Sunday, April 29, 2007


I did it again. I left lip balm in my jeans pocket, which normally wouldn’t be a problem, but I washed my jeans and then melted the lip balm to oblivion in the dryer. The annoyance of replacing the lip balm aside, I knew that as soon as I found the empty tube, I would have dark spots of melted balminess on my clothing. And because I make this mistake so often, I also knew with dread certainty that those spots would never come out.


A strange Spartan attitude took over my usual packrat mode and I tossed half a dozen shirts into the trash can after finding telltale lip balm spots. I wasn’t going to wear them because of the dark spots, so there was no use in keeping them. Then my thoughts wandered to my dresser, which was busting at the seams with clothing I know I pass by every morning. I only have so many outfits that I swap out for work, so there was no reason for me to be unable to shut the drawers on a regular basis. The latest episode of melted lip balm was the straw that broke the camel’s back: I was weeding out my wardrobe.

I splayed the contents of my bottom dresser drawers on the bed and dropped items into the Goodwill bag without a second thought. That tank top is too low, I don’t wear things with bows anymore, I shrunk that in the wash, etc. I added every button-down shirt I own because, by some strange phenomenon, my arms look like sausages in the sleeves, but I am pretty certain that my arms are not my biggest fat problem. Whatever – I didn’t wear them at all last season. I was emboldened by the growing stack of items in the bag. Look at me! I’m not being all sentimental about my clothing! I’m not like those loonies on What Not to Wear!

And then I saw that my real problem was not tank tops or bows or shrinkage. My real problem was Free T-shirts. Cue ominous music.

If such a thing existed, I would qualify for Free Stuff Anonymous. A radio commercial back in the day featured a commentator saying, “Free is my favorite price. It’s my favorite flavor. It’s my favorite color. It’s always my size.” Oh, how I related. My penchant for not paying for things resulted in an overwhelming collection of t-shirts in varying degrees of bagginess and requisite obnoxious logos. I separated the lot into four major categories:

  • College: bright blue or gold, usually with a picture of a chicken
  • Summer Camp: various campfire or mountainous silk-screened designs
  • Rock Climbing: logo-covered prizes from competitions = human billboard
  • Sentimental: gifts, inside jokes, or otherwise unexplainable to outside parties

I was aghast at the sight of the leaning tower of t-shirts. How many shirts does one person need, anyway?

Though it pained me, I slowly sorted through the stack with my newly-minted Spartan mindset. I only wear college shirts to football games, so three will suffice. I only wear camp shirts in the summer, so I only need two. Only one climbing shirt is small enough to wear in public, but I couldn’t give up any of the sentimental ones. Stacy and Clinton would be shaking their disapproving heads at me.

There is a bright side to all of this separation anxiety. After gazing at my beloved shirts forlornly, I hopped up to e-mail my mother-in-law, which I know is sort of a weird reflex. See, she made quilts for all three of her children out of childhood shirts and they had them for freshman year at college. JG’s quilt is in our living room and I use it all the time, so I asked if she would mind rescuing my shirts. She wrote back right away to say that she was “thrilled to do it,” as long as I didn’t impose a time constraint. JG snorted and said, “Yeah, I hope you don’t mind waiting for five years.”

It’s fine with me! I know I’ll get them back in quilt-form eventually, and in the meantime, I have more drawer space for new clothes…

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Climb Time

After a summer of belaying for high-ropes courses, JG and I went climbing all the time in college. There was a tiny (but free!) gym made out of a converted racquetball court at the fitness center and we went at least twice a week. Slowly, we got better and became friends with the regulars and the staff. JG earned a nickname, “Gigantor,” and we were easily recognizable because of our extreme difference in height. It was a workout that didn’t feel like one and I loved it.

And then we graduated. Rock gyms cost money and getting to them cost time. After the demands on the daily routine, the climbing gear stayed in a dark closet, unused. Every so often, JG and I would look at each other and say, “We should really get out there.” But we never did.

Last week, a friend of ours called up. “They just opened a new gym in Coatesville! Come check it out with me!” JG took him up on it when I was in L.A. and brought home rave reviews, so we went together on Tuesday night.

It was the first time I’d gone climbing in more than two years and I could feel it. My hands were unaccustomed to the dryness of chalky hands and my forearms were confused about the sudden strain. I was pleased to find that my body still remembered the odd configurations that climbing demands, even if my strength was not up to par. I climbed several easy routes and reminded myself how to belay, but JG and our friend did most of the climbing. The fact that I tired so easily was just motivation to get back to my former self.

