4.28.2010

an embarassment of riches.

Today I:
  • Was given two super fancy-schmancy sippy cups...one for hot drinks, and one for cold. And the cups are totally doodle-able! Drinking +art=BIG WIN. Lemme break out those colored Sharpies! (Btw? KPW rules!)
  • Got a fancy-pants new work computer, with a monitor SO BIG that it honestly casts a shadow on the wall behind me. It's AWESOME. You should be jealous.
  • Got some work done. (Go figure!)
  • Was forgiven by El Diablo for some middle-of-the-night ear cleaning and medicating. (That dog knows how to hold a grudge...much like his mama.)
  • Chatted with several people who I like very much. Many of whom I work with. It's a win-win!
  • Successfully navigated Foggy Bottom. It's not a given, for sure.
  • Had a fabulous evening reconnecting with one of my oldest (as in years-we've-known-each-other. We're still both 27.)and dearest friends. And she's in town for almost two weeks! SCORE!
  • Actually shed a tear at how many things went right, at how much goodness was parked in my lap today.
It was a fabulous day.  An unremarkable day in many ways, but sitting at the end of it I'm in awe of how full of goodness it was.

Are all days this good, and I just don't notice it? Or was today as special as it seemed to be?

I don't know.

But whoa, am I grateful.

And I hope that, if you're reading this, you get a day like this sometime soon.

My five:
  1. Friends who knew me before I was coupled, and like me just the same.
  2. Getting out of my comfort zone.
  3. Trading trade secrets.
  4. Fava beans.
  5. Pergolesi.
and one more:
6. maybe sometime learning how to take flattering pictures of myself with an iPhone. So far? Elusive.

4.25.2010

oh, what a difference a day makes!

This was me last night:

Hubby and I got zoot-suited up and headed for the Kennedy Center for their Figaro. It was lovely, doubly so because I didn't have to work. Why, yes, I will have that glass of wine before the show thankyouverymuch! We overdressed a tad, but heck, why not? It was fun, and the evening was only slightly thwarted by some challenged cab drivers. (Oh, Spout Run Parkway, how I missed you.)


(And the dress? A little backless number that I wore the night I met my hubs. And it still fits. HOT DAMN!)


The only issue? Well, we got home around 11. And this morning? 5k 2 of 2...the one where I know the neighborhood parents.

(Nothing says "I love my neighborhood" like running an elementary school 5k while slightly hungover.)

But I did it! And, like last week, I got smoked by, well, almost everybody. But I didn't stop to walk, and I paced myself much better than the last one. (And that's saying quite a bit, as this one was mostly down hill for the first half...and mostly uphill for the second half. Ugh.) But here's the evidence:

 (I wish I could figure out how to get my bib in the photo...I haz no skillz)


And here's the playlist:
1. Merry Happy - Kate Nash
2. My Love - The Bird and the Bee
3. Tropicalia - Beck
4. Sabotage - Beastie Boys (3 times. Don't judge.)
5. Stronger - Kanye (Hate the man, love the tune.)
6. Giving Up the Gun - Vampire Weekend

So I'm guessing that I ran about the same rate as last time, but will find out later this week. And here's all the gak I've accumulated: All kinds of paper, 2 BPA-free water bottles, 2 t-shirts, a ball, and 2 bibs.

Add to that a sense of accomplishment, and great mental pictures of moms and dads running with their kids, sometimes hand-in-hand. It was fun watching the beginnings of family traditions, and seeing kids being celebrated and encouraged to exercise.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need a shower and a nap.

My five:

1. Accomplishing something early in the day.
2. Using an early accomplishment to justify hours of loafing around.
3. Playing with the cat.
4. People watching.
5. Pushing myself.

4.24.2010

Saturday miscellany

It's a rainy Saturday...and while we have opera tickets this evening (two operas in one week? is it summer yet? Weird.), I'm taking a little time out to kick back and veg.

Boo is, too. :)

I took a yoga class on a whim this morning. Most times I do yoga, it's in the privacy of my own home, with Sarah Ivanhoe or Rodney Yee on the dvd player. But I wanted an easy morning - because tomorrow is ANOTHER 5k - and I was getting bored on the elliptical. 'Deep release' yoga - sounds relaxing, right?

Gah.

(Side note: yoga in a ball cap is almost always problematic. Doing yoga with extreme bedhead is also problematic. It was a no-win situation. People were afraid of me.)

So after a 75-minute class (! Are classes allowed to be longer than an hour??? I protest.) I'm feeling like an overstretched rubber band. I'm guessing that, between tonight's opera and the lactic acid buildup from class that I'll be shuffling through tomorrow's race like a 60-year old.

An arthritic 60-year old.

An arthritic, asthmatic 60 year old.

You get the picture.

Afterwards, I had a little bit of time, so I stole over to the office and commandeered the Lecture Hall. In a few (read: two) weeks, there will be loads of singers more rehearsed and talented than yours truly using every designated facility (and bathroom!) to warm up and practice. So it felt like heaven to sit at the piano and play and sing through pop songs, just like I used to when I was a kid. I lost almost two hours, have almost nothing to show for it except that nice tired feeling from singing, and a few rough tracks. If you're one of the folks who are always asking me when I'm singing again (hi, mom!), sadly the answer is I'm not. BUT you can listen here for a tune from this afternoon's play session. I'm thinking of putting together a bunch of lullabies and love songs for friends and family...this one might make the cut.

Wish me luck for tomorrow, my friends! I'll post the playlist after the race.

My five:
  1. Playing.
  2. Being pushed physically...boy, there were SO MANY things I couldn't do in class today!
  3. Fuzzy slippers.
  4. Scrapple bread from Great Harvest. It's like CRACK.
  5. Naps.

4.18.2010

Got 'er done


GeoTagged, [N38.90812, E77.25385]

My first 5k in years. Sure, I was passed by more 8 year olds than I'd like to admit, but even with a little walking break (holy CRAP it was a hilly route! For me, anyway.) I still finished in 32 minutes.

And I totally smoked an old man AND an 8 year old on the final push. Eat my dust!!!

(don't judge.)

My five: (2 sets today! Whee!)
1. Health.
2. Kids. I miss teaching.
3. Accomplishing something early in the day... Means I can slack the rest if the day, right?
4. Running on cool days.
5. Feeling confident about next week's 5k.

people are nice!

While I think of myself as a "winner" (as opposed as a loser, which is a word I save for a select few), I'm not so much a winner-of-stuff. Sure, I won a huge purple pegasus at Busch Gardens when I was 10 (i think my little brother might still be sore over it...), and I won a yoga mat for completing a challenge over here. But the lottery and the Nobel have been more elusive.

But look! I've been given an award!

Esphixiet over at Five by Five gave me the Honest Scrap Award. I'm thrilled that she thought of me! (And more than a little thrilled that my mom's not the only one who reads this. Wheee!) Being described as both honest and scrappy is a pretty high complement in my book. I hope you'll stop by and say hello to this lovely lady!

So, part of the deal is that I have to list 10 facts about me, and point you toward other bloggers whose writing I admire. Easy peasy. Bloggers first:
  1. Little Miss Bossy - whip-smart, candid, and - due to a cool job and a crazy big move on the horizon - endless content.
  2. Communicatrix - insight and poetry in large amounts.
  3. Sir at etceterablah.com. Great writing, unique perspective. 
  4. Refugee - I think he might be one of the few gentlemen left in the world...his writing  is entertaining and interesting.
And ten things about me, being honest:
  1. I don't really know what color my hair is.
  2. I used to sit in my closet, waiting for the back to open up like it did for those Narnia kids.
  3. I am hugely conflict-averse. It's gotten worse lately.
  4. I eat candy like it's going out of style. 
  5. I think about my dad daily. 
  6. I drove home from Pennsylvania without the radio on. Or cds in. Just quiet, and the occasional moment of busting into song.
  7. If I wasn't married, I'd have too many pets. (Like my mom...the nut doesn't fall too far from the tree.)
  8. I work out almost daily. Mostly because of #4.
  9. My guilty pleasures are cartoons, sci-fi novels, Justin Timberlake and slightly stale cheese puffs.
  10. I cannot function without coffee. Full stop.
Whew!

