Tag Archives: aj

New Year’s Eve

I had to work today, but it was a relatively quiet day at work. We were let out at about 3 PM, but I waited around for Kelly. We picked up a few more items at the grocery store and then headed home. AJ and Denisse were coming over later in the evening.

I made a dip from a recipe that Vicky (of vickyandnorm) gave me. It was a dip she’s made twice and that I really enjoyed. It came out alright, but it was more like a cheese spread than a dip. Still, people seemed to like it. I was hungry so I also made some macaroni and cheese while Kelly napped for a little while. After eating, it was my turn to nap for a while (I’d been up since 4:20 AM) I slept for about 45 minutes or so.

At 8:15, I headed over to the Metro station to pick up AJ and Denisse. We had ordered pizza, and by the time we got back home, the pizza was there. Denisse made guacamole and also a Peruvian drink that was quite good. We spent the rest of the evening, snacking, talking, listening to music, drinking, and watching TV. It was a lot of fun. We ran in the New Year watching the ball drop from Times Square, and toasting with Champagne. It was sometime around 2AM when we finally got to bed.

Saturday morning pancakes

Having already attempting waffles, Kelly and I decided to make pancakes this morning. I had stopped at the grocery store last night to get he necessary ingredients and when we got up this morning, we headed into the kitchen to prepare them. We mixed the pancake mix, milk and egg (no oil–healthier) and made the actual pancakes. It was pretty easy and they came out good. Kelly likes hers thin, so I tried to guess how to make them thinner (we added more milk) and so we had a batch of about 12 pancakes, some thick and some thin. The last two or three came out nearly perfect in color and shape.

I had a handyman over at the house in the morning, doing some repairs above the front door, as well as cleaning out the gutters. It didn’t take them long to get it all done. (The gutters in the back were frozen so he’s going to come by next weekend to finish them up.) Once they left, we ran a few errands, and then headed to Kelly’s place. We lazed around for much of the afternoon, but eventually, we set up and decorated her Christmas tree. We had A Christmas Carol muted on the TV while we worked, and were listening to a terrific “sessions” CD by Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington from back in 1961. When I was a kid, I thought of that kind of music as “adult” music, the kind of thing grown-ups listen to at dinner parties. It was great.

We left the house at 6:55 in order to be at AJ and Denisse’s by 7:25 or so. We met them at their place and then headed out to dinner for AJ’s birthday. We went to a nice seafood joint in Georgetown called The Sea Catch Restaurant. The service was a little slow, but the food was good. AJ’s friend Jim joined us and we lingered over our meals, drinking, talking and having a great time. They brought AJ a slice of cake with a candle and we sang Happy Birthday. Kelly and I shared and excellent chocolate mousse for dessert.

Once dinner was over, it was late and we walked back to Foggy Bottom and then headed home.

Going my way

If you’ve ever looked for something fun to do early on a Sunday morning, pop in an old movie. Kelly and I watched Going My Way (for which Bing Crosby won the Best Actor Oscar back in 1944) and it was terrific. I’d seen it before, but it was fun to watch on a fall-like Sunday morning.

Yesterday, after our breakfast adventures, we headed into Georgetown, found a place to park for the day, and then walked over to 37th and P where Todd, John, Matt and Jess were busy working on a documentary film. We watched them for a little while before walked back onto the main Georgetown strip. We stopped in at Gap, where I got a couple of new pairs of jeans and a new shirt. We stopped in at Banana Republic where Kelly did some shopping. Then we tossed our stuff in the car and walked over to AJ and Denisse’s.

We had a late lunch with AJ and Denisse at Austin Grill. We then headed over to Gallery Place with the intention of bowling or seeing a movie. There was a 1-1/2 hour wait for a lane, and there were no movies that leapt out at us as “must-see”, so we headed to Pentagon City to do more shopping. We went into Best Buy, and Costco (where we called kruppenheimer to wish her a happy birthday), and then headed over to the Pentagon City Mall and wandered through several departments in Macy’s as well as other stores.

Around 7 PM, we headed back to Foggy Bottom and said our goodbyes to AJ and Denisse. The weather cooperated with us all day, and it was a perfect, fall-like Saturday.

My plan for the rest of the day is to maybe, just maybe, get some writing done. I’m embarrassingly far behind on the NaNoWriMo pace, but I’m not using that as an excuse to give up. I hope to make some decent progress today. My new pace, given what I have left to write is a hair over 3,000 words a day. Writing anything is better than nothing but I’ll do my best to hit the target.

