Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mustard and Gretchen Write a Chirstmas Letter

"Hey Mustard," I hollered, "Come in here. I need you!"

"WHHHHYYYY?" he hollered right back.

"We have to write our Christmas letter and I need your help!" I said, still hollering.

It took a minute but I soon heard him commentating as he sock-skated his way from the kitchen to the living room. "Woosh! Woosh! And its that Ice Devil Mustard coming in from the outside!" before he burst into the room and with a giant Risky Business Slide slammed into me on the couch.

"oooophhFFF, Get off me!" I said, pushing him off my lap and onto the seat next to me.

"So!" he settled in looking at the computer screen, "Whatcha got so far?"

"Not much. I can't really remember this year."

"Well, that makes sense. You're old and senile" he said matter of factly.

I gave him a look that said, Watch it mister. Sadly, idle threats don't really phase Mustard, so outloud I said, "I remember that it was a great year -- infinitely better than 2007 -- but what in the world did we do?"

"Well, we ... uh ... oh yeah! This Spring we went ... no, no, that was last year. .... Shoot! You're right! What DID we do this year?"

"Exactly" I said drily.

"This can't be right. We had a rockin year. At least I had a rockin year. Your life was probably pretty boring" he said. "Let's think about this. OK. For one thing we moved to Capitol Hill during that monsoon. That was awesome."

"Oh yeah! That move was crazy, but living here IS Totally Awesome. Mini high-five for moving!" And we high fived. "OK. What else did we do?"

"We went to the beach for that week long vacation in May" he said.

We looked at each other and said in unison: "BEST VACATION EVER!" And then sighed deeply as we remembered its amazingness. Then I said, "And then, remember going to the beach every weekend in August? Good times."

"True dat" he said. "And remember when you got your braces off? But then you put them back on two weeks later cuz you were a super fussy-pants and then had to have them on for six more months?" He laughed while I glared, "You weren't expecting to look like a doofus for ALL of 2008, were you?!"

"Oh Yeah? Well shut up, cuz I'm getting them off -- FOR REAL THIS TIME -- on the 29th!"

He grinned and said, "Suuuuure you are. I'll believe it when I see it."

"ANYWAAAAAAAY. It wasn't the biggest mover-and-shaker of a year. We've established that. But it was still a fun year, true?"

"Very true, Jeeves, very true" he said.

"What was your favorite part?" I asked him.

"Oh, that has to be when you went to Las Vegas and that -- "


"And you were like, 'Bathtub???!?! WTF? Who ASKS that?' and --"

"Mustard! For real!!!! We are NOT talking about that."

"Sorry I'm laughing so hard! But your face was so classic!"

"Its not my fault people say stupid stuff to me! Will you please stop laughing? Really. Its not that funny."

"Hoooo! Sorry!" he said wiping the tears of laughter from his eyes.

"You are really not helping with this Christmas letter. You're just bringing up all of the things I'd rather NOT remember about 2008" I said.

"Sorry, sorry. What would you rather remember? Lame stuff like your favorite movie?" he asked a touch scornfully.

"Sure! That's the kind of stuff you look back on and laugh about. Not embarrassing things that should STAY IN VEGAS."

"Alright, fine, little Miss Boring Face. My favorite movie was Tropic Thunder. That retarded scene? Classic!! What was yours?"

I rolled my eyes. Of course that would be his favorite.

"Mmmm" I said while I mentally thumbed through the movies I saw this year. "I have no idea. There were a bunch I liked."

"Listen Missy, you gotta pick. That's the whole point. Otherwise, its no fun, and I get to tell another embarrassing story from 2008 that you'd rather not remember."

"OK!!! Geez. You play dirty! My favorite movie was probably TheDarkKnightWall-ESex&TheCityWanted."

"Um-hum." I could tell he wasn't very thrilled with that cop-out answer. But they were all REALLY good! "Favorite song?" he asked.

I effected a Family Feud voice and said, "iTunes SAYS! White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes. Good choice iTunes - I do really like that song! Yours?"

And he busted out singing:
"She got them Apple-bottom jeans"

I promptly joined in, "Boots with the fur! The whole club was lookin at her!"

Simultaneously we both got off the couch and dancing we sang, "She hit the floor. Next Thing you know. Shawty got Low Low Low Low Low Low Low!!"

