Saturday, October 31, 2009

Backsplash in da house!

You might remember the great backsplash debate of 2009. Basically, I was having trouble deciding what kind of backsplash I wanted for the new kitchen. I went back and forth between types of tiles, but finally decided on a glass mosaic that I hoped would help tie in the now kind of random green floor tile.

Well, yesterday was the big day and the tiles went up! My handyman came over along with a helper in the morning and spent the day cutting and mounting sheet after sheet of mosaics. Meanwhile I spent the day holed up in my bedroom reading Angel comics. What? I was management!

Anyhoodle, I think the tiles look fabulous and I hope you all agree. Final step in the kitchen makeover: picking a paint color and slapping it on the walls!

The grout goes in on Monday, and more pictures will follow!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Trail of Terror

It was a dark and stormy night.

Seriously. It really was.

So, it was a dark and stormy night last Friday when Carly, Tito, and I decided to brave the Trail of Terror at Signal Park in Manassas. Now, Manassas is scary on its own, but when you factor in darkened woods and things that go bump in the night, you end up with a pretty scary experience.

My friend Rachel was working behind the scenes at this Trail of Terror thing, and Carly was scheduled to actually appear as a victim of a cannibal in the production on Saturday night, so we decided to give it a go. It's your standard local haunted trail; we piled onto bales of hay stacked on wagons being pulled by tractors (yes, tractors) and were driven through an area of Signal Park where various volunteers in various costumes did their best to scare the pants off us.

While not the OMG SCARIEST EVER, the overall effect was pretty creepy. But I'm not a hard sell, if you have things jumping out at me from the dark, chances are you'll get a shriek or two out of me. And no, that's not a euphemism.

There were giant spiders, grave diggers, zombies (creepy), cloaked mysterious figures (creepier), and a group of cannibals chopping apart a body while screaming, "I want more!" (creepiest). They grabbed a poor tween off our wagon and proceeded to ravage her as she wailed loudly. The girl was obviously in on it, but still. That shit was whack. I was a little pissed when the cannibal grabbed my purse and almost made off with it (I don't care if you are a cannibal or not, you try to steal my purse and I will eff you up) but I decided to let it go. Spirit of the season and all!

The Manassas Trail of Terror is fast becoming a Halloween tradition, as this was my second go-round. And I gotta say, it's one of those fun, kinda scary, kinda cheesy little things that make Halloween so fun. Maybe next year I can find the time for the Trail of Terror and a corn maze and make it a double feature. But til then, only four more days until Halloween and guilt-free candy gorging!

Thank god there were no scary clowns. Because Homey don't play that.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Baking is POWER

I had a shitty week. I made some really dumb mistakes at work I looked like a fool. It was also so rainy and dreary and freaking cold that it it did not improve my mood. And finally, it was the first week where my new judge was in the office and the two times I went to her for questions, she was kind of hostile and basically made me feel like a fool for asking.

So, yeah, shitty week.

When I got home Tuesday, I was suddenly struck with an overwhelming urge to bake. At first I thought it was maybe just the weather; the cooling down and dreary atmosphere naturally have me in the mind of the holidays which naturally leads to thoughts of baked goods.

But then more I thought about it, I came to the conclusion that cooking and baking was more of a way to assert some the control I felt like I had been missing. With things going poorly at work, I needed some way to be in charge, and working in the kitchen was the solution!

You see, when I'm cooking and baking, I put everything together, and as long as I follow the recipe things work out alright. It's just me and the measuring cups. That's not to say that things can't go horribly wrong, but for the most part it's like painting by numbers, you know? I make it, and it comes out good.

So by my ingredients combined, we have Captain Cookies! Or Captain Muffins! Or Captain Lemon Herb Chicken! And it's Maggie in charge once more. Until next week when hopefully I get my act together somewhere outside the kitchen.

Anybody for some garlic herb-stuffed pork loin?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Say it, don't spray it.

I love my Gilad workout DVD. He's this great German guy who runs a gym out in Hawaii and apparently used to have a morning workout television show. Anyway, he's nice and says encouraging things like, "let me see those thighs flying in the air!" and "this is how we get you lean, and mean, but in a good way!"

But, here's my question. Is it normal to drool all over yourself while doing the aerobics portion of the workout? Because it happened to me and I'm not so sure that it is.

Maybe I should try panting with my mouth shut some time. That might help to decrease the waterworks.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Well, that was easy.

