(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: A September day out in DC

These are a couple months old now, but I wanted to share them because this was a beautiful September Saturday in DC and it was spent biking and laughing with new friends.

Embarrassed to admit, but before moving to DC I thought Politico was purely an online venture

Dupont Circle

I biked with my former housemates over to the National Arboretum - it was a calm sanctuary in a city that is anything but

We weren't expecting to come upon Parthenon-esque columns, but there they were!

The columns were originally used at the East Portico of the Capitol building in 1828, but due to a design error were removed and only placed at the National Arboretum in the 1980's

We tried to race leaves into the relecting pool but they weren't very cooperative

Detail of the columns



A Day at the Farm

As discussed in a previous post, I recently spent a crisp autumn Saturday at Homestead Farms in Virgina with the WIN’s Travel Network. We picked apples, had great conversation about WOOFing as a means of traveling cheaply, drank hot apple cider, bought veggies and gourds galore and even took a hayride!

It was such a wonderful respite from being in the city. As much as I enjoy aspects of urban living (amazing food, diverse populations, walkability, etc.) there are definitely things I miss about living in the country near a small town. In addition to my friends and family (and as the years pass I come to appreciate my friends from home more and more – there’s just something special about people who have known you through your adolescence and still manage to like you, haha), one of the things I crave most about where I grew up is SPACE. My parents always had a garden in the back yard where they grew corn, green beans, tomatoes, strawberries, zucchini, cucumbers and all other sorts of things in the summer. I miss the fresh air, grass under my feet and raking leaves in the fall. This was such a great chance to get a small slice of rural life into my otherwise crowded urban existence.

In addition to all of this, I was really needing some autumnal experiences. This is my absolute favorite season and I have really missed out on my favorite activities over the past 4 years living abroad. The crisp cool air after the hot, humid summer, trees bursting with color, U of M football, hot apple cider, cozy sweaters and the feeling that there is something new and full of potential just around the corner fills me with such contentment and peace. So, imagine my disappointment when, despite being in the US again, I am still listening to football games (no TV! At least I’m now in the same time zone?), the trees haven’t yet changed (DC is still full of green!) and I can’t get out of the city to an apple orchard (no car!). What a blessing it then was to get the notification from WIN that their October event was out to rural Maryland. This trip allowed me to exhale a sigh of relief and refresh my soul. It also provided me with lots of Pink Ladies with which I promptly went home and tried my hand at apple butter 🙂  I also splurged and got a caramel apple to take home. These are such a guilty pleasure hang-over from my first job at Diehl’s Orchard. I was 13 and could make a tray of 21 apples in 3 minutes!

So, here are the pictures from my afternoon away. These pictures aren’t the greatest – I’m normally not a fan of over-processing pictures (as I’ve done here), but I was really more preoccupied with enjoying my day than taking nice shots, so I decided to edit them up a bit so they’re more visually interesting. Enjoy, and if you’re in Michigan please go have a donut for me 🙂

We took a hayride out to the ‘pumpkin patch,’ which they were clearly filling up with foreign pumpkins! We’re just going to assume that the real pumpkin patch wasn’t hayride accessible and pretend we never saw this…

The Reach of History

I’ve been meaning to post about the book Roots ever since I finished, and that will come soon when I have a bit more time to put all of my thoughts to paper. But today I was reading Ta-Nehisi Coates’s blog at The Atlantic (as I do every day) and he has a post talking about digging into his family genealogy. The post goes into discussion of how close the past really is – that slavery, and the story that unfolds in Roots, really isn’t that far removed from where we are today, despite how far away it seems.

To that end, one of the commenters posted something that still has my mind reeling:John Tyler, the tenth President of the United States (from 1841-1845) still has two living grandchildren. This man was the President before the Civil War, and some of his grandchildren are still living; there are still people alive today who personally knew slaves. We’ve accelerated so quickly with technological advancements; our world seems so foreign compared to the mid 18th century that we forget how very recent that past is.

One thing I know that I will take away from this: my grandmother (age 76) and grandfather (late 80’s) will be visiting from Florida over the holidays and I want to hear their stories. They will likely be very different stories, since my family is largely made up of late 19th and early 20th century immigrants who lived in Canada and then Michigan, but they must have some good ones. I will report back.

Well, that was predictable…

So, it’s been over a month and a half since I last posted! I knew that was going to happen (what is it they say about best laid plans?).

Not coincidentally, my last post was on 12 September, which was also the day before I moved into my new home. Since moving I’ve been preoccupied by a ramped up job search (and all of the networking/events that come with it), scouring craigslist and freecycle for furniture, arranging to pick up the stuff I’ve bought, and, most of all, hanging out with a new housemate! I love the experience of becoming fast friends with someone, and this is definitely the case with Tina, of Tina Bark Designs. This amazingly creative and talented woman is a jewelry designer by day (check out her shop! Buy something!) and since moving in we’ve been doing tons of cooking together and even embarked on a cleanse (inspired by my other beautiful and amazing friend Katie of Rooted Wellbeing – check out her site too!). I haven’t done much picture-taking of food or recording of recipes, but I’m hoping to get back on the horse soon – I have apple butter, butternut squash and barley risotto with dill and classic spaghetti bolognese all in the line-up.

I’ve been keeping myself busy with lots of events through the Women’s Information Network (WIN)  – an organization for pro-choice, Democratic women in DC. These ladies are amazing! After urging by multiple people, I finally ponied up the $50 annual membership and I’m so glad I did! There are events galore – networking, movie screenings, a clothes/book swap, a book club, and even a trip to a local farm for apple-picking! I even have some lack-luster pictures from the last event that I will post… but be warned that my efforts were half-hearted as I was just too preoccupied enjoying the fresh, non-city air. If there are other women in DC looking for jobs, friends, like-minded amazing women to socialize with and be rejuvenated by, I highly recommend getting on board with WIN.

Overall the theme of the past 6 weeks for me has been the amazing women in my life.

I have always found a huge amount of dissonance between my own experiences and relationships with women and how the media portrays us. The meme of women being competitive, jealous and catty just has never rung true for me (as an adult, anyway – adolescence is a different matter). There is the possibility that I’ve either been inordinately lucky or experienced selection bias with my friends and mentors, but the women in my life are my rocks. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my mother, aunt, cousins and friends and their love and support is always without grief, judgement or drama. I believe that my experience is actually a lot more common than the media would have us believe and that these relationships are what sustain many (most!) women throughout their lives. This isn’t to say that I don’t have great relationships with men, just that the bond that I have with other women is altogether different and unique and something for which I am overwhelmingly grateful.

So to conclude this re-entry into the blogosphere, I just want to give a shout out to all of the women in my life – old and new  – who bring such joy, love and light to me every day. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

This is what love looks like