And that's pretty much where the letter writing ended, and the dance party began. It was a great year for us! We hope you had a fantastic time too!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pimp Ma House, Christmas Edition

I wasn't going to decorate this year, because I didn't really see the point. If I took the effort to pull the decorations out of Narnia (btw, this is the name of the storage closet under the stairs because once you make your way through the the coats, its a whole new world) I'd have to take just as much effort to put them BACK in Narnia. Seemed like a lot of work. And its not like I need an extra dose of Holiday Cheer. I'm 100% Jolly 100% of the time!

But then my friend Adam came over and brought me a tube of silver tinsel. And I was like, "AWESOME!! Tinsel!!" And he was like, "Girrrrl, that ain't no ghetto Tinsel! That's a Mini Tinsel TREE! with Lights."

And I was like, "God Bless You, every one."

So I put it up in my window, so the neighbors walking by would think to themselves, "My, My, isn't THAT apartment festive with its Mini Tinsel Tree! with Lights."


So since I was now decorating I decided to pull out the rest of the decorations and gussy the place up.

My Favorite and Most Beloved Diet Coke Tree returned this year. And I also found this cute Ice Cube Snowman ornament. So now I'm thinking ... Gosh, All I need is a glass to have the cheeriest holiday around!

(Can you see that little snowman? He's between the gloves on sticks. He's super see-through.)

I also discovered the balls that USED to go on my tree before I converted it to a Diet Coke Tree. And So I did the easiest slash coolest thing ever and artfully arranged them in this giant flower bowl.

Cute, Eh?

But then I REALLY went crazy and taped these snowflakes to the mantle. You know, as if it were snowing INSIDE!! So crazy. But so pretty!

And look at how serene and lovely this little nativity looks on my mantle. My Sister in Law sent it to me last year. Its good to remember that there's more to Christmas than Tinsel, Diet Coke, and snowflakes. Not much more, mind you, but more. (I'm totally kidding, relax people)

And now I am all set to have an awesome and amazing Christmas here in my little CapHill house. Feliz Navidad!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The 20 Worst Are The 20 Best

You know how its so awesome when people take pictures of things and add captions to them that make them even more hilarious slash awesome? I love that. I also love music and year end lists. So when I came across this hilarious list from Pitchfork Media I was like, "Score! Its a Funny picture/caption, Music, List TRIFECTA!!!"

The 20 Worst Album Covers of 2008

The ones that make me LOL 100% of the time are:
My Morning Jacket

(I also really like that link to the menwholooklikeoldlesbians ... that's funny!)

Which ones do you like?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Whatcha Think?

I want to take a class during Spring semester. Normally, I'd take a writing class, but I sort of want to diversify. Which of these classes do you think I should take?

Introduction to Digital Photography

Course description: This class is designed for beginners who want to better understand the world of digital imagery, or for students with experience who want to strengthen their basic skills. Topics covered include digital camera use, Photoshop basics, scanning and printing techniques. Students will be able to explore their own projects and develop the fundamental skills to continue digital work on their own.

Interesting because:
I suck at taking pictures. I also suck at making pictures look pretty. I need help.

Introduction to Drawing

Course description: In this class, students learn the fundamental concepts of drawing and 2D media. Observation, one of the most important elements in drawing, will be stressed through different techniques and experimentation with several materials. The class will be complemented with theory (composition, perspective, proportions) and examples in art history. Materials list will be provided at the first class.

Interesting because: I've never taken an art class before. I've always been scared because I have a hard time holding my hands steady. BUT! both my grandma and mom have some skill drawing ... so I've totally got it in my genes. I just need guidance! (and less caffeine)

Beginning Ballet

Course description: This class emphasizes the fundamentals of ballet and encourages ballet as a means of improved body awareness, poise, grace, musicality, flexibility, and self-expression. Classes are structured to include warm-up exercises, barre technique and center floor work. Ballet shoes and comfortable clothes are recommended. No prior dance experience required.

Interesting because: I could sure use some poise and grace. Plus, I quit ballet when I was 5 because it was cutting into my cartoon watching time. I should really give it another chance.

Internets? Your thoughts??

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Holiday Party for Your Tastebuds

J'adore Ginger. In fact simply saying the word "Ginger" will get practically the same response from me that you'd get if you said "sex" to most men. There's some drooling. Some wide-eyed nodding. And, yeah, I'll pretty much do anything you need, including taking out the trash. So when I saw this recipe for Chocolate Gingerbread Bars in Everyday Food I was like, "GINGER BARS!!! Oh baby! YES! And PLEASE!!"

