Friday, March 11, 2016

I've moved. Come find me.

Now that I've started posting more regularly, a little birdie recommended I move my blog to a host that's a little more "social" – that is one that lets me do things like share on Facebook and the like. So just in case you were following along and thought my Days of Gratitude were numbered, check me out at Thanks!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Right Friend at the Right Time (Day 4 of Gratitude)

I had a dream last night about someone who at one time was among my very closest friends, and I can't help thinking that my subconscious thinks I owe a deep debt of gratitude to Rachel Kurlantzick. Rachel came into my life at the precise right moment. There are those who say this happens often, that you get what you need or what you can handle. Religious people attribute this to God. I don't know what I believe, but I know that Rachel came along during a time in my life when I needed her.

I was a senior in college and was coping with heartbreak. Seeking comfort, I moved back into the house I had lived in during my sophomore and junior years, and a sophomore lived next door. Rachel was compassionate and optimistic and silly—a combination that turned out to be perfect. Perhaps because she hadn't witnessed any of the lead-up in real-time, she was able to listen deeply without judgment and offer advice in a way that resonated. Rachel and I spent hours laying on each other's beds, wasting time in the library, eating snacks and cereal and ice cream... in short, doing what everyone should do in college. Rachel decorated my bedroom on my 22nd birthday.

We remained close for years after that. I spent a week with her family on Cape Cod one summer and went up to Connecticut for her college graduation party when she graduated two years later. And then she moved down to Washington just 3 blocks from my apartment, and our friendship deepened. We spent the afternoon of 9/11 on her rooftop, staring out in dismay at the smoke billowing from the Pentagon. When I was sick and Instacart did not exist, my mom called Rachel and asked her to bring me chicken noodle soup. She stood next to me at my wedding and toasted the next stage in my life.

But that next stage didn't offer the kind of space that my and Rachel's relationship consumed. Or at least that's what I tell myself, because Rachel and I slowly lost touch and our friendship waned. In these days of social media, when we all stay "friends" with people who were never even actually friends, Rachel—one of my very closest friends at one time—are not even "friends" today.

That doesn't make her any less important in my life. Rachel taught me resilience at a time that I desperately needed it, and I owe her a great deal of thanks for getting me through a rough spot and helping me begin my life in Washington.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Gratitude for Friendship (Day 3 of Gratitude)

One of the greatest surprises in life is who you make a connection with and how and why that connection remains. In 7th grade, when I started at Cooper Jr. High School I met Missy Yacktman. Our elementary schools had merged and Missy and I found ourselves in many of the same classes during our first year of lockers and homerooms and dances. I have to be honest, I don't remember the first day we met or anything so dramatic. One of my first memories of Missy is sitting in the music room with our dads, who it turned out were in the same business and so knew of each other. Our families were considering sending on a study abroad trip to Russia that I think happened over spring break (it was 1990, the Soviet Union was in the midst of breaking up, and both of our families decided it wasn't the right time to go. Missy would spend quite a bit of time there 15 years later. I still haven't been).

Throughout junior high and high school, we shared a very close friendship. We passed notes and shared notebooks that we passed back and forth. We commiserated over teachers, shared stories and heartbreak about crushes and boyfriends. We spent hours and hours after school sitting at one of our houses playing video games. Missy has a large family, and I have vivid memories of playing with her little brothers, getting advice from her older sister on how to deal with mean girls, eating fried shrimp for dinner with her family, and coming over during Christmas to watch while all the kids created gingerbread houses. The day we graduated from junior high, her older brother took us to Bino's Pizzeria in his convertible. These are the kinds of seemingly meaningless moments, the nooks and crannies of life where romances bloom and friendships are sealed. Missy – and her family – always channeled love and caring.

Like most friendships formed at age 13, ours has expanded and contracted over the years. Our paths diverged during college but my senior year she visited over my birthday, at the very end of the school year, reminding me by way of explanation that she had promised to come visit while I was there. After that, we kept in touch but it was halfhearted. Our lives were so different, our paths so divergent. Still, as we pursued our dreams in different arenas and on opposite coasts, it was nice to know I always had someone to call, someone who had known me in the 7th grade. And somehow we both felt this way. Unlike so many friendships that simply wane as years pass, ours seemed to sit patiently on the back burner, waiting.

