facebook statuses

Now that I’ve friended my nephew on FB, I find myself a bit constrained.  There are so many FB statuses that I could have posted but couldn’t because I’m an adult.  Its a pisser, yo.

Tonight, Teh Smitten – after having been locked in the house with me except for a short excursion yesterday or to shovel – gets this devlish look on his face tonight, pulls up his t-shirt, licks his finger, and dips it lasciviously in his belly button.  Thus, “belly buttons are the new nipples”.  Now wouldn’t that have been an awesome FB status? Except I can’t say ‘nipples’ knowing that my 10 year old nephew may see it while he is hanging out in Petville or Fishville.  Not to mention an elderly relative and numerous self-righteous family members/sorority sisters.  And people from work.  Gah.  People are RUINING facebook.

I’m thinking it might be time to renew the blogging.  I’ve spent the last few days in pj’s like some filthy blogger and I think I kind of miss it.  Nobody reads it anyway; at least nobody that I don’t care about offending.

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sanjay gupta needs a good throat punching

CNN is usually a perfectly decent source of information.  They’ve got that handsome Anderson Cooper  – who never seems to break a sweat – hanging haplessly out in the midst of a destroyed Port au Prince.  I’m okay with a news correspondent showing human suffering and intense devastation, but not a fully qualified medical doctor.  I don’t know who is paying Dr. Sanjay Gupta to just be CNN’s correspondent instead of letting that man treat all these horribly injured and likely dying people, but I think they need to be throat punched too, while we’re at it.  I want to see Anderson helping to dig people out, handing out water, handing out food, in addition to telling the story.  I want to see that t-shirt get dirty and that hair get mussed.  They could be photographing all the dead in the hope that they might be identified some day.

While we’re at it, Pat Robertson – who said that Haiti invoked this earthquake by being in agreement with Satan – needs a full-body punching and a nice long rest in some rural and poorly-funded mental hospital’s dementia unit.  I think Pat might be from hell, so figure he should actually be punished while here on earth.

Its the photos of the children in Haiti that really get to me.  Deceased children, wounded children, children in terrible shock and fear.  If there’s anyone out there with access to that fame-whore, Sanjay, please please please punch him in the throat and tell him to do something useful.

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snowed in

 

Before I shoveled. Ouch.

I think I’ve posted no more than 10 times over the past year.  It’s been pretty busy and FB is a major time-waster.  Fortunately, DC is in the process of getting a foot of snow.  We’re not completely happy about this at Chez Allezoop as it means we don’t get to go to a very fun holiday party with excellent friends who always have the most amazing treats.  It may also impact our ability to see Teh Smitten’s family tomorrow and exchange gifts.  I hate that since I’m pretty excited about what we got them.

On the other hand, the forced home arrest forces me to reflect and catch up on others.  That ain’t so bad.

Vacation was great.

 

My favorite photo of us from the trip.

I was a little sick the whole time and it really took a toll the last two days when we were in Toulouse.  Fortunately, our B&B was AMAZING and we didn’t feel too badly about spending extra time resting.  We both came back with colds/severe sinus ick.  Hopefully we’ll have most of the problems tamped down by the time we depart for Miami for Christmas with my family.  It is 75 and sunny down there.  I’ll be ready for that by Tuesday.

Barcelona was wonderful.  We had great weather and didn’t really need our coats for our first 4 days.  Teh Smitten loved the Pinotxo Bar at La Boqueria, and we had an amazing meal at this place call La Vinateria del Call, also in the Barri Gotic.  We never really left the gothic quarter except to see La Sagrada Familia and Gaudi’s Casa Batllo – which were both fantastic.

Unfortunately, the world famous El Bulli was not open when we were there, and it is nearly impossible to get reservations anyway.

 

Appetizers at Comerc 24

 

We were able to get into Comerc 24, which subscribes to the molecular cooking philosophy which is so in vogue.  We had a pretty good time there, but it does not come close to the glory of Komi here in DC.  I did not feel sorry for all the other (non-Komi) foods like I did at Komi, where we celebrated Teh Smitten’s birthday in November.

