Friday, July 31, 2009
Anyway, today is Day Two of Post-Bar Exam Bliss, and T-Minus ONE day until I turn 29. After the last few weeks of stressing and cramming and generally exhausting myself, I'm tempted to make a few last minute additions to my birthday list. Namely, a walker, some orthopedic shoes, some Ben Gay, and an industrial sized bottle of ibuprofen. Don't get worked up -- I am not saying I AM old, I am saying that I FEEL old. As in, decrepit. I tried to do two days of coffee detox in an attempt to "reset" my system, but that lasted one day, and that is only if you don't count the fact that I had three cups of Earl Grey tea yesterday. Oh well.
Here is the point where I sing the praises of my amazing husband, who has now seen me through two bar exams. The mere fact that I was able to take the exam instead of being admitted to the hospital for lack of nutrients is a testament to his devotion to keeping me fed and watered and generally moving in the right direction. This time was definitely harder than last. I "quit" at least 3 times a week, only to be encouraged and gently guided back to rational thought. Then, in those last few days, when the going got really tough, I came home to a "care package"- a new Vera Bradley bag filled with chocolate and gummy bears and advil and chamomile tea and a sleepy-time CD. He offered to drive me there ("there" being Roanoke, 4 hours away) and back, only to come pick me up two days later (which I turned down because, while the offer was tempting, it would be a little ridiculous). And PEOPLE, he had our house cleaned while I was gone. I left a certifiable mess behind and came back to sparkly cleanness. The moral of this story is: I am the luckiest girl on the planet.
And now our "summer" begins. Birthday celebrations lead into Anniversary celebrations. We've got tickets to the Legg Mason Tennis Tournament here in D.C. And my little brother is coming on his first solo trip to visit us. These next few weeks were my motivation through the last few... the light at the end of my tunnel, the cherry on top, etc. Bring on the happy stuff!
Friday, June 5, 2009
Me. In a cap and gown, dressed and ready to cross the stage...
Now, lest anyone buy too far into my self-pity, my change in heart could have more to do with wishing I was in Denver (as opposed to D.C.....did I mention it's raining? AGAIN/Still?) than wishing I could cross the stage. But still...
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
We've seen a lot of what life has to offer in the past month. Funerals. Weddings. The tendency that each has to pull people together or cause chasms between them. We've experienced in ourselves and in others around us both utter loneliness and complete togetherness. I know this is a little bit more philosophical than the usual fare here on our blog, but May 2009 was a little more... eventful than the usual month of our lives. The month of May has left us drained and looking forward to the opportunity to relax in the sunshine this summer (it has to stop raining eventually right?) and enjoy one another and our pups.
Unfortunately, relaxation isn't on the schedule for June either, and July could be dicey, but I'll pencil it in for August... 2010.
Suffice it to say that I haven't been out on any photographic safaris recently, and in all of the events of the past few weeks, we haven't had a moment or the proper words to express the goings-on here.
A bit of explanation: Around this time last year, I started this blog to give me a healthy dose of distraction from studying for the Bar Exam. Since then we've traveled around Colorado, witnessed history, made life-changing decisions...which resulted in moving cross-country....then Bret took the Bar and passed... And now here I am. Using this blog to procrastinate as I face down another two months of studying FOR THE BAR. Methinks I am a glutton for punishment...
This makes three straight bar exams in which one of the Lewises have made an appearance. Have we been doomed to a lifetime of perpetual stress? I hope this is the last one. And the only way that is going to happen is if I actually start studying...
Monday, April 27, 2009
There is hardly a better excuse for breaking into our cache of champagne from last year's trip to France!
Look at those well-behaved pups!
After our lovely back porch celebration, we continued on to a lovely dinner with our friend Tamar, one of our all-around favorite people back here in NoVA, who is always willing to pick up and celebrate with us when the occasion strikes.
Saturday, we lazed around the apartment in the morning before heading out for some quick errands to the Apple House Garden Center and the grocery store. You see, a heat wave struck us this weekend. After months of rainy, cold grayness (with not-nearly-enough Spring sprinkled in), we have had sunshine and warmth! For days on end! And so our weekend plan took shape: we will work in the yard and make yummy summer meals, all the while enjoying one another and the pups in the glorious hot sun.
Yummy "welcome sunshine! we've missed you!" meal #1 can be found here-- Italian Chicken Salad in Lettuce Cups. I first saw this recipe about four years ago, and have periodically considered making it since. It turns out that I was totally depriving us of deliciousness by putting it off! It was, in the words of Giada herself, "sooo good."
