A DC Wedding

In October my beautiful jet-setting friend Sara got married to her man Travis. The wedding was fun, gorgeous and a perfect expression of such a hip couple. The venue was a great gallery on 14th St NW in DC with an amazing roof top deck. Plus they had the most delicious ALL VEGETARIAN food. It was great not having to interrogate the waiters about ingredients!

Sara Window Portrait by Giarc80HC
Sara Window Portrait, a photo by Giarc80HC on Flickr.

The beautiful bride!

Rx

Ok, so I do realize it is now September (where did the summer go?) and I’m still blogging about July! Somehow I was able to blog more regularly when I was crossing America’s wilderness by foot than I am now. But, that could be because the saga of Dan’s health fiascos is still going strong almost 4 month after it began!

The short story is that having Dan’s kidney’s fail and all the other health problems that resulted along with the treatment , got Dan’s body chemistry completely out of whack. And unfortunately, when Dan went to the doctor to seek advice, he was just prescribed more medications, which ended up making things worse – at times he was like a walking zombie.  After a month of going to different doctors (all of whom seemed to have contradicting opinions), having his medications adjusted, blood tests, examinations by specialists on and on…. we’ve (hopefully) found a doctor we can trust who treats patients holistically…. but I guess only time will tell!

To me this really brought to light the absurd way health is treated in the US. Patients often demand quick fixes rather than being willing to change their lifestyle. And as this NPR article attests, pharmaceutical companies often pay doctors to promote their drugs, which is absurd and leads to drug-pushing doctors. There isn’t nearly enough education about dependency on prescription drugs or holistic alternatives to meds.

Unfortunately, since neither Dan, nor I are medical experts, we are reliant on the advice and orders of our doctor.  And when you have different doctors telling you different things it can be really hard to know who to trust.  Sure, I can Google the ailment, but that often leads to just further confusion and misinformation.  Considering how many people are addicted to prescription drugs, I can’t believe medical professions aren’t doing more to educate patients about the risks.  And we need to have doctors who aren’t minions of the Pharmaceutical industry.

At any rate, it’s a good thing Dan is an endurance athlete, because unlike Dan’s rapid kidney recovery, it seems this won’t be a quick fix.

On the up side – we were fortunate to have 2 couples from across the pond visit us this summer… Dave & Nicole stopped briefly in DC on their way back to York from Salida, Colorado (Nicole’s home town and the best trail town on the CDT!). It wasn’t nearly long enough, but it was brilliant to catch up and see how those two zany lovebirds have come together at last!

Dan, Andy & Sarah

And in August Sarah & Andy visited for a few days and we gave them a whirlwind tour of Reston and DC. In Reston we lounged by Lake Anne, enjoying dolmades and humus at Kalypsos and then decadent chocolate cookies dipped in potato chip crumbs from the  Cup Cake Ladi (no judgement until you’ve tried them!).  Then in DC it was the Mall and monuments before cooling off with salted carmel frozen yogurt at Pink Berry and melt-in-your mouth empanadas and mintastic mojitos from Cafe Citron.  It was great to hear about S&A’s new flat outside London and all the adventures they’d been up to. As we melted in the heat and humidity of our first DC summer in 3 years, the mild warmth of England seemed vastly appealing.

Community Supported Agriculture

It’s January. The trees are brown and barren. Snow covers the ground. But now is the time to sign up for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).  Community Supported Agriculture works a bit like the stock market. You pay for a share of the farm and get a share of the harvest delivered to your home or to a nearby pick-up location weekly. (Sorry that’s where my knowledge of the stock market, and my simile, end.)  Many farms offer 1/2 shares or mini-shares for those worried they can’t eat a bushel of veggies in a week. Some CSAs also include visits to the farm and free pick-your-own berries.  The fruit and veggies you get are LOCAL, SEASONAL, often ORGANIC, SUSTAINABLY GROWN and from small FAMILY FARMS.

