Bliss

Things are looking up! After eight long weeks, as of Friday I finally have central air conditioning.

(Naturally an hour after my installation folks left, I heard the routine drip drip drip that has so haunted me these past months, and found that my AC unit was truly leaking water. Again. I popped a bowl underneath, turned off my AC unit, called my installation company, and someone came the next day first thing to jerry-rig a solution. I still woke up in the middle of the night out of paranoia. Thus far the solution seems to have worked, but I’m supposed to “keep an eye on it,” so the bowl is staying for the foreseeable future. At least, until I stop losing sleep.)

No longer sunk in a deep malaise due to dense heat, I was finally able to throw myself into a deep-clean of my apartment yesterday. Dust, grime, dead plants, scary items molding in the fridge, all gone! I feel a new internal calm to match.

Air conditioning also meant that I was able to turn on my oven for the first time in ages, and I used it for the best possible purpose: dessert. Specifically, cream puffs filled with vanilla pastry cream and fresh plums. They went marvelously with the champagne that I’d been hording to celebrate this very moment, and my special guest was most appreciative.

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My bedroom also looks marvelous these days because of the beautiful new quilt made by my grandmother that arrived this week. (Thank you, Grammie!) I love it, and it goes wonderfully in my home. This photo doesn’t do it justice.

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Let’s see what else…Things are picking up at work at last, I just bought some amazingly cheap tickets to visit friends in Europe over Thanksgiving, and the Republicans are tripping over themselves in their efforts to dismantle the ACA. Huzzah!

A million weeks later

A million weeks later and I still have no air conditioning. It is mid-July in DC. Walking outside is like being in a sauna you cannot escape. In contrast, I just got back from glorious Portland, where the temperatures rise above 70 F during the day and yet dip below 60 F every night, mountains are on the horizon, and the air feels good in your lungs. Can you blame me for being out of sorts?

Things came to a head yesterday when it seemed I could do no right in any realm of my life. I had hoped that this morning I would have a fresh start, but instead my streak of incompetency continued! (Three phrases: laundry, Comcast, and US postal service.) So I called my mom, who passed along the wisdom of the ages: this too shall pass.

This too shall pass.

So I took myself out for a late lunch to my very favorite lunch spot –  an exceptionally tasty Japanese rice bowl spot with reasonable prices and a bar where I can dine without feeling self-conscious about being alone. Then I came to the bright, air-conditioned cafe where I am now. I spent a long while chatting with an old friend, and moved through a few items on my to-do list.

It is now already past 5pm, and much of my to-do list is still not done, but I am feeling more at peace. Tonight I will watch a movie while sitting on my couch directly in front of my fan, drink a cold beer, and go to sleep early. As my mother would say, tomorrow is another day.

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The above picture is from the Portland Japanese Garden – one of my many favorite places in PDX.

Weekending

Remember how I was itching for change two weeks ago? Well, for the moment I have tried to deal with this feeling the way that all usual people do – I got an extreme haircut. Something “sassy for summer,” that’s what I told the lady at the salon. Now my hair, which was fairly long, is now a bob above my shoulders and only mostly fits into a ponytail. I love it. I feel sassy. Plus, now that the heat is arriving with a vengeance, I really appreciate having less natural insulation.

I’m sorry I didn’t write last weekend, but I had such a nice time that you’ll have to forgive me. On Saturday I had the most slothful day in recent memory, in which all I did was go to Pilates, make fancy cinnamon swirl bread, and then eat it while watching Game of Thrones. (I’ve never seen Game of Thrones before, which means that I have five seasons to get through before watching the season premiere in a few weeks at a friend’s house.)

Then on Sunday the weather was perfect and I repented for my sins by going on a morning jog and taking a long walk to scope out art at antique shops, followed by an amazing performance of Carmina Burana at the Kennedy Center and an al fresco dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant with a certain someone. Ah! it was lovely.

