, nervous, and anxious feelings flooded me all at once. It was hard to pick and choose, so I let the feelings wash over me like waves as I descended the stairs to meet him.

I saw him right away from the side. He was standing in the middle of the lobby in his nice navy blue suit, with a baby blue shirt and lightly striped tie on. His hair was the same salty gray color. Dad I yelled. Hi! He turned and opened his arms wide to give me a hug. His tall stature enveloped me completely. For a second I felt myself melting into his shoulder, like a child again being held. We exchanged hellos and how are yous and he helped me finish up a few work things and carry some items in prep for the next event over to the other building.

It was so great to look into his eyes and see the Dad I remembered from all of the happy moments. There wasn't that sadness there filling the dark brown of his eyes anymore, but instead a bright reflection of the man I knew existed all along. He told me how proud of me he was, how grown up and beautiful and smart I am. And I the same. How proud of him I was and so glad he took the time to see me.

It was a reunion of more then just a father and his daughter. It was a reunion of two hearts. It was a letting go of something old and a receiving of something new and so much better. We put the past aside to see each other in the present. I won't forget the feeling of knowing that just downstairs my dad was waiting for me. And that he came to see me. This visit was very special and one that will stay with me for a very, very long time.

I look forward to the next time I get to see him again.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Footie Pajamas

Remember those footie pajamas? The one's that have the feet connected. I could have used a pair of those tonight. My roomate keeps her windows open throughout the day so it's like an icebox when she goes to bed. When I retire into my bedroom at night it feels like I'm skating across the tundra while I'm slipping through the hallway. Brrr.

I'll be having lunch with Him tomorrow. I've choosen a Thai resturant so at least my favorite food can be a comforting companion. I'm looking forward to the meeting, this time meeting Him even more as a woman then before. Perhaps we can begin to retie the knot that had sheared and frayed over the past years, and make a newer, stronger one.

So as winter comes with the crisp winds and colder mornings, I welcome it and say see my heart, it's very warm. And if I get a pair of footie pajamas, my feet will be too!