We got to experience a French rail strike, which delayed us from getting into Narbonne on Thanksgiving day by a few hours.  We took the bus instead.  Narbonne was nice, but I’m glad we just spent one night there.  It was worth it for the Roman Horreum (an underground warehouse – kind of a cool thing to visit) and the bit of the Via Domitia in the main square.

Carcassonne was my favorite.

 

A view of the old part of the city from the keep itself

We stayed in a Best Western.  Well, it was a 14th century building that Best Western bought and it was great.  We had a nice room, very medieval in flavor but not comfort, and a lovely large bathroom.  It was low season there so not everything was open, but we were there on a weekend so got to see and do plenty.

 

We had lunch our first day at the Auberge de Dame Carcas.  I had foie gras to start and cassoulet, of course.

We spent most of the first day walking around the old city and checking out the wall surrounding it.

Teh Smitten on the outer wall of medieval Carcassonne

I love this photo of Teh Smitten.  Am I right about how beautiful this place was?

More to come…

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28 days, 19 hours, 37 minutes and 5 seconds

So many good things are happening that something is bound to go wrong soon.  For example, why must GOD punish me with zits when I’m 39?

Vacation is looming large and I’m beginning to panic a little about not having practiced my Spanish more.  I need to do a little research and download a conversation Catalan and French podcast.  Teh Smitten and I purchased our train tickets a couple weeks back and only spent a total of $220 to get us from Barcelona to Toulouse – pretty happy about that.  I’ve started to tab interesting places and cafes/bars for us to visit.  I should be more concerned with various deliverables due with my leadership program, but its hard to focus when I know that happyfuntime is so close.

We have commenced Teh Smitten’s birthday weekend.  The celebration (kinda) has kicked off with Ghirardelli brownies and this lovely Rias Baixas Vizconde de Barrantes albarino.  We have a Clatterford dvd in the player and are idly flipping channels. Right now, teh cutie is happily watching some blow hard talk about weaponry on history.com.

Also, I am nearly done with Christmas shopping.  Took care of the niece and nephew via Amazon.com this afternoon.  The boy gets xBox 360 games (Madden 10 and Brutal Legend) and the girl gets the latest glam barbie vacation house with matching pool and convertible (to be released in mid-November).  Best. Aunt. Ever.  My brother in law is getting an haute couture t-shirt from Alexander McQueen.  The boy loves t-shirts so he’s getting the best.  Srsly.  Gilt.com has saved my ass this year.  (And so has ruelala.com, hautelook.com and ideeli.com – bless them every one!) The Marc “mother effing” Jacobs handbags for my sister and me – still reeling over that find.  I need to stop spending money so I can buy myself a car at the end of the year.  I’m not sure that Toonces is going to pass the DC inspection in January.  At the current rate, it is going to be a Toyota Yaris or Hyundai box of death instead of the Honda Civic.  Alas, alas!

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57 days, 19 hours, 20 minutes and 34 seconds to go

We’ve nailed down an itinerary and lodging, which makes me giddy.  Its not just the glass of wine I just had and the ambien CR.  So, I thought I’d share a bit.
We fly out on the 21st and arrive on the 22nd (flying from Dulles, through De Gaulle).
After a bit of research, I happened upon this website that provided apartments in Barcelona for rent to travelers and found a perfect one in the Barri Gotic.  It has as washer (rare to find a dryer in Europe) and we will stay there 4 nights.  The cost is about 75 Euros per night, which is extremely reasonable.  The link to the place is below – we are staying in that specific apartment.

