Halloween 2007

I went to the High Heel Races last night. It’s a wonder that I never went to the event during the six years I was in school because it is a bunch of fun.

I glad that I got to see the actual race and parade of costumes this year, not just the crazy aftermath. The crowds were really large, perhaps given the milder temperatures. I remember freezing last year with L-M as we stood on a bar patio drinking strong $4 drinks.

Of course, there were tons of larger than life costumes on display. The most memorable was the wide stance Larry Craig and the two guys wearing chaps with thongs (yeah, I didn’t need to see that).

The focus now turns to a great Halloween night in Georgetown. I’m very pleased with my costume (or old school “wardrobe,” as Floyd meanly called it—hey, it may not be super cool or creative but it’s still a costume!) and thankfully, my hair, though not as big as I’d hope for, turned out well. In fact, I won the “Biggest Change from Everyday Office Persona” at my work party today!

My partying skills will be tested tonight. This will be my third later-than-normal night out in DC and I have to attend an 8 am training session tomorrow. It will be so hard to get up tomorrow morning if I have the sort of night out I’m hoping for. But whatever, I’ll recover this weekend by not leaving my house other than to take out the trash.


It’s only Halloween!

Okay, so this year I might actually wear a “real” costume. No, it won’t be anything super creative but something close to my heart and my own retro-sensibilities. I will attempt to dress like a 1950s teenager (though I now realize that my outfit more closely fits with the late 1950s-early 1960s). Over the weekend, I attempted to draw inspiration from watching old movies, including Gidget (Yes, I'm a fan of Sandra Dee!).

I plan on wearing the adorable party dress that I bought this summer. The dress is white with tiny black dots, a fitted bodice and a somewhat full, swing skirt. I hope to pair it with a black sweater, flats and a headband (btw, the look at the right is what I'm going for). The outfit isn’t really appropriate for a fall day so I’ll definitely be cold tomorrow night in Georgetown or Adam’s Morgan.

Yesterday, I went to Meeps in Adam’s Morgan for cat-eye glasses, one of the three things (white gloves, headband, and glasses) I was stressing out about. Despite my special trip for the glasses, I’m feeling just so-so about them because they’re plastic, very costume-y and I can’t see out of them.

My main dilemma is figuring out if I want to flip my hair out or under with a slight bouffant. A traditional flip will be a major hassle and require lots of hairspray. Even then, I’m quite sure that it will fall flat by the end of the day.

I did a trial run of a flip this morning. I spent like 45 minutes setting my hair in rollers last night and had trouble sleeping comfortably (It’s pretty crazy that this would have been the norm for women during that time). This morning, my hair was full and perfectly flipped out--until I started fiddling around and ruining the tight curls. Tomorrow, I’m gonna do as little as possible styling with my fingers and focus on setting it with hairspray.

It is so typical that I’m getting stressed out about a holiday that is all about fun and creative license. I just feel that I need to work overtime to make up for all the years that I put so little effort into a costume (e.g., in 2006, I wore cat ears). This year is all about 1950s/1960s authenticity and fun. Wish me well.


Just a Groupie

I have all the makings of a groupie.

Last night, I went to Iota to hear LTH's opening act, the Coalmen. I enjoyed the show. Their sound, though I couldn't quite place what it reminded me of, was interesting. It had an alternative-folk rock feel with a definite Nashville twang.

LTH was just okay. The band was super-huge and included an accordion and steel guitar. The weird factor of the night was definitely the masked, old couple dancing and running over people in front of the stage with their weird foxtrot or whatever it was. Who does that?

As is tradition, I was attracted to the lead singer of the band. Sure, I could have been just as easily attracted to the drummer and bass guitarist, but there was something about the lead singer's blue eyes and crooning voice that got to me. Of course, he has a significant other and I'm not the type to make anything happen. But, it's so silly how putting Average Joe on a stage, just 2 feet above me can serve to elevate him to a stratospheric hotness. It's like beer googles, but more groupie googles…

Hmmm. I don't know what it should be called. I just know that I'm quite susceptible to it. I'll still attend as many live rock shows as I can, but I'll steer clear of the groupie scene.


Jacoby Ellsbury is the man!

Yesterday, I watched the second World Series Game. I enjoyed trash-talking with GFA, a Boston native, and commenting on the players' facial hair with A-M. But the highlight of the night was definitely witnessing Boston Red Sox Jacoby Ellsbury steal second base in the fourth inning, enabling all of America to get free tacos.

