Sunday, December 05, 2010


On Incubus:

They're a pretty good band. They did this album with a lot of different styles, even some jazzy stuff. But it wasn't actually jazz, so it wasn't like . . . [insert retching sounds here].

On his sartorial choices in the evening:

Why . . . am I not wearing pants?

On Facebook:

Jube: I really should de-friend this guy.

Gem: Why, who is he?

Jube: Oh, my oldest friend.

Gem: What?

Jube: Well, he's really stupid! The only reason we were friends is because we met when we were two, and I couldn't tell how stupid he was.

On Glee:

Jube: [While I am watching Glee, during a musical number]: Is this Glee?

Gem: Uhh, yes. Isn't it kind of obvious?

Jube: No! It's in a school! That's all there is on TV - schools and hospitals. How am I supposed to tell the difference?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


I am taking a French linguistics course this semester and I am learning all sort of phonological words and descriptions. It doesn't seem like this is very practical or even applicable to my daily routine, but as I was writing a work e-mail this morning, I made a typo and wrote, "convusing." The little red spell-check underline popped up, and I looked more closely at the word. But wait a minute, I thought, that's not a spelling error - that's a natural linguistic evolution: la sonorisation!

So I was right on one count: the class is NOT practical. But I was wrong on the other: apparently it is quite applicable to my daily routine.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


It's been months since I've posted here. I've got all of the same excuses: I've been busy - went to Las Vegas and le parisien's wedding, bought an apartment, started a new master's program... But that won't cut it, and I know it. I mean, I could have been updating about these changes as they happened and I wouldn't write a stupid "catch up" post.

I also feel guilty because of something that happened just a few minutes ago. You see, I have this set of cheese plates that I absolutely love. They came in a box that looks like a huge camembert cheese, and there are vintage cheese labels on each of the plates. (They look kind of like this.) And during the move, Jube broke my favorite plate.

I didn't even get upset - I've broken plenty of things in my time, and one clearance cheese plate isn't worth the trouble. But I did regret it.

Tonight I served myself a brownie on one of the remaining cheese plates, and I thought back nostalgically on my favorite plate. I found myself looking down at the cheese plate I had, thinking, "If only it had been you who had been broken!"

Poor little cheese plate.

Friday, July 02, 2010


Last weekend, my mom and I went to Guatemala. I have to admit that I've never really been tempted to go to Central or South America - I've always dreamed of Europe and Asia. But when one of my old friends went to Peru and my good friend Catherine sent me information about an extremely reasonably priced package to Guatemala, I called my mom and we booked the trip.

I am so glad that I did! Guatemala exceeded all of my expectations (though I admit I wasn't expecting much). First of all, I left hot and muggy Washington, DC for the "land of eternal spring" - the weather was in the 70s the whole time. Wonderful. Second, the food was great and cheap! I ate tasty steak, black beans, fresh cheese, guacamole, smooth coffee, and more. Finally, I visited cities, villages, and Mayan ruins: the perfect combination. I was able to take my mind off of everything else that was stressing me out for an entire 4 days!

We started of in Guatemala City, but the next morning we were off to Antigua Guatemala.

Here, you can see a stone fountain used for laundry. It is free. There are several of them throughout the city in front of different churches. They attracted Mayan women, and then the missionaries took the chance to try to convert them. (It didn't work very well, although the fountains are still in use today.)

After Antigua, we went to Chichicastenango.

This is the cemetery. It was painted in bright, beautiful colors, and was on a hill across from the main town.

These children dressed up and did the dance of the conquista for us. They weren't especially good, but they were cute!

The day after Chichicastenango, we went to Copan in Honduras. Although Tikal is the largest and most impressive Mayan city in Guatemala, we didn't want to take a flight (and we didn't want to spend the money, either!). Instead, we took a 10-hour round-trip bus ride to Honduras. Copan was amazing!

We saw wild macaws and all sorts of other birds in the jungle. This was the hottest we'd been on the trip, since we weren't in the mountains any longer. It was truly awe inspiring to see such old, beautiful, and well-preserved ruins!

This is Gallo beer. We all fell head over heels for the light, crisp taste of "the best beer of Guatemala." We liked it so much, in fact, that our Copan driver called us "the Gallo girls" on the way home.

We had such a great time that we were already planning our next trip! Maybe Cancun and Tikal? Maybe Peru and Machu Picchu? Who knows?!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Roland Garros

About a month ago, Jube and I visited his family in France. We took the opportunity to do one of the things I've wanted to do since spending the last week of May with his father in 2003: attend Roland Garros in person!

We saw lots of doubles - women's, men's, and mixed. The most fun was watching men's doubles with a French team against a Spanish team. Unfortunately the French men were quite outclassed - one of the Spanish members was Nicolas Almagro, who ended up in the quarter final against Rafael Nadal, this year's (and most other years') winner.

We also watched a team with this Polish player, Agnieska Radwanska. She missed a shot and shouted at the sky at one point. Beau-papa, whose mother was Polish, told us that she was saying "oh la raquette!" Later we found out that he had absolutely no idea what she was saying.

