My Best-Of 2009

These are not necessarily things that were released this year (in the case of the TV shows and books and such), just things I experienced this year that had an effect on me.

Movie: District 9
I saw a lot of movies this year, but this was the one that really got everyone thinking and talking. It had gore, action, and social commentary, plus we learned that aliens love cat food!
Runner Up: Star Trek – pretty awesome, not to mention it featured ZQ and his awesome eyebrows! And because J.J. Abrams has now created an alternate timeline, he can pretty much do whatever he wants in sequels.

TV Show: Fringe
I loved season 1 of this show and was so excited for the second season, which started this fall, but unfortunately it aired opposite some other shows I watch, so I chose to catch up with Fringe online. Every time I went to watch it I would think, “Maybe I should just skip this, I watch enough TV shows,” but by the end of the episode I was totally hooked again, and all I could think was, “I love this show!” Like Lost, it seems to have a lot of mysteries that are carried throughout the series, which still haven’t been answered. But unlike Lost, it doesn’t make me angry. At the end of each episode, I can’t wait to see what they have in store next.
Runner Up: Parks and Recreation – I didn’t want to like this show, and I didn’t at first, but I stuck with it and by the end of the first season I was really into it. Season 2 had me from the start, and routinely has me laughing out loud.
Honorable Mention: The Office – only for the hour-long Jim and Pam wedding episode, which brought a tear to my eye for sure. The rest of this season (and actually, last season too) has been so depressing and weird. What happened to the goofy awkwardness?

Book: The Fortune Cookie Chronicles
After taking a long break from book reading, I finally got a library card and got back into the habit late last year. I found myself reading mostly nonfiction, and out of all the books I read, I feel like this is the one I actually learned the most from. Now I know the origin of fortune cookies, the Chinatown bus, Americanized Chinese food, and why every town in America seems to have its own Chinese restaurant, and why they’re all so similar.
Runner Up: A Mercy – I’m not a huge Toni Morrison fan, but this was quick, interesting, and came together at the end in a pretty awesome way.

Album: Tally Hall, Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum
I discovered this band in the most random way, ordered their CD right away, and I am totally hooked. Their CD was in my car for most of 2009, and I never got sick of listening and singing along. (In my opinion, a good CD is one where you can sing along with almost every song in the car.) Seriously, I like every song on that disc – even the ones I don’t love, I can tolerate. If I had to have one CD stuck in my car radio forever, it could be that one. (And not to make this about the band over the album, but those guys all seem super great, their Internet Show is hilarious, and they’re fantastic live – even when they’re tired and sick!)
Runner Up: The Lonely Island, Incredibad – Okay, there’s a bit more cursing than I’m comfortable with, but how can you listen to something like “Sax Man” without at least chuckling? I think I know all the words to “Santana DVX,” which amuses my friends. And GG and I have gotten a lot of mileage out of the phrase “big ol’ bag of trash” from “Dreamgirl.”
Honorable Mentions: Traced in Air by Cynic and The Ladder by Yes both came to me via GG and I became obsessed with both of them this year, but they lose points for not really lending themselves to singing along.

Restaurant: Amada
GG and I had wanted to try this place for a couple years, and we finally got to go for dinner on our anniversary. It. Was. Amazing. We were still talking about some of the things we tried there months later. I even tried to re-create a couple of the dishes. And maybe it was just that we didn’t order anything crazy and extravagant, but the total bill was not as high as we’d feared it might be. If I went again, I’d make reservations well in advance so we could get a better seat, but actually sitting at the bar by the kitchen was really interesting because we got to watch all the food being prepared.
Runner Up: Tastebuds – We stumbled upon this New Hope restaurant kind of by accident, and it’s now totally our favorite place in town. I’d go there four times a year just to try all their seasonal menus. (And I still haven’t given up trying to make my own version of that asparagus ravioli.)

