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Preview: Olivia's Sunrise of New Beginnings

Olivia's Sunrise of New Beginnings



Formerly Bytes from the Big Apple and London Dispatches



Updated: 2017-12-16T06:50:43.623-05:00

 



0 Comments

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2016-02-21T06:56:00.824-05:00

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Another New Start

2012-08-22T17:56:37.997-04:00

Next month, we close on a new house, and in the same evening we settle on the condo as well. But this means we'll have about 3-4 days to move, and give the new owners rent back for those days. (I wonder what that'll come up to?)No more living in a concrete box! We will be homeowners, with a big house and lots of trees. Lots of lovely rooms, awesome features, lots of built-ins, charming spaces, and quality finishes. A little dated, but not as bad as some I've seen, and it doesn't bother us much. So we can change things slowly because it's all in great shape and very livable.I look forward to putting some color on the pale walls. Wedgwood blues, warm yellows. Maybe some red and Japonisme/Chinoiserie in the dining room. Furnishings in the style of Mission/Prairie, Art Deco, Frank Lloyd Wright, Arts & Crafts...Even though we usually prefer colonials of the 30s/40s with obviously attractive front elevations, falling in love with this 1958 rambler/ranch style house took me by surprise. The lush setting simply steals the show.After discovering all it had to offer, I never dreamed we could own a place like this. It's got everything we wanted but never thought we could have, not in this area. There's so much to work with and it is impeccably maintained.Front View with driveway. Front door/porch to the left. Kitchen door/patio to the right. Garage on far right.We do have neighbors on either side, but once on the property it's hard to tell.Kitchen Door and Porch. Garage on the right, with Cupola.Front yardPatio leads from Walk-Out Basement Apartment into 1/2 acre of woodsTowards the Driveway and Wood Pile from the DeckScreened PorchScreened Porch & Family Room WindowScreened PorchDown the Garden PathSite Feed[...]



The Bzzy Bee

2012-02-29T15:21:29.970-05:00

I've started a new blog called The Bzzy Bee. I know, shocked aren't you, because I've neglected this one for eons!

Well, I post so often on Facebook about foods I try, restaurants I go to, and products I use, that I decided to make it official: joined some product testing panels and then found that a related blog would go hand in hand with that endeavor.

Hopefully it will mean I get to update this personal blog more often too :-)



What's happened since...?

2011-12-03T17:55:29.118-05:00

Wedding and HoneymoonThe wedding last September was wonderful! Short and sweet, but an experience enjoyed by all. Ceremony was at the little stone church we go to (whenever we feel like it, ahem!) Reception was at the best French restaurant in the area. It was a shockingly hot day for that time of year, but better than cold and rain.The honeymoon in Antigua was fun, after Jeff got over the bad cold he came down with on our wedding day. The resort was peaceful, the food was great and the people friendly. One day we got out and went on a powerboat > kayaking > hiking > snorkeling adventure.Goodbye to the first love of my lifeI spent a number of weeks in London over November/December with my mother and her condition was such that I could not commit to anything for the springtime because from that visit on, I knew I would have to wait for that call, in the middle of the night -- and it did come eventually, right when I thought it would.I had bought a ticket to visit her in March/April. About a week before I was set to fly out, a call came in the middle of the night. The doctor was with her and after her carer spoke to me, the doctor told me to change my ticket because I didn't want to wish I had been there. So I went. Jeff came with me for a few days. He said goodbye to his Ruthie. She was on constant ventilation, and in relentless, heartbreaking distress, aware of nothing around her because of it. The morphine injections were not enough and a few days after I arrived the palliative care team took over from the district nurses. They put her on a steady syringe driver of what I shall now call the "Exit Cocktail" and came to check and refill daily. No child should have to see their young parent go through that. Each day from there on, she slipped away further and further, until a few days later I knew it was not my mother in that bed. The following morning she was gone.We had the funeral nearby in the church she went to when she could get out. Everyone we knew there, family, old friends and new, came. People all said the same thing about her rich, warm, loving spirit; her shining smile and big bright eyes; her love of people and how she cared for and cooked for everyone, how much she taught them, and how what they do now is as a result of her influence, and how she was pretty much everyone's Mama.I miss her, every moment of every day. It is still such a reflex to want to call her for the big things, and especially the little things. Like, Mum, how much flour do I put in this recipe?Guess what, Ma, the doc said I was OK.Mumsy, what do you think...?Mummy, why is this so...?She always has been, and always will be, my angel.A Few Lost MonthsNot sure what was going on over the summer. Obviously time passed and I got on with things, but it's a bit of a blur.In August we went to my cousin's wedding in Canada, where I served as a bridesmaid in an electric blue dress. It was outdoors and beautiful, all very touching; she was a crying bride, but the groom shed tears when he "married" her daughter too. Not a dry eye in the field, and I was fighting so hard not to cry, one of my aunts in the 3rd row was ready to run up with tissues.On our return home, I started the IVF process. It's something I knew had to be done from the moment he told me he had CF. There were more needles than I could count, and they hurt and the meds burned and caused bruises and welts. Jeff, my skilled but reluctant injector, wanted to quit because he hated putting me through this, and also kept apologizing that it was his fault I had to go through it, but in the midst of it all I loved him more than I did before. Anyway, extraction, culture, transfer = no success this time. But it did a number on me, and I was in recovery for some time. We'll thaw the rest out in January and try another transfer.Then around our anniversary -- a few days after I recovered, Jeff got sicker than he was after our wedding; he was fighting somet[...]



