Saturday, April 30, 2011

Awesome blossom

Having a fabulous couple of days!

Thursday - dinner with Carly and Eric (Easter leftovers) and a game of Pirate Munchkin.

Friday - First official telecommuting day! Worked from home, got Noodles takeout for lunch (chili mac!) and went to Dulles Town Center after work. Returned two items to Old Navy, bought two others and came out $10 ahead. Met Phil and Lisa for dinner at PF Changs.

Saturday - The Bauers finally made it up to see us! Even though their GPS inexplicably told them to take 95 to the beltway...oof. We went to lunch with Chris and Victoria (cruise reunion!) at Fireworks Pizza. We decided to go to Quattro Goombas Winery for a little while in the afternoon because it was so nice outside. $5 tastings, and then we bought a bottle of Pinot Noir to drink outside and listen to the guitarist they had there. We came back to our place, played a few rounds of Blokus (Derrick won) and a game of Pandemic (we all died). Finally, we went to dinner at Sweetwater Tavern (Saturday = lobster bisque!!)

Tomorrow I'm checking out the contemporary service at church (the traditional service was a wee bit too traditional) and then we're taking the bikes out on the W&OD trail for the first time. Then we're going to dinner with Adam and Kristen (and finally meeting Connor!) at the Blue Ridge Grill :-)

Back to yoga class on Monday - been super sweaty the last few days, but sooo good!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rewards

After last year's cruise, we signed up for the Royal Caribbean Visa card through Bank of America (wish we had done it *before* last year's cruise, but whatevs). It gave us 10,000 points after the first purchase, 2 points for every dollar spent through Royal Caribbean (e.g. paying for this year's cruise) and 1 point on everything else. I've also seen a lot of bonuses offered where you can get triple points for paying your onboard SeaPass account. I generally prefer cash-back rewards, but all in all it was a pretty good deal.

I just redeemed our first 15,000 accumulated points for a $150 onboard credit on our cruise this November. BoA and RCCL need to join the 21st century here!!! Every other rewards card we have, we can go online and request a redemption, and it's automatically deducted from our points balance (I always request cash back) and sent to us.

In order to redeem these points, I had to undergo a multi-step process:
1. There's no points tracking online - the only place your accumulated points are listed is on your monthly credit card statement...and the box only shows up on your statement when there's points activity (i.e. not in the months when you don't use the card). So I had to wait for a statement to show up to confirm I had enough points.
2. I then had to CALL Bank of America and speak to a CSR. I had to tell the CSR* I wanted to redeem 15,000 points.
3. BoA then MAILED me a "15,000 Points Certificate" - I had to fill out the back of the form saying I wanted a $150 onboard credit on my next cruise (and provide my reservation number, AND my sail date, AND my ship name. Because those last two pieces of information aren't linked to my reservation number ANYWHERE...)
4. I then had to MAIL the completed certificate (with my own envelope and stamp; no prepaid envelopes here) to Royal Caribbean. I did that today.
5. Royal Caribbean will apply the onboard credit to our SeaPass account when they receive the completed form. All told, the process will take about 3 weeks to complete (I called BoA on the 14th).

*Incidentally, the CSR sounded new and had never done this redemption thing before (he had to put me on hold and ask someone how to process the request). He seemed to think that there was some way I could have done this online. You would think...All they would have to do is have online points tracking, and when you wanted to redeem points you could fill out an online form which would be sent electronically to Royal Caribbean.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Getting down on Friday

Eh, not really. Matt's at a LAN party or something else sufficiently nerdy, and I have to finish a draft of a class paper tonight. But I totally just finished nomming on some yummy clams - couple minutes in the steamer basket, a little melted butter, delish.

I had a lousy day on Wednesday. It wasn't even 11am and I was saying to Matt "I should really just go home, go back to bed, and try again tomorrow." The high points were ashtanga yoga and chili mac from Noodles. Oh, and we bought a mattress for the guest room. But in contrast, Thursday was awesome. Great weather, productive work day, bonus at work (woohoo!), blasting music in the car on the drive home, great yoga class.

I ran a few errands after work today - deposited some checks from refunds/rebates, got a little storage drawer for my K-cups (I wanted the drawer instead of the stands, because the Keurig sits on top of the drawer and it doesn't take up any extra counter space), went to the grocery store. I really think Bloom has a contract with a plastic bag manufacturer or something (I forgot my reusable bags). I bought 17 items (and one doesn't count, because it was the huge bag of cat litter) and ended up with 11 bags. This is why I prefer to bag my own groceries...

I am hosting my first Holiday dinner next Sunday for Easter! Menu: ham, kielbasa, pierogies, lokshyna (noodle pudding with bacon), mizeria (cucumbers in sour cream), roasted asparagus, hard boiled eggs, kremowka (cream cake). Getting the first three from the Kielbasa Factory in Rockville, and making everything else!

Saturday, April 09, 2011

MOAR FOOD

We basically did nothing but sleep and eat today. I woke up about 10; Matt slept until about 11. Once we all got dressed, we drove to Boston to eat at a place called Lucia's, which Jason's brother had recommended to me. It was petty good Italian food! We got bruchetta and fried mozzarella with prosciutto as appetizers. M got chicken parmesan and I got gnocchi with pesto. After lunch we walked over to Mike's for pastries. There was a huge line but it moved pretty quickly! I got a chocolate chip cannoli and Matt got a cookie. We walked around Boston for a while and then headed back to Plymouth, where I promptly fell asleep for about 45 minutes. I convinced Matt and Phil that we needed to go to the Cabby Shack for dinner around 8. We all had the chowder and I had another lobster roll. Hope my dress fits tomorrow, haha :-)

Plymouth Rock and maybe a few other things around downtown tomorrow, and then the wedding and even moar food...

