Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, 2010

Well, here we are. Two thousand ten. Twenty ten? How to say it? And how to refer to the preceding years? The aughts? Is that too early-twentieth-century for the kids nowadays? I guess it remains to be seen.

We started the year off in Washington D.C., visiting friends and generally seeing our nation's capital. Despite the months that I spent driving around the United States when I was 19 (which now seems quite a long time ago because, ahem, it was), I have never been to D.C., which I attribute to a normal teenage rejection of patriotism and what not. As I recall, during that trip in 1998, we went from Baltimore, which is a mere hour or so north of the capital, straight west into West Virginia. It all works out in the end, though - visiting the actual Capitol building on the days surrounding New Year is ideal. Smaller crowds, less traffic, and generally less mayhem. At points, it felt that we were the only ones wandering through the cold to see the sights. A case in point: the Vietnam War Memorial.

Vietnam Memorial

I suspect that, had we visited in, say, July, there would have been throngs of people, and a picture as gray and serene as that would not have been possible. Likewise the Korean War Memorial:

Korean War Memorial

This one, unlike the Vietnam Memorial, had etchings of soldiers on it, rather than names, and the shadowy figures seen in the background are reflections of a smattering of soldier's statues. It's quite lovely, actually.

White House

We did basically all the proper tourist things to do - the White House, the Washington Monument, the Capitol, the Library of Congress, Georgetown - but we missed the museums. We can visit them next time, I guess, because though the drive from here to D.C. is quite irritating, it's not incredibly far. The interstate system around here is bizarre - so many turnpikes and parkways with their variously regulated toll systems that seem designed to frustrate both locals and out-of-towners alike.

And now - 2010. Any fantastic New Year's resolutions? I know, usually resolutions fall by the wayside in the first months of the year, but I'm resolving to get my life cleaned up; rid my cupboards and my diet of curious chemicals, etc. It'll take a little research, and a bit of adjustment to my routine, but I'm willing to take it on as a project, because it's the type of project that I can handle while in the grip of grad school. My general goal, I guess, is to make my life more *gulp* sustainable. My years in the Bay Area have made me leery of fuzzy hippie terminology, so I guess part of the goal is also to loosen up and embrace the concept, while not necessarily embracing the flakiness that I tend to associate with it. Wish me luck on that front - it might be the hardest part.

So, onward and upward. Happy New Year, folks. Make the most of it.


sq meals said...

I'm glad to see more photos of your travels. It's wierd to contemplate life...with trying to understand the toll of war plus the toll of the expressways. And the selective use for the word sustainability. I like the concept, but it's way too long of a word. It needs to have a shorter version so that little children can begin to identify with the idea of it. And something that says the idea more specifically. Time and space continuum sort of thing.
Thanks for the good fun! See you in just over a week!

silvergirl said...

i have a shorter word for "sustainability": simple.

i find that in the beginning you do have to put a little time and research into new products and/or edibles, but then you begin to see what to avoid and what to look for, much like becoming familiar with new music, or a restaurant's fare. It's like second nature to me now: instead of throwing these away, can i use them for something else? or what brand of milk has the best environmental/animal treatment track record? etc. etc.

and don't think of yourself as a hippie, if it bothers you. Just remind yourself that Earth's time is finite, like ours, and we should leave it in good shape when we go.

...Morbid enough for ya? Also, don't try to be "perfect" or reduce your carbon footprint to zero all at once. Don't make yourself miserable: remember to live your life as happily as you can, while making smarter and smarter choices.

As for resolutions: this is probably the first year i didn't make any, except the one: enjoy more moments. i can't stand it when whole weeks pass by and i feel like i never slowed down and stopped for anything. Trying to close my eyes and take it all in every once in awhile. See, Katie? You'll never be as hippie as me ;)