Saturday, December 05, 2009

While watching a very odd Shakespeare production, something triggered this from deep in the recesses of my brain:

"Love goes toward love as school boys from their books; but love from love toward school with heavy looks."

Thanks, Mrs. Ballard. You were an awesome freshman English teacher.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's a sign

Last night, just as I was in the midst of pleasant sleeping around midnight, I heard a horrible squeal of brakes and sounds of metal crunching. A lot of metal crunching. Right outside my open window. Car alarms went off, lights went on, doors started opening...I fumbled around for my as yet unpacked glasses and headed to the window. Apparently someone* crashed into about 6 PARKED cars in front of our house. It was a total mess - cars were turned sideways and all smooshed into each other in the parking spaces, people were freaking out and calling the police...pretty much what you'd imagine. I had some trouble falling back to sleep what with the many flashing lights from cop cars and later, the spotlight from a fire truck so they could assess the damage.

Today, it struck me as a smidge funny that all those very nice cars (the closest one to my window was a newish Audi) got whacked while my crappy old Saturn, which I would happily have lost in the wreckage for a newer model, was entirely spared. I'm taking it as a sign from God that it's going to be around for a while longer.

*Okay, probably a drunk driver, but who gets wasted on a Monday night? I'm choosing to believe (for now) that it was someone who had an as yet unknown medical issue and was uninjured in the whole incident.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Breaking through my update drought...

to tell you that Anne and Mike are getting married tomorrow!

What to wear was a challenge, so I went with a black dress (gasp! so not etiquette appropriate, and I so don't care), funky tights, and, if I do say so myself, awesome gray shoes. Perhaps photos to follow should I get motivated enough.

This marks a return to attending weddings in actual Virginia proper...such a novelty to be able to drive to this one (or ride along in people's cars, as the case may be).

And then my favorite German ever is coming to DC in just a few short days. Can't wait for the weekend to begin!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yo yo yo

**Spoiler Alert! Photos of U2 concert included! If you want to remain surprised for your own show, look away!**

I went to the U2 concert last night. It rocked, as it should, given that they are the awesomest of Rock Stars.

Today, I am totally wiped out. And we're going to the Regina Spektor concert tonight (hellooooo coffee). Rather than attempt an explanation (I always sound like a swooning 13-year old in those despite my best efforts), I'm just going to post some pictures.

The Monster of a Set, in between the Muse and U2 sets.
From Drop Box

Our crew: Jean, Gina, Heather (hidden), and Sarah
From Drop Box

Smoke machines! Here we go...

From Drop Box

Yep, that's Bono in the spotlight and on the big screen.

From Drop Box

The screen is growing! Holy crap!

From Drop Box

"Sunday Bloody Sunday" (green in dedication to people of Iran)

From Drop Box

And then the lights and the music went nuts and we were overwhelmed by the AWESOMENESS that is (always) a U2 concert. Kick ass.

From Drop Box

The End.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My twenties, in summation

Graduated from college
Got a Master's degree
Went to London for a semester
Went to Paris for a summer
Went to Paris for a semester
Went to Bath for a summer
Got my first real job
Moved to Washington, DC
Visited Edinburgh, Rome, Florence, Pisa, Venice, Los Angeles, Monaco, New York, Lyons, Grenoble, Annecy, Valence, Cardiff, Dublin, Belfast, Berlin, Seattle, Las Vegas, Boston, Charleston and many, many others
Lived with Ebony for 3 years
Lived with Gina for 4 years
Drove a car from Texas to Virginia all by myself
Learned to drive in the snow (sort of)
Chopped off my long hair
Went to wedding after wedding in Texas
Was a bridesmaid twice (both times in red!)
Became an honorary aunt
Lived in at least 14 different houses/apartments (I shudder to think how many moves that was)
Learned to really speak French
Got my first credit card
Got my first loan
Signed my first lease
Taught myself to knit and crochet
Taught myself to cook (things other than cookies and pies and lemon squares, anyway)
Decided I like olives after all (the fancy ones, anyway)
Found a church and community to belong to without my family's help
Started a blog
Attended a Presidential inauguration
Met people representing approximately 70 countries

