Saturday, March 31: Welcome to our March cocktail hour! It’s still a bit too chilly and damp to sit on our screened porch, so we’ll stay dry and warm inside. I can offer you a Jalapeno Margarita, one of my favorite drinks since I discovered it several years ago at Lolita in Philadelphia, or a Pinot Noir or Pilsner Urquell. I know it’s still officially Lent, so for those of you so inclined, I can also offer sodas or seltzer water of various flavors. Tomorrow, April 1, we can celebrate the strange intermingling of two oddly mismatched holidays: April Fool’s Day and Easter.
Spring is here, but not without its whims. We had snow last week, which accumulated and then vanished within two days; this week we’re under drizzle, although temperatures are inching upwards.
I hope March has been good to you so far. Have you read any good books, seen any good movies, binge-watched any television series? Have you learned anything new, taken any classes or just kept up with the news? Have you marched or otherwise participated in political protests? Have you been planning your adventures for the year? Have you had any early spring getaways? Have you sung along with any new songs? Have you dreamed any dreams? Gone to any exotic restaurants, cooked any new dishes? Have you undertaken any new exercise routines?
We went to Pittsburgh for a three-day weekend on March 2-4. Here, we visited the University of Pittsburgh, numerous memorials to the titans of American industry, a magnificent botanical garden and conservatory, the merging of the Monongahela and the Allegheny Rivers – forming the Ohio River at Pittsburgh’s point – and some offbeat museums. I’ll eventually write more about our trip on my new blog: ~ wander.essence ~
We went with our friends Karen and Michael to the Ice House Café where I had only two, I emphasize, TWO dirty martinis, and felt pretty darn loopy!
Not feeling so great the following day, I accompanied the American Pilgrims on the Camino for a 10-mile walk starting from Arlington National Cemetery, walking past the Martin Luther King Memorial, shown below, up the National Mall and around the back of the U.S. Capitol, and then back down the Mall again to the Lincoln Memorial. Someone from the Philadelphia chapter read parts of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech aloud to the group in front of the Lincoln Memorial, bringing tears to our eyes. Then we walked back to Virginia.
I honestly don’t know how I’m going to walk 12 miles/day carrying 15 lbs. in a backpack, day after day, on the Camino. I was wiped out after this walk, and I only carried 5 lb. Granted, it was all on pavement, which is hard on the joints and feet!
On that same day, March 10, my oldest son turned 27, but we only got to talk to him by phone since he now lives in Colorado. He just got a new job as an apprentice butcher, something he’s been wanting to do for some time. This desire took me by surprise, as he was vegan for a long time!
On March 17, I went on a 7.5 mile hike with the Mid-Atlantic Hiking Group at the Jug Bay Wetlands Natural Area at Patuxent River Park in Maryland. It was enjoyable, despite being a cold and dreary day. Near the American Indian Village, we came to a parking area filled with horse trailers and folks trotting around on their horses. They told our group they are a group of friends who ride their horses together regularly.
Overall, I walked 103 miles this month, more than the 68 miles I walked in February. I’ve now put 95 miles on my Keen Targhee boots and 44 miles on my Merrill Trail Runners. I’ve pretty much decided I’ll walk in the Keens on the Camino. I’ve also started increasing weight I carry in my backpack, alternating between 5-8 pounds twice a week. The backpack will be the worst part about the Camino, as the walking itself doesn’t bother me, except for some right knee pain.
We saw the movie The Leisure Seeker about an older couple, played by Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland, one of whom suffers from dementia. They take their old RV – dubbed “The Leisure Seeker” – for a road trip to Key West to visit Hemingway’s house. It was funny and sad at the same time, but I wouldn’t say it was one of my favorite movies.
We had a snowstorm on Wednesday, March 21, with a couple of inches of accumulation, but it melted over the next couple of days.
Just after the snow melted, we went on Saturday, March 24 to the March for Our Lives, organized by the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 students were gunned down by an unhinged ex-student.
The March for Our Lives mission statement includes:
Specifically, we are working towards…
- Universal, comprehensive background checks
- Bringing the ATF into the 21st century with a digitized, searchable database
- Funds for the Center for Disease Control to research the gun violence epidemic in America
- High-capacity magazine ban
- Assault weapons ban
The March was exciting and the speeches by the students extraordinarily moving and inspiring. I felt choked up the whole time I was there; I was impressed by the people, young and old and of every ethnicity, who came out in large numbers. Students gave rousing speeches, including Martin Luther King’s granddaughter, 9-year-old Yolanda Renee King, which we were there to hear. Unfortunately, we missed the speech by Emma Gonzalez. According to USA Today, “About 200,000 people attended the rally, according to Digital Design & Imaging Service Inc., a Virginia-based company that calculates crowd size.” Marches were held all over the country as well.
Here are some photos of the day:
After the march, Mike and I stopped in at Laredo DC Mexican Restaurant, where we enjoyed some small plates and margaritas, making our day, in effect, a March for the Margarita. 🙂
The last Monday in March, I drove down to Richmond to visit my daughter, and we enjoyed a fun dinner together at Little Nickel, a cute new restaurant with a touch of tiki in Southside Richmond. You can get a feel for it in an article by Richmond Magazine: “Uncommon Cents at 4702 Forest Hill.” I found the decor and the atmosphere delightful, along with my daughter’s company.
The next day, we went shopping, as we always do, and then enjoyed a delicious meal at Garnett’s on Park.
I’ve been reading away, and have finished this month:
- An American Childhood by Annie Dillard (Pittsburgh)
- Breaking Normal: ReWild Your Inner Child and Set the Truth Free by Daniel Eisenman (audiobook)
- Eventide (Plainsong, #2) by Kent Haruf (Colorado)
- Lonely Planet’s Guide to Travel Writing by Don George
- In Movement There is Peace by Elaine Orabona Foster (about walking the Camino)
- Siracusa by Delia Ephron (Italy)
- The All of It by Jeannette Haien (Ireland)
- A General Theory of Oblivion by (Angola)
- The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter
From this collection of books, I most loved Eventide, about the fictional town of Holt, Colorado (I love Haruf’s writing and his characters), and Katherine Anne Porter’s stories, which took me back to the early 20th century: to Mexico, Texas, Kentucky and Berlin. It was also fun to read about a couple’s Camino in In Movement There is Peace, which gave me a good feel for what to expect when I walk the Camino. I have now finished 23 books out of my 45-book goal for the year.
The way we deal with our nauseating political news these days is by watching The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. In his opening monologue each night, Colbert relentlessly makes fun of our so-called President, and he is so on-target and hilarious that we can feel a bit of peace knowing that laughter might be the only thing to save us from the daily shock of it all. I love Colbert in general, and find him a fantastic comedian. One night he sang a song, “Sleep Through the Static,” with Jack Johnson, where he revealed another charming side of himself. I loved this!!
One more month until I leave for my Four Corners Road Trip. You’ll be able to read about it on my new blog ~ wander.essence ~ as I prepare for and embark on the adventure.
I can’t wait to read about your March. I hope it was a good one. 🙂