A Non-Joe Post

January 19, 2009

It occurred to me recently that this blog has become “All Joe, All the Time.”  It’s understandable — he’s the most interesting thing we’ve ever done, and the camera loves him! But I’m going to attempt one post here that isn’t all about the baby.

First, we saw the most amazing movie over the weekend. “Man On Wire” is a documentary about the French daredevil who walked on a wire between the twin towers of the World Trade Center, shortly after it opened in the 1970s.

Never mind the actual walking part — the amount of planning and preparation and trickery that went into setting up the wire was just breathtaking. He came up with this plan while the twin towers were still under construction, so there’s lots of footage of that. It’s odd to see the innards of those buildings as they were going up — we’re so used to seeing them when they came down.

Netflix users — get it!

Tonight, as part of the National Day of Service, I’m making chicken for 40 and helping to serve dinner at the Petersburg Salvation Army Men’s Shelter. It’s a project my Obama campaign friends signed us all up for, and fits in with one of my new year’s resolutions — to volunteer more. It could become a regular thing!

I’m excited about tomorrow’s inauguration. No matter who you supported in the presidential race, you’ve got to admit it’s kind of cool to see this happening in our lifetime. And I’ll admit, I am dying to see what Michelle Obama wears!


Man, I’m on a Roll!

May 2, 2008

What is this, like four posts in a day?

I’ve been neglecting the blog because of a pile of freelance work I had to get through. I have a new client called Lifewire, which is a subsidiary of the New York Times Company. They provide consumer health care content to a variety of sites, and I’ve been writing some of that content. It’s fairly easy, but time-consuming — I have to track down journal articles for clinical evidence on everything from green tea to triglycerides, and translate it from doctor-speak to plain English. So far, so good. I got paid for my first four articles this week (and the deposit showed up as being from the New York Times, thank you very much).

Earlier this week, my office threw a lovely shower for me and Joe. We got a play tray for his little Bumbo seat, a set of sweet little onesies and the highchair of our dreams (which Patrick put together immediately after getting it in the house). They are a great group of people and I’ll miss them when I leave next week.

On an unrelated note, I don’t think I’ll be wearing that top again — I look like a tick about to pop!

I went to see Baby Mama last night with a group of women from the Richmond Mommies club. Tina Fey is one of my personal heroes, and Amy Poehler is one of the funniest women alive. Throw in some Steve Martin and you have yourself a hit. I laughed until my big belly hurt!

This weekend there’s still more writing to do, plus some more tidying of Joe’s room. (I had it all cleaned up a few weeks ago, but the gifts keep coming and I have just tossed them all in his crib. I’m waiting for the nesting instinct to kick in a little more energy so I can clean up again!)

Don’t forget to check in with Joe’s blog — his dad has done a couple of updates leading up to the big reveal (whenever that happens).


Downtown

July 26, 2007

Yesterday I had the day off of work (and a rare breather from a never-ending freelance project), so I went into downtown Richmond to meet Patrick for lunch. Here’s where he works:

(The one on the right.)

We had a nice lunch at Sam Miller’s and then I went back to his office for a tour. His building has a lovely cafeteria and a very nice gym. I met his boss, too, who has a great view of the river from his desk. He said that sometimes you can see big thunderstorms coming right up the river, so of course I had to share my near-death experience from last week. Poor Patrick must be so tired of hearing that story …


White-Water Rafting

July 21, 2007

Short version:

It was a total nightmare, and then it was kind of fun.

Long version:

I reported to work at noon for the river rafting adventure. Turns out there was a whole “non-rafting” group, who were going to see a movie instead. Had I known about that option, I might have signed up for it. But I had already arrived in shorts and sneakers, with sunscreen in hand, so there was no turning back.

We all drove our cars to the point on the river where our trip would end, and then carpooled to where it would begin. Our guides got us all suited up in helmets and personal flotation devices (You’re not supposed to call them life jackets, because “only you can save your life.” Fifty bucks says a lawsuit brought on that little change.) We slathered ourselves with sunscreen and learned little things like how to paddle and how to get back in the raft if we go overboard.

