Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sol Wins.

He took this picture of Belle and I before we left for DC last night. We loaded everyone - Copper, Belle, Finley, Rach, Sol and me - into the Pilot and went to Hilloween on Capital Hill at Eastern Market. I love this part of town and always take visitors. I was pretty jealous of the neighborhood folks with their toddlers visiting with people they knew on the brick street outside the maket. I really think I could raise city kids. Maybe I will.

I love this fall picture. This is just how Sol took it too. Straight out of the camera, no photoshopping. Beautiful? We have a lot of leaves in our front yard. And on my car. They are piling up around the front door and get tracked into the house constantly. It's sort of a disaster. But a beautiful fall disaster.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other.

Dear Best Friends,

I am tall. I love my super height because I can reach things that other people can't even see. About once a day one of my 8th graders asks me how tall I am. Six feet tall. OR 5 ft. 12 inches if I want to keep them on their toes. Literally and figuratively.

I know that sometimes I look taller in pictures. But that's okay; I'm used to sticking out on the end or being the top of a pyramid in the middle. But if I squat a little on the end, it does not make sense for you to do the sorority squat too. It just makes everything worse. (See above).

Photos where we are both sitting are always okay, like this one at Bahama Bob's. Or if we are standing we should use stairs or all just suck it up and stand up tall because we are pretty. At however many inches God gave us. NO MORE sorority squat. Promise?

Goodbye Orange Beach, Alabama. Thanks for hosting me and five of my besties.

Your BFF Victoria

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Looking for Brian or Conversations Excerpts.

Tara: Hey. Do you want to go on a dolphin boat ride?
Me: Yes. Duh. How much?
Tara: $12 a person, and we can bring our own drinks.
Me: Done.

Erica: That is a BIG bird.
Tara: Go stand next to it, Kate.
Kate: Okay.
*Author's note: Kate didn't get attacked. After she chased the heron to the end of the pier, he flew away. Poor bird.

Erica: How do you feel about the boat ride Abbey?
Abbey: I LOVE BOATS. I go on a boat ride in every city I go to! I love boat rides. When I was in Prague, I went on two boat rides. We went on a boat ride for my birthday too in DC...
Me (interrupting): I know. So do the readers of my blog.

Me: Kate, why do you have so much KU gear?
Kate: Because I went to law school there. Don't you have George Mason clothing?
Me: Yeah, one sweatshirt. My grandma thinks it looks raggedy. What are you wearing for the big Sunflower Showdown in two weeks?
Kate: I always wear the visiting team.
Me: Traitor.

Flipper: Dumb tourists. All I have to do is jump like three feet out of the wake, and they all cheer.

Flipper: Why do those sorority girls keep talking about Brian the whale? Didn't they notice they that they were on a dolphin tour?
Me: Shut up, dolphin. We're allowed a few inside jokes.

Me: I hope that the deckhand takes a good group picture.
Erica: I'm freezing. And I need to use the restroom.
Kate: I think my beer is getting empty.
Tara: I'm a good trip planner. Dolphins guaranteed!
Nanette: Good thing I repacked the cooler with more drinks.
Abbey: I'm on a BOAT!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How Girls' Weekends Are Different.

Our guy friends have been on a lot of trips/guys' weekends. Dereck, Jon and Kenneth love to recount their adventures in NYC, South Beach, Jamaica, and LA over the past couple years. They usually have a game or special event that they are going to attend, and then they spend a lot of a time out on the town.

Our girls' weekend was really different and in really good ways. After staying up late visiting and catching up on each others lives, we slept in until nine or ten. Girls that woke up first read in bed or on the balcony because we are all avid readers. We had plenty of breakfast food, and Saturday and Sunday we put together great morning meals. Kate is a pro at bacon, and we ate enough bacon that the condo smelled like sweet grease the whole time we were there no matter what we did to air it out.

Sunday morning, Erica suggested cooking the eggs a little different. I got resourceful with juice glasses, english muffins and more bacon. I sliced up the fruit real small, Erica style, and we tossed it in bowls with yogurt. Homemade egg sandwiches with shredded cheese on top. This is what we ended up with for breakfast...