Just Checking

2011-11-17T15:05:20.741-05:00

Hi y'all

Anybody out there?

I've been taken up with life, and Facebook, but you'd be surprised how often I think of those of you I haven't been in contact with. A lot has happened, sad things and happy things.

I guess this was inspired by looking for a Guyanese recipe on Google, and the only place I found it was on Guyana Gyal's blog from years ago. Ironically, she'd never heard of it until I mentioned it.

I've got enough time on my hands that I could take up blogging again, and I have enough to say that I really ought to.

:-)



Nearly there

2010-09-20T18:54:03.615-04:00

Hi guys

Guyana Gyal was sweet enough to stop by and say I pass through her mind. All of you pass through mine also.

It has been a crazy time. Since June, the only thing we seem to have done is plan the wedding. Made harder by the fact that there is nobody around to help us, to pick up the slack, to delegate a task to. The whole process is like something I must endure in order to marry my love. Looking back on it through photos, the video, and with friends and family, will make it worthwhile.

In July-August, I spent two weeks with my mother, and Jeff joined me for the last few days of the trip. She is not doing well. Her speech and swallowing have deteriorated, yet she has refused the feeding tube, so while unable to take in enough nutrition, she is at greater risk of choking on nothing much, like yogurt or Ensure. I still encourage her to get the tube while surgery is still feasible though. Every little movement takes so much energy, and she certainly shouldn't be starving herself. Even her nurse wants her to fight. I know she doesn't want to prolong her misery....The end is inevitable, but she needs it to be as easy as possible.

A couple of weeks after returning from London, my position was terminated. Lately it felt as though I'd been commuting for two hours a day in order to wait for something to do...so I think I could feel that coming for some time. But I was then freed up at a crucial time to hire vendors and make all sorts of decisions regarding the wedding, which has been great.

We've even been taking dancing lessons and on our 6th and last we finally got our wedding dance down.

Well....

We are getting married on Saturday. It's nearly here! My father arrives tomorrow. It will be nice to spend some time with him.

And...

Sunday at the crack of dawn we begin our trip to Antigua.



Oh Wow

2010-06-21T11:26:45.819-04:00

You guys have been commenting without me knowing - I just had to moderate a bunch of them. I was thinking of my old blog this weekend and missing it, and feeling sorry that I'd neglected it. I guess it's because I don't get much time alone, which is fine. But on Sunday, because Jeff went to the driving range, I was home alone and spent the middle of the day working on our wedding website on The Knot. I got a lot accomplished with it, and realized that's the only way to work on blog and things...

Let me know if you all are still out there...*sigh* sorry for not writing. Although I still think of you all more than I imagine. Though, it's easier for those of you who are now on Facebook :-)

The other thing that's restrictive about blogging still is that I must be tied to my laptop at home in order to handle all the pics. I have an iPad (b-day pressie from Jeffy), but can't get my photos to transfer. If I could, I'd blog from there because I can loll about in the living room and work on things there. This summer we are also looking into getting smart phones, so there's another option. I can then blog while out and about!

Once I get everything all set up, I'll revive this site, how about that?
Must run, as I am not supposed to be doing this right now!



Christmas to remember

2010-01-09T13:37:30.675-05:00

Today is January 9th, 2010. I've been writing this since December 12, 2009! I just retrieved it from draft status....So here's what I wrote in December:At the beginning of the month, we went to the Christmas Revels on the campus of George Washington University, an annual DC tradition for the past 25 years. The Revels take place in 10 other US cities, including Houston. It was my father who went to one there many years ago, who turned me on to seeing one someday, so when I found we had one right here, nothing would stop me from seeing it. If your city has one, you must go! They put on spring and harvest festivals also.This year, it was set in Renaissance Florence, and we, along with every one of Italy's noble families (Doge of Venice, Medici, d'Este, Borghese, et al. in all their sumptuous brocaded and bejewelled splendor) were guests of il maestro Leonardo da Vinci and his hilarious assistant Esmeralda.We learned all sorts of Italian carols and winter songs, were treated to traditional Renaissance music and dances, as well as one segment to Saturnalia, the Roman winter solstice, and saw some of da Vinci's inventions at work. By the end of the first half, the whole audience was skipping around the auditorium to "Lord of the Dance" and by the end of the second half, we were singing in rounds.********************We were supposed to move to our new home this weekend, but that plan was completely ruined by the worst winter storm in nearly 70 years. It stopped short of a blizzard because although the winds did gust a little, they didn't pick up too much. It snowed so heavily for about 24 hours that visibility was reduced to about half a block, and we got at least a foot of snow. The whole world looked as though it had been smothered in whipped cream and meringue and icing sugar.Stores were sold out of anything that could possibly be used to slide down a hill, and therefore every slope in the city was being used.We went out in the SUV and wondered at the people who thought they could take their cars out in all that snow. Loads of them were spinning wheels and stuck in drifts. Even the SUVs were challenged, but we managed. It was fun exploring the winter wonderland.People were discouraged from walking on the plowed streets, and were left to trudge through snow up to their knees. Some smart ones actually cross-country skiied.Lots of people hitched rides, and when we got to Tenleytown we picked up a woman and dropped her off at the apartments across the road from the National Cathedral. Jeffy told her that someone had done him the same favor 10 years ago when he too was living there.By 4pm, we found ourselves in Georgetown, which is picturesque at any time of year. We were determined to walk around, fall down, and make snow angels somewhere. We soon found ourselves at Book Hill Park near Dumbarton Oaks, the museum, library, and gardens we visited in the early summer. There were a few people there snowboarding and skiing down the hill beside the steps, and we stumbled and slipped our way up the snow mound to a circle of benches on a plateau. The snow was undisturbed and I was tempted to sit in the foot of snow on each bench. But we were there to make snow angels, my first ever --- or so I thought.......As I fumbled about in my ski pants and down-filled coat, slightly deaf with my furry hood on, I wasn't properly absorbing whatever Jeffy was saying. This is what I gathered:"Why is this park important?"*Thinking....something to do with the Revolution?* "I don't know Jeffy......because we're in it....?*He laughs* "Sort of."He keeps talking, something about how we keep saying we are so well matched, my Mum and God designed him, and his grandmother and God designed me. I climb onto a bench to face him, just because the fresh snow made me hyper, and place my hands on his sh[...]



