It’s Friday, I’m in love

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It’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited for a weekend.  Tomorrow my mother and I are heading off to Paris for a week-long getaway.  I’m looking forward to time spent people watching in cafe’s, photographing the city streets, and stuffing myself silly with amazing cheese, baguettes, and pastries.  I’ll try to post a few photos from France next week, but mostly I’m hoping to decompress and unplug.

Here’s what I’ve been up to on Instagram lately.  Hope you have a great weekend!

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A Guest Post from The Mister: On the trail in Point Lobos

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My graduate school program is mostly distance learning, but for two weeks every quarter they bring in our cohort for presentations, guest lectures and other classroom work.  Each day we spend eight-hours stretches in a windowless classroom, including a half-day on Saturday. The saving grace is that that the windowless classroom happens to be located near Monterey Bay, one of the most beautiful stretches of land in the country.

One Sunday, the one full free day we have, several of us went on short hike on a path along the coast in Point Lobos State Park. It’s a mostly flat hike that winds itself around the many coves and inlets on this peninsula. Near the end there is a low lying rocky area that during low seas you can walk out on and be sprayed by mist created by the waves as they break.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from the trail.

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Fog Rolling in …

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Whaler’s Cove, a popular SCUBA Diving Destination

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Early dawning, Sunday morning

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Saturdays are my favorite day to take a nap and Sundays are my favorite day to sleep in late.  Lovelier still is, when you finally roll out of bed, to hop on your bike and head over for brunch made by friends.  We passed a relaxing morning in our friends’ new, light-filled apartment stuffing ourselves with poached eggs, corned-beef hash, fresh fruit, and cheese.  A perfect weekend.

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Gifts from California

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After two weeks away, the Mister came home from California with gifts packed in his bag.  At a farm stand on the way to the airport, he picked up four perfect artichokes.  Sunday night, after trimming off the spines, he steamed them, marinated them in balsamic vinegar, and then roasted them under the broiler.  It was a wonderful, summery dinner, and I’m so glad he’s home.

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Shy and tired eyed am I today

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Sometimes the best way to put a brutal week behind you is cheese.  Just cheese.  Maybe a little fruit.  In this case, honeyed chevre with fresh pears, strawberries, and blackberries.  Today, it doesn’t matter if the fruit is out of season.  The blackberries will be bright and sweet, and the pear and chevre together will be so magical you’ll wonder why you ever put cheese on bread.  A few minutes and already your troubles are melting away.

It’s Friday, I’m in love

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It’s the weekend at last and the Mister is finally coming home from California!  I’m super excited to see him, and we plan to enjoy the nice weather and have brunch with friends.

One of the biggest draws of Buenos Aires was the amazing street art scene.  I noticed a lot of it on my own, but was also lucky enough to go on a street art walking tour with a fantastic American ex-pat guide.  Here are few of my favorites.  Hope you have a great weekend!

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Wanderings: Recoleta cemetery

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It was gray and drizzling the day I visited Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires.  The rain kept other tourists away, and it was quiet and meditative to stroll up and down the pathways of the cemetery, with only a dozen or so stray cats for company.  I spent several hours reading the names on the mausoleums, admiring the stonework and marble carvings, and wondering what BA had been like during the lives of the various people buried there.

Cemeteries have always fascinated me and I try to visit them any time I go somewhere new.  Though every culture and country has a different approach to burying the dead, there is always a sense of reverence, beauty, and affection to those resting places, and Recoleta is one of the loveliest I’ve ever seen.

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Wanderings: Love and tango

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Buenos Aires is the most romantic city I’ve ever visited alone.  At the time, I had just started dating the Mister and though I missed him, the early thrill of the relationship had me in a state of bliss and it was easy to get caught up in the allure of the city.  Every part of the Buenos Aires mesmerized me, whether full of modern art and architecture, tree-lined residential streets, or Beaux Arts buildings that were crumbling around the edges.

Particularly charming was the old neighborhood of San Telmo where I spent most of my time drinking red wine with other travelers, reading books in old cafes, admiring all the street dancers and musicians, and eating dulce de leche for breakfast every day.

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Wanderings: Buenos Aires

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The first few days I spent in Buenos Aires are a feverish haze in my memory.  I was recovering from a terrible cold or flu, and I’d spend about twelve hours a day sleeping, and the other twelve wandering around the windy, cobble-stoned streets in a mild delirium.

