Friday, May 29, 2009

Winning Ways

I already posted about winning the Top Chef Masters party prize pack. It hasn't arrived yet, I keep checking the mail box.

The radio station I listen to is giving away a trip to Ireland to see U2 in concert. So, when they tell you to call, you have to be the 10th caller and you win the new U2 CD and your name goes in the hat for the trip. Yeah, my name is in the hat. I was caller 6 the other day, and number 10 yesterday. I don't know when they will be picking a winner, but wouldn't that be cool, a weekend in Dublin on someone else's dime? Fingers crossed.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

So, I get this email the other day:


You're one of 250 people selected to host a Top Chef Masters Premiere B-Hive Party on Wednesday, June 10th!

Once you accept the host duties, you should receive your exclusive Top Chef Masters Premiere B-Hive Pack before the premiere.

Here's what you need to do to get ready for the big night:
  • Accept Host Duties: In order to claim your prize you must review and accept the Top Chef Masters B-Hive Host Duties by no later than May 23.
  • Recruit Your Foodie Friends: Invite at least 5 friends to come over to your place to watch the premiere of BRAVO'S newest competition reality show, Top Chef Masters, on Wednesday, June 10 @ 10/9c using our special online invitation, available May 27.
  • Use Your Plastic: What's a party without snacks and drinks, especially since they're on us? To be a true tastemaker, treat your guests to Stacy's® Pita Chips included in the Top Chef Masters Premiere B-Hive Pack and use the $25 gift card for additional goodies.
  • Set the Scene: You'll get a box full of exclusive items to help you make sure you and your friends are fully prepared for the kitchen competition, including Top Chef Masters T-shirts, chip bowl and drink pitcher, as well as napkins to clean up any messes.
  • Pop Some Pics: During your B-Hive Party, take digital pictures of your foodie friends as they chow down, enjoy the Top Chef Masters swag and tune in to the premiere. Make sure your B-Hive Party really buzzes by sending texts to and chatting with your friends online during the show. Then on Thursday, June 11, upload your photos to the B-Hive area on - You'll automatically be entered to win another $50 gift card.
  • Enter the Exclusive B-Hive Sweeps: While you're there, you can also enter for your chance to win a guest appearance by Carla, one of the finalists from Top Chef: New York, at your finale B-Hive Party, since you're definitely going to want to keep the buzz going every week until the Top Chef Master has been named. Anyone can enter once per week until August 5th so tell your friends!

We're certain that you and your fellow food-lovers will have a fabulous time at your party and will be hooked on BRAVO'S newest competition reality show, Top Chef Masters! Be sure to tell everyone what you'll be watching on Wednesday, June 10 @ 10/9c so they can watch what happens, too!

Your friends at BRAVO

So, I'm thinking: a) Hey! I won something! WooWhoo! b) If you already know where I live, come on over. However, you absolutely have to be out of the house the second it's over, it'll be past my bed time on a school night. c) But, 10pm is late, maybe I should have a fake viewing party ahead of time at a reasonable hour so I'll have pictures to upload and I don't eat all the chips by myself.

RSVP in the comments.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In Case You Were Wondering

So if you saw the photos from Sunday, you might be confused for two reasons. The pictures were backwards chronologically, and why there is a skating photo in the middle of a series from Universal/Islands of Adventure? That's quite simple, actually. I posted pictures from my phone as the day went on, newer pictures were posted after the older ones, and that's the way things happened.

All-in-all it was an OK weekend. We went to Orlando so Fern could skate at the 50th Anniversary National Championships. She was up against a lot of tough competition there and didn't do as well as she would have liked. She was 5th out of 5 for her technical program and third out of three for her rhythmic program.

Saturday night was the big team events, Bowie skated against a "local" team, a team from Tampa. I was surprised more teams didn't skate, but it is expensive to bring a large team down as we did.

Anyway, they had on-ice awards for the large groups at the end of the evening. I was a little nervous. At the local events you always can kinda get a feeling of how the teams do and which one might win the event. Saturday night, our kids skated well, even though Fern fell on a spin, and I just could not see the other team was better or worse. I'm not a judge, I still don't know all the criteria on which they are evaluated, but I could just not get the feeling they were better. So I was a bit nervous at awards time.