But around 2007/08, circumstances brought us back together. Missy had moved east, and we finally found ourselves back in the same domain. Within a year both of us were pregnant and our boys would be born within a few months of each other. Now one of my clearest memories is visiting New York when my son was just 6 weeks old, and seeing our boys discover one another and seal a second generation of friendship.

Missy is one of those people who is just inspiring to be around. When Mark first met her, he said she lights up a room. She is a natural dancer and yoga expert but without the cloying airs that often come with that. She so embodies a sense of positivity that sometimes you wonder if she's wearing a halo – but just until she swears and you realize she's human, and breathe a sigh of relief. Today when I need someone to listen (actually listen) to whatever is gnawing at me, to set me straight but a keen understanding of who I was 25 years ago and how that has shaped me, there is only one person I call.

Thank you, Mis, for your kindness and friendship and for all the light you, and your family, bring to my life.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Small Decisions We Make (Day 2 of Gratitude)

As I mentioned, I was inspired to do this by a guy I went to college with, who is sharing his posts of gratitude on Facebook. And what's interesting about that is he's writing about being grateful for certain people, who he links in the app, and it's got this entire separate component of publicly thanking people who might not know they had an impact on your life. Which I love.

I have been thinking a lot about this – as I consider where to post my own gratitude, as I wonder who would make my list and whether I would start with low-hanging fruit like my husband, parents, best friend, or if the point is the randomness, of shining a light on those hidden roses who don't even know they mattered to you. Digging deep to recall those moments that someone touched you, whether accidentally or deliberately, and made a difference in your life.

And yet... While I am confident I have had these moments, I can't begin to imagine how I would find 365 of them the way Nate is doing. And somehow, despite not knowing most of the people he is posting about, I am riveted by his writing, which is powerful and moving and insightful and just so telling about the kind of person he is. It makes me sad I didn't know him better in college.

After pondering, I decided that Facebook is just too public for me. While there are benefits to shining that spotlight, I prefer to write in (relative) anonymity here on the blog, which doesn't have a following. Maybe some of these posts will be reposted, who knows.

Today I am grateful for the NBC bureau chief in DC in 1999. Whose name I can't even recall, but hopefully it will come to me. Brady... Something. Brady Daniels (thank you Google). Who answered the phone when a senior in college called his direct line and actually spoke to me. I can picture myself in my room at college, calling through a spreadsheet of people I had sent resumes to. It was mid-morning and I had included a line in all of my cover letters that said "I will call you" – as the career counselors suggested. So I felt like I had to do it. And I called NBC and asked for Brady, and he answered. So I introduced myself and said I was coming down to Washington, and he offered to meet with me. It was the start of my entire career. I'm sure I would have found another way into TV, but this was the direct route. When I met him, he introduced me to the head of MSNBC at the time (she may have had another title), who lured me away from CNN after I had been there for 6 months, to work with Andrea Mitchell. Who knows how I would have navigated in, had Brady not answered that call. Each of these small moments in one's history loom large in her own personal narrative.

But what's amazing is that this was a nothing decision for him. He picked up the phone and chose to speak with me. How often do we make that decision, rather than letting it go to voicemail if we don't recognize the phone number, then forgetting (or choosing not) to return the call to the bold young person who leaves a message? I'm quite certain that as NBC's bureau chief for what is the second largest market, he was a busy guy. But he still made time for an optimistic young up-and-comer – a decision we can all learn from.

Monday, February 22, 2016

It's Certainly Been a Long Trip! (Day 1 of Gratitude)

So I started this blog more than 10 years ago, which is sort of unbelievable. And in that time, so much has changed. I've read in the past – I think in an Oliver Sacks column (incidentally when I went back to find this I was wrong – the Oliver Sacks was a different, but related column) – that when they ask people whether they think they've learned more in their past decade of life or will learn more in the next decade, people nearly universally say they've learned more in the previous decade. Or maybe it's not learn but experience. Anyway, people always think the previous decade has been more substantive or definitive. But maybe they're not right. Maybe we're not right. Maybe if we do it well, each subsequent decade is better.