Unlike other gyms I’ve tried in the area, this one had other workout equipment. When my hands were too raw to hold on any longer, I surprised myself by walking on a treadmill for 20 minutes, and following it up with 7 minutes of running. Running! Which I normally view as cruel torture! I could barely walk down the steps without falling, but I felt like I had really done something good for myself. I heart endorphins! We both joined the gym that night.

One of our friends, a gym teacher and all-around healthy guy, always says that after a hard workout, the second day is the worst. Today is the second day and I believe him. My forearms hurt so much this morning that I had a hard time gripping my steering wheel. I could hardly jog up my one flight of stairs. It’s as though I can hear my body creak.

Tomorrow night, JG and I are hitting up the gym again. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Chaos and Star Treatment

Yesterday was just one of those days when everything started later than it should have and took longer than was reasonable. I was constantly behind, never catching my footing. JG was excited to fire up the grill for the first time of the season and I had the best of intentions to have tossed and pasta salads ready by the time JG got home from his night class. However, my plans were dashed to pieces when he called to say he was leaving school and I was still in the check-out line at the supermarket. Once home, my grocery bags broke in the kitchen, I couldn’t find a matching pair of flip-flops in my dark closet, and I dropped an egg while I tried to make brownies. JG found me making a ruckus as I washed dishes; I was not friendly at all. I know I get way too frustrated when small things go wrong, but when it seems like nothing goes right, it’s more than I can handle gracefully. I went on to burn the French fries and turn a pot of pasta into overcooked mush; much to my chagrin, I had to toss out all of that food. In what turned out to be slight consolation, JG accidentally over-parsleyed the pasta salad so that it tasted of burning. And then he made me a cosmo.

Good man.


From the department of More Interesting Things, I offer what I would have written upon my return home on Saturday had I not been A) so freaking exhausted, B) busy making chili and/or C) running the combo chili cook-off/square dance that evening. My chili tied for 2nd place and then I proceeded to sleep for over twelve hours on Sunday.

- - -

On Tuesday, the staff of my small organization was set to meet for an all-hands dinner, but my immediate team met for happy hour a bit earlier. (I ordered a lemon drop before I realized that the special that day was 2-for-1 and I had two yummy martinis sitting in front of me without warning. Needless to say, I tried to avoid talking and standing up.) I looked up and saw a girl walking to the restaurant next door on the arm of a short-ish guy. “Hey,” I whispered to my neighbor, “That girl really looks like Hillary Swank.” She looked at me and said flatly, “That is Hillary Swank, RA.”


The rest of my table craned and whispered, “Why didn’t you say anything?!” I didn’t even realize it was her until it was too late! Conveniently, we were sitting on the patio, so we staked out Hillary and her date (her agent, we wondered?) until they came out again. Cue more whispering and gasping.

Then, on Saturday morning, I was standing at baggage claim in Philly with a few of my officemates when I spied a small woman across the way with red hair. I looked once. Twice. I nudged my nearest co-worker and said dubiously, “Is that Kathy Griffin?”

“Oh, my gosh, yes. Let’s get a picture with her!”

“Uh, would you want your picture taken with random crazy people after a red-eye?”

“She’s probably used to it! She’d probably like it because she’s so D-list.”

“I’m not doing it.”

“Fine. We’ll just stand here and stare, then.”

And we did. Not as glamorous as Hillary Swank, maybe, but it brought my celebrity sighting count up to a big TWO! I call that a successful L.A. trip!

- - -

I booked a shuttle to and from the airport for this trip and I relish the luxurious rides in town cars. The ground transportation person called my name and I walked out to meet the driver … who was standing next to a white stretch limo. What in the world!

And so, on my way home from my trip to Hollywood, I rode all alone in a limousine. I sat across from empty decanters, tiny television screens, and wine glasses in their own holders. I put my feet up on the seat stretched before me and watched where I had been through the back windshield. I saw people’s eyes linger on the car, just as mine usually do, and I realized that I could see them, but they couldn’t see me. It was very surreal. And very L.A.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Summing Up

  • The conference is over.
  • My feet hurt.
  • My suitcase is packed.
  • My flight back home leaves in six hours.
  • I didn’t ever get to In-n-Out.
  • I’ll get home at 7am.
  • JG will be a sight for sore eyes.
  • I’ll crash for two hours of sleep before getting up to run an event for my church.

