Thursday, September 30, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 75: What the Hell is Wrong With You People?

No fewer than four teenagers have committed suicide in the past month as a result of anti-gay bullying.

18-year-old Tyler Clementi (New Brunswick, NJ) ended his own life by jumping off of the George Washington Bridge after his Rutgers University roommate Dharun Ravi and accomplice Molly Wei posted images of Clementi being intimate with another male on the internet. Twice. Clementi was a gifted violinist.

15-year-old Billy Lucas (Greensburg, IN) was bullied and tormented constantly during his time at Greensburg High School. Billy ended his life after being suspended for cursing at his tormentors. Billy loved animals. He spent his last remaining hours on earth with his horses. He ended his suffering via hanging. He used one of his horse's leads.

13-year-old Asher Brown (Houston, TX) ended his life by self-inflicted gunshot wound after officials at Hamilton Middle school ignored family pleas to end two year's worth of bullying. Unlike many states, Texas has no law that prohibits bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation.

13-year-old Seth Walsh (Tehachapi, CA) attempted suicide via hanging. He died after nine days of life support. Despite claims of having an anti-bullying program in place, staff members at Jacobsen Middle School have been accused of offering no protection or guidance by Walsh's schoolmates.

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It breaks my heart to know that these four young men thought that life couldn't get any better for them.

I was bullied in high school. Not to the point that I thought I had no options, but definitely to the extent that I was emotionally hurt. Embarrassed. Ashamed. Fortunately, I was able to look beyond all of that and envision a day that I would be free of the restraints of high school.

That day comes sooner than you think. You just have to hang in there.

But what I want to know, is what the HELL is wrong with the parents of today's teenagers? Where are these kids learning these behaviors from? At 13, 15, and 18, their parents can't be THAT much older than I am. I have apparently been living under the misconception that my generation was going to be the one that changed EVERYTHING. But these kids aren't learning these behaviors on their own. Somebody's teaching this hatred.

Meanwhile, other parents aren't telling their children that they love them no matter what. That there is no problem that a family can't overcome together. That they are proud of them. That it's okay to be different.

Tyler Clementi's death angers me the most. At 18, he was on the cusp of greatness. He was at a point in his life that he could have escaped the hatred, ignorance, and bigotry that surrounded him. He could have sought help from campus counselors. He could have transferred to another school. But he chose suicide.

But it's Asher Brown that terrifies me. Asher grew up in Texas, just like me. I was seldom bullied, often teased, but never tormented. Are things getting worse? Of course they are. four suicides in the span of 30 days tells me that. The question is...why?

Here is my personal plea to all of you out there that are raising children:

You don't have to approve of homosexuality, but please teach your children to be tolerant of others. And please tell them that you love them, no matter what. Because they could be gay, too.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 74: Gliese 581g

Have you heard about the Goldilocks planet? Not too hot, not too cold. Not too far from, or close to, its sun. Astronomers may have found a planet that contains life.

In a day and age where Pluto is no longer a planet, and half of the cast of "The Land Before Time" has been exposed as frauds, it's comforting to know that the thrill of discovery is alive and well.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 73: Chains, Chains, Shackles and Chains

I checked the balance in my bank account this morning, and the missing $1,098 let me know that after 3 years, 7 months, and $13,385, I had finally taken control of my life and absolved myself of any and all credit card debt.

I would like to thank the Foreign Service for its part in this heroic endeavor. Without the luxuries provided by a lack of utility bills, this process would have taken another 17 months. Beaucoup love to TJ for saying "You take care of that. I'll buy the Pop-Tarts."

I think a song is in order.

Monday, September 27, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 72: The Sweetest Thing

DISCLAIMER: If you currently or previously lived in Oakwood during my residency here, fear not, for this is the one and only time I have followed anyone out into the parking lot to take their picture.