The reason why I’m writing today is that I actually have another wonderful weekend in store. Tomorrow we’re going to Baltimore! We already have tickets to visit the aquarium, and we’ll be spending the night and making a real mini vacation of it. I am so excited!

Behold the welcome
and longed-for
Spring ushers in joy,
purple flowers

fill the meadows
And the sun brightens everything.

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Yuppie

I have officially become a Yuppie. I had this realization on a Wednesday while wearing spandex surrounded by other spandex-clad young women and being instructed to make sure our cores were engaged during a pseudo-plié in a ballet-inspired exercise class. The gym where the class was taking place is called MINT, (“MINT condition yourself,”) and it has complementary mint-infused water in the exercise spaces and tampons and razors in the women’s locker room. I can’t speak for anyone else in the class, but I myself had eaten homemade quinoa-chard salad for lunch. The day before I had met up with a friend for happy hour after work, and we drank white wine while while nibbling mushroom-spinach flatbread (not to be confused with pizza).

I’ve known for a while that I was heading towards Yuppiedom. I’m under age 40, have an office job, live alone, and have no pets because I’m never home except on weekends. But it hasn’t been until recently when I started taking group exercise classes that my Yuppieness really started hit home, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

For so long I resisted joining a gym or paying any money whatsoever to exercise. Instead, I’ve been jogging about three times a week, plus occasionally following along a strength-building routine on a (free) phone app. Why would I pay fifteen bucks for an hour of someone telling me to do pushups or crunchies when I could do it by myself and buy very fancy fish tacos for lunch instead and have something leftover?!

But ClassPass caught me at long last. I may be one of the last young woman urban millennials to not have signed up for ClassPass. ClassPass is a system where you can take cheap exercise classes at gyms or studios, with the condition that you can only go to the same place twice a month, and if you cancel too close to the class time they charge you. The intro rate through a friend for five classes was $25. I finally caved. Thus, Barre class. And Yoga, as well as Pilates, and even “Yogalates.” Unfortunately, but predictably, I loved it, and am now fully on the Pilates bandwagon. It’s so good!

Now, excuse me while I go eat some Doritos and Cookies and Cream ice cream….

p.s. Apologies for no posts in a long while – between my newfound Pilates obsession, work, a wonderful weeklong visit by my sister-in-law, and KITTENS (not mine, unfortunately,) my life has continued to be crazy. Things should be quieting down in…June? Maybe?

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Done with Moving?

On Sunday I came home from California, on Monday I went to work and finished packing and cleaning, and on Tuesday a man with a pickup truck helped me move all my worldly belongings from my sad dark studio to my cheery light-filled one bedroom co-op. We were done by noon.

Standing in that room, surrounded by boxes and plastic trash bags, (er, I ran out of boxes,) I was ready to keel over from hunger and felt quite overwhelmed. Since the place hadn’t been inhabited in ages, a think layer of dust was on everything except the new gleaming wooden floors. Thank goodness for my friend, who in my hour of need, came over during lunchtime to provide emotional support and make me a sandwich, as well as wipe out all my kitchen cupboards. My other first step was cleaning out the bathroom. I sort of wish I had taken a picture of the toilet so that I could convey just how nasty it was, but some things are best left to the imagination.

To be honest, I still feel overwhelmed when I think about how much needs to happen with my new place. I still have no internet, (the connection was covered over with drywall!) no bed, no chairs, and no curtains. My fridge is practically empty. Only yesterday did I put up a shower curtain. At some point I should reorganize my closets in a manner which makes sense.

And yet, I am very happy. I love my new home. I still think the apartment’s layout, with a tiny bathroom and bedroom but a large central space with lots of closets, is great. Yes, only from certain vantage points in the bedroom can I see trees, but my rooms are so bright that houseplants will thrive. I can’t wait to fill my new place with friends and memories. You are all invited.

Drippy

Right now I am hiding from my problems in a coffee shop. Unlike usual life travails which have the ability to follow you around no matter your change of place, this problem is very stuck in one geographical location: my kitchen.

