Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fifi dogs

If you know me, it's no secret that fifi/yip-yip dogs disturb me.  What liminal* creatures.  Is it a rat?  Is it a cat?  Is it your child? (You have to wonder, the way some people treat them, with so many toys and treats and accessories and carting them around in strollers like babies and why are there 4 aisles of pet-related junk at Target?).

Well, as I sat at Caribou Coffee this afternoon, enjoying the chilly weather and sipping on a chai tea latte, a little clan of yip-yip dogs came with their owners (withholding judgement on said owners.  This post is for the dogs) to the table next to mine.  Maggie, Bugsy, and Butch... or something like that.  Not only were they eerily small and frantic, they...okay, sorry.  Have to judge the owners after all.  They, though sporadically on retractable leashes, they were allowed to wander all throughout the enclosed area (read: under my table).  The owners paused in their deep conversations about US Weekly, their tragic love lives, et al to share the fine bloodline of the mutts ("part chihuahua, part yorkie.")  They yip-yipped/screamed at every dog that walked by (and Shirlington has a ton of dogs), then were "reprimanded" (told in a soothing, laughing voice to please stop).  Then I overheard a girl giggle, "look!  Butch is barking for a treat!" and then a barking game commenced to both point out passing dogs as well as get treats.... so there was no end to the madness....thus I left.

Yip-yip dogs at the table next to you is like a smoker at the table next to you.  Unhealthy.  Annoying.  Clogs the senses.

The end.  Rant over.

*Liminal: of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition.  In between.  Transitional.  This is one of the few things I remember from college: Intro to Folklore.  Professor: Tom Green.  He sounded like Jack Nicholson.  One of my favorite classes.  Flying squirrels are liminal creatures.  They freak out some people groups.  Is it a rat?  Is it a squirrel?  Is it a bat?  Is it Satan?  Yes.

Marine Corps Marathon

And no, I haven't been secretly training so I can run 26.2 miles like a crazy person.  Nope, you must be thinking of one of the other 36,000 crazies who chose to run in the 2009 Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington and DC.  Here are some pictures from the 2 mile mark, the post for us cheerers-onners:

Joe the Good Boyfriend working on a poster for Becky:

Carb-loading....for the non-runners...

Getting our coffee fixes - it was e-a-r-l-y but a beautiful morning nonetheless.

Here's the first one out of the box!

Austin's dressing room: the metro stop at Cleveland and 29.

Pinky the Gorilla Himself.  You would have paid to see the strained looks on people's faces that, upon seeing Pinky, instantly changed to laughter.  People were running sideways so they could make it over to Austin for a high-five.  Also, some of the Marines thought Austin's gorilla noises were attempts to say "hoo-rah!" like they do... and so they'd echo Austin's "hoo-hoo" with "hoo-RAH"s...highly entertaining.

The masses arrive.

And here we are.

The awesome encouragers at the two-mile mark:

I was amazed at the number of people carrying flags.  Dude.  It's hard enough to run a mile, much less 26.2, much less carrying a large flag.  Here are a few of the flag-carriers I was able to capture:


Uncle Sam


Way to go!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Punkin's. Part One.*

Today was the Official Pumpkin Delivery Day.  Were you aware?  I helped my pal Haley pick up a patch o' pumpkins and deliver them to various locations in DC for Grace DC's community groups' pumpkin carving festivities this weekend.  Though it wasn't very cold, I looked the part, with my spiffy Irish scarf (I don't know what's particularly Irish about this other than the obnoxious yet legitimate tag I haven't bothered to cut off - don't worry, it's sewn in, not a price tag a la Minnie Pearl) and L.L. Bean boots (this was a dramatic move, for it was not nearly chilly enough nor was the rain pouring hard enough to qualify for wearing these boots), so I admit vainly that I was hoping for a photo op.

Enter Eastern Market.
I LOVE these flowers.  I don't know what they're called... but a little girl referred to them as "brain flowers" which I promptly proceeded to ignore.  Anyway, as we were searching for pumpkins, a nice man had these flowers in his booth and was putting them back in his truck.  I stopped and complimented him on how beautiful they were, and he up and gave me two bunches of them!  He wasn't pleased with how they looked, but I didn't even noticed the flaws he pointed out.  SCORE!  Free flowers AND beautiful ones at that!!  SO, I'm going to dry them and keep them "forever" as Mom advises.  Successful day at Eastern Market.

