Friday, October 3, 2014

Adventures in Laundry

I was supposed to do laundry last Sunday. I went to a baseball game instead. 

Then I was supposed to do it Monday. 
I pawed through my closet to find an outfit to wear to work on Tuesday 
and then procrastinated instead.

We’ll just skip to Friday morning shall we? 

That’s when I *had* to do laundry because I had no (decent) undies left 
I need my red Nationals shirt because I’m going to the NLDS Game 1 at Nationals Park and ohmygoodnesstheNatsareinthePlayoffs!!!!

*ahem* sorry

So, I finally did laundry this morning. I got up at 6:30am and dragged my rollie-cart of dirty clothes down to the basement so that I could have as many washers as I wanted. I checked my laundry money card and realized I had enough for four loads of wash and dry.  So, I very dutifully split up my darks and lights into three washers so as not to overload them, and put towels in the last one. I set my timer and went upstairs to start work while things got washed.

Thirty-five minutes later, I’m back downstairs, and for some reason, I went to the washer in the middle first. And when I opened it, I noticed that the clothes were soaking wet! Argh! So I squeezed out as much water as I could then split those clothes up between two dryers so that they wouldn't take as much time to dry. And 45 minutes later, I had one load of nice and dry towels and two loads of mostly damp clothes. *sigh*

But... while I was bemoaning my fate of trying to dry everything again with only enough money for one more round on my card, I realized that one of the guys in the room was actually the technician for the machines. I pointed out that the washer hadn't seemed to spin dry the clothes. He immediately blamed it on overloading and heavy clothes. I have had that problem in the past, I explained, which is why I very carefully "load balance" my washers. Someone else had already started using that washer, so while I was folding the few dry things (and some not as dry as I had thought) I had been able to find, he watched the washer go through its cycles. And sure enough, it didn't spin!

He couldn’t give me a credit on my money card so I could dry my clothes AGAIN if necessary, but he did give my dryer another 30 minutes so that it should dry everything. Hope remains eternal!

And some of it is STILL damp, so I’ve got clothes draped all over my house. *SIGH*

Lessons learned from this adventure in laundry:
1.       Don’t wait two weeks to do your laundry.
2.       Make sure you have cash in $5 or over denominations before you do laundry. Just in case.
3.       If the washer doesn’t spin dry the clothes and they are soaking wet, put them in their own dryer so that at least the OTHER clothes will get dry!

Friday, September 19, 2014


My friends and I have been discussing something in a Facebook thread, and I thought part of it would make a good blog post. With pictures! The conversation started with an article about how writing is a really healthy activity, fights depression, etc., and as it continued, one of my fellow MKs asked,
Is there a theme running through here? Why are/were so many of us raised overseas fighting depression? Is there something missing that we long for?
I answered that we all longed for "home."

And my response made me remember something that happened a few years back.

I went back to Hong Kong in 2005 for a long-planned visit. I had originally planned to go in 2003, but SARS hit, so I decided to wait a bit (that death thing)... Anyway, when I finally got there, I sent an email back to the family with the subject line:

I'm HOME! ;-)

and described how wonderful the Peninsula Hotel was -- yes, I stayed there two nights (BEST DECISION EVER!). I moved to the Kowloon Hotel for about five nights and then spent the last two nights at the Silvermine Beach hotel. When I finally got back to DC, I sent my family another email to let them know I was back in the US, safe and sound.

A few weeks later, I was looking through all of the emails I wrote back and forth with my family and I suddenly realized that the entirety of that LAST email, the one from my apartment in Bethesda, MD (DC area), was:
Subject: Hi honey...
I'm hooooome!  Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

(Pics are uploading to the computer as I type, so I'll write more tomorrow, with exhibits! Yay!)
And it hit me. "I'm hoooooome!" I *had* finally found a place to call home! My HK home was really not there anymore, but I had found a place that reminded me of it, but was different... in good ways and bad, but mostly good. That realization had a profound impact on me and my happiness!

And I'm still in DC!

And now for the pics... (Go here for all of the pictures from my Hong Kong trip. These are just the hotels...)
Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong. About 1/4 of the room.

Peninsula Hotel, Hong Kong. Goodies!
Kowloon Hotel. Next door to the Peninsula, but a little more cramped.

Silvermine Beach Hotel. Really old, but it's on a beach on Lantau Island.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Remembering Memorial Day

I took this picture on Memorial Day, 2012, after listening to the Memorial Day concert and seeing President Obama placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Something I'm not sure people know is that every visitor to Arlington Cemetery that day (and maybe others) was given two roses as they stood in line to get on the shuttle, by volunteers. As they gave us the roses, they asked that we keep one rose and give the other one to a soldier.

