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Adopting in Ashburn

What began in France moved to Washington, DC and then the suburbs. Let the adventures in Ashburn continue.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dark Tunnels


Well, it seems that like most things you can't have one without the other. So before I could have an incredibly fun weekend I had to have a Friday that pretty much ranked in my worst 25 days ever.

It started out with work making me - actually, let's skip that and just know that this was certainly the dark tunnel. Now the thing about dark tunnels that make them SO different from, say, caves, is that there is bound to be light on the other end. My light came as I scrambled out of work 25 minutes late.

You know how you can see the glimmer before the good part ... that's where we are (or so I thought). I was on my way to see a movie with Cag, now assuredly going to be late as I had stopped home to grab an apple for dinner and change into jeans. Half way there I realize I have forgotten my phone - so I can't even call to say I am running late. An idiot decides to stop short on Glebe Road and I hydroplane through an intersection (lots of prayers of thanksgiving on the safe passage of that one) trying to stop behind them. The parking garage is almost at capacity and I get stuck behind someone waiting for a spot from another someone who had - obviously - all the time in the world to put things in (and out) of, I kid you not, every door to her car and the trunk. She only had a couple of clothes bags. Ack.

I park and get inside and am completely frazzled from a day of horrificness and hydroplaning and delayed parking. Cag and I really don't like the movie Burn After Reading. (I can't handle that kind of humor. Well, I can, it just isn't funny.) I go home to order pizza and watch the debate (which should tell you something uncheerful too). Lorien does her best to cheer me up (since the sucky movie did not) via phone, but my day has really put me in a funk.

I am obviously at the part of the tunnel where I inevitably run out of air and have to take a big gasping breath. My solution to losing the breath-holding-tunnel-challenge is usually to make the other contestants laugh. So I did a post-debate rundown with Cag via phone (as a way to offer my apologies for being a total kill-joy and tardy person upon arrival to the movie). Nothing is as entertaining as two politicians trying to spin things and then tell the other person to stop spinning them, so the laughter factor was working out.

Then Rachel came home and we planned for our big outing at the National Book Festival (photoblog post to come) and randomly got into telling each other the worst jokes we knew (that indubitably cracked us up anyway) and I finally got to bed.

The rest of my weekend deserves a separate post that will reveal the utter awesomeness that came on the other side of my terrible, torturous, no-good, very bad Friday. And as the optimist in me can't help pointing out, as awful as it was, the weekend was infinitely better. So if you're in a tunnel and running out of air, just take that gasp.

After you laugh, the light will be just around the next bend.

Love always,

~Heather

Image: Tunnel from the C&O bike trail (Georgetown to Cumberland)

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Autumn is Fall and Fall is Fabulous

I'm not sure how long this fascination with fall has been going on, but I LOVE fall. It is my absolute favorite season of the year. You can open all the windows and let in the fresh air. Everyone decorates in burnt oranges, sage, deep red, and golden yellow. Leaves come down. School starts again. Football plays every Saturday.

It is like shedding an old skin every year - you get to let go of the summer and cuddle up for the winter. It is a truly amazing deal.

This fall has brought me a number of wonderful things already. However, I fear I must restrict myself (at least momentarily) to this weekend. You'll see why when you realize the length of this post.

Not an awesome week at work, I was happy to duck out at exactly 5:30p.m. on Friday. One of my interns was celebrating her birthday, so she came by the house and I cut her some fresh sunflowers for her apartment as a gift. Then I went inside to make supper.

My new fellow from work and Paula came over for dinner (they're roommates). We had meatloaf, zucchini-mozzarella melt, corn and some seriously great wine. They helped me do my eyes really charcoal-shadowy (which I've never done on myself before and frankly, I can only do costume and completely neutral make-up well) and then headed out. I got into my cocktail dress for a party at Rachel's friends house.

I helped Rachel with her hair - which looked totally fabulous of its own accord - and then we walked up to the guys' house. It was the type of party that is fun enough to stay at (especially since it was a fancy dress up theme) and enjoy my Kir Royale (potentially the best appertif of all time), but not so exciting that I was exhausted from over-socialization.

Up early Saturday a.m. I vegged out and watched 13 Going on 30 - totally girly indulgence - until the cable guy came to finally give us our cable cards (which for some of my newer readers, I've been waiting for since March). Rachel and I harvested some sunflower seeds and then went out in search of the rest of the gardening materials we need for this fall.

A couple hours later, covered in dirt, our tomatoes, artichokes, and lone surviving green bean plant were in the garden boxes I started constructing ages ago. I'd managed to listen to Florida kicking Tennessee's butt through the open windows and disappoint some door-to-door Obama supporters with an "I'm still undecided" response during the gardening process (hello productivity, shall we be friends?).

