awesomest alone-date.

I had the day off from work today and I took myself on a most awesome alone-date. I went to Capitol Square and strolled around for a while, and went to the Virginia Visitor’s Center inside the bell tower to pick out some Virginia-themed souvenirs to send to my brother and his wife.

I followed that up with a little photo shoot some murals on Broad St. that I’ve been meaning to photograph for months.

Then I headed to the Virginia Historical Society to redeem my Groupon for a new membership there, and I ended up walking around and looking at all the exhibits again while I was there. My favorite thing from today’s visit was a thin gold wedding band found in some ruins from the 1700s that has this inscribed inside it: “Time will tell, I love thee well.” Afterward I went to the VMFA, had lunch at Best Cafe, and went to the see the third floor (which I had missed on my trip there recently). I wandered slowly around the Art Nouveau section and the South Asian Art section, where I spent a particularly long time staring at this, this, and this.

Then I went cardigan shopping in Carytown, and though I (again!) didn’t find anything, I did get a maroon blazer from the 70s that will actually work perfectly with my work wardrobe.

Tonight I went to CHAT for tutoring, and Harmony was so determined to go on a reward trip that’s happening tomorrow, that she buckled down and studied super hard. History homework, spelling homework, a few pages of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and multiplication flash cards were all a breeze today. She is a delight to work with when she makes up her mind to actually focus. 🙂

Lianna is over getting her last few things out of the house, and I’m getting ready for bed and the long week ahead of me.


I don’t ask for help often, but about once a year I do ask for some support for SynerGeo.  As a board member it’s my responsibility to drum up a significant amount of fundraising dollars, so if you are able to help us out this year, I would be eternally grateful.  You can buy brunswick stew from us (I’m a HUGE fan of this magical stuff), and I will be helping to make it later this month.  Let’s face it, this has been an insane February, and you’re going to be eating a lot of soup anyway.  Or (and I know a lot of you can’t eat the stew) you can buy plants from us, thereby getting ready for spring gardening and supporting SynerGeo at the same time.  Please go to the SynerGeo site for more details (the only difference from my original post there is that if you want brunswick stew, you can order it from me directly!).  To my amazing friends — thank you so much for considering giving back to your community.

of ups and understatements.

Still snapping. Image by the charming and talented Phil Bowne.

Lately we’ve been on a little bit of a Richmond-area history blitzkrieg, and I’ve also been writing a lot and running a lot, and all the usual commitments.  And there have been masquerade parties, and dinner parties, and arcade birthday parties, and whiskey-and-a-movie nights with Dan, and hangouts with Jess and her Dan.  I’ve started a new babysitting gig helping to take care of twin babies, and I’ll be teaching Children’s Worship (rather than watching the nursery) for the first time this week.  Last night I tried a new recipe.  I get to hang out with Jenny O F tomorrow night.

ye olde Spin-n-Win at Dave and Buster's.

This morning on my run, I saw a cute yellow cat lying in the street next to the curb, lying in wait for me in exactly the same manner that Gozer lies in wait under the top step in our house (and jumps out at Sophie when she walks by).  As I passed by I went to say “O hai kitteh” but only got to “hai” because it jumped out with its arms in the air, LOLcat-style, and ran after me, and chased me for like half a block.  Then I stood in the middle of the street and cracked up by myself.  It was amazing.

I love this guy.

Something new every day, something challenging every day.  Happy is an understatement.

of strangers and smoky auras.

Today I weeded the garden, which was in a woeful state.  Well I weeded everything except for a patch that my good friend had stretched herself out in.  It took a couple of hours and I was covered in sweat and dirt when the task was done.

After cleaning up I walked all over the city, mostly looking for subjects to photograph for a new style column I’m gearing up for with RVANews.  To date, the people I have approached for this have all seemed very flattered and enthusiastic about having their pictures taken, but for some reason I still have difficulty approaching strangers for it.  This may be because I hate being approached by strangers myself.  As I walked all over the city, I thought about how silly it was for me to think that way, because if all it takes to make someone feel great and add an unexpected compliment to their day is for me to take a quick photo, I should be falling all over myself to do it.  But still I had trouble because (1) most people are wearing t-shirts and flip-flops, which I do NOT want to feature, and (2) some people look incredibly busy — talking on the phone, ordering food, etc.  And I hate to interrupt.

As I was pondering all these things after a three-hour walk and nearing my house, feeling defeated, I was the one who was approached.  This lady that I frequently see walking her dog (whose color changes almost weekly: green, purple, pink…I guess she dyes the poor beast) strolled up and said “Hello, I love the way you wear your bows.  Your hair is great, you have beautiful hair.”

“Thanks,” I said.  “I actually have a shop where I sell the bows; you should check it out” and I handed her a card.

She looked down at the card and said “I don’t have a computer.  I actually get a really bad aura from computers.  I’m a preschool teacher, and I try not to turn them on. ”

There was an uncomfortable silence, as I didn’t know what to say.  While I wouldn’t want to reward someone for being afraid of technology — especially as simple and easy to espouse as it’s been made in recent years — I also think that people should be allowed to live however the heck they choose as long as they’re not hurting anybody else.  So I didn’t say anything.

She squinted at me and said “You have this smoky aura about you.  It’s very mystic.  There’s something very mysterious…”

Another long silence…I wasn’t really sure how to respond.  I had been wondering what that smoky smell was for the past several blocks, and had assumed it was something burning.  But I didn’t want to burst her bubble.  So then I said “Thank you.  Well I recognize your dog, so I’ll sure we’ll run into each other again soon when you’re walking him.  We must be neighbors.”