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First fall Sunday

Yes, I realize that today was not the first Sunday this fall, but it felt like it. Even though it is already nearly the end of October, today was sunny, but cool and breezy and it actually felt like fall for a change.

The day began early, even thought sleep came late last night. The Marine Corp marathon took place today and we watched the runners pass by on Lee Highway, which had been blocked off in one direction for just that purpose. Thousands of runners went by. Thousands. It was really rather impressive. We see a lot about what terrible shape Americans are in, but here were a whole large bunch of people running 26.2 miles!

We called AJ and Denisse and asked if they wanted to meet for brunch. We met them around noon outside of their place, and then walked into Georgetown. We finally ended up at Sequoia where we got a table inside, although by a window, with a nice view of the river. When brunch was over, we spent the next several hours wandering through the shops of Georgetown. It was a lot of fun, actually. I even bought some new things. I got a new fall/spring jacket, as well as a couple of new shirts.

Eventually, we took a break and stopped into Hagaan Dazs for our Belgium Chocolate shakes (for AJ and I); Kelly and Denisse had sorbets. Then we headed into a mall that I didn’t even know existed, and wandered about there for a while. It was after 4 PM when we finally left and it was just before 7 PM when I finally got home.

I had laundry to do, and so I took care of that while catching up on some items that TiVo had recorded. I noticed that TiVo had lost the network connection at home. This has happened once or twice. I made sure to reestablish that. It was also cool enough out to require the heat in the house. I guess fall is finally here!

I spoke with Mom briefly. Also talked briefly with Jen.

Early night tonight in order to get a good night’s sleep.

I don’t need your civil war

[Posted on Monday, October 22]

Today, Kelly and I went up to Gettysburg with AJ and Denisse. We picked AJ and Denisse up from the P.G. Plaza metro station at about 10:30 AM and hit the road. The drive to Gettysburg took us about 90 minutes and it was a lot of fun. We passed through some farm land and of course, the leaves are now changing so we managed to catch glimpses of riotous colors (though probably not as nice as what people are seeing further north).

We’re off on the road to Gettysburg

Sunday, lazy Sunday

I was supposed to go back to the convention for day 2 today, but I didn’t. I got to bed late last night and I had a lot of errands and chores to do, so I decided to stay home. I stayed in bed late, watching episodes of The Shield, but eventually managed to get out of bed and shower. I got in touch with A.J. and Denisse and we agreed to meet for lunch. I headed down to their place at around noon and I was at there front door just after 1 PM.

We went to the Guard for lunch, where I managed to have a Monte Cristo sandwich. You don’t see those in too many places, and I love those sandwiches and it was quite good, but truth be told, their fries were even better!

Afterward, we wandered around Georgetown, stopped in at Haagen Dazs for Belgium Chocolate shakes, and then walked down to the waterfront, where we debated politics and economy endlessly. We walked back to A.J. and Denisse’s and shortly thereafter, I headed home.

I had lots of laundry to do and I managed to get through most of it, watching more episodes of The Shield in between loads. My ribs were acting up so I decided to take a pain medicine, even though they’ve been making me feel nauseous. This time it seemed to work a little bit better.

The annual rental property inspection of the house is tomorrow and I have to meet the inspector here at 5 PM. I have a presentation I’m giving at 3 PM but still hope to get out of work a little early to ensure that I get home in time to meet the inspector.

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Bourne to be wild

I left the house at noon and headed down to Washington Circle to meet A.J. and Denisse. When I got there, A.J. was not yet back from getting his hair cut and Denisse was in the shower, so I waited patiently out front, absorbed by Up From Dragons. A.J. arrive shortly thereafter, and we sat around chatting for a little while before heading off to the movies.

We saw The Bourne Ultimatum, which I had been looking forward to and by which I was not disappointed. It didn’t exceed my expectations, but it certainly met them and that’s all I hope to get out of my $8.50. It was fun and entertaining and even–for a wonder!–not too long. (Movies these days seem to go well beyond the 2 hour barrier, often unnecessarily. This was was 1:50 and just perfect at that.)

After the movie, we stopped briefly back at A.J. and Denisse’s place so that I could get my book and also because A.J. wanted to show me a few scenes from the movie Kung Pow, which he had on DVD. They were, as kruppenheimer would say, “um, interesting”. After that we headed over to Austin Grill. I was craving their chips and guacamole. We killed a few hours there, eating, drinking and talking and in general having a great time. A.J. and Denisse even insisted on picking up the check which was extremely generous of them. After dinner, we walked to the Mall, chatted for a little while, and then headed our separate ways home.