Stay Tuned

2009-12-14T00:33:53.746-05:00

Thank you for the December nudge, Glo!

Stay tuned for an update...



Happy November

2009-11-11T22:25:12.375-05:00

Hello, hello, and thank you Glo for nudging me!Not only has Facebook made me lazy, but I still can't figure out how to blog with everything going on. Jeffy and I are buying a home! Closing probably at the end of this month, so we'll celebrate for Jeffy's birthday, and be in before Christmas. It's not too far from here, and in the same "area", but it is about a block from the DC line. I'll be one stop closer to work, and a much shorter walk from home, so I estimate shaving 15-20 minutes off my commute, and saving 80 cents per day. Which means I could stay with the same morning schedule and get in earlier! Whereas he walks now and his office is right above the metro, Jeffy would have to take the metro one stop north. 'Tis only fair...The condo we're buying is a real gem. The area is considered the Rodeo Drive of the East Coast. (Ironically I don't shop at Fendi, Tiffany, Saks 5th Avenue, Bloomingdales, or Lord & Taylor, but there they are. It lends a nice atmosphere, of course. However, my other favorite stores are also there: TJ Maxx, Filene's, Loehmann's, and all the other groceries and bookstores - a Whole Foods is under construction too!) Our building is in a "village" that encompasses only a few blocks, so, basically, a desirable neighborhood within a desirable area. The village runs a shuttle bus from the residential buildings to the main stores. There is a new village center that has a fitness center, gallery, theater, classes, library, and so on. Lots of twee green spaces, flowers, benches, sculptures, a fountain. Sort of a hidden enclave behind the shops, so I never knew about it when I lived in the area before and used to shop around there.How do I describe it in short? It's going to be difficult because I've never lived in such a neat place. The building is high-rise and has more amenities than we can shake a stick at - valet laundry, dry cleaner, and convenience store downstairs. Gym and huge pool with lanes on the roof, as well as a roof deck. Beautiful lobby, marble floors, brushed bronze and wood paneled elevators with discreet tinted mirrors.The 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo itself is nearly at the top and has been refurbished to the highest standard I've seen. Maple and tile floors. High end brushed steel appliances that would be so far out of my price range I'd never look at them in the store. Gorgeous light fittings. Granite counters in the kitchen and bathroom. Brushed nickel fixtures. Tons of storage.I can't wait, and neither can Jeffy. He is excited about the kitchen.On Halloween, we went into Georgetown dressed as a buccaneer and buccaneer babe. Pics are up on Facebook of course, clicky here.Work has been good. I've been working hard. I had the day off today because my company gets federal holidays. However, it was cold and rainy. I bummed around all morning and then met Jeffy for a quick lunch. Then I went down to the shopping area near our new home, and did some shopping in preparation for winter, having grown out of most of my clothes from last year!Well, it's nearly bedtime and it's back to work again for me tomorrow, so I'd better say goodnight and try to visit your blogs another day.I hope you all are well. If anyone comes by, perchance, do leave me an update in the comment section! I'd appreciate that. Miss you all! Till next nudge ;-)Site Feed[...]



PICTURES!

2009-09-09T13:29:02.227-04:00

Hi everyone, time for another email blog post!

Thank you Glo for the nudge. I think I need you around to do that from time to time :-)

My dad is in town this week, and Jeffy and I are meeting up with him every evening after work. I haven't seen him in nearly three years. Unfortunately, the DC area has been inflicted with some cooler temps and English rain for the week but that doesn't stop him. He's even more outdoorsy now than he was before moving out to Calgary.

I have posted
a link to my Facebook album of this summer, so I hope you visit and get caught up. Also feel free to add me since that's easier for me to update daily.

Going chronologically:

Early on we spent a weekend at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. It rained a bit but we still got our feet wet and played Skeeball.

Then there was a Tracy Chapman concert in Baltimore where we hung out with one of Jeff's law school friends.

We took a quick trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania where we learned all about chocolate and even ate some, including taking a "chocolate flight". We ate dinner one evening at Jeff's cousin's house nearby. Lovely place, great kids, huge dog, etc.

