Saturday, November 29, 2014

the long haul.

In 2011, after several disastrous wind gusts destroyed my poor California-made umbrellas, I decided to buy a clear bubble umbrella in hopes it would shield me from future storms. As I walked around my DC neighborhoods, I got several stares and a few snide remarks, but I was dry and protected from the winds trying to invert my umbrella, even if I looked a bit ridiculous to others.

Then in 2012, Blake Lively was spotted with a bubble umbrella, and suddenly they were popping up everywhere (OK, perhaps the two aren't directly related). I swore--and still swear--by the plastic dome created to resist wind and give its user a clear view of the sidewalk ahead without intruding in other people's space.

Last week on my 5 a.m. walk to the subway for work, a particularly strong wind was blowing rain sideways and I could feel my bubble umbrella beginning to give. Something snapped and the frame on one side of the umbrella bent inward, smacking the clear plastic into my eye. By the time I made it underground, I was soaked and unhappy, and snapped the frame back into place. It's not completely broken, but it's bent enough to make me realize that after three years of happy ownership, I may have to buy a replacement.

Which was a more surprising realization than I think it should have been.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Dear autumn,

Today was the my first holiday drink from Starbucks of the season--secretly, one of my favorite moments of the year. I had stayed uptown all day yesterday in the local coffee shops and hadn't noticed anything seasonal besides the rain, but today I passed the Starbucks on 28th and 3rd on my way to brunch and noticed something different: a flash of red. The holiday cups had arrived!

I normally shrug off the announcements of pumpkin spice lattes to save my enthusiasm for this day. When I was in college, Andrea, Natalie, and I would meet each other at the campus Starbucks the morning the holiday cups appeared for a traditional toast to our favorite holiday (and in anticipation of the end of the quarter and the start of winter break). There's always been something about peppermint and ice skating penguins that changes the air, that changes me, and I'm glad for it because this year has felt like an especially long one. And I'm ready for the conclusion of this chapter and the start of the next.