Have a Merry Christmas

Wishing you the best this Christmas.

Have a holly jolly Christmas,
It's the best time of the year,
I don't know, if there'll be snow,
But have a cup of cheer.

Oh, ho, the mistletoe,
hung where all can see
somebody waits for you,
kiss him once for me.


The Suprise(less) gift

Try as I may, I can't surprise Jess with a gift. Don't believe me? Well, you should, because I've tried. And it's been, well, rough. Every attempt is futile.
  1. If I buy something using the credit card, he knows, because he checks our finances, and the store is right there, next to how much the darn thing cost. But, then again, Jess doesn't check it line by line, day by day, so in theory, I could get something past him. But no. It doesn't work.
  2. This time my secret is out because the computer signs into amazon.com (or any other site) using his info. After the purchase, amazon kindly sends him an email telling him what's on his way. Thanks guys. But I'm one step ahead, I open Jess' email account and forward the message to me. Then I delete the message from his account. Voila! Right? no. A day later amazon foils my plans and sends Jess another message, this time to let him know his special gift has been shipped. How can I compete? I can't stay on top of messages like that. Amazon's got me beat. But there are others ways, you say. And I agree.
  3. One time, I tried to buy Jess a gift, but I left it in the car because there were too many things to carry into the house. Later that night, I asked Jess if he could get the non-perishable groceries out of the car. Just as he makes his way up to the apartment, I remember the gift. Maybe he won't see it amongst all of the bags. Nope, he does.
  4. And finally, forget the use of the credit card, no use of the internet, I don't even buy it at the store. One year, I created a homemade gift, a pastel of him and I. Then I hid it in a place I swore he never looked. Days before the gift was to be given, he comes up to me and asks, holding the picture in one hand, "Who drew this for us? Did we get this for our wedding?"
What's the trick to being sneaky? As I have yet to succeed.


Good stuff

Yesterday, I cleaned the shower/bathtub (thanks Lysol spray foam), did all the laundry (that was one huge pile), finished cleaning the dishes from Sunday night's festivities (great to have visitors), and played with a little scientist who loves to crawl and discover everything (from the photo hooks to the pine needles). And while I was doing all of this, I was diggin' it. Yep, that's right, diggin' it.

And what's more, today I went to the grocery store and was helped by the loveliest of people. Thanks guys. I'm sure it helped that I was carrying a little boy who loves to smile (which makes everyone smile back - except for this one guy in the elevator who had no facial expression whatsoever, which, to tell you the truth, confused Oliver a bit). And now I'm listening to the Osmond Family Christmas Album. I may just do a few jazz squares after I finish this post.
Look at that smile


The Natural by Bernard Malamud

This book is interesting. It kind of reminds me of Tess of the Durbervilles, in that fate plays a huge part. However, I found myself thinking of the natural as a sad character who didn’t have the guts to change his circumstances. However, I told that to Jess and he said that he felt bad for the character. Maybe that’s because he’s seen the movie and I haven’t. On that note, I have found, more than once, that two people can read the same book and interpret it in a two very different ways. Have you found that to be the case? Anyhow, this book is good and sad and, at times, pathetic. Pathetic because the main character doesn’t learn from his mistakes. There’s something to learn from every book, and my favorite line that I would have highlighted had it not been a library copy:

“We have two lives…the life we learn with and the life we live with after that.”

Post edit: I watched the movie this past weekend. I must admit that while Malamud’s book was indeed a well-written piece of literature, I am a fan of the movie’s happy ending (come on, who wouldn't love lights exploding with some great music?).


Sleep Success

In a post a while ago I wrote about some sleep training I was doing with Oliver. I started calling it "sleep training" because it took some patience (on both parents' and child's part) and persistence, to complete. Things have paid off. Oliver is a champ. I understand there will always be variations in sleep with children, and I'm flexible, but I do think Oliver has benefited from the training. Thanks Dr. Marc Weissbluth.


