Sunday, December 17, 2006


Matt is obsessed with getting a new Nintendo Wii system. I can't really describe why its a different kind of gaming system, except to say that the wireless remote controller requires the user to move around in order to play the games. The Wii was introduced last month, and has been selling out quickly. Most places aren't even selling it online, except through Ebay at some crazy markup. This is definitely a problem, because, as I said, Matt is obsessed with the Wii.

Last night, we stopped at Best Buy to see if they had any. Nope, sold out. Matt then thought that he heard of another place on Wisconsin Ave. that was selling the Wii, so we drove up and down for a little while, with Matt calling out, "Wii? Where are you, Wii?" Seriously. What makes this story really funny is that last night's activities were actually a repeat of what we did the previous weekend.

I've told Matt that the Wii will probably be available after Christmas, just in time for his birthday. Yet everytime we pass by an electronics store, we have to stop and look for the Wii. Today, we saw another couple about our age looking for one as well, with the guy with a slightly frantic look on his face and the girl looking slightly bored.

Here's the thing, though: I want a Wii too. The graphics look really cool, and come on, who wouldn't want to swing your arm to simulate sword play? Now, we have to work on getting a new TV too....

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm a freak of nature

Yesterday's visit to the allergist was quite productive. Apparently, I'm a total freak of nature, because I need 2 different nasal sprays, one for each nostril. God, what's wrong with me? On the plus side, I felt better today than I have in several days. Hooray for doctors who actually LISTEN and want to help their patients!

I can't wait for Christmas! Although it did freak me out today when I heard someone say there are only 11 days left before Christmas. I mean, where did the year go? And, Matt's 30th birthday is in exactly one month. I think he's mostly excited about it. We're thinking about doing some upscale bowling. And before you chide me for the upscale part, let me tell you--this is the only bowling that's available in the District. No voting rights in Congress and no moderately priced bowling? Yes, living in DC is every bit is disenfranchised as you think. Write your Congressperson (not about the bowling, but about the voting rights...give DC a voice, dammit)!

Okay, I'm rambling, y'all. Hey, I don't strive for good writing here, I just want you to like me.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Its that time of year

For me, December has always been the time of year when I would get sick. I remember being at my grandparents' houses on Christmas Day utterly miserable in another room with no TV while all my cousins played with their toys. As an adult, things haven't really changed. For the last two Christmases, I was sick, last year with a sinus infection, the previous year with a stomach virus. At being sick when you're an adult on Christmas isn't any more fun than being sick as a kid on Christmas, especially when you're traveling 3000 miles to be with your family.

The crazy weather here in DC lately hasn't helped my sinuses any. For the last two weeks I've been faithfully taking my Allegra, but today's 65 degree weather just kind of did me in. I'm not totally sick, but it was enough to make me call the doctor because, dammit, I will not be sick on Christmas again this year. Thanks to a change of insurance (from an evil HMO to a much less evil PPO), I was actually able to make a doctor's appointment with an allergist! Without a referral! And my appointment is tomorrow!

If all goes well tomorrow, I'll be in tip-top shape in two weeks!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Sunset in Shenandoah National Park

This has to be one of the best pictures I've ever taken. Can you understand how this trip was the opposite of dying?

Friday, November 24, 2006

I am thankful

For great family and friends! Yesterday's thanksgiving feast was a success. I added a sweet potato dip to my appetizers, but a little kitchen mishap prevented me from making mashed potatoes. No worries, though; there was so much food, and Matt and I will be eating leftovers through the weekend.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Shaken, not stirred

Well, I was going to go on a rant about how Smirnoff is sullying the good name of James Bond by promoting the Bond martini as a vodka drink in their latest commercials. (Because we all know that martinis are made of GIN and not vodka, right? A drink made with vodka is always referred to as a "vodka martini".) However, I did some research and found out that in fact, James Bond has never gone the route of a traditional martini, and has instead been drinking "vespers", a mix of gin and vodka or rather "Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel." Sounds like a good recipe. Just don't call it a martini.

Friday, November 10, 2006

the incredible shrinking feet

I recently bought a new pair of shoes. I usually wear a size 8.5. The pair I ended up purchasing are a size 8. And they are still too big.

Today I'm wearing a pair of shoes that I purchased in February or March of this year, which I've only worn a few times. Once again, too big. I don't remember them feeling this loose.

