Sunday, February 24, 2008


It's that birthday time of year again. While I loooove my birthday, and try my best to stretch it out into birth-weekend, birth-week, and birth-month, the digits this year are a little shocking.

Thirty. Five. When the eff did that happen?

I was clinging to the notion that at 34, I could still say I was in my "early 30's." Those days are over. Gah. No denying that 35 is right in the middle, which leads us to thoughts of "middle aged" and "middle aged spread" and how all those aging hippies on the show "thirtysomething" always seemed far older than I would ever be.

But enough on my agedness. My actual birthday was Friday, and I was planning to play hooky from work and take a photography class for part of the day so I can work on my mad photos skillz, learn how to use my fancy digital SLR mo bettah and take photos of something other than the dog. There's a company here in town that teaches all kinds of hands-on photo classes at all the great sites around DC. The one I was planning to take is called "The White House and Its Neighbors" and focused on architectural photography, both inside and out. However, it turned out I was the only one who signed up for the class, and it looked like this (see below) outside, so no class. Rescheduled for a couple of weeks from now.

Yeah, that whitish stuff out there? And the stuff that looks like water? All ice. All of it. A thin, Saran-Wrap like layer all over DC, and especially on the sidewalk in front of my house.

So, I was forced to take myself out for a sushi lunch (with sake! because, hey, no work! it's my birthday!) and go shopping in Georgetown. And then come home and lie on the sofa with the dog falling asleep on me and read and listen to jazz. Awful, I tell you.

A cozy dinner with Seth at Ceiba (saay-buh) rounded out the evening. I didn't tell them it was my birthday, but the barrel select aged silver tequila that I got to go with my Mexican chocolate cake was in a shockingly big glass. I think they wanted me to have fun.

Seth gave me a new Speedlight flash for my camera, because the built-in flashes are never as good as advertised. And I can bounce this one - ooh, aaah.

(My (soon-to-be renovated!) kitchen with flash bounced off the ceiling. Very bright and bouncy. Trust me. )

Seth also gave me a summer's worth of organic local vegetables and flowers. Seriously. We just bought a share in a community-supported agricultural program, and we get fresh, seasonal, mostly organic produce brought to us on Capitol Hill every Monday from May-October. I was bowled over. We've talked a lot about how to eat more locally, sustainably and organically, and now we're acting, not talking, boo-yah! (For more info, click here.)

On Saturday, we met with a contractor about long-discussed house renovations. Which is like crack for someone as Type A as me, because now I have an obsession to channel energy into, and I have to find every photo of every beautiful kitchen that I have loved in all the issues of This Old House that I've saved for the last three years and put them all into a color-coded three-ring binder! I know that for a few months we'll have dust, carpenters, more dust, electricians, no kitchen, no laundry, and annoyance, and oh yeah, tens of thousands of dollars gone from our bank accounts, but it will be worth it because it will be like a WHOLE NEW HOUSE. Finished basement! Flat screen TV! Another bathroom! Actual counter space! Bigger kitchen! Elimination of the narrowest, most annoying useless hallway with the most sticky-outy doorknobs in Washington, DC!

(Just remind me of my enthusiasm in a few months when there is drywall dust in my lukewarm takeout pad thai that I'm eating in my bedroom because there's no other room in the house that I can sit in. )

The Weekend O'Birthday had the grand finale this morning when eight of us DC'ers (and one Arlington, VA resident) made the trek to Wheaton, Maryland for some awesome dim sum at Good Fortune. My goal at dim sum is to eat as many different dumpling-y things as possible, and I definitely succeeded. I am also very proud of all my friends, because we unanimously passed up Chinese broccoli and string beans as a waste of time. More dumplings and sticky pork buns please! Vegetables are for wusses! And sesame balls. Mmmm. A good time was had by all.

Because I lazed around Friday and Saturday - my due as the Birthday Girl - I had to get in some running miles today. I figured dim sum would be adequate carb fuel for my usual 6-mile loop from home to the Lincoln Memorial and back. (It was, though I cannot say I would recommend the practice of eating 43 pounds of dumplings and buns before going for a run. More burping than is really pleasant is involved.)

Fueled by shumai, I engaged in one of my favorite running games - pass as many other runners as possible. I'm so competitive, even on a casual run. I can't help it - at least it keeps me motivated, but it's a little sad, really, because I'm not all that speedy over any distance. I am a decidedly Average runner. But whatever, I enjoy it in my own little sick, average way. And I especially enjoy trying to blow the doors off of guys who look younger than me. I bagged two of them today, young and lean.* Left 'em in the dust.

Take that, thirty-five!

*We'll assume for the sake of my fragile ego that they were not, in fact, suffering from some crippling disability or wasting disease and were nobly striding along at the best pace they could because they are training for Boston or something to raise thousands for charity and that's why I could speed by them.

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