Note: None of these photos are mine; my camera wouldn’t have survived. I just threw some photos from around the Web in here to illustrate things a little better.

So we all get in our rafts (after squishing ankle-deep in mud – I didn’t like those sneakers anyway). There are 11 of us in two rafts, plus a guide for each raft. We paddle out to the middle of the James River and then look upstream. Black clouds are gathering, and a bolt of lightning jumps across the sky. The guide in the other raft says we’ll just paddle to the next put-in and then get out and wait for it to pass. Word.

(Incidentally, this storm made the news.)

We’re paddling like crazy, occasionally getting pinballed off of rocks — and then we slide right on top of one and can’t budge. The guide moves us all to one side of the raft to try to get us off the thing, but it isn’t working. Right about this time, the black clouds reach us and giant drops of rain come hammering down. The wind is hot and has turned the whole river into little white peaks. One of my raftmates (a level-headed guy not given to exaggeration) yells, “Hey, is that a tornado?” On the bridge upstream is a swirl of debris that sure looks like it’s turning into a funnel. Yikes.

No amount of bouncing, pushing and pulling is getting us off this rock, so the guide yells (through hail now) that we need to get out of the raft. One by one, we wobble off of the raft and onto a tiny rock. Six of us are huddled there like little penguins while our guide shimmies the raft back into the water.

Suddenly, she’s screaming at one of my raftmates. (I’m still not sure why, something about not staying put. He was right where she told him to be, but I think she got disoriented and thought he hopped to another rock.) She’s cursing angrily at him and the rest of us are just stunned.

OK, so now the fearless professional is clearly freaked out. The swirling debris, the waves, the hail … all of this has been sort of an unusual experience ‘til now, but freaking out is contagious and I’m about ready to cry. But the raft is finally clear, and we all get back in.

The other raft, meanwhile, sailed right up to shore before the storm caught up, so they’re all wondering where we are. We finally paddle around the corner, soaked and wide-eyed.

 

We all hang out on the bank for a while, waiting for the storm to pass. I’m tempted to climb back up to the road and call a cab, but our guide has calmed down and apologized for freaking out. We’re slowly starting to laugh about our near-death experience, so it seems like the rest of this day might actually be fun. Once we’ve gone 10 minutes without seeing lightning, we get back in our rafts and push off.

I’m so glad we did, because the rest of the trip was super fun. As we made our way around rocks, our guide pointed out lots of Richmond landmarks and explained some of their history. (Hollywood Cemetery looks really cool from the water!) We went past Belle Isle, where people were swimming and sunning themselves. As we got into downtown Richmond, I could see Patrick’s building (he thinks he might have seen us too!) and the Federal Reserve Building.

 

At this point, there were class 4 rapids and we had to compete with some kayakers for room to move. The other raft flipped, but we were all able to stay in ours. We’d had enough drama in the beginning.

When we got out, we were tired and soaked to the bone, but the non-rafting group was waiting for us at Legends Pub. Patrick was there too, and had already met half the gang before I arrived. They all loved him, of course. The raft survivors had a good time telling our war stories and Patrick (who always thinks I’m exaggerating) got to hear about our trauma from more than one source.

Now that I know what I’m doing, I want to go out again. Who’s with me?


C25K: Week 1, Day 2

July 19, 2007

I did a little bit better this time. Did the first three runs with no problem, skipped the next two, did the two after that, and skipped the last one. So one more run this time, and three of them right in a row. (I think I pushed myself too hard on the third one; I was running past a group of teenagers, and you know what harsh critics they can be!)

I think I would have done better if I had gotten started earlier. I don’t have to go to work until noon today, so I took my sweet time getting out there. There’s a lot more sunshine beating down on this neighborhood at 8 than there is at 7.

When I do get to work, it’s just going to be for our end-of-year celebration. When I first heard that, I was picturing a little pizza, some cake, maybe a nice big off-site lunch. But no. We’re going white-water rafting on the James River!

Running and white-water rafting in the same week?! What is this, the Fitness Channel?