Of course I ate mine with Diet Coke. It goes very well with vacations and breakfast.

No one was in a hurry to get up from breakfast. With a great view of the ocean and good storytellers, there was no need to hurry anywhere. Here we are laughing. We did a lot of laughing. My friends are funn-y. I don't think that boys laugh this much on their weekend trips. OR eat this well. Not without Erica and I along anyways.

And then we took long walks on the beach. It's not just a cheesy pickup line - it is really good for the soul. We laughed some more, told more stories, and enjoyed the view. We had almost the whole beach to ourselves. I do not think guy trips involve hour long strolls on the beach. Or pictures taken with the timer.

I would not trade one single minute of this weekend for a night on the town like the guys. You would choose our kind of vacation too, with the good food and conversation and laughter. And long walks on the beach.

Monday, October 26, 2009

What I Left Behind.

Friday afternoon Ellie dropped me off at the station by our school. I rode the Metro to the airport to get away from a dreary fall day. The leaves are changing, and they are beautiful. But the gray skies were miserable, and I was ready for a short vacation.

So I left behind my new home in Northern Virginia for almost three full days with the people I left behind in Kansas City. And it was so so good to see them, hug them and laugh with them.

That's our condo behind the girls. Look at the blue skies and white sand. It's a definite improvement on what I left behind in DC Friday. I've got more stories to tell and more photos to post, but this is a process. It includes the laundry and going to the grocery store and writing some lesson plans.

I won't leave you behind and will post more stories.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Two Things That Make Me Happy.

1. Colored paper in piles ready to be used for class assignments and projects. Because it makes all work happier. I seem to be the only one at school with this addiction, but that's okay. More paper for me. In KCK, I used to buy this myself, but now a very nice lady name Terry orders it for me. She likes to discuss my bright paper options with me before ordering. I appreciate someone who understands the importance of this paper.

2. Eighth graders and the things they say. Here's a short story to make you smile on this Friday and over the weekend until I'm back from my girls weekend in Bama. It's about one of my darling 8th grade punks who is from Puerto Rico. He was tardy to class Wednesday at the beginning of class. I pointed this out to him and he said "Psych," in his darling little Spanish accent.

I didn't know anyone said psych anymore. But he did.

Same boy was late after lunch too. He sauntered into my room a few minutes after everybody else carrying a cup full of some kind of fizzy pop. I said, "You're late - again!"

"Psych," he replied.

"And you're carrying POP!" I replied incredulously.

"You mean soda?" My tardy, psych-saying, Latino punk just corrected my midwest vernacular. Apparently even he knows that out here on the east coast they say "soda." I laughed and all attempts at discipline were lost. I love these kids.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Read Beyond Reality.

Tonight we really rolled out the red carpet at our middle school. It was literacy night and everything was themed "Read Beyond Reality: TV OFF - Books ON!"

The rooms had different themes tied to favorite reality shows and literature. Our room was "Top Chef," and the tables were covered with cookbooks and food magazines. We showed them a short Top Chef clip to get them in the mood. The students worked together with their families to create pizzas and then describe them to us.

Some of their pizzas were hilarious. They came up with really funny combinations including using deep fried crickets, barbeque sauce and mozzarella on the same pizza. And just like a Quick Fire Challenge on Top Chef, there were prizes.

We sent the winning "chef" and their family home with a pizza kit to make a real pizza. The losers also got prizes too: pizza flavored goldfish. We love our themes.

Here are the English 8 teachers in the t-shirts I designed. We meet on Thursday mornings to eat brownies and plan our lessons for the next week. I love this team, and I think we look good in pink.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Victoria's Secret (Not the Store).

See this beauty?

This is "straight out of the camera." I did not photoshop one single thing on this photo. I promise. This is Belle sitting in my room waiting for a treat. I took it on my canon rebel tonight with my new lens. It's a 50 mm f/1.8 and the aperture allows me to shoot even in my dark room without a flash.

That 50 mm lens is my secret weapon.

