happy merry


 the holidays are almost over and we've been doing lots of fun things like the chinatown christmas markets, christmas concerts at the cathedral and strathmore, some karaoke, and work holiday parties.

but the girls know what the holidays are really about - sister snuggle time and food.

my metro caroler is in the news!


remember the metro caroler i posted about a few weeks back?  i've seen him a couple of times since then and keep thinking he must really get around.

well today he's in the post! and has apparently been doing this since 1998.  outside of the holiday season, he preaches at union station and around the white house.  i think he's so cute.  there's even another video of him singing.

people heckle him and steal his song books... he's got some serious dedication!  glad i live on the orange line :)



well it's already been an entire week since eric earned his phd with unanimous distinction.  his whole family has come, partied, celebrated for days, and gone back to colorado.

hard to believe it was only last friday morning, while everyone was still asleep, that we sat in traffic on key bridge in a misty grey cloud talking about the flag that flies on the bridge only having 15 stars.  i dropped eric off, and defense day began.

...and it ended when whitlow's kicked everyone out at closing time.  we partied with great friends and family all day and into the wee hours of the morning and somehow still had energy to just walk the half hour home.

there are many pics, but i chose to share these :)
the future dr. wallen

dr. stanton

dr. williams
dr. patterson

everyone is so proud!

the nation's gallery


while my dad was in town for thanksgiving, we visited my favorite museum in dc: the national gallery.

it's really cool to live in a place that you can just keep going back to a museum and visit the same old paintings.  for free.  it feels like you own them and get to have some intimate relationship with them that other people don't have.

i've gotten into the smaller details of paintings lately, so i took some close ups of ones that i particularly love. it's almost as if you're seeing a whole new painting by zooming in.  kind of cool.
national gallery of art
not paintings, but too pretty not to post:
love this one so much:
the lichtenstein exhibit will be there through jan. 13.  this is a funny one.
national gallery of art

Defense Day


Today is THE day.  Eric started it off right with love from the girls, a good breakfast, and surrounded by family.

Wish him luck!!

He's off!

a monkey on a plane


so i posted last week about capuchins being so smart that they are sometimes used as service animals, and it reminded me of one of the best stories i have ever heard in my life.

i was a flight attendant for a year with continental airlines.  you're on trips with different crews every few days, so you're basically making new friends and going out with new people 2 or 3 times a week on layovers.  one night while having beers with a crew on a layover in tampa, we started the game of sharing in-flight horror stories.  first of all, it's important to know that crazy sh*t happens in the air.  i don't know why.  i have no idea what comes over people, but sharing crazy work stories rises to a whole new level (no pun intended) when you work on a plane.  of all of the crazy things i ever heard about or experienced myself, this one is the best. enjoy!

it's the FO's (first officer's) turn to tell a story.  he hasn't been flying mainline long and was working for continental express the year before.  they start boarding for the short flight, and a woman who had no arms comes walking onto the plane with her service monkey leashed to her belt; the monkey is wearing a diaper.  not really taken aback (like i said, you see everything on a plane), he notices that the monkey does everything for her.  he buckles her seatbelt, then buckles his own, and then folds his hands in his lap.  the FA (flight attendant) brings her a beverage, the monkey takes it from her, helps the woman drink it, and gives it back to the FA.  again, he sits back down with his hands in his lap.  the FO is very impressed.  what a perfect service animal.

the FA is not so impressed, and seems a little weirded out.  it's a small plane with one aisle, 2 seats on one side, 1 seat on the other, and only one attendant working the plane.

they take off, and around 5000 feet (before you can use electronics) the FO (who is captain at the time) starts to hear screaming and loud noises.  he calls back to check on the cabin and the flight attendant hysterically picks up the phone.

"is everything ok back there?"
"no! everything's not ok! it's the monkey! the monkey's gone crazy!!"
"well what do you want me to do?"
"land the plane! the monkey's gone crazy!"

landing a plane that has just taken off is a big deal.  it's expensive and with this monkey incident added on there would be a lot of explaining and paperwork.  still, judging from the FA's freak-out combined with the sounds he was hearing, he did go back and land the plane.

when he opened the door and came out of the flight deck, he said he saw the same monkey sitting perfectly in his seat with his hands folded in his lap, except he was covered in blue liquid, pieces of toilet paper, and had a wild look in his eyes.  the toilet seat was lying in the middle of the aisle, toilet paper was strewn all over the cabin, and the flight attendant looked ready to quit.

airport personnel met the plane and escorted the monkey and his owner off the plane.  it was then that the pilot learned that the poor monkey has experienced pain in his ears as the plane gained altitude.  he didn't know what to do, so he freaked! according to the attendant, he started running up and down the aisle, jumping and climbing over seats and people, and then went into the bathroom on a rampage destroying the toilet paper, throwing anything he could find, and finally ripping off the toilet seat and throwing it out into the cabin.  poor thing!

why oh why couldn't i be on this flight?  i had drug mules, heart attacks, birds flying into the engine, but never a crazed monkey.  can you imagine?!

what's the craziest airline story you've ever heard or experienced?  i challenge anyone to beat this!!

