After a blah week of workplace robberies, slow mo unpacking, and a crappy cable connection that just won’t play ball no matter how many times I call Comcast, I was more than ready for JDP to arrive on Friday for the Jason Aldean concert (with Florida Georgia Line). We’ve had these tickets for nearly five months and could not wait for the show. Jason Aldean did not disappoint. Each song he played was better than the last and he even did “Tattoos on This Town,” one of my faves. I’d never put much thought into his appearance until Friday, but damn, that man knows what he’s doing. He looks like a real everyman- relatable to most dudes in this country (except perhaps the coastal snobs). He wore a cowboy hat (obvs), a short-sleeved button-down plaid shirt, and those chains that boys wore on their belts circa junior high. Everything about him screamed “Middle America” and I and the entire sold out crowd at Nats Park ate it up. Not only did he play hit after hit, he punctuated a whole bunch of songs with Fourth of July-rivaling fireworks.

While Mr. Aldean went with the approachable regular old Joe look, his fans went with the PAF look (patriotic). I think every bro there tried to out-America the others. The winner: a guy in a tank top with two arrows pointing to his arms and the line, “Obama can’t control these guns.”

Pack your bags, JT, we’re moving to Nashville. Need more country and Middle America in my life.

It finally happened- I’ve put Virginia in the rearview and moved to DC. I’m living in Dupont and for two glorious weeks I’m close enough to work to walk instead of taking public transit (my office is moving at the end of the month.)

Packing up the Arlington apartment took forever and a half. I lived in that complex for four years and damn did I ever accumulate a lot of stuff. JT said you can either treat packing as a “life cleanse” or a “throw everything in a box and get the hell out.” I tried the cleanse approach, at least until the last couple days. I’m downsizing space, especially closet space, and I think I donated no fewer than 15 bags of clothes, and I’m still left with so many that they exceeded all luggage. Why do I wear the same few outfits on repeat?! And, more frustratingly, how did I manage to accumulate so much paperwork?! Why do I still have bills from 2010?! And for the love of God, WHY IS THERE SO MUCH LOOSE CHANGE EVERYWHERE?!

And now I’m in the new space staring at all these boxes. B moved to DC and had her place unpacked and decorated in two days. I may be unpacked in two months, but I’ll probably never get it decorated. No need for paintings or pictures on the walls- I’ll be too busy staring at a screen of some sort to even notice them.

As I slowly take things out of boxes and wait for the cable installation, I’ve been exploring the new neighborhood. SO MANY DELICIOUS PLACES TO EAT. To counteract that, I’ve found a new park to run stairs in and I’m trying a new yoga studio tonight. I’m sure these activities will fall by the wayside once I have access to the Food Network again.

Looking forward to having people over soon! Now no one can give me the excuse about not wanting to go alllllllllll the way out to Virginia.

By chance, my Dutch amigo from grad school was in Chicago last week visiting his gf while I was in nearby F-fort.  These two are a career power couple: he works at Google in Dublin (free food! a pool!) and she is running her own company, LuminAID (the namesake product is a solar-powered, inflatable light that can be used in a variety of applications, most notably to help with natural disasters and the like.)  Despite the Dutch loss in the World Cup semi earlier in the day, we enjoyed some margs at Salseria in the Sears Tower (or Willis Tower, to those who are nouveau chicago) and then went to another bar, where I got after it in what B described as “a late sprint to the finish with those stouts.”  

B and I were able to meet up again later in the week to lounge by a pool.  It was, most certainly, a “hard body pool” so after seeing all those 10s soaking up rays, we immediately went for deep dish pizza.

Fingers crossed we can meet up again in Dublin sometime this year!

I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July! It is, after all, the best holiday of the year. Beer, BBQ, and boats- it’s everything the Founders envisioned and more. We spent the weekend in beautiful Pure Michigan where the days were lovely, the nights were hypothermia-inducing, the shots looked like watermelons, and the conversation was alternatingly patriotic and off-color (probably thanks to the aforementioned shots or the giant bucket of sangria we put down).

Leaving MI is always a crushing disappointment, so I’m going to console myself with upcoming summer fun like Jason Aldean, kayaking, and a POOL PARTY. Man, I love July.

On the way back from Lake Tahoe, we stopped at the Genoa Bar in Genoa, NV, a real old timey kind of joint.  Instead of taking in the ambiance, I had to bust in there and beg for the TV to be turned to the final minutes of the US-Ghana World Cup game, just in time for us to score the game winning goal.  I was the only one in the bar cheering, which was quite opposite of the other games I saw in DC with American-flag clad yuppies just absolutely losing their shit for every goal.

After a delicious bev and a US victory in Genoa Bar, NV’s oldest “thirst parlor,” we drove a bit further to Virginia City, a town that looks straight out the Wild West (hello, tourists).  Virginia City sprang up as a boomtown in the hills when silver was discovered (the Comstock Lode, if that rings a bell with you from Westerns or history class or something), and it peaked in the 1860s.  ”Mark Twain” began using the pen name “Mark Twain” here.  As a testament to his presence in the town, there’s a casino named after him.  What a commemoration!

Squaw Valley, ski resort/yuppie paradise (?)/Olympic host.  We tried to ride the lift to the top, but it was WAF (windy) so that operation had ground to a halt.  This was a disappointment because a) from the top you get a stunning view of Lake Tahoe, and b) according to my uncle, there’s sushi atop that hill.

Pictured here: people who will never be Olympians.

Japan does it again!  An inedible, square-shaped, ornamental watermelon going for $100 minimum.  ”A piece of agricultural art.”

Last week’s day trip to Lake Tahoe.

The reason for the trip to Nevada was to watch my cousin get wifed up. His new wife is a very sweet girl, but she now faces a lifetime of correcting last name mispronunciations.

Sometime in kindergarten, my cousins moved from our hometown to Sparks, Nevada (right next to Reno).  Twenty-one years later, I finally went West for a visit (and for a wedding).  Other than a few trips to Colorado and San Fran (city of endless debacles for me), I don’t get much west of the Mississippi and wasn’t quite prepared for the scenery.  I lost my shit every time a tumbleweed blew by.  Nature’s litter gumming up their well-watered, perfectly manicured neighborhoods (the environmentalist in me gave the side eye to all the green lawns amidst the brown mountains.)  The casinos didn’t really interest me; instead, I was more concerned about dicey snakes and spiders I may have encountered on my lethargic runs (damn that altitude!)  I had to tear my uncle away from his guitar to interrogate him about what to do when you come face to face with a rattler (get out of Dodge).  He kept telling me to go for a hike but between the reptile/arachnid threat and the fact that people go willy nilly shooting in the hills AND that “if you break an ankle up there it’s so remote they might not find you for a while- happens at least every year,” I opted to remain on the neighborhood sidewalks or in front of the TV watching the World Cup.

I did rouse myself to seek out some Wild Horses near the local dump, so when some people tell you they’re like rats, I guess that’s accurate.  As cool as the horses were (pretty damn cool), they still didn’t beat the tumbleweeds, in my opinion.  

All in all, I liked Nevada though I’m probably way too soft to live there and I’d really have to up on my moisturizing game since DC is 150% humidity and Nevada is -150% humidity.