Tag Archive | reading

Mini Monday: A Room with a View


We spent a long weekend at a friend’s cabin in Deep Creek, Maryland, where we were able to hike, read, nap and spend lots of time in the company of friends. Now it’s back to the city and back to work we go…


It’s Raining, It’s Pouring!


As a child, I always disliked rainy days — mainly because you couldn’t go outside at recess — for some mysterious reason getting rained on was pretty much the worst thing that could happen (seeing as it is only water, I have no idea why).

But now that I work from home (i.e. I can just hide inside when it’s raining), I enjoy rainy days. It is better in the fall/winter when I can curl up with some tea, re-read Harry Potter for the umpteenth time (don’t judge me) and listen to sound of the rain hitting the roof. However I have a new found appreciation for summer rain — something we never had in California — because it makes my garden so happy. It doesn’t hurt that it makes my water bill happy, too!

Of course, there are times when I cannot avoid emerging from my cave and wandering in the rain. I realized as I was listening to it fall this morning that we have had some (very) rainy adventures the past few years in Paris, Bergen, Ephesus, Rhodes and throughout Iceland. While a sunny day in the 70s would always be preferable for exploring a new destination, if I’ve got to be out and about in the rain I’d rather do it somewhere other than DC! Plus on a trip, rain is an excellent excuse to hide out in a flower-covered gazebo for a bit or grab a drink at a cafe and watch the world go by.

Mini Monday: 15 Hours at Atatürk

Please enjoy this guest post from my beloved (and crazy) husband.

In order to spend an extra hour with my wife after she checked in, Istanbul_airportI decided I would just bum around the airport until my flight departed at 3 am. Here’s my record of what I did for 15 hours and 49 minutes at the Istanbul Atatürk Airport.

11:28 am Arrived at Istanbul Atatürk Airport

11:28-11:37 Tried to check-in and check luggage for my 3:05 am flight and found out I couldn’t check any bags until 10 pm at the earliest, but I could get a boarding card and accompany A to her gate

11:37-11:46 Cleared security and passport control

11:46-12:26 pm Sat with A just outside the additional security at her gate

12:26-12:32 Watched A go through additional security at her gate

12:32-12:38 Played cards (war) with A through the glass wall at her gate

12:38-12:42 Watched A board her flight

12:42-1:48 Perused the Duty Free: sampled 11 types of Turkish Delight and 2 types of Baklava

1:48-2:14 Surveyed the food and beverage options: was not impressed by Popeye’s or Sbarra or Burger King, but did identify cheapest vendor selling bottled water

2:14-2:22 Realized I didn’t need to lug my duffle around because they had little carts and found one

2:22-4:18 Found Gate 213 empty and napped with shoes off (to keep others away), watched a flight take off for London

4:18-5:36 Visited book store: read chapters from Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Game of Groans (a parody); and Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence standing up; tried to find a Turkish Cuisine Cookbook in English (they had Spanish, Russion, Italian, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Arabic, no English—though they had plenty of Western cookbooks in English…), read the recipe for ezme (our favorite Turkish meze) in French and think I get the general gist

5:36-6:01 Bought and consumed an Ayran (yogurt drink) and bottle of water

6:01-6:29 Checked various email accounts and confirmed my ride in Kabul

6:29-7:48 Went back to Gate 213 and read some Sherlock on my Kindle and watched a flight take off for Dubai

7:48-7:59 Read about the curative powers of apricots and the “miracle” hazelnut while snacking on them and watching the sunset

7:59-8:13 Walked from one end of the international terminal to the other in 765 paces and saw a large group of Muslim pilgrims heading to Jeddah all dressed in white

8:13-8:28 Walked it a second time in 768 paces

8:28-10:02 Bought a simit (sesame roll) and another bottle of water and did a little people-watching by the “bar scene”

10:02-10:37 Found a quiet place with no one around and listened to Adele because that’s what A was listening to last

10:37-10:44 Cleaning staff decide to have an argument three feet from me when there was no one around

10:44-11:09 Listened to Flight of the Concords because we had been discussing the “Rhymnocerous” song earlier and realized there was a pedometer on my iPod

