Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Sunday Walk a la Forrest Gump

Once a month, Gary plays poker with "the boys." In fact, the boys are, for the most part, a group of men who are significantly older than Gary. They've been playing together for as long as I can remember and then some. Generally, they play on Friday evenings towards the beginning of the month and the game rotates from house to house. This week it was at Chuck's house. That means that this past Friday night I was on my own. TNT was having some "Tom Hanks Fest" this weekend, or something and Friday's featured film was "Forrest Gump."

I like Forrest Gump. It's a predictable, but fun, sweet movie. One of my favorite parts is when he takes off running after Jenny leaves him for the umpteenth time. I love the scenes of him running with his long hair and long beard, to say nothing of the scenery, real or fake. You know that in the movie he runs from coast to coast for three-plus years. So...

After a few late nights, Gary and I slept in a bit this morning. When we finally got up, we were unsure what we wanted to do but we knew we wanted to get coffee and take a walk.

Ultimately, we decided we'd walk around Old Town Alexandria. Old Town is a lot like Broooklyn Heights, lots of old homes. Very picturesque, always a treat to walk around and "sightsee" there even if we aren't tourists. So we walked and walked. Before I knew it we'd walked over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge all the way to National Harbor in Maryland. And then we walked back!

Maybe not coast to coast for three and change years, but considering that I thought we'd do a half an hour or so and we ended up walking for nearly three hours and covering about seven miles, I'm officially joining the "Forrest Gump" running club. Not bad!

Monday, May 10, 2010

I love you, whoever you are...

If you have a significant other, admit it. You have a "pet name" for him or her. Right? Don't deny it. Honest to God, there are times when I can't remember my husband's name for all the nicknames he has. It's like being unable to see the forest for the trees. Caught up in details, y'know? For the record, my husband's name is Gary.
Among the many things I call him, is one "cutesy" name that I can't reveal that he tolerates, but doesn't really like, because he doesn't think it's "manly." And it probably isn't, but I love him and I love it. It's a permutation of "Babydoll." For the sake of this blog post, we'll say that's what it is.
So we're with my parents at Union Station in Washington, DC on Saturday along with half the world, it seems -- all there for National Train Day. Very cool! On display, among other things, were several cars from the early 1900s that had been rehabbed under the auspices of private owners. They were extremely luxurious with carpeting and plush sofas and most of them were mahogany paneled. Wow! Now, anyone who has taken a train knows that when you walk from one car to the next, you look in the direction you are going in and rarely look behind you. I've just set the scene....
So I've walked through the train and now I'm out on the platform waiting for my parents who are a bit further behind me to come out. I know that Gary is right behind me and I can see him out of the corner of my eye. I'm carrying some papers that I want him to hold for me, so, as I turn around to give them to him, I say, "Babydoll, can you put these papers in your...." What?! No way?! I'm facing a complete stranger who's looking at me with a rather shocked expression and Gary is just now exiting the train. When my parents came out of the train seconds later, they wanted to know why everyone was doubled over laughing. The joke was definitely on me and it was hilarious! Fortunately, no feelings of anyone involved in this rather grand faux pas were hurt.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Impromptu Concert

On January 1st I sat down and blogged about goal setting. I might not have told the whole truth. Part of my New Year's goal was to blog more often. I have read countless times that a writer needs to practice writing EVERY DAY. Well, let's not get carried away... I'm only human after all. But truth be told, I've been missing blogging. I've actually written a few posts for Good Shepherd Housing and Family Services for whom I volunteer, but I haven't blogged for me since January. That said, it was my birthday last Friday. I regard my birthday as a chance to start again. Hopefully this time I can stick to it a little more.
So today has been hot and humid -- how charming -- and I'm working on getting my house in order (in more ways than one, perhaps) before my parents come for the weekend on Friday. For the last 45 minutes or so, I've been folding laundry in a room with a fan on and windows open. I've got a CD of the Mikado playing.
I was in the Mikado in 6th grade -- in the men's chorus (don't ask). How old was I then, about 12? I do not have an identity crisis now, but incredibly, I do still remember a lot of the lyrics from the show. We practiced a lot as I recall. So I've been belting them out along with the singers from the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company. And then I remembered that the window was open...
I hope my neighbors enjoyed the impromptu concert.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Goal tending...

So here it is. The end of the first day of the new year and the new decade.
I’m older – I turned 40 last year – and consequently, hopefully, a little wiser. I have learned to keep certain opinions to myself and to more judiciously pick my battles. I also know that it’s foolish for me to set unreachable goals for myself because doing so is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If I set a goal I can’t meet… well, you do the math. So I’m trying to set goals that can be met.
Six years ago I attended a Jewish leadership conference (where I met Gary!). During the three-day event I attended a session on the evils of gossip or, in Hebrew, Lashon Hara. After the conference ended, I returned to my job at a Jewish school and told my colleagues that I was committed to only engaging in 50 acts of Lashon Hara a day, instead of 100. Everyone laughed, but I said that if I could reduce number of times I gossiped by half, that I would be well on my way to being a better person.
So here I am six years later. Ask me how I’m doing. I still gossip, but I’ve finally started to recognize how purposeless it is. That brings me back to setting goals that can be met.
I don’t think I can go cold turkey on talking about others, but maybe I can cut back or try to make the talk positive? I also don’t think I’m going to love every moment of life, but maybe I can dwell more on the positive than the negative happenings?
I think it can be done. It just takes realization.
A lot happened in 2009. It started with a bang – Gary and I went to an inaugural ball (see pix), took a trip to the Bahamas and traveled to St. Louis for the NCAA Wom
en’s Basketball Final Four and I got to visit with some Washington University professors who I hadn’t seen for nearly 20 years. So much fun!
Then, as the year progressed, life took a turn for the complicated. I left a job I’d started the year before, I had multiple visits to the doctor about a leg problem, I got disappointing news from a friend about her family and I discontinued membership in organizations I’d previously been excited about.
But as a consequence of leaving my job and the organizations that didn’t work, I found time for new pursuits that did and do work. I’ve taken up the study of Italian more seriously, I attended lots of basketball games and have come to love the sport, I found a calming influence in Dhammakaya (Buddhist) meditation and I’m volunteering and possibly pursuing a new career path.
So the goal I’m setting for myself in 2010 that I think I can meet is to remember that life is balanced and that there will be good and bad moments along the way, all of which I have to accept with grace and gratitude. As I said, I think I can meet it.
If I do, it’s sure to be a happy and successful New Year.