Food for the soul in Shenandoah.

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Let’s just all take a second and take a deep breath.

Does anyone else feel like they need that today? No, seriously. Drop your bag right there on the floor, take off your work shoes, go wash your face, and just breathe.

….

Sometimes, living in the city, and walking through the streets, and rooting around in its mysteries and work and speed, I get overwhelmed by all the urgency.

“Now wait just a second!” I want to shout, right as I get squished into the metro car during my morning commute.

“Hold your horses!” I would mutter under my breath, as I write email after email after email after email to people whose names all blur together.

“Everyone just calm down!” I wish I could exclaim while I wait in line at the grocery store on a Sunday evening.

Usually I don’t say anything. I just move a little faster myself.

….

Even though DC isn’t a very big city, I do miss the outdoors something fierce sometimes. I think there are a lot of people here who do.

Sometimes you just need to go sit on a rock and poke around in some dirt and walk around on a hill where nobody has ever poured a concrete slab and hopefully nobody ever will.

Somewhere where the metro doesn’t run. You know that place?

….

How long has it been since you thought about milkweed? It’s funny how some things are distinctly from your childhood. Milkweed is one of those for me. I felt a little guilty every time I carefully peeled apart a pod and let the fluffy, soft seeds drift on the wind, further propagating a weed.

At least a monarch might eat it, someday. Right?

….

In Shenandoah last weekend you could see that Fall is here. Fall, in fact, is nearly over. On the tip tops of the hills all the leaves were gone, and the wind whips through the trees with nothing to block it now. I probably already told you, but I usually hate Fall. I find it depressing. In general I’m not into endings, and Fall feels like everything in nature is ending.

It was sunny and beautiful out, though. The sun sure feels good when you get to sit in it for a while. And I like the yellows. The yellows of Fall are the one part I like.

….

Not much more to say. Just a pretty sunset, and a deep breath today.

Life Lately [October]

Hey team. How’s your day going? I’ve been starting a lot of emails with “Hey team” lately. I think it conveys just the right amount of camaraderie and casual attitude while still being grammatically correct enough for work. Work is basically this all day: Email email email! Meeting! Email email email! Lunch! Email email! Meeting! Meeting! Email email email! It’s gotten busy, which is good. Being not busy is THE WORST.
sept141Speaking of work, did I tell you we went apple picking a few weekends ago? It was fun, but also still around 80 degrees out. I can’t say that picking fruit is nearly as fun when the minimal amount of physical exertion required to pick the number of apples you will realistically eat makes you kind of sweaty and really thirsty. Anyway, pumpkins were picked, apples were plucked from the branches of rows and rows and rows of trees, and I also bought some mums to put on our front steps. Basically our house looks SO festive now. If you walked by, you would at MINIMUM consider instagramming it. I mean, once I move the chairs that we picked up off the street out of the front yard. They looks so great [aka they looked really free] and good to have as backup outdoor seating [again... free] but once we got them home we realized that they had shed this weird green tinge from the paint all over our hands while carrying them. Sorry chairs, I think you’re headed to the great outdoor seating area in the sky.
sept143Since I had picked up a few pumpkins while out apple picking I artfully arranged them on our front step alongside the mums. Things were all fine and dandy until I came out one morning to find that SOMEONE thought it would be fun to gnaw away at the pumpkin I agonized over picking for MINUTES at the pumpkin patch. The nerve of the neighborhood squirrels, I tell you!
sept145I started half-assedly running again, too guys. I usually run a loop around the Capitol- it’s fascinating enough to distract me mentally and, as I learned a few days ago, is a magnificent place to look out over the city at sunset. sept146
Susanna came to visit this weekend, and we did A LOT. More to come soon- for now, have a wonderful Monday evening. xx

My First Motorcade, or “The President is coming and you all need to move.”


This post title sounds like a very weird type of Fischer Price toy that you can only buy in DC. But on a very serious DC newbie note- I saw my first motorcade last Friday! And the interruption in my day was everything I could have hoped it would be. Motorcades in DC are well-hated upon for disrupting traffic like nobody’s business, and if you need to take the bus to get somewhere and get stuck anywhere near one of these things you are probably screwed.

I came out of work on Friday evening and was waiting to cross the street when a police car came speeding up next to the crosswalk. From that car emerged an officer who was hell-bent on getting everyone off the street and clearing traffic, and clear traffic he did! He utilized screaming, wild gesticulations, and a very brisk pace as he ran around among the cars trying to get people to move. It was only when he had finally gotten all of the vehicles to pull off of the street that I noticed he was halfway through a huge cigar that he had been holding the entire time he was yelling at cars. Too funny!

I proceed to cross a few more streets before everyone was really on lockdown with the hope that I would still be able to make a speedy exit into the metro once the assembly made its way past. I eventually wasn’t allowed to cross any further, found myself a good vantage point, and proceeded to take the above video of the president making his way to somewhere, which you have to admit is pretty cool. At least for now- if I get sick of seeing this then I’ll be halfway to being a jaded DC resident already! :)

Music Mondays: Sweater Weather by The Neighborhood


I have two questions: 1) Since when is September already almost over? and 2) Where the heck is that temperate fall weather already?! It was almost 90 degrees this weekend, and that kind of heat does not a cozy apple picking trip make! Luckily I’ve got this song to make me think of gloomy-in-all-the-right-ways west coast beaches and big, thick British sweaters. Have a great fall Monday…. zoom zoom, October here we come!

Indigo near H Street

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Just a few minutes walk away from our house is an adorable little Indian restaurant called Indigo. It’s no-fuss Indian food- you stand in line, order, get your number, and then grab a seat in the expanse of tables and picnic benches outside until your meal is ready. I’ve been back twice in the last week; it’s just too good! We first went before walking around all the monuments last week, and it was good fuel for our long journey and oo-ing and aww-ing over big ol’ stone stuff. Plus it’s actually affordable- eating out in DC is a fickle beast, and it’s really easy to suddenly be spending over $30 on what was supposed to be casual dinner in no time at all. :( Indigo’s dishes hover around $10 a pop- not bad at all for all of the food you get and how straight-up AMAZING it is! If you’re ever near Union Station/H Street, you have to try it.

What’s everyone up to this weekend? I am going to work on a quilt, go to the H Street Festival tomorrow, and then catch some shorts at the DC Short Film Festival on Sunday! It’s an exciting line-up. Have a fabulous weekend!

If you go…

Indigo • 243 K Street NE, Washington, DC 20002
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A few good words.

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Katelyn found a job people; she’s moving to Pittsburgh! It’s going to be awesome. Before she left DC, she brought up some typewriter-written quotes I had put up all over my apartment in Chapel Hill a few years ago and how much she liked them. They were so great to have around! To replicate them for her new home, I made up a whole sheet of some of my favorites for her to take with her for the big move. We’re going to miss her here, but life will go on, and she’ll be back before we know it :)

This weekend was so pleasant- we hosted a visitor all the way from Germany (yay!) in the new house, had a wonderful Sunday dinner, and great weather (minus a rainy walk to to the Capitol for a tour on Saturday morning). The dinners are a new tradition- somebody makes dinner for everyone on Sunday night, and you can bring whoever you want to join in the merriment. We split the costs, and good food, conversation and fun are had by all to start off the new week. I made green curry last week, and this past weekend Bridget cooked up some chicken parm for the group. Yum!

Other than that, not much new stuff to report- autumn is creeping in, and the chilled evenings sure are a pleasant addition to life in DC.

Music Mondays: Jump in the Line by Harry Belafonte


I think a good way to start the week is with a song that makes you want to jump up and dance on the bus in front of all of the people who are grumpy about Mondays. You always see a few of them, and we can’t let those haters get everybody down! Today’s song is a good one to listen to on your commute, just so long as you can successfully resist busting any visible dance moves. Shake, shake, shake señora…

Am Hochgrat im Allgäu

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I recently began reading Julia Child’s book My Life in France. I don’t know how I didn’t get my hands on it earlier- I love it. Julia speaks with a reverence towards France and French cooking that mirrors the way I feel about Germany and all of the little cultural Unterschieden that make it a joy to eat, live and travel there. I love how unabashedly enthusiastic she was in everything she did- in how she moved across the Atlantic with no real image of what awaited her and her husband on the other side, and in the determination and focus that lead her to her wonderful and lengthy culinary career. Julia Child didn’t just try and capture how amazing what she was seeing and eating was to the eye, she learned to recreate it for herself, even mentioning in the book that your enjoyment of a meal extends far beyond its duration if it is done well and you took pleasure in creating it.