Goulash Suprise

I did something interesting yesterday. I got it in my mind that I could whip up an out-of-the-ordinary dinner dish using my knowledge as a cook. My oh-so-little-knowledge as a cook. How did this all begin? Well, it was when I was sick with a high fever a few weeks ago.

That week I took in a lot of daytime television (by the way, how many iterations of Judge Judy can be produced, let alone, stomached by viewers?), one of the shows in the lineup was Rachael Ray. At 102 degrees, I watched as she made a pasta dish with cauliflower (which she pronounced call-lee-flower). She made it look just so simple. And every time she broke for commercial she’d say something like, “All I’ve got to do is cut up the parsley, steam the vegetables, strain the pasta, stir in the Ricotta, and add the spices. Be back in a couple.” To my fevered mind, the words, “Be back in a couple,” somehow meant that I, too, could work like Rachael, and create the dish in a couple of minutes just like her and her 14 person prep staff. So after the antibiotic cleared up my respiratory infection, I headed to the grocer and bought some call-lee-flower. Then it sat in the refrigerator for a few days because I didn’t buy the Ricotta cheese, a staple to Mrs. Ray’s dish.

About this time, I was talking to my sister, who, without knowing that the veggie was sitting in my fridge said, “I freeze cauliflower sometimes and later use it in soups.” “Ahha,” I thought to myself, “that’s what I’ll do to buy some time!” So in the freezer it went. Yesterday, I pulled it out to defrost and use for dinner. I had cottage cheese, that’s like Ricotta right? I was going to conquer the dish!

I pulled out the defrosted bunch. It smelled gross and the greenery around the bottom was slimy. I cut that off and found that the florets were still usable, but I understood why my sister said she used it for soup. I bagged my recipe plans; the frozen cauliflower plus the cottage cheese were throwing too many swerves into my procedure. So I did the next best thing. I decided to boil the cauliflower. As I was doing that, I sautéed an onion. All good recipes seem to include sautéed onion, which I was sure would work some magic into whatever I was making. I drained the water from the cauliflower. I had heard once that people add mashed cauliflower to potatoes, so I mashed mine, sans the potatoes. I then began to add. I added the onions. The mash tasted like onions. I added sour cream. The mash tasted like sour cream. I added shredded cheddar cheese. The mash tasted like sour cream and cheddar cheese. I add cilantro. The mash tasted like cilantro. I added pepper. Bad idea. Cilantro and pepper don’t seem to compliment each other.

I didn’t know what I had created. It looked like veggie slosh, so I called it goulash. Thank goodness my sister called me before I almost added soy sauce (soy sauce slosh goulash). When I told her of my concoction, she said it didn’t sound all that bad and suggested I add some carrots and serve it over rice. I did so and ate my dinner. Not too bad for goulash.

That evening, Jess called to tell me he was on his way home. “I made goulash for dinner,” I told him, which was unusual because I’m usually not one to declare what’s for dinner.
“Oh, really?” his reply sounded impartial.
“I made it up myself.”
“Oh, I see.” This time, not so sure about things.
When he got home, he tasted it. His conclusion, “Interesting, but not bad. I like the carrots.”


A competitor for Yankee Candle Co.

When my mom-in-law came out to help us with the babe in May, she freshened up the smell of our basement home with a little cinnamon in boiling water. It was quite pleasant. Today I was thinking back on it and it would appear to be a perfect air freshener for Christmas time. Try it out if you find yourself without a Yankee Candle this time of year.


It's Christmas time in the city

We picked up our Christmas tree this weekend. Choosing a tree was lots of fun. Every time I'd pull on a little trunk to check the height of the tree, I'd be taken back to my childhood. In early December, I'd go with my dad and siblings, usually around dusk, to pick out a tree from the local spot.

The smell of fresh pine is really the best.

Ready for the drive home

Once back at homebase, we took the Christmas tree for a ride in the elevator.

O Tannenbaum in the elevator

Let the festivities begin. Let us continue to be thankful and grateful. It's Christmas time.