I know these are the buzz words of the moment. So go ahead, sign up for a CSA to be hip. But you could also sign up to:

  • support local farmers
  • get the freshest, tastiest produce
  • make sure you eat more fruit and veggies
  • learn more about cooking seasonally
  • try new healthy foods
  • minimize the carbon footprint of your food

DC Area farms that offer CSA

  1. Potomac Vegetable Farm – various NOVA pick-up points *registration opens 2/15
  2. Great Country Farms – NOVA home delivery *register now
  3. Waterpenny Farm – Arlington & Lorton delivery *registration opening soon
  4. Olin-Fox Farms – South NOVA & Chesapeake delivery *register now
  5. Virginia Green Grocer – NOVA home delivery *register now
  6. Graceland Farm – various NOVA pick-up points *register now
  7. Manahoac – various NOVA pick-up points *register now
  8. A Fresh & Local CSA – DC/Maryland pick up points *register now

There’s plenty more, too. Check out Local Harvest to search for CSA, farmers markets and more by zip code. But don’t delay, CSA usually give first dibs to previous members and then fill up any remaining slots FAST.

D+P

Last week we had the most phenomenal visit from Dan’s parent’s D+P.  We’re so glad the Icelandic volcano calmed down and they were able to fly west safely. We showed them all the lovely local spots – from the charming antique shops of Middlesburg to the mighty marble monuments of DC to superb sushi at Ariake (get the Crispy Power Roll… yum!).  Nothing like having visitors come to town to make you appreciate all that your own “backyard” has to offer.

It was great getting to show them a taste of our live here since the only other time they visited was 4 years ago for our wedding so they didn’t have a chance to do much sight-seeing. We especially enjoyed walks, picnics and shopping around Lake Anne in Reston which opened their Farmer’s Market last Saturday (8am till noon every Saturday from now till October).  In DC, we went for a ride on a pedi-cab, meandered through the Bishop’s Garden of the National Cathedral (where Pietro photographed every last flower) and went on a heart-wrenching tour of the Holocaust Museum.  But as per usual the visit went by far far to fast. We’re hoping to entice them to move to one of the graceful lake-front houses in Reston but in the meantime we’re maximizing memories and anticipating this Christmas when we’ll be together again!

lost in the city

Last week we had a fantastic visit with Rob, Dan’s old friend from Uni. He’s Dr. Rob now, actually, and has been living the dream… working in Australia and traveling for the year.  Estoy super celosa!  You’d be too if you saw his pics! Unfortunately I couldn’t convince him to hire me as a translator for their upcoming 3 month jaunt round South America…  Real life is cruel.

But we did enjoy some good times in Washington, DC! Tramping around the snowy mall, eating the yummiest chocolate peanut-butter cupcake from Hello Cupcake, enjoying free beer at Midtown, a tour of the Phillips Collection, enjoying the grandeur of Georgetown and the ferocious Great Falls.  It definitely made me wish were living in the city… here in Reston practically everything shuts at 9pm!

Speaking of DC, book club this month featured Edward P. Jones collection of short stories Lost in the City which feature the lives of African Americans living in DC during earlier eras. The stories all feature real DC addresses and are a fascinating peak into the city’s rich history.  All the stories carry a slight feeling of melancholy.  What I found most difficult about the stories was that they were short! Each of them left me wanting more…  so I was delighted to discover that Jone’s second collection of short stories, All Aunt Hagar’s Children, all connect to his first work.

But, as a lover of memoirs, I must say the most fascinating stories are always true…. Check out this Washington Post article about Edward P. Jones own life  here.

Snowmageddon

Can you find the car in this photo?

Yes, that’s right folks. My trust in the weathermen is increasing daily as Snowmageddon continues as predicted. I think it’s likely to top the biggest DC snow storm of recorded history – the 1922 Knickerbocker blizzard where 28 inches of snow were recorded.  Here in Reston I think we’re already at 2 feet!

It’s times like this I’m thankful to be in a house, rather than on the trail (or on the streets).  But we’re running dangerously low on our rich Italian sipping chocolate.

Goodbyes are no good

It’s been great catching up with friends and family during our time state-side. It does, however, make it that much harder to leave. I must say I really love the DC area, especially the city itself. Amazing free museums, lots of green space, an hours drive from beautiful countryside, cool bars & cafes, people from virtually every country on earth…

But thankfully we are going to be living in another great city – York! We’ll be living in a old Victorian house just outside the city centre with some of the other students. It’s exciting but also a bit scary! Prayers appreciated!