I'm suspecting that my loose shoes have something to do with my recent weight loss. When you lose 50 lbs, the fat has to come from somewhere, right?

I also found this:

I'm just glad I'm not crazy.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vote early, vote often

If you're interested in political commentary, head on over to Matt Ranting for live election coverage for nationwide elections.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

And speaking of bananas...

For the third year in a row, I'll be hosting my parents and sister for Thanksgiving. Although my mom hijacked my turkey the first year, she has been extremely helpful to have around while cooking such a big meal. This year, I'm going for more healthful recipes. Of course, I'm not expecting to lose weight that week, but at least things won't be too bad.

Here's the menu that I've come up with so far:

Crudités with hummus, crackers and cheese

Turkey with Gravy
Salad with mustard and caper dressing
Roasted garlic and butternut squash cassoulet
Herbed mashed potatoes
Mom's special stuffing
Laura's creamy spinach
Elisa's cranberry sauce

Pumpkin pie
Apple cranberry crisp

Iced tea
Scotch (that's for me, I think I'll need a hard drink at the end of the day)

curious bananas

curious bananas
Originally uploaded by laura_gonzales.
I noticed today that there was a Curious George sticker on my bananas. How...curious.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Am I a bad omen?

Today I realized that 3 of my favorite vacation spots had some terrible thing happen to them in last year or so.

New Orleans, which I visited in December 2001, had Hurricane Katrina.

Hawaii, which I visited in June 2003, had the earthquake yesterday.

London, which I visited in May 2005, had the subway attacks in July 2005.

Probably just a consequence of being well-traveled, yes? Still, it makes me sad that some of those places that existed once will now only leave on in memories.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Googling oneself

Have you ever Googled yourself? What am I saying? Of course you have. I know how egotistical you really are.

There's something strange about Googling oneself (or, doing a search for your own name on Google). How much information is out there about me? But who are all those other Lauras out there?

Sometimes I wonder if anybody is out there looking for me, and coming across Laura the Lawyer, or Laura the Systems Manager, and thinking that they've found me. Am I Laura the Professor? Could be! You'll never know. Did my namesake's accomplishments fulfill their desire to learn more about me?

And at the same time, I'll never know who those other Lauras are either. My name is pretty common, but I've never come across anyone else with my first and last names.

Its also strange to come across the real me on a search results page for random things. Yes, that's my post on that listserv, and look over sister used my full name on her blog and it came up on a search. But there's something pretty pathetic about the fact that the real me only appeared 3 times over 18 pages of search results.

We strive for anonymity, but at the same time yearn for popularity.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The opposite of dying

Yesterday we were finally able to use our camping equipment, for only the second time this year. Its not like we hadn't wanted to go camping before the end of the season, but, really, where did the summer go?

The drive up to Shenandoah was "interrupted" by a trip to a winery. I know what you're thinking...Virginia wine? Yeah, well, they do have wineries, but for the most part, don't expect too much out of them. When we got to Shenandoah, we set up camp, had lunch, rested for a while, and then decided to head out hiking. Unfortunately, it was getting kind of late at that point, about two hours to sunset, and the hike we chose had a time estimate of about 4 hours. We decided to try it, and we booked it down the trail. We got to the waterfall in about an hour, and then had to hike back up. Luckily, we were able to make it off the trail with about ten minutes to spare until sunset. We pulled out of the parking lot, and drove down the road a little bit, where we watched the sun set over the Shenandoah valley. A gorgeous experience.

Dinner involved sausages and the Yee Fong Chang story, a story which Matt will only tell when we go camping. Unfortunately, we forgot the marshmallows for s'mores, but I ate chocolate and graham cracker, which was still really good.

This morning, we woke up, had a good breakfast, and decided to go for another hike. We decided to stop at the ranger station to ask for advice where to go. She directed us to a trail that involved spectacular views...and rock scrambling. Lots of rock scrambling. On mountain sides. Have I mentioned that I'm scared of heights? The whole experience was terrifying but exhilarating.
We left the park to go explore some more wineries, and we ended up at this quiet place with pretty good wines. But more importantly, they had picnic tables, and we ended up unpacking a picnic. Luckily, today was a beautiful Indian summer day without a cloud in the sky, sitting in a vineyard, enjoying a cool bottle of wine with a fresh picnic lunch (that involves sausage). As my friend Jen said, "its like the opposite of dying."