Post Thanksgiving o-nine

Don't you love pouring the leftover cream (that you used for your mashed potato recipe) on top of your cereal after Thanksgiving? I do. Yum.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of good cheer, turkey, and lots of THANKFULNESS. My gratitude list is long. Very long. And I was happy to celebrate. We were invited to our friend's house and brought the mashed potatoes, the apple pie, cranberry sauce, and spinach salad. Yes, one of those things is not like the other. Let's just say, we had a lot of spinach salad left over. We decided that on Thanksgiving, people aren't really into eating fresh vegetables. I actually asked one of the guests if they wanted some salad to which they graciously responded, "I don't think I've got room on the plate!" 'Nough said.

The fresh cranberry sauce (or is it relish?) was my favorite this year. See here, because you'll want to make this for Christmas Eve.



Libraries and DVDs

Have you ever gone to the library and only checked out DVDs? It seems like every time I check out a DVD at the library I feel some sort of pressure to check out books too, to prove to the librarians that I read. For some reason I feel a need to make up for my movie watching enjoyment with a couple of books. One DVD rental equals two books, or something like that. I mean, when I go up to check items out, I always feel like the librarian behind the counter is somehow chiding me for checking out DVDs. I can hear her think, “Oh, I see, you don’t read much, hmmmm? You know this is a library. We have shelves and shelves of books.” So I always have a few books to check out with the DVD. When I do this, it seems as though I can see the attitude of the librarian change, and instead she is thinking, “Ah, good, at least you’ve got some books to accompany your DVD. Enjoy that one, it’s a classic. Oh yeah, and that drivel of a DVD is due back in 7 days.” Of course, the attitude of the librarian is the best when only books are checked out. As he scans your card and hands you your receipt, the message from the smile on his face conveys, “Ah, a fellow reader. Soak those pages up with your soul. Oh yes, and read that other one while sipping a cup of hot apple cider.” Then he mentions out loud, “And did you know that parking is free when you validate your parking stub?” This is when you know you’ve been accepted into the fold.


Happy Belated Halloween

Hope your Halloween was as creepy, I mean, as sleepy, as ours.

p.s. this morning Jess asked me, "Why don't they call Christmas Eve, Christmas'een'?" I told him I didn't know.


Not your basic popcorn shrimp

A few weeks ago while in NC, we went to a seafood restaurant on the recommendation of a local. “You’ve gotta go” he raved. My first clue to the quality of the food should have been the “Cleanliness Certificate” that hung in the lobby. This locale received a score of 90.4 out of 100. That’s an A- which is okay, right? But my mind raced back to the 7-Eleven we had visited a few days earlier. It also had its Cleanliness Certificate hanging up, back by the rotating hotdogs, with a score of 93.7. And, to tell you the truth, it really wasn’t all that spick and span. This 3 point difference made me apprehensive. Strike one.

My apprehension was lessened by a look at the menu. There were several dishes available and I was sure the food was going to be fresh. Plus, the prices were a little higher than our usual restaurant fare, and in the past, higher price has meant higher quality. However, my hopes were squandered once more as the waitress brought out plastic utensils and a breadbasket full of pre-packed sauces. I soon discovered that the food was served on plastic plates. Strike two.

I wanted to give the place a fair chance so I ordered the shrimp. A rarity for me, but something I try when I know it will be fresh. The menu described the shrimp as “steamed and served with a butter and garlic sauce.” Just the way I prefer it. Things were looking up.

My plastic plate came, filled with shrimp and a ketchup cup of butter…sauce. As I dipped my crustacean into the cup, my eyes seemed to fool me. “This looks too thick to be butter”, I thought. I lifted the shrimp to my mouth and took a bite. The taste of the sauce was familiar. Very salty. Very fake buttery. Very much like the stuff they squirt onto popcorn at movie theatres. Very much indeed popcorn butter. Strike three.

So the long and short of it is, I had steamed shrimp with two pumps of popcorn butter on a plastic plate in a place dirtier than the Sev down the street. And it wasn’t cheap. Heck, I think I would have been better off with a rotating hotdog.


