Snow! I spent most of yesterday taking and editing photos of it for work, and it was thrilling. I felt like a little girl at play. Two harmless, beautiful inches helped to exorcise some of the trauma from last winter’s blizzards – it was just lovely.

And I think it shook me out of my funk a little. I’m feeling inspired to have this charming, photo-ready winter. My next purchase is definitely going to be a cup holder for my bicycle (how about one of these, y/n?) to hold hot coffee and tea while I ride around looking glamorous in my teal coat. The problem is that it is just a little bit more work to be alive in the winter. I think the solution is to, if nothing else, make it look effortless.


Sugar, December, Yoga

Strike up the New Year’s Resolutions yall, because I have hit my limit. I managed a couple weeks of bike-inspired eating right, and then the deluge of holiday alcohol and sweets swept me right under. I had a little bite-size cookie this afternoon and it was the exactly wrong teaspoon of sugar, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

Which is all to say – I feel sick. And perhaps also – green salaaaaaaad.

Why does this happen every year? The time changes and it’s dark when I leave work in the afternoon, and then it’s a four-month uphill battle to be anything except sluggish and moody, buzzing and crashing my way to Spring.

I am telling you I will not stand for it! This is my year, the year I fell in love and got a raise and had civil interactions with my family, so it can be the year I get some exercise and eat some vegetables and go out to do things and am not hungover every daylight hour of every Saturday and Sunday. These are simple aspirations, even if everything seems difficult in 30 degree weather.

Here’s my tiny next right thing, so you can hold me to it – for the next seven days in a row, I’m going to do ten minutes of yoga each morning and afternoon. Even if I just stretch the achy bike muscles, even if I just lie there in savasana – ten minutes, twice a day, seven days. Next stop, the moon.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like…

For some people, the miserable weather on Sunday was extra miserable…

…but we stayed nice and cozy…

…and got our decorate on.

On Being Tired, & A Few More Thoughts On Winter Biking

Writing? Oh, but I am le tired. After I first started working, I told my mother I couldn’t figure out anything except that everyone with 9-to-5s at desks must be achy and tired all the time – I believe my mother just rolled her eyes. I may be too spoiled to ever take on a mortgage and children like her, conquered as I am by a little overtime and – quel dommage – social and holiday gatherings with family and friends. Yoga helps with the aches, but I still get le tired.

Yesterday morning, after nearly crying with exhaustion as I biked into a headwind to take on a twelve-hour workday, I sat at my desk and drank an extra cup of coffee (or two) slowly, just pretending to look at emails. The little break made all the difference – I felt the extra caffeine hit me and three days of grumpiness just lifted away.

All the alcohol around at holiday type things is starting to get to me, and I’m booked up with parties all the weekends between now and New Year’s. I spent last winter either drunk or hungover and ended up, you’ll be surprised to hear, pretty depressed. Now it’s been cold for two weeks and already all I want to do is crack bottle after bottle of wine and wait for April.

I haven’t quite given up yet. But, this is a life rule, instead of trying to do all the things all at once I just look for the next right thing. Which right now is to write a little, even if it’s just about how I’m tired and don’t want to write.

It has also still been to ride my bike around, even though everyone is just being shocked about what superheroes the lady and I are. Note that link is to an article about biking in Chicago, which is a whole nother kettle of fish. Early next week it’s supposed to be windy with a high of 28, and I may or may not be tough enough – but our 30s and 40s so far have been fine. I keep saying, it’s genuinely not bad and certainly better than waiting at a bus stop.

Last night I stayed at work late for an event, and nobody wanted to let me leave on the bike. My mother, who came for the party, went into lecture mode, my boss offered to try to strap the bike to her car, and one of the security guards told me to be safe at least three times as I was unlocking. "You take care of my Melissa, now," he urged.

And then it was lovely. The wind from the morning had died down and rush hour was over, so I flew across town on quiet, brightly lit streets. I made it home just in time for Modern Family with enough of a second wind from the exercise to watch it without falling asleep. I wished I could have brought all the naysayers along – just to say, see? It’s beautiful! Try it once, and I guarantee you will at least like it better than the bus.

Oh, dear reader, did you really make it all the way to the end of this? You’re a better human than I. Have a laugh. Go look at the celebriducks.

My First Hanukkah

Happy Hanukkah!

My girlfriend is Jewish, so with her I get to observe my first official Hanukkah. I knew what a dreidel was, but not how to play. I knew about the oil in the temple, but not about the Maccabees. I’ve had geld, but never after melting it over the menorah a little bit.

So the whole ritual – with all the violent bits and the most purely religious parts they leave out of the story when they do the perfunctory Hanukkah lesson in elementary school – was interesting and lovely. We did candles, sweetly sung Hebrew prayers, presents, candy, dreidel, a littleĀ Maccabeats and, of course, Monday Night Football.

No? Just us? Okay then.

The rest of Hanukkah might overlap some with the process of putting up my metric ton of Christmas decorations. I feel more averse to the work and mess every year, but my girlfriend hasn’t ever done that stuff and is excited about it – a circle, I guess. She can decorate a gingerbread house while I play with the menorah, the perfect holiday evening.

Perfectly Windy Skies & Winter Biking

It’s starting to get cold. Fall has been mild – yesterday morning it was sixty degrees or something – but winter always comes eventually. Certainly the temperatures are dropping, but mostly I notice it in the brittle quality of the light and the relentless wind.

That’s the old post office tower – screw the Washington Monument, it’s the best view in DC, tell ’em Melissa sent you – and lately it’s been looking so ominous under the thin, pale winter sky.

A few weeks ago I was trucking my bike around and had this exchange with a friend –

"What are you going to do when it gets cold?"
"Wear a coat."

Yes, yes, I’m very impressive. Except not really, because my non-bike option isn’t a car, it’s public transit and my own two feet. Bicycling warms up my core and gets me to my centrally heated destinations faster – nothing grueling or virtuous about it. I expect Farrah will help make this winter much easier than last.

Except, OMIGOD, the wind. I seem to be pushing into a headwind no matter which way I go.

There is one good hill on my commute, down in the morning and up in the afternoon, on the Capitol grounds. I have no concept of how steep or long this hill would seem to serious cyclists, but for me it is intense – when I first started, I figured out my old route through downtown specifically to avoid it. Now, I don’t have to walk, but I do sometimes drag myself up thinking all the way about either walking or dying. I guess some other times it is easy, and before I know it I’m exhilarated at the top, but the wind this past week or two has made those occasions more rare even as (I hope) I’m getting stronger.

From the top, you can see the Washington Monument rising into whatever skies the season brings. It’s a beautiful view every time, as long as I can breathe hard enough to get oxygen to my eyeballs.

I’d like to get the feeling on record, so that in a few months – when I’m coasting up like the terrifying Spandexed waifs on their skinny road bikes – I can look back and laugh.

Rainy Day Etsy Crushes

It’s a rainy day and I am feeling uninspired, so I ran an etsy search for "sunshine" and let myself fall in love.

These yellow rings would make the perfect bright, tiny pop – a little happy every time you look down. If only. For some reason, I wore blue today.

From MyHeartBeads. The sizing is small and the description suggests you buy it for your little girl, but I’m thinking (this + romper + lots of eyeliner) x having one mimosa too many at brunch = perfection.

From JustJaynes. I would wear it every day. I am having trouble resisting, somebody buy it before I have to.

From liliFunambule. That backing is a cutout of a vintage postcard, I believe. Beautiful.