I’m anxious to get through more of Up From Dragons. In fact, I’m finding that a lot of what it talks about is useful in one of the stories I am (attempting) to write. I’m thinking that up next will be another attempt at Steven Pinker’s book, How the Mind Works, in order to keep up the momentum on this fascinating topic. On the other hand, I received Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yesterday and I don’t want to wait to long to read that as I have been wearing myself out to avoid hearing any spoilers about how the saga ends.

Errands and meetups

Today turned out to be busier than I expected. I was up at 8:00 AM and headed to IHOP for breakfast. I stopped to get some food for Zeke and then ran a number of other errands. I paid a few bills, mailed a out a copy of my new lease to my landlord, and compiled and sent my travel itinerary info to Norm and Vicky so that someone on the East Coast knows where I will be when I am away next month. I also picked up some new shorts and a hat from Old Navy.

Kent mentioned that they were going to be at Smithsonian today, but I didn’t have his phone number. Working through Pam, however, I managed to get it and found out they were at the Air & Space museum. I headed down there and met them in the cafeteria and spent a couple of hours with then as they roamed through a few exhibits that they hadn’t already seen, and then walked to the Washington Monument.

Afterward, I headed over to Austin Grill to meet up with A.J. and we spent perhaps 2 hours eating and catching up. It was good to see him.

In the evening, I went for a walk and did the loop twice instead of once because it was so nice out.

I got a copy of a letter from Barry to a the tree-trimming people letting them know what he wanted done in the yard. I don’t know when they will be coming, but I’m looking forward to it because they bamboo is really getting overgrown and I haven’t had the time to keep up with it.

I have the coolest friends

More birthday wishes today. I got a call from Tawnya this morning. At work they put up happy birthday signs all around my office (although I’m not exactly sure how they found out it was my birthday). One of my meetings started today with one of my co-workers in Dallas wishing me a happy birthday.

I got this electronic card from Princess Cruises!

There was a phone message from AJ wishing me a happy birthday and a instant message from his wife, Denisse also wishing me a happy birthday. Oh, by the way, Happy Birthday, Denisse!. (We are “birthday twins.)

jen_ashlock called me at work to wish me a happy birthday. She had gotten back to New York on the red-eye last night and was sounding about as groggy as I was feeling at the time. And kruppenheimer (see, Lisa, I did that linky thing) sent me a gift certificate from Powell’s Books, which happens to be my favorite used bookstore in the world!

Can I just say that I have the coolest friends!

Thank you to everyone who sent along birthday wishes today. It made for a great day!

Norm and Vicky’s wedding reception

We arrived at the reception, which started out as a kind of cocktail hour. We stood in a short line to sign the guest book and were amused by the text that was printed on the back of our little tickets (I can’t find mine or I would reproduce it here for you. Suffice it to say it was very funny.) Once inside the small room, we found a table and Lisa quickly began consuming crab cakes. I can’t remember what she was drinking, but I had a Corona. Andy and Mandy joined us shortly thereafter, and AJ showed up as well. It turned out that we would all be sitting at the same table, along with Ken and his wife and children.

After a time, bells were rung and we all proceeded into the banquet room and to our tables. It was a large banquet room with a good sized dance floor and about 8 or 9 tables. The DJ was stationed at one end of the room and Norm and Vicky’s table was on a raised platform at the opposite end. There was an enormous wedding cake not far from our table. Disney music was being piped in and drinks were flowing from the bar.

Not long after everyone was seated, the big entries were made. Andy and Norm’s sister, Julie entered, followed by Scott and Vicky’s Maid of Honor, JJ. Finally, the DJ announced the new bride and groom, “Mr. and Mrs. Norm and Vicky Perreault!” and they entered to much fanfare, with Norm smiling and waving at the crowd like a seasoned politician. Immediately after entering, they made their first dance and I cannot for the life of me remember the song to which they danced (Lisa, can you help out!) Then they were seated and the toasts were made.

Scott, Norm’s brother and best man made a funny toast, with several amusing stories about young Norm and a rousing encomium to Norm and Vicky and their happiness together. I honestly don’t remember too much of what he said because I was finally getting nervous, which is unusual for me. When Scott was finished, the DJ announced that I would be making the next toast, and I pulled my notes out of my pocket, grabbed my glass of water, and made my way up to Norm and Vicky’s table. I was told to take the microphone and stand behind the bride and groom on the dias and that I did.