All in all, the 20's were great. Here's to the 30's: may they be just as wonderful!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Now THAT was a good weekend

This weekend was rather unusual in that I was both super productive and still felt like I got of good relaxing time. Things I did/enjoyed included:
  • Goodwill shopping hunt for a headboard (fail), but found three very nice clothing pieces instead. DC has great Goodwill shopping - apparently there are lots of rich people who like to donate unworn expensive clothing. Meanwhile, $5 silk J. Crew skirt for me!
  • Cleaned like there was no tomorrow - my room is almost uncluttered from all those little things that I can't quite figure out where they belong yet.
  • Made a framed art thingy to go over my bed. Originally was going to buy a print or something like that, but decided to try and figure out something with stuff I already had. Am pretty pleased with the result. Some of the postcards have fun stories (bought the two German ones at a museum in Bonn, Ebony sent me the New York one right before she started grad school) and others are less interesting (bought a set at the Barnes and Noble in Falls Church), but at any rate a few of them will be inspirational as places I need to get to.
  • Finally scraped the cracked and ugly college stickers off my car. Southwestern was missing like 4 letters, the longhorns were looking very was time.
  • Went on a 5.6 mile hike (according to the guide book) with Kandi out at Thornton Gap on Skyline drive. Today pretty much every part of my body is a little achy, but well worth it.

I also managed to get in many a viewing of Supernanny, as the Style channel was running a marathon, and I do get sucked into that show despite my childlessness. It's so cathartic.

So Happy Labor Day to you! Hope yours was also lovely and all things you wanted it to be.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Stay tuned!

House photos coming soon...still a decorating work in progress, but it will be clean since we're having some people over this weekend :). Promise they'll be up soon!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Facebook Song

Also, funniest thing ever (totally NSFW or not for those that have issues with the f word...):

(via Mighty Girl)

Another cheesy survey thing

Although I think this one is at least a bit clever:

Using only song titles from ONE BAND/ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Try not to repeat a song title.

My Life According to U2 and Coldplay (I couldn't pick!). A caveat: this is likely to interest you only if you know these songs, if at all. My apologies in advance :).

Are you a male or female: Sweetest Thing/Trouble
Describe yourself: Mysterious Ways/Green Eyes
How do you feel: Vertigo/God Put a Smile Upon Your Face
Describe where you currently live: City of Blinding Lights/In My Place
If you could go anywhere, where would you go? Where the Streets Have No Name (duh)/Cemeteries of London
Your favorite form of transportation: Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses?/High Speed
Your best friend(s): Magnificent/We Never Change
You and your best friends: I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight/See You Soon
What's the weather like: Window in the Skies/Shiver
Favorite time of day: Staring at the Sun/Daylight
If your life was a TV show, what would it be called?: I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For/Life in Technicolor
What life is to you: One Step Closer/Strawberry Swing
Your fear: Numb/Lost!
What is the best advice you have to give: Grace/Talk
Thought for the Day: Love and Peace or Else/Everything's Not Lost
How I would like to die: Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around the World/Swallowed in the Sea
My soul's present condition: Love Rescue Me/Reign of Love
My motto: Sometimes You Can't Make it on Your Own/What If

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Things I Am Looking Forward To

1. Harry Potter, tonight and again next week

2. A haircut

3. A week away from my job, starting Friday at 1-ish

4. Having our washer and dryer installed (by the time I'm home? Please oh please let it be so).

Not looking forward to:

1. Texas July heat.

2. Packing.

Great Story

A friend of mine was telling me the "how they met" story of a friend of his, and it's too great not to share.

His friend was out mowing his lawn one day, when a woman came by on a skateboard. Assuming he was the yard guy, she stopped and asked if he wouldn't mind mowing her lawn when he was finished with that one. He complied, and continued to do so every two weeks or so for a while. He charged her $11 a visit.

He also neglected to mention until much later that he is actually the public defender for the city in which they live, and as such, not a yard guy (at least professionally...). And now they are getting married.

Love it!