“Or even sisters!” she said.  And then we parted ways.  Oooooookay.  What a disturbing / bizarre / delightful conversation.  Sisters indeed.  And yet, we are kind of sisters.  Human beings, and ladies walking around Richmond talking to strangers.

Never a dull moment here in Richmond…and especially in Oregon Hill.  ❤

And btw, it’s Formal Friday.

a distaste for cous cous, and happy parading.

This weekend: dinner at Ipanema for Blake’s birthday, the Triple for Lauren V’s birthday, the Christmas parade, crafting, visiting Granny at the hospital, cooking, Autocue / Ki:Theory show at Gallery5, Ipanema for Twist and Crawl dance night and seeing rad friends from Norfolk.  After that we tried to go to Cous Cous to meet up with some others and see the magnificent Jason Wood, who was down from NY.  Up to this point I had an amazing night, saw great bands / DJs, and was able to catch up with tons of people.

But here’s where last night got surreal.  So Margo and Maura were in line to get into Cous Cous, and then a couple of guys, and then us.  We were all perplexed because it was busy inside, but not slam-packed like it is some nights…so why were we waiting?  The door guy wasn’t letting one person in for every person who left, which would be standard procedure if the place was at capacity.  He was arbitrarily letting some people walk right up and bypass the line to get in.  But when three or four people would leave, he wouldn’t let anyone new in.  He was incredibly rude to Margo when she asked him what was going on.  His explanation was something that amounted to “Right now, there are too many people in here.  So I have to let out more people before I can let new people in.”  Uh, how did that happen?  And there weren’t “too many people,” because we had all been there tons of times and seen the place about 50% more crowded.  Peering through the glass windows, we could see that there was plenty of space for the eight or so extra folks who were now waiting outside.  Karen ventured the guess that they had craftily decided that “capacity” was way lower on nights when there’s no cover charge.  But there was no cover for any of Kenny’s amazing and packed 240 Minutes nights, so that doesn’t make any sense.  The door guy’s condescension to Karen when she inquired about the door is probably what frayed my patience to its very end.  After waiting for about half an hour, the status was that people continued coming up, seeing the line, asking “there’s a wait?” and then seeing our nods, peeking through the doors, and saying “but it’s not even full in there.”  Exaaaaactly.  It kind of grossed me out, to borrow a favorite phrase of Susan’s.  I’m all about waiting a little while for a good time, when everything is fair and above-board and done in the name of obeying fire codes.  But wasting my valuable Saturday night hangout time so a guy with a raging Napoleon complex can play door commando is humiliating to say the least.  I wanted to wear a sign saying “This bar isn’t cool enough for me to wait in line to get in, I’m just trying to see my friends from New York,” but I forgot my posterboard and Sharpies.  Finally my desire to avoid licking the boots of the door guy overpowered my desire to see Jason, and we split.  At this point it was almost 1am, and I couldn’t give that bearded buffoon the satisfaction of thinking he owned my soul.   This bummed Dan out because he had really wanted to get in and was looking forward to seeing friends who were inside.  Am I crazy or too impatient or complainy just because I want to at least preserve that little dignity?  I think not.  I told Dan that he should stay if he wanted to, but he didn’t stay.

So that’s the explanation for how Cous Cous became yet another of Sticky Rice’s ventures that I’ll avoid like the plague because of its rudeness and crowds, even though the food there is fantastic.  Kenny: time to change venues?  I hated trying to dance around all the 4,000 tables in there anyway.  Let’s discuss.

Edit (12.8.08): Check out the comments for further discussion!

::sigh:: End rant.  Ahhh, always purges the confusion, and never costs a penny.  And of course this way I’ll remember why I haven’t been to Cous Cous in a year.  Also, one of the larger points here is that Richmond needs a bar that’s bigger than a matchbox and smaller than Texas so that it’s the right size for dancing.  Not that I don’t love being all smushed in to tiny spaces with you guys.

But I’m quickly reminded how insignificant things like this are.  This week’s been marked with some sadness because although Granny’s doing better, she had another heart attack while in the hospital.  My sister was told yesterday that our grandfather is also ill, which is disconcerting because he is a superhero and claims to have been alive since before dirt was invented.  And Brandi suffered the loss of her baby niece this week, which is more than I have been able to wrap my mind around.  I’ve thought about her a lot this week, and how much she must be hurting.

On more positive notes:

  • It snowed last night!  Tiny, baby flakes for about three seconds.  But still!
  • I’ve spent about 20 hours this week working on a giant neck-bow for Marshe, and although I cannot imagine why I’m working as fast as molasses in January, it’s turning out quite lovely and I’m having fun with it.
  • Work is amazing, and I’m not bummed at all to be up this early on a Sunday so that I can go there.
  • My neighbors’ crazy rope-lights-in-a-tree Christmas decorations make our block the BEST this time of year.
  • We froze our feet off at the parade, but it was so festive and romantic to get up early and huddle with each other on the street and be around so much cheerfulness and so many high school marching bands.
  • There were Star Wars costumed characters at the parade!!!!!!!!
  • I love NEET Magazine.
  • Richmond has made it so easy to avoid malls this holiday season, with at least three different ways to get handmade stuff and bypass the mass-produced.
  • Non-boring family portraits: good call.  Nobody wants to see you in your soft focus, Olan Mills, weird makeup that you never wear on normal days type of portrait.  Least of all yourself in ten years.
  • Gmail stickers!
  • H&M Home: now we’re all in big, big trouble.
  • Inspired by a pretty hotel: “Love is meant to make us glad.”  Truth.
  • Wesley Willis cross-stitch: THAT is what the world’s been waiting for.
  • Not my style at all, but beautiful nonetheless.
  • The Church of Crystal Light got press in Style Weekly.