All of my favorite photos of food were taken with Rachel's 50 mm lens. We have been sharing her lens since August. A lot of my favorite photos of people were taken with it too. It allows us to do amazing things without a flash. That lovely blurred background happens naturally, and we call it "bokeh." Say it like this - "boca."

I've got big trips coming up and needed my own 50 mm lens. I was delighted when it came in the mail and ready to share the secret with you. I will pack an extra lens and shoot on both this weekend in Alabama because it is the right thing to do. I love life without a flash.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Flags of the Classroom.

There's some irony in my students saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning because most of them are immigrants to United States. Other students were born here in Northern Virginia, but they have strong ties to another country because of family. And they are so proud of these places! Their writing folders have three pictures on the outside reflecting things that are important to them, and over half of my students drew a non-American flag.

So it got me thinking about how my students see themselves represented in our school. It's a pretty white suburban school, and it resembles Harmony where I spent three fine years between 1994 and 1997. The teachers are more diverse than my middle school, but it is pretty similar. I love the diversity in my classroom, and during our current civics unit it has inspired some heated debates over immigration and citizenship rights.

Together my students and I made a list of all the countries represented. For some students like me, immigration is in the distant family past. But they still wanted to add to our total so Ireland made the list too! I found a company online and ordered all their flags for less than $2 each.

They really brighten up the classroom and are sparking a lot of conversation. Johnny asks me every day if he can have the Puerto Rico flag. (His writing and pictures are always about Puerto Rico - they are beautiful.) My Honduras contingency rearranged the flags to feature their flag more prominently.

Now I'm challenged to move beyond the flags to embrace their cultures more fully into the classroom. I'm still working on that next step, but I have their buy in to try something new. And 15 really pretty flags.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One Hundred.

This is my 100th post at victoriaINvirginia. Thank you to everyone who checks it daily, reads it once a week or spends hours catching up once a month with my east coast adventures. I can be verbose and dramatic, so thanks for putting up with me. I love getting to share my VA life with you in this format. It's like a digital scrapbook of this chapter of my life that you get to see instantly.

A week ago, my pastor preached about the scenic route in life. As a culture we are so obsessed with being happy. We try to achieve things in our personal and professional lives that will make us happy. I didn't move to Virginia to make myself happy (though I hoped I would be). I loved my Kansas life. I had a fabulous support system, and I enjoyed all of the activities I was involved with around KC. But God's plan involved a scenic detour to beautiful Northern Virginia, a new middle school and George Mason. And I'm sure more surprise happy events are still to come!

I haven't met some of the happy checkpoints that some of my friends have passed. I don't have a cute six-month-old, a loving spouse or a graduate degree. But I love the view from my life and am finding joy in all sorts of new places all the time. Sometimes when I drive downtown through DC I marvel at the fact that I really live here! God's plan is so beautifully designed and so is His road.

Today the scenic route took me to FedEx field and the Chiefs first win of the 2009 season. Look at the view! It was cold, but it didn't rain one single drop. We even sat by K-Staters and KC fans that I knew.

Thanks for following the blog. Now come visit Virginia.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Soup. Soup. Beautiful Soup.

It has rained since Wednesday morning. I haven't driven my car anywhere without the windshield wipers since Tuesday. Today after grad school at George Mason, I stopped at Target to buy a heavy-duty poncho (thanks Eddie Bauer!) because back in August I thought that the Redskins vs. Chiefs game on October 18th sounded like a good idea. And by golly, if I paid $75 to watch these two terrible teams, then I am going to try to be as dry as possible doing it. I don't even have a chance with the weather forecast. Eighty percent chance of rain. You may watch us on TV at noon Kansas time and laugh.

So tonight I made soup. More soup than I have ever made in my entire life because Rachel and I are going to a soup exchange on Tuesday. We'll tell you about that another time. For now, you most know that this soup could be legendary and life changing.

I've always had an affinity for soup. When I was a middle schooler with poor acting skills and a knack for the overdramatic, I played the Duchess in "Alice in Wonderland." A pretty unimportant role really. I sang a song with the Mock Turtle about soup.

