Saturday, March 31, 2012

pour some sugar on me

tomorrow marks the end of our 31 day fast from sugar.

it feels good to have accomplished it, but to say that we are ready for it to be over is probably something of an understatement.

here's hoping we don't make ourselves completely sick.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

midnight snack

high: an evening stroll around the neighborhood, with all the spring flowers and trees in beautiful bloom.

low: not sitting down to dinner until 9:21p.m. as a result.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

everyone's a critic

i am coming to what i hope is the end of a body obsession/dissatisfaction phase. i have been conscious of my body in all the wrong ways, fixating on every little thing that seemed different or imperfect, and all for no reason that i can articulate. it has not been fun. and, as a person who has never really had sustained body issues before, it's been disconcerting to suddenly feel like an enemy to my own body.

one silver lining has been that, in examining why i might be having these unfamiliar body-related feelings, i've identified some bad habits i'd like to get rid of and some good habits i'd like to cultivate. i take the stairs at least once a day instead of the elevator now, i am consciously avoiding mindless eating at my desk during the workday, and AWD and i have been pretty consistent about exercising together with our new community center memberships. it feels really invigorating to be reminded that i can control my choices and make positive changes. even if my body doesn't look any different, i feel different and that counts for something. actually, i think it counts for a lot.

like this whole one-month-with-no-sugar thing that we've been doing. (never mind that we are counting the minutes until it's over.) it has taken a lot of discipline and self-control and will power and self-denial and it feels really, really awesome that we did it. (almost. three more days!) i feel like the master of my own fate and that is a feeling i like to have.

but i have also made another discovery. i realized that i am infinitely more critical of my body when i am being critical of other people's bodies. whether i am comparing myself thinking i am better or comparing myself thinking i am worse, it is all-around damaging.

criticism, and not just about bodies, is one of my more unfortunate character flaws, and my attention has recently been turned to how unattractive and unhelpful it really is. i think sometimes i make a (mild) criticism to be funny or maybe to establish some common ground with someone, sort of like a wink-wink, nudge-nudge, you see what i see, right? kind of thing. but in the context of my body obsession phase the consequences of this have become a little more clear to me, and i don't like what i see.

when i criticize myself, i erode my confidence and i deny myself feelings of gratitude for my gifts, talents and abilities. and when i criticize others, even just inside my head, i erode their trust, limit my ability to fully accept what they are giving me or teaching me, and deny myself feelings of gratitude for those things.

and so, i am going to try to be a little better, to have kinder words and kinder thoughts for myself and for others. i mean, if i can go a whole month without eating cupcakes, i can do this, right? because, though my stint with unhealthy body obsession is (hopefully) behind me, i feel like its lessons are just beginning.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

flower gazing

in japan, the phrase for going to see the cherry blossoms is "hanami," which basically means "flower look." i love that phrase because that is exactly what you want to do when you go to see cherry blossoms: look and look and look.

which is what we did friday night.

though we also spent just as much time talking to friends we ran into around the tidal basin, which is another thing i love. a big city can really feel like a cozy home when you find the people you know in the midst of it.

that's the magic of hanami, i suppose.

Friday, March 23, 2012

there. that's better.

well, shucks. thanks, everyone, for indulging my adolescent cry for validation. you're reading, i'm writing and all is blooming in our rose garden once again. or something like that.

anyway, hurrah! i'm glad we're all in this together.

and, since that's the case, you better get a move on to meet me and AWD downtown because they are forecasting rain for the weekend and i think all of us would like to see the cherry blossoms before they get washed away.

see you there?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

these days go by

i have a confession, my babies. i am feeling a little glum about this blog these days. is anyone out there? is anyone still reading this? does anyone care about me at all? (OK, that last one was for dramatic effect. did it work?) but, i figure some day at least my posterity will want some record of my life and there is no way they'll be able to read the terrible handwriting in my journals, so on i go.

but i hope someone is out there with me.

in case you are, here are the things that have been taking up my week.

1. eating lots of good food with lots of good friends. monday was district commons with dana and ABK (shrimp and grits, why are you so good?), tuesday was thai xing with the poynter dinner group (thai food, why are you so spicy?), wednesday was a meal delivery for clint, KA and brand new baby kate, who fell asleep on my chest and sent me straight to heaven, and tonight is tacos with cousin david on our back porch, which we can do because its been in the 70s for two weeks now. which leads me to...

2. spending lots of time outside. i have been taking a walk outside in the middle of the work day every day, and i feel really good about it. evening walks around the neighborhood have also been in heavy rotation.

3. dreaming about dessert. we are nearing the end of our month of no sugar and pretty much all we can think about is easter candy (me) and frosties from wendy's (AWD). i have a longer post about this experiment in my brain that will eventually be out on this screen, but for now i can say that i think it has been a good thing.

4. reading obsessive amounts about the aghanistan villager murders (big topic at work) and the trayvon martin murder. (so sad.) i thought this npr piece really nailed the martin case.

