Wednesday, July 29, 2009

doobie time: d.c. edition

doobie undertook a grand east coast tour before heading to the wild west for an MBA program. and since i am now a grand part of the grand east coast, he made a stop here in the district.

the list of things doobie managed to accomplish while i was working is rather impressive. the things we managed to accomplish together when i was done with work are less so, mostly because it kept dumping rain at the worst possible moments.

we did watch some "battlestar galactica," which is always time well-spent, and also saw the movie "500 days of summer," which we both loved even if the last two minutes were a little lame. (doobie has always been a highly skilled movie buddy, another category of friend i have not quite filled here.)

but the biggest event was our mutually first trip to ben's chili bowl, a washington d.c. institution. (and another recommendation from my "" book. i am quite literally determined to visit every place listed.)

if you want to eat like el presidente (again, quite literally, because this is what he ordered when he went there), you should get the half-smoked. i wimped out and went with the regular chili dog, but doobie went all in, obama-style.

saturday morning, on our way to union station so doobie could catch a train to boston he said, "if you had to move away from utah just as i was moving to utah, i am glad you decided to move here."

and i think, so am i.

Monday, July 27, 2009

first time high

my saturday was full of the following firsts.

first brunch at kramer books (whole wheat waffles with fruit)

first rooftop tan (thanks, dana! and dana's roof!)

first few pages of "special topics in calamity physics" (highly recommend)

first haircut at vsl salon

first time i've cried about coming to d.c. since i arrived

first time wearing my new mint green sandals

first time speaking japanese with a native speaker in at least a year

first blueberries of the summer

first drive to cleveland park (survived!)

first drive to capitol hill (survived that, too!)

first time dancing under a disco ball in a garage

first time watching people take shots out of an ice luge

first post-10p.m. bedtime in a week

just the first of many more firsts

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

a bicycle built for one

i haven't been on my bike much lately.

for the past few days, this has been the result of an unfortunate incident involving my bike being semi-permanently stuck on my indoor trainer, a situation which required the brains and brawn of the father of one of aunt joyce's flute students, as well as the sacrifice of a plastic screw cap, to resolve.

another contributing factor is that i am now one of those poor suckers who works all the time and leaves the office with minimal energy leftover for anything else.

but the biggest culprit is my lack of a biking buddy here.

due to my general self-consciousness about all things athletic, i usually opt to do athletic things by myself, but biking is the exception. there are few things i love more than riding along, chatting with a pal. the hills seem so much steeper and the miles seem so much longer when i am pedaling along alone. and it is definitely not as much fun to pull off to the side of the trail and watch the washington municipal airport authority take someone away when there is no one to watch it with you.


millie and i will continue to persevere on our own (millie being the bike, you'll remember), but i sure hope someone comes along to join us soon.

(any of the completely hot guys i see on the mt. vernon trail will do just fine.)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

sugar low

i am taking a break from sugar.

since i am the person who eats brownies and/or mike and ikes for breakfast, this is a rather daunting, not to mention unexpected feat.

i blame the office candy jar.

i became acquainted with the office candy jar on the first day at my new job. i had never worked in an office with a candy jar before, so it seemed like a pretty genius idea to me. delicious candy whenever i want it? yes, please!

it started out innocently enough. (as these things always do, i am sure.) a post-lunch kit kat, or a little box of nerds to get me through a long meeting.

but then i just sort of lost control of the whole thing and before i knew it, my garbage can was full of snickers wrappers at the end of the day. like, full.

and i started to feel gross. like, really gross.

i have always been blessed not to suffer any ill effects from indulging my rather wicked sweet tooth, which has resulted in, basically, a complete lack of will power when it comes to not eating junk. (i was totally not kidding about the brownies for breakfast.) but, i am turning over a new (temporary) leaf! i am under no delusions that i can keep up this nonsense for anything resembling the long term, but i definitely think i can manage no sugar for a month. (especially if i let myself have a treat on the weekends. which, let's face it, i am probably going to do.)

i am three days in with no sugar at all (praise me! please?) and i am not shaking or anything, so i think it's going well so far. in fact, today i took some watermelon and almonds to work to snack on when the evil craving hit, and i wasn't even tempted by the candy jar at all.

of course, right now the candy jar is filled with disgusting banana flavored laffy taffy. but that is not the point. the point is, when that chocolate pops up again, my will power and i will be ready.

