Friday, September 30, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 30: in motion


The end! I wish I could say I was able to snap a new picture today, but it was just one of those days. I actually managed to convince a bartender at a local watering hole to juggle bottles for me. However, he was backlit, and it just didn't turn out. Nothing else struck my fancy, so I pulled a fall favorite from November 2009. I love this photo of Ravena and Steven playing in the leaves though.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 29: purchased


Check out my ukulele. Isn't she lovely? One day I'll make happy music and foist it on you all. For now, I practice Mary Had a Little Lamb and a few cords on my couch. I'm determined that I'm going to disprove that whole "can't teach an old dog new tricks" cliche.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 28: daily routine

Under the rainbow sun

Commuting. I do it every day. After more than 13 years in the DC area and none of those living anywhere near where I work, I suppose I've gotten used to it. Reaching for my umbrella today reminded me of one of my morning commutes that gave me hope for humanity. I had run out of the house quickly, running late to catch the bus and not taking the time to check out the weather (sadly, this isn't an uncommon occurrence). I made it about halfway to the bus stop when it started pouring rain. My hasty departure meant I had no umbrella, and as it turns out, the bus was running late. The bus stop isn't close enough to my apartment to just pop back in, and I needed to catch that bus. I stood in the rain, getting thoroughly soaked, when a car rolls up. A woman leans across the driver's side to hand me her umbrella. I attempted to decline, but she insisted, informing me I looked pathetic. Despite the fact that I likely couldn't get any wetter, I was grateful to this kind stranger. Sometimes people are so brusque and, well, rude up here that I forget how much compassionate gestures mean.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 27: after dark

Scarlet dancing 2

When the sun goes down and the witching hour hits, the things that hold us back sometimes slip away. We dance. We dance with the abandon and the freedom our mother's dreamed for us.

November 2008.

Monday, September 26, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 26: something old

something old

This weekend I turned an old pinto beans sack into an overstuffed pillow. I picked up this old sack at one of my favorite antique malls recently and knew it was either going to become a pillow or a tote. I've eyed too many of this style of pillow on Etsy but knew I could easily make this with the right materials. Did I set out looking specifically for pinto beans? I'll let you decide.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 25: sunflare

lull of the open road

Taken in April 2009 on a day trip to Philadelphia. Terra, a great believe in all things GPS, swore her gadget was going to take us there on the scenic backroads. Well, we were definitely off the beaten path (can you say 6 hour drive to Philly), but it wasn't necessarily scenic. I'm still a sucker for roadtrips, even if it means I end up spending several hours winding through industrial America.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 24: a smile

living out loud

Taken in June 2008 when this girl came to visit me while I was camping out in Texas for a couple of weeks. The goal was the ultimate Texas roadtrip.

- Buying a baby pool and using it to cool down in the front yard (Hello, June).
- Temporarily "adopting" a stray kitten that decided to make the yard its home.
- Taking said kitten on short car trips and nicknaming him Kitty in the Car.
- Feeding said kitten McDonalds and having it bring us dead birds.
- Taking said kitten to the nursing home to visit my grandmother and having it subsequently get loose.
- Discovering a place with $1 margaritas and managing to only have one.
- Trying to trick Allie into thinking Marfa was only 3 hours away (it's more like 5).
- Austin.
- Some of the best margaritas and Mexican food I've ever had on the Riverwalk in San Antonio.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 22: trees

autumnal dream

Snapped roughly four years ago. Though I was surrounded by a forest on the verge of turning, it was only a scene as I shot through on my way to meetings today. I was torn between posting this shot or one of the many photos I have of my favorite trees. Yes, I have a favorite set of trees. They're symmetrical, and each seasonal transition is markedly different than the one that came before it.

If you don't know this about me, I get really pissed (and a bit melodramatic) when trees are bulldozed for sprawl.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 21: pretty pattern

Stripes, Waynesboro

I am obsessed with stripes. Seeing them automatically triggers my endorphins, making me even happier. I know I've mentioned this before, but I practically stalk two local companies who have the most pleasant stripes running alongside their work vans. One day I'll manage to photograph them in the wild. The photo above was snapped earlier this summer at a school in Waynesboro, Virginia that has been converted to government office buildings.