George Washington is alive?!


While driving around today we heard a radio ad for the Washington Ballet's upcoming performance of the Nutcracker... starring George Washington himself, as the nutcracker!

We are so excited!  Not only has science found a way to bring the dead back to life, our 1st president is alive and well and dancing to Tchaikovsky!

From their website:
"Septime Webre’s critically acclaimedThe Nutcracker transports us back in time to historic Washington, DC and stars George Washington as the heroic Nutcracker."

Wait a minute... we heard wrong.  GW is not being brought back to life. WE ARE GOING TO TIME TRAVEL.  tickets here.

photo credit

o christmas tree


the tree is up! and it's beautiful :)

i may have been inspired by mr. noel.  either way, christmas is here!  eric and i made some hot apple cider and blasted christmas songs while we decorated the tree and apartment and danced with the girls.

it didn't start out as a pine cone tree when i bought it a couple of years back, but has somehow become that.  between my love of pine cones and all of the banksia that we brought back from australia and turned into ornaments last christmas, the tree is covered in them.  good thing eric loves them, too.



i saw this video on jezebel the other day and thought i'd repost it.  i wish i could throw cucumbers at people all the time.  it's so frustrating when things aren't fair!  capuchins get it.

fun facts: capuchins are new world monkeys that live in central and south america.  they are named after a group of italian friars (because they look like them). considered the most intelligent of all new world monkeys, they are often used in research labs, in movies, and as service animals.

p.s. you know i gotta include their tool-use abilities :)
The tufted capuchin is especially noted for its long-term tool usage, one of the few examples of primate tool use other than by apes. Upon seeing macaws eating palm nuts, cracking them open with their beaks, these capuchins will select a few of the ripest fruits, nip off the tip of the fruit and drink down the juice, then seemingly discard the rest of the fruit with the nut inside. When these discarded fruits have hardened and become slightly brittle, the capuchins will gather them up again and take them to a large flat boulder where they have previously gathered a few river stones from up to a mile away. They will then use these stones, some of them weighing as much as the monkeys, to crack open the fruit to get to the nut inside. Young capuchins will watch this process to learn from the older, more experienced adults. It may take a capuchin up to 8 years to master this skill.

using a stone to crack a nut

no yell


i was on the metro on the way to work this morning and something great happened.  while on one hand it's very sweet, on the other, this guy is hilarious.  he walked onto the train, the doors closed, and he yelled out "attention please!" then started singing.

so many things.  his accent.  his cross pin with the american flag on it.  his interpretation of the lyrics.  no one even looks at him. the poor guy next to me was probably thinking "i'm already blind, are you going to make me go deaf, too?"

his timing was perfect though.  he finished his song as the doors opened at the next stop!

i tend to have a mixed bag of feelings about living in this city.  this is one thing i love about it... there's never a dull moment.

and i have to admit, i've had that song stuck in my head all day! touche, sir. touche.

Commuter Carol from Katie Gill on Vimeo.

turkey day traditions


this year was our 3rd annual thanksgiving spent with our friends aaron and rebecca, so it's safe to say that traditions have started, the first of which is the food.  eric made his bread, i made my buttermilk pie, a&r made an incredible meal, and we all stuffed ourselves like the turkey on the table. 

my dad is in town for the holiday weekend, and after the 5 of us ate too much, he and eric (and belle) passed out in a turkey induced coma.  rebecca and i then commenced thanksgiving tradition #2: the puzzle! it was way too hard... only 750 pieces next year.  but the time it took to finish this thing let us also accomplish the last important tradition: watching the cowboys and texas lose at football :)

blue walls


i got a wild hair to get a new rug and paint the living room.  here are some before and after pics.

before - green rug, white walls:

after - jute rug, blue walls: can you see the ghost dogs moving on the rug?

the girls seem to like the new rug that was on sale at west elm.

here's a picture mid painting.  the blue is called "craggy cliff".  i would not recommend painting and drinking.  a few touch ups had to be done the next morning :)

before - green curtains:

after - white curtains:

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