Monday, February 28, 2011

Mind and Picture Dump

I have a little bit of time on my hands, so that's the reason for the mind and picture dump.
I just want to get this stuff on the record, so I don't forget it.
So, it is what it is, folks.

Here is some other randomness from our life over the last 10 days or so.
I put a new slipcover on our love seat.

It's very bright and cheery, yes?
It looks orange in this picture. And, while I would welcome an orange love seat with open arms, alas, this one is actually red.
It's a nice change of pace.
The Mr. wasn't sure when I bought this slipcover off of Craigslist what he thought of it. But, he likes it! So, yay.

I've been continuing my quest to not look like a fat, aging non accessorized beast lately, as you know.
Hence, the bracelet I wore on Friday.

Ain't it cute?
This was my Mom's. I don't remember the story behind it. But I think it's from the 70s or the 80s or something. I remember stealing it several times when I was growing up. And, I guess she finally caved and gave it to me.
I love it.
It's beautiful.

Speaking of things from the past that have recently surfaced. Check this picture out!!!

Got Milk????
I was looking through some old pictures on my computer and came across this. Isn't it a riot? That chubby white chubster in the front, is my little brother, now SGT Chris Brown! I'm right behind him. I do not know what is going on here exactly, but I believe this was taken at our babysitter's house. I do not remember it. But I've always loved this picture.

Too bad I posted it on Facebook, purely with the intention of humiliating my little brother, who then made it his profile picture. So much for that.
Where in the world does he get that unending confidence??

In other news, I think I have finally caught the concept of napping.

It is glorious, and I wouldn't mind one right now. As if.

30, Flirty and Fabulous

Lately, I've been reminded of the simple power of friends.
It's just good to be with people.
To laugh with them.
Eat with them.
Just be with them.

Last weekend, we went out to celebrate my friend from high school, Blaire's 30th birthday!
Turning 30 is something you have to do in your own way.
And I think Blaire rocked it.
It was a joy to share with her, some other friends, and her family.

You see this darling little blonde sitting across from me? That's Melissa. Melissa, Blaire and I cheered together at Indian River High School in the 90s. It was epic. There was lots of navy blue polyester and bangs. Great memories.

My favorite part of the evening was when Blaire read what her mom had written her and opened the most beautiful gift, a ring, made especially for her, from the rings her dad had given her mom.
It was so beautiful and I was touched by the special love this mom has for her daughter.
Reminds me of me and my mama. Mamas and baby girls are bonded in a special way, there's no denying that.

So, happy (late now) birthday, Blaire! Rock it girl. You are thirty, flirty and fabulous. And, you're married to a guy with a million dollar smile. There's nothing wrong with that!

How it Took me 2.5 Hours to get to Work

Tomorrow will mark one week since the most unnecessary 2.5 hour commute to work, ever.
Folks, I live next to a Metro station. Now, it's suburban Northern Virginia, so it still takes 10-15 minutes to walk to said Metro station, but still, the point is, we're right there.

My lazy self has not liked walking in the cold and/or rain to the Metro lately. Well, across the street is the Mall. There are several buses that go from the mall (or mall area) directly to the metro. Brilliant, right?

If you're me.
And you get on the one bus that is not going directly to the Metro station, but instead is going on a tour of Northern Virginia.

If you're me, you'll be on this bus for a full hour, even while the bus driver stops to take his lunch break! Not even kidding. The man ate a sandwich.
He checked on me, that was nice.
But, I was fine.
I was in contact with my dear husband, who was navigating for me, from home, via the transportation system's website.

About an hour after I left home, I passed it again, as we pulled into that metro station.
You know, the one a block from our apartment complex?
Yeah, that one.

Thankfully, I didn't have anywhere pressing to be that morning, and my boss was very understanding at my tardiness.
Oy vey, right?

I decided it was a good day for a free latte and oatmeal from Starbucks.
That was a good call.

Practice Makes Perfect

I am a product of a childhood of athletics. And, I'm very thankful for this.
I started learning at like 6 years old what it meant to be a part of a team (there's no "i" in team, but there is in win), the importance of doing drills over and over and over even when you feel like you know what to do ("you play like you practice") and how to move on when something doesn't go as planned ("shake it off").
I'm 31 years old and these little sports sayings still play in my mind, daily. Over and over.
I "get my head in the game," I always look for opportunities to "turn two," I know in my heart that "quitters never win and winners never quit."

All that stuff matters. I'm definitely teaching this stuff to my kids, someday. Such invaluable lessons!

What in the world made me think of this?
The cupcakes I made for Mr. Ritter on Valentine's Day, of course.

Friends, I give you the first, and the last.

Not in that order, of course.
I bake a lot. I do not frost a lot of cupcakes. Which is why the first one I did looked like this...

Don't mind my old lady hands. I have a skin condition on my hands that has left them really scarred. It's not a big deal, but doesn't photograph well.
That poor first cupcake, right?
Well, the good news is, quitters never win and winners never quit and practice makes perfect... so the last cupcake got the "most improved" award!

