other goings on

\\ General Conference was pretty great. We had pancakes on Sunday morning.

\\ Work has been busy for both of us. Definitely looking forward to an on-the-horizon vacation!

\\ I ran Saturday morning with a friend and tried pushing her jogging stroller for a measly .14 miles. My arms still hurt.

\\ We augmented our summer wardrobes via a trip to the Leesburg Outlets on Saturday. I always have a tough time finding shorts, which is why I spent all last summer running around in arguably the most unflattering pair of jorts the world has ever seen (or risk overheating in weather-inappropriate pants). I finally found some that work and snatched them up in two (probably soon to be three) colors. Victory!

\\ Roni came to visit for 20 hours on Saturday. We went out for Thai food and played a long game of Settlers of Cataan (which Roni won) and many short games of Boggle (which I won). We had Nielsen’s Frozen Custard, an experience tainted by the revelation that they no longer carry Andes Mints. Looking for new reasons to live. Roni also brought us bounteous gifts from Istanbul, which was very thoughtful and much appreciated.

\\ My dad used to have (probably still does) a bunch of The Great Courses DVDs (including one for Economics that Roni and I were going to use to prepare ourselves for the AP Economics test in high school without taking an actual AP Econ class. This didn’t happen.) Jason saw an ad for a photography Great Course and ordered it. Per The Great Courses, the instructor is really great and we’re learning a lot about how to use our new camera. Learning – finals = awesome. We spent last night taking pictures of my stuffed panda using different ISOs, aperture, and shutter speed, so now we are basically ready to start our Provo wedding and newborn photography business.

cherry blossoms

One day last week I woke up and heard birds and knew spring was finally here. Spring everywhere is great, but it’s especially lovely in the greater DC metropolitan area.

On Sunday afternoon we metroed downtown to take in the infamous DC cherry blossoms.

We’ve been three out of the last four years (just like Kentucky in the Final Four…) and I think this was our most pleasant foray. It wasn’t too hot and there was a light breeze. Of course, the Tidal Basin was full-to-bursting of tourists and locals alike, but we were patient and got some great pictures.

I call this one Pensive Mr. Frost, with Aviator Sunglasses.

The cherry blossoms (which seemed like a fable to entice tourists the first time we went in 2010, which was definitely post-peak bloom) really are incredible, and the effect of the trees surrounding the Tidal Basin is beautiful. The sun started going down as we walked back toward the metro, which was in itself quite lovely.

We walked hand-in-hand along the mall and I remembered that DC is a much happier city when it’s warm outside. What’s not to love about a lazy Sunday afternoon walking along the Mall?

march madness revisited

I’ve been lazy blog-wise lately, which I think started with the end of basketball season. Since then, lots of things have happened.

I did three brackets this year: one with Jason (winner makes dinner), one with the YM/YW of our ward (winner gets nothing), and one at work, which my coworkers kindly let me enter on the condition that I not pay and if I won, we would have a pizza party for everyone who participated to celebrate my good fortune in a non-gambling way.

Well, things were not looking good for me in the first weeks of competition. I pick with my heart, which always ends badly when BYU doesn’t make it to the Elite Eight. Ever. On the other hand, I did pick Kentucky to win in every bracket AND I picked Kentucky and UConn for the final in my YM/YW bracket, landing me in the top 99.4 percentile of ESPN bracket completers. Suffice it to say, I also won the work bracket (which I think everyone could be happy about) and beat Jason by one point in the Frost Family contest.

This was a banner year for the Frosts, though, as we could be equally happy with a UConn or Kentucky win. Of course, if I were basing my allegiance on the fan loyalty of the respective schools, Kentucky would win every time. You can’t beat that Kentucky enthusiasm: whether the Cats win or lose, there’ll be a couch on Fire on Woodland Avenue before the night is over.

good things

- Having Jason home. Everything is better when he’s around, not least of which is our meals. During his most recent foray, I think I ate a variation of tortellini, green beans, canned peaches and/or almond butter + apples four out of five nights.

- Cava Mezze Grill for no good reason on Tuesday night. Also, returning the woefully unflattering pants I ordered online.

- General Conference. It’s a good thing we have it every six months because every time it rolls around I am READY.

- Anne of the Island. I think it’s better than Anne of Avonlea.

- Spring: it’s here.

