Sunday, October 31, 2010

happy halloween


oh now that's just mean...

good scares can be fun!


remember not to over do it.

hee hee hee

Friday, October 29, 2010

doc martin

Doc Martin is another gem of a British television series, which has left gasping me for air after laughing so hard I about lose control of my bladder. 

Doctor Martin Ellingham is a renowned London surgeon, who moves to Port Wenn in the beautiful Cornish seaside after developing a healthy fear of blood. He has all the warmth and charm of a bowel resection, and his bedside manner is equally intolerable. His social awkwardness is almost his undoing as he arrives in the small, gossipy village of Port Wenn, but once the locals learn of his brilliance as a doctor and the unconventional manner in which he expresses and shows his genuine concern for them, they take him into their hearts and can't imagine the village without him.

The side characters are just as quirky and fun as Doc Martin, and their interactions are comical to watch. The cast is terrific, and I love being able to watch Stephanie Cole who is a brilliant actress. Another bonus is the beautiful Cornish countryside and seaside through which Doc Martin travels as he makes his rounds. Be sure to book your appointment for a visit to Doc Martin's surgery.  You won't be disappointed.

You can watch Seasons 1-4 right on Netflix and for free on

i've loved you for so long

I've Loved You For So Long, in French, is a well done film with an excellent performance by Kristen Scott Thomas as Juliette, who spent 15 years in prision and has moved in with her sister and her family after fulfilling her debt to society.  It's interesting to watch as the entire family, including Juliette herself, struggles to reconcile Juliette's past with her present and to renew their relationships.

A beautiful movie.

The perfect movie for when you're feeling a bit serious
and just want a little intelligent, emotional conversation.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

amazing colleagues

I enjoy my job.  It's very challenging and analytical.  However, I don't always get to be creative or feel like I make a difference in ways that are really personally meaningful.  To change this I have volunteered for the past two years to work with the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), which is the only authorized charity pledge drive for Federal employees in the workplace.  Charities who wish to participate in CFC must under go an audit and then they are listed in a Catalog of Caring.  There are almost 4,000 charities to which Federal employees can donate through CFC. 

Each Federal organization receives a fundraising goal and comes up with fun ways to market CFC and encourage employees to donate towards the goal.  Employees can donate by cash, check, credit card or payroll deduction.  Federal employees around the world do this each year in the fall and donate millions of dollars to charitable organizations around the world and in the U.S.  Cool, huh?

I help run the CFC pledge drive in the Federal organization for which I work.  It's really fun and I get to be creative in coming up with ideas for marketing and raising awareness of our campaign.  Plus, it's meaningful work for me and I'm paid to do it. Yay!

Why am I writing about this on my blog?  Because today was an amazing day.  We hosted an outdoor CFC Car Show and had 13 employees who entered their classic car, or show car or bike.  They competed for a trophy by competing to see which car could raise the most money for CFC.  Basically if you liked the car, then you voted for it with cash.  It's an easy way to raise money.  We hosted representatives from CFC approved charities, who showcased the ways in which CFC has helped their organizations.  We also grilled hotdogs and kabobs, and other employees donated homemade dishes for a lunchtime potluck-BBQ.  Perfect for a warm fall day.

Here's the amazing part: in two hours we raised $1700.00 with voting for Car Show favorites and donations for lunch!  Plus, almost $50,000 was donated this week by our employees through other means of giving.  I work with such an amazing group of people and as always I am amazed and humbled by their compassion and generosity.

Today I really, really love my job!

sorry, i can't post photos of the event without going through legal rigmarole...


what are you going to be for halloween

calvin has a social conscience...


Monday, October 25, 2010

enough sleep?

lately i can't seem to get enough sleep.

i even fall asleep at work. i catch myself nodding off mid-afternoon. it's not good.

i've been waking up at two in the morning for no reason at all. although two nights ago the mouse frantically scrambling in the wall woke me up and was really freaky.

and the dreams... i've been having freaky, weird dreams which is odd because i usually don't remember my dreams. dreams about russian conspiracies, and my sister and i have to sort them out. dreams about getting all the tables and chairs to the beach on time and for what I have no idea. dreams about things i can't remember but the residue hangs over me long after i finally wake up and it's not a pleasant feeling.

i'd like to have nice, happy, non-freaky dreams for once. dreams that leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, instead of cold, scared and alone.

sleep right now is a priority. here's hoping for happy sleep.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

what i did this weekend

Saturday morning called for a walk with my musical friend ML.
Ten miles on the Mount Vernon Trail... my calves are stiff today.
It was gorgeous and fall was just beginning to show its colors.