"Soup, soup, beautiful soup..."

I don't remember the rest, but Andrea and I love to sing those terrible lyrics whenever we discuss soup. I'm sure she is singing it as she reads it.

Earlier this week I made a tortilla soup from scratch with no recipe that was so good Jill M. at work told me she wanted to marry it. A true testament to it's awesomeness because 1. She's already engaged and 2. You can't marry soup. Not even in Massachusetts.

But that got me thinking. Maybe I could use a soup to find a suitor.

So tonight to escape the rain, I quadrupled the recipe and made Food & Wine's "Sausage and Mushroom Soup," using my favorite chicken italian sausage from superTarget. I added white wine because it felt right. And it tasted right while I cooked.

In college, I made "boyfriend brownies" that my roommates told me were so good I could get a boyfriend. With this soup, I hope to catch a husband. Then every year on our anniversary, I'll make this soup, and he'll sing a song,

"Soup, soup, husband soup," and we'll laugh about that fateful day when he brought me some chardonnay, and I made him the soup that changed both our lives.

I believe in the power of this soup. Excuse me while I get some more, finish the bottle of chardonnay, and chose my bridesmaids.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

On the Offensive.

I'm writing this to strike first. I know that Rachel is working on a post about all the bad things Belle taught Copper. This is hardly fair.

Especially because right now I am watching Copper because he is so bad that he can't be upstairs during Rachel and Sol's community group from church. And now he is sitting at the door crying. Like a big bronze colored baby.

Belle keeps trying to distract him by biting his ears, wrestling with him. She's such a helpful doggie. He just keeps crying. Big baby. He most certainly did not learn this from Belle who very rarely cries in her crate any more and doesn't have to be in the same room as me when I am home.

Now he is standing next to me whining and barking. Misdirected frustration, Copper. It's not me or Belle that ruined your life. It's Finley's fault. That's why you can't go on as many runs. Also why there isn't room for you in the bed. That cute little face destroyed your happy home.

Blame the baby.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Most of the time Rachel is a really positive influence on my life. She keeps me from getting too anxious about teaching, grad school and the state of my life in general. This comes in handy because sometimes I get a little stressed out.

Sometimes Rachel is not a good influence. Like tonight when we went to Chick-Fil-A even though we are trying to be healthy eaters. Here are reasons that we used to justify eating chicken at the happiest place in Fairfax County.
  1. I drove over an hour to and from my grad school meeting in Chantilly.
  2. It was raining.
  3. Amy and her baby live practically right next door. And we were visiting.
  4. The people there are so nice.
  5. Sol went out to dinner.
  6. We haven't eaten there this week recently.
  7. We like it. A lot.
It was probably worth it. It's so happy. Does it help that I ate my charbroiled chicken sandwich on a whole wheat bun?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Teach 8th Grade.

Tonight I went into DC to go to the first Truman mentor and mentee meeting. I'm a mentor, believe it or not. My little mentee is here for a year for the Truman fellows program, working for the DC public schools in early childhood elementary education and darling. I am not much older, but I feel qualified to be a mentee. I've started my graduate studies, I am living in the DC area for the second time, and I am tall.

Not to mention that I wore cowboy boots today. That gives me extra prowess as a mentor.

You don't mess with someone wearing cowboy boots.

So we had to introduce ourselves twice tonight. The first time it was with just the other mentors as we got "trained" to be mentors. We went around the large board room table and said our Truman year, home state, and current position. Most went like this:

Harry Jones, California, 2001, Lawyer for the House Subcommittee on Intelligence and Something Else Fancy.

Susan Potter, Georgia, 1998, Special Assistant to the Secretary Assigned to Stop the Global Spread of AIDS and Vampires.

Sam David, Iowa, 2003, Trial Attorney for the Justice Department in the Finance Sector Focusing on Fighting Turnstile Jumpers.

Basically, the more titles after your name the better. And I mean this in the nicest way because all these people were in public service, and they deserve jazzy titles. That's so stinkin' cool that on top of their day jobs they want to work with young, dewy eyed public servants.

Then they got to me.