Sunday, July 05, 2009


For a vacation weekend, I have had a LOT going 'round these parts. All good things, but definitely don't feel like I got much of a break. And the funny thing was, I literally had one thing a day planned in advance. Activities were springing up like so many mushrooms after a good rain.

Started Friday off by sleeping in (yay!), then meeting Ashley and her boy for lunch (at Lost Dog). Super yum. Then Lyndsay and I headed to a $5 movie at the favorite movie dive that is conveniently within walking distance of my new place. We intended to see "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" - terrible idea, I know, but we were looking for girly fluff, and it was only $5... - but there was this weird mix-up with the movie getting delivered and so we ended up seeing "I Love You, Man" for free instead. So the girly cheap outing turned into an even cheaper dude movie, which I thought was totally appropriate for the two of us. Then Kandi called me and wanted to try a new recipe, and even offered to come and make it at my house for dinner. Who am I to turn down service like that?!

On Saturday I felt very disciplined and patriotic and whatnot because I got up at a decent hour and headed up to the National Cathedral to go to an organ concert with Kandi. Now, a smart person that has lived in DC for five years now might think to check about road closures before heading out on July 4, but not me! Just headed right along my merry way, which of course meant massive unforeseen detours, but I still made it all in time. And the concert was okay - sort of boring, but free! - and then Kandi made me ricotta cheese pancakes with sweet cherries, and that really sealed the goodness of the morning. So really the main activity of my weekend was Kandi feeding me and then I filled in the rest with lesser plans :).

That night I was co-hosting a party for a group of Namibian and South African HIV/AIDS activists that I'm doing a program for at work, because they needed a place to spend their 4th, and being as we couldn't find anyone to host them, we had to just do it ourselves. I ended up having a really nice time with them all, and somewhere along the way might have agreed to take an HIV test so they could see how it all goes down in the U.S. I kept telling them that it really wasn't something that I needed to do based on my lifestyle, but they were fairly relentless, and all things being equal, if they want to see what happens, I'm game. So I'll keep you all posted on our field trip to the Walt Whitman clinic or wherever one goes for such things.

After it was all said and done, my co-hostess asked if we should now break out the hard stuff, and so then for the first time in my life I drink a single malt scotch straight up (or neat, I suppose, since I do know some terminology). Must have been all the horrid bourbon tasting in Louisville, because I didn't even flinch with it. I felt like such a bad ass - like I should also being smoking a cigar or something. Pretty awesome.

And then today I worked in the two-year old nursery, as I am wont to do on the first Sunday of the month. I intended to come home, maybe meet up with Ash again, get some chores finished, and then head to the evening service, but instead started reading a book and then woke up on my couch about 30 minutes after the service started. So apparently the busyness took more out of me than I thought.

Well, thank you if you've put up with me for this long in such a rambling post. Hope you had great 4th!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Hey look guys, a post without a video embed! Unbelievable!!

I'll give you some time to compose yourself.
I will readily admit that this is a procrastination post. I have lots of work to do, and despite getting plenty of sleep last night, I cannot for the life of me wake up and get motivated to attack my task list. So I'm just going to give you a summary of the random things I've been thinking about in the last couple of days/hours.

- I woke up this morning humming Country Grammar by Nelly. I mean, What. The. Hell?

- With all the MJ music playing all over the place, I was recently reminded of my favorite MJ-related moment: Ebony, Joi, and I, on shoestring budget vacation to Italy in 1999, and one of the mini-orchestras in the Piazza San Marco started playing "Billie Jean." We freaked out, and then started dancing. Awesome.

- I find it sort of interesting that I've developed a reputation for being funny. I mean, I have my moments, but I want to reply with, "if you think I'm funny, you should really meet my friends." I think a good sense of humor totally is developed by being around hilarious people - it sort of sharpens you, you know? So I'd like to thank all of you that helped me along the way, I couldn't have gotten here without you (sniff). And consider this my official acknowledgement of stealing your bits and passing them off as my own with no credit. Most of you live out of state anyway, so no harm done I'm sure :).

