Posts Tagged With: Washington DC

remembrance of snow days past

Yesterday’s snow day got me thinking about all the snow days I’ve had the joy to live through.
From snow days with my girls to snow days when I was a girl.
Curiously, the memory that took my breath away was of a snow day in 1979.
I was seven years old in February, my eighth birthday would come in May. A crazy storm came out of nowhere and buried the DC Metro area in over two feet of snow.

President’s Day Storm 1979
photo copyright: Washington Post

This was a bomb cyclone storm too, (Though I think it was before that phrase was in the common lexicon.).
This storm was of great significance, mostly because everyone was caught off guard. It also directly impacted the way meteorologists predict storms.

But for this particular little red-haired girl, who dug tunnels to access an elaborate system of housing (caves) in her yard, drank her body weight in hot chocolate, and impatiently waited for her gloves to dry before she could go back out to play again, the President’s Day Storm had a different kind of significance.
It’s the first time I can recall actively panicking.
Because the storm hit us out of the blue, after a couple of days, we ran out of important things. You know…milk and bread, and the like.


My mother decided to walk the .6 miles (uphill) to our local Safeway to get what we needed. As you can see, according to Google Maps it’s about a 12 minute walk from home to the grocery store. I figure that was pretty much the same 38 years ago as it is now. House is in the same place…even the same Safeway.

Now, in hindsight, I wonder if she wasn’t just trying to get out of the house and away from us kids and Grandaddy. Since there’s no one left to ask, I guess we’ll never know.

I’ve only recently come to understand my childhood of being a “mommy’s girl” that didn’t feel comforted by her mommy was directly linked to my attachment anxiety. That I clung to my mother in desperate desire to feel connected to her, even though I very rarely did.

When I started my little jaunt down memory lane of snow days, I first visited the amazing tunnels and caves my brother and I built. Saw the snow packed down from flipping ‘skin the cat(s)’ about seven hundred thousand times off the big strong limb of the maple tree. And actually, if I think about it, that may have been how we decided to created the cave and tunnel system.
But then as I jumped over the fence (couldn’t open the gate for all that snow) to visit the forts we carved out of the snow against the fence, I felt my eyes drawn towards the church at the end of our street.
I actively watched up the street for what seemed like hours in a panic waiting for my mother to come home.

I am actively feeling that panic in the pit of my stomach as keenly now as I did at that snowy day.

Of course I have no idea how long my mother was actually gone, how long I stood there anxiously awaiting her return. What felt like hours could have been a much shorter amount of time. I honestly don’t know. I haven’t consciously thought about that day and the way I felt in ages.

What I do know is that when I finally saw my mother turn the corner onto our street, grocery bags strapped to the sled she pulled behind her, I was flooded with the greatest relief I’d ever know.
I ran up the street towards here, crying and gasping for breath.
The look on her face stopped me in my tracks, snowy mittens immediately wiping my face before she noticed my tears. But it was too late. She’d seen them, and had not patience for them.
She said, “What’s the matter with you?” in a tone laced with such disgust it was almost a physical blow.
“I was worried about you. I didn’t know when you were going to come home. I didn’t know if you were safe.”
She shook her head and moved passed me, “Of course I’m safe. Don’t be so dramatic.”

I stood in the street watching her walk away from me. In that moment I felt so small and so terribly stupid. Of course she was safe. She was the mommy. Mommies are strong and capable. I was stupid to worry about her. I was too dramatic with my tears and panic.

I’ve never shared this story before.
Honestly, I haven’t thought about in…well, probably ever. But that’s the memory upon which I landed when I started thinking about snow days.
Not the fun we had as kids.
Not the fun we had as adults with our own kids.
Not the sledding, the snowmen, the bonfires.
Not the snow cream, the snow angels, the hot chocolate.

But I did have fun snow days as a kid.
With a frozen nose and shrieking laughter.
With snowball fights at the church yard and sledding at the park.
Snuggled up with my kitties under colorful ‘afgans’ in cozy jammies and stacks of books.

