MSCL 5.7 Mari Christmas, Baby

Greetings from the land of the oddest weather ever. Here it is December 18, and it is downright sweltering outside!!!

I hope you all are having a great Christmas season anyway and that the weather holds out for all of us travelers in the coming week. I wanted to e-mail a quick schedule of when and where I'll be in OK.

My last day in the office is December 20, and I leave around 3 p.m., at least that's the plan. Then Shawn and I will drive to his hometown for Christmas dinner. We will stay there until Friday afternoon, and we will fly to my hometown on Friday, Dec. 22.

Shawn and I went to the Christmas lights again in DC -- saw the Capitol Christmas Tree and the White House Tree. SO much fun. We also walked around Old Town Alexandria this weekend and it's all lit up and just so Christmassy (despite the bizarre weather!)... So it's good times around here. I bought some purple Christmas lights and Shawn hung them around my balcony glass door, and I have a ceramic little tree that Beth got me at a garage sale a few years ago. That's the extent of my Christmas decorations though.

I've been crocheting up a storm though -- a small snow storm in fact. Next year I hope to learn how to make angels. Gran has to teach me how to get the starch right though.

I've been having some problems with my eyes, nothing major but still annoying. I wear contacts and since starting this job have been working 9 or 10 hour days regularly and sometimes much longer. The majority of my job consists of working at a computer, and while I have a flat screen, I am in a cubicle, so the lighting is harsh and my eyes have taken a beating because of it. I went to the eye doctor (for a check up and also because I was having a lot of trouble seeing with my glasses -- it just wasn't safe to go out wearing them because I was afraid of being an even WORSE driver!). SO, the eye doctor said my corneas were scratched from the contacts and that my eyes were inflamed and irritated, etc. SO, long story short, I got my glasses prescription updated and have been wearing those nonstop plus putting drops in my eyes as often as I can remember. (Plus some gooey-er stuff before bed) My eyes feel better, but they're not completely healed yet. I will probably be able to wear contacts again (and a higher dollar version of them!) in another week or so. I like my glasses, but I don't like having to wear them ALL the time. I will just be glad when my eyes are healed.

In other medical malady news, I went to the dentist for the first time in two years and had my first cavity filled! Yipes. I guess that's good, and I hope that I have no more. It was a small one. I really like the dentist I found. She's about my age and just really nice and likes to educate her patients, which is always nice. She didn't give me a toothbrush after the cleaning though. Isn't that weird? I thought it was mandatory protocol for dentists to distribute toothbrushes. Oh well.

Everything else is rolling right along. I work a lot and Shawn and I play on the weekends. Mostly watching silly movies or doing things around town. We've been shopping a lot lately for Christmas stuff plus we spent this weekend baking/making candy to take to his family.

I've been in a Sunday school class for a couple months now. We're reading a really awful book, but the discussions are better and it's nice to know new people. I haven't seen any of them outside of the class (I guess that would be too friendly of me!), but I enjoy it none-the-less.

I had a great birthday with Shawn and his family. They treated me so nice while we were there for Thanksgiving. We got to play with the kids a lot (they range from 9 months to 10 years I believe) and ate so much I thought we were going to pop. This is my golden year, so I anticipate great things after turning 26 on the 26th. I even got a little charm necklace with those numbers on it. Very funny. I am such a nerd, and I know it so you don't have to tell me. :)

So that's an update on me and all the goings on here. Pretty standard stuff, just plugging along. Send me updates from you too! Would love to know how it's going.

Merry Christmas! Hope to see many of you very soon. Only 4 more sleeps til Auntie M squeezes Baby O!!!

Love, Mari...

Mari's So-Called Life 5.6 (truncated version)

ALEXANDRIA, Va.--I just realized the last "real" update I sent was July 23! Apologies. I have been regularly updating with pictures, etc. So even when I'm a doof about sending mass updates you can check that. PLUS I always respond to one-on-one e-mails!

So I had an update written out and Firefox shut down, so I'm re-doing this. I should know better. But there you go.

The job takes up my entire life it seems, and it is INTENSE. I work more than I ever thought I possibly could. In terms of how the job is affecting me, it's good and bad. I'm gaining a lot of great experience and the people I work with/for are great. I'm exhausted though and insomniatic -- I can't get to sleep most nights because I'm worried about all the projects that are going on and what I may have forgotten (an example: I left a powercord to a laptop at an event venue…we got it back, but it was still a major stressor!). I work 9 a.m. until as late as 7 p.m. I rarely leave before 6 p.m. (we're supposed to go home at 5:30). But my boss stays late (she gets in around 10 most days) and there is ALWAYS more work to be done. I am a stickler for deadlines, and a lot of the work I do depends on other people, causing me to miss deadlines… It's a struggle but I'm making it.