And then sleep, sweet sleep.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

From the Other Coast

Somewhere between bouncing back from vacation, reorienting myself to working, and preparing to leave town again, I completely forgot to mention that I was flying across the country. I’m in Los Angeles for a conference for work, so I’ll be surprised if I’ll get a chance to set foot on Rodeo Drive and window shop. This week will consist of suits, schmoozing, and shaking hands; in short, a whole lot of fun. Rolling my eyes.

I got a call from one of my co-workers last night, informing me that our flight was leaving at 8:30am the next day. This call wouldn’t have startled me so much, except that the flight was originally scheduled to depart at 10am. And I hadn’t packed yet. And I was covered in bread flour. I had to reschedule my shuttle pick-up for 5:45am – Heaven, help me – and I raced around to pack since I actually had to get to bed at a decent hour. Although I had interpreted the flight change as a bad omen for the week, I made it to my flight with plenty of time to eat breakfast and I managed to sleep during 4 out of the 5.5 hours on the plane. After a yummy lunch, I’m settling into my hotel room and steaming out wrinkles from my clothes. Oh, the glamorous life of a business traveler.

The major up side to being out here is that I have three whole evenings available for dinners out with my co-workers, so I’m trolling for restaurant recommendations. I did zero research before coming out here because I knew I’d be holed up in a conference center for 12 hours straight, but I forgot about dinners. What food is indigenous to Los Angeles? A girl’s got to eat, you know.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Try Saying, "Hi"

The church JG and I attend is new and small and meets in another church’s building for Sunday service. Today, a member of the other church, a man with whom I am not acquainted, approached me and I expected a normal, good-natured conversation. Instead, I got the following (my gut reactions italicized):

He: So… is your family Vietnamese?
I: (What in the world? Oh, he’s just asking what my background is.) Uh, no, my family is Chinese.
He: Oh, sorry, my mistake.
I: (Ooh, he feels bad. Just make light of it and be nice.) Don’t worry, I can’t tell the difference sometimes.
He: If you had been Vietnamese, I would have been able to talk to you.
I: (Um, because we’re not talking right now?) Oh.
He: Well, have a nice day.

With that, the man ambled off. I guess we’re done now, I thought.

Admittedly, this episode does not come close to the ignorance displayed by the Rice Knowledge Woman, but I’m obliged to raise my eyebrow in a general expression of, “What the heck just happened here?” Besides the obvious fact that asking someone about ethnic background this bluntly is awkward and generally inappropriate, I have three major objections to the conversation.

First, I hate how I feel obligated to maintain my composure when I’m caught in these circumstances. Why is it my role to be sensitive to people’s ignorance and lack of common courtesy when it comes to race? Why can’t I just lash out with some zinger? (“I think all you middle-aged, pot-bellied, white guys look the same, too.”) Oh, right. I’m supposed to be a docile, Asian girl who giggles behind her hand and wears chopsticks in her hair.

Although this conversation did not include this pet peeve explicitly, I always become irritated when people are surprised that I don’t speak Chinese. I was born in America! Where we speak English! I was an English major, for goodness’ sake! I hardly expect to meet a third-generation European-American who speaks Italian or French or whatever, but I don’t exclaim, “Oh, really? That’s a shame! Why didn’t you try to pick it up?”

Last, but certainly not least - why didn’t this man even introduce himself? I think I may have been a little less startled if the conversation had started out with something like: “Hi, I’m Joe. I learned some Vietnamese back in the day and I was wondering what your background is.” I imagine that the interaction would have been strange nonetheless, but I think it may have felt better with a different lead-in.

I don’t mind being asked about my ethnicity, but the question is so often posed in such a coarse manner that I am completely turned off. To this man, I was no more than an Asian face. I wasn’t a person he thought to address directly and that bothers me most of all.

Here’s a little tip for those who might be interested in others’ ethnicities: To break the ice, try saying, “Hi.” It’s kind of like speaking to any other person.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Dog Situation

In telling folks about my recent anxiety-ridden dog dream, I’ve garnered reactions of two general themes:

  1. “Ooh, get a dog - you’ll love it!”
  2. “Uh, maybe you shouldn’t get a dog.”

I also received the rare, “JG should really stop hassling you,” which I appreciate. Both of you have my hearty thanks.

While we agree on big issues – religion, politics, finance – we squabble about minor items that we view as integral to our lives. For example, JG squeezes the middle of the toothpaste tube, mangling it, but I go for the bottom and smooth it out. When we first got married, we had separate toothpastes because we just couldn’t stand the other’s preference. I’m proud to say that we now share a tube and I only smooth it out once a week or so. That’s what they call progress.

