Wednesday, July 20, 2011

emilia moves in!

After patiently waiting a few weeks, Emilia flew in from Houston with her boyfriend Chris to officially move into Chez Quebec!

She flew in around noon on Tuesday the 19th, so unfortunately Jonna and I weren't at home to welcome her to the house. Despite our being at lame work, she was able to get into the house without any issue. She had a few boxes and suitcases, but not much else. She expects to get a lot of furniture and things over the next few weeks. We had a blow up mattress for her to borrow for a few nights as she works on getting settled. She doesn't start work until the last week of July, so she has some time to explore the area before getting down to it!

I'm very excited to have the house officially full. It was a long process to find another roommate, which was unexpected. But we definitely made the right choice :) Look forward to future posts of our house of awesome people!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

this is how we celebrate

Since Jonna was out of town for her birthday, she decided to arrange a little gathering of people later in the week. She wanted to try out a new restaurant on Washington Blvd, Mala Tang, and afterward go out bowling at Ft. Myer. She invited a large group of people and only expected less than half to be able to come to dinner, however 17 people were able to join in the celebration!

We all met at Mala Tang and had no idea what we were getting into. The concept behind the restaurant is really neat and probably better for smaller groups (as we learned). We only had one waitress for the entire table, it made for a very slow meal. The main course at Mala Tang is a sichuan hot pot. Each person has their own little pot to cook various meats, fish, veggies, and starches. Sarah and I decided to share a pot, and we found that it was a really good idea. There was sooo much food there was no way either of us would've finished one on our one. We didn't even come close to finishing the one we shared! Everyone shared veggies, meats, and more, there was food everywhere. When we finished they brought out a little fruit platter with a candle for Jonna and we all sang happy birthday!

By the time everyone was full and ready to go, it took almost an entire hour for the waitress to get our checks in order. Although we were incredibly appreciative that they split the checks between people/couples, they double charged gratuity on multiple bills. Those few bills she had to bring back and fix. By the time we were finally finished eating AND paying, it was almost 11pm. Dinner had lasted 4 hours! It was a lot of fun and delicious, it just took a long time. The bowling ally closes at midnight, so bowling was no longer an option for the night. Instead we went to a bar for a few drinks to finish the night. We had so much food, drinks, and fun. It was a true birthday celebration of me Jonna!

Monday, July 11, 2011

jonna has bday

Jonna had to go to Ithaca for a wedding the weekend of her birthday. This left me home alone and unable to celebrate her birthday with her appropriately so I decided that I wanted to bake her something for when she came home. She was returning on her birthday so what better than to bake a cake!



This is what I think of every time someone says something about baking a cake, it's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake?! And now that we're all distracted.. let's bake a cake!

For my birthday Amy gave me a cookbook filled with many of her own baking recipes. I decided what better time to try something new? I decided to make a rhubarb upside-down cake. The recipe was pretty easy to follow and I only had to call Amy once to verify the first step of the recipe. I made a pretty design of rhubarb into massive amounts of brown sugar and butter, covered it in a very light cake batter (like angel food cake) and popped it into the oven. I waited 40 mins.. 50 mins.. 60 mins, and the cake was supposed to be done after 50-55 mins, but the knife still wasn't coming out clean. Around 65-70 mins I called Amy again because I was concerned for my poor cake. I figured it had to be done cooking by now and pulled it out of the oven and flipped it! over onto a plate - check out that delicious picture. I couldn't tell if it was completely done cooking, but it was too late to go back now! I'd already flipped it upside-down. She said it sounded perfectly fine, so I stopped fretting and left it out for when Jonna came home. (Turns out our oven is broken so I was right to be concerned about the long time it took to bake, the bottom heating element isn't working. So we can essentially broil everything, it's the new bake).

Jonna came home after a really long drive and was ready for bed. I managed to get her to try the cake before she popped into bed, and it was a great success! It was so moist, sweet, and delicious. I packed a piece for me and Jonna to bring to work the next day, it was her birthday cake that we enjoyed all week long :P

Sunday, July 10, 2011

game of thrones

I spent most of the weekend being lazy and had heard a lot of good things about Game of Thrones, a show on HBO. I heard it was a storyline that would appeal to me because it had a gamer type feel and it's situated comparatively to what we know to be the dark ages. Any period piece tends to grab my attention and I decided to give this show a try.