So we embark on a new decade of the blog – and (soon) the final year of my own personal next decade. And as I do so, I am trying to figure out what comes next. When I started this blog, I was writing about restaurants and new discoveries in my urban dwelling. And now I am the suburbanite I so disdainfully referred to, with a life that, for a variety of reasons, makes it impossible to be trying every new restaurant and bar. I'm always surprised to find that someplace I finally make it to has actually been around for years. Yesterday we drove past a Pret a Manger that had opened on the corner of 17th and K Streets, and I said, "Oh look, a new Pret!" Mark said it had been there for 6 years. (Turns out it has been there for 3 – but still!)

But I wanted to start today a practice of posting about gratitude. A guy I went to college with who is a Facebook friend has been doing it this year, and I felt really moved by the idea. If you are truly thinking each day about something you are grateful for, it has to have a larger impact – it has to make you grateful, right? Let's try it.

Today I am grateful for an innate ability to write. Perhaps it was cultivated at an early age, or perhaps it is truly an innate gift bestowed upon me by those ancestors who passed on their genes. I'm not sure where it came from, but it has gotten me far. I don't have nearly the same gift of speaking or expressing myself aurally as I do when writing, and thankfully that has not been as much of a detriment as it may have been. And it's even better when I have time to reflect on my writing, and edit it, and think through the logic flow so that it can be tighter and more persuasive. But it's a gift – no other word for it – to be able to document the thoughts in your brain so thoroughly as to share them with others.

Or just to share them with yourself. I've discovered over the years that writing helps me analyze what is in my head. It's as if by documenting them, I can see them for the first time. This is true even when it comes to making lists so I remember what I want or need to accomplish in a day. By writing it out, it becomes more real. Likewise, by writing how I feel, I become more attuned to those feelings. I wish I had the discipline to find more time to write and to explore that giant melee of thought swirling around in my head. Perhaps this is the start of that.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Oatmeal Really Satisfies

How is it even possible that McDonald's made oatmeal with more sugar than a Snicker's bar? And more to the point, if you could have oatmeal or a Snicker's bar for breakfast, and oatmeal wasn't any better for you, why would you choose oatmeal?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mr. Peanut Heads to DC

I've seen a few articles about the new "Planters Groves" Mr. Peanut is planning to open in four cities around the U.S., including DC. Looks like the DC nut-shaped park will open in June. But I can't seem to find a reference to where it will be. Does anyone have any details?

Those in Glass Houses...

An op-ed in today's NYT:
"The middle classes are being pushed down by inflation, which makes a stable standard of living seem an unattainable hope. The gap between the haves and the have-nots is widening. The basic needs for housing, health care and education are not being met for millions... Decision-making is invariably confined to small circles, with the outcomes largely intended to serve special and self-serving interests."

Sound familiar? The authors might be referring to countries in the Middle East, but it's getting harder and harder to throw stones.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tango in Libya?

Came across this quote on Facebook and loved it. Isn't it beautiful to think of a battle represented in dance rather than in war?
"The tango is a direct expression of something that poets have often tried to state in words: the belief that a fight may be a celebration." - Jorges Luis Borges

Monday, February 21, 2011

It's Been Awhile

I can't believe it has been four years since I last posted to this blog... so much has happened in those four years. The world is changed for me, but perhaps the factors that first made me begin a blog are still around. The desire to share knowledge. To explore together. The need to connect, even with people who today are strangers to me. And so today I begin again. I think this is gonna be fun...

