To be as cliché as humanly possible – I cannot believe how quickly this year has passed. We’ve been back from Brazil for over two months, which is nuts. It sometimes doesn’t feel like we ever went at this point and when people we haven’t seen since we’ve been back ask “How was Brazil?” I have to stop myself and really think about it.
This year, unlike any other save for maybe the year I moved from Oklahoma to DC, has been consistent in nothing except craziness. We’ve lived in three different apartments, and change has become the norm. From learning to speak another language (poorly) to changes in Tom’s job and beyond, we’ve become masters of adjusting quickly.
At the beginning of the year, I made a very conscious effort to journal every morning so that I would have a record of my life to look back on at some later point. I’m very reflective and love going back to revisit memories of the past.
However, when I started putting more effort into writing on this site, my journaling slowly came to a halt and it makes me sad that I don’t have those detailed accounts of my days living in a foreign country for the first time. I do have the blog posts I wrote during that time, but they were just little snippets. And, frankly, the majority of them only show the highlights of our time there, which doesn’t exactly tell the whole story.
For that reason, I’ve decided to start doing monthly recap posts here covering the major (and not so major) events that happen that I don’t want to forget. This is mostly for me, but I’m hoping it will also give the few of you who read this a bit of insight into the way I live my dog-obsessed, wine-fueled slightly neurotic life. Spoiler alert, this predominately entails taking pictures of my dog and talking about (or to) my dog. I mean, look at him.
October got off to a good if uneventful start, as we made a concerted effort to slow down. September was crazy with all sorts of reunions after arriving back to the states. October was the first month that we felt completely back into the DC groove.
Along with all of those September reunions came a lot of September expenses, so we also made a big effort to cook most of our meals at home and reduce our spending as much as possible. Unfortunately, we also had to catch up on some doctor’s appointments and car maintenance, so we didn’t save as much as hoped. But every little bit counts, I suppose.
A major lowlight of the month came as we watched my Oklahoma Sooners lose to Texas, our biggest rivals. We’d considered doing other fun things that day, but I’m a very sore loser so we wound up spending the rest of the day on the couch while I moped and told the dog several hundred times what I would have done differently. Because really, losing to an unranked Texas after a very disappointing season last year is just too much for this fan to endure. Ashton felt the same, which is why he’s my best friend and closest confidant (other than Tom, of course).
You can’t fully see it, but he’s wearing a little Sooner jersey. He’s such a funny creature, he doesn’t at all mind wearing clothes. In fact, I think he enjoys keeping up with the latest fashions. You can judge me for having a froufrou dog, but it wouldn’t be very nice. Froufou dogs need love too. And he can throw down if he needs to, all while wearing a jingle bell Christmas sweater.
We worked at the winery (for new readers, we work at a Virginia winery once or twice a month) the following day, which was a good distraction from my bitterness. Going there is such a nice escape, with its serene views and kind people. We spent the majority of the day talking to people about wine and then had a glass to celebrate after our shift was over. It doesn’t even feel like work. We often have dinner with the winery owners after, two people I truly adore and admire. In addition to keeping up with full-time jobs, they operate a successful winery and still host some of the most magnificent dinners I’ve ever been to, plus they’re just great, fun people.
Speaking of work, Tom’s new job gives him all of the government holidays off, so we celebrated President’s Day by hitting up happy hour on Capitol Hill, since he usually doesn’t get home from work before the happy hours have become sad hours.
It was a gorgeous evening for a walk, so we meandered along the beautiful tree-lined streets of Capitol Hill on the way to our destination, stopping to point out all the many houses we would love to live in should a million dollars fall from the sky (and that would most likely just be the down payment).
Later that week, we got Ashton a haircut. I know, this recap is enthralling. I bet you’ve been dying to learn about the inner workings of my dog’s hygiene, am I right? Well, far be it from me to deny you the juicy details. As you can tell from the picture above, he was getting a little scraggly, which always makes me feel like a bad dog mom. Having a dog that doesn’t shed is great for my allergies, but it’s hard to keep up with his grooming, especially when his haircuts cost more than mine do! We sometimes trim his face up a little on our own, but leave the rest to the professionals since he has age warts on his body that can become irritated easily.
After his haircut, we were surprised to get a frantic call from the groomer telling us that Ashton needed to be picked up immediately or we wouldn’t be able to get him until after 9 p.m., something that certainly would have been nice to have known in advance. Although it was a little annoying, I’m lucky that my office is laid-back and sparsely populated so there was no issue in me having him at my desk for a few hours.
He was a big hit, of course. For the most part he just sat on my lap like the precious nugget that he is, but he did get down every now and then to nose around a bit and have a snack of stale saltine crackers, which he thought were the white truffles of dog snacks.
After work, I walked over to Tom’s work to meet his coworkers and see his snazzy new office. I’m not sure if I’ve explicitly stated it here or not, but shortly after we got back from Brazil, Tom switched jobs. The circumstances surrounding the change were super stressful and strange, but it turned out to be a fantastic move because now he’s in a far more challenging and rewarding situation, not to mention that we can carpool now and meet for lunch or midday walks. Things do tend to work out as they should.
His coworkers are great, and he works in a fun, innovative, collaborative environment that I know will be incredibly rewarding for him. More important, they loved Ashton, so I know they have good taste.
The following night I went out with a fun group of girls. My friend Unmani was the first person to take me in when I moved to Virginia and worked in Tyson’s Corner. I’m a shy person and the worst at making friends, but she’s the sort of bubbly outgoing person that you just can’t resist.
She recently decided to start up the tradition of girls’ nights, and I couldn’t have been more excited. It’s hard to make quality friends as you get older, and it’s been something I’ve struggled with a lot post-college. We had an excellent night sipping drinks on by a fire pit at Poste and then a hilarious dinner at NoPa where we proceeded to charm our waiter positively senseless. I’m really looking forward to continuing this monthly ritual.
After that we left for our weekend getaway to the Chesapeake Bay, one of the major highlights of the month. I’m so grateful to have a partner who loves to travel as much as I do, who is always up for a wine tasting or silly round of mini golf, and who supports late night ice cream consumption in the hotel bed while I catch up on my internets.
The week after we returned from our trip, I finally broke down and signed up for a gym membership (ice cream consumption does have its consequences), so the majority of the following week was spent coming to terms with the fact that I’m not in the shape I used to be. More on that soon.
Then it was time to start preparing for Halloween. With my new determination not to be a holiday hater, I planned a costume and even went to a Halloween party in Virginia that gave me the opportunity to bowl with a couple of Power Rangers.
Before I knew it, the month was drawing to a close, and with it the sun retreated as well. Daylight Savings Time is the bane of my existence, and I dread setting the clocks back every year.
I have to admit this year was even worse, because we were in Brazil during their winter and lived through five months of short days (the sun generally sat at around 6 p.m.) only to return to continue that here. I know, poor me and my dark Brazilian days. I’m not complaining at all, but like a lot of people, the winter months and lack of sunlight are a little hard on my spirits. However, I’m determined to fight through it and focus on the positive, like these lovely DC sunsets.
Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for reading!