College Reunion

On Saturday, I attended my 5-year college reunion party. I had a good time, though I only knew a handful of the folks in the crowd. But it was good to reconnect with the few old dormmates and classmates I remember. It is so odd to think that 5 years have passed since college. A few of my old friends are married and have moved away. I don't know what I have to report in regards to my five years. I'm older and wiser, but I haven't quite achieved all that I set out to do five year ago. I'm very happy that I decided to give the Hill a try, but I wonder how this choice is impeding my other key goals of experiencing other cities and countries sooner rather than later.

I think the weirdness of my college reunion foreshadows the weirdness of my upcoming 10-year high school reunion. Fortunately, for the high school one, I'll remember a greater percentage of my classmates. There are a few people in particular that I can't wait to see again—given that they seem to have dropped off the map. I'm certain that I won't be married by next fall, so as I did at all my high school dances, I'll probably drag along a friend from the Co'98.

Of course, I want to make an appearance in an awesome outfit to let folks know that I'm still around and on the "right" track. Most importantly, I want to see how folks have changed since high school, i.e., who got married/divorce, has kids, got plastic surgery, gained/lost 100 pounds, came out of the closet, etc. It should be entertaining, and very awesome to toast, with my old lunch crew, to another 10 years of "finding ourselves" and following our dreams.


First cold of the season

I feel so icky right now. I blame both my coworkers and my roommates. When I woke up yesterday, my throat was on fire. Today, my sinuses are acting up. Every year around this time, I get my first cold. I blame it on the changing temperatures and the increased stress of late. I've been drinking gallons of orange juice and green tea in hopes of staving off the worst but so far, my body has decided to let the cold take its full course. This is really unfortunate because I have a week packed with events and receptions, including my 5th year reunion at GWU this weekend.

Speaking of receptions, I went to a great one near the Capitol. The roof had AMAZING views of the Capitol and Pennsylvania Avenue. The food was great and the bar was well-stocked. Aside from one guest who was persistently annoying in challenging my boss's position on the food-fuel debate, it was a good night.

So keep your fingers crossed that I get well soon.


The Park at 14th

I finally managed to get into The Park.

About a month ago, Shimmy-Shimmy and I ventured to The Park for an drink before meeting the rest of our group. It was early and there wasn't a line but we didn't get in. The guy mentioned something about a guest list. I said no and we turned away to head to Lotus. Perhaps, we didn't try hard enough. We weren't assertive nor did we flirt with the bouncer. But then, we also weren't dressed the part as we both donned conservative black outfits that night.

I returned to Park on Saturday night dressed the part but fully expecting not to get in. I read lots of reviews on WaPost about folks not getting in and about the use of racial quotas to maintain the desired mix of people. I tried emailing and calling the club about the guest list and was only told that there was no public guest list (you have to get to know one of the promoters/ambassadors).

When I arrived, there were at least 30-40 people outside and I witnessed at least two groups be denied entry (one was a group of guys and the other was a group of girls that included a "big girl"). It's ridiculous that they are trying to recreate Studio 54 at 14th and K Streets. DC isn't a land of beautiful people and it really hurts to deny folks like me and others entry for not having the right look--whatever that may be.

We got in. I attribute it entirely to my friend's flirty ways and my sexy hair. Yes, I actually put some effort into my look and it paid off. I looked hot and felt really good.

I like Park. It has four floors of bars, dance areas and bottle service areas. The bouncers and other workers are all very attractive and the clientele was a nice mix. The place is dark and the televisions were broadcasting the UGA game, while the DJ on the floors played a nice mix of top 40 with a bit of house and old school mixed it. I had a great time of dancing and drinking with my coworker. Plus, she met her "future husband" that night.

I left the lounge around 1:30--totally fed up with being jostled around. It was so crowded and I was ready to go off on the next person who pushed me aside while I was trying to get my groove on. After a quick check in, I said farewell to my my friend and her new boy toy.

I will definitely check out The Park again--though earlier in the night to avoid the hysteria outside and the annoying crowds on the dance floor.


Yoga in the Park

I've always wanted to practice yoga outdoors. This Sunday, I finally got a chance. Aside from the pesky bug bites, slight sunburn and dirty yoga mat that resulted, I had an awesome session of doing sun salutations in the bright morning sun.

A few weeks ago, when talking at walk through Malcolm X Park (b.k.a., Meridian Hill Park), I noticed a small group of people practicing yoga near the stage. I waited around reading my book for a bit. Once the session was over, I walked over and introduced myself. The woman was training to become a yoga instructor and she held classes on most Sundays to get practice hours. I gave her my email address and two weeks later, I was back for an amazing session.