And I did have fun snow days as an adult.
Witnessing the girls in the snow for the first time.
Bundling everyone up for very quick trips to play.
Taking their photos with the some of the most fun snowmen you’ve ever seen.
Making snow cream.
Making hot chocolate by the potful.

I don’t honestly know if more of my memories are happy than sad. But I do know I go through the happy ones more frequently. I do know that this particular sad one was buried as deep as the snow from that long ago winter.
As far as I’m concerned, snow days are always a good thing!
Our county schools called off Friday just before 5 pm Thursday afternoon. So that means another snow day today!
Even though there really isn’t any snow, I’m still happy!

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baseball and the first amendment

We went to the Newseum on Friday before we headed over to the Nats game.
Two of my absolute most favorite things!
I was getting my dork on something fierce at the Newseum!
Newseum
Do you know on the front of the building is printed what I consider the most important words ever written in the history of the United States?

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Those words! Even just writing them here on this page gave me the gooseflesh.
I don’t think many folks ever really think about the importance of the first amendment. I think about it every single day. I am a woman in a country where I can say what I think without worrying about my safety. I can have a relationship my God without the interference from the government. I can read any news and know that it’s been (mostly) fair, unbiased, and not at all controlled by the government.
What would have happened to Woodward and Bernstein, or Ben Bradlee and Katharine Graham in the early 1970s if there was no first amendment?
Look how many places there are in the world where this isn’t the case!

Newseum Freedom of the Press Map

Newseum Freedom of the Press Map

I am the first amendment’s biggest fan! (I’m so sure there are loads of folks who say the the same thing. But I’m not talking about them today, I’m talking about me.)
I’m oftentimes jaded about our government. I’m oftentimes jaded about our archaic constitution. But I have moments when I am at one with the concepts that helped create our government…

It was steamy at Nationals Park Friday night. Gio Gonzalez pitched beautifully. Both Daniel “Hits” Murphy and Thing 2’s beloved “greasy hobo”, Jayson Werth hit solo dingers. Murphy had a ground out RBI and Werth hit an RBI double. The “face of the franchise” Bryce Harper hit a two run triple.
We cheered. We clapped. We high-fived and fist-bumped all night long. There were beautiful plays in the field. The boys of summer where on it Friday night!
The Nats won in a walk off the first game of their series with the Rockies. (as it turns out, it was the only win of the series)
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dance of the sugar plum fairy

Thing 2 arrives December twentieth, three days before her sister. It’s just how it worked out, Fiance N is coming with Thing 1, but boyfriend D isn’t coming with Thing 2. Thing 2 will be here for Christmas, but back in SC with boyfriend D for New Years. Thing 1 and N will stay with us through the new year.

Thing 2 and I are going to oodgey-goodgey our favorite theatrical entertainment and see The Washington Ballet dance The Nutcracker at Warner Theatre.

photo cred: The Washington Ballet

photo cred: The Washington Ballet

We’ve seen this particular ballet before. (More than once, even.) But how could I pass up the opportunity when I haven’t had Christmas with my baby at actual Christmastime in two years?

I left her a message asking if she’d like to go. I got a text back within three minutes that read: Dude, yes!! I’m sorry I didn’t answer, I’m having a deep talk with Anna. (Her BFFL, who just recently returned to SC.) But I would absolutely love to go!

I’m so excited we’re going to the ballet!
I’m so excited both my babies will be with me for Christmas!
YBW is excited he doesn’t have to go to the ballet with me. (Yet…The National Ballet of Canada is coming to the Kennedy Center Opera House with Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale in January…I asked him the moment he got home if he’d go with me…cross your fingers!)
He doesn’t hate the ballet, but he doesn’t love it…he goes because he loves me and I suspect he secretly gets a great deal of pleasure experiencing my absolutely pure ballet joy.