The Leaves CHANGE COLORS between green and brown here, folks!!!  We saw a ton in northern DC that seriously looked like fire.  They are so pretty even when strewn about the pavement!!

Here were some of the lucky picks in the back of ol' RFW.

And this is what the rest of the day entailed.  Lots of rain.  Also, I do not recommend traveling down Georgia Avenue from Haley's house (Maryland) to my house (Virginia) during the Howard University reunion.  It made for the usual 20 minute drive over an hour.  Ergh.

And here I sit, after a full day of Eastern Market, pumpkins, flowers, the Diner in Colombia Heights, thrift shopping, quality time with a quality friend, a considerable about of house cleaning, a good glass of wine, a long bath, and now I curl up with Wild at Heart.

A good day indeed.

*I say Part One because I am hoping for a Part Deaux - pumpkin carving! - in the coming days.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

October 16-18

This has been a GREAT weekend.  Allow me to explain some of the high points.
  • Friday night, I was a party animal.  And by that I mean I finished Season One of 24!!  A great way to spend a Friday night.  My ringtone is now the CTU ringtone....yeah, I'm that obsessed.
  • Target has long pants!!! For people 5'9" and taller!!! I bought 2 pairs of workout pants and they DRAG THE GROUND.  This is amazing.  Is this how all the shorter people feel all the time?? How exciting.  Target, you just keep me coming back to you time and again.
  • Into the Wild.  By John Krakauer.  Oh my goodness this is a fantastic movie.  I've heard for months that I'd like it, but haven't taken the time to watch it.  LET ME TELL YOU, it's wonderful.  Insightful.  I won't ruin the ending for you just yet, but there will be a post forthcoming that delves into the truths this movie addresses.  Good work, Sean Penn.  You haven't ruined this.  Thank you.
  • Love in the Time of Cholera.  Novel by Gabrial Garcia Marquez.  Scandalous.  Javier Bardem is super talented.  His character, Florentino Ariza is 180 degrees opposite from Anton Chigurh, the character he plays in No Country for Old Men. Creepy nonetheless.  There's something about him... doesn't give off an "I'm trustworthy" vibe.
  • This rain is really ridiculous.  It finally stopped on Sunday, but it's been acting like Seattle!  Be your own person, DC.  Don't try to be like anyone else.  Get back to those breezy, crisp, cool, sunny days you were getting so good at.
  • Wegman's.  I ducked into a 7/11 to get a snack before I went so I didn't go overboard on groceries, but that was pointless.  I spent 1 hour and 15 minutes in the blasted store, going down every aisle, stocking up on gluten-free fare (and frozen!).  This is a grocery shopper's paradise.  I will limit myself to shopping here once ever 3 months or so so I don't go completely broke.
  • Ah yes.  Saturday morning, I participated in a Darkness to Light seminar for church.  Very insightful.  This is their mission: Our programs raise awareness of the prevalence and consequences of child sexual abuse by educating adults about the steps they can take to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to the reality of child sexual abuse.  Child sexual abuse is so much more rampant here than I thought.  It's heartbreaking.
  • My love of symmetry is rivaled by my love of exact numbers/distance/measurements/etc.  As it turns out, my house is exactly 5 miles from my office when you take the bike trails!  I tested it out today.  Kept going a bit further, turned around, and the grand total mileage of the trip was 15 miles TO THE TENTH and I didn't plan it.  You can't make this stuff up.  It's magical.  
  • I was a 2%er Saturday night, and left when the Aggies were losing 59-14.  They lost 62-14.... man, I should have left earlier - KSU only scored 3 points when I was gone.  Good thing = saw friends.  Bad thing = seriously.  It's Kansas State!  Where did that come from??!  I miss R.C.  Sorry, it's true.
Yes, yes that was a grand weekend.  Onward to face the week.