Last night I was midway through my Single Women Empowerment Movie Binge Watching Session (I had finished ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ and was halfway through ‘Eat Pray Love,’) when I heard a bizarre sound coming from my kitchen. At first I thought I had left something on the stove, but when I rushed over I saw a small crack in the ceiling with a little water dripping through it to land on top of my cabinets.

“[Expletive],” I thought. I contacted my landlord via email to let them know what was happening, and went back to my movie.

About half an hour later, I heard a new, louder dripping sound. I went back into the kitchen to investigate, and saw that a new crack had appeared, spanning the kitchen ceiling, with a lot more water coming through, this time landing on my floor. I put bowls under the leaks, and called the emergency contact number for my landlord.

I was told to go upstairs and let my neighbors know about the issue, and that someone would be by tomorrow morning to check it out. “Er, it’s really a lot of water,” I said, watching the water plonk into the waiting bowls. “Ok, I’ll come by this evening,” replied the guy on the line. “It’ll be a while, though – I’m in Baltimore dealing with another urgent problem.”

I went upstairs to knock on my neighbors’ door. No answer. I tried again and again, without luck. I can’t say I was overly surprised, since the only times I’ve knocked on their door before has been to politely ask them to turn down their thumping base at 11:30 pm on weeknights. I am not sure they like me.

Of course, when I came downstairs, yet another crack had appeared, in a totally different part of my kitchen, dripping water on top of my fridge. I got out another bowl.

I finished the movie.

At this point, the water had mostly stopped dripping, and the only real sign of problems were the long lines spanning my kitchen ceiling. So I called the handyman back, and let him know that we could both wait until the morning.

Morning came. By the time I returned from my jog, the water had returned with a vengeance, a steadily dripping into all three bowls scattered around my kitchen. I gave one last call to the handyman to let him know that things were getting even worse, and I fled.

Now I am happily ensconced in a nearby coffee shop, very glad that A) this is not my problem, B) the leaks are in the kitchen, and not over my bed, and C) this did not happen while I was in Argentina.

Of course this occurs right when I’m considering home ownership. Hmm.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Yes, we have officially entered the year of 5777 according to the Hebrew Calendar.

I’ve always loved the Jewish New Year. It’s much nicer than the New Years connected to the Gregorian calendar. The food is better, the introspection is more authentic, the music is lovelier, and nobody expects me to try and stay up until midnight. Plus, the New Year’s High Holiday services tend to draw Jews out of the woodwork like none other. Even if you go to services on no other day, you show up for High Holidays. This makes for ideal gossip mongering.

While I’ll admit that last year I didn’t go to services, this time around I was really in the mood. I researched congregations, trying to determine which services would suit me best. I ended up selecting the the self-described “independent, egalitarian,” congregation that was founded in the 1970’s. It seemed to suit me very well, which is to say, reminded me strongly of the congregation that I grew up with. For starters, the High Holiday services are held in a Presbyterian church.

In (spiritual? culinary?) preparation for Monday’s services, last Sunday I made a fancy Challah recipe so complex that I thought about using it alone as a topic for a blog post. It was quite the adventure even before getting into the baking process. I bicycled all over town to find the ingredients, bought a spice grinder, and still never found the required rye flour. I’ll admit that the end result was about the most impressive bread I’ve ever made.

Monday’s Rosh Hashanah services exceeded my expectations. Much of it really did remind me of home – lots of lefty Jews, women leading much of the service, and an emphasis on Hebrew rather than English. I was almost fooled into feeling like I’d entered a pleasant alternate reality, far from DC, when I understood the person speaking was the brother of a famous politician. Next, I realized that the lady who had walked in was probably an even more famous ex-member of the House of Representatives. (When I got back to the office, I confirmed it really was who I thought it was – and I didn’t even know she was Jewish!)

DC is such a weird place.

Anyway, High Holidays continue. Yom Kippur is on Wednesday, and today I’m keeping it simple and making apple cake.

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