Thing 2 was a ballerina for six years, then figure skater for two. (I’ve always considered figure skating as ballet on ice.) She didn’t do it because of me. She did it because she announced one day at the age of two that she was going to be a prima ballerina when she grew up. (How the eff did she even know what that was at that age?)
The kid was a natural. But when the ballet studio changed ownership it became a place where she grew increasingly uncomfortable. She announced she was finished. I searched for another school, but she had lost her passion. It had become tainted for her.
I wonder if she really even remembers that.

We share this deep love for the ballet, and together we will be as little girls joining Clara on the night of her astounding dream.
We’re going on the twenty second of December, it would have been my mom’s seventieth birthday. Somehow that makes it even more special to me.

Bolshoi Ballet’s Nina Kaptsova Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy 2010

Categories: love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

It’s a date!

At our last pre-wedding meeting, A charged us to go on a date.
YBW and I side-eyed each other.
giphy
Pfft! We know how to go on a date.

Needless to say, she noticed our conceit and challenged us further. Instead of one date, we each had to come up with a date for the other with the strict stipulation that we couldn’t discuss wedding stuff.
One more smug look was a silent “we got this” and we were on our way.

The date I planned took us downtown for a picnic at the National Arboretum and a side trip to Oak Hill Cemetery. I broke the rule straight away in the car. YBW reminded me and I sat on my hands as long as I could stand it. But then I had a stroke of genus! Traveling to the date wasn’t actually being on the date. I immediately amended the rule to include wedding talk in the car but only until we arrived at our destination. (I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s Robynbird logic…just roll with it.) 
Of course this time of year there isn’t much in bloom at the Arboretum, but that was actually beneficial because it meant less people.
The first thing we did on our date was split up. (I know…) But YBW wanted to see all the bonsai and I wanted to visit the herb garden.
I was fortunate to catch a few things still in bloom while successfully avoiding the bees gleaning the last little bit yummies before there were no more blossoms to be had.
20150917_77
The light was harsh, but I enjoyed my time behind the lens.
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It may seem odd that the first thing YBW and I did on our date was walk in opposite directions, but neither of us wanted to follow the other around like a puppy so we did what we wanted to do knowing we’d end up in the same place. And as it turned out, just as I was finishing up in the herb garden, the most adorable man walked up and kissed me. Then we walked together up the hill to see the Capital columns.
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Kinda pretty, don’tcha think?

We picnicked on fruit, veggies, potato salad, and cold fried chicken trying to figure out what was actually going on at the Grove of State Trees. We drove all around the arboretum, even out the non-existent road that was the original entrance.
Then it took forty minutes to drive about six miles. As we passed embassies I used the long lens of my camera to read the plaques over the doors and YBW teased that the red light cameras saw and we would be branded spies. I just laughed.
We got to Oak Hill Cemetery just in time to capitalize on the most glorious afternoon light.
2.20150917_144
Once again, we split up. Me meandering along looking for good shots on the way to Kay Graham’s gravesite. YBW playing Ingress…turns our cemeteries are ripe with portals for the hacking.
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Allow me to quote Minerva from Midnight in the Garden, “To understand the living, you got to commune with the dead.” I’m a firm believer in this concept.
I love cemeteries. I love everything about them. The gravestones seem so natural in the environment, on the hillsides and under trees. I love the peaceful quiet. There was construction on R Street, and I mean jackhammer construction, but the further I walked into the cemetery the more quiet it became.
2.20150917_220
There was one place in the cemetery that wasn’t still. It was quiet, but there was work going on. I can’t believe it took me passing it twice before I realized what I was seeing.
Construction on the mausoleum of Ben Bradlee, one of my most beloved folk heroes! Qu’il repose en paix.
20150917_149
It’s a bit modern for my taste and for it’s location, but I wasn’t consulted…what are you gonna do?

YBW and I ended our day at a cafe table on the patio of a small restaurant in Old Town sipping cocktails of vodka laced iced tea.
Never once talking about the wedding.
giphy (2)

Categories: love, me, wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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