Saturday, August 11, 2007

Santa Cruz

Wednesday was busy. The crazy post office trip, a busy day at work, an Ultimate practice with lots of sprinting, a few hours of beer, pizza and Frisbee players, and finally, packing up for a 2-week trip.

Thursday was terrific. We arrived in San Francisco safe and sound, proceeded to the rental car office only to discover that our super-cheap rental was a black Mustang convertible. Sweet!! We took off down the Pacific Coast Highway, top down obviously. Gorgeous blue ocean with white-capped waves breaking on a rocky coast.

We stopped at a café for lunch and spent a few hours doing work (me) and math problems (him) before continuing on to Santa Cruz. We arrived at Sibley and Nina’s in time to help with dinner. Great to see them. Great to be in such a beautiful, peaceful place.

We spent several hours on Friday morning in downtown Santa Cruz working and doing math and the rest of the day back at their house hanging out, exploring the property, climbing 100 feet into a redwood (well, I just watched, but maybe I’ll work up the courage to do it later this weekend…), and making and eating dinner. Nina made challah for Shabbat, and Sibley made a vegan pot pie. Friends who had been to a local winery that day brought wine. All in all, an excellent meal.

Scott and I slept close to 12 hours last night, which felt wonderful. He’s getting over his cold, and I wonder if I was fighting off the same thing, since I almost never sleep that much. Today is sunny and beautiful. The air is crisp and smells like eucalyptus leaves – so much more pleasant than the DC mugginess. Soon we’ll be eating lunch, holding a wedding ceremony (the seventh in a series of seven, held over the course of seven weekends) and then building a treehouse 100 feet up in a redwood.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Trials and tribulations in our nation's post offices

Scott and I are shipping most of our items on Amtrak, but we have several boxes that we wanted to ship via USPS media mail. Abby kindly lent us her car on Wednesday morning, and chaos ensued:

We loaded up the car with all of our boxes and hit the road at 8 am. We headed south on Georgia to the Howard University post office, since it opened at 8 - nice and early, so I could get to work at a decent hour.

We couldn't find it. We asked three people and circled the block four times and finally determined that it was in the basement of an administrative building. Not wanting to haul our boxes through a maze, we decided to go to the Upshur St. post office, which would be open by the time we arrived.

We couldn't find it. We went home, regrouped, checked addresses and opening times, and set off once again.

We found the Upshur St. office and happily (well, it was super hot and muggy, and Scott had a killer headache, but anyways) unloaded our boxes. We decided that Scott would deal with mailing the boxes so that I could drive home and get to work. I got home to a voicemail from Scott: the Upshur St. post office only accepts packages weighing 30 pounds or less.

I drove back, and we loaded all the boxes into the car again. We drove north on Georgia and found a third post office. We determined that they would accept our boxes, although for some reason we couldn't address them in the (air-conditioned) post office. We unloaded our boxes onto the sidewalk, valiantly battled gusts of hot wind to label them. I nervously left Scott to finish up so that I could go to work. Around 11 am, I got a text message letting me know that everything was mailed. Such a feeling of accomplishment for such a menial task!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Soaking up DC

Just four weeks left until we settle in Davis. August will be fun and hectic, with a trip to California for Sibley and Nina's wedding, a trip to Minnesota to visit my family, and a trip to Maine for a Sheep retreat. Happily, I've been doing a good job of soaking up DC the past few weeks. Some highlights:

I finally went to Twins Jazz on U St. There are loads of places to enjoy live jazz along U St, but I'd been meaning to visit Twins specifically ever since my friend Paul recommended it to me years ago, as one of the best. I had a guest in town, so it was the perfect excuse to show her a cool niche of the city. Tuesday is Afro/Brazilian/Cuban night, and it was fantastic. Kicking myself for not checking it out earlier... but better late than never.

Similarly, I finally got around to getting lunch from The Well-Dressed Burrito. It has a fantastic reputation, despite its lowly location - a sketchy looking door in an alley opens into a space that looks more like a community center kitchen than a ravely-reviewed restaurant. Perhaps the best part is that it's only a block away from the secret garden, so you can get your lunch from an inauspicious hole in the wall and eat it in secluded beauty.

We got to watch a trio of Venezuelan breakdancers perform on the corner of 11th and U, right outside the Bohemian Caverns. Their tour is sponsored by the State Department, but the show felt anything but official. It was casual, friendly, spontaneous. They had incredible yoga-on-crack balances. Cirque du Soleil meets hiphop. They're amazing artists, but generously shared the linoleum with anyone else who wanted in. I love DC for the fact that this kind of thing is special, but not wholly unexpected. It's easy to stumble across free, world-class entertainment (like Joshua Bell playing in a Metro station).

For our weekly training session last week, my frisbee team needed a good flight of stairs, and most convenient location just happened to be the Jefferson Memorial. It's one of the prettiest - it's modeled after the Pantheon in Rome and sits overlooking the tidal basin. We piled our bags in a place that wouldn't upset tourists' photos, and spent a sunset hour sprinting and hopping up the stairs. I'm going to miss having such easy, casual access to places like this.

Lately it's been hot and humid. Just about any bike ride gets you sweaty. It's 97*F out right now, and the humidity is predicted to rise from the current 34% to 64% tonight. Somehow, I love it. It feels like summer, when you're supposed to be all messy. You just resign yourself to being damp all the time, either from being outside or from taking a shower and never quite drying off. I love DC in the summer. (I love MN in the summer too... maybe I just love summer.)