Vacation: Portland, ME
I went on more overnight trips this year than I think I ever have, so I had a bunch to choose from, but without a doubt our “big trip” to Maine was the best vacation I took this year. We planned it well in advance and by the time we left I’d made up an itinerary that really mapped out our schedule for each day. Some would say that’s insane, but it was tremendously helpful because we made sure we got to do the things we wanted to do while we were there. And of course we could break from the itinerary if we wanted! Portland itself is a great town, and despite my worry that there wouldn’t be enough to do there to keep us busy for a week, we ended up with a lot of stuff we didn’t have time to do! I’d definitely go back (if only it weren’t so far away)!
Runner Up: OCMD long weekend with my Brothers – I was on the beach longer than I had been in probably the last 10-15 years, total. And we just had a lot of fun and ate a lot of stuff and had a good time together.

Year in Review – 2009

You know how at the end of every year I post the first sentence of my first post of each month? I thought I’d do something different this year, so I’m posting the first sentence of my post from the 15th of each month. If there was no post on the 15th, I’m using the closest date before that (unless that day was a Linky Thursday or protected post, in which case I used the closest date before that). It still gives no information on how my year actually went. Enjoy, and happy new year!

January:
I keep thinking of things I want to blog about but then when I’m actually at the computer I forget them.

February:
I usually don’t like clutches because I feel like I can barely fit everything into them, certainly not my big chunky wallet, but I picked up this Mossimo wristlet at Target today and already love it!

March:
I have some problems with the New New Facebook.

April:
So here’s how the pregnancy announcement went, from what I can piece together from various sources: Anna had taken several pregnancy tests before (my own speculation here: when she didn’t get pregnant after the first couple times they did the deed, she started taking a test once a month?), and was disappointed with the negative results.

May:
I already think I can predict what’s going to happen to the Duggars in the not-so-distant future.

June:
Friday was such an awful day at work.

July:
After my lame Saturday, I had a fun couple of days, I guess.

August:
Not that anyone considering buying one of these will probably read this… but maybe this will come up in someone’s Googling.

September:
Well, I’m 27 now.

October:
First of all, can I just say “wow,” Anna Renee Keller Duggar, I am so proud you!

November:
Our concert was yesterday afternoon.

December:
I saw Tally Hall live last night!

Snowpocalypse 2009!

I guess you wanted to hear about the snow, huh?!

I didn’t even know it was supposed to snow until I saw the 11 PM news on Thursday. On Friday, it was all anyone was talking about at work. I stopped at the supermarket on my way home from work (for unrelated items) and the place was nuts. I kept hearing about places further to the south that were getting snow already, but nothing was falling by us as of about 2 AM, when I went to bed. On Saturday morning, we woke to maybe an inch of snow outside, but it was still falling. Areas to the south (like, Virginia) were already totally blizzarded. On Saturday afternoon when there was about 4 inches of snow on the ground, GG and I went outside to shovel. We figured the storm was about halfway over, and it’d be easier to shovel twice than to do a whole bunch of snow at once.



See what good spirits we were in!

Around 4 PM on Saturday the snow seemed to be coming down a lot harder, and it continued that way into the night. Actually, about an hour after we went out and shoveled our sidewalk and driveway, you couldn’t even tell we’d done anything. We didn’t go anywhere Saturday night, as the snow piled up. The snow was supposed to end early Sunday morning, so I figured we could just shovel when we woke up, and then GG could get out, because he had to work. (The roads would probably have been fine, but they did push his job back a few hours, which was good.) I walked outside Sunday morning to an insane amount of snow.


I’d been watching it pile up on top of this trash can all night.


The cars, driveway, sidewalk, and steps had all been cleaned off about 18 hours before


So GG and I were back outside shoveling (this time in not such a good mood), and salting, and by the afternoon a lot of things melted and he went off to work and I went out to the mall – mostly to do Christmas shopping, but also I just needed to get out of the house! I was actually surprised there weren’t more people there. I mean, it was pretty busy, but it wasn’t packed, I guess not as many people were as stir-crazy as me. Or they were, but they were still stuck at home. (I understand there’s still some streets in Philadelphia today that are not yet plowed.)

