Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Birthday weekend

I am 27 years old now. Fun times.

I had a whole birthday weekend leading up to the big day. On Saturday, Nicholas took me shopping and bought me a dozen Georgetown cupcakes. I picked out an adorable pair of navy blue sunglasses from Kate Spade, which I totally love. For a special birthday treat, I requested fried chicken for dinner and Nicholas slaved away for several hours on it. I have to say the last time I had chicken I said I didn't feel like I had been missing much - I can't say the same for fried chicken. ;)

We had a birthday brunch on Sunday at Tabard Inn. My dear friends Melissa, Laura, Keri and Amy came and we had a great time. Plus, Laura let me hang out by her pool the rest of the day.

My actual birthday was Monday and it's the first time in my life I can remember working on my birthday. Luckily, I have lovely coworkers who brought me birthday treats and took me out to lunch. That night Nicholas and I went to Screen on the Green, which I look forward to all year, and had a great time watching Cary Grant get into all manner of hijinks. Nicolas really made the evening though by remembering not only a Georgetown cupcake for our picnic but a candle for me to blow out AND milk. I tell you what - I married the right man!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Here's the truth: I have a real hippie streak. I think I inherited it from my mother, who while not an actual hippie, likes to call herself the original earth mother because she breastfed before it was cool and homemade all my baby food.

There is something that really appeals to me about being in touch with the land and leaving as little behind as possible. When I first heard about vermicomposting, I was intrigued. By the time it was on Oprah, I really wanted to try it but thought, as an apartment dweller, it was a pipe dream. However, after finding this video, I decided to give it a try.

I had to wait almost a month for my worms to arrive. So my excitement had reached a fevered pitch. They arrived yesterday and I set up their little home last night.

To say Nicholas is opposed to this idea would be a vast understatement. He thinks it will stink and he doesn't see the motivation. However, when I brought home the airtight container I was going to use, he started to change his tune. Of course then I started drilling holes in it....

It took no fewer then FOUR drills (the electric one really revolutionized the process) to finally get this container breathable.

I then added moist paper that had been used as packing padding in a shipment I got a couple of weeks ago.

There was some potting soil because they need the grit to digest the food and a little zucchini to start them off. I placed 500 of my new pets in their bin...

and finished the whole thing off with some fresh newspaper.

So far so good. They all seem to be alive. I won't add any more food scraps till I'm convinced they've finished off the zucchini. Apparently, overfeeding is how it can start to smell.

Hopefully, I'll be taking orders for compost within the month! ;)

Cool things I didn't post about because I was too busy doing other cool things

Nicholas and I have had a busy couple of weeks. Busy at work, busy doing super-cool things on the weekend. So, consider this a big catch-up session.

Two weekends ago, Nicholas and I went to the minibar at Cafe Atlantico in early celebration of my birthday. This is a six seater bar on the top floor of the restaurant that serves a 30 course "mini"-tasting menu. Washington Post called it "the smallest and most daring "restaurant" in Washington. They serve tiny little dishes that are often wacky versions or plays on popular restaurant fare. We had "bagels and lox" that looked like a small ice cream cone and an "organized caesar salad" which was the lettuce rolled up with anchovies in rolls with the parmesan stacked neatly on top. My absolute favorite was a parmesan "egg" which was an egg yolk they had made completely parmesan. The whole meal was incredible and watching the chefs construct every tiny dish was some of the most fun I've had at dinner in a while. If you want to see the whole menu, click here.

Later that same week, I got to go on a backstage tour of the National Archives. I had never been and had completely wonderful time. As someone who documents obsessively herself, I have a real appreciation and love for historical documents. Combine that with my passion and deep love for this country and the evolution of our government and, let’s just say, tears were shed. When a document written by Abraham Lincoln – a document that changed the entire course of our country – is held out right in front of you, it is difficult to take in the magnitude at all much less not be overwhelmed. We won’t even discuss what happened when this came out of the box.

Last weekend, Nicholas and I took a day trip up to Rehobeth beach because I was in desperate need of some ocean. I always find being at the beach so centering and I think Nicholas and I both are really ready for some vacation. We had a lovely day and it will hopefully hold us over until our REAL vacation to Tunisia in a little over THREE WEEKS!!!

