Monday, June 29, 2009

Ready to run

This past Saturday was....busy. That might be a bit of an understatement, but so many fun, crazy, funny things happened that it was too good not to share.

First on the docket Saturday morning was a yard sale at Mom's. This was actually the third yard sale she's had this summer; once she gets the bug to clean out our storage room there's very little that can stop her. The most recent sale was by far the most successful; we got rid of the most stuff and made the most money, but it was also the most eventful.

To start things off I was running on only about 4 hours of sleep (I just couldn't say no the night before to tapas and sangria). And since my brother is way off in Michigan, when it comes to carrying things, I'm the muscle. So it was up to me to cart boxes and assorted household items out to the lawn. Which by itself isn't bad...but when Mom decides to leave her vintage snow sled (with the iron rails) in the middle of the driveway and I'm carrying boxes that don't allow me to see in front of's a bad combination. And I have the bruises to prove it.

But me falling all over myself is nothing new! What is new is some random dude deciding that it's a good idea to bring his dog over to all our stuff as he pokes around and then allowing said dog to urinate all over a holiday wreath. Oh, and I busted him for it. So random dude is now the proud owner of a holiday wreath with a side of dog pee. And you better believe he paid full price for that wreath, too.

All in all, the yard sale was pretty much a success; all the large items sold, but I am still continually shocked by the cheapness of people. Seriously. If you have something actually valuable to sell, Craigslist is the way to go these days. Yard sales are where you should dispose of your crap, and people are not willing to spend over $5 for stuff.

After the yard sale, it was time for a quick costume change, because my friend Kim (whom I have been friends with for over 20 years) was having her bridal shower! Yes, she's finally making an honest man of her boyfriend Mike, and we gathered at her mom's home (just down the street from my mom) for a good old fashioned bridal shower. Finger sandwiches, cream puffs, more sangria, it was all there. But so were a really fun bunch of ladies and some kickass presents.

I was a little nervous going in since there were going to be a lot of people I had never met before, but in the end, I met some really cool ladies and can't wait for the wedding in August when I can see them all again. It's all the more nice that we got along since I'm going to the wedding stag and am going to need some fun people to hang with at the reception. I was a little worried I would be sitting there at the wedding drinking one of several glasses of wine, all by myself, looking sad as some sappy song played from the DJ stand, but now I'm really looking forward to the big event!

But there's still more! After the bridal shower, I headed out to Tysons to meet up with some friends to celebrate Rosalynn's big 3-0! A group of us met up for dinner at Gordon Biersch in the mall and had a great time stuffing ourselves with garlic french fries (OMG SO GOOD) and cake from this amazing German bakery in Arlington. It came complete with a picture of Ros as a one year old (awwww) and more delicious cream than it seemed possible for one cake to hold.

And you know what never gets old? Trick candles. There's just something so fun about torturing someone on their really brings out my mean streak.

The birthday crew: Me, Rosalynn, Rachel, Kelly, and Tito

Up next weekend: pool party, cook-out, catching up on Harry Potter with the Rileys, and absolutely no fireworks.

See what I mean about the cake and the cream and the deliciousness?

Monday, June 22, 2009

As I get older...

... it is becoming more obvious that one of my eyes is larger than the other. is getting harder to convince myself that my left hip stiffness is from sitting too long and is not arthritis.

....I realize that my missing the brain to mouth filter is no longer cute. It's just sad.

....I treasure my weekend nights when I can stay home and do nothing. becomes harder to watch all your friends get happily married.

....I love how I can get shit done and have left the spazz Maggie back in high school.

....I have come to the conclusion that being an adult is actually pretty freakin awesome.

....I have really come to appreciate all the many joys of owning a home I love and living alone. is clear that choosing to live near my family was the right decision.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Thunderstorms for the next 10 days?? Are you kidding me with this? How am I supposed to go swimming every day after work and on the weekend? And how long can I keep this asking questions thing up?