Friday, December 29, 2006

Flying to Columbia Heights just got easier

Thank you, Metro, for finally doing something to help us! Beginning New Years Eve, the Washington Metro Yellow Line will continue up the track to Ft. Totten, the end of the line the other train on the same track, the Green Line. This is great news! This means I can now hop on the Metro and go all the way to the airport without transferring. Eventually they'll even extend the Metro to Dulles (the Purple Line is supposed to happen by 2010, right?). Woo hoo! Thank you Jim Graham.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Proof, beware

I admit, I was thrilled to read about Proof, the wine bar coming in March. Thanks to Gallery Place Living for keeping us in the know. But I was more excited to hear a little rumor that a small wine bar is coming soon to Logan Circle. I wish I could tell you more, but it really is little more than a rumor at this point. A friend of the folks opening it promise it will be here soon.

Can anyone think of where? Stoney's has moved into the space recently vacated by P St. Bistro. Are there open spaces I'm blanking on?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ask and you shall receive

What was that I was reading about there being no great Spanish restaurants in DC? Along comes news (thank you Metrocurean) that the folks behind Sonoma and Mendocino Grill are opening a Spanish gastropub (whatever that is) on 14th Street, not too far from home (mine, and perhaps yours). That is very exciting stuff. If Sonoma's meats are any indication of the quality of meat they will have at La Pata Negra, my mouth is watering.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Eating our way to San Fran

As if I was not excited enough about our trip to Maui in January, now I am getting just as pumped about the first two days of the trip - in San Francisco. The most exciting place I've found yet (and I've just started!) is Swan Oyster Depot.

I've been to SF a few times now, and the last most exciting place was Burrito Juan or something equally generic-sounding. I'm not kidding; this was the best burrito I've had yet (and I'm on a mission to try them all).

But the Swan Oyster Depot (no web site, of course) looks incomparable. How amazing, by the way, is Flickr? I'm so excited to try it... and of course will share when I get back. But I have six weeks left to drool...

Anyone have favorite restaurants in SF or Maui? Please leave a comment.

Seratonin bars in Chicago

See, and here I thought I had nothing to say. I just read about a new concept - the chocolate lounge. Thanks to Graphic Design USA for pointing it out, albeit in November 2005, and thanks to the ever-informative JOTW for passing it on.

First of all, of course this place is called Ethel's. Two of my great-grandmas were named Ethel. I don't think there is a more loving, Jewish-grandma-ish name out there.

And I love that they're open all over Chicago (there's a warm place in my heart for Chicago) because you really need to warm up there, and I hear the seratonin in chocolate helps with that. But most of all, since I rarely get to Chicago anymore, I really love that the only one outside of Chicago is in Las Vegas.

Oh, and lastly I love that someone is trying to take the Starbucks concept to a new food. Let's see if it works.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


I'm thinking it's time to return to The Long Way Here. I'm not sure anyone is reading anymore, although I do get a monthly "statement" from my counter, and just about one person a month finds him or herself here. Who knows how... Even after almost a year, I'm not sure what to write. Maybe I'm not cut out for this blog thing. You have to have a lot to say. What do I have to say right now?

Requests? Dedications?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Taking Things Apart

Check out DCist's McGyver stunt on WMATA's SmartTrip card. Although maybe this is more Alton Brown (taking things apart) than McGyver (putting things together).

Saturday, December 10, 2005


Check out a great article in the NYT about a 32-year old former graffiti artist who's now tracing shadows all around Brooklyn and Park Slope. One of those things that makes you think: man, why didn't I think of that? Of course, for me the answer is: because I can't draw to save my life.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

DC to Join Non-Smoker Cities?

The DC city council votes today on whether to ban smoking as of Jan. 2007. A majority of councilmembers support the ban, and it is expected to pass. Maybe some of you can find the bill here. I can't. I did, however, get stuck on the "Luther Vandross Recognition Resolution of 2005."