There was a double birthday at Jeff's sister's house in the Baltimore area, where I met his mom (in town for the weekend) and his younger sister and her 3 very well-behaved boys, though her hubby was out of state at a reunion. We played a bit of pitching and batting with the boys until the mosquitoes ate us alive, followed by Scrabble with his mother (she won).

A couple of weekends ago, we joined Jeffy's mom at her lake house in Traverse City, Michigan. It was cold and rainy but we managed to enjoy ourselves before leaving by climbing the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes. Also, I beat them both at Scrabble!Labor Day weekend was just that - laboring in the house to tidy up, hang shelves, run errands, and just enjoy having a 3-day weekend.

We went to a wedding near Sugarloaf Mountain, where the groom approved of me and said all the good things about Jeffy that he could think of. He said Jeff had told him I was pretty, but added that I was even prettier than he'd expected. And the bride said, "You're next!" We danced, tried to catch the bouquet/garter, and ate chocolate covered strawberries.

Well, must get back to work now.

I hope you're all well and I'll try to pop by and say hi this weekend.




Email blog

2009-08-11T15:13:54.797-04:00

*wind whistles forlornly*

*tumbleweed rolls past half-heartedly*

Is anybody out there...?

This is a quick post to say - I am still here, and I think about blogging more often than I can. But I think I've discovered the problem: I am never home long enough to check blogs, and it's not allowed at work. Email blogs will do. And I no longer stay up till 3am; I keep normal hours instead. I think adulthood has begun in earnest...

Facebook rocks, however. We are allowed to do that at work. Status updates are the way to go.

Blog update, anyone?

Still doing the whole organizing and buying of organizational things. Every weekend consists of going to Bed Bath and Beyond, or HomeGoods, or the hardware store, so it's falling into place one thing at a time. Also, Jeffy is homehunting, well, his colleague-who-is-also-a-realtor is doing so on his behalf, but not fast enough.

As a result of partially re-organizing the kitchen, we're able to cook at home a couple of times a week. Grilled veal with a spicy quinoa-rice blend (by me), and a salad with walnuts, feta, and raspberry dressing (by Jeffy). Or tuna steaks in a soy/honey/sesame chili oil/sesame seed reduction (by me) with garlic wild rice (by Jeffy), and a salad of sliced tomato sprinkled with feta, cilantro, xtra virgin olive oil, and balsamic vinegar (Jeffy). We're still a good team in the kitchen!

But THIS weekend we take a break and are going off to Hershey, Pennsylvania to visit Hershey's Chocolate World - where we will take a ride through the story of chocolate-making, and have a choc-tasting experience, and go to the museum. (There is also Hershey Park, which is a theme park, but that's not what we're going for.) Then we go to another town nearby to meet his cousin and family. We will stay at a lovely Victorian B&B in Hershey, then on Sunday we're off to Baltimore to hang out with his law school buddy F, and catch a Tracy Chapman concert.

P.S. I drafted this probably sometime Friday. I hope to give a weekend update soon - we did remember to take SOME photos, but not as many as usual.

P.P.S. Thanks Glo! Once again you've come looking for me, so I got this out of my Drafts box and sent it off!



Forgotten July

2009-07-19T20:56:55.350-04:00

Like some of my fellow bloggers, posts have been few and far between. There is simply too much going on.Jeffy and I are still setting up house because we can only make progress on weekends. People who accomplish things on weekday evenings after work must be superhuman.Yesterday I scrubbed the kitchen from top to bottom while Jeffy assembled our fantastic bamboo kitchen cart. Yes, it is made of bamboo! It's quite heavy and substantial, a really nice piece of furniture - the top is half bamboo board and half granite slab. It looks like we will have to go to London in early September. Some of you may remember that my mother has been suffering for over a year now with an undiagnosed degenerative nerve condition and has been undergoing a series of tests at Whittington Hospital. Her neurologist there had referred her to a leading research specialist in the field at University College Hospital's Institute of Neurology, which has the best neurologists in the country. She was finally diagnosed on Thursday with Motor Neurone Disease, which is progressive and incurable. The outlook could be a few months, or a few years, but unless she is lucky and hits a plateau (like Stephen Hawking), there's likely not that much time. There are 4 types, and after further testing, and just seeing how it progresses, they will know which type it is. Mum herself suspects ALS (Lou Gehrig's). Most of the family has been notified that if they want to see her they must go to London, and soon, just in case she loses the ability to speak.Essentially, MND is the worst diagnosis possible. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) would have been infinitely preferable. Imagine saying about a parent: "I wish she had MS"... You may think I sound matter-of-fact, and yes I am - but I have had my moments this week, especially at my desk at work, and I am sure they will continue. In the face of it all, Jeffy has been a godsend. I don't know anyone else who is so full of peace, positive energy, internal strength, and pure goodness. Without him I would probably have been in pieces.*****************In order to end this on a lighter note, I must share something lovely. One of my most faithful and longtime readers, Moody Minstrel, has composed a delightful acoustic ballad for J and me. Those of you who know of my odyssey will see that the lyrics are perfect. It's called Matching Smiles and was inspired by the photo of us on the tall ship in Old Town Alexandria. I am sure MM won't mind me sharing this with you all, since you are also in the faithful reader circle, and I thank you for that.Thank you a thousand times, Minstrel-san!Matching SmilesWhat flow of karma, blessed winds of fateFrom Heaven's gateLed our paths to cross?A scene no artist's brush or author's penDetermined how and when we came together.Like an angel dropping from the sky,You came, and IDidn't see you coming.Now I almost fear that I'llOpen my eyes and seeIt's all a fantasy.Nobody pinch me!A breath ago I fled a grayer placeAnd turned my faceToward the setting sun.I only hoped to sate my wanderlust,Do what I must to find some warmth and color.But instead I found a deeper truthOf rhyme and rhythmAnd a brighter promise.Now the words are dancingOn your lips and on the pageWhile language sets the stage,A whole, new age!We look upon the world with matching smilesAnd go in styleWhere even words don't go.We'll hear the music on the 18th Street,A swinging beat to kiss the week goodbye now.Turn the darkness to a brighter day,A place to stayThat is a house, a home.The candlesticks are red,The smell of cookies fills the air.Between us not a care,As long as we share!Site Feed[...]



