Sunday, February 28, 2010

Now what do I do at night?

Oh, Olympics, how I love you.  You captivate me with your impressive showings of athleticism, emotional and tear-inducing life stories, NBC's truly ridiculous amount of coverage, CURLING, and general awesomeness.  I'm a total Olympics junkie and have spent a slightly obscene number of hours taking in the Vancouver games.

Take that, TrinityOk, the opening ceremony is not the most fascinating thing, but you know how awesome it is with DVR?  Skip the boring parts.  It's life-changing, it really is...the DVR, not the opening ceremony.

Now I give you...random Olympic musings.Pride for your country.  Waiting four years for your next opportunity.  Eeekk!!  It gets me all worked up for these people.

Oh, and I liked how the Vancouver bouquets weren't too girly.  Nice and green, suitable for the feminine and masculine of all disciplines.  Then the boys didn't have to feel too silly holding their flowers.

Female figure skating: yes, there's a part of me that would like every skater from South Korea and Japan to totally bust it on their triple jumps so America can make it on the podium.  But they're also carrying the weight of a nation on their shoulders.  Anything less than gold and these gals are shunned.  Dang.

I love all the stories.  The sheer joy of those first time medal winners.  How everyone comes together.  Mushy mushy!

I get all warm and fuzzy cheering for my fellow Americans...or for the single athlete from countries like Turkey and Hong Kong who want nothing more than just the chance to compete at the Olympics. What guts it must take to make it all the way to the Olympics and go it alone, knowing that you don't have a real shot at a medal, but you can sure as hell take to the Olympic ice and make the most of it.  I knew I would never be a stellar athlete and realized early on that my brain power would lead me down a more successful path than any other muscle in my body...but maybe I'll take up curling or archery so I can go to the Olympics.  Ok, not happening.  But I am slightly intrigued by this "shuffleboard on ice" business. 

The Olympics are waaaaaay better on DVR.  Love you, Olympics, but sometimes I do need to skip a little bit of you along the way.

I will never, never get tired of listening to our national anthem while one of our proud athletes stands atop the podium.  I'm also somewhat inspired to actually learn the words to "Oh Canada" past the dramatic opening "Oh Ca-na-da".  It could be fun - give a little shout-out to our neighbors to the north.

I'm totally a gasper.  Most of my Olympics viewing is done from the privacy of my couch, and Harrison really doesn't care about my reactions at all, but when I was home in A-town with the family for a few days, they were exposed to my...enthusiastic...level of viewing.  My poor sister.  Between my dad and I gasping and exclaiming, she didn't even really need to watch the television - we told the story through our sharply dramatic intakes of air and bold exclamations.  All while chanting "U-S-A, U-S-A," or perhaps rooting on Canada in a sport that our great nation particularly sucks at (ah-hem, curling...again with the curling!  Maybe I do have a shot at the team...).

Oh, and thank goodness this time zone lends itself to decent watching times.  Some live viewing is much better than recorded everything.  Although as I take in the closing ceremonies and NBC's take on the games, I realize I could have many hours of my life back had I just waited for this highlight reel of the last two weeks.  Oh well.  Then I wouldn't know as much as I do about curling.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Excuse me...where are all the pizzas?!?

I think I got a small inkling of what shopping in a communist supermarket might have entailed back in the day.  Or not even "back in the day" in certain parts of the world - the situation can be a little more current depending on where you are.  But let's not turn this into a discussion on world politics...let's focus on the craziness that was D.C.'s supermarket scene around the time of Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon, and Snoverkill.  Oh, and while I'm preoccupied with the state of my refrigerator/freezer/pantry, someone else is much more concerned with the obscene rate at which snow was falling:

I ventured out at some point, in desperate need of actual staples like fresh vegetables and milk and personal staples like butter (crucial for baking adventures!!) and ice cream (necessary for personal sanity).  When you have four federally-approved days "off" from work (yes, yes, I actually accomplished quite a bit from the comfort of my living room while watching the snow fall and avoiding the slippery sidewalks) and spend a substantial amount of time confined to your city apartment, you might go just a teensy bit stir-crazy and try thinking of interesting combinations that you can concoct from the ingredients you have on hand.  Now, to be fair, I'm the type of person who always has supplies on hand, even with my reduced cabinet space here in D.C. - you can bet there's pasta and canned goods to be had (thanks for the training, Mom!), along with at least one Lean Cuisine lurking in the freezer (helllllloooo, butternut squash ravioli!), and I've never been opposed to fashioning a day's worth of caloric requirements out of cheese and crackers.  However, when I contemplated making my own tortillas, I knew that I was reaching a state of culinary delirium and needed to make a mission-critical grocery store run.

Not that I won't make my own tortillas.  It sounds kinda awesome.  But when you can buy a decent dozen and get that time of your life back...why bother at this particular moment?

As an additional component of this stir-crazy time, you may also have spent an excessive number of hours attempting to resuscitate a hapless, totally zapped wireless router with the "help" of a somewhat intrusive assistant:

It's definitely time to get out of the house...I'm taking pictures of Harry curled up on an ethernet cable?  Need human interaction.

As far as the grocery store goes...just take a look at some of these pictures.  I mean, absolutely ridiculous.  My personal experience wrapped up with some typical scenes across our nation's capital:
  • Lines halfway down the aisles...which is a far sight better than before the storm.  They were wrapping around the entire store and back again.  Yeesh.
  • Boxes of produce haphazardly scattered about...the banana truck definitely made it to my Safeway, though.  Bananas everywhere.  I think everyone bought some just because they were there.  I also think I might be a fan of restocking in the form of just throwing the boxes out there and ripping them open - I don't care how pretty the broccoli is in its refrigerated case, this is much more efficient.
  • Nothing available at fish/meat counter...but randomly packaged items strewn about in the freezer compartments.  Take it and run, folks, that's all there is.
  • Only two flavors of Ben & Jerry's left!!  I've never seen such a thing!!  And yes, this is a necessity.  Just exercise portion control.
  • The milk supply was surprisingly intact...guess that truck made it through ok, too.  Plenty of potassium and calcium to go around.
  • I don't know if there was a frozen pizza to be had...I'm going to assume this was a Super Bowl holdover of some kind, or maybe the population of D.C. that frequents the Safeway at 5th & L NW really, really, enjoys the joy that is frozen pizza.
I'd like to know just what people did with their giant stash of milk, eggs, and bread.  Massive quantities of French toast, perhaps? 

Mmmm, that sounds pretty good...especially if your car is buried and you have nowhere else to be...

Through the generations

I keep this more of a "here's what I'm doing" and "hey, this was cool!" kind of blog experiment and don't really share the most intimate moments of my life (let's just say it, that would be scary - a lot of random thoughts flit through my mind), but sometimes I'll get a little rambly or mushy, and this is one of those times. 

My dad's mom passed away rather suddenly on Valentine's Day from a heart attack.  This was spunky grandma, feisty grandma, grandma that I thought would be around (perhaps somewhat naively) for at least a number of good years.  You can't know these things, though, and I can only be grateful for the time we did have together.  There's certainly something to be said for spending the majority of your childhood relatively close to Grandma's house, creating so many special memories...and even if I don't necessarily remember certain things, she told me about them so many times that I feel like I know that Little Red Riding Hood was my most-requested story early on in life.  I mean, Grandma's always right!  I have so much more to say, but I've spent enough time over the last week and a half remembering the best things about her, and I don't think I can truly do her justice in a blog entry, anyway.  It just doesn't seem quite right.

