25 Things About Greg

  1. I hate almost all memes, unless they require you to actually be creative. Quizzes explaining which member of the Monkees you are (or any sort of similar silliness) set my teeth on edge.
  2. I learned how to read when I was 2 1/2 years old, and that was the beginning of the end, so to speak. I used to take three books in the car with me when we would drive to church—all of one mile away.
  3. I have become fairly obsessed with Goodreads.com, which lets you log books you’ve read, are reading, or planning to read. I’ve decided to try and enter into my personal database all the books I own, which is a bit daunting (to put it mildly). So far I’ve almost finished two bookshelves. My “to-read” shelf is already depressingly large.
  4. I’ve actually forbidden myself from buying books that I can get from the library these days. This has cut back the influx greatly.
  5. As much as I dislike winter, I think I would miss the seasons were I to move somewhere sunny and warm year round.
  6. Last year I made a concerted effort to cut all high fructose corn syrup out of my house. It was surprisingly easy. That said, I forgot to check the last time I was at the grocery store and an impulse buy of some yogurt resulted in me purchasing some. Oops. I need to get better about checking for it.
  7. If you’d told me ten years ago that I would run even one marathon, I’d have laughed in your face.
  8. As much as I enjoy exercising, about a third of the time I actually find it very hard to get the motivation to actually do so. This is especially true in the winter months, which is partially why this is the first year I’ve ever trained for a spring marathon.
  9. I enjoy cooking but I go through phases where I will do very little cooking. I prefer to cook for more than just myself, which is part of the problem. Still, thanks to my plastic containers to save for later, that’s not as much as an issue as it could be.
  10. Half of the reason why I signed up for a Community-Supported Agriculture half-share this year is to force myself to actually cook on a daily basis, and to break out the cookbooks just waiting to be used.
  11. Part of me wants to get back into writing fiction, but I’m afraid of what I’d have to give up right now in order to have that extra time in my day. As it is right now there are many leisure activities which have already fallen by the wayside.
  12. I continually feel guilty about not spending enough time with my friends, many of whom I only see a few times a year. I also worry that my friends will leave me behind.
  13. Every time the idea of having children is brought up, my first thought is, “I can’t possibly be old enough to have children.” When it’s pointed out that at my age my mom had three kids and one of them was already a teenager, I am amazed. That then follows up by the thought that I don’t think I should be trusted with having a kid just yet.
  14. I used to have a really bad (almost obsessive-compulsive) completist streak. I like to think I’ve actually gotten a lot better about it. I suspect the reality is that I’ve just given it a much tighter focus instead of applying to so many different possessions.
  15. Doctor Who will probably always be my favorite television program of all time. I suspect my parents still slightly rue the day they bought me a Doctor Who book as a gift, which is what started me down this path.
  16. The images in my head and what my camera actually takes very rarely intersect. The few times they do, though, have brought me a supreme joy.
  17. I hang up all my t-shirts in my closet, sorted by color and arranged by the rainbow spectrum.
  18. I am horrible at movie quote quizzes. Even if I’ve seen the movie a dozen times, I will probably not remember the line until the source is pointed out to me.
  19. I cannot draw anything worthwhile to save my life. Even my stick figures are malformed.
  20. I get genuinely upset if a plant I am taking care of gets sick or dies. Which is probably why pets and/or children are just right out of the question for now. Just imagine if I had something to take care of that could actually make noise.
  21. It’s been four years since I dropped a lot of weight and my body has still not adjusted to the loss of all that internal insulation. I finally had to start wearing sweaters and undershirts again in the colder months to keep from freezing to death.
  22. If I had to start all over again with college and a career, I think I’d want to be a psychologist.
  23. I find it almost impossible to look at someone the entire time I am talking to them, or they’re talking to me. I will still be paying attention to them, but that amount of focus requires conscious and deliberate effort.
  24. I knew I had “become an adult” about two years ago when I bought a new vacuum cleaner and was genuinely excited about doing so.
  25. I can honestly say that I am right now at the happiest point of my life.

Ready to Run [365portraits: 029]

Ready to Run [365portraits: 029]

My plan today was to get up early and run some mile repeats at my gym’s indoor track. Unfortunately, my gym’s hours are tied to Arlington County schools, and they had a delayed opening.