The 4th of July

2009-07-04T12:02:48.712-04:00

Happy Independence Day!

And a happy belated Canada Day to those of you in the north :-)

Sorry I haven't been able to check in - here or on your own blogs. I wanted to email in another post from work, but it was busy last week, and I do feel quite selfish, just posting here and lacking the time to come by yours. I really do miss you all and our old routine. [It wasn't so long ago I was neglecting the blogs, while settling in DC and my new job. Now I have to resettle in Maryland and have all that related paperwork/tax forms/HR info/driver's license, etc.] Anyway, my final nudge came from Glo whose last comment I've just read in my inbox, saying she was thinking of me and wondering if I could check in soon. Thanks, Glo - I really was touched.

Well, quick update. I moved in with J last weekend. For the first few days I kept repeating to myself, "Omigod I live with a booooy...!"

He works next to the metro, so we walk to work/metro in the mornings; he's all about holding hands on the 10 minute walk, bless him. It's a neat routine, although if I wanted to work from 9-6 Instead of 10-7 I'd have to leave alone, an hour early. Maybe eventually, eh? Plus since the metro accident (June 22) the red line has been awful, it's just like commuting in London with the delays, and standing cheek to cheek with strangers, where usually I don't wait long and get a seat.

I have a pile of STUFF in the living room through which I am still excavating/standing in puzzlement, although a lot of STUFF is hanging in my half of the closet. We went to IKEA yesterday and I learned, for the third time in my life, why I don't want to buy furniture there again. If you have to find the door, the drawer mechanism, the legs, the handles, the cabinet front, the frame, the countertop - oh the horror! - and can't pick it up on the showroom floor, then we have resolved not to buy it. The lower price is not worth the trouble in the end.

Last week we got some warm lamps. For Jeffy, nice lamps and warm colors seem to symbolize a comfy home, and that's our goal.



Update (short version)

2009-06-22T23:53:58.863-04:00

I have written a long version to this update which I will share with you when this is all over, unless it just seems unnecessary and very old news by then.

In short I will say that neither reason nor the law have been enough to promote compromise, and Jeff is taking very good care of me, and has removed the situation from my hands almost entirely.

Last week I was inspired to create a quote:

Hope and optimism are the things that keep you looking past the present darkness
It is the sort of saying Jeff's maternal grandmother Amalie would have appreciated. She wrote a book of uplifting daily passages that I hope to finish reading sometime. It seems to run in the family, for he is never short of encouragement. Negativity is anathema to his way of life, and he follows a strong internal code of honor which is rarely seen in this day and age. It really puts me in mind of the knights of old, that is how strongly he is motivated to do the Right Thing.

I cannot get over how his capacious mind never stops creating, thinking, and considering things from every angle. Because not only does he stand on that reservoir of peace I mentioned last time, he also seems to create time with sheer willpower. He never says, "I can't". He almost always manages it, usually succeeds at whatever he puts his mind to, and never makes excuses on the rare occasions he doesn't accomplish something.

He is a Visionary I think, and when he envisions the future, I can see it too.

And then he goes and says, "But you know everything, Livvy." (When I said "I don't know" the other day to a question about the Atlantic Ocean. We were at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and I was pretty knocked out by sea air at the time, but I think now I feel an answer formulating somewhere in the back of my brain...)

I am also thankful for my job and my supportive colleagues (those who need to know); the environment of sanity that it provides; an escape from the tension of my situation at home.



Life Happens

2009-06-17T18:31:09.037-04:00

Hi everyone,

Sorry it's been so long since I wrote here. Believe me, I wanted to, but many things are going on and .... well, I have just realized that I am probably undergoing a major life transition now.

First, I have learned a hard lesson: Current company excepted, I will from now on try to limit my dealings with New Yorkers.

My landlady finally went on the long-awaited rampage, a little earlier than I'd expected. I have never seen such wild eyes in my life.

Jeff turned out to be my knight in shining armor, surprise surprise - although he is sorry that his efforts to protect me from her by - calmly and quietly, as is his way - citing actual DC tenancy laws are what precipitated the drama and we would have been totally justified in calling the police on her.

He is representing me, and her daughter is representing her. He's drawing up a new agreement to end my lease.

