by Borderstan.com February 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm 1,914 0

Roldolfo Valentino, Wikimedia Commons

Roldolfo Valentino may have been America’s first male heart throb and sex symbol on the big screen. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

From Candida Mannozzi. She writes a biweekly column for Bordertan, “Borderstan Candids.” You can reach her at [email protected].

Borderstan, given the “season,” how about a brief reminiscence about one of the most famous of Valentines? I’m thinking of the paradigmatic Latin Lover and silent movie heart throb Rodolfo Valentino or Rudolph Valentino.

Born in May 1895 in Southern Italy’s province of Taranto, Rodolfo Alfonzo Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d’Antonguolla (try whispering that in the heat of passion!) was the youngest child of a veterinarian and a Marquise’s Lady in Waiting.

After the untimely death of his father, the family moved to Perugia in Central Italy. Rodolfo’s rebellious and headstrong character manifested early on: he was expelled from school for bad conduct. It probably didn’t help that his classmates had been mocking him for his funny looks, especially his pointy ears.

His attempt to enroll in the Naval Academy in Venice also failed, for the young Rodolfo was declared physically unfit and weak of eyesight. Rumors (likely of the malicious kind!) say he was shortsighted, and that was the supposed reason the star reverted to those world-famous close-ups to his acting partners and his penetrating, unflinching gaze into their eyes.

The young Rodolfo eventually left Italy for Paris, where he studied dance and is rumored to have worked as an escort for gay men. At the age of 18 he came into his inheritance ($4,000) and booked a passage to America.  He arrived in New York City just before Christmas Eve of 1913 and, his funds having depleted fairly quickly, started making ends meet working as a gardener and waiter.

Thanks to a friend, he began working as a dancer at Club Maxim, earning generous tips from the female patrons. He eventually moved to San Francisco and on to Hollywood, where he was initially typecast in minor movies as the “dark and threatening stranger,” the outsider or villain scheming to elope with or otherwise compromise the film’s main female character.

Finally, in 1921, his luck changed thanks to his role as one of the leads in Rex Ingram’s The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The electrifying tango he danced in that movie made an instant sex symbol and star of him and from then on Rudolph Valentino, instead of playing the despicable foreign outcast, became the other side of that fickle coin: the dark and handsome stranger, the Latin Lover, the irresistible, fiery, exotic seducer and heartbreaker. His filmography is vast and is not the object of this piece, but some iconic films stand out such as The Sheik and The Son of the Sheik, (the latter included a controversial rape scene).

Valentino is not considered one of the most gifted actors or interpreters, but his convinced, authoritative gestures, his sleek, pomaded hair, his way of seizing actresses by their elbows and staring at them in a mix of ardent desire and mischievous intent, as if exposing their concealed hopes and fears, made him an iconic male lead.

He masterfully played the adventurer, the ardent seducer, the irresistible charmer, or the hopelessly enamored lover. Valentino’s success was in part thanks to his gift in conveying an ever so faint hint of danger, mischief or rakishness, no matter the role. Women the world over swooned.

Valentino’s life was apparently equally extravagant and sentimentally complex off the screen, peppered with two wives (the first marriage to actress Jean Acker was apparently never consummated and de facto lasted a mere six hours!), numerous lovers, jealous husbands, scandals, and an untold number of smitten fans, men and women alike.

Valentino lived up to his role as movie star and sex symbol, rarely appearing in public unless he donned a fur-lined coat, or his favorite style of bracelet, or thigh-high boots, and always the signature slicked-back hair and a hint of smoky makeup around his eyes. Men imitated his hairstyle, even though they tended to prefer movies with stars like Douglas Fairbanks, who represented a very different male prototype.

Interestingly, Valentino’s birth (1895) and death (1926) coincide with the beginnings and end of silent film. News of the star’s demise was accompanied by worldwide expressions of abject grief and despair: fans attempted (and succeeded) in suicide, his funeral cortege in Los Angeles was a mob scene, with over one hundred thousand people present. Valentino died at the age of 31, leaving us with images unblemished by age — all the more likely to fuel the mythical status he had achieved.

So, Borderstan, if a memorable adventure with a tall, dark stranger is what you’ve secretly been pining for, I wish you someone as irresistible and charismatic as Rodolfo Valentino. Viva l’avventura!