Well, as HBO does best, I was incredibly hooked. I think what I love best about this show is that no one is safe. And what I mean is, any character at any time can die (just like real life, *gasp*). Typically with shows and movies you're pretty sure that the main characters (at least most of them) will make it through whatever trials and tribulations they are given. So although some situations are more stressful than others, you feel somewhat relived knowing that nothing could really possibly happen to them. This is not the case in Game of Thrones. This style that George RR. Martin takes in his books adds significantly to the series. I felt the reality of living and fighting to survive and felt with the characters when they realized how much they had lost, when they failed, suffered, and the amazement when they some how managed to endure. Despite becoming attached to certain characters and losing them throughout the first season, I wouldn't change this approach. I felt more involved and more aware of how difficult life once was for our ancestors, sometimes I'm such a historian nerd :)

I won't give away any specifics, but I do recommend this show to others who enjoy sci-fi/fantasy/medieval themes. I definitely look forward to the next season!

pool side with manders

One of the only ways to beat the heat in DC summer, is to relax poolside. Amanda decided she wanted to go to Signal Hill Water Park in Manassas, VA with her daughter and invited me to come along. We decided to make a poolside picnic to enjoy while we were at the pool. We had a pretty impressive spread of snacks, drinks, and summer salads. Amanda made a pasta salad, pb&j sammiches, packed chips, and I brought along cookies, grapes, and caprese salad (made with fresh tomtoes and basil from Jonna and my CSA). Amanda's au pair, Maria, came along with us to join in on the fun.

Signal Hill Water Park is essentially, a water park for kids. Kit is just about 6 months old, so not able to play on her own, but the water park is still fun and has lots to offer parents (and their friends!) We found a shaded spot and set up our picnic blanket and lunch. Maria agreed to watch Kit for an hour or two, while Amanda and I grabbed tubes and enjoyed the lazy river. All around the kiddie pool area there is a lazy river, absolutely perfect. Amanda and I just laid in the tubes and floated around in circles, chatting away and waved to Kit and Maria every time we passed them.

Once we'd had our fill of the river (which really we didn't want to stop, but it was Maria's turn for lazy river-ing) we got out to take Kit to sit around and splash in the kiddie pool. At the same time it was "break time" for the kids, which meant 15 minutes where the kids are called out of the pool to give them and also the lifeguards a break. However, this doesn't apply to adults 18 and over. So of course, Amanda and I decided to play in the kiddie pool area. The two of us, grown adults, were running around the pirate island themed water slides and having a blast! We tried each and every slide and determined the one in the main structure with the palm tree was the best. It's pretty awesome being an adult and acting like a kid!

Once the 15 minutes were up, we took Kit into the pool. She didn't seem to know what to make of all the water and kids running around. We're not sure if she liked it or hated it, but we enjoyed the cool water and sunshine regardless. After a few hours we decided it was time to head out and get some ice cream! Deliciously homemade ice cream from a local shop ended our pool day perfectly.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

happy birthday america

After dropping off Brendan for his flight, I drove back home to meet up with Jonna, brother, Alicia, and Kristen to head to Evan's for a 4th of July BBQ. Evan has prime viewing of the DC fireworks from his rooftop balcony. We did however decide to leave his condo before the fireworks mostly because it was a work night and we didn't want to get trapped in the city with all the people. I know it's rather lame, but really we should've also had the 5th off from work too. I had a long busy weekend, and I was good without fireworks. I could hear them from the house though later that night. And they did have them on tv.. :)

There were many peoples at Evan's for the 4th, and lots of delicious food. It was a true "grown up" event. It had the typical grilling fare, but also amazing side dishes such as 3 bean salad, mozza-tomato-basil deliciousness, homemade guac, chocolate cake, lemon bars, strawberry salad.. there was an intense amount of food and drink! I felt so grown up to be enjoying food of such high caliber at a BBQ. The company was divided between upstairs on the balcony and downstairs in the living room. A group of us were hiding under the canopy from the sun, enjoying chilled white wine, snacks, and good conversation. Occasionally dancing around to music provided by Kristen's phone. When we were ready to head back to Arlington, we headed downstairs and found everyone else sitting around the television watching Independence Day. While yes, this is not the best movie of all time, it does have its entertaining moments. But apparently while watching the movie, various people would ad-lib lines and modify the storyline. We didn't understand the humor behind this game walking into the middle of the antics, or why they decided to watch this movie to begin with, so it made it pretty easy to say goodbye and head home. A bonus for leaving Evan's early, I got to have Rita's on the cab ride home! A delicious blend of ice and frozen custard, so refreshing.

