Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spring is right around the corner?

It almost feels like spring. Almost. Most of the snow has melted, except in those scattered areas where it was once pilled higher than my head. We're starting to talk about the community garden plot we'll be renting this year. And I bought my first concert ticket.

Music really is a huge part of my summer, and I'm excited that my first concert of the year will be to see a local(ish) band that I have been a big fan of since I moved to D.C. So thanks to Shamrock Fest, I'll get to see Carbon Leaf and a bunch of other bands to kick of the concert season.

We've also started going out again. The snow puts a serious damper on getting together with friends, especially in a town where there are about two cars for every one parking space and almost everyone's main form of transportation is the Metro. But Friday we went to Busboys and Poets where the service was horrible but the food and books were fabulous. And Saturday we went to a Korean karaoke bar where I lost my voice signing Beatles and Amy Winehouse songs.

I'm finally feeling human again now that I can leave the house. Bring it on, Spring! I'm ready for you.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Olympic spectator to Olympic participant?

As I've been watching the Olympic games the past (almost) two weeks, I've been thinking about what give Olympians the motivation to do what they do. They spend so many hours pushing their bodies to go a little faster, bend a little farther, be a little better. They sacrifice so much to do the unthinkable. Their entire career comes down to just a few seconds within a few days--to prove they deserve to be named among the greatest in the world.

Boy do I feel lazy.

Or at least I did, until I thought about how much effort I put into my own craft. The hours I spend reading and writing every day. The years I spent (actually studying) in school. The money I have invested in notebooks and pencils and computer supplies. All the times I stayed home to write one more chapter or the relationships I've neglected to go to the library and do hours of research for just one passage.

I may not be a world-class anything, but I do have something I feel passionate about, something I work at to push a little further and do a little more.

I am a writing-Olympic hopeful.

P.S. See what the girls over at Throwing Up Words have in store for other writing-Olympic hopefuls in the month of March. You won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My friend posted this hysterical video of her 20 month-old son rockin' it out to Beyonce. I thought I'd hop on the "Single Ladies" bandwagon and post this for your entertainment.

Monday, February 15, 2010

In honor of President's Day...

...I'm going to ignore the snow falling out my window and write about about my adventures this past weekend.

I never get tired of seeing the National Monuments. No, really, I never get tired of the 2.5 mile walk through Monument Valley. So I didn't bat an eye when my old roommate called to tell me she and her husband would be in town for a wedding and would love to spend a couple extra days playing tourist.

Saturday after the wedding, we got together for dinner with another former roommate and her husband. After catching up on old times, we headed out to the National Mall to start the trek in the snow-covered Tidal Basin. The wind blasted our faces as we reached the high-point of the grounds at the Washington Monument, so we didn't stick around very long. The WWII Memorial offered a bit of shelter as it is set into the ground, but as we were the only people there, it also offered a serene place to reflect on the sacrifice made by our nation in days past.

That's also when things turned a little dicy. After someone mentioned they needed to go to the bathroom, we all mysteriously needed to go to the bathroom. In the middle of the Tidal Basin. At 7:30 p.m. Surrounded by ice and snow. Than someone (okay, maybe it was me) got the bright idea to cut across the snow and see if the public restrooms were magically left open for poor souls like ourselves. After cutting a path through the knee-high drifts, we found no relief. So we decided to cut out the FDR and Jefferson Memorials, but we could control ourselves until we had the chance to see the Lincoln Monument and the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials. And the DC War Memorial to WWI hadn't been dug out yet, so we admired that from afar.

This was the first time I have ever seen the Reflecting Pool frozen solid. Usually it is kind of gross from the stagnant water and geese. It didn't offer much of a reflection, but no one was going to risk a Forrest Gump moment by testing how thick the ice really was. The Korean Memorial was kind of cool in the snow and quiet. The sky was actually really clear, and we could see all the photos etched into the wall and read all the inscriptions along the path. Reading the words "Freedom Is Not Free" was rather moving and a good reminder of the efforts so many people around the world make to ensure others have the same opportunities we have.