I just love crispy tacos and though most people abhor Taco Bells' "meat" (yes, ground animal + feces) and non-authentic menu, I would totally be in line next Tuesday, Oct. 30, between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to claim my free taco. The only problem is finding a location near work. There isn't one.

Oh, well. Thanks, just the same Ellsbury!


Work Performance Review '07

Wow, work has really been kicking my butt during the past week—actually the past few months. I'm helping to orchestrate the update and reorganization of my programs' website content (over 170 web pages) and it's taking much more time than I had anticipated. Plus, I'm slowly adding more legislative tasks to my normal outreach workload, which is what I want.

I had my performance review today and I'm happy to report that I'm not getting fired anytime soon. It feels good to get back a positive review but I already feel the pressure to sustain my efforts and improve in those areas that were highlighted (similar areas as before: meeting participation, initiative, etc). It is amazing that I've been at my current employer for over 1.5 years. I can still remember my nervousness regarding my performance review last year. This year, I was more confident as I knew that I'd stepped it up a bit during the past year. But, there is definitely a lot more I can do.

I will try my best to reach for the stars before my next performance evaluation. I have a lot of work to complete in the upcoming year and a lot to prove before I tip my hat and say goodbye.


Weekend in Review

Wow, I think I need another day to recover from my weekend. Friday night was great, Saturday night was not so great, and Sunday afternoon was redeeming.

Locked out!
It was only a matter of time before I locked myself out of my apartment.

With all the distraction that a normal laundry day brings, I left my keys in my apartment. I can remember closing the door to my apartment and then opening it again to lock the door. Normally, I would check for my keys before doing this, but this time, I didn't.

After freaking out for about 10 minutes, I started knocking on doors for help and eventually, got in touch with the maintenance guy. About an hour later, I was back in my apartment.

Floyd recommended that, in the future, I keep the door unlock while doing laundry. I think that would be a security risk given that I live a few feet from the front door. But if it means that it will help prevent another distressing, helpless hour of being locked out, then so be it.

I thought you went pumpkin-picking…
Yeah, that was the plan, but it didn't happen. Thankfully, Shimmy-Shimmy and her roommate were in the neighborhood and let me crash their trip to Leesburg Corner Outlets. I had a great time shopping and an amazing ride back to the city--the turning leaves were so beautiful and vibrant in the setting sun.

My Story
I have to turn in my writing selection today. The chapter/section I chose is totally not finished but definitely better than it was a few months ago. I am quite nervous about how the group will react, but ultimately I know their critique will help me improve my story.

Solly's U Street Tavern: A
You just can't beat $3 rail drinks that are heavy on the alcohol. The live music upstairs was a plus, but I would have preferred a lower volume.

Busboys and Poets: B+
Although I was starving, tired and drunk (perhaps, not the best state for a food critic), the food (pizza and stuffed Portobello mushroom) was great and the vibe was solid. I'll be back!


Under 3 Yrs + Wedding Ring

Okay, so I've decided to add two new criteria when I'm judging a prospective mate: age and ring.

Age: I've already mentioned that I lost my father at a young age. As a result, I fear that I get easily attached to father figures when it comes to guys I want to date. This was proven in at least two cases. So, in order to avoid a warped, romantic attachment to a father figure, I've decided to limit the age difference between myself and whatever guy I like to three years.

I remember when Night Runner was dating a 50+ year old man (who was actually a friend of her father's…). I was so weirded out by it and she recently told me that, looking back, she agrees that he was way too old for her. She recommends that I go for guys that are much closer to my own age, and therefore are "on the same page" in terms of their life histories and immediate life goals.

Honestly, I don't know how much I have in common with a guy that is over 30. I'm still just starting out in my career, not rushing to get married, and want to move around a lot more before I settle down with a family. Assumingly, a 30+ year old is a bit more established and settled in his life or at least not as transient as I am as a 26 year old who wants to go back to school, join the Peace Corps, and live in NYC, CA and abroad before 35.

Wedding Ring: I told a friend last night that I'm looking for a guy with a wedding ring in his pocket. I know it sounds silly, but I don't see the point of casual dating. So unless a guy is looking for a wife, leave me alone.

I'm sure that there are a lot of great men that I'll miss out on, but I've learned that I'm not the type to play the field or handle relationships with guys that won't move toward the altar. And since I'm not looking to get married until I've accomplished a few more things in my career and personal life, there's no point of me seriously looking right now. So, I'll just keep my normal circle of friends, adding only male buddies that stay strictly platonic no matter what sort of beer goggles I'm wearing.


