cherry blossom-time

It's late March, which means it's time for the cherry blossoms.  It's also my one-year anniversary of living in DC.  Technically that was sometime in February, but I associate it with cherry blossoms, so now it is.

Still living in a transitory state.  Moving in two months, looking for a job, waiting for graduate schools.  Is it too much just to want to settle down and live in the same place for longer than 9 months?  For the past 6 years, that's what I've been doing, and at this point it's simply... exhausting.

I've avoided lots of the trappings of homes (couches, dressers) because of the moving (although I have my stand mixer which is not really conducive to nomadism).  I'd like to have a place where I can have dinner parties, and movie nights, and cook for people. 

This sounds more melancholy than I intended.  I meant to talk about the beauty of cherry blossoms and how I found this retro-woodcut print at the Sackler and I think it's simply beautiful.   I was struck that I think Gramps would have loved it, though I'm not sure if that's because he would love the print itself (of course, discussion of the view from the bathroom of the Georgetown house would ensue!), or what it symbolizes: this new chapter in my life, living on my own, seeing this new spring. 

I wish he were here.  It's been a hard year -- and for that I'm glad he wasn't around to see -- but I wish I could have shown him this city, not just as DC, which he knew, but as my town.   

I still have a letter he wrote to me when I turned 21, and I just re-read it.

The little picture on the table in my bedroom was taken when you were about 1 year.  It is a favorite of mine as you project such happiness and wonder, sort of like you just can't wait to see what lies ahead.

You have a wonderful sense of family and such appreciation for all they do for, and with, you and Claire.  This seems so natural to you, but I can't stress how important this is over the years to come.  So many families find this really difficult so what a blessing we have in our closeness and mutual support.

As you contemplate graduation that ole devil anxiety will try to intrude, saying "What will I do now?"  Well, as Mrs E. says, "Stand porter at the door of thought --."  It has no right to enter your mental home for you have a God given right to know the next step even if it seems remote at present.  And remember to look for opening doors for one will open at each stage of your experience and more often than not at the same time that a door is closing.

Tomorrow, I'm going to see the cherry blossoms.


unexpected beauty in the wilderness

flowershop 3
Originally uploaded by hummeline

This photograph makes me so happy. I took it in Berkeley, when Mum & I went to visit a friend of mine, who works in an outdoor flower shop. It was so full of color, and bunched together in mildly haphazard ways that it made me smile.

I like to have a little bit of California spring as I'm waiting for spring to arrive here in Virginia. Fortunately, the past few days have been promising, and all the pear and cherry trees have begun to bloom, including the tiny ones on my little street.

Spring has always been a time of change for me, as it meant a sad goodbye to college friends, and a joyous reunion with family, but now it is even more.

I have had my time in the wilderness.

WILDERNESS. Loneliness, doubt; darkness. Spontaneity of thought & idea; the vestibule in which a material sense of things disappears, and spiritual sense unfolds the great facts of existence. --S&H p. 597

I like the double definitions (they crop up occasionally) because it makes you re-think a situation. Yes, the first thought when you're thrown into the wilderness is those senses of loneliness, doubt and darkness. But -- and this shows up someone is sent into the wilderness is in the Bible (Hagar, Exodus, Jacob, David, Jesus... to name a few), all ones needs are provided for.

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared of God -- Rev. 12:6

Once those needs are provided for (which removes the fear), this second half of the definition comes up. It provides this space -- vestibule! -- for that spontaneity of thought. A few months ago, this idea popped into my head that, during this time of wilderness, I should not be asking: What am I missing? but instead: What am I now being given the opportunity to do?

I'm not saying I'm completely without fear of the future. I almost broke down, very scared, in the shower yesterday. The wilderness is not meant to be easy. It is still meant to be a time of trials, but trials that lead to a greater understanding. I just have to remember to trust.

The proverbial seeds sown all along the road include the seeds that fall into good soil and bear fruit "an hundredfold," but it is only with patience that they bring forth fruit.


trips north & south and into space

over the shoulder
Originally uploaded by hummeline
Well, it is already Tuesday, and Claire & I have been quite busy.  Saturday she arrived, and we immediately headed out to a Pirate-themed restaurant / bar (yep) where my friends were gathering for a release party of a new CD of a pirate band!  Claire got along swimmingly with the rest, due to well-timed references to Mystery Science Theatre 3000, among other shrines of nerdliness.

