Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009 winners...

i know you all have been anxiously waiting to hear the winners from this year's christmas card contest. A contest where we rank our christmas cards in an act that goes against everything the season itself stands for.

*sigh* it may make us bad people, but we love your cards, so why not appreciate the best ones?

the winner is the card from the long family that featured them, their cute dog digory, and the chick-filla cow. nothing can ever beat chick-filla, so don't even try. we also appreciate the mere fact we received the card (but acknowledge that we have been warned not to get too excited because we wont get another one from them for awhile.)

the second place winner is a home made card from our neighbors across the way- so simple and cute but very well made.

third place is one of my former co-workers whose card features their new baby snuggled with their dogs, along with a poem from their dogs about how they are settling in to life with their new housemate. it also features some great photos of them trying to bottle feed the baby as the dogs try to help...

the winner in the category of e-cards is the mitchells whose list of vital statistics from their year made us laugh. we're already looking forward to next year's!

we'd also like to give a nod to ken cuccinelli's card (attorney general elect). although the front of the card featured the typical politician standing with his large, happy family photo the inside featured the art work of one of his kids, which i just think was a very nice touch and had to make the child so happy.

nice work 2009! it was a tough field this year and we appreciated everyone's entries. we look forward next year's submissions.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

banging my head slowly (a term usually reserved for work)

I have not edited any of this "conversation" although it is very similar to conversations I have with kindergarten students at work.

** ** **
Please wait for a Verizon Wireless sales representative to assist you with your order.
Thank you for your patience!A Verizon Wireless online pre-sales specialist has joined the chat.

You are now chatting with Nolan

Nolan: Hello. Thank you for visiting our chat service. May I help you with your order today?

You: I'm trying to figure out what phone to get next. I currently have a chocolate, which I hate.

You: So really, anything would be a step up from that.

Nolan: Are you an existing Verizon Wireless customer?

You: Yes, I am

Nolan: Are you logged into "My Verizon" with your username and password?

You: I would love to have visual voicemail, a phone with a good camera, and an easy to access speaker phone button for when I'm driving in dc.

You: Yes, I am logged in

Nolan: OKay now click my verizon then overview

You: Do you have any phones you can recommend that have those items? I know I'm up for my 'new in 2' but I don't want to be stuck with a phone like the chocolate again.

Nolan: Yes. Is there any discounted price listed?

You: ???? I don't have a phone picked out yet. I just want some recommendations

Nolan: Okay once you log in we can see whats available on your current plan

Nolan: I have not heard from you for a few moments. Would you like me to keep this chat session open for you?

You: I'm logged in- I have a $50 credit for any phone.

Nolan: Great! What is your new every two date?

You: 4/13/09

Nolan: Great! What is your mobile number?

You: I just want advice on a phone- I might not be ready to get it yet!!

You: I'm just looking.

Nolan: Thank you for visiting Verizon Wireless, I look forward to speaking with you again. Have a great day!

Your chat session has been ended by your Verizon Wireless online agent.

** ** **
Maybe I'm missing something. I just wanted advice. Why wouldn't he tell me the phone options I have?

Meanwhile, if anyone has any advice on a phone I'd love it- my priorities are: 1) Good, easy to use speaker phone so when I'm driving in DC I don't have to push a lot of buttons to communicate with Peter. 2) Camera (3.0 would be nice). 3) Visual voicemail

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

That's nice

Macy's emailed me to let me know that they got my payment. Wasn't that nice of them? No worrying that the check didn't arrive, no waiting until it clears the bank. Just a little thank you for paying the bill.

I think I'll pay this kindness forward. If Verizon ever send me the $37 refund they owe me from last June, the one I've talked to at least 16 customer service representatives about and spent more than two and half hours on three phone calls discussing, then I think I'll send them an email saying thank you as well. A little thank you for a job well done.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Lost Vineyards should stay that way

We always want to find nice, cheap wines. Sometimes, though, that quest leads only to sadness and disaster. Especially when Rachel Ray is involved.

A few weeks ago at Harris Teeter, there was a display of mediocre-looking wines listed at 3/$10. That's a steal! These were Trader Joe prices at the Teeter. The Lost Vineyards collection features wines from Portugal, Brazil, and Argentina. They're all blends - two reds and a white - and I think the thought behind it is that these growers took all their left-over grapes and blended them together to create these three.

The radical blending worried me, I think that Trader Joe's delicious wines follow a similar protocol for blending excess grapes from California, so that put me at ease a bit. Plus, there was a sign above the shoddily put-together display case showing how Rachel Ray endorsed them. Why would she lead us astray? After all, her reputation is on the line, right? She makes a living by telling people what's delicious. Clearly, this was delicious.

Rachel Ray was wrong, and so was I to believe her. The white has all the character of that creepy guy you don't want to sit next to on the bus. The one red I did open - the one from Argentina - was bad on day one, not awful on day two after a little air had hit it, and on day four had turned to vinegar and left me sprinting to the sink to spit it out.

