Almost the Weekend

I cannot wait until the weekend.  I don't have much planned outside of a GRU drinking event and a venture to the Pentagon City Mall for a great pair of jeans.  I hope to spend my free time relaxing, working on my novel's storyline and watching a movie or two. 

I'm still feeling "the blahs," but I'm sure that a restful weekend will help cure whatever ails me.  It would help if I had closure with Mr. Rebound and Floyd.  But alas, not yet.

* * *

Indeed, it has been two years since Katrina and many problems remain for New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf region.  It is simply amazing what befell that region and the extent to which things have not improved for so many families.  I can't forget the images from the days, weeks, months, and years after the hurricane hit and  the levee broke.  And I won't forget the plight of the city of my family.


"Our eyes are open wide..."

Let it fly in the breeze
And get caught in the trees
Give a home to the fleas in my hair
A home for fleas
A hive for bees
A nest for birds
There ain't no words
For the beauty, the splendor, the wonder
Of my...

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair!

This year marks the 40th anniversary of first performance of the American tribal-love rock musical, HAIR.  My alma mater is putting on a production of it, but I'm hoping to see the show in New York.

I first became a fan of Hair as a child, listening to my dad's Boston Pops record which covered the musical's most popular songs.  Like most kids of my generation, I grew up very interested in the culture of the 1960s and 1970s and immersed myself in the music, clothing, books and other artifacts that would help me better understand the times. 

I've always wanted to see the musical Hair, and I've probably spent hundreds of hours singing along to the soundtrack in my bedroom.  And now, with the anniversary of the musical, I feel that it would be fitting to finally see a live performance.  I know that a production today will never be able to capture the full spirit of the original 1967 off-broadway performance—as that was a truly crazy time of war, rebellion, repression, expression…  But, I think that it will help me gain a better understanding of a masterwork that reflected some of the youthful dreams, hopes, fears, and ideals of my parent's generation.


"Blame Canada!"

I've having the hardest time getting over Mr. Rebound.  I don't think it's a problem of me getting over him as a person, but getting over him as an idea.

I think I depended on him more than I or perhaps he knew.  I was relying on him to help me pull myself up out of a relationship funk and the lonely pit that Floyd left me in when he left.  After he left, I worked so hard to fill my days with all the things I loved to do—but put on the backburner to spend more time with Floyd.  But for some reason, it wasn't enough.  I felt only partly content with the new life I built.  And I unconsciously began to seek out that something extra that I was missing.  For me, that was the excitement and complement/compliment of a guy.  I don't like to think of myself as the sort of woman who needs a man at all times.  But I think last spring, I was and given my persistent fantasies of finding Mr. Right or making Mr. Rebound Mr. Right, I am that sort of girl.  I may try to insist that I'm better off without a man, without Floyd.  But I don't think that I really believe in my heart that I can't be without a man, without a kindred spirit like Floyd.  Floyd recently noted that I'm too much a romantic to ever give up on the ideals of marriage and love—no matter how jaded I feel I've become. 

I don't really know how it happened.  I was okay before I met Floyd.  I was strong-willed, independent and seemingly knew exactly what I wanted out of life.  I was 19 and high on the possibilities that living on my own in this big, exciting city.   Now, I fear that I've become your typical jaded, cynical twenty-something—broken by an unfulfilling relationship that ended on someone else's terms.  Mostly, broken by the realization that life is not some fairy tale—that evil, hurt, and misery abound.  You would think that I'd learned that lesson as a child dealing with a deceased father...

I don't think I'm making any sense.  My point is that although I recognize all the important life lessons that having a rebound relationship/summer fling has taught me, I just can't wholly accept the fact that it was just a rebound fling.  I'm holding out for the fairy tale ending and for the knight in shinning armor to save me from myself and this amazingly beautiful yet monstrous world. 

Eventually, I'll have to give up.  And at that moment I'll finally accept that the only "savior" that matters and that is real is the one within me.


Something happens here...

After reading the City Paper article and DCist entry on GWU, I feel compelled to come forth and defend my alma mater.  There is a lot of ridiculousness at GWU, but there are just as many good things going on.

Yes, it is shocking how much the university costs, and it is dismaying that the sticker price might dissuade would-be Colonials from considering the school.  But I must note that you are paying for a growing university in a middle of a great, and very expensive, powerhouse, of a city.  Plus, the university offers merit and need-based aid to help students and parents foot the bill. 

It is quite possible that I would have had more challenging academic classes if I had enrolled at Georgetown.  If nothing else, I was amazed by their library during a summer of thesis research.  Yet, I fear what sort of person I might have become if I had immersed myself in the Georgetown culture. 

