Tasty Hot Dog!

Mmm…I just had quite a tasty hot dog for lunch. A tasty hot dog from a vending machine.

My coworker and I finally ventured to Cannon to experience the hot dog that everyone has been talking about. It was quick and good.

Check out this Express article on the mechanics, location, etc of D.C.'s hot dog vending machines. It's neat that vending machine companies are now offering items besides the basics: chips, coffee, soda, and cookies. I look forward to the day when hot ramen is offered here, as in Japan. Or perhaps, grilled cheese sandwiches! It was interesting to watch my hot dog get violated cook and served on a warm bun (you have to see it to understand). I wish that relish or chili was offered as a condiment. But on a lazy Friday such as this, a $2.50 hot dog was just right. Now all I need is some chocolate cake...

And a trip to Ben's for the true experience—a half-smoke smoothed in chili. I'm already salivating.


Democratic National Convention

This has been a really exciting week in the world of politics. One for the history books.

I've been surprisingly glued to the television all week. Checking out the live coverage and quickly flipping to the cable news networks for the political analysis (FoxNews is unbelievably ridiculous!).

Last night, I was in tears during the end of the roll call vote. It was an amazing moment. A moment highlighted by two historical female figures working to put forth the acclamation of an African American presidential nominee.

I cried because it was a beautiful moment that made official what we've known for months, that Obama is on his way to the White House. I was witnessing history to share with my kids and grandkids. I was witnessing history that would similarly bring my ancestors to tears.

The whole convention has been charged. I've watched the headliner speeches of Michelle, both Clintons and Biden, and I was moved. They fired me up for this fall and motivated me want to work hard this fall to elect Obama. I can only imagine how surreal but magical the moment will be tonight when Obama makes his acceptance speech in front of a crowd of 75,000 while millions more watch from home.


Roommate Search ‘08

My house just finished our search for a new roommate. It was an easier process than I anticipated, and I hope that we made the right choice.

As on the Hill, it is all about whom you know. The guy we picked is dating a girl who is the younger sister of two of my classmates. He's from my hometown and that basically guarenteed my vote—once Frenchie objected to the older guy (33) that I was favoring. It would have been nice to get an older, more mature housemate. Instead, we have a 22 year old recent grad that seems to have a lot of energy though I don't think he has a job yet… Yes, I am concerned but he seems like the sort who has parents that foot the bill.

All four candidates we interviewed were fluent French speakers. In fact, one guy was fluent in 8 languages! This is problem for me, an insecure monoglot, who is barely able to hold a conversation in Spanish after months and months of studying. It brings up our house's French-fluency count to 3—that's half of the house! I guess I should take it as an opportunity to learn a few key French phrases, but so far, I've just politely demanded English-only when I've been in the room.

Another one of our roommates may be moving in with her boyfriend soon. So, we'll have to do yet another of these roommate searches. Hopefully, then we'll choose an replacement that meets my two requirements: older (27+) and a native Spanish speaker. Then, our house will be even: 3 French speakers and 3 Spanish speakers (though, I guess my roommate and I should only count as .5 of a Spanish speaker. We'll still learning).


The biggest time suck

Over the weekend, I invested in a $9 cable splitter so that I could finally hook up bootleg cable in my bedroom. Already, it has been the worst decision of my life.

I spent at least 3 hours mindlessly watching television shows last night—including The Hills. Yes, The Hills. The most pointless show in the world that somehow was able to suck me in—despite the important convention coverage that was being aired on several other channels.

Tonight, I'm going to unhook the cable and return to my trusty rabbit ears. I may only get 8 channels but it keeps my television viewing in-check and enables me to spend my time mindlessly reading chick-lit—my prefer guilty pleasure.



My sister is expecting a baby, which means I'll be an aunt very soon. I'm definitely excited for her and her husband. I'm also very happy for my mother. It will be her first grandchild and I know that she can't wait to spoil him/her. Yesterday, she joked that she'll have to start saving money so that she can properly spoil her first grandbaby. The baby is due in March, which is cool because it is the month of my father's birthday.

I guess this whole situation will force my sister and me to finally mend our strained relationship. I know that I don't know how to be an aunt, and at this point, I don't really know how to be a sister. I guess I'll be forced to learn both in the upcoming months.