I met Charlie Brown and Riley. Can you guess who is who?

Gorgeous light and colors in nature

Fire on the water... the Potomac really is quite gorgeous at times.

Big, big sigh of deepest contentment

Cute little house with smiling pumpkin on the porch.

Another big sigh of contentment

Egrets walking through a field of water lilies

Gorgeous day for sailing

A full moon over the mall.
Walked the monuments with good friends after dinner at Banana Cafe. Yum!

A panoramic view of the WWII Monument at night.  So beautiful.

p.s. i bought a new point and shoot camera a few weeks ago and i just have to say that
i love it!

it's slim, fits easily in my pocket, the battery lasts quite a while before recharging
and it takes some of the greatest photos i've seen from a point and shoot (14.1 meagpixels).
the low light and nighttime shots are the best and need very little editing.

all in all a very good weekend.

Friday, October 22, 2010

all's well that...

Oft expectation fails, and most oft there Where most it promises. ~All 's Well that Ends Well, 2. 1

tonight, just as i was getting ready to sit down and eat, my phone rang. it was a.a. calling to tell me she had a free ticket for to see shakespeare's all's well that ends well at the lansburgh theatre. in under an hour i had eaten my dinner, changed back into my clothes, hopped in my car, drove to the theatre and parked, and was seated watching the show.  i must say it was a brilliant way to spend my evening. i laughed and enjoyed witty repartee as only the bard himself can do it.

i love dc!

i got to see marsha mason, who is brilliantly funny and quite good at Shakespeare too!

cat ballou

This movie just makes me laugh and sing along. Cat Ballou is a priceless little gem of a comedy.  It's full of great performances: a young Jane Fonda plays schoolmarm turned outlaw Cat Ballou; Lee Marvin's Oscar winning turn as Kid Shelleen a drunken gun fighter is priceless; and Nat King Cole's final performance with Stubby Kaye as a pair of narrating minstrels is a musical delight.

If you need a good laugh and want to watch some great talent then this is the movie to watch.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

stuff i read this week

"When a young lady is to be a heroine,
the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot
prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw
a hero in her way."

wrote Jane Austen

image via

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


p.s. after yesterday's little rant and the counting of blessings i'm feeling very much better. i just had to remember...

My point is to urge you to find ways to recognize and remember God’s kindness. It will build our testimonies. You may not keep a journal. You may not share whatever record you keep with those you love and serve. But you and they will be blessed as you remember what the Lord has done. You remember that song we sometimes sing: “Count your many blessings; name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord has done."

It won’t be easy to remember. Living as we do with a veil over our eyes, we cannot remember what it was like to be with our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ, in the premortal world; nor can we see with our physical eyes or with reason alone the hand of God in our lives. Seeing such things takes the Holy Ghost. And it is not easy to be worthy of the Holy Ghost’s companionship in a wicked world.

There is a simple cure for the terrible malady of forgetting God, His blessings, and His messages to us. Jesus Christ promised it to His disciples when He was about to be crucified, resurrected, and then taken away from them to ascend in glory to His Father. They were concerned to know how they would be able to endure when He was no longer with them.

Here is the promise. It was fulfilled for them then. It can be fulfilled for all of us now:  “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

The key to the remembering that brings and maintains testimony is receiving the Holy Ghost as a companion. It is the Holy Ghost who helps us see what God has done for us. It is the Holy Ghost who can help those we serve to see what God has done for them.

Heavenly Father has given a simple pattern for us to receive the Holy Ghost not once but continually in the tumult of our daily lives. The pattern is repeated in the sacramental prayer: We promise that we will always remember the Savior. We promise to take His name upon us. We promise to keep His commandments. And we are promised that if we do that, we will have His Spirit to be with us.6 Those promises work together in a wonderful way to strengthen our testimonies and in time, through the Atonement, to change our natures as we keep our part of the promise.