We’ll take the train on the morning of the 26th up along the coast and will stop for the night in Narbonne so we can check out the Via Domitia. I think the train ride will be 5 or 6 hours due to all the stops along the way.  Would be closer to 3 or 4 by car.
Narbonne, Hotel La Residence – November 26 (1 night).  I checked the area out using the Google Street Level thing, and it is super close to the train station, close to the river, and only a few blocks from square where there’s a sunken area of the Via Domitia.
On the afternoon of the 27th we’ll take the train to Carcassonne – I think its about 45 minutes to an hour West)
Carcassonne, Hotel Donjon – November 27 & 28 (a Best Western).  We will begin to try cassoulet there.  The Hotel le Donjon used to be an orphanage in the 1500’s.  We are staying in the old walled part of the city.
On the 29th, we will take the train to Toulouse, and maybe stop in Castelnaudary along the way.  Castelnaudary is about 10 minutes away, and Toulouse another 40 -50 minutes.  Carcassonne, Castelnaudary and Toulouse all vie for the best cassoulet recipes.  We will need to bring Beano and Gas-X.
Toulouse, Les Loges de Saint Sernin – November 29 and 30 (a B&B, we are staying in the very pink St-Sernin room – I requested it especially).  Ah, the pink room.  So romantic.  Teh Smitten says he is comfortable enough with his masculinity to stay in a pink room, but not enough to wear a pink shirt.  This is a fair compromise, don’t you think?  I’m quite excited about staying in this place, only a block from the Basilica.  Toulouse is called the la ville rose.
Tim and I have been focusing our wine buying solely on wines we might find in Cataluna and the Languedoc-Rousillon region of France.  There is a minervois on sale at Schneiders that I have got to get my hands on this week.  We are getting studied up as much as possible.  Tim has located an iPhone app for us to help track our libatory interests.
Our flight back departs on December 1st at 1 pm from Toulouse, and goes through CDG in Paris. (Air France).  IF we decide to come back.

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where the hell have i been?

Life just keeps happening, faster and faster.  Well, kind of faster.  For example, each week of June seemed painfully long but when I got to July 1, I couldn’t figure out where the month had gone.  I started a leadership program that keeps me busy and has a more interesting reading list than I had anticipated.  Work is good, but I’m a little burned out.  The bosses have promoted me to a 15 and I start a 60 day detail with another part of the department in August.  This week will be my last in the office until October 5th as I have leadership training in Norfolk the 19th through the 24th and have to conduct a meeting in Grand Forks, ND from the 27th through the 30th.  I’m not stressing yet so I’m either incredibly prepared or in utter denial.  Oh, and Teh Smitten and I bought our tickets to Europe.  We’re going over the Thanksgiving holiday (oh yeah, I return from Kansas City on a Friday and immediate fly out of the country the next day which is INSANE), flying into Barcelona and out of Toulouse.  So, in the midst of leaning leadership skills, upping the professional ante and trip planning, things are busy.  Getting cable in June does not help me focus.  I have cable-related ADD and cannot manage to watch most programs to their end, preferring to flip channels constantly.

In the interest of my sanity and health, I decided not to attend my 20th HS class reuinion.  It looks like it was fun, but I figure I’ve got FB to keep up with folks, and maybe I’ll make it to the 25th or 30th.  People should have mellowed out even more by then, right?  And gained weight?  I really don’t need to be the one classmate where everyone is like, “oooohhhh, she used to be so pretty.

Radio silence will probably continue until sometime in August.

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on the wagon

We’re mostly dry at Chez Allezoop these days due to Teh Smitten’s unconfirmed fatty liver (non-alcoholic) disease. Once confirmed (hopefully later this month) we may be able to commence having our daily bread wine again. Technically, I could drink but we believe in solidarity around here. Well, 9 days out of 10 we do.

This is tough on Teh Smitten since fancy artisanal and old school cocktails are among his passions, and because people who complain about not being able to drink are automatically labeled alcoholics. (Sometimes I not so secretly long to live in Europe where folks have a more balanced view of these things.) Fortunately, we both – and his doctor – know better.

Once I get my tax refund, I’m seriously thinking about whisking the cutie and me off to somewhere for some relaxation. How far can I get us for a total of $2K to $2.5k?  Considering that our current outlet is an xbox 360 game called Fable II and that I have developed a true hate for my blackberry, out of the country would be nice.  Could I do Spain for us both for $3k?

Lastly, I need to come up with 2 60 day rotations in other Federal agencies.  Who wants a GS-14 with external affairs and policy skilz?  My agency is paying the way…

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