5. reading obsessive amounts about the tim tebow trade. i had to look up his twitter handle the other day for a work-related thing (i swear) and now i just can't stop thinking about it. even though AWD explained to me all the reasons why it makes sense for denver to want peyton manning because even though he has a bad neck and may never play again, he plays in the pocket and tebow is a scrambler and blah blah i don't care. i still feel bad for the guy. they love you when you're winning and then push you aside when an aging legend is on the market and they sad bad stuff about you even when you take sick kids on dates to nickelodeon show tapings. plus, this article makes me think his new jets teammates are going to be mean to him. and that just makes me sad.

6. reading the hunger games. well, i bought it yesterday and plan to start it soon. because i figure i should read the book before i see the movie, which is getting too much hype not to watch. and there's nothing like dystopian young adult fiction to distract you from the real problems of the world.

7. looking at gorgeous furniture online that i will probably never be able to afford.

and that probably just about does it for me. you?

Monday, March 19, 2012

monday, monday

thanks to his magical alternate work schedule, AWD has every other monday off.

i mean, sure he works an extra hour every other day to earn it, but it still seems supremely unfair, and at the very least overwhelmingly depressing, when i have to wake up and drag myself out of bed and get ready for work on a monday when he could stay curled up under the covers all day if he wanted to.

but of course, instead of doing that he mowed the lawn and weeded my flower patch so i really don't have any room to complain.

but i am going to complain anyway. mondays are a bummer.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

happy (day after) pi day

we celebrated with papa john's and "friday night lights."

hope you had an equally fabulous time.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

white house correspondent

i have often worried that my achievement peak came my senior year of high school when i came home from the end-of-year recognition ceremony with a bunch of awards.

it was a great moment in my over-achieving, slightly nerdy life, and it is a moment that has not been repeated.

but, my bell curve got a little bump last week when a blog post i wrote for work was reprinted by none other than the white house blog!

since these things don't happen to me much anymore, allow me to repeat.

i was on the WHITE HOUSE BLOG!

that felt good.

you can see the story here, though don't feel obligated to read the whole thing unless you are a) mesmerized by my professional prose and can't help yourself or b) are really interested in employment discrimination law.

either way, the thing to remember is this: I WAS ON THE WHITE HOUSE BLOG!

thanks, obama!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


six months ago (well, actually six months and three days ago, but who's counting?) (i am!), AWD and i were doing this:

so on saturday, to celebrate, we did this:

{brunch at carlyle. favorite}

{d.c. united season opener.}

(turns out they are just as bad as every other professional sports team in d.c.)

plus on sunday i made this perfect and delicious loaf of bread.

six months have quite literally flown by. i can't believe it has been that long. but i also can't believe that i haven't always just been married to AWD. i always figured being married would be a pretty good deal, but it is more fun than i ever imagined it would be, and i like AWD a little more every day. the other day he was late coming home from work and he didn't answer when i called so of course i assumed he had been run over by a train or kidnapped by aliens and i really couldn't fathom how i would get by on my own if he wasn't around. when i think of all the people i thought i wanted to marry before he came along, all i can say is, whew. certainly there are misunderstandings and miscommunications and cranky days and a learning curve, but i simply can't imagine doing it all with anyone but him.

so, here's to six glorious months. i figure we can make it at least six more.

Friday, March 9, 2012

worldwide women

today is international women's day. and a happy one to you!

today in guatemala, women and babies suffer the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in all of south, central and north america.

today there is an organization, midwife international, with the goal to change that by providing a school and a three-year training program for women in guatemala to become midwives, and then to take that training back to their towns and villages. most of the women and girls attending school have to send money back to support their families, at a cost of about $3,000 a year.

one day, briana went to guatemala and met some of the extraordinary women in guatemala who are trying to make a difference in the lives of mothers and their babies.

today, people who love briana will be gathering to celebrate her life and hatch a plan to raise $3,000 so one of those women can go to school for a year. the goal is to have all the money raised by april 23rd, the day briana died.

my heart aches to be there, celebrating briana's life with other people who know and love her. i wish we could all be there, actually. but instead, i plan to follow the example of her difference-making life to help make a difference in someone else's life. if you'd care to join me, here's how you do it.

1. go to
2. click "donate" on the far right in the toolbar
3. scroll down to pay by credit card and click "donate" (again. just for good measure.)
4. enter the donation amount and click "update total"
5. fill out the required information and click "review donation and continue"
6. on the next screen you will see "special instructions." click on it and type in "in honor of briana blackwelder."
7. finish by clicking "donate $USD now."
8. cry a little, and think about how much you love and miss you dear, sweet friend.

at least, that's what i'll be doing.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

the corporate crusade

i had my second social media class at georgetown yesterday, and i am pleased to say it went a lot better than the first one.