So Sunday night I set aside my anti-baking stance and prepared to make my gingery delight. There I was measuring flour and teaspooning out cocoa powder while bellowing out, "LET IT SNOW! LET IT SNOW! LET IT (but not really cuz i hate) SNOOOOOW!" When I whirled around to get 1/2 tsp of baking soda out of the cupboard ... only to discover there was no baking soda in my cupboard.


Stop the Ginger Presses! HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT I DO NOT HAVE BAKING SODA? Doesn't every kitchen come standard with a box of baking soda? That's like not having brakes on your car or something!

I put down my sifter to weigh all of my options. They ranged from using the box in the fridge (seriously considered, but in the end it was too disgusting even for me) to calling all of my neighbors for the proverbial cuppa shuga (they weren't home) before finally coming to the tragic conclusion that I could not proceed with my Ginger Bars until I got to the store to get some B. Soda.

On the upside, this gave me some time to stop being such a selfish pig-face and invite some people over to eat my treat with me. So tonight my pals Bryan, Adam, and Corey came over for a menacing-sounding but palatte-delighting Vegetarian Indian Stew and delicious delicious Ginger Bars.

See how festive I made them by adding Pomegranate seeds (red!) and chopped Pistachios (green!) with a mound of creamy homemade whipped cream (white!). If you make these bars you MUST add the Pom and Pish ... together they make it about a thousand times more festive and yummalicious. (And if you run out of Ginger Bars you can just eat them with the whipped cream - talk about a taste sensation!)

On a scale of one to ten, one being Pukarific and ten being Tastetastic, I give these ginger bars a 47.

Feliz Navidad and Happy Ginger Bars to All!

True Love

Available on Sale -- luckily not enough on sale to get me into trouble -- at

Oh, but I love it. I do!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wherein Mustard's Effort to Make Trouble Makes Good

Let me set the scene for you. It's evening. I'm chillin' in one corner of the couch watching E!. Mustard is in the other, rolling his eyes. Camie comes home after another long, busy day, and proceeds to do her homework.

When Camie came in and surveyed the scene, Mustard perked up. He looked from me, to her, and slowly started to get that squinty-no-good look in his eye that he gets when he's thought of a way to make my life hell. After she went upstairs he nudged my butt with his foot and said, "Hey, do you remember that roommate you had in college? Amanda or whatever her name was?"

"Yeah. What about her?"

"Remember how she watched TV 24/7?"

"Yeah, I remember that. What about it?"

"You guys thought she was a total loser cuz she was always watching TV. Remember?"

"Weeellll, I wouldn't say we thought she was a total loser. But she sure did watch a lot of TV."

"Don't kid yourself, sister. You thought you were SO fancy with your busy schedule and crowd of buddies. As far as you were concerned she was practically toxic from all of that TV" he smirked.

"What's your point?" I asked.

"My point is this." And he paused to fix his I'm-a-total-jerk-and-I'm-about-to-punk-you-GOOD expression on his little face before saying, "The shoe's on the other foot now, my dear."

"WHAT?! What are you even talking about? I don't watch nearly as much TV as Amanda did," I cry outraged.

Mustard just raised his eyebrows. (Damn those damning eyebrows!!)

"Seriously! I don't!" I can feel myself backpedaling.

Mustard looked pointedly from me, and my well-worn spot on the couch, to the TV, and back at me again. And then he said, "Have you, or have you NOT already seen this episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians" pause ... pause ... pause (While I squirm ... squirm ... squirm) "THREE TIMES?"

"FINE! FINE! You're Right! I'm a loser! Are you happy now? A loser who watches way more TV than is good for me. Sob!" And I stormed off the couch, throwing my TV Watching Blanket over Mustard's head to show him what a little poo he is, and stomped upstairs to find something productive to do.

And that's how I ended up volunteering at the DC Central Kitchen twice this month. And even though I was slightly coerced into doing it, and I've only gone once so far (next time is on Christmas Day, hello Super Fun!) volunteering there is turning out to be the BEST THING I've done ALL YEAR LONG!

So there Mustard! You Prince of Poo-ville. You can take your attempts to make me feel like a loser and cram them in your little twist-top face. I am now officially NOT a loser. AND ALSO officilally a lover of the community. Nyah!! [yes I AM sticking my tongue out at you.]

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Storybook Collection

I am toujours working working working on my latest line of baby-girl fashions. One never knows when a baby shower will come up and you need to have a super cute gift ready on the double. This collection was for my friend Alicia who is having a girl any second now. Can't wait to see the little cutie!

It's a little ironic that I ended up settling on this theme for her present, because I found out later that she'd dreamed I bought her story BOOKS. Imagine how surprised slash STOKED she was to get story ONESIES instead!! This collection was totally meant to be.

