Wednesday, January 31, 2007

All Hail the End of January

It was probably about, oh, four years or so ago when Maria declared January the longest month of the year. I hadn't thought about it much up until then, but over the past years I've been paying attention and I'll be damned if January isn't five-six times longer than the average month.

It's not like I don't have anything to do during January. If anything, Jan is almost as full as December. I've got New Years, my Birthday (which I try to stretch into a week-long celebration every chance I get), about 15 friend's birthdays, and Martin Luther King weekend - which usually means a trip somewhere to attend ALA. Any one of these events during say March or August, would send the month zipping along. What I wouldn't give for a 3-day weekend in either of these holiday barren months! But it seems like every time I check the date it's still January. I swear, it's been January for at least 7 weeks now.

There are a lot of things that drag the month down. This year it was the arrival of the cold weather, the immediate breaking of New Year's Resolutions, and waiting for the credit card cycle to close so I can start spending again after the Christmas debauchery. The British agree with me, and declare Jan 24th the "most depressing day". If you're wondering, June 22 is the least depressing day. Thankfully the year can get started now that February has come and the tarpits of January are behind us.

2007 : Let's Get This Bi-otch Started!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Birthday Bash '07

Hot off the Camera - Birthday Pictures!

Dinner at Penang, an Asian restaurant in Dupont Circle. My dinner came in a pineapple - Oh Snap! Maria and I scored on our yummy swan-shaped dessert! The sauce had some sort of liqueur in it, which was delicious! This was one of those times when it's only your pride keeps you from doing something really embarrassing like licking the plate. Or knocking out your friend to get the last drop.

And now we DANCE!

Boogie, Boogie, Disco Brother! Lael proved that white guys can dance!

Last stop: Lucky Bar! We stayed here until about 1:30 AM. Lots of fun, lots of babes, lots of complimentary water.

Thanks for an excellent birthday everyone!

Monday, January 22, 2007

George, Michael Update

I was hoping that Mike George would be long gone by now. But he's still there on the fringes. It should be noted, that I think I've ignored him enough to dissuade him from asking me out anymore. After he called me (leaving more rambling 4 minute messages) on Christmas Eve and my birthday, I've considered him a Holiday Ruiner. And as such, I should not even mildly tolerate him.

But he's still my Home Teacher, which means that I have to deal with him. This is an email he sent to me to try and set up Home Teaching. NB: If, you don't know what home teaching is - it's an LDS calling that all members have where two men visit families (or in my case - me) once a month and make sure that I'm doing ok. Traditionally, they share a short message (from the First Presidency), make sure I'm not living in squalor, ask if I need anything - to which I say "no, thanks for asking" and they get out. Everybody's happy! It should also be noted, that after I got the email below I had to explain to him, in no uncertain terms, that there should be no diverting from the standard formula (that is, if he absolutely had to do something). Sometimes I wish I could opt out of Home Teaching.

If you can't understand much of this email, that's ok. I think it's written in Middle English.
Mike Says,
"Sister Hanson,
Hello, am finally getting to my email's of the week - its now Friday at 7PM and when I was given my 2 home teaching assignments, was told to use the missionaries when going to a members home. So I do not have anyone as a companion. As I know little of yourself and know not what you would want in a direction that a home teacher could bring to expand your knowledge, this is what I would like to learn from you, if possible. Yes I could present the first president's message but I would hope that you have already read it. As an example when an article in the ENSIGN touches thy heart and if you would like to say so, we can then go over that article. Are you reading something special that has made you ponder it over and over AND if you would like to talk about it - Well!

Saturday will see me in the library doing homework and I will check email and will look for your answer, or Sunday. Till then Mike G.

Speechless? Yeah, me too. Who says "thy" for Pete's Sake? (Apparently Mike does, because this is exactly how he speaks - I can just see him doing a little George Bushy thumbs up there toward the end. Ugh!) Perhaps if he doth not desist in troubling me, I shouldst get myself to a nunnery!

It's emails like this that make me think that I don't have a very good imagination, because you can't make stuff like this up.

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow ... OK, Stop.

Despite (or perhaps because of) growing up in Colorado, I have long been a valiant foe of cold weather. I loathe it. I simply loathe it. So this winter has been pretty near perfect. Day after day of 40 and 50 degree weather. Warm enough to only need a light jacket, but cool enough to entice me to use my seat warmers. And as a special treat, a few weekends that hit the 70s just to remind me of the joys of summer. It was delightful, and I never wanted it to end.

And yet, yesterday when it started to snow big fluffy flakes I couldn't help but feel excited. Since I've lived in DC snowstorms have been a bit of a production. The mere mention of snow will send shock waves through the community as people rush the supermarket for bread and milk, schools do preemptive closing -- just in case -- and the streets empty as people hunker down to watch the "Team Coverage" of the snow reports on TV. All for a meager inch or two of the white stuff. At first I scoffed at the pandemonium, but now, I avoid the supermarket and happily take my snow-days.