Victoria Luhrs, Kansas 2005. I teach 8th grade.

This is far more succinct than the longer, more drawn out description I could have given that includes referee, motivator, counselor, coach, clown, instructor, sympathizer, reality checker, fact checker, case manager, and certainly advocate.

Basically, I teach 8th grade. And I am darn proud of it.

I also make gluten free brownies when the occasion calls for it. Just in case you forget, I HEART the color green in my kitchen.

They taste just fine. Except they are currently stuck in the silicone pan I used. Too tired to fight that stupid mini brownie pan tonight.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Rachel left for a quick overnight trip yesterday to see Carrie and Megan and gave me two tasks.
  1. Design Carrie's new blog. Done.
  2. Get rid of the eight over ripe bananas on her counter. Done.
I didn't eat them. I can't stand a banana with a spot. My discriminating taste knows that a banana with spots is too mushy to be eaten all by itself. I rarely buy bananas because I know that there will be a small window of only two days where the banana is the appropriate amount of ripe for me to consume. When I lived with Erica, I would try to get them eaten and if I couldn't, I'd pass it off to her because she would eat them only with spots.

The more I talk to people about bananas, the more I find that lots of people have strong feelings about the appropriate proportion of spots for consumption. I'm sure you have an opinion too.

I used to tell my students in KCK that they were driving me bananas. This phrase doesn't mean much to ESL students so they just called me "Bananas" instead. Las cuatas (twins) still call me Bananas when we talk on the phone or when they text message me. I think it is endearing. I love those crazy girls.

Now here's what I did with all those bananas.

Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies I used chocolate chips because I can't justify eight dollars for chocolate to put in cookies. I plan on delivering some of these to a very special new mommy and her baby C.K.H. this week. Bananas used: 1.5.

Morning Glory Muffins I'm really looking forward to having these around for breakfast in the next week. I left out dates and used golden raisins and craisins instead. The recipe is from Cooking Light and has wheat flour and flax seed on top. And they don't taste healthy. Bananas used: 2.5.

Orange Banana Bread This recipe calls for nuts, but I always omit. I have made this bread for about three years because it is healthy but so doesn't taste that way. It's like the only food I ever made that Clark McCracken would eat at Northwest. He was pick-y. Saving this bread for a teacher at school who was in a terrible car accident with her teenage son. Hoping they like it too. Bananas used: 4.

Call me crazy, but I think my kitchen smells like bananas. And I'm afraid it might stay that way for a couple of days.

Pumpkin Patch.

This post doesn't need a lot of words. The pictures tell you a lot about our sweet trip to Germantown, Maryland and Butler's Orchard on Saturday. It was a beautiful October fall day.

We put Finley in a pumpkin patch appropriate outfit. He must have hated it because he refused to smile the entire trip. He wasn't unhappy, he just didn't really smile or laugh at anything we did. And he usually thinks Rachel and I are really funny.

We are very excited for adventures a year from now when Finley can hold himself for ghost cutouts and pumpkin photo shoots.

Emily and Ryan live in Maryland, and they met us for the fun. Isn't the farm beautiful? We rode a hayride about ten minutes to get to the huge field of pumpkins.

We got tons of pumpkins. Big, small, white, and bright bright orange. They look so pretty on the front door step. Rachel wants to paint them. I want to carve them. I'll let you know who wins.

Finley was more interested in everything besides the camera. Silly baby.

Is this fall or what?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A KSU Wildcat in Virginia.

Another football Saturday across America. K-State plays at Texas Tech, but all the games are "away" games when you live in Virginia. I miss early Saturday mornings driving with my mom to K-State for tailgates and football.

Like this Saturday in 2005. Celebrating Mom's 50th birthday with a tailgate and an AX reunion on the same day. I'm pretty sure Rachel took this picture. I look awesome. For the record, so does my uncle. And look at my grandpa in all that purple. That makes me happy.

Yesterday I wore a K-State shirt to school because all my Patriots shirts were dirty. It was purple and very happy. When I got to school, I wrote the date and agenda on the board in purple dry erase marker. Next to the date, I wrote "Go State - beat Texas Tech!"