Goodbye Workplace

About two weeks ago, I officially said goodbye to my workplace of three years. It was difficult, I won’t fib. I had a hard time packing up my office, handing my tasks and work product over to others, and leaving my office friends.


But life is full of change, and in this situation, its good change.


OBX dude!

Before real life began, we decided to take a little family trip to the Outer Banks, North Carolina. For years we have heard how great it is and have wanted to go, so go we went. For some reason, I thought it took around 14 hours to drive there from our home, so I was more than pleased to find out it only took 6. (However, I must quickly note that when I entered Outer Banks into the GPS, it said that it was 1000 miles away. My heart sank. We were to arrive at 6am the next morning! Then we recalled that for our last destination, we had turned on the "avoid highways" navigate button. After turning off the avoidance, the trip mileage was decreased by 600+ miles. Ahhh, a sigh of relief. Note to Ash - get to know geography better.)
6 hours later we were there, and we had a great time.

Our near-the-beach cottage

Oliver's first time feeling the ocean

I found a shark egg
The Hatteras Lighthouse
This is the life


Circadian Rhythm

I wonder what my sleeping pattern was like when I was a baby. Did I sleep well? When I was an infant, did I fall asleep as easily as I do now? Trust me, this post is going somewhere. As for sleeping, I have a history. My family knows well that I can fall asleep at just about anytime, anywhere. Take for instance; if Lima beans were on the dinner menu, I fell asleep at the table. If the siblings were enjoying Nintendo games at our brother-in-law’s house late into the night, I fell asleep near the sub woofers. One time, I even fell asleep in the act of pushing up my glasses.

Now I’m trying to teach my baby to fall asleep using the book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D., as my guide. Nearly every night I hear myself echoing some portion of the book to Jess:

“The book says that babies shouldn't get used to music…”

“But we shouldn’t do that because the book says not to.”

“The book mentioned that babies do that, and Oliver just did!”


Well, now the book is telling me this:

And I am trying to work it into Oliver’s schedule because I understand he’s got a rhythm. And he needs his sleep. This chart is a cinch to follow when I rock Oliver to sleep, no problem. But that is the problem, I rock him to sleep. The book teaches (there I go again) to allow him to learn how to soothe himself. So far, we are 0 and 100 or so with this method. Self-soothing is losing, and losing big. And every time it loses, I go back to the book for solace, a cause to which it never fails. Helpful hints are indicated along the way and they help me to persevere.

I’ll let you know if I succeed. And if not, I may resort to Lima beans or hope that there’s a gene for sleeping habits, and that mine is dominant.

A rare moment for Ollie, asleep


my fridge

In response to cheese on rye's post of if this fridge could talk, here's my refridgerator.

Newly Stay at Home Mom - Washington DC Metro Area - 3-person Household - making a goal to cook better


Living High(rise) on Life

So we did it, we live in a highrise. When the leasing agent asked me what floor I wanted to live in I answered, with the thought that I'd like to be able to climb the stairs to my home, "As low a floor as possible." To which he responded, "Wow, that's the first time I've ever heard that." So why do people want to live so high? Joe went on to explain to me that it's safer, further away from noise, and has a great view. And with the required floorplan only available on certain floors, we found ourselves in the double digits.

Living in a highrise is a little different from living in a basement. Wait, a lot different, starting with the amount of natural light we get to enjoy. Plus there's a rubbish shoot for your trash. Yep, a rubbish shoot. Does anyone else find that interesting/odd/curious? A great idea.


Cute one

The other night, our friends invited us over for dinner. It was a wonderful time. While we were chatting, he took some photos with his new lens, then his wife did some editing. Let's just say, I am a fan of his photography, the new lens, her editing, and most definitely, this cute little boy.


To give an update

Lots of things going on and things to share... but no time to do it. So, in the interim, know that we are happy and figuring life out for this fall. I can feel the crispness in the air. Here's the happy fam:


Looking for apartments is a drag

and just about as boring as this blog post...


the best things

We've all heard the old proverb, "The best things in life aren't free."