After a nice visit with our friends Liz and Dan, who popped over to visit (and fall in love with) our little Otter, we started in on yummy "welcome sunshine! we've missed you!" meal #2: Baby back ribs with parsley fried onion rings and grilled corn on the cob. Sorry for the lack of pictures. We were apparently too hungry for a photo shoot. But feel free to imagine the deliciousness. It was only our third or fourth foray into ribs, and we have a lot of changes to make in the recipe, but what a meal to enjoy the fortuitous weather!
Sunday after church, we headed straight to Home Depot, along with everyone else in NoVA. Determined to make our little back yard an oasis for the enjoyment of summer evenings, we purchased paving stones, plants, planters, and dirt. Since the projects are as yet unfinished, I won't share the photos, but I will show you what cute, helpful doggies we have:
Mama's pulling weeds and I helped!
I'll just sit here in the shade and look pretty.
And finally, after a scorching hot day of hard work in the hard, we've come to yummy "welcome sunshine! we've missed you!" meal #3: snow crab legs, steamed potatoes, and more corn on the cob, along with some super cool and fresh cucumber salad (sliced and deseeded cucumber, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, couple pinches of sugar), by candlelight (citronella!).
Snow crab tip: When you can catch it on sale, like we did, it is SO EASY, thanks to my dad's super secret (oops! not any more!) cooking method: Rinse off any ice from the clusters, pat dry, and throw into a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with melted butter. This is one of my all-time favorite meals, and on a hot evening on the porch, it reminds me of home.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
He is a 9 1/2 week old chocolate lab and he is just the sweetest thing, which is lucky for him as we progress through the trials and tribulations of house-training. Elsa is not yet a full-fledged member of his fan club, but she seems to like him more and more everyday, despite the amount of attention he requires.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Let me preface this discussion with the fact that I, Jaimy, am not generally a burger person. It's not that I don't like a good burger, but I rarely CRAVE one. That is, I rarely craved one...until I went to Ray's HellBurger.
HellBurger is associated with Ray's the Steaks, one of Bret's most favorite steakhouses here in Arlington. HellBurger opened up a few doors down in the same plaza and with the same minimalist attitude toward menu and decor. They do a few things, but they do them very, very well. The burgers are made from the same ground up meat they use for the steaks....10 ounces of it per burger, to be exact. It's counter service, a la carte, and sometimes a challenge to find a table before your food comes. But despite all of the hassle, that first bite of burger is worth it. Lightly seasoned and grilled to medium rare (recommended temp) perfection, I have never experienced a juicier piece of meat. While Bret experiments with the extensive list of toppings, I stick to American cheese and pickles, because the burger itself tastes SO good that I don't want to cover it up. Add a mug of their locally brewed root beer, and a side of cheesy tater puffs, and I would choose HellBurger over many steaks I have had in my life (except my dad's steaks, and Bret's, and maybe Ruth's Chris).
So when I returned from a weekend out of town and Bret said a friend liked the EatBurger, which recently won a burger contest in D.C., at Tallulah/Eat Bar more than HellBurger, I was intrigued. We went there last night to conduct a formal investigation.
While you avoid the counter service hassle at Eat Bar, our experience last night was that the service was not much better for it. I ordered the same burger that I get at Ray's, for the sake of accurate comparison. My burger was slightly overcooked, but I was starving and not willing to wait for another one, and it looked surprisingly juicy despite the fact that it was closer to medium well than medium rare. The key to the EatBurger is that it is seasoned with onion and herbs and saturated with butter to produce a burger that is bursting with flavor and uber-juicy. I admit, it was pretty tasty....
But my vote is for HellBurger, all the way. I can see where one could prefer the herb flavor of the EatBurger, especially if you (gasp!) enjoy your burger a little closer to well done than we do, but that is a cop out to me. Ray's burger is all about the quality of the meat, and you can't get around that.
Monday, April 6, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
So, that's that. I'm sort of sad to have run out of assignments. I can, of course, take pictures whenever I want to. But you look at things differently when you are looking to meet a goal. This class may not have given me the mastery of our camera that I had hoped for, but it did challenge my creativity, which was on a dusty shelf in my mind for 4 years.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
As nearly everyone knows, we will be welcoming a new Lewis of the canine variety over Easter weekend-- a male chocolate lab pup. We are picking him up from my grandpa's (Beaver Creek Kennels of Champion, Ohio) during our holiday visit, which is FAST approaching. (This is partly why we've been trying to enjoy our time out on the town as much as possible these days!)
The problem is that we cannot decide on a name for him! We have ideas, but I thought I would put it out there and see if anyone else has a good suggestion. We are thinking Rugby, Finnegan, or Otter. What do you think??