Recommendation: do not buy Lost Vineyards, and don't believe anything Rachel Ray says.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

and the winner is...

we ranked our christmas cards. this sounds like it is against the christmas spirit, but in truth, if someone takes the time to put together a really creative card, well, they should be rewarded, right? at least get the recognition that hey, all that time you put in to picking out the right card, writing to everyone, addressing, stamping, licking the envelope made us smile. right? so here it is.

this year's winner, by far, is a card sent by a couple at our church. it has a picture of their new baby on it gazing at the camera with a wide-eyed but tired look and the writing below says, "silent night?" i giggle every time i see it. (it is also serving as a pretty good reminder for us to enjoy our time without children).

second place is from one of peter's former coworkers and is a letter to us from santa which informs us that it wasn't even close, we're on the bad list this year, better luck next time. it's from paperchase (so first place for store-bought card).

third place is another of peter's former coworkers and features her, her dog, and her niece and nephew spelling out 'ohio' with their bodies. it's just very well done and embodies the joy of the season even though it says 'ohio' and not some christmasy message.

the runner up is a runner up only because it was an email-card (otherwise it would totally be in the running) but gave a list of 'vital statistics' of the couple's life. it was extremely clever and meaningful and i totally stole the idea and made an in-house-christmas-card for my family.

thank you for all your submissions. we love them all, and if you didn't win, well, better luck next year.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Tree

Yesterday we put up our first real tree as a married couple (my first real tree ever). It's a happy little tree, a bit on the bush-looking side. Bush-like trees are a Lynn family tradition, though, so we're proud of it.

Here's a series of shots showing the evolution of our tree as it went up.

Pino didn't take too kindly to the tree when it first came in, slinking around as though it might attack her. She's come to accept it, though, and so far has been good about not swatting off the ornaments. Here's Pino sniffing around the new lights.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


A sunny if hot afternoon reading on the porch. Delightful.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

to love a library

i grew up in a small town with a fabulous library. with my mom raising twin boys and living just outside of town meant we didn't go much, but when we did i took out stacks and stacks of books (this is when i learned became occustomed to library fines. a path that will be my downfall in life). i knew every inch of that library. somewhere i still have my original library card, applied for on my 6th birthday, the age at which my library gave out cards. it has my 'signature' on it nice and big. (seriously, i would make librarians laugh in high school would i pulled out my card with 'annieb' written across it in a mixture of large lower case and capital letters.)

i went to college in a small town, with an incredible public library. i went there frequently with kids that i mentored, and soon knew that library well. i came to believe that all libraries, even those in small towns, are beautiful and fabulous.

at our old rented house we were walking distance from the library. it was glorious. (we were also walking distance to two metros, a large mall, and any ethnic restaurant you could possible want), but the library was the important thing.

so we moved to a house we own and instead of being a 5 minute walk from a library, we now have a 20 minute walk, or a 5 minute drive. ok, just one of those sad things you give up as a home owner. but this library had to be worth the 20 minute walk. from the outside it looked beautiful with huge windows. you can see the many computer stations from within, as well as the super-modern looking check-out stations. clearly the library had to be exceptional.

i went once this summer and was shocked. yes they had tons of computers, yes they had tons of shelves with dvds, modern movies no less, but someone forgot to tell them to order the books. peter told me that i must have missed a floor.

today i gave them a second chance and peter came along. no, i hadn't missed a floor. they forgot to order the books. i can't tell you how sad it is to wonder inside a beautiful library with so little books.

on the upside they spent lots of money on self-checkout systems so you don't have to deal with nosy librarians. no one gave me a lecture on my $7.59 fine ($8 means you can't check out any more books) left over from the other branch. you don't even have to scan the books individually. you just put them on an electric mat all at once.

pretty cool, but i'd rather have books.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fringe on Fox

J.J. Abrams told television critics the inspiration for Fringe came from a range of sources, including Michael Crichton, The X-Files, Altered States, and The Twilight Zone.

Michael Crichton and the X-Files? I feel like I must watch this show, particularly after it was referenced (albeit cryptically) on Marginal Revolution.

Last time I felt compelled to watch a new show - and it is usually one every season or two - was that show based in Georgia that went bad faster than milk in summer, so my track record isn't so good.

I do think I can get AB to watch it, though, because Pacey's in it.

Saturday, August 30, 2008


I'm sitting in the back of a car en route to the Minneapolis airport and I've just read some sad news - Hootie and the Blowfish have officially broken up. They just played their last show out in California and now my buddy Darius Rucker is going to make some country albums, the first of which is either out or coming out soon.

I'm not a big concert person but Hootie is one band I enjoyed seeing live. I've never actually paid for a show: twice I saw them play for free at Centinneal Park in Atlanta and, highlight of my life, Darius himself let me and some friends into a concert one evening when we happened to be loitering behind the Roxy in Buckhead.

Farewell good friends. And if you do get back together, I will wait.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Saturday, August 23, 2008

efo concert live at wolftrap!

in which ab learned that doing an irish jig in flipflops is difficult and not a good idea.
which is sad, because there really is no other way to dance to old dominion, but going barefoot on the sidewalk also seemed like a very bad idea.
mental note: next time wear cute mary janes made for dancing.

we were also introduced to the band great big sea, from canada. it was a glorious evening of folk music. i'm still kind of sad i didn't get a shirt that said, 'folkin' excellent'. peter was surprised by great big sea and how good they were. he gives them the gold medal over eddie from ohio, who did not seem to bring their a game. great big sea seemed to be playing their little hearts out, but efo seemed to be holding back. it was quite sad. i was ready to dance to all their fun songs, and their energy (that we know they have!) just wasn't there. maybe it was just a rough night.

in front of us was a huge family that obviously knew all the words to all the songs from both groups. they had two little boys who were just breaking it down to the music. then suddenly during a slow efo song i looked up and noticed that one man in the family was pressing a small jewlery box into a woman and he was whispering something to her while the family shot pics. yes, he just proposed. there is something about witnessing a proposal and the family happiness that is just magical. it was so sweet to watch.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lesson Learned

If using red pepper, wash your hands before you scratch your eye.
In other news, always know where your eye drops are.