So, if I've been a little distracted lately and have been ignoring small details such as putting my life out there to share with you fine people (a little blog-deficient here in February, I know), it's because I've been thinking about this wonderful lady.  Love you always, Grandma.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snowmageddon 2010

Just to give you an idea of the snow accumulation in the D.C. area over the weekend...I mean, poor teddy bears didn't stand a chance:

In case you've been living under a rock, the Mid-Atlantic region was smacked in the face by some crazy-ridiculous snowfall over the weekend.  After Snowpocalypse 2009, a snowstorm here and there, and Snowmageddon 2010's accumulation, D.C. is on pace for its snowiest winter ever.  Thanks for giving me the true winter experience, Mother Nature!  We don't get these coastal double moisture something somethings anywhere in Texas.  It's just crazy out there.

The office shut down at 10:45 Friday morning...and hasn't been open since.  Not going to lie, it's kinda nice to work from the comfort of my couch in some cozy jammies, but I think I might go absolutely bonkers without some human contact and adventures outside of this apartment.  However, I am extremely grateful to be in the city, all urbanified, where the plows have actually come through, the sidewalks are relatively clear, and the electricity is still on.  Some of these poor folks out in the burbs haven't had power for days.  And honestly, I could really make it into the office if I needed to...but there just aren't too many people there.  A lot of them are stuck at home with stir-crazy children and are therefore all too happy to shut themselves in a home office and take on the day one conference call at a time.  My child doesn't know what going outside really means, so all is well here in the Bryan household.  Although I think I'm throwing him for a loop with my continued presence.

To prevent myself from going crazy, I've managed the following:
  • Actually worked until 3:30 or so on Friday and then sought refuge with fellow co-workers and other snowy folks at an early happy hour.  Walked home (rocking the snow boots, I might add) in a peaceful, fluffy, falling-straight-down-and-not-all-blizzardish snow.  Pretty.
  • Busted out the snow boots and layers to go explore with the camera on Saturday right after the snow stopped falling.  Streets functioned as sidewalks, people were skiing, general crazy winterness.  You bet I took a million pictures.  I also may or may not have gone up on the roof and made a snow person.  It's been a while since I just fell into a giant pile of snow.
  • Braved the (mostly clear and slushy main) roads on Sunday to make it to a Super Bowl party.  I get really excited about any opportunity to spend time in the kitchen putting together BBQ jalapeƱo poppers and chocolate whoopie pies with salted caramel buttercream to share with friends, and I wasn't letting the snow get in the way of my kitchen adventures.  I mean, it's too dangerous to make that stuff for myself...I'll eat it all.  Oh, yeah, and the game was pretty good, too.
  • Escaped for lunch today to walk a mere block and a half to Potbelly for a toasty sandwich.  I was really craving it.
Since I have the essentials on hand in the kitchen (and by essentials, I mean coffee, leftover whoopie pies, and assorted pantry items...vegetables are so waiting until week), I've completely avoided grocery stores.  We have caffeine-crazed people screaming at Whole Foods, empty shelves, and lines from the registers to the back of the store.  This last piece is  based on today's first-hand report from my neighbor who quickly discouraged my passing thoughts at heading down the street to Safeway to pick up ingredients for a pot of chili.  So much for my winter comfort food.

Oh, and have I mentioned that it's snowing again?  Ummm...right now?  Looking a little blizzard-ish outside my window right now, and I feel exceptionally sorry for the valet guys at the National Building Museum who are attempting to park and retrieve cars for some gala that's still going on tonight.  Office is shut down again tomorrow...and I'm guessing probably Thursday, too.  We're supposed to get 10-20" out of this one.  Since we've already run through Snowpocalypse and Snowmageddon, I think the suggested moniker for this one is Snoverkill.  Ridiculous.  I might have to head out for pictures again tomorrow after the snow stops and share them with you...provided I still have things like electricity and Internet access.  Which I really think I will.  Not too much danger of falling trees crushing power lines here in the urban jungle.

Go check out the craziness on Picasa from my snowy explorations.  It's a little ridiculous.  Set the slideshow on fast, because you know me...there are far too many pictures there.  Happy winter, everyone!