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July 2005

What a Tough Job!

Yes, you've all heard me complain about my job... the stress, the continually increasing responsibility.  Yesterday about capped it all off,

Shooting_copy Now I ask you... take 100 people who are stressed with work and then hand them a gun?  LOL... not sure what the reasoning was there, but it was a blast.  Literally! (Okay, no pun intended... seriously!) I still don't get the rational behind mixing that with the open bar, but hey... it might explain why there were so many missed shots!  I'd never held a gun in my life, other than a water pistol, but my skeet shooting instructor, Rhys, said I'm definitely a natural!  I think I must have inherited some of Grandpa Kimball's sharp-shooting skills :D  I nailed my very first target and each one after that, then decided to quit while I was ahead to maintain my perfect record.  As the WAS team all agreed uponHorseback_riding completion of my staggering display of marksmanship... don't piss me off!  LOL.  The scenery at the Marriott Ranch was gorgeous (near Front Royal) and it was a great day out of the office.  I'm not sure which was better... horses or guns, but either way, it makes the stress bearable!

It's a Different World

Yes, I'm a scrapbooker.  I know, for many people that conjures horrific visions of cute little paper dolls and photos cut into obscure shapes.  However, trust me when I say, that isn't as bad as it gets.  Picture the scene... 500 women in a giant room.  Among them, me, Stephanie and Amber, spread out across a table.  Um... okay, our STUFF spread out across a table, not us ;)  The occassionally annoying but fortunately not obnoxious music suddenly changes.  What?  What's that they're playing?  The Macarena.  Yes, you heard it.  As we all sat there, staring at each other and shaking our heads, we started to say, oh please... please let there NOT be dancing!  But, our pleas were in vain.  We helplessly turned to look at P1010026the front of the room to see that one of the men (weird by itself!) who had been working one of the vendor booths, had jumped up and was gyrating across the room, encouraging everyone to join him.  It was frightening, really.  Shudder.  Aside from that unfortunate imagery, however, it was a fun night.  Progress was made, girl bonding occurred... good times had by all :D

Take Me Out to the Ball Game!

Nats_game_batter_up Nationals - 2

Mariners - 1

My first major league baseball game :)  Okay, so I'm not much of a baseball fan (ahem... more like not at all!), but I was really excited to go.  It ended up being a beautiful night and the Nats won!  We were privileged to witness the bestowal of the honor of being the 1,000,000th fan at a Nat's game.  Oh wait, that was "honorary" millionth fan at the game... randomly chosen.  LOL.  True Kodak moment.  Other highlights included singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the 7th inning stretch (which I, boycotting the purchase of $4 water bottles (12 ounces and they had drinking fountains!  Thanks for the empty bottleNats_game_karl_and_i_self_portrait_1, Erin ;) ), my delicious stadium pretzel (purchased in lieu of the traditional hot dog after Karl continued to tell me the hot dog would probably kill me; eventually, at and walking about 27 blocks after the game to get to a metro station that didn't have 14,000 people waiting in line for a train.  Thank goodness it really was a beautiful night!  Go Nats!

Snooty German Night

We couldn't just leave the Snobby French Day all by itself, right?  A follow-up was definitely in order!  Thanks to Matt and his free ticket hook-up with the NSO, we scored (or rather Stephanie did) tickets to see the Brahms composer focus program, or whatever it was called, on Friday night at the Kennedy Center (and with Brahms being German, and  Hey Garrett - you have any German experiences?  After the French one, though, I'm not sure I want to know!)  I have to admit to stifling a few sniffles during the show - the narrator painted a pretty moving picture of the composer's life and the musical excerpts that went along with it were just beautiful.  We went out to enjoy the sunset over the Potomac at intermission and then came back for the full performance of Brahms' First Symphony.  Just magnificent!  I think we ruined the whole German effect, though.  After the concert we grabbed a cab to Georgetown for a late dinner and just walked down M Street until we found something that sounded good - which ended up being a Mediterranean Tapas bar called Cilantros.  It was fabulous, though, and I got my eggplant fix ;)


Ah, l'Amour...