- I've decided that I'm going to learn some rudimentary German, after trying to do so in grad school with the able help of my German housemate (hi, Dani!). Sadly finals and generally having too much fun got in the way of my tutorials. My work has Rosetta stone software for loaning, and now that my computer is updated enough to handle it (thanks, Jer!), I'm ready to attempt it again.

- Seriously, isn't it time for the new Harry Potter movie YET?! It was supposed to be in November, then in June. I know I'm acting like a 6 year old, but I'm so ready to see this movie. Hurry up and get here, release date!

- I started my new job in DC exactly 5 years ago yesterday, which means either the 26th or the 27th was officially 5 years of having lived in the DC area (I can't remember if I moved here on a Saturday or Sunday...Saturday seems most likely). So much has happened in five years, and yet so much seems remarkably the same. Life is weird.

Happy Monday to you all. And now the caffeine has kicked in, so I'm buzzed to and ready to be productive! Here we go!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

for Joi

Because it's the only Sunny Day Real Estate song I know, and I have fond memories of Albert and Jonathan switching to "elf voice" about minute 2:

I hope the concert reunion is everything you dreamed it would be.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Or the Starbucks...

Okay, this is so lame. And true. And I love it so much. Thanks Anne!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Regarding Twitter

I don't really care if you're on it or not, but I am quite tired of people telling me that Twitter is boring. "I don't care what someone ate for lunch..." or "It gets old really quickly..." is frequently brought up to me.

Here's the thing: it's only as interesting as the people you follow and their updates. If your friends are boring, I think we both know whose fault that is. And it's not Twitter's.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Gina's and My Week in Review

The Most Fun:
Rice Krispy treats

Not the Most Fun:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Songs I've Been Rather Obsessive About Lately

(Part II, see here for I). Some favorite lyrics included for this round.

Still - Great Lake Swimmers
"I'm still tuned to an instrument of greater and unknown design, I'm still looking for direction, some kind of sign..."

The Aspidistra Flies - Stars

Blue and Gold Print - Mates of State
"We're just a little bit lost, inside our houses. We're just a little unkept, out in the streets..."

Kudos to Great Lake Swimmers for the double appearance!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Today is such a do-over sort of day

As in, can I please just start this one again?

I'm solacing myself by having cheese (Montchevre, Le Cabrie...think goat's cheese flavor with brie texture) and fancy bread for lunch. With herbal tea, which in any right universe would be something MUCH stronger.

Still haven't found a house. Two possibilities and we will probably KNOW by tomorrow. Which still keeps me a little on the stressed side of things.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Long Overdue Check-In

(Whew, pardon me while I clear off the dust around here...)

So what to tell about? This last weekend was Easter, and it was a good one. Ginger and James and the ever-adorable Daniel were in town after visiting grandparents. Babies grow so fast! I can't believe how much more mobile he is from the last time I saw him. Not quite crawling yet, but doing this army crawl one arm scootch that moves him along pretty well. He also has the most awesome hair, like, ever:

From Drop Box

That mohawk is all-natural, baby.

Gina and I are still in the throes of house hunting (with some help from Kandi thrown in...two bedroom? three bedroom? these are the questions...), and honestly I am so over it today. Perhaps tomorrow I will wake up with newfound enthusiasm, but we've been doing this for a month and half now, and it's just not any fun anymore. Also, SO MANY places we've seen don't have dishwashers in the kitchen. Not to a total brat, but come on people, what kind of place are you trying to rent here with no dishwasher? If I was checking out studios in the Village I would not be at all surprised to find no extra appliances, but I live in the suburbs. Dishwashers should be a GIVEN.

Mostly that is what's new around hunting, friend-enjoying, etc. Oh, and I totally rocked eggs benedict for Easter brunch, so that was pretty awesome too.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Lest you worry that I'm going to start decorating with rainbows and kittens

One of my favorite references to Pride and Prejudice comes in the form of one Donald Miller, from his book Blue Like Jazz:
...I understand you can learn a great deal about girldom by reading Pride and Prejudice, and I own a copy, but I have never read it. I tried. It was given to me by a girl with a little note inside that read: What is in this book is the heart of a woman. I am sure the heart of a woman is pure and lovely, but the first chapter of said heart is hopelessly boring. Nobody dies at all. I keep the book on my shelf because girls come into my room, sit on my couch, and eye the books on the adjacent shelf. You have a copy of Pride and Prejudice, they exclaim in a gentle sigh and smile. Yes, I say. Yes, I do.
Love it.