They announced the second place team, and it wasn't Bowie. I let out a loud "eeep" and tried to contain my excitement until they announced the first place team.

We got to Universal pretty early on Sunday, about 9:30 and went into Islands of Adventure. We headed towards the back of the park where we got on two rollercoasters right away. Not at the same time. Then we went round the park counter-clock-wise and rode more rides. I was impressed with the length of the rides, the duration was a lot longer than other rides at other parks. I was not impressed with the number of rides to go on. We'd ridden on everything that interested us but the Hulk ride by 2:00. At 2:30 we left so Fern could skate in her last event where I thought she did very well, didn't bobble, didn't fall, and got 5th out of seven. The competition was tough.

We went back to Universal to try to get on the Hulk. The waiting line had been 70 minutes before, now it was only 30. Fern and I got in line while Dan and Kevin waited elsewhere, But, alas, it was not to be. The impending storm pended and all outside rides were closed. When we got out of the waiting queue area it was pouring and I asked a drink vendor for a couple trash bags to use as rain coats. That kept us kinda dry on the way to the car. Kinda. My feet were drenched inside my shoes. Oh well.

Monday we flew home to more thunder storms and rain. Lovely.

I just checked the ISI website and The Bowie Ice Arena came in fifth overall based on points. The four teams ahead of us were all "local" teams—central Florida teams—with a lot more skaters so they were able to earn more points. Still, fifth is very good out of 43.

I'm glad to be home, even to a boat-load of email here at work to sort through. blah.


Sunday, May 24, 2009


In line for the Hulk ride

Fern & friend meet Olympic skater John Zimmerman

Next for the Cat-in-the-hat ride

We're Next!

Jurasic Park River Adventure

Wish me luck!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dynamic Duo

My favorite Scottish duo played the RamsHead in Annapolis last night and I had a front-row seat. Actually table 103, they don't have rows.

I always enjoy seeing The Proclaimers and last night they did not disappoint. They only played an hour but managed to get a lot of good stuff into those 60 minutes.

Here's the set list: (with some youtube video links so you can relive the concert right along with me)
Letter From America
In Recognition
I'm On My Way
Throw the 'R' Away
Life With You*one of my favorite songs
Love Can Move Mountains *from the new album being released in August
Misty Blue
Notes & Rhymes*from the new album being released in August
Cap in Hand
Role Model
Sing All the Cares Away *from the new album being released in August
Burn Your Playhouse Down
Let's Get Married *one of my favorite songs
Sunshine on Leith
Sky Takes the Soul
King of the Road
500 Miles

Please vote for your favorite video in the comments section!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Miss Manners for $100

Did someone change the rules?

Didn't it used to be you sent out a wedding invitation six weeks before the big event? This week we got an invitation in the mail for an October wedding. I received an invitation back in February for a May wedding. We got a "save the date" email for a November wedding in January! What happened? Why so far in advance? When did the rules change?


Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Yesterday I cut out of work early to take Kevin to the eye doctor. His neurologist thought she saw his left eye wandering during her recent exam and wanted an ophthalmologist to check him out. I prepped him ahead of time by telling him he was going to the eye doctor and he'd have to read letters for her.

Just like at my eye doctor's office, he was seen first by the fellow, the doctor doing a fellowship or rotation in that department, whom I dub "the understudy," then by the regular doctor. Kevin did fine reading all the letters and she found his eyes to be normal, not wandering. When it came time for the dilating drops the understudy said they would take 40 minutes to work at which point I told her my eyes are very sensitive and dilate very quickly and he's probably like me in that regard since we have the same color eyes. So she used the weakest drops they had, the ones for preemies, and was surprised 15 minutes later his eyes were ready. Rookies. Sheesh.

