Tuesday, July 31, 2012

on loving better

I don't know why, but today it occurs to me that we say "I love you" too easily, but don't love easily enough. Just a thought.

Monday, July 30, 2012

the Whole30 yards

It's been a tough year in the fledgling Jolly-Paleos home. We've lost an unusually high number of friends and family this year, we've both left jobs we quite liked with no success in finding new ones, and school has felt like more of a struggle than an opportunity. I'm trying to stay upbeat, but the stress of this year is really starting to show in one place in particular:

My backside.

In early 2011, I completely re-tooled my eating habits and simply by changing my diet, went from a tired, dimply 196 to a slimmer, more energetic 170. In six months. I also learned that I am either allergic or very sensitive to wheat and corn, and eliminated them both wheat from my diet (tacos, y'all, tacos - but I do minimize corn consumption to times when the only other option is wheat). I'm noticing that the added stress of this very difficult first year of marriage has led to more binge-cheat days than usual, and this morning afternoon, I weighed in at 182.5.

It's time to get serious about a healthier body again.

It's not just about my weight. I know that my mood and my eating habits are very closely related. So why not pre-emptively strike during a particularly tough month? I'm going back to a paleo diet by completing another Whole30. Today is Day 2.

What does this mean? It means that for the next 30 days, I'm only eating meat, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruit and nuts. That's it. 

Mmm, breakfast.

Will it be easy? Hell no! My 30th birthday is this month. I'm going to the beach with friends from New Orleans this week. And as I type, my sister is devouring a bag of Utz salt-and-vinegar chips, and I'm fighting every fiber of my being to not club her with my Nalgene, steal the bag and go hide in my room while I lick chip-dust off my fingers. I couldn't get those in New Orleans, and plus, they're gluten-free, right? Yes, but that's clearly not good enough any more. Not sick does not equal good for me.

So let's do the damn thing, Jolly. We're gonna feel good again.

One day, I'm gonna fit these pants again, too.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

my bucket list

1. Visit all 50 states Alaska, North Dakota and Oklahoma
2. Visit every continent, including Antarctica
3. Visit all 58 the other 49 national parks
4. Run a half-marathon
5. Run for public office
6. Go to the Olympics as a spectator
7. Become fluent in Spanish
8. Show dogs in competition
9. Live in another country
10. Sing or play in a band
11. Own two homes
12. Learn to do a handstand
13. Learn to do a kickflip in the pool
14. Try out for the U.S. Olympic shooting team

Monday, July 23, 2012

goodbye, Adam

This afternoon, one of my best and first friends from college pulled his car over to the side of the highway, posted "Wishes everyone the best" on Facebook, then got out, walked into oncoming traffic and was killed.

No. Killed himself.

The phone calls started coming in just after I'd returned home from a memorial service - for a friend's fiancee who hung herself.

Today is a difficult day.

But instead of dwelling on that, some memories of Adam. He was one of the first people I met at Western Maryland: one night at fourth meal in the pub (our after-hours on-campus food spot), I overheard him spouting off some of the most vile libertarian nonsense my naive, innocent little eighteen year old brain had ever encountered. I marched over and countered with Bible verses, and left in tears. He called me (maybe just sought me out in person? it was 12 years ago) and apologized  - he was sorry I was so sensitive. I told him he was the worst person I'd ever met. He kept seeking me out, because he'd never met anyone as odd as me and I amused him. I continued to oblige, thinking that one day I'd be able to change his politics and his heart.

He came out to me not too long after that. He was the first gay person I'd ever known. My first Republican friend. My first Jewish friend. My first atheist friend. My introduction to the ways of the world. I was so ignorant that he eventually found it necessary to give me female anatomy lessons - on his (ahem) "pocket pal." He was the one who explained the mechanics of sex to clueless me. I watched him doctor his birth certificate to say that he was 21 so he could have a real ID to buy liquor with - and it worked. We ran for student council together on a slate with just the two of us - him for freshman class president and me for rep - and ran an all-chalk campaign; he lost, but my distinctive purple hair helped me win. We played terrible, cruel pranks (his idea) on his roommate, and fought over then-candidate George W. Bush. We called his new boyfriend - who he is still with today - "Rebecca," so that he wouldn't be thrown out of ROTC. His dorm window was directly across from mine, and we would shout across the parking lot to say good night. He always let me borrow his fancy new sneakers, since we wore the same shoe size. He pledged the same fraternity at the same time as my other guy friends, and through my boys, I met my college boyfriend, who was their pledge brother. Adam lived down the hall from me sophomore year, and we regularly had sleepovers and played Worms (remember that game? he always won). I was with him the morning of September 11th, and he cursed at the screen while I cried. We skipped our political science class together that day and went to Baltimore to donate blood.

Over time, he made me tougher and more world-wise; I helped make him gentler, and yes - eventually even a liberal.

I saw him in person on July 5th, for the first time since some pre-New Orleans homecoming. We met for lunch right after I picked my husband up from the Appalachian Trail. Adam was happy, smiling, bored with work, but doing well. He paid for our lunch. Adam and I both went to the bathroom on our way out, and he stopped me at the door to hug me and say, "In case one of us finishes first and I don't see you when you walk to the car, I love you." It took me by surprise, because he'd never really been demonstrative. And now that's the last thing he said to me.