Hopefully next year Evan will host a 4th BBQ again and I'll be less lame and stay to enjoy the firework show. I definitely enjoyed all the food and left fat and content, happy birthday America!

Monday, July 4, 2011

seattle comes to DC

Memorial weekend as I'm moving into my new house, I got the best phone call. I answered the phone and Brendan says, can you pick me up at 7:30am at Dulles Airport on July 2nd? Hell yes!! Now all we needed to do was get through June, but at least we had an official countdown!

As background to this most anticipated date and understanding why a flight and countdown were in order is that for the last almost 3 months we have been talking, skyping, texting, all forms of possible communication between here and Seattle. We were definitely over due for a visit. Why is my Brendan in Seattle? Well, he's waiting on a start date for a job, but should be living here come September or October, fingers crossed. I found and emailed Brendan on OKCupid, mostly because he is well, hot (and yes his profile did also entertain me). But also because I've lived in DC almost 6 years and thought in the least maybe I could offer some insight to his questions on living here in the city. He replied back to my email.. and we've been in constant communication ever since.

Many of my friends and family were concerned for this meeting, mostly hoping that Brendan wouldn't arrive only to kidnap and kill me. I didn't have any concern for my safety, but would continuously strive to ensure them that he is such a good boy and would do no harm. I am entirely blessed and lucky to have friends and family who love and care for me so very very much. In the end my friends liked Brendan very much (even dear brother shared some sort of positive sentiment) and agreed that he is not at all, creepy (thanks Alicia :P).

July 1st finally arrived and we were both incredibly excited. We both planned our days completely to keep busy before his flight would arrive early the next day. Of course it started with work, then I met up with a large group of friends to see the Nationals play the Pirates. It was incredibly hot, as DC does best. Jonna was convinced to come to the game as well, which worked out well because we both wanted to leave the game before it was over. Mostly to avoid the packed metro, but also because I needed to get to bed so that I could wake up early to head to the airport! Jonna and I managed to get seats on the train and made our very own dance party, sunglasses on the metro thanks to constant flickering lights and a personal interpretation of a song that I'll never remember the name of. When I was heading home, Brendan was heading to the Marlins game in Seattle. He was enjoying stadium food and beer while I was heading to bed. While I was sleeping, Brendan went to the airport and boarded a plane which would take him straight to me!

I woke up early Saturday and headed to Dulles and waited not too patiently for Brendan. What felt like foreeeeeever he finally appeared and I ran and jumped into his arms and squeeeezed sooo tight, and he kissed me :) (aww first kiss) Finally he was here in DC, even if only for a short 2 days, incredibly happy. I knew straight away the first place that I would take Brendan was for bagel breakfast! After teasing about how amazingly delicious these bagels are I had to let him taste for himself. Of course breakfast was approved, because anyone who has had bagel breakfast at Brooklyn Bagels knows they're the best. When we were leaving the bagel place we realized how tired he was from working the entire day before and boarding a red eye flight, as he almost fell on an unsuspecting woman sitting next to us outside. Brendan is a big boy at 6'1 and would've crushed the poor girl! Luckily he managed to catch himself and we decided our next plan of action would be to head down to Rosslyn to check on the status of his hotel room, since he clearly needed a nap. His room wasn't ready so I decided we'd take a walk down to the park by the entrance to 395. We stopped for some Starbucks, in hopes it would help perk him up and made it to the park. It was early enough that it wasn't too hot yet and we enjoyed the comforts of the shade at the park. One of Brendan's first new discoveries of DC was cicadas. Apparently, they don't exist in Seattle. We were relaxing in the park and they were doing as they do, which is make really loud noises from the trees. I've always grown up hearing cicadas and recognized that this meant it was summertime and hot! He asked me WHAT that ridiculous noise was and I said, a bug. He was amazed that a bug could make such a racket. Of course I looked up a picture for him to see how ugly they are, and informed him he should get used to the sound.