Sources: www.mymovies.it, Wikipedia, and http://biografieonline.it

by Borderstan.com January 26, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1 Comment

pnzr242, Borderstan Flickr pool

Job hunting can be a lonely, frustrating process. How do you help friends? (pnz242 in Borderstan Flickr pool)

From Candida Mannozzi. You can reach her at [email protected].

Last week I was vividly reminded of how tough it can be out there if you’re one of the millions of Americans looking for employment of the longer-term, less precarious kind.

I accompanied an intern (currently in her last month at the non-profit where I work) to an informational meeting with a personal acquaintance of mine. The conversation was friendly enough, my contact shared input on her resume and her overall job hunt pitch and strategy, and even suggested a couple of other target areas and organizations for her outreach.

All that advice and input aside, as we walked away from the meeting, having seen her resume edited, entire paragraphs crossed-out or moved, and many of her assumptions challenged, she was fighting back tears of frustration. I remembered my own past experiences on the job-seeking end of the spectrum, when I too was often seen as “promising, interesting,” but, in the view of some employers, lacked the “specific experience” in a particular field to actually land that job. I also imagined that I, or any one of us, could easily face those challenges again, as nothing in life is more certain than change.

It seems all the more disheartening to witness someone facing these difficulties in DC, one of the few labor markets that the media tell us is not suffering a job recession as brutal as in other parts of the United States. Tell that to the many college and grad school grads vying for internships or even volunteer positions that now seem to demand the same qualifications and expertise of a full-time job. Tell that to the mid- to late-career professionals who have a hard time re-entering or staying in the job market, competing against “cheaper” younger hires.

It really is cold outside.

I also find myself frustrated at my apparent powerlessness in situations such as the one I just described. For anyone I know currently navigating this difficult labor market, I vow to share relevant connections or advice, and to be of support to them in any other way I can.

Still, I fear I may be missing some opportunities or avenues to help. So, admitting that I’m not asking for responses to the specific (but purposely not very detailed) anecdote I began this post with, let me turn it over to you and ask for your thoughts, Borderstan:

  • What do you do for friends, colleagues or relatives in a difficult situation?
  • How do you handle, alleviate or fight frustration when it comes to you or to someone you know?
  • Do you egg yourself or someone you know on, exhort them not to give up? Is the occasional moment of despair and frustration also allowed: a healthy venting of pent-up emotions, and then back to the front line? Or is expressing frustration tantamount to defeatism and therefore unallowable?
  • Does just showing one cares help too, even if it may not always bring immediate, concrete results? Does is matter who that show of affection helps more?

Thanks for your insights, folks!

by Borderstan.com January 12, 2012 at 8:00 am 2,144 12 Comments

"Borderstan""Bikes", dc bike laws

1500 block of 14th Street NW: Sidewalk? (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Candida Mannozzi. You can reach her at [email protected].

If you live in Borderstan (or anywhere in DC, for that matter) I know this has happened to you: you’re strolling down the sidewalk, maybe on your way home from the farmers’ market, or chatting with a friend, when all of a sudden and with no sound of warning, someone brushes past you on a bicycle, startling you. They zip past, weaving in and out among pedestrians, leaving a trail of surprised, startled and often irritated folks (and pets) in their wake.

I think my friend Julie put it beautifully when this happened to us some time ago. She yelled after the biker: “It’s a sidewalk, not a sideride!”

Bikers, and I’m one of you, keep your turning wheels in the traffic lanes and leave the sidewalks to those of us walking, jogging, pushing strollers or shopping carts, guiding our children or pets.

The city has been increasing its miles of bike lanes, so use them! If, for whatever reason, you insist on riding on the sidewalk, then at least give the pedestrians you are approaching a clue that you are on their heels, OK?! Ping your bell, or shout “bike on your left/right” as the case may be.

I look at it this way: if you’re riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, you’re in a bigger size and speed category than the pedestrians. Therefore, you’re not supposed to be there. So, the least you can do, when you decide to use the sidewalk inappropriately, is to give everyone fair warning, giving folks a chance to work around you. (Editor’s note: It is legal to ride on sidewalks north of Massachusetts Avenue NW.)

Oh, and thanks for stepping up to be the nuisance du jour, it takes a special kind of courage.

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by Borderstan.com December 28, 2011 at 1:00 pm 1,298 0

"Borderstan""CrossFit""Church Street NW"

CrossFit MPH is at 1469 Church Street NW. (Courtesy CrossFit)

From Candida Mannozzi. You can reach her at [email protected].

