Monday, July 27, 2015

Martin Sheen for President.

A few weeks ago I started watching West Wing (hey, only a decade or so behind everyone else, right?) and becoming slightly obsessed with the history of the US government and all things Washington DC related (I'm quite disappointed now that I didn't know much history about DC before visiting last year).

Unfortunately, for the past 30 years I've intentionally remained fairly ignorant of the way our government functions. Growing up, anytime I heard people anywhere talking about politics it became stressful and ended in arguing, so after studying the basics in school, I promptly forgot what I had learned and avoided the topic.

All it took was a well written TV show to finally spark my interest in politics, and today I joyfully spent some time reading my new book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to U.S. Government and Politics while taking copious notes and actually enjoying it. (I'm only in chapter two but I already know the definition of Oligarchy and Plutocracy, the main theories for the formation of nation-states, and even the English roots of the American Constitution!)

I quite possibly also bought the following books that should be delivered this week:
Inside the White House: Stories From the World's Most Famous Residence
The Hidden White House: Harry Truman and the Reconstruction of America's Most Famous Residence
Lost Washington, D.C.
The White House: An Illustrated History
The Greatest Presidential Stories Never Told: 100 Tales from History to Astonish, Bewilder, and Stupefy (The Greatest Stories Never Told)

Aaaand maybe checked out one (or six) books from the library on the topic. (side note: I am NOT made of money and most of those new books I bought are from the 'used' section of amazon and only cost a 0.01!)

Ok. I would write more but I'm ready to keep reading and taking notes. Nighty-night!

P.S. I'm on Goodreads if you want to be friends :)

P.P.S. I bought clip-on bangs and made everyone at the coffee shop try them on.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Carry On

I've deterred myself from the habit of blogging for quite awhile. Mainly because I felt like I might over share personal details and people would know too much about my life or how I think (especially because I kind of have a business now and people sometimes google me and might find all my weirdness here).

But then I realized:

a) I have a horrible memory and miss reading about what I was doing on X date in time.

b) It makes it a whole lots easier for friends and family to keep up with my life, and

c) I need to get off my delusional high horse because I'm not that popular to begin with, so I shouldn't really be worrying about strangers/fans finding my blog. And hey, if Wil Wheaton can be king of the nerds and still write a blog, why can't little old me?

So I'm going to pretend that I didn't just skip a year of blogging and carry on as if there was no pause at all. Please play along.

I may or may not have joined a children's Lego Builders Club downtown at the library. It helps that I have a kid with me and can use him as my excuse for being there. Sure, there are plenty of other moms hanging out there too, but I never see any of them fighting over lego pieces with their kid or whining "Don't stealing from my pile!". Yes, there are at least eight bins of legos laying out, ripe for the picking, but we somehow always end up with the box full of off-brand parts and like, one lego dude (or JACK SPARROW as you can see below) so it turns into a war zone out there. Every man (or child) for himself, I say.

The lego challenge last week was to build an airplane. Our results:

Oh, I also somehow turned 30 a few weeks ago. Totally impossible, I know, but it actually did happened. I don't mind it at all, but I still feel about 26 so my brain is playing catch up. (FYI, the only time I actually feel 30 is when I have to pay for my healthcare plan and the four different taxes for living/working in Asheville. Yay, adulthood!)

My very special present from my parents this year was a necklace I'd been drooling over for months at Horse + Hero downtown. I'd been so disappointed to go in one day and find someone had bought it. Alas, it was my sneaky sneaky parents :)

Our friend Sarah flew in the weekend of my birthday, so mom, Sarah, and I went out to a decadent italian lunch at Modesto. It was a gorgeous day for Pomegranate martini's and fresh made pasta on the patio. Oh, and Jerry Seinfeld just happened to walk by me on the side walk.

(I had forgotten he'd be in town to perform at the Cellular Center just one street over)

There is a lot more that happened in the past two weeks, but apparently I am getting old now and fading fast tonight (it is nearly 2am after all) so I will skip ahead to this past weekend.

My dear dear kindred-spirit/wierdo-soulmate, Shirlee, just left this evening to go back to FL. She flew in Saturday morning so she could help me run my booth at the Big Crafty festival on Sunday and I got to keep her until 7:30 this evening.

The festival went swimmingly, even if the humidity did make it feel like someone was breathing heavily on my neck all day. We stayed busy and had many many visitors to our booth - Laura the Star Trek nerd with an awesome Spock necklace, John and his son Max who were visiting from out of town (and who are the same family that found me at the Science & Engineering Festival in DC last year!), and also a science teacher in Korea who gave us Korean coins. 

