I’ve moved!

25 Feb

You can find my current blog at jenericgeneration.com.

Some important questions

16 Apr

I may be losing it. This could be the end.

I have been in my room, in bed, since Thursday morning. Every muscle in my body aches and my body is tired of eating saltines and bananas.

This is not a post about how much I hate being sick, though. Well, okay it is but it will be a short post. Basically, I am wondering, what is the point of being sick on a weekend? What is the point of a stomach bug? And why do they call it a bug when it feels like a carnival is going on inside your stomach? A bug sounds so harmless.

I am going to go drink some water and hope that another good night’s sleep will cure me. I hoped that last night, too. But this time, I am even more hopeful.

Until next time. (If there is a “next time”).

In defense of happiness (and girl scouts)

6 Apr

I just so happened to google one of my favorite DC bloggers today and I was a little amazed at how many people had terrible things to say about her…based on the same blog I read. Basically, all the comments can be summarized by two statements.  I would like to comment on them, if I may.

“I don’t believe in facebook/twitter/blogging because it is so narcissistic and it allows you to paint whatever picture you want of yourself.”

“I hate her blog because there is no way her life is that perfect and I find that to be hypocritical.”

Comments like these strike a nerve with me, and I am not always sure why. Part of me wants to agree. Part of me wants to spout out criticisms toward those saying such things. But mostly, it makes me wonder what my own motives are in using facebook and twitter, and blogging.

Whenever I hear one of those above comments, or variations of them, verbalized, my brain sort of goes crazy. So many thoughts to sort out. I don’t want to be a narcissist, and I don’t want people to hate me if my blog ever becomes popular (just to clarify, that is not my goal). 

Everyone seeks happiness. But not everyone likes to see other people happy. Why? Can I be honest and say that, while I believe people have many reasons for hating all types of online social networking, we can’t blame the gun for the murder. Just like cupcakes, knives, and ballpoint pens have all been used for obesity, murder, and Nazi propaganda, they have also been used for birthday parties, chopping vegetables, and writing love letters. The social network is whatever we chose to do with it. If cupcakes are your weakness, don’t buy flour. If you can’t casually blog-browse over coffee on a Saturday morning without wishing your life were like someone else’s, read something else. 

While we are at it, you also can’t blame the Girl Scout for the cookie. As much as I would like to believe that they don’t know their cookies are addictive and that if you so much as lick one you have to eat twenty and consequently gain 5 pounds, they have an agenda. But I have come to terms with the fact that I am the sucker and that in some ways Girl Scouts are more successful than I am.

Back to the annoying comments, it only takes a casual observer to notice that many comments start or end with “I’m not jealous but…”.

Well, I have this idea about envy and it goes a little something like this: Aside from being just plain wrong, being jealous is stupid, self-degrading, and counterproductive. Wanting to be happy sometimes leads to jealousy, but jealousy never leads to happiness. It is a misleading feeling that tells us we deserve something and only makes our own lives more miserable. Not to offend anybody’s intellect by being overly pragmatic, but why are we only jealous of people’s looks, kids, educations, and cars? If we are going to be jealous, I would like to insist that you cannot simply be jealous of someone’s beautiful hair. To be entirely logical about your jealousy, you must also envy her past, her regrets, and her spiteful mother-in-law. Why? Because sure, she has beautiful hair, but she also has a lot of other things she doesn’t want, and you probably don’t want them either. (By the way, right now I am choosing to be overly simplistic to prove a point. It’s a conscious decision I have made, and if I were not telling you what my motives are right now, you might assume I don’t ever suffer from the temptation of jealousy. Just sayin’.)

The truth is, if we all took pictures of ourselves when our outfits were especially fashionable, had a great hair day, went out for cupcakes on a Saturday afternoon with friends, and took the time to arrange them in an aesthetically pleasing way in a format that can be reviewed by ourselves and the public anytime we want an overall picture of our life, you would be jealous of your life, too. Another truth: Most of us don’t take the time to do it. Something that may be hard to hear: Nothing is stopping you from doing it if that is what you want to do. 

