Making the most of it

We got up late this morning - around 9am. By the time we were awake (always a different thing) it was 10am. It's been unseasonably cold, and for some reason, that provided us with an opportunity to play hooky from the gym and re-imagine a Saturday built around hedonistic pursuits.

For us, this meant a trip to ethnic markets. (Yes, our decision to venture out into the cold for shopping differed from our decision not to venture out into the cold to workout in one aspect: laziness.) Our first stop was an Asian market, packed with shoppers - those of Asian descent generally pushing carts full of groceries, those of us not of Asian descent often carrying baskets with fewer selections.

I love Asian food - who doesn't - but for me, an Asian market is a world of unknowns once I get past the fish sauce, chili sause, soy, pickled radishes, kim chee, and rice cakes. My boyfriend is much more adept, so while I poked along, investigating every jar on the crowded shelves, he moved efficiently from aisle to aisle, gathering what we needed. Our bags were filled with fascinating foods and everything was amazingly cheap.

Since our personal cuisine runs along the Asian - Italian axis, the next stop was an Italian market. I'm much more at home in this part of the world, but I still poked along, picking up favorites like olive oil and rosemary crackers, a jar of hot peppers, pasta. Our every day grocery store devotes as much shelf space to Stove Top Stuffing as it does to its selection of wilted, scarred produce, so the "ethnic" markets are a godsend.

Each little shopping adventure lasted just long enough for us to get really warm before we ventured outdoors to walk to the next stop.

The nice thing about this mini-trip was that it allowed us to feel that we had accomplished something, even though the point of the excursion had been accomplishment-avoidance.

Tomorrow is the Super Bowl, and the evening's snacks will include those favorite olive oil and rosemary crackers.



It's going to be warm today - most likely, about 55 degrees. The forecast is for colder days ahead, so I feel like I have to take advantage of the opportunity to feel the sun's warmth outdoors.

This meshes well with my innate protestant lust for The Saturday of Accomplishment. My Saturday fantasy involves rising early at 7am, enjoying a small bowl of granola and yogurt, a cup of fresh coffee, followed by a walk to the grocery store. At this point, it's about 9am. Some Saturdays, I can industriously follow my to do list and catch up on errands, and maybe some housecleaning. That takes me through to 11am. And this is where things start to go wrong. What to do now?

I go to the cafe down the street. Sometimes, I can commandeer a tiny round table and chair, and drink cup of coffee #2 (savoring the burnt, oxidized beverage) while I read blogs. Most of the time, I walk in the door, scan the SRO crowd, order a cup and walk out. This is a good thing, right? I love the neighborhood and it's a good day for a walk. Skip ahead another 45 minutes, and that activity has run its course. Generally, by 1pm, the promise of Saturday is gone.

This is the problem: Saturday is the greatest day of all, but it's also the greatest disappointment. I used to watch Food Network in the afternoon, or the how-to block on PBS, but that has lost its charm. So here I am, at 1:30pm on a Saturday afternoon, doing nothing except writing about doing nothing. And this is the thing about Saturdays - by 6pm, there's the promise of the evening: drinks and dinner with friends, perhaps a movie, perhaps a club.

Saturday starts beautifully and ends brilliantly. But 1-6pm is a bitch.


The Once Gritty Capital

Thank You, CNN, for declaring the neighborhood to be habitable. I find this "MidCity" concept odd. Perhaps, with time. I certainly must be the only one never to have stopped at Ben's Chili Bowl - the result of my bad California Tortilla habit, now broken.


Why Wait at The Diner?

That's the question of the day over at DC MetroBlog. It can't be for the food, which although quite possible, doesn't compel me to brave a 30-40 minute wait. Especially when La Fourchette is so close and so inviting and so much better.


A Nice Evening...

... in front of the fireplace, crackling blaze, the dancing orange glow playing on the walls of the darkened room. My boyfriend and I, reclining, a cat in his lap, the other on the floor. A glass of wine and silence.

It's hard to surpass a moment like this.


Welcome, 2.0

I wrote my first blog post here, exactly six years ago. Well, that's a fucking long time. In the online world, it feels like a quarter of a century. I was thinking about it a few minutes ago, trying to remember every little detail I could - 8:18am, January 3, 2001, the room I was sitting in, that old Dell laptop I was using. Does any of it matter?

Google Calendar stores every appointment I've made since 1997. Entourage stores nearly every email. The Documents folder on my MacBook Pro contains nearly every word I've written and most of the stuff I've wanted to save. With just a bit of effort, I can step backward and reconstruct January 3, 2001. Or any other day, for that matter.

But, what of it? As I go on, the trail of data behind me gets longer and longer. The obsessive-compulsive demon within me whispers to me that it's valuable, important, a vital thread that connects me to my thoughts, experiences, surroundings. I've trusted that voice for a long time. But something else tells me that there are moments to begin anew.

This is one of them. So, the blog returns. The many hundreds of posts from version 1 are deleted. I haven't erased the past; it lives on inside me. But I have done something that feels exciting, and quite distinctly American: I've erased the past and started over.

That's pretty fucking fresh, if you ask me.