But I realized I was definitely not at home because no one said anything to me about the caliber of my football team. Mr. McCracken and all the students who liked him better would have made fun of K-State, Farm U, the AARP and so on. Or at least Clark would have made those jokes.

At Key, nobody said anything. I was just the tall teacher in a purple shirt carrying around a sign that said "CIVICS HW DUE TODAY!" I explained the homesickness to my 2nd period. In their typical fashion, they just looked at me.

They are really quiet.

Then Candace very thoughtfully said, "Miss Luhrs, your football team sucks."

And I said, "Thanks. That makes me feel at home."

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Night Fun.

We just had Carlos O'Kelley's. I swore after I left Manhattan that I would never eat it ever again. But I have been seriously jonesing for some Mexican food. And even Carlos fit the bill. Oh my stomach is full and mostly happy. Mexican is the first thing I want to eat when I get to Kansas City in November. I'm going to smuggle back jars of HOT Margarita's restaurant salsa. Because there is nothing here like Kansas Mexican food.

Now we're watching TV off the DVR. Rachel made cookies. This is just like the thrilling Friday nights of our college days before we found "Aggieville."

Here we are at the debut of Harry Potter, November 2001.

We were cool then, and we are still cool now. We might have the same haircuts too.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Out to Eat.

One thing I miss about my Kansas life is going out to eat. It's one of the many reasons that I love for visitors to come. I love to try new foods, explore parts of the city, and eat at places recommended by the Washingtonian or Post. I could blame the fact we eat out less on Finley because he makes dining out an adventure.

But I think it is just a reality of our life in this Sycamore house. We work out after school, play on our computers or with Finley, watch stuff on the DVR, and wait for Sol to come home. Sometimes I just feel like being myself too. And Rachel and I both like to cook. We like to try different healthy (and unhealthy) recipes every week. Or eat at Chik-Fil-A.

But Carrie was here this week, so we went out to eat. Monday night we ate at Bertucci's for yummy wood fired pizza. Finley was a little fussy with all the commotion, but he was a pretty good baby.

Then this happened. Probably one of the happiest moments in my relationship with Finley.

He fell asleep in my arms. He is the sweetest baby in the world, and I don't care if we ever go out to eat again so long as he falls asleep in my arms at home.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bad Dog Belle.

While in the backyard during "How I Met Your Mother," Belle found a wheelbarrow full of nasty, smelly, disgusting rain water and jumped in it. Probably splashed around a little bit just for fun too.

Sol went to investigate why there was barking after the show, and Belle barreled past into the living room. And shook. Then I chased her, while screaming not kind words, downstairs into my bedroom and cornered her into the bathtub.

There she had to admit her defeat.

Bad dog Belle. This is what Belle looks like when she is in trouble.

She knows that she is not on the "good dog list," so she is staying put in the bathtub. A miracle because she hates the bathtub, baths and being clean. That's the soap on her back. It stayed there while I ran to grab the camera. She's just such a disaster.

Belle's atonement for her bad behavior was sleeping on my bed. Right after I wrote about it a couple weeks ago, she got embarrassed or something and stopped cuddling. No amount of begging, pleading or calling could get her to hop up. She almost acted like she was unable to make the jump.

But last night, all clean and fluffy, Belle jumped up and slept next to my feet.

Good dog Belle.

Happy Birthday Mom.

My mother is a self-proclaimed enabler. Like last Thursday when she faxed my immunization records to George Mason and took Lu's belt to get holes punched in it for her.

And boy oh boy, am I grateful. There's a pretty good chance I wouldn't be here in Virginia writing this post if it weren't for my enabling mother.

Almost exactly one year ago, Mom and I came to DC to visit GMU. We fell in love with the Virginia area, spent time around DC, and I took Mom to her first Trader Joe's and Ikea. We had fun, but it was also the first step in confirming that this was the place I was supposed to be.

The picture on the left is us on that trip downtown at one of my favorite Smithsonian museums, the National Portrait Gallery and Museum of American Art. And on the right, I am getting ready to leave Kansas for Virginia. And so much unknown.