Well, one afternoon, while my mother tested my grandpa's sugar levels, I wandered around his house looking at things.  A small piece of paper with something scratched onto it caught my eye.  In my grandfather's shaky handwriting it read, "The best things in life aren't things, they are family and friends."

As we venture off, once again heading for the east, my grandpa's words echo my thoughts.  I've loved this summer.  I've cherished being around family and seeing old friends.  I've loved the dry air, the cool nights, the wind in the mulberry trees.  I've enjoyed the Sunday dinners, the impromptu outings, the home theatre nights, the Heber crispness.  The smiling faces of family and friends are best though.  

Hope your summer has been splendid too.


into cooking these days

which I guess is a good thing, seeing as I'll be cooking meals for a fam for the next few (or so) years. This summer, we've had the luxury of enjoying the food network. I now know the meaning of sous vide, mojito, amuse bouche, and boeuf bourguignon. The last one thanks to this film, Julie&Julia:
I enjoyed this movie quite a bit; although I could have watched a show solely about Julia and been perfectly happy.

So here's to cooking some better recipes in the near future. But first, I've got to buy some wooden spoons...


and the living is easy

You know it's summer time when your dad let's you try out the trampoline and you get to wear awesome sunglasses, all in one day.
You also know it's summer when you rock the waterski with a wipeout like this. No pain no gain, right?


Giving Statistically Proven

I read an article a few days back. It was about giving and why it's important. The article piqued my interest.  We all know that giving makes us feel good.  What's different with this article is that the economist, Arthur C. Brooks, quantified how giving benefits us financially.  Here's an excerpt from the piece:

"Say you have two identical families—same religion, same race, same number of kids, same town, same level of education—everything’s the same, except that one family gives $100 more to charity than the second family. Then the giving family will earn on average $375 more in income than the non-giving family—and that’s statistically attributable to the gift.

... I ran the numbers again and looked at volunteering. I found the same thing: People who volunteer do better financially. I ran the numbers on blood donations. Think about that—giving blood. You’re not going to get richer if you give blood, are you? Well, yes, you are.

... If we were to increase our private charitable donations by just 1 percent, which is about $2 billion a year, that would translate into a gross domestic product of about 39 billion new dollars."

How's that for an economic stimulus?  

It's always interesting to find that a researcher has proved something I already knew was good.  Take a look at the full article, Why Giving Matters.  It's worth the read.

image from Shel Silverstein's, The Giving Tree


pH balanced

The other day, Jess left the house wearing my deodorant. He returned home to exclaim with surprise that my cucumber & green tea stick proved to work quite well throughout the day. He has since used it more than once (It took us a while to re-up his stock).

I, too, have been known to use Jess' deodorant. There have been times I've been out of my own. I recall thinking once, when talking with a coworker, "Do you think he can tell I smell like Old Spice Sport?" That's when I decided I probably shouldn't do it any longer. I liked Jess smelling like his deod, not me.

This brought me to thinking, are we the only people using each others' antiperspirant? It's all the same stuff, right? With different scents.



It feels like, well, today

What is it today, the 7th?  I have to admit, I'm really not on top of the dates these days.  At work, I lived by the calendar.  Outlook kept me on schedule.  Meetings tomorrow, 9am and 2pm.  Launch of system on June 1.  Documentation complete by the 25th.  Requirements out next week.  You get the picture.  

It's a little different these days.  It's a good different.  Ollie and my schedule goes something like this, in no particular order: wake up and talk a bit; eat some; sit outside and feel the wind on our faces, watch the neighbors, stare at the leaves; eat some more; take a walk up the street; sleep some; stretch; sit with family.

The boy's growin' and he's really cute.  Is today the 7th?  No matter, it will be a good one.


We're busy doing stuff

Oliver, Jess and I have had a busy summer thus far. We are currently doing lots of stuff. Here we are enjoying our key task of the day.

And this is what a cute kid looks like when you change his diape.

And this is what he looks like when he's getting older, that is, going on 2 weeks.

And this is us after we've had one arduous day. Notice the look of disheveled-ness. Like I mentioned, we've been busy.