Physically I haven't been taking the time to work out or really take care of myself other than basic things. I get home at night exhausted and just want to lie down… not work out. So I hope to get started on waking up early and getting the workout over with… I'm such an anti-morning person though so we'll see how it goes. I feel much better when I exercise -- I sleep better, etc. etc. so I just have to keep that in mind.

Last weekend Shawn and I went sailing with Dr. Nemecek and her husband, Glen. My undergrad thesis adviser was visiting DC on a book tour (I think) and so it was really fun to catch up with her. Shawn got to be "Commodore Walker" for a while and take control of the boat. That was exciting!

I got to go home for Owen's second birthday. It seems insane that he's already a little toddler instead of an infant. Life just goes by SO fast. He's growing and doing great, learning to speak. He can say "Mari," although it sound a little like "me-me" it's the BEST sound in the world. I love that kid. He's getting better about talking on the phone and we still web cam every week. It just isn't the same as living near enough to see him more than a few times a year. This is my main turmoil in life: wanting to be in two places at once: home in that life with Owen, Gran, Beth, Mama, etc. and here in this life with Shawn and my job, etc. Really how do you balance the two? Any suggestions are welcome…

My two worlds will collide at Christmas time. Shawn will be coming with me for Christmas. It is insanely scary but I think it will be a good time. I've got my vacation time approved and we have bought our plane tickets. I have to save my pennies to pay for the ticket, and I need to start my Christmas shopping… One thing I have to say is NO TICKLE ME ELMO FOR OWEN! Seriously… I guess that's really Beth's request, and she may differ from my opinion, but I can't imagine anything more annoying…

If you want the "full" version, e-mail me. ~Mari.

9/23/06: Sailing in Annapolis

Mari, Maureen & Jami on the Seville, Maureen & Glen's sailboat. What fun we had! Posted by Picasa

Sailing 9/23/06

Shawn at the beginning of our sailing adventure.

Commodore Walker

Mari (w/ Glen in the background) Posted by Picasa

Owen is TWO (5)


Nonni Wanda and Owen

Having some grapes and milk for breakfast -- b'fast of champions!

Birthday offering with "Pa" and Momma Beth Posted by Picasa

Owen is TWO (4)

Oh the party will be fun!

WOW, Momma Beth is H-O-T-T!

Riding on the new tricycle from Dan & Georgia.

Eating the birthday cake that Momma Beth slaved over. YUMMO! Posted by Picasa

Owen is TWO! (3)

Double fisting: Juice and Milk

Heart shaped potato chip -- what are the odds?

Pre-party juice and new Thomas the Tank Engine video

First look around the party room Posted by Picasa

Owen is TWO! (2)

I think I've seen this picture before!

Eating some grapes.

With a present from Aunt Lee Ann -- a pig puppet! (Plus a dog, cat and horse puppet)

The Cat and pig puppets -- plus Momma Beth wearing Auntie M's shoes! Posted by Picasa

Owen is TWO!

Auntie M. Loves Baby O!

See how much fun we have?

Owen and Aunt Lee Ann

Sometimes Auntie M squeezes TOO much! Posted by Picasa

Make Mine Virginia Wine...

Good times with Gunther and his girlfriend Jennie. The four of us went wine tasting in Loudon County... Good times and good wine. Things got a little cranky at the end because of a lack of food throughout the day. It was my first time to go to a tasting. You can see we bought a bottle at this winery. Woo! Now Shawn and I will have to find reasons to drink it! We are so non-lushes...

In other news, I finally had people over for "housewarming" -- and it was fun. Very small crowd, but it was somewhat short notice and I wasn't expecting much. I made crab dip, which went over really well, and Brooke made peach pie.

I am contemplating buying my name as a URL... I am so dumb but I would like to have that. It would be less than $20 a year, so maybe it's worth it... We'll see. It is still available though...

I am going to get back to it -- some laundry, dishes, etc. I need to prep for the workweek, etc. It's only FIVE more sleeps til I squeeze a Bubba Max! YIPPIE!!!!!!