I loved our short visit, and we all decided we wanted to go back again.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

To Buy Or Not To Buy . . .

Jube and I have recently visited some houses in our area. We are currently renting a house for a very reasonable rate (from a family member), so we've been able to save up some money. (You might remember we bought a car in November; we've also bought tickets for France, Guatemala, and Las Vegas this summer, and we've still been able to put money in our savings account, if that tells you how little we've been paying in rent.) Then recently, I noticed a nice house for sale in our neighborhood. The real estate market has been very bad in the US for home owners... but that makes it a "buyer's market," right? And interest rates are super low, right?

So, yes, we've visited houses and gotten pre-qualified for mortgages. And then when we consider the monthly charges and a 30-year loan, we both get scared. Neither of us are sure about buying a house, but we almost feel obligated to look. We both wish we knew more about the whole process!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

2009 Mememe

Since I did such a bad job of keeping this updated throughout 2009, I figure I'll answer all those burning questions you have. Here's a meme to cut down on the work. If you leave a question in the comments, I'll get to it. I'm sure you've got a desire to know something about me...

Anyway, to business:

1. What did you do in 2009 that you've never done before?
Completed a full 12-month year at a job.

2. Did anyone close to you give birth?

3. Did anyone close to you die?

4. What countries did you visit?
I didn't visit any foreign countries, but I have some trips planned for 2010!

5. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
I can't think of anything I want right now - everything is great chez Gem et Jube! Maybe a pair of boots? A new stamp in the passport?

6. What were the highlights of 2009?
Jube's family came to visit during the summer and we went to New York City. Also I bought tickets to see Muse. Also my friend Lorene got engaged!

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Planning some major events at work and having them come off pretty perfectly!

8. What was your biggest failure?
I don't feel like I failed at anything unless you count messing up a new recipe or something...

9. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Only a cold or two. Some bruises.

10. What was the best thing you bought?
A new car! I love my little Hyundai!

11. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I'm not sure what to say. Le Pacha's? He got a great new job. Hooray! And Jube got a new job, too. Yippee!

12. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
I was only depressed while reading books that made me think about people dying. So I guess some authors' behavior... Thanks a lot Connie Willis and Ken Follet! Appalled? Basically every decision made by US Customs and Immigration Services officials appalled me.

13. Where did most of your money go?
On boring stuff mostly - I guess on food, rent, gas. Normal things, right?

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
To Say Nothing of the Dog and a possible visit to Spain in 2010!

15. What song(s) will always remind you of 2009?
No song comes to mind. I guess "Bad Romance"?

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
No difference. Still basically happy with my life!

ii. thinner or fatter?
About the same, even though I started going to the pool twice a week! (Now that I write it out, it doesn't sound like that much. Maybe I should add another night?)

iii. richer or poorer?
Personally: the same. The household: richer. Yay!

17. What do you wish you'd done more of?
More of the pool! Also housecleaning more consistently.

18. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Reading trashy novels (heh, not really!).

19. What was the hardest thing you did this year?
Remember those two big events I planned for work? That. Really hard. Also hard: keeping the house clean. It didn't work very well.

20. What was the best thing you did this year?
Not freaking out about anything (at least not too much!).

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
I stayed in love!

22. How many one night stands?
Oh man, who's reading this site? OK, I'll tell you: about 15. But you have to keep it a secret!

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Jube and I both enjoy The Office, but the Fall 2009 season of Survivor was really great! We love you, Russell!

24. What was the best book you read?
I liked Lavinia, Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, and The Pillars of the Earth. The best was probably Lavinia. I'm warning you: three of the four made me cry.

25. What were your greatest musical discoveries?
Lady GaGa. Haha, no, probably Frou Frou and Universal Hall Pass.

26. What did you want and get?
A new car! If you will it, it is no dream.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?
I liked District 9 and Good Hair.

28. What did you do on your birthday and how old did you turn?
I turned 27! I went out to an Indian restaurant with my mom, brother + girlfriend, and Jube. Then we ate a humongous Whole Foods cake. Jube bought me a laptop!

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A shorter commute. Until I got my car in November, I took an hour/hour and a half bus ride. It really eats into your day!

30. What kept you sane?
Mon Jube! Also instant Indian food and frozen pierogies. I can't say enough about good, easy-to-make food. Oh, and did I mention my officemate Em? She's the greatest!

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept for 2009?
Always remember to put on your jewelry before you leave the house. No Chanel crap about taking a piece off!

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
Healthcare. I find myself yelling at the radio on the way home. Probably raises my blood pressure.

33. Who did you miss?
BB! For the first time in years he didn't come to visit! I guess he has better things to do, that sucker.

34. Who was the best new person you met?
My friend Lorene's fiance Jay. Thank you, Jay, for bringing her to Washington!

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
Oh lord I think I'm going to vomit. Life lesson? Oh wait, I've got one! Always remember to check that you're in your own Amazon account before you buy .mp3 albums! This is an important one for a long and successful marriage.