Friday, April 08, 2011

Chowdah and Lobstah

Neither M nor I slept very well last night - I woke up at 2am because it was too hot (and when I'm too hot, it's REALLY hot). I woke up about 2 hours later with heartburn (and of course I had no dairy, no tums, no zantac). It must have been something we had at dinner last night because M said he was feeling it too and had taken an extra prevacid. I was up for about 90 minutes (hence my 5am blog post below). We got up at 7am to get to BWI around 8, grabbed some breakfast and hopped our flight to Logan.

JiMaPh are lazy bums, and didn't schedule their flight until 11 - we had landed at Logan before they even took off, so we had to wait until 12:30 for them to get there. We got our rental cars and headed over to Friendly's to get lunch. The guys went out to play paintball and I just hung out at our room and watched TV.

Speaking of TV, I had seen an episode of 'The Best Thing I Ever Ate' that talked about the clam chowder at a place called The Cabby Shack. It turned out that it was less than a mile from the place we're staying so I had put it on my to-do list. I got takeout 'chowdah' and a lobster roll; both were FANTASTIC. Came back to the room (the guys went out to Outback; I think I got the better deal there!) and have been watching TV and checking the WaPo and Politico websites to see if they're actually going to shut the government down or not. I don't think I can stay up for another hour though...

Policy Riders

Someone posted a link to the list of policy riders in HR1, the current budget bill that is still being debated and may result in a government shutdown in less than 24 hours if not resolved.

Let's look at some of the highlights, shall we?

Sec. 4008 - Prohibits the EPA from regulating mercury content in concrete.
Sec. 4015 - Defines greenhouse gases.
Sec. 4033 - Prohibits EPA funding for Chesapeake Bay watershed load enforcement.
Sec. 4035 - Prohibits EPA enforcement of federal water quality standards in Florida.
Sec. 4039 - Prohibits EPA, Corps of Engineers, and the Office of Surface Mining from coordinating on issuing coal permits.
Sec. 1590 - Prohibits DC from using its own, non-federal funds, for abortion services.
Sec. 4013 - Prohibits funds to Planned Parenthood.
Sec. 4017 - Prohibits funding of any measure of the Health Care Reform Act.
Sec. 1112 - Prohibits transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay.
Sec. 4030 - Prohibits BATF from collecting information on multiple rifle/shotgun sales to the same person.
Sec. 2237 - Prohibits HUD funding for rental assistance to the elderly.
Sec. 4006 - Blocks the FCC from implementing Net Neutrality.
Sec. 1802 - Prohibits funding new Job Corp centers.
Sec. 1284 - Prohibits funding for fresh fruits and vegetables in the school lunch program.

So glad my paycheck and that of over a million other people are at risk over Republican ideology.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

One Percent

Virtually all U.S. senators, and most of the representatives in the House, are members of the top 1 percent when they arrive, are kept in office by money from the top 1 percent, and know that if they serve the top 1 percent well they will be rewarded by the top 1 percent when they leave office.

Of the 1%, By the 1%, For the 1%

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

JUICE FOR JESUS

E-mail conversation today:

Me (C): Oh, that reminds me - I pass by a church right as I'm taking the exit to stay on 15 up here, that has one of those message boards in front. Yesterday I noticed that the message was "The only way to live above sin is to rent an apartment over a bar." Which is a total logic fail....because that means everyone is living "under sin" so therefore we can live "above sin" simply by being on the second floor or higher of any building...
Matt: Yeah, it's a stupid joke.
C: HURR DURR ALCOHOL IS BAD. JUICE FOR JESUS.
M: Further logic fail in that Jesus himself drank alcohol.
C: IT DOESNT SAY WHAT WAS IN JESUS'S CUP. JUICE FOR JESUS. HURR DURR.
M: You're silly. :-)
C: Awww, I had one more. You were supposed to say "He turned water into wine." And then I was supposed to say HE DIDNT DRINK ANY OF IT HURRDY DURR. JUICE FOR JESUS.
M: Hahaha I love you.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Spring weekend!

M and I went to Let's Dish in Ashburn Saturday morning (I like when we go together!) We made four dishes, and I also got two free sides, free cookies and free scones with the deal I had signed up with. Got some lunch at Fuddruckers (we had tried to go once in Gaithersburg but it has apparently closed) and then headed down to KG for mom's birthday. We went to dinner at a seafood place in Tappahannock called Lowery's. We had to wait out a hail storm to leave though! Drove home and then watched 'Salt' - it was okay, I guess.

Sunday, my clock happened to set itself an hour forward? I think it might have reset itself to the old daylight savings time settings, since it was actually unplugged on new daylight savings time. I set the alarm for 9:30am and then had hit snooze twice and then got up. When I was coming out of the bathroom, Matt said "I thought you set the alarm for 9:30?" I said "Yeah, and then I hit snooze twice." He said "It's 8:53..." I had to check my phone to make sure he wasn't pulling my leg, but I did get to go back to bed for a while!

We went over to the condo in the early afternoon to clean the windows and get all the paperwork done to put it on the market. It should officially list on Friday! I hope it sells quickly. Afterwards, I came back to go to yoga classes, and Matt went to BB&B to buy me a Keruig (yay!) on the way to the gym. We went to dinner with Mike, Tina, Jeff and Amber at Fireworks Pizza - I had a house salad, a 'create your own' pizza with prosciutto, mushrooms and spinach, and got chocolate chip cannolis to go :-)

I registered my Keurig online and got a code for 'buy two K-cup packs, get two free' plus 10% off plus free shipping. Got two each of two different flavored variety packs (total of 88 K-cups!) for less than $28, woohoo!

Short work week this week, and then off to Boston for Steve's wedding!