Anyway, this sweet old couple lives next door to us. Every so often we will see the wife walking down the hall, and say hello. She always looks down and shuffles away as quickly as possible. I wonder if she's afraid of us, or the world in general? Maybe she's afraid of the paparazzi.

Less often, but on occasions such as this one, I will see her walking with her husband, hand-in-hand. I think it's beautiful. I shared an elevator with them this afternoon. They talked about the chicken and rice they were having for dinner, then seemed to struggle for topics of conversation, like any good couple that has been together for far too long but will be ripped apart by nature long before they are ready.
Out in the parking lot, he opened the car door for her before slowly walking to the driver's side. At that point, my stalking ended, as I had errands to run.

As for our dinner, well, our fish and rice wasn't too far off from our neighbor's menu. We struggled for things to talk about, too.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 71: Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

We finished Veronica Mars today. Despite promises to the contrary from our friend Joey, the show DID end on a cliffhanger. Stupid Joey.

Veronica Mars joins Pushing Daisies, Dead Like Me, and Dirty, Sexy, Money as great television shows from recent memory that were cancelled far too soon and denied the right to properly wrap up their plot lines. There should be a law against such travesties.

Coincidentally, VM star Kristen Bell said this very day that she has hopes to reprise her role in the near future.

Here's hoping.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 70: Star and Shamrock

What do you get when you combine a New York-style Jewish deli with a good ol' fashioned Irish pub?

opened its doors on April 16, 2010.

Friday, September 24, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 69: These Cupcakes Bring All The Boys To The Yard

Sixty-nine days later, and I finally got my cupcakes. As I have previously stated,Georgetown Cupcake was one of our earliest discoveries in DC but has been practically unattainable since the premiere of their reality show, DC Cupcake. Personally, I've never seen the show, but I find myself completely inconvenienced by it. Lines are typically out the door and around the corner now because if something was on television, it MUST be superior to similar products, right?
Ok, so I haven't tried the similar products, so maybe TV cupcakes are better. And yeah, I once drove all the way to Savannah to eat at The Lady and Sons, so maybe I shouldn't be throwing rocks from the front porch of my glass house.

I only had my iPhone with me, so I took a couple of pics of the shop but made TJ wait until we got home to eat them so I could take pictures of our beautiful yum yums with the Nikon. Obviously, I could have been a little more tender with the box. Anyway, what you are looking at is two Red Velvets, one Lemon Blossom, one Caramel Apple, one Chocolate Ganache, and one more Chocolate Ganache that was supposed to be Cinnamon. Sigh. I guess in today's Tabloid-driven society, I should expect celebrities to make mistakes.
And now that I have made myself feel like a total piggy, I will bid you all a good night.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 68: Gleeks

Finally finished watching Glee: The Complete First Season on Blu-Ray this evening, and was able to watch S2E1 on This came as quite a relief, as I had actually finished watching Season One last spring when the finale aired, but TJ was stagulating and hadn't seen the last five episodes. Sorry for the urbandictionary grammar there, folks.
Anyway, we're all up-to-date now, and ready to watch Glee at its regularly scheduled least for the next month or so until our move. Finn gay now, or what?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 67: NMAI

I visited the National Museum of the American Indian this afternoon with a fellow EFM in the hopes of seeing a short film about a Mexican artist that was inexplicably not playing when it should have been. Pity... it would have been a great conversation piece for Guadalajara (Note to self: Film is called Migrants: A Journey... remember to try again another day). Anyway, as I exited the Metro at L'Enfant Plaza and walked toward the museum, I was struck by the symbolism (irony?) of where the building is located.

Located between the Smithsonian's Air & Space Museum and the US Capitol Building, the NMAI pretty much sits in the shadow of our nation's Capitol. To be fair, building regulations in the District of Columbia guarantee that all buildings stand in the shadow of our nation's Capitol. Nothing is allowed to stand taller than freedom here.