I have to admit that babies weird me out. It will be great to play with and spoil my niece or nephew but I still haven't mastered the art of holding, cuddling or soothing a baby. I prefer older preschool aged kids that don't need to be changed and are most happy using their imaginations to play.

My sister's pregnancy reminds me of my own fleeting youth. We're both getting older and as the years past, we'll increasingly only have each other. I guess it's time for me to finally grow up and be a whole person and an adult.


Nobody wants a brownie

I decided to surprise my coworkers with a batch of my scrumptious brownie bites. We had a lazy pizza party for the few folks that are still in town. Over half of the office has been out for the past few weeks and I know that no one will be here next week.

I wasn’t able to convince my coworkers to eat all 50+ brownie bites, so I started to take them to nearby offices on my floor. First, let me say that a few of the R staffers on my floor are really unfriendly--actually snotty.

I am very shocked and appalled to report that almost everyone refused my offer. No one has ever refused a brownie in my presence—definitely not a homemade brownie bite. I still feel the pangs of hurt and confusion. Sure, I understand that almost every office orders food on recess Fridays. But, to turn down a brownie? Now, that is just shameful.

I hope to use the Ghirardelli mix to make another batch of brownies next week or post Labor Day—to celebrate our last few days of recess and last days without those annoying, but oftentimes helpful, interns.


Nothing to wear

I have two girl’s night outs coming up and I have absolutely nothing to wear. Most of my clothes are casual and everything else is basic office wear. While I was at Pentagon City over the weekend to order new glasses (soon, I'll be able to see clearly!), I checked out a few of the stores. But I couldn’t convince myself to purchase anything. The things that seemed age and style appropriate were not within my budget and the stuff that was in my budget didn’t seem like something a 27 year old should actually buy and wear (I love Forever 21, but aren’t I getting a bit too old for synthetics and jersey knits?).

I’ll just dig around my closet for something to wear to Friday’s GLOG trip to Tuscana Lounge, a new spot on K Street. But for my return to the club scene after a 9 year absence, I promise that I will scour the stores for something that is both appropriate and within my budget—or at least a good investment piece. I want to have an awesome club night with my coworkers and I want to impress myself and my coworkers with a "uncharacteristic" outfit. For me, of course that just means something short, fitted, and feminine.

I used to enjoy getting ready for the club when I was younger. But now, my efforts don’t go beyond donning a clean pair of jeans and a tank in order to head out to a grungy, dimly-lit bar. I do miss the club scene but I fear that it won’t be as glamorous and exciting as it was when I was 18 and confident/stupid/oblivious enough to wear a mini-dress and heels (a.k.a., hooker wear).


Um, are you my stylist?

Now that I’ve moved to NW, I don’t want to spend a full day getting my hair done out in Wheaton. So, I ventured to K Street to checkout a new stylist. She turned out to be great but she wasn’t at all what I expected.

In fact, I was on edge during most of my time there. I was vigilante of the treatments she applied to my hair and frequently asked her questions about the products. I feel bad that I didn’t trust her—but mainly, I feel bad that I didn’t trust her because she was White.

I’ve never had a White stylists apply a relaxer to my hair and I freaked out when I first met her. I’ve always had my hair done by female African American stylists, and I can still remember sorta freaking out the first time I had a male stylist. I didn’t freak out as much because he was Black and, in my mind, “knew” my hair.

But I was proven wrong this weekend. It is not about the race or gender of the stylist but his/her training and method. She did a wonderful job as I left the salon feeling very feminine and flirty and my hair was in much better condition.

She did annoy me with the typical new client lines of “oh, your old stylist did X, Y, and Z wrong. But, I’ll correct it during this visit and your next appointment. Trust me, I’m better. Stick with me!!” Otherwise, she was great and very reassuring. Before I left, I found out that she was the salon manager. I can’t wait to return to her chair again. The price was a little higher than normal but the location is ideal and the results are solid.


The Raven

After another failed attempt at practicing my Spanish conversation skills at Dos Gringos, my new alum buddy and I headed over to the Raven for drinks. He has raved about the Raven ever since I first met him. I’m glad that I finally checked it out and I’m quite sure that I’ll be back very soon.