Sitting here at home, I'm glad to be sleeping in my own bed tonight, but I wish I were back up there in the mountains, where the leaves had just started to change colors. Unfortunately, I think the camping season is over now, and we'll have to wait for spring to go out there again.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Songs to die for

You remember that scene in High Fidelity when they find out that the girlfriend's father died and they're all sitting around talking about what songs should be played at the funeral? Well, the Brits have compiled a new set of funeral songs (which I heard about through this Washington Post blog). The list is pretty lame. My choice for a funeral song? In-a-gadda-da-vida by Iron Butterfly. What's yours?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

This is funny

Several months ago, Matt received an e-mail from his ex-girlfriend saying that she was getting married, and she asked for our address. He replied to her, sent the address, and asked when exactly the wedding was going to take place (she just said November). No further response.

Well, today there is an envelope addressed just to Matt (not Mr. and Mrs. or , or Matt and Laura or anything like that, and it looks suspiciously like a wedding invitation, and its from Austin. Well, I only know one other person in Austin, and she's not getting married any time soon. I decided to open it, even though its not addressed to me (ahem, Matt opened my special birthday present FedEx this year, and then totally ruined the surprise for me by waving it in my face, so no, he really doesn't care if I open his mail. In fact, if I didn't, it would probably never get opened, so there. But I digress). Anyway, it is a wedding invitation, for a wedding that's in 5 weeks.

So my question is, am I invited to this wedding? And FYI, she was totally at my wedding, so hello, she knows that we're married

Friday, September 29, 2006


One of my colleagues, who used to live in Austin, told me that I had a very Texas look, but she didn't want to say anything (this was after I told her that I'm from San Antonio). That really made my day!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Making peace

Some of you may know that I've been very frustrated at work recently. About 3 months ago I was transferred to the main library to work on an exciting new project. Well, due to, among other things, gross incompetence (not mine, thankfully), this new department was officially closed last week. We were told of this on Wednesday. I had a stomach ache from Friday to Wednesday because of the stress.

Things had been in limbo for me and my co-workers for the entire three months. Nobody really knew what to do with us, and there was no plan or policy for us to follow. It was with a mixture of frustration, anger, and a little bit of relief that I learned of our demise. The good news is that I get to stay employed, but I've been transferred over to another department, where I have to learn the ropes all over again.

I left work early on Wednesday, ostensibly because of the stomach ache, but also because I had to gather my thoughts. Yes, I would prefer it if I could be doing something that I really wanted to do (whether that be with my current employer or elsewhere), but I have to take what life has handed to me, right? Last night I made peace with the whole situation. Miraculously, my stomach ache has mostly disappeared.

Friday, September 15, 2006

just because...

"that's the way things are done around here", doesn't make it right.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Video: Meeting Kevin Costner

Not to beat a dead horse, but here's the video that the woman standing next to me took when we met Kevin Costner. She was standing to the left of me and KC was shaking the hand of the person to the right of me. Thanks, Katie!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Even if you're not a Justin Timberlake fan

which I'm not. I just think he's a good dresser. Anyway, his new album FutureSex/LoveSounds got a hilarious review in today's Washington Post. Some excerpts:

Timberlake, the most cornfed and harmless of pop stars, is about as likely to project an air of dangerous sexuality as he is to knock over a convenience store with Screech from "Saved by the Bell."

Alrighty! But I think my favorite line is this:

[W]hen it comes to, um, randiness, Timberlake is still no Prince, and lines such as "Back up some more / And let me take it off" have the same sexual charge as a proposition from a Care Bear.

Monday, September 11, 2006

back on the wagon, not on the gravy train

Now that summer is officially over, I'm back on the weight loss wagon. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, I've lost 10 pounds, not bad for a summer, but not great since I'm still about 30 pounds away from my weight loss goal. I have to say, it was pretty good eating this summer: Mexican food in Tejas, gourmet Mexican in Chicago, Italian in Baltimore. And Komi for our anniversary (oh, Komi! I look forward to the day that I can see you again).