I was all ready to post on the blog about how I couldn't decide what kind of backsplash to get for my kitchen. I've been going back and forth on what I wanted: do I go with the glass mosaic that's shiny and pretty, or the greenish marble tiles (square or rectangle?), or the combination glass and natural stone mosaic?

I've had them all laid out in the kitchen, looking at them from all angles and waffling. Which is kind of a new experience for me; if I'm anything it's decisive. So being stuck in this backsplash limbo for the past weeks has been exasperating.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to the blog post. I held up one of the options, the glass mosaic sparkly one, and it was just so clear. THAT was the one I wanted. It wasn't like I had a big epiphany; there was no giant light bulb hanging above my head, no flash of divine inspiration. Just a sense of, "of course this is the one I want. What was taking me so long?"

It also happens to be the cheapest tile and the one that will be easiest for my handyman to install. So bonus points to me for picking the pretties and most sensible option. I'm hoping to get it installed by the end of the month.

Then all I need to do is pick a paint color! And I have no idea what I want. Crap.

Anyway, here are some pics:

See? Shiny! So try to imagine it all over the wall...that's kind of the part I have trouble with.

Friday, October 02, 2009

U2 and Muse

How do you describe seeing one of the best rock bands of all time perform live in concert?

Amazing, awesome, fantastic, awe-inducing, etc. etc. etc.

Nah, those don't cover it.

This past Tuesday at Fedex Field, Dorilyn, Jennifer, Carly and I saw U2 perform as part of their 360 tour. I've been to a lot of concerts in my time, but I've never really seen a rock legend. And yes, you can tell the difference.

These guys have been doing this a long time. But they're performance doesn't feel stale, it just feels effortless. When Bono is doing his thing, you understand why he's a rock star. He just has IT. And the Edge can wail away on the guitar all night, but it still sounds clear and new.

U2 is definitely a political band, so Bono at times would go off on his little rants. I'm a hardcore liberal so I agree with most of the things he said. But I was there to hear him sing, so even I found myself rolling my eyes at times. But then I would feel guilty about it because Bono was bringing up some excellent points. But then I would just want him to sing. It was this whole vicious circle kind of thing. I suppose it's all part of the show though, and part of U2's charm.

In case you are curious, here's the setlist. A great mix of stuff from their current album (which is really good) and the classic songs. The only thing that surprised me was that Pride wasn't played...being in DC I was pretty surprised.

Breathe, Magnificent, Get On Your Boots, Mysterious Ways, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For / Stand By Me (snippet), Elevation, Your Blue Room, Beautiful Day / Blackbird (snippet), New Year's Day, Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of, The Unforgettable Fire, Mofo (snippet) / , City Of Blinding Lights, Vertigo, Let's Dance (snippet) / , I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight / Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough (snippet), Sunday Bloody Sunday, MLK, Walk On
encores: One / Amazing Grace (snippet), Where The Streets Have No Name, Ultra Violet (Light My Way), With Or Without You, Moment of Surrender
comment: No Line On The Horizon misses a 360° Tour show for the first time.

A special shout-out to Muse, one of my new favorite bands, they rocked the shit out of that place. They're sound was much harder in person than on their albums, but Carly and I were loving it. And hurray for sparkly guitars!

I wasn't that enamoured with FedEx Field; it's about a mile hike to and from the metro station and it took us almost 2 hours to get home what with the waiting for trains and riding from one end of the line to the other. So, it would take a big group to get my ass out there to Maryland. But U2 was TOTALLY WORTH IT.

This was U2's set. Most people call it "The Claw." The Washington Post called it "The Colossal Robotic Crustacean That's About to Stomp Off Into Prince George's County and Destroy Everything in Its Path." That about sums it up. It's apparently the largest set in rock history.

The Claw all lit up.

Bono in close-up.

Check out the number of people there. It was the largest concert I've ever been to, but it was so cool to be surrounded by so many people who were into the music. It was really like this gigantic shared experience. Especially when everyone would sing along to songs.

I feel like I haven't done an adequate job describing the concert. Sometimes my lack of a true gift for writing is very frustrating. It's like the words are there, I just can't....quite....grasp ahold of them. Anyway, I guess the concert was one of those "you had to be there" moments. It's definitely something I will be remembering for a looong time and will probably tell my children about; "Mom went to see U2, you guys!" And if I have done a good job with their musical education they will understand how I had my own little place in rock history.

Best numbers:

1. Where the Streets Have No Name

2. Mysterious Ways (my favorite U2 song of all time!)

3. Vertigo

4. Beautiful Day

5. I Know I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight (which was remixed in this awesome techno meets disco number complete with bongos!)