It's been a while since I last practiced yoga. Despite all the videos and handouts I own, I have yet to sustain a home-pratice—something an instructor/monk told me was key. But I hope to attend the yoga in the park sessions as long as they last (probably until it gets cold). Bikram Yoga-Dupont's sessions have ended, but there are others you can learn about through visiting Meet-up (like this one) and by randomly checking out huddles of folks in the park.


Save a Life – Give Blood

Yesterday, I went with a friend to give blood. I like giving blood. It's a simply way to help out someone in need. Plus, I love the Hi-C Orange and Nutter Butters that are normally given out after you give. I've given blood since high school and though I took a several year hiatus after college, I decided that now was a goodtime to start giving again.

But after yesterday's blood giving experience, I think that I will avoid giving blood for a while—maybe forever. It wasn't my entirely my fault that I failed to fill up the bag. As the women said, my blood was slowly dripping out and my tiny vein lay too close to the muscle to get the needle in properly. I've been told that I have small veins before but it's never been a problem with a skilled sticker. So I honestly didn't expect any problems though the finger poke to get an iron level reading should have foretold what would come. The woman had to squeeze my finger like a cow's udder to get anything substantial to come out. In contrast my friend said that her blood spurt out as soon as the needle hit her skin.

After 15 minutes of having the needle adjusted and readjusted and having to squeeze and unsqueeze a ball to get things moving, we gave up. I think that it was too cold in the room and that all the water I drank that morning just wasn't enough.

The blood I gave can't be used. It will just be thrown away. What a waste! I wish there was a way for them to return the blood back to into my body because I think I need it. By the time I left the room, my teeth were chattering and goose bumps covered my skin. I went outside for a bit to warm up in the sun, but that didn't help much. In fact, I didn't warm up until later that afternoon.

It is so odd to have had such an unfortunate donation experience. I've had a vein collapse before, but nothing compares to the dissatisfaction of not filling up the bag and basically wasting time and blood for naught.

But I shouldn't complain too much. While my friend did fill up a bag, she blacked out and had to spend the morning in the nurse's office. Craziness!


Goodbye, GW Hippo

I am very upset that my alma mater is getting rid of the Hippo as the unofficial mascot. I love the Hippo! In fact, the namesake of this blog is partly based on my fondness for GW's bronze riverhorse.
Sure, I was very skeptical and even angry when the hippo first came to campus. It seemed like another SJT diversionary tactic to defer University funds and student attention away from improving academic programs (rumor was that a drunk SJT paid over $80k for the statue). But over time, I grew to love the Hippo. I relished rubbing its nose for good luck before an exam or posing next to it after both my undergrad and grad graduation ceremonies.


Farewell to Floyd

I spent the past few days with Floyd. It was a good visit, though not perfect. I guess that things are never perfect between us. But that is irrelevant as long as we continue to enjoy each other's company. We do.

So now, I'm a single girl in the city again after a few glorious days of holding hands, snuggling and eating with someone special. Thankfully, he will return in October and we'll once again get to reconnect and work through more of our issues.

It's really nice to have someone who knows me well, accepts me for who I am, and challenges me to be the best that I can be. Wow, this is getting really cheesy now.

I guess I'm still in a haze from his visit. Dont' worry. By this evening, I'll return to my old, jaded self.


Three Things

I had an amazing week at work. Congress is back in session, which means an increase in tasks—but most importantly, it means the return of receptions and events. That's what makes my job so interesting and worthwhile: the opportunity to rub elbows and get my name and face out there. Of course, the free food, drinks and prizes are great too, assuming they don't get me in trouble (What's the House Ethics Rules limit, again?). After almost five months on the Hill, I am happy to report that I am still happy with my job and hopeful and excited about my career trajectory on the Hill. My Peace Corps medical application should be finalized in a few weeks, so it remains my back-up plan just in case things turn sour on the Hill. Let's hope it doesn't.

Right now, my attention turns to the arrival of Floyd. He'll be in town for a few days for a work event. I am really excited to spend time with him and show him how much D.C. has changed since he left. I can't wait to show him my new 'hood (which is actually his old 'hood) and enjoy dinner at Ben's like we used to. Of course, we have to spend a little time figuring out "us." But mainly, I want to enjoy his company.

After a few years of chaos, depression, and despair, things are finally good. As I told Chatty-Chica last night, I hope that I haven't reached the summit of happiness. Things sucked for a long time while I was trying to "find myself." I still haven't found myself but I think I deserve a bit more time in the sunlight before things fall apart.


The Newseum

During recess, some folks from our office went on a tour of the Newseum. Newseum tickets cost $20 so I jumped at the chance to check out the relocated museum for free.