~Mari... Posted by Picasa

riddle me this

HOW does one figure out what type of car insurance one needs? And how might she get all that finished up? Well when she is me, it is a rough question and tough stuff. I am slowly muddling my way thru, and hope to have insurance within the next few days (perhaps tomorrow) that is different from what i have been on (my parents' policy)... being an adult blows.

but i love my job!


No FUN being an adult

I'm sure it's less fun than being a baby, although Owen might disagree.

At issue 1) a dispute with comcast over some creditors they have sent after me regarding arbitrary numbers for which I never received actual comcast bills. I *think* I have it taken care of, and two customer service reps (one from PG and one from Alexandria because I've had service in both areas) called me within a day or two of me e-mailing the complaint letters (and I sent those letters snail mail to the actual creditors on monday). It's possible this is because I sent the letters not only to the comcast e-mail for customer service but ALSO to the PR office, mentioning the fact that I am a trained journalist (not exactly a lie, right?)... Hrm.

2) Apparently I was supposed to get my car licensed, insured, etc. in VA w/in 30 days of moving here, SO I'm giving myself 30 days from today because I just realized this and I can't rewind time. It is going to be a pain in the ass but at least I have Friday afternoons off in August to spend at the DMV, etc. I've been searching the internet for insurance quotes, and they range so much it's hard to know what's what. I don't understand liability, etc. I can't believe I have a master's degree and I'm so INEPT at just functioning in an adult world. GAH!

Today at work was good. I went to a PRSA blogging event and found out about ways to get media exposure in blogs and some ideas for starting a blog at the actual company. We'll see though. Some people seem very against the idea of a blog, and we do have more work than we can possibly do with the staff we have now so we'll see.

I'm really tired and have no new pictures to post. I promised an update about the Danville adventure and hopefully it's coming, probably intermingled with my first visit to the VA DMV. And I keep calling it a state even though it's a commonwealth. I don't live in a county either. It's the city of Alexandria, and it's just not in a county. so weird.

SO tired. ~Mari.


I found this picture as I was browsing my Picasa files and nearly died laughing. It's from our New York trip in March. Sorry for all the picture entries -- they're the kind I love best though! ~Mari... Posted by Picasa

Baby O

THIS is what love looks like. He's a precious little moo hoo and I can't imagine anyone more loveable. I think I am too doting but I cannot help it. I love this child and everything about him. So there it is.

~Mari!... Posted by Picasa

Dispatch from Danville -- July 29, 2006

This is delayed, and I need to write a complete update about it, but here is a brief view in pictures:

The first is a cowgirl I made with the confetti on the table at the anniversary/birthday party, which was a BLAST (as you can see by subsequent pictures).

The picture of Shawn and Dale (his mom) is from earlier in the day when we were sitting in her carport (she and Steve have cats, to which I'm quite allergic, and luckily in the shade with a fan we were OK to sit outside and visit!).

The next is of me and Shawn. Weird that my (blue) eyes were "red" but in the pic with Shawn and his mom and the same pic with Shawn -- their (brown) eyes were NOT "red." Curious. Although I'm sure the daylight had something to do with the Shawn/Dale normal eyes... Or maybe I'm just EVIL!

After that is a pic of Shawn and a couple of his buddies from high school days: Aaron and Josh. Kyle had already left, but there was quite the D&D contingent at this party... Ah, memories. :)

One more post and then I'm off. ~Mari.

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Daddy & Jack

THIS is Indiahoma.

Here is my dad with Grandpa's llama, Jack. He and Shawn have a running joke that he (Daddy) will ride Jack to UMD for Shawn's graduation... Hope that isn't a requirement for Shawn to graduate, otherwise he really WILL be a professional student even more than he is!


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Mari's So-Called Life 5.5

This is just a quick update on a few things. Namely the fact that I posted pictures of my apartment and a cheesy self-made floor plan. :) You'll have to come visit if you want to see for yourself! See entry below for "coded" message about where to find these pictures -- available if you know me.

Fourth of July was fun. We survived a torrential downpour and watched the fireworks in front of the White House. Pretty cool, huh?

I'm busy busy busy at work and life is just rocking along. It's hot here, but my AC has been working OK *knock on wood* and it's ALWAYS cold at work.

Otherwise things are just the same, and I'm filling my time with apartment arranging, searching for a table top (see the plywood in one of the apartment pictures) and counting down to Oklahoma time with Baby O! He turns two on Aug. 30, and I will be in I-town for his party on Sept. 1! WOO HOO.