I got a shower and adapted the eye look for football fun at CCSP. (I usually don't wear make-up, but I wanted to practice and the day after I wear mascara or eyeliner it just looks smudgy if I don't reapply a little. But note the adaptation - football and girliness don't usually mix for me.)

I got there during the second quarter and Carolina was barely leading Wofford. Seriously Steve, or spurious friend of mine, is that the best you can do? I started chatting with the guy who helped me find a seat (henceforth to be known as Cag - Carolina Alumni Guy). Dinner was good and the game was lame. Cag and I went in to watch the rest of the FSU game with some of his friends (I had my eye on the LSU-Auburn game). The games ended before 10 and neither of us wanted to go home yet.

I'm not sure if it was the eyeshadow or the way I mercilessly scream at the television during football games (especially of the Gamecock variety), but Cag asked if I wanted to do something. So we went for a walk. Unfortunately, Crystal City isn't that scenic. So after a short jaunt, we went to Old Town to walk King Street and get some ice cream.

We took the ice cream to the waterfront and went out on to a pier to eat and get a good view of Maryland and DC across the Potomac. A bit later a patrolling dock employee sent us on our merry way.

When I woke up in the morning, I was so relaxed that it seemed like I was coming off a three-day weekend, instead of a single Saturday.

Sunday a.m. brought the first week back to full choir rehearsal - love the bonus singing time. I got to talk to Marco during lunch and the drive out to Springfield where I tried out for a competitive volleyball team. The girls were really nice and the level was perfect. I played the best I've played in ages - all my serves in, all my hits in, relatively decent passing, moderate to good setting and excellent team dynamic. It was the best time I've had playing ball in recent memory.

Rachel and I went out to dinner (after I iced my shoulders and neck - really dudes, it was some intense volleyball) at King Street Blues. My Triple Play was delicious - salad, chili, and BBQ pulled pork half-sammie. We came back to the house and I fell asleep about five minutes into National Treasure. I woke up an hour or so later and had to put a heat wrap on so I could, you know, move. A full night's rest and it was up and at 'em for work this morning.

Now, if you made it this far, then thank you for putting up with what has to be one of the greatest weekends and longest posts in awhile.

Gosh do I love fall.

Love always, ~Heather

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Not Quite Singing in the Rain

Note that this was originally written two weeks ago, but it has been in draft mode ... trying to catch up tonight ....

It has been a pretty eventful weekend here in DC, starting Thursday evening with the Carolina - Vanderbilt. Paula and I went to the Crystal City Sports Pub, where the Gamecock alumni club meets. We caught up with a few friends and made some new ones. Oh, yeah, we also watched our beloved Gamecocks lose a second straight match-up to Vanderbilt. I mean seriously Spurrier (and team), I know you're trying to make a name for yourselves, but competing for the "door mat" title is not what your fans had in mind.

Friday at work was relatively uneventful, but I was full of energy all day - ready to do something fun, like go out dancing, as soon as I got off. Alas, no one wanted to go out. So I pulled some homemade zucchini-eggplant parmesan out of the freezer and settled down for a little Charmed marathon.

.... filling in from a slightly more distant memory ....

I decided after a little while that I just couldn't stay in, so I asked my next door neighbor if he wanted to hang out. Somehow or another we would up taking a walk in the rain down King Street. We went to the Union Station pub where the barteder surprised me with a Washington Apple. Neighbor and I talked for awhile and then headed out. On the way home, "Great Balls of Fire" was playing in 219, so we went in and listened to the live music from the bar.

It was a really great and completely random night hanging out with Neighbor (I feel weird not using names, but privacy is important in this Google-searching age). I'm hoping we can become friends, instead of just neighbors, but I'm letting him take the lead, since he's a bit more shy than any of us in our house.

So there was no singing, but certainly a good long walk in the rain. I really love walking. And - of - that's right - it was the weekend Tropical storm/hurricane Hanna was coming.

So Saturday a.m. I was talking to Mom and Dad and they jokingly suggested I take care of my yard work in the rain - since I had been out walking in the rain the night before anyway. I wound up patchmastering the entire lawn (not huge, but it is a full townhouse-sized yard). I'm guessing the rest of the weekend was uneventful, or at least not bad, since I'm having trouble recollecting exactly what I did, but it was a great weekend in the rain.

Love always, ~Heather

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Non/Bi-partisan

Has anyone else noticed that there are all sorts of people who are claiming to be independent of political affiliation who are hard core getting behind one candidate or another?

Maybe it is in the photos they choose, or where and how they place them. It may be in the frequency of posting or their terminology, but let's be clear:

There is a heck of a lot of framing and spinning and posturing going on and the absolute truth is no one is presenting it without bias.

And, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that - if you admit that you have a bias. It doesn't seem fair to those who don't have training in recognizing these tactics ...

I'm just saying.

I should be announcing my bias soon enough - I have to watch my recordings of the Republican speeches first.

Love always, ~Heather

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