Sunday a lovely Easter spent with family, which contained the event of our cousin admitting to our staunchly Republican family that she is interning at the DNC, which was blurted out, confession-like, after we had earlier banned all political discussion.  Of course, having a family gathering without a discussion about politics is not likely to happen, and we were summarily roped into a lively discussion about the current slate of presidential hopefuls. 

Claire & I headed then south to Williamsburg to ogle pretty clothes (and handsome men in them) and meet with friends.  It proved to be quite fun, as we met up with most of the old crew that wears funny old-fashioned clothes, as evidenced on the right. 

Now, Claire & I  have just finished disc 1 of Battlestar Galactica Season 3, the whole of which I must finish by April 4th at 10 pm, when season 4 begins.  Have faith in me. 

Also, we made enchiladas!  Please enjoy the picture of our creation, along with some lovely Gaius Baltar being the embracer of Cylons that he always is.  Mmm...delicious.   So say we all.


why I hate historic films

mark the taylor
Originally uploaded by hummeline
So I watched John Adams on HBO on Sunday with Mom, and I realized why I can't watch historical films anymore.  It isn't because John Adams is bad -- on the contrary, I think Paul Giamatti is breathtaking in the eponymous role, but it is hard for me to concentrate on plot, when my brain naturally focuses on costumes.  

I spent most of the time not enjoying the events, but recoiling in horror from whatever Laura Linney was put in, and I was miserable.  

Let me say: I hate this.  I hate not being able to enjoy the medium -- film -- that I love so dearly.

I love researching, and I love promoting an air of authenticity in what I wear to events & what I promote at the places I work, but at the same time, that authenticity comes at a cost: that I cannot enjoy the film.

That being said, the films that I have seen by reenactors that are purported as being 110% accurate have been the most boring films I have ever seen.  Plot was sacrificed for accuracy (actually I'm not sure it was there to begin with) and my falling asleep was the result.

The photo above is a few friends from Williamsburg, dressed pitch-perfect accurately.  [l to r: Amy, Holly, Brooke]

That being said, this high level of accuracy to me is more important for historic sites & museums than films.   Of course, it's rarely, if ever, come to fruition, as even in Williamsburg, the supposed bastion of authenticity, there are people walking around in adulterated versions of garments.  I tried, at Mount Vernon.  I failed to convince anyone but the librarians, who I adored.

I put so much research into this slave clothing that I nearly went mad.   I went through records of what slaves were issued on the outlying plantations (as opposed to the main house) and the scant images when people had deigned to represent field slaves in paintings.  I found articles.  It was long, laborious, and fruitless.  Except for this photo, which I must say, is worth it:

But is it worth it?   Do people even care -- or do they lump all "olde tyme" clothing together, creating a quixotic quest for those of us who do care?

It's the look, not the construction, that's important in films, and it's easy to achieve.  Or so I think.

Yet it's the look I wish I didn't know about.   I would rather I knew nothing, and be able to enjoy a film, than know everything and regret watching. 

At least Battlestar Galactica is set in the future...


a bit of chinatown, a wedding, and lots of friends

Day 3 & 4 of San Francisco have passed by in a bit of a blur.  

Day 3 we spent the morning wandering around Chinatown, buying tchotchkes and eating the most delicious potstickers at a restaurant called, understandably, The Pot Sticker.  

This day being the wedding, our sightseeing was cut relatively short, as I dolled up, looking like some sort of 50s housewife, and headed out.  I had seamed stockings!  Made it down to Palo Alto, and to the church, almost running over half the groomsmen in the process (not really).

Perhaps the best part of the ceremony was, after the vows, Eric's old a cappella group from Stanford sang a hymn, and something with the way their voices just soared in the space -- I've talked about how this idea of harmony has been coming up, and that was the pitch-perfect example.  

Writing about it now, I'm incredulous that this wedding actually happened.  There was this feeling of the end of my childhood -- I simply adored Eric all throughout high school, so to now see him married (to a wonderful woman) is the first major sign that we all are, in fact, growing up.   Well, some of us.  I was seated at the reception with some old friends,  a new friend, and an old boyfriend, all of whom I cherish, and haven't seen in ages.  It was, again, like the last salute to our childhood & a sign of us growing-up, in a way that seems fitting.

So to end it, I submit our signatures - some faked, excuse us, but only 3 of us were in London - of our characters of Infernal Gaslamp, in the guest book at 221B Baker Street.   These are the people I was so excited to see at the wedding, these are the ones that I will always hold close.

The game is afoot, the Infernal Gaslamp burns & set your watches to 5:07!


riding on the side of the trolley.