Oh, apparently that long.

I guess this gives me time to begin my stairmaster training. Yes, that's right...I need to work on the stairmaster. At the end of September Chris and Selvi and I are headed up to New York City and we decided to climb to the top of the Statute of Liberty's crown now that they have reopened it post-911.

354 steps people. The training starts now. Or tomorrow. Whichever.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

One Mystery Solved

In case there was any doubt as to where my smart mouth came from, I figured I would dispel the myths.

It's from my Grandmother.

Long suspected, but now finally proven, turns out my Grandmother is quite the smart ass. Today is her 89th birthday (!!!) and she regaled us all at dinner with tales of her sassing religious people who come to her door: Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, nobody is immune from her sarcasm.

Basically all the conversations start out with her informing religious solicitors (even before they can start their spiel) that she been a practicing and believing Catholic for X number of years so don't even try it. And when they respond, "will you talk to me?" she says "sure," and then basically serves them a big can of midwestern sass.


First, I hope that I manage to live as long and be as healthy as her, and two, I hope that I can be a spit-fire like her. Not only is she my namesake, but she's also now my official smart-alek guru.

She may look all sweet and innocent, but see what happens if you try to call her Peggy. And you don't want to know what she says to telemarketers.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Time for more Las Vegas pictures! It didn't seem like we were that busy running around when we were there, but looking at all these pictures, it sure does seem like we managed to cram a lot into the 5 days.

So, onward! The same day we went hiking at Red Rock Canyon, that afternoon we drove out to the Hoover Dam. Yes, THAT Hoover Dam. Unfortunately, it was not named after J. Edgar Hoover, because it means I miss out on the opportunity to make a joke about the movie Clue (he's on everyone else's phone, why not mine blah blah blah).

Hoover Dam, originally known as Boulder Dam, is a concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between Arizona and Nevada. When completed in 1936, it was both the world's largest electric-power generating station and the world's largest concrete structure. It was surpassed in both these respects by the Grand Coulee Dam in 1945. It is currently the world's 35th-largest hydroelectric generating station.

They're building another highway to help ease traffic heading down to the Dam (right now through traffic has to sit and wait through the security inspector guys) and as part of the project, they are building a huge suspension bridge. It's pretty badass looking.

This is Lake Meade. It's a lake that backs up to Hoover Dam. The dark tips on the top of the little islands sticking out show you where the water level USED to be. Las Vegas is really sucking down the H2O.

Me and Kent at Lake Meade.

Group shot!

Watch out for the sheep! Although the picture is clearly a ram, do those count as sheep?

So another fun activity was wandering around downtown Vegas with Chris and Carly. We had to go pick up our respective show tickets at the casinos a few days before they were scheduled, and decided to walk around hitting the New York New York roller coaster (awesome) and M&M World (also awesome). I couldn't get any pics of the coaster, but here's your M&M fix.

If you look past the guy who looks kind of like Vin Diesel, you'll see all the colored tubes on the wall. Each one is an unusual color of M&M in all different varieties. Regular, peanut, almond, crispy, peanut butter, dark chocolate, etc. etc. Heaven.

On Sunday night, Carly and I head to The Mirage to see the #1 thing I was looking forward to in Vegas. Cirque du Soleil's LOVE, a tribute to the music to The Beatles. All I will say is that it was amazing and awesome, and I will go see it again as soon as I get another chance. That same night, Chris and Stephanie were off to see another show, a sort of alternative version to the Cirque du Soleil show "O."

Here's a picture of us girls heading out for a night on the town:

Inside The Mirage is a Beatles themed bar called the Revolution Lounge.

It's decked out in 1960s British pop poshness. Thing red and white, sleek lines, and vaguely futuristic looking furniture.

Here's me and Carly after the show; I'm trying to look cool and she is just looking happy.

