Hot time, summer in the city

After weeks of waffling between cold rains and random warm days, it seems like summer is pretty much officially here in DC. We’ve had a stretch of days with temperatures into the 80s, humidity first thing in the morning, and hot breezes into the late evening. Here we go!

Summers hold some of the best memories for people everywhere, whether you get them off, or slog through them with some breaks in between. Summers are chock full of things to do and memories to be made. Here are a few of my favorite summer moments from over the years…what are some of yours?

  • Summers in Louisiana: Hot boiled crawfish spilled all over newspapers on the picnic table, and a spearmint snowball in my hand to cool off. Boat rides down the Blind River and jumping in the swamp until I realized that I could die from an alligator or snake bite. Riding my bike into the sugar cane fields with my cousin and then getting an iced treat (pushpop, popsicle or fudgepop) from MaMa’s freezer. Trips to Blue Bayou waterpark.
  • Vacations with my parents: Europe in 1996, a Carribbean cruise in 2001, Wrigley Field in 2003.
  • Adoption Day: July 3, 2001 (10 years this summer!)
  • College summers: News internships in Cincinnati, Springfield, and Columbus, Ohio. Rascal Flatts and James Taylor concerts.
  • DC summers: More concerts. Jazz in the park. Colonial Williamsburg. Tiger Woods. Wedding back at my alma mater. Wrigley Field. Two moves. Fireworks. Baseball. Breakup. New friends.

Back to life, back to reality

IMG_8167Yet another song so aptly applies to life – probably how it is meant when songs are written, but it does seem so cliche sometimes. I remember when I was in high school and college and I posted song lyrics as instant messenger away messages and in my profile – they usually were silly love songs based on who I was crushing on at that moment.

So many things in life seem silly when we look back on it years later. Recently, I was reading through old journal entries to see what I was writing around some particularly challenging times as a teen. Those were interesting enough, but what stopped and made me laugh were all the hours I spent going on and on about boys – oh my gosh, what a wasted effort that seems now, haha. I know all girls go through it, and it’s a part of growing up, but it’s just really interesting to see what took up my energy and emotions back then compared to now – and how dramatic I thought things really were. Crush after crush, conversation after conversation analyzed – nothing compared to paying rent, performing in your job, working through a three-year long distance relationship, and all the other things that come along when you become an adult.

This past week, I was able to step out of life for a few days when I returned home to Ohio. Although I’m almost 25 now, going home makes me feel like a teenager again. Not because I’m grounded or have bedtimes or can’t drink wine with my parents, but because I feel protected by them again, because I get to ride in the backseat again, because they pay for my movie tickets, go to Dewey’s and Graeter’s with them, and Dad makes me pancakes and coffee. This week, Dad got Mom a Wii for her birthday, and playing games with them felt like the old days of Mouse Trap and goofing around in the backyard. And of course, we made the beloved trip to Barnes & Noble to kill some time before dinner – one of my favorite excursions.

Part of the week was spent hiking in the Daniel Boone National Forest & Red River Gorge with Mom. After the first day’s hike, we spent the evening on the cabin’s porch swing, drinking beer and remiscing about the old days with her family, and yearning for some good homecooked Cajun food. The next day’s hike was chattier than the first, as I peppered her with questions about some of those abovementioned “challenging” times in my life. I apologized for the hard questions, but she answered what she could, and I really felt that it was necessary to talk about some of those things in conjunction with what I’m working through now. There are so many things that I don’t remember how it went, or why something happened, and I’m at that point where I want to know more, to help me move on.

Today, I came back to DC and back to life. It was cleaning, grocery shopping, and tomorrow is work. Tomorrow is reality- the adult stuff that has to be done. I thank my parents for giving me this week with them to be a kid again, and to forget about the realities of adulthood for just a little while.

Relaxation brings reflection

We’re all doing it right now – the days of 2008 are coming to an end, and as we’re sitting around trying to take a breath after the holidays, putting away decorations, catch up on the piles of magazines, and we’re doing a little thinking. What happened this year? What will next year bring? What changes do I want to make, if any?

At least that’s what I’m doing. I’ve been “home” in Cincinnati with my parents for over a week and have another week left. It’s funny, because my parents always ask if I want to do anything fun while I’m home, but honestly, I prefer to just keep doing what we’re doing – watching old Law & Orders, having coffee and relaxing with our dogs, seeing some movies, that sort of thing. Rather selfishly, I don’t even like giving up my time of doing what most people would call “nothing,” to hang out with a couple old friends in the area, despite earlier plans to do so.

There’s a lot that’s been going through my mind lately and many things I’ve been trying to figure out. I’m constantly wading through those old bad memories from years ago of a father who didn’t seem to want me, of friends who suddenly weren’t friendly, and so forth. As much as I try to let it go and move on, I can’t. And I’ve come to accept that if I don’t do something about it, it will continue to affect my life and all my current and future relationships in a damaging way – and I don’t want that either. You’ve read in my past entries that overall, life is good with the new job and new place. But even with that, there are some things that just don’t go away until we do something big and life-changing about it. For me, the first part has been realizing that I can’t do it alone.

I’ve had a lot of little moments lately, what Oprah in her magazine likes to call “Aha!” moments. Mine run the gamut, including things like omg I’ve gained 10 lbs and need to lose it ASAP, to why am I not volunteering for Habitat for Humanity to build homes for those hit by Katrina – my real hometown area, nonetheless? Then it’s other things like, damn, I can’t believe I just blew up at my boyfriend for no reason or how did I not realize I was acting like that at work?

My parents always joke that they’re boring. Looking in from the outside, one might agree, considering their social calendar isn’t exactly booked. But then again, mine isn’t either. I tend to spend much of my time just like they do – reading, watching old movies, and just hanging out. But those are the times when I have those Ahas, when I’m not thinking about my work to do list or who do I need to call or what errand do I need to take care of tomorrow. In a week, I’ll be ready to return to DC, and jump into 2009. And then I can turn my Ahas from thoughts to actions.