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
On Saturday night, Bret and I spent a lovely date night in Chinatown. I had spontaneously picked up tickets for the Circus at Verizon Center while downtown on Friday morning, and we decided to make a night of it. We started at Proof for appetizers and a glass of wine. We had the bresaola, roasted beet salad, veal sweetbreads and mixed olives. It was a perfectly delicious start to the night. Oddly enough, I thought the olives were the best part. We eat a LOT of olives and the citrus twist to the marinade here was refreshing and just a little something different.
After a quick bite at Proof, we waded through the PETA protesters (Note: I have it on good authority from inside the Circus personnel that the elephants are not abused in any way, and in fact are revered as the core of the Circus brand image. See this for more.) and small children to get to the Circus. We actually had a great time! Neither of us had been since we were kids, and it was something different to do. Having just read Water For Elephants, and filed it in my list of FAVORITE books ever, I think I got an extra layer of enjoyment. We also enjoyed trying to capture the movement and sparkle of the performances by experimenting with the camera, but you'll have to wait for more pictures until I put out this week's Photography blog.
After the Circus, we wandered around and followed our grumbling tummies to Matchbox, where we split a buffalo mozza and basil pizza. Nice atmosphere, but definitely not our favorite wood-fired pizza in the area.
Sunday afternoon, we came out of church to an absolutely gorgeous day in the District. I mean PERFECT-- sunny, cloudless skies, and just enough chill in the air to remind you that it's Spring. We headed over to Eastern Market and found ourselves sitting on the patio at Montmartre, watching passers-by, basking in the sunshine, drinking coffee and finding it difficult to decide which of the delicious-looking menu items to order. Since we were in Paris precisely a year before, we lingered a little more than usual, reminiscing and wishing we could teleport back. I had the croque monsieur (which I loved, except for the mustard vinaegrette, which was not my favorite even in Paris) and Bret had the endive and apple salad and pate. I suspect we will return for dinner in the not-so-distant future.
Topping off the general happiness of the weekend, we had the Whitneys in town from Denver. While they were here to visit Mark's dad, we were glad to be able to steal them away a few times and catch up with the goings-on in Denver.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Monday morning, with our camera safely returned to my possession, and the standard gray gloominess of DC overhead, I set out to work on this week's assignment. We had two options: (1) Emulation of a famous photographer, or (2) a Self-Portrait. I tried a little of both and was not happy with either.
In fact, I would consider my attempts at Emulation a complete failure, in part because I could not decide who to emulate. I appreciate so many photographers, particularly for photographs that I myself cannot take. I certainly do not have a steady supply of celebrities and other important folks to take photos a la Annie Leibovitz or Richard Avedon, nor am I currently surrounded by the striking natural beauty found in Ansel Adams' work (too bad I didn't take this class in Colorado!). I wandered into the National Gallery of Art, since what I do have is unrestricted access to the awesomeness that is the Smithsonian Institute. Their photography galleries are currently taken up by a full exhibition of Robert Frank's work, most notably "The Americans." He is one of those photographers who has the ability to take extraordinary photos of ordinary people and things. Which is something that I have a steady supply of. So I tried a few shots of "ordinary D.C." while strolling the Mall:
For my "selfies," I came upon the perfect tool in the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, and this was the result-- and also my "best shot" of the week:
The picture below was MY favorite shot, but is way too soft, focus-wise, due to my hatred of flash and the low lighting in the gallery, and didn't fall into either prong of the assignment. Once I have a tripod (or someone's back to use as one), I plan to reshoot this one.
And so I find myself preparing for the last shoot of the class. I have my assignment, and permission to complete disregard the assignment if necessary to take "great pictures." Next week we bring in the results of our last shoot, plus all of our "best" pictures from the previous weeks, and hope to find among them two pictures to be matted and framed in time for our last class on April 2nd-- an Exhibition and Celebration at our Instructor's residence.
This weekend should provide lots of opportunities to shoot- we have gorgeous (but still chilly) weather in the forecast, our friends the Whitneys in town, and tickets to the Circus tomorrow night!
Monday, March 16, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
Side story: In a small but notable advancement, I have started taking the bus to get downtown during the day. This sounds ridiculous, but I've been sort of avoiding it out of a fear that I would get lost and end up having to take a cab home from somewhere in Maryland. I can manage the metro...I looooove the metro. Worst case you miss your stop, get off and go back in the other direction. But who knows where the wrong bus will take you or how long it will take the right bus to come along and save you. Right? OK, well maybe it's just me. At any rate, the 7A and 7F stop is one block from our apartment and goes straight to the Pentagon terminal, where I can get on my beloved metro. Baby steps, folks. So that's what I did to begin my photographic safari on Tuesday. Grumpily. With gloomy grey weather to match. (God, how I want Spring to come!)