Monday, December 05, 2005

New Restaurants In And Around DC

You can read about these elsewhere... or you can just read about them here.
  • Rasika - Indian, near Chinatown. Apparently opening next week, Dec. 12. Chef Vikram Sundaram has come to DC from London's award-winning Bombay Brasserie, according to The List.
  • Fogo de Chao - Finally, DC gets a churrascuria. For those of you still confused, that is Brazilian for lots of meat, delivered to your table on an "all you can eat" basis. It's a chain but looks promising. Coming THIS WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7!
  • Zengo - recently opened. Billed as "modern Mexican" food, it seems frighteningly more like Mexican meets Asian.
  • Open City - see post below for details on this new Woodley Park hangout by the owners of Tryst and the Diner
  • Jin - yet another odd mix of Caribbean-Hawaiian. It's located on 14th Street, next to Busboys and Poets. Looks a bit Euro-trash for the neighborhood, but you can't judge a bar by its windows.
And sad to say, closings: Rumor (per the Washington Post) is both Blackie's and Lulu's Club Mardi Gras were recently sold. A new condo building is coming soon to the triangle of land across from Lulu's, and speculation was that the proprietors would try to get rid of the Bourbon Street-style club, but this doesn't quite seem like the right time, does it?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Tab Returns!

Coca Cola is planning to bring back Tab as an energy drink for women. I can't speak for everyone, but I think that is a fab idea. Or a totally radical idea. Pick your decade for a superlative.

Yay, Rent is Here!

Rent the movie is released. 'Nuf said.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

When You Go Out...

You might as well go out in style. Take a look at these art coffins by Life Art, a company in Australia.

Morbid? I'm not sure. After all, if you're going to celebrate life, why not do it in death?

Thanks, Seth, for the heads up.

Monday, November 21, 2005

"I Enjoy Being A Girl"

Choosing the Right College by John Zmirak is a new college guide that will help weed out the right people from my alma mater:
I'd be very careful sending anyone to Wesleyan University in Connecticut because they're getting rid of single-sex dorm rooms. You won't even be able to guarantee that your daughter is living with another woman.

Check it out here. If you have any respect for what this guy has to say, please take his advice and stay away from Wes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Going Blogstream

Something old: journalism
Something new: blogs
Something borrowed: David Corn
Something green:
[Open Source Media] will link to individual blog postings and highlight the best contributions, chosen by OSM editors, in a special section. Bloggers will be paid undisclosed sums based on traffic they generate.
- A.P.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Busboys and Poets Too

One coffee shop/diner/brick oven pizza place in DC isn't enough. If 14th and V is too far to travel, lucky for you, another is opening on Calvert Street, just east of Connecticut. OnTap explains the new Open City, located in Woodley Park.
The latest venture by Constantine Stavropoulos (Tryst, The Diner) is called Open City, and it is situated on a piece of prime real estate by the corners of Connecticut and Calvert in Woodley Park/Adams Morgan. The coffeehouse/diner/bar aims to, like Stavropoulos' successful Tryst, become the "third place" for area residents. "You have this third place that you go to," Stavropoulos explains. "There's your office, your home, and the other place." This particular third place—also Stavropoulos' third spot in the city—will offer WiFi and feature a gourmet coffee bar, a full-service (cocktail) bar with beer on tap and some 12-or-so wines by-the-glass, and plenty of seats in the dining area to order upscale-ish diner food like Italian-style pizzas, eggs all day, sandwiches and salads.

Incidentally, that corner of Connecticut was nowhere near Adams Morgan until Metro decided to name the stop Woodley Park/Adams Morgan. One mile away, over a bridge, does not constitute one contiguous neighborhood. But I digress... Unclear exactly when this new place will open, but stay tuned.

Oohs and Aahs

Thank you, DCist, for alerting us to the installation of MenuPix. If any of you DCers are as obsessed as I am with New York's MenuPages, you're in luck. What you get: some basic info (including the restaurant's website) and a PDF of the menu. Of course, the only Logan Circle/U Street restaurants online right now are takeout Chinese joints, but who's complaining? And we can always add our own.

Talk of Impeachment...

I love it when church signs say what we all are thinking.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Can you say hypocrisy?

Lucky this administration isn't getting indicted for sex. Only the Dems can be castigated for their sexual deviance. But the GOP is much better at it. First of all, their sex-pots don't look like Monica Lewinsky. And second of all, their prose sounds like this:
"He could feel her heart beneath his hands. He moved his hands slowly lower still and she arched her back to help him and her lower leg came against his. "
It only gets better from there. Read all about Scooter Libby's erotic fiction in this week's New Yorker.