Dog ownership is one of these small, yet all-important issues and we come from completely different schools of thought:

  • JG:
    - Loves dogs
    - Stops to pet passing dogs and chats up the owners
    - Believes strongly in adopting rescue dogs, not buying from a breeder
    - Has always had a dog
  • RA:
    - Is afraid of dogs
    - Hides behind JG when dogs approach and avoids touching them
    - Wants to run away when a dog is off its leash
    - Has never had a pet of any kind

Pragmatically speaking, I feel like a dog is a big step up the pet hierarchy, since I have zero ownership experience. I can’t help but view a dog as a new set of chores rather than a nice companion. Here ends the logic.

When I was little, I “had a bad dog experience,” as I usually say. I was over at a friend’s house and their (gigantic) German shepherd put its paws on my (tiny, four-year-old) shoulders. I was face-to-face with a wolf-like animal and I vividly remember being paralyzed with fear as the (savage, toothy) dog stared me in the face. When I see a big dog now, I become that frightened pre-schooler again. I understand intellectually that the dog was “being friendly,” to employ a phrase so often used by trusting owners, but that feeling of panic and allover lack of safety was firmly impressed on my four-year-old consciousness. My hands have started shaking even as I type this memory. It is into this mindset that JG wants to introduce a dog.

Granted, he doesn’t want a German shepherd, thank goodness. JG prefers smaller dogs (20 pounds or so) just in case he might have to subdue it for whatever reason. He understands my fear, but only to a certain degree because he can empathize with dogs, never having had a negative experience with them. Even though the ideal situation for me would be to simply not get a dog, I know that JG would be pining for one in the back of his mind. So, like all of the marriage books recommend, we compromise, however begrudgingly.

I’ve asked for and JG has agreed to a few conditions for getting a dog:

  1. JG has finished his master’s degree.
  2. We have enough money to replace the carpet in the entire house.
  3. The dog is cute, quiet, and small; non-shedding would be a plus.
  4. I am open to loving the dog and I don’t hide it just to prove a point.
  5. JG does not gloat when I inevitably love the dog.

Under these criteria, we’ll probably get a dog sometime during 2009. By then, I expect to be fully resigned to the idea and maybe even excited. From what I’ve seen on Animal Planet, I think the West Highland Terrier is the cutest (per Item #3). Luckily enough, there’s a Westie rescue group right near us, so we’ll see if we qualify for ownership when the time comes.

Anyway, we’re kind of in a holding pattern while my brain catches up to the plan and JG does his best to refrain from saying things like, “Wouldn’t it be cute if the dog was snuggling up to you right now?” I usually shudder and shake my head. In the meantime, he is working through his master’s program and we’re having fun dreaming up dog names. JG is gunning for a famous mathematician and I’m combing through my literary favorites. Just how nerdy can this dog be? Only time will tell.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Sweet Sale Success

A few weeks ago, I had a euphoric shopping experience thanks to a stack of birthday gift cards. Jeans, jewelry, and shoes all found their way back home, but I thought wistfully about how I was unable to snag the elusive pinstriped suit. Why can’t wardrobe classics always be in stock, in my size, and reasonably priced? It would only be practical.

The need for the suit arose because I have to go to a conference for work next week; I usually wear jeans and heels to work, so my selection of real business attire is very limited. As a sort of knee-jerk reaction, I ordered a suit online in the hopes that it would arrive in time and everything would fit perfectly.

Well, it arrived in time. I opened the box, brimming with anticipation, but my face fell when I saw what was inside. The suit was black with thin pinstripes, but the stripes were at least half an inch apart and a sort of brown-gold color, which did not add up to the classic white, thinly spaced pattern I had envisioned. One of my female co-workers remarked, “You should try it on, but the wider stripes make it kind of matronly.” Whoa. Matronly? Then I realized that I would not have even considered the suit if I had seen it in a store. I had to return it and I was not happy about it.

Yesterday, a friend and I took a spontaneous trip to the mall that was spurred by a tip that a shirt I love was on sale for a mere $10. Must go and grab every color in my size! On the way there, I mentioned that I was also on the lookout for a suit. This friend is usually game for my suggestions and we set off energetically.

Once inside the mall, my friend nudged me toward The Limited, asking, “Did you try there yet?” I declined, citing pushy salespeople and oversized pant lengths. But she pointed out the red sale signs and thought it might be worth a try. A quick sweep through the store yielded a black suit with thin blue stripes of varying widths and a cute blue top. Cumulative markdowns let me buy the jacket, pair of pants, top, and dangly earrings for the original cost of the jacket alone. Yes! I had the satisfaction of finding a suit I can use plus the added, thrilling bonus of a fantastic sale. I need to get the pants shortened by about four inches, but that’s an easy alteration that I am absolutely willing to sponsor.

