King Cake

Super Bowl 49

February 3, 2015

True love (Photo by: Edwin Neill) True love

Sunday was one of the happiest nights of my life. I got to see my beloved Patriots win Super Bowl 49, live, with the love of my life standing and cheering right there beside me.

There are so many amazing things about the night. Many will continue to debate and disagree, especially those fans who love the Seahawks as much as I love the Patriots. And to them, I send my love and the promise that tomorrow will be easier than today. I have felt their pain twice in the last seven years, and it sucks.

What I want to never forget about Sunday night are the lessons I was reminded of throughout the game. In effect, these are lessons I already know and are some of the reasons I love American football so much. Lessons that the Patriots embody day in and day out. Lessons that are applicable as much on the field, as off.

It’s all in (y)our head.

One might expect that throwing two interceptions in the biggest game of the year might mess with your composure, strategy, ability to execute, or that a 10-point deficit at the beginning of the fourth quarter might mean losing faith and giving up. Not the Patriots. Mental toughness means you don’t let an interception or two rattle you. You just keep improving, keep fixing things and adjusting plays until you win.

Perfect strangers (Photo by: Edwin Neill) Perfect strangers

Do your job.

While this seems obvious, it’s not as easy as it sounds. When everyone does their job, the job gets done. This resonates with me from my college rowing years. The only way for the boat to go anywhere is for every single person to show up, and do their job. Unless everyone shows up, regardless of how talented are the people on the boat who do show up, the boat does not go anywhere. When everyone shows up but the stroke tries to do the coxswain’s job, the boat does not go anywhere. Show up. Do your job, not anyone else’s job – yours.

It’s not over until it’s over.

The catch by Kearse and the interception by Butler should forever remind fans that a game can change in just a few seconds, and that the game is a sixty minute game.

Perfect practice makes perfect.

Many will say that the interception by Butler is an amazingly lucky catch. And of course, luck should not be underestimated. But luck smiles to those who are prepared for it. That play was practiced by the Patriots over and over again. Butler also recognized the Seahawks’ formation and knew a throw was coming. He positioned himself accordingly. That has nothing to do with luck. That has to do with perfect practice.

Hard work, discipline, and commitment always win.

No explanation necessary.

Two of the same (Photo by: Edwin Neill) Two of the same

Humility is attractive.

While Brady once told Kraft that he was going to be the best decision the team ever made, he is graciously humble. When the team does a bad job, it is because of his “shitty throws.” When the team does a good job, it is because the team does a good job.

A piece of my heart stayed in Boston.

Boston was my first home away from home, the first American city I fell in love with. And while I consider DC (and New Orleans) my American home(s), part of my heart still (and always will) belongs to Boston, to New England. We walk to work uphill in the snow, both ways. We are tough. We love adversity (weather and otherwise). We work hard. We don’t pretend to be who we are not. We have Mark Wahlberg and Matt Damon.

The Universe knows.

Most of all, I wonder in awe about how it is that I ended up at the University of Phoenix stadium last night. The short answer is that I have an amazing husband who understands my crazy passion for the Patriots. The long answer is, well, longer. A few years ago, I wrote about all of the reasons I am thankful for football. A friend in Boston read it and forwarded it to his friend, Andrea Kremer. She opened that email and read it. And then emailed me. And we have developed a friendship around our football connection. It was thanks to this friendship that Super Bowl tickets materialized. I have had on my bucket list since January 2005 to see the Patriots win a Super Bowl with Brady as quarterback and Bellichick as coach, live. Ask the Universe, and the Universe will know and answer. And thank you, Edwin for helping the Universe along.

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Little Birdies

December 29, 2014

Over the last few years, the best Christmas presents I give are the ones to my nieces, nephew, and five godchildren. Somehow there is something special about shopping for little ones. As always, I prefer to shop in boutiques. In Georgetown, my go to has been Dawn Price Baby, which is truly one of my favorites (I love their loyalty program). However, the thing with kids is that they grow.  The children in my life have outgrown Dawn Price Baby, so I was on the lookout for another children's boutique, ideally located in Georgetown also.

A quick Google search provided the answer and I headed to Little Birdies on P Street. Little Birdies carries clothing, shoes and and accessories for little ones up to twelve years old, so I will be going there for a couple years!