Monday, July 20, 2009

saturdays were made for this

{my sister in saturday spontaneity, emily, on the maryland side of great falls}

itinerary for a spontaneous saturday in d.c.

a trip to eastern market on capitol hill: famous buck and blue pancakes, handmade jewelry, scrap metal sculptures, heirloom peppers, peaches so good they make you cry, bright and beautiful zinnias as big as your face.

a hike to great falls: sandy trail, peaceful river, kayakers, a group of dudes smoking something that was probably weed, rare rock terrace forest, water fall!, good conversation for miles. literally.

a nap: this goes better when aunt joyce does not need help with word scramble.

a luau: watermelon, church friends, fire dancers, the miracle of no mosquito bites. sadly, no obamas this time.

a late night dinner: avocado and sprout panini, poetry on the walls, new friends, sweet potato fries, dating philosophies expounded.

a good night's rest that lasts until noon the next day: enough said there, i think.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

it's the economy, stupid

have you heard that the recession is over?!?


or, so says this recent article from slate. i'll let you read it for yourselves (teach a man to fish, and all that), but it basically says that the most trustworthy economic forecasters out there (like, the ones who accurately predicted we were going into a recession in the first place) are saying that the whole thing is on its way out the door. (it is true that retail sales are still down and unemployment is still going up, but the people who know say those two things don't actually matter much. who knew?)

(expensive) party time!!

the article was particularly timely for me because, just the other day, i was thinking about how i never think about the recession anymore. (i guess i should say, i never think about the recession anymore unless i am thinking about how i never think about it. with me?)

i used to be totally stressed out about the economy and the R-word. i was pretty much always worried about gas prices, stock prices, food prices. i was pretty much always hearing about lower company profits, hiring freezes, salary freezes and lay-offs.

and then, it just went away.

initially, i think it had more to do with my circumstances than THE circumstances. i don't drive anymore. (sorry, honda.) i don't work in a dying industry anymore. (sorry, journalism.) i don't pay rent anymore. (thanks, uncle bob!) my salary is finally higher than my age. (thanks, obama!)

i'm not going to lie. it was a big relief to leave all that economic angst behind. and it's super exciting to think that everyone else can start leaving it behind, too.

what do you think?

are you still worried about the R-word?

are the clouds of economic woe parting?

or is there still gloom and doom in the forecast?

(also, what do you think of that analogy? i think i could probably think of something better. but i am going to order some shoes online instead. you're welcome, recovering economy!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

queens on king (street)

{the majestic cafe on king street, old town alexandria}

melissa has the sort of fancy job where she gets to travel a lot, which is a pain if you live in salt lake and she is never there, but awesome if you live in d.c. and she comes to town for business.

to celebrate our reunion, we went for all-out pampering in old town alexandria.

old town is a mostly classy place, with just the right level of historical charm mixed with modern-day convenience. (translation: good stores in old buildings.) i say mostly classy because we started out the evening with a trip to nails foxy. melissa's technician may have been texting and talking on the phone the whole time, but our nails do look... foxy. (no, seriously. they look great. and i was particularly excited since our trip to nails foxy marked my first pedicure since my trip to zion last summer and the unfortunate result said trip had on my toenails. i will leave it at that.)

once we were appropriately polished we went more upscale with dinner at the majestic cafe, another listing in my "eat. shop. d.c." book that i have been wanting to try. (nails foxy was, oddly, not listed.)

the majestic has a menu of gussied up comfort food. melissa went with the meatloaf and whipped potatoes (which the book recommends)...

...and i went with the seafood stew (which the book also recommends).

both were delicious and both, luckily, left us with just enough room for dessert (which the book also recommends). we paused for a moment so melissa could gaze lovingly at our coconut cake and mixed berry cobbler...