At home, I bragged to JG that, in comparison to all of the items’ original costs, I saved 46%, which was more than $150. Of course, he has yet to understand how spending money saves me anything, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.


Thursday, April 5, 2007

Back at the Ranch

During yesterday’s ride home from Virginia, JG and I both made the mistake of wearing shorts and long-sleeved t-shirts. We were prepared for the possibility of sitting in traffic, broiling in the sun, like we did on the way down. We were not prepared, however, for the cloudy, rain-spattering skies above us and a brisk breeze to boot. After a quick and yummy lunch at Chipotle (woo!), I broke into my suitcase so I could exchange my shorts and flip-flops for jeans and flats. A chilly house and quasi-freezing temperatures outside greeted us upon arrival. Welcome home, indeed. I pride myself on being of hearty New England stock, that mid-Atlantic winters are a mere shadow of what I’m accustomed to, but making the transition from basking in the sunlight to curling up with blankets would be rough for even the most hardened of us.

Coming home from any time away from home is always difficult for me. I am slow to unpack, do laundry, and reconstruct the debris that comes with traveling. Because we did our best to clean out the fridge prior to departure, JG and I had to make a grocery run so that we’d have meals for the next few days. It’s interesting and a little sobering how quickly I grew accustomed to a continental breakfast and two meals out everyday. What, we have to cook now? And do dishes? Boo, hiss.

When life hands out cold grayness and a relatively ordinary existence, I have a few strategies to make myself feel better. I exercised one of them and picked up a handful of springtime at the supermarket floral department today. On another level, JG is helping me to accept the winter cold by making homemade macaroni and cheese! The aroma wafting over from the kitchen is fabulous and we will have exactly the right dinner to accompany new episodes of The Office and CSI tonight.

This vacation “routine” of sleeping in, catching meals as I can, watching Barefoot Contessa, and reading as much as I can makes me selfishly yearn for some sort of quarter-life retirement. Oh, to have a life of leisure.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


Williamsburg, Virginia, Day 4: (retrospectively)
JG and I finished up our trip to Williamsburg with a relaxing day of vacation-y activities: sleeping in, shopping, and playing mini-golf. We expected a rather ordinary day, but we got a healthy dose of Williamsburg oddity, instead.

In our hotel’s “Welcome to Williamsburg” packet, I saw a bright ad for a place called Williamsburg Pottery. I thought it might be fun to wander around and buy a new dish to take home as a souvenir, and maybe we could even see them making the pottery. I don’t think I can accurately capture the peculiarity we encountered there. We drove up to a collection of steel warehouses that housed a random assortment of chintzy stores like Totes/Sunglass World, Stained Glass and Collectibles, and something called African Gallery. Since I was on the prowl for actual pottery – imagine that! – JG and I wandered to a larger building that appeared to be the main event. Picture the many aisles of Ikea crossed with bizarre goods from Big Lots in massive quantities, separated into departments like “Oriental” and “Kitchen Gadgets.” This main building (which went on for miles) was slammed up against the largest garden supply store this side of the Mississippi with a collection of statuary to match. Next door, another steel building was labeled, “Hardware, Wine, and Cheese.” With every new step that did not reveal a large pottery-manufacturing site, I wondered if I would be A Total Tourist by asking, “Could you point me in the direction of the pottery?” But seriously! The place is called Williamsburg Pottery, for goodness’ sake. JG now wonders if the site used to be the home of pottery production but has now been accosted by these strange stores in the warehouses. Whatever the case, words can not express the weirdness.

After a cute lunch and some outlet shopping, JG and I set out for a round of mini-golf. We followed our usual routine:

  • I accept the fact that I will lose and choose a golf ball that matches what I’m wearing that day.
  • JG makes sure I have a putter that’s small enough for me; in this case, it was a child’s large size.
  • I remember that I have no sense of aim or speed.
  • JG, ever the teacher, tries to give me a few tips to “make it a lot easier.”
  • I cheerfully refuse the tips because the frustration of trying to improve my nonexistent game will take away from my enjoyment of how many times I can chase the ball past the hole.
  • JG putts cleanly, with maybe one occasion of 3 shots or more.
  • I celebrate anything at par, but spend my time mostly craning my body to will the ball to curve left or right, because, you know, that totally helps.
  • JG wins by a landslide and all is right with the world.

