It’s Time

I know I am hardly the first or last person to post this — I think I’ve been watching it over and over again every time someone puts a link to it online over the past week — but I’m sticking a copy here so I can watch it whenever I am feeling sappy. Which is often. Really nicely done commercial from Down Under.

Victory from Jaws of Defeat

Ok, this is getting a little silly.

Last week I had the first week of my lap swimming class, in which only two of the eight participants (including myself) showed up, and the other was a 13-year old kid. (We were also joined by someone who was signed up for the beginner class but was afraid it was too basic.) This is out of eight people total that were signed up.

Well, tonight? Beth and Megan were back from vacation, so they were there. I was there. And that was it. Including a lack of instructor.

Now, our instructor had said she wasn’t going to be there. But she’d also said there was a substitute that was supposed to teach us that week. Oops. (The guy who wasn’t signed up for our class actually did show up, but he decided to try the beginner class and afterwards said he’s going to stick with it because it’s a better fit.)

The thing is, I’m actually pretty happy about this. Since the instructor didn’t show up, they’ll have to make it up to us on one of the make-up-dates that are reserved for that very reason. And it meant that Beth, Megan, and I got to swim a little, then stop and chat, then swim some more, chat some more… Very relaxed, and super-fun because they are both adorable and a blast to be around.

All in all? A pretty great evening, in what could’ve just as easily been disaster. So, so, so very nice to see my favorite pair of running sisters! Now I’m off to e-mail Arlington County to let them know our instructor no-showed…

Wishing I Had a Porch

Last Saturday was a little crazy busy for me; I had a 12-mile run in the morning (with another one scheduled for Sunday morning), business to take care of at my parents’s house out in Vienna, and dinner with some of Charlie’s co-workers up in Chevy Chase. And let me first get out of the way, the run was great—Charlie and I ran it together, and despite some nasty headwinds beating us down, we had a really good time. Likewise, dinner (at La Ferme) was also excellent, with good company and good food.

But I have to say, the best part of Saturday? It may have been after I’d finished taking care of everything out at the family estate, and I got to sit out on the deck and read my book for about an hour.

A Peaceful Afternoon [365portraits: 094]

I know, it doesn’t sound like much. But one of the things that I’ve really missed when I moved into Arlington was having my own porch or balcony; it’s something that while in both Falls Church and Tysons that my place had and I somewhat took for granted. There are a lot of nice parks in my current neighborhood that I can walk to and kick back and relax at… but there’s something extra-special about being somewhere all by yourself and just able to really and fully unwind. Especially in the spring.

It was just a great way to spend the afternoon; finishing the second 400 pages of Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life, drinking a (rare for me) soda, letting the sun keep me warm, and not worrying about anything else. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, and being outside means that I don’t find myself looking at everything in my home and thinking, “I really should take care of that.”

I also got to fiddle around a bit with a new camera lens; it’s a macro lens that lets me get some tight focuses on objects and blur everything else out behind them. I’m definitely still learning its finer points but so far I’m pretty happy with what it’s letting me do.

Daffodills Daffodill

Mom’s daffodills are already getting a little droopy and towards the end of their cycle, so it was nice to have someone appreciate them while they’re still out. (You know, for someone who hated hated hated weeding the garden all those years, every now and then I think that it would be nice to have a garden of my own. What sort of horrible subliminal brainwashing is going on with me?)

And speaking photography, I started looking at alternate lighting ideas for Artomatic this year, and may have found paydirt. Of course, what I really need to do is get up early on Saturday and hopefully finish up the set of photos for the exhibit. And then print the photographs, and buy frames… and paint for my wall at Artomatic… get new business cards…

It’s no small wonder I still owe some people e-mails from two months ago. Or why updates here are few and far between. I’m ready to become fabulously wealthy and live a life of leisure, can’t you tell?

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!

Christmas Giving

At the start of the month, Raina mentioned that she’d signed up with the New York Cares Winter Wishes Program, where they send you a New York kid’s Santa letter that would otherwise end up with nothing, and you send them a gift or two in return.

I immediately signed up, but the actual letter didn’t arrive until today (and the stuff is supposed to get there by the 15th!), so I ended up doing a little online shopping. I have to say, though, that the letter just made me feel so sad. I got a 12-year old girl who mentions that she has good grades, and would like some clothes. And all I could think was, “If I was only going to get one thing for Christmas, it would be awfully hard for me to think logically and ask for clothes.”

I ended up sending about twice as much stuff as the suggested amount, but I don’t care. (And yay for some killer sale prices at Old Navy online.) I put a little extra money in to get it shipped ASAP, so it should still make it there in time, happily. But… I was thinking about it… and I ended up going to Amazon and sent a game and a book as well. I just wanted something her to get something fun, too. I hope this is a good Christmas for my letter writer.

I have to say, though, that this is probably the best I’ve felt about Christmas gift buying in a long time. I normally give gifts to Toys for Tots and Child’s Play every year, but they’re never for a specific person. Knowing what she asked for and being able to fulfill that and then some? Totally different. I definitely want to do this again next year, and hopefully with a little more advance time too.

Yay for Christmas!

(Oh, and the book I got her? Let’s just say that not only do I think she’ll like it, but it felt right knowing that the author is the whole reason I signed up in the first place.)