He seems to "stand upon a reservoir of peace" (this is the image in my head), and uses words of wisdom, and a tone of reassurance. Within a couple of minutes he had turned her daughter's vicious approach over the phone into a reasonable legal discussion tinged with just the right amount of humanity.

I will move in with him around the end of July - he offered twice in two days, and I can stay for as long as I like, even forever. He wants to make a home, and is intensively looking to buy a place.

He has told me with utmost sincerity that he is here for me; it is a miracle that he found me; he only wanted to protect me and cannot see why anyone would be mean to me; he cares for me unconditionally and limitlessly; that Fate and Destiny have only good and bright things in store for me, and for him, and he can't wait.

And the way he looks at me...I haven't seen that since my father used to look at my mother...just the thought of it takes my breath away.



Dilatory Me

2009-06-03T00:23:31.676-04:00

I was going to blog much earlier and then 3 people called in a row!However, the delay between Memorial Day weekend and today is long enough that my blog ought to be nice and succinct.We went to Cape May, New Jersey.  The End.Just kidding.Here are some pictures:We stayed at the Angel of the Sea, one of the best B&Bs in the country.  J said he chose a place where he thought an angel would sleep.  ;-)The Pink HouseThe Union Jack with the Stars and StripesA Mustang on Ocean DriveThis is the Fire Department!This is a bank!Sunset, Day OneCape May Lighthouse, Day OneCape May Lighthouse on 5x optical zoomOn Saturday evening after dinner at the Ugly Mug, we played skee ball, which was a ton of fun.Tea at the Angel of the SeaA seaweed-covered jetty on the beach.  It was chilly on Sunday but we ran around on the beach collecting shells and stones, getting sand between our toes, catching our feet in the lapping waves, and digging up baby sand crabs.  Then we played mini golf.  In the evening, we smartened up a little and enjoyed a fine dinner at the Merion Inn on Sunday night, where an old guy played some excellent jazz numbers on a baby grand, and someone sang along.  It was all so good that we wanted to kidnap the old-timer and haul the inn back to Bethesda.But it was suddenly HOT on Monday!  We had popcorn and frozen custard and got tanned.The 3 hour drive there took double the time on the way home because everyone else was travelling at the same time.We passed through Goshen, New Jersey, at a snail's pace, so I got some interesting pictures of classic white churches, there was even an old one-room school house but I couldn't get my camera out in time.Sunset over an inlet at Cape May, one of the best photos I have ever taken.This weekend, J and I got some pics developed, bought frames, and put them up in our respective offices.  He's had fun showing us off to colleagues and clients.Well, it's past my bedtime so I bid you goodnight!  I'll come and see you soon, a few at at time for the rest of the week.Site Feed[...]



Impromptu weekend

2009-05-21T07:38:07.919-04:00

Saturday we went to the Bethesda Strut Your Mutt dog show, but we were hungry for lunch first and so ate and relaxed (digesting is hard work for two small people), by which time everyone was packing up.  But we saw more than enough dogs, met a few, and nearly adopted one.Then what to do?  As the afternoon was young we decided to check out the Greek Festival and all I will say about the one in DC is it cannot hold a candle to the one in Houston.  It's more like a street market than a festival - no printed guidebook with menus and schedules of shows, no dancing or live music.  Bah humbug!  Good thing we're planning on going to H-town in October!It was a heavy afternoon so hot and sticky we walked a couple of blocks from the festival to the National Cathedral, where we sat on a bench under the trees to rest, cool down, watch children playing, birds catching worms, and the breeze rustling the leaves.  Then at Evensong time, 5pm, we went to the door only to find out from the chatty guide on the steps that the board was wrong and we'd missed it by an hour.  So now what?  Jeff has an idea for everything.  Dinner in Old Town.  Old Town where?  Old Town Alexandria.  So we drive across the Potomac River from Georgetown into Old Town and go exploring.We find free tours of an original creation - a Tall Ship, owned by an interesting commune.(Somebody looks pleased as Punch in these photos, and I'm not referring to me.)We found ourselves in a quaint old seafood establishment that had a big walk-in fireplace in the bar.  King Street in Old Town is full of 18th century terraces.  There's also a Queen Street, Duke Street, Princess Street.  I didn't see a Prince Street.  NYC seems to have stolen that one.  Next time I will take more pictures.  We both forgot our cameras though I had my trusty phonecam.Anyway, I had calamari with the BEST, I mean, BEST, accompaniment EVER.  It was cilantro and sweet chili mayo, emphasis on the cilantro here, and in my opinion you can never have too much cilantro.  That's coriander leaf for my British readers.I also had She Crab soup.  Not sure about why it's called that, but it's creamy and spicy and full of sherry so there's a warm bite of alcohol followed by a warm flush of spice which builds as you eat.**********************On Sunday J's mother was in town for a conference over the weekend, which she left early so that he could drive her up to Baltimore to see his nephew, who had been hospitalized earlier in the week but is now fine.  Baltimore is roughly a 45 min drive from here.  They knew he was on a schedule so he was in and out the door, and back in DC to pick me up and take me to Andrews Air Force Base for the Joint Services Open House and Air Show.Sorry Flighty.  We got stuck in traffic owing to an accident, and by the time we were out the parking at the stadium was closed and the shuttle buses were finished and the air show was closed to further entry.In driving around looking for a vantage point to park amongst the hundreds of other people lining the empty spaces with their cars and tailgate parties outside the event, we found ourselves turning into the AFB and down past the visitor's center to a checkpoint because we were unable to turn around.  So the guard took his driver's license and he drove round a U-turn to the exit, and his DL was returned by another guard) both carrying machine guns, and we were out.By then I was starving with a cherry on top and fixing to faint, so he took me to Washingtonian Waterfront in Gaithersburg, where he fed me an excellent M[...]



