the leaves, they are a changin’
October 24th, 2012
OMG LEAVES! They are so beautiful when they change colors. Stay like this forever, weather! At least a few more weeks anyways. Then turn cold please so I can justify things turning on the heated blanket already, putting Bowser in his skull & crossbones sweater, and drinking boozy tea in front of the fireplace. I’m not sure why I’m so excited for cold weather this year, but I am. Maybe it is all the holiday-related stuff coming in the mailbox already, got me thinking about winter. I need to get myself away from the magazines, they apparently affect my moods.
We had a pretty relaxing weekend — we spent Friday night having some beers on our friend Jason’s boat down on the SW waterfront. It’s actually pretty tolerable to be outside in DC in the summer when you’re on the water. (note to self: aquire a boat.)
On Saturday, we drove down to the cabin in Virginia. Mom and I unpacked about 1/25th of the total number of boxes there. Small progress, but progress none-the-less. It worked out pretty well anyways that we were inside, because there were pretty heavy rainstorms and lightning most of Saturday afternoon and evening. I was amazed at how quickly the fog rolls in and out of the valley overlook from the front of the house — less than 10 minutes for visibility to go from miles and miles to 5 feet in front of your face… While the women were upstairs working and unpacking, Matt and Dad were apparently relaxing on the front porch, reading the paper and eating my glazed donut. They did move 2 big items though (the tv and glider swing) so maybe it was deserved
On Sunday morning we poked around in the woods with Bowser for a bit, and layed in David’s hammock up by the bear den. No, we did not see any bears, Val. On our way home, we stopped for Mexican food at this amazing little hole-in-the-wall in Front Royal, VA. Two tacos, an enchilada, and a quesadilla for $5.50. Delicious.
After lunch, we headed over to see Val and Ty’s new house. They are getting unpacked pretty good and making progress with painting and arranging. We had dinner and birthday presents and played Apples-to-Apples on the porch. My kind of weekend!
On Friday night, DC got hit with a derecho, a word I just learned for the first time that night, something I formerly might have called ‘a seriously intense storm.’ Matt and I had just gotten back from a nice sushi dinner out, put our bikes away after the hot ride home (it was still in the 90s at 9:30 at night), and settled into bed to watch some Mad Men when it suddenly got super windy and rainy and there was lightning every few seconds. Apparently the temperature dropped about 20 degrees as the storm came in. There were the kind of wind gusts (70 mph recorded at the airport) that actually gave me goosebumps and made me think we should move away from the windows. The sound of that is something I won’t soon forget. An enormous tree limb came down on our neighbors car across the street, totalling it. Thank goodness no one was out on the street when this happened. Though I do love a good storm, it was a little much for me in the scary department. The power blinked out a bunch of times, but luckily it stayed on for us throughout the whole ordeal. I know a lot of our friends in the area were not so lucky, and are still waiting for it to return while enduring more 100 degree days… It really does put things in perspective though, when you read stories about entire houses being levelled by the weather. I cannot imagine….
DC is really, truly beautiful this time of year. I know I’ve written that before, but I just can’t get enough of the warm weather lately and the pretty blossoms everywhere and all the neighbors out and about. Soon it will turn into a hot mug swamp mess, so I’ll keep enjoying it while I can, and probably look back longingly at this post when I am covered in sweat just from walking Bowser down the block.
This afternoon I took some me time and went and got a pedicure and haircut. It had been months since I last did that and I was feeling a little disheveled. The great part about working for myself now is that I can just go do that in the middle of the afternoon, no waiting for the 5 o’clock whistle. I worked my butt off all week, put in a few late nights too, and so I decided to take the long route over to Capitol Hill today, walking only on the sunny sides of the street, admiring all the rowhomes, and I even stopped to watch an outdoor school lesson taking place. The kids were learning how to use yardsticks to measure things like the sidewalk squares and the height of a fence. Man it seems like all that stuff was so long ago…
I also spotted this tiny little patch of buttercups growing at the base of a streetlamp. I can’t remember the last time I saw buttercups. I love them! The remind me of our back field at the house growing up. We would run back there after Dad got home from work, pick some buttercups — the whole field was covered in them — and hold them under our chins to determine if we liked butter. I know we always thought it was some sort of magic when our chins turned yellow, and even when they didn’t, we’d still say they did.
Tomorrow I am headed up north on the Amtrak to Connecticutt with JJ and Denise to visit the one and only Slutsky! I am so excited for our long-awaited ladies weekend. The best is that we bought the train tickets way back in November, I think, so it almost feels like a free trip! Funny how that happens. We are planning to visit some vineyards, go to a wine-and-painting class, and wander around downtown Mystic. woo hoo!
You know spring is in full swing when tourists start popping up everywhere and it’s time again for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. This year marks 100 years since the trees arrived in DC as a gift from Japan. Walking around the Tidal Basin to see the pink sea of blossoms really never gets old, even though we go every year and it’s always the same, it’s always pretty magical. Yeah, I said that. Magical. I feel pretty lucky to live close enough to just walk/bike on over there, because the traffic and metro crowds to get down there seem horrific.
Matt and I spent Friday afternoon sitting on a small hill under the trees, eating Samoa’s (god bless Girl Scout cookies) and trying to determine how many photos were being taken in that immediate vicinity every second. I’m guessing in the 1000′s per second, especially with camera phones these days. It really is a site to see, all the posing, clicking cameras, the little kids… and the brides taking wedding pictures, I always wonder if they manage any shots without other people in them. Maybe. My favorite of all was a tired, sweaty, little girl tugging her mother’s arm, whining, “But what are we going to doooooo here???” Awww poor kid, I guess trees are boring when you are little. She’ll be back someday to appreciate it all.