For the record, my favorite dive bar in the area is the Quarry House in Silver Spring. It also has a long history, dark, wooden interior and a jukebox.

But, the Raven takes the label "dive bar" to a new level. There is no kitchen and the rumor is that the roaches swarm when customers aren’t around. Since IC told me that the place once boasted athletic rodents, I entered the bar unbelieveably cautious of what I would find within. It is a small and dark bar with large black and white photos of musicians and other notables of the old days (e.g. Hendrix, Dietrich, Marilyn, etc). The bartender, John, was very nice and the patrons—mainly locals and buddies when we arrived around 8/9 were older and very chill. By the time we left, closer to 11, the place was starting to fill up with late twenty- and early thirty-somethings and the music playing on the jukebox was a bit more constant.

It doesn’t seem like a hipster bar as noted in the WP review, but perhaps it turns hipster later in the night (ummm, I don't even know who hipsters are, but I sense that I don't like 'em). That’s not at all my scene, so I’ll only return to the Raven earlier in night, like on Saturday, when the crowd is all non-hipster locals and I can drop my quarters without having to wait an hour for my songs to play.

Also, for the record, I can't believe that tonic contains as much sugar as a soda. Vodka sodas are truly horrible. Geesh, I need a new signature drink!


City Club of Washington

I recently ventured to the City Club of Washington for a reception. It is a nice place with a tasty selection of wine (and I'm not a wine person).

I’ve never been to the City Club and in fact, didn’t know it existed before yesterday. Supposedly, it is one of the meeting places of the who’s-who of DC. Of course, no one was hobnobbing when I was there. Perhaps, because Congress isn’t in session. But it was nice to experience the club and see how the other half lives.

I can’t imagine that I’ll be hanging out at the Club anytime soon, if ever again. But I could see myself accompanying my super-rich, Mr. Big-like boyfriend/fiancé to an event there.

I had a really great time. I chatted with the older alums and networked with the young alums. I also connected two super-sweet modelesque alums who made me feel like a dwarf, mutant. After years of avoiding all things feminine and stylish, I've decide that I need to buy a bag to arm myself against such women (who are a rarity in this city) and boost my presence at such events. I think that if I was armed with a good bag, and had worn heels instead of my cute flats, I would've held my own with those women without feeling awkward. So, that's on my list for this Xmas: a good, statement bag that doesn't break the bank. But I wonder if that even exists.

I'm sure that I will have many other new experiences in D.C. during the upcoming months--especially as the election and inauguration draw near. And next time there is a major reception, I plan on being armed with heels and a bag (not tomboy flats and slacks) that reflect my independent, 27 year old self.


“Truth, justice and the American Way”

Last night, I saw Superman on the National Mall. It has been such a long time since I saw that movie (15 years?), and it was great to see it as an adult (as there are many jokes that I don't think I would have understood as a innocent young'n).

Given that it was the last Screen on the Green of the summer, it was very crowded—and unfortunately, quite cool (what’s up the weather?!). I met up with G.F.A., A-M, and a friend from grad school. It was great to see everyone and to revisit an American movie classic starring the late, great Christopher Reeves.

In other news, Floyd will be in town this September. It will be great to see him again but also, weird for him to be in D.C. I know that he'll be making the rounds to visit all of his old friends (including me). I look forward to showing off my new digs and 'hood, but mainly, I want to just chill and enjoy his close proximity.


Is it really August?

Our seemingly fall-like weather could have fooled me. I braced myself all summer long for the heat and humidity that has marked every August that I’ve spent in D.C. But where is it this year? Where is the oppressive heat and humidity that plagues the tourists and drives the locals out of town?

I actually donned a light sweater Saturday evening. That’s unheard of. Sure, I’d just returned from 95-degree Miami. But I expected more from D.C. This morning was the same—I was tempted to grab another sweater before heading out to work. What’s up with these temps?

I guess it signifies that the summer is drawing to a close. Lammas has passed (!), the days are shorter, and the daily low temperature is getting even lower.

It scares me that the summer is almost over, that these milder temperatures will only usher in cold temperatures that force me indoors—under the covers and near space heaters. I don’t know where the summer went. It was good, and of course, good things never last.