Maybe it was because our little storm came on a Sunday, or maybe it was because our warm winter had folks excited for the cold snap, but our first storm of the season was surprisingly low-key. Whatever it was, I caught the fever and was as excited as a little kid to see the snow falling again. Kids in DC don't understand what it's like to have a real snow day. They are pretty much guaranteed to have at least some time off if it happens to snow (or threaten to snow). In Colorado, a snow day is only possible if the storm is really, really bad, and the school buses can't make it to the country roads. (Thank you Hippies for living in the middle of nowhere and giving me snow days!) DC kids don't know the sweet agony of anticipation you get running between the window, to make sure the snow is still falling steadily, and the TV to see if your school has scrolled along the bottom with the other closures. It's enough to give a kid a heart condition.

But yesterday I wasn't necessarily excited to get off of work, although that was a distinct and welcome possibility. I was more interested in having just a taste of winter. Not too much, mind you, but a little tiny bit. And two inches was just about right. Enough to make you want to sit on your couch and watch the flakes fall. Enough to shovel - and I love laying in my bed in the early morning listening to the sound of snow being shoveled off of the walks. (I don't love this sound quite so much if I'm on one end of the shovel.) I love tottering over icy walks, skating my boots along, wondering if it would be overkill to put on some crampons. I love looking like a marshmallow in all of my Columbia gear. I love breathing in and having your nose hair freeze - and then crunch as you stretch your nose. All of these things remind me of being a kid. And it's nice to have the unadulterated excitement of childhood back, if in some small measure.

All in all, it's been fun playing at "Winter" and if it wants to snow a little bit more this week I wouldn't mind. Especially if I get out of work. But, let's not get carried away. I'm completely expecting to be back to our regularly scheduled Warm Winter by next week. At which time, the complaining about the cold will resume.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Mamma Said, Mamma Said

It's ridiculous to think that I am in a position to influence the lives of young people. Yet, as a leader for the Young Women (albeit only a few Young Women), such is the case. Me. Yes, Me. The girl that can't manage to have three meals a day (square or otherwise), whose plants die, and generally says and does whatever pops into her head. Who am I to mold fresh young minds? Ridiculous to think that they are actually looking to me as an example, and possibly (perish the thought) as a role model.

I am constantly thinking about everything I say to these girls. I look back to see what others said to me and what stuck with me. There are a few quotes that I've internalized that came during my formative years. Formative years = anything after High School. I was just coasting through High School and didn't do much to fix my character. Come to think of it, if thats the case, maybe these girls have a fighting chance after all. Nevertheless, these are my favorite pieces of advice from my youth.

1. "Don't go to hell for $5." - Mom Hanson. Originally intended to keep me honest when filling out my timesheets, I now ask myself for what amount I would be willing to go to hell for. Thank goodness I have no concept of numbers, and so I remain relatively honest. You'd be surprised how often I have to do this analysis.
2. "The Church is true everywhere but in Utah." - Mom Hanson. Spoken on the eve of my attending BYU in Utah. Wise words Mother, wise words.
3. "Be the bigger person." - Rebecca Whitenight's Mom. Everytime I think I have every right to be a snot, I remember this and it straightens me out. Usually.
4. "Be nice to the underdog." - Genevieve Demos' Mom. The best part about this quote is that according to Genevieve, her mom didn't realize that she was the underdog. Still good advice though.
5. "The only difference between a cud-chewing cow and a gum-chewing girl is the smile on the cow's face." - Grandpa Doman. In addition to keeping me from looking like a cud-chewing cow, this also reminds me to not be tacky.

And to smile if I'm chewing gum.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Married without children ... or a spouse

Single people love to make fun of Married People. This may be because we are jealous. Or it may be because we simply can't comprehend what it is that married people are doing with their time now that they're married. Especially after the first year. What, after all, could be more fun than spending time with your BFFs? A non-stop week of activities and socializing should be your heart's desire.

But at a recent party I found myself thinking longingly of my pajamas and home and suddenly the penny dropped. I realized that without my knowing it I had become a married person. Except I didn't have a husband -- a minor detail, I think.

It suddenly became crystal clear that it isn't that our married friends aren't interested in being friends with single people (as we so often think). It's that they don't give a rat's ass about what single people care about.
They don't care very much about meeting new people.
They don't care about having plans on the weekend.
They don't care about generating loads of witticisms to impress the masses.
They've played the game, and beat it, and now they're enjoying a refreshing smoothie.

And I see their point. Being single is very exhausting. I'm ready for my smoothie, and I shouldn't have to have a husband to get it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Technology Makin the Grade

I spend a lot of time through the course of my day playing around on the Internet Machine. Most of this is justifiable, as I try to keep up with new technologies and user trends. Some of course, is just plain screwing around (damn you Sudoku! your tricky number patterns continue to baffle my feeble mind!). But for the most part I'm interested in seeing what the new trends are, and in many cases, finally adopting some of those old trends (like RSS, what was I thinking by not doing this before?!)