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Smelly City

I don't think anyone's complaining that New York City streets smell good - in fact, who'd have thunk it? And yet, that's the case. Friends on the Upper West side thought it was unique to their apartment building until they saw the NYT.

Never fear, the Office of Emergency Management is on the case. In the meantime, use this as an opportunity to quell your sweet tooth.

Monday, October 24, 2005

One Other Hot Spot

The Columbia Heights Blog also mentions Kudo Beans. Could this possibly be the same joint as this coffee shop in Seoul, Korea?

New Chain, New Local Joint in Columbia Heights

For those of you waiting anxiously to see what kind of retail goes up in the new 14th Street corridor... reports that Ruby Tuesday is coming to Tivoli Square. How this happened is beyond me. There is only one other Ruby Tuesday in DC, and it's at Chain Central near the MCI Center. Are Subway, Starbucks and Urban Outfitters on their way to Columbia Heights?

The other new restaurant to arrive will be Rumberos, brought to us by the folks responsible for the Rumba Cafe in Adams Morgan. Can't complain about that one.

I'll keep you posted as more information arrives.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sales Pitch for New Yorkers

Seeds of Peace will present the 2nd Annual Stand-Up For Peace comedy benefit on Thursday, October 27th at 8:00pm at Gotham Comedy Club's new Chelsea venue in New York City (208 W. 23rd Street).

This year's event will be hosted by David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer, Stella) and feature comedians including:

• Susie Essman (HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm, Comedy Central)
• Colin Quinn (Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn)
• Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (Late Night with Conan O'Brien)
• Demetri Martin (Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Comedy Central, Perrier winner)
• Caroline Rhea (The Caroline Rhea Show)
• Dean Obedeillah (CNN, Air America 's Morning Sedition)
• Aziz Ansari (Premium Blend, ECNY- Best Male Stand Up)
• Catie Lazarus (AMC, ECNY- Best Comedy Writer) **

Advanced tickets can be purchased online for $30 at Special $25 student tickets are also available. All tickets at the door will be $40. Tickets can also be purchased by calling Seeds of Peace at 212-573-8040 x.32.

All door proceeds will benefit Seeds of Peace, a nonprofit, nonpolitical organization dedicated to empowering young people from regions of conflict with the leadership skills required to advance reconciliation and coexistence.

** Catie went to college with me

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

UPDATE! Wine Is Fine.

DCist reports that
"the D.C. City Council passed emergency legislation establishing .05 as the blood alcohol content level below which a driver is presumed not to be intoxicated."

No need to concern yourself with that one glass of wine anymore. Drink up, suburbanites, and drive yourselves home with no fear.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Looking for Another Reason D.C. Sucks?

Look no further than this article in today's Washington Post. No wonder the city can't afford to fix the roads, fight terrorism or end the muggings on U Street. Not to mention the traffic violations they couldn't give a hoot about. They're too busy spending hundreds (thousands) of $$$ arresting people who have had one glass of wine!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Teaching Morals

Finally, a school is standing its ground. That's how you teach morality to students - not by removing Annie Proulx from your reading list.

This case is so interesting to me. Basically, it's a classic debate over whether a school should promote literature that runs counter to its values. What's most unusual is that this is a parochial school, and the literature is being called "un-Christian."

But this seems to me to bring up all kinds of political issues. If evolution is "un-Christian" and only creationism is real, do we stop reading Huxley in schools?

You can't hide behind literature. It is just another medium - like television, like movies, like music - that describes the era in which we live. If there is more homosexuality in literature today, it means just one thing. And that's what worries people.

$1K Handbags

My favorite quote of the day has got to be this one, today's New York Times:
"A bag is sort of like a portable house. It represents you."
Who are these people buying $1K handbags and - seriously - have you donated your money to Katrina victims yet? These are people who, according to the NYT, make $50,000 to $75,000 a year! People: you are spending 1/50 of your income on a purse. What if someone spills a beer on it?

But my next question is what do you do when you're done with that purse? When you're bored of it? Can you give a $1500 purse to the Goodwill? Do you get to write off $1500 on your tax return if you do?