Tuesday, August 31, 2010


it feels like some sort of mean trick that tomorrow is the first day of september, because i definitely feel like we are still at the beginning of summer. where did it go? and what the heck have i been doing? it remains something of a mystery, and a very unsettling one at that.

but, upward and onward we go and so i am trying to squeeze everything out of summer that i can. this weekend that meant starting off with a nationals game thanks to emily h. and NPR. none of our favorite radio personalities were on hand, but we did get awesome NPR baseball caps, and rebecca had her first ever ben's chili bowl chili dog, and i took the plunge and got the half smoke "all the way" (the same one obama orders, fyi), and even though the nats lost they hit a home run and stole home on a wild ball the catcher lost hold of, which might have been one of the most exciting things i have ever seen happen in a baseball game. maybe i jumped up and down and shouted until my throat hurt. maybe. plus, there were fireworks. and you know how we love fireworks at baseball games.

saturday athelia and i rode our bikes to the del ray farmers' market which was a pure slice of heaven, and we both got bold and bought a sprite melon. have you ever heard of such a thing? it's a cross between a honey dew and a pear (!) and it is pretty darn tasty.

then it was pool time (my first this summer. a crime!) and then shopping, dinner and a movie in bethesda with emily. we saw "get low" and we would recommend it.

and now i wish i had been doing all of those things all summer long. maybe it will stick around a little longer?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

you can jump but you can't survive

there are some really charming quirks about our new house (hello, extra room for shoes and hand bags), and there are some less-than-charming quirks as well (hello, no outlets in the bathroom). the worst of these is our forced cohabitation with camel crickets.

this particularly pernicious pest tricks you into thinking it's a spider and then, as soon as you make a move to squash it, jumps away like a cricket. which probably explains why they are also referred to as spider crickets. we prefer to call them sprickets. cute, right?

unfortunately, sprickets themselves are not cute at all. they are kind of freaky. and they are super-duper hard to kill because their antennae give them the super-power of speedy escape.

this isn't such a problem when sprickets just stay in the basement where they belong. but lately our spricket stowaways have been getting bold. the other day we found one in the living room. then one in the dining room. then one in the kitchen. and then i found one on my bed. and that was the last, gross straw.

so, let it be known. i have declared war on sprickets.

conventional anti-spricket weaponry includes sticky traps, the downside being the statistical unlikelihood that these otherwise uncooperative bugs will actually land on the sticky trap before they make it up to my room.

so i am employing uncoventional tactics as well, guerilla warfare if you will. namely, i have discovered a flaw in the evolutionary development of sprickets and i am shamelessly exploiting it. do you want to know my secret? for the betterment of humankind, here you go.

the antennae that allow sprickets to so quickly jump away from murderous stomps can also work against them. just back a spricket into a corner antennae-first and he can't feel you coming. and, BAM! bye-bye, spricket.

and hello pure satisfaction.

i am considering keeping a rambo-style body-count tally. for now, all sprickets should consider themselves on notice. i am coming to get you.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

root, root, root for the home team

we crossed one of our favorite summer activities off the list this weekend with a trip to see the southern maryland blue crabs play.

the bad news is, they were totally schooled by the camden river sharks, due in large part to what can only be described as a completely boneheaded play in outfield by jamar williams that included tripping, dropping the ball and then throwing it to basically no one, all while the opposing team scored three runs.

i wanted to stand up and shout, "what is this? the minors?" but then i remembered that it was.

but the good news is, win or lose, minor league baseball is just about the most fun you'll ever have. and, win or lose, the southern maryland blue crabs put on a pretty great fireworks show. so we were happy customers indeed.

plus, i ate a hot dog.

dear summer, please never end.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

all's fair

it was the montgomery county fair this weekend, and i do not think i am alone in saying that there are few better reasons to drive to maryland than that.

the main objective of the evening was to eat as much fair food as possible. emily h. and i planned out the gastronomy very carefully and i am pleased to report that we did pretty well. the menu: grilled cheese sandwiches (with cheese from wisconsin!), a corn dog, fresh squeezed lemonade, a red icee (what flavor are those? fruit punch?), cotton candy, deep fried oreos and a funnel cake, which happened to be ryan's first.

then i barfed.

ok, not really. but i sort of felt like i wanted to.

in between eating, we ran into millions of mormons, pet some sheep, watched a pig auction (pigs are huuuge!), goaded ryan into playing the strong man game and talked about riding the ferris wheel, though we never got around to actually doing it.

i also came to the conclusion that nerdy dads should not leave the house wearing t-shirts that say things like, "keg security guy" and "fast, easy, cheap." especially not if those dads are headed out of the house with their kids. talk about embarassing-slash-creepy.

otherwise, it was a fair evening at the fair and that is all i have to say about that.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

did you write life's a beach?

i spent all of last week on the beach.

i know. you should feel really sorry for me and my super hard life.

and when i say that i spent all of last week on the beach, i mean that quite literally. i was sitting. on the beach. all week. i did a lot of reading (i recommend "the particular sadness of lemon cake" by aimee bender), i did a lot of sleeping (i recommend this in general, with sunscreen if you are also sleeping on the beach), i did some body surfing and wave bobbing (i recommend being constantly aware of whether your bathing suit is covering everything it should be), and i ate a lot of tootsie pops (need i say more?).

in the very limited hours i was not on the beach, i was at the top of the historic hatteras lighthouse, or riding my bike on ocracoke island to see the wild ponies, or browsing adorable little shops in buxton, or eating homemade bread, or playing cranium with cousins.

but mostly i was on the beach.

all right, fine. you can stop feeling sorry for me now.