A few select things have actually made into my daily routine, which makes them pretty notable!

Stumble - This is the best time waster of all time! You install this little baby in your toolbar, and when you have a free moment, you click "Stumble!" and it takes you to an interesting site. I've found so many neat things here! I learned how to draw a head, did a geography quiz on the Middle East (didn't do so hot), saw some of the most beautiful pictures known to man (EarthAlbum), and got recipes for what I have in my fridge right now (Cooking by Numbers). If you ever have downtime at work - this is a must!

East 41st - Do you ever browse the bookstore and think "Gosh, I'd love to read this book, but funds are low - I should check it out from the library." But then you get to the library and you can't remember what it was you saw at the bookstore? Or you can't find the scraps of paper where you jotted the list down? Well E41 will put this particular problem to rest. You can browse, and save the books you are interested in into "My Bookshelf". Then, you can look your books up at your local library to see if they have them (and if you're a high-power library user like myself, you can put the items on hold). I asked the developer to add Montgomery County Library (which he did in ONE day!), so if your local library isn't available just ask! Love it. Love it. Love it!

Sage RSS Reader - Technically, RSS has been around for a million years, but for some reason I never really thought it would be relevant for me. There weren't that many websites I was interested in getting daily updates from. (Traditionally, RSS is good for news distribution, but I don't care that much about the news). The Sage RSS Reader is built into FireFox, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. This went from mildly interesting technology to a "must have" as soon as I started adding blogs to it. Now I can simply open the reader and click update to see if any of my friends have updated their blogs. It saves me from having to go to each one to see if they've updated. Since it's so easy to see if things have been updated I'm adding all kinds of sites (TechCruch, PerezHilton, a few librarian blogs etc.) I find that I want more sites to have RSS feeds available. I'm really smacking my forehead that I waited so long on this one!

Now, there are a lot of things out there that I think are really cool but I don't use them everyday. These next few deserve a nod, and maybe they'll find a home in your daily routine.

Honorable Mentions - This site specializes in selling handmade goods. (you know "crafts") I'm not a big craft person, but some of this stuff is really cool. What really makes this site cool though is how fun it is! Check out the "Colors" button to the left - you can shop for items by color (in a really cool way!). The TimeMachine is also really amazing! The neatest part about this site is being able to fling the items around - it's really fun! You should give it a try!

Diigo - If you are organizing a lot of websites and the information on them, this is a handy little guy. You can bookmark pages (nothing special there). But you can highlight portions of the page - like quotes or pictures, and then tag them up. This is handy if you are trying to remember which site you saw that really interesting quote on. I was using this regularly for a while, but I've sort of stopped. Not sure why.

StyleHive - Web2.0 meets Shopping. I don't use this site too much because I don't do too much online shopping. But it's still a pretty cool place. AND I found some really cool sticker-like wallpaper I'm interested in trying.

and finally (not necessarily in the website category, but I still think it's cool) ...

- So the chances of me actually ever owning an iPhone are practically nil, given I'm the cheapest, non-gadgety chic on the planet. But when I read the press release for the iPhone, I'll admit I got swept up in the euphoria. I was glad, glad I tell you, that Cingular will be hosting the service so that now there's a remote possibility that this might someday be mine (This is key since I've signed so many new service agreements with Cingular that I think my contract now extends beyond my life expectancy). And I'll admit I got so excited thinking about how cool this phone would be that actual tears leaked out of my eyes. The iPhone is pretty damn cool.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Best of 2006

... in no particular order:

Savannah, Georgia -
(special nod to Matthew B's bakery, winner of the Award for Best Fried Green Tomato Sandwiches of All Time)

Braces - so H.O.T!

Rockin down Bourbon Street in New Orleans

The Cornelian Room in San Francisco

Hula Hoop Hip-Hop Aerobics

Mississippi Station in Portland, OR
when Derek was still the chef there)

Kevin and Maren's Wedding

College Park Ward

Being on a dating break

Thanksgiving break

Creative Nonfiction Class at USDA Grad School

Gym Membership

Booty from the Great Hanson Family Music Swap of ought 5 - Long live the tradition!

Fun Work Buddies

A whole year not getting back with my ex-boyfriend
been a few years since I could say that)

Bring on 2007!

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Just in case you didn't know ...

I'm Superman!
Superman ------> 85%
Spider-Man ------> 85%
Wonder Woman------> 60%
Supergirl ------>60%
Robin------> 60%
Green Lantern------> 45%
The Flash------> 45%
Iron Man------> 45%
Hulk------> 40%
Batman------> 30%
Catwoman------> 20%

Apparently, I am "mild-mannered, good, strong and you love to help others." Yeah. That sounds about right.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz