28 January 2016


So, it snowed here.  Since it's the eastern US everyone heard about it.

I loved it.  It started snowing on Friday afternoon and didn't stop till Saturday night.  There were about 2 feet of snow here but it was hard to tell because of the wind.  The whole thing was wonderful, especially where we live because we have lots of friends here and the apartment complex had all sorts of activities going on all weekend.  We had potlucks, played games with friends, did church in our living room with 50 other people, drank hot chocolate, watched movies, played in the snow for hours and hours, and had such a wonderful time.

Watching this area dig out has been interesting.  I am fully aware that it snows less here than where I grew up (I never had a snow day growing up- the best I managed was having church cancelled one time when several feet of snow fell and then it was windy, but school was normal on Monday which was disappointing) but the cancellations and delays here are a bit much (don't tell anyone here that though).  They don't have the equipment here to deal with the snow efficiently but I'm not at all convinced that's wise.  This part of the country often has school, businesses and the government shut down for several days because of snow and it seems reasonable to invest in more equipment rather than hunkering down for so long.  I've also been surprised at how long it is taking to get major roads back to normal.  It's all well and good to plow your snow emergency routes through the storm, but you can't just leave them at one lane for days afterwards.  I won't even mention the hassle of walking when sidewalks aren't cleared and there are a lot that haven't been cleared.  Also, people get a little territorial with the parking spot they've cleared out.

But it's supposed to be in the upper 50s by Sunday and it will all melt away.  I'm hoping for another storm in February. :)

19 January 2016

Frederick Douglass National Historic Site

We went here last week, finally.  This one is easier to drive to than to Metro to so I made everyone go with us.  We didn't go on the tour (reservations are recommended, but not really necessary in January) because I knew the youngest child wouldn't be willing to go, but we did watch the film at the visitor's center and walked around the outside of the house.  I poked around the bookstore while everyone else played football behind the house.

It's a lovely place to stop, the film was good despite being a little old, and I'd recommend this one.

It's important to DC history because Frederick Douglass lived here from 1878 until his death in 1895.  Neighborhood rules didn't allow blacks or Irish to own homes there so it's not known how he was able to buy the house.  He had been appointed marshal for DC- the first time a black man received a Senate-approved federal appointment- but it was mostly a ceremonial role since he wasn't asked to fulfill many of the marshal's duties because he was black.

There's also a new Anacostia Heritage Trail that opened a few months ago that goes by Douglass' house.

16 January 2016

Mid-January is usually not the most exciting time of year, but one year ago today we were in Uxmal.  Five years ago tomorrow we left Seattle for Tokmok.  And 10 years ago this week we were in China.

08 January 2016

DC Holiday Stuff Part 2 (and Interesting Detours)

National Menorah and Christmas Tree.  I made sure to go here during Hanukkah so we could see both.  We wandered around to see all the different state and territory trees and it was fun to be in the city at night.  But just as we were leaving, the Secret Service people closed off one of the exits and we had to walk all the way around the White House to get back to our car.  A detour around the White House is at least more interesting than many other detours.  When my middle son went there with a group of teenagers the next week, the same thing happened.

Georgetown GLOW.  I went here with my husband since I wasn't sure the boys would like it and that was smart.  There were about 5 or 6 pieces of art and we enjoyed looking at them, but it wouldn't have been worth going to if it hadn't been in a place like Georgetown.  We had a very pleasant evening and I hope this event grows because I think it has a lot of potential.

Mormon Temple lights.  This one was on lots of people's lists of things to do since free light displays aren't all that common in the area.  We'd been to the creche display at least 17 years ago, but I don't think we'd done the lights before.  As expected, the boys played geography games on the screens inside the visitor center.  They love that game.

Eastern Market.  There's always a street market on the weekends here that's fun to go to because of the part of town it's in and because of the stuff that they sell, but I wanted to see the holiday version.  It really wasn't all that different, but I did prefer it to the downtown holiday market.

Alexandria Holiday Market.  I went in the late morning on a weekday so that wasn't a great time to go, but this one was a dud.  On the way home they made everyone get off the metro so they could single track and wait for another train.  We got off in Arlington Cemetery so I walked up to Rosslyn so I could get home.  I don't know if I saved any time, but I'm sure I didn't lose any and a detour through Arlington Cemetery is good.

07 January 2016

New York City

We did a really quick trip to New York last week that everyone loved.  We were able to drive around Manhattan a bit without traffic, see lots of buildings and lots of Lego stores, stopped at the Museum of Natural History, rode the Staten Island Ferry, and while the husband and boys were doing their thing, I got to wander around the Lower East Side.

I grew up thinking cities were a bad idea and that I'd never want to live in one.  I really hate traffic and crowds so that makes sense, right?  But then I started living in them and I found out that I love them.  They're filled with stories and history and food and things to see and if you do things right, you don't have to deal with the crowds and traffic.  I feel more anonymous in a city than in a smaller place.

Going to New York also reminded me how good we have it in DC with so many free things to do.  And it reminded me how much I'd love to live there for a while because I don't want to be a tourist there.

06 January 2016

Tacopedia and The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook

Tacopedia came out in English a few months ago and it arrived quickly at my house since I'd preordered it.  It's definitely shorter than the Spanish version and not as good, but I still love it.  It's so Mexico.

I've been checking out The Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook from the library ever since it came out a couple of months ago and I really ought to just buy it.  It's great to just read, the recipes are good, and the stories about the people are worthwhile.  Try it.

05 January 2016

The Graveyard Book

I forgot about this one when I posted a few days ago, but doesn't mean I didn't love this book.  And I really did love it.  It's perfectly creepy and perfectly wonderful.  Neil Gaiman is such a good writer.

04 January 2016

2015 and 2016

I had this post partly ready to go and then we went to New York and I didn't get it finished till today.  Still counts.

Here's what I hoped for this year, with the stuff I did crossed off:

Walk normally ASAP
Guanajuato with the boys
Oaxaca?  Probably wishful thinking
Cousins visit
No medical mishaps or emergencies for anyone
Everyone makes it to the US for a quick visit in June
Master tamale making so I can eat them anywhere in the world
Explore western Mexico more
More pyramids
Visit Charlottesville
New York City at least once
Get ready to wring everything we can out of a few months in Washington DC

Pretty good. It is cheating to say we went to New York because we didn't get there till January 1st, but I'll count it. And I wouldn't say I capitalized Arabic, although a lot has come back to me. The Yucatan trip was one of the best things we've ever done.  So amazing. It was a good year although I knew I'd have to leave Mexico and I never like leaving another country.  That part has been as bad as usual. Maybe someday it won't be so bad?

This year:

  • Finish Washington DC.  I don't want to have a lot of things I wish I'd done. I'll be back, but it probably won't ever be both as easy as it is right now to see all the things.
  • Have school go well for everyone
  • Get to Saudi by train and ship and not so many planes (at least with a few trains?)
  • Figure out how to live in Riyadh reasonably well by the end of the year
  • Moderation in all things 
  • Write something?