RED

2009-05-19T16:35:21.175-04:00

A comparison of color in verse:....As she breathed deeply into the scented rose,she remembered his words:Only you, dear Ruby, are my love,my life, the flower of my dreams,the fire in my heart.And she blushed as she gazedinto the flaming sunset,the cherry blossoms waftingonto her russet locks.********** Olivia Klonaris, Red, 1994 And her sweet red lips on these lips of mineBurned like the ruby fire setIn the swinging lamp of a crimson shrine,15Or the bleeding wounds of the pomegranate,Or the heart of the lotus drenched and wetWith the spilt-out blood of the rose-red wine.**********Oscar Wilde, In the Gold Room: a Harmony, 1881Site Feed[...]



What I do

2009-05-16T00:40:34.967-04:00

Yes, this is part of what I do.  Care to guess what language this is?  Facebookers are excluded because you already know.This is a CDC publication targeted at immigrant communities to prevent the spread of certain communicable diseases.  I look at the English source and the translated target side by side on paper, and mark up anything that I think needs changing.  Then I pass it to my fellow QC spec for back up - she runs her eye over it, adds things and discusses with me anything she finds noteworthy.  Then I annotate our notes in the PDF document that was produced by the Graphics department - with edits for Graphics, and questions for the Translator.Graphics implements their changes first if possible, otherwise their further issues are addressed by the project manager, then the PDF goes to the PM who passes it to the Translator to have the questions addressed.  In the photo, I am re-annotating the PDF for Graphics in a second round, according to the Translator answers which came in a detailed table.  This being an incomprehensible language to me, it took a lot of shape-hunting and at times I was zoomed in at 400%.  Here, the translator has addressed my issue that "sick" and "not sick" are not bolded in the translation.  The Translator says he did bold it originally in the document he sent to Graphics, so I have written a note to Graphics here to ask them to either bold it again or enlarge the font slightly, if bolding is not possible.  Another issue was that the title on the poster used different characters to the identical title on the leaflet, and the Translator then provided a better phrase.  I also marked a LOT of stray characters here and there which Graphics will remove.So, that's sort of what I do and hope it makes more sense for those of you who are still mystified as to how I perform my job.  Don't worry, you're not alone - sometimes I wonder too!***************Last weekend we didn't do photogenic things, probably because we met up with some of his friends on Thursday night to watch the opening of Star Trek.  It was an amazing movie and I recommend you go see it.  Afterwards we all went for dinner so he didn't escort me home until way past midnight.  Obviously, we both paid for that wild episode on Friday and felt too lazy for an epic weekend although we accomplished much.On Saturday:Ate lunch at Cici's Pizza - yay for jalapenos!We searched high and low at the mall for a Scrabble game, and dropped my boots off at the cobbler's benchWent to the grocery store for baking suppliesBaked Magic Cookie Bars, which are delicious by the way, and we have both eaten a couple of squares every night this week, and they're still not finishedAte dinner at a really good Indian restaurant in Bethesda and listened to a young white jazz band (and they were amazing) outside the Haagen-Dazs down the roadPlayed Scrabble and ate our baked goods.  He won.  We're both good with words, but he's a better strategist and I'm a better speller.  So he'd say, "Livvy, how do you spell the word for..." and give the definition and I'd supply the spelling.  And then when I gave up he helped me, and we finished all the tiles, but he still won.On Thursday, Jeff said, "Livvy, we make a good team in the kitchen."  I agreed.On Sunday:Went for brunch at the Pancake House in BethesdaWe hung out at the fountain, watching people out on their best behavior with their mothers all dressed up for Mother's DayAlso watched children and dogs, as usualSee, told you it was boring [...]