Luckily his room was ready shortly after, he was able to nap and clean up from his long evening. I enjoyed watching Zoolander while I waited. We decided to first grab some food before heading to Arlington Cemetary. We stopped at Hell Burger, which I had never eaten at before, and ate some seriously massive delicious burgers. We hopped the metro, where Brendan got to use his new (thanks to Ginger!) metro card, and experience the DC metro for the first time. I haven't been to the Arlington Cemetery since I went many years ago in 8th grade. My only wish was for it not to be SO hot. We walked around and explored the cemetery, saw JFK's eternal flame, and even managed to catch a changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. Having a better appreciation for history, I think I appreciated it a lot more now than I did many years ago. It was really neat to see graves from the civil war and all the hidden gardens, tombs, and statues. The sun was beating us up so we decided to head down to Pentagon City and grab some drinks to perk up. We decided not to spend the rest of the day rushing around, since he will be moving here in the near future, and just enjoy the day at a slow pace, and not in the hot sun! I never fare well in ridiculous heat and humidity so we ended up watching a movie at the hotel and fell asleep rather early. (but did wake up to text Jonna and let her know that I will still well and alive :P)

I woke up abruptly around 5am because there was an intense thunderstorm. I think it was louder and brighter than usual because we were in Rosslyn and up on the 9th floor. So the sound was just vibrating off the buildings and the lightening was intense! I woke up, which woke Brendan up, and he was concerned why I was up so early. I said, "well.." and waited a few seconds hoping that it would thunder again. Once he realized what was going on, he woke right up and ran over to the window like a little kid on Christmas morning. He opened the curtains all the way so we could enjoy the storm, apparently our storms here in DC are rather impressive to this Seattle boy :P

Since we had crashed so early we woke up pretty early (even despite the storm). We decided we'd spend today exploring the area so Brendan could get an idea of where he might like to live, and just to see what DC has to offer. We first stopped for breakfast at O'Sullivans. They have my second favorite brunch options in VA. We were the only people at the pub and very thoroughly enjoyed a delicious breakfast. After, we stopped at my house, so he could see our Chez Quebec, and meet Jonna. We hung around the house for a bit and relaxed in the AC before we meandered over to brothers apt. He met brother and his roommates and we hung around there for a few hours enjoying the shade and delicious drinks in the backyard. We left brother's to explore Springfield, VA since this is near where Brendan will be working, and he is considering finding a place to live there. After we finished exploring Springfield we drove back to Arlington to pick up Jonna, Alicia, and some bags of ice from the gas station before heading to Kristen and Jay's for a 4th of July BBQ. We met up with Kristen, Jay, Todd, Mia, and Ben for food and refreshments. While we were enjoying delicious foods, the sky turned really dark and ominous. Randomly Kristen shouted out "I'm very concerned about the weather right now!" and everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at her, then we laughed because her concern was so immediate and intense. But we started packing things up and rushing everything into the laundry room of their building and luckily made it inside just before another massive thunderstorm hit Arlington. Torrential rain, high winds knocked a few large branches off trees in front of their complex. Their apt building lost power, but we decided until the weather calmed down we would venture upstairs into the apartment. Once the weather finally cleared we went back outside to check out the damage from the storm and enjoy more BBQing. It was later in the afternoon so bugs were out, including lightening bugs, which Brendan had never seen before. I caught a few for him to check out up close. I continually felt like a little kid throughout the whole weekend sharing all these new discoveries with Brendan! The temperature had cooled down immensely after the storm which was an amazing break from the humidity and heat. We decided to leave the BBQ early and metro into DC to check out some of the monuments and the white house. My friend Bob had suggested we explore DC at night instead of during the day for many reasons some of which being, significantly less people to get in the way, and the sun is gone so you're not melting. There aren't many shady spots on the National Mall, so I embraced this idea and Brendan agreed. We metroed into the city and walked around the Washington monument and the WWII monument. Because of all the fireworks and hoopla that was set up for the 4th the next day, a lot of the other monuments were blocked off. We did wander around and manage to get in front of the white house, just in time for the lights to turn off at 11pm. We still hung around the gate, chatted it up with a few security guards, and waved to the people with sniper rifles that we believe were watching us. Since nothing else was available to us, we decided to hop the metro and head back to Rosslyn. We enjoyed a late night pizza and watched a movie together, enjoying the last of the day.

Unfortunately, even though it was the 4th of July, Brendan had to catch a plane back home to Seattle. We woke up a little late and being a holiday, nothing was available for breakfast without causing him to miss his flight (which really wasn't MY concern). Instead we drove to Dulles where I dropped him off with a big hug and kiss, and sent him on his way back home. Sooo sad that he had to go back to Seattle for an undetermined amount of time before I'd get to see him again. I think the worst part is just not knowing when. But it will be soon, hopefully before the year is out. Until then, our first meeting/playing was a huge success! And we'll continue to use all means of communication until we can be together again, which will have to do.