It is certain that I would have had a lot more spending money if I had gone to school in Georgia.  But, I don't think that I would be the sort of person I am today if I had decided to follow the route of so many of my peers who enjoyed full or partial rides to UGA or Emory. 

Besides, being away from home, out of the suburbs, and in a grand political city, was exactly what I was looking for—and willing to pay for.  GW was a very welcoming and comfortable place.  It was simply a good fit.  I applied early decision (the only school I applied to...)--and don't regret the six years that I spent living and learning in Foggy Bottom.

By the way, I loved Colonial Inauguration.  And I think that it is worth the money spent.  I met new people (that I never saw again...) and believe that the event helped me garner a sense of Colonial pride and ease before I even attended my first class.

As a tour guide, I was an eager school advocate, but I know that by senior year, I regularly complained about the out-of-touch administration.  Yet, I think that I spent even more time defending the school against unfair rants from students who were still sour that they didn't get accepted into Georgetown and were too busy mirroring their parent's "keeping up with the Jone's" mentality to really take advantage of the amazing educational and cultural experience that is GWU & DC. 

University life is what you make it.

So, to all those annoying GWU students who continue to complain about the university: stop bitching and just transfer or, better yet, work to make the university better.

I'm choosing to do the later and I plan on defending the university for as long as I live.


All is well.

I’m currently listening to Billie Holiday. It's my attempt to explore and appreciate the great vocalists of the past. It’s partly research for my novel, as the main character discovers jazz and it helps her express and manage all the conflicting emotions she’s feeling.

When I listen to the music, I think about my grandparents. I think about the oppression of African Americans and other minority groups. I think about the Hollywood greats (Joanne Crawford, Bette Davis, etc), the Wars and women’s fashion. But mostly, I think about the complexity of feeling and purity of the vocals.

In a few hours, I’m meeting the awkward guy I met at speed dating for Gifford's ice cream. I’m quite interested in how it will go. No, it’s not a date. It is just a casual meeting to chat for longer than the four minutes we were given at the speeding dating event. I sort of see myself in him--in his awkwardness and his shyness. If nothing else, I want to have a enjoyable afternoon of getting to know someone new. But mostly, I want to encourage him to come out of his shell.


Viernes? Viernes!

I'm so happy that it is Friday.  The past week has been unexpectedly busy during and after work.  I decided to forgo another Saturday volunteer opportunity this weekend in order to double-up on fitness classes.  I really need to resume my fitness schedule and workout at least three times a week.  Lately, I've opted to stay in and eat and watch TV instead of walking the .5 block to the fitness center.  Before long, I'll just become a huge blob of fat--nixing all the progress I've made during the past few months to tone my body.  That will all change next week.  I have no happy hours or meetings to attend after work so I have no excuse to not go to the gym everyday.

I've decided to get more involved in the Young Alumni Association.  At this week's planning meeting, I volunteered to plan an upcoming happy hour. Yay, me!  I'm hoping that my involvement will connect me with cool alum that I can learn from and drink with.  My freshman year roommate's friend was at the meeting.  It was nice to see her but I quickly remembered why I was never fond of her.

On tap this weekend: A trip to the library, Gifford's, and lots of time to daydream and focus on my novel's storyline. 


"Life is Calling..."

I braved the misty, unseasonably cool weather yesterday and ventured to the Peace Corps Headquarters for an information session.  I arrived late (or they started early…) so missed the introductory film, which I'd seen already.  The information session was a nice refresher of what I should expect from the application process and Peace Corps experience.

I first started the Peace Corps application during my senior year of college.  I had just found out that I hadn't been accepted to Stanford's PhD program (the director told me that most applicants had at least a Master's degree…shucks!) and wanted to secure another post school option.  After getting an offer I couldn't refuse from a master's program in DC, I shelved my half-completed application and focused on graduate school. 

In graduate school, I was reminded of my desire to pursue the Peace Corps.  My college buddy, Night Runner, entered the Peace Corps and I befriended Shimmy-Shimmy, a returned Peace Corps volunteer.  Both had great stories about the experiences and skills they acquired as a result of service.  I learned about (and cringed over) the challenges that they faced as volunteers--huge, tropical bugs, difficult homestays, and general cultural clashes.  Over time, I began to welcome the physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual challenges I would face as a volunteer.  It seemed like the ultimate way to combine my desire to live abroad with my dedication to service.  Plus, it seemed to offer an opportunity to grow and learn more about myself and the world in a way that no other short-term experience could.  I started my Peace Corps application for the second time after I finished grad school and encountered D.C.'s tough job market.  So on thereafter, I was offered my current position at a great non-profit, and willingly shelved my application for the comfort of a regular paycheck, a one-bedroom apartment, and solid work benefits.