She then did the part of the exam where she looks into his eyes with bright lights and a big magnifying lens. I know I hate that part, I was afraid for The Boy, the light always hurts, but Kevin did great. The regular doctor looked at him next and repeated some of the exam to verify results. Everything is fine, good vision, good pressures, no problems. And no issues with Kevin balking at the exam. I was relieved all the way round.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's a bag

Here is my finished tote bag I made for the exchange we had in my quilt guild. I added a few more swirls of beads since the photo I posted a few days ago.

It turns out the woman I drew, drew me and we both listed the beach as one of the things we liked. Here we are with our new bags.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Letter City

Recently Kevin painstakingly stacked all his letters by letter. The outcome was a mini-city of letter buildings occupying a lot of real estate. Click to enlarge.

Mother's Day

Dan went golfing and I drove out to Winchester to see my parents on Sunday and took the kids with me. I originally thought I'd meet my folks at the plant fair at the State Arboretum at Blandy, but they went on Saturday. That meant driving to the homestead and visiting there. Mom's knees were bothering her so I couldn't talk her into going back to the fair on Sunday. But Dad went with us. At first the four of us stuck together, but Dad is very social and stopped and talked a lot with the folks he knows from his years of volunteering there.

I bought a lot of plants, not a lot a lot, just a flat's worth, but now I have to find places in the gardens to put them and plant them before they wilt. I suppose Greeny is going to want to know what I bought. A pineapple tomato and lantana. And a bunch of stuff I can't spell or pronounce so I'll have to look at the tags and tell you later.


Kevin swam in another Special Olympics qualifier and did well this week. First in 25 free, 4th in 50 free, and first in 25 back.

That's it, that was my weekend. Pretty boring compared to others. I didn't even get any laundry done. It's getting deep in there. sheesh.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Almost Done

Quilters [generally] love tote bags. Our quilt guild is doing a tote bag exchange at our next meeting. Several months ago everyone who wanted to participate filled out a slip identifying preferences. The slips were put into cheap plain canvas tote bags and we each got one. Our goal was to create a bag for that person.

The person's bag I drew likes blues, purples, the beach and quilting (of course). I was stumped with what to do for a long time. I even sat near my recipient at guild meetings trying to glean helpful information and got nothing.

Then, a couple weeks ago during my morning walk, L and I were talking about our bags and that I had had no inspiration yet and it hit me. I'd hand-dye my bag blue and decorate it with a beach theme. Then I remembered the famous 1820's woodblock print by Hokusai Katsushika, The Great Wave. I used that for inspiration to hand bead the bag.

I have a few more sprays of water to add, but this is the current state of the bag. I'm rather pleased with the way it's turning out.

Here's the inspiration:

I had printed out the picture in the beginning for guidance but lost misplaced it after the first week and beaded the rest, making it up as I went along. The exchange takes place at the guild's anniversary dinner next Wednesday. I hope my recipient likes it!

I've been taking a ceramics class on Tuesday nights. After I took that parent-child class with Fern in February I decided I wanted to do more ceramics work. The class is eight weeks long and we are half-way through now. I love to work on the wheel but since my skills have not been used on a regular basis for a long time I'm having a hard time creating pieces my mind thinks I should be able to do.

I took ceramics classes when I was a kid, like 5th and 6th grades. My instructor was Bill Meadows. He taught at the art gallery in town, He also taught the ceramics part of shop to the boys in junior high. This was before girls were allowed to take shop. I'm still bitter about that. Anyway, Mr. Meadows taught us to center the clay his way. There are lots of ways to do it, but even all these years later, my inclination is to start centering clay the way I first learned.

Now it's not working for me and I have to try different methods, different hand positions to get the clay centered. We used kick wheels when I was a kid and I'm thinking I had the wheel spinning clock-wise back then. The electric wheels I use now spin counter-clock-wise so maybe that's why I'm having trouble, the force is going the other way, that whole physics thing.

OK, enough of that. If you've stuck with me this far, here is one of the bowls I managed not to ruin. I love this glaze. I love how it's a forest green where it's thin and Caribbean blue where it's thick.