The museum opened in September 2004 and is the first national museum in the country to be dedicated exclusively to the indigenous people of our great land. The building's design is meant to evoke the appearance of natural rock formations that have been shaped by wind and water over the millennia. Whenever possible, American Indians have filled leadership roles both in the design and operation of the museum. The Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe is divided by Native region and offers a wide variety of Native American delicacies.

At first glance, the museum location appeared to be chosen in poor taste. Further reflection and research into the matter reveals an endeavor that was undertaken with love, respect, and admiration for what came before.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 66: Scare Zones

The Halloween season is approaching, and it leaves me a little depressed. Our friend Dan throws an awesome Halloween party every year. To him, Halloween is Christmas. He's a creative guy (he designed the logo for this blog) and goes all out for the event. He will come up with a theme, make decorations, set up lighting, go to work in the wood shop, design costumes, whatever it takes to set the right mood. We missed his party last year due to our Paris vacation, and this year we will miss it because, well, we're here. I wonder if we will always miss it now? Sigh.

Another reason that I'm feeling bummed is that we won't have the opportunity to attend Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights, or Busch Garden's Howl-o-Scream. We always went to the former with our roommate, Kris. The latter is a buried treasure that we discovered just last year with our friends Alfie and Silvio. These Halloween events are always a mixed bag. Sometimes the houses are scary, sometimes they're not. What you can always count on, however, is that there is more to be afraid of than what's inside the houses. The event planners set up "Scare Zones" around the park and between the houses. What this means is that there's always an opportunity to pee your pants waiting just around the next corner. The scare zones consist of fog machines, hay bales, rusty cars, dumpsters, bushes, whatever it takes to set the mood.

I may not be able to attend Dan's party. I may not be able to enjoy the fun at Universal or Busch Gardens. But I can always enjoy a good scare zone.

These dumpsters have been inconveniently parked in some 50-odd parking spaces surrounding the apartment complex for almost as long as we've been here. They are a constant reminder of the never ending construction that is occurring around us. During daylight hours, they are but a nuisance.

At night, it is terrifying to walk past them. Can you say rape/rob/murder? They are the perfect complement to the cemetery right next door (NOTE: To be fair, I am not aware of any violent crimes that have occurred as a result of these dumpsters. All I'm saying is they sure look like the perfect crime scene...).

Oh, and straight out of the Alien ship, take a look at the ceiling of the 7th floor hallway...It's been like that for more than a month now.

I guess I've been kind of hard on Oakwood the last couple of days. Check back later this week or next, when I hope to show a less biased view of the amenities for those of you that may one day call Oakwood your temporary home.

Monday, September 20, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 65: This Home Is Not A House

When TJ and I moved into our first apartment together, we went all out on the decorating. We painted the living room, dining room, kitchen, and hallway in warm autumn colors. We bought new couches, lamps, and a coffee table. My parents bought us the bookshelf that I had had my eye on for months. We adopted the first of two puppies that would eventually ruin all of these things. It was the perfect little apartment. We were going to live there until such a time as we could afford the down payment on a house.

That lasted for about a year and a half. Then the condo conversion craze hit Central Florida, and we were out on the street. We found another apartment in the area that we didn't like nearly as much as the first, and settled in for the next two years. We didn't paint this time. Nor did we complete our home makeover by purchasing the new bedroom furniture that we desperately needed. We had been disheartened by our break-up with the first apartment and didn't want to invest too much time or money in another one. We decided that we would wait until we were homeowners. Until we had a place to call home.

And so it came to pass that in February of 2008 we purchased our little house on the lake. Though in need of a touch up here and there, the house came pre-painted in a color scheme somewhat similar to that of our first apartment. We were in love. We moved in, eager to freshen up the paint and furnish our house with items that let people know it was "ours." We were ready to cultivate a style.