After over a year of working at my non-profit, once again the urge to be challenged has resurfaced.  I've thought about teaching English abroad, moving to NYC, or going to school in CA as alternatives to the Peace Corps.  Although I know that each of these options would be great life experiences, they wouldn't match the Peace Corps--plus I could always pursue them when I returned.  I feel that the time is now for the Peace Corps--I'm single, debt-free, childless, young, and undeniably open to a change.
I've already reactivated my Peace Corps application and anticipate tackling the application soon.  Hopefully, by next summer or fall, I'll be packing my bags for the experience of a lifetime.


The Saturday Night Out That Wasn't

I am so ridiculous! I was supposed to head over to Adam's Morgan to meet a friend (Shimmy-Shimmy) for a night of salsa dancing. I arrived at the bus stop a little before 10 and took a seat. Given that no one else was at the stop, I figured that I'd just missed the bus. No problem, I thought, the next one will be here in less than 20 minutes. So, 45 minutes later, the bus finally makes its way over to my stop. And without thinking, I jump on the bus and sit down. The bus makes an unusual turn down a street and I realize that I'm on the wrong, freakin' bus!

I jump of the bus, and run back down the street to where I can see the right bus stalled at the streetlight. I run across the street waving my hands as it made another stop. The bus seems to pause ("yay, the driver sees me!"), but as soon as I get closer to the stop, the bus pulls off.

Needless to say, the night was over for me. I called my friend and explained why I was flaking out on our plans--yet again. She understood, but I feel really bad. Sheepishly, I took my "all dolled up with nowhere to go" self to Starbucks for some much needed comfort food (i.e., a banana nut loaf slice). Now, I'm at home and headed to bed.

What I learned:
1) Always check the bus times and arrive at the bus stop early
2) Remember that the metro rail is almost always a quicker alternative
3) Accept that taking a $10-20 taxi is not a frivolous and unnecessary expense, especially when you're late and it's dark outside
4) Pay attention to bus signs
5) Run fast, yell loudly, and spastically wave your hands in order to catch a moving bus.


Speed Dating Recap

The speed dating event last night was quite interesting but mostly, overwhelming. I was nervous and excited when it first began but by the end of the night, I couldn't wait for it to be over. It is very taxing to have to introduce yourself to and engage with 26 other people for 4-minute intervals. I'm glad that I went, but I don't think that I'll try it again any time soon.

The majority of the guys were mid to late 30 year old professionals and the majority of the women were in their late 20s to mid 30s. Of course, there were a few notable exceptions. There were a few guys that I sincerely enjoyed talking to and checked off as a potential "match." But there was no one that I could see myself dating--just people that seemed like a lot of fun and that I'd be interested in hanging out with on a strictly platonic basis.

Of course, there were those painful interactions with guys who had no social skills (talked on and on, didn't talk at all, didn't listen, etc) and with guys who were clearly not interested. There were the annoying and amusing jokers who laughed throughout the entire four minutes, the touchy-feely guys who didn't pick up on my "keep your distance" body language, the guys who had a metrosexual/bisexual air, the nervous, boring guys who didn't dare stray from the event's topic (travel lovers), and the guys who quickly ran through the typical list of questions (e.g., where are you from, where do you work, what are your hobbies, blah, blah, blah).

My most memorable interaction was with this guy who spent the entire four minutes asking me dumb first date/pickup line questions. For example, "If you were stuck on a deserted island for five years and were able to pick five living people to come along, who would you pick?" Without hesitation, I choose Bill Clinton (charismatic figure that I'd vote for again in a heartbeat), David Beckham (hot athlete who could help me improve my soccer skills), Daniel Craig (hot actor who could share his craft with me...), and two of my high school friends (fun guys who would keep me entertained). I don't really remember his next lame question, but it will suffice to say that those sorts of conversations are a major turn off. But I guess he should get points for trying to be unique.

Speed dating is something I'd recommend to anyone who's curious about the concept and interested in meeting new guys. It definitely helps to go along with a friend or two, as they'll help you debrief afterwards and appreciate your nervous giggles (Thanks, Shimmy-Shimmy). As long as you don't expect to much and prepare yourself for an onslaught of varied interactions, it will be a memorable and worthwhile experience--even if you only leave with more fodder for girls night out dishing.


Speed Dating in D.C.

Tonight, I'm off to my ever first speed dating event.