So with no further ado, I present to you:

The Storybook Collection

La Madeline

Say bonjour to everyone's favorite little fille d'├ęcole.

Grow, Sally. Grow!

See Sally growing up faster every day.

Sunday in the Park avec Babar

Those sophiticated Elephants, Babar and Celeste, take Pom, Flora, and Alexander out for a spin in their pram.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Knee High to a Chinaman

While my sister was visiting, we went to see one of the few DC attractions that has eluded me over the past 8 years: The National Arboretum's Bonsai collection. The Arboretum is a favorite oasis of mine but somehow I've always managed to time my visits when the Bonsai Museum is closed. Apparently optimal Bonsai growing requires that they keep Banker's hours.

But now, I'm rather glad I hadn't seen this exhibit before because seeing it when the Bonsai were in their vibrant, but tiny, Fall glory was totally awesome. When thinking of Bonsai I generally assumed they were some sort of evergreen tree. But NO! They can be anything!! Tiny tree sculpting belongs to ALL Tree Races.

Check out this wee little Japanese Maple. (OK horticulturists, if I get these names wrong you're gonna have to just deal. I ain't no garden pro.)

And here's a teensie little ... um ... Birch? Or maybe another brand of maple? I can't really remember and its so little I can't use my eagle gardener eyes to tell -- as I usually would -- based on leaf shape. Anyway, it's a yellow-leafed deciduous tree which is WAY little and WAY PRETTY!

Inside the greenhouse is a little myrtl. I really really love myrtl. Isn't it so pretty? And Don't you love how they grafted in that chunk of white wood? Those bonsai artists are so clever!

And look who's hanging out here: Eeensie Weensie Chinamen! Don't they look wise? These little fellows are about the size of my thumbnail, and are hidden cleverly as a little treat for the observant.

Oh, and did I forget to mention that everyone of these trees is at least 50 years old? There's even a white pine (that I didn't picture here because we're showing decidous trees, people) that is FOUR HUNDRED YEARS OLD. Crazy, I know. But true. That tree was alive when Shakespeare was around!

Anyway. LOVED my trip to see the Bonsai! AND I'm even more dedicated to keeping my cactus plant alive now. (I wonder if you can do cactus bonsai.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On Family Old and New

Hallo! Just back from my Thanksgiving week in Phoenix, AZ, year two. Everything was the same as it was last year. Same Brother and Sister-in-Law being super hospitable and fun. Same Parents being goofy (like when my Dad hid his See's chocolates in the microwave. Would've worked too except we all watched him hobble over and stash them inside. He's a master of deception.) Same warm sunny weather. Same never-ending swaths of BEIGE BEIGE BEIGE. Yup. All basically the same as last year. Except I didn't puke my guts out. And we didn't go to the Grand Canyon.

Oh. And this year I have THE CUTEST NIECE IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE. No biggie.

Please visit her Online Shrine for your daily worship.

One fun thing we did this year was force my parents to do Oral Histories. I learned several interesting stories about my grandparents.

For example:
My newly married and very poor maternal grandparents were lucky to get one of the very small log cabins at the WPA worksite. They knew a skunk was nesting underneath the house, but so far everyone was getting along just fine. Until some neighbors stopped by for a visit. (Here you should picture me cough-saying "Visiting Teachers." Can't prove it, but do the math. They show up at your house + try to "help" = Totally Annoying Results. I'm just sayin'.)

The "neighbors" saw the skunk and had the GENIUS idea to chase it out of its cushy sub-cabin home. Well, it was the thirties and I'm guessin that good cabins to live under were few and far between. Old Pepe wasn't going anywhere without a fight.

He ran under the cabin to defend his territory. And ....


... Just like that, poor Grandma and Gramps returned home to find their house and all of the contents therein completely saturated with skunk stink. They had to move out of their cabin and lost all of their stuff. INCLUDING a brand new sack of FLOUR. Which in Great Depression Currency was like three Hermes Birkin bags. If my Grandma had even known these words she probably would have told her no-good "helpful neighbors" to stay the freak out of her biz-nas from now until like forevah. (That's what I would have told them, anyway.)

To add insult to stinky injury, they smelled so Skunky no one would be their friend or rent them a new apartment for weeks. Poor stinky fore-fathers. Life was so so SO hard for you.

I'm glad we did these family histories because now I know that my mistrust of "helpful neighbors" is both well-founded and genetic!

PS. Does this strike anyone else as a story that could only happen in rural Idaho during the Great Depression?