Saturday, July 24, 2010

How I spent my summer vacation

Home sweet beach house
View from the porch

Sun, sand, somethin' to read

Stormy weather
Pity the fool who tries to breach those defenses.  (We did not build this.)
Cousin Caroline came down for the day from Charleston.

No caption needed

Monday, July 12, 2010

Beach. Books. (Battlestar Galactica.)

Last night, I commenced my official pre-beach countdown, because as of next Sunday evening, that is where I will be for a week, along with my parents, grandparents, G, and G’s boyfriend Ryan.   It can’t come soon enough. 

For many people, a week at the beach includes activities like spending hours in the sun, perhaps some fishing, maybe the consumption of quantities of frosty beverages.  Mom, Grandma, and G usually have some sort of project going on—painting or necklace-making or knitting or what-have-you.  My dad and my grandfather nap a lot.  As Dad says, “The biggest decision I have to make today is whether I should read now and nap later, or nap now and read later.”  Many books are read.  Many games of Michigan rummy are played.  Many of Dad's made-to-order milkshakes are consumed.

I, however, take the reading thing to a whole other level.  The whole point of the beach is to see how many books I can devour in a week, and a highlight of my summer is the careful cultivation of my beach-reading pile, stocked through leisurely ambles through the stacks at the library and the perusal of summer reading lists compiled by everyone from the New York Times to NPR to Entertainment Weekly to Glamour.  Unless Harry Potter is involved (or, God help me, A Suitable Boy), I tend to average one book a day. 

As such, I’ve been assembling on my beach-reading pile for the last two weeks, requesting books from the library; monitoring waiting lists in the hopes that the 17 other people in D.C. who are ahead of me on the list for The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake will, I don’t know, get tired of waiting and buy it (which I refuse to do) or for SOMEONE to return How Did You Get This Number, because I’ve been #1 on the waiting list for three weeks; perusing the catalog for audio books on cassette (because Lola is old school and doesn’t have a CD player) for the endless hours on I-81.  But that’s necessary when I spend an entire week moving from here...

… to here … 

... to here … here … 

... to here. 

Usually with this ...

or this.

It is glorious. 

Anyway, suffice to say that the countdown has begun, the book pile currently numbers 11, and I’m itching to load up Lola and hit the road.  Unless… does anybody know of a flight from D.C. to Charleston, SC that doesn’t cost $500?  Or some frequent flyer miles that they’d like to unload?  Because that would be excellent, too.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Let's talk about babies!

Apparently many women experience this thing where they have a sort of, I don't know, yearning for a baby.  Like they see babies and feel their biological clocks ticking or whatever.  While I would like children someday, I do not have that Baby Need.  

Show me a golden retriever, however, or any commercial involving dogs, and I immediately start googling animal shelters.  I want every big dog I see, all the time.  I nearly ran a red light on Monday because I was distracted by a pair of Great Danes walking down Wisconsin Ave.  And I cannot get enough of this commercial, which I tried to embed, but it's showing up ginormous

I LOVE IT.  Anyway. To recap: I want a dog now.  I want babies later.  

But then today, I did this: 

That's Emma, brand new daughter of my dear friends Ryan and Becky.  She was born yesterday at noon, and I went to the hospital over my lunch break today to visit.  And I tell ya what, I could hold her all day long.  I considered smuggling her out in my purse, though I would've been caught, because the nurses check visitors' bags on the way out.

So I've amended my previous statement: I want a dog now, but I am available to snuggle or otherwise entertain your baby any time.  Dogs, too.  You know where to find me.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Having my (Fabergé egg) cake and eating it, too

So.  A month or so ago I promised to tell you about Opera Ball, so I suppose it’s about time I do that, eh?

Anyway, Opera Ball was on May 21.  It was my sixth one, which…I KNOW, right?  Six seems like so long ago, like, I used to be able to say “Six years ago I had braces,” or “Six years ago I fell off the carousel at Six Flags and broke my camera.” Those occurred in 1994-95 and 2000 respectively, thus no longer fitting the “six years” requirement…. Where was I?  Oh yes.  My point is that although I only worked for the Opera for three of those balls, for some reason they keep inviting me back.  Possibly because I am Reliable and A Hard Worker.  Also Very Fun To Have Around, as well as a Kick-Ass Dancer.  And modest, obviously.

This year, though, I didn’t attend as a volunteer.  I was a guest!  On the list and everything!  Technically, yes, I was the plus-one of one of my old coworkers, Ryan, who as a member of the company’s senior staff was an invited guest.  I was not required to guard a punchbowl or anything for the evening, so I considered it a win nonetheless.

Opera Ball is always an unbelievable, over-the-top amazing event, but this year took the proverbial cake.  The Russian ambassador hosted, and there was an old world glamour this year that the previous five, at least, lacked.  On the outside, the embassy is an austere, gray block, but inside it looks like the Winter Palace (I mean, I would imagine, not having been to Russia), with tall ceilings, sweeping staircases, and a huge, tapestry-laden ballroom.  It was magnificent.  Most years a huge tent is erected out behind the embassy residence to accommodate the main ball venue, but not so at the Russian embassy—because it has a BALLROOM.  For, you know, balls. Like this one.