For those of you keeping score, this was the second biggest snowstorm in Philadelphia since they’ve been keeping records! (The biggest was the Blizzard of ’96, which I also survived.) For comparison, the amount of snowfall we got in this storm was about an inch more than we got all winter last year. But it’s an El Niño year, so I guess we can expect more crazy weather coming up..!

Find me a coat!

I need a new winter coat. I probably should have started looking for one in July, since all the stores apparently have their bathing suits out at this point, but oh well.

I love my current coat and would love a new one to be as similar as possible. The features I need are listed below. My current coat is from G.H. Bass and was bought at their outlet probably Labor Day weekend, 2002. (It could have been 2003, but I’m almost certain it was the summer before.)


Here’s some pictures that involve the coat:



Features I want it to have:

  • black
  • waterproof (or at least water resistant)
  • warm lining (my current coat is lined in fleece, but it doesn’t have to be anything soft, just warm)
  • zipper closure
  • zip-up pockets
  • hood deep enough to fit over my head if I have a ponytail
  • long enough to cover my behind
  • long enough sleeves that I can wear a heavy sweater underneath and still move my arms around comfortably

I do not want it to:

  • require anything but a zipper to close it completely (e.g. buttons, a belt)
  • have quilting
  • have fur trim (real or faux)
  • have drawstrings
  • have any kind of other colored trim or decoration
  • be puffy
  • be especially heavy

So, where can I find such a coat? Bonus points if it’s $100 or less, though I could pay more if necessary.

Oh, and why am I replacing my current coat, if it’s so wonderful? Because whatever material it’s made out of has been sort of cracking for the past couple years, and is now disentigrating. It’s very sad.

WTH, Duggars?

Okay, I spent my snowed-in evening getting all caught up with the latest Duggar news on TWoP, and I can now say… WTH, Michelle Duggar?! You just delivered a baby fifteen weeks early; you’re recovering from gallbladder issues, severe, life-threatening preeclampsia, and an emergency C-section; it’s your last baby’s first birthday; and you had to make a tearful appearance at a board meeting to make sure a local gas station doesn’t get a permit to sell beer? And then call in to the local news to make your case?

You know, we hear about the political things they do, like making their kids go to abortion clinic protests and stuff, but we never see them on 18 Kids and Counting so you can kind of forget about that facet of their lifestyle. But it’s there. As someone on TWoP put it, this is really just a reminder that their goal in life isn’t to have a lot of kids because they love being parents or whatever, it’s to breed and populate the country with conservative voters.

Just Say NO to Snow

Even though it looks like it’s going to happen, and it’s going to be bad, I’m still crossing my fingers that we don’t get a snowstorm tomorrow! GG and I were planning on taking the train into the city to see the holiday light show (this year in 3-D). And we were invited to a Christmas party tomorrow night. Holding out hope that it will not snow, I’m stopping on my way home from work today to get something to make for the appetizer we were requested to bring.

Speaking of snow and winter stuff, check out Not Martha’s tiny gingerbread house that perches on the rim of your mug – adorable!

Fun day at work today, because it’s most people’s last day for the year. My desk is full of cookies and chocolate. Cookies were apparently the thing to give this year! Makes me feel bad for not baking my gifts, but everyone always appreciates the truffles I give each year. Groups are having their various holiday lunches – I’m not really in a group, but somehow I got invited to one, which makes me happy :o) Next week will be very quiet – luckily I’m only in the office for two days.

Magazines, Phone, Soup

Allure magazine keeps e-mailing me and sending me letters reminding me that my subscription is about to end and trying to get me to renew. Yes, I know that it’s about to end and I’m not going to renew. I reevaluated my magazine subscriptions and decided not to read it anymore. Plus I have two new subscriptions starting in January (yay, Amazon’s $5 subscription sale!). I feel like I should write them back and explain, “It’s not you, it’s me.”