I’m not entirely sure how it is that I can go several weeks at a time without seeing anyone, and then over the course of a week and a half I see something like nine zillion friends. I feel like I’ve just finished up the latter, between Thanksgiving and now. It’s the holiday season, certainly, which accounts for a lot of it. People start having parties, or brunches, or dinners, or all sorts of other things. I’m always in favor of them, up to a point, and it is great to see everyone.

(I say up to a point because I have learned that I do have my upper limit and I can’t go beyond it or I start feeling overloaded. It’s been an important lesson to learn.)

But yeah, it’s one of the things that I absolutely love about the holidays. There are friends that I don’t see as often as I should (well, to be fair, that’s all of them) and this lets me feel like I’ve made some progress in that direction. From movies and tree-decorating-parties to watching them carve bears out of cake for shoppers’ amusement, it’s all really good.

(I have to say, speaking of movies, I am entertained by the fact that not only did I end up in a group of 10 people to see Milk on Friday night, but that I ran into no less than five other people I knew at the movie theatre that night. That never happens for me. Just goes to show how in-demand the movie is right now. And yes, it was pretty good.)

I’ve got only two things during this upcoming week, and then starting with this next weekend it’s going to be crazy all over again. My family is having “mini-Christmas” (which is the only time all of us will be here for it, although Christmas itself will be celebrated too) on Saturday and Sunday, and that should be really nice. On Monday the 15th, I get the gallbladder removed, which I’m looking really forward to. Considering that the middle of last week finally ended two-and-a-half weeks of mild to major nausea at any given moment, I’m all in favor of that sucker getting out of me, even if I do finally have that lovely side effect finally under control. Actually not worried about it at all, honestly.

Of course, this does mean that I really need to finish up the Christmas shopping; I’m so glad it is about 90% done already. I suspect a lot of next week will have me out of it, based on the experiences of just about everyone I know that’s had their gallbladder removed. (Who knew it was so common? Not me.) And beyond that? There’s a trip up to Sag Harbor for New Year’s, and I’m still vaguely contemplating tackling the National Marathon at the end of March. I sketched out a running schedule to start with the new year, and we’ll see how that goes. It will be a tight schedule but if I don’t act like a big wimp when it comes to cold weather (and provided we don’t end up in a world of snow and ice), it’s doable. Hmmm. Because right now, I have been a big wimp about running. Brrrr.

But anyway, I have to say that this time of year reminds me what great, great friends I have. It’s so wonderful to see them as much as I do, even though it sometimes just makes me feel bad that I haven’t seen all the rest of them as well. (So many people, so little time. *sigh*)

And now, time to haul out the flannel sheets and switch over, because I am sick of this cold. Consider this my way of getting us a nice little heat spike later in the week, ok?

Jailbreak Run! (and other good things)

On Sunday morning, I did something that I’d last tackled in 2005—I ran the Marine Corps Marathon. Well, half of it. Sarah was running her very first marathon on Sunday, and I knew that while she wasn’t trying to show it, she was definitely a little nervous. (Who isn’t nervous right before their first marathon?) So, since I was already planning on going running that day, I came up with a sudden plan. I’d jump into the race at mile 2 (once Sarah got there) and then run with her through the most of the desolate parts of the course.

The plan came off without a hitch; she was surprised (but in a good way) when I hopped in with her, and I tried to keep her company through the parts of the course where you don’t get anyone out cheering you. This year, that was between miles 5-8 (Canal Road and MacArthur Blvd, west of Georgetown in the Palisades neighborhood), and then miles 11-15 (West/East Potomac Parks, and Hains Point). Once we were through all that, I knew the crowds on the National Mall and Crystal City would get her through the rest.

And while I wasn’t doing it for me? I had a great time. It was nice to just not worry about a finishing time, just enjoying the run. I was a tiny bit sad when I hit mile 15 and it was time to stop, but then again, it was also best to hop out while I could. It was a lot of fun, and very much something to keep in mind for the future.

And it was just part of a good weekend. Add in a nice “game day” party (with a lot of really nice people and some tasty food) on Saturday, a short run on Saturday morning (well, until I got rained on), tackling some much-delayed writing, and a low-key dinner with Charlie at California Tortilla… it was nice to have a relatively low-key weekend for me, for a change.

(Oh, that Anthony Bordain show I mentioned before? Not good as I’d hoped, alas. Oh well.)

A Very Pleasant Surprise

A couple of weeks ago I’d mentioned that the Ellipse Center was holding the All Arlington Salon, a show for people who live and work in Arlington, running from August 1st through September 13th, and with an opening tonight.

After a lot of hemming and hawing, I decided that my Winged Migration photo would go into the show. I love the huge numbers of geese as they fly through the air. And of course, I double- and triple-guessed myself. Was it the right choice? Would people like it?

Well, apparently so; I got to the opening an hour after it began and saw the tell-tale red dot next to my photograph’s number. Someone had already bought the piece.


So yes, that was a very nice surprise. I met the purchaser, who was super-sweet. And I’m so happy it’s going to a home with someone who wants it. The excitement wasn’t over the money, but rather that someone liked it enough to buy it. I’m quite literally over the moon.

A great way to end the day.