My Rubber Band Ball

Last year when I was covering the front desk, I was disturbed by the number of rubber bands that were collecting in the desk drawer. Each day the mail would come in stacks bound by two rubber bands and over time, the front desk drawer had become full of them. So, I decided to start a rubber band ball.

At first, I didn’t add new rubber bands that consistently (as I only had front desk duty once a week). But now that Organica has taken over the front desk post, she enthusiastically puts aside each day’s rubber bands just for me.

I’m proud to say that my rubber band ball has grown to include over 475 rubber bands. It weighs 19 pounds ounces and bounces really well. It’s about four inches wide which makes attaching new rubber bands rather hard and dangerous. It’s gotten a little too big for the front desk drawer it “grew up in” so I graduated it to my mailbox.

Although I wasn’t faithful in applying the rubber bands in the beginning, its size reminds me of the number of days that I’ve spent at my current job. Perhaps, it even represents the amount of professional and personal growth that I’ve experienced during the past 1.5 years that I’ve been at my organization.

Before I leave, I think that I will slowly (and very carefully!) disassemble the rubber band ball. And perhaps, start a new one wherever I work next.


No Hablo Espanol

I want to be fluent in Spanish. In fact, it is at the top of my list of "Things To Do Before I Die."

I've tried to learn Spanish. I've taken classes and listened to language tapes. I even nagged my ex to teach me but all I got from him was a basic knowledge of Spanish slang and curse words.

I've eagerly watched Univision and Telemundo. When I was a child, I used to watch a novella featuring Thalia because I thought she was so beautiful and loved the over-the-top acting that I could easily follow without understanding the rapid dialogue. Today, I close-caption Decisiones or Destilando Amor to help expose myself to the language.

But, at 26, I am still a monoglot. It's so sad.

Maybe, I just need to try harder and stop feeling embarrassed when I butcher a language that I'm learning. No one really cares if I'm horrible at speaking a second language. The key is that I'm trying my best to broaden my horizons and connect on a basic level with the culture of my distant Spanish roots.


It's only 68 degrees but I'm so cold!

Yesterday and even today, I'm tempted to pack my belongings and head down south or out west or even abroad. I know this sentiment relates to stress/boredom/discontent and the approaching winter weather and shorter day length. But I just can't shake it.

I promised myself last year that I would never endure another DC winter, and here I am again, bracing for temperatures that will inevitably dip below 40 degrees.

I don't know if I'll be able to cheerily make it through another winter--another winter of tiptoeing around icy sidewalk patches and standing on the metro platform with the winter wind blowing right through my 100 layers. I think last year I broke my own personal record in piling at least 6 heavy blankets (including a thick wool comforter) on my bed and yet, I was still cold. My apartment is just so freakin' drafty, in spite of the blankets and sheets I've haphazardly hung on the windows.

Gosh, this has to be my last DC winter as I only have the strength for one more year!

But it will be just my luck that I'll either still be in DC next winter or worse, will be sent by the Peace Corps to some cold location.


Happy (Belated) Birthday, Hippo Crusades!

The one year anniversary of my blog was a few days ago. I'm sorry that I missed celebrating it, but I figure a few lines now will do the trick.

A lot has happened in the year since I began blogging. I started this blog right around the time that my kindred friend was packing up to move back home. My blog was a way to keep in touch with my bosom buddy and a way to share a new chapter in my life. I feel that my blog has served me well.

One of the biggest lessons or realizations of the past year is the idea of choice and circumstance. Circumstances surround me. Whether society- or self- created, the response is choice. Choice shapes circumstance as circumstance shapes choice.

I made a lot of choices over the past year, some good and some bad. As a result, I have created both good and bad circumstances for myself. And the cycle continues. But the most important choice is to learn from one's mistakes and not repeat bad choices even as similar circumstances reappear.

As always, I'm sure this entry has become cryptic. My point is the power of choice—"good" and "bad" choices that can set you on the path where you belong. Eventually.


Tuesday Talk

Another hobby
I think I have at least one free spot in my schedule. I hope to fill it with a creative or money-making activity, though I haven't decided what it will be. I'm thinking about violin lessons, dramatic arts (acting, attending, or ushering), book clubbing, bartending, language or philosophy classes, yoga instructor certification or catering. I hope to make a decision by the end of the month.