A couple of weekends

2009-05-11T00:14:33.627-04:00

Oh no!  We have catching up to do!Last Saturday, I got flowers for no reason...and was speechless for once.Last weekend was full of rain, but before it all hit we managed to spend some time at Dumbarton Oaks Museum and Garden in Georgetown.The museum is a Harvard research library filled with Byzantine and ancient artifacts, a stately mansion which used to belong to a family who founded the gardens.  If you've ever read The Secret Garden, it's a magical like that, only not wild and not a secret.My photos came out quite fuzzy because I didn't realize my camera was stuck between Auto and Scenery, so obviously didn't know what to compensate for.  However, here are some of the best, and a couple from Jeff's camera.From J's camera - on the Juliet balcony overlooking one of the garden levelsAn interior gate between two small gardensThe pebble fountain and wisteriaJ and the spewing horseThe back of the library museumWhite wisteria?An urn gardenPretty, but no public access area.The rain started as soon as we left the garden!I don't recall where we had dinner after that, but it was somewhere around Dupont Circle.  Afterwards we went to our favorite haunt the 18th Street Lounge, and oh boy do I have a story, which I already shared on Facebook so for some of you this will be a repeat but for most of you it will be new and "excessively diverting", to somewhat quote Jane Austen.  ***************The 18th Street Lounge jazz floor is usually host to a sophisticated and level-headed crowd, unlike the young clubber types on the trance floor downstairs.We managed to snag a sofa that was vacated not long after we arrived, but before the band set up. Jeff went to get the second round of drinks so there was me, a little space, my bag, and the next sofa. Some tall dude came and plopped himself down in Jeff's spot. I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Excuse me, somebody is sitting here." He looked at me like I was lying, asked if he could sit there until my drinks did arrive, and proceeded to introduce himself, "Hi, I'm Bob." He sounded Irish. He put out his hand and I gave him a fingertip handshake, as almost a reflex of politeness. He said, "Aren't you drinking?" I said, "I'm waiting for my drink." He said, "Are you here with your girlfriend or boyfriend?" I said, "My boyfriend." He said, "Just checking." Then he said, "Thanks for saving me a seat." I said, "This is not your seat." He looked shocked. By now I'm desperately thinking to myself, "Jeff, where are you...?"He then proceeded to ask, "Are you in school?" I said, "No." He then asked, "What do you do for work?" I said, "None of your business." And proceeded to shoo him away, like you do with garden critters. And with audacity he proceeded to touch one of my shooing hands. I shooed again with more vigor and when I spotted Jeff approaching very nearly shouted at him to buzz off. He did leave and when Jeff sat down a moment later I told him my story and thought I could point out my "admirer", but he had simply disappeared.As for Jeff, he too had a story. He said that a guy had bought us our drinks! There was some mix up with the queue so the guy who was mistakenly placed ahead of Jeff was kind enough to order in such a way that the bartender told Jeff that, by the way, the drinks were already paid for. Quite an odd evening at the 18th Street Lounge, if you ask me.The following evening when retelling the story to Jeff's law school friend at dinner, when I was describing how "Bob" had taken[...]



Haiku by email

2009-05-06T17:24:33.728-04:00

Just wondering if I really had enough down time at work, perhaps I could blog via email.

Today, after a string of intense days where my eyes nearly popped out, I was faced with nothing to do.

So I wrote a haiku:

Birds sing in the trees
Sunshine warms the earth and sky
Smell the sweet springtime



Annapolis Adventure

2009-04-29T23:55:44.336-04:00

It's not often I wait until Wednesday to blog about the weekend, but it's been a busy week and I can't quite figure out evenings.I work from 9.30am-6.30pm.  I've worked those hours before in London, with an equally long - but much more tiring - commute.  Perhaps the reason I'm confused is that back then I stopped planning as soon as I got home.  Now, the 9 o'clock hour is reserved for talking to Jeff, so I like to get chores done beforehand and internety things afterwards - and weekends are also no longer laundry-filled lolling about in pyjama days.  I have things to see, and places to explore, with somebody!So anyway, this has been a hard week so far, mainly because of this one English project.  I got one phase of it QC'd and handed over but it was mind-boggling because the client gave it to us so mangled up the project managers and graphics department are in overdrive.  And I have to sift through that confusion.  I tell you, it was such a relief to turn to the relatively simple Italian documents sitting on my desk all morning.You know what I like hearing when I am on the metro?  Leaving the Foggy Bottom-George Washington University station, the driver often says, "This is the last stop in the District of Columbia.  Next stop is Rosslyn, the first stop in the Commonwealth of Virginia."  I'll have to tell you more sometime about Virginia, the Old Dominion founded in 1607 as the first English settlement in North America.  And of course you know it's named after Elizabeth the Virgin Queen?***********************But you want to know about Saturday, of course.It was a lovely nearly-hot day which was pushed a little late because J had training to do at the office.  When he picked me up, we went to get a hat for me (which I couldn't wear because it was so windyu) and a pair of sunglasses for him (which he wore because it was so sunny).On to Annapolis.  It's only about a 45-minute drive so we were there around mid-afternoon and wandered about a bit, taking in the atmosphere and watching the people, including midshipmen (male and female) in their summer whites.  It is a quaint, pretty, quirky town full of arts and crafts, seafood bars, galleries, antique shops, cafes.Then we came upon a 40-minute boat cruise on the Severn River, which took us past the US Naval Academy, towards the Chesapeake Bay.Up the Severn River with the US Naval Academy to the leftA pretty sailboatAfternoon skies over the USNASunset over the Severn RiverSunset over the USNA dorms and chapel dome.The dorms are the second largest in the world, housing 4,000 midshipmen.The chapel dome has a gilt cupola on top.Returning to dock after the cruise.Jeff's cool new sunglasses and my old onesMcGarvey's Saloon and Oyster Bar on Pinkney Street, Annapolis.It was all wood-panelling, tile floors, marble tables, Tiffany lamps.  There was an atrium room where we ate in the left building, which had a real tree growing out of the floor and it reached the glass ceiling.  I couldn't take a pic as by then it was too dark.I was taking a photo of the chocolate marquise we shared to round out the 3-course seafood dinner.  Even this we couldn't finish.  We rarely finish anything.  And yes, J is well aware that any photo I take could end up here, which is kind of why he did that.The Maryland State House and Flag on State Circle, Annapolis.Built in 1772, the state house is the oldest continually-used capitol building in t[...]