We finally made it to the Lincoln Monument to find...IT WAS STILL OPEN! Bathrooms and running water and heat. I have never been so happy in all my life. Of course we walked up the marble steps to greet the 16th present and take about 50 million picture (none on my camera, sorry). By then we were warm enough to spend a decent amount of time at the Vietnam Wall, but it was getting colder by the minute, so we decided to still skip FRD and Jefferson and instead walk by the Ellipse and White House.

Yesterday I was a little better prepared and wore fuzzy socks and long underwear. Which ended up serving me well while walking around Old Town Alexandria, but proved a bit of an annoyance in the Air and Space Museum. It was kind of cool to see the A&S Museum with Brenda and Anthony because they were a lot more interested in Air while I usually prefer to spend my time in Space. It's always cool to see things from a new perspective.

The sidewalks ended up proving to be a bit of an ice-slick, so we took my car for a spin around the city rather than trying to walk it. We drove the the FBI Headquarters, Ford's Theater, Petersen House (where Lincoln died), the Capital Building, the Supreme Court Building, the Library of Congress and countless administrative buildings.

Before heading back to my place for dinner, we stopped off at the Jefferson Memorial. What a beautiful place to watch the sunset. There was also a park ranger giving a tour there, so we had the chance to talk to him about the monuments and Jefferson's life. He was extremely knowledgeable, and you could tell he loves his job. I learned a lot from him and hope he's around the next time I go there.

How cool is it that I got to spend President's Day Weekend walking in the steps of all our past presidents? I got to learn more about their lives and the city that runs our nation. Sure, it might have been cold and wet, but it was well worth it. And if you ever want to play tourist with me, I'm always up for having a new adventure.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Scape (mini-update)

Free at last! My roommate and a friend helped me dig out my car this afternoon. We planned on going to see An Education but the theater was closed thanks to the snow. So instead we went to the post office and then blew all our money on crazy things like bread and milk. So it's back to the grind tomorrow as long as the ice from today's melt doesn't re-trap me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snow Baked

It's official. When it looks like this outside... looks like this inside.

Want one?

I made them to look like the cars outside my window.

I'm probably going to be home again tomorrow as the snow I finally freed my car from yesterday magically reappeared today. I'm not sure what I'm going to make tomorrow as I'm out of powdered sugar. I did just get more peanut butter, so maybe I'll make cookies.

I just hope I can get to the store tomorrow so I can buy supplies for the dinner I'm having for an old friend who's coming into town. Keep your fingers crossed the airport will be open for her! Oh yeah, and keep them crossed that they'll be able to get back out again on Monday night because the weather man is calling for more snow.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snow Bound

This snow is driving me crazy! Being cooped up in the house, you'd think I'd be productive and, I don't know, read one of the 50 books I have sitting next to my bed or finish my SCBWI WIP Grant application or get some homework done for my web design class. The least I could do is barrow a shovel and dig my car out of the two feet of snow it is buried under.

I made some progress, but then the bucket I was using shattered (yes, shattered) and I was left with no way to clear the snow. A walk to the store also proved futile as they were out of shovels.

But it's like in school when they tell you you have to read a book and it looks like a good book by an author you've liked in the past and you actually really wanted to read that book. But just because you now HAVE to read it, you have suddenly lost all desire to read it. That has been my life for the past week.

So instead I spent my time doing things like this:

baking Valentine's Day cookies to give to friends once the snow melts.

making cream cheese brownies for a movie night that gets cancelled because of the snow only to be forced to eat all the brownies with my roommate because it's really not the brownies' fault it snowed.

starting a new fashion trend of wearing boots from my good ol' college days in Idaho that I swore I would never wear again and pairing them with the same pair of jeans from yesterday because I really don't want to bother getting another pair of jeans all slushy.

watching episode after episode with the popular Australian television drama McLeod's Daughters on Netflix and seeing how many budding stars I can spot that now sport American accents on shows like Legend of the Seeker and Fringe.

Any ideas how I can waste time tomorrow and probably Wednesday as well? We're supposed to get another six inches, so Washington might be closed down for a few more days. At least I have internet access and can check my work email at home. So I have been able to get SOME work done.