11:09-11:54 Walked 1,704 steps according to my iPod, noticed my flight finally made it onto the departure boards (bottom of the third screen at 11:06)

11:54-11:56 Texted A “H is for…” after realizing there were exactly the same number of days to our anniversary as letters in “Happy Anniversary”

11:56-12:17 am Bought second simit, which was much chewier than the first

12:17-1:03 Settled down back at Gate 213 played logic puzzles on my kindle, watch a flight depart for Ercan (the Turkish part of Cyprus)

1:03-1:07 Checked the boards and found there was still no gate assignment with 2 hours to go until departure

1:07-1:11 Ironically noted my flight was leaving from Gate 213

1:11-1:12 Receive text from A that she had landed in the U.S.

1:12-1:20 Return to Gate 213 to find it the most crowded it had been all day/night

1:20-1:39 Wondered how long it will take A to clear passport control and customs

1:39-1:44 Called A and found out she already had cleared passport control and customs and met our friends who were picking her up

1:44-2:38 Read more Sherlock and glanced repeatedly at the deserted counter because we were supposed to board at 2:05

2:38-2:52 Boarded plane

3:17 am Departed Istanbul Atatürk Airport after 15 hours and 49 minutes

If you are wondering, 15 hours of loitering was totally worth the extra time with my honey muffin.

Mini-Monday: All Around the World

I love that WordPress stats has the ability to show me all of the places around the world that people have read my blog. Recently I discovered it also has the power to summarize views from the past 9ish months and while the majority of readers come from the United States, I wonder what drove someone in Kazakhstan or Moldova (which, I admit, I had to Google to find out where it is) to check out The Housewife Challenge?

But whatever brought you to the site, dear reader, I want to thank you for visiting, commenting and sharing in this digital adventure with me!

Mini-Monday: All Around the World

Conscience of the Community

I can’t think of a better way to start a week than jury duty — who’s with me? No one? Okay, but in a way I was glad to be serving jury duty this week. Don’t get me wrong, I totally grumbled about having to get up and out of the house super early for my 8 am reporting time on Monday. And the idea of sitting in the courtroom without being able to work for a day or more was totally freaking me out.

I get that no one is excited about jury duty, but when you are a freelancer, jury duty can really have an impact on your life. Not being able to work can mean not making money. Thankfully, the way my project schedule currently is, I was grateful to be summoned for jury duty this week during a relatively quiet period before my crazy summer work storm.

When I had jury duty 2 years ago, I worked full time for a theater and actually enjoyed having a day to myself to sit and read. I had a 10:30 am call time, so I walked downtown from our apartment, was excused from a trial selection process after an hour or so of sitting in a courtroom, went to lunch with my husband, came back to the juror’s lounge for a few hours and then was sent home. At 2:30 pm. And being a full-time employee at a company meant I got paid for the day.

This time around I did not expect to have the same kind of luck. In fact, without a salary to rely on, I was pretty sure I would find myself on a 25 day case that last from 8 am until 5:30 pm every day. Or be a case like that terrible Pauly Shore movie where they jury is actually confined from real life for the entirety of the trial. Am I a pessimist? Well, clearly the answer to that is yes. Fortunately it didn’t end up being nearly as bad as it could have been.


I arrived at the courthouse at 7:35 am on Monday. After checking in, I snagged a chair in the back of the lounge by an outlet and got to work. By 10 am, I was in a courtroom and I was assigned to a case. Thankfully, it didn’t look like it would last 25 days. In fact the judge thought it would be between a day and a day and a half. The worst part of the morning was listening to the plaintiff’s lawyer. He was dreadful and clearly nervous. He repeatedly referred to the jury as the “conscience of the community” and used a terrible analogy in his opening statement that the trial was like a book. I found myself having to actively separate my irritation with him from my feelings about the plaintiff’s case.

We were sent to lunch at 12:15 pm and told to return at 2 pm, but when we got back we were informed that the judge had left for the day due to an emergency. So off I went looking for a place I could get some work done for a few hours before jazzercise. At least it was a lovely day, so I walked back up to Capitol Hill and got some projects out of the way.