Monday, March 02, 2009

It all started with Anne

Not this Anne though, that Anne. Although the first Anne is pretty great too.

A few weeks ago we decided to really girly up our Friday night and watch "Anne of Green Gables" as produced by Canadian PBS or whoever made it. There were also brownies and such, I'm sure you get the general idea. I'm also sure you have heard me mention that I freakin' loooooved the Anne books when I was younger. And love them now too. I think there are 8 or so in the series, and I have read them all so many times that my copies in Texas are all sorts of dog-eared and stained and what-have-you. Holly had to ask for her own set for Christmas one year, they were THAT bad (and also, Holly just wanted her own set. Everyone needs their own Anne books).

On the way back to our place, I had to explain to Gina what happens next, because the Green Gables story very much leaves you hanging, as in "Oh my goodness do Gilbert and Anne end up together OR WHAT?!" I proceeded to explain the movie version and the book version, because they do diverge - movie is understandably a bit more dramatic, book takes a bit longer and is a little more nuanced (although still fairly sappy, truth be told). As I explained it all, I was inspired to go home and immediately read them again, although since I was into the romance I went straight for Anne of the Island where it all gets worked out. It's a rare moment when I can still enjoy a story with the same mushy feeling as I did at 12.

This then got me thinking. I have a distinct feeling that the whole Anne/Gilbert saga could have some serious influence on the way I view relationships in general. For better or worse, I can't say just yet, but it was a funny thing to ponder. What are the books and movies that I loved that had some unforeseen long-term impact on me? There's the aforementioned example, and we can probably just go ahead and throw in pretty much all of the Jane Austen guys with Darcy in particular (cliche, right? But I don't care, P&P is the best known for a reason, and my copy of THAT is all sorts of dog-eared too). And the impact certainly isn't limited to that sphere, it could really go all different directions.

So watching a movie tonight, I have one more to add to my list: C. K. Dexter Haven. Swoon.

Friday, February 27, 2009

My scar

My scars are really very minor. I do have a favorite though - the only one that required stitches. I think it's pretty much the most perfect story to explain my personality. I was maybe 9 years old, and we were at the county fair in Wharton, Texas. There was this huge pavilion with picnic tables all lined up, and I was doing dramatic ballet leaps (grands jetes!) between the benches. On a particularly long jump, I lost my footing and crashed smack into the table part, with my chin taking the brunt of it. Three stitches later, there's still a little scar. Oh the things we do for our art.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Quote o' the Day

"He's Just Not That Into You is a more offensive version of The Rules, the self-help book that advises women to pretend to be dead in order to get married." (emphasis mine)

Tanya Gold, The Guardian

Monday, February 09, 2009

If you ply me with enough alcohol, I'll sing these songs at a karaoke bar

I thought long and hard about this one, and I'm still not totally sure about my answers, to be honest. But I do know one thing: I know every word to these songs. It would likely be a very awful performance (I'm no rapper, I know you're shocked), but at least with "Shoop" and "Stay", any girl within a five year age window on either side of me would know all the words too, so I wouldn't have to sing alone.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

My first job: Childcare

I was a babysitter for four kids over a summer when I was 15. They are all sorts of grown up now, I suppose. I miss them every now and then, especially the four-year-old (who is now...18? Gah).

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

If I were a superhero, I would certainly wear tights

I mean, I already wear tights in the wintertime 3 of the 7 days in a week, and spent a majority of my childhood in ballet tights. As for a superpower...flight. Not terribly creative, but think of the traffic I would avoid in DC!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dinner Tonight... going to be awesome. I don't know why I'm so into food posting lately. It's not like I've got great aspirations to be a food blogger, or that I'm really all that great of a chef (I can follow a recipe...). But I'm really excited about eating.