So today was actually day 2 of my trip to San Francisco -- which I claimed was my first, but realized that I'd actually been before -- and it was fantastic.  

Day 1 is (kind-of) summarized here [at welcome to thomasville, the family blog] and I will add further explanations of strange stories.   

For starters, after a lovely trip around Golden Gate Park, we were walking towards my cousin Amanda, who goes to school at the University of San Francisco.  We started admiring this house, and a man standing outside, looking up at the house with arms crossed, asked us what we thought.  Of course, it's a gorgeous Victorian...!  He then proceeds to invite us inside to see the renovation he just completed!   Want.  

Also, here is proof we did not get lost (even though we trusted my sense of direction!) and managed to find the Japanese Tea Garden, which is absolutely breathtaking.  I climbed a giant bridge -- and the picture is the view of Mom from the very tip-top.

Today we headed down to Fisherman's Wharf, and took a cable car to get there.  We managed -- as is so typical with trips I take -- to get stuck twice, and had to be pushed by a truck with what appeared to be a trolley-plow attached to the front end.

However, we made it to the Wharf, and got denied to go to Alcatraz, so wandered instead, managing to find our way inside the Musée Mecanique, which is basically a warehouse full of olde-tyme coin-operated stereoscopic viewers and mechanical amusement goodness. 

 I present the mechanical Opium Den, which involved a dragon snaking its way into the scene, and an opium addict shuddering.  Heh. 

Also, here I am waching the UNKNOWN, which apparently, in the 1920s, just meant naked ladies with veils over parts of them.  Fantastic.

Finally ended up at Ghiradelli's for ice cream sundaes.

On the way back, we attempted cable car again, and this time: success!  Managed to snag Mom a seat in the front, and I hung on the outside, which was, of course, my intent from the beginning.  Almost smacked into some car side mirrors, but managed the ride relatively unscathed. 

For more pictures & things of that nature, I'll be posting to my flickr account.  Here are specifically SF photos.


I like you STOP

"Would anyone else like to profess their undying love to me?  Thank you.  Get in line." -Sara W.

much.ado: the kiss
Originally uploaded by hummeline
Ah, romance.  Apparently not only not dead, but completely and utterly skewed.   The esteemed Sara W. from Gettysburg has joined my blogroll, with her blog: next time wipe your mouth before you lie to my face - a long title, but behind it a fantastic story about a cannoli!  Sara, like me, appreciates a good (& awkward) story, and as she's a server currently, she racks them up.  

It has been a week of proposals of love.  Sara has gotten a few -- one of which I watched via iChat! -- and Claire was proposed to via me, by an acquaintance who had gotten a look at her art.  Claire mistook the proposal for a proposal for art, which scared her (as she's full up preparing for her own senior show) but fortunately it was merely undying love.

Let's add to this that I have been invited as a +1 to a yet another wedding where I do not know the couple.  I was invited, and I quote, like this:  "Well, the best man is an old boyfriend of mine, and I know how you like awkward moments, so..." 

Swear.  Of course I said yes!  Apparently I am some sort of go-to person for this. 

Of course, this weekend I have a wedding for which I have actually received an invitation for - that of my very good friend Eric (who blogs, too, and has for ages!)    This means I've added more thoughts on marriage in my (kind-of-daily) study of the Lesson, in preparation for the wedding.  Eric has always been one of the most spiritual men I know, and his insights are astounding.   Because of that, I've been really focusing on this clear idea of love as my prayers for their upcoming wedding and life together. 

Mary Baker Eddy devoted a whole chapter on marriage (fortunately) so I have quite a bit to work with, but I love her ideas of masculine and feminine qualities uniting to create completeness. 

"These different [masculine & feminine] elements cojoin naturally with each other, and their true harmony is in spiritual oneness.  Both sexes should be loving, pure, tender, and strong. " -S&H p. 57

I like the end.  It's so simple, and I like that those four qualities are the overlap between the masculine & feminine, because they're not necessarily qualities we ascribe to both sides, and I think what MBE is saying here is that we should remember that.  There's also this element of harmony, which has been coming up in my reading recently, and I love that idea that a couple is coming together harmoniously, like notes in a chord.


adventures in metro

Gentle Reader(s)---

You may be saying to yourselves: Ah, I am glad Emily is a) warm and b) now has a new tire. I am glad she has not had any more terrifying-yet-amusing-adventures, yet only a day has passed, so I hold out hope.

I say unto you all: WAIT NO LONGER!