Borderstan, let me admit it right at the outset: I like to work hard and I play just as hard, too. So, when it comes to my choices for sports, ways to keep fit and maintain or improve my health (which, well into my fourth decade, seem ever more important), I tend to gravitate toward intense, demanding and, by the same token, rewarding workout or sports routines.

On that note, CrossFit MPH is not an athletic program for the faint of heart, but it’s why I chose it. And Borderstan, do you know that we have one of the premier CrossFit outfits of the DC metro area in our very own hood?! Let me backtrack a bit, assuming that many of you may not be familiar with what CrossFit actually is. It was not a clear or known concept to me either, until just a few months ago.

What is CrossFit?

CrossFit is an athletic program that combines basic gymnastics, running, weightlifting, rowing and powerlifting movements in a vast number of combinations, adding repetition, weight or resistance and speed to achieve a broad response in the body of the athletes practicing it. Improving overall health and fitness, as well as developing the skills to become good at a number of different things (i.e., run a marathon, increase your overall strength, acquire explosive skills) are the goals. Improving your heart-rate, losing weight, gaining muscle mass, looking better, finally getting those six-pack abs, those are correlated results that come with a CrossFit practice, but they are not the goals a typical CrossFit athlete sets for him- or herself.

Feldman: “CrossFit is just inherently better than regular workouts — those endless bicep curls facing a mirror — this is closer to real sports, to actual movements. It reminded me of martial arts when I first started.”

So, this article will not be about commercial gyms or personal training sessions, va bene (OK)? A new year is in the offing and I am offering you a way to try something new, to push your limits, maybe even to explore a whole new community of folks in 2012.

CrossFitMPH (MetamorPHitness, indicating the transformative power of this athletic practice) is owned by John Main and co-managed by Melody Feldman. The two certified coaches are ably supported by Rebekka Ellman. The gym opened in July 2009 and is located just inside the corner of 15th and Church Streets NW. It has been attracting a growing number of dedicated athletes to their challenging, rewarding and collegial workouts.

Main and Feldman live in the neighborhood. So when, in 2008, they decided to open their own athletic facility, they found themselves increasingly gravitating to the Borderstan and Logan Circle areas of DC. MPH is more than an athletic facility, it is a community. Nothing proves this more than the fact that the demo and build-out of the space took a month and was a joint effort by these coaches, who relied also on the support of their former clients from the commercial gym where they had trained for over five years.

MPH’s space is multi-functional, sparsely furnished and supremely flexible. At first glance any observer will understand this is a no-frills environment, focused on the safe and efficient movement of its athletes, coaches and gear. It can accommodate an amazing variety of set-ups, which are easily assembled and broken down, fitting beautifully with the flexibility and variety that a CrossFit practice requires.

Who Can Practice CrossFit?

Feldman: “Sometimes, the less experienced someone is when they come to CrossFit, the better opportunity they have to acquire the basic movement patterns that are the building blocks for any CrossFit workout. They’re working from a clean slate.”

Main: “CrossFit has a reputation for being dangerous. Practiced or coached incorrectly, this reputation is deserved. There is an inherent risk in what we do, as we work with free weights and body weight, and add speed and intensity to most workouts; so posture, movement mechanics and awareness are all essential. When coached correctly, CrossFit is safe and suitable for everyone.”

That’s the key. With coaches like John, Melody and Rebekka, CrossFit is an adventure in self-exploration and growth. Based on your registration for a particular workout, the coaches will have prepared variations to fit your individual fitness and strength levels. No time is wasted during class adapting the challenge to each athlete’s skill set and this allows the coaches to do just that: to coach — properly and attentively.

CrossFit is an exciting journey down the road of self-discovery and self-improvement. Some basic requirements: being self-motivated, being collegial, enjoying challenges (personal or imposed) and wanting to acquire new skills and capabilities.

So, Borderstan, if any among you are looking for a way to challenge and explore your physical and athletic limits in the new year, CrossFitMPH lies right in the heart of our ‘hood — a part of ours, ready to welcome you into the community.

by Borderstan.com December 22, 2011 at 8:00 am 0

"Borderstan", Candida Mannozzi, Luis Gomez Photos

Less is More. Really. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Candida Mannozzi. You can reach her at [email protected].