Then the economy tanked (in part due to the incredible failure of the aforementioned condo conversions). TJ was laid off in a series of budget cuts. We now had the house but were lacking the funds to fill it with stuff. That was fine. My income and TJ's severance package/unemployment were more than sufficient to keep up with our bills. It did not, however, leave much wiggle room to showcase any sense of style other than "did you bring that with you from college?" Why yes, as a matter of fact, we did.

Flash forward to today. TJ is gainfully employed. I have willingly left my place of employment to learn a foreign language. We are a couple that is blessed to have very few bills to consider in our monthly budget. In short, we are at a place in our lives where we could make that little yellow house in Orlando into almost anything we wanted it to be. But we don't live there anymore.

We live in temporary housing provided by the US Government. The apartment is completely furnished. The only hint of personal style is our new television (the one they provide is teeny tiny). Oakwood is fine for what it is. The beds are comfortable. Our apartment is spacious. All of our basic kitchen needs are met. It's just not our stuff. It's not what we would choose for ourselves. That's ok, though. It's meant to be temporary. We will be in Guadalajara soon enough. My only concern is that our home there will also be furnished, quite possibly with things that do not say "us." As we will be there for two years, I pray that we take the opportunity to put some Aaron and TJ into it. As Delia Deetz said in Beetlejuice, "If you do not let me gut out this house and make it my own, I will go insane, and I will take you with me!"

I have come to understand that home is what you make it. My home is with TJ and the kitty and the puppies, wherever that may be. That house in Orlando? That's home, too. But right now, it's somebody else's house. We may never live there again. I hope the new occupants consider it home, and are able to decorate it in a manner that suits them. I hope they feel comfortable doing so. We don't plan on turning it into a condo anytime soon.

Oh, and for any of you FSO's or EFM's out there that happen across this blog and are destined for Oakwood, here are a couple of shots of your home-to-be.

Not your style? Don't worry...they're remodeling.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 64: That's NOT My Underwear

In most households, such a sentence would probably be followed by a marital dispute of some sort. Fortunately, that is not the case in ours.

As part of their High Holy Days celebration, Temple Micah partners with the Community Council for the Homeless/Friendship Place (CCH) for an annual underwear drive. The drive begins on Rosh Hashanah and continues beyond Yom Kippur to the end of October and the holiday known as Sukkot.

Tradition states that, following the High Holy Days, the Temple priests would change their undergarments for the coming year. During Yom Kippur morning services, our rabbi referenced the Garden of Eden, and told the story of God providing clothing for Adam & Eve. He explained that providing clothing for the needy is an important mitzvah that we can all perform.

Nightfall yesterday brought with it the end of both the Jewish High Holy Days and the 25-hour mandated fast for all Jews.

We are almost a year into our exploration of Judaism, and, as a (relatively) young couple with no family history of Judaism, this has been a journey in which the blind has lead the blind at every turn. We have completed our 16-week Introduction to Judaism class. We participated in Purim. We attend Shabbat services and enjoy a Shabbat dinner when we can. We have monthly meetings with our sponsoring rabbi. We knew that our attendance was all but mandated for the High Holy Day services.

Rosh Hashana is considered to be the Jewish New Year. You wouldn't know it, though. There are no fireworks. No concerts in Times Square. The only real similarity is with the custom of making New Year's Resolutions. For Jews around the world, Rosh Hashana is a time for deep introspection...a time when you consider the mistakes of the past year and think about how you can improve yourself in the year to follow.

Connecting Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are the Days of Awe, in which you are to consider the sins of the past year and seek repentance prior to Yom Kippur.

The High Holy Days conclude with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. A day of fasting, self denial, and deep personal prayer. The interesting thing about repentance in the Jewish world is that you do not seek it from God. You seek it from those that you have wronged. What good is God's forgiveness if you are still hurting those around you?

Neither one of us could honestly cast our lot with the most devout in the land, but we have both learned a lot and developed spiritually over the past several months. We've done a fairly good job of wading threw the pond of Judaism, but I don't think we were prepared for the last ten days. What type of connection could we possibly have with the High Holy Days of a religion that we weren't even a part of yet? Turns out, quite a strong one, actually.