This is an early and busy morning at the Rahree house. Hubby caught an early flight to the west coast for business, and per usual I'm having some ladies over to hang. (This time one of my neighbors totally outed me...hubby looked at me Friday night and said "So, I hear there's a party at the house on Sunday?" Dang.) Plus, I'm running a 5k this morning...I have to admit that I'm still thinking about not running it. I know it'll be fun - well, as fun as a run in the cold can be - but I'm nervous, I don't want to come in last, yadda, yadda, yadda. So, to keep myself from procrastinating, I'm going to have another cup of coffee, Walk the (currently snoring) dog, and get into my gear. Wish me luck!

My five:
  1. COFFEE. Elixir of the GODS.
  2. Springtime. 
  3. Entertaining.
  4. New music.
  5. Sleepy animals.

    4.13.2010





    We're back from a lovely few days at the Uncles' house in Rehoboth. It's a scant 3 hour drive from doorstep to doorstep, but the beach house is miles and miles away from the pace and to-do lists of our daily life. We set out early (a little too early, in some folk's humble opinion) on Saturday morning, after a late worknight for yours truly. The sun was bright and cheery, the breeze brisk, and we wound our way downtown to pick up Uncle L from his Dupont condo. We chatted and caught up as we drove through the chicken farms of Delaware.





    Once we arrived, we had a long list of things to accomplish. Beers over lunch? Check. Naps? Check. Taking Boo to the beach? Check. Outlet shopping? Check. Soaking up the rays on the porch? Check.

    We got a lot of loafing done in just a few days.

    While we were there, I read two books that I really enjoyed. This one I guess you could liken to Eat, Pray, Love, or Julie & Julia except that, well, I liked it more. I will harbor my dream of attending culinary school a wee bit longer....

    The other book is very much in keeping with the way the Uncles' live. They have few things - just enough. Their house is small, but well-planned and super functional. They have lovely things, but don't collect - or hoard - like I tend to. Every time I spend time with them, I want to severely edit my surroundings: get rid of things that I don't looooooove. Something sadly tells me that I don't have quite enough time during this little pause to do so. By the time I do have time? Chances are it won't feel so important.

    As my dad used to say? C'est la vie, c'est la guerre.

    Tomorrow I'm back on the road, pup in tow, for Mom's house.

    My five:
    1. Gracious hospitality.
    2. Dim sum breakfast. Yum!
    3. Sand.
    4. Sun.
    5. Finally learning how to nap.

    4.09.2010

    a morning in which my best efforts are frustratingly thwarted

    Grrrrr.

    I'm heading to work late this morning (because these guys are performing, and somehow I ended up in charge. Mwahahahaaaaaa!) I had a great plan: get up, coffee, walk the dog, head to the gym, work out, get a massage (treat! yay!), stop by the house to let the dog out and then head into work at a leisurely pace.

    Not. Happening.

    The spa cancelled my massage last night. Grrr. That's ok, I thought...I'll still head to the gym for a class. I could run, but I'm hoping to do that over the weekend. No sense in killing my knees when I don't have to, right? So I roll into the gym, maybe a little undercaffeinated, but ready to get my sweat on. I hop into a class that I've not taken before - start the day with something new, right? Good plan!

    Except that the instructor was perky. Ueber perky. Smiley and blonde and big-boobed and perky. And she had her mic turned up SO HIGH that she was getting feedback. Constantly. Now, I LOVE me some loud music - the louder the better, really. But feedback? It's definitely included in Dante's Inferno.

    Now, I'm no quitter. It takes an awful lot for me to walk away from the things to which I commit. This morning I didn't bring my iPod into the gym, specifically because I was taking a class, not taking the easy way out and hitting the elliptical. So there was NO WAY that I was going to leave that class early.

    But it was horrible.