Borderstan, it’s that time of the year. We’re out there, shopping for food, for ornaments, for tokens for our co-workers, and gifts for friends and family. This general atmosphere generated the thought for this piece, which came to me as I was chatting with my friend Frank.

He and I exchange cards this time of year. Yes, we’re among those dinosaurs who still, on occasion, put actual pen to paper and use the U.S. Postal Service to get the product from one home to the other. (Don’t get me started on our local post office closings!)

Back to the chat with Frank: I received his card in the mail the other day. Well, not all of it. I received a torn envelope with the card missing and an accompanying note from the Postal Service, apologizing for the damage done to the missive. I was crushed! Frank’s card was lost! He picks really cool, inventive, artsy cards every year: they are usually great examples of pop-outs, paper-art… you get the idea, yes?

So, I was truly disappointed not to get Frank’s choice for this year!

I sent him an email thanking him for his card and explaining the mishap with it. He called me later and it turns out I’m not the only friend of his who didn’t get this year’s fancy paper-art card. We concluded there must have been a design flaw to it, probably the choice of envelopes, which were not sturdy enough to safely contain the pop-out card weighing more than the regular ones.

“I see these different, beautiful cards each year, and over time I’ve been choosing fancier and fancier ones. That’s it. I’m done with the top-of-the-line cards.”

I agreed with him, even though I was sorry not to have seen the fanciest pop-out card he’s chosen yet.

“Hey, but at least you got the envelope and you had proof that I was thinking of you and that I wanted to reach out to you, right?”

Indeed. Absolutely on the money. And that’s when the thought occurred to me and I told Frank the clichéd phrase: “Hey, man, less is more.” Maybe next year he’ll skip the top-of-the-line card, and send a less fancy one, since the sentiment he wishes to share is the essential part of the whole exercise.

This episode reminded of one of my favorite illustrated books: Patrick McDonnell’s “The Gift of Nothing,” the story of a little cat Mooch wanting to get his buddy, Earl, something for the holidays and observing people saying there’s “nothing” on TV and “nothing” in the stores, and “nothing” to do… so in the end Mooch finds an empty box, wraps it in a bow and Earl exclaims with delight when he opens it. The book ends with a drawing of the two of them sitting side-by-side at the window after playing with the empty box, looking out onto a starry sky, happy for the gift of nothing, “… and everything.”

So, this holiday season I wish all of us a bit less of the frills, frippery and add-ons, giving us a chance to enjoy the underlying more.

by Borderstan.com December 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm 1,342 2 Comments

"Borderstan""Coffee Shops"

Coffee time in Borderstan .(Luis Gomez Photos)

From Candida Mannozzi. You can reach her at [email protected].

Bear with me, Borderstan, I’ll get to the meaning of the German title word in a bit. But as you may have guessed from “Kaffee,” I’ll be writing about coffee. Specifically, coffee houses, coffee habits, coffee culture. Any takers?

If there’s one thing (and there are many) that’s significantly improved since my arrival in the US in the mid-1980s, it’s the coffee. Imagine my disbelieving shock when I, an Italian “fresh off the plane,” raised on cappuccino and caffe’ first saw a cup of American joe. It was pale brown, practically see-through, essentially flavorless and served in such quantity that I wondered how anyone could manage to walk more than five feet before needing to beeline for a restroom after finishing their cup! Yes indeed, the coffee is much better in America these days. Bravi!

A Few Favorites

With improved coffee came a better era for the coffee shop. Borderstan can pride itself on a couple of great ones, in my opinion. Pitango may not offer huge amounts of seating, but their product is tops. I’ll never forget reverently clasping my cup of “marocchino” (espresso with Italian chocolate stirred-in) in both hands after the first sip, it transported me back home so viscerally. Java House is another favorite because it’s so close to my apartment and because I enjoy a casual, unhurried atmosphere, especially around my caffe’. Peregrine Espresso manages a fantastic creamy foam on its cappuccino.  U Street Café is a regular haunt for several of my friends and we know some of the baristas (esp. the weekend shifts) by name. Had my bookstore stayed open longer, I would surely have explored linking-up to ACKC next door. Then there’s the wonderful Big Bear Café on 1st and R Streets NW, which I especially like to visit during the months the Sunday farmers market is open on its block.