1.)  Love at First Sight

Yes, you heard it here first, I'm definitely in love.  His name?  We'll call him Bob.  I picked him up last night after meeting on the internet yesterday afternoon.  Fast?  You bet!  But hey, there's no stopping true love, right?  Yes... Bob is my new treadmill.  Woohoo!  I've wanted one for a while... those high-tech features like power incline and a stats computer that actually works were powerful lures, but thus far, I'd been able to resist the siren's call.  So I'd definitely be less than 100% truthful if I said that I was really upset when I finally, definitely and completely, wore out my old treadmill.  I tried to suppress my glee as I bounced up the stairs to inform everyone that the old treadmill was a safety hazard that MUST go. (Running platform = trampoline... yikes!)  Thanks to some classes I taught and the U.S. Government (something good actually came out of jury duty, I guess), I just happened to have the money on hand to pick up a replacement.  Enter that modern day matchmaker... the internet.  After a little comparison shopping, I found what I was looking for at Sears.  That little click to order and then pick up in the store option?  Genius!  I ran over after work last night and after me and a very small and mostly non-english speaking guy named Gonzolo heaved, pulled and just all around struggled to get the ginormous box into my mom's CRV (good thing I didn't take my car... I'm picturing a 6-foot long box hanging out of the trunk of my Saturn... ha!), I got Bob home safe and sound.  I strained a few more muscles hauling it inside and down to the basement (couldn't wait for the family to get back from dinner, of course) and one power drill and an hour later, Bob was assembled and stood proud and gleaming in tMe_and_bobhe place of the old, forgotten and unnamed treadmill.  Ah... definitely love... Bob even has a fan :D   Yes, the glazed look in my eyes came after I tested the power incline.  Bliss!  I put a quick 5 miles on it, just to make sure it was going to work out, and I have to say... I'm totally loving Bob!

#2 - Sometimes it's good to let yourself get talked into things

So, Wednesday, Erin somehow managed to talk me into meeting her and driving into Georgetown to see a little live, local music.  I had no intention of going... getting downtown for a 7:45 show in D.C. rush hour traffic is definitely no picnic but I also figured, hey, why not?  How many times will I be able to take advantage of opportunities to just enjoy being young and single in a great city like this?  So... after an hour fighting traffic on 66, I met Erin and we drove into Georgetown to find the Grog and Tankard.  We were late, of course (thanks to me and 66... ugh!) but I ended up being really glad I went. Chris_davies After Tara mentioned it, I realized that I totally recognized Chris from the Shen... of course, he wouldn't have known me then, so it was good to finally meet him.  He has a great sound... I was feeling the Black Crowes meets Jeff Buckley... especially on a Black Crowes cover he did - "Hard to Handle."  I totally loved his fresh and funky cover of "1999" by Prince.  His original stuff was fabulous, and I loved the little Spanish guitar number he did.  After the set, Erin and I found our way to the little homemade ice cream shop just up the street and then took our cones over to the baseball diamond.  It felt like a scene from a movie... a muggy early Summer (late Spring?) evening watching baseball with our ice cream cones.  So yes, sometimes it's good to let yourself be talked into things :)

Snobby French Day

So you ask, what's so special about a bunch of 100-year old ads for the Moulin Rouge painted by a perverted, vertically-challenged and undoubtedly phsychologically impaired French guy?  Well, nothing, I 

Guide_de_letranger_1 In all seriousness... I was excited to go see this exhibit.  Whenever I get a chance to go over to Europe, I always make sure to visit the galleries.  Yet here we are, living in one of the greatest cultural centers on earth, and I can't even be bothered to go and take advantage of any of it.  Enter Stephanie, Amber, and the Snobby French Day :) Marcelle_lender_1

Truth be told, there were some times where I stood there and thought to myself...hmm... so that's art, huh?  But then again, you're talking to the girl who went through the Museum of Modern Art with her mother giggling at all of the displays of "art" - using the term loosely, and horrifying the "serious" patrons in the process.  However, I do find myself fascinated with Toulouse-Lautrec's work... although I'm sure neither of us will ever admit to being caught discussing the nuances, symbolism and meaning of art out loud in a public place, Stephanie and I both commented on the use of color to portray not just emotion, but also situation in life... the intangibles, if you will.

At_the_moulin_rouge_1All of the bright, lush colors personify the stimulation and perceived joie de vivre that came part and parcel with locales like the Moulin Rouge but the cool colors on the face of the dancer... the dead look in her eyes... more of a realistic view of such a life than you would get from a brief glance, I think.  I have a great admiration for Toulouse-Lautrec's use of color... his design principles and the use of line, all of the things that have led modern critics to hail him as a forerunner of graphic design... his unique perspective and the honesty of his work... all traits of one who is rightly attributed a spot among the greats of post-impressionism.  I can't help but feel a bit sad when I see his work, though.  It reminds me of lives un-touched by the Gospel.  Despite the gaiety of the surroundings he's painted, I see no joy.  However I also can't help but be touched, in small part, by the story of a man who was born to rough circumstances with severe limitations who didn't let his challenges stop him from making a name and a place for himself in life.  While I wouldn't have made the same decisions myself, I admire his strength and I'm inspired by his art.


Rachel, Steph, Me and Amber... After-dinner popsicles near the Capitol :)

La Mer

"J'adore la mer; c'est si belle, si profonde, si... pleine des poissons!"

Kevin Kline in "French Kiss"

018_17_1 I've always loved that quote for some reason, it just strikes me as funny.  So, since I just came back from the beach and am off for a snobby French day tomorrow, I thought it was quite a propos, comme on dit :)  Translated it essentially says, I adore the sea!  It's so beautiful, so deep, so... full of fish. 

Here's to sunset walks on the beach :)