Thursday, December 30, 2010

zoo lights

Throughout December, the National Zoo set up lights and scenes throughout the park. Stephanie called me up and we decided to meet up on the metro and check them out!

It was bitter cold and I was glad to have toe warmers on (birthday present from dad!). Some of the buildings were open, but since it was late a lot of the animals were sleeping. We were able to see more of the reptiles than the mammals and Stephanie made me go into the petting zoo. It smells too terribly, I hate going there. But, I did survive. They did have an alpaca named Ziggy, which I laughed at because it's the nickname for my 8 yr old nephew!

We received light sticks that blink various colors and proceeded to play with them throughout the rest of the zoo and on the metro ride home. My favorite part, besides the sticks, was the dancing trees! So talented those trees with lights. I was impressed by the many animals and scenes that were created with lights. Despite the cold we had a lot of fun exploring the zoo at night. The only disappointment was that the invertebrate exhibit wasn't open. That building has THE creepiest animals alive. For some reason it's my favorite part!! It just means we'll have to go again, but probably closer to spring when it's warmer.

I put all my pictures from the zoo lights in my gallery.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

all i want for christmas, is you

It was decided that Christmas would be spent up North again. This time however I would not have to drive up alone! Brother and I set out and ten hours later arrived in CT. This was the first Christmas in five years we had the entire family in CT for Christmas. Aunt Trisha, Uncle Roger, KC, Paul, Connor, Maggie drove up and Mom and Gram flew up from FL. Brother and I drove up from VA to spend the holiday at my Aunt Laura's house. The house was packed with people, which is the way I like it! Every room had something interesting/entertaining going on. There's never a dull moment when the Loughlin clan is together!

We watched a few movies, played games, and ate a lot of food throughout the weekend. The adults were up before the kids and forced us all awake and out of bed/floor/couch/air mattresses to open Christmas presents. At some point it switched and now the adults wake up before the kids, it's terrible! Luckily, we all could go back to sleep once presents were opened. We watched The Other Guys, which was much funnier than I was expecting, and played a few rounds of comedy movie scene it. The boys were undefeated.. for now. After a huge and delicious Ham dinner, for dessert we had birthday cake! Mom picked up an ice cream cake (my favorite) AND a red velvet cheesecake (my 2nd favorite). I had to have large pieces of both! I recorded my birthday song from the best family I could ever ask for :) It's pretty horrible, everyone is off key and loud of course. I wouldn't have it any other way!!




The day after, brother and I headed to NH for Christmas with dad. Unknown to me, Andrew was going to catch a ride up with us! I have a tiny car, and we were packed in tight! It was great to see Aunt Frances when she dropped off Andrew, I only wish we had more time to visit with her before we had to go. We decided to drive up to NH at the start of the blizzard so it took about 4 hours to get to dads. Luckily we reached a point where we were ahead of the storm, and detoured around the traffic. We arrived in NH and waited for the blizzard to catch up, and it did! Glorious white Christmas, round 2. Dad decided we were having lobster for dinner, which was awesome. I hadn't had lobster in a long time, so delicious. Uncle Kelly made us watch The Box after dinner, and it was a terrible movie. Don't. Ever. See. It.

Brother had to leave early Monday to head back down to DC. He had a flight Tuesday to Africa for his hike on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Of course we had driven my car, and of course it was still snowing heavily, so it made for an interesting drive. But luckily he made it back safely. I stayed an extra day in Portsmouth with Dad and we went to the mall to shop for Christmas presents. I got a bunch of new clothes and boots!

I was very lucky that my flight only had an hour delay, otherwise I didn't have any other issues getting home. I sat patiently and read my new Nook! the entire time. There were a lot of other flights that had problems thanks to the snow, but I made it home without any problems and before midnight. It was a great Christmas - I got to see a lot of my family and relax. The best Christmas present would have to be receiving my Master's degree :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

free time

So I immediately decided to take advantage of my new free time. Instead of sleeping, I wanted to go play! After work Stephanie and I met up at the Portrait Gallery in DC to see the Norman Rockwell exhibit. First we had lunch at Vapiano! and meandered our way over to the gallery when we were finished. Unfortunately, we're not allowed to take pictures of the art work, but that just means everyone has to get over to the gallery before it ends on January 2nd. Also, this doesn't mean that I didn't want to try to take pictures anyway. Stephanie didn't want to get kicked out the museum and forbade me to take pictures too. I personally think that would be a funny story, getting kicked out of a museum, but I behaved. The works were lent by Steven Spielberg and George Lucas from their personal collection. It was neat that the exhibit included some of their reasons for liking the work and why they purchased particular paintings. I really liked the sketched painting of the girl on the stairs and the one with the mother in the teal nightgown and her daughter at the dressing table. (I tried to find these online but gave up quickly. You'll just have to go to the exhibit and see them yourself).

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

reception

Apparently this is the first year that George Mason offered a winter graduate reception. I decided I would go because, why not? Unfortunately, this stupid reception was scheduled for a Monday night from 4-530pm. Thanks George Mason for scheduling this event at the most inconvenient time ever.

Luckily, Stephanie offered to pretend to be my family and join me at the event. Dave had also graduated and he had decided to check out the event too. I'm not sure if I convinced him to go, but I was glad that he and Angie came. There was a lot of food and people at the reception. They had alumni pins for the graduates, and that was it. GM encourages all its graduates to participate in the spring ceremony for graduation, which I haven't decided yet if I'll go. I hope to have my glorious diploma in my hands before then anyhow. The President and Provost gave nice little speeches, and we wished there was alcohol available to really enjoy the reception, hehe. Afterward Stephanie and I had a mini-celebration. There will be more celebrating after the holiday season!! Until then, I'm DONE. :D

Monday, December 20, 2010

i are MASTER of history

After what seemed like an unending semester, it actually ended. And with it, I received my Masters degree in History. I spent months of my life in constant company of the witches of Salem and the works of the men that lived and experienced the hysteria. I had written a 40 paged paper on the changing perception of people in Salem and how these changes mimic the 5 stages of grief. I am incredibly proud of my work and that I received an A- in the class :D (If anyone is interested in reading my final, let me know! I promise it's not boring, heh)

Random fun facts: the Salem witch hunt lasted around 9 months and all of those who were executed for witchcraft were hanged, not burnt. European witches however were burnt at the stake, leave it to Europe to make punishment more terrifying.

I finished my time at George Mason with straight As, and kicked it in the face! An A for my internship, and A- in Clio Wired, to go along with my A- for my research seminar. It feels SO good. It's really hard to describe. I'm still realizing that I've finished and that I don't have to go back to class and homework next month.

What's next? A lot! But at least now it's on my schedule and my time. I think first I'll try to catch up on all the sleep I've lost in the past year. And then lots of celebrating! I think this is the best Christmas present I can give myself :)