I’m thinking it might be getting close to time for a new phone again. I love love love my phone and it’s not like it’s totally obsolete or anything, but it is about time for my scheduled upgrade, plus it’s been doing some weird things lately (shutting off mid-use – fully charged – and not letting me turn it back on for a few minutes), and the slide part feels a little loose. I’d really like my next phone to not have any moving parts. Before this one, I only ever had bar-style phones, and having a slide or flip makes me nervous. I was looking at the Nokia 6301, it looks like a definite contender, but I don’t think it’s in T-Mobile stores anymore and I like to see things in person before I purchase them, soooo, we’ll see. (I’m really reluctant to get a real “smartphone” because the amount of time I spend using WAP is already rediculous and really it meets my needs for what I need to do, for a minimal monthly charge.)

I’d been craving some good, hearty vegetable soup, so on Tuesday I whipped up a batch. I didn’t have any recipe or anything, I just dumped a bunch of stuff in some beef stock: carrots, corn, onions, potatoes, crushed tomatoes. And I like soup with a little pasta in it, so I poured in a bit of this type of pasta that’s about the size and shape of small beads. (I forget what it’s called, it starts with an A.) Then I figured, what the heck, and dumped in the rest of the box. My first bowl of soup was delicious. I came back for a second bowl, and the pasta had pretty much absorbed all the broth! So now we have tons of leftovers, but if you want it to be soup and not pasta with veggies mixed in, you need to add some water. But it’s still delicious – I’m enjoying some in its solid form for lunch right now.

Tally Hall at The Note

I saw Tally Hall live last night! They were at The Note in West Chester, Bam Margera’s club. GG and I headed down as soon as I got home from work and changed, and lucked out with a free parking spot on the street. (Well, the meters stopped at 5 PM and it was like 4:50, so I think he threw in a quarter.) Then we walked over to the Iron Hill Brewery for dinner. GG had a beer sampler. That was a mistake! I finally realized, the reason he acts like a jerk sometimes when we’re out is because he had beer beforehand. Not that he’s drunk, but even just one beer turns him from amusing and weird to mean and rude. Sigh.

After dinner we walked a few blocks to The Note. I just had a big sweater on because I didn’t want to be dealing with a jacket in there, and luckily it wasn’t too bitter cold, because we had to stand outside for like 45 minutes until 7 PM, when the doors were supposed to open. But they didn’t actually open until like 7:20. While we were waiting outside, GG struck up conversations with a group of girls standing in front of us, and two girls with a set of parents – the dad was as weird and embarrassing as GG, so the mom and I commiserated and I was like, “Do I have a lifetime of this to look forward to?” Also, every time someone came in or out of the club (especially a Tally Hall member), GG would shout, “Tally Hall! You guys should be the headliners! We’re walking out after you!” etc.

When we finally got inside, as I predicted, most people headed to one of the two bars, so there was lots of room to get up close to the stage. We were one layer of people away. The girls with the embarrassing parents were actually right in front of us, and GG tried to talk to them between acts. The opening act was a band called Crash Kings, they just kept saying, “We’re Crash Kings, we’re from Los Angeles.” Their bass was so strong, it made my sternum and hair vibrate. It was seriously uncomfortable. In a different situation I might have enjoyed them, but not there. GG was really interested in this keyboard instrument they used, which had sort of a whammy bar on it. I was distracted by the barefoot drummer.

Finally Tally Hall came on and took their time setting up. Right before they started playing, one of the guys from the previous band stuck his head out from backstage and from GG’s lip-reading, asked, “Has anybody seen my bass?” Uh oh. (It later turned up – it had been leaning right against the front of the stage in its case!) Here’s all the songs I remember them playing, not in any particular order:

  • Good Day
  • Welcome to Tally Hall
  • Spring and a Storm
  • The Whole World and You
  • Turn the Lights Off
  • Never Meant to Know
  • Sacred Beast
  • A Lady
  • Cannibal
  • &
  • You and Me

