Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Cookies

I've spent a lot of time these past few weeks pondering what cookies to make for the holidays this year. Now some of you (i.e. boys) are probably wondering why the heck I would put so much time into this, but CLEARLY you have never been in charge of your family's holiday baking before.

Choosing the wrong selection of cookies can spell disaster; you must have the perfect mix of chocolate, fruit, sugar, crunch, chewy, oaty, peanut butter, etc. etc. or everything gets thrown off. You need to please everyone at the gathering, and aesthetics are of course a consideration as well. The cookies should differ visually to such an extent that when arranged on a plate you have a pleasing and interesting array of cookie goodness.

Another consideration is preparation time and storage. I'm a busy girl, so I need to plan out my cookie-making schedule accordingly, which means starting early. I've already got several dozen stashed in the freezer and from now until Christmas, each weekend will probably include some cookie making. Speaking of freezing, I also need to make cookies that freeze well, since they will need to keep for a month or more before getting gobbled.

You had no idea it was so complicated, did you?

But I have finally decided on this year's cookies, and am ready to make the big reveal here on the blog. Why should you care? Well, duh. If you see me sometime in the next month, chances are you'll get a chance to enjoy the fruit of my labors by eating the chosen cookies. So strap in, and get ready for....


Classics: peanut blossoms, sugar cookies (iced and decorated cut-outs, of course), and chewy molasses cookies.

Fruit themed: thumbprint cookies (with raspberry and strawberry jelly filling), lemon cornmeal cookies

Exotic: black-bottomed coconut bars, oatmeal and pecan chocolate chip, and black forest cookies (my personal fav...chocolate cookies with chocolate chunks and cherries)

So turn on the Christmas carols, break out the menorah, or do whatever else you need to get into the holiday spirit, and prepare for some yummy cookie time!

Monday, November 16, 2009

What not to do at Karaoke (or the three embarrassing things Maggie did on Friday night)

Ah, karaoke. I admit my love for it does not stem from enjoying hearing other people sing, but it's because for a few short minutes I can live out my dream of being a rock star. With an added bonus that I don't have to worry about remembering the words.

This past Friday I hit my usual karaoke spot in Alexandria, Rock It Grill in Old Town. I go every few months or so, whenever I can scrounge up a group of peeps. Usually things proceed without incident....we hang out, drink, dance, sing some songs, and have a good time. But for some reason, the Fates were conspiring against me on Friday.

My song went well; I went with Heart's Alone, recently spotlighted on Glee and requested by my friend Carly whose birthday we were celebrating a bit early. No problems there, everyone seemed to really enjoy it and I got some nice compliments from the DJ.

But then, humiliation #1. When I tried to join some friends on stage for the next song, I was tapped on the shoulder by the DJ and told to get off the stage. Apparently, you are not permitted to sing so soon after a previous song. So I had to tuck my tail between my legs and slink off.

Then, humiliation #2. During the first dance break, I was doing my thing and in typical Maggie fashion, toppled over. It wouldn't have been so bad except I whacked my face on the speaker right next to me and have had a sore cheek for 3 days. There's a barely noticeable bruise, but I count myself lucky I didn't end up with a full shiner. Also, one of the bouncers saw my glorious descent and ran over to ask if I was ok. Move along, nothing to see here.

And finally, humiliation #3....I walked up on stage by the DJ to ask him if he had a certain song, and was politely but firmly escorted off right away by some more bouncers. Apparently, you have to go around the stage and come at the DJ from behind if you need to ask something. I guess I looked sketchy and they feared I might attack him or something.

So, just to recap, I was kicked off stage twice and managed to bust my face. But, you know what? It was totally worth it. I didn't even mind that I had to majorly Febreeze my coat and dress due to the bar smoke. Again, WORTH IT.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Blacksburg Bound

This past weekend, I braved the trucks on route I-81 and headed to southern Virginia to commune with my fellow geeks, Andi and Jeff.

Andi and Jeff are a married couple who live in Blacksburg, Virginia. Andi and I met back in college when we both studied abroad in Scotland. We bonded over our love for bridge, fantasy novels, Graham Norton, and general awesomeness. She and Jeff got married during grad school and Jeff was added to the geek family. Although we haven't been able to get him on-board with our bridge club, but just give me time...

Anyhoodle, they have only lived in their current place a few months, and since I promised I would come down and visit, I hit the road Friday after work. I always forget how long a drive it is from NoVa to Blacksburg (it took over 5 hours with traffic!), but I actually really like going down there. The mountains, the college town vibe, the simple country folk...although to be fair, Blacksburg is more suburb than hickville, but still.

I spent a lot of fun summers in southwestern Virginia; my great uncle had a cabin outside Warm Springs and Goshen, and we would spend a week down there every year. So heading back to that area of the state always makes me giddy. Like, little girl on vacation giddy.

And Andi and Jeff were happy to oblige me; there were farmer's markets to visit, pies to bake, southern Virginia chain restaurants to visit (Macado's!), bookstores to shop at, and episodes of Battlestar Galactica to watch. While that last one might seem out of place, we had to let our geek flag fly a little, right?

After having such a great time, I think I need to spend some more time down in that area. There's only one problem: I don't look good in orange. So you'll never make a Hokie out of me!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Worst Week Ever

Ever have one of those periods in your life when everything seems to go wrong? That was me this week. Car troubles, work troubles, boy troubles, customer service troubles, you name it, I had it. I did manage to escape with my health (SO FAR) so maybe I shouldn't complain too loudly. But when you almost break down sobbing in a Home Depot, it's a good sign things are not going well.

And you know what? What is the point of a blog if not to bitch about the things that seem to constantly go wrong in your life? So here, I am, bitching about it.


Ok, so now I feel better. Other things that made me feel slightly better: downloading Volume 1 of the Glee soundtrack and getting an "outstanding" rating on a case for my new judge. But those were the few bright spots.

And I'm not going to give you a rundown of all the crap that went down this week, because 1) it's not all that interesting, 2) it would take way too long to type and I am inherently lazy, and 3) I really don't want to relive it. However, this probably means when I come back to my blog and read it in three years, I will have no idea what the hell I was so pissed about. But I'm ok with that.

So, here's to a better week ahead! I'm heading down to Blacksburg to visit Andi Bear and Jeff (and perhaps do some leaf peeping) this afternoon and can't wait to leave this entire week behind me. Sayonara!

Currently listening to: Keep Holding On by the Glee cast