D. R. Smith - May 28, 2012

So, when you think about it, what this picture demonstrates -- in addition to the cost of war and freedom -- is that each of these soldiers was specifically remembered that day, probably by someone they had never met. 

I think that is pretty cool.

What happened to the weekend?

I had all these plans this weekend of being sociable and having fun with my friends. I was supposed to go to two separate cook-outs to enjoy the beautiful weather while eating hamburgers and hot dogs, drinking beer, and joking, chatting, and just generally hanging out with friends.

So, did I do all that? No.

Did I do any of that? No.

My brother's birthday was last Thursday (May 22), and the anniversary of his death is next Monday (June 2). I haven't been thinking about him all the time, I just ... I'm just having a hard time getting my butt up and doing stuff, not to mention just plain getting out of the house. An old friend of ours has a son who is in critical care right now, and maybe that is bringing it all back a bit. Or just that it's Memorial Day weekend, and I'm memorializing. I don't know. It's just hitting me hard this year.

Or maybe I'm a little depressed or something. (Ya think???)

I've been thinking how I'm going to apologize to my two friends who had cook-outs, not only for not going, but for not letting them know I wouldn't be there. I'm sure I missed seeing a lot of people I know and love, but...

I think I just needed some "me" time.

I've spent most of the time playing Candy Crush or reading Facebook or watching bad movies on TV -- really important activities -- but I am scheduled to go the baseball game tomorrow with my sister, so I will get out of the house!  I cooked yesterday (burgers), and will do laundry at some point tonight probably. I did change the sheets on the bed. I can do the groceries tomorrow before the game. And luckily, I have Tuesday off as well, so I can catch up on things then if I have to. Of course, the grand plan of cleaning and organizing has basically gone out the window. I kinda did one bit of each part of the plan and then got distracted and went back to nothingness. Maybe I'll do it all on Tuesday.

Or next weekend.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh yeah... I'm good at procrastination...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Rainy Days and Tuesdays

My sister and niece are doing the "100 Days of Happiness", and I've been updating my "Jar of Happiness" file fairly regularly, but I thought I'd post here today instead.

It's raining outside. Pouring. I mean, cats and dogs - which always confused me when I was a kid. I mean, why would people say it's raining cats and dogs? It sounded really cruel of God to make the little animals fall from the sky like that!

Anywhoo - raining a lot. I'm a bit of a pluviophile, so I rather enjoy this weather, but it really is coming down in buckets! It's finally gotten warm here in DC -- i.e., supposedly, Spring has sprung -- but the temperature is supposed to drop about 40 degrees by this evening and possibly turn this precipitation into snow. But currently it's just raining. A lot.

Rain, rain, rain...

Did I mention that it's raining?

It's gray and dark, and people are bundled against the rain, blindly following their broken umbrellas down the sidewalk, paying no heed to the people walking toward them. My favorites are the ones with the giant golf umbrellas: I mean, really? You can house a family of four in one of them, so you really think it's appropriate to hoist one up to cover your teeny self while smacking lesser mortals into the street or poking them in the eye?

Sometimes you see some really modern person (usually Japanese tourist) with a new-fangled umbrella, but mostly, you get the umbrellas from CVS or Target, usually black, with one broken rib, with occasional breaks of color or a pattern sneaking in. None of them are nearly as cool as this one:

You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant (aka

That's not my umbrella. I just wish it were!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

I had a physical therapy appointment this morning, so I got to walk down K Street a few blocks to catch a bus to walk a few more blocks to get to work, during rush hour in the rain. So I got to enjoy this unremitting deluge along with quite a few other members of the proletariat. Trudge, trudge, trudge. I got some coffee and breakfast on the way, so I was weighed down with my laptop in my backpack, my Washington Nationals purse hanging off my shoulder, umbrella (broken, of course) in one hand and my coffee and breakfast in the other, as I lugged myself just one more block to the office.

I looked up and saw a Mom telling her little girl, dressed in a brightly coloured raincoat and wellies, to "Come onnnn!"

But the little girl had a mission in life: There was a puddle. It required stomping.


And then there was another.


Giggling, the little girl looked up in absolute delight and saw me smiling broadly, and she giggled some more. I caught her Mom's eye and smiled, saying, "Thank you! You just made my day!" Her mom sighed and gave a tired smile.

I'm sure that Mom was having a hard enough time with her daughter trying to wrangle every puddle in the sidewalk, but I hope the fact that they made my day just a little bit brighter helps her day get better too!