I'm glad I told him I love him, too. I'm so angry at you, but I'll miss you, Weiner. I will miss you so much.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

On the pontoon at Bladensburg Waterfront Park

Today, the baby sister and I made it to Bladensburg Waterfront Park just in time to catch their noon pontoon ride.

We both stayed up until sun-up last night (I was researching, no clue what her defense is), so my Lib-Lib was awfully sleepy.

My first impression? The river is filthy. The pontoon skipper (tee-hee) explained that pretty much any piece of trash that's dumped on the ground inside the Beltway eventually ends up at the Bladensburg port, based on how the rivers feed into one another. On the way out, a few exhibit panels explained that the Port of Bladensburg eventually lost its prominence because all of the silt from the river washed up and parked there, so I guess that makes sense. It explains why the river is so muddy, too. They have regular river clean-ups (definitely planning to volunteer at the next one), but given the size of the river's watershed, it's a problem with no foreseeable end.

The debris cleared the further downstream we moved. The wildlife became larger, too. We started out with turtles sunning themselves on rocks and logs, followed by skinny white egret/crane/heron things swooping down to catch fish and lounge on the riverbanks, fish plopping out of the water, and finally two huge hawks sailed by to land in a nearby tree.

Also, graffiti from Catholic's crew team!

We heard about Dueling Creek, and how Francis Scott Key's son was killed in a duel. We motored under Route 50 and the Amtrak bridge. It's a strange feeling to be in a boat and have the Acela Express zip over your head and disappear before your neck works your head all the way around. And I suppose now is the time to confess that I spent most of the trip trying to get the song "Pontoon" out of my head. Yes, I am a (now not-so-)secret undercover country music fan (what? their lyrics and singers are usually better than the ones you find in other genres). Shhh, don't tell.

I'd previously thought about renting kayaks and paddling around on the Potomac for my birthday, but rentals are so much cheaper here ($16 a day compared to $15 an hour at Jack's Boathouse) that I think I'll come here instead.

Info on Bladensburg Waterfront Park can be found here. They seem to have a pretty impressive collection of programs. Definitely an afternoon well-spent.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

you love some, you lose some

I'm thinking a lot about love and loss today, and wanted to post a photo of two of the loves of my life. I miss my grandmother every day.

KT duct-taped the hem into my husband's pants on our wedding day.
The other one? This city. I'm so glad to be home.

Monday, July 9, 2012

a new musical discovery

A friend sent me this video, and I was skeptical, but I really like this song! A translation into English can be found here.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

you've gotta see this. really.

The same day my family went on the St. Elizabeth tour, we also went to the Frederick Douglass house. I don't have much to say about the site - because you should go for yourself - but I did want to post this photograph of the view:


I've made a conscious choice to avoid using profanity on this blog, but a view like this requires me to paraphrase one of my students' favorite things to say:

"You better get some toilet paper, because Anacostia's shittin' on you."

The east side is the beast side, y'all. That's all I'm saying.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

"Who's your patriot?"

Today, I marched in the Independence Day Parade downtown! I didn't even know it existed. I'm applying to join the Daughters of the American Revolution, and they invited me to march with them.
Marching down Constitution Avenue with the 1812 Star-Spangled Banner

Even after five years in New Orleans, it's still my first time in a real parade. I even got to meet and take a photo with DAR's President-General.

White is definitely fattening and definitely not my color.
Everyone asks, "Where are you from? Who's your patriot?" to see if you're related. Especially cool was meeting another member whose family has lived in Washington since before it was Washington. Pretty exciting stuff for a nerd like me.

happy fourth of July!

Two thoughts for today:

1. Independence has meant different things to different people throughout our nation's history. Frederick Douglass' thoughts on the topic, delivered in an 1852 speech, remain as poignant today as then:
"You are all on fire at the mention of liberty for France or for Ireland; but are as cold as an iceberg at the thought of liberty for the enslaved of America. You discourse eloquently on the dignity of labor; yet, you sustain a system which, in its very essence, casts a stigma upon labor. You can bare your bosom to the storm of British artillery to throw off a threepenny tax on tea; and yet wring the last hard-earned farthing from the grasp of the black laborers of your country. You profess to believe 'that, of one blood, God made all nations of men to dwell on the face of all the earth,' and hath commanded all men, everywhere to love one another; yet you notoriously hate, (and glory in your hatred), all men whose skins are not colored like your own."
2. Does independence, does freedom, involve the right to voting and legislative representation? If the answer is yes, then "give us us free" in D.C. (Amistad and Glory are my two favorite movies to watch on the 4th of July!)

From the D.C. Flag Day flash mob in Dupont Circle

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tony Porter, "A Call to Men"

Porter hits the nail on the head about a few things, namely:
  • Sex is only consensual when both partners explicitly say yes and are of sound mind to do so; and
  • If boys are "destroyed" by being compared to girls, what are we teaching boys (and girls) about girls?

Monday, July 2, 2012

dropping off the hub-hubs

I dropped el esposo back off at the trailhead where he left off his hike, in the tiny town of Pen Mar, right on the (surprise!) PA-MD border.

Literally. Right on the border.

I don't understand why he's so happy out here wandering off into the woods. And I have to admit to resenting him more than just a little for leaving me out here in the real world with all of the responsibilities while he traipses along in the woods.

But look at that smile. That big, stupid smile means I can suck it up for a week.

And he waves goodbye.
Bye, Nick. See you on Thursday.