I can’t tell you exactly what I said. While I made notes, I spoke mostly off the cuff. I was unusually nervous because I really wanted to do a good job for Norm and Vicky and to be honest, I don’t remember much of what I said. I do remember one thing said at the beginning however. Vicky had joking told Lisa and I at dinner on Wednesday that she wanted us to let people know that she and not the Disney people did most of the table decorations, the placecards, and favors. So when I got up to talk, I said, shortly after I started, “By the way, I just have to say, in case you don’t know this, that just about everything you see on the table in front of you was done by Vicky.” That got a round of applause and Vicky’s jaw dropped. But I didn’t stop there. I said, “She put a lot of hard work into this. Norm helped. I understand he built this entire place by hand just for this wedding.” I do recall people laughed several times, hopefully at something funny I said and not at me. Never fear, however, for Lisa got my entire toast (which seemed to extend beyond the 3 or 4 minutes I had planned) on video and as soon as she gets it posted online somewhere, I will provide a link to it. I finished up with an old Irish toast that went something like, “May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and a smooth road all the way to your door…happily ever after.” When I finished, Vicky turned to me to hug me and said, “You almost made me cry!” Almost! Darn it! I was aiming for tears!

The festivities proceeded. There was a five course meal. I can’t remember what all five courses were (by this time, I’d had myself a rum punch, but that’s not why I can’t remember), but I do recall there being an excellent salad, and the intermezzo consisted of raspberry sherbet in a glass slipper made of ice. (Apparently they are famous for this.) For the main course I had a bacon-wrapped fillet. And, of course, there was cake for dessert.

There was dancing! And I was lucky enough to have the privilege of dancing with not one, not two, but three good-looking girls.

There may be some people, who, upon reading my last statement, take offense at my referring to three women as “girls” but it is not meant in anyway to be offensive. I’ve always thought of “women” as meaning females who are older than me. I’ve always thought of “girls” as females who are younger than me, or equal in age. It’s just how I think of things inside my head and since I have been thinking this way for 35 years now, I’m not likely to change. But I mean no offense by it.

I got to dance with Lisa, who is a much better dancer than I am and who put up with my ambulatory awkwardness on the dance floor with grace. I got to dance next to Vicky who probably wasn’t even paying attention, and that’s a good thing, since dancing for me is an utterly humiliating process that I agree to do more for the enjoyment of others than myself. Finally, toward the end of the evening, I got to dance with Vicky’s maid of honor, JJ. We were standing awkwardly on the dance floor and the music started playing “Last Dance” and she said to me, “Maybe we should dance or something instead of just standing there.” I felt like a complete idiot for not asking her first, but I agreed at once and we danced to the last song of the evening. Once again, she was a far better dancer than I and I was simply outclassed the entire time I was on the dance floor. There are many things that I am good at and dancing is not among them. But I try.

And if you don’t believe me, Lisa can probably vouch for the fact that I am a pretty awful dancer. She also has video of me dancing in a corner in an insanely silly and embarrassing manner, which she has threatened to blackmail me with unless I meet certain demands…

By this time, hours had passed and the festivities were coming to a close. I made sure that I signed the big picture of Norm and Vicky–and as usual, I signed without evening looking at the picture so I have no idea what I was actually signing. We were told to head for the buses which would take us into Epcot for ring-side seats to the Illuminations fireworks display. Lisa felt the need to get some last-minute photos of these enormous paintings and then we headed off for the buses.

We came into Epcot through the back way and were escorted into the park by Disney personnel. They brought us to a roped off area at the water’s edge. There were tables and chair and desserts of all kind. Coffee and punch were also being served. Lisa spent most of the time acting as a surrogate mother to Ken’s children, and seemingly enjoying it. The fireworks display was spectacular, as one might imagine. It was towards the end of the evening that Vicky began to feel sick. We figured it was nerves and stress and everything finally catching up to her, but it turned out to be something else. She and Norm ended up spending most of the night in the emergency room, although she was better in the morning and they were able to head off on their honeymoon.

We made our way back to the hotel, spent some time up in the room with Andy, Mandy, and AJ. Lisa provided the entertainment for Andy, Mandy, and AJ while I was doing something in the closet. As soon as I heard the laughing, I looked to see what was going on, but I’d already missed it. I’ll tell you this, though: I’ve never seen Mandy laugh as hard as she was laughing. Andy said it was the best part of the evening.

We headed down to the hotel bar for a drink, and then Andy, Mandy and AJ headed back to their respective hotels and Lisa and I headed back upstairs. I was already beginning to feel sad that it was all over. We watched TV for a while, some Monty Python, and then turned out the lights and went to sleep.

It was an incredibly happy time, and one thing stuck with me through the entire evening. It was written on the inside of Norm and Vicky’s wedding program:

Once in a while, in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale.

For Norm and Vicky, I can’t think of a better way to describe it.