Graduation Station

Much change is a' brewin' for us these days and it cannot go without mentioning that in addition to our new little one, we've got a graduate. Cheers and well done!

Oh yes, and look at the fun one can have with a doctoral tam.

Priest biretta, army beret, and food service hat


Making his debut

Weighing in at 7 lbs 2 ounces and 20 inches long, here's Oliver!

Arriving on May 23rd, he's the cutest and we love him lots.


Because we become 3 soon

I'd like to share a quick story about us 2.

Four short weeks after we were married, we began another year of school (his junior year and my first year of grad school ... taking the mission into account). We were quite busy getting all things school-related done, but we often found time to eat lunch together. We'd meet in the student center and sit at big round tables with 2 or 3 other students (they were big tables). There we'd enjoy our PB&J, banana, and soda cracker lunch which left us both wanting for more. (This meager lunch guaranteed that neither of us gained any post-marriage pounds, but I soon realized I was failing in the lunch making field when Jess was told that he was looking "thinner these days". That's when I went into my baking-cookies-and-freezing-them-every-week phase... I guess that story is for another time).

As we'd sit at lunch, Jess would show me items of interest in the university paper. We'd chat about things we were doing in school, what our families were up to, or nothing in particular. Sometimes we'd make observations about our fellow students, watch student club contests, or help one another study for tests. Most of the time jokes were made, clever things said, lots of laughs. This time served as my petrol for the day. I got my emotional energy from these lunches (wish I could say the same for my physical energy, darn soda crackers).

Then one afternoon, as I sat studying in the student center, a girl walked past me but then backed up to stop right in front of my chair. I looked up to an unfamiliar face. "You don't know me," she said, "but a few months ago I sat by you and your husband during lunch." She continued, "I noticed you were really enjoying yourselves and you were married. During that time, I was contemplating marriage but had a skewed view of it. When I saw you two interacting, I realized marriage could be great and made my decision to get married. I just wanted to say thanks for that." Surprised but grateful for her forward comment, I managed to sputter out, "Well, thanks for saying thanks." Then she was off.

Being 2 has been superb and I've really enjoyed it. As for being 3, I'm aiming to live a life so I may hear the words, "I noticed you were really enjoying yourselves and you had a child."


Guest book Signing Table

My brother's getting married today to a wonderful girl. I am very happy for them indeed! Unfortunately, husband and I can't make it to the festivities seeing as we've got another project (i.e. growing babe) in the works. In March, when I visited my family over spring break, my brother, sister and I discussed how I could "be" at the wedding without really being there. We came up with video-conferencing. The engaged couple said I could be at the guest book signing table. So I practiced last night.

Here I am greeting the guests as they arrive at the reception.
And here I am asking them to sign the guest book.
I think this is a great idea. We laughed about it all evening.


The Final Countdown

Our babe comes in ~one month. Here's to the final weeks.

p.s. the singer in the video has got some mad microphone skills plus some rockin' fist pumps.


Spell check

I have found, that after reading several blogs, the word "definitely" is a difficult one. I have seen it spelled "definitley," "definately" and today, more than once, "defiantly".

This could mean one of two things, 1) definitely is difficult to spell and typing the combination of words can confuse your fingers, or 2) I am reading too many blog posts.

Hmmm, it may be the latter.


Central Park, part three

Many a time, I've heard of people going to NYC and spotting a celebrity. Someone I knew saw Sting once and another person saw a girl from The OC. So naturally, when I visited NYC this past weekend, I thought I may spot someone famous myself. And I did. This is how it went.

