Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy May Day

Last week some friends and Veeka and I went to a cool garden show at the National Arboreteum and joined some folks dancing around a maypole. Can't say I have ever done that before. I am off to the side in bright green and Veeka, of course, is smack in the middle in her multi-colored raincoat.
Have worked like a dog this week churning out various religion articles. Things at my workplace are as unsettled as ever. One of the cuts made is that of the exterminator who used to keep mice from entering our building. Well...we are next to the 400-acre arboreteum and now not only mice are ranging about the newsroom but so are snakes. We discovered a 3-foot black snake curled up behind the door of the conference room earlier this week. Apparently there's been at least two more. Just the sort of thing to liven up the workplace: a creepy crawly hiding under my desk.
I am busily making plans to remodel the second-floor bathroom with some Christmas money and today the new washer arrived.
Discovery of the week: the guy who does massages for $1/minute at Union Station, which is a very cheap rate for this area. Was racing through there to a press conference and had a few minutes to spare when I saw this massage stand near the escalator. Ten minutes after having the knots in my neck rubbed out, I felt so much better.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Veeka and the bike

Of course one thing our now five-year-old got for her birthday was a bike with training wheels. So recent evenings after dinner have been spent helping her ride the thing. Never realized how hard it is to keep those little legs pumping so the pedals don't get stuck somewhere in the middle. I still have to push her uphill because she can't pedal up a slope yet. So, she resolutely does U-turns on the alley in back of our home.
Got a pleasant surprise last Friday when I received a first place award for religion coverage in 2009 for division A (dailies over 75,000) at the MDDC awards banquet today. Which stands for Maryland-Delaware-DC Press Association, btw. All this while we were getting the news that our publisher is stepping down. Which is a shame because I truly like him. All sorts of rumors are out there about the newspaper being sold; apparently the current owners want out of the newspaper business. Read all about it here.
Just keep those paychecks coming, is all I can say.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Veeka turns 5

Yes, it's been awhile since we've posted but yours truly has been on the road, first to Tulsa and then a quick overnight to Richmond. But first: Easter. The photo of us is great but...our princess, who used to take great photos, now closes her eyes each time, which has made pix a bit more of a challenge.
A few days later, I zipped off to Tulsa for 3 days of attending a large charismatic conference there of 5,000-7,000 people. I think most of them were ORU students who were as courteous as could be. I'd never been to Tulsa before and it was a pleasant city but as I say in this column, the futuristic Jetsons-style architecture on the ORU campus was beyond weird. But the people were fine and I enjoyed walking about and attending workshops. Unfortunately I only sold 5 of my "Fire and Glory" books so the event was a financial loss for me and much of it was subsidized! Still, had to pay obscene fees to get the books back and forth on the airplane. It was quite a switch to be in an atmosphere where charismatic stuff is considered natural and everyday- so opposite to the world in which I normally live in.
And then there was the trip to Richmond, which I wrote about here. Some friends and I had dinner on W. Cary Street, a part of Richmond I'd never seen before and really enjoyed - lots of cute glitzy restaurants in the city's west end.
All this is a walk-up to April 16, which is when Miss Veeka woke up to a small mountain of presents. First, we dressed her up with a little crown and took her into school, along with 18 cupcakes for teachers and little friends. Then Veeka was allowed to bring one of her little friends home with her, shown helping her unwrap gifts. And then Veeka got to see her gift from Mommy, which was a bicycle. The next post will describe what it's like to help teach her to ride the thing. Some neighbors came over for dinner - and brought more cupcakes.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday in the cherry blossoms

This morning, I packed Veeka into the car and drove to the Tidal Basin, an act of sheer madness as the roads around there were reaching gridlock by the time we got there. Finally found a place to leave the car - miraculously - although we'd no sooner walked away than Veeka began to wail that she was too tired. Little did she know she had an entire mile to go trudging around the pond. Whole buses were disgorging dozens of tourists, so the walk was beyond packed in that a crowd equaling the populations of several states were doing the same thing as we were. Still, the blossoms formed the loveliest delicate pink roof as we made our way around.
Veeka liked the Jefferson Memorial quite a lot, as it turned out and thought the blossoms were pretty and demanded to be carried much of the way. A popsicle mollified her somewhat on what turned out to be a very warm day. The weather could not have been lovelier and the photo was taken from one of the few uncrowded spots.
Next, we ended up at McDonalds, her favorite place, to get her a Happy Meal and then it was off to a local monastery that was also packed to the gills. The place is known for its stations of the cross walk through a very lovely garden so I spent a lot of time explaining to Veeka the concept of piercing someone's hand with a nail. She has done so well so far - Thursday she made it through an entire Maundy Thursday service. She really enjoyed having her feet washed.