It's something that I've always wanted to try, though I'm totally expecting a room full of 35-40 year old women looking to have kids ASAP and beer-bellied, middle-age men.

A friend of mine (who stopped frequenting Professionals in the City speed dating nights when she started getting recognized by the organizer...) warned that there would probably be a number of guys in attendance who give off "the dudgeons and dragons vibe" and who still live in their parent's basement. But that would be fine with me as my main purpose of going is to see what sort of guys are out there. I doubt that I'll meet Mr. Right tonight but hopefully I'll make a few new friends and leave with a great story to share.


Job Vacancy

Although I'd love to recount my weekend (explaining why I have 20 mosquito bites all over my body, what great progress I've made with my novel, and my reaction to Floyd saying that I'm "just a bag full of crazy"), I feel the need to talk about a new development at work. This morning, we learned that one of our very own is leaving the department. This means that our program is now searching to fill three positions!

This makes me feel even more disloyal and guilty about trying to leave. I know that I'll be needed to perform administrative functions associated with filling the job vacancies and I feel that my own departure, like my the latest departure, though surely supported by my coworkers, will be a blow to morale and slow down progress on certain projects—particularly, the one that I'm helping to spearhead...

But I guess I shouldn't put the cart before the horse. I haven't applied yet and given how unlucky and slow my last job search was, I should wait until I have an offer to judge what is best (and feel or not feel guilty about leaving).


“Hey, what year did you graduate?”

Yesterday, I went to an alumni happy hour in Georgetown. I had a surprisingly good time even though I went alone. It helped that the place wasn't filled with recent graduates like at the last event I attended with FOM.

I think that I'll become more active in my alumni association. I still feel a very strong bond with my university and want to help, in whatever way (aside from financially, at least for now…), my school, its students, and also myself excel. I think that I'm most interested in meeting up with graduates from my own undergraduate class and graduates from earlier years to see what career paths they chose and what lessons they learned along the way.

Ah, that reminds me that my ten year high school reunion is getting closer. I think that it would be a lot of fun to see some of my old classmates and hopefully reconnect with a few high school friends that I've lost touch with but still think about... The key for any reunion is looking hot and that would necessitate a mini-shopping spree and full beauty treatment—which would be a lot of fun.


A Lunchtime Chat on Career Goals

I went to Butterfield 9 for lunch today with a co-worker as part of Restaurant Week. I had a really nice time and the food and service were superb.

Our lunch conversation generally settled on work-related Hill activity before venturing to talk of our future career goals. I really value my co-worker's advice as I contemplate the next step in my career. He knows that I'm interested in securing a job on the Hill and has offered to help me. He stressed the importance of securing and cultivating personal contacts and relayed some advice that a chief of staff once gave him on the value of interviews (even for jobs you aren't awarded) for gaining career and topical information and connections. He calmed my concerns about leaving my current workplace after only 1.5 years (indeed, I never officially committed to two years. I only made that promise to myself).

Now, I feel more assured about seriously looking for a Legislative Assistant position. Aside from working on a campaign, working on the Hill would be an ideal way to spend my last year in D.C. before the Peace Corps. It would expose me to the inner workings of Hill politics and help me decide if federal policymaking is something that I would like to pursue.

Truthfully, my only hesitation about working on the Hill is the potential pay cut that I'll have to take (though I don't make tons of money now as a nonprofit worker). But Hill work will necessitate a clothing budget (e.g., dry cleaning, hosiery, suits, etc) that I've been able to avoid. I just worry that I'll have more expenses and less income as a Hill staffer. But the experience and merely fulfilling a dream will be worth it.


“You’re just a bag full of drama”

I think that I've reached another major milestone in my life.  It was quite a feat to drive my significant other, Floyd, nearly 1400 miles away (with no promise of returning).  But now, I can add to that a real achievement – my first experience with a guy who falls off the face of the earth.

It is only fair that I get this opportunity to poke fun at myself and make light of my struggling love life.  Floyd noted that although he wasn't running away from me when he left D.C. last fall, it is quite likely that "Mr. Rebound, like any other keen jerk, would realize that I was just a bag full of drama and get out after the good time is had."  (Paraphrased, of course, but gosh, sage-Floyd can really be blunt.)

It's true.  I have been a bag full of drama ever since Floyd left.  And now that my rendezvous with Mr. Rebound has come to a screeching halt, I think I have not less but more drama in my life.  It is unfortunate that my drama has driven away a guy I fancied (though was he really worthy, if a squeamish pleasure-seeker?).  I wonder what other potential Mr. Right(s) my drama will drive away…

So once again, I have to reiterate the importance of finding myself and becoming a better me—thereby, reducing current drama and decreasing the likelihood of future drama.  Only then, will I have the better chance of experiencing a rendezvous that lasts.

