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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Where in the world Wednesday: the Grand NY/NJ/DC Tour

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(I like this vacillating between “Where in the world” and “wordless” on Wednesdays– mostly because it’s tricky for me to be wordless, but I don’t go on that many trips. So convenient!)

As June is the official start of “wedding season” (although, how meaningful is that distinction nowadays? I feel like weddings happen year-round), it was only fitting that our second trip east of 2011 was for the wedding of one of GP’s cousins. Like every trip that involves us visiting and staying with his family, there was the inevitable “fly into Newark, drive to New York, run back to New Jersey for any number of things, now back to New York, rinse and repeat” process (flights to Newark are most convenient for us, GP’s sister lives in Rockland County, the wedding was in Jersey, etc). The first thing that hits you when you step off a plane from SFO into a New Jersey summer morning? (We landed at 6:30 in the morning. Yay, red-eyes!) THE HUMIDITY. Pay attention, even though I’ll say it again: I don’t know how you east coast people do it. It’s like breathing through a wet towel, and I’m not a huge fan of being…clammy all the time.

After grabbing a couple hours of sleep in an attempt to recover from a sleep deficit that would only grow as the trip went on, we got to catch up with my sister-in-law and five month old niece (she has so much to say, you guys!), and head to the rehearsal and dinner. Below you will see the only picture of me, GP, my SIL, and her husband from the entire trip (the niece is absent because I was able to Baby-Whisper her into sleep in her stroller)…

That monkey totally disrupted the priest's blessing of the meal. GP and I tried to keep our silent-laughter-induced shaking to ourselves.

The wedding was the next day, and OMG LET ME  JUST TELL YOU ABOUT SOME HUMIDITY. Also, you know, lovely dress, a full-on mass (too long, says the heathen!), an amazingly filling cocktail hour, and…a lot of gin and tonics. It’s summer! (And, ah, I should be too old to overindulge like this. Bad job, me.)

After celebrating Father’s Day with my father-in-law and GP’s brother-in-law, we left the wonders of downtown Newark to take the non-Acela train down to DC. Train travel seems so charming when you’re used to being on planes– you can carry on whatever you like, no one treats you like a criminal when you’re in the process of boarding, and it’s much easier to get up and walk around. Alas, the train infrastructure around here is pretty lacking.

While in the DC area, we stayed with a college friend of GP’s in Alexandria, who kindly shared bus route information as well as recommendations for my day of lone touristing (GP was visiting Six Flags America), which basically consisted of art, humidity avoidance, and a constant loop of the West Wing theme song in my head. I mean, hello, do people get used to seeing stuff like this every day?

Paging Josh Lyman...

On this particular day, I managed to make it to the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden (which I had all to myself– so blissful!), the American History Museum (Julia Child’s kitchen, yay!), the Natural History Museum (too many kids! OVERSTIMULATION), lunch with a college friend at Zaytinya, the Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum (probably my favorite stop of the day), the National Building Museum (before they began charging admission for exhibits), the National Geographic Society (likely not worth the $8 I paid, especially given that everything else was free), drinks with another college friend at the Tabard Inn, and finally dinner with several other friends at Circa Dupont. Is anyone surprised that I was exhausted at the end of this trip? Because, damn. Oh! Also worth mentioning– we got to celebrate an engagement at our dinner that night, which was particularly wonderful because it was such a close friend with whom I might not have been able to celebrate until…what, her wedding? (Come on, you know that email isn’t the same as squeeing over the ring in person.)

On our last full day in the mid-Atlantic, we visited King’s Dominion, which included a fairly terrifying but still pretty great rollercoaster (one of many that day, to be sure), a metric crapton of humidity (told you I wouldn’t shut up about it!), and a blissful ice cream cone at the end of the day. Finally, on our last day, we managed to fit in one last sight– the Library of Congress! As a librarian, I was a little ashamed that I hadn’t visited before.

Do you think the docents are annoyed that they have to refer to National Treasure on tours now? I bet they are.

Oh– and before our flight from BWI left, I did manage to notch another food-related milestone: my first Crumbs Bake Shop cupcake! Enjoyed on the MARC train, the classiest imaginable setting for such a gourmet experience.

Thin Mint. This sucker was BIG, too. Like, almost scary big.

2011 resolution check-in, day 163 of 365

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Whoa, hey June. It’s finally decided to act a little more like summer around here, so of course I’m working on my annual list of Summer Resolutions, a fun little corollary to the regular resolutions. What can I say, I’m an inveterate list-maker. Here’s where I am on my regularly scheduled resolutions:

Take more and better pictures
I’ll give myself a B+ on this. We went to Yosemite about a month ago, and I did my best to capture the ridiculous nature that surrounded us. I was thwarted only by the heavy mist on (who would have guessed it) the Mist Trail, and did manage to successfully balance the camera on a couple steady-ish surfaces for some passable pictures of me and GP on our hikes.

Get a grownup, non-intern job
The best part, as I’ve mentioned before, of getting my new job at the beginning of the year is that I know I’ll be able to talk about at least one success every time I write about these resolutions. Yes, I have a grownup job, even though the word “assistant” is still in the title. I’m doing interesting (and, I think, important) work that has only once resulted in being the recipient of a shouted, “Megan, you fine!” shout from across a middle school playground. Yeah, I’ve still got it.

Read 40 books
I’m well on my way– 22 so far! I just finished Wicked today (after having owned it for…oh, four years?) and am getting started on My Fair Lazy. I’ve also got a couple saved up on the Kindle for the trips we’ll be making this summer (yay for not having to pack books!).

Meet a blogger in real life
No dice just yet. I suppose this one is the least under my control, but here’s something: I’ll be in DC for a couple days next week! Anyone want to have lunch?

Try 30 new recipes
I’m up to 20! Made these for breakfast yesterday, and just about died at the bliss of melted butter and cinnamon sugar. You have to make these, friends!

Regularly practice some form of exercise
I’m attempting to be as “regular” as possible with my gym-going, as it is on the way home from work– seriously, I have to pass it on the way to the freeway. On the advice of the nicer-than-I-expected trainer that I met with for a free “fitness assessment” (result: marginal), I’ve started with a little pre-weights cardio and then gone on to weights and my friend, the elliptical (easy on the knees, yo). Yes, this is sort of boring, but it’s working! I’m about twenty pounds below my heaviest, and I’d like to lose ten to fifteen more, but the most important (and, seriously, best?) part is that I feel better. Stronger, healthier, more capable of doing things with my body. (Like climbing mountains in Yosemite. BAM.).

Dinner at the living room (like people) at least twice a week
I’ve sort of stopped keeping track of this, but we’re probably hovering around the twice-a-week mark. What with my later returns from the gym and the beginning of GP’s work-intramural softball season, it’s a little trickier to get all two of us at the table, but I can usually count on the cat to be my dining companion. (Yes, he sits politely in a chair. Yes, I am a weirdo.)