I enjoyed my visit. I was amazed by the size of the museum--so many interactive exhibits and theatres. It is definitely a museum that you could spend a day in, without getting bored. I loved seeing the front pages from the newspapers across the country and the world. The Story of News exhibit was very interesting. I also enjoyed the possibility of "being a tv reporter." Unfortunately, I wasn't willing to part with the $8 needed to make that dream a reality. It would have been really funny to send the recording to my mom as a Christmas present. But, I'm thinking that getting something like that from me as a 27 year old wouldn't be the same as getting it from me as a cute 8 year old.

Of course, the 9/11 exhibit was very moving. All the front pages from around the country and world proclaimed the horrors of the day. The San Francisco Examiner headline simply stated, "Bastards."

The exhibit with the Berlin Wall was also interesting—the West side of the wall's surface was full of graffiti and free expression; the East side of the wall was stark and cold.

The museum has a great view of Pennsylvania Avenue and seems like an amazing place for a reception. I will definitely recommend the museum to my mother during her next visit, and hope that she'll be nice enough to buy my ticket.

Speaking of new tourist spots, I can't wait to take my mother to the new Capitol Visitors Center that will be open for business in only a few months (Dec.), after a 4 year delay and $500 million in tax dollars. I went on a tour of the complex a few weeks ago and it's really nice. It'll provide a lot of awesome space for meetings, receptions and other Hill events. It will also give visitors a better introduction to the history of the Capitol Complex and access to a larger gift shop and cafeteria. As a staffer, I'm excited that the throngs of tourists will flock to the facilities at the Capitol instead of cramming into our cafeterias, elevators and hallways. I appreciate the money that tourism pumps into D.C. and I love to hear the young people's astute policy questions and to see their looks of awe when they see the rotunda of the Capitol for the first time. But dear me, I don't think that any of them realized that folks actually work here. Hush up and get out the way! [Please?!?]


In da club, LOVE

I am so over the club scene. After years of nostalgia about all the fun nights I had as a 18-19 year old dancing and drinking at the club, I've realized that the club no longer offers the unique, fun time it did when I was young and stupid.

The club is a meat market and I didn't fully comprehend that until I stepped into a club called Love with my coworkers. We were all decked out in heels and figure-flattering dresses. We looked good and were ready for a fun night out. Unfortunately, it was just an okay night.

First, let me say that it is a nice club. Surprisingly nice. Dimly lit and full of wood paneling. Most of the clubs that I used to go to in D.C. (The Spot!!! and Platinum) were dingy places that were falling apart. Love is a trek from downtown but I think it is a worth the trip—assuming you arrive before 11 with a pass to avoid the $20 cover charge. There weren't that many cute guys in the place. The ones that were cute were bouncers or the skeevy sort that were enthusiastically grinding dancing with the women who were composed of an equal mix of skanks (sweetheart, that is a shirt not a dress) and good girls out with friends (which was my group).

Our enthusiasm of a girl's night out dancing was dampened by the unease we all felt on the dance floor. I don't know how a woman enjoying herself on the dance floor with her girlfriends always gets interpreted as an invitation to male advances. It's a known fact that women love to dance. Most of the time, they prefer to dance without worrying about stranger's wondering hands. I can't count the number of times my hand, hips or shoulder were grazed by guys trying to get my attention. Seriously, it is just skeevy and inappropriate. As I told one of the guys, I was there to hang out with my girls and not entertain the advances of men with only one thing on their mind.

But, overall it was a good experience. Not the amazing clubbing experience of the old days, but interesting and worth the time I spent getting ready. The visit helped me finally get over clubbing and reminded me of how much I love bars and lounges where I can show up without pretense, in jeans and a t-shirt.


Dancing Queen

It was so hard to get out of bed this morning after such an amazing weekend of napping, snacking, and dancing. Yes, the Hippo loves to dance!

Bravo Bravo: I haven't visited this place in years, and when I arrived to an empty place, I was a bit skeptical that I'd enjoy myself. But I did. I learned the bachata and got my fill of salsa, meringue and reggaeton. It got rather crowded and hot toward the end of the night, so we headed out around 130--when the party actually started to heat up and the thugs were headed in.

Black Cat: Sunday's Michael Jackson vs. Prince vs. Madonna (plus a bit of Janet) dance party was phenomenal. I don't think that I've ever danced and sang so much. I realize now how much Prince I don't know—and they seemed to play a lot of Prince. The dj didn't start playing the good stuff, i.e., back-to-back songs that I actually knew, until midnight. It was a great night of awesome music by the geniuses of pop.

I'll be back on the dance floor this weekend, donning a new minidress and killer heels—in my return to the club scene as an old lady for a symbolic last hurrah.