And I hope I never get too old to find puddle-stomping fun! 

(Plus, I want kid's rain gear fashions!)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Age 25

One of my friends did one of those meme thingies about an age. I decided to change it somewhat from the original. Instead of just listing facts, i thought it would be more fun to write an anecdote of my life at age 25. So... here it is!

I made a momentous decision when I was 25.

It all began when I started getting gray hair at the age of 13. It was pretty cool actually -- my hair looked brownish, but it was strands of different colours, black, brown, red, blonde, silver. I had the "wings" hairstyle, so it looked like I had a streak of silver through my brownish hair. (I didn't realize it at the time, but that's probably why I *never* got carded when I was underage!)

Fast-forward to age 25. I was adamantly not dying my hair because I kinda liked the the streak of gray. But one Halloween I decided to go as Lucille Ball, so I did one of those "shampoo out" hair dyes: Titian Red. I spent all Sunday washing the colour out, and it got most of the red out, but it still covered all of the gray. I went to work on Monday and people came up and said things like, "New glasses? Contacts? Did you lose weight? You look great!"

And then this woman, a nosy parker type, said, "Wow, you look ten to fifteen years younger!"
"I look ten to fifteen years old?" I asked, being 25 and all.
"No, you look 20, 25!"
"I *am* 25!"

So, she thought I looked about 35-40 years old. And I was 25. 

So yeah, I decided at that point that I needed to look into colouring my hair on a more permanent basis!

Funny thing was that once I did dye my hair (red, because I should have been a redhead), I got carded ALLLLL the time! So now that it's a few years later (just a few!), I'm thinking of letting it all go gray again. Or white. Whatever it is now. And then I'll get a really cool streak of bright red or blue or something! Yeah, that's it!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Noah, a review

NOTE: possible spoilers. I'll try not to have them, but I can't guarantee that this will be spoiler-free!

I saw the movie "Noah" yesterday and have been thinking about it a lot today. I'm not really a fan, mostly because I didn't think it was very well-written. It's like they took a hodge-podge of flood myths and tried to make it "popular" by adding in some battles and supernatural stuff. The acting was fine and the special effects were spectacular, but.. meh.

The main reason I went to see it was all of the hype about it. Everyone had an opinion on it, and most of them hadn't even seen it yet! A lot of the uber-Christians were complaining that it took liberties with the Bible story and it was anti-religious, etc. So I did some research on where they got some of the story elements and tried to figure out what they had done. I looked at the Jewish, Christian and Muslim versions of the story, Plato, and the Gilgamesh story

(In no particular order)

1. Noah was vegetarian: There is some background for that. Genesis 9:3 indicates that God told Noah he could start eating meat after the flood.
>>Genesis 9:3 (NIV) Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.<<

Soooo before the flood, they had been allowed to eat only herbs and plants. Now they were allowed to use meat for food, but only after the animal had been killed.

So to all of the people complaining about Noah being a hippy vegetarian... go read your Bible!

2. Rock monsters: "Niphilim" are mentioned in the Bible, and there is a LOT of speculation as to what they really are. They're fallen angels, they are the offspring of angels and women, etc. The movie's version is just as "out there" as some of the other speculation, so uh, OK. But they really seemed jarring, like some animated Transformer-like thing that was just weird.

3. Calling the guy in charge "Creator" vs. "God" - Why is this a controversy? Isn't God the "Creator"? Also, in the Quran, God is called "The Devine Creator". Seriously, what is the noise about?

4. Sons & wives: In the Bible God specifically tells Noah that his family, includes Noah, his wife, his sons and their wives, will be spared. Also, Ham is the youngest (vs. middle), the father of Canaan. He is the one who Noah curses at the end because Ham sees him naked and tells his brothers, instead of covering him up.

In the Quran, Noah's wife and oldest son are not spared because they are "not righteous".

The movie didn't follow the Bible script exactly on this, but it does have some of the elements, along with elements from other myths. I'm wondering if they changed it to make it more dramatic. (I thought the changes weren't all that great actually. Makes Noah seem like a bit of a dick!)

5. Bad guys: "Everyone thought only of his own welfare and recognized only the laws that were in his own favor. Mutual respect and cooperation had given way to violence and sin." This, from the Jewish version, pretty much describes the bad guy, even though he was really good at quoting scripture.

So overall, other than the thing with the wives, the story contains elements that are found in at least one of the versions of the story. The thing with the wives though, is completely different and I think it was changed just to add drama. Not successfully, mind you, but I think they wanted Noah to have some conflict that he had to overcome. Heck, the guy was 600 years old! Give him a break!