... and then we devoured.

we capped off the night with my first attempt at driving in the actual district of columbia, which did not result in accident or death, so i am counting it a success.

i say melissa can travel all she wants for work. as long as it brings her here.

Monday, July 13, 2009


in the past two weeks i have managed to get two different viruses on two different employer-issued laptops. (and my co-workers have already made every related pornography downloading joke, so save your breath.)

these have not been happy calls to make to the IT department. thankfully, the ladies in said department can be plied with baby ruth bars. also thankfully, my current work laptop is cured.

this all got me to thinking about how i wish we still used carrier pigeons instead of e-mail (though i guess pigeons catch nasty viruses as well). and it also got me to thinking about my trusty home laptop, delilah, and how devastated i would be if she were to fall ill, especially since i don't have a built-in, baby ruth-loving home IT department.

and then, last night when i lifted delilah off my lap to put her to bed, there was a bug on my leg. (there are way too many bugs in tropical d.c. way.too.many). and i thought to myself, "the only place that could have come from is the bottom of my computer." and then i remembered this terrible story i once heard from a data back-up expert about a couple whose CPU was infiltrated by bugs and chewed to bits. and then i got really paranoid.

so, i decided to start backing up all my pictures. (remember when we had film and we didn't have to back up pictures? those were good times. just like the pigeons.)

the good news is, i love looking at pictures of myself!

the better news is, now you get to look at pictures of me, too!

tonight i relived my several-years-ago trip to argentina to visit berto and mary.

{the pink palace in buenos aires. i think it has a more official name, but i cannot remember it.}

{real life argentine soccer with berto and gordon. the cheerleaders at argentine soccer games wear a uniform of bras and candy-colored wigs, basically, and flounce around the field when the ball is not in play, some of them with pom-poms and none of them with choreography. they are, as berto put it, exactly what cheerleaders should be.}

{this one deserves the full story. there berto and i were, eating a nice breakfast at a charming outdoor cafe when we noticed something of a ruckus in the nearby town square. protests are pretty common to argentina so we suspected it was something of that sort, but we decided to ask our waitress just to make sure. her reply? "oh, they're moving juan peron's body today." hello! we threw our money down on the table, ran to the square and watched the whole thing. we didn't get to see the actual body, but there was plenty of spectacle as it passed by and someone did accidentally catch a roof on fire, which was pretty awesome.}

{eva peron's grave. two dead perons in one trip! so lucky!}

{colonia, uruguay}

{with poojah. and a lot of meat.}

{dancing with a real gaucho.}

{colors in el caminito.}

so, that's one set of pictures safe from bugs and other pestilence, at least.

in other computer-related news, someone told me today they were suprised i didn't use a mac at home. this is like the third or fourth person who has told me this. what does it mean?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

reading rainbow

i am reading the most delightful book right now, called "the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society." most of you have probably read it already, as i am traditionally behind the curve on things like this, but if you haven't read it i recommend that you stop whatever it is that you are doing right now (unless the thing you are doing is rewatching highlights of the michael jackson memorial) and go out and get the book and start reading it post haste.

i'll wait.

i'm not going to give you a book report, but i am going to tell you three things this book has made me think about.

1. i miss writing (and receiving) letters. the book is written as a series of correspondence and there is something really charming about it. i am going to start writing more letters. and i am going to make them charming. you might be lucky enough to get one.

2. sometimes, i really, really wish i was british.

3. when it comes to really good books, i can't resist skipping ahead. i don't have a clear memory of whether this has always been the case, but it is certainly the case now. i have already read the last 10 pages of "the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society" and i still have a third of the book to go. i am not sure from whence this compulsion comes, especially since i don't have it about anything else. in fact, i would say that i love surprises. like, really a lot. (unless they are surprises like, "oh, your car got towed!" or "oh, the person you love is getting married!" or "oh, did no one tell you it was the end of the world?" those are bad surprises.) but when it comes to good books (and "battlestar galactica") i just can't stand the suspense. i want to know what happens, or at least some of what happens, now.

knowing how (most) things come out in the end has not at all dampened my enjoyment of the book (in fact, it might have increased it, because i am not rushing to the end to find out what the end is), so i am choosing not to see this impatience as a serious character flaw.

but it might be.

what do you think?