We attended the four required services. We maintained the fast (minus the desperate need for something to drink in the wee hours of the evening). We fought like mad.

Yes, the past 6-7 months have been difficult for us. Each of us have said and done things to each other that we aren't quite proud of. Resent begets more resent, etc. You know the type. Not worth breaking up over, but definitely a pain in the butt. The hazards of a cross-country move. I would honestly advise against it, if you can avoid it.

For some reason or another, we exploded at each other before the first Rosh Hashana service. We bickered for the majority of the next several days and yet, heading into Yom Kippur, it was as if we had a new understanding of each other. I can't describe the last 10 days. I don't know if it's all that time in a synagogue, or if it's just the spirit of this time of year, or even delusions brought on by starvation...But you really do get filled with this sense of tremendous guilt. You really do want to be a better person.

We know what needs to be done to get back on track. All roads have their potholes. You can't avoid all of them. You might lose a hubcap here and there. You just have to make sure your chassis can withstand the impact.

And, most important of all...try not to get your underwear in a twist.

Friday, September 17, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 62: S O C K S ???

Some Spanish humor in honor of the successful completion of my second week of class...

A Latino man who spoke no English went into an American department store to buy socks. He found his way to the Men's Wear department where a young lady offered to help him.
"Quiero calcetines" said the man.

"I don't speak Spanish, but we have some very nice suits over here." said the salesgirl.

"No, no quiero trajes. Quiero calcetines." said the man.

"Well, these shirts are on sale this week." declared the salesgirl.

"No, no quiero camisas. Quiero calcetines." repeated the man.

"I still don't know what you're trying to say. We have some fine pants on this rack." offered the salesgirl.

"No, no quiero pantalones. Quiero calcetines." insisted the man.

"These sweaters are top quality." the salesgirl probed.

"No, no quiero sueter. Quiero calcetines." said the man.

"Our undershirts are over here." fumbled the salesgirl, beginning to lose patience.

"No, no quiero camisetas. Quiero calcetines." the man repeated.

As they passed the underwear counter, the man spotted a display of socks and happily grabbed a pair. Holding them up he proclaimed "Eso si que es!".

"Well, why didn't you say so?" asked the exasperated salesgirl.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 61: Empty Nest

Well, I suppose it's a good thing that I checked on my babies yesterday, because they have since flown the coop!

Lucky duckies. I want to get out of Oakwood, too...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 60: They Grow Up So Fast

So we've been keeping an eye on the baby birds that TJ found in the bushes outside of our building. It's amazing how quickly those little critters mature. This afternoon they looked as if they were almost ready to fly the nest.
I tried to get in for a better shot, but was scared...Mama Bird was watching from above...

Monday, September 13, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 58: MTV USDA...I mean VMAs...2010

It figures...the one night I don't stay home and watch television, and this happens.

Did any of you see Lady Gaga at the VMA's with all of that dried up meat?

I also hear that she wore a dress made out of steaks.

Ha. Because Cher is old. Get it? Sigh.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 56: Ray's Hell-Burger

It only took seven months, but we finally managed to drive six miles down the road to experience the pure awesomeness that is Ray's Hell-Burger. If not for word-of-mouth, you'd never know it existed. There is no website. The entrance is nondescript. The modest sign above the door appears to have been created with a word processing program, an inkjet printer, and a piece of computer paper.

The decor consists of little more than a half dozen B-movie posters and a world map that patrons are invited to use to document their place of origin via pushpin (If that map is any indication, Ray either has a large global following, or the Foreign Service Officers that live nearby like to brag about where they're going and not where they came from).

One of the first rules of good eatin' is that if the place looks like a dive, the food is probably amazing. Why yes, yes it was.