I really am an easy girl to please.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 20: what I'm reading

What I'm reading

Two books I've started but haven't finished. What I'm reading at the moment is on my phone and a bit hard to capture on film. If you were able to step into my phone, you'd find I'm currently reading The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

Monday, September 19, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 19: where I slept

Where I slept

Taken as I rolled out of bed this morning. Fall is definitely on its way. I no longer wake to the sun streaming through my blinds. I might miss the morning sun just a tad, but I'll gladly trade it for the crisp air.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Search for Stars Hollow: Catonsville, Maryland

Sometimes you think you know an area, driving the same routes and seeing the same buildings every time you return. Suddenly, one day a colleague mentions stopping for coffee at a new (to you) coffee shop rather than the cookie cutter Starbucks in what could be any random strip mall.

Catonsville sign

As we rounded a corner on Frederick Road, I caught a glimpse of what might be in store. If you blinked, you'd miss it, but there, off to the right, is a sign noting that you've just crossed into Catonsville, music city Maryland. Seriously? Yes. Evidently this small downtown area is home to four music shops, a summer concert series, and a monthly Appalachian bluegrass jam session. In honor of this tradition, I popped into Bill's Music and later went back to pick up a new ukulele (more on this later).

Bill's Musicukes for sale

But let's get back to this coffee shop. I fell in love with Atwater's immediately upon crossing the threshold. I may have actually fallen for it when I saw the sign.
Atwater's signcounter at Atwater's

I realize I'm easy to please, but using dry pasta to stir drinks seems borderline brilliant. We may want to bring these folks into the next set of peace talks.
drink stirrers
A quick check of the community calendar indicates a slew of community events, though nothing to rival Stars Hollow's 24-hour dance-a-thon. I've got a couple of community meetings I'm speaking at coming up in the local library. Cross your fingers for me that I don't run into a real life Taylor Doose.

September Photo Challenge Day 18: in my bag

whats in my bag 91811

1. hand-me-down bag (which I adore) from Reishia
2. reading material (Garden & Gun, Saving Land, and Pastoralia)
3. wallets
4. Tums, a recent purchase that made me feel incredibly old
5. random stickers and a box I picked up at Quirk
6. Burt's Bees lip gloss and the new tuner for my ukulele
7. sunglasses, hair doodads, bug wipes, and hand santizer
8. small notebook, random work papers, business cards, and a ziploc bag

Saturday, September 17, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 17: on the shelf


Spied at an antique mall called Objects Found today. I love this vintage German poster but have finally come around to the fact that I live in a studio apartment and just can't take home every thing that I love.

Friday, September 16, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 16: what I ate

What I ate

I find I'm having a hard time getting outside of my head and am taking this challenge too literally. That said, I skipped the gym tonight in favor of grabbing some dinner at Whole Foods. It has been a long time since I've been able to motivate myself to actually go out or do anything besides the gym (or the simple act of grabbing food) on a Friday. It's always the point in the week where the full weight of what has come before settles on my shoulders and my mind kind of melts.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 15: my shoes

Today's footwear

I considered throwing on a different pair of shoes just for the purposes of this picture, but why front? One of the "benefits" of the job I suppose. I can't even claim that a photo of all my shoes would be more impressive. I appreciate beautiful shoes, but I was just born to a family of women with bad feet.

However, here's a photo from a couple of weeks ago. You know...just to prove I do wear real shoes, too ;-)

Deigning to put on real shoes

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 14: flowers

Curbside flowers

I've been in DC long enough that I take things like cheap flowers right outside the metro for granted.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 13: from a distance

Random building in Richmond.

This one was taken a week or so ago. I was feeling a little under the weather today, so I wasn't motivated to find a new photo to take. I'm drawn to the straightforward signage and starkness of the building.

Monday, September 12, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 12: close-up

A shoddy picture taken on the fly. I'm even letting you see some of the more embarrassing books on my shelf.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Feverishly devouring the written word

used books

I have been on a tear with the books as of late. Never one to read more than one book at a time, I find myself having to fight the urge to juggle titles, feeding my growing need for stories.

Stories, in fact, have been haunting me as of late. These are stories I want to read, tell, know, write.

Currently reading:

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart. I'm currently listening to the audio version of this book thanks to a free credit from More on this dystopian (re disturbing) book once I finish.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. I'm re-reading this book thanks to raves by Amy. I've changed so much since I first read it that I know I'm going to get so much more out of it this time.

Black Boy by Richard Wright. This is another book I'm re-reading (though not in its entirety). I'm attempting Yale's English 291 course, The American Novel Since 1945, through iTunes U. Why not, right?