These were Nutella Cupcakes, by the way. They were pretty good, but I think slightly overcooked and a bit dry. But, cardboard with Nutella on it is delicious, so a couple extra minutes in the oven isn't going to scare me away.

I gave said perfect cupcake to my Valentine, naturally. I ate that poor first one. It was yummylicious.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Oh, Glorious Day!!

It's currently 75 degrees outside and I want to just kiss the air!

This morning, I woke up exhausted because I haven't slept well at all this week. But, when I took the dogs out and realized, at 4am no less, that it was already "not cold," my mood turned around!

Oh, glorious day.
I wish this was Spring for good, but it's just a tease.

But, I'm okay with that.
Because right now, right now, I'm wearing flip flops for the first time in 2011.

And that, my friends, is a good thing.

Other reasons to be a good mood today. Besides the fact that it's 75 degrees outside and it's FRIDAY... there was no traffic on the way in this morning! My lazy self decided to drive in because I just didn't want to carry all my stuff on the metro!

And, in the car this morning, I found a missing earring. It's worthless, but I love these earrings because I can just wear them every day, without even thinking about it.

So, yayyyy!! I'm a minimalist when it comes to accessories. I wish I wasn't. But, I just am.

Well, there you go.
I'm heading home. Hopefully all the people that called in sick/it's 75 degrees today and I can't work will still NOT be on the road.

Cheers, y'all.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Live Blogging from the Living Room

I've had a crazy couple of days at work. What else is new, right?
Today, I was literally sore when I walked in the door, from pulling my computer bag all around the Mid-Atlantic states. (okay, so I'm being a little dramatic, what ELSE is new?)

I offered to make some appetizing Chef Boyardee canned gourmet pasta instead of the Salmon and spinach salad with roasted red peppers I was going to make.

Mr. Ritter wasn't having it.
So... now he's in the kitchen baking Salmon in the toaster oven.

I have Brokaw on a leash. He and I, and Princess (who is sleeping in the corner, as usual) are sitting here, waiting. I'm secretly a nervous wreck!

He better not burn himself on the hand where he can't feel it, like he did at the restaurant eating pizza the other night...

Oy vey.

M made the most amazing dinner! I bet you've never had Ramen noodles like this...

The salmon was AMAZING too!
I was really impressed!

So... I may or may not be slightly competitive. I am not one to be shown up, at anything.
Naturally, I had to quickly make some chocolate covered strawberries and bananas for dessert.

I think it's officially safe to say, my night turned around for the better!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

I used to be one of those single girls who would dread Valentine's Day... until a certain someone sent some flowers to a newsroom in Pittsburgh, 4 years ago.

Those flowers changed my world.
I hope you get something sweet today, ladies!

Our day so far --
I had re-heated vanilla coffee. I have decided I absolutely do not like flavored coffee anymore. Ick. Give me the real java, with no after taste. Thank you.

I've worked from home today, which has actually been pretty busy! But nice, too. I've also been able to clean this house. Feels much better.

My Michael and I started a little Valentine's Day tradition last year. Homemade Valentine's only. So.... I have to get to baking, soon! There will be Nutella involved. I can't wait!

First, some glimpses of our life here today...

My first homemade Valentine from my nerdy, computer savvy sweetie... a new background for my computer, made of red hearts on a pink background.

Michael turned his apple butter toast into a Valentine for me.

I was inspired... so I tried to bite around my bread to make an X and and O, but I messed up the X... so all I had was this. I said it was me, and "I'm yours." Lame, right??? Hahahaha!!

M felt bad that I didn't have arms. So he gave me these. I can't decide if I'm more of an angel with a broken wing, or half woman, half crab with one little baby claw, and one big claw...

I enjoyed some sweet body wash, perfect for the occasion of today! :)

Had a great trip to the mailbox, thanks to my Mom and Granny!!

Wrote a message to surprise my Babe when he came around the corner from the office into the kitchen.

And, a certain Puggle was being a little too loud because I have the windows open (it's an absolutely GORGEOUS day!) so, he had to wear his Thundershirt. He's now resting peacefully... in a basket of clean laundry... but whatever.

Sometimes I feel like I have an eternal toddler of a dog...

Okay, for real. Time to make something yummy involving Nutella.. and, maybe some actual dinner too. I know one thing. It will NOT be the chili that we spent the last 7 days trying to eat and still have not eaten it all. Ugh.

Love someone today.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Last Post for Today, I Promise

One more post, and I think I'll be caught up.
I'm getting kind of hungry.
Which is a shame because I had that toaster strudel earlier, remember.
And then I had a biscuit, some grits with cheese, and two links of sausage.
But, it has been a few hours.
And clearly, in my current position, I'm burning a lot of calories.

I'm being intentionally lazy today.
It's nice.
Believe it or not, it's hard.

I know you're probably thinking... how hard can it be to sit on your butt and watch TV?
Actually, pretty hard!
I'm surrounded.
There is dust on the table beside me. Two loads of laundry just beyond that that need to be folded (even though that's not my department, it still lingers)
There's my phone, tugging on me to check my email and check the headlines.
It can be hard to unwind.