I had my Nikon with me during dinner, but opted for a simple, grainy iPhone snapshot instead. I think it's appropriate. Like the restaurant, the photo looks substandard, but the burger is still delicious.

Friday, September 10, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 55: ¿Cómo se dice...fluent?

When freshmen Foreign Service Officers journey to DC to begin their new careers, most do so with a heavy burden to bear: they must achieve a score of 3/3 in a world language within their first five years of employment or risk not seeing a sixth. Some are able to "test out" prior to their first day of work. Others are required to take language courses prior to arriving at post. Others still are assigned to English speaking posts and must delay their pursuance of a foreign language for two years. For TJ, a 3/3 means not only being one step closer to gaining tenure, but also gaining clearance to travel to Guadalajara in November to begin work.

My first week of language training coincided with TJ's last week. Today, I struggled to recall information from high school Spanish as TJ went on to earn a 3/3 in Spanish. I don't know what the scoring consists of, but apparently he's fluent. I don't know. I can't understand a word he says. Yet. But I sure am proud of him.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 53: Look What TJ Found in the Bushes

These Hungry Birds Were Almost
Chloe's Afternoon Snack

365 Challenge, Day 52: Monster Ball

Lady Gaga performed at the Orlando House of Blues on April 6, 2009. It was a small venue, appropriate for what was the quiet before the storm of Gaga Mania.

She next appeared in Orlando on January 3, 2010, when she brought her Monster Ball to UCF Arena. Jason Derulo was riding shotgun. A significantly larger venue. Her fame was solidified.

Alas, I missed both performances. TJ has a nasty habit of not wanting to see a concert until 5 minutes before the show starts, or 5 months after it sells out (whichever comes first). I'm just as guilty for not reminding him of this fact every time he says he doesn't want to go.

Third time was the charm, though, and he readily agreed to attend the Monster Ball when it rolled into DC's Verizon Center this evening.

The grainy photo to the right is Gaga's shadow cast on a purple screen as she belts out the show opener, "Dance in the Dark." It's the best I could do with my iPhone.

Great show. Would love to see her again sometime.

What's that you say? She will be in Guadalajara this summer? Hmmm....

Monday, September 6, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 51: Yo Soy Betty, la Fea

Tomorrow I start a two month language training program at the Foreign Service Institute.

It will be the first weekday since early February that I have had to wake up before 8am, get dressed, tame my frizzy hair, put on my contact lenses, and leave the house to interact with other human beings in a professional environment.

Essentially, it will be the first weekday in six months that I have not looked like Ugly Betty.

Words cannot express how anxious I am for this. I will be ever grateful for having sustained a paycheck over the last 1/2 year, but working from home could seriously drive a man to tears.

I can only hope that I am able to absorb enough Spanish in the next two months to make life bearable upon moving to Guadalajara. Oh, and that my readers noticed that Betty is wearing her Guadalajara poncho here, thus providing the clever yet weak link between today's photo and story.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 50: Theodore Roosevelt Island

Teddy Roosevelt pretty much owned the other presidents when it came to getting a monument in his honor.

Lincoln got a statue of himself that sits inside a reproduction of the Athenian Parthenon. Jefferson copied Lincoln by getting a statue of himself housed inside a reproduction of the Roman Pantheon. Washington only got an obelisk.

FDR trumped them with his 7.5 acre piece of land containing several fountains and statues in his honor. But even he is in a distant 2nd Place.

Because Teddy got a statue. And an island.

View of Georgetown From the Island

Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United Sates, was a dedicated conservationist. The 88.5 acre park is a fitting tribute to Roosevelt, who all but created the national park as we know it today.

During his time in office, Roosevelt signed legislation establishing no less than five national parks: Crater Lake, Wind Cave, Sullys Hill, Mesa Verde, and Platt. The Antiquities Act of June 8, 1906 enabled Roosevelt and his successors to proclaim historic landmarks, structures, and various objects of historic or scientific interest in federal ownership as national monuments.