Monday, July 6, 2009

right on target

i made my first trip to target since my easterly relocation tonight, and it was quite the event. suburban meccas of materialism are not so easy to come by in my new urban life, you see.

because going to target is now such a special treat, i felt totally justified in going completely wild! (relatively speaking.) so i am now the proud owner of a little more than two pounds of trail mix. also of the special double issue of people magazine all about michael jackson. it may or may not be called "the talent and tragedy."

other purchases could include betty crocker "bowl appetite" lunches (that betty is oh-so-clever) and "ocean's 11." (if you didn't already know target is the place to find good movies for cheap, now you do.)

sufficeth to say, it's a good thing target is the kind of place where you don't have to be embarrassed about buying embarrassing things.

also sufficeth to say, it's a good thing i won't be going there often. for my sake, that is.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


i celebrated the nation's birthday in the nation's capital thusly.

(and i apologize in advance for the total lack of pictures. i am feeling a little self-conscious these days about taking pictures of everything. like, i don't want to be the crazy new girl with the camera all the time. but, for you, i'll try to get over it.)

1. no work friday!

2. rode the mt. vernon trail. the mt. vernon trail takes you to, well, mt. vernon (natch), home of one george washington, who is pretty popular 'round these parts. the mt. vernon trail also takes you to near starvation if, for some reason, you think it is only 25 miles round trip instead of nearly 40 and don't bring any extra food. riding on the banks of the potomac, past all the monuments and through enchanted forest offers nearly full compensation.

3. ck came to town! i have missed her so. (and i know she is a good friend because she didn't even get a little bit mad that i got lost on the way to every place i took her. every single one.)

4. sleeping in!

5. kayaked on the potomac with emily and co. amazingly, renting a kayak (on the potomac) is cheaper than a movie and about 1 billion times more fun. weather was perfect, view was stunning, drunk boaters were minimal. ck and i did some paddling, but mostly floating. perfection.

6. took my first trip to georgetown cupcake, a local dessert hot spot. (even owen wilson has been spotted there recently. for reals.) i ate two cupcakes on the spot. (lemon berry and chocolate coconut, for those inquiring minds out there.) perfection. and totally worth waiting in the out-the-door line.

7. barbecue at kemmit's. good food, good people, good conversation. minimal mosquito attacks.

8. fireworks at the base of the washington monument. stunning. they were so close it felt like you could reach out and grab a sparkle. the reflecting pool and lincoln memorial in the background made even me swell with patriotic pride. the over-the-top security did not. neither did the jam-packed metro ride home.

9. dinner party for ck. my first at the bennett homestead, d.c. edition. (bob and joyce were out of town so a sunday afternoon rager seemed in order.) good food (homemade ice cream!), good people, good conversation. no mosquito attacks.

in short, a capital fourth in the capital.

the only thing that could possibly have made it better was a little of grandma's potato salad.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

mixed up

{sizzling fajitas at a new haunt}

i had a dinner date last night with julia, a friend from the city of the salty lake who relocated to d.c. with her husband in january. since we are both new in town, i consulted my newly acquired (and totally fabu) book, "" to pick a restaurant.

we settled on mixtec, an authentico mexican joint in adams morgan with really stellar guacamole. (they'll skimp the first time, though, so be sure to ask for more.)

so, there we sat, enjoying our fajitas and conversation when all of a sudden, there were all sorts of people huddled outside the window where we were sitting. it was a pretty awkward set-up: us, on one side of the glass, eating our food and generally minding our own business and, on the other side of the glass, a big crowd of people intermittently looking in.

it didn't take long to figure out that everyone was trying to escape from a torrential downpour that, in true d.c. fashion, had come literally out of nowhere. it was gale force, for sure. and it reminded me of something i had read in my nifty little book. something along the lines of, "i don't know what it is, but every time i find myself at mixtec i am escaping from a torrential downpour. it's as though the heavens themselves are leading me to this glorious little mexican haven."

i was glad we could keep up the tradition.

and also glad that julia and i had plenty of conversation to last until the storm blew over.

and then some.