Friday, October 16, 2009

There's no place like home...

Well, well, well, looky looky.

I'm coming HOME November 20 - 29!!! This brings me great joy.  Things I'm most looking forward to while in Texas (and I'm guessing much of this will involve food).  Please feel free to make suggestions:
  • watch the Aggies BTHO Baylor 11/21 (please, God)
  • Matamoros Taco Hut or equally awesome Tex-Mex
  • Beat the Fightin' Texas Aggie hell outta t.u. on Thanksgiving... and plenty of heckling with the relatives to go with it
  • Check in with Austin peeps to ensure my future reign is still the plan, and Texas is preparing to get secede from the Union =)
  • AUSTIN, how I miss thee. - Run on Town Lake perhaps?
  • Beef brisket BBQ
  • play my piano (can you believe they don't have pianos out here!?!)
  • sit on the patio and drink coffee with the fam
  • sit on the patio and smoke cigars with the fam ("Emily! How unladylike!")
  • Rather Sweet Bakery - pig-in-a-blanket
  • deer hunting... or hog hunting?.... 
  • skeet shooting
  • Church at Hill Country EFree
  • cheap pedicure
  • shopping in downtown FBG
  • HEB! (hesshy-b, the heeb).  There is none like you.
  • Enchanted Rock
  • tamales from a little taco stand (I'm bringing tons of these back).
  • snake boots (hey, you never know)
  • bring back books and other treasures in storage
Ok, this list could get really long.  Taking a break for now.  Just for the record, I haven't increased my weight by 50%, as indicated by all this talk of food.  Rather, I miss Texas food (and not the fried butter nonsense of the State Fair area)....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Great Falls, Maryland

Last weekend I joined Kirk and Tim for a quick hike at/near/in Great Falls, Maryland.  SO great to get away from the city, the people, and be all around NATURE (Goulet!)

Encountered people who'd found some kid named Joe who ran away from his parents, later saw the kid scaling a cliff in a very non-safe way.. this kid was like a banshee.  Not surprising that his parents couldn't keep up with him.

Doesn't it look like a giant dinosaur eye?!

Tiny flowers on the side of a big rock


I call it "The Calm Before the Storm."

So we asked some guys what they were sitting in... they looked like tiny tadpole-kayak-things.  The guy smugly replied, "A kayak."  FINE.  Keep your secret.  We'll find out, never fear.

I of course didn't bring a pack with water or any sustenance, but instead relied on the generosity of my sherpa, Tim.  Thanks, Tim.

"Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy." ~Psalm 98:8

"Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.  Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep.  O Lord, you preserve both man and beast.  How priceless is your unfailing love!  Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings." ~Psalm 36:5-7

(yeah yeah - not exactly mountains... but it is a river, God's faithfulness, love, and refuge.  I love seeing Him in nature.  It's my favorite.)

Love for the Military

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Curb your enthusiasm.  As I'm editing and uploading photos, I thought I'd appease you with a youtube video.

Has anyone ever heard of North Platte, Nebraska??

I love old patriotism.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I miss Texas

I miss Texas.

Let me count the ways.

1. Today, things were pretty stressful at work.  When I overheard a colleague ask someone, "Do you think you can handle that?"  I quickly interjected into their conversation and proclaimed, "Give me a gun and I can handle that one for ya."  As if that is a totally normal thing to say.  Now my colleague thinks that perfectly sums up any and all stereotypes about Texans.

2.  Talked to Dad and he was working cattle.  Dad uses my phrase now, too.  I could hear cattle mooing (your mom) in the background, and what did I do?  I came home and cooked a big fat steak on the stovetop.  Take that, PETA!

3.  Speaking of food, I miss Texas BBQ.  Pulled pork is good, but face it.  It can't hold a candle to beef brisket.  Im tired of pretending.  I miss smoked beef brisket. Gonzales Food Market, Sunny's, Rudy's, J. Cody's, H-E-B, Cranky Frank's, GOODE COMPANY BBQ, that odd place in Shiner in the tiny room only open on the weekends, heck I'd even take Maeker's sausage.

Hey if you're in Texas, eat some BBQ and shoot a gun for me.