Friday, August 6, 2010

super soaker

last summer, doobie came to visit me here in d.c. i was pretty new to the city still, and pretty nervous about being a knowledgeable and adequate hostess who knew about cool and unique things going on. and so, in my attempt to be awesome, i suggested that we should go with some new friends of mine to the free sunset serenade concert at the zoo. because concert at the zoo equals awesome. obviously.

and actually, i think it would have been pretty awesome except that about an hour before the concert was supposed to start a massive rain storm started instead and the concert was cancelled and we were literally soaked. so we ate some gyros in adams morgan and then went home and watched “battlestar galactica” instead. which, let’s face it, is not a bad way to spend an evening whether there is a massive rain storm or not.

this summer, doobie has been living in d.c. doing an internship. i am a little better with the city and he is something of a native now himself, so we have managed some pretty good adventures since he’s been here. the only thing left, really, was the sunset serenade, part two. and last night was the night. except that about an hour before the concert was supposed to start a massive rain storm started instead. the concert was cancelled so we ate sushi in adams morgan instead. it all seemed really familiar. doobie felt like this about it.

turns out, the storm was a pretty bad one. there were trees down and electricity out all over the place. some cars parked in the neighborhood where my office is even had their back windows blown out by the wind. yowsa. our house and neighborhood were, luckily, unscathed, though I cannot say the same thing for the sunset serenade at the zoo.

maybe next year.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

southern comfort

it was the lovely miss angela's birthday last weekend and we figured the only way to really celebrate was to hit the road, so we fled south to monticello on saturday. this was, hands down, the best idea i have had in a while.

honestly i would not do one single thing about the day differently. not even leave earlier so we didn't hit literally hours of traffic on our way out of the city. because being stuck in literally hours of traffic with miss angela just flies by.

not to mention that monticello is simply stunning and the day was perfectly mild with that romantic, gray sky that could pour down on you at any moment (but luckily waited until we were inside the house).

a few fun facts. monticello covers 5,000 acres, three thousand of which were gifted by the king of england. (so sorry about that whole declaration of independence thing, you know?) there is still a large and charming working garden on the property, and everything harvested from the garden is divided up among the monticello employees.

the house itself was added onto sort of endlessly, with the last room being built for the madisons so they had a place to stay when they came to visit. all the beds are stashed between walls, they think because thomas jefferson's family home burned down when a bedspread caught on fire, and he was afraid of placing furniture too close to the fireplace. thomas jefferson's private rooms were known as the sanctum sanctorum and were entered by his grandchildren only twice a year: on christmas and their birthdays. dinner at monticello lasted for three hours and there was a special pulley/dumbwaiter system to bring bottles of wine from the wine cellar downstairs to the dining room.

if you are wondering how such an accomplished and well-known man dies hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, it might be worth remembering that thomas jefferson single-handedly supported a household of 32 people at monticello. he freed five slaves in his (sort of) lifetime, two while he was alive and three in his will. those three came back to monticello and bought back as many members of their families as they could.

my favorite thomas jefferson quote: "law was my second, my last and my most unfortunate profession."

there are about 1,000 direct descendants of thomas jefferson living today, and they come to monticello about once a year, which sounds like the hottest family reunion ticket around. direct descendants can also be buried in the family cemetery on the property, right there with jefferson himself. there are between three and six burials there a year.

i was seriously captivated the entire day. i never wanted the tour to end. and i sort of want to marry someone like thomas jefferson (slaves and massive debt aside). i mean, come on. the man taught himself spanish by reading an original copy of "don quixote" and used a writing machine that made a duplicate of all his letters. dreamy.

for now, though, i guess a return trip to monticello will have to do.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

guess who finally has internet at home?

the answer is: me!

and it was not without some effort, i will have you know. my original request for broadband service from verizon was denied for reasons that still remain unclear to everyone, including the very lovely woman at the central office who finally offered me fios service for (almost) the same price as broadband and, with my indignant consumer fire burning out, i agreed.

fios, in case you don't know, requires the stringing of wires and the drilling of holes in walls for the placement of battery back-up packs, all of which, when combined with massive street repaving, will make you feel like your house might just give up and cave in. the installation of fios is also an incredibly long process, during which you can quite easily bake a cake, whip up some buttercream frosting, frost the cake and make a batch of homemade strawberry ice cream.

all worth it, though, because now i can sit with delilah in my living room and watch "30 rock" on netflix streaming, and i can also tell you about the most amazing book i just finished called "the genius factory" by david plotz, which recounts the history of the nobel prize sperm bank. if you are worried about the genetic degradation of the human race, then you have a lot in common with the nobel prize sperm bank founder, who figured the best way to save humanity from itself was to only allow smart and wonderful people to reproduce. things didn't go exactly according to his plan, but things did yield a truly fascinating book, which i highly recommend to every single person reading this post right now.

and, while i was in the sperm donation zone (figuratively, of course), i decided that we should go see "the kids are all right," which was pretty good but not as good as i wanted it to be. mark ruffalo was just as rugged and charming as i wanted him to be though, so win there.

in other news, i am counting down the days until my week-long beach vacation starts on saturday. i have a wide-brimmed hat and a darling new bathing suit and plenty of books and also plenty of exhaustion to take care of, so i think it should be a successful outing.

but, fear not my little band. armed with my new fios, i'll try to keep you entertained until then.