Jess: Look at that, a beach volleyball court in Central Park.
Ash: That's interesting, I wonder how you reserve time to play.
Jess: Yeah, I don't know.
Ash: Gee, the sand is spilling out of the court.
We slow our pace near the courts and watch as 4 dudes play volleyball, one of which was wearing beach trunks, going shirtless. And it was 62 degrees.
Ash: Jess, stop, stop. Come here.
Jess: What, huh?
Ash: Come here. (And in a lower tone), I think that's John Stossel.
Jess: Who's John Stossel? And, why isn't he wearing a shirt?
Ash: He's a new anchor...on Dateline or something.
We continue walking.
Jess: Ash, I don't know if that was John Stossel. John Stossel has a pretty common look with the moustache and all. That really could have been anyone. His look isn't that distinct.
Ash: I'll stand by it. (Really wanting to triumph in spotting some sort of public figure on this visit) THAT was John Stossel, I will bet you on it. I'm sure it was him.
Jess: Does he report out of New York?
Ash: I think so.
Jess: Let's Google him.
As we continue to walk, Jess pulls out the Blackberry to check it out.
Ash: Ha, ha, that's evidence enough!
Jess: Wow, John Stossel playing volleyball in Central Park in 62 degree weather. This is great. We've got to get a photo.
So we walked back and got a picture. How's that for celebrity sighting? Er...I mean news anchor sighting. He wasn't bad at the game either.


Central Park, part two

The beats of Michael Jackson were playing near this stage. A group of dancers asked Sunday afternoon strollers to form a circle and watch. I was intrigued by the guy wearing Michael Jackson gear so we decided to stop (taking a seat on a bench). Jess handed me a dollar to give to the crew after the performance. He's nice like that. The performance had just begun when a couple of police men had to stop the show. People booed, others walked away. One of the dancers exclaimed, "We've got to stop the show, but you are welcome to give us money." I didn't give them our dollar. I guess I'm like that. I'll give the cash if I like what I've seen, but it's not a guaranteed donation. Should I have given the money because they were stopped by the cops? Or is that the exact reason why I shouldn't have given them money? An ethical question indeed. It appears I'm thinking about this dilemma in the photo above.


Central Park in three parts

Our short trip to New York this past weekend proved delightful. We had a goal to see a Broadway play before the arrival of the babe, and we achieved our goal. Other than tuning in to some musical enjoyment, one of my favorite things we did was sit in Central Park and watch the city softball teams play. During several minutes of our watching, some city softball umps were sitting next to us on a park bench, discussing the city leagues best hitters. "Mikey Chirtwitz is an amazin' playah. He played fah Queens last yeah but now he's changed teams."


Spring showed up today

And I am loving the faint breeze, the happy sun, the peering daffodils, the chirping birds. I am looking forward to wearing a light jacket, rolling down the window a bit, going for pleasant walks, watching the blossoms grow, observing the tadpoles, smelling the lawn, seeing the ducklings follow their moms, waking up to rays o' sunshine.


Good Burger Eats in the district

I like to eat out. I do. I like it a lot. Eating out for me is more than just about the food, it's about the outing itself, it's about the conversation, it's about the restaurant's ambiance. Plus, I really like ketchup and ketchup with french fries is really good and I only try to eat french fries at good restaurants. Excuse me, I digress.

Jess and I have found some great places to eat out here in DC and the surrounding areas. Truth is, Jess has found the places and I just get to join him. The man can look at restaurant reviews like I can look at blogs, that is, for a long time. Recently, Jess has been on this hamburger kick. Here are some of the best burger places we've...er... Jess, has discovered in DC.

Central (get the house mayonnaise)
Good Stuff Eatery (go simple, in other words, don't order a fried egg with your burger)
Ray's Hell Burger (no french fries here, but you won't need it based on the size of the burger)

As for me, I'd like to find a place out here that makes good shakes or things like unto a Nielsens Frozen Custard concrete. Any suggestions? And no, Johnny Rocket's doesn't fit the bill.

post note: another name for this post could have been "Ashley likes fatty foods," hmmm, I may have to post on some healthy foods next.



I've always been very interested in lettering, calligraphy, fonts. Sometimes I find myself just taking to a piece of paper and scribbling out some letters much like an artist may doodle in a sketchbook. Maybe it's in the genes. My grandfather made electric signs for a living.

My sister told me about a film on the font Helvetica. A font you've probably seen several times today as you've gone about your daily routine. Take a look at this tidbit from the film. Fonts are fabulous (and powerful). Very cool.