Shanlee Johnson, the owner, was delightful from the start, steering me in the right direction for the five children I was shopping for a couple of days before Christmas. For my nephew, adorable t-shirts that are quintessentially DC, with various monuments and clever verbiage including “Abe” and “1600.” And for my nieces, amazing princes dresses like they don't make in Switzerland. And here comes the best discovery of all: the store also doss consignment, including of amazing brands such as the one preferred by Prince George (this is Georgetown after all!). So instead of getting one dress, Sasha got two.

I chatted for a few minutes with Ms. Johnson. She explained she picked the color yellow as the main accent for her boutique because it is he most cheerful and also unisex. And that business has been more challenging that she thought (she opened early spring). And that her background is indeed in retail, as she worked for Tory Burch for many years.

An overall delightful experience that makes me look forward to going back for he many children's birthdays that 2015 will surely bring.

Some of the new brands carried in the store include: Zebi Baby, Bella Tunno, Earnest Sewn, Rachel Riley, Young Versace , BabyCZ, Igor Shoes, Cienta Shoes, Rowdy Sprout, Tic Tac Toe, Wee The People, Isabel Garrenton, Magil, Chloe, Cavalli Kids, Fendi, Baby Cie, Jonah Love. Consignment brands include Burberry, Jacadi, Olive Juice, Pears & Bears, Lilly Pulitzer, Luli & Me, Bonpoint and more.

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RIP Marion Barry

November 23, 2014

Marion Barry’s death means the end of an era in DC. I moved to DC in 2002 and missed much of Barry’s years in the spotlight, but I nonetheless have been fascinated with him.

I had the pleasure of meeting Barry at a Q&A Café organized by Carol Joynt a couple of years ago. To prepare for that lunch, I read Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington (more on that below), and I have to admit that having met the (in)famous Barry, I like him a lot more than when I finished the book. He was charismatic and charming, indeed a man hard to resist, no matter what one thinks of his morals or his politics. Here are some highlights from that lunch.  

On Georgetown

Barry: I love Georgetown, I love every part of the city. Georgetown residents just don’t want to have anything change.

On DC Home Rule

While Barry thought Obama has indeed been good for DC, he wanted more. He wanted statehood for our Capital.

Barry: Democracy depends on democracy, yet we don’t have democracy in our own home. We need statehood.

On DC Politics

Joynt: Are you going to run for reelection?

Barry: I’m smarter than that… than to answer that question.

On Family

Joynt asked Barry about his family. His son Christopher, now 32, lives in Ward 8 and runs a small business. “He is struggling, like most small businesses” admits Barry. And of course he is interested in politics “he’s been around me his whole life…”. About marriage, well, Cora did come up in conversation.

Joynt: Are you still married?

Barry: Technically, yes. [chuckle from the audience, pause] Cora and I separated.

On Addiction

Barry: The FBI spent 10 to 15 million dollars to frame me. The good news is that I have been clean since 1990. Joynt: You can only blame the government for so much.

Barry: I am a victim. They set me up. The jury understood that. Like many, I got caught in an addiction… 90 percent of those who get addicted don’t kick it. I’m proud of that.

Overall, Barry said, that was “just a chapter in my life. Well, maybe two chapters.” It’s just about being a human being, about “human being issues, like traffic problems and girlfriend issues.”

On Racism

Joynt: Where are we on racism?

Barry: There is racial division all over America.

Joynt: Do you think you are being racist when you slur against Asians?

Barry: No

Joynt: Are there any Asians on your staff?

Barry: No

Joynt: Are there any Latinos on your staff?

Barry: No

On the Media

Barry: The media in DC does not give me a fair shake. Absolutely not. That’s their nature. Newspapers are supposed to report the news, not make the news.

On Power

Joynt: Whoever becomes the next Mayor of DC, do they need you?

Barry: Absolutely. I’m probably the most successful politician in Washington DC.

Joynt: Mayor for life. Who are you really?

Barry: I’m Marion Barry.


Just a few days following that Q&A Café, I had the priviledge of hosting Harry Jaffe and Tom Sherwood one book club evening, featuring that very same book Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington. The two authors saw Marion Barry from two very different perspectives: while Sherwood was forgiving of Barry’s actions, and gives him the benefit of the doubt, Jaffe was much less sentimental about this man that so fascinated people. The two best one-liners from that evening describe the two perspectives on Marion Barry:

“What makes Marion Barry Marion Barry are his human frailties.”

“What Marion Barry does not have is discipline.”

RIP Marion Barry.

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