I got to meet Brad C. from Hi-Wire Brewing here in Asheville (who I "met" through a comment on my fb page just the other week), a random guy walking by who saw our booth, paused, then ran over to give me a high-five and thanked me for advertising astronomy instead of astrology (not common in Asheville), and a woman who saw my scientist flashcards, thought they were a science tarot deck, and told me her head nearly exploded smile emoticon. I also had a few friends - and even Oliver's gymnastics teacher! - stop by the say hi. A most excellent day.

I guess I should also mention that for the past six months I've been spending hours upon hours upon hours working on a project with Shirlee and it is finally FINISHED. The final result - a fancy deck of science flashcards. 

Many late nights were spent studying scientists and writing through shared Google docs with Shirlee while she occasionally ignored her husband and kids in order to help me make these cards. It's a bit surreal having the project complete, but we're already brainstorming the next "big thing" while I also try to get her and her family to move here :)

Sleep is quickly creeping up on me so this will actually be a much shorter post than I intended, but at least it's a start. I will leave you with this photo, which I display as proof that my son is slowly turning into Joey Tribiani.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The month of May in 90 Photos. You've been warned.

I got back form Washington DC on Monday April 28th. It was an amazing and eye opening trip that deserves it's own post, but it will have to be written another day.

For now I'm going to play 'catch up' and recap some of my days from the past month - quite possibly the quickest month I can ever recall flying by in my 28 years (almost 29!).

Aaaaaand START.

Friday May 2

I spent my first week back from DC feeling out of sorts and a bit melancholy. After a whirlwind 5 days of traveling and non-stop exploring new places and meeting new people everyday, life back at home - while lovely - felt too still.

I've alway been a bit timid about being alone, but during my short solo trip I quickly grew to love being on my own. Once home and alway surrounded by family, I started to crave some time to myself. When Friday night hit, I decided to take myself out to a movie and dessert. This may seem like a small thing, but in all my life I have never wanted or been able to bring myself to go to a movie alone. I decided to try out the Fine Arts Theatre downtown and saw a film by Wes Anderson (one of my favorite directors) called The Grand Budapest Hotel.

The small theater was surprisingly crowded with people - mostly couples. I think I was the only one there alone, and I relished it. I found myself watching the cinematography more than listening or paying attention to the plot, but I enjoyed it.

After the movie I walked over to the Chocolate Lounge, quite possibly the best dessert spot in town. This pot de creme with coconut whip was all for me :)

Saturday May 3 

I found a human face in my fireplace.

The backstory is this: I thought a rodent had died in my chimney because the stench of death was wafting out full force. When I went to look closer and investigate the problem with my dad, we found this ghastly face staring back at us from the ashes:

For a split second I thought it was a real face and I had the grotesque mental image of a human body stuffed in my chimney and, oh look here - it's face fell off. But no, it was some sort of clay art project.

I don't know how I missed seeing this horrendous object sitting by me for the past two months, or why on earth the previous tenant decided to leave it there, but it immediately went into the trash before it could bring some sort of hex on us.

P.S. Later discovered the smell was a massive propane leak in the fireplace I've never used (now capped). Glad we didn't blow up.

Sunday May 4

Made a trip to World Marker after church. Oliver fell in love with chattering teeth and a teal faux fur collar. That's my boy.

Monday May 5

We started our morning at a local coffee shop, as usual. Oliver's treat for the day was his new favorite drink called a Sweet Drop -  espresso with simple syrup and ice.

Tuesday May 6

Fun with Mae Mae at the park.

Wednesday May 7

We walked along Biltmore Ave a bit and stopped by the new White Duck Taco location. Word of advice: never ever order the jerk chicken taco. It tasted like an entire bottle of garam masala dumped into a tortilla. I was sick for the afternoon.

Thursday May 8

I was surprised to see a cool piece of mixed media art at TJ Max. 

Friday May 9

I found this solid wood $75 bookcase at a thrift store. There was a big sale going on the next day so I held out and came back in the morning. Got it half price!

Sunday May 11

Mother's Day! This was the first time Oliver could somewhat comprehend that this day was special and he wished me a happy mother's day (with a little coaching from Mae Mae). 

Our church set up a photo area for cell phone portraits and we got to choose what was written on the chalkboard. If Oliver knew what adjectives were, I'd hope he'd choose this one. 

We also happened to meet a few amazing new friends at church that morning, but I'll get to that in a minute.