One more Vegas post left! Coming up: hanging out with Patrick and Rosa!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Lounging and then Hiking in Red Rock Canyon

The first day in Las Vegas was spent lounging by the pool as I attempted to recover from my jet-lag.

The pool at Tahiti Village was pretty sweet. It was large with various little coves; one with a volleyball net, one with a basketball net, and one with a beach! Actual sand that led right into the pool so it was like a mini-beach. Very cute.

Here was my view from the deckchair.

Not bad, eh?

And here's part of the pool.

Carly performing a cannon ball. Isn't she graceful?

And let's not forget the lazy river. Or the small part of it I was able to photograph. Seriously, lazy rivers are one of the best things EVER.

That afternoon we drove out to the Hoover Dam and visited a ghetto casino where I learned how to play craps AND won $200, but more on that later.

Saturday morning (Vegas Day #2) we all stumbled out of bed bright and early to go hiking in Red Rock Canyon. It was already 85 degrees by 7 in the morning, so getting an early start was imperative.

Background on Red Rock (from wiki): The conservation area is one of the easternmost parts of the Mojave Desert; the character of the sandstone layers is such that a number of year-round springs may be found in the recesses of the side canyons.

The Red Rock Area has a complex geological history, which over millions of years, helped to create the dramatic landscape that characterizes the region.

The Red Rock area was located under a deep ocean basin during the Paleozoic Era 600 million years ago. Sediments up to 9,000 feet thick were deposited, and eventually lithified. This sediment eventually formed into limestone.

Around the Mesozoic Era 250 million years ago, the earth's crust started to rise due to tectonic shifts, forcing the water out and leaving behind evaporite formations. Exposure of the former sea bed allowed some of the rocks to oxidize (literally rust) and formed the area's characteristic red and orange rock layers.

Eventually a lush plain with streams and trees developed in the area. Some of these trees were covered with mud from the streams and eventually became petrified wood. Many of these fossilized logs can still be found today at the base of the Wilson Cliffs.

By 180 million years ago, the climate continued to change and the area became a desert featuring vast expanses of huge shifting sand dunes. These dunes would pile up and were lithified, and are now called Aztec Sandstone. During a mountain building period called the Laramide orogen around 65 million years ago, the Keystone Thrust Fault developed which ran through most of North America and through the Red Rock Conservation Area. The movement of this fault forced the older grey sedimentary rock over the younger red rocks, forming the striking red line that can be seen in the mountain today.

Long story short (too late), the place is huge with these awesome red rocks where you can easily see all the eras of geological change reflected in the layers of differing colors in the rocks.

Now, when we came up with this great plan to go hiking, I made it pretty clear that I was not an experienced hiker. Easy to moderate difficulty was what we all decided on. And yeah, we started on the trail. And then the group's collective ADD kicked in, and all of a sudden everyone was wandering off the path and we ended up picking and climbing our way over large rock formations.

It was a little scary, since a fall would have been pretty disastrous, but I was able to do all of it and I was pretty darn proud of myself by the end. Everyone knew my propensity to fall over, so there was definitely a lot of "put your feet where mine are" and "you're doing great, Maggie!" but it just goes to show they cared.

The only real area of difficulty was the very end when we had to clamber up a very very steep incline to get back to the road. I'm not very good at extreme angles, so I was not only huffing and puffing by the end, but I could feel my throat closing and I was doing the gasping and wheezing dance. But after sitting down for a few minutes, I recovered. And at the end of the day, it was a great time, and I definitely hope to get out there again and try another trail!


After our hike and the scenic drive through the conservation area, we headed over to the gift shop. Because you always have to stop at the gift shop, right? I was aware of how dangerous and well, foreign, the desert was, but in the gift shop we began to hear all about the scorpions, snakes, tarantulas, and other venomous creatures that inhabit the area. It really inspires me to stay on the trail, you know? And not go wandering into the desert. Because, DAMN. Like the ocean, it is not our territory and you need to have a healthy respect for that environment.

Red Rock's Website.