The Menu:
-Jamaican Jerk Burgers*
-Homemade potato chips
-Pear clafoutis (I wanted plums, like in the recipe, but the grocery store wasn't having it)


*Made the marinade for the first time with a real habanero instead of jalapenos (using gloves, bien sur). Felt very rock star. Hope it's not so hot as to be inedible...I'll let you know.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Name Game

Yeah, I got tagged on facebook, but that's not how I roll. So doing it here. Lame? Probably. But it should be a snow day and I'm at work, so no criticism is allowed.

Copy to your own note, erase my answers, and enter yours. Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the following questions. They have to be real . . . nothing made up! If the person before you had the same first initial, you must use different answers. You cannot use any word twice and you can't use your name for the boy/girl name question. (Note: the girl who tagged me is named Rebekah, hence some weird answers are probably forthcoming as I can't do repeats).

1. What is your name: Rachel
2. A four Letter Word: rats!
3. A boy's Name: Robert (or Uncle Bob, as I know him)
4. A girl's Name: Roxanne (you don't have to put on the red light!)
5. An occupation: rock star
6. A color: rouge
7. Something you wear: running shoes
8. Where's 8?
9. A food: ramen
10. Something found in the bathroom: roll-on deodorant
11. A place: Rio de Janeiro
12. A reason for being late: road closure (due to a motorcade, no doubt)
13. Something you shout: rock 'n' roll
14. A movie title: Rushmore
15. Something you drink: rum
16. A musical group: REM
17. An animal: raccoon
18. A street name: Rhode Island Avenue
19. A type of car: Rabbit
20. The title of a song: Ring of Fire

Sort of like Scattergories, I guess. Per the usual, play along if you're feeling it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Comfort Food

With tales of snow approaching (I'll believe it when I see it), the Potomac River frozen over for the last week or so, and me giving in to wearing socks EVERY SINGLE DAY, I have accepted that winter has arrived in DC.

I know, I know...but winter, despite several perks, is just not my favorite. Namely, I don't do cold. I have often discussed with friends from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and other Siberia-like environs my theory on dealing with weather: you are trained to handle one extreme. Growing up in Texas, I can live with 90+ (or 100+) degree days in July. Wind chill of -4? I'm out.

Not to say there aren't things I enjoy about the cold. Snow is in fact really, really beautiful, and I still get excited when we get the first fall and everything is white and quiet. Of course then it gets all gray and slushy and annoying, but at first it is wonderful. I also love snuggling under lots of blankets - I like the heaviness of quilts and throws all piled on my bed.

Mainly though, I like the excuse to eat some comfort food. Not that I really need a season to indulge in anything...while I try to be healthy for the most part, butter and cream and cheese and all products dairy manage to sneak their way into a lot of my food choices. But there's something about cold temperatures that inspires me to have cheesy soups and creamy pastas and chili with cheddar cheese for just about every meal.

So tonight I have made one of my favorites: penne a la vodka. I use this recipe, which is pretty counterintuitive for a number of reasons. First, the name is just idiotic. I doubt I will ever bring myself to make it for a guy, just on principle. Unless I'm married, I suppose, but since that's currently not the case...just no. And it's by Rachael Ray, who I generally find to be rather annoying. And I saw her make it on Oprah, which I don't watch. But with all those caveats, it's an easy, delicious recipe that gets even better after it's been in the fridge overnight. Be sure to serve with some sort of crusty bread. And as Rachael mentioned in the show, don't use hooch* - it will make a difference.

Next on my slate is chili (for a Super Bowl party) and Jamaican Jerk Burgers. What are your comfort foods?

*Can I share that while buying said not-hooch today at the VABC store, the clerk whom I have never seen before totally gave me the third degree about my dating life? Talk about irony.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Little Something, Just for You

I got an email from my dad yesterday, informing me that he was refinishing a table that belonged to my grandmother:
From Drop Box
And if you check closely, you can see the penmanship of a gifted six year old:
From Drop Box
If memory serves, I carved it with a tip of a miniature Eiffel Tower (appropriate, non?).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration Photos

Inauguration 2009

As you may have gathered from my twitter feed, I went to the Inauguration events on the mall yesterday. I thought I'd take a stab at my impressions, etc. of the event.