It is the Holy Ghost who testifies that Jesus Christ is the Beloved Son of a Heavenly Father who loves us and wants us to have eternal life with Him in families. With even the beginning of that testimony, we feel a desire to serve Him and to keep His commandments. When we persist in doing that, we receive the gifts of the Holy Ghost to give us power in our service. We come to see the hand of God more clearly, so clearly that in time we not only remember Him, but we come to love Him and, through the power of the Atonement, become more like Him. -Henry B. Eyring, “O Remember, Remember,” Liahona, Nov 2007

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

going through a phase

I think I'm going through a phase.  Bear with me, because I'm going to whine a bit today.

It might have something to do with this month-long cold I have right now.  I feel pretty miserable and am so very tired all of the time this week.  This malaise is transfering over to other elements of my life right now.

  1. I'm tired of feeling sick.
  2. I'm tired of going to work.
  3. I'm tired of my car not working properly.
  4. I'm tired of paying the bills.
  5. I'm tired of spending one weekend a month working.
  6. I'm tired of cooking for one.
  7. In short, I'm tired.
Here's my antidote to this lingering period of complaining and wingeing.

  1. I am thankful for my lovely, cozy apartment and the furnishings and decorations.
  2. I am thankful for sleep in my own, very comfy, bed.
  3. I am thankful for coming home from work and changing into comfy clothes
  4. I am thankful for cooler weather and sweaters and thick socks and boots.
  5. I am thankful for a working washer and dryer right in my own home.
  6. I am thankful for hot herbal  tea in the giant mugs my brother made for me. Twinings of London makes a chamomile-spearmint tea that is divine.
  7. I am thankful for visits with family.
  8. I am thankful for being able to pay my bills and get my car repaired.
  9. I am thankful for good friends who listen and help, and pray for  me.
  10. I am thankful for good books and time to relax.
  11. I am thankful for my jobs and the good people with whom I work.
  12. I am thankful for hymns and being able to sing them.
In spite of all my complaints, I do have much for which I'm thankful.  I really need to stop this whining.


there sure are a lot of christines who have awesome portraits and statues.

Friday, October 15, 2010

bella martha

Bella Martha, in German with English sub-titles, is a movie about letting go of the expectations for the perfect life, only to find that the life already in front of you is perfect even when it's so completely different than what you had so carefully planned.  Seems to be a theme I can totally appreciate in my life over the past few years.

Here's a glimpse of one of the funnier scenes from the movie.

I love the acting, the chemistry and the food which is its own character in this movie.  I do have to say that I'm in love with Mario who threatens Martha's well ordered world.  Even in German with English subtitles the tension between these two is is n-i-i-i-ce, especially in this scene.

A great movie for a quiet evening in for two.
Be sure to order yummy take-out from a favorite restaurant followed by a chocolate dessert.
(maybe keep a blindfold handy for later)
 Hollywood, of course, had to do their own version No Reservations, which I also like.  Catherine Zeta-Jones is always fun to watch and Abigail Breslin is one of the best young actors in the business and she definitely shows her talent in this movie.

north and south

Did I mention that I love BBC period dramas?

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell is a beautifully written novel showing the hardships life in industrial England and the BBC did it justice in 2004 when they produced a four part series based on the novel.  I loved the novel and absolutely loved this adaptation.  It stays true to the spirit of the novel and does a beautiful job of showing life within the divided classes of northern England.  I do have to say that Richard Armitage as the brooding hero is quite enjoyable to watch.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

red rock

there's something soothing and amazing about the colors of southern utah

greenish-gray sage brush, red rock and crystal blue sky

black lava rock dots the landscape

snow canyon in the background stands out in white relief
agains the bright reddish-orange rock formations

reddish-orange rock as far as the eye can see

what a way to spend a sunday afternoon!

see more photos here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


 zion takes work. look where we came from

there are great views along the way

you have to hold on tight to the chain and walk along precarious paths at times

when you look up there is beauty

family helps you get there

sometimes the path is a bit daunting

the top is awesome!

happiness is holding tight to your parents' hands on the way down the mountain

if you want to see more photos click here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


i love courtyards in italy.

roma - dreamy

firenze - gritty

venezia - antique

bologna - studious

milano - beautiful

i think i want a courtyard of my own some day...