(they like me! they really like me!)

as i was listening to the teacher, though, i realized something that i wasn't expecting. this was a woman who found an industry she loved (space) and a place for herself in that industry (social media at NASA) and she is all kinds of successful at what she does as a result. i have always really admired women like that and have always believed that, to some extent, i have what it takes to be like them. or, at the very least i have always wanted to be one of them and imagined how that would look for me. i like the idea of the trendy suits and the presenting at conferences and the being in charge and the corporate crusader.

but the more i glimpse what that really means, the more ambiguous i feel about it. by her own admission, this woman'e job was her life. and not just her job-job, but also the things that come along with being so good at her job, like speaking at conferences and hosting events and teaching classes for people like me. and actually, all that traveling and in and out and back and forth and work and work and work even when you're not physically at work, is not entirely appealing to me after all.

and so i started thinking about where it is that i really want to make a difference. i always assumed it would be through my job, but now i am not so sure. maybe because, while i think i have found my skill, i don't think i have found the job or the industry where i can put that skill to use in a passionate way. but maybe because i can project myself into the future in more ways than i used to be able to. whereas before it seemed that my job was the only place for me to make a mark, now i am rethinking my options.

the good news is, i feel OK with a little bit of ambiguity. i find that the more i live my life and see lots of different choices and options in play around me, the less militant i am about things that are probably less absolute than i made them out to be. (and the more absolute i become about the things that really are.) and i think that's a good thing. maybe my corporate crusading is yet to come. who knows? but i'm happy to know that my life won't be over if it isn't.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

dr. smile

in what has to be some of the best news i've gotten in a while, i went for a six-month check-up with my periodontist and he told me i am in the clear! no more painful and scary gum grafts, no more weeks of eating soft food, no more ice packs on my swollen face.


it was really such a relief. i have dreaded every appointment i've had with that poor guy, fretting about whether i would need more surgery to seal the deal. but, i don't. it was such a relief, in fact, that i started crying tears of joy on my way back to my car.

normally i would celebrate this kind of thing with a cupcake, but AWD and i gave up sugar for the month of march, so a proper celebration will have to wait.

in the meantime, i'll brush a little easier knowing the coast is clear.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

there's always money in the banana stand

the weather has turned back to cold around here, so i am day dreaming about being back in lovely and warm newport beach, where we had a wonderful visit with robin, cody and baby alivia.

i hadn't seen robin since her wedding a couple of years ago, so it was a long overdue reunion though, as these things usually go, it was as if no time had passed at all. we stayed up until 2a.m. talking and gossiping and getting back rubs (actually, that was just me. thanks, robin!) and the time went by way to fast.

in addition to giving me major house-keeping envy (will i ever be neat and organized? ever?), robin also took us to balboa island for some balboa bars and waterfront time.

and now, back here in good ol' d.c., they are projecting temperatures down to the 20s tonight. ugh. can we go back to sunny socal? pretty please?

Monday, March 5, 2012

a supposedly fun thing i'll never do again.

i started out this weekend (last weekend? already?) feeling a little apocalyptic.

my friday work day started off on bad note, plus it was gray and rainy and i was tired. i spent my free time reading gloomy articles about how rents and gas prices are only go to keep going up, which was a big mistake. i spent my other free time looking up thigh and hip exercises, which just made me depressed about my body in an unhelpful and self-obsessed way.

so, by the time i burned our dinner onto the bottom of my brand-new, just-out-of-the-box le creuset dutch oven, i was pretty primed for a break-down.

luckily for me (though somewhat unfortunately for him), AWD has become quite adept and handling these episodes and by saturday morning i was feeling back to my normal self.

which meant i could enjoy blue-bucks and crab cake benedict at eastern market, plus a stroll around capitol hill with dana. we went to see "hugo" with the murffs and i loved it more than i have loved a movie in a long time. we did some organizing and cleaning around the house, which felt really cathartic and nice. we took a bright, sunny walk around the neighborhood and had a delicious sunday dinner with emma and eric.

and today there was still daylight outside when i left work, so this week is already in a much better place at the start than last week was at the end. whew.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

my funny valentine

for valentine's day (so we are a little behind around here), AWD took me to paris... virginia. for a lovely dinner at an old, old inn with delicious, delicious food. he even set up the car like an airplane, with a bottle of water at my seat and everything. it was heart-melting-ly charming.

and for valentine's day i got AWD a swanky hotel room downtown (thanks, living social! thanks, obama!) for a little weekend staycation, which we cashed in this past weekend.

we had brunch with the klemturas (including baby penny), checked out the new exhibit at the newseum about press coverage of presidential elections, watched the oscar nominated live action and animated shorts at the e street theater, ran into some anti-bashar protesters, saw the new annie leibowitz exhibit at the american art museum and the new MLK memorial on the mall and ate late night amsterdam falafel, shake shack burgers and crumbs cupcakes. delicious.

and then we watched the oscars in our big, soft, hotel bed.

it was a great time being tourists in our own city, and it was great to have a little getaway without having to go too far. and mostly it was great to have the whole weekend, and each other, to ourselves. i have to say, before we got married i was a little nervous about the prospect of being with one person all the time. would we get sick of each other? what if i wanted to do something with someone else? i knew of couples who really only wanted to spend time with one another and didn't really care about seeing other people, but i didn't quite feel that way and i worried about what that meant. (meaning, i worried that it meant we might be doomed.)

now that i am older and wiser about these things i am happy to report that such a thing does not mean you are doomed. but i am also happy to report that, as time goes on, AWD really has become my favorite person to hang out with and i am not sick of him yet. i would rather be with him than just about anyone, and so a weekend of adventure together was really the perfect gift. for me, that is.