Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I missed this year's Fire Wheel party.

They even torched and rolled an octadecahedron!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

5.19 + 4.22 = 9.41

My carpet is still sopping wet. We had another puddle form in the living room last night. Ew.

According to the National Weather Service, we got 5.19 inches of rain on Sunday and 4.22 inches on Monday. That's just shy of 10 inches in 2 days. Uf da!

Monday, June 26, 2006

I sold my first virtual goods!

My goal today was to learn how to sell Second Life items on three of the SL buying sites. I didn't have anything to sell, so I just stuck two boxes together. A boring, useless item.



I uploaded it to the sites (here it is on SL Boutique), priced it at L$1 (about one-third of a cent), and then bought one myself just to see if it worked. (It did.)

To my amazement, I've sold 5 "Cubes Stuck Together" today! I can't imagine what anyone else would want with it, but it does feel nice to get that e-mail alert in your inbox, and to see your account balance creep up as the Linden Dollars get deposited.

Rain, rain, and more rain

Friday -
Thankfully, it didn't rain Friday night. I hosted Charles' going-away party, and most of the team came over for it. We had bread and beer in honor of Charles' yeast studies, which he'll be pursuing in a PhD program, and we stenciled jerseys with an "H.R. Hucknstuf" logo so that we can wear them at Potlatch this weekend. A very nice evening.

Saturday -
Scott and I went to the Phillips Collection in the afternoon. It was fantastic. The "Klee and America" show was neat, and I also really enjoyed the "Celebration of Masterworks" exhibit they had up. Lunch at Baja Fresh, and then he went back to his office, and I went down to the Reflecting Pool fields for a scrimmage with WonderBred. It was warm, but it felt good to be outside running around. At 6, Scott and I reunited at my office, where we researched grad school programs for a few hours before enjoying dinner at Coppi's.

Sunday -
It started storming sometime during the very early morning, and so I got to listen to thunder and pounding rain as I drifted in and out of conciousness. It rained all morning, and even though it stopped around noon, the fields were waterlogged enough to cancel our 2 pm BRDM practice. I took the opportunity to read my latest New Yorker and call my parents, who had just arrived for a week's vacation at the cabin and were enjoying sunny, 70° weather.

At 4:30, Alexia picked me up and we headed out to the BRDM barbecue, graciously hosted by Jess and Kevin. I got to offload the beer that had been left at my house on Friday, and we watched (1) the USA Rock Paper Scissors championships on A&E and (2) Ultimate Frisbee games from the '70s and '80s... back when people didn't throw forehands and the stall count was to 15 and the fashion was terrible. Pretty amusing.

Alexia and I took off around 8:30, and it took us two hours to get home! I don't know if I've ever been in rain that heavy before. DC issued a flash flood warning, which I realized was obviously warranted when we saw an ambulance and fire truck doing a water rescue - the ambulance was pulling a boat on a trailer, and the men were wearing life jackets and kayaking helmets. Apparently, people were stuck in their cars in some places.

The carpet inside my front door often gets soggy after a hard rain, because the drain outside is slightly clogged. But when I walked in last night, there was a puddle an inch deep on my living room floor. (Fortunately, it didn't ruin any of my stuff. No books or photographs or computers or anything got wet.) Poor Scott returned home to a basement flooded with water and mud, and they were all up late cleaning it up.

Monday -
The indoor puddle was gone when I woke up this morning, but the carpet is still wet enough that when you walk across it, a little puddle forms around your shoe. Ick. DC issued another flash flood warning for this afternoon, and there have been a few more bouts of heavy rain since I've been writing this. It will take at least a week for my floor to dry out.

Inconvenient, but sort of exciting. And listening to all of this rain is nice.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Success!

We did it! We finally got to see a ballet! Not just any ballet, but the opening night of the Royal Ballet's production of Sleeping Beauty at the Kennedy Center! It was absolutely wonderful. Alina Cojocaru danced Princess Aurora - simply incredible. Weightless, graceful, supple... Obviously it's The Royal Ballet, so everyone's going to be an incredible dancer. But she was stunning.

It made me remember how exciting it is to see live performances, where there's always a chance that things might go wrong. If you're watching a video, you know that everything is going to work out perfectly, otherwise they wouldn't bother selling a tape of the performance. But last night in the audience, I felt this amazing tension as I watched the ballet unfold - something about the uncertainty, the riskiness of it all. It made those moments when a dancer did something truly amazing feel like a gift to us, the audience. Cojocaru's arabesque balances in the Rose Adagio. Kobborg's (Prince Florimund) quadruple pirouette that ended only because the music was continuing and he had to come out of it in order to stay on beat. The four princes' enormous, lighter-than-air entrechat sixes.

And the music! It's not a score that I'm very familiar with, but much of it was recognizable as trademark Tchaikovsky: big harp arpeggios, cello solos, melodies for birds and other animals. The violin solo accompanying Princess Aurora in Act III was gorgeous. It was as if there were just two things happening in the entire theater - the violinist playing, and Cojocaru dancing.

Enough gushing. A few details from the rest of the evening.

Scott took me out for a lovely dinner beforehand at Legal Sea Foods. We both hesitated a little at the thought of going to a chain restaurant, but it really was a good meal. We highly recommend the Apple and Goat Cheese Salad with Grilled Scallops and a chipotle and orange dressing.

We had a dramatic eleven o'clock ride home. The predicted thunderstorms were just starting up, and there was nearly constant lightning flashing all around us. Thankfully, we got home before the storm arrived. And it was LOUD. Crashing thunder, pounding rain, a doozy. Listening to a storm like that is one of the nicest ways to fall asleep.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Farewell Elsa!

So many good-byes this week. I went to a good-bye dinner for Jess and Nate on Tuesday, and Aaron and I are hosting a good-bye party for Charles tomorrow. Last night, I said good-bye to Elsa, the cat I've been fostering for just over four months now. She's going to a husband and wife from Louisiana who were also displaced by Katrina and whose 14-year-old tortoise-shell cat just died. The wife in particular was really excited to get Elsa - it seems like she was trying to replace her old cat. She kept exclaiming how much Elsa looked like her. And she kept cradling Elsa so she was on her back with her feet sticking up in the air, even though Elsa was obviously struggling to escape. She much prefers sitting on laps than being picked up.

It was a little hard to watch, but I'm sure this couple will give Elsa a much better life than she's had so far. I'm not home nearly enough to give her the attention she needs and wants. Really, it's a relief to have her gone, since I felt like I was only cleaning up after her and never got to enjoy the benefits of cat ownership - petting and getting curled up on. Still, I woke up a couple times last night vaguely worrying about her and wondering what small space she found to hide in while she's adjusting to her new house.

A few wedding photos!

Thanks, Cherie, for sharing these!

Pre-wedding shots:


Kate, the Pirate Queen:


Jaime, the Pirate Queen:


More to follow, I'm sure!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Boston and Amherst!

A wildly successful trip to Massachusetts!

Scott and I flew up together on Friday afternoon. Jess and Nate whisked him away to Amherst, and Alissa and I headed to Boston. It was a great chance for us to get caught up before the wedding weekend began. The first stop was the Four Seasons Hotel, where Kate and Jaime were spending the weekend. (A wonderful gift!) After a gleeful reunion with the brides and Cherie (Jaime's sister), and a quick change of attire (Kate was parading around in her dress), we set out in our matching "Collins Peters Pirates" t-shirts that Jaime had printed up for us. The backs read "Putting the F-U-N back in Wedding" - they're great. Dinner was quick, because we didn't want to be late for our manicure and pedicure appointments. By 8 pm, we were sitting in massage chairs, soaking our feet in bubble baths and reading fashion magazine quizzes to each other. I contemplated getting a serene/docile color, but then I reasoned that since I only get this kind of treatment every 3 years or so, I should go for something memorable. So my toenails are silver and my fingernails are Barbie-doll pink. I *still* get a kick out of looking at them.

We did a few shots at a bar with two of Jaime's friends, and then retired to the Four Seasons, ordered room service dessert and breakfast for the morning, and crashed.

We spent Saturday morning in the hotel, enjoying our beautiful breakfast, putting on makeup, deciding which jewelery to wear, etc. We left for Wellesley around 1 and met up with Kate's family to help decorate the College Club dining room. Instead of having one big wedding cake, the brides put one little cake, decorated with flowers, as the centerpiece of each table. Lovely! By 3:30, everyone had arrived and we took photos, including piratey arrgh-ing photos. The ceremony started around 4:30.

The ceremony gets its own paragraph. We stood in a circle on the grass. Kate and Jaime were on opposite sides, facing each other. Kate's brother Peter welcomed everyone; I played my violin* while Kate's little sister Grace scattered rose petals around the circle; and then Peter invited those present to offer their thoughts and wishes to the brides. The brides gave their vows to each other - Jaime read a poem she had written, and Kate told a fable. Misty eyes ensued. Peter asked us to "speak now or forever hold your peace", we all gasped dramatically (as instructed) at the mere thought of objecting to this wedding, Peter announced the union, and they kissed each other. Beautiful.

* I was nervous and trembling and didn't sound as good as I do when I practice alone in my living room... but I'm still glad I got to play for them.

Cocktails, hors d'ouevres, dinner, dancing to Peter's band (a fabulous Blues-Brothers-inspired affair - really fun!), and a stroll around campus with Alissa, Merritt and Mike. We waded in Lake Waban, took in the new campus center, reminisced about Beebe's pirate flag. Alissa and I left around midnight. (We did NOT intrude on the brides at the Four Seasons again and stayed at a nearby Marriot instead.)

So that's it! That's their wedding! They're married! Yaaaay! I'll post pictures when they're available. I regret not taking any.


Sunday morning, Alissa drove me to South Station where I boarded a Peter Pan bound for Springfield. Scott picked me up and drove me the rest of the way to Amherst. His parents greeted me very warmly; I've been waiting to meet them for a long time now, and it felt so nice to be welcomed into their home! We had lunch at the "Taste of Amherst" festival that was happening downtown and chatted with friends we met. Around 3, we drove out to a lake (whose name I forget), rented a pair of canoes, and paddled out to see a bald eagle nest... complete with real bald eagles! It was a beautiful, sunny day, and it felt wonderful to be out on the water. For dinner, we took Whole Foods salads up to the top of a mountain (Sugarloaf? I'm terrible with names.) and ate while the sun set on the valley around us. Hard to beat. Scott and I spent the night at The Moan and Dove with Jess, Nate and Mike. Click here for a .pdf of their incredible beer selection. It was "Voted the #1 Place to Have a Beer in 2006 by BeerAdvocate.com reviewers", and I think it lives up to its title.

Monday began with breakfast on the deck and continued with coffee at Rao's Coffee and then take-out Bueno Y Santo burritos, which we ate with Scott's dad at the school where he teaches. Scott showed me the houses he used to inhabit, the salamander tunnels built especially for a rare species' safe traversing of a busy road, and Puffer's Pond, where we went swimming. We met up with his parents at a local farm for homemade ice cream; I tasted the asparagus-almond, but opted for blueberry-maple in the end. Scott's ginger-peppermint was great. At home, I perused Scott's baby albums while we disgested. (He and Julie used to be so blonde!) We lingered over dinner and fresh strawberry shortcake before retiring for the evening.

In the morning, Scott's dad dropped us off at the Hartford airport for an early, uneventful trip back to DC.

MANY thanks to Mr. and Mrs. McNiven for their hospitality! Thanks to Alissa and the brides for orchestrating such a wonderful weekend. And, of course, congratulations and good wishes to Kate and Jaime in their new marriage.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Duluth!

I had a wildly successful trip home to Minnesota last weekend. Fred graduated, and all of us celebrated.



Fred was the elected class speaker, and both he and the valedictorian gave really wonderful speeches. (Here's a link to Fred's, and here's a link to Drew's.) It was obvious how much they loved their school. Drew actually had a hard time finishing because he kept choking up, which led to plenty of misty eyes among his classmates and the audience.



Back at the ranch, my mom whipped out her ever-ready hospitality super powers, demonstrating once again that "domestic engineer" is more than just a politically correct term. Over the course of the weekend, she directed a team consisting of her husband, daughters, mother and sister-in-law, artfully employing the skills and talents of each. She managed the cleaning, manicuring, decorating, and general beautification of the house, yard and gardens. She hosted a brunch for 30 relatives. Under her supervision the shopping, cooking, (timing of the cooking) and serving of the meal came together seamlessly; the house, yard and gardens looked beautiful. It made me realize how much I have to learn!

Apart from all of the entertaining/celebrating and visiting with my relatives, I had a good time being in Duluth with my family. I got to walk on the Lakewalk (easily one of my favorite places in the world) with my parents (easily two of my favorite people in the world). I got my annual dose of rhubarb, in the form of cake, muffins, sauce and crunch, always accompanied by a cup or two of coffee. I got to hang out with my cats.





A few more photos of the not-so-little bro.
Here he is with his wonderful girlfriend Hannah:



With Mr. Sippel and his friend Max. (They decided pipes were classier than cigars. No doubt their canoeing/kayaking/voyageur-esque fathers inspired them.)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I just bought googly eyes for my avatar!



I'll post a real post soon, but things have been busy-ish at work since I got back.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A heckuva hectic hour.

Last night was hectic, but then it got better. I got home around 5:15. My living room smelled bad, because Elsa's litter box hadn't been changed all weekend. My room smelled bad, because the weekend's wet clothing was all over the floor. My bathroom smelled bad, because, well, it always does these days. I think there's a dead mouse in the vent.
I practiced violin first, because I promised myself that if I had time to go climbing (which I wanted to do later on), then I'd better make time for violin too. But I had too much on my mind and felt too crunched for time for it to be as enjoyable as usual. I'm glad I did it though. Then I cleaned the litter box and brought the trash and recycling out to the garage. Then Elsa escaped into the backyard, snuck into the neighbor's yard via the hole that Dublin keeps digging, and couldn't be convinced to come back. Then I gathered up the trucks, books and sneaker that the neighbor kid had thrown from his deck into our backyard. Then I realized that I was tracking dog shit into the house. I cleaned up the carpet and my shoe to the best of my ability... which didn't amount to much, at least on my shoe. It was pretty potent poo. Then I wrote a note to Ross, asking him to keep the back door open, in hopes of Elsa's return. Then it was 6:15, so I grabbed my bag and left for climbing. Uf da.