- My bracket is (currently) beating everyone else’s at work, and that, my friends, is why you pick with your heart. If Florida wins, I am toast.

the rest of the week

Monday: dinner and Ticket to Ride with my good friend Elayna.

Tuesday: YW meeting.

Wednesday: Book Club! We discussed Monuments Men, which I really liked.

Thursday: For some reason I was feeling really down and kind of disillusioned. As I got on the metro I had a distinct thought that I should go to the temple, so I did and it was great.

Friday: dinner out with my wonderful Kentucky friend Mary that I haven’t seen since her wedding!

Saturday: Ran a five-miler at Haines Point with Mary, our first ever run together.
I realized en route to Haines Point that my windshield wiper blade rubber thing had come unstuck (these are all the correct terms, I’m sure), thus ineffectively wiping the windshield. This is usually something I would leave to Jason, but he wouldn’t be home until the evening and it was raining something fierce. Instead, I called the dealer from the Trader Joe’s parking lot and they were able to squeeze me in. Five minutes and new windshield wipers later, I was on my way. I did our grocery shopping, then spent the next eight hours alternately reading, sleeping, cleaning, and generally enjoying a quiet, rainy day. I picked Jason up from the airport at 7 p.m., and Mary came over around 8 p.m. for the first strawberry shortcakes of the season.

30 hours in NYC

Robert Frost (yes, a distant relation) says “home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” I posit that best friends’ homes are places where, when you decide on Tuesday that you’d like to come visit on Saturday and invade their life for a weekend, they kindly let you. I hadn’t seen Roni since last fall and hadn’t been to NYC since our honeymoon nigh on five years ago, so this seemed like the perfect way to catch up and avoid a weekend at home without Jason.

Thanks to a work thing on Friday night, I left Saturday morning at 5:30 a.m. Rather I should say I left Union Station at 5:30 a.m. I left my house at 4:45 a.m., which means I woke up at 4:00 a.m. to shower. This didn’t seem so bad, probably because I’d already done it on Tuesday to get Jason to the airport. I haven’t ever taken the bus before, but parking at Union Station is easy early on a Saturday morning and I made it onto the bus without incident. I thought I would read on the four-hour ride, but that gave way to sleep before we’d even hit Baltimore.

I woke up somewhere in New Jersey around 8:30 a.m. and was able to get some good reading done before disembarking in Manhattan. Roni met me at the bus and we picked up some legit New York bagels on our way to the High Line.
I always say this, but the best thing about a friend of TWELVE years is that we pick up right where we left off. Talking to Roni is the easiest thing in the world.

I absolutely loved the High Line. Already making plans to go back when the weather is warm and the plants are alive.

We walked over to Union Square (which I kept wanting to call Union Station) and went to the Strand Bookstore (“18 miles of books”). Jason had told me to check it out and it did not disappoint! I picked up Mother Night and a tote bag, since I had forgotten a purse in my flurry of packing.20140324-105748.jpg

Jason had also suggested hot chocolate from Max Brenner: Chocolate by the Bald Man across the street and it was cold enough to make hot chocolate worthwhile.

We took the subway up to Roni’s (very great!) apartment. This was my first experience on the New York City subway system and I had several observations: 1. It is so cheap! $2.50/ride is half what I pay to go to work at peak-of-the-peak. 2. Not having to swipe out of stations is cool. No fumbling for your SmarTrip card as you detrain. 3. There are no escalators. We DC-ers are so lazy. 3a. Unrelated to the subway: the Stand on the Right/Walk on the Left Rule of Escalator Courtesy doesn’t apply in NYC and it makes me anxious. 4. I like that the stations look different. 5. I saw a rat, but only one.

I dropped off my backpack and we headed to the Guggenheim. The primary exhibit just happened to be about Italian Futurism, which was the basis for Roni’s grad school thesis. The art was great and I loved being in a Frank Lloyd Wright building. So cool.

An ill-fated panorama of the stunning interior:20140324-105818.jpg

It was about time to start thinking about food again, so we walked down Lexington Avenue and kept an eye out for dining establishments. After a while we turned up toward Central Park, then crossed over to see the Manhattan Temple. I knew it was right in the city, but it was still unexpected.

It’s gorgeous and unlike any other temple, but fits perfectly into the surrounding area. 20140324-105835.jpg

I love that even though we’re accustomed to temples insulated by acres of perfectly manicured lawns and flower beds and quiet, I felt the same peacefulness in the middle of a giant city.