Undaunted, I squeezed my run in right after work. Not when I’d have preferred it, because I was planning on watching Top Chef and making some homemade soup for dinner… but there’s time for everything! It’s all good.

A Year of Self-Portraits

In November 2006, I tried a project where I took a picture every day for a year. It was a lot of fun, it made me get out there with my camera every day, and most importantly I think it helped me a lot with my photography. This year, starting in New Year’s Day, I’m working on a slightly similar project—only this time it’s a self-portrait a day.

I did this for two reasons. First, I like the idea of getting out there and taking photos every day, but making it a little different so I could keep my attention span up. But second, for someone who likes being behind the camera, I’m not so good about being in front of the camera. So, this will hopefully help me with that.

As I’ve been uploading my photos, though, I’ve been putting more and more commentary with them. So, I think that I’m going to start cross-posting them here (provided there is some actual meat to them). Just little glimpses into what I’ve been up to.

My First Inauguration

"Closer to the Promised Land"

We moved to the DC area in 1974, but this was actually my first inauguration that I’ve attended in person. My first time I could vote in a presidential election wasn’t until 1992, and I was away at university by the time inauguration rolled around. I was back in the area for the 1996 election, but the idea of going downtown for the event just didn’t grab me. (And by that point in time I was also working full time in retail management. I suspect I was actually on the clock that day.) For 2000 and 2004, I wasn’t in any sort of celebratory mood.

But yes, this was the first time I went down there. And sure, it was pretty darn cold out, and even with multiple layers on I was feeling awfully cold towards the end of Barack Obama’s speech. (All that standing still.) But it was a great event to be at, in no small part because of the crowd. First, it was the most polite and well-mannered crowd I’ve ever seen of that size*, and that’s no small feat. But it was more than just politeness, though, it was the joy and happiness that was just exuding off of so many people.

Was it worth it? Absolutely. I walked 7.25 miles when it was all said and done, I took some nice pictures, I heard an excellent speech, and I am absolutely tuckered out. Will I head back downtown in 2013? We shall see. Who knows what four years will bring?

* — Well, except for the messy pigs. Seriously, just walking back across the Mall, I picked up no less than three discarded plastic bottles and put them in recycle bins that were under 10 feet away, and some pieces of trash as well. Come on, people. I had been joking with a co-worker last week who was a volunteer today, about how one of her job duties apparently was to, “Get people excited about recycling.” Little did I know how necessary that was. Yeesh.

Things I’m Excited About (Which Make Me Old)

Seriously, every time I turn around lately I am coming to the horrible conclusion that I am turning into someone old. As in, a friend’s parents from back when I was a kid. (My parents were always pretty young and fun even as adults.) Latest signs pointing towards this include getting excited about the following:

1. Filling Out a CSA Application
Seriously, when you are getting excited about having produce delivered to you every week from a local farm? You are old. But at the same time the idea of getting my half-share of produce? Pretty exciting! Supposedly I will hear back within 72 hours. I’m hoping this particular CSA is not full, especially since they actually will deliver the share to your office, and how fantastic is that? (It’s partially what stopped me from trying a CSA last year, because there were none with drop points near the office and scrambling to pick one up on the way home would be difficult at best.) All sorts of vegetables, here I come.

2. Recognizing Interstitial Songs On NPR
At first I was going to try and justify this one as not making me old. “It was ‘New York City Boy’ by the Pet Shop Boys!” the voice in my head said. “That doesn’t make you old!” Except first, I suspect it does. And second, and more importantly, I was listening to Marketplace on NPR. That makes me old. Very very old.

3. Warmth
Ok, that doesn’t sound unreasonable. But it’s very, very cold here in DC, and as you may have heard there’s a big Presidential Inauguration coming up shortly. And despite all the neat concerts and parades and events and everything else, all I can think of is things like, “How will I stay warm? Should I just stay inside and watch on tv? Perhaps I can cook a pot roast.” Oh dear. When did this happen? Right now the plan is to layer a great deal, but still. The thought of indoors is there.

4. Doing Nothing
I have absolutely nothing scheduled for the weekend of the 24th. I cannot wait. As great as it is to visit friends, or have them visit you, or have all sorts of exciting plans (and don’t get me wrong, I’ve really enjoyed the past few weekends) it will be fairly fantastic to have no one in town or any plans to do anything major league. I am hoping to sit down and read some books.

