Hurricane Sandy was a non-event in Charlottesville, but the whole city shut down anyway, so we had the whole day yesterday to read, lounge about, drink tea, and watch inordinate amounts of TV. I’m not complaining. I started writing our Christmas cards and painted my nails and finished two books. A productive hibernation.
Thinking about my fellow East Coasters who were not so lucky. Hope that power is restored soon and that you all remain warm and safe!
Saturday night, we attended the latter half of a Halloween progressive party. (A party that progresses from house to house, not a party that supports liberal politicians in costume.)
We went as Emily Dickinson and Mitt-ROM-knee:
We also saw “American Gothic” (faithfully recreated by Hannah and Ethan):
50 Shades of Grey and Rosie the Riveter (Celeste and Emily):
This weekend, we traveled to Oak Ridge, NC, for the joyful wedding of Danielle and Logan, whom we love. So delighted for them! Just look how beautiful (and cold) they are:
More photos on Flickr! A thousand happy congratulations to Danielle and Logan; hope you two are soaking up some of the last warm rays on the Hilton Head shores!
Meager snax, because apparently, I was too busy last week to read anything of any great interest on the Interwebs. It’s OK; no one will die. Because, really, the less time I spend online, the more I enjoy my life.
Detroit Free Press Accidentally Prints Vulgar Headline. And this is why you always check and then re-check the front page copy… (I knew people from my Dow Jones internship who worked at this paper. I wonder if they heard about this!) It’s funny, though. You have to admit it. (Best Week Ever)
Audrey Hepburn Reads. I think it is impossible to look at photos of Mlle. Hepburn and not think one of two things: 1) I want to hang out with her right now, and 2) I WANT TO BE HER. (Awesome People Reading)
In honor of my sister Grace, I am imposing a set of weekly challenges on myself. For 12 weeks, I will attempt a different “challenge” each week–to do one thing every day for seven days, ranging from serious to silly. At the end of each week, I’ll let you know how it goes.
It’s hard to believe that I’ve completed twelve weeks of challenges. They’ve ranged from serious to silly, but they have all been fun and often enlightening. I’ve learned a lot of little facts about myself and about my process of making and following ritual. Some of the challenges have been incorporated into my daily life and I hope I’ll continue some of them in the future.
For this final week, I wanted to take a stroll. Now that we’ve skipped spring and gone straight into summer, a week of daily walks has been really enjoyable, if occasionally sweaty.
If I was a good blogger, I would have taken pictures from all of these walks, but I’m not, so you’ll just have to deal.
Guion and I walked downtown to meet our Bible study friends Mark and Christina for Chap’s ice cream on the Downtown Mall. It was a hot and breezy afternoon and a little cup of Chap’s made it feel like heaven. I love strolling around the Mall and we walk there often. It’s less than a 10-minute walk from our apartment and it’s always packed with dogs. What’s not to love?
I had to do some research for my boss at SNL Financial, which is also downtown. I parked the Jeep at our place and then walked over. Got there a bit early, so I strolled around the blocks behind the building and looked at all of the historic houses that now feature the offices of real estate agents or lawyers.
My weekly walk with Bo turned out to be something of an exhilarating misadventure. I head over to Liz’s to pick him up and we chat about how silly it is that her team’s soccer game was canceled because of a thunderstorm/tornado warning. Yeah, absurd. I walk Bo downtown and we’re having a fine time until I feel a spattering of rain. Then I look at the sky. It is not gray. Or dark blue. It is black. Slate. Full of doom. Bo and I then run–sprint!–across the Belmont Bridge and make it back to my front porch right before the sky bursts open. We had amazingly good timing, because a second after we got inside… thunder, lightning, torrential rain, minor flooding, wind howling, the whole deal. Thankfully, Bo isn’t thunderstorm-phobic (like Emma was) and so he chilled with me in our apartment. He helped me do the dishes and then started watching “Gosford Park” with me until it cleared up enough to take him home. I think he’s the perfect dog. I confessed to Guion and Liz that I am now worried about getting a dog because he or she may not be as amazing as Bo is. I love him.
Despite starting out rather rough, it turned out to be a very beautiful evening and so I took Bo for another walk. Guion joined me this time and we went wandering through the charming and eclectic Belmont neighborhood. We daydreamed about houses we’d buy and dubious ways we’d coerce current residents to move out and give us their gorgeous homes with manicured lawns and sprawling gardens.
Guion joined me on a walk to the Downtown Mall to buy cupcakes from Cappellino’s for Cate’s royal wedding princess party. He was a bit astonished at the price of gourmet cupcakes. Aren’t we all.
Our lovely housemate Hannah joined us on a late morning walk to the Charlottesville farmers’ market. We ended up buying delicious mint tea, baklava, and a babe in the wood, and therefore nothing really healthy or valuable for the rest of the week. Oh well! From there, we wandered over to The Garage, where Stephanie and Emily were hosting a tag sale. Guion went off to brew day for the rest of the afternoon; I went to Mecca, aka Target. When Guion got home, we walked downtown again to eat at Miyako for dinner. Quite excellent, if I do say so.
Win came! We walked downtown with him and went to church and it was awesome. We’re crossing our fingers that he moves here…
That’s all, folks! It’s been a fun way to welcome spring. To be honest, it will be kind of nice to not worry about weekly goals, but I think I will try to keep some of these habits on regular rotation. Thanks for reading; talk to you soon.
– The only place you can go on the Internet and not read nasty comments–literally, the ONLY place–is The Daily Puppy. For realz. There are about 200 comments with every puppy and everyone just says a variation of the same thing: “Eeeeeeeee, you are so precious I want to EAT YOU UP!!!” or “OMG you CANNOT be this CUTE!!! LOLZ :-D.” Stuff like that. It’s comforting, in this vitriolic world of totally crazy and aggressive online commenters; dare I say, it is a breath of fresh virtual air.
– Thanks, Twinings! I learned how to pronounce “rooibos” tea. Want to know? It’s “roy-BOSS.” Now I won’t sound stupid when I get it at the Tea Bazaar.
– I want to be friends with the cool girls at work.
– I am going to walk home tomorrow from work. This is because Obama is coming for a visit (stumping for Tom Periello), and all of the roads are going to be shut down near our house. He’s coming to speak at the Pavilion, which we can see from our bedroom window. We want to go hear him, but I’m worried I’m going to miss it. According to Google Maps, it’s going to take me 1 hour and 7 minutes to walk home. Adventure! I’m actually kind of looking forward to it.
– Have I mentioned that I can’t wait to see my family?
– Confession: I probably look at the “Pets” section of Charlottesville Craigslist and/or the Charlottesville SPCA once a week. Just to tempt myself with the love I can’t have.
– Hannah and I talked about Japan last night again at The Local and my longing to return was reinvigorated. I think I’d like to live there for a year. Teach English, maybe? We’ll reevaluate this plan after Guion gets his degree.
– Coworker: Calling yourself Jim Halpert would be inaccurate. We are not that cool.
– Hear me, ye Interwebs: I am NOT PREGNANT.
– I kind of want to be Very Mary Kate for Halloween. Anybody know where I can buy a sweet blond wig?
1. Betsy Dunlap is one of my favorite calligraphers. Her work is so distinctive and beautiful in a funky way. You can scroll around her blog to get some ideas of what she does. She’s kind of like a superstar in the wedding blogosphere.
2. We had a minor flood in the kitchen last night. Guion went to answer his phone and forgot that he left the sink running. I was talking to Emily on the phone (which was unbelievably lovely; I miss her so much) and wasn’t paying attention. Our neighbor Hannah comes upstairs and is all, “Um, do you have water running? Because our ceiling is leaking.” Yeah. Not fun. But we got it under control. I’m glad we have a mop and at least four towels we don’t care about.
3. I can’t wait for my new Japanese pens to get here so I can start on Rose and Kemp‘s wedding invitations! I’m hoping they will come today.
4. I also can’t wait for Cristina and Eric’s wedding! And even though we can’t be there, Megan and Charles’s! Just a few more weeks!
5. I suppose I forgot how utterly dark and depraved Mishima’s fiction can be. “The Temple of the Golden Pavilion” is certainly interesting, but it’s hard to handle sometimes. Mishima, likely drawing from experience, preferred to focus on society’s rejects. But instead of giving them touching qualities (so as to creep into your latent store of compassion), he makes them extra-sad and dark. Still, reading this novel rushes me back to Tokyo in an instant. I read 12 novels by Japanese authors that summer, mostly in transit. Sometimes, when I get absorbed in this book, I feel like I’m back on the train, reading intently as I sway back and forth and listen to the announcer’s high voice calling out the stations…
We are getting settled in Charlottesville. Our apartment is beginning to look like a home (thanks to generous gifts of furniture from our parents, grandparents, and the Habitat Re-Store). We have also started to make friends, particularly with our neighbors. Par example, we walked a few blocks with Hannah and Olivia to Megan’s boyfriend’s apartment to watch the England vs. U.S. game.
It was about 98 degrees today and we walked into this sweaty, welcoming room of upper twenty-somethings piled on couches drinking PBRs. The game was being broadcast by a vintage projector on the wall and we were watching it on Unavision, delighted with the rapid-fire Spanish that was scarcely understood. I pressed myself flat against a bookshelf full of records and international books and observed. The women were beautiful and make-up free, all in dresses, with lots of bobby-pins and bangs between them. The men mostly wore their hair long and their shirts were either composed of plaid or political statements; one had a little girl on his hip, the other a tambourine. We joined them and they accepted us. Everyone was friendly. There were a lot of humanities grad students, a lot of “young professionals” who would never call themselves “young professionals.”
I realized, in my first moment of post-graduate self-awareness, that you have to change your language when you meet people now. The first question, after you exchange names, is no longer, “So, what’s your major?” but “So, what do you do?” It felt good to actually have something to say in answer to that question, although I still feel like a baby. By any comparison, I certainly am. Megan, our cheerful neighbor who invited us to the World Cup showing, mentioned in passing that she’s been in journalism for 10 years now. I nodded, as if I could relate.
It was a good day. The rain came thundering down halfway through the game. During halftime, we wandered onto the large front porch (which had its ceiling painted robin’s egg blue, which would have pleased my mother). Hannah (who is lovely, a fiction MFA student, reminds me of Rachel H.) stepped silently into the rain, looked up, turned around once, and then came back under the shelter of the porch. She performed this little act so gracefully and quietly; I was oddly impressed.
My husband (yes! I have one of those now!) is unpacking books in the living room. I need to switch over our laundry downstairs, write thank-you notes, make summer tea and dinner, and do a thousand other things. I start work on Monday. I feel happy and strange all at once.