Summertime in Germany was, as always, an absolute pleasure. In the tiny village of Oberstaufen, summer comes in abundance, as it often does in mountain towns. Flowers are spread liberally across the rolling green hillsides, and even in the depths of the dark forests that eventually turn into one of the most famous woods of all, the Schwarzwald, there are tiny ferns and plants soaking in the rain and sun of summer. The Hochgrat is the town’s biggest and arguably best skiing, and in the summer the gondolas become carriages for the numerous hikers drawn to the area’s sweeping vistas and beautiful trails.

Hiking yields to such wonderful basic human needs- the need to move, the need to see more. I love that everything tastes better when you eat it on the side of a mountain and out of a backpack. I once hiked along the continental divide with a friend for a long afternoon, and as we sat on a rock overlooking the Rockies we ate two hardboiled eggs with some salt and pepper. Hungry from our long walk and relived to be taking a break, I couldn’t have imagined something better to eat than those eggs at that moment.

As Laura and I made our way up to the Seelekopf and then down the Hochgrat, we took photographs and admired our surroundings in all directions. Among other things, we enjoyed walking through an archway strung with Tibetan prayer flags at the top of the mountain, one of many spread across the Alps in Austria, Germany and Switzerland as part of an art installation. Making our way down the weaving trail, we passed mountain bikers and hikers on their way up, and tried a few different techniques for saving our knees on the steep incline, one of which included a brisk and out of control jog. We made our way down the mountain just in time for lunch, passing through a herd- or should I say symphony?- of cows as we slipped through the gate. Almost every cow in this corner of the world is outfitted with a bell, and their constant presence brings a very zen feeling to the mountainsides. It is absolutely wonderful.

Read more about Bavaria here, including the adorable cows, hiking in Garmisch, and winter in Oberstaufen.

Scenes from Summer in the Centennial State

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Blog readers! I am back from an extended hiatus. I’ve fallen off the blog wagon for the last few weeks, and life’s been busy. That’s a good thing, but I find myself missing the artistic liberties taken in telling stories and taking photographs of fun things. I think a lot in abstract, organizational terms now at work, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes you need to talk about something more casual and fun. Like this summer, and all the lovely things that came to pass throughout it.

All of these photos are from Colorado, which is appropriate given that I was there until mid-July. I wanted to record the numerous small ways that life is good- an ice cream sandwich from Sweet Cow near my old apartment, making a key lime pie for a party with friends, the surprising viability of my succulents as they sat in a window. Kaya, my brother’s dog, is one of my favorite animals I’ve ever known- when I was home last weekend she could hardly stand the excitement of my return, which is always a nice feeling.

I also spent some time enjoying the mountains, first up Poudre Canyon near Fort Collins with my brother off-roading (which was more fun than I thought it would be!) and then in Aspen, where afternoon thunderstorms brought epic rainbows and a green sheen to the mountainsides. The mountains are so indescribably lovely in the summer- I think that is where I feel most at peace, particularly when it is so temperate and flowery compared to the relentless sunshine of the plains. I didn’t used to be bothered by heat as much, but after a few very cool summers in Germany- you really do need a jacket in the evenings throughout July and August- I’m less tolerant of the endless sun and the copious amounts of sunscreen that go with it.

My final days in Colorado were spent (as they now usually are) in a whirlwind of seeing friends and packing up and preparing for the next journey. I had a wonderful last supper (ha!) with everyone at the West End Tavern in Boulder sitting on the patio, enjoying the weather and the view of the flatirons. We wrapped up the night at Bitter Bar (which I have to say has sort of lost its charm in the last few months-  not sure when I will be back there) and went our separate ways. Colorado is good to me, and that makes me happy.

I still have tons of backlogged stories and photos to post- an entire trip to Germany, some from DC, and a few recipes that haven’t quite made it onto the blog yet. I hope to get those up in the next few weeks, and that things will get into more of a routine- blog-wise and life-wise- around here. I hope you all are well and that it’s a wonderful weekend xx