I really think the worst thing I can say about this movie is that it's just not that good a movie. Disappointing, but... I wasn't all that excited about it before the hype and controversy because I just didn't think it was a good story. And I was right!

So, save your money. I don't think you shouldn't see it because it's sacrilege (or not), but because it's just not a very good movie! If it didn't have all of the hype, it probably would have gone quietly away.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Adventures in Jeopardy (Part 8)

The viewing party

Before I left for LA, my friends and I had already determined that there WOULD be a viewing party for my episode of Jeopardy. We had decided to have it at Nanny O’Brien’s because they had a back room with a huge TV that we could all enjoy. And then I found out that my episode was on a Wednesday, which is the day of the week that Nanny’s has their Wing Night, which is a HUGE success. I talked it over with Brian and asked Beth about it, and we decided to move the party to The Board Room in Dupont Circle, where we could have it upstairs with the sound on. Beth was so excited about it, she said she was going to have a viewing party there even if we weren’t there! Haha!

So, I reserved space with Beth, assuming probably about 10-15 people would be coming to my party. And then I posted the invitation on Facebook… and immediately about 20 people responded that they were going! So I told Beth it looked like it would be closer to 20-25 people for the Happy Hour. Because I know a lot of people outside of DC, I decided to post two invitations: one to the physical party at the Board Room and one just to let people know when it was on so they could watch wherever they were in the country. The outpouring of congratulations and fun was just amazing to me. The only problem was that I had no way to show it to my friends who do NOT live in the States! Oh well.

Anyway – it was finally May 1, and I made it to the Board Room and some of my friends were already there. Beth had set up a sign on the stairs to indicate that it was my party (Yay!), but the few people that were already there were still downstairs, except Eddie who had already staked a claim at the bar. I was in a bit of a whirlwind, because people just kept coming! I’d get through saying Hi to one group of friends and then another bunch of people would come in. I had friends from college, friends from Bob’s, friends from Cleveland Park, and even friends from Facebook! I counted 65 people at one point, and still more showed up! And the all introduced themselves and had great conversations, and many drinks. It was very crowded in that upstairs bar, but it was a blast! Eventually, I ordered a bunch of pizzas from Flippin’ Pizza, so we all could sit, eat and get settled before the show started.

There was actually another small party in the area as well, who were planning to watch basketball. We told them that we were going to be watching Jeopardy with the sound on, but then they could turn it all back to the basketball if they wanted. They were excited to join in – in fact, one girl said, “Oh we like to play along!” I responded, “Funny, so do I!” heeheehee

Watching the show was hilarious. Everyone was cheering and booing, and laughing and saying “Shhhh!” whenever I said anything on the show so they could hear me. I think every TV in the bar was tuned to Jeopardy for that half hour, and it was really a great, raucous party.
Me, on Jeopardy (Omar Biancaniello)
Omar took a picture of me, with me on TV -- VERY surreal!

Hanging with the Williamssss!

And as Double Jeopardy wound down, everyone was getting anxious and they were yelling “WITHERS! It’s BILL WITHERS!” at the screen, but… I still didn’t get it, and ended up not making it to Final Jeopardy… AGAIN. I looked around and everyone’s face was just this gaping expression of disbelief, so I stood up, spread my hands and shrugged, “Did I forget to tell you that I LOST???”

Much laughter and silliness ensued, and continued into the night...

Thus endeth my Adventures in Jeopardy. Except that I get called "Jeopardy Girl" on quite a few occasions, and I am a big pusher of doing the online Jeopardy tests. Because, that's the only way to get on the show these days!


Thanks to ALL of my friends and family for all of the support they gave me throughout this adventure. I really could NOT have done it without you!

I cannot even express how amazing that night felt to me. I kept telling people that I felt like the Grinch in that my heart just kept getting bigger and bigger as more people showed up. And my heart was pretty big to begin with! I loved that although a lot of my friends hadn’t met each other before, they all got along and talked and laughed with each other.  This whole experience was really a once-in-a-lifetime, amazing and awesome whirlwind ride. I can’t believe it sometimes that I’ve actually been on Jeopardy, and that all of those people actually came to a party for ME. I always joke around that I’m the center of the universe (note the t-shirt), but that really is a joke to me. So it was very weird to ACTUALLY be the center of attention – and boy, was that a LOT of attention! But it was also fabulous. Absolutely FABULOUS!

(And I looked mahhhvalous, dahling!)

Added 03/11/16: I just found a link to the actual questions from my episode!