    The class was hard, and hit all of those parts of my routine that I fight with: hard on knees and ankles, especially. (I'll push myself and fight for a difficult rep, but everyone knows when it burns the good way as opposed to hurting the bad way. Today was a bad way day.) But worse? The lady kept YELLING (mostly due to her horrible mic) "It's not Monday, it's FRIDAY. PICK IT UP." as she smiled like a maniac. Now, I'll give her credit because she did almost everything along with us, and very seldom got winded - impressive. But by the end I was so frustrated that I just wanted to scream. My body was happy for the exercise, but the aural beating was too, too much to bear.

    (I need a hug.)

    So I'm trying desperately to reset. Music on softly in the background. Big breakfast (fried rice with sweet potatoes. Don't judge.) eaten, and maybe a little bit shared with El Diablo. Big cup of coffee next to me, with a cinnamon stick as a stirrer. Looking out the window at the sunshine on the neon green leaves and pink azaleas. I'm thinking a long shower and another walk with Boo might put things right.

    Here's the mix I'm listening to this morning, to try to get myself into a happy place. It'll only be up for today; if you're looking for it after I've taken it down, email me.

    My five:
    1. Breakfast. Boy, I love breakfast.
    2. Sunshine.
    3. Soothing tunes.
    4. Impending vacations (Did I mention? Going away for a few days. Aaaahhhh....)
    5. The luxury of bitching about little things because the large things are going well.

    4.07.2010

    Zonksville, Virginia.

    Wow. I'd tell you how tired I was, but I'm guessing that y'all are pretty tired, too. Everyone's got a million things going on, right? I know a woman who will call some of the most important people in my organization (i.e., me, my boss, and my boss' boss. hey- we're imPORtant!) and, once she's got us on the line, talk to us about how amazingly busy she is, how she can barely keep it together...and will only  maybe get around to the question or issue after a good, loooooong kvetch. 

    Irritating.

    Not felony-grade, certainly, but on a whack-a-mole day? I might dodge her calls. Just sayin'...everybody's busy. It's something that I often forget...that everyone I meet carries with them to-do lists and desires and good and bad vibes, and they enter into every email, phone call and conversation we have. And sometimes the difference in an interaction being friendly and productive or contentious is simply giving someone the benefit of the doubt...acknowledging that being gentle is the higher road, rather than being inflexible, making a point.

    I promise, this is not a job rant. I think I spoke to all of 5 people today at work. And the interactions were perfectly lovely. (And - full disclosure - mostly dealt with the awesomeness of my shoes. They were pretty awesome.) But it's mostly to keep it in my head, as being more gentle and less reactionary is on my Life List. (Or, well, it totally would be if I had one.) Catchin' flies with honey, my babies.

    So the reason that I'm tired. Tabata class. When I told my mom that I was taking a 'tabata' class at the gym she said "Wait, they're teaching you how to bake bread at the gym?" Yes, that shows you how seriously we take our carbs in my familiy...she thought I was taking a ciabatta class.

    I love my mom.

    It was basically an interval workout of things that you'd never really want to do unless someone was making you. Plank rows, jump squats, medicine ball jumping jacks...you pack as many into 20 seconds as you possibly can, and then wheeeeeze for 10 seconds. And you do it again. And again. 8 times. 6-8 different exercises. Should be a piece of cake, right? I mean, I can do ANYTHING for 20 seconds!

    Let me tell you that 10 seconds gets shorter the longer the class goes on.

    My ass? Has been kicked. Holy. Crap. My muscles are so warm, three hours post-workout, that I will probably be a lactic-acid cripple tomorrow. No cute shoes tomorrow, that's for sure. Flats. (Maybe even sneakers.)

    A workout like that deMANDs an indulgent dinner, right? A glass of wine, cheese and crackers, and a piece of chocolate that's halfway between milk and dark, studded with sea salt and smoked almonds...fits the bill. Aaaahhh...Now all I need is for someone to carry me to bed. Because these legs? Punched the clock - they're off duty.

    My five:
    1. Good dreams - my dreams last night were outstanding, and my day was all rosy colored because of them.
    2. Magnolia trees - there's a magenta one in my neighborhood that is so pretty it makes me want to cry.
    3. Going for a walk with wet hair, no makeup, comfy shoes and a large, slobbery dog.
    4. Being the recipient of multiple kindnesses.
    5. Looking forward to tomorrow.