As we walked through the park today, I couldn't help but make the comparison to New York's Central Park. Although significantly larger in size (843 acres), Central Park shares a common goal with Roosevelt Island: to provide an escape from the city while not actually leaving the city. I think the island has more critters, though.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 49 (Part 2): There WILL Be A Day 50

Man, I hate admitting failure, don't you? I've had a knot in my stomach ever since that last post.

I've got more half-finished and abandoned projects than I can count. I don't want this to be one of them. I know that, if I step up my game, I can make this something special...even if it's just special to me.

So, whether you like it or not...whether I like it or not...we've got at least 315 more consecutive days together.

I'll try to make it worth our while.

And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going....

365 Challenge, Day 49: There Won't Be A Day 50

Well, that's overly dramatic. I don't plan on dying tomorrow, and the world isn't scheduled to end until December 21, 2012. What I mean to say is that there will not be a Day 50 of the 365 Challenge.

You see, I have a confession to make. As it turns out, I'm just not that interesting. Nobody is.

The goal was to see if I could take a photo every day for a year. And so far, I have achieved that goal. But are they all great photos? Nah. Some are. Most probably aren't. My life is just as routine, if not more so, than everyone else's. No sense in pretending otherwise.

I thought that maybe, once work ended, doors would open up and I would have more time to take some awesome pics. That may be true, but I start Spanish on Tuesday. At the Foreign Service Institute. Where cameras are prohibited. One 9-5 job has been replaced with another.

And when we move to Mexico? I'll work there, too (hopefully). I'm not some great adventurer that can spend all of my waking hours exploring the world and documenting my exploits for posterity. But wouldn't that be great?

TJ and I are sitting on the couch right now trying to decide what to do with our evening. I asked, in an irritated tone, "What are we going to do? What is my photo of the day?"

TJ responded, in an irritated tone of his own "I don't care."

He's right. And, really, I don't either. I would rather enjoy my life and document it accordingly, instead of trying to manufacture enjoyment for the sake of consecutive daily posts.

We do have plans tomorrow. It is very likely that I will post pictures. But that's just the next of many posts to come. It's not part of a larger agenda.

Friday, September 3, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 48: The Fruits of My Labors

Perhaps even more shocking than the fact that I managed to work my entire last day of work without bailing early was the knock on my door early this afternoon. My amazing co-workers have wished me a fond farewell courtesy of Edible Arrangements. Thanks guys! I love you all!

By working remotely from our State Department-provided apartment in Falls Church, VA these past six months, I have been able to hold on to a semblance of our old life in Orlando.

Today, I cut the cord. Today was my last day working for CuraScript. On Tuesday, I throw myself into two months of intensive language training. In November, I move to Guadalajara. By February, I will have been living away form Orlando for an entire year.

Our new life has been underway for six months now. Only I wasn't fully invested in it. I didn't have to be. I was still tied to Orlando. Now, I have no choice but to be completely involved. There's no going back now. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 47: Wolftrap

Part of acclimating to a change in environment is finding new favorite places that let you know that you are...home. Wolftrap is one such place. In fact, I made the observation tonight that Wolftrap alone offers plenty of incentive to live here.

I've blogged about Wolftrap before here, so I won't bore you with details.

Last night I had the pleasure of attending my 4th Wolftrap event (The Sound of Music). Looking at the upcoming events calendar, I was struck by the realization that this would probably be my last visit to this particular venue. We will be leaving for Mexico in two months and the journey to discover new favorite places will begin again.

I took this last opportunity to snap shots form a few different angles so that I can always remember this wonderful place.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

365 Challenge, Day 46: Rick & Steve

The Happiest Gay Couple
In All The World

Spent the afternoon watching the last half of Season One and all of Season Two (Eleven half-hour episodes, which is still way too much time in front of the television).

Rumor has it we're actually getting out of the house to do something exciting tomorrow. Can't wait. Becoming...vegetable.