I call this one Attempted Temple Selfie With Truck and Crazy Hair, Take 2.20140324-105852.jpg

We kept walking downtown, idly looking for somewhere to eat. We passed Lincoln Center (so cool), Fordham Law, B&H, from which Jason and I ordered our camera, and more pizza purveyors than you can shake a stick at. We also walked over a multitude of the sidewalk grates that allow for deliveries and kind of freak me out because I’m worried they will collapse at any moment under my feet. This appears to be an unfounded fear. We strode through Hell’s Kitchen and Chelsea and picked up delicious cupcakes along the way. 20140324-105900.jpgAfter a (long) while, we decided to head over to Union Square and have dinner at Bravo Pizza, a.k.a. Home of the Greasiest, Most Delicious Garlic Knots in the Known World.

Renewed from our dinner, we opted to take the subway down to the Staten Island Ferry. After an afternoon of walking, we enjoyed sitting on the way over to Staten Island, but stood out near the front of the ferry on the way back to get an unmatched view of the city lights. It was very cool. It was also very windy

We got back to Roni’s apartment a little before 11 p.m. I talked to Jason for a few minutes and then we played Scrabble and ate chocolate-covered edamame until nearly 2 a.m.

Day 1 Total Miles Walked: 10.2

On Sunday we got up early-ish and headed downtown to the Brooklyn Bridge (by way of New York City Hall).

It was a little chillier than Saturday, but not bad.20140324-105932.jpg20140324-105943.jpg

We’re on the Brooklyn Bridge!20140324-105953.jpg
We walked over to DUMBO (Down Under The Manhattan Bridge Overpass) park and ate bagels while looking out across the river at Manhattan. One word: idyllic.
After breakfast we went to a bookstore to warm our freezing hands. Per usual when Roni and I encounter a vast selection of books, we ended up playing The Library Game, in which you carry on a conversation using book titles.

When we’d warmed up a bit, we headed down Court Street, which is lovely and quaint, on our way to church. The church building is pretty nondescript and from the outside kind of reminded me of the Lexington Y. We attended the Park Slope YSA branch, which is very tiny. It was fun, though, and we were not hit on by any Brooklynites.

We walked back across the bridge, then hopped on the subway to Penn Station.

My bus was scheduled to depart at 4 p.m., so we wrangled up some good at Maoz and walked up to Times Square.
Times Square is an experience, but probably one you need have only once. We wandered back and tried to stop by a bakery to pick up macarons, but it was closed so we gave up.

We did pass the New York Times building, though, which was awesome . 20140324-110047.jpg

Roni walked me to the bus stop and waited with me until it was time to board. I read for a bit, fell asleep for a bit, and spent a surprising amount of my homeward journey refreshing the Kentucky basketball score. I arrived home around 8:30 p.m.

Day 2 Total Miles Walked: 8.5

I had a fantastic time with Roni and am so grateful she was willing to host me. I’ll always be glad we went on that first bike ride together back in spring of 2002. There’s something so nice about being around someone who knows who your are at your core and likes you anyway.

cloudy day

I drove into work yesterday for the first time since the Tire Pressure Fiasco of 2013, which resulted in the purchase of four brand new tires while that nice Jason was away. We had an event last night (and another one tonight) and I thought driving would be more pleasant than taking the metro in the dark. It was kind of a cold, gray morning with just the littlest bit of fog hanging over the mall. When I crossed the 14th Street bridge, I had a beautiful view of the Washington Monument disappearing into the clouds. So cool. I also got to listen to NPR, which was a for-once change from my normal metro reading habits.

Highlight of the day: Girl Scout cookie delivery at work. I practiced some restraint this year: just one box each of Thin Mints and Samoas.

After the work thing I drove home, which takes but twenty minutes by car when you leave the office after 8 p.m. I stopped at the library and picked up what I hope are good travel reads. I dropped my stuff at home, put on some jeans, and headed to my friend Dani’s for a movie night with her and Elayna. I like having girls (women?) my own age in our ward.

Upcoming highlights: a weekend jaunt to the Big Apple to see Roni, watching a lot of basketball and feverishly checking Jason and my yearly brackets against each other, and reuniting and running with my good friend Mary!