This time, the mini-golf routine was upset by a few rounds of turtle-watching because our mini-golf course doubled as a turtle rescue center. Seriously. They had signs all over the place about their mission, how the turtles gave joy to their patrons, and NOT to feed them, because so many guests smuggle in turtle food, I guess. Additionally, the waterfalls and little ponds in the course were all dyed a bizarrely unnatural shade of turquoise. Isn’t that kind of bad for living things?

At the end of the day, JG and I agreed that even though we couldn’t have predicted what we experienced, it was fun to get a glimpse into the strangeness in Williamsburg. It’s not just colonial history, folks.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Revolution, Thrills, and a Food Coma

Williamsburg, Virginia, Day 3:
We had amazing weather yesterday for walking through Colonial Williamsburg: 60 degrees, partly cloudy, with a slight breeze. I slung my camera over my shoulder and prepared for a good old educational experience. The trouble is, when you buy a ticket, it’s hard to know what you’re getting. Williamsburg is still a city; the whole thing is not officially “colonial.” So, if we hadn’t bought a ticket, we could have walked around, visited the shops, and had lunch with no problem, but there would have been no tour of the governor’s palace or visits to various tradesmen. In that light, I’m glad we bought tickets for all of the exhibits, but I’m not sure it was worth what we paid. I do think that all of the “character interpreters” we met were incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, so the entire experience was very pleasant and informative. I snapped far too many pictures of flowers and farm animals, but JG and I had a good time being outdoors and stopping in to the little stores. All told, we probably walked about five miles, which is five more than a usual day in my life. I felt like I got some exercise and learned a thing or two, and at the end of the day, JG even commented, “I wasn’t sure if I’d like that, but it turned out to be really fun. Good idea, kid.” Aw.

We spent most of today at Busch Gardens, which was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, the day started with insanely inefficient processes for parking and ticketing and I got a bad impression from it all. During the worst of it, JG and I were trying to redeem our pre-paid, turnstile-ready tickets that we had printed at home. The ticket readers were machines that were supposed to scan a bar code, take your fingerprint, and let you through. Evidently, they needed a person to assist with the bar codes and fingerprints, which totally defeated the purpose of the automation. When my bar code didn’t scan, the woman at my station punched in a 16-number code, very slowly, after she said, “See, the printer makes the bars too close together. Looks like you need a new printer.” I really wanted to fire back with, “No, my printer is fine. If the ticket prints out incorrectly, it’s the fault of the system and any convenience I thought I had was totally shot by your inefficiency and incompetence.” Instead, because I knew it wasn’t only her fault, I chose to stare daggers at her. I was good and worked up after that, but JG got me walking at a trot – each of his steps is about 2.5 of mine – and my mood burned off quickly when we rode a giant coaster twice in a row with virtually no wait. Woo! Going to an amusement park is one of my favorite things to do with JG because we’re both so focused on a strategic route that will result in minimum wait time. It sounds super-structured, but we have so much fun once we actually get to the rides. Going roller coasters for five hours is such a departure from my workday and I really felt like I was on vacation when we were there. It was very nice.

Oog. I’m typing under the influence of an incredibly filling meal from Pierce’s Pitt, a Williamsburg fixture where you order and pay at the register and then pick up your food when your number is called over a tinny intercom. We had plenty of time to pick our poison since we were in line behind a group of teens from a Baptist church in Ohio who arrived, just before we did, in one of those truncated school buses. JG and I both decided on the Barbecue Dinner, which consists of a half-pound of pulled-pork barbecue and a choice of three (!) sides. We both chose fries and mac-n-cheese, but JG went all-carb with the addition of hushpuppies and I chose collard greens, you know, for a balanced diet. Well, our friends weren’t kidding when they billed Pierce’s as “old-school, cheap, and a ton of food.” Oh, my goodness. The barbecue was comforting, stick-to-your-ribs, and full-flavored with just a tiny kick at the end. The meat seemed to expand in our stomachs alongside the side dishes that complemented the sweet-sour tang of the sauce. It was one of those meals that made me sorry that it would be over at some point, but no matter how much I liked it, there was no way I could have finished it all. JG cleaned his plate, but he practically rolled himself to the car and then collapsed as soon as he got back. I did my best, but I was only able to eat all of the barbecue and the mac-n-cheese. It’s about prioritizing, right? That said, I wish I had already brushed my teeth before I started to type because, man, standing up is going to be rough.