DC Metro Musings

Usually, riding the metro in August is a breeze.  Many Washingtonians have left the hot, humid city for a quick get-away before the new school year begins and the congressional session resumes.

I wanted to take this opportunity to remind folks of a few considerations when riding the metro:

1) Stand with your shoulders parallel to the seats.  My biggest pet-peeve is when someone decides to stand in the aisle with their rear in my face.  On several occasions, I've adjusted myself in a seat so that I can sort of tap/kick the offensive person—in hopes that they'd adjust.  I don't think it is too much to ask that folks direct their rear towards the front/rear of the train car. 

Along the same lines, please don't rest your rear or your shoes on the vertical railing.  People have to hold on to those rails and I can only imagine what sorts of microorganisms get transferred from your bum and shoes…

2) Keep it quiet.  Another annoyance during the morning/evening commute is loud folks—particularly, the immature, attention-starved teenagers and the self-important cellular phone users—who seem to want everyone to know all their business.  Quiet commute time is very valuable for catching up on reading or reflecting on the day.  Close quarters on Metro necessitate mindful communication volume.

3) Avoid Forest Gump-style Rejection.  You all know what I'm talking about.  The "can't sit here…seat taken" (in a good ole boy accent, of course) half-asleep posture and attitude that many folks take when they finally claim a seat on the Metro.  Move your bags and your body so that you only take up ONE seat.  Also, don't give me an attitude when I ask you to move over so that I can sit down.

I'm sure that there are some other things that I could comment on (like the need for signs to warn riders of cars without A/C…), but those are the big ones.

I must note that I always abide by number 1-3 during commuting hours, though I've been known to break number 2 on late weekend nights if I've had enough to drink.


Hippo Q., an author?

I want to write a novel. 

I don't really have any experience writing anything outside of academic papers, but I think that it would be really interesting to attempt creative writing.  Most likely, if I do write a book, it will be a romance novel that draws from my friend's and my own dating experiences.  It would also draw from my own silly girl fantasies about love.  I've read enough simple chick-lit that I'm convinced that I can create my own version that is just as amusing and, hopefully, more meaningful.

Right now, this is just an idea but if all goes well (and I actually think up a good storyline), writing may just become my new hobby and creative outlet for 2007.


Monday, Monday

After a less than stellar, actually disappointing weekend though I shan't say why, I'm feeling rather tired and sad.  It will suffice to say that my weekend was spent listening to Marvin Gaye and thinking about my life.  I remain anxious for a change and I'm almost ready to make the change happen for myself.  As always, I'm just holding out a little longer (one week) for a sign to reassure me that I'm taking the right path…

The highlight of my weekend was swimming at the gym.  I think I went a little overboard on fitness this weekend because my muscles are still sore after a challenging 2 hour workout on Saturday and a relaxing (but challenging) hour in the pool on Sunday.  I think that I'll take today off and resume my workout schedule with yoga on Wednesday.


August & Anxiety

I can't believe that today is the first day of August, the hottest month of the year and the near-finale of the summer.

* * *

I am really anxious and scare about entering the dating scene.  I will have to eventually if I ever plan on getting married and having lots of babies ;-) , but I don't feel strong enough to deal with the inevitable--I mean potential--heartbreak and rejection.  I guess that it is only right that I don't feel ready to enter the dating scene given my recent official break from Floyd.  But there are just so many unfair rules and so many unknowns when it comes to finding someone compatible and opening your self up to that person.

But I believe that finding true love is totally worth all the bullshit that I'll have to deal with and overcome before I find "The One," that is assuming that such a thing even exists… 

Hmm… Does "the One" or "Mr. Right" exist?  In my little girl fantasies he surely does exists and has been waiting all of his life to finally meet, wed, and make babies with someone just like me.  Quite silly, yet I maintain such a sweet, Prince Charming-esque fantasy.  Yet, the idea of "The One" breeds uncertainty about ever finding that one person that is meant for you among the millions of people on this earth.  The reassuring cop-out response to this is that there are many "Ones" out there so surely you'll meet one of them.  The idea of "The One" also makes you question every relationship that you're in—wondering if your lover, your boyfriend is it.  That is my question now that Floyd is gone, was he "The One"?  Again, the reassuring cop-out response is if the relationship ended, there is no way that he was "The One."

Ah, this is all just silly babbling resulting from reading a few IVillage articles on single life and dating and pondering my friends' own stories about singlehood.<sigh>