I carried around a little black moleskin notebook in those days and it was amusing to read through my scribbled notes about rambling down narrow streets crowded with wrought-iron balconies, feeling dazzled by the colorful buildings and tiles, peeking into courtyards filled with light and overgrown with ferns.  The Sunday antiques market was a delightful jumble of noise, food, junk and treasure.  I spent all my pocket money buying fresh-squeezed orange juice after fresh-squeezed orange juice, and tipping the tango dancers on street corners that had me mesmerized.  I walked for hours and hours, letting the winter air cool my overheated skin, indulging in way too many Argentine gelatos, and slowly falling in love with Buenos Aires.

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Fantastic ceiling mural in the Presidential palace

Fantastic ceiling mural in the Presidential palace

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Libreria de Avila

Libreria de Avila

La Libreria de Avila

La Libreria de Avila

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El Ateneo, a bookstore in an old theatre

El Ateneo, a bookstore in an old theatre

Call her green and the winter cannot fade her

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Another day, another snowstorm, this time turning all the promised greens of St. Patrick’s day a wintery white.  Apart from a brief stroll through the zoo and a stolen hour for coffee and croissants in Dupont Circle, I spent most of the weekend at home working and flipping through photos from time spent in Argentina a few years ago.

Since I’m deep in winter denial at this point, I thought it would be fun to spend the next few days reminiscing about a lovely mild winter in Buenos Aires.

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It’s Friday, I’m in love

My favorite guy in Paris

My favorite guy, in Paris

The weekend is here and I’m still missing my guy and counting the days until he is home. I’m on call Saturday and Sunday so I’ll mostly be spending time at home, watching bad movies on Netflix, eating avocado on baguette, and hopefully playing around with my new camera lens. Hope you have a great weekend!

Kiss me hard before you go

On the train to Rome

A few times a year the Mister has to spend a few weeks in California for school.  Sometimes I get to go, too, but this time I have to stay home.  It’s strange to go about my day-to-day life without him around.  The furniture, the decor, the food–everything at home is the same, but nothing feels quite right.

When he’s away, I work longer hours and eat more simply.  I sleep in the middle of the bed and pull the blankets out from under the mattress so I can tuck them under my toes, which is nice.  I stay up late so we can video chat and he holds the camera up so I can watch the sunset in California, even though it’s been dark here for three hours.  I go out more with friends, but most nights I just want to curl up and go to sleep and will time to go by faster.

Wanderings: Dallas city lights

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Dallas is gorgeous at night.  I’ve always loved the city skyline with its electric blues and greens, and set as the backdrop for the strangely geometric Klyde Warren Park, it makes for a stunning landscape.  One night, after a fantastic dinner at Lark on the Park, I felt an irresistible tug to take a little stroll around the park and museum district, admiring the city lights and quiet streets.

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Chalk art at Lark on the Park

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Wanderings: Dallas, after all these years

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Are there places you won’t go?  For me, for a long time, that was Dallas.  It wasn’t anything about the city itself, just bad memories about things that happened there a long time ago.  Bad enough to keep me away for 14 years, and likely they would have kept me away forever if I hadn’t been offered a work project that would mean travel to Dallas.

I was terribly nervous leading up to the trip, but this is a project I love being a part of, so not going was never really a consideration.  It didn’t hurt that while DC had just been hit with another round of snow, I arrived in Dallas on a bright sunny day with temperatures in the low 70s.  I dropped off my bags at my utterly charming little hotel, and raced over to the Nasher Sculpture Center, eager to wander around their lush, green sculpture garden and soak in the art, warmth, and sunshine.

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Leaving the Nasher just before closing, I wandered over to Klyde Warren Park, a vibrant, modern space that was bursting with people and activity.  It had amazing playgrounds, a drum circle, games to check out, a lending library, splash pads, and dozens of people spread out on picnic blankets.  The modern architecture, art, and energy that had been infused into the downtown area was impressive.  I’d read about the efforts to revitalize the business-centric downtown area, but this was the first time I’d experienced it and it was nice to get lose myself in the bustle and buzz of the hundreds of people lounging around in the park.  After a few hours admiring all the architectural details, indulging in food trucks, and people watching, I felt a little warmth growing within me for Dallas.

The days went by quickly.  I spent a little time with relatives who live in the area, ate at a few excellent restaurants, and even got chauffeured around in an SUV with a longhorn skull mounted on it’s grill.  It was easier than I imagined not to dwell on the past, and get to know a different Dallas.

