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gros malin

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I am on my way to sunny, warm, beach-y southern California for my 30th high school reunion. 30!!! I wish I could tell my 17 year old self that everything will be just fine. More than fine, actually.

I've been trying to balance between activities we've never tried before, and events with the communities we belong to. Even though it was the same time as the chili cook-off at church, we opted for the s'mores festival.

more s'moreswe painted pumpkins at the local

farmers' marketI finally visited the District Wharf

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I have a number of comp days from travel that I've been taking to do household stuff. Unfortunately with the weather so wonky (i.e. unseasonally hot) I have both winter and summer stuff piled in Z's bedroom. I did re-arrange our basement unit and other storage spaces as well as de-cluttered, enough to fill about 20 trash bags. On Columbus Day Z went to music day camp while I worked on the basement, then the next day while he was at school I went to the local big mall to make a few returns and to pick up my annual Sephora birthday gift. The Eloquii store was the biggest highlight of my day. It was really an elegant boutique experience - in the end the clothes were secondary.

While MoBob took Z to a bachelor couscous party, I attended a book launch party for one of my favorite people. Unfortunately I didn't realize until I was getting ready that the invitation said "black tie optional" but I managed to pull together an outfit. I definitely need a bigger evening bag. And maybe actual dressy shoes? I guess I'm just not fancy enough. Anyway, CTD's book, The Encore, is getting rave reviews.

We saw another delightful musical adaptation, How I Became a Pirate. I'd actually forgotten that we'd read the book and its sequel - the show was definitely a lot more memorable. The slide was probably the best prop on the stage.




We had a couple of mid-week adventures: the first STEM night at school, which really meant all the littles congregating in the library to play followed by a visit to the neighborhood burger joint, and the fabulous new development down the street. The festivities on the opening night just knocked Z out.

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friendly smiles


"all about me" presentation


game night


mystery reader
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I've been wondering about an Instant Pot for ages, and in-person and on-line consultations all agree that it's a good investment. Amazon had a promotion and then there we were, peering at the inscrutable owner's manual. MoBob made the inaugural tagine which actually came out pretty well.

I took a day off work on my birthday and visited the Sylvia Plath exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery, and then Target. A working mom's ideal day!

The Moroccan festival wasn't very well organized but MB said the subsequent concerts went well. It was unseasonably warm.


This year DC Rec Day was in our neighborhood so after French class we met up with our friends.


Sunday was unusually busy, even for us. We went to the local Episcopal Church for the annual Blessing of the Animals, then we saw a production of "The Adventures of the Extra Ordinary Super Heroes" with City Kids Theater (Z said he didn't like it because everyone's capes were too small), and then a Cal alum playdate. Only DC would have a Fibonacci sequence themed playground.


We finally tried out the carousel at National Harbor on a golden Sunday evening.
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Our weekends have fallen into the rhythm of French class and church in the mornings, and a family activity in the afternoons. Last Saturday we went to the Barracks Row Festival, and then I have no idea what we did that evening. Last Sunday after church MoBob volunteered at the school table at the DC State Fair while I enjoyed roasted sweet potatoes. Granted, DC isn't a state, and there weren't the usual activities like rides or animals, but it was still fun.



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I haven't been to Z's Saturday French class until today, since I was in NH for the first session and at a board retreat for the second. Thankfully the school designates a parents' room with wi-fi so that I can update the blog and send angry tweets while Z is in class.


We finally made it onto the Anacostia - but it rained and our cruise was cut short. But the rain was pretty, with different patterns under the bridge.


I attended a reception on the roof of a hotel in Georgetown. (photo courtesy of fellow ICAPer MikaH)


Z attended a birthday party with the Power Rangers.


We learned about anger management with Pufferfish Pat.


Z was promoted to the next level in swim class and got to ring the bell. He was THRILLED.
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My biggest career regret is not getting a graduate degree in international public health, so it's always a treat to attend events like the Global Health Mini-University. Thank you George Washington University wi-fi!

I had a wonderful time at the Exponent retreat. This year I was one of the speakers. The venue was conducive to reflections on faith.


While I was gone, Z met the Winter Olympic Games mascot.

More magnatiles!

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We were dreaming on an occupied island at the farthest edge
of a trembling nation when it went down.

Two towers rose up from the east island of commerce and touched
the sky. Men walked on the moon. Oil was sucked dry
by two brothers. Then it went down. Swallowed
by a fire dragon, by oil and fear.
Eaten whole.

It was coming.

We had been watching since the eve of the missionaries in their
long and solemn clothes, to see what would happen.

We saw it
from the kitchen window over the sink
as we made coffee, cooked rice and
potatoes, enough for an army.

We saw it all, as we changed diapers and fed
the babies. We saw it,
through the branches
of the knowledgeable tree
through the snags of stars, through
the sun and storms from our knees
as we bathed and washed
the floors.

The conference of the birds warned us, as they flew over
destroyers in the harbor, parked there since the first takeover.
It was by their song and talk we knew when to rise
when to look out the window
to the commotion going on—
the magnetic field thrown off by grief.

We heard it.
The racket in every corner of the world. As
the hunger for war rose up in those who would steal to be president
to be king or emperor, to own the trees, stones, and everything
else that moved about the earth, inside the earth
and above it.

We knew it was coming, tasted the winds who gathered intelligence
from each leaf and flower, from every mountain, sea
and desert, from every prayer and song all over this tiny universe
floating in the skies of infinite
being.

And then it was over, this world we had grown to love
for its sweet grasses, for the many-colored horses
and fishes, for the shimmering possibilities
while dreaming.

But then there were the seeds to plant and the babies
who needed milk and comforting, and someone
picked up a guitar or ukulele from the rubble
and began to sing about the light flutter
the kick beneath the skin of the earth
we felt there, beneath us

a warm animal
a song being born between the legs of her;
a poem.

"When the World as We Knew It Ended" from How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems:1975-2001 by Joy Harjo.
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This morning I am posting from a cafe in Boston. I flew up earlier this morning for the annual Exponent retreat. Usually I meet up with friends or one time went to the movies, but on this occasion I am hunkering down so I can do all the online advocacy that I haven't been able to do at work or at home. All I do is send angry tweets, nowadays.

Although I wasn't allowed to "officially" circulate in Dhaka (I know I could've thrown on a shalwar kameez and wandered about in peace), I did see friends and colleagues, including a classmate from high school.

Plus a really fancy bidet.


And a cricket team shirt for MoBob.


While I was flying through the skies, MB and Z attended community day at Arena Stage.


Back to our regular programming...we finally got to see Lego Batman at one of the local parks.


MB took Z to the mosque to celebrate Eid.


We went to see Hive at the National Building Museum on the last day. It was visually striking but not as engaging as previous exhibits.


Stormtrooper down.


As always, the National Book Festival was even more delightful because of Maisy Mouse.


This month's school project was on the theme of "All About Me" for which we decided to do some painting.
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