Friday, October 8, 2010

headed west

i love the west--wide open spaces, tall mountains, crystal clear night sky and family!

i'm spending the weekend in southern utah
with my my brother, jonboy, his wife and !!my nephew!!

so excited to be in utah and near mountains.

thanks columbus for inspiring yet another federal holiday to enable a long weekend.

image from here

lark rise to candleford

I am addicted to period dramas and mini series by BBC!

Lark Rise to Candleford is my new favorite series. It's based on a trio of semi-biographical novels by Flora Thompson first published in 1945. I've been watching episodes for several months now and escaping delightfully into mid 19th century English countryside of Oxfordshire. The characters are fun and fully formed, and the stories are interesting and compelling. The series all starts when young Laura leaves her family and moves from the small farm village of Lark Rise to the bustling town of Candleford only eight miles away. She begins work with her cousin in the post office where she begins to grow up and become a young woman. It's BBC at its finest.

There are several episodes available on YouTube for viewing pleasure.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

a thought

Violence is not strength, and compassion is not weakness.
- King Arthur in Camelot

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

literary serendipity

i went to the dc public library this evening.
the northeast branch is open until 9pm a couple of days a week
which is awesome.

one of the things i love about the library here,
is that i can place online holds for books i want to read.
i usually request five to ten books at a time
and get email notifications when one is ready for me to pickup.
and they never show up all at the same time.

literary serendipity
in that all - yes all -
of the books i placed on hold with
the dc public library last week
showed up all at the same time.
when does this ever happen?

seems the goddess of the library
knows that i suddenly
have lots of free time
to sit.
listen to music.
drink herb tea.
read some more.

here's my reading list for the next three weeks:

Cold Sassy Tree
(they made an opera out of this one)
Cutting for Stone
(recommended by a friend)
Twenties Girl
(recommended by another friend)
My Latest Grievance
(this month's pick for book group)
An Amish Gathering
(i don't remember why this interested me)
Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
(july's book group pick, which i was too busy to read)
Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict
(i am a jane austen addict)
The Illustrated Lark Rise to Candleford
(i love the bbc series)

i gots lots and lots of reading to do. yay!
watch here for my upcoming reviews.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


This is beautiful.

Monday, October 4, 2010

chicken fajitas

I've been on a chicken fajita kick lately.  My mouth waters at the mere thought of chicken fajitas... (copious amounts drool are now dripping onto the keyboard).  Here's the very simple way I make my fajitas.

Yummy Chicken-Spinach Fajitas
I'll let you figure out the quantities you need, because I cook this for one - me.

In a skillet prepare:
olive oil,
chicken chopped into one inch cubes,
chopped onion,
red or yellow pepper, and
a fajita season mix packet.
Cook according to directions on season packet.

Here's the coup d'etat!
Once the fajita chicken stuff is ready,
put it into a bowl and cover to keep warm.
Now put some big handfuls of fresh spinach into the skillet
(use more than you think you need because it cooks down a lot),
sprinkle just a little water on it to speed up the cooking.
Basically, the point is to have the spinach soak up the rest of
fajita chicken bits in the skillet and grab up all the rest of the flavor.

Have at the ready:
eight inch flour tortillas warmed
grated cheese (choose your favorite)
avocado slices or guacamole
mango salsa (mmmm.... this is a requirement)
sour cream (if you want)
other veggies as desired

Now build your fajitas as you like and enjoy!
The fried spinach is so yummy on these and it makes me happy.

Sorry, no photos of this one, but trust me these are good!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

loved this one

Thanks for telling us what trees have to do with flying airplanes,
and for the counsel to focus on the basics.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

come listen to a prophet's voice...

...and hear the word of god.

today is one of four days a year
that are my favorite days.
it's time again for the fall session of lds general conference.

modern day prophets & apostles speak to the world
telling us what god wants all of us to hear and know right now.

the mormon tabernacle choir sings for us as well.


photo from here