We went downtown to meet our friend Melissa for lunch at Mela. Apparently everyone else in Asheville wanted an indian buffet as well, so we had to wait for a bit outside. Oliver took this as an opportunity to make friends with some women who were lucky enough to already have a table inside. They didn't seem to mind his antics and were snapping photos of him before I even noticed what was going on.

Monday May 12

Monday is alway trivia night with friends at a local pub. I forgot to take photos - gasp!
Instead I got a shot of the Grove Arcade.

Tuesday May 13

Alex (the boy on the left) is Oliver's new friend from church. We have become fast friends with him and his Mom, Jess. They are both sweet as can be and Alex and Oliver are two peas in a pod. 

(The girl in the middle is Ally, just another gal at the park who we now hang out with as well. Oh, and yes, that would be Oliver being super awkward with his hand holding skills.)

Thursday May 15

I finally got a frame for my Duy Huynh print. I love it. It's titled Unwinding the Path to Self-Discovery. (There is a better photo of the print here)

That evening I went to a special dinner at church to hear about how to support projects that are happening. I also had my first taste of 12 Bones BBQ there. Now I know what all the fuss is about.

Friday May 16

YES! Oliver is now one step closer to being able to cook me breakfast on his own.
This is wear all that child-raising pays off!

After our stop for morning coffee, Oliver requested a visit to 'the trees and the wild for grape juice'. This is his way of asking to go to the Biltmore winery (where kids get a free cup of juice). He's a pretty cool dude. 

(beautiful potted flowers outside the winery)

And want to know what made this weekend totally spectacular? JOHNNY WAS IN TOWN!!!

This is one of our good friends from back in Florida. I've known him since I was practically a baby. He drove his motorcycle up along with two of his long-time friends, Roger and Jud. We met up with them at LAB downtown (Lexington Ave Brewery). I broke my "no gluten" rule in celebration of his visit and we all devoured some amazing food and beer.

I got a text from Melissa while eating and she met us for our next stop at the Chocolate Lounge for dessert.

Johnny with his beer and ice cream float (and his happy face)

Saturday May 17

John, Jud, and Roger met up with our family at the coffee shop before their morning motorcycle ride through the crazy, winding mountain roads. Melissa was there as well, but she didn't fit in the photo :/

My parents took Oliver home afterward while Melissa and I explored the folk art center, grabbed some lunch at Kathmandu, and searched for fossils at an overly priced rock shop downtown.

I made it back home just in time to get my boy ready for a play date with Alex and Jess at a little kids fair in town. Bubbles, face painting, drum circle, free was a hit.

Then it was back home for a haircut from Mae Mae.

Plus a quick visit from his buddy John! The guys had their motorcycle ride cut short by some rain storms so he popped by to see our house before meeting up with us later in the evening for another night on the town.

We battled the weekend crowd at Wicked Weed and I found one of my new favorite places for beer and fish n chips. (Note: Infidel Porter or Bourbon Stout = A+)

This is the downstairs bar which serves different beer than upstairs. 
I find that confusing, but I roll with it.

Our table was right next to the kitchen so I got to see fireballs and lots of food.

We ordered a boatload of things to try, including: artisanal cheese plate, fish n chips, fried chicken sandwich with kimchi and miso mayonnaise (scrumptiousssss), trout sandwich, the tea egg plate with bacon lardons (0_0) and avocado, and the house chips with french onion dip.

I believe this is when they were texting Sarah (John's wife/my mom's bestie)

We also made another trip to the Chocolate Lounge 
which I later realized turned into "everyone pull out your phones and look at stuff" :)

Sunday May 18

Went over to Rachel's for dinner + tv and this little doll woke up.

Monday May 19

My new phone case that I absolutely love.
It's from designer Iveta Abolina and her Etsy shop HelloNutcase.

In the afternoon I looked up from working to see this:

And in the evening was Monday Quizzo at the pub, but it was just me and Melissa for a team and I once again forgot to take any photos. We have never won first place, but we won the mediocrity prize ($10 gift card) that night for the 4th time! (meaning we got a prize for being the team with the middle score. Go us!)

Tuesday May 20

The day Oliver became a man.

Wednesday May 21

I got a text from Rachel before 8am. This was my reply to her.

Once I was coherent, we made plans to get coffee and go to the park.

Showin' off for the ladies.
(and our friend Ally just happened to be at the park too)

I laid down to read for a few minutes in the afternoon, but it turned into a catnap and Oliver took a stealth photo of me (the filter is all him - he loves black and white photography)

Thursday May 22

Went to watch Rachel play lacrosse and then stayed with her to watch the men's game. I spent most of the evening sitting in the rain, huddled under a tiny umbrella and watching the skies with great trepidation. Sitting on metal bleachers and holding a metal stick while giant lighting illuminates the sky is my version of living on the edge.