Today I went to a lovely gathering with friends, where we played round-upon-round of Super Smash Bros. Brawl (read: addictive Wii game) which I did surprisingly well at, and then board games - all very fun. As we were to leave, I was nervous: I had a very long Metro trip ahead of me (hour +) but was assured by all that the Yellow Line train would wait for me -- as it waits for all transfers. Buoyed by this, I headed out later than usual with a group, and then exited at my transfer point.

At this point, I was told that I needed to get back on the train and transfer at another station. Odd, but I follow directions well. Exiting at the other station, I headed up to where my train should have been, to wait for the transfer. Imagine my surprise when a station officer comes over to me and -- while I recount my past half-hour of transfering -- is absolutely incredulous. What am I talking about? The Yellow Line left a half-hour ago. There is no other train.


At this point, there was literally no place for me to go. I am at L'Enfant Plaza, and while being there is lovely if one wishes to visit the Smithsonian, at 12:30 at night on a Sunday it is, shall we say, deserted.

It is also 40° outside, and I had a thin hoodie.   I enclose the picture because I stared at it for an inordinately long time.  Insert darkness and cold concrete!

Fortunately -- and for this I am utterly grateful! -- two friends came to pick me up (in my popsicle state) and another talked to me in the meantime. Before I knew it (real time: 1/2 hour!) I was in a warm backseat of a car, headed across a bridge towards Virginia.

Apparently I can't even head home without it becoming some kind of adventure! 


wedding extravaganza & road to damascus

Well, my good friend Sara got invited to the wedding of one of her best friends, but everyone she knew was in the bridal party, so invited me along as her +1.

I love road trips, so I was completely game.  (see: left! taken today)

However, I was quickly stymied.  As I left the gas station, I got a flat tire.   To set the scene, I quickly add that it was pouring rain.  As I opened the door to inspect the tire, I could hear the hissing from the opposite side of the car.  Yep, it was that bad of a flat. 

So, as any girl would do (oh, wait), I whipped out my jack, spare tire, and wrenches to change this tire.  In the rain. 

Halfway through, my thumb, which I had sliced open the night before, begins to bleed.  I then attempt to jack the car up with one hand turning the jack, which (clearly) did not work too well.  Then I ended up bleeding all over the tire, while kneeling in inch deep water, completely soaking my pants, and realizing that my shirt is completely stuck to my back with all the rain. 

It was...trying.  Certainly a much-needed lesson in patience (and refresher course on tire-changing).

the road to damascus
Originally uploaded by hummeline
We headed out to Philadelphia, and arrived at the wedding, looking quite "fierce."  The ceremony itself was nice, and afterwards we headed back across Pennsylvania, through what may have been some of the scarier clouds I have driven through.  Not tornado-green, but let's say we would not have been surprised if something like that formed!

On my drive back home, I had the chance -- in search of a Starbucks -- to take an exit I've always wanted to take. I've enclosed a photo I've taken before (also: daytime). It's a road to Damascus. The Religion major in me loves it. I did not get blinded or change my faith or things of that nature this time, but just taking it made me smile.


a new path?

steps to the sky
Originally uploaded by hummeline
What's frustrating to me is that the moment I think things are going incredibly well -- graduate school applications are all in, did fantastically on GREs, a date with a boy -- it flies up in my face. 

Well, not the latter two.  I still have a date for tomorrow (more later) and my GRE scores still stand.  However, I've received my second rejection letter from a graduate school.  Sadly: my top choice.  I am still waiting for 2 more letters.  We shall see.

That being said, I received the (terse) letter, and promptly shouted (I was alone in the house): Ok, God, if this isn't where I'm supposed to go, you probably have something fantastic cooked up!  Don't be fooled, it was said in frustration, but it was literally the first thought that crossed my mind.  The second: Read your Lesson

I can take a hint.

So the Lesson -- for those non-Christian Scientists, its a selection of readings from the Bible and a book by our founder, called Science & Health with Key to the Scriptures -- this week is on Man, so already a winner.  It's also all about light, and moving out from the darkness, and shining.  

Some excerpts:

The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. -- Romans 13:12

If we wish to follow Christ, Truth, it must be in the way of God's appointing. -- S&H 326:3

It really brought home the fact that, no matter what I think my path should be, God knows what it is.  This is not to say I accept this wholeheartedly.  No matter how logical I think "trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5)  is, because I have seen it work, it takes something more to hand all those feelings and expectations over to God.

I'm workin' on it.  

Now, I'm just going to head to bed, listen to the rainstorm outside, and count down the hours until tomorrow --  the National Gallery awaits!