Oh look! I’m an old man. Sweet!

Not So Smart, Sometimes

I went to the gym this morning, even though I was a little tired because of not being able to initially fall asleep last night. But I need to get back on track, especially if I’m going to run the Potomac River Run marathon in May. The end result is that when I got into the office I was a little sleepy.

Which is, of course, the best time to buy gifts online for your younger sister’s birthday. She had asked for a gift card from Lowe’s, and I went online and ordered it to be sent to her. Except, well, in my head I somehow decided that where she was really wanting a giftcard was from Kohl’s.

Lowe’s, Kohl’s, what’s the difference, right? They both have four letters, and then a possessive.

Yeah, not so much. I just left Suzanne a message to just send me back the Kohl’s card (I tried to cancel the order but cannot do so, hmph) and I’ll in the meanwhile send her a Lowe’s card as well as the rest of her gifts. Guess I’ll be doing some Kohl’s shopping next month!

“Pretend a hurricane is coming during that weekend…”

You may or may not have heard that there’s a little event coming to DC in a week and a half. (No, I’m not referring to Mid-Atlantic Leather, although in an awesome coincidence of planning, it is running January 16-18.)

I’ve been amusing myself this afternoon by looking at the latest road closures for both DC as well as Arlington. It’s really funny the more you look at it. All five bridges leading in from Virginia to DC will be closed to privately-owned vehicles, for instance. I-66 is closed eastbound, as is Route 50, and I-395. Many roads are closed to pedestrians. It is going to be, in short, utterly nuts.

I, of course, am just chortling the entire time. I have food, I have a laptop so I don’t have to worry about heading into the office, and I only live about a mile and a half from Memorial Bridge which is completely open to pedestrians. So I might head in for the festivities knowing that I do not have to worry at all about braving the no-doubt-overly-jammed Metro system and I can hoof it home at any point. If nothing else I figure I will get really good photographs of utter insanty, right?

I will admit I’m a tiny bit envious of some friends who will be in places like Florida or Hawaii during all of the craziness. But at the same time, well, I’m rolling up the sleeves and preparing for an awesome storm of “did you just see that?” everywhere. Yeehah!

(The subject line is from the Arlington Alert e-mail about the weekend. “To prepare for this event, pretend a hurricane is coming during that weekend and expect large crowds, congestion, traffic and many delays. Getting around will be difficult at best so a common sense approach will be important. ” Hee hee hee.)

Best $25 I’ll Spend All Year

Charlie and I are up in the Hamptons over the New Year holiday with some friends, and today Michael decided he was heading over to the gym for an hour. Now, I’d brought my running gear with me, but all the snow on the ground (and a lack of sidewalks near the house) has meant that I hadn’t actually done any actual running. So, I offered to come along to the Sag Harbor Gym.

That’s when Michael warned me that to discourage tourists in the summer from overrunning the place, that it costs $25 for a day pass. Ouch. But still, I needed the exercise (Michael and Kyle have been cooking up a storm of delicious food and I have been eating like I’m preparing for hibernation) so I changed and away we went. I did wish I had some shorts to wear, since I’d only packed workout pants, but still not too bad.

Well, the last time I ran was Thanksgiving, so it’s been a while. (And I only ran twice in November if I remember correctly, between illnesses and such.) And honestly, I was expecting nothing. Hoping for six miles, but we’d see what happened. As it turned out, I managed five miles at a 10min/mile pace. Not my old pace, but I knew I wasn’t going to just jump back in like everything was a-ok. When I finished up the first 30 minute segment on the treadmill, I was beat, and I walked for a few minutes while deciding if I was going to switch to another piece of equipment or not. In the end I ran again, but knew 3 more miles just wasn’t on the agenda (and that was ok with me).

I’m really pleased, though. It’s the start of getting back up to speed again, and it feels good to start moving. (Even if it’s in place on a treadmill.) In terms of a mental “you’re starting to get back to normal” jolt? So worth every buck. And as much as I’ve been enjoying my vacation, it makes me eager to get home so I can continue that process (carefully, worry not). Yay!

Hopefully everyone else has had a great New Year so far. I’m pretty pleased with all three days of it.