But, with some good food, Mr. Puggle Snuggles and a good WWII documentary Mr. Ritter put on for me to watch/sleep to, I'm doing just fine!
Yay me.
Sabbath: check!

Now, two very random photos to share with you...
1. Elmo

I saw Elmo half under the chair the other day, looking like he was screaming for the jaws of life to come save him! Elmo is Brokaw's best friend. Best friends as in, he loves to chew on poor Elmo, and drag him all over the floor. Probably why Elmo is stuck with that look on his face!

2. Coupons from my Granny.

My Granny Nora moved to California about a year and a half ago. I haven't seen her since, but we talk on the phone each week. Granny has always spoiled me. To the point that it makes me feel guilty. I must have mentioned in one of our conversations that I've started clipping coupons. Because now, she's mailing me coupons! She has sent me some good ones, too.
However... this week, I got a couple for pregnancy tests... then diapers and wipes!!?!?!?!
Um, Granny? No thanks on the hints, hahaha!!

Always nice to get something in the mail that's not a bill, isn't it?
Okay, for real.
That's all I have for you.
You are now up to date.
I'll just be here, watching WWII for the next few hours.

It's A Great Time of Year to Go to California.

So, if you have a chance, do it.
Even if it means you are going to work for 36 hours during a 24 hour period.
I just did that last weekend, and it was awesome, on so many levels.

I left this behind..

And eventually ended up here.
In sunny, Santa Barbara, California.
I hadn't been to California since my cousin was born.
That was when I was six years old.

I think I appreciated the sun and warm temperatures much more this time!

I knew when I saw palm trees, that I was right in the center of God's will for my life! :)

Our hotel was just blocks from the beach! We didn't get to go to the beach, but it was just nice to know it was so close! That was enough to make this beach girl giddy!

My hotel room was pretty much my wedding turned into a hotel room! Chocolate brown and Tiffany blue everywhere! I loved it.

I even had a private patio with a lounge chair. Again, I never actually went out there, but still, it was nice knowing it was there.

I did try to take a pic of myself in the hotel mirror a la Pioneer Woman, of course.

That night, super late, we scored an exclusive interview with Sarah Palin. It was a blast. Total news "crack." It was picked up by pretty much every news outlet in the US, so that was pretty sweet. Success: check!

Saturday morning, we drove up a very windy road to President Reagan's Ranch. Also known as the "Western White House."

This, my friends, was total "history" crack. I love history almost as much as I love news!

You'll see much more of this coming up on the next edition of "The Brody File," (we did our whole show from there!) but here's a little sneak peek.


I was struck at just how humble the Ranch was. So... normal. I guess that was part of the appeal to Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

I was also struck at just how well it has been preserved. Everything is in its place.

Reagan called it "Rancho del Cielo," - "Ranch of the Heavens."

I particularly liked the everyday items that really made the Reagans just seem so... human. Like these spices in the kitchen.

And even the Head and Shoulders at the top of the shower!

Their bed had pillows and a custom made quilt with their names and initials. Cute. Note the big white phone to the right. That was the direct dial to the real White House!

President Reagan's favorite hat! I remember seeing him in this hat when I was a little girl!

As I said... we did the whole show out there that day...

We had to improvise a little. Here is how you do a white balance in the middle of a ranch, when you don't have a piece of paper. I don't have a picture of me holding my macBook up as a reflector, but that may or may not have been done in the name of improvisation as well.

Watch where you step!

Royce was rooting for the Steelers. Good man.
Too bad they lost the next day. :(

On our way back into town, we stopped at In and Out Burger, which I've always heard amazing things about, but I'd never had it before myself.

Oh my!!
It was delicious. I had a double double (this is not mine, it's Royce's Quadruple!) and a chocolate shake.
It tasted really, really good.

We chowed down, and got right back to work!
I have absolutely no photos from this point on, because we were slamming with interviews, and editing.
At the end of this particular night, former Vice President Dick Cheney was speaking at a dinner honoring Reagan's 100th birthday... and we were so exhausted, we watched from the overfow theater. Oh, the glamorous life of a Chief Political Correspondent, right?

Hey... before you judge, there was food. And internet. And plugs for us to charge our cell phones.
Seemed like a great spot after working 36 hours in a 24 hour period :)

It was an awesome trip!! I am so blessed to get paid to do such fun stuff. To have my DREAM job!! To work with good people who love the Lord!

AND, when I got home... I can't even begin to tell you how much Mr. Ritter had done for me! I came home to a clean house, with clean sheets on the bed. Dinner (wings, hummus and salad) had been ordered and was on the table, waiting. M thought of everything so that I would be able to avoid the "whip lash" of coming home.

He thought of everything. And it was amazing. I was really moved.

I think I made it about 3 steps in the door before I was sitting on his lap, and we were hugging with tears filling up in our eyes like I had been on a deployment for a year or something.

We really missed each other.
And that's a good thing.
I like being ooey gooey in love with my husband.