There were more days than I care to count in between those two photos where I was full of doubt. What was I doing? Where was I going? How was I supposed to leave the known for the unknown?

But my mom, the terrific enabler that she is, never gave up. She reassured me constantly, pushed me to keep trying, and helped me brainstorm alternatives when things didn't go according to plan. There were tough days full of too many questions and doubts. But she kept encouraging me.

She made this move possible and kept me going on this adventure that has indeed already changed my life. I'm grateful she enabled me to move on to try something new and be here and independent. And I'm happy and she's proud, so I'd say it all is working out.

Happy birthday Mom. Thanks for being an enabler.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Vodka in the Afternoon.

Yesterday I drove into DC to go the Russian Bazaar at St. John the Baptist Russian Orthodox Cathedral. It was up in the NW near Columbia Heights, and it was a beautiful day for a bazaar.

I went with a friend of Jennie's boyfriend who lives in the district and was also up for an adventure. Chris and I purchased a lot of tickets so that we wouldn't miss out on any part of the experience. It was pretty official - the priests had Russian accents. I'm not for sure if they are from the Motherland or just studied there, but they spoke to many members of the congregation in Russian. I had no idea that so many people spoke Russian.

And then Chris pointed out that probably everyone who lived in the area and spoke Russian was probably at the bazaar. He makes a good point.

We looked in the cathedral for a while. The murals and icons were incredible. There are no pews because you stand in the presence of God. Eastern Orthodoxy is serious church.

Then food.

Lots and lots of food. This plate has golubtsy, kasha, begos, and teftel'ki.

Here's my food with more kasha (buckwheat), pelmeni, cucumber salad and wheat bread. My favorite was the pelmeni which are dumplings with meat served in bouillon. A pushy Russian lady made me try it while we were waiting in line, and I was in love. Then a Russian mother talked us into the kasha for our starch because it was healthy. It tasted like it.

We had more tickets to spend. The remainder were spent appropriately on Russian vodka, beer and pastries. You should say na zda-rov’-ye before each shot. And chase with pickled mushrooms. Yum. I don't recommend the pickled vodka. Too pickley. And I wasn't brave enough to try the horseradish vodka. I stuck to the Putin vodka named after the former president/czar of Russia.

It made me happy. Looking at the books and gifts for sale reminded me of my favorite Orthodox festivals in Kansas City, Russian history classes with Kate at KSU, and the Treasures of the Czars exhibits when I was little girl.

And this is my name in Russian. Виктория Катерина. I could be a Russian princess with my name.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Over Dramatic.

Everything works except the "c" key. I don't know how to fix it. I might need a new part.

I'm just happy to report everything works fine today on my computer. And I promise not to attempt anything besides blogging and graphic design on my macbook from here on.

My heart can't take it.

Off to the city for a Russian Bazaar and the K-State game. Whee!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Oh, really, Victoria?


I'm Rachel. Due to circumstances beyond her control, Victoria is not able to blog tonight.

And if you've been reading this blog for awhile, you know that there really is nothing Victoria loves more than blogging. Lucky for her, I am here to take the reins.

About an hour ago, Victoria messaged me and told me I needed to come downstairs ASAP. She said it was bad. My mind raced. Had she been dumped by her latest flame? Did Belle puke all over the floor? Had she cooked so much she exploded?

No. When I got downstairs, this is what I saw.

It looked like her Mac got a good punch to the kisser and was missing most of its teeth. How did this happen? How did SO MANY keys get removed?

I'll tell you why. Because my genius, type A friend Victoria thought that the "s" key looked a little dirty. So she googled "cleaning mac laptop" and discovered that using a Magic Eraser with a bit of water would clean it right up.

I know, the key doesn't even look dirty, right? So she removed the battery, cleaned it, dried it. All very lovingly, of course. But then something went terribly awry. And now it makes a scary noise that frightens Belle.

Yeah, good job, Vic. I hope it works after it dries out a little more, because if it doesn't, I fully plan on stealing your entire blogging readership. Watch out!