Thursday, July 30, 2015


What a whirlwind the last few weeks have been. I am just now coming up for breath after a packed summer of sports camps, tech camps, esl camps, rowing camps, track camps -- all the camps!
I've been on tons of adventures too. I've been gaming. I've been to a Con. I've definitely eaten more good food than I know what to do with. Suffice it to say, I have much to catch up on. I'm headed to San Francisco next week. I'll look forward to doing some blogging while I'm kicking my heels up!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Adventures around IX Art Park - Part 1

ESL camp has been keeping my super busy these last few weeks. Our program put 20 kids from China, Korean and the Republic of Georgia together for three weeks of stateside education exploration. It's one of my very favorite parts of the summer.

 Not only do I feel particularly blessed to get to work with the stellar kids and teachers that work with the program, but I get out and do things I never make time for otherwise. One of the best new discoveries of the summer has been the IX Art Park.  

Ix is this fantastic urban space, that's covered in art and sculpture. And best of all, it's art you can interact with. The kids had a blast, and so did I. 

Our favorite creation. The double bike. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

REBOOT - More about stories and that Ted talk

I have been thinking a lot about this podcast. I really enjoy it. I love listening to Chimamanda Adichie speak. We watched this during a diversity workshop at the end of the school year, and  I really like the message. I was surprised to hear her narrate her own discovery of books and stories because her experience was very like my experience, except I had never bothered to articulate it.

I have vivid memories of a time when I only wanted to read books with female protagonists. I had a small fit in school about the book Hatchet. WHY should i be forced to read this book? 5th grade me queried. I am not a boy, I do not venture into the wilderness. Nothing about this relates to me! A childish argument, and probably untrue I realize, but one that I meant at the time. I wanted something that I could relate to. I wanted to see myself in the story.

For a time I found a kindred spirit in stories with female protagonists. While these women didn't look like me, I found I had much in common with them. Most of these women were outsiders in some way, like Aerin and Harry from The Hero and The Crown and The Blue Sword or Alanna from Song of the Lioness.  As one of the few minority kids in my private christian school, or one of the only kids growing up with grandparents, being 'different' from other people was a feeling I was quite familiar with.

But, gender aside, none of those characters had kinky hair, or brown eyes, or tanned to the color of a ginger bread cookie in the summer. And that similarity is not EVERYTHING. But more and more, I'm realizing it's something. Let's be clear, I am more than capable of finding something relatable in characters that aren't bi-racial and aren't women. But I wish, there was more for me. I wish I saw more of me in the books and movies I consumed.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Lamentingicaurs Arts - Etchingas at VMFA

A grand discovery: the artist Felix Bracquemond, an etcher. My interest has been piqued! Tucked away in a far corner of @vmfamuseum waits this grand little exhibition. The chocolate walls and gentle lighting give it a contemplative, slightly monastic feel. Just off the pink granite grand hall, and around the corner from a gallery of domesticated animal statues, lies this little haven. Definitely my new favorite place. 

One day, I will have a room in my house that is painted a rich earthy tone. Even from afar, you can tell that these few galleries are holding something special. No where else around is so rich and dark. The stories on the walls seem to jump out at you. 

I confess, I know nothing about etching as an art form. But after this exhibit I really want to try my hand at it. According to a 2008 post from the Guardian, you can go to the Maison Conti and stay for a 3 day weekend to learn how. I shall add this to my travel plans! Plus, Maison Conti looks beautiful. They have four rooms, green, yellow, rose and blue. I'm rather in love with each, but the yellow room has taken my heart. 

Below are some of my very favorite pieces from the exhibit. I am just amazed at the detail! The feathers are remarkable. To me, this work looks so traditional, but I love that during the time that 

Felix Bracquemond was working, his stuff was quite cutting edge. I rather love the idea of avante guarde etchers! 

#vmfawanderings#lamentingicarusarts #daydreaming#etching #prints #ducklings#Bracquemond #japonisme

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Because I'm feeling pretty powerful these days

I took my first adventure to Dave and Buster's yesterday with our camp kiddos. I entered feeling  pretty good about my gaming skills. Heheh ::Brushing off my shoulders::

 I proved to be, on the whole, quite terrible. 

However, I did kick some butt at the Kung Fu Panda game. I presume because it only required me to hit things. A forte of mine. #ninjagirl 

So, you can understand my pleasure after defeating the boss and winning 750 tickets. Not a ton of tickets I know, but certainly I felt proud. And I got this sweet mug. #gamingswag 

I had forgotten how fun it is to play in an arcade. When I was a kid, Mr. Gatti''s was my favorite place. Pizza buffet AND arcade? Nirvana. 

This go round I tried my hand an giant sized Fruit Ninja and flashed back to College with some Guitar Hero. My roommate Cals and I used to play TONS of Guitar Hero. The first time I beat Free Bird on Hard was epic. 

I am so often busy, I forget how wonderful it can be to play...

Friday, July 10, 2015

Lamenting Icarus Eats - Alley Light

Ever since my last trip to NY to visit NY I have been craving squid and octopus. @wolfambien took me to a delicious restaurant where I had, perhaps, the tastiest grilled squid dish I have ever consumed. Since NY I have been searching for an equally delicious dish here in VA. Thus far I have failed. Until last night at Alley Light

Tender and delicious octopus, I have found you. 

The rest of the meal was equally tasty. I luckily scored lounge seating. You've got to respect a place that sports so much leather. 

The specialty cocktail of the evening was exceptional. Lavender infused. Refreshing. 

Carrots and yogurt. Awesome. My opinion here is notable because I hate carrots. 

Steak toast with blue cheese. 

 Prepping for dessert. I was salivating from the time the waitress set down the spoons. 

Lemon curd and blueberries. I couldn't say no. I love lemon curd. 

#lamentingicaruseats #foodie #lemoncurd #specialtycocktails #octopus #local 

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

TED Talk Inspiration bywayof podcasts

My friend Gerry and I drove up to Dulles last week and retrieved Allison from the airport. There is nothing better than spending some quality time with people you adore on a car trip. I acknowledge that traveling with friends can be surprisingly trying. But, this is not the case for Gerry and I. She's super and a perpetual inspiration to me. Ger is a PHD History student. She charismatic. She's an activist. And she really wants to make the world a better place. Who could ask for a better friend?

On our way home, Ger and Allison were talking about Podcasts, because they, unlike me, try to be connected to the contemporary goings-on in the world. It's very easy for me to get lost in the busy hustle and bustle of my work. I often zone out of the greater happenings in the world. Not my best quality. So I've been striving to read more news and listen to more podcasts. 

Here's a good podcast I found listening to the Ted Radio Hour over at NPR


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