As with any food or drink, with coffee comes culture. I promised, so let’s get back to the title word: “Kaffeeklatsch” is German for coffee-chat. “Klatschen” is German for clapping, but colloquially it also means chatting, shooting the breeze. That they coined a word specifically to identify the chatting that occurs in a coffee house is significant. No eye-rolling, please! It actually stems from decades of people gathering in coffee houses. Intellectuals, artists, writers, critics, philosophers, politicians met and debated, confided, explored and often launched or furthered new political movements (the Italian Risorgimento) or artistic trends (Dadaism) from the coffee house. What Ancient Greeks started in the agora, Mitteleuropeans continued indoors, over the aroma of roasted beans and whipped cream.

This brings me to my question: Is that the kind of exchange we typically encounter in our neighborhood coffee shops, Borderstan? I do often see at least a couple of friends having an easy, unhurried conversation over a chai or a macchiato here and there.

But I’ll never forget one sunny afternoon this September, when I walked past Java House’s packed outside seating area and every single  table was occupied by a solitary person staring into their laptop or iPad. I was looking at an outdoor sea of bowed heads and tapping fingers, many with headphones plugged in to boot. I almost laughed out loud at the spectacle and wish I’d taken a picture of it! Why had they bothered to go outside, when they weren’t looking around?

Now, while there are no rules about having a conversation vs. working on your term paper or marketing pitch in a coffee shop, I wish we’d behave a bit more like Europeans when it comes to being in a public space that’s designed to accommodate a leisurely and collegial moment.

Still, just as I’ve witnessed the coffee improving significantly over the years here, I’m hopeful the attendant culture will gradually come with it too. Or maybe we promote this trend ourselves? Borderstan, let’s get out in front of the pack on this one!

Addendum

Mini-Italian lesson on a few basic coffee terms: caffe’ denotes an espresso. Our basic word for coffee also signifies the concentrated shot that any barista will serve you. And “latte” simply means milk. So don’t order that in Italy, unless it’s what you intended. Ask for a “caffellatte,” which is the name for coffee laced with hot milk. “Macchiato” means “stained,” i.e., a caffe’ (espresso) barely stained with a drop or two of hot milk, still reduced enough in size to fit in the “espresso” cup.

by Borderstan.com November 24, 2011 at 8:45 am 3 Comments

"Borderstan""Flowers", Thanksgiving, Borderstan Candids

Instead of being thankful on Thanksgiving, why not make someone grateful? (Luis Gomez Photos)

Borderstan recently welcomed Candida Mannozzi in the Lifestyle section. She is sharing her observations about people, places and general things she observes in the neighborhood. 

From Candida Mannozzi. You can reach her at [email protected].

Happy Thanksgiving, Borderstan.

With the holidays upon us, a thought occurred to me: Instead of being thankful for the good people or things in my life (the exercise has at times felt suspiciously self-congratulatory), why don’t I do something to make someone else grateful? I’m turning Thanksgiving on its head somewhat. I hope that’s allowed?

My perception of Thanksgiving has, understandably, evolved over my many years here. In the mid-1980s, as a college kid and foreign student, Thanksgiving was barely a blip on my radar screen.

Do you know how many times Italian mamme (moms) pull these kinds of meals off, feeding friendly armies at almost no notice? But that culture operates in spontaneity. By contrast, Thanksgiving strikes me as an exercise in pre-arrangements.

We “internationals” spread out over a suddenly deserted campus on a long weekend, in the noticeable absence of most of our U.S. peers. All the favorite dining hall spots were free for the taking, the place echoed. We were not irritating others if we stopped to chat with the pizza guys in the off-campus dive, there was no line being held up, the place was ours!

After spending more time here and cultivating significant friendships with Americans, Thanksgiving became a more important feature on the annual calendar of festivities. Even though I still chuckle at the choice of turkey as the “piatto forte” (main dish) for this occasion, I have been invited to enough such gatherings to appreciate their underlying sentiment.

However, why Americans go through two major family reunions in barely a month, given the attendant drama that inevitably accompanies such events, is still a mystery to me. Gluttons all, for food and punishment!

I wonder at some aspects of Thanksgiving. The shopping and consumption frenzy that precedes and follows it is inexplicable to me. Store shelves emptied worse than during emergencies? Family phone and data plans go over their monthly limits with calls, travel arrangements, last-minute instructions and recalls.

