Saturday in Takoma

While most of today has been allocated to school projects (having finished off a research paper’s first draft, next up are three chapters in the oh-so-riveting Reference and Information Services: An Introduction textbook), I decided I needed a quick break for an hour. It’s a beautiful day outside, and while I’d opened up all of the windows and turned off the air-conditioner, that simply wasn’t going to suffice.

So, I took a quick spin around my immediate neighborhood. Strolled down to the library and picked up my reserved copy of Canal House Cooks Every Day. I had a recent encounter with one of the Canal House Cooking books and while that’s a (hopefully) forthcoming post in its own right, it made me curious to see what their big cookbook was like. From there I headed the opposite direction down the street to Trohv, which is always worth a browse but in this case I was visiting specifically to buy the new issue of Kinfolk magazine. It’s always a pleasure to read, and knowing that this issue is all about weekends makes it even better. As I entered, I stopped and snapped a quick picture of the new construction at Takoma Central to send to Charlie. Not that I know much about building projects, but it certainly feels like it’s coming along nicely and should hopefully open on schedule next spring.

On the way home, I stopped in at La Mano Coffee Bar, which opened earlier this month. Ended up leaving with a mint rooibos tea, and two hand pies; one with peach and raspberry, the other with a spiced ground beef. Ran into one of my neighbors right as I was leaving, who was walking with her adorable daughter (who was on a sassy purple scooter).

Saturday Haul

And once I got home, I put everything down and thought to myself how much I love my neighborhood on days like this. Everyone’s out walking, there are adorable shops and businesses to visit, and there was a general air of friendliness. A couple that I saw leaving Trohv as I entered was buying a snack at La Mano, and as I walked from the library to Trohv I saw two other neighbors across the street run into one another and start chatting.

Sure, it’s not the “everything is happening all the time” nature of being right in the heart of downtown, and there’s a lot to be said for living there. But there are definitely charms that exist here, too, if you take the time to look. And now, having eaten my pies (the crust was buttery and flaky and delicious, and the insides were great too), I’m going to sit out on the balcony with my textbook and my iced tea and enjoy the great weather.


This past weekend was a whirlwind trip up to New York, to see our friends Michael and Joseph tie the knot. I met Michael and Joseph through Charlie and they’re both such sweethearts. So even though I had to be back at work on Monday morning and the wedding was on Sunday night, well, there was no way that we were going to skip it.

With This Ring

So! Excited!As an adult I’ve found myself forever analyzing every wedding I go to, trying to recognize things I would like to have at my own. Fortunately I’ve been to a lot of fantastic weddings over the years, so there’s a lot of inspiration out there. (I’m almost afraid to admit that I do have a favorite wedding because I don’t wany anyone else to get offended that I didn’t pick theirs! But I do have to say that despite the huge range of options out there, my cousin Karin’s wedding was quite possibly the absolute perfect event. I’ll have to try and describe it in detail one of these days.)

Anyway, Michael and Joseph had a great ceremony. The wedding itself was supposed to be on the roof of their building, but the rain pounding down for several hours put an end to that. So, we went over around 2pm and brought all the chairs and the glasses (fortunately keeping dry under tarps!) into their living room and helped them and the wedding coordinator re-arrange everything so that we could fit 75 or so people there. A tall feat, but it worked out well.

After promising to prend that we’d never seen the set-up before, we headed back to the hotel, changed, and voila! The rain had stopped. But it was too late to shift everything back upstairs, but honestly? It didn’t matter, it worked out really well.

The moment that I knew it was going to be a good time? About 30 seconds before the wedding was due to begin, I turned to look at Michael and he was almost quivering with excitement, shaking his fist with glee. The mood was infectious too, I’ve never seen so many people be so clearly overwhelmed with joy.

The ceremony itself was simple and sweet; two readings (Song of Solomon and Walt Whitman), the lighting of a candle, some brief words from the Unitarian Universalist minister, and then the vows. After the ceremony, people milled about for a while and then it was off to Jazz Standard, which is the jazz club in the basement of Blue Smoke.

I’d been to Blue Smoke two years ago and it has really delicious southern barbecue, and that’s exactly the kind of food that we had for dinner. Ribs, salmon, hush puppies, cheese fries, corn bread, macaroni and cheese… it was heaven on a plate.

Afterwards, we had several great speeches, including one from Michael about Joseph that just touched my heart. And then? Paula West and her band performed a jazz set, and it was a beautiful way to round out the evening. Never mind that we were a tiny bit tired at this point, or that we had a 7am flight back the next morning so that we could both be at work on time. It was great to just sit and listen to her sing for a while.