Yes, as you can see I have issues with food. I love food, I'm not afraid to admit that. And of course I associate food with comfort and love. The fact is, I don't see anything wrong with any of that. Of course, the problem was that I was eating too much too often and wasn't exercising. So now, in addition to my 3x a week at Curves, I'm also doing a yoga class once a week. I'm hoping to lose at least 15 pounds by Thanksgiving. I'll keep y'all updated.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

last of the summer whine

Today is the last day that our pool is open. Even though it was barely 80 degrees today, we went for about an hour and a half, and yes, the water was pretty cold. The sun is out, so I got my brown on (but not Matt, he got his heavy duty sunscreen on). We watched all the kids that have spent their summer in the pool say goodbye to the lifeguard, Paul, and we also watched Paul do some backflips off the lifeguard stand. When I asked Matt if he was ready to leave, he sighed and said, "I always knew summer had to come to an end. I never thought you would be the one to end it."

Even though I've lived in DC for a while, I still feel like every year I'm being robbed of summer. Its only early September! Lately, I've watched the sun set earlier and earlier with a sense of dread. I also feel that we'll be paying for that mild winter we had last year (only one major snow storm), and have a really rough time of it this year. I keep hoping that this will be last winter in DC, but Matt keeps telling me, "No."

So, this is the last of my summer whining. From now on, you'll be getting autumn whining.

Friday, September 08, 2006

KC addendum

I just found out that the young lady that I thought was Kevin Costner's daughter is actually his wife! LOL

Last night it occurred to me that the reason why KC crossed the street to shake our hands was because he is very appreciative of the fans he still has. I mean really, when was the last time you saw him a major motion picture? Not to be too cynical or anything....(maybe I should make that my mantra).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

meeting Kevin Costner

Tonight as I was getting out of the Metro, getting ready to go home, I saw a large crowd gathered at the theatre across the street. In turns out they were doing the world premiere of The Guardian, the new Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher film. I figured there was a pretty good chance to see some celebrities, so I decided to stick around.

In case you've never heard of the movie, its about the U.S. Coast Guard. Kevin Costner plays the tired, but wise, older guy, and Ashton Kutcher is the young hot shot. After about 30 minutes, Sela Ward came down the red carpet (yes, there actually was a red carpet). I was standing across the street, so I could see her pretty clearly. Several of us called her name, but she didn't really acknowledge us.
At 6:45, Kevin Costner and a lovely young lady, maybe his daughter, arrived. Unfortunately, they started going the wrong way! They walked across the street, away from where I was standing, and he started shaking hands. Finally, he started walking back, and then he crossed the street to where I was standing. He came within 3 feet of me! I was about to shake his hand, but then this homeless guy came up to KC and clasped his shoulder and stuck out his hand for him to shake. The guy said, "I'm just a homeless guy, but I'm a big fan of your movies." KC was wearing sunglasses, but he still managed to look a little stunned. Finally, he said, "Thanks. I've been there." And then he walked off.

The premiere was supposed to start at 7 p.m, but at 6:58, there was still no sign of Ashton Kutcher. Finally, another limo pulled up, and out came Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. I started jumping up and down like the 14 year old girl standing next to me. We started yelling, "Cross the street!" But alas, he gave us a couple of enthusiastic waves, and then he and Demi started off down the red carpet. Demi looked fabulous, with all that long hair.

Incidentally, there were a lot of military bigwigs there, and another political bigwig too, Tom Ridge, the head of Homeland Security.

The women I was standing next to had a camera, and I gave them my email address to send me photos, if they can figure out how to do that. I only got one picture of Kevin Costner with my camera phone and I can't figure out how to post the picture. So if anybody knows, please tell me!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Shakira Addendum

An article on Shakira's concert from today's Washington Post:

A few lines stand out: "Shakira is among pop music's greatest dancers, as there is much more to her repertoire than just those swaying hips." I'm sorry, when did doing The Robot become an acceptable dancing style?

Or to quote my friend Tawni: "You don't like shakira's dancing? I guess she doesn't really dance. I'm not sure what you would call it, but it looks more like what a stripper would do."

"But she can hold her own as a singer, even if she doesn't have the best, most distinctive voice in the business. In fact, she tends to sound a lot like other artists...."What? The true appeal of Shakira is her amazing vocal range and distinctive voice.Obviously, the critic, with-a-name like this-I-have-to-be-a-rock-critic J. Freedom du Lac, and I have much differing opinions.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Shakira! Shakira!

Just came back from the Shakira concert here in D.C.! It was really fun, and like Elisa's concert in Chicago, she played a good mix of old and new stuff (same set list, actually). There weren't too many skanky hos there, although there were a lot of older folks there. The couple next to me brought their 1 year old daughter, who was actually very well behaved, but I felt sorry for her because her ears must have been ringing!