Yesterday I reported at 10:30 am. Despite the delay on Monday, we were able to conclude the trial by about 3:45 in the afternoon. It was a civil trial and when the jury was sent to deliberate, my fellow jurors and I agreed on our four questions in about 15 minutes. We all felt that the case as a whole was a waste of our time and the court’s time, which irritated us. The “conscience of the community” spoke and while I doubt that the plaintiff’s lawyer was happy with our decision, I was glad that the eight of us had managed to agree and move forward quickly so we didn’t have to report for a third day simply to continue deliberations.

Now my civil duty has been served and I can plan to be called again in the spring of 2013. At least I won’t have to worry about that particular interruption to my work schedule for awhile!

Following Up on the Pile Problem

When I arrived home on Thursday night after my exercise class and the party that followed (what, you don’t have parties with your exercise class?) it was about 9 pm. I expected to find my darling spouse on the couch reading, but instead I found him, still in work attire, crouched in the corner of the office going through boxes.

Despite insisting that I hadn’t posted Piles Galore to inspire him to clean that corner up, I was excited by the progress that had been made. The closet no longer looks like it is throwing up, which I very much enjoy. But he left a large box of garbage and a box of things for me to go through positioned so close to my desk and the door I think he’s trying to trap me in the office. When I questioned his motives on attempting to make it so I can’t stop working, his response was “That’s not a bad idea.”

Clearly I need to go through my box quickly and move the rest of the items to the garbage so that I am not stuck at my desk forever! Since my husband took the first step toward cleaning up the piles, I’d better follow suit — getting rid of the clothes that need to be donated is up next.

Aloha Hawaii, Hello DC

After nine days in paradise it’s hard to get excited about being home.  These days, DC is decidedly not paradise. It has been well over 90 degrees for the last few days and with extreme humidity. Have I mentioned that we don’t have air conditioning and my office is on the top floor? Let’s just say that returning to reality has been a seriously sweaty adjustment.

During our adventure on the Big Island of Hawaii, my husband and I did our best to take time to both relax and explore. I also did my best to do as little in the world of housewifery as possible. Despite a few very small loads of laundry and washing a handful of dishes, it was a blissful vacation away from both work and house projects.

We tried to have an adventure each day. One day that manifested into driving around the entire island (which didn’t take nearly as long as it sounds like it would) and taking in the volcano, waterfalls and numerous breathtaking views along the way. Since we were in Hawaii, we had to be touristy at least one day so we attended a luau (at which we learned luau is actually a type of food and someone mistook it for “party” years ago and it just stuck). Based on a couple recommendations, we chose the luau with the best-rated food and it also had an entertaining show. We both managed to avoid the poi as we had no room left on our plates to squeeze in the runny concoction, as it was filled with pork and salmon and salads and fresh fruit and sweet bread. We spent many a morning at white and black sand beaches and read by the pool most afternoons. The main attraction–and the impetus for the trip–was our friend’s wedding, which was a beautiful ceremony held outside under a gentle mist of rain and a bright streaming sun. We were able to visit with friends we don’t see often and catch up with others who we hadn’t seen in more than a decade.

We ate, we walked, we laughed. Did I mention we ate? Thanks to the newlyweds suggestions, we had no problem enjoying each meal we had out, as well as coffee, frozen yogurt and assorted other treats. Among the things we ate were fresh fish tacos, amazing pizza, kicky sushi, and fabulous pork sandwiches. We also had a lunch of “fried” — I had a monte cristo sandwich and my husband had fish ‘n’ chips. We both thought we might die after eating all that fried food, but it was certainly tasty! The only thing that I didn’t get was a drink with a tiny umbrella in it! Not even my giant Mai Tai Mojito came with one and for $10, I think the bartender should really have thrown a tiny umbrella on top!

But really, there is nothing to complain about. After looking forward to this trip for nearly a year, there was a lot of anticipation and expectations piled on, but our nine days away were an amazing opportunity to relax, reflect and reconnect.

We won’t be having any pig that has been roasted all day in the ground any time soon, instead it is time to get back to the usual routine — work, dishes, laundry, garden and jazzercise.  Although I miss being able to glance over at the beach, I know that even though it is err… “different,” life is pretty amazing in DC, too.