Getting up to New York and back (yay for bomb scares delaying everything at LaGuardia on Saturday, hmph) may have been hectic, it was a nice weekend. It was great to see not only the grooms but also meet their families, as well as seeing Kyle and Pepper again. Plus, so many of Michael and Joseph’s friends were great to meet and talk to as well. It was a really good time.

Jazz Standard

Weekend To-Do List: Update

I am declaring victory over this weekend.

No, really. It’s not even 2pm yet, and while I don’t have everything done on my to-do list, I wasn’t really expecting to. (Plus as said before, I still have regular things that need to get done like write some reviews.) But accomplishments? Galore.


  • Re-arrange living room (tv, bookshelves, couch)

Charlie helped me out with this last night and I really like the difference. There’s more room between the couch and the tv now, which is good since it’s a wider screen. Also much better for playing Wii games since before there was very little room to do so. Even better, the tv is no longer opposite the windows (so no glare) and all three of the nice bookshelves are together. I still have some tiny things to do (like re-hang my Charles Vess Rose painting) but it’s looking pretty good.

  • Organize closet and dresser (move pants, t-shirts) and get rid of old clothes

I ended up tackling this on Thursday and while there are some small bits that need to be done once cold weather is officially gone (so I can get the rest of my shorts out of a box and pack up my winter running gear), on the whole? Much better. Pants are now hanging up, and instead of moving the t-shirts into the dresser (too many!) I moved the polo shirts and that works just fine.

  • Run 8-10 miles

Knocked out a 12-miler, so major victory. Not a very good 12-miler, but I’ll take it. Incidentally, I do hope it rains tonight because I could actually see huge clouds of yellow pollen over parts of the National Mall. How disgusting is that? Even worse? I could sort of taste it at times. Gaaaaah.

  • Saturday morning farmer’s market photography

Not a lot of great shots, but one or two that I think will work. I think I’m good now for Artomatic, fingers crossed.

  • Sleep

I’m going to take a nap this afternoon, I think. And I did get some good amounts of sleep too. Including a nap in the car on the way home from Leesburg yesterday. (I wasn’t driving.)

On Hold:

  • Buy primer and paint for Artomatic (provided I decide on the color)
  • Read book club selection for next week’s month’s discussion (Farthing by Jo Walton)

I didn’t do this, but it should wait until I am certain what I’m going to hang (thus, the color selection). And I’ll probably just buy it at McLean Hardware after work so that won’t be too hard to accomplish. Krista wisely pointed out to me that this month’s book is actually China Mieville’s Un Lun Dun and ta da, I have already read it. So while I do want to start Farthing soon, it can wait a bit.

Yay! Things done!

Weekend To-Do List

For the first time in quite a while, there are no visitors in from out of town, no big events, no family dinners, nothing scheduled for this weekend. I find the idea rather startling in a good way. (Don’t get me wrong, all the visitors were great, the events were fun, and the family dinner was delicious. But after a while it gets exhausting.) So now I’m finally making my Weekend To-Do List, for all of the things that I’ve been putting off each and every week.

This is a work in progress; I’m sure there are more things that I’m forgetting… and of course this leaves off the regular events like “write reviews” and such.

  • Re-arrange living room (tv, bookshelves, couch)
  • Organize closet and dresser (move pants, t-shirts) and get rid of old clothes
  • Run 8-10 miles
  • Saturday morning farmer’s market photography
  • Buy primer and paint for Artomatic (provided I decide on the color)
  • Read book club selection for next week’s month’s discussion (Farthing by Jo Walton)
  • Sleep

Somehow it feels good just to write it all down. We’ll see how much actually gets done, of course…

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?

Warmth! Warmth!

I’m always surprised when we get crazy warm temperature in the winter here in DC, and this weekend was no exception. 55 degrees on Saturday! 62 degrees on Sunday! When I’m opening up the windows and turning off the heat, well, you know it’s working out well.

Ironically, of course, I’m going to be in southern California for part of next week and I think it will actually be slightly colder there. What’s up with that? Oh well, I’m enjoying this weather while I can.

Opening the Windows! [365portraits: 039]

Even despite a bad ending to an otherwise good 14-miler on Saturday, it felt great to run outside and move in the weather. It just makes me that much more eager for spring. But until then, I’ll settle for a good meal on Saturday night at La Ferme in Chevy Chase, outdoor seating at Sunday brunch, having the windows open while writing this afternoon, and now sitting down for Friday’s Battlestar Galactica. I had a ton of stuff to get accomplished this weekend, but it’s nice to have them all done.