Books I'm hoping to tackle next:

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Pastoralia by George Saunders
Fever Dream by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Sad to be only two books away from being caught up on the Agent Pendergast series.

I've got some other book ideas that I'll hopefully share on here soon, including a potential collaboration and a rant on Michael Connelly's inability to write female characters.

September Photo Challenge Day 11: something fun

Whites Ferry

Ferries are fun, right? I think it is incredibly cool we still have ferry service on the Potomac. Sure, a bridge would be more convenient, but there is something pleasant about having to slow down and wait in line with other adventurous souls.

In my travels this morning, I was listening to the latest NPR Tiny Desk Concert* featuring Foster the People. I'm familiar with Pumped Up Kicks from all the radio play it gets but was surprised at how accessible their music was, particularly when enjoyed acoustically. Really, though, I was moved to bring them up simply because their band name resonated with me today. Foster the people. Today (and all days), this is a directive we should all strive for in interacting with each other. Let's build them up, not tear them down.

*I've been having a real love fest with NPR lately. You should download the NPR music app, if you haven't already. It gives you access to their song of the day, album previews, tiny desk concerts and so much more right on your phone.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 10: something I made

Paper bag journal

View of a journal I made from grocery store paper bags* I've been harboring using this tutorial. It's not quite done but is fit enough to begin filling.

*I've since started carrying my own bag since this grocery store/cooking thing has resulted in many, many bags.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Thursday, September 08, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 8: technology

bloede dam

Old school (sort of) technology fail. Lots of rain. Rivers flood. Humans suffer for their encroachment.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 7: something new


Luck is on my side with this photo challenge. One of my coworkers came back from a three country tour of Asia and brought me back this cool dragonfly. She picked it up in Vietnam. I love how it perches on my finger.


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 6: childhood memory

Childhood memories

I was really struggling this morning, wondering how in the heck I was going to capture a childhood memory today. My schedule consisted of work followed by the gym. Those two activities take up approximately every waking hour with the exception of 2 to 3 hours late at night. My subconscious must have been working overtime, however, because I found nostalgia in the form of exercise equipment at the gym. Something spurred me to mix up my routine tonight, and while I was on the rowing machine (something I don't normally do), the memories crept in. What we referred to as "the patio" at my childhood home was reinvented several times while I was young, but one mainstay was the exercise graveyard. Treadmill, exercise bike, rowing machine. They all made their way into the patio at one point or another. I hated them. Well, hate might be a bit strong. I disliked them quite a bit. When I deigned to exercise, I was partial to aerobics videos by Jane Fonda and Cindy Crawford. Why, yes, I am that old.

Monday, September 05, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 5: someone I love


All the people I love the most are far away, so I'm publishing an old photo I've never shown before.

This photo of my grandma and my mom is one of my favorites and one that I've kept secret, just for me to cherish. I love how happy she looks in the photo and know that she was being playful that day. I'm pretty sure she was sassing me. This is also one of the last photos I took of her before she died. I'm so thankful I was there that day to experience this and capture the memory so that I can pull it out on those days I need it. Miss you, old girl.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 4: favorite color

color play

Picking my favorite almost anything is difficult. I love color. Period. Lately, however, I've fallen in love with yellow. I also fell in love with this painted pieces of concrete that we pass some days on the way to the gym. Do you ever see a pattern and immediately feel drawn to it? I've also got a couple of vans (re company logos) that just satisfy me visually every time I see one.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 3: cloud


The sky was ominous as we pulled into Great Meadows, dampening our hopes of checking out men in kilts at the Virginia Scottish Games. After more than two hours of waiting, the skies cleared, and I could ogle men in kilts to my heart's content.

burly and kilted

drummers and bagpipes

More photos on Flickr.

September Photo Challenge Day 2: what I wore

what i wore

Styling a bear felt hat from Quirk Gallery.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

September Photo Challenge Day 1: the self portrait

Oh So Lovely hosted a photo challenge for the month of August that I managed to stumble upon too late. However, I decided no one said I couldn't attempt the same challenge in September. I'm hoping this will break me out of my tendency to snap photos with my phone.

testing out the new cut

In honor of the first day of the project and the coming new season, I decided to chop my hair off once again. Notice that nice gray hair right up front? I think a new, wild color is in my future.

To check out the list of prompts and join in, visit this post on Oh So Lovely.