I had a solid weekend. The highlights included Organica's barbeque, the Green Festival film fest and the GLOG happy hour. I also enjoyed finishing two new chick lit books and editing a few pages of my novel.

Week ahead
Work should be busy again this week. I hope to spend my evenings destressing via exercising. I also hope to get my writing ready for critique at the end of the month. So far, I have attempted to polish the first chapter/section of my novel but I recognize that I still have a long way to go.

I plan on going home for Christmas and New Year's this year. Of course, the airplane tickets are already shockingly high—over $300 roundtrip. Perhaps, $300 RT isn't that much to pay for DCA-ATL but I remember paying under $150 RT back in college.

So, I'm thinking about taking Amtrak home for the holidays and again for my mother and aunt's 60th birthday in February. I've always wanted to take the train down South and I think my schedule is flexible enough for it. Plus, I'll save about $100. It will take 13 hours to get home but I think that I'll be able to sleep on the train or just spend those hours reading books and magazines and writing more pages for my book. My reasoning is a) I LOVE trains, b) trains were the way to go back in the day, and c) I support Amtrak. I've only been on a train two times in my life: once when going between Los Angeles and San Diego (which took forever!!) and the other time from NYC to DC (that trip is a bit hazy). But I think that it will be fun and very interesting.


Money on the Ground

I walked by a ten dollar bill on the sidewalk today. I wasn't torn about walking by it, just stunned that no one else noticed it. I thought about picking it up, though not to keep it for myself. It didn't belong to me. But I figured the homeless guy on the corner could use the money for food, alcohol, cigarettes, or whatever was his most pressing need. Unfortunately, the homeless guy wasn't there. So, I walked on.

This reminded me of the time I found a hundred dollar bill on the floor of a checkout lane at Wal-Mart. I figured the money belonged to the old man that had just walked out of the store. But I just gave it to the cashier, too lazy to follow the man and totally blanking on what he looked like. (I rarely pay much attention when I'm waiting to checkout. The impulse items—the candy, sodas, and magazine covers---are too distracting.)

I wonder what happened to the ten dollars on the sidewalk and the hundred I gave to the cashier. I hope that the rightful owners got their cash back, but honestly, I don't care. The key is that it's not on me. It did what I thought was right by not keeping the money. And though, I didn't do much to return the cash to its rightful owner, any negative karma from keeping it for myself was avoided.


Facebook is addictive

Okay, so I got an email from Cha-Chi asking me to be his friend on Facebook. Though I've received a few other invitations over the years, I usually ignored them.  But for some reason, I felt compelled and bored enough to log-in and accept him and a few others as friends.

Today, I was unexpectedly sucked into the world of Facebook.  I spent over an hour updating my profile and seeking out high school buddies.  And I still feel the need to enhance my profile and poke or email all my old chums. Gosh, Facebook is addictive

I joined MySpace a few years ago and rejoined it this year.  So now, I have two entries on the site…  I didn't find MySpace as addictive.  It was fun to check out my friends' profiles and check up on classmates, but I didn't feel the need to fill my profile with a thousand details about my life like with Facebook.  Weird, huh?

I've decided to go on a MySpace-Facebook diet before I become addict.  I will allow myself no more than a few hours per month (total) on both sites.  They are great way to stay connected with old friends—especially all those high school friends I only see once a year but still love and miss—but a major timesuck.


You only turn 21 once!

I took a walk down memory lane last Friday. I volunteered, more like sat around, at the Alumni Reunion Kickoff party on the Quad and met up with FOM, a college buddy who I haven't seen in at least a year.  We had a drink at Lindy's Red Lion—the site of my first legal drink.

I remember renting (free!) movies at Tower and ordering pizza on my 21st birthday.  Very lame, yes, but I had just finished a stressful exam and wanted to give myself the night off before ramping up for another marathon day and night of studying.  That's the problem with early May birthdays: they run right into reading and exam periods.  Every year, I'd spend my birthday taking an exam or frantically trying to finish a term paper.

Thankfully, one of my roommates didn't have an exam the following day and suggested that we go out for a drink.  We started with cider and beer, and soon graduated to shots in Georgetown.  Hey, you only turn 21 once!  I enjoyed mooching free drinks from the bartenders that night (the bartenders at the Rhino bar were the nicest). 

Hours later, I returned to the dorm without having consumed 21 shots, but with the happy realization that I wasn't so drunk that I'd miss the next morning's study session.