Our day started out early-ish - we had ambitions to go, but they didn't start before dawn or anything. Gina and I stayed with Kandi, who lives pretty far north of the mall/museum/downtown area, but there weren't any closed bridges between her house and our destination. We got up, had an excellent, Kandi-made breakfast, and then drove to my office to park in the garage and head down. My office is approximately 2 miles north of the mall, assuming you have a straight shot down (which we most certainly did not). First of all, it was a bit weird to see every single parking spot filled on the street - on any other sort of holiday, that area would be a ghost town. And then, we started walking, and there were tons of people, all walking south. It was pretty fun - everyone was in a good mood and people were waving flags and smiling and generally enjoying themselves.

I figured we would have some trouble getting to someplace to watch the swearing-in, largely because we didn't really know where to go, and because our route was directly blocked by the barricaded parade route from the Capitol to the White House. We ended up wandering west of the White House, about to 19th/20th Street, and then headed south to the mall. We landed right behind the WWII Memorial, and there was still a lot of room to start towards the Washington Monument. So we made our way there, heading towards a jumbo screen so we could watch the speech and all. At this point, it was about 10 am, and the area that required people to go through security screening (just ahead of us at 14th Street) was already full. We were definitely too far away too see what was going on in person, but all things being equal, we had a decent vantage point.

The crowd was an interesting mix of people - I definitely heard some other languages (Spanish, French and Russian for sure, as well other accents I couldn't exactly place). The crowd was young-ish, pretty racially diverse although from our spot it was mostly white people in their 20's and 30's, with a few black families with younger children mixed in. Things got started a little late, and the walking in and announcing of Important People seemed to take forever (our feet were cold!). There was an especially annoying couple next to us (white yuppies...the race is important in this anecdote), who kept trying to start chants and singing and such. I hit my limit when they tried to lead everyone nearby in "We Shall Overcome" to no avail. Overcome what, exactly? Middle class angst?

So this is were I will segue for a moment - many people were clearly under the impression that this was a political rally, not an official ceremony. I tried to not be too annoyed by it, mostly because I was expecting such behavior, but people constantly booing any screen shot of Bush or Cheney started to wear on my nerves. Even if you don't like the outgoing administration or their policies, I think you should at least respect the Office and refrain from obnoxious behavior as the transition happens. That particular moment, in my mind, has nothing to do with politics or policies or what-have-you, and everything to do with upholding tradition and celebrating a peaceful transition of power.

We watched the swearings-in of both Biden and Obama (aside: they also booed Rick Warren), and then the Inaugural Address. That was particularly interesting in the crowd, because people really were very, very quiet - listening intently, with only some interjection for cheers and things. It was pretty eerie to hear what I now know to be about 1.5 million people get close to silent to catch every word. After the speech started, a girl in a pink hat stepped just next to me, and I recognized her! Someone I work with! I was really hoping to see at least one of the fifty-odd people I knew at the event, but in crowds that size, I wasn't too optimistic. So that was cool.

As soon as Obama finished speaking, everyone was moving again - few people waited to hear the closing remarks/benediction or anything like that. We decided to hang around for a bit, mostly because there were literally a million people that were going to be walking north, and we thought there was really no rushing that crowd. And no need to put ourselves smack in the middle of it. We were able to get a bit closer to the Capitol to take a look down the mall and see the crowds, and we also waited to see Bush's helicopter take off and pass over the city.

Apparently we made a good choice in the end as to location, because several of my friends managed to get into the 14th and east area, but when everything was over, there was no way to get out. We had to retrace our steps back up to 19th Street, where we had to wait on the wrong side of a very long line of charter buses that were transporting the bands to the parade start, but we were back to our car by 2:30 or so after walking a bit and catching a bus.

