We always feel better driving west.

I bought a wine tasting deal on one of those social sites a couple months ago and, since I didn't do anything for Spring Break, we decided to take the day on Saturday and make the trek. It felt so good to get off the main roads and see some of Virginia's country. We daydreamed about living out in the middle of nowhere. We felt the peace of quiet and realized it had been too long since we had found our way out of the city. We live in Arlington but most days it just feels like an extension of D.C.

Somedays I just want to quit school and buy a ranch and farm something. The feeling is usually fleeting, though I know that someday we'll have a big tract of land with a small house and a fireplace. We'll have three dogs and a 15 farm cats. Someday.

For now we just enjoy getting out there every once in a while and when there is in the general westward direction we feel like we're going home - we joke that it would take us just three days to get to California, but I don't think we're really joking.

This vineyard was surrounded by hills and mountains. It's tucked in its own little valley which we're told gives the european varietal a good chance to grow. Thank god for that because the muscadine grapes of the south are just too sweet for our liking.

I love watching Dan in situations like this, like wine tasting. Dan is an interesting combination of introverted and extroverted. It takes him a while to warm up to a person he'll see frequently as if he's cautiously trying to determine what kind of relationship they'll have, but strangers? Oh man, strangers beware. Dan will talk your ear off and chat with you as though you are friends from grade school. He is never at a loss for questions or stories and he makes the whole place feel like the bar in Cheers.

It's one of the reasons traveling with Dan is so fun - he has the worst luck with airlines (his flights always get delayed) but he makes friends with everyone at the bar and we are never without people to talk to while we wait for our plane.

I always have fun when he's around and this weekend of wine and country was so needed. Thanks, Virginia.

Lest you think I spent my whole birthday sad and crying*

 Which I didn't. I actually had a great birthday. Actually, birthweek. Maybe even birthmonth. I do like to celebrate my birthday for a whole month.

"Dan, will you go get me ice cream?"

"Eh, no. Sorry, babe."

"But... it's my birthmonth."

"It's February 2nd."

"Yeah. My birthmonth. Duh."

Sometimes it works, folks. Sometimes. 

But really, we did have a great week. Starting over the weekend when our trip to NC got snowed out so instead we dressed up with all my law school friends who were going to Barrister's Ball (we couldn't get tickets last minute) and pre-gamed with them and then stayed at a swanky hotel in DC (oh, the bathtub. the king-size bed). And ordered room service while I pranced around in a cozy hotel robe (which are always better than my personal robe). 

The following morning we did brunch with all those same people and drank bottomless mimosas and then promptly took naps. Monday was a holiday which is always a win. 

And, then Wednesday. The 19th. My birthday. 

I got a surprise birthday dress. I got texts, messages, instagrams and other social media love. I got cookies and sourdough bread and baked goods from friends. Dan bought me Shake Shack and brought it the bar where we proceeded to have a debaucherous night complete with baby guinnesses

It was a great birthday and the month isn't even over yet. 

*My previous post was about how I cry on my birthdays. 

I'll cry if I want to.

There was hardly a birthday party during my childhood that didn't result in buckets of tears from yours truly. It didn't matter how fun the party was (surprise trampoline party, slumber parties, etc.) I would end up crying.

The reasons for the tears are many and ludicrous. One year my two best friends wouldn't stop fighting with each other (didn't they know I two sides for each person to sit beside?) so after an hour or two of them bickering I locked myself in the bathroom and had a good cry. Shortly after everyone realized I was gone I heard them gather near the bathroom door. 

"I should go in to her. She needs me. I'm her best friend," said Friend 1. 

"No you're not! I'm her best friend!" said Friend 2. 

More tears. 

Like clockwork, every year, someone would steal my new toy or say something mean or offend me in some unsurmountable way and I would storm off crying. Leaving my parents to deal with 10-15 girls who didn't seem to give a shit that they were ruining my birthday. 

Why my parents continued to let me have birthday parties I'll never know. 

As I got older the tears still came but for different reasons. 

At my 17th birthday, the house was still under construction so we all thought it would be fun to have a cake fight (after cake got smushed in my face by my loving older sister). So, I'm chasing Julia around with cake in my hand and she's screaming and running away with a plate of cake in her hands. Then she stops abruptly, turns around, and chucks the cake, plate and all, at my face. 

That hurt. And I cried. But I think I was validated in that one. 

On my 20th birthday I cried because I was in Salem, OR (the darkest, gloomiest place in the winter), and I was 20. Which seemed really, dangerously close to 30. I hadn't even seen When Harry Met Sally yet ("And I'm gonna be forty!" "When?" "Someday!"), but 30 was out there like this scary harbinger of death. 

Granted, I was greatly overreacting on my 20th, but, whatever, I'm pretty sure I was suffering from a mild case of seasonal depression. 

As you can see, I am an emotional person. I cry a lot. Just ask Dan. I don't even try to deny it anymore. 

I'm a crier. 

This year I'm not concerned that 30 is quickly approaching, or that a plate of cake will leave a bump on my forehead. This year I'm mostly happy, but this morning I realized that it's my first birthday in 26 years that I won't hear, "Rachie, happy birthday! Oh, you're getting older." This is my first birthday without Grams, and, if I'm being honest, I cried in the shower this morning. 

things over here

Here are some things that made me happy this week:

1. When we found out it was going to snow pretty severely we went to the store to stock up on some necessities. Because I wasn't sure we'd be able to drive out truck in between here and Friday, I stocked up on wine, because on Friday grades come out and, lesbehonest, I'm probably gonna need some wine.

2. We got a new fridge!!! I can't even explain how much we needed a new fridge. The old one had very little room and a "freezer" inside the fridge, which didn't really keep things solidly frozen and was constantly freezing over so Dan would, graciously, turn the fridge off and clean it all out and put everything back it, like twice a month. I mean, I liked the kinda vintage thing it had going but not at the price of functionality! PLUS, we can fit about double the amount of stuff in the freezer, which means extra ice cream on hand, duh.

3. We went to watch the 49er game at a bar in D.C. with some of my law school friends. I've been really lucky to meet the people I have at this school. Most people aren't as crazy as you'd think for law students, and I kinda like them.

4. We went for a walk in the snow on snow day! Dan didn't have work. I didn't have school. It was glorious. We were on cloud nine for a four-day weekend.

5. Also, this photo of Athena. She's yawning but it looks like she's laughing in the face of the blizzard. She's a badass.

Happy Thursday!

A little snow day walk

It's snowing here in Northern Virginia. I believe it's snowing all over the northeast as well but don't take my word on that - check instagram. There really isn't a better time for a snow day than on the day right after a holiday. Not only did we get a three-day weekend but then this snow day made it a four-day, which makes the it a three-day work week. And that is what we call grand in our neck of the woods.

Judging by these photos you would think that maybe we live in or near the woods. You would be wrong - we live off a major thoroughfare but there is a trail near us. A trail with skinny trees all around it and when it snows it looks like a winter wonderland.

All of this and we have come to the conclusion that snow days are pretty great. They are a bit cold, because our basement apartment has a sole space heater to keep us warm, but they are days for lounging, and playing wii golf, and Lost marathons. So, hurrah for snow days! Hip, hip!