I’m pretty sure they started with “Never Meant to Know,” and I know for sure they ended with “The Whole World and You,” but besides that I have no idea of the order or if that’s even a complete list. Anyway, they were really good and put on a great show. It made up for any suckiness of the earlier events of the evening. They had some good audience banter, too. Andrew confessed he was afraid he wouldn’t hit his high note. Zubin apologized in advance to the people standing in front of him in case he coughed on them because he was sick. (Side note: wouldn’t it suck to be sick while touring the country with your band? Ugh.) Rob had a little conversation with some girl in the audience in which he said she’d been raised in an “idea barn” because she just shouted out her comment rather than raising her hand. And Ross sat quietly behind his drum set where I couldn’t see him the whole time because Joe’s crotch blocked my view. (Speaking of Joe’s crotch, why were his pants so much tighter than the other guys’? I think if they’re going to go matchy-matchy with the shirts, vests, and ties, they should also wear the same style of pants.)

All my pictures from last night, as well as links to two videos (“Good Day” and “Spring and a Storm” – incomplete recordings) are on flickr.

We got out of there as soon as TH was finished – they weren’t even off the stage yet. So yeah, obviously we didn’t stay for the headliner, Rooney. But hey, we were home by 10 PM!

Baking, Party, Soup, Concerts

Oh I am so far behind on TWoP, don’t expect any timely Duggar-related updates from me unless there’s really some major emergency that makes the mainstream news, heh.

I had a nice, busy weekend. On Friday I did a little Christmas shopping on my way home from work. I really need to get on top of that, Christmas is less than two weeks away now and I feel like I don’t have anything done yet! Then I came home and baked. I only bake once a year, and it’s the same thing every time: mint chocolate chip cookies and peppermint bark.

On Saturday I just had to do a quick post office errand (and why is there always some dumb person right ahead of you in line who acts like they’ve never mailed anything before?). Then GG and I left for a Christmas party that was two hours away. That’s four hours of driving time, round trip! But it was worth it, it was good seeing everyone and we had a lot of fun. I’m so lucky that I have friends who like GG, too! (In fact, I think my friends might appreciate him more than his own friends do!) This party really illustrated how people either love him or hate him: there were a couple people who just had grumpfaces on while he carried on with his antics, but there were even more people who were totally amused and one guy turned to me (while GG was rapping with the microphone from Rock Band) and was like, “Does he belong to you?” Haha!

On Sunday I spent a few hours in the morning cleaning the kitchen and doing laundry and stuff. It was a horrible, rainy day, and perfect for napping, but I did go out food shopping when it seemed like the rain had let up a little bit. I got stuff to make vegetable soup, now I just need to find the time to put it together…

Now I have three concerts in three days. Two of them I’m playing in, one I’m going to watch. I’m so excited! New venue, new second-favorite band (sorry, but unless they majorly screw up, TMBG will always be my #1 favorite), and maybe we’ll find somewhere new to eat dinner beforehand…

Duggar #19 – a bit early?!

I’m thinking this rumor might be true, it’s on a lot of the Christian bloggers’ sites, and they’re all linked up through prayer request e-mail groups and stuff. I don’t think they would make up stories, though it does change every time (sometimes the poster says they heard from a cousin of Jim Bob’s, or Anna’s brother in law, or a friend of the family, etc.). But I’m also inclined to believe because The Internet has broken a lot of these stories before an official announcement from the Duggars or TLC.

It sounds like the newest Duggar baby was delivered yesterday evening (about three months early). Reports are that she’s about 1.5 lbs, and is healthy but small. Michelle apparently had bad preeclampsia and/or needed gallbladder surgery sooner than expected.

The Duggars have very minimal insurance, and because they don’t believe in debt, they set up payment plans ahead of time to start paying off their doctor bills before their babies are even delivered. I hope they have some money socked away from TLC, or that they can get some “love offerings” quick, or else they will be in debt covering all these hospital stays, the helicopter transport, surgery, care for a premie…

[Edit – 10:47 AM] Confirmed! The birth of Josie Brooklyn (ugh, seriously?) has been announced by The Huffington Post, People, and TLC. [/Edit]