It's really interesting to see Shakira's "evolution" from songstress to pop princess. Her new stuff isn't as heart-felt as her Spanish songs, but maybe that's because it isn't her true language. It would be nice to hear some of the same raw emotion from her Spanish songs show up in her English stuff, but maybe she's not quite there yet. Or perhaps she's too busy becoming an international pop tart. I mean, using the microphone stand like a stripper pole? Please, show some respect for your audience.

But anyway, fun concert. I danced a lot, and I'm glad I had some extra deodorant. The audience was a good mix of old-school fans, and tweens with their moms. Shakira came out into the audience, and wore the cowboy hat of some guy in our immediate section, but she stopped a few feet short of us. The tickets were great and well worth the price. We could always see the stage, and I never once had to strain my neck.

One thing that's always weird at a concert, especially like at a Shakira concert, is when somebody behind you asks you sit down. I mean, what the hell? Its a concert, people!

Its funny how different this concert was since the last concert I went to: Jason Mraz at the 9:30 Club, a small, general admission venue (that was when Jason threw a guitar pick out into the audience and it fell down my shirt). I don't have any souvenirs from this concert, but it was just as fun.

ETA: I still maintain that Shakira really can't dance.

the Internet is a wonderful thing

I just discovered that on Flickr you can add your photos to a map! So if you took pictures in NYC, you can add your photos to the NYC map. Its a Yahoo map, so it goes down to the neighborhood. Of course, you never want to give too much information about your location.

Also, it looks like Yahoo photos is getting revamped. Just like Flickr, you can add Friends to your page, so you can see their photos when they post them. Very cool!

Friday, August 25, 2006

lap time

My friend Emma is a triathlete. For you lay(zy) people out there, a triathlete competes in three different athletic events in one day: biking, swimming and running. Now, I'm no triathlete. I don't even pretend to be moderately athletic. But lately I've been trying to swim laps in our pool, mostly because I don't feel like I've gotten enough use out of it this summer, and also, the pool is scheduled to be closing on Labor Day.Sometimes I feel like a charlatan for wanting to swim in the lanes. There are usually enough good swimmers—they with their bathing caps, swim goggles, and racerback swimsuits—who want to swim, so I’ll usually swim for a set period of time, get out, let them swim for a while, and then when there is another free lane, I’ll jump in again for a few more minutes. While they are swimming their perfect laps, I console myself that at least I have a better tan.

Yesterday afternoon, there was an older man already swimming laps in one of the lanes when I got there. No problem, there are four lanes. I jumped into the lane furthest from him and proceed to swim-very slowly. This man, although older, looked like a competent swimmer, and in fact he swam faster than I did and for a longer period of time. After about 20 minutes I got out of the pool and toweled myself off. A few minutes later, he got out of the pool, and that’s when I saw that he only had one leg. Yup, one leg. Whatever little pride I had, and there wasn’t that much let me tell you, completely left me. I was, however, in awe of this man with one leg.

Rock on, one legged man. I can only hope to one day be as good as you.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

ploo ploo PLOO ploo pla

Like Joey from Friends, that's what French sounds like to me. :(

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

random meat

random meat
Originally uploaded by laura_gonzales.
When I invite friends over for a barbecue, one thing I'll never serve is hamburgers or hot dogs. Not that I don't love hamburgers and hot dogs, but really, you can have those anytime. And also, who wants to eat the composite of hundreds of animals in one little casing? Well, I do sometimes, but dude, check out these fajitas. Thanks to my sister for sending tortillas!

Friday, August 04, 2006

city of blinding light

Next year, I will finally have the opportunity to discover the answer to an age-old question: Which city is more romantic in the springtime: Washington or Paris? Somehow, I think I already know the answer.Thanks to our beaucoup frequent flier miles, we were able to get business class seats to Paris next March. I get to start learning how to speak French!Our last trip abroad was actually my first; in 2005 we went to London and Italy (Roma e Napoli, or to you Italian-illiterates, Rome and Naples). I learned just enough Italian to get by. Since we have so much more lead time, I'm hoping to learn more French. I have to admit, I've been resisting France for a long time now, but now that our flights are confirmed, I'm pretty excited.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006