Monday, November 30, 2009

What I've been doing instead of cleaning, Pt. 1

Last Saturday, Keli, Rob, Emily, and I spent the day in Solomon's Island, Maryland. We toured the Calvert County Museum, which included the museum pictured here.

Up in the lighthouse. And yes, I did that ladder behind us with Emily in her bjorn. I'm that awesome.

They had a lot of fish tanks and other local marine life there, and Emily had a great time with the otters. I think it may be time to take her to the zoo.

This was on the back of the "Welcome to Solomon's Island" sign - awesome.

Sunday we had a bunch of people over for dinner. On Monday, Keli, Emily and I toured the capitol. I love that having visitors means that I go and see things I've just never gotten around to doing. The new visitor center was very well done, and our tour guide was great.

The new Soujourner Truth statue. And yes, Emily is still wearing her pajamas. It was a crazy morning involving chasing down several buses, occassionally in the rain. Don't judge me.
Anyways, each state gets two statues, and then congress can decide to put a bunch more in if they want. We had fun tracking down our respective state statues.

I'm that little person in front in the brown sweater.

After Keli caught her bus down south, I went to another London reunion. Diana and her husband Rod were in town, so a few of us went a fabulous custard place in Alexandria (The Dairy Godmother - I highly recommend it). It was great to see where life has taken all of us.
I'll get the rest of the week later.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Housework reflects life

We've had several friends come in from out of town over the past few days, and we have had a marvelous time catching up and being tourists. It has been a blast. I'll be posting pictures soon. But I think my house is an accurate reflection of how packed the days have been:

  • I'm so behind on laundry, I found myself this morning deciding between wearing oversized gym shorts and maternity pants I retired 8 months ago.
  • After letting Emily army crawl across the floor for a half hour, I had to change her outfit because it was covered in dirt (more efficient than sweeping, I guess).
  • There's a dirty rice cooker in my sink. I'm not sure when I last made rice.
  • When the bathroom repair guy came, it was quite the obstacle course getting him from the front door to the bathroom.
  • I'm blogging so I don't have to deal with fixing these things.

Friday, November 20, 2009


My friend Keli (a.k.a. Miss Independent) is in town, and she took some great pictures. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 12, 2009


When I arrived in the doctor's office exactly on time for my appointment, I wanted to do a victory dance. Making it there involved dragging my child out of bed several hours earlier than usual, nursing on the bus, transferring her and all her gear onto another bus, and pushing a stroller in the pouring rain across four lanes of traffic and over a muddy hill (those lovely winding stepping stone paths are pretty but absolutely useless). Being without a vehicle during the day can be challenging at times, but let me tell you, I felt like I accomplished something when I arrived there. It wasn't euphoric enough for me to tell Rob not to worry about picking us up afterwards so I could do it all again, but still, I walked into that office feeling like I could accomplish anything.

It got me thinking about what makes me feel powerful, and how that concept has changed over time. As a little kid, it was usually some new physical feat. As a student, it was a well-deserved A or presenting a paper at a national conference. As a professional, it was locating an obscure treaty in Russian or solving a tricky organizational puzzle. But now that I'm in a less public sphere, I'm learning to negotiate success without feedback from others. I'm essentially inventing my own yardstick, rather than using someone else's, and I've been surprised by what I sometimes come up with.

So here's my current list of moments recently where I have felt powerful:

  • Arriving somewhere early.
  • Having my house clean an hour before company arrives.
  • Presenting a trifle to my guests.
  • Saying just the right thing.
  • Not getting lost on my forays around the DC metro.
  • Inventing a game that Emily loves.
  • Finishing anything.

A year ago I would have found this list kind of lame, but hey, it suits me for now.

When do you feel powerful?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Oh, Shenandoah, I long to see you

Did anyone else have to sing that song as a kid? Or was it just my school?

Anyways, on Halloween, we decided to brave the rain that has been pouring on every Saturday this month and go down to the Shenandoah National Forest for leaf peeping. We lucked out and had clear skies for the majority of our visit. The leaves were beautiful. Shenandoah gave me a new appreciation for the yellows of autumn. In the past, I was drawn to either the reds or areas with a lot of variety. But there was something magical about passing through a forest of pure yellow. Even the light seemed golden.

We also took a brief journey on the Appalachian Trail (which we hope to spend more time on in the future, when we aren't getting rained on). Some pictures from the Trail: