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Posts Tagged ‘dc’

Taking public transportation while pregnant has often felt like one giant social experiment.

The biggest observation, of course, is that people rarely look up while riding the bus or metro when others are boarding. It’s a head-down mentality, and the cynic in me has interpreted it as: if I don’t look, then I won’t see someone who needs my seat, and then I won’t have to get up.

It’s not personal, it just is.

Of course, there are the rare gems who either a) offer seats immediately or b) (and even more rare) make eye contact from across the car to give up their seat. (To the woman who did that, you might actually be one in a million.)

Overall, though, women have offered more seats than men have, and older women have offered more often than younger women.

But, naturally, I’d still rather go for an already empty seat, rather than take one from someone else. Which is what I tried to do yesterday on the commute home.

The train is always so crowded in the evening, that I was thrilled when I peered through the metro doors and saw one front seat open and available. As I moved toward it, the 40-something-year-old man sitting in the adjacent seat stood up, and I assumed that he just didn’t want to move over to the window, that he preferred the aisle. No big deal.

I made a move to slide into the window seat, perfectly happy to accommodate, and he blocked me.

He physically stood in my way, arms spread wide, and prevented me from sitting down – so that his buddy could step around me (no easy feat) and take the seat.

I looked at both of them in disbelief, said something eloquent along the lines of, “Seriously?” and proceeded halfway down the car where I managed to find the only other seat still available.

I’d like to think that if there hadn’t been one seat left, the men may have reacted differently. But, given the blocking, I doubt it.

I wish I could say I’d been the bigger person (aside from just my current roundness), but when we ended up all getting off at the same stop and they tried to cut in front of me, I may have thrown my elbows out wide and done some blocking of my own.

And honestly? I don’t feel too bad about that.

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After one week of my new hour-plus commute, I can safely say that it’s not as terrible as I thought it’d be.

It’s long, yes, but seamless. Everything runs on time, and everyone is used to their routine.

Also, there’s order, and it’s wonderful.

I know that sounds like a weird thing to praise, but let me explain.

If you’ve ever taken a bus in DC, especially during prime commuting hours, you know that it’s pretty much chaos.

People mill around the stop until the bus pulls up, and then everyone crowds around the door, ready to push other commuters out of the way. And it’s nearly impossible for riders to exit the bus (even though it’s in the best interest of those trying to claw their way on), with everyone hemmed in around the open door.

Basically, it’s not a fun way to start your morning. Or end your day.

At my new bus stop, though, things are different. There is no chaos. There is no pushing. There is no trampling.

There is just a beautiful, calm line of people, waiting patiently to board the bus.

You read that right. I’m excited about a line. A simple queue. Simple, and yet so welcome after years of fighting to get one foot on the steps of the bus before the driver can close the doors.

It might take me over an hour to get to work now, but my day no long starts with shoving, cutting people off, or chaos.

And it’s totally worth it.

Thanks, suburbia.

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Every time I move, it further cements the feeling that I never want to move again.

  • I hate packing up all the odds and ends that I’ve accumulated over the years.
  • I hate acknowledging that I’ve accumulated so much crap.
  • I hate boxing everything up, only to realize that I still need something…and who knows which box it’s in.

(I should say, I do like the purging that comes with packing, but it never seems to be enough to make a dent. Also, Cla doesn’t live here anymore, so it’s a little harder.)

Bottom line, I always tell myself: I’m never moving again, until next time.

But now “never again” is over, and “next time” is in about three weeks.

Because we bought a house.

In the suburbs.

Of Virginia.

It’s still a little surreal, but the craziest part is how quickly it went. We toured the house on the 23rd of July; we closed on the 23rd of August. It was a whirlwind, but an exciting one.

There will be a lot of adjustments once we finally move in. First and foremost, our commutes. Right now Husband has the hour-ish drive out to Virginia for work, while I have the 15 minute hop downtown. In three weeks those times will be reversed, and I’ll find out just how little sleep I can function on.

But even that is minor compared with what we’re getting – the space, the yard, the community, the ownership.

I’ve loved living in the city, and I’m sure I’ll miss it sometimes, but I’ve always known that I’m a suburbia girl at heart.

The biggest challenge now will be convincing our friends to come out and visit.

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I am the kind of person who looks at a restaurant’s menu online before she goes out to dinner. I like to have an idea of what I’m going to order ahead of time, to cut down on the on-the-spot decision making.

I am a planner.

But I found out over the weekend that it’s much harder to plan your meal when you’re eating dim sum.

This particular meal made it on my 27 list mostly because Husband has raved about it, and I’m always up for trying new things.

And, to a degree, I knew what to expect: servers pushing around carts full of food that we could say either yes or no to.

dimsum-1

What I didn’t know was how competitive/frantic dim sum could make me feel.

The first couple carts came around fairly quickly, and we enjoyed pork buns and sticky rice – two of the best dishes of the day.

dimsum-2

But then there was a lull.

The next carts I saw were loaded with clams and shrimp and beef and chicken…but they were empty by the time they got to us. And I think that made me even hungrier. I know it added to this frantic need I felt to have to choose quickly (and a lot) once the server stopped at our table.

dimsum-3

Which is why, when the dessert cart came around and we had a choice between custard pie and custard in a bun, I practically shouted, “The bun! The bun!” to Husband, as if there were a time limit on the decision. Or as if someone else would take it if we didn’t act NOW. (Even though there were plenty available.)

In my defense, the custard bun was fantastic – possibly the best dish of the meal.

dimsum-4-custardbun

But it probably would have been just as delicious if I’d been a little calmer about the decision.

Probably.

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My previous 10k PR was from 2008, from the second race I’d ever done in my life. I ran the 6.2 miles in 56:16 and was fairly proud of myself (even though I really didn’t have anything to compare it to).

I expected to get faster, but subsequent 10ks were slower, and I started to feel that maybe I had already peaked. Maybe 56:16 would always be my fastest.

But after some recent PR success in other races, I figured it was about time to (try to) update the 10k, and began looking for a race in which to do it.

Enter Heather.

Through her blog, she alerted me to the Run for Shelter 10k, and I decided that now was as good a time as any to go for speed. As Husband has noted, I’m a slave to the weather, and fall is far and away my peak race season.

The race was billed as fairly flat, an easy out-and-back. The organizers also offered free parking and indoor facilities in which to wait for the race start. After many many races of waiting outside in the cold, this was a very welcome change.

My favorite part, however, was the size of the race. There were only 414 10k finishers. That means no weaving, jostling, or crowding on the course. It means that you can focus 100% on you.

Which is exactly what I did.

Aided by a few key running songs (these two are perfect) I pushed myself along, glancing every so often at Guillermo, to make sure we were on track.

My reward was a final time of 50:23, and a brand new shiny PR.

I also managed to finish in the top 10 (okay, #10) of my age group for the first time in…well, ever. So there’s that.

Bottom line: Saturday was the perfect combination of a well-organized race and ideal weather.

And I couldn’t have asked for better PR-setting conditions.

Heather’s far more photo-friendly recap is here.

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I’ve been volunteering a lot recently with the kids at church. It was one of my 27 goals, but it was also something that I’d been missing since coming to DC.

Through many years of babysitting, tutoring, teaching Sunday school, and volunteering at camp, I’ve worked with just about every age group, and have had clear favorites over the years.

Usually, when pressed, I’ll list middle schoolers as my favorites to work with. They don’t have the high school attitude yet, but they don’t require the same kid gloves as elementary schoolers do. So middle school usually wins.

But recently, the early elementary crowd has been pulling ahead. That’s the age group that I help teach some Sunday mornings. It’s also the age group that is, I think, the most inclined toward total honesty.

Toward the end of one lesson the kids were coloring, and one started singing “Dynamite.” (You haven’t truly heard Taio Cruz until you’ve heard it from a six-year-old.) I had it on my phone, so I played it for them, which, of course, sparked further requests.

Firework!

Call Me Maybe!

Billy Joel!

Ah, a kindred spirit. (Fun side note: Billy Joel was my first concert.)

As the sounds of “Call Me Maybe” eventually filled the classroom, Aiden – the little boy who had requested it – confided just why he liked it.

I like this song because I like to chase girls.”

And Astrid, the little girl who had requested Billy Joel, responded in much the same way I think I would have at that age.

You can chase me if you want!

Kindred spirits, indeed.

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Five years ago today I started my first (and current) big girl job.

I remember the feeling of getting up early and taking the metro into DC from Ballston.

I remember the outfit I wore.

I remember the welcome lunch I was taken out to – at a downtown restaurant that no longer exists.

I remember the newness of it all.

And while I may still be at the same job – a rarity for my age group – many more things have changed over those five years.

Five years ago…

…I thought that Ballston was close enough to DC.

…I didn’t have a blog.

…I hadn’t yet met Husband.

…I hadn’t even considered grad school.

…I hadn’t run one marathon, much less three in three months.

…to be fair, I hadn’t actually run any races.

…I’d never flown through the air – with or without a net.

…I wasn’t even close to being considered a local.

Now, I still wouldn’t consider myself a local – and I’m not quite sure when you get to that point – but I do consider this city home.

And that’s something else that I didn’t imagine happening five years ago.

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