Back to photography... When I arrived at the Pentagon, I decided that my first stop on my search for inspiration would be the recently completed Pentagon Memorial. Which is all the things a 9/11 memorial should be....quiet (even with the proximity of 395), eerie, reflective, symbolic... This is where I took the shots I am posting for this week.
However, those are not the shots I submitted as my best for this assignment. From the Pentagon, I meandered (by this I mean that I got on the metro with no idea where I felt like getting off) to Dupont Circle in hopes of finding inspiration in the mix of people who wander through and around one of D.C.'s quirkiest neighborhoods. I sat on a bench by the fountain and started shooting the fountain in the grey depressing gloom of the afternoon, including some high school cool kids who were hanging out smoking and laughing along the dry fountain's edge.
Side story #2: We have an ongoing discussion in our class on how to shoot people as a street photographer. Do you ask permission? Does permission compromise the shots? It just feels a little weird, particularly as an amateur, to be taking pictures of random folks... who wants to be creepy?
So I took a few shots of these kids, thinking I was being sneaky, until a rather creepy homeless person brought attention to my long lens shooting. At this point, I reviewed my initial shots, realized that this might be the gold mine I was looking for, and bravely approached the uber cool 17 year olds to get permission to shoot some more. Permission granted, I took a veritable photo shoot of their seeming after-school ritual of hanging out and socializing with passers-by and the regular homeless crowd that passes their days on the Circle.
So at the end of the day, I was pretty happy with my photos, as well as with the fact that I took shots of people! Who I don't even know! And the pictures were interesting! Unfortunately for you folks, I don't feel comfortable posting the pictures here, particularly because I don't know those kids and didn't get permission to post their faces on my blog... (And being private school kids in D.C., they are no doubt the spawn of attorneys and politicians who might take issue with unauthorized publishing of their children's faces on even such an insignificant blog.)
And in yet a third accomplishment this week, I have started to figure out how to use Photoshop in such a way that it actually has advantages over Picasa.
Without further ado, here are shots from the Pentagon Memorial, in no particular order since my "best" shot of this week is being withheld:
In a completely unrelated note, why won't Blogger keep spaces where I want them and STOP adding them where I don't??? Infuriating.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
As you can see, I played with editting colors and dimensions a little more to make the pictures I would submit this week (in Picasa, because Elements and I do not yet see eye-to-eye). Note: I have decided that for all intents and purposes, I hate using flash. I am really struggling with letting go of Auto-Focus, though, and on top of that, verrrrry unsure about how to approach the assignment for next week. But the class is halfway over and I insist on coming out of this class with all of my goals met. So, onward! Let's see where this week takes me...
Monday, March 2, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
After four years of grad school-- of higher learning in law and tax, no less-- it's an ungraded, just-for-kicks "Eye of the Photographer" class that gets me all nervous? Yeah, I don't know. Law school forces you to leave all of your impractical and creative (God forbid!) pursuits at the door. When you finish, you take the Bar, and when you recover from that, you're (hopefully) employed (or in this economy, frantically searching for employment, which is in itself a full-time job). When you adjust to "life after law school," you start to wonder what in the world you used to do with your time. Back before my brain was ransacked by professors the equivalent of medieval torturers, what did I enjoy? I seem to remember that I was creative. That I enjoyed reading, and writing, and crafting things....
These were taken over a one-year period, from our trip to France, through recent experimentation with the new DSLR. Notice all of the nature and things-that-generally-stay-still-while-I-find-the-perfect-shot. I'm hoping to move up to people soon....
Bret Update: A week from RIGHT NOW, he'll be done with the Bar and it can't come soon enough. He's putting in 12 hours a day at the GMU library this week, leaving me home with Elsa to job hunt and generally keep our household and our life in order. I'm looking forward to having my husband back!
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
On Sunday morning, I dropped Bret off bright and early for his full-day practice multi-state exam (which he then proceeded to ROCK!), and headed to Luna Grill for brunch and good conversation with my friend Heather. I've been to Luna half a dozen times or so, since it is just down the hill from us in Shirlington Village, and so have been aware of what a gem Luna is for quite some time. I'm a huge fan of their Eggs Benedict & Home Fries, topped off with several cups of coffee (something about diners makes me drink a week's worth of coffee in one sitting). Since it was Heather's first visit, I am under the impression that you might find more of a "first impression"-type review over on her blogspot.