Friday May 23

We met our friend Kelly (a barista from our coffee hangout) for lunch in Weaverville at a place called The Glass Onion. This grilled chicken with roasted beets, pineapple, mango and goat cheese changed my life.

It also looked gorgeous as I ate it.

Next we walked down the street to Well Bred Bakery for some coffee (and I ate an entire giant piece of gluten free lemon poppyseed roulade and proceeded to hate myself).  Oh, and small world - the cashier at the bakery was a gal I used to chat with at the farmers market!

Oliver adores this gal.

In the evening Melissa and I decided to try grabbing some pizza at All souls in the River Art District. We sat on the patio which was fantastically fragrant with honeysuckle, but awkwardly silent from a lack of music and street traffic.

I heard their gluten free polenta crust pizza was amazing so I had high hopes.

But then this salad masquerading as a pizza was placed before me.

It was very very NOT good. We decided to head back downtown to comfort ourselves with a beer at Wicked Weed, but every single area was maxed to capacity so we called it a night and I went home to heat up a frozen dinner with a side of sadness.

Saturday May 24

We met Sophie and Rachel at a park near our house, then headed to the farmers market and met up with Melissa.

We parted ways with Sophie and Rachel, I dropped Oliver off at home, and Melissa and I went to grab yummy things at Wicked Weed to make up for the previous nights disappointment.

And we spotted these stylish folks.

Asheville fashion, y'all.

That night I met up with Rachel at her house for our weekly dinner and tv date. Photobomb courtesy of Liberty the Pomeranian.

Sunday May 25

This has become my usual spot at church. I don't know why everyone doesn't sit here - I love watching the drums.

Monday May 26

Memorial Day. It didn't feel like a holiday without a pool party to go to and we were in a funk. We decided say hi to Poppy at work.

I met up with Ellen and Melissa for Quizzo in the evening. I got this fabulous photo that happens to look like Melissa judging a sheepish Ellen for some reason.

(and shout out to the guys sitting behind them who shared their answers with us which helped us to win the Mediocrity prize for a 2nd straight week! Now we have $20 in gift cards to spend on cheese fries. Score!)

Tuesday May 27

Oliver's day was made when a package from Grandma Janny came in the mail. She's become an expert at sending the perfect gifts. This time he got a fishing game, a pump with 15 balloons that fly around the room, a light up ball, a pack of squishy dinosaurs, and a personal mini bottle of water (one of his favorite things in the world).

Wednesday May 28

We met Sophie and Rachel at the park. Oliver also met a super friendly seven year old named Thomas.

On the way home I had to stop the car because a giant bear was standing in the middle of the our street. It then lumbered down the neighbors driveway.

Thursday May 29

Rachel met us at the coffee shop and we took Sophie home to play for a few hours. 

And here is a peak at the room Oliver and I share. 
It feels like a cozy little nest and makes me smile.

Friday May 30

Oliver and I were missing our friends Shirlee and Hannah so we sent them this photo to show our love.

Then pillows were stacked and Oliver declared himself 'king of the mountain'.

We had been inside for most of the day and felt gross from sitting in the AC. 
So what could fix that?

Wicked Weed.

And a short walk around town.

I went over to Rachel's that night for chinese food, wine, and vampire shows (so many guilty pleasures!). I got a call that Oliver was up crying for me so we cut the night short and I got some cuddle time in my my guy.

Saturday May 31

We met Sophie and Rachel early at the park then checked out the Tailgate Market at UNCA.

A great jazzy group called Gypsy Swingers was playing at the market and I found out they'll be performing this Friday night at a wine bar downtown!

The line for coffee at the market was ridiculous, so we drove to West End Bakery. They have a great area for kids to play in.

Sophie played mommy to a T-Rex.

While Oliver strangled a giraffe.

I took Oliver home to 'help' with projects around the house (he loves to shadow Poppy while he works), then I went out to get some indian food with Melissa and see the new X-Men movie at Biltmore Park (it's great - go see it!).

We spotted TWO Tesla's charging in the plaza. I don't know much about cars but Melissa was very excited.

Right after I took the above photo, we walked over to my car to leave and I discovered....I had locked the keys in the car. First time for everything, I guess.

Melissa was eternally patient as we waited 2 hours to get it opened. Finally, Anthony (my night in shining AAA armor), showed up and got us in the car within 2 min

Then I went home and stayed up reading until 3am because it was a day for ridiculous things.

And that was my month.