Happily, all of the hectic stuff of the day was condensed into that hour. I had a great night climbing. I'm getting better at using smaller holds, and 5.8's felt just a little bit easier... but maybe that's just because Scott was there to encourage me. We got back to Delafield around 11, at strawberry pie, and went to bed.


Tonight's post-work chores include picking up my sister's paycheck, a tabata workout, some laundry and vacuuming, and maybe some violin. Then Team Dinner Party is coming over and we're making pizza! Yay!


Elsa did, by the way, return of her own volition 6 hours later. Thank goodness.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Mixed Easterns Nostalgia! Already!

The worst part about tournaments is having them over and done with. You're not running around, catching or throwing, cutting or marking. And you don't get to look forward to those things. Instead, you're at your desk thinking, "That's one less tournament I get to go to this summer. I have to wait FOUR weeks until the next one. Did I really take advantage of the chance to play this weekend?"

I'll stop being mopey in a moment, but I feel I should document the physical unpleasantness of the weekend. It started on Friday, when our flight from Baltimore to Boston was delayed four hours. We spent two hours in the airport, because of bad weather in Boston. And then we boarded and spent two hours on the runway, because of mechanical problems. We shared these four hours with fifty eighth-graders returning home after a week-long school trip to DC. Fortunately, they were pretty well-behaved and more entertaining than annoying. And fortunately, there were a bunch of BRDM-ers in the airport to hang out with. Still, we landed in Boston around midnight and didn't get to bed until 1:30 or so. Saturday was unpleasant because it rained all day long, and the temperature didn't get above 60°F all day long. We were soaking wet. Enough said. Sunday was a compromise between Friday and Saturday. Still chilly, but not as wet. Still got to bed late (12:30), but at least the flight was on time.

On to the good parts (which are always so much harder to articulate and write about!)
I got to play 7 games with a team I love against fun, spirited teams. I have a lot to work on, but I'm mostly happy with how I played. I think this goes for the team as well. We managed to play in the A bracket on Sunday, and broke seed, finishing 13th instead of 16th (I think).

A huge thank-you to Rob's mom for hosting all 20 of us. She cooked us all kinds of amazing food (the highlights being chili and barbequed chicken) and helped us get cleaned up and dried off when we returned from the fields. (I can't imagine trying to deal with all of our wet stuff in a hotel room - we probably would have suffocated.)
Thanks also to our illustrious captains for their leadership and encouragement on the field and their organization off the field. Thanks to Rob and Michelle for driving me to and from Baltimore, and thanks to Rachel for doing laundry.

Sad I'm missing Poultry Days. Can't wait for Potlatch.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Potential Energy. Potential Career.

I'm hoping that a nice, active weekend will make up for what felt like a lazy, low-energy week. I was sick on Monday and Tuesday, so yoga and BRDM practice didn't go so well. Wednesday's climbing excursion with Scott and Nina was fun, and Thursday's practice felt more productive. But I haven't gone to the gym or done a sprint workout this week... and I'm not doing anything today. I feel so antsy... too much pent-up energy. Maybe that's why I couldn't sleep last night. Maybe I can transfer all of this energy to the tournament this weekend. I'm leaving for the airport by 3:00 today, arriving in Boston by 7:30 tonight, and cleating up by 8:00 tomorrow morning.

Looking forward to:
- Lots of running around
- Nice, soft fields. These are the fields where I played my first tournament ever, during my sophomore year at Wellesley. It was the first time I had ever worn cleats, and I still remember how sharp they made my movements. No more skidding around on sneakers. A huge lightbulb - so THIS is why cleats exist!
- Team bonding. It's a great team.
- More running around.


My latest career musings... I'm thinking of studying graphic design. Or website design? I don't know much about these fields at all. User interface? Information architecture? Abstract art? I don't quite know where to start. I'll keep mulling. Input/advice always welcome!

Solving DC Problems - Vote today!

If you get a chance, go to this site to vote on the three best ways to solve some of DC's problems. You don't have to be a resident, but you do have to vote by midnight tonight.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Romesick

Feeling really homesick for Rome today. Would love to go back and visit the city, just for a few days. Maybe I'll go back next spring.