We also went to see The Dark Knight last weekend and can I just say wow. I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said a million times already but the movie was striking and grim. Heath Ledger was brilliant and it was a great trip to the movies.

This weekend we will be celebrating my BIRTHDAY!!!! Better send your gifts now if they’re going to make it by Monday. :) So, I’m sure I’ll have lots of fun to report next week too.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Yesterday, Jack Cafferty stated on CNN that "Viagra is used to treat a medical condition, erectile dysfunction. Birth control is a lifestyle choice."


If you would like to express your outrage, you can contact CNN here.

I know I did.


Oh looky I sparked a debate! How fun! ;)

My first problem with this comment is like Elizabeth mentioned birth control is often used to treat medical conditions. I remember the shame I felt as a young 14-year-old who had been put on bc for cramps when my male Sunday School teacher proclaimed the only reason to be on bc is if you wanted to have premarital sex. So, his complete ignorance of women's conditions is my first major beef with Mr. Cafferty.

Second, I feel like there is a sexist undercurrent in our society that is reflected in that comment. Our society still defines true success for a woman as married with children. Now, in the last 20 years, we've expanded the definition a bit to allow for some career achievement, but at the end of the day if you are not married with children something is wrong. It's assumed single women want to get married. It's assumed married women want to have children.

So, I feel like what Mr. Cafferty is saying is, "Look if you want to flout our social norms and have sex without being married or be married and remain childless, then fine - but you're on your own!"

I feel like fertility is something that our society (at least medically) has decided for better for worse to treat as a medical condition that can be avoided with medication. So, every women no matter what her "lifesytle choices" should have equal access to that medication.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sarah's Selections

I'm come from a long line of people who hate to waste food. So, this article is right up my alley.

If you have something cuter, I'd sure like to see it.

No wait. I already found something cuter.

Speaking of cute, this is WAY harder than it seems.

And they thought small pox spread quickly.

See, there's ALWAYS a bright side.


Picture yourself in plastic

From the Mini-mizer.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Flickr Meme

Flickr Meme
Originally uploaded by SarahorNicholas

This was really fun. I recommend it to anyone with a flickr account.

Created with fd's Flickr Toys.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

New favorite song

I've posted songs here before - songs I'm addicted to that I can't stop singing. However, this one is special because it's by my dear friend Mike Baker. For those of you at our wedding, he's had quite a musical progression since performing at our ceremony. He is now a part of The Spinning Leaves, described as "a hootenanny indie-loverock trio who are part of a flourishing alt-acoustic scene in Philly." I'm so proud of him, but I would love this song even if he were a stranger.


Sarah's Selections

Very disheartening.

Get out your tissue if you're a dog lover.

Really great editorial on Appalachia and stereotypes. "Favorite part: A decade ago, John Waters (you know him as the director of "Hairspray") said that the expression "white trash" is "the last racist thing you can say and get away with." That sums it up, all right. You can't even make fun of fat people anymore—unless they're from Appalachia."

And while we're on the subject of stereotypes and their effect. "It turns out you don’t want to sound southern, either. Although pretty imprecisely estimated, it is almost as bad for your wages to sound southern as it is to sound black, even controlling for whether you live in the south."

Lessons from the master.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Fourth of July Weekend

We had a very big weekend full of visitors, celebrations, great food, and of course fireworks.

It began on Wednesday when Mom and Ron flew in for a visit. I picked them up from the airport and they came to my office to meet my coworkers and have lunch. The next day I took them on a tour of the Capitol and to visit the Anderson House - a little known and underappreciated DC spot. That night we roasted the Happy Chicken and ended my five years of vegetarianism (see below).

On Friday, we celebrated the birth of our Nation and the birth of my mother - a true July 4th yankee doodle baby. We got to the Mall early and staked out a prime spot for A Capitol Fourth. Unfortunately, about two hours before the concert it started to rain. We toughed it out, largely motivated by a group of interns sitting next to us that kept the party going by playing and dancing in the rain to "Umbrella" and "It's Raining Men." The rain stopped just long enough for us to enjoy our delicious picnic, including leftover Happy Chicken salad. By the time the concert started, the storm had passed and we rocked out to Huey Lewis and the News.

I texted my father, a fellow Huey fan, that he should turn on PBS to see me and the concert. By the time he turned it on however, a certain Silver Fox had already started performing. This is mine and my father's text exchange.