All in all, I'm really glad we went. Not only was it historic for a number of reasons (inauguration of the first black President, biggest crowds ever for an inauguration, inauguration of a President in general), it was a fun experience. People for the most part were very friendly and polite to each other, and seeing the mass migration to and from the event was amazing.

And in the end, I felt inspired. Not because I think Obama is a miracle worker, I actually think a lot of people are going to be disappointed because their expectations of what he can accomplish are unrealistically high, but because people (including me) want to be part of things again. I'm sure there are lots of other good reasons, but I feel like this administration will at least be open to doing things outside of the usual DC mechanics. And that they don't have such a focused worldview, particularly in relation to foreign relations. Whether or not they are successful remains to be seen, but I'm going to enjoy being hopeful for the moment.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Weighing My Options

So as you may have heard, there's going to be a new President come Tuesday. And because of this, millions of people are descending on Washington in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the action. Since I already live in the metro area of the city (Arlington, to be exact), I'm trying to figure out what I should do. Keep in mind the following constraints:

  • All but one bridge into the city from VA is closed to car traffic. The one bridge that is open is A) going to be really crowded, and B) still really far from where the action is taking place.
  • It's going to be like 30 degrees on Tuesday. For the high, not including the wind.
  • I have neither a ticket to the swearing-in nor a bleacher ticket to the parade. The parade route has a maximum of 300,000 or so bystanders, and they're estimating at least 2 million people coming in.

I want to participate in some form, because I think it's cool and historic, and also because I don't really plan on being in DC forever and I don't know how many inaugurations I will have the chance to attend. So what to do? I have plans to crash with a friend in DC proper, so that's a start, but I'm lost from there. More research is necessary, but I'm already quite sure that I'm not die-hard enough to do any sort of hours long waiting/camping out. Thoughts? If you lived here, what would you do?

Monday, January 05, 2009

And we're BACK!

It has been ages since I've written anything here. My apologies to those of you that still faithfully visit every day to stay for .015 seconds and see that I have yet to write anything new.

Whew, so my fall was busy. How about yours?

So where to begin...we last ended with our puff paint adventure, which I think was quite a hit in general. I decided against wearing my homemade sweatshirt to my work's holiday party, but did sport Gina's flashing Christmas light necklace. Much of the surrounding time is a blur, but I was able to relax a bit at my parent's house over the holidays. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Christmas Eve dinner (lasagna and Caesar salad, tradition at our house)
  • Christmas Day! (shirt from Honey, gingerbread with lemon sauce for breakfast, usual feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, swiss green beans - NOT your canned soup variety!!, apricot salad, and many, many pies)
  • World's quickest trip to Austin to see Ginger, Ebony, and of course the baby Daniel, who is still very chubby and still very adorable
  • New Year's Eve dinner with Sarah here, which is super duper cute and needs to be revisited for game night (food was fab too...buffalo chicken mac and cheese!)
  • Generally hanging with all those people (mostly my family, official and honorary) that I miss the most when I'm here

I'm seriously looking forward to starting afresh this year, not so much with the resolutions, but more of a change in my mindset. Being healthier, being better to myself as far as my time is concerned, and so on and so forth. Most of these ideas aren't really concrete beyond having a smoothie each morning (fruit! and yogurt!), so I won't write at length just yet :). But at the very least, here are my goals for the next few weeks, more as a reminder to myself than anything else:

  • Visit the Corcoran to use that exhibition ticket I bought back in July before it expires, and try to hit one museum around here a month (I mean, they're mostly free! What am I hung on, exactly?)
  • Finish my jewelry holder project in addition to a few hats and scarves for folks that just couldn't get done before Christmas
  • Hang up the window things I bought for our bathroom shower window (and burn the current blinds that are disgusting and collect mildew like its their job, and dance around the bonfire)
  • Attend at least one ballet class a week (I was actually doing okay with this until I got some sort of coughing malaise in the fall, and then the busy hit)
  • Read more. Of everything.

There are probably more that I should write, but they're still forming out there in the nethersphere so I'll ponder them a bit longer, if you don't mind.

Oh, and

  • I will try to update the blog more consistently. Smooches!