Best wishes, and let me know what you think about the apartment. :)


Coooookie Monster

These are the cookies I made last week (or the week before?) for people at work. Am going to publish my floorplan and pictures of my apartment on my site -- E-mail me if that doesn't work and/or if you don't know my full name!

~Mari. Posted by Picasa

no reason behind the titles

And it's weird that the notes are anonymous.

Everything is fine. I am still pondering whether to try to transfer all my old entries from the other blog. I apologize for any confusion. I should have it under control eventually.

Apartment is still good. I am going to have pictures available soon, but I will probably keep that link private (off this blog) and just e-mail it to people. I will also print a couple sets to send home to Oklahoma. I just have some finishing touches to do. It's still very much a "college" type atmosphere but it's very nice and "Mari-like" -- and yes, Mari like. :)

Shawn and I got a kitchen table finally! So I still have the frame of the other one (the glass broke after I bought it). My plan is to get a piece of plywood cut, nail it on top and use it as a craft/scrapbook table and extra storage underneath -- not that I need it! I still have a closet that isn't full. :) Good times.

Work is still rolling. I feel good about what I'm doing. I got a little tired this week so haven't been as on top of my game, but I am hoping to regroup and come back guns blazing on Monday. :) I will still work hard tomorrow too!!! Aiyiyiah. I would encourage everyone to look at the job's Web site, particularly the advocacy site. (Would rather not include the name/link so that this doesn't come up in searches for the org -- not sure that it would, but I can at least TRY to keep my tracks from being THAT obvious!)

There's a House Hunter's on that's set in Annapolis! HA.

I have started watching Grey's Anatomy. SOOO good. Dr. McDreamy -- slurp! I don't think I'm ready for LOST but I know other coworkers at this new job ARE into it... I guess I'll just smile and nod as I did with the previous coworkers...

Anyway. Gotta get to bed soon. Will post more pictures and the story of the quilted purse shortly.


Fast Friends

Main Entry: tri·fec·ta
Pronunciation: trI-'fek-t&, 'trI-"
Function: noun
Etymology: tri- + perfecta
1 : a variation of the perfecta in which a bettor wins by selecting the first three finishers of a race in the correct order of finish
2 : TRIPLE 1b : achieved a show-business trifecta: a platinum record, hit TV series, and an Oscar>

Am still working out the kinks in this. Not sure if it's worth it for me to try to transfer all my entries here or if I should just archive them somehow. Would anyone besides me EVER have need to refer to them? I guess if I ever have a biographer. HA! I hope to do that auto-style. Hrm.

Isn't it interesting that bettor is spelled like that when referring to someone placing bets rather than good, better, best? I wonder if/when Microsoft has/will come out with a blogging software. Am getting too used to the automatic spell check on the products at work -- all Microsoft all the time. It's all good though.

Am going to bed. Hope someone is reading... even though I have nothing to say. :)


one more

Before I go -- this has the BEST story behind it, which I intend to type up and keep/post here. But for now here's a picture of the purse Aunt Lee Ann made me from an old quilt that my great-great grandma made when my grandma was living with her as a child (so it is like 70+ years old!)...

Now am really going to sleep. ~Mari...

July 20, 2006:
Gma V's grandmother made this quilt when Gma V lived with her (my Gma V was about 10 when she first moved in with her grandmother). This quilt was given to Aunt Jean (Gma V's sister) and used for year's, until Gma V's house burned along with the quilt that their grandmother had made for her. Aunt Jean sent this quilt for Gma V and Gpa Max to use for a while. It was returned to Jean, and they used it many more years. About 15 years ago, Aunt Jean gave this quilt to my Aunt Lee Ann (Gma V's daughter). It was very worn. Jean told Lee Ann that she could do something with it or throw it away. Lee Ann kept it for that long and then this summer decided to do something. She found two parts that had four stars together and made pillows for two of her cousins (the girls on that side of the family). She used the other stars that were usable and made three purses like this one (one for me, one for Beth and one for our third (?) cousin Kelli). There were a few smaller stars left over and Lee Ann made small pillows for the three remaining sisters: Jackie, Phyllis (Kelli's grandma) and Grandma V.

Here's the last line in Lee Ann's note to me:
"I hope you enjoy this purse. It was made with love for you, and that love started generations ago."

Pretty sweet huh? ~mp.
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