Dad: Are you still there?
Me: Yeah, but Taylor Hicks is performing. He's no Huey.
Dad: He sucks.

I couldn't have said it better myself. The rest of the concert was semi-forgettable, until an ancient Jerry Lee Lewis played in the fireworks with "Great Balls of Fire" - of course. We had a perfect view of the fireworks display and it more than made up for any rain or lame Idols.

On Saturday, Nicholas and I celebrated our five year anniversary at Palena with my parents. We had 5 course dinner - one for every year. It was truly tasty and fun was had by all. I have to brag on Nicholas for giving the most thoughtful, inventive anniversary gift this year. Every year we give the traditional anniversary gift and this year was wood, apparently symbolizing the order and strength of a marriage in its fifth year. Nicholas gave me a bonsai tree, because he remembered how I had wanted one at a festival we went to earlier in the year. He also had 5 trees for every year of our marriage planted in an California area destroyed by forest fires.

I mean seriously - how well does this man know me?

My parents' last day in town we decided to do some stereotypical touring and went on a D.C. Ducks tour. We had a real blast with Captain Frank, especially since we were the start students on the Duck and answered almost all his trivia questions. (I mean how many of you can identify Frances Perkins?!?!) We all could have done without the quackers they handed out towards the end of the trip, but not as badly as Maggie who was barked incessantly when we tried them on her.

We had a pretty low key last night and dropped them off early this morning. We had such a fantastic time that it's hard to think the visit is already over. But hey - ending five years of vegetarianism, celebrating five years of marriage and 52 years of age is a lot for one weekend so we probably couldn't have shoved in much else either way.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

1,827 days

Originally uploaded by SarahorNicholas

Five years ago today, Nicholas and I were married. Jealous?

Friday, July 04, 2008

Me and the Happy Chicken

I hope you're all sitting down for this...It's big...Last night, for the first time in five years, I ate meat. I ate an organically and sustainably raised chicken bought at the farmer's market from a local farm. Nicholas roasted it up and I have to admit it was quite yummy.

After hearing me preach from my vegetarian soapbox for several years, I'm sure you are all shocked. I became a vegetarian because I felt and still feel the cruelty inflicted on animals in the industrial farming system was unethical and unnecessary. I became a vegetarian because the environmental impact of confined animal feeding operations is terrifying and the impact of consuming that much meat on our bodies is unhealthy. I became a vegetarian because I was not comfortable distinguishing between a dog I treat like my child and another animal which is only food.

The first crack in my armor came after reading Omnivore's Dilemma. The author makes a valid point that domesticated farm animals could not survive in the wild and that these species have evolved or been breed to feed us. Still, I thought I couldn't kill the animal myself so I'm not going to eat it.

Then I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver and everything changed.

This book is amazing for a thousand different reasons, some of which I will post about later on, but one of them is her attitude towards meat. Like Pollan, she argues that these chickens and turkeys would not survive in the wild and that they are very energy-efficient ways to turn grass and sun that we can't eat into meat we can. However, what really swayed me was her argument about eating meat that is locally raised. She argues that is much more environmentally friendly to eat a chicken from down the road then an orange shipped from New Zealand or tofu from California, especially in the dead of winter.

Still, I was a little hesitant about eating something I wouldn't kill. However, she describes a "harvest day" on her farm when her family, including her young daughter, slaughter some of the chickens and turkeys they've raised. I realized that if a ten-year-old can become comfortable with the reality of slaughter then I can too. That's not to say I'm prepared to eat beef or pork yet but who knows.

So, I ate the chicken. It wasn't as momentous as I thought it would be. I think just making the decision to eat meat was what felt huge. I didn't get sick but I wasn't immediately overwhelmed by what I'd been missing either.

I actually thought my mother, who is in town visiting, would be more excited than she was, but she couldn't get over how much the bird cost. (It was $17 for 3.25 lb bird.) But listen, happy chickens aren't cheap and that suits me just fine. Breeding or evolution aside, animals make the ultimate sacrifice to get to our plates and I don't think making meat cheap and abundant is the way to respect that sacrifice. Not to mention, that I think the time and labor involved in raising any type of animal is nature's way of telling us we probably shouldn't be eating it all the time anyway.

Vegetables and grains will remain the mainstay of my diet, but I'm sure another happy chicken will cross my path eventually.