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Hidden from the winter

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On a recent Sunday, having had enough of winter, I snuck away to the botanical gardens down on the National Mall.  While the grey city outside alternated between sleet and snow, inside the glassy greenhouse walls, the world was balmy and lush with greenery.  Kumquat trees were heavy with fruit, orchids and bromeliads radiated bright colors, and every now and then the rooms grew hazy with cool mist.

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I wandered around quietly, wondering why I hadn’t been spending every weekend here since winter had begun to wear me down in January.  Eventually, I climbed to the upper tier of the large rainforest room and found an empty bench, determined to stay until closing and forget about winter for a little while.  Before long I noticed that the other people occupying the benches were doing the same thing: sometimes reading, mostly alone, and sitting far too long on the benches to just be resting from a long day of sightseeing like the tourists that whirled around the greenhouse paths.  It was nice, quiet company, all of us basking in the refuge of a manufactured summer’s day.

[3/14/14] Edited just a tad to join in to for Fiesta Friday, hosted by one of my favorite bloggers, The Novice Gardener.  It’s been a long week, and I could use a little fun.

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It’s Friday, I’m in love

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After a very cold and snowy week, I’m thrilled to hear that we may be getting warmer temperatures this weekend in addition to our longer days.  I’m hoping to take my bike out for a spin, and meet up with a friend for brunch and pedicures.

Here’s what I’ve been up to on Instagram lately.  Have a great weekend!

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Hey, pretty lady

Lately, I’ve been a little consumed with how much I miss getting out on my lovely bike.  During the warmer months, I’d ride to and from work almost everyday, but she’s spent most of this winter sitting on her rack, shiny and lovely and unused.  For the last three months it’s been too dark, snowy, and bone-chillingly cold to bike commute or even run errands on the weekends.  I’ve managed to get in a few morning rides using the DC bikeshare, but those have been rare as well, and frankly, just not as satisfying as taking out my beloved Public step-through.  Daylight savings is this weekend, and I have my fingers are crossed for good weather to come with the longer days so my bike and I will be cruising through the park again soon.

Free to a good home

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Recently, the Mister and I consolidated three of our large Ikea bookcases into one wall of beautiful Elfa and custom-made wooden shelves.  To make sure that we’d have a little room to grow, (i.e. reads lots and lots more books) we purged about a third of our book collection, deciding to let go of about eighty books we had never finished, not liked very much, or even mildly enjoyed but didn’t feel strongly about.

Wanting to clear up our space as soon as possible, the Mister suggested putting them out on the corner in front of our building and letting passers by adopt them.  He piled about twenty of the books into a cardboard box, scribbled, “FREE (to a good home)” on the box in marker, and hauled it down to the sidewalk.  Intrigued, I found myself sitting quietly on the balcony, watching the people stop and sort through the books, and before I knew it, I was grabbing my camera and quietly photographing them.  These photos were snapped over two sunny and unseasonably warm weekends.

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At first I thought it would just be a little amusing to quietly photograph the bookworms who rifled through our box, but before long I felt a little like a scientist, observing behavior in the wild.  I would watch people walk down the street and try to predict whether they would stop–most of the time I guessed wrong.  Pairs and small groups stopped more often than solo walkers or large families.  People were more likely to stop if someone were already there looking through the box—some of these people waiting patiently for their turn, while others aggressively pushed their way in to see what was available.   Almost every single person was very thoughtful about their selection, usually reading the jacket summary and even a few pages before deciding to take a book.  A friend who came over for brunch one day between book box weekends couldn’t resist a look through the pile and went home with two new-to-him books.  It surprised me how quickly the books were snapped up.  I was a amazed that the philosophy books were so popular, was charmed by the teenager who took a spare bible, and felt a little thrill when a woman went home with both of the over-sized human rights textbooks.  In the end every single one was taken to a new home, which made me feel good about either our taste in books, or DC’s passion for reading.

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The winter and her idle hands

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One of the bright sides to this snow storm—hopefully the last of the year—was that much of it happened over daylight hours instead of in the middle of the night.  Around midday, I pulled on my winter boots, piled on the layers, and headed outside, eager for a little exercise and a chance to enjoy the snow while it was still pure and unsullied by boots and plows.

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Gray and nestled in

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Another snow storm.  Sigh.  It’s hard to remember the days when we thought snow was fun.  I dug up a photo of the Mister from the blizzard of 2010, back when a snow storm was about the funnest thing we could imagine.  We only had two that year, so maybe that’s the difference.  Work has been canceled so I’m going back to bed.  Wake me when spring comes back around again.

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