After our cookie appetizer, we wandered over the the Fish Market on Maine Avenue and got some fish and shrimp tacos for dinner. We took them over to Matt’s trailer at the Wharf, and enjoyed a beer on the back porch area while watching the sunset over the water. Ahhhhh starting the weekend off on the right foot.
We took down all the Christmas decorations, but the boxes are still sitting out everywhere. Our tree is still up, and though it has been de-ornamented… I just feel bad throwing it out on the curb when it’s still so pretty and makes the house smell all pine-y. I guess we’ll leave it up a little longer. It’s hard to put the holidays away, sometimes.
Other than those loose ends, I’m feeling energized about the new year. Work is super busy, and we’ve started tearing apart the office to make a new, improved work space for me. The carpet has been pulled out, and we’re working on fixing the wood floors, which were covered in splashed paint. It’s a mess now. But, after the floor is done, we’re talking about designing some built-in shelves along one wall. I will share some pics of it soon.
Bleh. The bad part about fall coming is that the ginkgo trees have pooped all over the sidewalks again. The little yellow balls are everywhere, and it stinks. Literally. Thankfully, the tree directly in front of our house is a male and it doesn’t drop any of the foul bombs, so I shouldn’t complain, but… just about every other tree on the block is a female and the smell is horrendous. Even Bowser, who thinks that anything on the sidewalk is some sort of delicacy, won’t go near the things. This is the same dog that has sometimes been known to sneak nibbles out of the kitty litter box, so you know these ginkgo fruits must be BAD. Gross. I have to check my shoes every time I get back to the house to make sure they aren’t encrusted with yellow slime. I also make it a point now to park the car on the opposite side of the street, where the neighborhood kids are known to jump all over the hood, just to avoid having the fruits drop all over the car. Hood dents > ginkgo berries. Why has no one invented a way to tell if the tree is male or female before it matures? Come on dendrologists! I know you can do this!
It’s actually just sad because the rest of the year, the trees are so sturdy and beautiful (so deceiving) and then they go and do this once a year. ugh. I think a great solution would be for everyone who lives in the shadow of a female ginkgo to take charge and sweep the berries off of the sidewalk before they get all mushed up underfoot. We could treat it just like snow removal — you get your little piece of sidewalk, and I’ll get mine. oh, wait… that requires proactivity on the part of some. And then some people would just sweep all the berries from their side onto to our side, or brush a little, tiny, 4-inch wide ginkgo-free path down the middle of the sidewalk. That isn’t going to work. Guess I’ll have to keep playing sidewalk tiptoe like the berries are molten, burning lava pits. I can’t be the only one in this city that does that.
Hurricane Irene came and went last night. The heaviest of the rain seemed to be falling around and after 9pm. We hunkered down inside, lit all the candles, ate pizza and cookies for dinner, and then watched some movies and fell asleep in the guest bedroom, where the rain always sounds the loudest. We’re happy to report no flooding or leaking at our house, and we also miraculously never lost power! I know lots of other friends weren’t so lucky… so we wish for things to return to normal as quickly as possible for everyone. There are lots of trees and limbs down all over the neighborhood, so I know major cleanups will be ongoing.
This past weekend we had a lovely time with visitors from Delaware. Mom and Dad S. came down to celebrate a birthday, toast to Matt’s award from school, and watch us race run the GW Parkway 10 miler. On Friday night, we stayed up until midnight awaiting the news of the impending government shutdown… The “crisis was averted” (delayed anyway), as they say, so that meant our 10-miler race was on, the city would stay open, and more importantly, people would continue to receive paychecks. woohoo for peeps getting paid! On Saturday morning, we grabbed some deli subs to go from our favorite neighborhood Italian hotspot, A. Litteri’s and then went over to the National Arboretum to wander around the gardens and check out the Ikebana exhibit.
this way or that
one of the many beautiful Ikebana displays
(I promise I did not pick this blossom, I found it on the ground…)
Messing with the photographer in action, always a good time.
wind in the willows
…and Val played hopscotch on the pavers at the old Capitol columns
After that, the guys went their own way to do guys things, while the ladies went and shopped!! We first attempted to go to the garden store in Capital Hill, but that was a big fail because there really wasn’t much of a store, just some cool things scattered around outside and then a tiny little inside area. So the next best destination was Hill’s Kitchen. I picked up a cookie cutter in the shape of DC (awesome) and a gift for an upcoming friends wedding.
That evening, we enjoyed a delicious birthday dinner for mom at Founding Farmers, and, even though our table was facing the counter where all the desserts are plated, we managed to pass on those and come home to enjoy Val’s homemade carrot cake. NOM NOM! Good pre-race fodder, right? Hey, carbs are carbs.
On Sunday morning, Matt, Val, and I were off to run a point-to-point 10 miles, starting at Mt. Vernon, winding along the GW Parkway, and ending in Alexandria. My awesome coworker and race-buddy Susan met us out there, too. Ty was tasked with making us breakfast upon our return, but in the end he came out to cheer for us instead. Thanks for getting out of bed so early on a Sunday, Ty!!
Huddled up under our foil blankets before the start of the race!! It was COLD out there at 7am. (Alternate caption: me working on my babooshka look.)
In the end, it was a great race!! This was my third year running it with Susan, and 5th year overall, so it’s become a bit of a spring tradition to look forward to. Val really pushed us to sprint in the end 1/2 mile, so she has definitely locked herself in for next years race as the motivator.