34th Street Light Bonanza

This picture is sparkling! What wonders the world has to offer.
Whether I want to or not, I always tend to get into the ‘holiday spirit.’ I am a sucker for lights, presents and endless baked goods. So, even though we don’t celebrate Christmas ourselves, I still like to participate in all of the bonus fun this time of year. I have been hankering for a good Christmas lights display but haven’t wanted to dish out twenty dollars to drive around for a few minutes looking at really over the top light show. 
You may notice that this picture, too, is sparkling. Picasa has done its witchery to my pictures. And I like it.

Mid-week my friend Sarah asked if we wanted to go to Baltimore to check out the lights on 34th Street on Friday. A shout out to one of my favorite movies and Christmas lights? Yes, please.

Dylan McDermott in a turtle neck? A young Matilda? This movie has it all.

Feraz, Sarah and I met up in Dupont Circle and made the road trip to Baltimore. It took almost an hour and a half in which time we ate almost a whole box of chocolates and read this step-by-step commentary on why Love Actually is the worst movie of all time. I made that link extra big so you might actually click on it and see the light if you haven’t already. Seriously. Worst. Movie. Ever.

Don’t they know it’s spelled “Happy Holidays”??

Since it was such a beautiful night, we joined a throng of people who were taking in the lights. Sarah warned us that she had read on the 34th Street website that the area had gotten a bit more dangerous so if someone suspicious approached us, we were to call 911 or better yet, “scream for help.”

This picture is SNOWING! What the who what is going on? It’s a miracle. On 34th Street?!

Luckily there was no occasion to scream for help. Except, maybe for one time when a young man dressed as an elf ran down the street yelling “Santa is coming!” What excitement! What joy! We waited and a lady said, “Santa isn’t coming, he ran by yelling that an hour ago.” Sarah explained that he meant that Santa was coming on Christmas. I wanted to yell, “HELP! PLEASE BE MOREE MORE SPECIFIC WITH YOUR HOLIDAY CHEER YOUNG ELFIN MAN.”

From the House of Pleasant Living.
This picture makes me want to check out google street view of this block.
On the way in, we had passed an exciting looking place called the Papermoon Diner.  Although it is a little bit arrogant, the diner accurately is described as “eclectic” and “eccentric” on it’s website. There are strange mannequins outside with utensils for hair and an army of toys inside. The whole place had a Bjork meets spoiled, slightly psychopathic child feel. In a good way.
The food was pretty decent and it was a fun place to eat. I’m not sure if I would go out of my way to eat there again but it is definitely worth checking out once. 
We wondered what it said about us as people when we passed this on the street and all three of us wanted to eat here.

Ecuador – Ten-Year Anniversary Trip

The view from our first hotel.

I have been meaning to post pictures from our Ecuador trip for a long time but the sad thing is that I lost  almost all of the pictures from the trip! Every time I would sit down to write the post I would feel too bummed that all the pictures were gone (and for someone who doesn’t remember anything like me, all the memories too).

Luckily, I have over twenty pages of journaling from the trip that I look forward to reading with Feraz. When we went on our five-year anniversary trip to Costa Rica, we made a bucket list of things we wanted for our relationship by our ten year anniversary. Sadly, I have no idea where that list is now, but I do remember that one of the funny things we wrote on there was to stay within five pounds of the weight we were then. Hahahahahahaha. Ha. Well, on that note, here are some pictures from our trip!
Happy camper on our balcony.
Happy camper at our first meal in Ecuador.
Yum.
Stunning bus rides.
I had great aim with that thing. I would have been good in the wild.
This guy wouldn’t have made it.
See what I mean?
What the heck is that thing?
This guy had a more approachable vibe.
The boat that took us down the Amazon. 
The sweet little hotel Feraz booked for our anniversary.
It had its own llamas!
Our cabin. A man made our fire every evening.
Feraz was genuinely trying to be nice here but this picture makes him look like a horrible foreign tourist. 
You know. 
On our actual anniversary day. One of the few pictures we have together but lets be real, I’m posting this because my cheekbones look good and you can barely see my second chin. 
You can see the rest of the pictures I uploaded over here

Comedy, DC Rollergirls and Movies Galore

The mascot trying to cheer on his losing team. 

This weekend started off with checking out some local comedy at the Big Hunt in Dupont. Feraz was late so I escaped the cold by wandering into a bookstore. It is such an incredible feeling to be surrounded by all those stories. I love writing but sometimes I wonder what the point of adding one more story to the millions of stories that already exist. Then I think- what an amazing thing to potentially be able to give someone? That wonderful escape that so many authors gave me. To help take people from the ordinary and mundane to a world full of people and places that once only resided in an imagination. Even if I have to spend ten, fifteen years on my book, I will finish it and in its own way, it will have meaning. I had forgotten what a safe haven bookstores are.

Back to the comedy. We have been trying to get out and support local comics whenever we can and its been fun to see some of the same comics in different venues. It’s amazing how sensitive all of the comics are to the audience. The same jokes are received so differently by different rooms. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the guts to try to do stand-up comedy but watching young comics is a great way to learn. On Friday, we saw at least three comics just completely choke. One poor girl was so panicked that she just stared out at the crowd saying things like, “Oh, man. This is not going good, is it?” Dead. Silence. I tried to give her lots of smiles and thumbs ups but she was on a sinking ship. There was nothing to be done. Another guy we had seen about a month ago told the same jokes that fell somewhat flat previously. On Friday, the room ate it up. People were laughing so hard that he had to pause his set at times.

After the show, we stopped by Krispy Kreme and got some donuts for our ride home. In our car. Although it was nice not having a car for a long time, there is something wonderful about just getting in your car on a cold night and zooming home as Queen blares and you have a sing-along between stuffing donuts in your face.

On Saturday, I began a marathon of movies. Over the two remaining days of the weekend I watched: The Other Woman, Clueless, She’s All That and Charlie Bartlett. And maybe one more movie… It was wonderful.

Between the movie watching, we made it out to our first ever Roller Derby. Ever since watching Whip It, we had been meaning to go. That movie seems like it was incredibly accurate in capturing the derby world. The girls were so tough. It is an intense sport and while watching, I went from really, really wanting to do it to thinking how the hell are they out there doing that?! We watched two “bouts” which are like matches. Each one is made up of two periods, lasting thirty minutes each. Then there are jams, jammers, the pack, blockers and a host of other derby terms that you can pick up pretty quickly (especially if you are sitting next to someone friendly who is willing to explain the rules). If you are free one weekend and looking for some thing different to do, definitely go check out the Rollergirls. You can find their full schedule at this link.

The rest of the weekend was spent baking, eating, cooking, eating, driving around and looking at Christmas lights (we’ve decided that our neighborhood has the best ones), drinking warm coffees and visiting friends.

I like to write these little recap posts because I know that one day I’ll look back and I’m going to miss this. On Sunday night as we drifted to sleep, Feraz said, somewhat sadly, “One day we are going to look back on this and it will all seem so far away.” He has a point. These are wonderful and carefree days. But I remember that when we lived in Istanbul, I used to think, “These are the best days of our life. How will it ever get better than this?” And I guess I have found that each phase, each test and trial, each new season, reveals its own beauty and perfection. Somehow, there is always a new adventure waiting.