In my “about” section, I mention how important perspective is to me.  While I don’t think it is wrong to be skeptical of Pollyanna, it is not dishonest to focus on the good things about life. I think the online social network is a great place to take advantage of the fact that some things in life are more important than our jobs. It’s also a great place to spread lies and pictures of your promiscuous lifestyle. And, just as Girl Scouts should not be blamed for my lack of self-control, the online social network cannot be blamed for narcissism. The finger of blame should not be pointed in the general direction of the internet. That’s all I really want to say.

Goodbye, Rachel Faye

26 Mar

I really don’t know why, but for some reason when I say to my visiting friends, “So there is this really great diner…actually, the food isn’t that good, the coffee gives you a headache, and the service is kind of slow…but it’s really fun!”, it is enough to persuade them to go to Jimmy T’s (see previous post) with me. The food really isn’t anything special, but the small-town feel in the heart of DC makes it a unique experience and well-worth the slight headache you will leave with from an overdose in syrup and bad coffee.

Rachel and I woke up at 7 this morning to go get breakfast and be back in time to get her to the airport to catch her 11:00am flight. Another reason Rachel and I are friends: she embraces Saturday mornings and is not afraid of getting up early to make the day last longer.

Of course, we had to stop and admire the cherry blossoms which are in full bloom right now!

Naturally, we decided that since it was Rachel’s last day in DC, we couldn’t just order eggs and toast. Come to think of it, we found a lot of reasons to eat well during her trip here…if you look hard enough, you will always find a way to celebrate food. And eating a lot of it. It also helps to justify pancakes and French toast when you walk a mile to get to the food.

I don’t know why, but I find “Tuna salad (only on weekdays)” kind of funny.

Jenny: I always seem to get the same mug.

Rachel:  Is their coffee good?

Jenny: No. But I always get it.

Why?? It’s part of the experience. You just have to go there to understand. Also, I would like to note that our waitress bussed our table before we got up, which included pouring all leftover beverages into one glass, stabbing Rachel’s leftovers and putting them on top of my leftovers to make the plates stackable, and dropping a knife on the floor in the process. Did we think anything of it? Of course not. In fact, it was probably just charming.

Friends from home

19 Mar

Rachel is here in DC.  She arrived last night. And upon her arrival we went promptly back to my place and then headed out again to make our dinner reservations at a Moroccan restaurant where we ate our fill in hummus, falafel, grape leaves, and other such delightful things. The night ended as all Friday nights should: with Ben and Jerry’s and the West Wing (the show, not the actual house down the street).

That’s her, but it is an old picture from our New York trip over a year ago. This weekend, it feels like spring has fully arrived in DC and we are hoping to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom before she has to leave (that sounds sad, but actually, she is going on a cruise after her week in DC/NYC. You see, Rachel is celebrating finishing up vet school and has three full weeks to enjoy life before she enters the workforce. She should be celebrating such an accomplishment, because from the stories I have heard over the past years, I probably would have run away or found some way to get into a body cast to avoid the horrors which are somehow able to be labeled as “school”).

Some of you loyal blog followers (hahahaha) may remember the time Rachel and I bought these little, seemingly harmless journals in which we both pledged to write one or two sentences about our day, every day, over the next 5 years.

To take advantage of Rachel’s visit, and because my house is pretty small and I would know where to look if she ran and hid, I am going to yell some questions to her while she is getting ready in the bathroom just around the corner:

Jenny: What would you say is the craziest thing we have ever done? [I will add here that Rachel and I have known each other since infancy.]

Rachel: Oh, man. Probably the extended kayaking trip. That was supposed to be like 2 hours and turned into 10.  And then hitchhiking home.

Jenny: Aaah! I forgot about the hitch hiking part!!! So would you include buying 2 blue books in which we would record the next five years of our lives as one of the craziest things we ever done?

Rachel: Yes. And we didn’t even hesitate. We were just like, “sure!”

Jenny: What would you say you learned from buying that book?

Rachel: That I’m not good at doing things daily. And…that I write about food a lot.

Jenny: Do you experience any kind of guilt for not being able to keep the promise we made to ourselves?