There was very little glaze in the bucket the night I glazed this so I didn't get it glazed evenly. I'm happy with it anyway. Click the photo to enlarge so you can see the detail. Maybe I'll ask my instructor to teach me how to mix up a batch of this glaze on Tuesday.

This will make a good cereal bowl and cereal doesn't complain about uneven glaze.


Wednesday, May 06, 2009


Monday afternoon our golf cart looked like the inside of the family car after a long trip.
A long camping trip in the rain, to be more precise.

We had soggy towels, at least four. We had soggy golf gloves. At least four.
Left-over sack lunch bags.
Empty M&M bags and chip bags.
Soggy pair of socks.
Dripping umbrella-ella-ellas.

Dan and I joined AM & Mark again for a charity golf event. Rain or Shine. My rain gauge measured almost an inch of rain on Monday. We were a little damp. Mark got the closest to the pin on the par-three contest hole for a $50 prize and I didn't even come close to winning the Ladies' longest drive contest again, as I did last year. I didn't play so well. The company was good, but I was a bit tired of the rain.

Other Weekend Stuff

Sunday morning, raining, I took Kevin to a Special Olympic swim meet qualifier. He has to compete in at least two qualifiers so he can participate at the state games in June. When they arrange the heats, they group the swimmers according to their seed times they already have in the system so no one competes against someone who is a lot faster or slower than they are. By the luck of the draw, Kevin had the slowest of the seed times in each of his heats and finished third, second, and third in the 25 free, 25 back, and 50 free, respectively.

Afterward we went up to G-Street Fabrics. They are moving store locations so everything is on sale. Sewing machine presser feet, which normally sell for $30 and up were 30% off and an additional 25% off if you had a coupon. I did, so I got a couple. I didn't buy any more fabric. Yes, really.

I got back to Bowie in time to pick up Fern from play practice. We stopped off at the library on the way home so she could get some books. She didn't have her card because it was in the other car so I checked them out on my account. She better not lose any of them, that's for sure.

Fern dashed off right after we got home to an award ceremony with her friend. They got second place in the county in the Write-a-Book contest. I stayed home, I don't think The Girl minded, perhaps she was relieved I wasn't in the audience making a big deal out of a little thing. I'm still proud of her.

Saturday was less rainy. Dan and I double-dated with AM and Mark. We played par-three golf to practice for Monday's tournament and then had dinner at Moulin de Paris. I had a nice time out. I don't know about the other three.

Fern's spring ice skating show was in the afternoon, the last 'home' show before they close the rink for maintenance. Now all her lessons will be at a neighboring rink to prepare for the Championships in Orlando at the end of the month. She's skating in 3 solo events and one with her team.

Before the skating show, I took Kevin out to the Arts Fair at the Montpelier Cultural Arts Center. I only 'lost' him twice. He likes to explore new territory and usually stays close to where he thinks I'll be so he's pretty easy to find. I took him into the ceramics studio with me and gave him a hunk of clay while I worked on some of my pots. I still am having a hard time centering my clay on the wheel and don't have many quality pieces to show. I bought another 25 pounds of clay last night so I have lots to practice with. I'll have to photograph the glazed pieces I finished. Oh, and the piece Kevin made.

I don't remember much before Saturday. You'll have to trust me I survived it all.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I'm getting emails and instant messages asking when I'd be posting again.



Friday, May 01, 2009

I'm sitting in a classroom in Rockville, MD class now waiting for the lecture to start. The rest of the class is finishing up an exercise my class partner and I finished yesterday. I brought my laptop in because they have wireless here and I haven't checked my work email in a couple days.

The class is good, it's CSS, and I'm learning a lot which I'll be able to apply right away when I get back to work next week. If I don't forget it all over the weekend.

My class/lab partner is a hoot. We're getting along swimmingly, we get each other's humor and she and I are equally matched in programming skills so we fly though the exercises.

I'd hate to have to work in this neighborhood. The commute is so variable. Wednesday it took me an hour and 20 minutes to get here, yesterday it took an hour and today there were two accidents on the top-side of the beltway so I took a back way with lots of traffic lights and still got here in about an hour.

Anyway, back to class.