Back from Miami

I took a last minute trip to Miami on Wednesday. Floyd called me Tuesday afternoon to let me know that he was headed to Miami for a business trip. He knows how much I love and idolize that city—mainly the warm weather and beautiful beaches. I stressed about going all day. I am definitely not the spontaneous type and I wasn’t sure how I would get those days off from my boss. So after conferring with my coworkers ("just call in sick!") and checking and rechecking my flight options. I finally book my ticket late Tuesday night and shoved the basics into a small bag. I was going.

I’m so glad that I went. The weather was warm and humid and the beaches were beautiful. I had briefly visited Miami once in college. Miami was even better this time. Unfortunately, his office didn’t book him a hotel on the beach so we stayed downtown. But, it worked out well. Floyd rented a convertible which enabled us to drive to Sobe if desired, and staying in downtown gave me easy access to shops, snack stops and public transit.

I went to Sobe on Thursday--exploring a few of the sites on foot before heading back to the hotel tired and sweaty. Later that night, we headed to Sobe for drinks and a walk on the beach.

On Friday, we headed back to Little Havana for meals and to check out the cantankerous, old men in Domino Park. It rained for a few hours, which forced Floyd to focus on work stuff at the hotel. I stayed with him most of the afternoon, only venturing out to run an errand and experience the Monorail system. That evening, we had a magical, sunset swim on the beach before heading to Coral Gables for dinner.

The most memorable thing about my trip, besides the sunset swim with Floyd and driving around Miami with the top down, was the food. The food was amazing. We ate in Little Havana three times. Breakfast at El Exquisito and lunch and dinner at Versailles. I can’t even begin to explain how delicious the black beans and rice, fried pork, yucca, etc was at Versailles. Plus, Versailles has a great bakery full of delicious sweets. El Exquisito’s café and café con leche beat Versailles’, and I consumed at least 2 cups on Friday (and was wired).

At times, the trip was rocky. Floyd and I have a very long, complicated history. Ours is a love-hate relationship that doesn’t seem to fade. I’m so all mixed up about us now. Seeing him reminded me of all the things I disliked about him (and why we had problems), but most importantly, it reminded me of how much I still care for him and how much I enjoy spending time with him.

Who knows when we’ll see each other again. Perhaps, this September. We’ll see where things go. I don’t plan on letting all this prevent me from enjoying being single in the city, but I will be more mindful that I'm still not over him.


Relaxing in St. Michaels

Thank you, Organica, for a memorable weekend in St. Michaels. Running home from work Friday evening, I totally wanted to flake and just spend the weekend hiding under the covers—surrounded by snacks and dvds. Instead, I joined the Wheaton carpool to St. Michaels. I'm so glad I did.

I had a very relaxing weekend at Organica's family place. I ate lots of junk food, played lots of games, and laughed a lot. It was beautiful, welcoming, and just perfect. I can only hope to have a place like it once I get established.

Crabs, corn, and other veggies made up our Saturday dinner. For the record, I don't like Maryland-style crabs but the crabs themselves were very good and full of meat! It took so much work to pry open my two that I donated number three and opted for eating more delicious local corn and tomatoes.

So, now I'm back at work and wishing I could sit once again in the rocking chair, battle the hammock under the oak tree, and spy on the boaters. Instead, I'm stuck in the office under the glare of the fluorescent light, trying to convince myself to work.

Thanks again, Organica, for the weekend. It was a great Lunch Bunch last hurrah. I hope that we'll continue making memories for many more years to come.



Yay, Congress is in recess! All the Members are headed back to their districts and many staffers are taking a much-deserved break from politics and DC. Unfortunately, I'm not going anywhere. I want to save my days to campaign this fall (More on that later once I get approval).

I look forward to an amazing, hot August and then, lots of excitement in the fall. I plan on spending this month catching up on work, networking with the few folks that are sticking around, and focusing on my personal life (i.e., connecting with my new roomies, excelling in my Spanish class, and finalizing my Peace Corps medical app).

I didn't realize how tiring this month has been—full of stress and general craziness. But, it has been a good month. My teammate at work arrives on Monday and her presence will take some stress and responsibilities from me, which will be nice.

For the record, I donated money to the Obama campaign last night. I met the deadline to be entered in a contest to go backstage before his big convention speech. That would be cool, but more than that, it was just time for me to commit more than my voice and my vote to his campaign efforts.