Rachel: Yes. Especially when there is a whole month missing. I know there were days that were important…but then I will go back and write what I remember…and it just says, “so and so had a baby”. And we all know if I had written it on that day, I would have had a lot more to say.

Jenny: Would you encourage other people to buy one of these blue books?

Rachel: Yeah! It’s fun to read back through it.

Jenny: So I can put in my blog that you endorse these books?

Rachel: Yes. I, Rachel, endorse the blue books. That are not the kind you write in for tests.

Jenny: On a completely different topic, how does it feel to have vet school in your past?

Rachel: Weird. But good. I don’t think it has hit me yet. But I am really excited about not having to go back, unless I want to. I like having control over my life again. The feeling of “you can’t fail me if I don’t work here!” It just doesn’t feel real yet.

Jenny: And a final question…well, what do you want me to ask you?

Rachel: I don’t know.

Jenny: I am writing all of this down.

Laughter.

Rachel: My plan for Middle East peace. It’s short and simple. Because that is how peace works. I will start with a bumper sticker campaign that has a picture of a dove and says, “‘I’m for peace.”

Jenny: Did you say a picture of a dove?

Rachel: Are you really writing all of this down? I think we need to find that video when we were younger where we were arguing about who we would marry and what their qualifications had to be…that included such topics as midgets with no limbs, wheelchairs, political association, cats.

And that is where we will stop. I think it’s off to Eastern Market for us.

A happy thought from G.K. Chesterton

16 Mar

I love coming across something in the middle of the day that just makes you stop and rethink your perspective on…everything.

“A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but He has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”

Eastern Market

13 Mar

I can’t get enough of Eastern Market. And now that Spring is here (This is my blog so I can say that. Eric told me that Spring is indeed not here, but it is okay to get excited about its arrival soon), all of the vendors have returned. My favorites:

1) The scarf people. They have racks and racks of scarves in every color/pattern combination imaginable. I have probably purchased at least 10 scarves from them in the past year (not all for myself, I might add).

2) The map guy. He collects old maps and divides them into bins according to country. If he doesn’t have a map of the country/region/continent you want in the correct year you want it portrayed, he will go out into the world and find one for you. I found an old street map of Vienna for my friend Jennifer once, who interned at the U.S. Embassy there. It reminded me of when we were there together and literally ran across the city to catch our train, arriving within minutes of its departure. Our path can be traced on that map.

3) The card lady. She sells just normal greeting cards, nothing to0 special. However, the benefit of buying from her is that most of hers are “blank inside”, which I highly prefer. I have a theory that all cards should be left blank inside simply because the average American consumer is able to think of something more clever to say than “hope your day is as special as you are”. Also, she has a good variety, some of them are from museum gift shops in Europe, and none of them are terribly repulsive.

4) The jewelry man. I loooove this vendor. I got into a habit of buying something from him every week for a while. That had to stop. But he sells inexpensive necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and brooches that he has collected from estate sales. It is so fun to look, even if you don’t want to buy. Also, do not ask him if he sells rings. He used to sell them. For dirt cheap. Then he stopped suddenly. Then I asked him several times if he had any with him that day. Then I gave up asking.

5) Antique linens, old cigar boxes, hats, and vintage boots and purses. All of these things I also love and are sold here in abundance.

After browsing the merchandise, we went to Capitol Hill Books, which I have dedicated an entire post to not too long ago. It was delightful, as always. And I found myself engrossed in a book on children’s illustrations with cute little monkeys (pictured below), princesses, and laughing animals, for quite some time. A welcome sight after staring at legislation all week.

We ended the afternoon at the Argonaut where we satisfied our raging appetites with cheeseburgers and fries. And now I kind of wish we were going back for dinner. Yuuum.

Please take note of the following pictures: 1) The triplet dogs. I like to believe they are related and share all kinds of funny similarities in personality, as well as a connection not shared by normal siblings. But I did not talk to their dad. Alas, they are probably only the same breed. 2) Eric reading “Parent to Parent: how to raise your kids in Washington” under the “love, relationship, marriage” section of the store.