Do you know how many times Italian mamme (moms) pull these kinds of meals off, feeding friendly armies at almost no notice with freshly made pappardelle? But that culture operates in spontaneity: “Ma, Marco! You brought four of your friends home for dinner without telling me?! Well, go grab the chairs in the good sitting room. Boys, we’re not setting up the main dining table now, sit with us in the kitchen. Pass the parmigiano!” (And you can bet Marco will be doing the dishes after the meal, with or sans help from his friends.)

By contrast, Thanksgiving strikes me as an exercise in pre-arrangements. Here, we mobilize: the men are in charge of… the women meanwhile… aunts, uncles and grandparents are tasked with… the occasional invited friend is asked to contribute… by the time we’re all seated at the groaning table, winded, celebrating our tactical victory over the outside world of equally crazed consumers – well, we’re understandably exhausted and roast turkey can, easily, seem a true delicacy.

I don’t think Tryptophan has a single thing to do with the post-prandial comas we all collapse into. Coming off the adrenaline rush that led up to the meal is what knocks us out!

Still, puzzlement aside, I admit there is something quietly comforting about being gathered around a table with close friends and family. All cultures have a ritual of this kind. It’s universally recognizable, no matter where you are or where you’re from.

So to deserve my place at that table, this year I’ve been trying to do a simple good turn for someone every day, and one for me, to keep those good wheels spinning. You know, I may just keep it up even after the holidays.

So, thanks for Thanksgiving, America, and I hope it was a happy one for you, Borderstan!

by Borderstan.com November 11, 2011 at 11:00 am 2 Comments

"Borderstan""Suitcases"

When you live in DC, you have to get used to saying “goodbye.” (Luis Gomez Photos)

Borderstan recently welcomed a new contributor in the Lifestyle section. In “Borderstan Candids,” Candida Mannozzi will be sharing her observations about people, places and general things she observes in the neighborhood. She owned Candida’s World of Books on 14th Street NW. Today’s column is a special one, and she will return Thanksgiving week.

From Candida Mannozzi. You can reach her at [email protected].

Borderstan, I don’t think it matters how long you live in DC. This will happen to you, so you might as well brace for it. At some point during your life here (if you live here long enough this will happen to you more than once), a dear friend will break your heart with news of their move.

Yes, they or their fiance/partner/spouse landed that dream job in Manhattan, San Francisco, Paris or Austin and off they have to go. Being the supportive friend that you are, you will of course be delighted for them, truly. But let’s face it: your social life is about to have a gaping hole ripped right out of it and you can essentially do nothing — nada de nada — about it.

Borderstan, I’ve noticed that we cede many good people to other cities. I suppose there’s some minor comfort in the fact that most of them move to cool new places. We seem to be a finishing school for folks who other urban centers happily scoop up and pride themselves on, after they’ve become hipper, more urbane, more international and more well-rounded thanks to their time in our diverse urban enclave. Borderstan, we can pride ourselves on having all manner of close connections in cities around the U.S. and the rest of the world. Miami, beat that!

Yet, local pride notwithstanding, it hurts to lose a close friend, to see them move away. No more impromptu Stoney’s dinners; gone are the last-minute Whole Foods runs for a game night party; goodbye bike rides in Rock Creek Park when you conspire to take a “slick” day; adieu to “he said/she said” phone calls, as you make your separate ways home from another grueling workday. Not to mention the happy hours at Number Nine, Cork, Bar Pilar or Busboys & Poets, to list just a few local haunts. Fuggedaboudit.

Right now I am reeling from yet another such loss: a dear friend moved to… Seattle. Yeah, not even to Manhattan, which an easy bus or train ride can temporarily fix. No, Seattle. Read: “advance planning and travel arrangements required.” Sigh.

Then again, maybe the sigh is not entirely warranted.

Here’s the deal: In my 13-plus years here, I’ve lost my fair share of dear friends to other places. However, “lost” is no longer the term I choose to use. I am turning the tables on this DC phenomenon and referring to it as: we’ve just primed yet another fabulous person for (enter destination). Now we have access to a friend in a new, cool place and the next long weekend or national holiday will see me using my frequent flyer miles or grabbing a rental car to get over there, then post about our happy visit on Facebook for our DC home-buddies!

Borderstan, I say we continue cultivating our friends and neighbors, as we will only gain from it, whether they stay or go. Come to think of it, has anyone noticed more folks staying, lately?

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