    4.05.2010

    Boy, where did that weekend go?

    It's been a bit of a whirlwind these last few days...a whirlwind of the best sort! While work last week was amazingly frustrating, there were some definite highlights.

    Thursday night, Church Street Cellars: This is a local wine bar with a big ol' wine-pouring machine. They have dozens of bottles "on tap" as it were, and they give you a plastic card when you sit down...a plastic card that you plug into the machine, pick which wine and how much (1 ounce taste, half-glass, or full glass. Although that "full glass" is pretty light by Rahree standards. Or I might just be a lush.) you'd like. It was like a Wine ATM system - pretty cool, right? (Although one of the girls said "This is dangerous...I'd feel safer with a debit system...")JW was in town from Prague on a 12-hour stopover, so a few of the usual suspects met up to say hi and hear about her European adventure. Plus we scored an outdoor table (hence the terrible quality of the iPhone photo), which was just lovely. A perfect night!

    Friday? Well, it was all about early to bed, sadly. And that was actually a good thing...maybe it's the unseasonably warm weather, but there's a lot of pressure at work.  It feels like summer, but we're not at summer readiness level...and that's a little crazy-making.  I just needed a day to crawl into bed while it was still light out (ok, not really. but close.) and zonk.

    Saturday was another fabulously GORGEOUS day. We have two neighbors, J & R, who have 2 female labs that we refer to as "Boo's Girlfriends." They're great - dogs and humans alike, and the bipeds came over in the evening for a little bit of chit-chat, and some grilled goodness. It was the official porch opening ceremony, my friends! I'm still awed at how lucky I am to have this house, these neighbors. It's a good life.

    And Sunday? Easter Sunday! Wine and sloth! I don't have to work out every day, I don't have to limit my wine-consumption...I'm freeeeeee! (Full disclosure: I did take a class at the gym Sunday morning. And I did have 2 whole glasses of wine on Easter Sunday. Guess I'm still pretty boring.) We spent the afternoon in Phoenix, Maryland with kids and cousins and second cousins, good conversation, tasty food, and 3 labs...a 10 year old, our 2 year old, and a tiny, feisty puppy named Lucy.

    If this week holds half the fun of last week, I'm all set! (But I'm hoping for 2 times the fun...greedy, I know. But if you don't ask, you don't get, right?)


    I'm a lucky, lucky girl.
    My five:
    1. Laughter.
    2. Sore muscles.
    3. Thoughtful friends.
    4. Great neighbors.
    5. Wonderful family.

    4.03.2010

    saturday morning

    There's a reason that the song goes "easy like Sunday morning," and not "easy like Saturday morning." Because this morning was fun, but not easy. I went for a run, and pushed myself a little too hard on the pace...ended up bonking a little bit by the end. It was a great morning for it, though...cool, overcast, and lots of blooms to enjoy on trees and in gardens. Spring is beautiful!

    As I ran (heaved? crawled? pick one.) into the driveway,  Hubby was getting ready to take the dog on a hike, so I tagged along. We hiked along a creek, let the dog play in the water, and had a generally lovely time.

    Now it's almost 10am...breakfast, another cup of coffee, Sherlock Holmes on the tube. (I love RDJr. I can't deny it.) But the best news? Today's my last workout. I've exercised every day in Lent except for two, and I doubled up on the following days so I'm square.

    Hot. Damn.

    It feels good to meet a self-inflicted (maybe not the right term, but it fits!) goal. It feels great to know that I can take tomorrow off, too. But I think that I'm on a roll, and that I'm going to ride it until I can't or don't want to. I'm sure that work and life will get in the way at some point, but for the time being it's making me feel great.


    On today's docket? More coffee. Shoe-shopping. Switching out the wool slacks for linen skirts. And maybe, just maybe, a nap. Aaaahhhh...

    My five:
    1. Crepe myrtles in bloom.
    2. Reaching a goal.
    3. Low-key weekends.
    4. Movies.
    5. Spring days.